Author: Daniel Milstein

Publisher: Gold Star Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-947165-03-8 welcomes once again as our guest Daniel Milstein, best-selling author of The ABC of Sales, 17 Cents and a Dream, Street Smart Selling and now his latest tome, RULE #1 DON'T BE #2.

Norm: Good day Dan and thanks for participating once again in our interview.

What do you consider to be your greatest success (or successes) so far in your career? 

Dan: Success is really a moving target for me, because I’ll always continue to build upon whatever successful milestones I reach. Individual accomplishments don’t define my success. It’s far more about the many people I’ve been able to mentor and empower along the way – not only the talented, independent go-getters I’ve developed for key positions in the Gold Star Family of Companies, but also the thousands who’ve reported their lives have been dramatically affected by the inspiration I’ve shared as an author.

It’s equally gratifying to empower the many clients served by various divisions of Gold Star. Most recently, I’ve been able to rapidly grow a branch of our Sports Management platform, Gold Star Hockey - from a small enterprise to an internationally dominant firm, representing many in the NHL and KHL. Clients include Pavel Datsyuk, formerly of the Detroit Red Wings- now with SKA, Artemi Panarin with the Chicago Blackhawks, Nikita Kucherov with Tampa Bay Lightning, Nikita Zaitsev with the Toronto Maple Leafs – and many other high profile clients. From amateur advocacy through retirement, Gold Star Hockey clients become family, and are treated as such.

Norm: What has been your greatest challenge (professionally) that you’ve overcome in getting to where you’re at today?

Dan: I came to America when I was 16 on the last day the Soviet Union existed in search of the American Dream. Arriving with one small suitcase and 17 cents in my pocket that had been given to me by a friend to mail a postcard back, I soon learned the streets weren’t paved with gold as I’d imagined. I was fiercely determined to learn the language and find a way to rise up from poverty. I’d say my greatest challenge was to harness that hunger for a better life and find a way to break into the business world that everyone said would be closed to someone like me. Getting started, I think, is always a challenge, but hope is not a strategy, right?

I’m so grateful for every opportunity I was able to carve out of those brutally challenging early years. People talk about how this job or that job is beneath them - beneath their dignity. I had another word for it. I called it opportunity, and I appreciated my first opportunity so much – scrubbing bathrooms at McDonalds - that I painted the golden arches over my bed in the projects where I lived. Thomas Edison said most people fail to recognize opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.

Norm: Many people have the skills and drive to write a book, but failure to market and sell the book the right way is probably what keeps a lot of people from finding success. Can you give us 2-3 strategies that have been effective for you in promoting your books?

Dan: Well, I had an advantage out of the gate. Having reached the pinnacle in various fields had established my credibility. That credibility created an audience interested in finding out my secrets. But strategically? Like anything in life, you’ll get there faster with a plan. Learn absolutely everything you can about publishing, and then recognize you can’t do it alone. Start by building the right team. You’ll need editors, people familiar with promotion and platform marketing, web designers, and more.

Secondly, if you believe in your work – never, ever give up. Success or failure is determined by where you stop. Did you know that before publishing Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling was a single mother living on government aid? She couldn’t afford a computer, and actually had to manually type each copy she delivered to publisher after publisher who rejected her work. Can you imagine? Finally, a small London firm took a chance, and the rest is literary history.

My fourth book, Rule #1 Don’t Be #2, is filled with inspirational stories of people like Rowling who reached their dreams and dominated their fields in the face of incredible challenge and impossible odds. When you read my book – and learn what others have overcome, your challenges will seem far more manageable. It will make you stop and ask yourself the question, “Why can’t I?”

Norm:  How many times in your career have you experienced failure or rejection? How did that shape you? 

Dan: Rejection and failure come with the territory if you’re truly driven to succeed. I say tongue-in-cheek that an overnight success usually takes 10 years, and you better have broad shoulders and thick skin, because you’re going to need it. My failures occurred early on when my burning ambition got the best of me, and I took some short-cuts that left me lacking the skill and training necessary to reach the next step.

I met the wake-up call of failure and rejection. And that’s when I also met my best teachers. You won’t learn nearly as much from your victories as you will your mistakes. I always say I never really fail. I either win, or I learn. That attitude has shaped my resilience and ability to persevere. Look, if you’re going to tuck and run at the first sign of rejection, you can kiss your dream good-bye.

Norm: Why do you write? Do you have a theme, message, or goal for your books? As a follow up, what has been the best part about being published? 

Dan: Don’t we all have an obligation to give others a hand up? We need to find the best way to share our gifts. I’m grateful. I’m humble. I remember where I came from, and I know others are struggling as I did. I don’t want them to give up – and I know they can learn from my experience. I have a mentor’s heart, and I write because that’s the way for me to reach and help the greatest number of people.

I can’t stand the thought that people’s dreams and greatest aspirations may slip through their hands when they’re only inches away from succeeding. The only regrets people will have are the chances they didn’t take, but that’s all too often what happens. They get stuck. They lose hope. I’m determined to help as many as I can by using the exact inspiration that fueled my own dreams and pushed me on. The best part about being published is getting my message on paper and into the hands of that dreamer who needs just one more push, one more challenge –one more kick in the pants - to get off the couch and take control of his or her destiny.

Norm: As a follow up, what were your goals and intentions in writing RULE #1 DON'T BE #2. how well do you feel you achieved them?

Dan: Two of my first three best-sellers were focused on sales and how to achieve superstar status in that arena. I soon realized that people from all walks of life were benefiting from those principles and pro tips. My straightforward, easy-to-apply advice caught fire, and readers demanded more. More secrets. More inspiration. More empowerment. I was being asked for something significant, something that would reach each of us at our very core. My goal was to write something so powerfully motivating, it will be impossible for you to read it and not make a change. I believe I’ve met that goal. Early feedback from some of the world’s toughest critics says I have. In Rule #1 Don’t Be #2 I give people the tools they’ll need that will inspire them to wake up and chase their dreams, overcome fear of failure, and formulate a solid plan to make it happen. I believe that 97% of the people work for the 3% who never gave up, and I’m determine to change that statistic.

Norm: What was the most difficult part of writing this book?

Dan: It’s always tough picking out which stories and content to include. I took a long look at everything I’d assembled, and realized I needed to whittle it down. There are so many amazing people in this world, both past and present, who have overcome great can’t fit them all into one book. Plus I’ve personally collected so much wisdom throughout the years, I wanted to boil it down and package it up so that it could be quickly absorbed– without leaving out anything important.

Norm: How did you come up with the title RULE #1 DON'T BE #2?

Dan: It’s something I’ve told people for years when they ask for my greatest tip. It’s something I say to myself. Rule #1: Don’t Be #2! That pretty much says it all. You want to be at the top? Ok-never settle for second best. Period. I don’t consider myself a “success” even though I’m in that 3% that I mentioned earlier. You have to continue to strive to be #1, every single day. And once you get there, you have to stay there. “Always Be Closing” is the mantra I live by. It’s a sales term meaning you should be on the lookout for opportunity in every situation you’re in all day, every day. The moment I get it in my head that I’m successful is the day I’m going to hang up my skates and retire. I hope I’m never satisfied. I want to be useful and never take anything for granted.

Norm: What did you enjoy most about writing this book? 

Dan: Knowing that I had respectfully listened to my readers and thoughtfully delivered exactly what they’d asked for. People have been asking me for this book for years. It’s a wonderful feeling to know you hit the bull’s eye on your target and that so many are going to benefit.

Norm: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Dan: That’s very interesting you asked that question. I was just talking with my daughter the other day about this book and she asked me if I thought I had all the answers. I said – Oh, no, I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I have some – and they’re pretty great. She’s going on 15, so on some days I’m sure she may not think I have any.

I told her that in writing this book, I realized how many more truly great inspirational people I’d still like to research, and that I’d love it if she’d help me find more of the biographies I love – the ones about people who were told they would never amount to anything, but who have become phenomenally successful. I still have a lot of living, and dreaming and learning to do. I’m going to keep collecting wisdom through my experience and the experience of others. I’m always looking for more inspiration to share. You never know, you may see it down the road.

Norm: What makes your book stand out from the crowd?  

Dan: Rule #1 Don’t Be #2 blends my no-nonsense, no excuses brand of motivation I’ve forged from my own experience with the many countless inspirational stories of others who have inspired me. It’s like hearing from many people all pulling for you – the voices of many life coaches at once. By no excuses, I mean that I just won’t allow them.

Neither would, I’m sure, any of the other people you’ll read about in my book if they were alive today. The other “inspirers” and I weren’t afraid to dream huge. We chased those dreams relentlessly, no matter what. That’s what this book is all about. Making sure you hear our encouraging voices. Making sure you get started and don’t give up. That’s why Rule #1 Don’t Be #2 is going to be incredibly successful. Sometimes you just need someone else to believe in your dream…and in you. And I do. I sincerely believe. And I’m not taking any excuses. I won’t take no for an answer when it comes to your dream. It’s not lip service. That’s why my book is unique.

Norm: As you are no doubt quite a busy man, how do you find or make time to write? 

Dan: For me, writing isn’t another task to cross off my to-do list. It’s more of a calling from my inner voice – and if you’ve ever been compelled to write, you know what I’m talking about. If you’re a writer, you don’t find time for writing. It simply can’t be contained. So, it may be 3:00 a.m. on a red-eye flight back from a contract negotiation, or in that first quiet hour of my day when my office is just being lit by the sun and there isn’t another soul in the building yet. The words find their way to life.

Norm: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?  

Dan: Yes, I hear from them often, actually. As I was saying earlier Rule #1 Don’t Be #2 was essentially born from the collective voice of many readers wanting more. Some had heard me speak. Many had read my books or a blog, or are in some way part of my family of companies. Something had resonated with all of them. They felt I had something even more valuable to say –something that would light a fire within them. My readers love to tell me how I’ve helped them. And again, that’s my success. That’s my treasure. What else is life for? My readership – and my colleagues, my clients and employees around the globe – they’re all the people I’m honored to serve.

Norm: What is next for Dan Milstein?

Dan: Oh, I’ll keep chasing my big dreams – expanding and building upon my family of companies. I love watching wildly crazy ideas become wildly successful reality. I’ll keep finding exceptional talent in unusual places, and mentor those people until they’re able to take the reins. There’s nothing better than helping someone grow.

Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and your latest book, RULE #1 DON'T BE #2?

Dan: At my WEBSITE

Norm: As this interview draws to a close what one question would you have liked me to ask you? Please share your answer. 

Dan: What if you don’t know what your dream is? I didn’t at first. My mother wanted me to be a doctor, but I knew that wasn’t for me. It’s typically trial and error until you stumble upon your passion, and you really have to be careful not to let others’ expectation influence or limit you. I know people sometimes have trouble getting started. That’s why with this book, I couldn’t just leave the reader when they close the back cover. Now that I had them inspired, I wanted to do something more to give the best possible chance to succeed. So I’ve developed a system of workbooks to help organize the process of identifying your dream – as well as pinpointing the obstacles you’ll need to crush. The first workbook is being released alongside the book, and there will be several more to come that will echo the inspiration you’ll find in RULE #1 DON’T BE #2.

Norm: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. It's been an absolute pleasure to meet once again with you and read your work. Good luck with all of your books.

Dan: Thank you-the pleasure’s been mine!


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