027: Cory Damon - Discover Your Value. Unlock Your Potential.

Meet Cory Damon. He, together with his partners Tim Bartlett and Steven Ma, founded The Change Element which seeks to help entrepreneurs and leaders achieve success through holistic coaching, consulting and training.

Cory specializes in working with entrepreneurs in helps them to identify and understand their individual value and then creating and maintaining consistent daily routines and habits that have been proven to lead to change. As entrepreneurs, time management can quickly become friend or foe. By taking a holistic approach to an entrepreneur’s entire day, Cory and his team have discovered that true change can occur to unlock our potential.

In this episode, Cory speaks of his own entrepreneurial journey as shares many candid moments on discovering his own potential.

CONTACT

TheChangeElement.com

Cory's Personal Site: CoryDamon.me

Social Media

Facebook

Twitter: @CoryDamon

LinkedIn: CoryDamon


SHOW NOTES


WHAT DO YOU DO? [03:11]

 So, what I say is that I help individuals discover their value and unleash their vision. Essentially I do that through coaching, consulting and training.

WHAT IS IT THAT REALLY PROMPTED YOU TO START THE CHANGE ELEMENT? [05:42]

Cory explains his progression from going from a full-time job as a Director of Operations to starting a small screen printing company. Cory then later progressed to eventually sell that business and start an online, crowd-funding business. His progression put him in contact with his now two partners, Tim Bartlett and Steven Ma, and together they wanted to make a greater impact in a much more holistic way.

Their desire to help inspire and motivate other entrepreneurs led them to create The Change Element – an organization that focuses on entrepreneurs reaching their potential through a combination of coaching, consulting, training and providing a myriad of resources to aid them in their journey.

WHAT ARE SOME COMMON PITFALLS THAT YOU SEE IN WORKING WITH ENTREPRENEURS? [10:28]

  … A big one is partners. I was so against having partners for so many different reasons and that really hindered me and I didn’t discover that until I actually brought in partners and started to work with partners and I realized, you know it’s that analogy of the candle; if I’m holding a candle that’s lit and you bring a candle up to mine and yours isn’t lit, you hold it up to mine and all the sudden yours is lit, my candle didn’t get diminished at all. That’s a great analogy for partnerships…
… I think that we just need to surround ourselves with people that are going to be real with us. They’re going to hold us accountable. They’re going to have a different perspective and viewpoint from ours and so the sooner that we can really start to get those people around us, the better off we’re going to be.
Another one is… priorities. I think a lot of entrepreneurs are like me, we have shiny object syndrome, we want to chase everything. We have so many ideas in our head that seem great. Many of them aren’t but they seem great and so we want to do all of these things and really you’re going a mile wide and only an inch deep… We want to go deep in one direction and then that will eventually catalyze us and allow us to go wider.

HOW DO YOU RECOMMEND THAT ENTREPRENEURS CAN REALLY FOCUS ON WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT?  [12:27]

In large part our ability to focus and to prioritize and really just focus on the things that are important are understanding what our purpose is and whatever it is we’re doing.

Cory goes on to explain how powerful daily routines and creating intentional habits can transform your focus into accomplishing your goals.

WHAT WAS ONE OF YOUR BIGGEST AH-HAH MOMENTS? [20:28]

Probably that our passion and desire and what we thought was a great idea; it’s not enough. Just having those things wasn’t going to automatically attract people to us.

Cory continues to explain that being an entrepreneur takes a lot more than a great idea and passion, you’ve go to have a plan surrounding the goals of your overall purpose and direction. The most important assets of his company are the client relationships that he has built and continues to build.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU? [27:24]

Fortunately, in the morning as I’m meditating/praying… my reading is often reading scripture in the morning and so just going through that and understanding and seeing the human dynamic that unfolds in scriptures is really captivating to me. The stories are captivating. So I get a lot of inspiration from that…

Cory also shares that he gains a lot of inspiration from his business partners and he enjoys clearing his head while running.

HOW DO YOU VIEW FAILURE? [29:00]

 …It was something that I had to learn, but I don’t view failure as failure in the typical definition of it. Failure to me is always a learning experience and I embrace it. I know that there are people out there that say ‘no you shouldn’t ever try to fail’ and of course you shouldn’t try to fail but, the reality is its going to happen and so I actually embrace it. I’ve failed enough that I’ve learned to embrace it and really learn what it is, okay examine that failure. Why did I fail? What caused it? Was it in my control or was it completely out of my control? And then moving forward you know; how can I apply that to whatever I’m going to do next to make sure I can avoid that? Or, every time I fail by learning from that, I’m able to now see the failures coming before I ever get to them and so I can avoid them.

Cory then continues by giving candid advice on some of the self-talk that he goes through when failures and setbacks arise.

IF YOU COULD GO BACK AND GIVE YOURSELF ADVICE, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY? [33:41]

Cory shares a story about how he stayed at a company for more than five years, already knowing during that period of time that he had greater aspirations, but continually questioned himself during that time.  He states:

I would tell myself back then: you’ve got to listen to your voice. Listen to that gut. Know your value. Understand that yea this is a risk, but all good things are risky at one point or another and so jump into it…

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS? [38:06]

It’s about having people around you. I use the word partners but… it’s much broader than the definitions we typically give to that word. But just having people around you. It’s so important! None of us were really meant or even capable of traveling alone…


RECOMMENDED RESOURCES


026: Octavia Gilmore: On Branding and Creating a Unique Customer Experience


Meet Octavia Gilmore, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Creative Juice – a boutique creative agency located in Atlanta, GA that specializes in helping businesses clearly communicate their brand identity through creative design and packaging.

Octavia has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and in this episode you will hear how, through perseverance and inspiration, Octavia followed her passion and is now helping many others to more aptly express their brand identities through the combined creativity of herself and her team. On her website, itscreativejuice.com you will find words and phrases such as: “small but mighty;” “super powers;” and “juicers” – a moniker that each member of Octavia’s team likes to be referred to as.

It is immediately apparent from the first time you visit her website that she and her team are passionate about their work. Learn how Octavia was initially inspired as she shares great insight throughout the episode on being a young entrepreneur and not being afraid to explore your creativity. 

CONTACT

Website: http://itscreativejuice.com

Instagram: itscreativejuice

Twitter: its_creative 

Phone: (404) 946-8599


SHOW NOTES


WHAT DO YOU DO? [02:58]

I am the owner and Chief Creative Officer of Creative Juice. We are a small boutique creative agency and we are located in Atlanta. We specialize in branding web and packaging and we focus on helping businesses communicate their message to their target audience through creative design.

WHAT WAS THE PREMISE BEHIND STARTING CREATIVE JUICE? [03:47]

Octavia explains how she’s always considered herself as a graphic artist and she went to Savannah College of Art and Design where she earned a BFA in Graphic Design with the goal to start her own agency one day. After graduating, she completed several internships and then worked as a Graphic Design Artist with AT&T as well as a start-up. Finally, when she felt ready to venture on her own, she founded Creative Juice in 2013.

HOW DID YOU CREATE YOUR BRAND? [05:48]

Octavia shares her story of coming up with her company name as she really wanted to personify “creative juices” flowing such as when ideas strike us.  From that name, her team identifies themselves as “the juicers” who help their clients bring their creative ideas to life.

WHO ARE YOU PRIMARILY WORKING WITH? [06:41]

Octavia explains that she has a wide variety of clients ranging from small start-ups in Atlanta to Fortune 500 companies. Her team consists of millennials and she Creative Juice specializes in helping companies look more modern and relate to the younger generations.

Octavia gives an example of how she and her team coach their clients to help their brand image exemplify their brand culture and identity.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN STRENGTHENING A BRAND? [10:00]

Octavia explains that creating a brand experience from the moment a customer either walks through the front door or interacts with your brand is the principal focus. If you can focus and highlight a unique attribute about how your brand is different or what really sets you apart that is either personal or that people can easily relate to is always a good thing. Color selection and psychology is also very important to help strengthen the brand message. For product based businesses, the packaging and presentation of the product also play an important role in the customer’s overall experience.

The brand website is also important and every detail should support overall brand experience and it should be easy to find key information in both quickly and conveniently.

WHAT WAS PERHAPS ONE OF YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGES IN STARTING YOUR COMPANY? [14:23]

So the funny thing is I had a bunch of challenges… So I’ve never been a business owner, I’ve never managed a team. I’ve never dealt with crazy clients. There were a lot of obstacles that I kind of had to overcome; the biggest one being fear. When you’re starting out and you don’t necessarily know your way. You’re very scared of making the wrong decision. You’re scared that you’re not going to have enough money to pay your bills. There’s always a lot of fear there and kinda once you get yourself out of the way and kinda be brave and not afraid to make those mistakes and learn from them, I think that’s when… that’s an ideal situation for you to kind of branch off and do your own thing.

WHAT WAS ONE OF YOUR BIGGEST AH-HAH MOMENTS? [17:14]

Octavia shares how when she first started out she was charging clients hourly but was not including her administrative staff into the equation. Once she made that realization both her cash flow and margins improved.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU? [22:47]

Well what inspired me to kind of start Creative Juice was my Mother. She was very strong and independent and I learned a lot from her so those types of values were instilled in me at a very young age. I’ve always wanted to be my own boss and I feel like you know, why work hard to help someone else to achieve their goals when you can work equally as hard to achieve your own goals.

HOW DO YOU VIEW FAILURE? [24:42]

Well I think you know once again, knowing that you don’t have 20 years of experience doing this thing, right? You can’t beat yourself up and say “Hey I should have known better.” Because its like okay well how would we’ve known better? You’ve never done this before; you’ve never owned a business. You’ve never been an entrepreneur. You’ve never had to manage a team. So I think it’s important that you do treat you do treat every failure as a learning opportunity and you say to yourself; okay where did this go wrong? What could have I done differently? You know; where should something have been changed and you know even asking your client for feedback…

IF YOU COULD GO BACK AND GIVE YOURSELF ADVICE, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO YOURSELF? [26:17]

I would [say] to just do it. Just like Nike says: “Just do it!” Stop moping around. Stop being afraid. Just do it. Its that simple. Just do it you know, just do it.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS? [26:57]

I think the first step is kind of discovering what you’re passionate about and what you want to do. If you’re not clear on that you will struggle. So have a clear understanding of kind of what your vision is for your company and then putting everything down on paper. People say that when you write down your goals they actually end up happening. There’s a higher percentage that a goal that is written down is more likely to happen than one that you just kept in your mind. So definitely write down all of your goals…


RECOMMENDED RESOURCES


BOOKS

Successful Women Think Differently: 9 Habits to Make You Happier, Healthier and More Resilient by Valorie Burton 

The Win Without Pitching Manifesto by Blair Enns

Business Forum

Octavia also mentioned the following forum which contains relevant and insightful information for small business owners that touts 'Insights, Inspiration and Connections to Grow Your Business':

The American Express Open Forum Website

025: Brandon Adams: Keys to Crowd-Funding

Meet Brandon Adams, an “entrepreneur’s entrepreneur.” After graduating from Iowa State University in 2012, Brandon developed Arctic Stick which is a small cylindrical plastic stick that once frozen, can fit inside virtually any beverage container and has been proven to keep beverages colder, longer. As his business grew, he turned to crowd-funding to raise additional capital through multiple donors throughout the world. From his experience, Brandon authored Keys to the Crowd which has now become the definitive guide to crowd funding and Brandon has now become largely sought after to help other entrepreneurs launch successful crowd-funding campaigns of their own.

Brandon is also founder and host of University of Young Entrepreneurs, an energetic podcast geared towards any entrepreneur who is young as heart who is seeking actionable takeaways that they can incorporate into their own entrepreneurial ventures. Brandon has been featured in notable publications such as USA Today and Inventor’s Digest and has made multiple media appearances throughout the U.S.

He is launching a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo called Young Entrepreneur Convention which is geared to be the largest event of its kind and will be held in 2016 on April 22nd and 23rd in Des Moines, Iowa. The event will feature many celebrity guest speakers such as John Lee Dumas, Ken Shamrock (The World’s Most Dangerous Man), Des Woodruff and many more.

In this episode, Brandon “gets real” and shares his entrepreneurial journey in almost a one-on-one format that is loaded with valuable insights for any aspiring entrepreneur.

YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR CONVENTION - DES MOINES, IOWA APRIL 22ND - 23RD, 2016

http://youngentreprenuerconvention.com


SHOW NOTES


WHAT DO YOU DO? [03:24]

… I help people take their business and lifestyle to the next level and no only that, if they have an idea I help them fund their idea and get the money they need through crowd funding.

WHAT IS YOUR OVERALL BACKGROUND AND HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? [04:02]

Brandon explains his overall background and how he grew up in the small Iowa town of Garnavillo. He grew up in the ice business and at a very young age discovered that he had a large entrepreneurial spirit. Upon graduating from Iowa State University in 2012, he developed a product called ‘The Arctic Stick’ which is a small cylindrical plastic stick that once frozen, can fit inside virtually any beverage container and has been proven to keep beverages colder, longer. It can also be used as a flavor enhancer inside any drink through its unique design and unlike regular ice, your drink won’t be diluted.

In seeking to market the Arctic Stick, Brandon quickly found success and as such made appearances on several media outlets, he authored a book entitled “Keys to the Crowd”, launched a successful podcast called The University of Young Entrepreneurs, he has appeared in numerous publications such as USA Today and Inventors Digest and has discovered that he has a unique knack in raising money through crowd funding. He now works with many entrepreneurs to raise money in a similar manner and has quickly made a name for himself.

DEVELOPMENT OF ARCTIC STICK [06:31]

Brandon explains how he developed Artic Stick from an idea in his head to a drawing to an actual product and also explains the common pitfalls that most product developers have, namely lack of knowledge and lack of funds. Brandon explains that in working through his own struggles, he wanted to help and inspire other entrepreneurs who may have similar challenges in launching a business and as such, he launched his podcast – University of Young Entrepreneurs.

DESCRIPTION OF ARCTIC STICK [08:39]

Artic Stick is the only product on the market that both cools and flavors your drink. It will fit inside your bottled beverage, any regular 16.9 fluid ounce bottled beverage. Fill it full of liquid, freeze it and if you want to cool your bottled beverage you simply drop it in the drink. It keeps it colder longer and it won’t dilute it. You want to flavor your drink? At the top you twist, there’s four holes at the center, it will flow out, filter out and flavor your drink.

HOW DID YOU PROGRESS FORWARD AFTER DEVELOPING ARCTIC STICK? [09:43]

Brandon shares how he initially borrowed money from “family, friends and fools” and also sold real estate part time on the weekends.  He quickly recognized however that the business needed more money to really take off and he discovered crowd funding.  Through his discovery, he shared his experience and wrote “Keys to the Crowd” which has become a definitive guide to successful crowd funding campaigns.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS TO GETTING ON TV? [11:48]

Brandon explains how to best position yourself to do so but fundamentally, you must be entertaining. He goes on to explain the key steps in promoting yourself directly to the newsroom producer of the station that you desire to be on and offer something of value that is relevant to current interest. He also shares that it greatly helps by being an author.

WHAT IS CROWD-FUNDING? [15:39]

Brandon explains that crowd-funding is a way to raise capital through multiple donors on the internet without giving up equity for the company. There are many crowd-funding sites that are geared towards different types of opportunities, but two larger ones are Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The crowd-funding platform enables you to showcase your product/idea via text, graphics and video and ultimately, it is best if you can give your donors a discount or an exclusive offer to whatever you are raising capital for.

WHAT ARE SOME COMMON PITFALLS IN CROWD-FUNDING? [17:54]

The number #1 mistake, I call it the Boy Scout mistake – Lack of Preparation.

Brandon continues to explain the importance of really preparing well for the campaign prior to its launch and adequately promoting it during the actual campaign. Its also critically important to give back tangible value (like a value meal) to those who pledge funds to your campaign.

Brandon explains that after having personally studied thousands of different campaigns, he developed the FUND formula that became the premise to his book, Keys to the Crowd. The FUND Formula stand for: 

  • Forethought
  • Utilize a marketing plan
  • Narrative; and
  • Deliver Value.

Brandon explains each point and recommends a 45 – 60 day preparation period to be successful comprising of hundreds of hours of work to really do it well.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CURRENT CAMPAIGN NOW [25:07]

Brandon shares that he has launched, as of November 2nd, a crowd-funding campaign called: Young Entrepreneurs Convention on Kickstarter. He is pre-selling tickets to an event occurring on April 22nd and 23rd in Des Moines, IA. He is seeking for this event to be the largest movement for young entrepreneurs and inspire others to go after their dreams.  He will have several famous guest speakers such as: John Lee Dumas, Ken Shamrock (The World’s Most Dangerous Man), Des Woodruff and many more.

The first 500 people who contribute to the campaign will be eligible for a highly discounted event ticket of $29.

WHAT WAS YOUR BIG AH-HAH MOMENT AS AN ENTREPRENEUR? [29:57]

Whatever the mind can see and believes, the mind achieves. If you want something in life you got to believe in it and you got to want it. Anything is possible. I came from a 1.68 GPA, I had nothing, I was broke. You got to want it, you got to go after it. But the biggest thing is, anybody out there; what are you passionate about? What do you love to do? Like seriously, what is it that you love to do that drives you that keeps you up at night? Not about the money. Forget about the money. What makes you the happiest person? Whatever that is figure out a way to turn it into a business or a product and pursue it and the money will come.

HOW DO YOU VIEW FAILURE AS AN ENTREPRENEUR? [32:43]

Failure is a stepping stone towards your success. Failure is the best thing that could ever happen to you. Failure allows you to figure out who you are as a person. If you don’t fail then you’re not trying enough.
I fail a lot and I’m going to fail a lot more. It’s a part of the journey. If you know going into it that you are going to fail and you just take that and use it as a way to become more successful, it’s really just part of the journey. That’s why I always say: failure is a stepping stone towards your success. Go out and fail!

Brandon goes on to explain how he turned one of his biggest failures into a learning moment that launched his current entrepreneurial path. He may have never even started what he is now passionate about, had he not failed.

Brandon also shares some of the self-talk that he went through to get through his lowest point to completely pivot and pursue success.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS? [40:55]

The first thing is, figure out what you love the most. Figure out what you love to do the most and go after it. Two, surround yourself with people that are a lot smarter than you. Surround yourself with people that have already achieved what you want to achieve, follow in their footsteps and achieve it because you can’t do it alone. 


RECOMMENDED RESOURCES


Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill 

Keys to the Crowd by Brandon Adams

024: Matthew Ferrara: On Modern Philosophy and Creating Experiential Relationships

MATTHEW FERRARA

Meet Matthew Ferrara. Philosopher.  Speaker. Writer. Photographer.

Matthew travels the world seeking unique personal experience and perspective and then in turn sharing those insights in a fascinating way through stories that connect history, industry, technology and people. When asked, Matthew views his mission as inspiring others in a noble way. He does so through a combination of speaking, photography and writing, all of which can be found on his website at: MatthewFerrara.com.

At Matthew’s core philosophy, he believes that focusing on strengthening individual relationships and creating unique, positive customer experience for every single customer will lead to a much more successful venture as well as more meaningful living. He finds significant correlation through historical examples and great minds of past centuries that is still highly applicable to today’s challenges in any individual circumstance, organization or industry.   

CONTACT

Website: MatthewFerrara.com

Facebook: MatthewFerrara

Instagram: Matthew_Ferrara1 

Twitter: @mfcompany


BONUS CONTENT



SHOW NOTES


WHAT DO YOU DO? [04:01]

In my case it’s a little difficult. Its not every day that you hand out a card to someone that says “Philosopher” on it and they say “Oh, I get that.”  In fact, what they mostly say is; “I thought you all were dead.” The fun part is, is that once you start talking to people they kind of get what you do. In a nutshell I’m an ideas guy. I’m a guy who helps people explore ideas and apply them to whatever their project is.
If their project is a multi-national corporation selling real estate around the world or if their project is “I’m an individual trainer” trying to have some fun and make a great living or “I’m a sales person or a manager”, what I do is collect ideas. I develop ideas. I’m able to, through my career, encounter people who are doing so many great things, sort of collect like a bumble bee, these great ideas and cross-pollinate them where they could do the most amount of good work.

MATTHEW SHARES THE IMPORTANCE FOCUSING ON INDIVIDUAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE. [11:05]

I think we often compete on the wrong things. We are infatuated in many industries and specifically in sales industries with the latest shiniest, coolest gadget. I love those things like everyone else but at the end of the day if they don’t add up to a better overall experience whether it’s a sales experience, a service experience, a consultative experience, a learning experience then you’re really not competing.
What you’re doing is maybe of only temporary advantage but an experienced-based advantage is really powerful these days. It is something that is hard to commoditize and hard for competitors to copy. So yes, I think that the more you focus on “what is the the experience each individual customer has with me or my organization or both as opposed to how many customers can I have or what margin can I get on the customers;” I think you will be far more successful.

WHEN DID YOU IDENTIFY YOURSELF AS A PHILOSOPHER? [15:52]

Matthew shares his unique story of going through a rebranding moment. He has a degree in Philosophy and a degree in Political Economics and after having had a successful career in sales, training and consulting he shares where he had a moment in his life where he recognized that he had a lot more to contribute than he was able to do in his then-current role.

He recognized that he had a unique ability to shape conversation and wanted to begin inspiring others from a much broader perspective. As he started to identify himself as a Philosopher, he as well as many others, finally felt that Matthew had found his calling.

WHERE DO YOU DRAW YOUR INSPIRATION FROM? [20:50]

My inspiration really comes from two places: my personal experiences because those are just stories that I can tell, no one else can tell them because they’re mine so that kind of nice. That’s unique. Secondly, someone with a degree in Philosophy reads a lot of stuff. I’m a big fan of the past, of history. So, I try to connect a number of dots. … I’ll have an experience today that will make me think of something from twenty-five years ago.
Something maybe written by someone much smarter than me like a Peter Drucker or an Alfred Sloan or something that I read… or fifty years ago or a hundred years ago because of my passion for history or something. So I try to connect these dots to show people that there still is relevance to them and then beyond that I do one extra thing that works really well for me I think which is: it really is my photography as a story telling tool. Almost exclusively on my blog I only use my own photos and I use those photos as a story-telling starting point.

HOW DID YOU BEGIN YOUR SPEAKING CAREER? [27:38]

In my case it was I had built some content and I had a chance to deliver it and was seen by someone who said, “wow, that was some really good content and I have an opportunity for you.” So, then that opened doors for me.

Matthew continues and encourages that the way to build your brand is to focus on building relationships.  He states that building solid relationships is the secret to being successful as an entrepreneur. He illustrates this point by sharing a story involving a McDonald’s supplier in China revolving around the social concept of Guanxi (pronounced Gwan-chi) which is a societal norm that dictates personal relationships and personal connection must prevail.

 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT MATTHEW: [38:16]

On Matthew’s website he shares some interesting personal facts about himself in which he speaks three different languages, has survived cancer twice and writes mystery stories for fun.  He expounds upon all three in which he is fluent in Italian, French and English and can read and write in Spanish and Latin; He survived Lung Cancer in 1999 and Kidney Cancer in 2004.  These experiences alone greatly helped Matthew to shift his focus to build lasting relationships and experiences and to seek to do “noble” work by inspiring others. For fun and as a creative outlet, Matthew enjoys writing short mystery stories based on some of his favorite historical characters such as Sherlock Holmes, etc.

WHAT IS SOME OF THE SELF-TALK THAT OCCURS WHEN SOMETHING DOESN’T WORK OUT? [47:44]

Self-talk is a great word for it because there is always a voice in our head that is always critical of what we’re doing. It’s a good thing too, it what keeps us honest and keeps us giving our best for our clients, our friends and our family. For me the self-talk is two-fold: first I will go through a process in my own mind of sort of saying: What did I do?” “How did I do it” What might I have done differently?
Sometimes you have to walk yourself back a little bit because you are so critical of your own work and to think: Did I notice it? Did everybody notice it? Was it a real mistake or was it an internally perceived mistake? So I do some of that self-talk, but to be really honest I also have people to talk to. It could be someone I know who is in the audience who can see it from a different perspective. It could be one of my business partners. It could be a client who also is a speaker or a trainer in their own right and so I do try to take advantage of others and say; “hey, give me your honest feedback.” In fact, some of the best things I’ve ever done have been through those conversations…

Matthew continues to explain that making mistakes are great sources of improvement and that the most important part of self-talk is to know when to end it and rise above it. He quotes: “Never judge a bad day until four months later.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS? [51:52]

I think the lesson I’ve learned the most in twenty-five years is: it’s important to have a plan, but it’s important to be flexible with that. 

In comparing the entrepreneurial journey to a ship on a sea, Matthew councils to “lead with a light hand.” As a captain of your ship, you will be at the helm to control the rudder, but no matter what you do, the wind will always be stronger than you. 


RECOMMENDED RESOURCES


Don’t count out the classics! Because I know that they’re not exciting and they may not have the latest story telling, but some of the things written in the 50’s and 60’s in terms of business and customers and growth and the future… my personal business favorites are from Peter Drucker.

Business

The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker

The Essential Drucker by Peter Drucker

Lateral Thinking

Po: Beyond Yes and No by Edward de Bono

Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono

Matthew also recommends to turn to the arts. Find great photographers (he mentioned Richard Avedon), musicians, artists, dancers, etc. that are great masters at their craft and learn from them. 


 mentioned BLOG POSTS


During the interview, Matthew referred to several blog posts and speeches that he has given.  You may read them here: 

Social Media Sushi by Matthew Ferrara

Mayonnaise and the Art of Disruption by Matthew Ferrara

Shooting for the Stars by Matthew Ferrara

Will Break for Lions by Matthew Ferrara

023: Benj Miller - Discover Your Brand Identity

Meet Benj Miller, Founder of Syrup Marketing where his mission is to connect ideas, systems, people and resources to build amazing organizations. Just as the name suggests, Benj focuses on building “brand stickiness” by helping core stakeholders of a particular company to understand (and perhaps even discover) the core fundamentals and identity of their brand and then marketing to their true customers. Benj is also co-founder of two additional companies: Code Smith Development – an agile development team that can bring big ideas to life and Transcend CRE – A Commercial Real Estate Brokerage that utilizes a concierge approach in designing and preparing applicable workspaces that reflect the culture of the business.

In this episode Benj shares his personal story of his own personal journey of discovering his own identity at its core and building his life around that by staying true to who he is. He gives outstanding and poignant advice for anyone aspiring to be an entrepreneur and even perhaps those who are currently struggling in their current business ventures. Benj is based in Atlanta, GA with his wife and four children.

CONTACT

Twitter: @benjmiller

Website: Syrupmarketing.com  


SHOW NOTES


WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW? [03:50]

 If I’ve got my game face on and I give them [the person who asks] the clear answer I would say that I connect people, ideas and resources to build amazing companies.

 EVOLUTION OF SYRUP MARKETING [05:12]

Benj founded EyeSpeak approximately 12 years ago and then explains how he merged EyeSpeak’s resources in September, 2014 to form Syrup Marketing.

 BENJ EXPLAINS BRAND STICKINESS [08:28]

It really starts with “brand identity”. That’s a process of really understanding who you are as a company. So, what is your personality? What is your character? Being able to answer; who are you? Why does that matter? Who is your audience? Once you really really figure out who you are then you can begin to communicate directly with the people that matter.  

 Benj goes on to explain that many business leaders are fear driven and are afraid that if they don’t market to everyone, they might alienate somebody. Benj explains the importance of marketing directly to your true customer.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BRAND IDENTITY EXERCISES THAT YOU TAKE A COMPANY THROUGH? [13:00]

Benj shares his program called: Purpose in Power. He selects a maximum of 6 key stake holders of the company and facilitates an off-site, inside-out discussion and approach by identifying what the company really represents. He stresses that his approach may have implications that can affect company culture and processes because the goal is to identify and appropriately represent the core fundamentals of the brand.

Benj goes on to give a wonderful brand identity transformation of a printing company – PSP.

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR BUSINESS IDEAS? [28:34]

Benj explains that when he sees a market opportunity or has a big idea, he physically logs it in a “Big Idea” book that he revisits often.

I’m looking at two things when I’m validating an idea. The first one is more of the decision of: Is this a good idea to pursue? I just call it distribution. What I mean by that is: Do I have a way to get in front of the people that would actually by this? Because you could have a great idea and a great execution and it could be very, very, very expensive to acquire customers which could kill the whole thing.  The second this is, for me is: Do I have a guy to run it?  Because I am a visionary and its taken me a long time just to come to grips with this and just own it, but now that I have its accelerated what I am capable to doing. And so, as a visionary I need to partner with an operator…

Benj goes on to explain Gino Wickman’s Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) and the importance of pairing a visionary with an integrator. It’s important to distinguish yourself either as an operator/integrator versus a visionary because whichever side you fall on, you need to find the other.

HOW DO YOU VIEW FAILURE? [35:41]

Iterative testing? Working with perfectionists, I find difficult because I really do think that you have to test. Test and iterate. Test and iterate. Test and iterate. Everything from a business to a specific marketing campaign. You’ve got to be able to separate your personal failure from your business failure from your own self worth. Like if you’re getting your self worth from a business that you are trying to start or run or operate then you’re setting yourself up for an identity that is a roller coaster and not only will it just absolutely exhaust you, but it will exhaust everyone around you.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU? [40:11]

I don’t know that I’ve really thought about that. I think that inspiration is just… I’m wired that way. There’s always something more and new and we can build. Our mission statement is to utilize life balance to connect to our Creator to turn energy into enterprise.

Benj continues to explain the importance of having life balance and really focusing on what’s most important and being aligned with that throughout every effort that you do.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS? [44:20]

I think if you’re trying to find an idea, that’s dangerous. The call of starting a business is large enough, scary enough and takes enough time that if you’re kind of looking for something I’d question whether you’re ready for it or if it’s even for you at all? Unless going back to that operator idea; if you are just an operator then stop trying to look for an idea and start vetting the ones that already work.
If you are somebody with an idea and are looking to launch it and maybe this is the first kind of enterprise that you are thinking about launching – find a coach, find a mentor because they are going to ask you 100 questions that you didn’t think of and you want to answer those before (a) leave your employed job hopefully… but before you get in too deep (not because they might be not able to be overcome but it might take more time than you think) you might need a different strategy. You just need somebody to ask you specific, really good questions. 


RECOMMENDED RESOURCES


Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman

The book talks a great deal about establishing an EOS System (Entrepreneurial Operating System) that Benj referred to in the interview.

Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Lead… And Others Don’t by Jim Collins

The E Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber

Benj also shares his thoughts on the importance of getting a mentor:

I’m a huge fan of getting a mentor and I think that if you are someone who is extremely hungry, meaning like eager to learn and take advice then I think there are a lot of successful people out there that are willing to mentor or go coach, guide, willing to be part of the deal in an advisory role… I’ve paid my guy for…I think I’ve been with him for like seven years and I pay for this and its worth it, every single month. 

022: Shantel Khleif: Build Relationships. Not Profiles.

     Meet Shantel Khleif, founder of Imagine Media Consulting based in Atlanta, Georgia.  Shantel founded her company based on a “light bulb moment” in which a trip into a local Atlanta Pie Shop aptly named: The Pie Shop; sparked an idea that has turned into a full fledged, growing business.  Having recently moved Chicago, Shantel was initially seeking to expand her wedding business into the Atlanta market.  As an important aside, serving pie instead of cake at weddings has become a growing trend and Shantel was seeking a boutique pie shop to work with and of course, to try the pie. 

     Despite the incredible tasting pie, Shantel noticed that the owner had not done anything to justly advertise her amazing pies, especially on social media.  Shantel asked if she could help the owner communicate her brand in a different way so that other people could discover the pies. Almost overnight, Shantel’s social media experiment took off and Imagine Media Consulting was born. Shantel has since expanded to add a team of social media experts who focus on helping small business communicate the core tenets of their businesses in an entirely different way on popular social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

      Listen to Shantel share her experience as in entrepreneur in taking a true “ah-hah” moment and turning that into a full-time growing business that focuses on building relationships, not profiles. Shantel shares wonderful insight that is applicable to any aspiring entrepreneur interested in starting a business from a simple, well-founded idea.

CONTACT

 ImagineMediaConsulting.com

 Shan@imaginemediaconsulting.com

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Twitter – @ImagineMediaCon

LinkedIn - Imagine Media Consulting

Facebook - Imagine Media Consulting

Pinterest - ImagineMediaCon

Instagram - ImagineMediaConsulting


SHOW NOTES


WHAT DO YOU DO? [03:01]

 My…I guess answer for that is that we are a boutique social media marketing firm specializing in content creation, customer management and strategy online.

ON YOUR WEBSITE IT SAYS: “BUILD RELATIONSHIPS, NOT PROFILES.” WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT? [03:22]

So, a big part of social media is engaging with customers, captivating potential customer’s attention through what you are posting on social media and what we found a lot of businesses are doing is they’re trying to be so pushy and “salesy” and customers aren’t interacting or engaging with that by any means and it’s actually doing the opposite effect for a lot of these businesses. So, a big mission of ours is to really start to build those relationships and that community and have a strong brand voice online that people feel engaged with and in turn they want to become your brand ambassadors.

WHAT DO YOU MAINLY SEE AS PEOPLE’S PERCEPTION OF HOW SOCIAL MEDIA IS TO BE DONE? [04:33]

 Shantel explains how most businesses really want to push their products online and instead of being their sales department, Shantel and her team focus on building an authentic brand presence.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? [05:34]

Shantel shares how she was originally focused on wedding planning and discovered how being interactive on social media and creating meaningful content was important. She moved to Atlanta to start a second office. As an aside, in the wedding business personalized wedding pies are now trending.

In seeking a good pie shop in Atlanta, she immediately stumbled upon an opportunity where the pie shop owner was not overly engaged with her customers on social media despite her incredibly good pies. Shantel asked the owner if she could help the shop owner out and through her involvement, the pie shop’s customer base really began to increase and more importantly, the pie shop’s brand awareness began to increase. From that experience, Shantel jumped full time into helping other small businesses do the same.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF SOCIAL MEDIA AS A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER? [10:12]

Shantel shares that while there is not a “cookie-cutter” formula for every business because every industry and customer target customer demographic is different, social media is most effective in understanding where where a business’ target customers are most likely communicating. For example, Instagram is highly effective for a food and beverage business because customer’s can see and share photos of the overall offering and dining experience. Other businesses that promote content might be more effective on Facebook and LinkedIn to target their customers.

Shantel also shares the importance of beginning with the right social media strategy and not trying to get on all social media platforms at once. Quality is definitely better than quantity.  It’s really important to ask: “What is the best for my business and how can I most effectively communicate my brand with my target customers?”

She recommends to really get comfortable with one or two platforms to begin with and focusing on creating good content and identifying the best time of day/week to post that content. In most cases, lunchtimes, evenings and weekends have a better chance at getting seen because most people are naturally more active on social media during those times.

 WHAT IS AN EXAMPLE ABOUT A REALLY GOOD POST? [14:08]

Shantel explains that it’s important to really establish yourself as an expert in your space and position yourself or your brand as the source and inspiration for that.

 AT WHAT POINT IN TIME DID YOU REALIZE; “I CAN DO THIS FULL TIME?” [15:23]

Shantel shares that very early on she wanted to put in the time and found that she was passionate about social media.  She explains that:

The ah-hah was kind of comprised of a lot of little small moments that shaped that big moment but most recently I guess within the past two years of the business it’s been all of the client’s success that we’ve seen and really being a part of those moments that have made the whole big picture come together and extremely rewarding for me personally…

WHAT WAS ONE OF YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGES STARTING UP? [18:38]

Shantel explains that each day is a learning curve because there is no traditional manual on how to run a business. Her biggest challenge is learning when to say no and not respond to every interruption or opportunity. She also shares that a big challenge currently is learning how to appropriately structure her business to scale.

 WHAT ASPECT OF THE BUSINESS DO YOU LOVE? [23:43]

 … I think probably the biggest one is those clients’ successes.  It’s important for what we’re doing to work for our clients because when they grow we grow so that’s really exciting each day. You know to hear of those success stories and to see that interaction online and to see that return…

 WHAT WEREN’T YOU PREPARED FOR IN RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS? [27:08]

 I think it kind of goes back to that scaling. I didn’t have the formula nailed down before so I wasn’t prepared to grow so quickly. What I learned from that though is to have people in place for when that growth does happen that they can support it.

 HOW DO YOU PERSONALLY VIEW FAILURE? [28:00]

Seth Godin actually just pushed out an email I think earlier this week about failure that people can inhibit that feeling as “I’m a failure”’ but it really shouldn’t be tailored like that at all and failure is, you know you learn from every mistake, every “failure”. I don’t even necessarily like that work to be honest with you.
Failures happen, changes happen but change is a big word that comes to mind with failure. So, you have to shift and with every thing that happens in your business you learn something from it and as long as you can chart that and talk about it and be very transparent you are going to grow as a company and grow as a team. So, it’s not a big scary word and something that people have to be afraid of. I think in any business or any setting there’s always risks and failure is a part of that, but it’s not a bad thing.

 WHO INSPIRES YOU? [30:00]

 I think honestly my team. They are extremely creative and knowledgeable and well-spoken and hard working and the fact that they believed in me and the concept and the business is very inspiring…on the same spectrum that motivates me. I want to grow with them and help them grow…

IF YOU COULD GO BACK AND GIVE YOURSELF ADVICE, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY? [31:49]

Shantel shares that in coming to Atlanta, she was running three different businesses to make ends meet and looking back, she would have quit sooner and only focus on her current business to be be able to devote more time.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THE PERSON WHO HAS A GREAT IDEA RIGHT NOW? [34:26]

Start with a passion. I think if you lead a business with passion and empathy and compassion I guess toward whatever you are working on, the business will come…

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES


Quite frankly there’s so many but few that pop up to mind is again surrounding yourself with people who have what you want or have the knowledge and skill set that you don’t have…

 How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Here is the article On Feeling Like a Failure by Seth Godin that Shantel mentioned 

021: Matt Beall - Learning to Live a Hawaii Life

Meet Matt Beall, Founder of Hawai'i Life - a different kind of residential real estate brokerage serving the Hawaiian islands of Kauai, Maui, Oahu and the Big Island. Hawai'i Life was founded in the heart of the recession in 2008 with a singular focus on incorporating a clean, designer marketing approach together with the tenets of what is most important to Hawaiians - building lasting relationships.

In this episode, Matt shares the importance of building a brand focused on core values and culture. The Hawai'i Life brand has grown to embody the very essence of its name and Matt explains how all people, especially entrepreneurs, can live a "Hawai'i Life" by keeping focused on  life-style equity and "be expressed in whatever your motivation and your creativity and your self expression" may be.

CONTACT MATT

Twitter - @MattBeall

LinkedIn - HawaiiLife

Instagram - MGBeall 

HawaiiLife.com


SHOW NOTES


WHAT DO YOU DO? [04:51]

…Normally I would say I have a real estate company in Hawaii, but I really am on a mission to find the right language for that and I think It’s something along the lines of …I really believe that people have the freedom to choose the kind of life that they want to live and we’re in the business of helping them to…exercise that choice…

Matt goes on to explain how Hawaii life deals with a wide variety of buyers from some of the smallest to some of the largest real estate transactions in the country. He explains how helping people truly inspires him.

WHAT WAS YOUR INITIAL THOUGHT PROCESS IN CREATING HAWAII LIFE? [08:55]

Matt explains that it has been a “hyper-collaborative” effort among many people and in starting in the middle of the recession of 2008 he and his partners saw gaping holes in the current residential real estate companies and he wanted to create a designer marketing approach and incorporate multiple ideas and processes that are normally contracted out into one company.

MATT EXPLAINS HIS OVERALL BUSINESS APPROACH [12:10]

A lot of it is just trying to stay in the present moment and dealing with the current circumstances that we have and not being rigid in saying “we are doing this or else;” and then letting that creative expression work…

HELP US UNDERSTAND THE “HAWAIIAN LIFE” IN TERMS OF DOING BUSINESS ON HAWAII? [13:17]

Matt explains that it is touch to generalize because each island has a distinct culture. Oahu is probably more traditional out of all of the islands, but Hawaii has the special distinction of being a relationship culture. It is very important to be mindful of those relationship values and it can hurt your business if you do not take that into account.  It also also important to note that the family and relationship values are prioritized much more so than the contiguous 48 states, or in Hawaii terms: the mainland.

WHAT WAS YOUR ORIGINAL IDEA IN CREATING THE BRAND, HAWAII LIFE? [20:03]

Matt shares that his two partners really understood and understand the quality that goes into building a brand and he believes that a brand is essentially a promise, and he [Matt] was originally tasked with living that.  He feels that Hawaii Life is dynamic and growing and is very much a living thing. He recognizes that brand building is not an easy thing to do and he is really focused on managing talent within the brand to ultimately emulate what the brand stands for.

WHAT HAS BEEN ONE OF YOUR BIGGEST AH-HAH MOMENTS? [23:55]

One of the big ah-hah moments was in 2010, I finally hired a personal coach, it’s a business coach and also a personal trainer. I think from some people it might be just totally obvious, for me for just sort of how I’m put together, I had a really hard time in being told what to do and I also suck at delegating so I had a really hard a hard time sort of conversely telling other people what to do…. 

Matt shares how the results of personal coaching have been so tangible and so obvious that he now has begun to equally coach others because it has had such a profound impact on both him and his business.

AT WHAT POINT IN TIME DO YOU SAY, I NEED TO GET A COACH? [28:13]

Matt shares that in hindsight it felt like the right time. One of the immediate benefits from business coaching was learning how to hire the right talent.  He previously didn’t know what to look for in an ideal candidate and it through coaching, he has learned a great deal.

IS THERE A CERTAIN CHARACTERISTIC OR QUALITY THAT YOU CAN DISTINGUISH NOW THAT YOU COULDN’T BEFOREHAND? [30:07]

Matt shares that its all position specific but a classic example is of a sales person that is really good at prospecting and selling, but is not good at administrative work. So naturally, they hire someone else to help, but the new hire has the exact mannerisms and speaks the same language as the salesperson, but ultimately the same problem exists – now x 2.

It is important to hire people that bring different and complimentary strengths to the organization, but not necessarily the same strengths. It is also important to gauge how willing people are to learn because it makes a big difference.

HOW DO YOU VIEW FAILURE AS AN ENTREPRENEUR? [38:57]

Intellectually I’m not a huge fan of exaltation of failure. It seems like there is just this overwhelming sort of meme of celebrating failure and making failure okay and “you have to fail” and all of that. It’s largely an intellectual consideration like its not something that’s really personal. In some ways it seems to marginalize how normal failure is like of we keep talking about it so much: it’s like you are falsely rescuing people who fail. We all fail. It’s not that uncommon, why are we talking about it so much?
In the context of Hawaii Life there is this sort of like “When is the other shoe going to drop?” and “something bad is surely going to happen…” But, I guess its just not really an integrity for us to focus on that. It’s like all we can do is keep our head down do the work that we know to do and do right by our clients and the brokers that have trusted their careers with us and now of course our employees.

WHAT IS THE ONE THING THAT YOU RECOMMEND THAT YOU KEEP FOCUS ON AS AN ENTREPRENEUR? [44:42]

Easy…That run, that surf session, that morning ritual, do it every day because that’s what most people that are starting a business are trying to get to in the first place. If you can have that sort of life style equity and be expressed in whatever your motivation and your creativity and your self expression is in creating the business is in the first place then that’s a win. 

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES


Books

Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find - And Keep - Love, by authors Amir Levine and Rachel Heller

Resources

Disc Profile: A personal assessment tool to improve productivity, teamwork and communication. DISC measures the level of  emphasis an individual places on the four behavioral styles of: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. 

020: Brett Hagler: Eradicating Homelessness, One House at a Time

Meet Brett Hagler, Co-Founder and CEO of New Story; a non-profit charity organization that is seeking to build sustainable communities within the developing nations.  New Story's concept is simple and powerful:

  1. Families experiencing life-threatening homelessness are identified and introduced to New Story.
  2. A picture of the family is taken and posted on NewStoryCharity.org together with a bio about their background, interests and talents.
  3. Donors fund each individual home through a crowd-sourcing campaign (either individually or through multiple donors)
  4. New Story's local Partner, Mission of Hope Haiti  builds the home
  5. Upon completion, a video is taken of the family moving into the home and shared with donors... thus creating a "New Story" for the family to rebuild their lives.

Brett shares the experience that moved him to create New Story together with his partners and also provides sound and actionable advice to any aspiring entrepreneur looking to create their own story in the world.

Why new story?

CONTACT BRETT

On Twitter: @bretthagler

By Email: brett@newstorycharity.org


SHOW NOTES


IF SOMEONE COMES UP TO YOU AT A PARTY AND ASKS WHAT DO YOU DO, HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THAT? [03:44]

It’s definitely depends on the context but if its just a random person I would say that we have a website that helps build houses in the developing world. Now… the entrepreneurial community… we we do is we crowd fund houses for families who are living in danger in the developing world. So it’s a crowd funding platform where you can come online and meet the exact family that you could directly help and basically our process allows you to fund that family , get them into a new home. Once their home is built, we take a video of them moving into their new home and then we send it back to every single donor that contributed to that new home and that life change.

Here is an example of the videos that donors receive and the impact that New Story makes for the individual:

YOU PRINCIPALLY DO THIS IN HAITI CORRECT? [04:46]

Yes. Brett explains that they are initially starting there but was drawn to the plight of many Haitians because he had a powerful personal call to action after he walked through a tent slum in Haiti after visiting there on a personal trip.

HOW DID YOU ORIGINALLY START? [06:52]

So, they way we started was… and his is what I would highly highly recommend to any listeners that are thinking of starting some type of idea. Right, like creating some type of idea right like creating something from nothing whether it’s a non-profit or a business or a book or a blog. The way we started… was we started very small and we actually moved very fast and we created what some people might be aware of: its called an MVP – a Minimum Viable Product.

Brett goes on to explain how he took his MVP based on the principle of having full transparency as a charity where donors know exactly where their money goes. Brett shares his initial few month as an entrepreneur on how he and his partners scrambled to execute on their MVP.

Brett also stresses that the most important thing to: “Make something people want. If you can prove early on that you’ve done that then you know that you’re on to something and you can go forward.”

CAN YOU HELP EDUCATE US ON HOW CHARITIES WORK? [12:11]

Brett explains how its sometimes difficult to understand how much of every dollar donated specifically contributes to each charity’s primary cause.  He explains that many charities are run in a similar fashion on a model that has been in place for over 100 years and he believes that there are many great charities out there, but simply wants to have full transparency on where funds truly go.

HOW MANY HOMES HAVE NEW HOMES CHARITY BUILT TO DATE? [15:51]

To date in just 8 months, New Homes Charity has funded 130 homes and has received 787,000 in donations. Every penny of that will build new homes and there are an additional 45 that have been built and 36 are currently under construction.

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO DEVELOP YOUR MINIMUM VIABLE PRODUCT? [17:50]

It took only 2 and ½ weeks to where people actually started donating.

WHAT DID AN INITIAL DAY ORIGINALLY LOOK LIKE WHEN YOU WERE FIRST STARTING? [19:38]

Brett shares how in the very beginning he and his partners developed his charity on the side.

Brett stated: What I tried to focus on was this idea that in the very beginning it’s much better to make 100 people to absolutely love you than a 1,000,000 people kind of like you.

Brett focused on going above and beyond and making each donor feel special and really focusing on what you they loved doing.

WHAT WAS PROBABLY YOUR MOST EFFECTIVE OUTREACH STRATEGY? [23:36]

Brett explains the importance of starting with who you really know within your network and start sending personal messages. Afterwards, it turned into getting their early customers to share their experience on social media and then that migrated to sending out cold emails to people that he wanted to contact.

WHERE ARE YOU PLANNING ON TAKING NEW STORY? [26:02]

Their real vision is to go into other countries within the developing world and created “sustainable communities” with housing, clean water, schools and businesses.

BRETT EXPLAINS HOW AS AN ENTREPRENEUR, IT’S ALL ABOUT LEARNING [26:58]

Brett shares that you don’t necessarily need an advanced degree or a long background in a particular field to do something. It’s important rather to surround yourself with people who do know and you can also read many books to get a better understanding of how you can accomplish your goal.

Brett quotes Elon Musk when it was asked of him [Elon] how he knew how to build a spaceship and he said; “Well, I read a lot of books and I surrounded myself with people who knew what they were talking about.”

WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST AH-HAH MOMENT? [31:31]

So, I vividly remember sitting in my bedroom one night and I was actually trying to give to other organizations, but I kept being frustrated that I couldn’t see who I was helping and I didn’t know where my money was going to and I just thought; ok what would be a better experience than this? The ah-hah moment came from like, Whoa; why don’t we just put up people’s pictures and their stories so you see exactly who you’re giving to? Kind of like a kick starter, but for this problem…

Brett goes on to explain that his ah-hah moment happened because of all of the dots that had been connecting over the last two years.

If anyone is “searching for an ah-hah moment” I think the best kind of framework to think through is what’s something that is like just frustrating to you or bugging you are you think, man, this should be better…

BRETT EXPLAINS FURTHER ON HOW TO COME UP WITH AN IDEA FOR A COMPANY? [33:55]

Brett shares the importance of taking an existing idea and then focusing on making a different or better experience for consumers than what is currently being offered.

Brett recommends that early on, chasing after a lot of funding is not necessary. Instead, focus on making the MVP (minimum viable product) and seek to get traction either through subscribers on a blog, number of books sold, etc. Once you start to get traction, at that point is a good time to seek money.

Create something that you can prove that people want and once you prove that you have something that people want then you have all the leverage and you can go get more money.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR FAILURES?  [38:11]

Brett explains how the initial failure of his e-commerce company, Huxley, was actually a great launching platform for him because of the direct experiences that he gained, the education he earned from direct experience and the network he created. All three things helped him to be able to launch New Story.

WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU INTENTIONALLY FOCUSED ON EVERY DAY IN THE BEGINNING OF BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS? [41:38]

I have a phrase that I really believe in and try as best I can to focus on: Keep things insanely simple so I think simplicity is a key, key, key differentiator in whatever you are trying to build.
It’s more important to make 100 people absolutely love you than 1,000,000 people kind of like you.

IF YOU COULD GIVE ADVICE SPECIFICALLY TO ANY ENTREPRENEUR WHO IS LOOKING TO START A NON-PROFIT, WHAT WOULD THAT BE? [44:06]

Think really big, but start really small. Imagine something that you are very passionate about that there is a big market for but then as you start, start it very small and only try to solve it for a couple people in the very beginning. 

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES


BOOKS

Poke the Box by Seth Godin

Purple Cow by Seth Godin

RESOURCES

Y Combinator – View live streaming upcoming lectures at schools such as Harvard, Brown, NYU, etc. on how to start a company. How to put together your team. How to raise money. 

Howtostartastartup.co - View lectures on just about any topic related to starting a business. Huge resource center! You can also check out specifically what Brett watched at: http://startupclass.samaltman.com

How To Start a Start Up Podcast

Click the link below


019: Josh Dorkin - On Real Estate Investing and Growing Loyal Customers

Meet Josh Dorkin, Founder of Bigger Pockets, a online real estate investment networking and information resource platform for real estate professionals, investors, homeowners and any one else really who is interested in learning how to safely invest in real estate. 

Josh founded Bigger Pockets on one guiding principle - Trust. He wanted to create a community of real estate professionals and investors that could openly share and communicate ideas without the advent of paying large fees. In addition, he wanted to create a safe community of professionals and beginners a like who could educate themselves through active forums, relevant and accessible information and free tools. 

Bigger Pockets has now grown to over 350,000 members, has over 1,200,000 unique monthly visitors as of June 2015, and has over 1,400,000 forum posts and tens of thousands of articles all geared towards real estate investment education. Josh additionally co-hosts a podcast, simply named The Bigger Pockets Podcast with his Senior Vice President, Brandon Turner.

In this episode, Josh shares his story of launching his company and gives personal insight on some of his most valuable lessons in being an entrepreneur. He also shares the importance of staying true to his company's foundational principle of building trust among his community. 

Contact Josh:

BiggerPockets.com

On Twitter - @jrdorkin


SHOW NOTES


WHAT DO YOU TELL OTHERS WHAT YOU DO? [04:57]

I try to tweak it. I could just say hey I’m Josh I started this website called Bigger Pockets and this site does this. I think that’s boring. I like to say that I try to change people’s lives by teaching them how to build wealth through real estate and no I am not one of those scumbag late-night TV get-rich-quick guys. I just say something different every time because it always comes up at parties or whatever else it is but I mean at the end of the day I am just a guy who’s trying to build the business… and the role of that business is to help other people become successful in building wealth and the means by which we do that is through educating them in real estate investing and providing tools for that and at the end of the day there is so much opportunity that people miss…

JOSH EXPLAINS THE LAUNCH STORY OF BIGGER POCKETS. [08:35]

Josh explains how he “fell into” the original concept of launching Bigger Pockets through a first time investment that inspired him to help others not fall into the same pitfalls that he did.

JOSH EXPLAINS HIS INITIAL FRUSTRATIONS THAT CAUSED HIM TO CREATE A DIFFERENT REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT EXPERIENCE. [11:34]

In seeking to learn to properly invest in real estate, Josh was tired of the “educational upsells” that exist and having to put up a bunch of money prior to investing.  Josh wanted to create a safe haven where people can feel a part of a community and learn from one another.

JOSH EXPLAINS HOW HIS PART-TIME HOBBY TURNED INTO A FULL TIME BUSINESS. [14:12]

At the time, Josh’s website was making a little money and he still hadn’t decided to build a business until he realized that if he spent more time on building a larger platform, Bigger Pockets could become a viable business.

JOSH SHARES HIS INITIAL FAILURE AS ORIGINALLY SEEKING TO BUILD A “MYSPACE” (AT THE TIME) FOR REAL ESTATE INVESTORS. [15:11]

Josh originally spent all of his time on self-funding a social media website that ultimately failed. Josh shares how he shifted his focus because he was close to burning out.  Through hiring a consultant, Josh learned to start delegating work and ultimately designed a plan to significantly lessen his work burden. In just a short period of time, Josh’s business has really taken off.

IF YOU COULD GO BACK AND COACH YOURSELF, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF? [19:09]

I think the first thing I would have done is mapped out a plan of how to get of it. By get out of it I mean get out of the business, get out of the details… It’s so easy as an entrepreneur to want to have your hand in everything, to micromanage. Because as an entrepreneur, typically that’s what you are doing you are micromanaging because you are doing everything whether by yourself or with a partner or your very, very, small team. So, upfront I would plot out and plan “how am I going to get myself out of this?” Here is all of the tasks that need to be done within this business. Let’s systematize this. Let’s itemize it…let’s break it down to its core elements. Let’s talk about what are the most important things and let’s get me, personally focused on those things that are going to help drive and build the business.

Josh goes on to explain that he is a huge fan of Jay Papezon’s and Gary Keller’s book, The One Thing. That talk about it every week and seek to focus on the one thing that he can focus on to drive his business.

HOW DID YOU GROW YOUR NETWORK TO THE SIZE THAT IT IS TODAY? [23:18]

Trust. I think people…there’s so many jerks out there. I mean really. There’s a lot of jerks out there and I think people want to listen to and be around and connect with and interact with and spend time with people that they like. People that they can trust. People that they can rely or count on. For me, that was the reason that I started my business was I felt there wasn’t a place that I could trust to go. So our focus from day #1 was always trust. How do I establish a destination that people feel that people can trust us? That was built into our community... It just started with the early core community and as we grew that became part of who Bigger Pockets was the living being that is our community and the same thing goes for our podcast…

JOSH EXPLAINS HIS FOCUS AND PURPOSE OF HIS PODCAST, CO-HOSTED WITH BRANDON TURNER. [25:35]

Josh and Brandon seek simply to build trust with all of their listeners by asking sincere questions from great guests who are willing to share their insights and actionable steps to successfully build out real estate investing ventures.

IF YOU COULD EDUCATE YOUR LISTENERS, WHAT IS A BIG DON’T OF REAL ESTATE INVESTING? [27:06]

Don’t buy real estate. Don’t flip houses. Don’t do anything in real estate investing until you’ve learned how to evaluate a deal, period. That is the absolute single most important thing and that is probably the reason that most people fail… it’s knowing and understanding the numbers because if you start with bad numbers you can’t fix it.

Josh mentioned hat you can begin learning the basics of real estate investing by going to his free resource guide: Ultimate Beginners Guide

WHAT HAS BEEN ONE OF YOUR BIGGEST AH-HAH MOMENTS? [31:11]

I think it really goes back to something I talked about earlier which is I wish I knew that once I started hiring people, good people, how helpful they can be….hiring people that you can trust is just amazing.

HOW DO YOU VIEW FAILURE? [34:28]

I think you have to define what failure means. I think failure is going to be very different for different people. For me, failure might mean us not growing. Us just staying at status quo, that’s failure because we want to grow… Yeah, People are going to fail. You’re going to fail and you have to expect it and when you do fail you have to be able stop and not get dragged down, not get depressed and say “I’m going to quit” because that’s really easy especially when you are new at failure…Be able to stop and take a deep breath and realize this is part of it. Failing is part of succeeding. All you have to do is fail graciously and learn from your failures and try not to do it again.

WHAT IS SOME OF THE SELF TALK TO GET YOURSELF THROUGH YOUR MOMENTS OF FAILURE? [37:12]

Josh explains how his self talk has changed over time from initially internalizing his failures to determining if he is “doing a good job to help inspire people to do the best that they can do.” 

WHAT INSPIRES YOU PERSONALLY? [42:58]

My kids…For me watching kids see the world differently than I do today as close to a 40-year-old person there’s just this innocence and there’s this eye on the possibilities.

JOSH EXPLAINS THE CORE OF BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR [45:21]      

There’s always going to be people who think it can’t happen and it’s really easy to take that to heart particularly when its friends and family because that happens all the time for entrepreneurs when they tell you; “Listen man, maybe its time to hang it up” and they might be right but you have to be able to objectively look at it and say; “hey, you know what, I’ve got a plan. I’ve got a timeline. This is how I’m going to go about doing things and I’m going to stick it out hell or high water until I hit that timeline and if I’m sinking at that point then all right I’m going to get off the ship but I’m going to stick through it…”

Josh goes on to explain and give advice how he re-allocated his time as an entrepreneur to focus on what’s most important to him in life – with his family as his top priority.

WHAT IS A FINAL PARTING PIECE OF ADVICE THAT YOU WOULD GIVE TO ANY ASPIRING ENTREPRENEUR? [48:38]

Come up with an idea or have a dream. Plan how you are going to make that dream happen and then start working on it. Far too many would-be entrepreneurs come up with ideas and they say it can’t be done and they never do it. They get stuck in a job that they hate doing things that they don’t want to do… they’re fearful that they can’t get out and do something else and start something on their own, but they can. They’re just afraid….

Recommended Resources


Books

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

The 10x Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone

The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard (Note: There is a NEW edition published in 2015 called, The New One Minute Manager


Episode Extras


Here is the book that Josh mentioned that he was reading to his daughter:

Just Behave, Pablo Picasso by Jonah Winter

Here is the quote by Michael Jordan that Josh mentioned on missing shots:



018: James Nuttall: Starting a National Beverage Brand in India

James Nuttall, one of four original founders of the Indian beverage company, Hector Beverages, initially sought out to compete against RedBull by creating a lower cost, yet premium quality energy drink called Tzinga (pronounced Zeen-ga) which originally debuted as a natural lemon mint flavor.  After repeated momentum shifts and failed attempts to significantly break into the market, the partners took a different direction and created "functional drinks" made of traditional flavors of cultural favorites that promote immunity, digestion, health restoration, relaxation and the like under the brand name: PaperBoat Drinks. Their idea took off and just last year, PaperBoat Drinks sold and distributed over 12,000,000 drink pouches.

James explains how after graduating from Wharton Business School with his MBA and having a Bachelors of Science in Chemical Engineering from BYU, he turned down an employment offer from Bain and Company and moved his young family to India to pursue an opportunity to create a national beverage brand in India.  

In this episode, James shares almost play-by-play events as he recounts his entrepreneurial journey including his most heart breaking failure and finally triumphant success with PaperBoat Drinks

CONTACT JAMES

Connect with James on LinkedIn or Facebook 


SHOW NOTES


LISTEN TO JAMES RETELL HIS STORY OF LAUNCHING Hector BEVERAGES IN INDIA, A NATIONAL BEVERAGE PROCESSING, MARKETING AND DISTRIBUTOR OF TZINGA (AN ENERGY DRKINK) aND later BEVERAGES under the brand name of PaperBoat [03:45]

James retells his story of turning down a secure offer from Bain & Company after receiving his MBA from Wharton Business School and moving his family to India to start Hector Beverages and compete against Redbull.

JAMES EXPLAINS HOW HE AND HIS PARTNERS HAD TO CHANGE THE BUSINESS FROM ITS ORIGINAL BUSINESS PLAN [11:39]

James and his partners soon found that it was more realistic to create a function beverage which is good for something other than just refreshment (vitamin water, energy drinks to increase alertness, etc.)

JAMES EXPLAINS HOW THEY INITIALLY RAISED CAPITAL  [14:16]

 James shares that they had to raise a significant amount of capital to incorporate unique packaging through a variety of sources including family and friends, Indian investors, angel investors and venture capitalists. 

JAMES TAKES YOU ON AN AUDIO TOUR OF THE EQUIPMENT HOUSED WITHIN HIS MANUFACTURING PLANT [19:00]

James shares how a syrup is first created and tested and then water is added. Hector Beverages did the creation, mixing and bottling all in one plant to begin with. 

 JAMES EXPLAINS HOW A REALLY FUN PART OF THE BEVERAGE DEVELOPMENT WAS EXPERIMENTING WITH ALL OF THE POSSIBLE FLAVORS [20:57]

James enjoyed testing all of the different varieties of fruit pulp and flavors until they got it just right. He goes on to explain how they finally settled on the flavor that they went to market with.  The very first flavor was lemon mint.  

JAMES EXPLAINS THEIR PROCRESS IN ARRIVING AT THE NAME: TZINGA [22:23]

They wanted the brand to connote an action meaning that when a person drinks it or says the brand name, it actually does something to you e.g. "Tzinga" gives you Zing.

JAMES SHARES HOW THEY ORIGINALLY CAME UP WITH THEIR PRICING STRATEGY [25:58]

Hector Beverages initial strategy was to market Tzinga as a premium drink for a low cost. 

 James explains how he and his partners unfortunately had to wind down the Tzinga Brand and change the focus and direction of his company [26:25]

As partners, they discovered that in order for their company to succeed, they had to change their strategy according to the desires of the market. Whether it was cultural aversions to energy drinks or overall pricing strategy, Tzinga did not take off like they intended it to, even despite an enormous amount of effort and marketing.

at what point as an entrepreneur did you think that i've got to go in a different direction? [28:22] 

After experiencing many periods of momentum shifts, Neeraj Kakkar identified that the original idea for Hector Beverages was entirely about creating "functional drinks" for Indians meaning drinks that had a specific cause for aid in digestion, relaxation, alertness, physical well being, etc. 

What is that moment as an entrepreneur that you realize that if you continue in a certain direction, the path is going to be pretty bumpy? [31:03]

You need to do your best to...put something out there in the market that is representative of the concept that you are proposing  to the market. The market's going to tell you whether its great or  whether its bad. You can fiddle with it, but ultimately its not up to you. The market is correct... 

James shares his "ah-hah" moment [32:44]

Sometimes we proceed as if "we just work a little harder then I can make this happen" and you get into a point and a rhythm where it feels like where every little bit of effort could be the thing that makes it happen or the thing that if you don't do it then success is not going to happen and that's just a miserable place to be and its not useful... 

James shares how Hector Beverages pivoted to offer the PaperBoat Line of drinks [34:21]

James explains that it was ultimately market data that caused them to completely change their product focus by getting results from in-store sales. PaperBoat drinks offer a variety of functional beverages specific to the cultural beliefs and traditions of Indians. Drink flavors include:

 How do you view failure as an entrepreneur? [36:37]

 It's really hard. Entrepreneurship is driven and fed by optimism and excitement. As much as people say: "you gotta fail, you gotta fail" it's really hard in the moment, but its also very true. I think...this idea that you have to build something and the market will tell you, that's really the concept behind this "Lean StartUp" book...and he's not the only one to say it but you want to go as fast as you can to build the minimum viable product... 

What is it about entrepreneurship that perhaps the books don't say? [39:25] 

I do see that books definitely tell you the stats. You are far more likely to fail than to succeed and all of that is true. I think one of the challenges that I had and it may not be related to a book was [that] I started to...become part of this hyper-growth start-up culture and when you're in those circles and when talking to people in those circles it is socially awkward to not project this image of ... that you're killing it all the time, 24/7...

What was some of the self-talk in the more challenging moments? [42:44]

So reading this book, The Founder's Dilemma, when you read it and you see printed on the page that it's really important for a founder to have a strong support network, you know family and friends and so on... it's just so black and white on the page but if you're thinking about jumping off, think about what that implies? There are books that you're gonna read that say that you are going to have hard times but feeling the hard times is different than reading a book and saying, "yea yea, I'm going to have hard times." 
You know not to get too mushy on you here and everything but I'm so lucky. My wife is so great and such a key enabler in this whole thing and I just knew that things were going to be okay whether things went great with the company or not. 

if you could go back to the day that you told Bain that you wre not going to accept their offer, what advice would you give yourself? [48:55]

So as much as I was ready for a crazy ride at that moment, I'd go back and say "Buckle up man!" You're not as tough as you think you are. I expected it to be hard I expected it to be worth it actually going through those experiences... you know we all have in our regular jobs good days and bad days and you know good months and bad months but the frequency and amplitude of those swings in my experience and I'm sure in the experience of many entrepreneurs is much higher. 

what advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs? [50:14]

To all those of you thinking of taking the plunge...if you really want to do it you gotta decide - do you want this kind of experience? And if you want this kind of experience then you just gotta do it. The only caveat to that is for those that for those of us with family we have to take them into consideration...

Recommended Resources


Lean Start Up by Eric Ries 

The Founder's Dilemma: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls that can Sink a StartUp by Noam Wasserman

The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris

No Exit - One Start Up's Struggle to Survive the Silicon Valley Gold Rush - An article published in Wired Magazine in April 2014 by Gideon Lewis-Kraus. This was the article that James mentioned specifically that greatly helped him out. 

 

017: Travis Johnson - Choose to be Chosen

Meet Travis Johnson - Entrepreneur, Comedian, Speaker.  Among his many ventures, Travis founded his company, Learn2Win in which he trains and motivates entrepreneurs to establish and work towards their goals, change their mindsets and present themselves and their ideas more effectively.

Travis himself is an accomplished speaker and comedian and in this episode he shares brutal insight on his own personal journey as an entrepreneur and how he transformed one of the worst days in his life into inspiring others. 

Travis also gives step by step advice on how to deliver a great speech and effectively present a concept or idea.

Contact Travis

Instagram: TravisPhx 

Website: TravisPHX.com


SHOW NOTES


Travis explains how he is a "Serial Entrepreneur" [05:18]

 What that means to me is that I take advantage of opportunities that are put in front of me....

Travis explains how entrepreneurs learn about the different gifts that they've been given [06:56]

 I truly feel immensely blessed to be able to discover a lot of the gifts that I have. I wasn't born an entrepreneur. It was a seed that was planted in my family and that seed grew and I glommed onto it....

What is the entrepreneurial mindset? [07:46]

  The entrepreneurial mindset is not afraid of risk. Now, nobody likes failure but entrepreneurs typically embrace risk and it doesn't scare them off. Very often, they are hybrids of someone who enjoys security but once they feel security, they get really uncomfortable and at that moment, they start looking for other opportunities...

Travis goes on to explain different types of entrepreneurs and shares a personal story from advice that he received from his accountant that in regards to business, "bigger is not always better."

Travis explains his journey towards becoming an entrepreneur.  [10:27]

Travis shares how he hopped from job to job to job early on in his marriage and the importance of "loving his family to life" and not "to death". He also shares his college experience and how he finally found his true calling. 

Travis states: "I am far more interested in profits than paychecks."

TRAVIS EXPLAINS how he took over his Dad's Commercial Maintenance company. [15:55]

He cleans outdoor malls, sweeps streets, does the landscaping, does  handiwork on building exteriors, power washes the sidewalks, parking lots, etc.  He shares the story of how he ended up taking over the business and how he initially grew it. 

Travis shares the hardest period of his life and shares the circumstances of how he lost everything. [18:45]

After seeking additional opportunities outside of his commercial maintenance company and growing a multi-million dollar portfolio of real estate investments, Travis lost everything in 2008. He vividly shares the hardest day of his life in which he felt like 'Atlas' holding up the weight of the world.

Until you've seen yourself with your pants down and everybody knows that you've failed, I don't know that you truly know yourself...

Travis goes on to explain the self-talk that occurred to dig himself out of his situation and how he completely rebuilt himself and his life.

Just because I failed, doesn't mean that I have the right to stop. I was taught by my Dad a long, long time ago who is an entrepreneur...he told me once "make yourself indispensable and you'll never be without a job". I have that belief about myself no matter what the economy outside of me is, I have direct control over what my skills are, what I can do about it...

Travis explains how he got through the agonizing weight of his circumstances. [25:10]

It is in those times when you really have to seek out light and what I mean by that is, you have to seek out something that you are passionate about because there is no way to get outside yourself by thinking about yourself. You have to start thinking about other people, about other opportunities, about the things outside of you because the more that you can spread light or be a light to other people, the more light you attract to you.

Motion = Emotion [26:23]

Travis explains the difference in the posture between a sad person and a happy person (or a person who is at peace. When we get depressed it is important to seek the state of being at peace. 

He goes on to explain how to turn our failures into eventual success by changing our attitudes. We also talk about being uncomfortable as entrepreneurs in trusting in following what drives us and serving others. 

Travis coaches on how to build a killer speech [33:20]

  1. Stop writing your speeches - meaning leave your notes at home.
  2. Know the parameters that you are putting your speech into
  3. Know your audience and develop your speech specifically for them within the context of the purpose of the gathering. 
  4. Gear your comments towards your audience
  5. Stay away from low hanging fruit - meaning stay away from "shock comedy"
  6. Your audience wants to be emotionally invested. Set up your speech accordingly.
  7. Have a clear intro, main points and conclusion.
  8. The set up is key and your audience wants to see that you believe what you are saying.
  9. People love stories. They can relate easier and most people want to be entertained.
  10. Your initial statement is critical. It is imperative that your initial statement embodies the entire purpose of your speech, but never state the entire story up front (meaning - don't give away the plot).
  11. In a three point speech, your first two points will support your initial statement / story development.
  12. The third point (last point) is your strongest point in which you drive everything home. This is where you are seeking your strongest emotional connection. It is also  your shortest (its not a recap).
  13. If done correctly, people will always remember your last point, the point in which they emotionally connected with you as the speaker. 
  14. Never tell people about upcoming points (like a newscast does). Simply focus on having clear transitions from one point to the next. 
  15. Regarding your main points, communicate them in odd numbers: one point, three points, five points, etc. 
  16. Make sure that your transitions allow for a slight emotional rest in your main story plot. For each point, you should build, build, build, make the point, then transition to the next - similar to climbing a hill with a crescendo and then have a small plateau  within the story.

Travis explains the importance of living within 'the flow of your passion.' [50:30]

Travis explains why people love the things that they are emotionally invested into. It is important to live within the flow of your passion (what drives you) rather than only dreaming of it but never moving forward, or never following your dreams. 

How do we get people to choose to emotionally invest rather than convince them to do so? [54:00]

Never inundate people with a load of information. Tell the story...

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs? [58:45]

  1. Seek things that make you emotionally excited.
  2.  Never be afraid to take the first step. If you have an inspiration to go talk to somebody, don't be afraid of that, go talk to them. Because it may be that conversation that changes the whole direction of your life and you'll never know if you never do it. 
  3. Get outside of yourself. Choose to be chosen. Don't just wait to be chosen.  

016: Sam Forline: From Athlete to Scholar to Entrepreneur

Meet 24 year-old entrepreneur, Sam Forline. Sam attended college originally for soccer and discovered that he had a real knack for Chemistry and Math. He decided that he wanted to become a doctor, but reality struck when Sam realized the amount of time and debt that he would accrue over the course of his studies in pursuing that profession so he dropped out of school all together.

Falling back on soccer, he coached other soccer players to make ends meet as he figured out what he wanted to do with his life. Through significant trials and setbacks, Sam landed on doing odd jobs for people around their yards when suddenly an idea struck - Sam would go on to create an enterprise level network of college students looking for work to clean yards, remove trees, mow lawns, wees gardens, shovel snow, etc. called Blue Collar Scholars.

The business became (and is) so successful around greater Washington D.C. that Sam self-funded a software development company called Scholar Era, that is a consortium of app developers for any entrepreneur with an idea for "the next greatest app." Scholar Era is quickly growing and Sam is continually exposed to upcoming technology and app innovations.

In this episode, Sam shares his personal journey of becoming and entrepreneur, gives insight on understanding the Millennial generation and provides many instances of pertinent advice for anyone seeking to become an entrepreneur. 

CONTACT SAM

email: sam@scholarera.com

Twitter: @forlinesam

Websites

Scholar Era

Blue Collar Scholars


SHOW NOTES


What do you do? [04:33]

Sam starts off by explaining how he answers that question when asked and how it largely depends on the person asking it. 

Sam's Entrepreneurial Journey [05:15]

Sam explains his story of playing soccer, studying chemistry, dropping out of school and ultimately founding his first successful company, Blue Collar Scholars. His initial attempts as an entrepreneur were met with skepticism by many people close to Sam and he explains how he worked through that period. 

Sam explains his initial struggles as an entrepreneur [06:55]

Sam explains the genesis and development of Blue Collar Scholars [08:23] 

When you're doing the right thing, you can't go wrong. What I've realized in starting a business... people love to help you out. When they see that you are trying, when they see that you are putting in the effort, when they see that you are dedicated and that your desire is to do well, they want to help you out. They love helping people out with drive...
People don't buy what, they buy why.

Learn about how Sam used content marketing to initially advertise his business [11:18]

Sam explains how he placed simple signs around the city that simply stated "We Do Yard work."  Sam explains how quickly people responded together with word of mouth regarding his business concept of using college students to do yard work, aptly named: Blue Collar Scholars. 

Sam shares his sign placement strategy which greatly helped his business spread [13:16]

Founding Story of Scholar App Studios [15:34]

Sam explains the idea behind his original software development company, Scholar App Studios. 

I really believe all business is, is finding a problem and finding a solution. Between finding the problem and the solution, having your business as the bridge to solve the problem for the customer...

Sam explains the overall purpose behind Scholar App Studios. [17:43]

Sam explains how he has merged Scholar App Studios into a larger company, Scholar Era [20:40]

Sam shares insight on the Millennial Generation [21:56]

Sam openly states that he believes that "millennials are the greatest generation." Listen to how Sam defends his statement and how millennials approach business.

Sam shares insight on how to communicate with millennials [24:00]

Sam explains his strategy on how he can form a relationship of trust over text with another millennial [25:12]

What is your biggest challenge right now? [26:10]

My biggest challenge is time. 

Listen how Sam juggles his time between determining which projects to focus on and his realization of having to appropriately expand his operations. Sam is actively looking for app developers and anyone who can help contribute to the mission of Scholar Era. 

What have you learned from your failures? [29:03]

I have learned that every failure makes you more successful in the future. Every time you are kicked down to the ground, every time someone laughs at you, every single time someone says  your idea sucks and you keep going, it makes you stronger. Because every time is a lesson....

Sam explains his views on failure and how is has catapulted him to success and reminds him to keep going. 

Steve Jobs said that he is convinced that more than 50% of becoming a successful entrepreneur is simply not giving up. 

What has been one of your biggest ah-hah moments? [31:48]

One of my biggest ah-hah moments is that people are always willing to help. Human beings are naturally nice. Human beings naturally want to help each other out and when you try and really put your neck on the line is trying to start something, people are really willing to give you money, to use your services, to give you advice, to connect you with the right people...
Once I realized that people are so willing to help you out, so willing to show you what they've done to give you advice, I really realized that I can do it. I can make my businesses succeed. 

Who inspires Sam Forline? [35:22]

The people around me.

Sam shares how the people around him have made a huge impact in his life and how they continually inspire him. 

What is one piece of advice that you would give to aspiring entrepreneurs? [36:35]

First of all, calm down. When I first got the energy to do it, I scared people with my ideas. So what you need to do is if you have an idea, get it on paper. Put up a website. Get the best people around you. You can't go far alone. You really need as much advice as you can from the people around you and I also suggest is that you go out there and try it.
It's not going to help you if you say I'll do it next year. Guess what, someone else is going to do it. Go out there and try, there's nothing stopping you...

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES


Start with Why by Simon Sinek

TED or Technology, Entertainment and Design, is comprised of a global community that features short talks of 18 minutes or less from people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of our world.   To learn more, visit TED.com.

Here is a direct link to 20 of the most popular talks ever given at TED

015: William Caldwell: Life Lessons on Launching a Major App

Meet Will Caldwell, Co-Founder of Dizzle; columnist for Entrepreneur Media and writer for Elite Daily. In this episode, Will candidly and humbly shares his story of being an entrepreneur including lessons learned from his first company ending poorly to his mounting success with Dizzle - an app exclusively designed for real estate professionals and organizations that empowers them to become local experts within their respective communities by creating a trusted network of local vendors and professional services that can be shared with new home owners. Examples include: Insurance Agencies, Plumbers, Contractors, Landscapers, Pool Professionals, Doggie Day Care, Hair Stylists, etc.

CONTACT WILL: 

Twitter: @dizzle 

Linkedin

will@dizzle.com


SHOW NOTES


DIZZLE EXPLAINED [04:08]: 

Will explains what Dizzle is and especially how he came up with the name. 

Process of building an enterprise level app [09:23]:

Will walks through the genesis of building a large-scale app and explains how he originally intended to start at the individual user level and as he clarity increased on the app's overall usage possibilities, so too did his business. 

Marketing Strategy of Growing Dizzle [10:10]:

Will leveraged his experience as a writer for Entrepreneur Media (Entrepreneur.com) and began building his credibility and outreach through education pieces and writing relevant content for his target audience. 

Insight on Raising Capital [11:39]:

Will expounds upon the importance of networking and explains how he initially raised money through an Angel Investor.  Will emphasizes that an investor will invest more so in an individual than a company, but also to have something tangible to share.

Insight on how to survive as an entrepreneur un the early stages of business [16:12]:

Will wrote an article for Entrepreneur.com that expounded upon leveraging all skills possible to earn an income while starting a business through doing odd jobs at every opportunity as you build your primary business. Will also explains the importance of not relying on one source of income during an initial start-up. 

Big surprise that Will wasn't prepared for [18:30]:

Will explains that his initial product at launch morphed into something much different as his clarity increased for the direct market needs of his app.

Principle Resource for Will [21:59]: 

Perhaps surprisingly - mentors! Will explains his overall positive experience in utilizing mentors in building his company and explains how he was fortunate enough to be coached by the 88th employee at Qualcomm. 

MOOC's Explained [23:04]:

MOOC's or "Massive Online Open Course" are becoming more prevalent with many major universities such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc. and can be accessed by anyone willing to learn.  Will explains how his participation in MOOC's created a networking opportunity to build his app.  Links will be provided below to Will's recommendations. 

Will's biggest challenge [24:04]:

Will stated: if cash flow is king, cash flow is king of the universe!  Will shares that his biggest challenge as a start-up is properly managing his cash flow due to the many necessary, but unexpected expenses that arise. 

How do you view failure as an entrepreneur? [25:14]:

Will's shares that he views failure as "letting down his employees or investors" and shares his experience in his first failed venture as an entrepreneur. He painstakingly walks through that experience and relates the importance of properly setting up contracts in any partnership. 

What has been one of your biggest ah-hah moments? [28:38]:

Will shares how he surprisingly realized that his market for his app was much larger than he initially anticipated and that his clients were willing to pay more for his product than he originally thought.

What is something that you intentionally do every day? [31:56]

Will explains how he loves "unplugging" in the afternoon and goes surfing every opportunity that he gets.

Who inspires you? [32:40]:

Will explains that he is inspired by Elon Musk and several of his investors and his advisors as well as his parents.  He shares how important it is to have support from trusted sources. 

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs? [34:14]:

Just do it and don't be scared of rejection... You don't know until you've tried and I like to try a lot of things and putting forward the effort. You are not going to build a company unless you put forth the effort. So by just doing it, you are going to learn so much even if you do fail. I can't emphasize that enough. I've tried so many things before we figured this out... Don't give up. Don't get discouraged...

[36:44] Will also explains the importance of learning the needs the people that you want to talk to and really listening to them. 


Recommended Resources


MOOC's or 'Massive Open online course'

 

 

 

For a list of available MOOCs to participate in, visit http://mooc.list.com

Technology Entrepreneurship: This is the course that Will completed

Gorato - Highly recommended by Will. They helped him build his first few apps.

 

Recommended Books:

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz


Episode extras


Here are links to several of Will's pieces that he has written for you to check out:

014: Payton LaCivita - On the Road to Balsamic Perfection

Meet Payton LaCivita: Entrepreneur, Restauranteur, and co-founder of MiaBella - a Traditional Balsamic Vinegar or in Italian, 'Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale' from Modena Italy. MiaBella is DOP certified (Denomicanzione di Origine Protetta) as being a true, traditional balsamic as each 8.5 ounce bottle contains only one ingredient - grape must, resulting from the reduction of Trebbiano grapes aged in wooden barrels over time. Each bottle of MiaBella is hand-signed and numbered and is treated with tremendous care. Perhaps that is Payton's trademark, but MiaBella is unique in that it is sweet, thick and has a robust, full flavor. It has been awarded as the #1 Best Seller Balsamic Vinegar on Amazon. 

In this episode, Payton shares his experience in being a part of a family-owned restaurant, Cogburn's located in Gilbert and Mesa, Arizona - a local neighborhood bar known for its hot wings,  as well as his passion for launching MiaBella. You will learn about the difference between traditional balsamic vinegar versus commercial grade balsamic and Payton shares great insight and advice on marketing to different generations, go-to resources that have made a great difference to him that can prove valuable to other entrepreneurs as well as  sensible advice for anyone aspiring to be an entrepreneur. Payton walks the listener through his own entrepreneurial journey that is hugely insightful.


CONTACT PAYTON ON: 

Instagram - @dearmiabella

Twitter - @dearmiabella

LinkedIn

VISIT:

Miabella.co

Cogburn's Bar

Listen to the final outro of the interview to get an EXCLUSIVE OFFER for MiaBella as a listener to Entrepreneur Uncovered. 


SHOW NOTES


Overview on Payton: [00:05:51]

Listen to Payton describe his history growing up in the restaurant industry and participating in his family-owned business, Coburn's Bar with two locations in Gilbert and Mesa, AZ. Payton talks about the evolution and concept of Coburn's based on the fictional character Rooster Coburn from True Grit originally played by John Wayne in 1969 and later in a 2010 remake by Jeff Bridges. Coburn's Bar is famous for their large hot wings and Payton gives some first hand advice on key areas to focus on to be successful as a restauranteur. 

Story of launching MiaBella: [00:16:17]

Listen firsthand on the story behind MiaBella, meaning "My Beauty" in Italian and why Payton and his business partner decided to bring the sweet tasting Traditional Balsamic Vinegar to the U.S. market. 

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar Explained: [00:20:29]

Learn how Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is exclusively produced in Modena or Reggio Emilia, Italy and how MiaBella is made. 

Payton's Biggest Ah-Hah Moment - [00:26:10]

Learn how Payton had to change course from marketing to the Farmer's Markets, which originally seemed like an obvious choice, to going direct to local grocery stores and grocery chains as well as marketing online through eCommerce. Payton also gives some great insight on the specific steps that he took to launch his brand. 

Learn how Payton grew MiaBella [00:31:24]

Great insight for any product-based business who is wishing to grow both online component as well as through traditional retail. 

Marketing to Millennials: [00:36:00]

Payton explains his viewpoint on being a millennial and how he markets to different generations.

What Payton has learned from his failures: [00:39:29]

Payton shares his story of originally being told no in marketing directly to a local California grocery store and he explains his process in finally figuring out how to win the owner over so much so, that he has become one of Payton's best customers. 

Payton shares some go-to resources that he has relied on as an entrepreneur - [00:43:30]

Payton explains his daily routine, shares some books that are shared below within the Podcast Notes and also shares some must-have resources that are also illustrated below. Payton is a big believer in networking and is always seeking to connect with others. 

Payton was asked what has been some of the best advice that he has received as an entrepreneur: [00:45:58]

[The] best advice though that kind of transcends all other advice for me is to hustle. Don't give up. Keep going hard as you can. Have a routine. Stay organized. Just don't give up. Even if one business fails, don't give up and start something new...
Like I've said, I've had just so many failures even before MiaBella that you just don't skip a beat and you move on to the next thing. You come up with the next idea and you go out and learn from what you did wrong in the past and apply it differently on what you are doing in the future and what you did in the past might work differently for what you are doing in the future now. So I think the best advice is just... don't give up and keep grinding, keep hustling!

If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice, what would that be? [00:47:33]

Payton explains his overall learning curve and shared:

"the adversity helps you get better as an entrepreneur and so I don't know that I would want to tell myself: you're going to experience this and here's how to avoid it; I'd almost say: you're going to experience this and figure it out."

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES


Tools Payton Uses:


Shopify.com - An eCommerce platform for merchants wishing to sell their products online. 
Asana - App / Program designed to improve the productivity of teams for task oriented completion
DropBox - Easily share and store large files over a secure cloud network
Wave Accounting - Free Accounting Software for Small Business Owners
Google Apps - Professional email, productivity tools, shared calendars, storage and more. 
Bizzy.io - Targeted, behavioral marketing and more for your small business. 
Slack - Huge collaboration tool that simplifies all of your online communication into one forum. 
 

Books payton Recommends:


4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuck
Choose Yourself by James Altucher
Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday
The Dip by Seth Godin
The Hippie's Guide to Climbing The Corporate Ladder and Other Mountains by Skip Yowell

Last but not least -

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
 


Everything you wanted to know about balsamic


Emilia-Romagna Region 

There are many stories and accounts stemming from the middle ages through the Rennaissance regarding an exquisite, celebrated vinegar produced in the Emilia-Romagna Region of now modern Northern Italy, exclusively from the communities of Reggio Emilia and neighboring Modena

                   Trebbiano Grapes

                   Trebbiano Grapes

This particular region in Italy, the ancient territory of the Duchy of Modena, has a longstanding tradition of cooking grapes, largely in part because the grapes from this region, Trebbiano grapes,  yield a wine with a very low alcohol level and thus are better suited for vinegar. 

In perhaps a most noted example among many of the popularity of the prestigious vinegar, a manuscript notes that in 1046 a.d. Boniface of Canossa, a powerful Prince and Count over the Northern Italy region including Modena,  offered a most extraordinary gift to Roman Emperor Henry III in Piacenza. Boniface gave a small silver barrel of the coveted vinegar to the Emperor and legend dictates that the gift was unrivaled even by "hundreds of horses, goshawks and other birds of prey" that the Emperor had previously received, celebrating his Coronation. 

What we now know to be Balsamic Vinegar, the vinegar did not receive its modern name until the mid-18th where it was thought to have therapeutic and restorative properties and was sold as a tonic. The word Balsamic derives from Balsam which is an aromatic resin that was utilized for healing wounds and soothing pains. Balsamic Vinegar does not of course contain any balsam, but the name has stuck. 

Although the ancient recipe is somewhat of a mystery due the fact of its closely guarded secret, up until the 18th century, traditional vinegar production often incorporated the addition of other spices and even fruits during various stages of the fermentation process such as:  licorice juice, cloves, coriander, nutmeg, pepper and juniper berries and on occasion apples and figs.

The traditional process however of making Balsamic vinegar hasn't changed in that Trebbiano grapes are boiled down to about 30% of their original volume and form a concentrate, or must. The grape must is then aged, where is ferments and takes on its unique flavor, over a period of many years in wooden casks (barrels) of varying woods such as: acacia, walnut, chestnut, cherry, oak, mulberry, ash and juniper where the grape must ferments over time. 

The actual aging process itself is unique in that the cooked grape must is placed and then subsequently transferred to a series of decreasingly smaller barrels, collectively known as the batteria, or barrel battery. The largest barrel can be 60 liters or more and then subsequent barrels would progressively range in size to 50 liters, 40 liters, 30 liters, 20 liters, 16 liters, 13 liters and finally 10 liters.

The amount of barrels used in progression and type of wood of the batteria, as well as how long the vinegar aged in each barrel is unique to each traditional balsamic vinegar manufacturer, but the process is the same. In all cases, a small amount of aged vinegar is left in each barrel (meaning each barrel is never fully emptied) so that new vinegar being transferred to the barrel can absorb the same properties as before.

To be considered a true Traditional Balsamic Vinegar or Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale in accordance with the European Union and receive the status approval of the Denominazione di Origine Protetta (or Protected Designation of Origin or simply DOP), the vinegar must age in progression of at least five barrels. 

During the fermentation process itself, the vinegar's sugars convert into alcohol and then later pass through acetic oxidation (acidity) the vinegar is then decanted and transferred from from its larger barrel the next in smaller size once a year.  This usually occurs during the months of January or February and the process is known as 'Topping Off'. The aging process and utilization of different woods gives Balsamic Vinegar its unique robustly sweet flavor that has a consistency similar to syrup. 

While the quality of the vinegar depends on the quality of the grapes as well as the timing of each transfer from one barrel to another, the flavor is largely determined by the vinegar's age and the overall combination of wood used for each barrel that the vinegar ages in. 

Lastly, once you have tried a traditional balsamic vinegar, such as MiaBella, that is DOP certified and carries the words, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale, it is hard to ever go back to commercial balsamic vinegar that is made from a mixture of vinegar, caramel coloring and thickeners added. So, if you haven't experienced the taste of traditional balsamic vinegar, perhaps its time to change that...







013: Todd VanDuzer - Creating SMART Goals for a Bright Future

Meet Co-Founder of Student-Tutor, Todd VanDuzer, a private in-home tutoring organization that has a genuine desire to help students "Spark Bright Futures." Together with his partner, Laura Petersen, Student-Tutor is proving to help students achieve substantially better results through time-tested principles of setting, reviewing and being held accountable to their goals.

Throughout his life, Todd has found success through following "SMART Goals", that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic, and
  • Time-based. 

In seeking to change his own life, Todd began holding himself accountable to personal goals that he set through writing them down and regularly reviewing them.  Not even five years later from doing so, he has earned over $85,000 in scholarships to put towards his schooling, has visited over 33 countries, took up rock climbing where he has frequently summited over 2,000 ft. cliff faces and even found himself 3,200 feet in mid-air, tethered to a highline between two fjord's in Norway and founded a non-profit, Yoga and More in the Park, in Tempe, Arizona. 

Learn how Todd has taken the SMART Goal process to transform his own life as he now seeks to help others do the same. 

CONTACT TODD

Student-Tutor.com

ToddVanduzer.com

Read Todd's Adventure Blog

Email Todd 

Follow Todd on Twitter


SELECT INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS


WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR FAILURES?