2×4 With Marcus Sheridan

2×4: One series that examines two topics, creativity and productivity, by asking those who make things on the web the same four questions on both subjects.

One of the best parts about playing in the Social Media pool are the people you meet. Most often, you connect with someone online and at some point or another, you end up face to face. Meeting Marcus Sheridan was exactly the opposite. We met through Danny Brown and Gini Dietrich at Blog World. A few drinks later (or at least a few for me) we were fast friends and a few days later we had connected online and I had become a big fan of his rather excellent blog, The Sales Lion.

Marcus is a rare breed and one I can relate to (as well as one I aspire to). He’s a guy working in a struggling luxury market, selling actual goods to actual people who turned to the web to grow his business. Where most people working in traditional small businesses are striving and struggling to figure out how to leverage the web, Marcus put his head down and did it for his company River Pools and Spas. Better yet, he goes out of his way to help other business owners learn how to achieve that success for themselves. Besides being great at what he does and teaches, he also happens to be a great guy. He’s extremely generous with his time, cherishes every interaction and has a sense of character that is almost tangible.

Without further ado, here is a look at how The Sales Lion roars:

Creativity

Have you always considered yourself a creative person?

I don’t know if I’ve always considered myself creative. I stink at drawing, painting, working with my hands, etc. For some reason, although I wanted to be good at those things, they just didn’t ever really get going with me. Later on in my teen years, though, I noticed I became a creative thinker in terms of how I approached ideas and concepts, especially in the business, communication, and interpersonal realm.

What mediums and inspirations do you gravitate toward to realize your creative goals?

I find creativity in actually going out and doing stuff. I’m not one to just sit around an analyze something. I launch an idea fast, and am not afraid to experience the pain and pleasure that come with such quick action. But when I’m actually in the grind, making things happen—that’s when creativity seems to work its magic.

If you had to point to one thing, what specific posts or creations are you most proud of and why?

Two posts come to mind:

Any suggestions for those who feel they may not be creative enough to unlock their inner artist?

We’re all creative. That’s a fact. But I don’t think it does someone any good to analyze their supposed lack of creativity. Go out and do something. That’s how I feel about it. Action is the great inspirer, always has been and always will be.

Productivity

Can you describe your current personal and professional responsibilities?

I own a large swimming pool company that builds in-ground pools throughout Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia along with my two business partners, who handle most of the day to day. Just this past year, they allowed me to break away to focus on my blog and coaching/speaking career. So now, I spend only about 5-10 hours a week with my pool company and about 40-50 hours a week working on my blog, The Sales Lion, and also traveling, speaking and coaching.

How do you go about balancing the personal, professional and digital?

That’s the great challenge we all face–balance. For me, it starts with my spiritual base. I attend church every Sunday with my wife and four kids. I also spend quality time with each of the children, and my wife, just about every day, assuming I’m not traveling. Every night, around 10pm, I get on the elliptical for exactly 1 hour. I might miss a workout once every three months or so. From 11-1am, I write. My mind words well after a workout.

What tools and techniques do you find yourself counting on to get through your workload?

I’m learning to say no often. I also don’t waste time. I don’t watch TV. I don’t lie around. I get about 5-6 hours of sleep most nights. My mind is kind of obsessed with creating at this point in my life, and so if I’m not spending quality time with family, I’m looking to do something that will help me reach my goals.

What is the best starting point for the unproductive amongst us, who are looking to get more organized?

Know your goals. Easily, that’s the biggest. For example, here are mine:

  1. Have a strong relationship with God and self.

  2. Have a strong relationship with my wife and children.

  3. Teach the masses by giving great information, via writing or speech, and make a difference in the lives of others in the process.

These may sound cliche to some, but those are my ‘big’ goals, and I do my best not to let ‘stuff’ hinder these goals.

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  • http://twitter.com/skypulsemedia Howie at Sky Pulse Media

    I love this interview. What I love even more if of the two blog posts Marcus chose, one was the one I started a bit of a firestorm in, but not with Marcus. The great thing about blogs is the assortment of people that find value often for different reasons in the same place. And sometimes those people clash.Some people talk quietly and carry a big stick. Some roar like a Lion. Others like me have a big mouth and a massive death star ray gun behind me backing me up (helps to be brave when you got that behind ya huh? lol)

    So Michael what do you think of in the ground pools with pearls making up the flooring? Could be a new line of sales for you.

    • http://www.thesaleslion.com Marcus Sheridan

      Howie, you’re like none other my friend. :) Thanks for the kind words…I’ll try to keep roaring ;-)

      • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

        Something tells me you will have no problem getting that roar to go a little bit louder if needed!

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      There is no doubt Howie, the man does good blog. And I couldn’t agree more as to his choices. I had read the Hey, Mr. Blogger post, but hadn’t seen the other one prior to this. I do love the spectrum of people you see over on his site, makes for some interesting experiences in the comments. 

      Here’s to those of us with big mouths! Gotta get me some death star…

      I like the pool idea… what say you Marcus?

  • Steve

    Thanks for this post Michael.

    I first met Marcus at the Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland.  He was inspiring!  I’ve found myself telling his story (well, my version of it) when talking with associations and others about the importance and potential from content marketing/content management.

    And, now, through your post, he has introduced me to you!

    Steve

    • http://www.thesaleslion.com Marcus Sheridan

      That’s awesome Steve! Thank you man :)

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      Glad we’ve connected and love it when the internet does things like that! Marcus does have this inspiring air about him (but don’t let him know I said that). It is contagious and I hear things that I know he’s influenced coming out of my mouth every now and again. Thanks for stopping in, hope you found the interview useful.

  • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

    One of my most favorite people! But I would like to correct you. YOU had many drinks. He did not. If I remember correctly, you were mixing beer and scotch. That hurts my head.

    You know what I think is funny about one of his answers? When you asked me if I was creative, I said the same thing…not really because I can’t paint or draw. Isn’t it interesting that that’s what we think when the word creative is used?

    • http://www.thesaleslion.com Marcus Sheridan

      Really good point Gini..guess you and I will have to change how society looks at that one. ;-)

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      It’s funny, I was about to respond to this one last night right before the baby woke up and it’s really been sticking with me. It’s so true. So much of why I wanted to run this series and why I never considered that I could be creative is the inability to actually draw or paint. We’ve so limited what the word means, but so many of the people I meet couldn’t draw a stick figure with a ruler and a compass, yet are so inherently creative. I think the idea of creativity changed, but sadly, the definition never followed.

  • http://frankdickinson.me/ Frank Dickinson

    I love this series my friend because you ALWAYS feature great people – this week with Marcus is no exception!

    He is a mixture of power and grace that is rarely found these days. His content is value packed to the hilt and his engagement with his audience is even better.

    All I can say is I simply cannot wait to hear and meet The Lion at Blog World Expo LA in  next week!

    Rock on Mr. Schechter!

    • http://www.thesaleslion.com Marcus Sheridan

      Thrilled to meet you as well Frank, and the class is going to be awesome…nothing but smiles man. :)

      • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

        The only frown will be me, here on the east coast! Tip one back for me boys!

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      Thanks man! I’ve been lucky to have some kick ass participants who took it seriously (and Danny Brown). 

      Well put on Marcus, rare that you can see people have that kind of laser focused passion and still be a good, likable person. And the things that come out of his mouth not only make sense, but are helpful. Something you don’t see enough of these days!

      Enjoy LA!