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Dave Lukas, The Misfit Entrepreneur_Breakthrough Entrepreneurship

The weekly podcast with serial entrepreneur, Dave M. Lukas, devoted to giving you incredibly useful and unique insight from the world's top entrepreneurs with a focus on their non-traditional methods for achieving success, their Misfit side. Misfit was created to give YOU the breakthrough entrepreneurship strategies and actionable advice to accelerate your success! The show's open format and Misfit 3 concept, combined with Dave's intuitive and engaging interview style quickly uncover each guest's key tools, tactics, and tricks that listeners can start using in their lives right now. Learn more about the show at www.misfitentrepreneur.com and become a member of Misfit Nation by signing up for the Misfit Minute, the FREE weekly email with specific resources from the week's "Misfit 3," and actionable tips and items from the world of Misfit Entrepreneurs. It is delivered every Friday to your inbox!
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Now displaying: 2021

The weekly podcast with serial entrepreneur, Dave M. Lukas, devoted to giving you incredibly useful and unique insight from the world's top entrepreneurs with a focus on their non-traditional methods for achieving success, their Misfit side. Misfit was created to give YOU the best, actionable advice to accelerate your success!

The show's open format and Misfit 3 concept, combined with Dave's intuitive and engaging interview style quickly uncovers each guest's key tools, tactics, and tricks that listeners can start using in their lives right now.

Learn more about the show at www.misfitentrepreneur.com and become a member of Misfit Nation by signing up for the Misfit Minute, the FREE weekly email with specific resources from the week's "Misfit 3," and actionable tips and items from the world of Misfit Entrepreneurs. It is delivered every Friday to your inbox!

Oct 27, 2021

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Ken Ehrman. Ken is a technology and safety visionary, who has spent 25+ years pioneering IoT innovations. As the founder of I.D. Systems which is now publicly traded under the symbol PWFL, he has 40+ patents that have revolutionized efficiency and worker safety for the biggest and most demanding companies in the world such as Wal-Mart and others.

Most recently, he has partnered with Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, to create the Halo Collar and leverage his industry relationships and expertise to bring best-in-class safety solutions to dogs and dog lovers.

We use the Halo Collar for both our dogs, Champ and Luna, and I must say it is an awesome invention. We have several acres, and our dogs are both Aussies who love to run. We also spend time at our other properties throughout the year and needed a solution that we could take anywhere that would work to keep them safely in the area we want them to stay in and Halo has worked perfectly.

I’m excited to talk to Ken about his experience, how he has leveraged it to go into completely new industries, and how he’s built partnerships to succeed.

www.KenEhrman.com

www.HaloCollar.com

Connect with Ken on LinkedIn

Ken graduated from Stanford with an engineering degree. He went to work at a tech company Silicon Valley that wanted to be “chip” in everything, but computers. The company was founded by one of the founders of Apple. He worked there for 1.5 years and then took the chip and built into smart RFID tags. This created ID Systems in 1995. The company tracked high value assets for corporations and helped with safety.

Specifically, he found a niche in tracking and creating safety and efficiency with Forklifts. In 2016, his son got very sick and stepped down to be there for him. His son eventually recovered, but while he was home, his nieces dog escaped their yard and was hit by a car and killed. This tragedy gave him the idea for Halo to help protect dogs.

At the 6:50 mark, Ken takes us through the steps he went through to make Halo a reality including how he got Cesar Millan to sign on to it. It’s best to just listen.

  • Invisible Fence is traditionally wired, not wireless.
  • Ken knew wireless was the future and from his work tracking with GPS, knew that there was an opportunity to go wireless by GPS creating your own Fences around house or anywhere as an owner using GPS and an App that connected to a dog collar.
  • He called his patent attorney to do research and there was nothing our there patented like he wanted to create in Halo. The patent attorney actually asked if they could invest and Ken knew he had something.
  • Ken then used his industry relationships with chip makers and app developers to create the product.
  • He used the best of the best in GPS, Wifi, and Bluetooth to make Halo.
  • After getting it created, he knew he needed an expert in dogs to help it to succeed. So Ken went to Cesar Millan. Cesar and his group initially said no.
  • Ken kept going back to him and kept getting a “no.” So, he looked at who Cesar closest competition was – a woman named Tamara Geller.
  • As a last-ditch effort, he went back to Cesar and told his group that if they didn’t sign on, he was taking it to Tamara. That did it. They signed the NDA. Ken didn’t even know Tamara, nor had spoken with her.

Talk to us about shaking up markets…

  • You have to do a lot of research and know how people buy.
  • If you are going to disrupt, you need to know when people buy, so you can be there at that point.
  • There is an advantage to solving a problem you’ve experiences and solved for yourself. Look for those things.
  • You also need to be in the position to focus on the idea and business.

At the 25 min mark, Ken talks about the next frontier and markets that are ripe for disruption…

What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned in your career?

  • You need advice from people who have done it before.
  • There are unlimited number of ways to create and build companies.
  • Fundamentally, a great way to grow your business is to get customers to invest in your product helping it to grow instead of raising money.
  • Give clients an incentive to take a chance with you and grow with you. Have them fund your R&D.
  • For example, Ken gave clients a great deal to buy HALO prior to release raising several million dollars which paid for the product to get done and its initial units.

You’ve had to compete against some of the biggest names in the world and separate yourself to get business. What did you do differently?

  • The big guys are more stagnant – they don’t have the ideas and vision smaller, more nimble entrepreneurs have.
  • Additionally, building and creating relationships are critical to success.
  • The right customer is someone who wants to buy from you at least or as much as you want to sell to them. They are the best partners.

At the 40 min mark, Ken talks about having to step away from the company he built to help his son and how it affected him as an entrepreneur.

  • He had no choice.
  • ID Systems was his first baby, but his family came first.
  • He had put in place a great management team and the company was publicly traded, so he left in good hands.
  • He was not sure what he would do next and even consulted for a little while trying to find his way.
  • If you stay in an industry long enough, eventually an opportunity will present itself.

Best Quote: There are an unlimited number of ways to create and build companies..

Ken's Misfit 3:

  1. Sales is not a bad word. In everything you are doing, you are selling. Selling a vision, concept, yourself, etc. Embrace selling and providing great value to others. You must believe.
  2. Believe in yourself, your abilities, and that you can succeed. It will not be easy, but you will make it.
  3. Identify the best possible people and partners to achieve success. Seek them out and bring them into your world.

 

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Oct 20, 2021

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Shawn Khorrami. Shawn is a serial entrepreneur since the age of 16, having started and managed more than a dozen businesses across an array of industries, with special focus on e-commerce. He’s owned everything from law firms to brick and mortar outfits in the hospitality and restaurant industry, to online businesses focusing on B2B and B2C and managed thousands of employees servicing tens of thousands of customers large and small across the country. He’s been featured everywhere from the New York Times to the LA Times, TV, and top publications.

Nowadays, he focuses on helping businesses maximize their success by coaching and training their CEO’s and leadership teams throughout all areas of a business. But, what struck me most about Shawn when we connected was his candid thoughts about failure, how the product is not the business, and as he says “a lot of times having more guts than brains.” I want to explore all of this and more with him in this episode.

www.connectwithshawn.com

www.Eplaybooks.com

Reach out and ask Shawn for a copy of the free e-book.

Shawn is a first-generation immigrant from Iran. A lot of his motivation came from his father, who in Iran, owned a construction firm. He would go to work with his dad at 7 years old and on. He thought he would follow his father’s footsteps and get into construction. When they moved over to the US, things didn’t carry over from Iran. His dad ended up owning income property. But there wasn’t much in the way of property management services or systems for small investors.

Shawn created a basic database program that allowed for property management focused on smaller investors. This became a business of its own as Shawn sold it to his dad’s friends and it grew by word of mouth from there. He ended up going to college and got degrees in mathematics and computers as well as in economics. He then got a law degree and educated himself in sales, marketing, accounting, etc.

Shawn never thought of working for anyone else. He’s never created a resume or had a W2 from a company he didn’t own. He’s a process guy who seeks how to streamline businesses and edges through process to make them more successful. He would create something that worked well for a problem in his business. He would then productize it and go sell it to his competitors.

He failed a lot and was good at overcoming it to succeed. People began to seek him out and ask him to consult for their businesses. He learned that successes can become failures too because of the lack of good processes and systems.

Only an idiot would go seek out failure….tell us the truth about failure.

  • It is painful. It is terrible. And it sucks.
  • No one should purposely fail and if you did that, you won’t learn that much.
  • Failure will happen and you must really lean into it and learn from it, then put what you learn into action.
  • The fear of failure should never stop. In fact, as you become more successful, it gets even harder as you know what can happen. Respect, but don’t invite it.

At the 14 min mark, Shawn shares an example of failure and how he learned from it.

  • In marketing, if it is going well – don’t stop it or change it, even if you have to build the infrastructure as you go to keep up.
  • Shawn also talks about taking on the wrong type of capital and how it deeply hurt his successful Law Business.
  • You have to be very careful in all areas of your business.

Your product is not your business, your business is your product.

Talk to us more about your business being your product….

  • What is your business?
  • It’s not the service or product. It is part of it, but it also everything else.
  • Your culture, service, processes, structure, marketing, etc. are all part of your business.
  • Your business is the journey to buy your product.
  • Your business is what you do when something goes wrong for a client.
  • Your business is meeting the customer’s expectations.
  • Every aspect of your business needs to be looked at as part of the product.

An example is a restaurant that makes great food – but what gets people in the door and keeps them coming back. If you staff is rude to patrons, do you think they will come back? Instead, you must create not only great food, but a great experience and that is the product of a good restaurant – not just food.

Tell about the principles you use to grow a business and in tough times as well…

  • Part of your business line of income must include some sort of recurring revenue component.
  • One off sales are great, but you need something repeatable and predictable.
  • Shawn uses an example of buying a humidifier business but buying because of the filters and essential oils that were resold every month as a monthly subscription.
  • No matter what your business sells, there is an opportunity to create a recurring component.
  • When bad times happen, a lot of people/businesses “take cover.”
  • It is those that look for opportunity that are important. Ask “Where can I find opportunity? How can I change my business to win?”

Where do you see the future going?

  • The virus is not going away.
  • And because of that, the way business is conducted is changing permanently.
  • Companies and employees’ mindsets have changed on how work is done and where it is done.
  • New systems have been developed to support this new way of working.
  • The supply chain has changed long-term.

At the 44 min mark, we talk about opportunity in the midst of a pandemic.

 

Best Quote: The fear of failure should never stop. In fact, as you become more successful, it gets even harder as you know what can happen. Respect, but don’t invite it.

 

Shawn's Misfit 3:

  1. Don’t let failure stop you. Always be moving forward. Ask for help and overcome.
  2. In everything, there is opportunity. Always.
  3. Have a more a routine that is yours. Create the time for you.

 

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Oct 13, 2021

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Karl Maier. Karl is a serial entrepreneur with a knack for doubling and tripling the size of businesses quickly. He’s done it 6 times either as the founder of a company or as part of the leadership team, including 7x’ing one company in less than 4 years.

Currently, he’s on his 3rd software company, Abunden, which helps internal and external business advisors be even more effective in helping their clients to grow and succeed. The software was created from the frameworks for success Karl has tested and applied in his businesses over the years.

Needless to say, Karl has some amazing wisdom for to grow and scale businesses and I’m excited for him to share his secrets with you in this episode.

https://Abunden.com/​

Karl’s journey was not a straight line. He learned about entrepreneurship from a young age from his grandfather and it created a curiosity in him as to why one company would succeed, and others would fail. As he grew up, he would see and be part of companies and see where they get stuck. Karl developed a passion for helping these companies and that is what he has done.

From his experience, he put together the Abunden Framework to help companies have a platform of the knowledge needed to get unstuck and grow.

Where do businesses get stuck? And from those you see succeed, what are the patterns or consistencies they have?

  • In the beginning, it’s about getting the sales and making it repeatable. The entrepreneur gets comfortable with this, but inevitably has to hire.
  • It’s once they begin to bring on employees and grow the business around and with them that causes challenges because the entrepreneur has to figure out how to let go and must let go to be successful.
  • The breakdown comes in the transfer of information to make that shift. It becomes helping people to do their job rather than the entrepreneur having to do everything.
  • The issues occur when the systems, documentation, and processes are not solidified.
  • It’s the behind-the-scenes small details that makes the difference – not the “sexy” stuff.

Talk to us about the Abunden Framework and principles you use to build a business?

  • Start with “why?” Where are we going? What are goes? Mission? Values?
  • Next is deciding when and where people fit in and how you make decisions as a leader and management team.
  • Training. You need to train everyone so they can manage, monitor, and develop employees to perpetuate the business.
  • Training must be repeatable.
  • Systems, processes, and documenting them must also be done.
  • When you put these all together, it becomes much easier to run the business and the entrepreneur can delegate more and more.

At the 12 min mark, we talk about deciding what type of businesses people must choose to have.

What is the starting point to go from self-employed to a bigger business?

  • You have to be willing to make some changes. If you won’t change, the rest of the company will not.
  • Picture yourself as the CEO of the company you want to have and what they will do. Their habits. What can you do to start doing that now?

Talk about how you’ve been able to double sales some many times. What should people know about selling in today’s world?

  • Sometimes selling is not enough.
  • You have to look all facets of the sale. For example, keeping more of the sale or increasing retention rates increases sales.
  • You also not only have to sell to customers, but also to employees to get good ones and keep them which helps your business run better.
  • Customers are not just buying your product, but what you believe in and stand for. People buy identity and cause as well nowadays.

Customer retention strategies?

  • Making sure you have the right people in the right positions to serve clients.
  • Make sure people can be and do their best and love what they do.
  • Develop processes to follow up and “check in” on clients.
  • Developing service culture within the company.

Talk about navigating pivots. What advice can you give?

  • First, you must be willing to admit things aren’t going right.
  • There is a difference between an up-hill battle and a lost cause.
  • Karl gives an example of business that pivoted during the pandemic, but then also had to pivot back.

Timing?

  • You have to understand what business you are really in.
  • It is easy to get distracted with opportunity, but you must know what you do really well and choose the best overall ones to focus on.
  • Look at what you promise to clients and what your values are to ground you.
  • Communication is important – especially with your leadership.

How do you see leadership?

  • What is leadership? Leadership is about motivating people and showing and leading to the vision.
  • Management is not leadership.
  • Getting people to see how they can help the world and the customers through what they do and how they fit in – their small piece – important.

How does a business set itself apart with customers and distinguish themselves?

  • It comes back to the “why?”
  • You must communicate why what you do makes a difference and the ways it makes a difference to both the employees and customers.

What has surprised you most on your journey?

  • There is a good list!
  • The fact that sales is not the end all/be all. It is really important but building a team to deliver is equally important. It’s not just about the sale.

Advice for new entrepreneurs starting out?

  • There is a lot to learn – listen to your customers and listen to your people.
  • Become an amazing listener.

Final thoughts?

  • Things are not static. What is true today is not the same as a year or a few from now.
  • Things constantly evolve and you must continue to adapt.

 

Best Quote: Sales is not the end all/be all. It is really important but building a team to deliver is equally important. It’s not just about the sale.

 

Karl's Misfit 3:

  1. Every time your company doubles in size, everything breaks. Be ready to fix it.
  2. Motivate people. People are how things get done.
  3. Listen more than you talk.

 

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Oct 6, 2021

Hello Misfit Nation! Welcome to another edition of "Lessons for Hannah!" Many years ago, I introduced a new format that 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 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 support@misfitentrepreneur.com. We’d love to share it.

This week’s Lesson for Hannah

Hannah, I want to talk to you about your impact. Your impact on yourself, your life, those around you, and the world. How you approach each aspect of your life impacts you, the world around you, and others. You may not see it or know it, but it does. And the true test of character is how you act and adhere to your principles when others are not watching – because unbeknownst to you, someone probably is.

We don’t think about it much, but everything we do impacts something in our lives. This has been called the Butterfly effect or Newton’s 3rd Law which states that for every action (force) in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction. If object A exerts a force on object B, object B also exerts an equal and opposite force on object A. In other words, forces result from interactions.

We have a lot of interactions in our lives all throughout every day, but we rarely stop to think about effects that they have.

I was recently reminded of the importance of reflecting and making sure that we approach life each day giving our best and being our best – because you never know what or who can be impacted.

A number of years ago, your mother and I bought an investment property. It was a cheap fixer-upper property in a less desirable area. The goal originally was to buy it very cheap, fix it up, and then flip it for a $5000-10,000 profit. Needless to say we didn’t know what we didn’t know, spent a lot more money than we thought fixing it up, and then got caught up in the real estate crash of 2007-2008. So, we turned it into a rental. It did OK. We went through a lot of renters over a period of 4 years to where we had to eventually evict one for non-payment after months of working with them.

Of course, they trashed the place on the way out, but even worse, left rotting food throughout the house and the place even had bedbugs. I had to do the work on it and essentially had to redo the inside of the house. Needless to say, I learned a lot of lessons that helped me for future investment properties.

After it was ready to rent again, we started looking for renters and we got an application from a young 18-year-old, single new mom. She wanted a place for her and her son that would be theirs and she wanted a longer-term lease. She had a job and had proven she had income to cover the rent and there was something that told me she was worth a chance.

She rented from us for 7 years. I never really had any problems with her. She would sometimes get behind on rent but was always proactive and let me know what was going on, when I could expect payment, and how grateful she was that we would work with her. Over time, I would see her for inspections and other needs and as we talked would impart some piece of wisdom to help her based on our conversation. She was a hard worker and dedicated to her son and I respected that, so, if I could help her grow as a person, I would. I never knew if those lessons about finance or business or thoughts on how to increase her value as an employee ever really stuck.

A couple years ago, we had recouped our investment and the market had turned up. We got an offer on the house that was solid and decide to sell it. I kept the renter in the loop and was up front that I did not know if they would keep her as a renter and to be prepared just in case. Once we closed, they gave her 30 days’ notice to vacate and she let me know. She understood why I sold the place and was again, thankful for working with her all those years. I wished her well and that was that, or so I thought. In the spring of the this year, I got a text out of the blue that said,

“I just wanted to reach out to you and meant to before, but just go caught up with life. I’m working a double today! But you’ve been on my mind lately. I never got to tell you how much gratitude I have for you and your wife. You were truly a blessing for me and my son. If it wasn’t for you being so kind and understanding, I really don’t know where we would be today. I just want you to know, it was never taken for granted. I try to pay it forward every day. Maybe one day, I can be successful like you and help someone out the same. Anyways, thank you again so much for everything you have done.”

When I received the message, I sat back and thought, wow, I did not know we had that much of an impact, and I had to respond. In doing so I did my best to give what may be the last wisdom I could give her. I said this,

"Thank you very much for your kind words, but it wasn't hard for us because it was the right thing to do. It's wonderful that you pay it forward. And you have the potential to be more successful than us and help many. It comes down to a few things. Never giving up, ever, in pursuit of your dreams and goals. Never stop learning and self-educating. Everything you need is at the library, use it to your advantage. Read books on successful people, read books on how to improve yourself. Never stop learning. Work hard, but also smart. Learn to manage money well and how to grow it and nurture it. And do what is right and care for others. You follow that and you'll get all the success you ever dreamed of."

I think that advice works for everyone, and I hope it impacts you in your own way like it did our renter.

Hannah, you never know what impact you will have and when it will take hold. Live your life every day as your best and seek wisdom so that you can share it and help others.

I love you, ​

Daddy

 

Best Quote: Never giving up, ever, in pursuit of your dreams and goals. Never stop learning and self-educating. Everything you need is at the library, use it to your advantage. Read books on successful people, read books on how to improve yourself. Never stop learning. Work hard, but also smart. Learn to manage money well and how to grow it and nurture it. And do what is right and care for others. You follow that and you'll get all the success you ever dreamed of.

 

Misfit 3:

  1. How you approach each aspect of your life impacts you, the world around you, and others. You may not see it or know it, but it does.
  2. The true test of character is how you act and adhere to your principles when others are not watching – because unbeknownst to you, someone probably is.
  3. When you are impacted in a positive way by someone else, pay it forward as much as you can.

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Sep 29, 2021

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Martin Sawa. Martin was the son of penniless Ukrainian immigrants and was on a path for the same kind of life when he made a decision. At almost 30, he quit his dead-end job to go into real estate and compete in the high stakes commercial real estate market in San Francisco. He struggled, but eventually found enormous success culminating in a $400 million deal that basically allowed him to retire and pursue his passions for writing. He had it all – but he had to confront the true cost of the sacrifices he made to get there.

He wrote about his story and incredible lessons learned in The Other Side of Success: Money and Meaning in the Golden State. Martin came from nothing, sacrificed everything and went through tragedy to find success, and ultimately learned what really matters on his entrepreneur journey and I’m excited to have him share it with you in this episode.

​www.martinsawa.com

Martin’s parents lived under both Hitler and Stalin. They made it through the war and were put in a displaced person’s camp in Austria for several years and finally made it to the US. They were resettled in rural Wisconsin. Martin was sort of an outsider in that he had trouble with the language, etc. He was able to go to and work to pay for a Jesuit boarding school and this helped him. He then went to college in the mid-west and after headed out to California.

He got a job in Oakland, got married, and as he approached 30 years old was dead broke and hating his job with another kid on the way. He had his “aha” moment when he was working at zoning counter for his job in the city planner’s office. A developer came in and started screaming at him to process his project. In that moment, Martin just walked away and continued out the door – vowing never to have a job again and would work for himself from then on.

He was driven by necessity. He had some sales experience from when he was younger doing door to door sales. He chose commercial real estate as the biggest things he could sell that would pay the biggest commissions. It took him a year before he made any money. Eventually, he worked for a broker and climbed up the ladder. He was divorced by this time and he and his new wife moved to Los Angeles. He was traveling and doing mega-deal internationally. He reached a point where he felt he was done and quit. He later went back when invited to do a deal with an old colleague. They bought a building in San Francisco. His wife, who was everything in his life, dropped dead one night from a heart attack. He had to work through that and did so. He did a large deal that gave him the ability to do what he wanted to do and that was how he got into writing and consulting.

Can you give perspective on why the US is such a great place to reach one’s dreams?

  • The worst possible situation for his parents was nothing compared to the worst possible scenario in the US.
  • Just living in the US was better for them and is for many.
  • In the US, the children could do better than the parents and his parents instilled this in him.
  • The US gives the opportunity, not the guarantee – in many places there is no opportunity.

What went through your mind when you walked out on your job?

  • Martin had a big fight with his wife that night.
  • The mindset became one of necessity
  • He knew that he had to put skin in the game to really achieve great things, so he did.
  • You have to figure out a way and it makes you have to get up early and go to bed late to make it happen.

Advice for those looking to make the leap to entrepreneurship?

  • Just do it.
  • You’ll never know all you’ll need to know.
  • Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face and you just have to understand that the majority of the time, plans do not work out the way you thought. It’s the ability to keep going that matters.

What was your mindset as you went through this journey?

  • In the first year, it was necessity. He had to take care of his family some way, somehow. He even played the credit card game to make things work.
  • He kept putting more skin in the game and growing the size of his deals because he knew that the reward was greater, even with the risk.

At the 24 min mark, Martin talks about the other side of success and he you overcame the tragedy and challenges…

  • It’s hard to find meaning in the material world.
  • Meaning is found in the world of the unseen (spiritual, etc.)

Where do you get the willpower that you’ve used to overcome and keep going?

  • You have to develop the skill to figure out what works best for you.
  • You can read every personal growth book out there, but in the end what works for you will be specific to you and you have to synthesize it and make it work.
  • It is easier to do something when it is specific to you and you’ve created it. ​

Other advice on how to success?

  • Put skin in the game.
  • Rely on your experience whenever possible.

Thoughts on truly finding meaning?

  • Ask what you believe to be true?
  • What you believe will govern and guide your life, so make sure what you believe is true for you.
  • Next ask, who do you admire? What are their qualities?
  • Align what you believe (core values) with what you do in the material world.
  • When the alignment is there, you find meaning.

 

Best Quote: Put skin in the Game!

 

Martin's Misfit 3:

  1. Have you put skin in the game? No risk, no reward and skin in the game is the best motivator.
  2. What do you believe to be from the top down?
  3. Are you living true to yourself? Is you pursuit of material success in alignment with your core values?

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Sep 22, 2021

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Jennifer Justice. Jennifer, also known as JJ, is an entertainment and live experience executive known for her expertise in building artists’ careers and business portfolios by marrying art with commerce. She made her mark as an entertainment attorney with a roster of clients that included Jay-Z, Outkast, Slipknot and Mark Ronson, and negotiated massive joint venture agreements including the partnerships of Jay-Z and Roc Nation with Live Nation. She then parlayed her experience to join Jay-Z to build Roc Nation in 2010 and served as his personal attorney for 17 years as well as Beyonce’s at times, during that time.

Today, JJ’s focus is on accelerating the success of women, women owned businesses, and women focused brands to help them succeed and achieve equality and diversity in the market and workforce.

I’m excited to have her on to talk about this topic, her experience, and the power of entrepreneurship.

www.TheJusticeDept.com

@JenniferJusticeLeague on Instagram

JJ’s family never went to college or in some cases never graduated high school, so she didn’t have any success mentors. She was passionate about music and when she did get the chance to go to law school, she decided that she was going to be a music entertainment attorney. She didn’t realize how hard it was to get into doing that type of law – it was very small market. She started off a big Wall Street law firm and networked to meet some in the entertainment space. She had some success and ended up as a partner at a firm that specialized in music entertainment law. She found a lot of common ground with her clients and being an advocate for them as many came from the same type of background as her.

One of her first clients was a very then, unknown, Jay Z. They grew up in the business together and she started growing her roster of clients. She then grew into all the other areas of the business for her clients with Live Nation, Roc Nation, etc.

After 17 years, she had twins that were 2 and half and felt it was time to move on. She was single mom and took 6 months off. She took the time to find out what she really wanted to do and became the President of Suyperfly, a live experience company that started festivals like Bonnaroo and others. She was there for 3 years and pushed herself.

Through it all, she has always had a really big passion for gender equality and started her own firm called the Justice Department to help women in this area. She also invests in companies and consults for general business needs.

What was it like taking 6 months off?

  • It was foreign to her.
  • It was actually stressful because of her being used to going all the time.
  • She felt discombobulated. It was eye-opening. She needed a purpose – just a bigger one.

Tell us more about your mission for equality and the state of things…

  • JJ went in bright eyed and thinking that success was equal.
  • She found through her work with clients that there was a big discrepancy in wages between men/women for the same roles and types of contracts.
  • She started questioning why this was happening and looking into it deeper.
  • Me Too and Covid really brought this into the forefront and showed a lot of examples on a larger scale.
  • We haven’t made a lot of strides in the area of equal pay and people are fed up with it.

Do you see entrepreneurship as the best opportunity to level the playing field?

  • Yes, but there are issues there too.
  • Women get funded 90% less than men.
  • You do get to set your own rules and solve your own issues as an entrepreneur
  • It is a great opportunity.

What you best advice to help women succeed in their careers?

  • In a traditional job or system, do it with open eyes.
  • Understand that biases exist and educate yourself on them.
  • Know what other people make. Legally, other employees can share this with you. Find your tribe.
  • Be armed with the information.
  • Make sure when you are negotiating a new role or salary, you hire an attorney to review the documents and negotiate on your behalf – you can do this.
  • For more of an entry level role, you should still hire an attorney to give advice.
  • Let them give you the first offer and take it into consideration before any agreement or negotiation.
  • Ask for 20-25% than you think you deserve because you never know. If you don’t get what you want – ask how you can and decide on what needs to be done to get there that you and the company agree to.

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and believe in your worth.

What are the principles that you’ve used to build great companies and what do you look for when you invest in companies?

  • It comes down to the founder. They lead the business.
  • There is something to be said about the product but investing in areas you know is important as an investor or when deciding to build a company.
  • Founders needs to understand when it may be time for them to step aside and let someone with the right experience for that level come in to run the company.

What are some of the best lessons you learned from working with Jay-Z?

  • He really knows who he is.
  • He had never had an agent because he doesn’t like a middleman.
  • He took what was passion and built businesses around them doing them himself.
  • He was/is focused on enterprise level opportunities.
  • Jay-Z was/is very good at using joint ventures to grow and increase the value of his companies. 1+1 could equal 1000.
  • Lastly, the willingness to walk away from a bad deal.

You should always be willing to walk away from a bad deal. Many times, walking away will turn it in your favor and if doesn’t, it wasn’t mean to be.

Best advice for an entrepreneur just starting out?

  • Go through the MVP process
  • Get a lawyer from the beginning
  • Find your right team that will support you internally and externally.
  • Build the core business and expand from there.

​Craziest thing you’ve ever seen happen in your career in the entertainment industry?

  • A lot of it JJ cannot say because of attorney client privilege.
  • She had her life threatened a few times.
  • If you’ve watched the show Empire, it pretty much nails how it is.
  • It’s just as crazy as you think it is.

 

Best Quote: Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and believe in your worth.

 

Jennifer's Misfit 3:

  1. Before taking advice, take a moment to think about if the person giving you that advice has ever been in your shoes.
  2. Don’t worry about the traditional way of doing things. Be un-conventional.
  3. Hire outside of what is traditional. Give those that need a hand up a chance.
  4.  

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Sep 15, 2021

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Steven S. Hoffman. Steve is the CEO of Founders Space. Founders Space is one of the leading startup accelerators in the world, with over 50 partners in 22 countries. In fact, Forbes and Entrepreneur Magazines ranked it as the #1 incubator for overseas startups.

Steve is also a venture investor, a successful entrepreneur multiple times over and the author of several best-sellers including his latest Surviving a Startup. He’s found success everywhere from Hollywood to Silicon Valley, but his biggest passion is helping other entrepreneurs succeed.

My goal is to squeeze as much wisdom and advice as I can from him and his experience in our time together in this episode.

https://www.foundersspace.com/

Steven has had more careers than cats have had lives. He began as an electrical computer engineer. His real passion was film, entertainment, and games. He went to graduate school for film and then went to Hollywood. He worked his way up the ladder and began a television development executive at a large TV production company. While there, he started to see the future of video games and the growth they would have. He’s made over 100 games in his career. He met the founder of Sega and was offered a position at their Japanese headquarters coming up with new ideas for games, specifically for the US market.

He then came back to the US and launched his first company, LavaMind. The first product he launched was a game that taught people how to become entrepreneurs called Gazillionaire. He did it all himself and put all his money into it. It took off. After that, he saw the opportunity for gaming on the internet. He partnered and launched another business that was an interactive TV/Gaming product with MTV. He then did 2 other ventured startups and took a break.

During the break, friends that were starting their entrepreneur journey would come to him for help and advice and out of that grew his incubator, FoundersSpace.

You’ve worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs in you career, alongside your own experience, what would you say is the main ingredient needed to succeed as an entrepreneur?

  • Most entrepreneurs never make it.
  • Ideas don’t matter. Where you start doesn’t matter. Just start.
  • The most important thing is that you don’t lock onto your idea. More startups fail because entrepreneurs fall in love with the idea and their passion for it.
  • Go out into the world and start exploring. You may not have the magic idea in the beginning.
  • Google started out as non-profit to allow academics to search for peer papers.
  • Yelp didn’t think reviews would be a big part of their product. It was just an add on.
  • YouTube started out as an online dating site.
  • Many of the biggest companies you know are far different that the idea that started them.

What is the process that people should go through to find the right version of the idea?

  • It’s best to pick a direction vs. picking an idea and holding to it.
  • Try a number of things in that direction
  • Engage deeply in that area and figure out who your customer is.
  • An entrepreneur’s job is not to sell a customer on your idea; it is listening to them. The best ideas come from the customer. What do they really need that they are not getting?
  • Your job as entrepreneur is help solve the customer’s problems.
  • Entrepreneurs are demand hunters. They cannot create demand, but they can find it and fill it.

How important is it to focus before branching out?

  • Think small. The majority of entrepreneurs succeed with very small ideas.
  • A small idea that can tap into a big pool of demand is powerful.
  • YouTube was a great example of this.

What is it that you look for in a company you invest in?

  • Venture capital is like rocket fuel for a business.
  • But the rocket needs to already exist and be pointed at the right target.
  • Is the business solving a real-world problem and is there demand?
  • For a startup, the potential is in the team. A great team can help even a poor idea get off the ground and improve it from there.
  • The CEO must have great leadership qualities. They need to be able bring together the right people, motivate them and lead them.

“An entrepreneur/CEO, put 80-90% of your time into finding an amazing team.”

What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned and put into practice?

  • Small businesses are not a good fit for venture capital.
  • A business with linear, steady growth is not a good fit either.
  • If you are growing exponentially and can prove you can sustain it, then you have a shot with venture capital.
  • The business model that produces more “unicorns” than any other is a recurring revenue business.
  • A business where the customer comes back over and over again or needs a subscription to keep the service is key.

What are principles that you’ve developed to help guide you and build your businesses?

  • How you communicate to your employees is critical.
  • Culture is not ping pong tables and plush couches – building a great culture comes down to one word – Trust.
  • Your need to trust you and trust everyone else on their team.
  • If they know you have their back and everyone else on the team has each other’s, then they will own it together.
  • The way you get it is by, duh, trusting your employees to do their job and helping them be part of the success by engaging them and giving them a say.

You wrote a book called “The Five Forces.” Tell us about it and what are the 5 forces?

  • The Five Forces shows where we are headed in the future.
  • These forces will change all of our lives.
  • They are as follows:
    • Artificial Intelligence
    • Brain Computer Interfaces
    • Genetics
    • Space Technology
    • Human Computer Intelligence (AGI/ASI)

 

Best Quote: Entrepreneurs are demand hunters. They cannot create demand, but they can find it and fill it.

 

Steven's Misfit 3:

  1. If you fail, don’t internalize the failure. You are not your failures.
  2. Don’t settle for what you think is possible. Growth comes from pushing yourself a little further.
  3. Listen to what you say to yourself. Are you talking to yourself in a negative or positive way? If it is negative, you have the power to change it and it will transform your life.

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Sep 8, 2021

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is JJ Virgin. Where to start with JJ? You’ve no doubt heard of her before. JJ, in many ways redefined fitness and nutrition for people world-wide. She is a 4-time New York Times Best-Selling author and prominent TV and Media personality including the on-camera nutritionist for Weight Loss Challenges on Dr. Phil, and numerous appearances on PBS, Dr. Oz, Rachael Ray, Access Hollywood, and the TODAY Show. She also speaks regularly and has shared the stage with notables including Seth Godin, Lisa Nichols, Gary Vaynerchuk, Mark Hyman, and many others.

And if that isn’t enough, she host her own podcast, Ask the Health Expert and is the founder of the premier health entrepreneur event and community, the Mindshare Summit. ​

But a lot of people don’t know that JJ’s biggest challenge and biggest success didn’t come in her businesses – it came from an event – her worst nightmare that she was able to turn into her biggest opportunity to grow and thrive.

www.JJVirgin.com

JJ has always been fascinated by nutrition and fitness all the way back to high school. She went to college and on a theatre scholarship. But she catered her way through college using it to pay for things. She dropped out of the theatre program and starting personal training people – being one of the first alongside Body by Jake. She switched to be an English major. She graduated from college with a full-blown personal training business doing 6-figures +. She went to grad school for health and nutrition.

She kept looking at the next things that people wanted and needed and creating them. All of what she did ended up helping her. Her theatre work helped her in promoting and showcasing her services and products on TV and stage. Her English degree helped her in writing her books, etc. And her catering work helped her to better understand foods to help with nutrition and her cookbooks.

You wrote Warrior Mom to document the story of your son and what you learned going through this traumatic time in your life – tell us about it.

  • Success is living on your own terms and helping others and making a difference. Success typically comes through some very hard challenges and sacrifices.
  • JJ was in the process of releasing her second book and was going BIG with it.
  • She went all in. She had 2 children, 15 and 16. The financial responsibilities were on her.
  • All of her money was tied up in the book launch and she even borrowed some for it.
  • She came home one day and her son, Grant, was agitated and they got into a little fight and Grant stormed out of the house.
  • The next thing she knows, her ex-husband and other son come in and tell her that Grant got hit by car and was airlifted to a local hospital.
  • She rushed to the hospital, and they ushered her into a conference room. She was told that her son was going to die. He had a torn aorta, and he had a deep coma with multiple brain bleeds, and they could not do that type of surgery there.
  • They also told her that he could not be airlifted because he would die during transport.
  • She had taught her kids that the only limitations are the ones in your mind and her other son looked at the doctor and said, they would take the chance.
  • The airlift worked and the other trauma center was ready and the exact opposite. They saved her son.
  • They fixed his heart, but they did not know if he would wake up. Additionally, he had 15 compound fractures that needed fixed.

At the 17 min mark, talks about her talking to him while in a coma and he would squeeze her hand. She committed right there to get him better than he was before the accident.

  • JJ committed everything to him and even got the hospital to give her an office so she could work as he was still on the hook for the book launch.
  • She realized that she had to take care of herself first and be in the best shape physically and mentally as she could to do everything and not risk being sick around her son.
  • She put the time in and did the work for him and the business and she broke her first million in business while working from the hospital.
  • Her son later told her than he saw “over there”, and it was wonderful, but he kept hearing her voice and decided to stay and no go.
  • The first 2-3 years of coming back were brutal, but after 8 years he is better than before the accident.

We are capable of so much more than we think we are, and your story shows that. Can you give more insight into this area?

  • You have no idea what you are capable of.
  • JJ said the lessons she shared in the book where already in her, but they were revealed going through the process.
  • When she was 30, she had a mentor – a personal training client. In a conversation, the client asked why she was in grad school and why she wanted to get her PhD. And the reason was that “I want to be more successful.” The lady just said “huh.”
  • It turns out the lady, Kay Smith, was a mindset trainer who never went to college. Kay told that if she ever wanted to be more successful, she would teach her.
  • Kay taught her a few things that made a huge breakthrough – so big, that she dropped out of school, drove all the way to Florida and moved in with her to “be taught.”
  • The first thing Kay did was put a rubber band on her wrist and tell her every time she had a negative thought to snap it. Kay taught her to tightly control her environment.
  • One of the key things she taught her were that “the only limitations were the ones in your mind.”

“If you want to learn something, teach it.”

2 Lessons really stood out - “Your limitations become your life.” And “Forgiveness will set you free.”

  • Forgiveness is tough. JJ used to be more resentful and hold grudges. She didn’t like it about herself and needed to change it.
  • She started choosing where to put her energy. Putting energy into negative things is not worth it.
  • It is harder than it seems. She thought she had forgiven the lady who did the “hit and run” on her son until they found her. JJ still had rage.
  • She learned a process from Dave Asprey on how to forgive.
  • Most often the biggest person you need to forgive is yourself. It is freeing.

What is your best advice for entrepreneurs to remain healthy and perform at their best?

  • This is the single more important thing to help your success.
  • We are the most important tool we have in our business.
  • Prioritizing self-care is one of the things that separates the most successful.
  • You have to move every single day. Do not skip this. It not only helps you body, but your brain.
  • You also have to prioritize sleep. Don’t steal from it. It helps in all areas.
  • When you wake up in the morning, you want to do some form of meditation. Even 10-20 mins.
  • Make sure the diet is right:
    • Figure out your food intolerances
    • Lower your sugar intake
    • Hire a coach to help you if need
    • Take supplements – you cannot get all you should have without them. A good multi-vitamin.
    • Extra magnesium
    • Fish oil
    • Optimize your vitamin D and take it with K
    • Take some extra vitamin C as stress blows it out
    • Get some Zinc
    • Take Quercetin

 

Best Quote: The only limitations are the ones in your mind...

 

JJ's Misfit 3: ​

  1. Find and always have an amazing mentor. Have a great community.
  2. Choose people that elevate you.
  3. Self-care. Good sleep, daily exercise, healthy diet, take supplements, and reduce stress.

 

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Sep 1, 2021

Hello Misfit Nation! Welcome to another edition of "Lessons for Hannah!" Many years ago, I introduced a new format that 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 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 support@misfitentrepreneur.com. We’d love to share it.

This week’s Lesson for Hannah

Hannah, This episode is going to deal with a little heavier subject. I want to talk to you about death and dying. This past year, we lost both of your great Grandmothers – amazing women, Matriarchs in our family. And over the last few years, others, including another great Grandmother have passed on.

Death is a natural part of life. It is inevitable and is not something we escape. But I want you to understand that it is only the beginning of something greater. It is the final step toward our real home – our eternity with God in Heaven. In death, all our imperfections are righted on our way into Heaven and the best versions of ourselves are created.

It is amazing to think about this life in the context of eternity. Eternity is forever. Our time in this life is truly a blink of an eye in those terms. It goes by so fast. And while we are just passing through to a greater place and greater existence, this life that we have is special. As I’ve noted before, the odds of being born into this life are 1 in 4 trillion. So, while it goes by fast, we must cherish it. We must cherish the gifts we have been given and share them with the world and those around us. We must cherish the time we have with family and friends in this human form. We must cherish the amazing world that is around us and all that it has. We must maximize our potential and who we are capable of being. It is by God’s amazing grace that we have this opportunity. We must not waste it. We must not put too much energy into trivial things but reserve the best of ourselves for the best around us.

I will not deny that the passing of a loved one is sad and painful. We honor them through our grieving and through our memories of them. We also honor them by putting into practice what we’ve learned from them and by being our best selves. But, Hannah, I want you to understand that one day, we will be reunited with them in eternity. What a glorious and magnificent time that will be.

So, in the end, death is bittersweet. We lose our loved ones in this life, and we grieve them, but we gain an even greater life with them in eternity. And on our way to this future reunion, we get to make the most out of this life and all that it has to offer.

Hannah, you are so loved, and you give so much love. All those that have gone before you love you dearly and look down upon you with a smile and amazement at how wonderful you are. Honor them by living into and being your best self. And honor those around you by making sure they are better off for having known you and give to them in the ways in which you can make the most difference in their lives. On that note, I’ll leave you with this final thought…make the most out of every second of this life and cherish it while preparing yourself for eternity by living a good and just life.

I love you, ​

Daddy

 

Best Quote: All those that have gone before you love you dearly and look down upon you with a smile and amazement at how wonderful you are. Honor them by living into and being your best self. ​

 

Misfit 3:

  1. Death is a natural part of life. It is inevitable and is not something we escape. But I want you to understand that it is only the beginning of something greater.
  2. So, in the end, death is bittersweet. We lose our loved ones in this life, and we grieve them, but we gain an even greater life with them in eternity.
  3. Make the most out of every second of this life and cherish it while preparing yourself for eternity by living a good and just life.

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Misfit 3:

Aug 25, 2021

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Anthony Trucks. Anthony is a former NFL player, American Ninja Warrior, Best-Selling Author, and Founder of Anthony Trucks Industries and the Shift Method. He’s been featured everywhere from NBC, FOX, Netflix, WSJ, Success and INC.

Anthony has a heck of a story from starting in the foster care system to realizing and then seeing his NFL dream collapse, to starting his own business, losing it, losing his marriage, and almost his life, but then finding his redemption through a shift. Since the shift, Anthony has become one of the most sought-after speakers, coaches, and consultants out there today.

And I’ve brought him on to further share his story, what he learned and now teaches from his shift, and to get his best wisdom and advice on how to succeed and live a great life, not just as an entrepreneur, but a person in this world.

@AnthonyTrucks on Instagram

www.IdentityShiftBook.com promo code ME

Anthony was and his 3 siblings were given away when he was 3 years into foster care. It was 1986 and it was not a great situation. He was starved in some homes, beaten in others, and put through a lot of very rough stuff. By 6 years old, he was a sad little kid who was angry. At 6, he was placed into the family which is now his family today. He was with them for 8 years and they adopted him. But, they were poor and he grew up poor. His adoptive mom got diagnosed with MS. He tried out for football and was terrible. He checked out and was becoming a statistic. Most people don’t know that 75% of in-mates in prison are former foster care cases. As Anthony says, “He beat the odds.” He had an adoptive mom who “loved him past his crazy.”

At 15 he made a choice that he didn’t want to be a loser. To start, he didn’t want to suck at football. He learned to do the things that he didn’t want to do or weren’t in his current character and he transformed himself into a great ballplayer in 7 months. His biggest shift came from the inside and had this ferocious drive that he had done too much in the dark to get better and transform himself that no one was going to take it. This manifested in him being a top ballplayer and ultimately getting a scholarship to play at Oregon.

He made it to the NFL and tore his shoulder out in his 3rd year. He was a dad at 21 and had a family, but no paycheck. At this point, he had a massive identity crisis. Things came tumbling down. His marriage fell apart. The businesses he started failed. Then his adoptive mom passed away from MS. This was a wake-up call. It took him another 2 years to really wake up and change his life, but his mother’s death was the seed that grew into it.

At the 11:30 mark, Anthony talks about the moment before his mom passed away and his friend put things in perspective. This also was a seed that helped him in the future. A friend told him “This is your reality.” Those 4 words unlocked everything he had been experiencing. He cried and just drove to the middle of nowhere not telling anyone and his family and friends got worried. The police found him and brought him home. The next day he went to the gym and a friend he had since childhood told him, “Never do something like that ever again. When I found what happened, I thought I lost a hero.” This made Anthony realize life is worth living and gave perspective. All of the craziness of his life had meaning.

How does someone choose their identity? And how do they develop their life’s vision and know they have it right?

  • We either assume or survive into our identity.
  • A lot of people set goals for other people’s dreams.
  • You have set your own scale and truly answer the question of what you really want.
  • Once you have decided – let know tell you it cannot be done, or it is not what you want.
  • You need to then align your identity with what you want.
  • Who is the person you must become to get what you want? What does that person need to do live into that? What habits must you start or develop or stop? What actions do you need to take each day?

At the 24:30 mark, we talk about Simone Biles as an example of someone who may have lost her identity or being out of alignment with it in her exit from the Olympics (It was not revealed until much later that she had a death in her family which did impact her). It’s best to just listen to our discussion.

  • Do hard things to get stronger…

The Shift Method has 3 steps, what are they?

  • See: This is where you find your optimal zone. Find your specific areas that you need to work on.
  • Shift: Action ends suffering. Put a plan in place of the action items you need to do to improve in the areas you need to work on.
  • Sustain: Discipline. When you begin to shift, it will feel out of character and thus lends itself to quitting before you get your breakthrough. You must be disciplines to do the actions. You must do what needs to be done to become the person you know you should be. You must not stop. ​

What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from your entrepreneur journey?

  • It’s a journey of predictable failure.
  • Fail and learn, fail and learn, etc.
  • Entrepreneurship is an identity in itself.
  • It is incredibly difficult and incredibly rewarding.
  • Entrepreneurship helps you find what you are truly meant to do.

 

Best Quote: There are two types of people in this world: Those that work and those that watch. Make sure you bow for your audience.

 

Anthony's Misfit 3:

  1. The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.
  2. Fall in love with the day, not just the destination. Enjoy the journey.
  3. There are two types of people in this world: Those that work and those that watch. Make sure you bow for your audience.

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