Hey there, and welcome to a very special blog post. Today, from 12.00 noon Eastern / 11.00am Central / 9.00am Pacific time, the blog is being given over to you and my very special guest, David Siteman Garland of The Rise to the Top.

David’s an entrepreneur extraordinaire, who helps businesses grow their success and shows them how to do it without any of the fluff you can often find from similar folks. He’s one of the most passionate people I know, and is a rollercoaster (in a good way) of fun, smarts and energy.

He’s just released a book called Smarter, Faster, Cheaper that continues his no-fluff approach to building, marketing and succeeding at your own business, as well as the community around it. And today he’s on this blog to answer any questions you have.

Because I use Livefyre, it’s more like a chat room as opposed to a standard comments system. Not only does it update in real-time, but you’ll see a cool little alert box to show you when a new comment has been posted. That way, you can jump between the conversation whenever you want.

To use the interactive options, you can either sign in using your Twitter or Facebook profile (if you have one), or create a Livefyre account when you post your first comment (just select the Create Commenter Profile option).

So, for an hour or so from noon onwards, David will be all yours. He’ll be waiting for your questions about starting a business and/or community, and building it successfully. Simply ask your question in the comments, and David will reply as soon as he sees it pop up. You can wait on your reply, or jump to other questions – the choice is yours!

Now, this could be a huge success or a crazy ass mess. Either way, though, let’s have fun and ask a ton of questions.

I’ll let David introduce himself and the book in the video below, and then the comments and the rest of the blog is yours and David’s – so, over to you!

You can buy David’s book at the official Smarter, Faster, Cheaper website, as well as pick up some cool giveaways.

This post contains a video. If you can’t see it displayed properly in your feed, you can view it directly here.

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  1. ginidietrich says

    I doubt it will be a crazy ass mess and I’ll swing by really quickly before my flight leaves. Can’t wait!

  2. TrafficColeman says

    This is great Danny, I will to see how he handle offline clients who don’t undertstand the internet. Becuase most clients I work with, just don’t get it. “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  3. bcromlish says

    This is a really great idea, way to take the power of Livefyre to the next level. Great idea! I’ll def stop by for a bit.

    • says

      @PhilipNowak Hehe, funnily enough, it’s not most popular post from a comments angle (though damn close!). I’m more excited about how well livefyre held up and basically showed what the future of blog commenting is (with mucho help from david siteman garland obviously!) :)

      Though Google Indexing is always nice 😉

  4. says

    You are a brilliant man Mr. Brown, this is a fine idea. I can’t wait to see how it turns out. Now that I’ve said something nice I will be sure to include cow manure in my next comment.

    • says

      @hackmanj Hey there Joe, cheers sir. Knew I wanted to do something really cool with David to share not only his book, but his obvious passion too that’s so evident on his show – and I think that was definitely accomplished today! :)

  5. says

    And the countdown begins – hope you have your questions, guys – just enter in the comments and the kind Mr David will hopefully answer them without spilling fluff 😉

    • says

      Jenn – I think it comes down to forgetting about the products. Instead focus on something people are passionate about. Topics, interests, etc. For example, if I sold baseball bats, I might do a web show about where I interview baseball players, talk about baseball tips, etc. and then GENTLY mention the bats. Sometimes the topic is less obvious.

      A few easy ways: A web show, interview series, tips & trick to get you started.

    • says

      @PhilipNowak @jennalanger And also finding something replicable that can be talked about every day or week. Nothing worse than running out of material. Think of late night chat hosts. It works for a reason.

    • says

      @DavidSitemanGarland @PhilipNowak I like the idea of having a weekly video and different guests. It’s more personal than video since you really get to see the people interacting. We might have to start a Livefyre channel soon!

    • says

      You definitely should Interviewing is an incredible force. Great content and you can build amazing relationships with the guests and your community. Plus you are promoting others. Sort of a triangle of awesome.

    • says

      @DannyBrown D – It is designed for hustling entrepreneurs BUT I believe corporations can learn a lot as well by THINKING like an entrepreneur. Meaning taking the David mentality (awkward pun not intended) as opposed to Goliath.

    • says

      @DannyBrown I would say passion, drive, creativity and expirimentation. Meaning some things might work well some things won’t. But you want to put it through a gauntlet of entrepreneurial questions. One of them being, “How can I try this without spending a fortune?”

    • bcromlish says

      @DannyBrown @DavidSitemanGarland Beneficial for the early stages of entrepreneurship? Or would a serial entrepreneur benefit? What about people working in a lean startup (similar)

    • says

      @bcromlish @DannyBrown I think both. But I would say that a real passion is required. And that isn’t fluff or a buzz word. Because these strategies take effort. But, regardless of how many companies you have started, these are strategies that will take off if you REALLY care about what you are doing.

  6. TroyClaus says

    Hey there David,

    What are one of the more difficult challenges you have faced helping small business? Is there a pattern you’ve noticed?


    • says

      @TroyClaus Good question, Troy. I think the biggest challenge is time for small business owners. We all have a finite amount of time so the key is you hav to be EXTRA valuable. It is rarely a case of just “throwing money at a problem”

    • says

      @DannyBrown help-nonprofits epicchange Absolutely. Because the idea here is not to be hardselling people. Non-profits do this all the time when asking for money. What is the non-profits took the smarter, faster, cheaper approach and said, “Hey, we need to become a RESOURCE on a subject people care about.” And create content around it, find others passionate about it, etc. Actually build the relationships and not always just ask for the bling.

    • lacouvee says

      @DavidSitemanGarland @DannyBrown undefined this is hard for most not for profits I believe. They feel they don’t have the resources (time and staff) to commit to more relationship building. Asking for money – they know how to do

    • lacouvee says

      @DavidSitemanGarland @DannyBrown undefined this is hard for most not for profits I believe. They feel they don’t have the resources (time and staff) to commit to more relationship building. Asking for money – they know how to do

    • lacouvee says

      @DavidSitemanGarland @DannyBrown undefined this is hard for most not for profits I believe. They feel they don’t have the resources (time and staff) to commit to more relationship building. Asking for money – they know how to do

    • lacouvee says

      @DavidSitemanGarland @DannyBrown undefined this is hard for most not for profits I believe. They feel they don’t have the resources (time and staff) to commit to more relationship building. Asking for money – they know how to do

  7. says

    Hey David,

    Creativity and originality is definitely a desirable goal when trying to reach and engage an audience, but how would you suggest going about that and keeping your efforts fresh and exciting while not trying to “reinvent the wheel”, so to speak?

    • says

      @JMattHicks Great question. I think the key is injecting your personality into the content you create online. There are lots of blogs out there, why does yours stick out? And another one is think of other interesting mediums to separate from the pack. It might be a digital magazine, web show, etc. Something BEYOND typical blogging.

  8. TroyClaus says

    Do you feel a video or written blog is better for small business? OR does it depend on what the product/service is thats being offered?

    • says

      @TroyClaus I think both are awesome for different reasons. Josh Shipp (cool young entrepreneur) once told me assume half your audience is blind and other half is deaf. I think both are good. But, I would argue nothing makes an authentic connection with someone like unscripted video.

  9. says


    Don’t forget, guys, if you use Twitter or Facebook, you can use the littel “@” option to mention your friends, as well as bring them into the Q&A. Kinda like this:

    @JimConnolly is an awesome SMB marketer and would love this session. Pity gini dietrich is flying, she’d have a ball too.

  10. help_nonprofits says

    Thanks, David. That is something I try to tell all the Non Profits we work with. Try to do some”friendraising”, then the funds will come.

    • says

      @derekmarkham Hard to say. Great question. Honestly, it has been more of a journey and I probably wouldn’t have figured out things if I didn’t have the experience trying random things. So sort of a cop out answer: But nothing. Because weird stuff led me to where I am now.

    • derekmarkham says

      @DavidSitemanGarland But maybe for a small biz or non-profit just getting into digital? Any big lessons for a good start? (if not, no worries).

  11. says

    Ok Dave, so I used to be heavily involved in Social Media whilst at Uni, but since then I’ve gone on to set up my own completely unrelated company. Whilst everything is going ok for now, I’m actually struggling with the social media side. Basically, my company offers education in trading; mostly in currencies.

    The problem I’m finding is that conversations are pretty difficult to encourage. Most people have their thoughts on trades, but it’s difficult to entice two way discussion as people normally either want an answer for where a given trade is likely to go, or they already have their own firm opinions. The conversations that do take place typically only really occur between the more established players. Just to give you an idea, I’ve posed the question on several occasions of whether there are any small underappreciated blogs or sites out there that produce fantastic content which can be recommended. Typically, nothing ever comes back…

    I guess the question this comes down to is, when everyone looks predominantly to the major players, how do you start to break into the upper tier?

  12. mickeygomez says

    Fun experiment! Stopping by between meetings to see how it’s going. Sorry I don’t have an interesting question. Yet.

  13. says

    Hi David,
    I read a blog post from Lewis Howes (http://www.lewishowes.com/marketing/marketing-smarter-faster-cheaper-with-david-siteman-garland/) about your book launch and he mentioned talking with you about this book two years ago. Many of us would find it difficult to stay on track on that long of a journey. What were some of the low-points that you encountered and how did you endure through them? Conversely, what were some of the highlights that kept you pumped up throughout the process?
    Thanks, Philip

    • says

      @PhilipNowak Great question. What we talked about 2 years ago was the IDEA of doing a book. Lewis wanted me to do one. I said I want to wait until I’m super passionate about an idea for a book. I didn’t want to rush it or just write a book to write a book. So I foucsed on my web show, creating content, interacting with others, gaining more experiences, etc.

      I think early on low points are similar to a lot of people which is lack of viewers, etc. But, I kept pretending there were 100,000 viewers and subscribers yet I was talking to just ONE. This was a great mental trick (now there are over 100,000 which is nutty and humbling)

      Every small victory kept me going. A cool guest. A nice email. A friendly comment. A new connection. Small wins.

  14. help_nonprofits says

    Would love to do a web show, for non profits, to talk about their cause and just learn about them. “Why are they passionate about the non profit?” What got them involved with the non profit?” Asking those questions that help build those relationships.

  15. TroyClaus says

    David, there are many entreprenurs out there (and maybe on here) that will try to start a written or video blog. Please tell everyone what it takes and what needs to go into it for it to become a success. It’s important that people understand the commitment involved.

    • says

      @TroyClaus Great point. You have to commit to it. A few tips:

      #1: Regular publishing schedule. Of course you can change it, but make it bold and loud when you are going post (maybe not times but day of the week).

      #2: 20/80 rule: 20% of your time creating content, 80% marketing it and building relationships. That is the secret sauce. Every day.

    • RachRodgersEsq says

      @DavidSitemanGarland @TroyClaus How do you make that work when you have clients hiring you to do work and your blog is a way to connect w/ those clients. Plus you’ve still got to do the marketing.

    • RachRodgersEsq says

      @DavidSitemanGarland @TroyClaus Now that we’ve clarified just how hard you work, the obvious next question is: what are you on? Lol. Seriously though, is there an energy drink you live by? A special diet you want to share with us? Also, please don’t say that you go to the gym everyday because then we’ll all feel like slouches.

  16. BHugins says

    Danny, who are some of your clients? And what is your advice for going out and getting clients to represent? Thanks.

  17. RachRodgersEsq says

    How do you balance being visible on social media and your blog and getting your actual work done? Do you have specific times that you’re on say, Twitter, or do you allow it to interrupt you all day? Any other time management tips?

    • says

      @RachRodgersEsq Social media for me IS work (which is awesome). Meaning every day I create something and then get in there and interact, ask and answer questions, etc. I don’t have a fixed schedule with it, but I post and get in there every morning and then as needed throughout the day. Some days more. Some days less. Just my personality. I would say though blocking out at least an hour a day can do wonders.

    • RachRodgersEsq says

      @DavidSitemanGarland So your saying take 4 hours out of the day to “create content”? (For me that’s drafting contracts and writing blog posts but it can all be classified as content). That sounds totally doable.

    • says

      @RachRodgersEsq If I had 4 hours here is what I would do:

      1. One hour (or so) to create and post.
      2. 3 hours interacting, on social media, on other blogs, forums, email, etc.

      The BIG mistake is doing it the other way around.

    • RachRodgersEsq says

      @DavidSitemanGarland I thought you meant take 4 hours a day to be totally uninterrupted. And spend the other hours allowing yourself to be interrupted. Whew! Glad we cleared that up. Lol.

      I find myself loving the evenings and weekends b/c Twitter and Facebook slow down and my phones not ringing (usually). However, my husband is not a fan of this method.

    • says

      @PhilipNowak @DavidSitemanGarland @RachRodgersEsq Hey there Philip,

      Not sure about David, but what I tend to do is resist too much analysis of my post. I very rarely have something in draft mode now – I tend to write as an idea comes in, see how it sounds, and then hit Publish. I tend to find that writing as you think keeps it both fresh and short, because it’s almost like writing as you speak.

      It’s not for everyone, admittedly, but definitely works for me.

      Also, try setting aside an hour every day just to write. Get ideas down, no matter how silly they might be, and without the need to publish. Just get into the habit of writing often and you’ll soon see your “speed” up itself.

      And be passionate – to me, passion = open = speed. 😉

  18. JimConnolly says

    Danny – I Love what you are doing with the Livefyre commenting system with this post – Some very interestinf possibilities!

  19. samtaracollier says

    Hi David and Danny!
    It’s so nice to finally “meet” you both in here. I love livewire. Gini introduced me to it awhile back and I want to add it to my site as well. So there’s my first question – Can I add it to blogger? Probably not right?

    • samtaracollier says

      And a big thank you for being one of the first people to talk with me when I joined Twitter back in May of 2010. You were a huge inspiration.

    • says

      @samtaracollier Hi Samantha, I know Livefyre are working on Blogger version – reach out to @jennalanger or jordan kretchmer for info. And @DavidSitemanGarland has some great advice going on here for business through passion and community :)

    • samtaracollier says

      @DavidSitemanGarland I work with lawyers and law firms who are very traditional in nature. The general feeling is that social media takes too much time and effort. What would you tell the managing partner of my firm to get involved? (I have lots of ideas too but I’d like to hear yours!) :)

    • says

      @samtaracollier Fluff-Free answer: I would tell them if they don’t want to get involved, don’t :)

      But understand that if they do it takes time, effort, being helpful and being transparent. But if they don’t want to do that, stick to direct mail 😉

    • RachRodgersEsq says

      @samtaracollier @DavidSitemanGarland Great answer. Some lawyers are terrified of being transparent, for some strange reason. Lol.

    • says

      @DavidSitemanGarland @samtaracollier What do you think about email marketing? That seems like a logical place for a law firm to start if they have the contact info of their clients.

    • samtaracollier says

      @DavidSitemanGarland Great answer. I think it’s due to the nature of the work where they are questioning everything, digging up evidence, etc. etc. and the term “everything you say can and will be used against you”. The lawyers in my firm have delved in so I’m happy :)

    • says

      @jennalanger @samtaracollier I think email marketing is good, but if you REALLY want to dominate a niche, free public content is a must. I’ve analyzed and interviewed a TON of folks who dominate online and while everyone has some kind of email marketing (for the most part), the real meat of an online content strategy is something in public. Not behind walls. Easy to link to and share.

  20. TroyClaus says

    If I am a small business owner and my complaint is “it’s very overwhelming” where is the fist place I should start?

  21. lacouvee says

    Learned something!

    If you’re going to sign up for a session like this – don’t do it at the last minute. Saw Danny’s Facebook msg this morning, didn’t have time to listen to the video, not familiar with David’s work, and, find it hard to keep up with the LiveFyre system.

    Think I’ll come back when it’s done and read it all.
    Thanks for the experiment David and Danny – some great points here. Will most definitely follow-up!!!

  22. davidlaud says

    Just tuned in and catching up with the stream, all very interesting. I’m based in the UK and have my own marketing consultancy whilst also juggling the role of CEO of a regional law firm. I see too many so called experts suggesting that they’ll manage social media for clients but in my view and experience success only comes from clients direct involvement. Do you have any tips on how you can motivate introverted or risk averse personalities to step into social media and get over their natural fears of the “something new”? Thanks – David

    • says

      @davidlaud I think if you are risk adverse/obsessed with control, etc. that is a personality trait that unfortunately won’t do well on social media. Social media is about being you, flaws and all. Introverted isn’t a problem. Outsourcing everything is. But, hey just my opinion :)

    • RachRodgersEsq says

      @DavidSitemanGarland @davidlaud That bring up another question. What was the most embarrassing experience you had in front of the whole world (social media, blog, etc.) and how did you get over it?

    • says

      @RachRodgersEsq @davidlaud Wow good question. I don’t know if I’ve been really embarressed….I would say my first ever TV show I sucked. I was like stiff as a board and spray tanned (seriously). It just took practice. That is how I got over it. :)

    • RachRodgersEsq says

      @DavidSitemanGarland @davidlaud Spray tan? That is pretty bad. Lol. So I guess you just have to be willing to put yourself out there and realize some things you try just will not work and may actually be embarrassing.

  23. GenevieveLachance says

    Hey David, When you first start out in social media, it can be pretty lonely at times out there!! What was the tipping point in your business and what major factor do you think contributed to your success?

    • RachRodgersEsq says

      @GenevieveLachance And a follow up to that. What marketing avenues did you invest in (time wise or monetarily) early on that beefed up your following? ie, once you posted the content on social media sites, what did you do next?

    • says

      @GenevieveLachance Great question. I would say there isn’t “one” big tipping point but a series of smaller ones. I think consistentcy is massively important. Meaning creating content, getting active, meeting others, etc. It just grows over time. I would say some of the bigger interviews though propelled it. Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, etc.

      Rach – Never spent $1 on marketing…instead investing time and effort. For me, Twitter and Facebook are my favorite outposts plus a combo of sharing my content, others content and schmoozing.

    • GenevieveLachance says

      @DavidSitemanGarland You probably got in social media in the right time. Is it like the stock market and wer’e getting in at the top of the peak which is much harder to see profits on our investment and will have to work harder to see the gains? Everybody is getting into it now!

  24. says


    Looks like david siteman garland is having some tech issues with his posting – trying to get him back in now, notified @livefyre and jenna langer – fingers crossed, and keep the questions coming :)


  25. AdamTeece says

    Will there be an audio version of Smarter, Faster, Cheaper? This could be very good with my new local business internet marketing campaign.

  26. dobronski says

    Hi David, I manage a small ad agency in Victoria, BC. With the increasing commoditizaton of what agencies do – here I mean the stuff clients think they can probably do as well, and definitely cheaper – what do you think is the single biggest value an agency can provide?

    • says

      @dobronski I think the biggest value is journalistic. Meaning helping clients create compelling content. It doesn’t mean doing it for them, but instead bringing the best out of them. Search “predictions for the future of advertising” (or something like that on my site) and there is an article with much more!

    • dobronski says

      @DavidSitemanGarland I’ll do that David. Thanks for your opinion. I wonder if knowledge of the customer is also an area that we should be investing more heavily in, especially with the amount of personal data that is volunteered in social media.

  27. says

    If you’re having any trouble posting a comment, try typing the comment again instead of copy pasting. We’re fixing a bug with that right now. Thanks for putting our system to the test, it’s going great!

  28. says


    Five minutes to ask David your LIVE question as he has to shoot at noon CST – but we’ll be covering unanswered ones later, so…. SHOOT!

    (And best two win special signed copies of David’s new book – we’ll be choosing over next 24 hours) :o)

  29. says

    I want to thank everyone. This has been a blast!!! Will make sure to check in for follow up questions! And thanks so much for spending some of your day with us. Big hugs to Danny Brown/Livefyre crew. You guys and gals rock.

  30. prosperitygal says

    This was amazing Danny, came in late but reading now. How does one get invite for liveFrye, great way to do things with my guests and authors.

    • says

      @jennalanger @DavidSitemanGarland Agreed, Jenna, awesome stuff, and thanks to yourself and the rest of the livefyre team for proving comments often provide the real gold on any blog. :)

  31. prosperitygal says

    David love to interview you on my radio show, Just did interivew with Tony Hsieh and Josh Klein, we tend to do a lot with authors. Let’s Connect.

    • says

      @prosperitygal If you type the @ symbol in the comment box, you can mention therisetothetop on Twitter instead of just saying his name, to make sure that he sees your interview request! :)

  32. says

    WOWZA, what a session! HUGE thanks to david siteman garland for being an amazing guest; livefyre for hosting the event; jenna langer for staying on top of quirky hiccups; and YOU GUYS for asking amazing questions :) For the questions David didn’t get around to answering, he’ll be back later to reply. We’ll also be picking the best two to send out special signed copies of the book – stay tuned for the follow-up post tomorrow or Friday :o)

  33. robynmather says

    so sorry I missed this! Hope to catch the next one. In the meantime, I will read through the comments and answers.

  34. mickeygomez says

    So, I didn’t get to actively participate (although I was able to “like” comments here and there) but I did get a chance to observe via mobile device. :) It worked well, and it was a lot easier to monitor the conversation than I thought it would be. I figured I’d let you know, in case it’s helpful. :)

    Kudos to you, livefyre dannybrown and davidsitemangarland (I hope this tag stuff is working – it’s trying to access via Twitter as opposed to Facebook – lol) for your willingness to try a new method of communication and community building. I imagine it may have been a little intimidating (especially 30 minutes before going live) but I think jumping in and trying it out is definitely the way to go.

    • says

      @mickeygomez livefyre davidsitemangarland Cheers Mickey, it was definitely something very different, and great to see that @livefyre more than lived up to david siteman garland and his crazy fast responses! :)