Dr. Steve Yacovelli – Top Dog Learning Group

Jun 6, 2022

Season 3 / Episode #70 : Dr, Steve Yacovelli

by Work @ Home RockStar Podcast

The Back-Story

Dr. Steve Yacovelli has been in the leadership, learning and development, change management, and diversity and inclusion consulting space pretty much his whole career (about twenty-five years). In his consulting experience he’s seen some leaders completely excel in their effectiveness, and some completely crash and burn due to their lack of competence in leadership skills. Steve’s desire was to help both types of leaders be more effective, through coaching, formal and informal training, and just generally being there to support their leadershippiness.

A few years ago, Steve realized that the focus on specifically developing LGBTQ+ Leaders wasn’t really top of mind for many organizations. Sure, there were a few conferences sessions, some random webinars, or even university-sponsored certificate programs, but nothing in a programmatic, cross-association, and at all levels within the leadership savviness scale. In short, a patchwork of effort and not necessarily a cohesive focus or movement.

So, “The Gay Leadership Dude™” was born. It’s Steve’s brand to “come out” and acknowledge the role he wants to take to give back to the LGBTQ+ Community and awesome Allies: to serve as a “lightning rod” of sorts to start a movement to grow LGBTQ+ Leaders and Allies to be even more effective, in a consistent, thoughtful, and mindful manner, especially those up-and-coming Leaders within the broader movement for equality and fairness for all LGBTQ+ people and well beyond.

Show Notes

Find more of Dr. Steve Yacovelli, his team, courses, books, and more:
Web: http://topdoglearning.biz
Podcast: http://topdog.click/podcast

Grab a copy of his book: Pride Leadership https://topdoglearning.learnworlds.com/books

Giveaway!!! Get 50% off his “Resilience” Masterclass by using the code: RESIL50OFF https://topdoglearning.learnworlds.com/course/resilience

————
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Show notes:
[0:00] Intro
[0:30] An inspiring story of success
[8:05] What’s something that didn’t go as planned in his business?
[11:45] Diving deeper into his book
[14:29] How does he approach bringing in the right people for his band?
[17:36] Getting fans and what he did to get where he is now
[24:28] What are the tools he uses for success?
[30:38] What’s new with Steve’s business?
[32:41] Where to learn more about Steve
[33:31] Outro

Transcript

Read Transcript

Intro / Outro: Are you a work at home rock star, or do you dream of becoming one? Then you found the right podcast, your hosts to Melanson talks with successful work at home rock stars to learn their secrets and help you in your journey. Are you ready to rock here’s tim?

Tim Melanson: Hello and welcome to today’s episode of the work-at-home rockstar podcast.

Excited for today’s guest. It’s very unique. We’ve got the owner and principal of top dog learning. Group. And he is the gay leadership dude. We’ve got Dr. Steve yakka belly and he helps workplaces, large and small create and foster an environment of inclusion and belonging. Very excited to be rocking out today. Hey, are you ready?

Dr. Steve Yacovelli: I am ready to and let’s go. Perfect. So we always start off here on a good note. So tell me the story of success in your business that we can be inspired by. You know, it’s, it’s funny when I was trying to think about, um, successes and I’ve been very fortunate. My, uh, business top dog learning group has been around for 14 years.

So this has been my, my main hustle for the, for awhile. Uh, and we’ve had lots of ups and downs. Um, I started in 2008, which if you recall the economy, that was a crappy time to start up. But, uh, but yeah, we made a go of it and, and, um, you know, we focus on, um, uh, leadership and organizational development. We focus on, uh, looking at diversity inclusion, creating a sense of belonging and workplace, as you said.

And then we do change management and being resilient. And I think, um, you know, they often say physician heal thyself. So, uh, the resilience piece has been something that’s played out over and over and over again in. The life of top dog learning group. And I think success would be just, we’re still here during a pandemic.

Um, you know, we just like so many small business owners and entrepreneurs. I lost everything. Um, Yeah, April, 2020. And so, uh, to kind of dive a little bit deeper on the business, we typically work with large fortune five hundreds and large not-for-profits and, um, we do, um, uh, lots of training for those folks.

And we book things by like February for the entire. ’cause, you know, the training people have to get their hotel rooms and all that good stuff and the catering and stuff. So, so I kinda know my year plan. I know where I’m going to physically be. I know where my team was going to be my top Dockers as I like to call them.

And so, you know, February 20, 20 life was good. We are all set for the year. Woo. And then Walt bomb COVID and by April, um, all of, uh, our clients said, yeah, you’re not coming here to do training anymore. And so. Every bit of business. And so, um, you know, this is like the success and failure story I can show might say, cause we’re like, well, what do we do?

And we’ve kind of really re huddled and, and, and thought about, well, wait, we teach resiliency in times of change. Let’s like, you know, take our own medicine. And so we started thinking about, well, what can we do? What can we actually take action on? Or at least influence to kind of keep the doors open and keep the ball rolling.

And. Luckily we traded water. Um, but by, by the summer of, of 2020, uh, we kept going back to clients saying, look, this isn’t going away. Let’s turn that face-to-face training class. We used to do into something virtual. Cause my doctorate happens to be in distance learning. So I have a zoom in before it was cool.

And um, and so they’re like, no, Steve, we’re not ready. We’re not ready. And then by about September, October, they’re like, yeah, We got to figure things out for next year. So they found all this money to help us convert the classes. Yay income. And then, um, 20, 21 for all four of the biggest clients we worked with, we did everything online.

And the cool thing is if you look at the cost per learner, between like in-person and online, it’s, it’s, the numbers are way better for expenses and we know how to create really engaging, cool stuff. Because that’s what we do. And so, um, you know, 20, 21 ended up being our best year ever in 14 years. So we really bounced back and, um, you know, 20, 22, uh, as of the end of March, we’re already 35% above 2020 ones sales goals.

So, um, you know, it’s, it’s, if you just patient and have some positive view of the world, kind of thing, successful. Yeah,

Tim Melanson: I had a similar trajectory. 2020 was terrible. And then 2021 was awesome. So it’s one of those things that I, I hope people are sort of understanding that, you know, things ebb and flow sometimes.

And just because you have a terrible year, it’s not time to quit. Right. You know, it’s time to retool a little bit. Yeah.

Dr. Steve Yacovelli: Yeah. Yeah. And, and, and you’ve just had that bit of patience, um, but also know that, you know, when you throw it out into the universe, God, Buddha, Allah, whatever bigger folks you deal with.

Um, but it does still take the effort, you know, 2020 happened. And we just sat there like woe is us womp womp. No, we, we worked our butts off to figure out, let’s throw some positivity in the world. Let’s do some free webinars for people because they’re struggling just like we are. And that came 150% around two to really do some good stuff in our own business.

Tim Melanson: Yeah. And I think that, that’s the thing. I mean, you were working at something slightly different and I think that that’s the thing is that some people kind of get in this groove of like working on something that. Isn’t working anymore. And you know, so it’s kind of like one of those things don’t stop doing anything at all, but start doing something that’s going to be maybe slightly.

Yeah. Uh, during those, and I mean, that’s the thing about entrepreneurship? I mean, you mentioned it right. Resiliency. There’s always, we be something going on. Right. And it just so happened that we all experienced something at the same time, which is that’s the first time that’s happened for me, that, you know, Well it’s unprecedented.

Right. But everybody gets hit by something at the same time. Normally it’s like sectors that get hit.

Dr. Steve Yacovelli: Right, right. Yeah. Um, okay. Oh, go ahead. No, no, I was gonna say, you know, but it’s funny because, um, you having taught the concept of resilience for the past, like 20 plus years. You know, there’s some really great strategies that everybody can do to be more resilient.

But the, and I remember when I was making the class, I had like 20 some books on resiliency and they all say some, some different things, but, uh, you know, there’s a lot of commonality in what they’re saying and. The thing that so many of these experts in, in resiliency and change management said was just having a positive view of the world can take you so far.

And it’s not know I’m former Disney, so it’s not like, oh, everything’s great. It’s not that kind of thing, but it’s, it’s that realistic. Um, you know what, like today was a crappy day, but what’s something good that happened out of it. That’s the type of folks that really can, can roll with the punches and not just survive, but thrive when, when changes.

Yeah.

Tim Melanson: Yeah. Well, and I mean, we have no problem picking up the bad thing that happened. So, you know what I mean? You can have an awesome, awesome day where everything goes, well, it’s this one thing, and that’s the thing you focus on. And of course it ruins your day. So why not flip it around and have, you know, everything goes terrible, but you get the one thing that went well.

Maybe it could make your day.

Dr. Steve Yacovelli: Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s, it’s a cognitive trick, um, called, uh, like, like, um, like a center of focus. It’s like when you get a car and that you, you pull out a lot or it’s a new car to you or whatever. And you’re like, wow, everybody has my car. No, they don’t, you know, it’s just, you have this heightened sense of awareness now.

And it’s the same thing that we can do with the bright spots in our life. If we study show that if you write down the five things that went well for you during that day, The grab your phone or write it down in a journal or whatever. And, um, over about two or three months, depending on your starting point, you literally will rewire your brain to look for those, uh, positivity, uh, bright spots in your day.

And it’s a really cool way to just really get yourself into the mode of, of, of the power of, of looking for the positive versus like you said, Tim focusing on that negative, that one bad thing that had.

Tim Melanson: Yeah. Yeah. You, you pull up, you pull out of the dealership and the, you know, the dealer gets on the phone with us release the cars.

Dr. Steve Yacovelli: Right. Right. Tim has his new mini. He has to go get it released

Tim Melanson: that you see it everywhere. Oh no, no. It’s just, you, you, you notice what you’re looking for. Um, okay, so now, you know, we talked a little bit about some, some of the negatives that happened, but you know, I’m wondering if there’s another story of a bad note, something that didn’t go as planned, uh, throughout your journey, if you could pick one.

Yeah.

Dr. Steve Yacovelli: There’s been a bunch. Yes, of course. Um, but you know, when I was thinking about this and I don’t mean it to be, to turn it into a positive, but getting back to the resilience, positivity, that’s just kinda how I roll. But, um, So when I started TopDog learning group, it was just me. And I’m like, you know, I have a fine life.

I have a couple of big clients. Everything’s awesome. You know, the, like a movie. And then in 2017, I said, you know what? I want to make a bigger ding in the universe to paraphrase Steve jobs. And I want to build a team. I want to build this army of awesomeness. And so I made the concerted effort in 2017 to basically re re image my business and to go after the bigger fish and to slowly.

New top doggers or team members and all that good stuff. So it was, it was kind of like a, like, like I was an entrepreneur. I get, um, as a startup again, he might say, but, you know, things were going great. 2017 slowly added like one other top dog to the mix and, you know, 10 99 consultant. And, uh, Yeah, we had grown to, to some large, we have a couple of pharma clients.

For some reason. I have no pharmaceutical background. Somehow I fell into that, that gig and it’s fine, but, um, one of our pharma clients, um, and they’re like a six figure client. They’re one of our big fish and they’re lovely to work with, been working with them for like, you know, now we’re up to like 12 years together, but, uh, in 2018, um, I’m in Canada.

About to go do a three-day workshop for them. I get a call from the head of training in north America, and she’s like, I know you’re in Canada, you’re in Toronto going to do the class, go do it. But just so you know, um, you might’ve seen the news where we bought this other massive company and like, yeah, I saw you like doubled the number of, of leaders in north America and they can do job security and she’s like, yeah.

So we’re going to kind of pause everything and get our house in order. We’ll catch up with you in, in, in 2019. I’m like, like, I mean, that was a man. It was a quarter of the revenue for the year. So now it’s labor day happens. It’s now early September. And I’m like, well, crap, expletive here, you know, for, for those.

And I was like, what now? Cause, cause the sales cycle that we have is actually pretty long because you know, people have, you have to get the relationship, investment, the curriculum down, all the good stuff. Well, like a couple of weeks prior to that, I was at a conference and I’m out, you know, before, before one of the breakout sessions, I’m sorting business cards, this woman’s doing the same thing next.

So we strike up a conversation. She’s like, what do you do? Like consulting, blah, blah, blah. How about you? She’s like, I’m a publisher. Like, you know, there’s a book in my head that needs to come out on leadership. She’s like, let’s get that book out so, well, you know, I’m really busy with work, but we’ll talk about it.

Well then all of a sudden I had a lot of free time. And so, um, you know, What I did was we still try to drum up new business and, and of course, you know, placate the existing business we had, but I decided to use that time to create content in, in, in this case. Um, I wrote my, my latest book, which is, uh, pride leadership strategies for the LGBTQ PLU leader to be the king or queen of their jungle.

And it’s, it’s really based upon. The cop sees that I’ve seen work for any leader, you can get her straight if you will. But then I kind of talk it through the, what I call the rainbow lens. And, but I would not have had the opportunity to write this 356 page book. Had I not lost the client work, which eventually came back, which is good.

Um, but I think w when we talk about. Um, you as an entrepreneur, as a business owner, you being mindful of those opportunities and, and, you know, yes, it sucked. I won’t lie. I was a little concern about cashflow, but it’s like, okay, well I have the gift of time now, what do I do with it that can propel my business to that next level.

And luckily I had the insight to do that with my, my latest.

Tim Melanson: Okay. And so what came out of that book?

Dr. Steve Yacovelli: A lot of work, which is the cool part. Um, I wrote it like a textbook. So I created, uh, an eight, um, eight week online training course, which we had already planned on launching online in, in early 2020. So that’s, um, being used by a lot of, uh, LGBT employee resource groups, small business owners and gay and straight, you know, allies are very welcome.

Um, it led to. I launched my public speaking, uh, or keynote speaking career, based upon the stories that I talk about in private leadership, um, led to my audio book version of it and a workbook. Now I’m working on the next book. After that, I got a ton of notoriety, uh, on lots of podcasts and, and stuff. So it’s, it was one of the best branding things I’ve ever.

Wow.

Tim Melanson: Awesome. So there’s like, that’s a cool lesson too, because I mean, when we talked earlier about how, you know, during the downturn, it, uh, you know, w there’s two things you can do either you can. Uh, get out there and try something different and try to, you know, drum some more business or I’ve, I’ve heard lots of people in the music community as well.

That’s when this whole thing happened, all their tours were canceled. They went to the studio and they started writing. And you know, a lot of these guys have come up with albums that they’re like, you know what I, my whole career, uh, I think. Kid rock. I think it was. And I was listening to a, an art, uh, uh, an interview.

And he said, you know, when you put your first album out, you spend years on all those songs and then it finally goes out. And then all of a sudden, someone’s at your door. Where’s your next album? So you might spend 10, 15 years on the first album and then have to get the next one out. 24 months. Yep. Yep, yep.

Yep. And, and alongside of touring. So, you know, sometimes when something like this happens and there’s a downturn or it’s, you know, you lose a client or something like that, maybe it’s time. Take a step back and work on your business as though you were just starting again and spend that time, you know, in the studio.

Right?

Dr. Steve Yacovelli: Uh, the, the, the phrase I despise, but it’s so good is the pivot. We all had to find that pivot or what that looked like. And I like, it’s so overused. It’s like cringy to me, but it’s true. I mean, you know, what is that, that opportunity one door shuts, but a window does open somewhere and you know, what can we do to find that window?

It’s potential. Right? So now, you

Tim Melanson: know, when you’re building a business, eventually you’re going to have to have some people around you helping them out. You’ve got to build that band. Right. So I’m wondering, like, what is it, how do you approach, you know, bringing in the right people in here?

Dr. Steve Yacovelli: You know, it’s a, it’s a great question because, uh, as with so many business owners, you know, you are your brand and what you’re doing is now trusting others to be your brand and you, and that’s, that’s, that’s a little discomforting and, you know, again, we teach leadership.

And one of the things we talk about of course is, uh, the art of delegation and what that looks like. And so again, physician heal, thyself, um, you know, delegation. At its core is about building trust with whoever. And so, uh, what we do is, um, either it’s first person trust or it’s hand trust. So for example, um, you know, my, my first top Docker was a woman, uh, who I adore.

I worked with Laurie for forever. Um, we were. Subcontractors for this Australian based company. And they were flying us to do training classes for them, you know, to Europe and all through north America and all that stuff. So I physically stood next to her and trained like 50 executives than you at any one time.

And so like, well, I already know you, do you want to come work, do some work. And then she’s like, sure. So then, you know, things progressed and then, um, you know, there was an opportunity to grow more. And so I’m looking at my network, but I’m like, Lori, do you know somebody she’s like, I have the perfect person.

So I didn’t know, Anya. But I had the trust in Lori that I’m like, you know, you’re not going to let me down. And I think when you’re building your team, building your band, if you leverage that trust, leverage that, that, um, those relationships you have, and also leverage your gut because, you know, we all know when we meet someone and you give them the benefit of doubt, but you, you know, if it’s going well or it’s not.

And if you create that environment of trust, open communication, providing a good feedback. Then you’re going to be fine. And also don’t, don’t neglect some of the actual like businesses that are there to help you like virtual assistance, you know, uh, social media people like there’s so great stuff out there at a pretty inexpensive cost.

If you just have that ability to kind of take a breath and trust that they’re going to do the best job, but also know it’s on you as the business owner to communicate what you need and kind of how you. To be done.

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Yeah, I agree. Um, it’s, it’s funny that you mentioned the gut comes up all the time. There’s still scientific proof of that is there, but it’s

Dr. Steve Yacovelli: intuition. Intuition

Tim Melanson: is powerful intuition. Yeah. Is, is huge and business. Uh, when you’re talking to somebody and they’re not a fit for you, you know it right away.

And it’s always some sort of like second guessing and going like, oh, maybe I should give him the benefit of the doubt. Yeah. I mean, w why, like, you know, why would you need to work? I mean, it it’s, it’s like, you know, even in a relationship, right? I mean, why do you need to work so hard to like somebody. If that’s the case, it’s just not a fit.

Right? So move on to somebody that

Dr. Steve Yacovelli: you do life life’s too short. You can find some awesome people out there, and if it doesn’t work out, you know what thank you for trying. This is a lovely experience. Hopefully you get something out of it as I do, as I do. And you move on to the next. Yeah, exactly.

Tim Melanson: So now what about getting fans?

So you’ve got your band together, you know, you guys are rocking and now you gotta have somebody watching you, right.

Dr. Steve Yacovelli: Hopefully

Tim Melanson: what did you do to

Dr. Steve Yacovelli: get there? You know, over the 14 years, I’ve tried a bunch of different things, some horribly done, you know, as I said, pride leadership is my third book. Um, you know, cause I think, oh, you know, people like, like to read things and they like authors and they invite authors to speak.

And so I wrote, um, so my first book was just my dissertation. So my doctorate is in instructional technology and distance education. So doing distance learning before it was really. Uh, and so I published my dissertation only to get like the ISP and credit. So it goes into databases. And once every like five years I’ll get a 23 cent royalty check.

I’m like, mom, did you buy my dissertation again? Why didn’t I have enough of those? So, but yeah, there was that one. And then I did, I wrote my first quote unquote book, um, called overcoming poopy e-learning because, you know, back in that it’s actually based on my doctoral research. Most people have and still have a pretty bad attitudes toward online learning.

I think this pandemic it’ll be interesting to see where it shakes out, but prior, you know, there, there was some really crappy stuff. People just threw out there. Like they, they put PowerPoint with forward backward buttons. Ooh. It’s online learning and not really. Um, so anyway, that was my book and it was horribly expensive.

Received. Not why wouldn’t you say horribly received, but no one was. You know, I didn’t have that marketing thing and I self published and it just kind like, yeah, but it taught me a lesson, you know, it’s like the marketing for every business takes effort. You can’t just build it and they will come kind of thing.

So I learned that with, with overcoming poopy e-learning and, and so I think it’s, it’s a strategy of, um, for me and what really garners our business success is being a thought leader and having. Yeah. And, and, and I really focus on inclusive leadership. That’s kind of our, our niche in, in a good way. And so, um, you know, how do I get attention and get the microphone in that space with those right people?

So it’s, it is doing the. It is. Um, but you know, don’t do social media and expect like, oh, I posted one thing on, on Facebook. Yay. Everyone’s gonna come. No, it’s that consistent drum beat. If you will, uh, presence and presence with a value. It’s not just a like come by our stuff. No, it’s Hey, here’s a cool article on inclusive leadership.

Think. Forms that you might like, or here’s, here’s a free webinar I’m doing that you might enjoy. And so you take all these different strategies to, to, to give value to people and that’s going to catch fire. And that’s what we found to be successful. It’s it takes those, those raving fans that you get. And even if it’s.

Even if your email list is like 20 people, are they 20 people who are going to be your, uh, even evangelicals to go out and be like, oh my gosh, Steve and the gay leadership dude and top dog. They’re awesome. Well, boom. They just told their network and then, oh yeah, you did a free webinar. That was really cool.

Boom. Then they tell other folks. And so it’s really thinking through that. I I’d use podcasts. As a guest a lot. Um, because I know Tim, as I said to you earlier, I, God bless you for being a podcast host because it is a labor of love and I’m not there yet. I’m there almost there to be a, I have a podcast, but.

Be interesting and be on other people’s podcasts. Um, you know, have a good story to say, add value, promote the podcast when you’re on it. That’s a win-win kind of thing. And those are great ways to also expand your reach to populations that maybe you weren’t thinking about having a chat with and seeing what momentum Amanda, you can add to those.

Tim Melanson: Yeah, I think, uh, I, I think what happens is that people get a little bit spooked by all this stuff, because there’s, it’s very difficult to measure the ROI, the return on investment of your time. I mean, if you’re going out there, I mean, you mentioned the word free. I don’t know how many times. And, and I mean, when you’re running a business, it’s just one of those things that you kind of go like, well, and I can’t keep on doing free stuff.

I need to make some money. But you don’t realize that. I mean, maybe you do what, if you listen to enough podcasts because everybody is beating the same drum, go and go out there and, you know, provide value and then it comes back to you and it does right.

Dr. Steve Yacovelli: Absolutely. I mean, you know, for every free webinar I do, I’ll get like six speaking gigs that are, you know, around 8,000 bucks a pop.

So it’s like, yeah, that’s a good ROI. How did they hear about me? Well, they attended my free webinar that I do once a month. And yeah, you just gotta kind of keep it consistent and, and, and people will see the value.

Tim Melanson: Well, and I think the bottom line here is that like, let’s just look at yourself as a consumer.

So you go out there, you find a free webinar. What do you get out of that for you? Well, you probably get some inspiration. You probably get a couple of little tips, but you’re not exactly sure how to make that connection of like, from that tip to, you know, me making a bunch of money. Right. And, and what, what would, what would make that.

Well going and talking to the guy, you know, he gave the tip, right? So I think that’s where people are missing it. They’re like, oh, but I’m giving away. I’m giving it all away. W why are they going to want to hire me? Well, they’re going to want to hire you because you’re not really giving it all away.

They’re going to guidance. Everybody’s situation is unique. And so just because you did this, this, this, and got that result, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to do the exact same steps to get that same result. Maybe it needs a little bit of tweaking and maybe this guy Steve can help me.

Dr. Steve Yacovelli: Right. I mean, good business is about relationships.

And if I’m going to build a relationship with somebody where they’re first and you know, their gateway drug, if you will, to Steve and the gay leadership dude is, Hey, I went to a Weber. He was pretty cool. Great. That’s that’s the first step that’s, that’s the, you know, we, we just swiped left or right. Or whatever is this right swiping thing.

Um, and then, uh, you know, so then there’s the next month. Is that well, how am I going to bring another friend of mine? That’d be cool. And then, Ooh, you’re offering. You free 20 minute coaching. Yeah. I’ll take you up on that. And it’s not just trying to reel him in down the sales funnel, but you’re building rapport and a connection with folks.

And that for the business that we do, that is absolutely the best way to get in there. And yeah, it may not pay off that year. Absolutely. I’ve seen folks come around, like, yeah, we saw you present three years ago and.dot dot, and you just never know where those impacts that you’re going to leave will really take root.

Yeah. Yeah. And, and

Tim Melanson: we talk a lot on this show about, uh, about learning from others and, you know, getting coaches and all that stuff. And almost everybody says, go find some freestyle. To get to know people and then hire them. Right. So, you know, it really does work. People are looking for your free content in order to decide whether they want to hire you for something.

So, yeah, it definitely works. Now. What about tools? So what about, um, you know, we need an instruments, we need things that we can use to get us more results. And so I’m wondering what are some of the tools that you use for success?

Dr. Steve Yacovelli: Well, you know, we use some of the standard stuff. So obviously folks like you who are awesome at creating web pages and stuff like that.

Yes. You have to have that, of course, but, but what are you adding as fresh content to that page? You know, we, we leverage the heck out of our blog. Um, and we do that with here’s the pilot. That we were just on, here’s an article that I had published in a magazine that you might find of interest. And then what we do is, is kind of touches upon also the fans piece in social media.

We drive people to that, that, that podcast or that blog post or whatever all the time. So kind of giving them that value, but it’s also then. Envelopes around our overall website. Now our website actually sits on a learning management system. So what we do, if you’re not familiar with that is it’s just a way that you can kind of learn stuff, but through a pay a system.

So it’s secure. So we throw a whole bunch of stuff. We throw free classes out there. So you can go to top dog learning.biz and go to the courses and you’ll see some of the free stuff we give. We call them learning toppers. Um, you know, just a little bite-sized nuggets of learning that you can kind of consume and apply it to your business.

But we also, um, use. I mean, we use zoom like so many people. Um, we were doing it before the pandemic though, but for my, uh, presentation and, uh, uh, virtual classroom perspective, we also use this tool called and that’s weird name when I love it. It’s NMH. I get no kickback. I’m not affiliated with them. Um, but, uh, it’s, it’s a virtual camera.

So if you’re watching right now and not listening, you see, you know, my little weekend update slides behind me with my cool little background. Yeah. It’s just green screen technology, but it is so awesome. I can do like really, really cool things like, um, Become like you help me. I’ll be one, you’re my only hope and do some cool filters or, you know, witness protection program things, and it’s silly and fun, but it does some really, really cool things that we love because it gives that visual interest.

Um, that’s beyond what everybody else is doing. And, and there’s other tools like as a virtual camera, But we’ve just found that, doing that and coupled with, I mean, these are just PowerPoint slides behind me, but we make them visually impactful. And so those are the types of things that not only really help tell the story that we’re trying to tell, but also differentiate our brand from other folks.

And so really trying to make it. Uh, an event you have every training class we do. There’s a pre pre loop. Um, just like when you go to the movies and you’re waiting for the show, they had like the little running thing, you can do that in PowerPoint really easily for auto advancing. We always do that. We always have music, um, that we have the copyright to.

Uh, but we always allow that, you know, as a way to set the mood in the virtual space, just like we would do in the, in the physical space. And, uh, we use, uh, um, another tool for, um, interaction. For our classrooms called mural, mural.co again, not affiliated with them, except I pay for our license. But, um, it’s a, it’s a great way.

Like if you’re in a classroom and the facilitator sets up four flip charts around the room, why can now mimic that online? And so people can go, they double-click for like a little virtual post-it note. They can put it wherever they want. You create interactive things here. So there’s some really cool tools out there to really simulate what we used to do in the face-to-face experience.

Um, but just a little bit different. And that’s part of our brand. Love it

Tim Melanson: love it. And this is all stuff that you can manage on your own, because you’re obviously doing all that stuff while we were talking. You don’t even know the person that’s doing that stuff, what you would in, in, in a, in a big event, I imagine.

Right? Correct. Yep. That’s awesome. Yeah, it it’s, uh, I’m not sure if the pandemic like accelerated all these tools, but it seems like it might have, I think that people put some work into it. Cause, uh, nowadays, I mean, you see the quality of the online. Learning that you get has just increased drastically, so might as well leverage it.

Right. And Hey, if they do have a referral thing, you should probably get on board with that. Okay. I

Dr. Steve Yacovelli: probably should. Yeah, I think, I, I think I have looked at that too. And that’s the thing, like the way I run my business, I’m all about business karma. You know, if I find something that works. Yeah, like this is a cool tool.

I just found value in it, if you great. If not, no worries. Yeah. I don’t, I I’ve met some other, uh, you know, consultants and people who do, uh, leadership and change management and diversity consulting who are like keeping their cards really close and like, nah, there’s, there’s so much work out there. You know, high tide raises all ships, not just yours.

So I I’m always about here’s some free stuff. Here’s what I learned along the way. Here’s a tool have added. See if it works.

Tim Melanson: I agree, a hundred percent. I know in, in music, uh, I’ve had, uh, before the pandemic, I used to play a lot of music. Um, we used to play three, three to five nights a week, and I remember there was this, uh, uh, on one of my nights I was, uh, I was an open jam host, so I brought people in and they would play stuff.

And there were several people that had. Try to compete on that same night and they would start their own, you know, jammed down the street or whatever it is and people will be, oh, did you hear, you know, somebody’s, so-and-so’s got a jam over there, you know? And I’m like, yeah, that’s awesome. Like, and I would, I would promote it because, you know, for me, you know, I feel like we’re not competing against each other.

We’re competing against laziness. We’re competing against the couch about people not going out at all. So I would rather have people come in. And go to his gym down the street and then swing by mine afterwards. Like it grows both of us at the same time. And I think that that’s the same thing in all of business.

If you’re promoting other business people, then you’re just promoting the business in general. Yes.

Dr. Steve Yacovelli: Right. Yes, totally, totally agree. And I think, you know, Finding ways to partner with that. Quote-unquote competitor is such a smart strategy because what did you do? You just doubled your reach by leveraging their network, doing something really cool together.

And then now you have like, you know, great street cred from there. It’s called the halo effect. It’s a bias in a good way. Um, you get that halo effect from their fans. That’s a win-win. I

Tim Melanson: agree a hundred percent. So it’s time for your soul. Tell him what’s going on in your business. That’s exciting.

Dr. Steve Yacovelli: Ah, it’s been a great year so far.

Um, you know, just hired yet another top Docker. Um, we secured, uh, we, we try to go for multi-year contracts with clients to do some, some training in addition to kind of the, the small, um, you know, quick wins, like, uh, keynotes and. Believe it or not. A lot of people want the gay leadership dude to speak in June.

I can’t figure out why, but I’m just doing a lot of, um, planning for, for those, uh, those gigs and, and, uh, when this podcast airs, I believe it will be pride month, so happy pride, everybody. Um, but. Working on, on doing those things, really building that, that, uh, public speaking, a signature talk kind of line of work while keeping the other plates on sticks, spinning if you will.

And then I’m working on the next book too. Um, so I have, uh, uh, the, and that next book is actually going to be tied to my podcasts. I’m finally going to get off the ground and join awesome people like Tim and inviting folks to kind of have a chat and see where things are and then bundle that we started at.

Plea, um, LGBTQ, uh, leadership networking event, um, which has online called, uh, pride leadership, which is in my book, um, leaders circle. And that’s been like doubling each month. It’s going to get to a point where I think I had to like cut it off because it’s so awesome. But we want leaders to kind of, they come in, I teach something for 10 minutes, like some model, like, oh, here’s a feedback model that you.

Like, and use for your business. And, and then we do some like networking and small group stuff and for people to kind of network and what’s been really, really cool is people coming back to me and saying, oh my gosh, I met so-and-so at your thing. And now we’re Facebook friends or LinkedIn friends and blah, blah, blah.

I’m like, yes, that’s how we conquer the world and leadership, uh, by really helping each other out and see things. So I’m super excited for this year. And. Um, you know, it’s, it’s what I said at the beginning of our conversation. You, you put good stuff out there. It’s going to come back and we’re definitely seeing lots of good traction happening at the doghouse at top dog learning group.

Tim Melanson: Awesome. I love all your names. That’s great. So how do we find more information

Dr. Steve Yacovelli: about. Yeah, the best way to is to head over to top dog learning.biz B I Z a. There you can find about there, about me, about my team, uh, the different programs and courses, uh, the freebies we have, you can see all my books and links to those, um, and can connect with us and get on our mailing list.

So you can give you, uh, the free stuff, uh, the invite store events, et cetera, top dog learning.biz.

Tim Melanson: Awesome. This has been a lot of fun, Steve. So thank you so much for

Dr. Steve Yacovelli: rocking out with. Thank you, Tim. And thank you for doing this. I think you’re, you’re doing such an awesome space for, for us entrepreneurs as home-bound, uh, home business folks, especially as that keeps growing.

So thank you for the work you do. We appreciate it. Oh, I, I

Tim Melanson: appreciate that. Thank you very much. And to the listeners, make sure you subscribe, rate and comment, and we’ll see you next time with a work at home rockstar podcast.

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