April 15, 2022

Episode #25: Denise Praul – Whiteboard Learning

Denise Praul is a Referral Marketing Strategist and the founder of Whiteboard Learning. She is committed to sharing practical real-world information to help business professionals create referral marketing strategies to help business owners stop wondering and worrying about where their next referral is coming from.

She put her referral knowledge to the test in her own property tax consulting business and grew it to a multiple 6 figure business with no additional investment of money or time. Using that experience and knowledge she developed a duplicatable system to help other businesses have the same success.

Denise has created a system called Roadmap to Unlimited Referrals that she now trains and shares with other business people to help them significantly grow and scale their own businesses.

Transcript

hello this is coach tim camsall and i’m your host for the self made as a myth make a difference together show where we’re talking with successful business owners to hear their stories of building their business and because we know that achieving success is not something that we can do on our own we are acknowledging the people and recognizing those folks who have helped us along the journey of the successes that we have achieved and helped us to excel in our business today i’m excited to have a fellow business owner from indiana with us today my guest has been dog sledding in alaska we will definitely want to hear about that she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and she’s most proud of her three amazing children that she raised as a single mother congratulations that is amazing it is my pleasure to welcome denise to the show today hey denise how are you doing hey tim i’m great how about you i’m fantastic thank you so much for asking so hey let’s have you start by introducing yourself and tell us a little bit of your personal story where you were born where you live bit about your family and things like that absolutely so i was born in indianapolis uh so and i’ve been here all my life i have not left and people ask me why haven’t you left and i said well everybody i love is here so where would i go right like that is why i am born and bred in indianapolis i was born here stayed here um oldest of four kids and uh raised by mom and dad that where my mom was a secretary my dad was a warehouse worker so a bit of a blue collar upbringing and was raised in that way married and divorced but from that marriage have three amazing children i have a daughter i have two sons they are all in their 40s all have their own very successful careers and from those three amazing children i have four even more amazing grandchildren that i absolutely love spending time with and so i started out my business experience as i think a lot of people do by working in different companies i have a bit of an accounting background so i worked for insurance companies i worked for a cpa firm and then uh 25 years ago started my first business wonderful so denise is there a funny story that your family likes to tell about you that you’d be willing to share with us today my cooking my cooking is a continual joke um several years ago i cut up some tomatoes and put them in a salad and i left the stickers on the tomatoes and

they love whenever we have salad now it’s like mom did you take the stickers off the tomatoes so my cookie i’m not a greek cook i’m good at a lot of things cooking is

i love it thank you for sharing so um tell us how the business came about denise at what point did you you know have the confidence that you could run your own business

well i actually have two businesses so the first one i started 25 years ago and i started that because someone that i was working with in the property tax business decided he was going to shut his business down and he he gave me three of our top clients and he told me to go start my own business because i’ve been spending my time helping other people build their business and so he said go start your own business and stop helping other people make money make it for yourself so that is where i started now did i have confidence at that level absolutely not not but but i gained confidence and i would tell you how i gained confidence is by being around other business people and uh so i joined a group of bni a referral marketing group um and and one of the reasons why i joined well the only reason i joined really was not for referrals but because there were other business people there and i knew i have a lot to learn so that’s when i started to gain confidence in that business and then developed a referral generating system through that business that i now share with others in another business that i started 10 years ago called whiteboard learning but really my first foray into business i was terrified i was lucky enough that my mentor dale set me off on the path to be an entrepreneur but it took me really being around other business people seeing how they operate and i’m really big on modeling success so as i have grown all the way from a child up to where i am right now i watch successful people i watch people that i admire and i model their behaviors and i think that has led to a lot of my success and a lot of my learning as well awesome so tell us a little bit more about uh whiteboard learning and and how how you help folks what what you do and and how people can figure out if it’s something that’s right for them oh thank you for that so whiteboard learning is a company where we help you stop hunting for clients and spend more time helping your clients and we do that by teaching you a referral generating system for your business everybody says they want referrals but nobody takes the time to get referrals and they really don’t know how and they’re very uncomfortable asking for referrals so what i put together is a 12-week program where i teach a referral generating system to business owners sales people and i take them through the whole process of how to start out by figuring out how to teach other people to get your referrals how to dig into the network that you already have how to do strategic networking and so at the end of the 12 weeks they have a written referral marketing plan that they can implement in their business fantastic and um how can people find out about that or learn more about it and connect with you well you can go to i have a facebook group that i have a lot of business people in there it’s a private group it’s called roadmap to unlimited referrals i do a lot of free referral training in there if one of the business people are in there has a question they just throw it out to the group the group answers it so it’s a great group of small business people where i do the training but then also they help each other as well awesome fantastic so denise um share a story where someone pushed you or inspired you that you could do it um even though you might not have thought that you could and the impact that that had on you i would have to go back to uh dale armbruster is his name and i had did had helped a couple of companies start their own property tax consulting business and he was the third person that i had worked with and helped them start their business and he he was i’m so grateful that he saw something in me that i didn’t see in myself let’s just say it that way like i said i was raised kind of by the blue collar parents i did not go to college um in in the world that i was raised in you got married and had kids which is what i did and then you took a job and that’s just what you did for all of your life and you hope that you got a really good pension at the end of it he was such an entrepreneur he was so his thinking to me was so out of the box and he started out with just um the first thing he did with me was we’re going to set your personal and professional goals for the year and i was like what nobody ever had me set any kind of a goal like that before so he really he was really good about giving me training and education so he introduced me to tony robbins trainings and which i just ate up i loved them and so i learned goal setting and so he inspired me to set a personal professional goal we set quarterly benchmarks and if i hit the quarterly benchmark for my personal and my professional goal i get a bonus and i was like oh my gosh but he that’s how he that’s how he started out he became an amazing mentor to me in many ways that’s the first thing that he started with was teaching me how to set goals and then to set those quarterly benchmarks to go with them awesome so denise over the years what’s the biggest learning that you’ve had as a big business owner uh flexibility flexibility would definitely be it i am i’m kind of a go from point a to point b kind of person and that’s just a straight line and this doesn’t really work when you’re on your own business but you’re an entrepreneur so the thing that i think i’ve had to learn the most about over the past few years as a business owner is how to be flexible and go with the flow a little bit more yeah and to your point it’s not always an easy thing but definitely a required skill to have as life changes quite frequently in the in the business world right it does and then our whole world has changed over the past couple of years so i’m so grateful that i learned that skill so that i was able to kind of move and do the things i needed to do over the past few years of all the uncertainty that would be yeah um one of the things that that we talk with our clients about is just the the general desire that everybody has to stay within their comfort zone and and we like knowing what tomorrow’s going to look like and having that predictability but but uh but also everything that we wanted of life and and in particular everything we want out of our businesses is generally on the other side of our comfort zone right so that’s absolutely right i’d love to wrap up in my little comfort zone every day but you know what you’re right pushing out of the comfort zone is the key and it’s what helps you learn flexibility so that you can adapt and adjust the things as they come your way so we know that business success doesn’t happen in isolation so denise tell us about a one of your biggest challenges that you’ve had over the years and a fellow business owner who you know came alongside you and helped you get through that asking for help that has been and again i see this with other business people too um we don’t want to ask for help we don’t want to show our vulnerabilities we don’t want to show people that we don’t know some things and so asking for help has been my biggest struggle i found a business coach early on missy shopshire and she has really helped me feel comfortable with that and really coached me through that so i would say asking for help was one of my biggest challenges and i’m grateful for missy that i found her and that she was able to coach me through that process so i feel very comfortable now asking people for help and showing the vulnerability of not knowing certain things and that’s okay yeah there’s um there’s a it’s almost like a an unwritten rule right with within the small business owner community that we’ve gotta gotta have it all together we can’t show our our weaknesses and our vulnerabilities because um and as i dug into that with more and more folks what has come to the surface is a lot of folks just assume that they’re the only ones struggling and that everybody oaks has got it together and so i can’t share that i’m struggling because you know everyone else has figured it out and i don’t want to be the only one that hasn’t and then you start to peel back that onion right and and and bring people together in community and they’re like oh nobody’s got this thing figured out we’re just all doing the best we can exactly that’s exactly right and you know it attracts more to you because you are willing to say i don’t know everything it’s i think when you’re like i i’ve got everything i need i’m good and it doesn’t attract people to you it almost tells people from you so when you’re willing to open up and say i don’t know this i don’t understand this i could use some help with this i think it really attracts more people to you that is so true yes because uh it’s almost like the the idea of you know misery likes company right like oh you’re going to be willing to be vulnerable and share oh thank goodness me too that’s why i love mastermind groups so much but to me a mastermind group is a people a group of people who trust each other and they’re willing to be open to be vulnerable and then help each other as well so i’m i’m a big proponent of mastermind groups and i think every business owner should have their own mastermind that they belong and you mentioned bni earlier i mean that it’s not a mastermind but that does certainly happen within that group as well right especially within you know the one-on-one meetings that we have outside of the the general meetings yes it absolutely does that is really where i started with understanding that i wasn’t alone out there that there were other business people had first of all other services that i could use but also the same struggles so denise if if i asked you to pick three people in your business journey that you’re most grateful for being there for you and helping with you achieving the the growth that you’ve had who are those three people and how they help you well i would say for sure dale arm brewster um he he was just amazing to me and just showed me so many different things and opened up such a big world to me to make me believe that i could be the business owner instead of kind of hiding behind in the background yeah um and he really helped me believe that and again it started off with goals and he exposed me to tony robbins trainings and just so much he was always so willing to give me the space that i needed and the opportunities that i needed to grow as a person and as a business person so he for sure would be one of them i think the second one would be my dad and my dad he always had something going on when it came to business uh he worked full-time jobs but he also got laid off a lot and so uh he would start like little businesses like he wasn’t above pushing a lawnmower and cutting people’s grass he got a paper route one time because he wanted to bring income into the household but my dad also taught me a really strong work ethic um so i think he is someone that has been a big influence and plus unfortunately i lost him last september he was one of my biggest cheerleaders he just was one of my biggest cheerleaders it was like you can do this i’m i’ve always called him with my business successes so um i think dad was definitely one of them and then i would also say my grandmother my grandmother was a single mom when it wasn’t cool to be a single mom back in the day she never drove but she went into the finance center which is on what used to be fort benjamin harrison here and she started in the typing pool there and by the time she retired at 71 she was the manager and the supervisor of the whole retired p division oh wow 200 employees and she would she got a she called it her ride so she would stand out each morning with her purse on her arms standing up straight head held high shoulders back and her ride would pick her up and take her to work and then she would bring her back and she was always very respectful of the fact that someone was giving her a ride but she just slowly worked her way up from the typing pool into supervising 200 people and i just always had the most respect and admiration for my friend oh that is so wonderful thank you for sharing um if if you think about the next three to five years denise what are the biggest challenges that you see in front of you in terms of you know between you and achieving your goals and who are the types of people that you’re going to need to to be in your life and in your business to help you overcome those challenges that is a really good question i would say i’m probably in a different spot than a lot of business owners are so i had property tax business 25 years old in june and i grew it had employees office space lots of awards which i’m very thankful and grateful for and then decided that i wanted to take it back down a little bit and start whiteboard learning so as i’ve gotten older and this is kind of my second phase of having a business my biggest challenge each day that i think about is how much or how little do i want to scale the business so when it came to the property tax business i let a lot of other people outside influences tell me how i should grow it and that i should grow it and that i need this and that which was all fantastic and fine but now that i’ve done that really with this business right now my my challenge every day is how much do i want to scale the business or how much do i not want to scale the business and i can’t have people pushing me grow get employees and it um so right now that is my biggest challenge is really where do i want this business to go yeah i would say that’s my biggest challenge um the people who keep me grounded i again would be this business mastermind group it’s a women’s professional mastermind group and when i get in there and i have crazy ideas they’re like whoa whoa whoa that is not what you said that you wanted so i’m very grateful that they are more than willing to tell me when they think i’m off track i would say my biggest challenge right now with my business is how large do i actually want to scale the business or do i just want to keep it where it is yeah yeah that kind of goes back to i think what your mentor taught you in terms of setting goals and then working towards the goal so i’m hearing it’s there’s a little bit of work of just figuring out what is the goal that you want to set because you’ll you’ll be able to hit it because you’ve proven time and again that you can but just some soul searching of what what do you actually want your business to look like in in three to five years yeah that’s exactly right i intend to absolutely still be in business in three to five years but will it be with employees it will it be with an office space i don’t know yet yeah well that’s a that’s a cool thing to be able to be pondering right to have the flexibility to to have the choices of do i want to or don’t i yeah that’s awesome so jim rohn one of my favorite authors uh quote that i i just really fell in love with is we become the average of the five people that we spend the most time with so as you think about that denise is that something that’s exciting something that makes you nervous where where does that fit in in terms of your business philosophy oh exciting i think it’s so exciting it’s um yeah through the phases of my life i’ve had spy people in and out all the different um different phases of my life but i think that is just such an exciting opportunity uh to be around people that encourage you and want you to grow because we’ve all had those people that are like don’t do it you can’t do it actually my mom was like that when i started my first business i remember we were sitting at a big mother’s day uh lunch and i said guess why you guys i’m going to start my own business and here is my mother’s response that’s nice

she always was like be safe be safe and my dad was like go go go go go so i think um it is i’m very excited about all the opportunities of all the different amazing people that you can be surrounded by but you do have to be careful to make sure that you have people that you’re surrounded by that understand you and can encourage the goals that you have set for yourself yes absolutely i love the story about your mom and dad so i do um disc assessments a lot with folks and and a lot of uh companies that have a couple running the business it always reinforces that that cliche term of opposites attract right so it sounds like mom and dad were had a little bit of that which which is actually awesome because right we we need our opposite to ground us sometimes and and help us see perspectives that we can’t see for ourselves so having those different perspectives from mom and dad probably was very helpful in terms of you know starting your own business and having the conservative side and the more aggressive perspective in that it was i learned great things from both of them yes awesome so um last question here denise if there was something catastrophic that happened in the business today who’s the first person you’d call and what would that conversation be um i have a really good friend his name is mike and um he’s been in business himself for a really long time he is retired now but he always is a great person for me to just ground myself with um he’s great listener so he’ll listen and not just give me a lot of advice he’ll listen to what’s going on and then he settles me down and and then we figure it out that’s awesome so i would call my friend mike he’s been a great i would say almost a mentor to me as well wonderful what’s mike’s last name his last name is the slover that’s wonderful so you’ve been blessed with a lot of uh incredible people who sounds like you know have helped you a ton throughout your journey if they were all in the show here today what would you like to say to them oh my gosh um i can’t thank them enough can’t you know at the time some of them particularly my parents um you don’t understand why they’re they’re saying the things to you they are or doing the things that they’re doing and you don’t always agree with it even with with some of my coaches and mentors as well it’s like no i don’t want to do that um i would thank them so much for the things that they taught me pushing me out of my comfort zone and believing in me when i didn’t believe in myself awesome so wonderful um that is just incredible when we think about um you know people who don’t even necessarily know the impact that they’ve had on us right and um and vice versa right the impact that we have on others and so one one of the you know things that i want to make sure that we do with this show is that we not only do we recognize them on this video but then we also you know invite them to watch the the video and and have them hear how you spoke about them and so we’ll we’ll make sure to to connect them to this and and have them you know listen to the way that you’ve you know recognized them in this video and and the impact that they’ve had in your life thank you i think that’s a fantastic idea i love the concept of this podcast oh thank you so denise it’s been a real pleasure having you uh on the show today and hearing your insights and and uh learning about the people who have helped to you to build two successful businesses so thanks again for your time to be on the show my pleasure thank you so much for having me you are very welcome to everyone who tuned in thanks for listening to the self-made is a myth show with your host coach tim camsell be sure to help us spread this movement by liking us and posting about us on social media to join our movement go to be mad together dot com all right folks that’s a wrap make sure to pay it forward and we’ll see you all next time take care