This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Matt Ward. Matt is an angel investor, startup advisor and serial entrepreneur that’s helped thousands build, grow and scale successful startup companies through his efforts with FBA ALLSTARS and The Syndicate podcast.
Thanks to three successful exits of companies he founded, Matt now runs an investment syndicate focused on seed stage tech companies, while also serving as an advisor for several startups.
Matt’s a frequent writer on Medium.com, author of Gods of the Valley – How Today’s Tech Giants Monopolize the Future and has been featured in Mattermark Daily, The Next Web, Inc, VentureBeat, Think Growth, Hackernoon and numerous other publications.
And if that is not enough, he’s also the founder of The Disruptors Podcast, a show that brings together scientists, startups, innovators and thought leaders to have discussions on the direction of humankind. With such a diverse background, there are is a lot we have to talk about in this episode.
Get Matt’s Book, Gods of the Valley at https://disruptors.fm/gods-of-valley/
Matt never really fit into a traditional job type roll and quickly found his way into solo-entrepreneurship. He built a couple of e-commerce companies that failed. Then, he stumble into crowdfunding. He was in southeast Asia and moved to China to start a new e-commerce business from the lessons he learned and have the products manufactured there.
He had designed a laptop case that opens into a standing desk and while he was waiting for his first prototype to be created, he decided to start selling already made products on Amazon and things took off. He ultimately sold the business and then used that money to fund his “phase 2.” He also started his podcasts.
The first phase for him was about making money. He was selling things, but wasn’t really passionate about the products, but knew he needed to do it to get to a point where he had the resources to focus on what actually mattered to him and that is where he is now.
Now, he works with startups as an advisor on growth marketing, scaling, and building their business larger. His big focus is Disruptors.FM looking at the future of technology and the convergence of all the technological progress. At the 8 min mark, Matt talks about what he is seeing happening in the technology space and why Disruptors is so important.
At the 9:22 mark, Matt explains what it means to “think bigger” and the challenge he gives to us to do so…
What are the things you teach those your work with when it comes to thinking bigger. How do they do it? Where do they start?
At the 14 min mark, Matt asks me questions and uses Misfit as an example of how we can think bigger…
It’s what matters most…
Then asking the question, “What would have to change to 10x or 100x that metric?"
If you are measuring the right thing, then 10x and 100x become easier…
Things don’t scale the way you think. You have do things differently at each level to get to the next level.
The way that you think about starting something is not the way that you think about growing it and building a lasting organization. It is a different thought process and skillset.
What are some of the key thing you’ve learned along the way that have helped you succeed?
If you had to choose one thing, that if you had known it before starting on your entrepreneur path, would have accelerated your success, what would it be?
Where do you see the state of humanity going? What’s coming?
Where do you see the biggest disruption happening over the next 10-20 years?
At the 46 min mark, Matt talks about other areas that you should look at and keep tabs on.
Best Quote: “If you are doing something and it doesn’t feel right, then it is for good reason. Your gut is almost always right.”
Matt's Misfit 3:
This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Jonathan Mann. I first met Jonathan at the Fireside Entrepreneur Retreat. I was curious as to why I saw this guy walking around everywhere with a ukulele in his hands everywhere he went. And then, one evening, at dinner, I was even more surprised to see him announced and come up on stage.
It turns out, Jonathan is known worldwide as the “Song a Day Man.” He’s been featured on CNN, Time, and a ton of major outlets as well as performed at various TED events, not to mention being hired by companies like Dr. Pepper, Novartis, Gartner, and others to create a unique memory for the events.
Jonathan has a written a new song and posted the video of it every day since January 1st, 2009. That is well over 3000 songs and by the way a Guinness world record.
Talk about Misfit Entrepreneur who created an awesome business by doing something people thought were crazy, I knew as I soon as I saw him on stage that I had to have him on the show the share his experience and what he’s learned on his journey.
@Songadaymann on Twitter
Jonathan has known that he wanted be a song-writer since he was 12 when he got his first guitar. He was obsessed. It was all he thought about and did. But, as he says, he “sucked at it for a long time.” He says he has no real natural talent, it just happened because he has stuck with it for so long. He kept writing songs all through high school and college.
He would struggle with writer’s block and finding inspiration. He would always have the urge to create and express himself, but would get blocked because of this. He would have moments where nothing good would come out. In the winter of ’08, he was 25 years old, it was the height of the financial crisis, he was unemployed, and Jonathan got handed a flyer for a thing called “Fun-A-Day,” a global art project where people make a piece of art each day for 30 days in January.
He decided to do a song and video on YouTube every day for January. It went well and he had a fun doing. He decided to do it for a year. Once he accomplished that, it became his life and mission. He is now over 3800 days straight (10 years!) and going and has received the Guinness World Record.
Talk to us about Discipline as it takes a tremendous amount to do what you do…
How has doing this helped you grow as a person? Anything changed?
What is an important business lesson you’ve learned from your journey?
At the 27 minute mark, Jonathan has a unique take on chances and creativity….
It is easy to shoot yourself down before you even start, but if you think of it this way. Each chance you have is precious and if you don’t take it you lose out on that chance. A lesson is that there are always more chances. If you take just one big chance a year, it has a tremendous weight behind it and in your mind huge ramifications. But, if you have 365 chances, they have less weight, but you have more chance to succeed in larger ways than if you miss the one big chance.
Tell us about the business you’ve built around Song-a-Day?
How do you find inspiration?
At the 40 min mark, Jonathan tells us about his latest project, the ISO. Initial Song Offering.
Over 3000 songs, which one is your favorite?
Best Quote: “It is easy to shoot yourself down before you even start, but if you think of it this way. Each chance you have is precious and if you don’t take it you lose out on that chance. A lesson is that there are always more chances. If you take just one big chance a year, it has a tremendous weight behind it and in your mind huge ramifications. But, if you have 365 chances, they have less weight, but you have more chance to succeed in larger ways than if you miss the one big chance.”
Jonathan's Misfit 3:
Hello Misfit Nation! Welcome to another edition of "Lessons for Hannah!" In November of 2016, we introduced a new format that we are putting alongside our regular episodes called “Lessons for Hannah.” Hannah is my daughter and one of the main inspirations for the Misfit Entrepreneur. I wanted to have a place where she could go and learn from her daddy and his Misfit friends throughout her life….even after I am gone. If you haven’t listened to the first episode of "Lessons for Hannah," I urge you to as it gives some more background and tells the amazing story of how Hannah came to be in our lives.
"Lessons for Hannah" are short, very useful, and sometimes comical lessons, that I have learned which I want to share with you and give to Hannah to help in your lives. Because I want Hannah to have these for her life, I’m going to speak as though I am talking directly to her. These episodes are a lot of fun and if you think there is a lesson that we should include in these episodes, please don’t hesitate to send it over to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to share it.
This week’s Lesson for Hannah
I want to talk to you about something very important to your success and well, life in general. The difference between hearing and listening – and what it means to be truly present. In life, we are bombarded by things all day coming from seemingly every direction. Some of these things are important, others are just distractions. And, there has been a lot of study done on how the average person’s attention span is getting shorter and shorter.
If you think about it, it makes sense. As technology has enabled things to be more readily at our fingertips, there is more to interrupt our life and for us to consume. I fear that it will be even worse than it is now when you grow up. And that is why this one skill will be so important. It will make such a difference for the people that have it because it will be increasingly rare to find.
That skill is learning the BIG difference between hearing and listening and committing to be truly present in your interactions with others.
Let’s start with hearing vs. listening. I know there have been times where you are busy doing something and your mother and I are talking to you and you acknowledge that we are, but don’t really pay attention to what we say. I mean, you are 6, going on 7. It’s par for the course. But, it is also prevalent in adults too – I’m guilty of doing this as much as the next person. I admit that I can multi-task with the best of them. I can be on a phone call, answering email, checking stock quotes, posting on social media, etc., all at the same time and you wouldn’t know it if you were on the other end of the line. But, I do!
And I know I am not giving my best in these moments. While, I am not perfect, this is an area I’ve really tried to focus on in recent years and it is incredible how much it pays off. In fact, doing this show has really helped me to hone this skill as I know the more engaged I am and focused on each guest, the better the episode will be. I’ve even put rules in place like keeping my cell phone out of the studio, turning off notifications on the computer, and closing email to make sure distractions don’t come up.
You see, when you are just hearing someone or something, you are not fully engaged – you are not truly listening, or active listening as it is called. To truly hear someone, you must focus on them and think deeply about what they are saying so that you can give your best to them in that moment. You must listen to them, not just with your ears, but your mind as well. That is the difference between hearing and listening.
And when you do this, you will be truly present in that instance and fully engaged which will deliver much more for you and the person you are listening to. A much richer, more meaningful, and more fruitful experience.
Hannah, and anyone else who is listening, take the time to learn the difference between hearing and listening and commit to being truly present in your interactions in life. You’ll be glad you did, have great success, and ultimately a richer life.
I love you, Daddy
Best Quote: “To be truly present and engaged, you must listen to others, not just with your ears, but your mind as well."
This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Lauren Zander. Lauren is the co-founder and Chairwoman of the Handel Group, an international corporate consulting and private coaching company based in New York City. She is also the author of the best-seller Maybe It’s You: Cut the Crap, Face your Fear, Love Your Life – a no nonsense guide that teaches people to get what they want out of life.
Lauren has worked with everybody from Fortune 500 Companies like Citibank, Gap and Linked In, to Academy Award Winning Artists, Grammy Winning musicians, and her groundbreaking methodology, The Handel Method, is supported by top educators and psychologists and has been taught in over 35 major universities and institutions of higher learning throughout the country. If that’s not enough she also contributes to the New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, BBC, and many others.
But, our conversation today may make some of you uncomfortable, because Lauren has a message for you. That message is that you are lying. All of us lying. And she is going to tell us what we need to do about it.
Lauren is 49, happily married with 3 kids ranging from 16 to 10. She lives in the country in a 1790’s farmhouse. But, she has been out on her own as an executive/life coach since she was 28. It happened because she could not understand why no one was teaching the truth in education and talking about the truth in humanity – what we actually deal with. People were not focused on emotional intelligence or confronting the dark side of who we are, so she set out to do so.
You state that “everyone is a liar.” Explain that for us…
What are the 7 ways we lie?
How do people confront their propensity to lie and how do you manage the lie of being honest and it getting you into trouble?
Let’s talk about truth in the business world. How do people navigate being honest and balancing that with doing business in their lives?
You work with some of top performers in their fields in the world. Are there any traits or consistencies you see across them that help them to succeed at high levels?
At the 40 min mark, Lauren tells us about the Handel Method…
It broken into 3 sections
At the 46 min mark, Lauren talks about her latest concept, “Time Warps”
Lauren says her method can be summed up in the following 3 movies:
Best Quote: “Lying for humans is like breathing. We don’t face how we lie. If you don’t know how you lie and all the ways you lie, it means you don’t know your own inner dialogue. This causes us to leave a lot on the table – Self-Awareness, Deeper Intimacy, and a love of being honest that we will never know.”
Lauren's Misfit 3:
This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Justin Hartzman. Justin’s storied history as a entrepreneur is well known. He is the founder of WeSellYourSite.com, the first online broker for e-commerce websites. He created the first digital skin company for myspace that allowed people to customize their pages. Before all of that, he and one his friends and now longtime business partners created a humor website called RudeJoke.com as teenagers that pulled in $15-20k per month.
Justin is now the CEO of Needls, the first ever Roboagency, a full automated platform that creates, targets, and optimizes digital ads on both Facebook and Instagram.
Justin’s done more in business than most people would ever dream of, so I had to have him on to discuss some of his legendary exploits and to get his best wisdom and success secrets to help you in your life and business…
Go to Needls.com/Misfit for 35% Off
Justin comes from a family of entrepreneurs. At 8 years old, he started working at one of his families retail businesses. He really enjoyed the thrill of making a sale and standing out. In high school, the internet came about and he started to get into it. The possibilities were endless. He first got started online in gaming and then started RudeJoke.com with a few buddies. They were featured in magazines like Maxim and others and were coined the “entertainment site of the year.” And he was only 13-14 years old!
Within a few weeks, they started getting millions of users per day. This started them looking at all the unique ways they could market. They even paid a guy at Yahoo! $75/mo to list them at #1 in their categories. He started making 10’s of thousands of dollars.
He then went off to college and when he came out, he realized that his family business of real estate and development wasn’t for him, so he got back online. He knew the founder of MySpace, but the guy didn’t like him and disallowed him from being on the site. Justin kept asking and pestering him until he was allowed back on. When he went to MySpace, he saw pages that had no content, so they had the idea to become the guys to create the content for pages and started the business. They found a hack with Yahoo! That paid them $10+ a click. Within 3 weeks, they were getting a million users a day. 3 months later, Justin sold the business. They then took that money and bought their competitors who weren’t using their Yahoo!, but using Google and only getting about a $1 a click. They put their Yahoo! strategy on it for 9 mos, made their money back plus more and then sold that business.
In selling 2 businesses in 9 mos, they saw a gap in the market to sell internet businesses. They then decided to become the first internet broker. They created www.WeSellYourSite.com which became the #1 brokerage site for boutique deals. They then sold that business.
Now, they have started Needls to help make marketing on Facebook and Instagram for efficient and profitable.
After all that you’ve done, what has surprised you most about entrepreneurship and what have you learned from it?
Any low points?
How important is timing and how do you look at a business from a timing standing to know when to jump in?
At the 22 min mark, Justin takes us through journey of Needls and how they went from $0-$2 million in your first year…
What should we know about the current state of Facebook and Instagram advertising?
Does Facebook and Instagram work well for certain types of business? What type of businesses work well in this environment?
Talk to us about being the Accelerator with Needls. What are some of the things you learned there that can help entrepreneurs?
Secrets to creating solid, long-lasting business partners?
What lessons have you learned about exiting a business?
Where do you see the most opportunity for entrepreneurs in the next 3-5 years?
Cannabis is a big trend.
Block chain and Crypto.
Software as a platform that is vertically integrated so you don’t need multiple platforms.
Best Quote: “Time kills all deals. Deals only happen when everyone is a little unhappy.”
Justin's Misfit 3: