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The Breakthrough Maze | Episode 009 – Being Authentic Online To Create 7 Figures


In this episode of The Breakthrough Maze our guest caller says the breakthrough she’s looking for is getting over the fear of being judged. Understanding this on a personal level Joe immediately helps our guest caller navigate to a breakthrough first by asking her to pick best case scenarios of how to get started in getting out there and becoming active on social media channels to help her business expand.

After some trouble Joe changes his strategy and invites our guest caller to list out a few examples of the worst case scenarios instead, which proves to work and begins to drive forward the breakthrough. At the end of it all she commits to closing one new client by the end of the month.



“For clarity, don’t look for the best thing you could do, look for the worst thing you can do and go from there”

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Download This Episode Here: The Breakthrough Maze | Episode 9 Being Authentic Online To Create 7 Figures (154 downloads)

The Breakthrough Maze | Episode 008 – Delegate And Make The Plate Bigger


In this episode of the Breakthrough Maze our guest caller says the breakthrough she’s looking for is being able to do more. In her own words, “Making the plate bigger.”

Understanding that this is a common roadblock for entrepreneurs and small business owners Joe recounts the story of an event he hosted where one of the guest suggested to anyone wanting to get more done that they needed to learn the art of delegation. Then he recommended to Joe and everyone at the event, a book by Donna Genett, although not well known, effective.

As the conversation develops Joe discovers that our guest caller had never set a specific goal she wanted to achieve and this being a classic case gave Joe all he needed to know about how he can help her overcome this roadblock.

Joe goes on to illustrate how lacking a clear goal makes everything look like a priority which limits productivity.

If You Want It Done Right, You Don’t Have to Do It Yourself!: The Power of Effective Delegation by Donna Genett:

“If you don’t know what more means, how can you ever get to more?”
For more information please visit:

Download This Episode Here: The Breakthrough Maze | Episode 8 Delegate and Make The Plate Bigger (150 downloads)

The Breakthrough Maze | Episode 007 – I’ll Live My Life Purpose Even If Only For An Hour


In this episode of The Breakthrough Maze our guest caller says the breakthrough she’s looking for is in making more time for connection with the people she loves. Understanding her purpose lies in making and keeping those deep connections strong Joe offers our counseling masters degree holder actionable items as potential commitments to break through the maze.

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Download This Support: The Breakthrough Maze | Episode 7 I'll Live My Life Purpose Even If Only For An Hour (147 downloads)

The Breakthrough Maze | Episode 006 – Manage Your Million Dollar Clients Expectations Stop Being At Their Beck And Call


In this episode of the Breakthrough Maze our guest caller says the breakthrough he’s looking for is in finding a way way to stick to his schedule, no matter what he has on his calendar something always comes up. Our guest wanted to discover a strong approach to dealing with million dollar clients that continue to interrupt his life at all hours of the day.

Joe invites our guest to think about the idea of keeping your word. You need to say “This is what I commit to doing” and give yourself the freedom of scheduling chaos time. Our guest begins to have his breakthrough when Joe suggests putting into place a system that his clients agree to as blocks of regularly scheduled time they can reach him, making anything outside of those blocks non-negotiable. Even if it’s just a check in call for 15 minutes with the disclosure that this time and attention will be undivided to the client.


“If you don’t create an agreement, there is an agreement for you.”

“Without Integrity there is no power.”


For more information please visit:

Download This Episode: The Breakthrough Maze | Episode 6 Manage Your Million Dollar Client Expectations Stop Being At Their Beck and Call (160 downloads)

The Breakthrough Maze | Episode 005 – If Only I Lived In Brooklyn I’d Be Successful


In this episode of the breakthrough maze our guest caller tells Joe that she needs a breakthrough in business by landing new clients. Joe gives our guest caller a kind nudge by asking her why she feels she doesn’t have new clients.

When our guest tells Joe that she thinks she needs a lead magnet to land new clients Joe reminds her that fear can often keep us from taking advantage of the simple solutions available to us. Joe challenges our guest caller to make some calls and to ask for phone numbers when she needs them for a call. Even looking at facebook in the about section.

Faced with a challenge to commit to changing her circumstances our guest caller takes on the challenge. The second breakthrough comes when our guest callers shares that she’s been living with worry and it’s making her feel tired. Still thinking about moving back to brooklyn because living in north carolina isn’t ideal anymore Joe invites our guest caller to learn to appreciate this transition period in her life. Reminding her that Viktor Frankl was able to find happiness in one of the worst places in history.


“Where your focus goes, your energy flows.”


For more information please visit:

Download This Episode Here: The Breakthrough Maze | Episode 5 If Only I Lived In Brooklyn I'd Be Successful (171 downloads)

The Breakthrough Maze | Episode 004 – Aligning Company To Reduce Refunds And Increase Profits


On this episode of the Breakthrough Maze our guest caller tells Joe opens up to Joe about how vague the roles of his employees are in the company. Joe reassures our guest caller that small businesses have this problem in common.

Joe recommends booking meetings with the whole team and one on one, that are non-transactional to open up communication between his team. Joe points out that these kind of meetings allow for a team to understand what the ultimate goal of the quarter is for our guests company. This becomes the 1st breakthrough preparing his team to secure 5 million in revenue for the year.

Our guest caller’s second breakthrough comes when Joe lays out a strategy to take control of a refund rate that has gotten out of control. Joe invites our guest to coach and trust his team enough to solve this issue for him instead of keeping himself in a hub-and-spoke business model that falls apart if he leaves for vacation. Simply creating accountability by putting the refund rate number upfront where the whole team can see.

“When multiple people are accountable for the same thing, nobody is accountable.”

“Stop solving your employees problems, they’re smarter than you.”


For more information please visit:

Download This Episode: The Breakthrough Maze | Episode 4 Aligning Company To Reduce Refunds and Increase Profit (157 downloads)

The Breakthrough Maze | Episode 003 – Eight Figure Coach Learns To Keep His Word


Joe invites an 8 figure coach to a call on the breakthrough maze. Our caller tells Joe that he wants to breakthrough his procrastination block. Although Joe covers best practices for making every task on a to do list actionable, no matter how simple a task may seem, our guest caller tells Joe that the very first thing Joe said is what gave him a breakthrough.

Our 8 figure coach admits that like the clients he helps he also runs into blind spots and Joe reminded him that keeping his word is part of the deal if you want to live with integrity. Joe quotes the book the 4 agreements “Be impeccable with your word.” as the number one agreement.


“If we don’t have integrity, we won’t keep our word, and we’ll procrastinate.”

For more information please visit:

Download This Episode: The Breakthrough Maze | Episode 3 Eight Figure Coach Learns To Keep His Word (160 downloads)

The Breakthrough Maze | Episode 002 – I’m Just Not Tech Savvy


Joe speaks with his guest about her fear of technology. Breaking any cap on business growth potential by embracing the social media selfie trend. Our guest caller goes on to say to Joe “You can do a selfie in the middle of whatever, and I admire that…How can I befriend technology?”

Joe shares his story about his own how he combatted his own fear of social media and helps our guest caller see that she understood technology just fine. What she discovered, with Joe’s help, was that her fear of technology was mislabeled. “When we ask the wrong questions, we get the wrong answer.”

Our guest’s breakthrough came when she committed to making a 60 second video and sharing it on social media. Regardless of the content she committed to getting over her real fear of being vulnerable to judgements.



“When we ask the wrong questions, we get the wrong answer.”

“My vulnerability is my strength”

For more information please visit:

Download this Episode: The Breakthrough Maze | Episode 2 I'm Just Not Tech Savvy (170 downloads)

The Breakthrough Maze | Episode 001 Welcome To The Breakthrough Maze


In this episode of The Breakthrough Maze your host, Joe Apfelbaum, introduces himself and shares his story which was the seed behind what inspired him to launch a campaign for public coaching via Facebook Live.

Bringing more than thirteen years to the online business, technology and marketing community and Serving as CEO and Co-Founder of Ajax Union a digital marketing and advertising agency based in Brooklyn, NY Joe challenges himself to grow by undertaking an innovative approach to coaching anonymous callers with challenges he’s not anticipating.

For more information please visit: 


Download This Episode: The Breakthrough Maze | Episode 1 Welcome To The Breakthrough Maze (155 downloads)

Brand Yourself as a Leader; Make an Impact



When I got this idea in my head that I “Should” put myself out there and start writing, speaking and sharing my ideas, I had some major resistance.

The voice inside my head said “Sure, you have tons to say but who would really want to hear you. What value can you really add? Just keep it all to yourself if you want to look good to others.”

I listened to that little voice in my head and I made up excuses.

“I am not a writer, I hire writers to write for me.”

“I am a private person, I don’t like to share in public forum, It’s just who I am, I need to accept that”

“I have no real original value to add, everything I said, someone else already said in a different way. Who am I to start saying and sharing ideas.”

The list of voices and reasons can go on and on but I think you get the picture.

I am not here to tell you to brand yourself and make an impact, I am not here to should on you or to tell you that if you brand yourself you will be more successful.

I would like to simply share my experience with you and give you the steps I took to create a brand that I love and that makes an impact every day. My personal brand is still a work in progress and I have ways to go but here is where I got to where I am.

Before I began to develop myself as a leader that has thoughts and shares their ideas, I needed to first confront and distinguish those little voices in my head that do not let me get into the “Zone” AKA the reasons why I should not do brand myself as a leader and make an impact.

Here is how I addressed the first three reasons above and you can make your own list of reasons and address them honestly in your own way.

I am not a writer; I hire writers

Yes, I am not a writer because If I am being honest with myself, I never take the time to write. I have been pretending that I am not a writer, yet I am perfectly capable of writing emails that are moving.

I am perfectly capable of speaking and sharing ideas with people one on one, that move people and inspire them.

The fact that I am not a writer TODAY is true. The reason I SAY I am not a writer is because I am not spending the time writing.

The reason I that I do not spend time writing is because I SAY I am not a GOOD writer.

It’s a circle I am stuck in. Because I can never become a GOOD writer if I do not write!

I need to just write even though I am not a writer and I might become a writer, I might even become a GOOD writer.

That is something I had to stop pretending and making excuses for to be able to break free from that self-judgment and move forward.

Here is another example:

I am a private person, I don’t share in public.

Am I really a private person? YES! I like privacy. Do I really like privacy all the time? No! I just like privacy when people ask me to speak in public. I do not want to share my thoughts in front of people. Why? Because I am a private person, because I am humble because I am shy!

I know deep inside that I have a truth to share and I wish I can get out of my shell but I can’t get out of it. I am just this way and it’s now it was meant to be. The voice in my head tells me these reasons to try and protect me from taking a social risk and looking bad in front of many people.

The internal justification might be, if I make a mistake in front of one or two people, I can live with that. If I make a mistake in front of 20 people, I will die of shame.

Joe! You don’t die of shame, you feel like you die but that is where you begin to live. People jump out of airplanes to get that rush and all you have to do is get up in front of a group of people who ASKED you to speak because they know you have some value that they need.

Sure, the fact that you are funny, entertaining, interesting, smart all those things are more of a reason for you to get up and share your truth with the world.

I needed to own up the fact that I have been pretending to be a private person because I was afraid people would see how charming I am and ask me to get up and wow the crowd. That I would get up there with people’s high expectations of me and I would fumble and look stupid. And then I would just DIE and I Would not be able to do this again ever.

The fear had a grip on me for the better of 30 years and I finally had the courage to just do it. I got up in front of 80 people and presented a topic that I was a true expert in. Digital Marketing, SEO etc. Even with that, I was pacing, and hyperventilating, out of breath and scared to hell. But I did it anyway and realized that I love doing it and I can impact thousands and help millions by doing it. So now I do it anyway.

Here is another example:

I do not have any original ideas; who wants to really hear me!

The fact is that I do not have any original ideas. All ideas existed in some way shape or form. The way that I generate ideas is that I take two existing things and put them together to create a new thing that is made up of other things.

My creativity is about making connections that people usually do not distinguish and that makes me happy. When I make a connection, I get energized and when I share it and people are impressed by the idea, I feel validated.

I have been pretending that I do not have any good ideas to share because I was afraid that people would call me out. They would Google it and see that someone else said something similar. That it was something that I stole and I would be called out as a Liar. When in fact, I am being inauthentic by holding back my ideas, because my ideas are mine, even if someone else said the same exact thing. I own it now because I took ownership of the idea and shared it within the context of my lens.

Only I can see things from my exact view, from my exact experience, from my exact insane paradigm and the fact that I am not sharing was causing me to feel like I am not enough.

Like I am not worthy of sharing my original ideas.

That only my mother can hear them and everyone else can’t know those ideas. Because my mother won’t Google to see if the idea is really mine.

In reality, no one is going to Google anything. “I only do that for myself to feel validated.” I Google things to see if anyone else said them!

Now that I realize that it’s just a fear I am ready to get started branding myself as a leader. Here are the 5 steps that I took.

  • Identify Your Excitement
  • Define Your Audience
  • Speak To A Writing Coach
  • Plan Time In Your Calendar
  • Define Your Assets

Identify Your Excitement

To really be able to connect with people, you need to connect on an emotional level. You will never be able to connect and make an impact with logic. Humans connect with emotions. You need to be able to charge you content and thought leadership with your voice that has your own personal flavor of your emotions. This is one of the reasons why it’s so hard to outsource writing and leaders have to really get down and write on their own.

Imagine giving a speech to your company but instead of you talking, you have someone else do the speech that you wrote. That’s not you! Yes, it’s your speech but it’s not your voice. You want to make sure that you can get your voice down and people want to hear the excitement in your voice. The emotion will transfer to other humans and your story will stick.

Brainstorm a list of all the categories you can think of and pick the top 4 categories and focus on those areas.

When you start writing, just write about what excites you. Your ieas, your questions, the questions that others have had and share your own experience. People learn from discovering your experience as if it was their own.

There are four seasons, I have my own which are.

  • Sales (B2B Business Development),
  • Marketing(Digital Marketing),
  • Networking (Business Networking)
  • Leadership (Self Improvement)

I can read and write about those topics for hours and I love them so much. They excite me and because of that, they excite others when I share my experience with those topics.

Sure, I have dozens of topics that I can speak about, topics like health, motivation, relationships, religion, technology, psychology, coaching etc but those are my top 4 at this time in my life.

Define Your Audience

If you only spoke to one human being, who would that human being be? What would their name be? What gender? What would they look like? How old? What do they do? Why do they do it? You need to really get down and look at this person in the face and have a conversation with them. The more defined your audience, the better you message will hit home to EVERYONE. People try to be general because they do not want to miss anyone, they end up missing everyone. You need to be VERY specific if you want to make an impact.

I am speaking to a business owner that started his own company and figured out how to get his business to a few hundred thousand a year. He is working 16 hours a day and is hungry to keep growing his business. He feels like it’s a miracle that he got this far and he has a family at stake. He really wants to keep growing his business but he is not sure how he will do it. His goal is to break the million dollar mark and he is optimistic that he can do it.

What are the things that you would tell this person? Now you have so much more to say to them! Remember you can speak to everyone but do it by speaking to one person and the impact will be much greater.

Speak To A Writing Coach

The only way to get your ideas out of your head is to make time each month to speak with someone about your ideas.

You know what excites you and someone who is a good sounding board can help you extract those ideas that you want to share. It took me 8 months of speaking to a writing coach to come up with the ideas that lead me to write a book.

Just having a conversation about the problems you want to solve, about your expertise about the people you want to impact. Talking about those ideas will make a crazy amount of topics arise and they create the motivation and accountability to get this going.

I found a book editor that became my writing coach. Before I had her, I used my admin as my writing coach. It’s just a person who will be there for you to hear your ideas for 30 minutes to an hour month.

Plan Time In Your Calendar

I never used to make any time for writing. Other things were more important. Who really has the time! We all have the time, you just do not have it as a priority.

For me to really be able to get into the groove of writing, I needed to dedicate time in the morning before everyone wakes up. I would create a document the night before and add the first sentence. I would go to sleep thinking about the topic and when I woke up, I would spend an hour in front of the document just spilling my thoughts out.

This is how I wrote this exact article, it’s not something I planned more than thinking about a topic to write about and adding a time to my calendar to write about it.

I need to clear my email inbox first to make sure there are no fires that will not allow me to get into the zone. Sometimes clearing your mind first by doing a brain dump and just adding everything that is on your mind into a TO DO list might help you clear out your brain to give you the ability to really be creative.

Also, I promised my admin that I would write about this topic so I would look stupid if I didn’t execute on this. You have to be able to want to look good and have your pride on the line to really be able to produce results.

Now that you have a plan in your calendar and you are writing, there is only one more step

Define Your Assets

There are assets that most people do not define when they start on their journey to sharing ideas as a leader. I found that by defining those assets and organizing them at my fingertips it helps me be able to create and not worry.

Here are three brand assets you need to define and optimize each year.

  • Bio + Personal Summary
  • Headshot + Photos

Values + Inspiration

Most people do not have a good BIO and those that have a bio, it’s usually not up to date. After you post each article you need to have a blurb you can add with your short article bio with some call to action. Follow me on social is enough of a call to action but it needs to be inspiring and short.

It pays to have a full bio as well where you list out accomplishments that you are most proud of. The BIO is for you to have more confidence. That asset is super important for all ideas to have.

If you have not taken professional headshots in the past year, find someone to get your headshots done. It feels so good to have great photos that are created by a professional. It won’t happen on its own, you need to get it done.

You also want to have a collection of photos that you use when you write articles, I use my Google Photos to download a recent photo. If you don’t take many photos at least start a collection that inspires you so you can have something to share with your article. Think about starting a collection of photos and videos.

The third brand asset is a document that has your values, your strengths and some items that inspire you. If you create this document and review it each month, it really helps you develop your voice and strengthen it. You want to find quotes that excite and energize you. Poems that move you. Collect a virtual bucket of inspiring items that represent your voice. Find other leaders that are putting out content that feels like your style. Include a list of those people in this document.

You can also include a list of tools that you use to help you be able to write better. For example, I use to help me be able to have the proper grammar in my articles because my grammar sucks.

Now that you have your assets you will have more confidence, more clarity and take more action.

To Summarize, You need to first challenge your beliefs and views about yourself and your ideas. Once you do that you can take this 5 step approach and start sharing ideas. Identify Your Excitement, Define Your Audience, Speak To A Writing Coach, Plan Time In Your Calendar, Define Your Assets.

Please comment with your biggest takeaway and if you like this please share it with others.

Joe Apfelbaum is the CEO of digital marketing agency . He is a public speaker, certified Google Trainer, and published business author. Joe enjoys speaking and writing about a broad range of business topics in his seminars, webinars and articles. Joe is the host of the popular podcast CEO Mojo and the producer In 2016 Joe was named the King of Kings County Brooklyn for his contribution to the business community in Brooklyn. Joe is proud of all his accomplishments, but most of all he is proud of his beautiful amazing kids.

For more about Joe, follow Joe Apfelbaum on social media @joeapfelbaum