Interview with Joseph Luckett, Founder/CEO of Zero to 100, Networking Expert & Author

April 24, 2023 Steve Denny/ Joseph Luckett
Interview with Joseph Luckett, Founder/CEO of Zero to 100, Networking Expert & Author
Show Notes Transcript

Joseph Luckett is the Founder and CEO of an inclusive networking movement called Zero to 100.  Zero to 100 is a networking movement centered on relationship-building through education.  Focused on fostering a sense of belonging and gratitude, and is rooted in developing genuine and authentic connections in business and in life.

Joseph has been recognized by the business community both locally and abroad through numerous publications and awards, such as; Marquis Who’s Who in America, Arianna Huffington’s Magazine “Thrive Global”, St. Louis American (top African-American newspaper in the country}, and the front page of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, just to name a few. 

He made history in 2021, becoming the first African American since the inception of the City of St. Charles, Missouri to receive the Key to the City for his accomplishments and contributions to the well-being and success of the business community.  He currently serves as a mentor in the Men of Color Student Success Program for St. Charles Community College.

The first arm of his company is why we are here this evening to learn more about the how the release of his first book ” Zero to 100: The Gold Standard of Global Networking” became a #1 International Best-Seller.

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Welcome to the You Don't Know What You Don't Know podcast by Innovative Business Advisors. Successful business owners who have started, grown and led businesses share their journey and direction for the benefit of those traveling the same path.



Joseph Luckett is the founder and CEO of an inclusive network marketing movement called Zero to 100. Zero to 100 is a networking movement that focuses on relationship building through education, focused on fostering a sense of belonging and gratitude. And it's rooted in developing genuine authentic connections in business and in life. Joseph has been recognized by the business community both locally and abroad, through numerous publications and awards such as Marquis Who's Who in America, Ariana Huffington’s Magazine, Thrive Global, wow, St. Louis American, top African American newspaper in the country and the front page of the Post Dispatch, just to name a few. He made history in 2021 becoming the first African American since the inception of the city of St. Charles to receive the keys to the city. What an honor that was, for his accomplishment and contributions to well being and successful business in the community. He currently serves as a mentor and Men of Color Students Success Program for St. Charles Community College. And this is the first arm of this company and it's why we're here this evening to learn more about the release of his first book, Zero to 100, The Gold Standard of Global Networking.



And it's become a number one international best seller.  Yes it has.



Joseph, welcome. Thank you. Good to see. Ya. Yeah. Thanks for coming on and joining us this evening. I've known you for a while. And I knew this was coming out but man, have you made a lot of traction in a short period of time. Yeah. Wow. So tell me about your highs so far, what's been the, what's been the most exciting thing. And we already mentioned St. Charles, key to the city. I mean, that was unbelievable. I mean, you were featured everywhere.



I would say the high or the most exciting thing about this is having the support of my network. I would not have the success of Zero to 100 if I did not have the network that I have. So I give my credit to the network and relationships that I’ve established. So, give me a sense of, how large is your network? How many folks would you consider in your, in your network?



1000s. Yeah. Different levels, right, of individuals, you have those that you're really close to, those that that are your best friends, those that are acquaintances of yours, those that know of you and support you indirectly in different ways, because maybe they've picked up a product or service that you provide them. So, different layers. And you've been an entrepreneur for a long time. I have since



November 20 2006. Yeah. Come from a big family. I do, one of 17 kids. 17 kids.



You're the only person in my life I've ever, that came from a family of that size. That's amazing. One of 17. And I'm adopted as well. Yeah.



And blessed to have great parents. So I know a little bit about your parents. Yeah, very much. So and I wish they were here today. Both of them passed away in 2012. My father passed away February 2012 from a bowel obstruction. And then my mother passed away in May of the same year of a heart attack. Yeah, but they’re smiling down on you. Right? You gotta feel their presence. Absolutely. Phenomenal. So, tell us a little bit about Zero to 100. What came over you to,



what was kind of the aha moment that you said, “You know what, I gotta take this and write this down and make make something out of this”? I would say that moment began when I got the Top 100 St. Louis Who You Need to Know Award by the Small Business Monthly Magazine when a woman by the name of Laura Birkemper or Laura Boegis, I apologize. Laura Boegis reached out to me on LinkedIn, asked me to buy me a coffee. We had coffee at Westport, BreadCo. She said this by far has been the best cup of coffee I've ever had. You're the most efficient networker I've ever met. It's one thing to be at all of these various networking events. But it's another to not be at all of these events but your name still continues to circulate around the room at these various events. So at the end of that cup of coffee, she said “Can I buy you another cup?” I said yes. We had about five more meetings. Our fifth meeting was at Zumbehl, Zumbehl BreadCo out in St. Charles. And she said, “Joseph, can I tell you something?” I said yes. And she said to me that



at some point, you're not going to be able to get to everybody and given that you love people so much, so what I would ask you to do is will you write a book



and put your process in it. If you do, if you do not do that you will be doing everybody an injustice if you don't leave everyone. So Laura was the seed of this, huh? Yes, Laura Boegis was the seed of it. Ann Cardan was another individual. Sure, yeah.



That was in the beginning, that said something to me about it.



Wow, those are fantastic mentors to have in that regard. And I know Laura is, you know, very well known wealth manager here in the city, and, and has a specialty practice of serving women. And well, does amazing work. And Ann of course is, you know, an entrepreneur and startup coach, and she's got an amazing coaching platform of her own. And so you, you’ve got folks cheering you on at that point. Absolutely. Tell us a little bit about the journey. What's it been like? Is it, what, what has surprised you about the journey?



It's bigger than what I thought it would be. Yeah.



What is something else that surprised me on this journey? All of the moving pieces of the learning curve. And things, in terms of things I've never heard of before. So some things are a bit foreign to me, and being able to lean, lean on other individuals that have expertise within those areas.



So that's what I would tell you. So I'm curious about, speak more into why you think it surprised you that it got bigger than what it did. Why was that a surprise? I knew that there was already a hunger and an interest in learning how to network. I know the depth in terms of the amount of people that have the interest and actually want to do it and apply it. It's one thing to have the knowledge, it's another to actually apply it. We have a big pool of people that have knowledge. But we also have this smaller pond over here of people that actually apply it. I read this the other day, someone said that knowledge is potential power, it only becomes power when one applies that potential knowledge. Interesting quote.



I think that's certainly, certainly resonates with me. So so far, what are you most proud of then?



I'm proud of being able to be in existence as a business owner for the last five years. Yeah. I'm proud of that, to be able to get to this point. And and this is your second major business in five years, right? Zero to 100. Give us a little sense of, I know you've got a much larger vision for this. So today it's a book, you're doing some speaking, you're you're reaching out to others and helping share the message of how to become a better networker, right? Give us a little taste of where you're going with this. What do you see in the future so far? So Zero to 100 in its simplest terms is teaching people how to network in the most efficient and effective ways.



And we're delivering that through one a book, two is going to be an entire social media platform and app that has the challenges built in it that solves the different things that people experience as a networker. And number three is going to be through events and the events are going to actually be live. So what that means is, picture watching Joel Olsteen in your living room on a Sunday morning. Well, if you have a relationship that's in say, Germany, they'll be able to buy what is called a digital ticket and the information will come to their screen in their native language. And every event will be live. They'll have sign language interpreters, they’ll also have stenographers at every event. And all three elements of our model work synergistically together, taking from zero, which is a nobody to 100 on everyone's radar, using my proprietary information to do so. Yeah, and you've got a really neat system that you break down into easily digestible chunks on how to start from nowhere. You move into a community and you know nobody and and begin to network your way into the community, so. Very much so.  You've gotten, you've gotten that down to a really good granular level that’s easy to put in place.



I think it's excellent, a lot of really key insights in that too. What do you think are some of the some of the, you know, one or two key ahas that you want to, give the audience a little bit of a taste of what would they get out of, out of the book that they may not know in that regard?



Well, I will tell you that you're going to let network in a more measured way, because most people network in an unmeasured way. And the example that I typically give would be, imagine watching sports and no one's keeping score. You wouldn't need a coach or a consultant to look at those statistics and that data to be able to change, shift or modify what you're doing to obtain a different result. So in the book, you're going to learn how to put a structured process in place to



where you can begin measuring the different steps as you want to network. The second thing I would say in the book that's one of my favorites is my financial budget document, which is a document that you fill,



you do with every single thing you're faced with financially as a networker. And after you fill that out, it gives you a number and by budgeting that it helps you be a profitable networker. A profitable networker. Correct. So speak more into that, what it what, how would you define a profitable networker? If you knew



on average, how many cups of coffee you was going to buy, if you knew the price of the membership that you're spending the money on, just the basics, if you just took those two key indicators, and you were to add those together, it gives you a dollar. And based on that, based on that dollar, that's the amount of money you would set aside. So if you spend anything outside, outside of that, you put yourself in the negative, you're no longer a positive or profitable networker in that regard. So you're keeping track of what is the business that you're generating from the networking, right? And every in every aspect, absolutely, from your, from your gas, to your business card holder, to your business cards, to the membership, to the cups of coffee, to the lunches to the happy hours, to the drinks, you're keeping track of all of that, and that document allows you to fill that out. And if you knew that number up front, then you'd make different steps as you go in and out of the various rooms, you network differently.



So yeah, that's fascinating. And your book walks through the whole process in detail. It really gives you you know, everything to say from, you know, from hello to how do you really be productive and turn those, turn those networking engagements into, into profitable engagements? Absolutely. Yes. It's excellent. It's excellent. So, you know, you've had some really, really amazing high point. I mean,



young man from a very small community in rural Missouri, all of a sudden gets the keys to the city and is on every major network, and is now featured in many prestigious schools and universities and highly sought after, you've gone from zero to 100 in a very, very short period of time. But there have probably been some challenges that have taken place there. What, what are a couple of the challenges that you've had to endure and overcome? One of the major challenges, if not the most major challenge that we’ve endured is 2020.



So imagine having all of your plans, ready set fire, and you have to make a decision to not launch anything and push your plans back two years, so that we could find out what was actually going on to make the best decision for our company so we didn't sink it. Yeah. I would say that has been the most



and major challenge that we've experienced thus far. Yeah.



And your primary response was just to kind of hit the pause button and move everything back a couple of years? Yeah, so the book was supposed to come out in 2020. I made the decision as things continued to unfold, I made the decision that we're not going to launch the book. And our lawyers said, you're still going to need to, like they can go public with all the momentum that we had, you need to alert the public in terms of when the books actually gonna come out and you can't make the announcement that you're not launching it and not have a date. So we picked a date, we looked at all of our existing plans that we're going to roll out and make the announcements on and we said, why don't we wait two years, but the book can be launched in a year. So we launched the book a year later. The book became the number one international bestseller in the first 43 hours in four different countries. Wow. So say that, again.



National bestseller in the first 43 hours of its launch in four different countries. Wow.



That's astounding. Wow.



So, so that traction alone, and that success alone, was a good injection in terms of



the delay of some of the plans that we had in place.



And I was okay with that.



Yeah, knowing a little bit about book publishing, I mean, that, that there's a whole pipeline of activity that leads up to that. So hitting the pause button was kind of a big deal. Very much so, but but there was communication throughout it. Yeah. We were making some of the modifications for the current business landscape of things. And then I was in counsel with other individuals that knew more than I knew. And I knew that we wouldn't lose any of the momentum because people love networking, whether you're doing an in person or you're doing it virtually or you're doing it full, telephonically,



people love it and people had a vested interest in terms of what we were building and what we were launching. Just like today. Did you change anything in the



book because of the pandemic or did, just the timing is the only thing that changed? The only thing that was added to the book was the, some virtual assets that were added, but the rest was already laid out. And it gave us even more time to look over the work that had been finished, it gives us more time to look over that, to ensure that what we were launching, we were, we were able to put our best foot forward, without any more hiccups besides the whole 2020, which was out of our control. And from a, you know, I'm thinking of your book and thinking about the things you write about in your book, I mean, whether you're meeting somebody face to face for coffee, or whether you're meeting somebody, you know, on Zoom across the country, or across the globe, the principles are still the same. Very much so.  Absolutely. The, what 2020 did for us, one of the most important things that it did for us, it heightened, it highlighted what I already believed in, which was human connection. Because the pandemic made people care about another person. And when you take that, and you transfer that over to the room of networking, or into the space of networking, that's what you should walk in doing with every person is truly care about besides business, you care about them personally. And so so the 2020 that year, it just heightened what we were already about. That's what it did for us. It makes a lot of sense. I mean, fundamentally, we want to do business with people we like, right? Correct. Correct. But, but what I would say Steve is fundamentally, yes, that's true. But from a 2020 perspective, it made, it made people have more of a personal interest. How are you? How are your kids? Yeah. How are your, how's your family? It wasn't so much about the business. That was secondary. Yeah. And when you walked into a room from a business networking perspective, you should put that hat on first. How are you doing first, because John could have had a bad day. And if you get past all of that personal stuff, you will get to the business. And as a byproduct of that you will do more business than what you were going to do before. By taking that personal interest in that person. You’re really building the relationship before you build the, build the business if you will. Correct, correct. The relationship will always supersede money. Because at the end of the day, when you're laying on a bed, you're sick, you're not thinking about all of the money that you've acquired if your best friend is sitting next to you, what you're thinking about is that relationship and that relationship is woven into the emotional fabric of all of the experiences you've had with John's who are married. And that same approach should be taken within the space of business networking.



Yeah, absolutely. I couldn't, couldn't agree more. Makes a big difference. Yeah, I think the technology has just made it easier to basically expand geography, if you will. So, you know, we used to be somewhat limited and, and I often say the silver lining of the pandemic was that we utilized some of the digital tools. It kind of forced us all to learn how to do that. You know, as an old guy



you've seen me struggle with that, so.



Even now I can turn the computer on and make things happen. Absolutely. Different world.






you talked about the, you got the book, doing this, you’re doing the speaking, you’ve got several schools that have adopted the book now and are bringing it in as a teaching aid even in, even in grade schools. Correct. So my elementary school has it in the teacher's lounge. Nice. So to be able to have my elementary school support my work. That means a lot. It's a school I went to, and it's a school that means a lot to me, especially with teachers, because I'm still connected to about 80 to 90% of all my teachers from K through 12. Wow. So to be able to have my elementary school. Well, you're still young, too. So yeah, I just I outlived most of my teachers. Yeah.



Yeah. Wow. It's a blessing. Yeah, no doubt, no doubt. And you're in college campuses as well. Yeah, my community college St. Joseph’s Community College has officially brought it in as well. And the day that they actually brought it in was the same day we had a student check it out, the same day that we had that happen. Nice. So we have St. Joe's Community College. And then we have Concordia, which is in Michigan, they actually have the book as well. Nice, very nice. Very nice. Okay, so you got the book. Are you thinking about publishing it in different languages as well? Are you already in different languages? Over time, the book will come out in over 100 languages, including Braille. Wow. So that's been the plan from the very beginning. Okay. Which will allow us to touch networkers across the globe, regardless of the organization that one chooses. We just want to make sure that the, I'm going to use industry in quotes, but we don't have



data yet around the business networking Industry yet. Right. But what I'm going to say is I want to ensure that everyone has access to a resourcing tool with the industry approach with the industry online. Nobody has access to that. So that's a fascinating point that I had not thought of talking about with you. But I've heard your story before and thus invited you to come speak with us about this. And talk a little bit about what you just mentioned



the mentor networking industry, right? Yes. And your methodology was studied and there's some, some, some college research studies now that underpin the whole methodology that you've created in that regard, right? Yes. And now people are beginning to think of it as, as an industry. Correct. So we, there's an individual who worked for Penn State, did this as a side project. And a researcher at Penn State. Correct. With, with an awesome pedigree, who doesn't typically take on side projects. But in the beginning, he did tell me after, after hearing some of the information, we gave him access to the manuscript early. I want to tell you 48 hours later he said I'd love to take this on, be awesome to understand networking from that, from that perspective. And so the the caveat to that was in the beginning he said it's binary, either the information will be tested and it will flop or it will be revolutionary and we'll have to let the data speak for itself. Yeah. So we had the 12 week study, we had participants, and the participants were told, we don't need you to network network more, we just need you to utilize Joseph's information in your day to day networking and the data will come out and show us what what is going on here. So we get to about 10 weeks, we hit regression analysis sold, it was revolutionary. And the respondents reported a 234% increase in career advancement, a 279% increase in leads and a 170% increase in income in 12 weeks utilizing my information and their respective way of networking. So you got to think about training business owners on on your way of networking because you know,



the vast majority of businesses in the United States never get beyond a million dollars in sales, right?



What happens is you start your business and you get so involved in your business, that you don't have time to go out and grow your business. Right? You, you you give up the networking because you’ve got you’ve got things to do in business. Right? Absolutely. And that, and that keeps your level at a low level. But I would I would say to you, Steve, that



in a business, you have what is called a marketing plan. But what most business owners and entrepreneurs fail to do is create what is called a networking plan. And if you had a networking plan, and it had metrics on there, and it had hours and it had a schedule on there, then you necessarily wouldn't need to be the person in the room, you would have that as, you would have that built into your budget per se, for a person that you're paying and their respective job is to be the face in those respective rooms.



So if they can increase their leads by 239%, that's going to translate to their bottom line. So there's, there's gonna have some, there's going to be return on investment. Correct. But it shouldn't be you as the founder and CEO in that room, if you can't be in that room, or you're uncomfortable being in a room like that because maybe you're introverted, you would hire someone. You would turn them on to your networking plan and that plan will be very detailed, laid out in hours, days, weeks, months, locations, support, and they would adhere to that and their face within the room. And after networking, using the methodologies in my book, they're going to turn a net profit and increase the growth, the growth aspect of this by merely following that and the plan that you have in place with that. Yeah. And CEO in our parlance, is means chief everything officer.



Yeah, absolutely. And you're, you're giving them a little grace here to say they can actually use somebody within their organization, it doesn't have to be them. Correct. It's one of the smartest things they could ever do but you must give them a plan before you put them in that room. And that's where we come in. And, and, and I must note Steve that our objective is to focus on creating better networkers. And we understand by having that as a focus and the missing piece within networking, from a global perspective, is the education component. And if we focus on creating a better networker that we we create from a micro perspective, better entrepreneurs, better outside sales reps, better human beings overall. From a macro perspective, say you’re the president of a Chamber of Commerce, we can help lower the attrition and higher the retention. And do that, we do that



by teaching the network that it's within the organization how to do it effectively through a caffeinated moment, which is rebranded way of saying a one to one, we do that by teaching them how to give an effective 60 second, 30 second, or 45 second elevator pitch, and much, much more. So when they're in that room, that networker, they're thriving in a way that they weren't thriving before, and they’re positioned to make more money than they've ever made in their life. We positioned the Chamber to make more money because the Chamber is now functioning in a more efficient way. So Chamber’s positioned to make more money, and it positions Zero to 100 as the educational tool and resource to work with every networking organization across the world. You know, it's fascinating, Joseph, I'm, I'm a member of Rotary, for example. And I can tell you that a lot of our our chapter is really no exception in that most of you know, the, the Rotaries, the Lions Clubs, the old, the the kind of long standing,



community organizations out there, their memberships are dwindling. And it's, it's probably another market for you. You talk about Chambers, we're, we're members of a couple of Chambers as well and



the people that participate in the Chambers is a tiny fraction of the membership. Everybody wants to have the sign to hang on the front door of their business, right. But very few people participate. You teach them how to become productive participators. Correct. And those that are not engaged are not engaged for a particular reason. And if you can figure out what that reason is, you would get them not only to come back, but if you put some some some structure in place from a business networking perspective, you could turn that person that was not engaged, you turn him into one of the biggest cheerleaders you've ever had representing the Chamber. Yeah.



Well, you're a relatively young man, you’ve got a lot of runway in front of you, right? Yeah. Your, your, you got the book, doing the speaking, you got the app coming up. Do you see yourself building Zero to 100 to a



meaningful international organization? Very much so. Yeah. Absolutely. Sounds like you're on your way. Absolutely. I want to, I often look at business like this, I would say right now I have what is called a cute idea.



And then. A cute idea? A cute idea. And once you get to a certain level of revenue, then I call it a hobby.



And then once you get to 6, 7, 8, 9 figures, then you can call yourself, or then you can say you have a business in my eyes because at that point you've hired people, you have employees, you have different taxes that you're paying at that point. You have an actual business. And that's the way that I typically view things. It's cute. We have a cute idea. Cute to many. And as we continue to grow, it becomes an awesome hobby. And then we'll get to 6, 7, 8 figures and then I can publicly say we actually have a business. Awesome. So today, what would you like people to do? They,



if this is the first time they've heard about you and your movement, your cute idea, what would you like him to do? I would, I would have a call to action. I would ask that if you are going to be networking, I would ask that you purchase my book, utilize the tenants that are laid out in my book because by way of doing that, you support your fellow networkers. And by way of that, you help the overall global business networking community with a facelift, a facelift that's much needed, so that everyone comes out thriving. That’s what I want. Cool. Well, we'll put a link in the description to to your book’s sale page. So everybody will be able to click it and easily find it. And I'm excited for you. It's a, it's an amazing path that you're on. You're out really making a difference in the world. And, and that matters, right? And you're making society better for all of us. So my congratulations. Thank you very much.



Thank you, Steve, for having me.



Again, let's, let's check back in from time to time and, and come in and share your successes with us. I appreciate it, thank you so much. Thank you, Joseph. Thank you.



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