068: Networking Secrets of the $100 MBA Show with Omar Zenhom

On this episode of Build Your Network, Host Travis Chappell interviews Omar Zenhom, co-founder of The Hundred Dollar MBA, the largest alternative education business online. He’s also the co-founder of Webinar Ninja.

Here’s what Travis and Omar discuss in this episode:

  • About Omar Zenhom
    • He’s the co-founder of the $100 MBA podcast – daily ten minute video lessons.
      • Their goal is that you go away after every episode to take action and get better.
    • He runs the Webinar Ninja software – one of the biggest challenges of his life.
      • Has grown the user base from only 150 to over 2,000.
    • What made you switch into the world of online entrepreneurship?
      • In high school and college he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do as a career.
      • His father was in sales, a very up and down career.
      • He didn’t know if he wanted to get into business or sales.
      • He felt that he was good at teaching and graduated with a Master’s in Education.
      • Started teaching English as a second language.
      • Worked in Dubai for over a decade teaching English as a second language.
      • Taught at a high school and university level.
      • While he was teaching, he was dabbling in the internet.
        • Was trying to figure out if he could make money online.
        • Had an eBay store where he did arbitrage.
      • He started making money outside of his paycheck.
      • His uncle way always in business, and he started to listen to him.
        • His uncle gave him books to read.
          • He gave him the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
        • He started building small businesses online and discovering what kind of business person he wanted to be.
      • Why make the switch into making money online if your desire was teaching?
        • He was a great teacher and getting promoted every year, he was the youngest head of department at the university he was working at.
        • There’s a lot of red tape in education, not a lot of autonomy or freedom.
          • He got that feeling in business.
          • He liked to build something for himself instead of for an institution.
        • Teaching is like the military where everyone is working toward the same goal.
        • He felt like a cog in the wheel.
        • He didn’t see the freedom piece of the puzzle until he felt he could replace his income.
        • He read the Four-Hour Work Week and realized he’d never thought about that.
        • He got a High out of creating something and having someone buy it.
      • He created a podcast before the $100 MBA Show
        • He and his wife went to the New Media Conference in Vegas.
        • People told them to start a podcast.
        • They interviewed people on Skype and were told to turn that into a podcast.
          • This didn’t work or get them the traction they wanted.
        • After 46 episodes they needed to regroup.
        • They drove cross-country and had a long discussion about their podcast.
          • Realized they weren’t really using their strengths.
          • They decided they should be teaching on the podcast.
          • People asked them a lot of questions about how to live off of their business.
        • Why is it called the $100 MBA Show?
          • He thought he needed to get him MBA to be a great entrepreneur.
          • A professor told him he didn’t need his MBA to be an entrepreneur, you can learn all of that information outside of school.
          • He and his wife spent two solid months producing the podcast.
            • They had 30 episodes before they even launched.
            • They knew it was going to be a success.
            • Nobody knew who they were in podcasting and it was a very competitive year.
          • What was the line between giving up on your first podcast and being able to stop and move on?
            • You don’t want to give up too soon, but you don’t want to hold on too long.
            • You have to give anything at least six months and enough time every day to work on it.
              • You need to put in 10, 15, 20 hours per week at least.
            • You need to understand the trends.
              • If your listenership is decreasing week after week, that’s not going to work.
            • Do you believe that what you know or who you know is more important, and why?
              • Who you know, because if you have a solid network and know the right people, they’ll help you out.
              • One of the things that helped Omar was just seeing networking as trying to make friends.
              • He wanted to find people similar to him who were maybe a few steps ahead of them.
              • He just wanted to make friends because it’s nice to make friends.
              • He lost a lot of friends when he started working online because they didn’t have anything in common anymore.
              • People are more eager to help a friend out, than to help a stranger.
              • A lot of people separate their friendships from their business friendships, and it’s not about that.
              • At one conference he saw Chris Brogan and noticed how kind and interested he was with people.
                • He realized how smart Chris was, because he knew that the people he was meeting were the ones who made his brand.
              • Looking back over the last 4-5 years, is there a story you could tell about a time when a connection you made led to some sort of success down the road?
                • When he started the $100 MBA, one of the communities he was on helped him meet John Corcoran.
                • They became friends and talked, John has a huge network.
                • One time he got an email from John offering a 2-day public speaking workshop.
                  • He got a chance to know Michael Port, public speaker trainer.
                • He then started to learn how to be a public speaker and got to know Michael Port better.
                  • Omar felt that Michael was way ahead in business, but Michael doesn’t treat him that way.
                  • Now Michael is one of his closest friends and he’s a part of his mastermind.
                • You have to be open and say yes to certain opportunities when they present themselves.
              • Why do you think so many people don’t prioritize building relationships with people?
                • It’s not comfortable for some people.
                • Omar is a natural conversationalist, but some people don’t have that.
                • Some people will rationalize not wanting to build relationships.
                • With the ability to connect online, there’s no excuse not to connect.
                • Build a relationship online and them meet in person.
                • Networking encourages you to be a better communicator and gives you practice talking about your business.
              • Give us one tip on networking.
                • If you know one person, ask them if they want to go to a conference together.
                • If you go together, you get a chance to experience and meet people together.
                • You can introduce one another to people so you don’t have to talk about yourself.
                • You can run a forum or live event online together.
                • If you don’t feel comfortable talking about yourself, get really good at introducing others.
              • Throughout your career, how important have mentorships and masterminds been?
                • Even if a group didn’t sustain, it was still helpful. Sometimes you just grow out of a group.
                • The best groups are the ones that commit to help each other.
                • Five people max is really good because it gives you enough time to discuss everyone’s problems.
                • If you say that the purpose of the mastermind is to help each other achieve their goals, that sets a great tone.
                • You need to go and feel like everyone in the group has your back.
                • If you can’t be honest about your problems, you can’t get real help.
              • The Challenge: In 2018, join some kind of a mastermind.
                • You don’t have to wait for it, you can start one!

The Random Round:

  • What profession other than your own do you think it would be fun to attempt?
    • Stand Up Comedy
  • If you could sit on a park bench for any hour with anyone past or present, who would it be?
    • Thomas Jefferson, a revolutionary thinker, ahead of his time.
  • How do you like to learn best, books, blogs, podcasts or video?
    • Books
  • One of your favorite books.
    • Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
  • Give us a glimpse of your morning routine:
    • Wake up and see if the cat did something in the litter
    • Get ready
    • Make breakfast
    • Spend 30 minutes eating and watching basketball highlights
    • Clean up and get to work
    • Starts day with creative stuff (content, blogs, podcasts, etc.)
    • Take lunch and then focus on the other stuff
  • What is your go-to pump up song:
    • Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen
  • What are you not very good at?
    • Social life, his wife keeps them busy socially
  • Find him via email, use the contact form on 100 Dollar MBA or Webinar Ninja.

Tweetable Quotes:

  • With the ability to connect online, there’s no excuse not to connect.
  • A lot of people separate their friendships from their business friendships, and it’s not about that.

Resources Mentioned:

Buildyournetwork.com – Podcast website

The $100 MBA

The $100 MBA Show

Webinar Ninja

John Lee Dumas

Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Book by Robert T. Kiyosaki

Shoe Dog – Book by Phil Knight

Dancing in the Dark – Song by Bruce Springsteen


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