Sample Interview Topics & Questions

Patrick is available for interviews where scheduling allows. Here are some resources that may be useful for the marketing and promotion of an interview or speaking engagement:

Here’s a recent TV interview I did in Sacramento:

Sample Interview Questions (useful tips & tricks)

Do you believe social media is an effective marketing channel?

For some, yes. There are over 100 million people on Twitter today and over 500 million on Facebook, but the vast majority of them are just wasting time. These people might be having fun. They might be “being social”. But for the most part, they’re not actually growing revenue. They’re not actually finding new clients! Most people are still trying to figure it out, and they haven’t yet.

Meanwhile, there are a few – people and business – who are using simple but powerful strategies to explode their businesses virtually overnight. Those stories are real. Those things ARE happening. And that’s what this book is about. It’s about isolating the tips and tricks that actually delivered results; the things that actually made the phone ring.

So what are these people or companies doing?

Well, the short answer is that they’re providing real value to their audiences. They’re demonstrating their expertise in the middle of high-traffic websites – what I call “raging rivers” – like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and iTunes. If you want people to talk about your business, you have to give them something to talk about. These people and businesses are sharing remarkable content. What’s the definition of the word remarkable? It means something that is worth remarking about. So what can you share that’s worth remarking about? The success stories are finding those “juicy nuggets” and sharing them within their communities.

Where can entrepreneurs get ideas for “remarkable” content?

They don’t have to look far. It’s easier than you think. Here are a few places where you can quickly and easily get a ton of ideas for dynamic and compelling content:

  1. Subscribe to top bloggers and monitor their feeds.
  2. Use the Google Keyword Tool to see what people are searching for.
  3. Search for your primary keywords on
  4. Look through the “sent items” in your email outbox.
  5. Look at the cover titles on a magazine rack.

People are busy. How can they find time to do all this?

I agree. We’re all busy. But if we’re smart about this, we can take the content we already have and re-purpose it in a whole bunch of different ways. For example, you could take one piece of content and re-purpose it in the following 7 ways:

  1. Publish it as a blog post.
  2. Syndicate it (via RSS feeds) to Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn.
  3. Summarize it into tips and release them as tweets on Twitter.
  4. Distribute it to thousands of article directories.
  5. Make it into a PDF and upload it to free ebook directories.
  6. Read it into a microphone and publish as an audio podcast on iTunes.
  7. Talk about it (or do a screen capture) on video and upload to YouTube.

But isn’t there too much content out there already?

Yes, there’s tons of content out there but most of it isn’t very good. Here’s the way I look at it:

  1. Is everything on the internet true? No. Is it all well written? No.
  2. When most of the content is garbage, the good stuff rises to the top.
  3. Quite often, the people with the least to say are the first to blog.
  4. The people with good quality content are reluctant to publish it.
  5. They feel vulnerable and are afraid of negative comments.
  6. People who provide valuable content are rewarded over time.

Is there a particular approach that tends to perform better?

Yes, definitely. I actually have a 3-step “winning formula” that I discovered after studying dozens of social media success stories, and it’s amazingly simple. Here are the 3 steps:

  1. What do you do that’s remarkable?
  2. How can you demonstrate that in a visual way?
  3. How can you incentivize your customers to tell the story for you?

Here’s a brief video about the “winning formula” for social media success:

Sample Interview Questions (about the new book)

Can you tell us more about the book?

Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed is the ultimate step-by-step guide for self-employed professionals to market their businesses online. The book has 80 chapters, each just 2 or 3 pages long, and each one ends with an “Implementation Checklist” so readers can take action immediately and see results quickly. You can literally read a chapter in 5 or 10 minutes and get instructions for putting the strategy to work in your business. And the chapters cover everything from building your website to starting a blog, from publishing articles online to posting on blogs and forums, from engaging on Facebook to leveraging YouTube. It’s a tremendous resource for anyone looking to build a massive online presence and find new clients as a result.

How did this book happen? What’s the story behind it?

I experienced the power of the internet firsthand. In 2006, I recorded 17 podcasts about the mortgage business. With very little promotion, those podcasts accumulated over 75,000 downloads in 27 countries. Why? Because they provided value and were positioned in the middle of high-traffic websites like the iTunes Music Store.

Since then, I have followed the same winning formula multiple times, accumulating over 25,000 followers on Twitter and 100,000 views on YouTube. This simple process of providing value on high-traffic websites has resulted in a steady increase in my credibility, audience and income, and the same strategy can be used by anyone.

The book actually started out as an email course available on my website. People could subscribe to receive one marketing tip each week for a full year. So there were 52 tips in all. Anyway, I got really great feedback on those email tips and eventually turned it into the original version of this book (which I self-published). It was called “Webify Your Business” and had 60 chapters.

The book did well and Wiley, a national publisher, offered to republish an expanded version of the book under a new title. I took out 6 chapters and then added 26 new chapters so the new book has 80 chapters in it, covering dozens of online marketing strategies. The new book is called “Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed”.

Why is this book different than other marketing books?

Marketing Shortcuts is the most practical and tactical book of it’s kind. Seriously. I have looked at a lot of books and none of them come even close to the actionable format of this book. It functions more like an instruction manual and people work through it, step by step, chapter by chapter, in bite-sized pieces. We’re all busy. This book allows you to make real progress without overwhelming your daily to-do list.

What feedback have you received on the book so far?

The response has been tremendous. And as you might already know, the book is actually an expanded and updated version of a previous book, so I knew it would do well. People loved the original version too! And in many cases, they are getting together and working through the chapters with colleagues. For me, that’s the most rewarding part. So to support that process, I created a “club manual” which allows readers to organize themselves into clubs. Together with their peers, they can share ideas, success stories and experiences as they apply the strategies into their own respective businesses.

What other resources are available for readers?

This is far more than just a book. I have also created a PDF worksheet to accompany almost every chapter in the book. There are 77 in total. You can also download the “club manual” that I mentioned a few minutes ago. It’s a manual designed to help readers form clubs where they can meet regularly to share experiences and success stories with the individual chapters. I’ve also created an “instructors manual” for people who might want to teach a course around the book’s content. The idea is to provide as many resources as possible to help readers put these strategies to work in their own businesses.

How do you feel about social media consultants?

It’s really difficult to find a good one. And for most self-employed service professionals or small business owners, the costs are prohibitive. These consultants regularly charge $100 per hour or more and results are far from guaranteed. For self-employed professionals, it’s much better to do it yourself. And that’s precisely what this book is about. It’s about do-it-yourself. It’s about simple things you can do that will make a big difference. It’s about 10-minute tasks you can do in an afternoon that will yield results over months or years.

Don’t get me wrong. Social media consultants have a place. I do some of that myself. But I think it makes much more sense for medium to large-scale corporations. At that level, it’s really worthwhile to bring someone in who can help you hammer out a integrated strategy that is appropriate for your business model and demographic targeting. But for entrepreneurs and solopreneurs, I recommend doing it yourself. You’ll learn a lot, save a ton of money and have some fun along the way.

Here is the main “book trailer” video:

Sample Interview Questions (about my speaking career)

How did you get started as a speaker?

I’ve wanted to be a speaker ever since I was a young child. I always jumped at opportunities to speak but didn’t pursue it seriously until 2007. And in 2008, I spoke at 47 Rotary Clubs in and around the bay area. And none of those were paid. I did them all for free (aside from a free lunch). In 2009, I spoke at 127 events, most local and free. I got paid for 6 events that year. In 2010, I did 72 events and got paid for 21 of them. And in 2011, I’m on track to do about 60 events and will get paid for about 50 of them.

In the speaking business, there’s (1) the free circuit, (2) the cheap circuit and (3) the pro circuit. You book the free and cheap gigs directly. In the free circuit, you can only make money be selling stuff. In the cheap circuit, you’re already in the “paid” category so selling from the stage is often frowned upon. The pro circuit is generally booked through speakers bureaus and agents, and selling from the stage is definitely NOT allowed.

Are there any other distinctions we should know?

Yes. You can divide all speakers into one of two buckets. Either they’re “platform” or “keynote” speakers. Platform speakers are those who sell stuff from the stage, often referred to as “platform selling”. These speakers generally speak for free but sell expensive programs (commonly $1,997 or more) to their audiences. They don’t usually get to keep all that money. They split the revenue with whoever put the event together, often 50/50.

So if the audience consists of 200 people and the speaker sells 20% on a $2,000 program, they would generate $80,000 (40 x $2,000). Half of that would go to the event organizer and the other half would go to the speaker. You can see that it definitely PAYS to be a successful and reliable event organizer. If you can get people to show up (putting “butts in seats”), you can make a lot of money. Anyway, successful platform speakers include Tony Robbins, T Harv Eker, Susie Orman, John Gray and Robert Kiyosaki. They’re all selling expensive programs.

Keynote speakers are paid a flat fee to speak. While the destination of a platform speech is the SALE, the destination of a keynote speech is the MESSAGE. Also, while there are no real barriers to entry for platform speakers, there are huge barriers to entry for keynote speakers. Since many of these engagements are booked through bureaus and agents, speakers have to impress them before securing opportunities. It also means you generally get fewer disappointing speakers in the keynote category. Successful keynote speakers include business people like Donald Trump, politicians like Bill Clinton or Sarah Palin, sports celebrities and comedians.

What types of fees do keynote speakers earn?

First, it’s important to mention that successful platform speakers can make a lot more money than successful keynote speakers. I’ve personally watched platform speakers sell over $250,000 worth of products in a 90-minute session. It was at the Real Estate Wealth Expo with Donald Trump. There were about 3,000 people in the audience and the speaker was selling a stock market investment platform called MetaStock. And of course, Tony Robbins earned as much as $30 million in a single year, all of which came from product sales.

But in the keynote category, the cheap circuit runs in the $1,000 to $3,000 range. The pro circuit starts at $5,000 and goes up from there. Also, by the way, these are my own labels. If you ask a professional speaker about “the cheap circuit”, they probably will have no idea what you’re talking about. When you’re new in the pro circuit, you start at $5,000. But after you get established, you will probably be in the $7,500 to $10,000 range. Keep in mind that the bureaus get 25% or 30% of the fee. So if you secure a $10,000 speaking engagement, you’ll net $7,000.

Why do some speakers get paid much more than $10,000?

Keynote speakers are paid for one of two things, or both. They either get paid for their ability to deliver a message or they get paid to drive registration … or both. Keynote speakers who are extremely good at delivering a message get paid more. But the ones who can also drive registration make the most. So who can drive registration? Speakers with celebrity cache! So if you’re Sarah Palin with an extremely passionate and loyal following, you’ll get paid more. Why? Because Sarah Palin will drive registration! More people will attend the event if Sarah Palin is there. Anyone with celebrity cache will get paid more because they indirectly add to the revenue of the event (via additional registrations).

Any speaker who gets more than $10,000 probably has some celebrity cache, even if just a bestselling author status. And those above $20,000 are definitely well known. But there are many speakers who get paid more than $100,000 and Donald Trump famously got paid $1,000,000 for each of three events; one mentioned above – The Real Estate Wealth Expo with Donald Trump.

So how much do these speakers make in a year?

I won’t guess at the revenue for these top $100,000+ speakers. But for regular established keynote speakers (people earning $10,000+ per event), it obviously depends on how many events they do in a year. My goal for 2013 is to do about 40 events. So if they were booked at $10,000 each and if the bureaus took 30%, I would net $270,000. Two friends of mine – both established keynote speakers – bring in over $500,000 in revenue each year. The National Speakers Association (NSA) has “the Million Dollar Club” for those speakers who earn more than $1,000,000 per year.

How long does a keynote speaker have to speak for?

Most keynote speeches range from 45 to 75 minutes but I discourage people from calculating the pay per minute or anything silly like that. Most of my events consume at least two full days of my time, sometimes more. Yes, it’s good money. I love it. But the pay-per-minute calculations are deceptive and misleading.

Have you traveled a lot because of your speaking career?

Yes. Almost all of my events are non-local at this stage. I have done events in every major city across the country as well as events in three Canadian cities, Europe, South America and even two events in India. So yes, I travel a lot. But most of my domestic trips are two days. Often, I leave on a 6:00 AM flight on day #1, attend some sort of conference dinner that evening, speak the next day and then go back to the airport, returning in the evening of day #2. So that’s not bad at all. In fact, I really enjoy it.

What are the most important things an aspiring speaker should get?

Good photos and killer video! Having a good demo video is critical and it’s important it show you telling a story and delivering a strong message. It’s also important to have some audience laughter in the video. The hiring organizations want to know that you’ll get their audiences laughing. Without video, there is really no point soliciting any speakers bureaus. They have no way of doing their job without a video to show prospective clients. So focus on that first.

Ideally, your video should incorporate two different camera angles, one on either side of the room. And if you have a big audience, it’s even better to have a third camera behind you showing your back and all those attendees in the background. That’s very powerful. It’s also important to have two audio tracks, one to capture your voice (like a lavaliere microphone, for example) and a second to capture the audience reaction (ie., laughter) as well. Yes, it costs more but a good video is the single best investment you can make as a professional speaker.

You’ll also need a juicy sexy title and description. What do you speak about? It needs to be juicy and spicy and intriguing. Put together a great session title, session description and your own personal bio. And you’ll also need a good professional head shot. With those things in place, you’ll be in great shape to start soliciting professional speaking opportunities.

A long time ago, I was told that the speaking business is one of the hardest industries to get started in but it’s also the easiest to stay in once you get some initial traction. It’s true. It’s really hard to get started. But once it gets going, it’s a pretty good deal. I absolutely love what I do and hope to continue doing it for the rest of my working life.

Here’s another brief video with some recent speaking highlights:

More topics and questions will be added to this post over time. Stay tuned.



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