Kirby Hasseman’s new book, The Give First Economy, supports the belief that the best businesses, salespeople and organizations are stronger when they give first. By giving first—in other words, by adding value upfront—companies build a foundation and provide something of worth before asking for the sale. He says the power of relationships has changed; businesses need to pull customers in, help educate and entertain them, and build trust and show integrity before a product or service is purchased. His book thoroughly explains the what’s and why’s but, more importantly, it details how to do this. Many people would agree with Hasseman’s theory of adding value but don’t know how to connect the dots to move an idea into action. This article, based on the book’s second chapter, Give Out Joy, discusses the first step to get started—thinking differently.

What are some things I can start doing right away to stand out in this climate? Great question. My goal is to dig into some real things you can start doing today to impact your business, your organization or your personal brand. These techniques work. They are actionable. And hopefully, they are a bit inspiring.

But be forewarned, these are going to seem like common sense. They will seem simple. But here is a very important secret: simple is not the same as easy. There are so many things in life that are easy to diagnose. But just because they are simple to point out, does not mean they are easy to execute. That’s why it’s always easy to tell people what they should do to fix their issues. Solutions are often simple … not easy.

That’s why this is one of my favorite quotes in the world: “The greatest distance in the world is the distance between ‘I know’ and ‘I do.’”

When I talk about these principles, I always like to take some time here. That’s because at some point during this journey, you will inevitably say, “Yeah … I know that.” I know you do. The problem is, most of us are not executing on these principles—at least not consistently enough.

The reason I know this quote is true is because I KNOW, without a doubt, how to have six-pack abs. I know how to be more fit. We all do. I need to eat better-quality food, work out more and drink less beer.

I know how to do it. I just don’t (consistently) do it. So, when you catch yourself saying, “I know,” just take a moment. Ask yourself this series of questions:

  1. Yes, I know this concept … but am I doing it?
  2. Could I do it more?
  3. Am I doing it consistently?
  4. Can I up my game?

When you stop and ask these questions, my guess is it will get you back on track.

Now let’s dig into the power of giving out joy.


Some days it feels like the world is drowning in negativity. Studies will tell you that 89 percent of what you see every day is negative. Whether it is through the media, social media or even in the 3D world, everyone seems to be frustrated or complaining.

And don’t just blame the media. That’s lazy. The fact is, most days CNN is not what is filling up my Facebook feed with bitching. It’s us. It’s you. Don’t get me wrong, the media helps fuel this fire, but they are not the only ones throwing logs on it. We all have a share of the blame.

The great thing about social media is that everyone has a voice. The bad thing is everyone has a voice. As you turn on your device, it seems half the people posting are snarky trolls and the other half create a new reason to play the victim every day. Negativity is all around us. Once we understand that, the question is obvious. What do we do about it?

The answer is simple (but not always easy): Give out joy.

In a world where nearly 90 percent of what we see is negative, most people are hungering for something different. We are looking for someone to shine a light on good things. We are looking for inspiration. And the reality is, when you push out good and joy into the world, we stand out in a crowded marketing place.

When we are creating a business, an organization or a personal brand, we are always trying to prove to the marketplace we are better. But as Mike Michalowicz (author of Profit First, Pumpkin Plan and many other great business books) says, “In the minds of our customers, better is not better. Different is better.”

The fact is, when seemingly everything we see in the world is negative, a positive person (or brand) can be a shining light. It stands out. So, by giving out joy, creating joy and spreading joy, you start to stand out in the marketplace.

Now you might be thinking, “Great. But I am already a positive person!” My guess is, you are not as positive as you think. (Sorry to be negative). The fact is, as humans, we are not great at self-auditing. That’s why surveys will tell you that most people think they are an above average driver. The math tells you that’s not true. So how do we know if we are positive or negative?

Let’s start with a simple exercise. This is something I have done in sessions I give all over the U.S. I start with a simple question: How many of you know someone who is constantly negative on social media? They are always complaining. As I say, “They are miffed if they can’t find something to be mad about.” This always elicits some chuckles as everyone in the room raises their hands. Everyone knows this guy or gal.

Then I follow up with another simple question: How many of you are that person?

Silence. No hands. People start to look around the room and small uncomfortable laughs start as they realize the joke. Then the punchline comes as I say, “I have given this talk all over the country and I have never met the one jerk who is filling up all of our Facebook feeds!”

No one thinks it’s them. As I said, we are not great at self-auditing. We don’t think we are being negative. We think we are just venting. We might even think we are being funny. But we, generally, don’t think we could possibly be perceived as a negative person.

Let’s go to the tape! Go to your Facebook feed (or your social media outlet of choice) and look at your last 10 posts. Be introspective. Think about how they might be looked at from the outside world. Now, if four or more of those posts could be perceived as negative (and that’s not up to you, right?), you are likely thought of as a negative person by many of the people who follow you.

Oh … and here’s the caveat. Political posts and religious posts can be viewed as negative. We all have that crazy uncle who posts on their favorite social media platform about nine times a day outlining why the current U.S. president is a criminal. Sure, those people are easy to spot. But what about you? What do your posts look like?

The pushback I sometimes get when I am speaking has to do with religious posts. What do I mean by that? I am not suggesting you should not celebrate your faith. I am suggesting that tone matters. Consider it.

On the other hand, you really should be authentic. You should not just change your personality to fit what people want. I don’t think you should, and I am not suggesting that. If you want to post political rants, that’s your call. What I am saying is you should be intentional. Most people just sort of randomly post and share without any real thought as to how they are perceived by the outside world.

I do think you should be intentional about it. And, if you want to stand out and make a difference and create a personal brand that people want to follow in the give-first economy, I think you should consider intentionally being joyful.


If you like the idea of pushing out more joy but are wondering where to start, here are a few ideas. Use these as a jumping off point and run with it.

Share Joyful News: This doesn’t have to just be about the highlight reel of your life. Seek out good things in your community and share them. Look for good things in your organization or relationships and give them a shout out. It will not only be a great and joyful noise coming from you, but it will make them feel good, too.

Create Uplifting Content:  If you are so inclined, write blogs that help to uplift. Create Instagram posts designed to admire. Edit a video together where you interview people doing good in your industry. Shining a light on the good in the world can always be a great place to start.

Give Compliments: Make it a point to give people praise.

Smile: Want a funny exercise? The next time you drop your kid off at school (or drive to any public place), take the time to look at the faces of the other drivers. Wow! You will see a lot of grumpy faces. Take the time to give people your smile. It’s funny—you will see people give it back.

But first, let’s meet Casey Niestat. Niestat is one of the world’s most famous vloggers. He created a daily vlog that provided entertainment, advice and inspiration for millions on YouTube. And when I say, “for millions,” that is not an exaggeration. As a matter of fact, with over 10 million subscribers to his channel, I am probably under-selling his influence.

Niestat is well known for his high-quality videos and his creativity in the storytelling style of vlogging. As a matter of fact, I believe he is one of the true pioneers who made the art more mainstream.

One of Niestat’s more famous (or infamous) videos came when he got a ticket in New York City for not riding his bike in the bike lane. His problem with the ticket, as he tried to explain, is that there are often things in the bike lane. So, it’s actually safer for everyone (especially the biker) if they don’t ride there. Instead of just complaining, Niestat made a video. He shot a video of himself riding in the bike lane and repeatedly running into things that are in the way sending him crashing off his bike. Spoiler alert: The video ends with him riding in the bike lane and running into his final obstacle: a police car. (At the time I am writing this, this video has nearly 22 million views!)

Niestat started a daily vlog several years ago. That’s right. Niestat, in addition to having a family and other business interests, created a high-quality, fun and creative video on his YouTube channel—every day. Sometimes he would create an inspirational video (giving). Sometimes he would review new technology (providing value). And sometimes the videos would show his travel adventures. In each video, Niestat gave insight into his opinions, his personality and his life.

Niestat is a true pioneer in the give-first economy. Want to learn more? Head to YouTube and search for him.


Kirby Hasseman is the owner of distributor Hasseman Marketing & Communications in Coshocton, Ohio. He is also author of Delivering Marketing Joy, a frequent speaker at industry events, produces a monthly industry podcast by the same name and most recently created Start & Stop videos that focus on maximizing productivity. Reach him at

Kirby Hasseman’s new book, The Give First Economy, is available through Amazon and Audible.