Episode 77: Go from Obscure to Acclaimed Leveraging Other People's Audience with Tom Schwab



Show Notes:

Have you ever thought your digital marketing might actually be hurting your business? Our guest today has a refreshingly new view on marketing. Tom Schwab asks you to consider that you are just One Conversation Away, which also happens to be the title of his new book.

In this episode, we chat about using podcast guesting to tap into others’ audiences and build expertise. Tom also shares what he feels is every business’s biggest problem, why whales don't click and big fish don't swim through funnels, and the reason podcast interviews convert 25x better than blogs. If you want a rich life and a profitable business, Tom believes you are just One Conversation Away.

For a free copy of Tom’s book, use this special link for DFCM listeners: www.interviewvalet.com/DFCM. There you will also find Tom’s 10-question assessment to find out if podcast interview marketing will work for you.



About Michelle

Michelle Lynne began her interior design career after spending more than two decades working in Corporate America. She began in the home staging arena and has since built a successful, award-winning, full-service interior design firm, employing talented designers and serving clients across the country.

In the summer of 2018, Michelle began focusing on a big gap she saw missing in the interior design industry: teaching interior designers how to run the business of an interior design business. She now engages in private coaching and leads an in-depth, 12-month group coaching program, both options focus on teaching designers profitable processes, systems, strategies, and mindset needed to run a streamlined, profitable interior design firm.

Her motto is simple: we rise by lifting others.



Connect with Michelle

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Podcast edited and managed by Haili Murch LLC.

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Michelle Lynne: Welcome to Designed for the Creative Mind, a podcast for interior designers and creative entrepreneurs to run their business with purpose, efficiency, and passion. Because, while every design is different, the process should remain the same. Prepare yourself for some good conversations with amazing guests, a dash of Jesus and a touch of the woowoo, and probably a swear word or two. If you're ready to stop trading your time for money, and enjoy your interior design business, you are in the right place. I'm your host, Michelle Lynne.


Michelle Lynne: Hello, hello, hello. Welcome back, everybody to the Designed for the Creative Mind podcast, geared towards interior designers and those in any creative profession. Today, I'm super excited because I've got a fun, fun guest that I've known for a while. But first let me ask you, have you ever thought about digital marketing and how it might actually be hurting your business? That you are not breaking through the noise, you're just adding to it? Perhaps you're not one funnel away, maybe that funnel is stopping the big fish that you actually want to come through it. Our guest today has a refreshingly new view, Tom Schwab asks you to consider that you are just one conversation away. That's the title of his new book based on his experience and that data working with over 700 leading brands as the chief evangelist officer at Interview Valet. If you want a rich life and a profitable business, Tom believes you are just one conversation away. Tom, thanks for being here.


Tom Schwab: Michelle. Thank you for having me.


Michelle Lynne: Yes. So y'all, I gotta tell you that I met Tom, I think it was as the world was shutting down, right, Tom? Like in early 2020, maybe late 2019. And what Tom does is he focuses on getting individuals in front of podcasters, so you can have that conversation in front of your audience. And he booked me on a bucket, whirlwind tour of podcasts, which kind of took the fear away from me having my own. So Tom, thank you for being here. And we've come full circle.


Tom Schwab: Well, I was gonna say you were one of those over 700 clients there. And honestly, I believe that leveraging other people's audience can be so much more valuable, especially when you're first starting out. Go out there on other people's podcasts, get that exposure, and it's a whole lot easier from my standpoint. I'm showing up and talking and you're doing all the work here.


Michelle Lynne: Well, this happens to be a pleasure, so it's not much work. Let's talk about why leveraging other people's platforms is more valuable. So you call it OPP, other people's platforms, and then it's more valuable than leveraging other people's money, OPM?


Tom Schwab: Correct.


Michelle Lynne: Let's back up on that. Tell me where you're coming from.


Tom Schwab: Well, you know, money is plentiful out there. And then, you know, it's valuable. But I've always used this example, say, Oprah came to you and said, Michelle, I love what you are doing, I'm gonna loan you a million dollars, keep it as long as you need. Or even if she said, I love what you're doing, I'm going to give you a million dollars, right? I don't think anybody would say no to either one of those. But if she came back and said, or I'd like to have you on my show for you know, 45 minutes or an hour. Which one would you choose?


Michelle Lynne: Damn skippy, I would be up on that stage.


Tom Schwab: And, you know, be like, from Spanx, you know, the founder there or Dr. Oz. So many people launched their career off of that. And I think it's the same way now. Podcasts are just a different platform. Right? Those people that made it big going on television, or now it's podcasts, and you get that know, like, and trust that people give you.


Michelle Lynne: And you don't even have to put makeup on if you don't want to. Well, you don't have to anyway, Tom, but let me just tell you, it takes some of the pressure off.


Tom Schwab: We worked with a client, and I remember he was speaking to 30,000 people at Marlins stadium and I was with him the night before. And he was nervous. And I said, why are you nervous? He's like, I've never spoken in front of like, over a thousand people. I'm like, oh, you have. You've been on podcasts and spoken to tens of thousands. And he's like, yeah, but now they're looking back at me. So from that standpoint, it's, you know, even for introverts or people that are comfortable with public speaking, jumping onto a Zoom call and having a conversation and letting thousands or tens of thousands of people listen in is easy.


Michelle Lynne: I think that it's so true, because I remember when I was first being booked on podcasts through you and your company, I was nervous the first few times. And then it was just kind of like, oh, dude, this is simple. I'm just meeting one person at a time on Zoom, and it was simple. And as an introvert, it was much easier for me to have that conversation and just pretend that it was just he and I or she and I.


Tom Schwab: Well, and the word you used there is, we call them podcast interviews, but you nailed it when you say it's a conversation.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah.


Tom Schwab: Right? It's not, this is not 60 Minutes, where they come with 10 questions and number four is a gotcha. No, these are hosts that are excited to talk about you, excited to introduce you to their friends and their audience.


Michelle Lynne: Absolutely. And there's always something in common. So it's not like I'm gonna go onto an automotive mechanic podcast and try to have that conversation. It's always gonna be surrounding where our commonalities and our common audiences are. So that made it much easier.


Tom Schwab: And you know that the host already thinks that you're an expert, and have things that could benefit their audience, right? So it's like getting invited to a physical stage, right? I'm having an event, Michelle, and I would love you to come and do the keynote. The only thing that's easier is, like you said, you don't have to get dressed up. You don't have to travel. And you don't have to prepare a keynote, right? Because the questions that people are going to ask you is your expertise and it's easy to answer the questions.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah, all I need is a glass of wine. We just pretend we're at a cocktail party. Although you and I are chatting at like 9:30 in the morning, Central Standard Time. So that's probably well, maybe a glass of Prosecco, or mimosa.


Tom Schwab: This is post-COVID. Right? You don't ask what's in the coffee cup.


Michelle Lynne: So true, so true. So in your introduction, we had the funnel might be stopping the big fish that you want. So big fish don't swim through funnels, and whales don't click. Let's talk about that. Because I think I know what you mean. But my audience is probably wondering, well, why do I need to be on a podcast? I'm a designer, like this is all visual. But what do you mean here? Big fish don't swim through funnels and whales don't click.


Tom Schwab: That idea actually comes from a book called, CLICKSAND. Like quicksand but CLICKSAND: How Digital Marketing Will Destroy Your Business. And in that, Bill Troy talks about that so often, what works for this $5 product, we think, oh, it'll work for me. It worked for my high-level, high-touch, high-personal service. And think about it, if you were looking to hire a professional, right? The best surgeon, the best lawyer, the best designer, would you go with the first person that popped up on social media? Would you hire the designer that is advertising on the park benches? Or, you know, in the men's bathroom? Right, it's where your customers are, but it doesn't mean they're making a buying decision there. If anything, sometimes seeing your brand there can actually hurt it. Right?


Michelle Lynne: Right.


Tom Schwab: So the idea of, if you want to be a premier service, you have to be seen with other premier services, right? That's why, you know, they're not advertising at the homeless shelter, they're advertising, you know, Rolexes at the golf outings and the polo matches, right? Because they want to be associated with that. So having those conversations at places that you want to be associated with, can be so powerful. And you pointed out something that was interesting. And a lot of people will say, well, you don't understand my art, my business is very, very visual. Why would I want to go on a podcast?


Michelle Lynne: Right.


Tom Schwab: And I'm like because you want to move people back to your website. And we learned this early on, there was a gentleman by the name of Vincent Puglisi. And Vinnie Pugs wrote a book called Freelance to Freedom. And he was a professional photographer in sports. And he spent a season with the NBA, Major League Baseball, World Wrestling, and every time he had a story, he had a picture with it. And so when he was on a podcast interview, if he told a story, he'd say, you know what, just come back to the website, I'll make sure that that picture is up there. So many people came back to the website just to see it. So the same way, if you're talking about a design or a case study or a project that you just did, you can explain it. But the great hook to move them from being a passive listener to an active visitor is just tell them oh, just come back to the website, there's some pictures of that up there. I can't do it justice here.


Michelle Lynne: Right.


Tom Schwab: And that's really what you want, you don't want them just to be a passive listener, you want them to come to your site.


Michelle Lynne: Which is so true. And that's one of the things that you taught me when I was doing the interviews is, offer something to them, give them a reason to come back to your website. So even if they're like, oh, yeah, I've seen one living room, I've seen them all. But there's some sort of a reason for them to come back. Which I know that by the time I get to the end of this, and I say, Tom, how can people connect with you, you're gonna say, oh, and by the way. Because it works, it works. It's the way to get people back to your main hub online, and then click through or call you.


Tom Schwab: And it's really the way to help them too.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah.


Tom Schwab: No matter how good of a communicator people are, I'll speak for myself, I cannot solve everyone's problems in 30 minutes, right? I can't show a graph or, you know, a picture, but I can tell you where to find that. And that's really what you want to do. Because if they listen to you by the end of the interview, right? They love you. Right? Because if not, they would have turned you off.


Michelle Lynne: If they make it to the end, exactly. I've been guilty of that. It's true. Oh, this is enough. Thank you. Next. Oh, and I think you would also, one of the things that caught my attention when we were chatting before I enlisted your company, your services, you had mentioned that podcast interviews convert, like, multiple times better than blogs, and I thought I was being a badass writing a blog. So let's talk about that. Because I know I tell my audience and my students and all of that, that you need to have a blog because Google thinks your website's dead otherwise, but the content in it, if it's a conversation, what's the difference there?


Tom Schwab: Well, you always need new content, to keep your website fresh, to keep Google going there, to get people going there. And the way that we used to do that, you know, 20 years ago, was guest blogging.


Michelle Lynne: Right.


Tom Schwab: Right. So instead of me writing a blog, having it seen by three people. You know, my mom and my wife read the blog, and then some other person, right? You would go on to guest blog. So go wherever your audience was. And that doesn't work nearly as well because really what you're doing on a podcast interview is guest blogging on the podcast.


Michelle Lynne: With so much more personality.


Tom Schwab: Personality, it's easier to do, it's richer that you can repurpose it, and early on, the results that we saw from it blew me away. Because a good blog will convert one to two percent from visitor to lead. So that means if somebody comes to your website to read your blog, you've got a one to two percent chance that they'll fill out a form. Right?


Michelle Lynne: Right.


Tom Schwab: And that's good. One to two percent off of a blog is good for an industry standard. When we started to do podcast interviews, Michelle, we started to see conversion rates of like 25 percent, 50 percent. And at first, I thought, no, it couldn't be, right. It's got to be a glitch. It's got to be a personality. And then the more we tested it, it's like well, of course it's that way. Just like we talked about, if somebody listens to you for 30 or 45 minutes, they've self-selected, right? If you're not their cup of tea, they're not coming there. But if they resonate with what you're talking about, they like your style, they like the offer, they're going to come back there as a hot lead, and why wouldn't they sign up? So from that standpoint, is much richer, it allows people to self-select. So I always tell people, I don't want more leads, right? Because leads don't always turn into customers. Ultimately you want high-quality leads that convert to customers. And so podcast interviews, just getting your story out there, can help your customers decide if you're good for them or not. And for you to make it very clear of here's who I work with, so you don't get a lot of tire kickers.


Michelle Lynne: Amen to that. And I think that that is so key because today's consumer is much more inundated with messaging, that it's exhausting. So, you know, they have to see that you are legit with your website. And yes, a blog is still relevant because it keeps Google alive. But then you have the podcast interview that you heard them on and then you're looking at their Instagram or whatever the case may be. There are so many different touch points. But if you can utilize a podcast to really hone in on some messaging, it sounds like you've got, I don't know, almost like a head start or a zoom pass through all of the other qualification checkpoints that they have to make, because you've hit on so many in that 30 to 40 minutes of conversation interview.


Tom Schwab: And I find it easier to do. Right? So for me, writing a blog is a homework assignment. I'm not a natural writer, but I can talk and then take the video and put that up into snippets.


Michelle Lynne: There you go, you could just repurpose that conversation onto your blog. And it's two for one.


Tom Schwab: Exactly. Transcribe it. Have somebody that loves writing break it up into blogs, and now you can get a month's worth of content out of every interview.


Michelle Lynne: Amazing. Yeah, that's genius. We've coined a term called efficiently lazy. And I think that that definitely touches on it. Oh, that is greatness. So what would you say you have seen in the 700 plus clients that you've worked with, is there a theme that is every business's biggest problem?


Tom Schwab: I would have to say it's obscurity.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah.


Tom Schwab: Because think about it, how many clients are you going to serve in a lifetime in your business? Thousands? And that sounds overwhelming when you just say, how am I going to get a thousand clients just one-on-one. But if you get your message out there, it's really, how can they find me? And so I think obscurity is everybody's biggest problem. That whole idea of one conversation away. Maybe that's a conversation with your client, maybe that's a conversation with a referral partner, right? Somebody that hears you and said, I don't need your services, but I know a lot of people that do. Maybe that's a conversation with your next great team member. They're frustrated where they are right now. They hear you on a podcast, and they're like, you know, I like the energy, I like the way they look at the business, I want to work with them. There are so many different ways to use that. Or even your next supplier that wants to work with you. Just getting out there and that exposure can be so, so powerful.


Michelle Lynne: That's so true. Because it just feels like you're a fish swimming upstream sometimes, as a small business owner, or solopreneur, or even just when you're starting out, it's overwhelming. And it feels like that, like you talked about the big fish don't swim through funnels and whales don't click. Well, I feel like a little itty bitty teeny, tiny fish swimming upstream and don't want to be eaten.


Tom Schwab: And all the responsibility is on your shoulders, right? And often as independent businesspeople, solopreneurs, owners, we work hard, right? We put our head down and we just keep working, working, working. Right? But the problem is, in most countries, solitary confinement is cruel and unusual punishment. But yet, that's what we do to ourselves, right? Whereas if we get out and start that conversation, there's people out there that want to help you. Right? There's very little competition, right? If you look at it, there's a lot of people that are competitive, but they want to help you too, because you're doing something different, right? There's a lot of people that want to help you. There's a lot of people that want to work with you. It's just they don't know you exist.


Michelle Lynne: Well, that. And, Tom, there's a lot of ugly houses out there. So for interior designers, like there's a ton of business, somebody knows somebody who's got an ugly house that needs you. I think that sometimes we feel like there's such scarcity, like there's not enough business, but what you're saying, if I understand correctly, is just get out there and tell people what you're doing, how you can help them. And somebody's gonna hear your message, whether it's via a podcast, or a networking event, or even just a conversation at the grocery store in line. I mean, I talk to random people all the time, that they go, oh, that's what you do? Great. Give me your business card, I might know somebody that can help you or hey, can you come over and speak at this networking event or whatever. So we have to be the tooter of our own horns.


Tom Schwab: Right. And I don't want to make it sound dismissive to say that there's not a lot of competition out there. Right? Today, you've got to be better than ever smarter than ever, but no one can be you.


Michelle Lynne: Exactly.


Tom Schwab: So I look at it is, how can I compete on Facebook? Right? Can I be that much more creative? You know, with my face and gray hair, I am not going to compete on Instagram or TikTok.


Michelle Lynne: You're not doing the dances, Tom, the little TikTok dances?


Tom Schwab: I don't do those, and my customers probably aren't there watching those.


Michelle Lynne: Exactly.


Tom Schwab: I can speak and people will either turn me up or turn me off. And I've gotten real comfortable with that, that, you know, I'm not for everyone. And that's fine. If there's somebody else that can serve them better. It's the same way. You're not for everyone. But those people that you are for? Man, they are going to be your biggest customers and they're going to bring you more customers.


Michelle Lynne: Absolutely. I think they just start becoming raving fans. And I think you're absolutely right. And that's one of the things that I teach is like, you're not for everybody and you don't have to be. It's exhausting to try to be for everybody, but the individuals who really resonate with your voice are going to be the most pleasurable individuals to work with.


Tom Schwab: That's interesting, too. Because it's like, what's more powerful, voice or video? And there was a study that came out of Stanford, it was called the Leadership Literacies of the Future. It was by a futurist there. And one of the things he said was that the future is vivid audio. And I remember listening to the book, and I rewound it a couple of times, because I thought I misheard it. I'm like, no, the future has got to be video. And his point was that video often gets dated. Right? So you look at somebody and well, they're too old or too young, they don't look like me. Look at the size of those lapels. All of those things where it gets dated. Whereas if you're actually just listening to somebody, you're listening for the content.


Michelle Lynne: That's an interesting perspective, yeah.


Tom Schwab: I had to laugh at this. I talked about it and then my niece, who was studying for her real estate exam, reached out to me, and said, Uncle Tom, have you ever heard of Zig Ziglar? And she was listening to the tapes. And to her, he was the funniest southern guy. I didn't have the guts to tell her, honey Zig's been dead for what, a decade now. And those were probably recorded before you were born. But, you know, if she would have seen, you know, the size of his lapels and his hairstyle, there's no way she would have listened to that.


Michelle Lynne: What a valid statement. Because you can go back and listen over and over and over again. And his content is completely irrelevant. And a lot of the details that, you know, can be shared on a podcast will be relevant 10 years from now, 20 years from now. And it easily carries over. That's an interesting perspective. What was the name of that book?


Tom Schwab: Leadership Literacies by Bob Johansen, he's a futurist out of Stanford.


Michelle Lynne: Very fun, Leadership Literacies. Thank you. Okay, just wrote that down. So let's talk about, you had mentioned, and I think it was in the introduction, that digital marketing is destroying your business. And I'm like, holy, am I doing everything wrong? Can you expand on that before I have a little panic attack, please?


Tom Schwab: Well, I think we have to take a step back.


Michelle Lynne: Okay.


Tom Schwab: And say, what is marketing? Marketing is starting a conversation with someone that could be an ideal customer.


Michelle Lynne: Starting a conversation with somebody who could be an ideal customer, okay.


Tom Schwab: Right. And you start that conversation. And then once you get in into the conversation, that's probably more sales. So I would look at everything and say, does this help the conversation, or hurt the conversation? Right, and you can go online, and a lot of people will say, okay, well, here's how you do a funnel, right? Do this five-day challenge, and then sell them a $7 tripwire product. And then you do an evergreen webinar, and you upgrade them to this and that and this, do you really think that like, my customers are not going to go through all of that.


Michelle Lynne: Right.


Tom Schwab: I would look at somebody that was hiring a professional designer, I don't know that they're going to buy a $7 tripwire product. There probably are some people. But I don't know if those are the people that you want, right?


Michelle Lynne: No. No, no, no.


Tom Schwab: The people that you want, are the ones that want to have a conversation. That want to be referred to you by someone else. And I think often we've start to put marketing things in the way, you know, to capture their information to get that tripwire product. I remember talking with somebody that is a, he's the CEO of a Fortune or a publicly traded company. And he's like, I don't have, you know, most of the time it's my assistant that's doing all of this. If I go to someplace and I've got to put my credit card number in, I don't have time for that.


Michelle Lynne: Right.


Tom Schwab: And so all of a sudden they're trying to get $7 from them instead of getting a hundred thousand dollar project from them.


Michelle Lynne: Design fee. Yeah, no, that makes sense. And I think that, as entrepreneurs, we also have to be a little bit innovative. And if designers are not on podcasts for the majority as a whole, then those who do, will be leading the industry and standing out as an expert, in comparison to those of us who may not be, or just are sitting on the sidelines. Because you're right, that one conversation can just trigger, and it might not be the somebody that's listening to it. But it might be somebody who listens to the podcast, and then goes to a party and hears somebody thinking, oh, I need to get some help. And then he or she is saying, well, you need to go listen to so and so on this podcast, because I think they might be a good resource for you.


Tom Schwab: They are very referrable. If I heard you speak at a conference, you know, A, I hope my phone doesn't ring while you're talking. Because then I'll have to get out and leave or that I don't have to go to the restroom or something like that. Because I'll miss a lot of what you say. But if I'm listening to a podcast,


Michelle Lynne: You can pause it.


Tom Schwab: I can listen to it when I want, where I want, at the speed I want. And if I'm thinking of something, and it's like, hey, Michelle, I was listening to this podcast, I thought of you, right? At minute 13 is the good part. If I send that to you, you're probably much more likely to listen to it. And now it's the source that's telling you as opposed to me trying to remember what I heard, then relaying it, you know, that playing post office.


Michelle Lynne: Yes, exactly. It always gets watered down. And you could even say, just go check this person out and it's still different. Now, what about, like, oh, gosh, I just lost the question. From a trusted authority or an expert standpoint, how would you compare digital marketing to podcasting in regards to positioning ourselves as an interior designer, and then also crossing over potential geographic challenges? If somebody in Chicago hears me on a podcast and I'm in Dallas, I'm still the expert, but what does that look like? Or what are your thoughts?


Tom Schwab: Well, I would look at it and say, I think podcasting and digital marketing sort of merge together. So you could take that interview, repurpose it, and put it in different places. Put it on your social media, and even if they heard you in Chicago, it doesn't cost you anything more to market to that. Even though you only serve a local market, you can still market, it doesn't cost you more to reach out to other ones.


Michelle Lynne: Well, then you also don't know who they know. If I'm in Dallas and they're in Chicago, they might have an aunt or an uncle here or something along that line too. Or they might be so enamored by my charm that they want to fly me to Chicago and put me up in a five-star hotel while we work on their project.


Tom Schwab: Or I would point to a gentleman by the name of Marcus Sheridan. Marcus, he installed pools in the Washington, DC/Virginia area. And this was a decade or so ago. And he got out there and he started to get leads from all over the country, right? And he'd say, no, I'm not driving from DC to California to install your pool. But he started to have a network of people that he would send those leads to. And so they would start to work together. Now fast forward, he was getting so many leads, he ended up buying a pool company that actually made the preformed pools. And if you wanted the leads, you had to buy his pools. So you want to talk about getting the national presence really quickly. You know, if you're the one that brings all the leads to different people, you get known in that space really quickly.


Michelle Lynne: Absolutely. And it's just, you know, I think the term is mailbox money.


Tom Schwab: Exactly.


Michelle Lynne: Just printing money while you're sleeping, that wouldn't suck. It would be a good problem to have. So I guess that that's also the case is like, I know that some of the audience is probably listening and thinking, well, yeah, but I'm in Dallas, and then somebody in Chicago is listening to me and they want to hire me. Isn't that a good problem to have, y'all? Like if you get business around the country, either you can refer somebody that you know, or you might be able to figure something out where you can travel and then who knows, maybe you go nationwide with a brand or something along that line. Figure that out as you get there, but don't poopoo it beforehand. Yeah, that's very fun. Tom, this has been so enjoyable. Is there anything that you want to leave as a message before you and I dive into, I'm not sure if I've told you that we've got a fun little rapid-fire Q&A question session that nothing's off the table.


Tom Schwab: I'm looking forward to that one. But I would just say that what's ordinary to you is amazing to others. We all discount what we know and elevate what other people know, right? And what you know, who you help, the successes you've had up to this point could help so many more people. But you don't help them if you're the best kept secret.


Michelle Lynne: Oh my gosh, I love that.


Tom Schwab: Sometimes it can be uncomfortable to go speak to people or like you said, the first couple podcasts or interviews can be scary. But get over that. You've got to help people. You've got to get out there. And, you know, there's a lot of resources out there, we can help you on that. And so I would just encourage people, you know, what's ordinary to you is amazing to others, and you're not going to help anybody, if they don't know about you.


Michelle Lynne: I love that. And that is so true. And oftentimes, we play small in this industry. Ladies, if you're listening, if you're playing small, stop. You don't do anybody any good by playing small. So getting out there and talking about yourself and your business is not braggadocious. It is just promoting and its good business. So I love that, Tom. What is ordinary to you is amazing to others. We do, we take it for granted, it's a natural talent that most of these individuals have that are listening. So thank you. Okay, now, dun dun duuun, the next segment. It's rapid fire. And it's just to have some fun and to let the audience get to know you a little bit better. So let's just dive in with Tom, do you have any tattoos?


Tom Schwab: No. I can't make that big of a commitment. I change my mind too often.


Michelle Lynne: You can't erase it.


Tom Schwab: That's right.


Michelle Lynne: What is your biggest pet peeve?


Tom Schwab: My biggest pet peeve is probably people that are slow to action. Right? So my team knows this. There are people that are ready, or that are ready, aim. Ready, Aim, Fire. I can't even get that right. Right? And then are people that are just aim, fire. I'm just like, pull the trigger and we'll walk in the rounds.


Michelle Lynne: That's so funny that you say that. I call myself a Ready, Fire, Aim. I use the same analogy because it's just like, hey, you know what, we'll figure it out. Just get ready, fire, we'll aim later. Innie belly button or outie belly button?


Tom Schwab: Innie.


Michelle Lynne: What scares the hell out of you?


Tom Schwab: Snakes and any government agency with three letters.


Michelle Lynne: That's a whole different conversation I could join you with.


Tom Schwab: And I think that's redundant, isn't it? Aren't they snakes?


Michelle Lynne: That is so great. What has been your least favorite job that you've held so far?


Tom Schwab: Oh, it would have to be when I worked inside at corporate. I felt like I was in prison. If you didn't work in the same building or live within a hundred yards of me or our kids didn't go to school, I didn't know anybody. And that was like being in a coffin. I need to be out and about meeting people.


Michelle Lynne: I can see how this company serves you well. What is your favorite productivity hack?


Tom Schwab: Coffee. Does that count as a productivity hack?


Michelle Lynne: Absolutely. Yes. If you could be remembered for one thing, Tom, what would it be?


Tom Schwab: The introductions I've made. Because I honestly believe that the best gift you can ever give someone is introducing them to a new idea or a new person. It's the one thing we can't do for each other. So Brian Jacobs, I will always remember Brian Jacobs as the man who introduced me to my bride. Right? And that's how I will always think of him. And I'll always be thankful for that.


Michelle Lynne: That is such a profound observation. Yes. Yeah, the people introduced to you. That's very cool. Okay, what is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?


Tom Schwab: I have no depth perception. So that doesn't mean I'm shallow. I got into the military on a technical error that it took them four years to figure out that I didn't have depth perception. It makes parallel parking interesting.


Michelle Lynne: And what about the ready, fire, aim?


Tom Schwab: It makes it easier, right? Now I see where the round's going. And I can adjust for the next one.


Michelle Lynne: Oh, interesting. So it works in your favor in some areas?


Tom Schwab: I think so.


Michelle Lynne: Hmm. Very good. All right. Last one is, if you could have dinner with anybody, past or present, who would you invite to your dinner party?


Tom Schwab: How many people, just one?


Michelle Lynne: One, three. There's no rules.


Tom Schwab: Well, I would say if it was one, and I've thought about this before, it'd be my dad. I lost him 21 years ago and there's no person in the world that I'd rather sit down and have dinner with. Because I could still learn so much from him and I'd love to share with him what I've done up to this point.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that would be a good one. Cheers to dad. Well, Tom, thank you so much for being on the show today. I'm actually a little bit weepy here with that last bit. I can feel that. But I know that our audience has loved everything that you've had to say. And it gives us a new perspective to look at podcasting. And even though we're in such a visual industry, that there's still this other somewhat untapped vehicle for designers, not just educators, coaches, mentors like me, but designers can still get out there and get their message across to have that exposure and to be posed as a trusted authority. So thank you for that. Will you let the audience know how and where they can connect with you, please?


Tom Schwab: Sure, I'd be happy to. And Michelle sort of alluded to this.


Michelle Lynne: You do have something up your sleeve, don't you?


Tom Schwab: I was gonna say, if you want to see how the magic trick is done, pulling back the curtain here, if you're on a podcast interview, the best practice is to send them to a welcome page. You want to see what a welcome page looks like? Well, just go to interviewvalet.com/DFCM. So for Designed for the Creative Mind. And on there, I'll have an assessment, it's 10 questions. Will podcast interview marketing work for you? The next thing is, I wrote a couple of books. I give away a lot of those. If you want a free copy of those, just go back to that page, I'm happy to give you a copy. If you live in the States, I'll mail you a physical copy, if your outside, we'll send you a digital copy. And then finally, if you're listening to this and thinking, wow, I think this could work or how would this work for me? I'll put my calendar scheduling link there too. So yeah, if you go back to interviewvalet.com/DFCM, we'll put all of those things there for you.


Michelle Lynne: And I'll make sure that's in the notes in case somebody's driving. You don't have to take notes if you're driving, I've got you covered. So thank you, Tom, I will definitely ensure that that is there. And when the podcast comes out, I'll make sure that you have all that information so that you can share it with your audience as well. And for the rest of you, if you can benefit from even more resources surrounding the business of running your interior design business, join the growing community on Facebook's private group, it's called the Interior Designers Business Launchpad. I go live once a week for about 15 minutes. And then we do have some workshops and so forth in there. But it's an amazing community with a lot of support and a lot of key takeaways for those of you who are probably at $300,000 of revenue or less. Come join us. So thanks again, Tom. And for those of you listening, we will see you or you'll hear us next time.


Michelle Lynne: Hey, y'all. If you love the show and find it useful, I would really appreciate it if you would share with your friends and followers. And if you like what you're hearing, want to put a face with a name and get even more business advice, then join me in my Facebook group, the Interior Designers Business Launchpad. Yeah, I know it's Facebook, but just come on in for the training and then leave without scrolling your feed. It's fun. I promise you'll enjoy it. And finally, I hear it's good for business to get ratings on your podcast. So please drop yours on whatever platform you use to listen to this. We're all about community over competition, so let's work on elevating our industry, one designer at a time. See you next time.


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