In this episode, Dave is excited to welcome Natalia Wiechowski. Also known as Think Natalia, the Middle East’s leading Edutainer. Natalia is an award winning, bilingual public speaker, impression management coach and digital influencer. She has won excellence awards throughout the Middle East, Africa, UAE and everywhere in-between. She has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Yogalife, Link magazine and others.
But what is interesting is she never started out to do any of this. In fact, at age 15 she was one of only two competitive soloists in a new category – Discodance – on the competitive German dance scene. She danced at international championships and music concerts with audiences of up to 12,000 people. She did this for many years and while completing her studies.
So how then did she end up going from being a top competitive dancer to working in the Middle East to gaining over 100,000 followers worldwide in less than a year and half and becoming a top influencer, speaker, and coach? We find out in this episode!
Natalia started out of college and took the first international position she was offered in the UAE. She spent 3.5 years there and had some success, but wanted something bigger. So, in her 2nd job, she initially hit the mark. She was very successful, won all kinds of awards, and made a lot of money, but something was missing. She was exhausted and found herself getting sick over and over again. It was after enduring this for a while that she quit her job and took a 9 month sabbatical.
As she says, she had hit emotional and physical rock bottom and had to take a break and detox her whole life to find who she really is, what success means – essentially her true purpose.
She changed her routines, her habits, and the way she approached life. She immersed herself in learning and growing herself. She also changed how she approached her social life. She started a blog and started to do more social. People started asking her to help them do what she was doing. She did a lot of early work and consulting for free.
It was through doing this that she figured out who she really was – A public speaker, a coach, and digital influencer. She set her focus on those 3 areas and cut out everything else.
Natalia says that there was no one thing that really crystallized things for her. It was a series of things.
At the 7 minute mark, Natalia talks about belief and how she changed the way she thought and how she approached things to change how she did things and change her results. She gives several examples.
Natalia shares a great quote “People act according to their level of awareness.” And explains how this can impact people, both in a bad or good way, in their lives.
She says that some people think that “If they blow someone else’s candle, theirs will shine brighter,” and that is not the case.
At 12 min mark, Natalia talks about the steps she took to make her vision a reality. First, she had to forget everything she had ever learned and then had to redefine everything. Then, she began to educate herself in the areas to develop her new beliefs and then test what she learned to see if held true. She shares multiple examples of how this testing worked and didn’t work. As she says, she “failed herself to success,” through this process.
Natalia talks about taking action and how striving for perfection is not a good thing. She talks about having the courage to start, even when you are not fully prepared. She mentioned that starting automatically puts you ahead of others and not being afraid of looking foolish is critical because you won’t know everything or have everything perfectly aligned.
At the 20 min mark, Natalia breaks down her 3 main areas of Public Speaking, Coaching, and Digital Influencing and gives advice for the how to be successful in each. She says that there are specific things that work across all areas and really for anything.
She breaks it down this way
Thoughts on personal branding/impression management?
Thoughts on building a following?
3 secrets of Influencing that others don’t talk about:
At the 30 min mark, Natalia talks about how she works across the different social media platform and manages content.
Biggest challenge as an entrepreneur?
Natalia still seeks out coaches and mentors to hold her accountable and help her grow in areas that she feels she needs work.
At the 37 minute mark, Natalia discusses the systems and routines in her business and how they help her productivity and success.
At the 40 minute, there is a great discussion on the mental and physical roller-coaster of being an entrepreneur and how to cope with it.
Best Quote:“Some people think that if they blow someone else’s candle, theirs will shine brighter - and that is not the case.”
Natalia's Misfit 3
In this episode, Dave is excited to welcome his long time business partner, adopted brother, and all around damn good guy, Erik Mueller. Erik is the founder of Grasp Technologies, a multi-time INC 5000 award winner that has averaged over 50% growth per year for almost a decade. In addition, he has been honored as one of the Top 25 Most Influential Executives in the Travel Industry, and is credited with creating the first graphic reporting system for the travel industry.
Erik is one of the main inspirations for the Misfit Entrepreneur as he is a former musician who is a self-taught programmer, turned business owner. He has had an amazing journey from being a self-taught programmer with a vision to transforming to a true CEO of a top performing company. Dave knows as he has been there along the ride for every step for the last decade.
At early age, Erik had a natural ability for programming and bought his first computer at the age of 10 and started to build games. As Erik notes he has always been drawn to the arts, especially music and photography. In fact, he went to college for photography and cinematography. But never completed it. At this point, computers still weren’t a big thing in the business world and he didn’t know that he would ever really end up on that side of things. Instead, he was in a band and did every type of odd job. He was big in the punk rock scene.
At one point, he got bored and decided to do the exact opposite of what anyone thought he would do and he went into the US Army. He says he loved the experience. It gave him discipline. It challenged him to push himself. And it made him realize that he can overcome major barriers.
Once he got out, he got a job at the State of Ohio, but it was not for him. He went back to odd jobs and music. He had a music studio in his basement and a gentleman came in, who worked at Bank One, and saw Erik programming Asteroids on his computer. He mentioned to Erik that they were looking for a programmer to come in and automate some large reporting that they were struggling with. He interviewed and got the job. It was this endeavor that allowed him to create the first graphic reporting system for the travel industry. Of course, doing this while playing in his band at night.
As things grew and got even more corporate, Erik decided it was time to move on. He started his first company, an IT services company, which shortly thereafter spawned Grasp Technologies. He started building the initial Grasp solutions and worked on funding, but then the dot com bubble burst and 9/11 followed shortly after. So, he just continued on building and working the business from there.
At the 9:50 mark Erik talks about becoming a CEO and the transition and realizations he had to go through.
Erik talks about “aha moments” and how there isn’t just one that happens on the journey, but many. You reach a plateau and then bust through it and then on to the next one. And each new level you get, there are “aha moments” and amazing things to discover and do. Erik says he seems to see it as an every year thing in which your challenge yourself to new levels.
At the 18:20 mark, Erik talks about overcoming obstacles and how each challenge you over makes it easier to overcome the next one. He talks about how to bust through your fears and how to let go of the past that may be holding you back.
At the 21 min mark. Erik talks about staying true to yourself and how in reality the more successful you become, the more your true self and value get amplified. As he says, “People that are a$$holes become bigger a$$holes and people that are good just become that much better.”
Biggest challenge as an entrepreneur? Letting go and trusting your team. Giving up the control so that your business can truly grow.
Erik recommends the book Scaling Up as a good blueprint of how to create a great business. The other one he recommends is Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy to help with learning to prioritize correctly.
Best piece of advice for a new entrepreneur?
How do you measure personal success? What does success mean to you?
Staying competitive in technology, are there best practices that are relevant today?
Hardest part in growing a company?
Do you have a coach? Who do you look to for advice?
Will computers and AI take over the world and our live?
Will VR get to a point where people cannot distinguish between reality and lose themselves in it?
How will VR impact travel?
Best Quote: "Great ideas aren't anything, unless you have great people that execute on them and make them happen."
Erik's Misfit 3
In this episode, Dave is excited to welcome author of "Half – The Ultimate Guide to Cutting Your Taxes by up to 50% Guaranteed" and founder of Tax Vantage Consulting, Wes Matejka!
Wes has a diverse career in the he started out in radio and at one point was radio executive of the year, but he had a passion for helping people in a larger way. He founded Tax Vantage Consulting as a way to do this. TaxVantage™ Consulting works with those who have high incomes and their existing CPAs to cut their income taxes by tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. They do this by selling large assets to defer any Capital Gains taxes for 30 years – a really interesting concept. They focus 100% on reducing taxes using their proprietary TrueTax™ Process and then provide a CPA with what a client needs to file their tax return.
It works. Tax Vantage counts some of the most successful entrepreneurs and Hollywood A-listers as their clients. Through it all, Wes has not lost his passion for helping others. In fact, he says one of his greatest accomplishments is that he has not only helped clients save literally millions of dollars in taxes, but also helped to create thousands of acres of permanent green space around the country through conservation efforts.
Email Wes: Wes@taxvantageconsulting.com
Half: The Ultimate Guide to Cutting Your Taxes Up to 50% Guaranteed
Wes has a unique story. He spent over 25 years in the radio and music industry. Working his way through college included a gig doing standup comedy which led to doing some voice work for radio and ultimately got him his start in the radio business. As the industry changed and got to be more corporate and lose the small entrepreneur owner mentality, he lost his passion and decide it was time to do something else.
The only challenge was that he decided to make this change at the peak of the recession and was not sure what he was going to do. How did he do it? He prayed about it and stayed open to opportunity, whatever it may be, and the opportunity to work with business owners to help lower their tax burden came along and he took the opportunity. He learned and grew in the space and was eventually able to go on his own and start Tax Vantage Consulting.
Wes talks about transition and figuring out what you want if you are going to make a big change or switch careers. Part of it is being open as discussed above, but really being clear on what you are passionate about is the other. He discussed how we started Tax Vantage and the passion that drove him to do so.
At the 8 min mark, Wes talks about the process and the strategies that they use that many CPA’s don’t know about or have not heard of. The interesting thing is that the items Wes and his team find for a client are concrete because they are simply from the tax code and typically buried deep in the thousands for rules and pages of credits and deductions available. He talks about the difference between deductions and credits and why credits are the better.
He also talks about how the tax code is there to incentivize business owners and entrepreneurs and gives simple, common sense reasons why.
He talks about how a lot of the tax strategies they use are geared toward higher income earners ($500,000/year +) because of the way the laws are written, but offers up some tax strategies that even people making under that amount can utilizes. One he talks in depth about is R&D tax credits and gives examples of them being able to be used by everyone from landscapers to electricians and everyone in between. The rule is that if you are doing “research and development to be able to bring your product to the marketplace” – which most companies regardless of size are, then you can use these tax credits.
Wes gives a great example of how his group was able to save a client over $1.2 million just for finding the R&D credit and going back the 3 years available to recapture it.
At the 18 min mark, Wes talks about his favorite strategy which is how to differ capital gains by up to 30 years. He tells two great stories of this. One of a business owner and one of a Hollywood A-lister.
At 23 min mark, Dave asks Wes if this is too good to be true and his answer is one that everyone should hear. As he says, things are not too good to be true just because you’ve never heard of them.
Wes gives some pretty interesting stats:
Wes’s advice for those that are not high net worth, but working their way toward it as follows:
Wes makes a very interesting distinction when he says, “Your CPA’s job is not to reduce your taxes. There is job is tax preparation, not necessarily tax reduction.”
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs? What holds them back?
Biggest challenge? Making sure to always be staying on point and educating others about his niche and keeping the energy up to do that day and day out.
Advice for growth?
Best Quote: “Seek out those ideas that do seem “to good to be true” and then make them true”
Wes's Misfit 3
n this episode, Dave is excited to welcome two-time Inc 500 entrepreneur and best-selling author, Rhett Power!
In 2007, Rhett resigned from his lucrative consulting career to co-start a toy company called Wild Creations. Less than two years later, the economic downturn left him exhausted and nearly bankrupt. Rhett was not only forced to analyze his company, but himself to see what needed to change. The results of this were that he figured out how to do the right things right and Wild Creations was named one of INC 500’s fastest growing companies 2 years in a row and has gone on to win over 40 national awards.
He is the author of the Amazon best-seller, One Million Frogs, a regular contributor to INC, Success Magazine, and Business Insider… and has a new book being released in the next week called, The Entrepreneur’s Book of Actions. He is also a member of the US Department of State’s Speakers Program.
Connect with Rhett on Twitter: @rhettpower
The Entrepreneur's Book of Actions
This interview has a lot of great items in it, but for those of you that have ever transitioned from a steady job to owning your own business or are planning, or aspire to do so, you will find Rhett’s story and journey of adapting to being an entrepreneur very helpful and useful.
Rhett had a very good job working for USAID around the world, but something was missing. It wasn’t right. Rhett and a colleague would meet and routinely talk about what it is that they wanted and it came down to one thing – owning their own business. They decide to quit their jobs in 2006 and buy a business. They look at all sorts of business, including a “dead body” removal business. Ultimately, they found a very unique business with 1 product. Of all the companies they looked at, it was probably the one in the worst shape, but there was just something about it.
It wasn’t easy. They went through a lot of struggle including multiple years on the road selling a product out of van around the US because it was not shippable. They had no access to additional capital or money and reinvested everything back into the company to keep it going. After a couple years, they were able to turn it into a success and became a multi-year INC 500 company.
At the 9 min mark, we talk about tipping points and what the biggest one for Rhett was. He tells an amazing story of being about 1 month away from going under and decided to take a huge risk that if it didn’t work, they would be done.
Rhett talks about his new book being released in January ’17, The Entrepreneur’s Book of Action and how it came about because of going through the transformation in the business and re-thinking his entire business to make it successful. He wrote the help people who are doing the hard work and focus in their business could have a guide that makes it easy and systematic to work on their business daily.
Rhett discusses the long game and planning for your success. He discussed how we live in an instant gratification world and that is just not reality in business. It takes work, planning, the ability to adapt, and change, and staying after it consistently to truly succeed. He suggests taking time to reframe everything you do and see if it is actually working or not. And if it is not, you don’t have to have drastically change all at once. Instead, you should tackle things in smaller chunks. It’s important to get the small wins and momentum to help you stick with and accomplish big changes. Eat the elephant one bite at a time.
At the 27 min mark, Rhett talks about the power of belief. He gives a great story about Christmas to illustrate how important true belief is in your success. He also discussed how not having an exit strategy helped them to overcome and make the business a success. “Commit. The minute you start talking about getting out is when you will.”
Rhett talks about some of his favorite concepts in The Entrepreneurs Book of Actions:
Efficiency vs. Activity?
You can do a lot of activity, but that is not efficiency. You should also be working toward more efficient ways to run your business. Look at how you’re doing things, what you’re doing, and how you are using resources and time. This also goes to how you are using your time as an entrepreneur. Where is the best place for you to focus?
Best advice for entrepreneurs just starting out?
Bad habits are what hold us back, so make sure you are aware of yours. Money management, time management, and planning are the 3 most critical areas where business often fail
At the 40:30 mark, Rhett gives a great example and advice on seeking and selecting mentors.
Best Quote: "Dream big, but think small as it’s the small details, the daily details, that are going to get you to that big dream"
Rhett's Misfit 3