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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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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!

Aug 17, 2022

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.

Hannah,

I want to share some lessons from Nature. As I write this, we are traveling through Alaska, and I am sitting in the café of the Grande Denali Hotel looking out over the amazing expanse of land and snow-covered mountains. It’s a beautiful sunny day with a chill in the air. The temp is about 30 degrees, but the crisp mountain air feels wonderful. It truly a breathtaking sight that I hope you remember vividly for the rest of your life.

As I sit here, I cannot help but think of the great lessons that nature teaches us. We have been in the state for about a week after my Ironman even in Juneau and have been traveling up north with another few days of excursions and taking in the beautiful country of Alaska. Along the way I have been taking note of things and wanted to share some of them with you.

The first lesson is that nature, or really God, arranges things to operate in perfect harmony so that all life can function. It is amazing to see the salmon run to their eventual death, climbing rivers, waterfalls, etc. But, out of their death comes life in the new eggs that they lay. And even more important is how critical it is for them to go through this cycle for the eco-system to survive. While they live fairly short lives and ultimately die after spawning, they provide an indispensable food source for much of the wildlife that keeps the whole system going. Without them, many animals would die off. If you stop and think about it, everything in the universe has to work in perfect order for you to be sitting here right now. One little change in the course of history and you may not even exist. It truly is a spectacular, amazing, awe-inspiring orchestration that makes everything work at every level from the cells in our bodies to sun heating our planet and keeping us alive. Cherish every moment you have in this life.

The second lesson is the nature does not discriminate. As I hit the 80th mile on my 112-mile bike in the Ironman, the rain had intensified to a miserable driving downpour (it rained the whole race, but this stretch was particularly bad), I won’t lie, I cursed it a few times. But, in that moment, it occurred to me that all of us competing had to go through the same conditions and even more so, every living thing in nature has to live through those conditions every day and fight for survival. Nature doesn’t treat any creature different from another – everyone is on the same boat. And some creatures are food for others, like the salmon making the eco-system go, and still others are like a beetle that we were told about actually kill off trees that then die and allow for the forest growth to continue and new trees to grow. As I noted earlier, everything works in a beautiful harmony. But, nature treats everyone and everything the same and that is a great lesson for life. You should do the same – treat everyone with the same love and respect and not discriminate against others for any reason.

The third lesson is the nature is an entrepreneur and fosters entrepreneurship. I mentioned at the start of this lesson that I am sitting in café of the Grande Denali lodge that offers a breathtaking 360-degree view of the entire range. The hotel sits on the top of a plateau that is literally just big enough to fit the hotel. The edge of the hotel is on the edge of the cliff. Nature created the conditions to make this happen. It created the incredible mountain range and countryside that fills this area which drew humans to it for its beauty and everything the land offers. And at some point, someone took a look at the plateau the Grande now sits on from a thousand or so feet below and said, “That would be a great place to put a hotel for the best views in this area.” They then proceeded to make it a reality, cutting the curving winding road up the mountain, figuring out how to make the land work to accommodate a large lodge and hotel, and then everything needed to create the business and make it go. But it all started with nature creating the pull for people to explore and come here. Nature may be the ultimate entrepreneur for the reasons I have already stated, but also for the abundance of opportunity it creates. And the big lesson from nature is that there is opportunity all around you all the time. Once you learn to see it, it is abundant. ​

Hannah, nature offers so many lessons, I could go on for hours, but if you can take the time to understand the few that I’ve shared and keep them forefront in your life – they will help you live well. If you cherish every day, respect the world around you, and see the abundance of opportunity that exists for you; you will enjoy a great life and help others to do the same. And if you ever need a reminder, just look at a few pictures of your trip through Alaska!

I love you,

Dad

 

Best Quote: If you cherish every day, respect the world around you, and see the abundance of opportunity that exists for you; you will enjoy a great life and help others to do the same

 

Misfit 3:

Nature, or really God, arranges things to operate in perfect harmony so that all life can function.

Nature does not discriminate. You should follow it's example. Treat everyone with the same love and respect and not discriminate against others for any reason.

Nature is the ultimate entrepreneur and creates an abundance of opportunities all around us.

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Aug 10, 2022

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Ryan Goral. Ryan is the Founder of G-Spire Group, a company focused on helping entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners acquire companies. Ryan has over 15 years of experience focused on working with small businesses. In addition to providing creative financing solutions, Ryan’s expertise is centered in adding value to entrepreneurs and executives with all aspects of executing their organization’s growth and mergers and acquisitions strategies. Ryan has an MBA in Entrepreneurship and is credentialed with just about all the top M&A organizations out there.

I asked him to come on the show because of his unique expertise in helping companies BUY other businesses. Many times, we talk about selling your business, but some of the best opportunities to grow your business or further its success come in the form of acquiring and it requires a different skillset and understanding to do it right – and that’s where Ryan can really help.

www.GspireGroup.com

Ryan grew up in Colorado and played division 1 basketball at University of Denver. When he graduated, all he knew is he liked business and went through a few roles. He gravitated toward sales. He had a real interest in the buying and selling of businesses after seeing how things went when his dad sold his business. He wanted to find a way to help companies grow and build sustainable businesses to sell. He went into investment banking lending into mergers and acquisitions to get a good base. He got his MBA and then launched his first business, but it failed. He went back into M&A, and it became very clear that there was huge gap in smaller to lower middle cap businesses that have great operators needing the expertise of what the large businesses could afford. Ryan decided he would become a fractional M&A advisory to small and mid-sized businesses.

Why should business owners consider buying other businesses to help them scale and grow?

  • It’s not right for every company.
  • There is a process to understand when buying is a fit.
  • For companies that would benefit from an acquisition, there are a couple things in play:
    • Some companies need more or specific types of labor.
    • Some may want to open a new market and buy there.
    • Some may want to add on a synergistic product.
    • The other thing is the lifestyle decision. For operators that have a business that can produce enough cashflow, they can hire an operator to run the business and create a better lifestyle.

What does a good candidate to buy look like?

  • It does depend on the buyer.
  • The buyer must be ready and have their organization ready to manage and successfully complete and acquisition.
  • At the 13 min mark, Ryan gives some examples of readiness and what makes a company attractive to buyers.
  • Typically, clients are looking to enhance cashflow, add strategic management, grow their customer base, growth potential that is untapped, and products that compliment theirs.

At the 15 min mark, we talk about the up-front work prior to doing an acquisition.

What should a business do to make sure they are in the best position to succeed in completing and after an acquisition?

  • The things people miss the most is preparing operations of the business to integrate and take on the additional demand.
  • You need to make sure all your systems and processes are tested and in good working orders.
  • Buyers overestimate the capacity that their team has and need to mindful of what their current teams can actually take on.
  • It is very important to assess your team/human resource capacity as you strategize and plan for an acquisition.

Talk to us about what is most important in setting up a deal and the structure for an acquisition…

  • Structure may be more important than price.
  • There are ways to structure a deal that addresses certain risks in a transaction.
  • Ryan gives examples of scenarios and different structures.
  • It is more about risk management than max leverage.

What are some of the risks? Where are the mistakes made?

  • Human resource capacity assumptions vs. reality.
  • Leaving room for error/cushion in bringing more equity vs. leverage (debt).
  • Buyers need to create a scenario where they have cash on hand just in case things don’t go as planned.
  • Make sure you understand the why and that it is good one – not just because you want to buy a business. Buyers must check their ego.
  • If your why isn’t aligned with the acquisition, then do not do it.
  • Change is hard for both sides, so you have to be prepared for change management.

Where do deals breakdown?

  • If things are going right, deals breakdown before they become a deal.
  • One in LOI, deals will breakdown toward the end because of diligence or not finding common ground on the purchase agreement.
  • Things that are not expected by either side blow up deals.
  • Not having your team or employees in a good place can derail a deal if a key employee threatens to leave, etc.

At the 31 min mark, Ryan shares some other insights and tips. Entrepreneurs should strive to become an owner vs. an operator.

Big lessons from your entrepreneur journey?

  • Not having a focused, crystal-clear vision is something that derails entrepreneurs.
  • There is a time and place to buy and sell a business. Timing is key.

​Any big lessons from playing sports at a high level that you’ve used in your entrepreneur journey?

  • Ryan wasn’t the most gifted athlete but had to work really hard.
  • He expects it to be hard and is prepared for it.
  • Business and sports parallel each other. In sports, you need to execute role well to help the team be successful. Business is the same.
  • Great organizations become great when everyone is working together and executing their role at the highest level.
  • Finding ways to work together and communicate are critical as well.

 

Best Quote: Entrepreneurs should strive to become an owner vs. an operator.

 

Ryan's Misfit 3:

  1. Growth and adapting are a necessary part of life.
  2. Growth requires courage. Pursuing excellence takes time and focus. It doesn’t come easy.
  3. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Enjoy the journey.

 

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Aug 3, 2022

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Maat Petrova. Maat has an incredible story. She went from having nothing and being on welfare to creating a multi-million-dollar business in just a few years. The business is called FemMagic and is a luxury feminine hygiene company. As she has grown the company, she has expanded to teaching and empowering women to accomplish their true potential.

Now, I am not someone who can sit back and discuss feminine hygiene products. That’s definitely not my area, but I can spot a unique entrepreneur that’s harnessed their misfit side and made the most of it. And that’s why I’ve asked Maat to come on today – to tell her story and share the lessons she learned going from essentially poverty to millions in a short few years.

www.Femmagic.com​

Maat started off in New York as a single mom with 3 daughters who could barely pay her rent. She moved to Georgia after completing her graduate degree. What she thought would work in Georgia as services for holistic health, did not. So, she pivoted and went online in 2015. She started with online course she had worked on I grad school for self-care. A year later, she launched her first feminine hygiene product. In the span of just a few years, she went from making nothing to millions selling and making products from her kitchen table.

What was the catalyst that turned things for you and put you on the path to success?

  • It was the moment when she moved to Atlanta thinking she would have support and didn’t have any.
  • She had to put things on credit card to make things works.
  • She had to make it work. She went back to NYC and hammered out a marketing campaign for her first program with the help of a few friends.
  • She was charging $500/mo and just wanted 5 people.
  • 10 people ended up signing up, so in one month she went from not being able to pay her rent to being able to pay rent and take care of her kids.

Talk to us about mindset. How did you learn to think differently and not give up?

  • It started with her first acknowledging her negative mindset, her darkness and traits that were counter to her desire.
  • Most people find it hard to accept or look at their dark mindset and negative character traits. Their counter-productive mindset.
  • When Maat was in grad school and working 2 jobs, she chose to use the last bit of her time to take a self-improvement course.
  • The first question she was asked was “Are you happy?” She broke down in tears. She was not happy. She had not had a moment to stop and think in her life with everything she was doing and responsible for.
  • Maat was angry. As the weeks went on, she learned about being proactive instead of reactive. How to harness her mind to stop emotional reactions.

At the 13 min mark, she shares a story of how this came to use one day when she was running late with her kids, etc.

At the 14 min mark, we have a discussion on changing mindset.

You went through a big change in your teens that really changed you. Can you tell us about it?

  • She grew up in an abusive household.
  • This continued into her teen years.
  • She created a identity for herself in her teens that was negative.
  • She was 235 lbs., overweight, dressed baggy name-brand clothes which really couldn’t afford, and was in the party scene.
  • She had a step father who started having her watch positive videos and messages.
  • It didn’t have an immediate effect as she would watch a video and then go run the streets drinking and doing drugs with friends.
  • She had no self-worth. The videos and audios seeped into her mind to a point where she started seeking those types of things our on her own.
  • This led her to changing her life in high school to eating healthy, exercising, dressing who she was and being her true self.
  • This helped to prepare her for the success she had years later.

You’ve built your brand organically to multi-millions in just a few years. How did you do it?

  • The way she started her business stemmed from her change in high school.
  • The first product was an all-natural PH balancer for feminine hygiene to help women get in balance. She had the problem when she was pregnant with her first child and the same solution worked for her. So, she thought others could benefit.
  • She shared it online without even having a website. Women started asking if they could buy it – so she started taking orders manually through PayPal. She had created a presence online with her showing herself being healthy and focusing on her well-being and that initial following was who began buying from her.
  • She started the business at home. They still are to this day and are hand-made. She does use a fulfillment center where she sends the products for distribution.
  • She has multiple employees, and her children are involved.

Talk about how you market and drive traffic….

  • Maat started off with Facebook.
  • She then created a business page. She wasn’t sure it would work.
  • She grew the business page to over 40k in just a few months.
  • She then moved to Instagram, and this became the hub for her business, both for her personal and the brand.
  • She kept the business page private and promoted it on her personal page. People had to ask her to be a follower.
  • She was truly authentic and herself online.

Best tips to sell online?

  • Testimonials and reviews are critical to success online.
  • Having honest 3rd party proof that your offerings are good is a huge different maker.
  • The honest opinion and feedback also helps you to improve your offerings.
  • As far as social media, make sure pics are clear and crisp. Imagery is cheap, do it well.
  • Make sure to have your brand colors as part of your imagery. Color in general is good.

 

Best Quote: Most people find it hard to accept or look at their dark mindset and negative character traits. Their counter-productive mindset.

 

Maat's Misfit 3:

  1. Testimonials are key to success and validation of your business making you and your products more trustworthy. Make sure you have a strategy to collect them.
  2. Have a great product that meets a real need that is consistently needed. Find something that people need no matter what.
  3. Create an easy streamline process for customers. Give them an easy straightforward way to purchase from you.
  4. Bonus: Build an audience with the 80/20 rule. Maat gave a free service for an hour for 5 months and then charged for it. She had a waiting client base and instantly had a large business.

 

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Jul 27, 2022

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Mike Smerklo. Mike is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and founder of Next Coast Ventures, a unique venture capital firm that focuses on emerging companies heling them in the critical stage to hyper growth. After working in investment banking at Morgan Stanley, Mike was then recruited by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz to one of their new startups. In 2003, Mike purchased ServiceSource, a 30-person tech services startup and over the next 12 years grew it to a 3000 person publicly traded company with over $300 million in revenue and a market value of $1 billion.

After exiting the company, he founded Next Coast, investing in over 40 startups to date and recently wrote the best-seller, Mr. Monkey and Me.

Needless to say, Mike has a wealth of experience as an owner/operator and investor, and I am excited for him to share it with you.

www.MikeSmerklo.com

Mike grew in a rough part of Toledo, Ohio. He was raised by a single mom and had a simple goal which was to just get out. His mom focused him on education as no one had to gone to college in the family. He listened and ended up going to Miami of Ohio. After college, he went to E&Y as an auditor and found quickly he hated it. He then went to Lehman Brothers in investment banking. It sucked the life out of him, but he learned a lot before going to business school and then eventually out to Silicon Valley. He worked for Andreessen Horowitz, bought and ran ServiceSource until he sold it and the “retired” to Austin, Texas. Retirement didn’t last long before he started Next Coast.

What makes a great business?

  • The short answer is “Do you do something for your customer that is a differentiating approach?”
  • Do you bring a different and unique experience to the customer that they are willing to pay for once or multiple times?
  • We overcomplicate things in our lives, especially business.

You wrote Mr. Monkey and Me as a story of your journey with ServiceSource and lessons learned. Take us through the different lessons you learned.

  • The goal was to write a book that got to the mental aspect of entrepreneurship.
  • He not only drew on his experience, but also interviewed top entrepreneurs.
  • The “monkey” is the voice in entrepreneur’s heads that holds them back,
  • The core of the book is the SHAPE formula.
    • Self-Awareness
    • Help
    • Authenticity
    • Persistence
    • Expectations

Take us through each element of the shape formula and define them.

  • Self-Awareness: The ability to understand strengths and weaknesses and what the entrepreneur should focus energy on to improve.
  • Help: Seeking mentors and coaching to help improve, but also finding those that are better in areas to help in the business.
  • Authenticity: Finding your inner voice. How do you show up as the leader that you want to be and is natural?
  • Persistence: Playing the long game and having the will to continue.
  • Expectations: Thinking about the beginning, middle, and end of the journey and the different expectations needed at each stage.

At the 14 min mark, we talk more about SHAPE and persistence more in depth.

Lessons from working with Andreessen Horowitz that have really helped in your success?

  • Each of them taught him different things. It was also early in their days in 1999.
  • It felt a little like chaos.
  • From Mark, Mike learned the power of thinking big and not taking half-measures.
  • Ben taught Mike a lot about management.
  • The best “how to be a manager book” is Management by Objectives by Andy Grove.
  • Ben also shared that the first 25 employees hired in a company is all that matters. If you get those right, the culture, ethos, etc. will be set by those first 25.

40+ investments at Next Coast. Talk to us about your model and what you look for when investing a company.

  • Market size is a factor.
  • Does the solution differentiate and are customers willing to pay for it? Will they see real value?
  • What do the economics look like and do they make sense?
  • But 90% of it comes down to the entrepreneur.
  • They use a term called “glass-eater.” Which is asking “Is the entrepreneur willing to do anything and everything, legally and ethically, to make the business a success building a real business – and do they know what it takes to do it?”
  • Next Coast looks at over 1000 companies a year to find just a few.
  • Things that get overlooked are that entrepreneurs have to be able to sell and have to be good at telling the story.
  • “Great entrepreneurs can’t imagine the world without their solution.”
  • At the same time, entrepreneurs have to be willing to take feedback and advice.
  • Entrepreneurs also overlook substitutes and inertia as competition.Things that are not direct competitors but are taking customers attention.

What are market trends and things that are upcoming that entrepreneurs should be focused on?

  • Each year, Next Coast does a lot of work to understand where the world is going.
  • Future of work is still a strong theme. Work continues to be redefined.
  • There is a still a lot of opportunity in the changing game of retail.
  • Software is another good place.
  • Healthcare hacking is big. Consumers taking more control over their health.
  • Education is another place that is at the start of a big shift.

Where do you see the future of work and the changes that will happen?

  • Figuring out what a physical presence looks like.
  • Great talent is everywhere and not having to have a complete physical presence makes it easier to get it.
  • Challenges are managing in a hybrid work environment.
  • Creating a cohesive culture in this new environment.
  • Things are being reshaped.

Another big trend is monetizing data.

What is software 3.0 and how it is changing growth models… 

  • It is still very early for software.
  • It has gotten much easier to write software.
  • Software 3.0 is no code, APIs, businesses that have software becoming a much bigger part of it.
  • Enterprise is more saturated but using software in all aspects of life is just beginning.
  • Next Coast invested in Everlywell which is healthcare hacking software which allows you to take a test a home on over 30 different things and then get results through software online.

What do you think is most important for entrepreneurs to focus on in their business?

  • The customer – they are everything.
  • The entrepreneur must focus on their health – mental and physical.

Best advice for entrepreneurs just starting out?

  • Self-awareness is the cornerstone. Understand what you are good and not good at.
  • It is better to play to your strengths than correct your weaknesses.

 

Best Quote: Great entrepreneurs can’t imagine the world without their solution.

 

Mike's Misfit 3:

  1. Be nice. The world needs it now more than ever.
  2. Comparison is the thief of joy. Envy wastes emotion and drains you.
  3. It is easy to live a hard life. It is hard to live an easy life.

 

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Jul 20, 2022

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is David Garofalo. David has 30 years of experience in the creation and growth of over 15 multi-billion-dollar sustainable mining businesses across multiple continents and has led the largest merger in gold mining history valued at $32 billion dollars. That’s a heck of a track record. If that is not enough, David is still at it. He now serves as CEO and Chairman of Gold Royalty Corp, a precious metals-focused royalty and streaming company. The Company acquires royalties, streams and similar interests at varying stages of the mine life cycle to build a balanced portfolio offering near, medium and longer-term attractive returns for our investors.

David has won just about every award in the mining industry possible as well as awards such as Canada’s CFO of the year. While we have had guests come on to discuss the gold and precious metals markets before, the thing that interested me most about David was the way he put his new company together and the wealth of experience he has gained in building not one, but over 15 billion-dollar companies, and I can’t wait for him to share all he’s learned on his journey!

www.GoldRoyalty.com

Ticker Symbol: GROY

David started out as a CPA in the 80’s with Deloitte and cut his teeth there. He was in the mining sector and learned the business from the ground up. Over the course of his career, he has been involved in the construction of 15 mines across the world with the majority of his time in the C-Suite.

What is your secret for continued success?

  • It’s going back to the same people over and over again.
  • David has assembled a great team that he brings with him into each endeavor.
  • David brings the strategic vision, and they help execute.
  • It is about people at the end of the day.

Is there a formula or set of principles that you’ve used consistently to build your companies?

  • For mining, it starts with geology. You must have a sound geological model, sound exploration principles and sound mine development principles are foundational to success.
  • It comes down to having the right foundations and principles.

At the 8 min mark, David talks more about the mining business and minimizing risk and lessons on how to manage it.

Thoughts on dealing with the stress and risk of running a business. How do you handle that?

  • Having a great team makes a big difference.
  • Recognize you are not a master of everything and that you have to delegate or find others to fill the gap.
  • It cannot be all on your shoulders.

Talk to us about your latest company.

  • It is different than what he’s done in traditional mining in that it helps to provide capital for explorers and developers.
  • In return, they get a royalty on the mines and projects.
  • The get a percentage of revenue off the top.
  • Everything David has done to this point has prepared him to build the company.
  • The company is publicly traded under the ticker GROY.

State of the state in the mining industry? What are some of the keys to successfully investing in it?

  • It’s never been a better time for gold as an asset class because of being in the inflationary cycle we are in now. The highest since the 70’s.
  • There are a lot of parallels.
  • Inflation adjusted; gold could go to $3000/oz if things play out like the 70’s.

At the 24 min mark, David and I have a great conversation on rates and the FED and the differences between now and the past. Especially with the debt the US has now compared the past. It’s great to just listen.

Thoughts on how businesses can thrive in an environment of prolonged inflation and higher costs?

  • If you are in an industry that has pricing power, you can take advantage.
  • In David’s case, cost inflation plays into the royalty business and avoids inflation risk.

One thing to note is that in a bull market for precious metals, silver performs better than gold. So, it has potential for a lot of upside.

Prediction for when precious metals go parabolic?

Later in 2022.

  • When capital gets reallocated, it doesn’t go in a steady methodical way.
  • There is typically a catalyst and then a stampede. It happens quickly.
  • All the ingredients are there.

Best advice on M&A and selling/acquiring business?

David tells the story of his $32 Billion merger with Newmont.

  • Recognizing the timing is very important.
  • If there are great synergies and economies of scale, then it makes sense to bring companies together.
  • You have to do a lot of work on making sure the fit is there and that the cultures can align when brought together.
  • You have to make sacrifices in the best interest of the company and shareholders. In David’s case, he had to give up his job.
  • Most deals don’t have because of social issues – ego, who get’s what job, etc.

You talked about you built your core team. How have you created a culture for the team to want to come together again and again?

  • We’ve made it fun and enjoyable.
  • Surround yourself with people you like and respect.
  • Make sure they have the right skillset and values that align with the team.
  • If you do it right, it is like catching lightening in a bottle.

Any specific traits you feel are most important to succeed in today’s world?

  • You must have resilience. 
  • You must have respect for those around you and show it.
  • Treating people extremely well is very important.

Any other important leadership lessons people should know?

  • Don’t give up.
  • It’s ok to be a bit stubborn in realizing your vision. ​

Best advice for an entrepreneur just starting out?

  • Choose your friends well.
  • Surround yourself with people that have integrity, the right attitude, and right skillsets needed to help you build your business.

 

Best Quote: Surround yourself with people that have integrity, the right attitude, and right skillsets needed to help you build your business.

 

David's Misfit 3:

  1. Show up.
  2. Be loyal.
  3. Stay healthy.

 

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Jul 13, 2022

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, ​

Sometimes I come across things that are just too good not to share. As you know I spend a lot of time on these lessons thinking them through to give you the best advice I can. Every now and then I find a resource where it’s been done for me. I recently saw a post on Twitter from handle named LegacyBuilder_. The post was titled, “Every father should teach his daughter these 20 lessons.”

After reading the title, I could not help but check it out. As I read through them, I felt they were spot on, so I want to share them with you.

Here they are.

  1. The world will try to steal your joy. The world doesn’t like when a person is walking around with joy and happiness. Be ready for trial, drama, and full attacks in your way of life. Meet them with grace and an attitude that you will persevere. You create your own joy.
  2. Your children will learn a lot from you, act accordingly. They learn how to love from you and pick up the worst parts of you as well. Don’t be fake and try to act like a perfect person. Instead, be real with your kids and show them what life is like when you laugh and love.
  3. People can change. People will show you their best and worst sides as you grow up. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the world is all good or all bad. Have the wisdom to know that no matter what people are going through there is always the power for them to change.
  4. Your mother loves you. You will argue. You will laugh. You will cry. Remember that no matter how mad she makes you, she loves you. Your mom sees endless possibilities when looking at you and wants you to succeed.
  5. If it feels wrong, it is. Nothing should be forced in this life. If you ever find yourself in a situation that feels off, remove yourself. Trust your gut always and stand up for what you believe in.
  6. Don’t worry about the future. Take it from your dad. Worrying about tomorrow only steals joy from the day. All the deadlines, boys, and arguments will work themselves out. Focus on being in the moment and the future will take care of itself.
  7. Your last name matters. Our last name is special because it comes with a lot of history. Not all of it is glamorous, but you are living proof that generational curses can be broken. Take pride in where you come from and keep working to make our last name grow in legacy.
  8. The world is bigger than your hometown. You will think that your hometown is the entire world until the day you leave those city limits. Travel, experience, and learn about different cultures around the world. Open your eyes to all that life has to offer. It’s a big world.
  9. You don’t have to go to college. Maybe you will, maybe you won’t. A college degree doesn’t promise you anything (except maybe debt). The real way to win is by being a lifelong learner and pursuing your dreams with drive and determination. Never stop learning.
  10. Start investing at 20. Learn what compound interest is and put 25% of your earnings into a mutual fund monthly and never touch it. You can live off the other 75% despite what anyone else tells you. As you start to earn more keep the percentages the same.
  11. Sports can teach you a lifetime of values. Sports taught me and your mother what it feels like to give it out all and still lose. It taught us that everything great in life has an ending and it taught us to be competitive in our life but with grace. Play a sport. Grit is learned through experience.
  12. Grit is defined as strength of character in moments of uncertainty. You can read books or watch as many movies as you want but you can’t learn grit until you go through tough times yourself. Don’t shy away from difficult, you will grow.
  13. You aren’t defined by your losses. I’ve seen so many people that have never overcome losses in their life. They are constantly defeated and eventually stop trying. Losses are learning opportunities that will develop true character. It’s okay to lose, but not to be a loser.
  14. Winning isn’t the goal, growing is. Winning is amazing. There is no better feeling than winning after putting in the hard work it takes to win. Remember that if you become addicted to winning you will never be satisfied. Winning is part of growing not the only goal.
  15. If you feel like you aren’t enough, remember you are. You don’t see it but sometimes I don’t feel like I’m being the best dad. Then I’m reminded that every day I get to love you and our family. Never think you are not enough. A day where you move an inch is still progress.
  16. Choose your husband wisely. This is the man that will be with you on your greatest and worst days. Choose a man that will see you for who you are, love your children, and loves the Lord with all his heart. Your marriage will rise and fall with your dependence on God.
  17. Don’t tell everyone what you’re doing. People will use information against you to push their own agenda. Working in silence is a superpower. Let them see what you have been doing when you are standing on the mountaintop.
  18. Take care of your body. You will be unstoppable if you develop healthy habits early and keep them for the rest of your life. Love the gym and maintaining a body that is happy and healthy. You don’t have to be the fittest person in the world, but don’t ever stop.
  19. Your strength comes from above. There is only so far you can go on your own. God has a plan for your life. There will be times where you search for meaning of life. Remember this: Your purpose is to show others the love of the Lord and honor him in all you do. And I might add, one of my favorite passages from Philippians: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
  20. Dad will always love you. No matter what you do or where you go. No matter how you act or what you say. I promise to be the person that gives you the tough love you need and provides a place where you always feel safe. Always and forever. That’s a promise.

Hannah, I really could not have said those any better and hope you use them in your life.

I love you,

Dad

 

Best Quote: Dad will always love you. No matter what you do or where you go. No matter how you act or what you say. I promise to be the person that gives you the tough love you need and provides a place where you always feel safe. Always and forever. That’s a promise.

 

Misfit 3:

  1. Read the list of 20 lessons and commit them to memory.
  2. Remember, above all else, your strength comes from above. God has a plan for your life.
  3. Never stop learning and growing.

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Jul 6, 2022

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Jason White. Jason knows how to create a niche. He is the founder of The Federal Code, a business that teaches the secrets of winning federal government contracts with no certification, no business history, using minimal startup cost, and using subcontractors to support new contracts — the same way he does it. Jason currently manages over 40 Federal Government Contracts worth over $37 million. And the students he’s taught have successfully won over $30 million in contracts. J

ason is a great example of how to find a unique need, create a niche, maximize it, and then teach others to do it and help them find their financial freedom. I’ve asked him on today to share how he does it and what he’s learned along the way.

www.TheFederalCode.com

@IamJasonWhite_ on Instagram

Jason never set out to do what he does. In fact, he was not a good path to success at the time. The opportunity literally fell into his lap. He was working at a gas station in 2008 and his friend came in to get something and told him that he was about to get a federal contract in trucking. Instead, the guy was arrested that night and went to prison. But, the idea stuck in Jason’s head. He decided to see if he could get a contract and started going down the rabbit hole. It took him 3 years before he got his first contract.

Talk to us about Federal contracts. How does your business work?

  • Federal Government contracting is simpler than you think.
  • In its simplest form, it is the Federal Government look to procure a product or service from the private sector.
  • Jason didn’t have any money, a network, resources, or credit – he figured out that he could outsource the work and be the middleman between the Govt and the product/service provider.
  • The Federal Govt is the largest purchaser in the world and provides a steady stream of opportunities for contracting.

How do you find a contract? How do you get started?

  • he main requirement you must have at least an LLC. It is also good to have a DUN’S number.
  • You then register that with SAM.Gov. Y
  • ou will look for opportunities in SAM.Gov.
  • There are 96,000 contract opportunities on average every day in SAM.
  • Jason looks for service-based solicitations that continue for more than 1 year. This created residual income.

Are there some types of contracts that are better than others? How do you distinguish?

  • As newbie, you will consider things easier to understand than others. For example, a lawn care contract is easier to understand than say an IT contract.
  • But, the mindset needs to be not so much, can you understand or manage the contract, but more of can you manage the company you outsource to that is fulfilling the work.
  • The expectations will come from the contract – your job is to manage the expectations.
  • Jason stays away from construction contracts.

How do you win a contract?

  • The Federal Govt is an endless supply of opportunity.
  • You are bidding, so your quotes must be competitive.
  • The only way to do that is to compare and get quotes from multiple companies to find the best price and then your fee goes on top of it.
  • It’s a numbers game. Don’t worry so much about winning as much as consistently creating competitive bids.

How many bids/submissions do you typically do before winning?

  • Jason has found that he wins about 30% of the time for him at this point.
  • For someone starting out, this ratio will be lower.
  • Jason strives to submit at least 10 bids every month.

What is the typical profit margin on a contract?

  • It is all over the place.
  • This happens because the bids are all different and for different types of services, so they have different margins.
  • Jason has created a formula he uses for this process.
  • He price compares with 3-4 companies for every bid.
  • He looks for a middle ground and then adds his fee.
  • He knows based on the companies’ prices where to be to not be the cheapest nor the most expensive.

How you find the companies/resources to fulfill your contracts?

  • Google! He Googles service providers in the area for the contract and interviews them.
  • Remember, you are not looking at opportunities just where you live, you are looking at contracts for the entire nation. It comes down to your ability to manage and hold service providers accountable that matters most.

What causes people to fail in Federal contracting?

  • When you are essentially subcontracting, you are hinging your company’s name on their work. They are working on your behalf, but you are ultimately responsible.
  • One of the biggest pitfalls is not setting expectations appropriately. It is very important that you understand and communicate the expectations of the contract and have a way to measure that they are being followed.
  • You may have companies that find out the job is more expensive or don’t appropriate the right amount of resources.
  • The Federal Govt wants to help small businesses out and understand that mistakes get made and challenges come up, but you must make sure to not make the same mistakes over and over again.

How do you handle working with these subcontractors?

  • You will need to have a service agreement that is legally binding.
  • You can do this through an attorney or through LegalZoom or LawDepot, etc.
  • Try to keep it simple and make it easy for both parties.

At the 27 min mark, Jason walks through an example of a recent contract and how he got it and managed it.

Anything else we should know about Federal contracting?

  • One of the biggest secrets is that you must be consistent.
  • Jason recommends bidding on a minimum of 10 contracts per month.
  • Most people quit because they don’t maintain a high level of activity.
  • Learning to communicate well is critical.

Talk to us about your entrepreneur journey – what made you go from gas station attendant to committing to this and figuring it out?

  • Jason barely graduated high school, but he learned common sense on the streets.
  • Jason kept asking how.
  • When his buddy told him what he was doing, he was surprised the guy was trying to go straight. He was just too late for himself.
  • It was the vessel, the messenger that made the difference.

Talk to us about playing to long game. You didn’t get your first contract for 3 years.

  • Success leaves clues.
  • Someone has to be the pioneer to leave the clues.
  • Jason just kept telling himself he wanted to see it through.
  • He wanted to prove that a guy like him could finish and succeed.
  • He learned a lot about himself and what he was capable of in his journey.
  • He stopped being motivated and started being driven because when you are driven, motivation can care less. When you are driven, you don’t care what gets in the way, if you get sick, whatever, you push through. ​

At the 38 min mark, we have a great conversation on being driven.

 

Best Quote: Stop being motivated and started being driven. When you are driven, you don’t care what gets in the way, if you get sick, whatever, you push through.

 

Jason's Misfit 3:

  1. Be patient. It’s rare to know how long it will take. Keep going.
  2. Have a high level of communication. Build this skill set.
  3. Do not look to your left or to your right. Focus on you.

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Jun 29, 2022

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Craig Swanson. Craig Swanson is an entrepreneur, business coach, and co-founder of the online learning platform CreativeLive. Creative live went from a $100 startup to raising over $50 Million in VC funding becoming a massive success. After leaving CreativeLive, Craig has become the secret weapon behind course creators and business owners such as Sue Bryce, Susan Stripling, and Kaisa Keranen by helping them into the multi-million-dollar mark and even acquisition! Craig is also the board chair of the Seattle Entrepreneurs Organization Accelerator.

I’ve always loved digital assets as a business model. An entrepreneur can take their expertise in an area and have the ultimately scalability with a digital product, course, etc. And Craig has perfected the model. I am excited to get into all of this with him and to share all of his wisdom and experience from his incredible entrepreneur journey.

www.CraigSwanson.org ​

Follow Craig on LinkedIn

Craig started his first business after dropping out of college providing IT services to graphic design companies in Seattle. He did this for 25 years. And then he spun off an internal project which was Creative Live and built it up to massive success. He left there in 2016 and started what he does now - a small investment and incubator company with a fund that invests in and partners with a select few online creators per year to build niche platforms. He also serves his role in EO and is part of their accelerator program.

Talk to us about building a digital business. What should we know?

  • People hold their ideas so precious that they don’t get them out in the market.
  • What drives the success of a digital product is the market that has area need that your solution addresses.
  • It’s not about how good you look or how well you present it. It’s about the market first.

How does someone identify the market and see if there is a fit? How do you test the market?

  • Create a digital version of something that someone is teaching in person to groups of 10-200+ and has a track record of success.
  • If it works for small groups of people, then you can create a digital version to scale.

At the 9 min mark, Craig gives an example of how they test a market with a client. It’s best to just listen.

Which type of product makes the best digital business?

  • It is something that you create once and can continue to sell.
  • A recorded video training program is the classic digital good and a good product.
  • Additionally, digital downloads specific to industries, etc.

What is the process you go through to build the business around the product?

  • The first step is a prototype with a core test audience. (1-10 people that will buy)
  • With your first batch, you are relying on your existing relationships/contacts.
  • After success with the protype, you then build a strategy to get your first 100 sales using success stories from you first group and partnering to get in front of other audiences.
  • Once you serve more than 100 people and prove the product, then you can get to paid advertising and scale.
  • Craig will give out free content to get people into the funnel and fold.

What are the best ways to market and sell a digital business?

  • It is different for each product and different for different stages.
  • Mediums will vary and you probably already have a medium where you get the most engagement and community.
  • If you are starting from scratch, it is tougher.
  • You must create an awareness and some sort of following before creating a digital product.

What are some ways to build an audience from scratch?

  • A niche email newsletter that goes out as broadly as possible.

How do you grow an email list?

  • Find a small community that you can really serve.
  • Once you get some subscribers, ask for them to share it.
  • Go where your market is (Facebook groups, communities, etc. that you can serve and help).
  • Stick to a narrow niche.

How do you build a personal brand the right way?

  • The first step is to become clear who you are servicing and audience and speak to that audience.
  • Don’t approach your brand from a self-centric stance.
  • The purpose of a personal brand is to connect with and draw in your ideal audience.
  • Building a brand telling the stories and highlighting what those in your audience are doing to succeed is a great way to build it.
  • There are 2 fundamental ways to build a brand: Either a student or an expert.
  • You can position yourself as an expert learner and share what you are learning as you grow in the topic. People can follow and gain from your experience.
  • As an expert, you can focus on delivering expertise to a community.

4 elements to scale any business?

  • Scaling a business is when it starts to grow exponentially and can sustain that growth.
  • The first step is to take something that is already successful with an audience and finding out why it has been so successful.
  • Then you use the stories of success and their words to share why something is working.
  • Next is to create a 2-step purchase process in which you have an entry level product from $10-$99 that covers the cost to acquire customers.
  • The 4th step is to convert the customers into the larger more expensive product.

Any tips on how to create the value ladder?

  • A lot of work goes into finding the right combination of offering and price that will scale.

At the 36 min mark, Craig gives an example of how they do this…

  • “A lot of people in business become so fixated on the thing they have built that they want to sell that they stop listening to what the market is telling them that the market really wants.”
  • You need an awareness to this.

What are the traits of good, high performing businesses vs. those that underperform?

  • The difference is in the way they think.
  • A lot of less seasoned businesses entirely fixated on how to make the existing business model more profitable. They are looking for the magic secret that lets them grow.
  • More mature businesses have found that they have to let go of their original offering or change it to make it the best to grow and scale per what the market wants.
  • Smaller businesses “swell” their business instead of scaling their business.
  • Scaling businesses tend to be simpler with a clear focus on just 1-2 products/solutions and build the machine around them to infinitely scale.

At the 42 min mark, Craig and I talk about how businesses are much like life as they grow and gain experience.

  • Don’t be afraid to kill ideas and let go of legacy things in your business. ​

From your journey, what do you feel are you most important and impactful lessons you’ve learned?

  • Letting go of control and learning to trust partners.
  • Build partnerships that work and commit to them to make them go.
  • Have a clear mission.
  • Co-build and co-create.

 

Best Quote: A lot of people in business become so fixated on the thing they have built that they want to sell that they stop listening to what the market is telling them that the market really wants

 

Craig's Misfit 3:

  1. Be clear on what is negotiable and non-negotiable about your brand. L
  2. et go of negotiable elements and stand firm on non-negotiable.
  3. If something is worth doing, it is worth doing poorly. You get better as you go. Fail sooner and learn faster.

 

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Jun 22, 2022

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Mariusz Skonieczny. Mariusz is the founder of MicroCap Explosions and the author of 11 books on the subject of investing. Mariusz has carved out a unique niche investing in microcap companies where the institutions don’t play, and the retail investors don’t focus. And it’s very lucrative. Over the course of a decade Mariusz personally turned $10k into over $7 million investing in Microcaps and now he teaches others to do what he does. I’ve always loved exploring unique niches with the entrepreneurs that find and maximize them, and I’m excited for Mariusz to share his journey and more about the Microcap niche with you in this episode. Mariusz Skonieczny on YouTube Mariusz philosophy is to go where others can’t go or don’t want to go. You have to be very picky about where you are going to be competitive and look for the best place where you can have an edge. Mariusz was born in Poland and grew up there focused on sports. He came to the US in his late teens and wanted to play basketball. He was not good enough and it broke his heart. He was not competitive enough…not to mention he could hardly speak English. This experience led him to discover and look for unique niches that don’t have a lot of competition. He gravitated toward investing. At first, he did what most people do and invested in blue chip stocks. As he found, if you do what everyone else does, it doesn’t pay that well. He then heard an interview with Warren Buffett where Warren talked about how investors need to look for unique opportunities that other investors don’t or won’t invest in and that set him on the path to do what he does now in the microcap space. What is a microcap investment? Companies that have market capitalization of less than $200 million. These are companies in which all the shares outstanding multiplied by the price are less than $200 million. Most of the time, these companies’ stocks trade less than $5. Some of them get a negative connotation of being “penny stocks.” What matters is the business behind them and that is the key – if there is a good business behind that has a path to grow, then it can offer a good opportunity. These companies are publicly traded, but usually on secondary exchanges such as Toronto or OTC. There is less competition there as well. A lot of the companies “grow up” on these exchanges and then move over to the larger ones like the Nasdaq, etc. How do you find a microcap opportunity? You can find them on stock screeners, but Mariusz goes to an exchange like the Canadian Stock exchange that has 700 companies and spends the time to evaluate each one to find the best. 80-90% are not great companies. He will whittle it down to the top 50 or so, then find the top 10% out of those and then do full diligence to decide the best one. He’s willing to do the work where others don’t. What are the criteria you look for in a microcap? Don’t invest in trash companies! Find the diamond with high quality revenue. Recurring revenue is critical. The business model offering should have high switching costs meaning it is hard for a client to drop the offering. The business should have high margin revenues with gross profit margins above 50%. The business should also have a long runway and growth trajectory. How do you predict the success and growth rate of an opportunity? Each business will be different. An example is Voxster which focuses on the real estate industry. At the 17 min mark, Mariusz discussed Voxster’s business model and how he evaluated the company to invest in it. How do you manage risk? The best thing you can do to manage risk is to invest quality companies with proven business models and profitability. You must also not overpay for them. Most companies are too expensive. You must have patience and be selective. How do you determine value, so you don’t overpay? You can look at multiples of revenue or income. With smaller companies, net income is not the best way because they grow faster and sacrifice profitability by investing it back into the company for the growth. 1-3x revenue is a good rule of thumb when it comes to the stock price and how it is trading. How do you stay in an investment? Years – typically 5-6 If you are a businessperson or entrepreneur, you know it takes time to grow. Play the long game. Anything else we should know about microcaps? You must have patience. You must have tolerance for volatility. You can get homeruns if you don’t overpay. ​ What other lessons have you learned on your entrepreneur journey? If you see a problem, don’t wait for others to solve – see if you can be the one to do it. Or look for companies that solve problems and become part of the journey by investing in them. Best Quote: If you see a problem, don’t wait for others to solve it – see if you can be the one to do it. Mariusz's Misfit 3: Think independently. You don’t need others’ approval to do what it is you want to do in business or investing. Do not worry about what others think.

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Jun 15, 2022

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Bryan Clayton. Bryan created the “Uber of Lawncare,” GreenPal. It is a company that makes it easy to connect homeowners with lawn care professionals with the touch of a button. Bryan and his team built the company from scratch to over $20 million in revenue, serving 300,000+ customers in just a few years and their story has been featured everywhere from entrepreneur magazine to INC and Harvard Business Review. Prior to GreenPal, Bryan founded Peachtree Inc, and grew it to $10 million before it was acquired.

For anyone out there who has had a good idea for a business, but didn’t act on it because they weren’t sure how to make it a reality or didn’t have the experience needed to do it, Bryan is proof that it is absolutely possible. In fact, it is probably easier than you think. And that is why I brought Bryan on – to share how it is possible and what he learned in making GreenPal a reality.

www.GreenPal.com

@BryanMClayton on Instagram

Bryan wants you to know that if he can do it, you can do it. He’s spent 22 years as an entrepreneur in one industry, lawn care. He started a lawnmowing business in high school and continued to build it through college and then over the period of 15 years built it to over $10 million in revenue. He sold it in 2013.

He took some time off and after a while started to look at what to do next. He thought there should be an app to make it easier for people find lawn care professionals. He didn’t know what he didn’t know and over the last 10 years has built GreenPal.

Talk to us about how you did it and figure things out…

  • Startups and entrepreneurship are less like chess and more like poker. Chess is more of a logical series of moves that lead to a result vs. a smart bet and playing risk vs. reward in poker.
  • In the early days, they tried to outsource the coding and it failed. They had spent almost $200k getting the company going and had nothing to show for it, so they bit the bullet and decided to learn to code themselves.
  • They went to a coding bootcamp and learned the basics which helped them create the second version.

Biggest lessons from building your businesses?

  • Startups fail, but entrepreneurs don’t.
  • As a founder, you will need to have flexible persistence going from one failure to the next without a loss of enthusiasm.
  • Think of it like an old school video game where you have to figure how to get through one level at a time. It’s the same in business.
  • Small incremental wins add up over time to a big business.

What did you do to help you grow in your business that other could use?

  • First time founders worry about product and second time founders worry about distribution.
  • The most important strategy is how to get people in the door.
  • He learned quickly with GreenPal that if you build it, they will NOT come.
  • He had to create a customer acquisition and development strategy.
  • First, he went old school like he did in his previous business putting flyers on doors.
  • This got them a couple hundred users.
  • Second, you have to get out of the building and go talk to your users. Delight them.
  • They went on a mission to meet people at coffee shops, etc. and ask them how they find lawn care services. Google search was most prevalent, so that is where they put their efforts to gain visibility.
  • They had to learn SEO and organic search and put the bulk of their resources into it. It started to work, and signups began to grow.

Talk to us about how you did your SEO and organic search strategy vs. buying ads…

  • Google AdWords and Google Search get conflated. They are different.
  • It is one thing to pay, another for Google to rank you as #1 organically.
  • It is tough.
  • There is competition everywhere. You have to build it from the bottom up. Start small.
  • They focused on local communities and ranking #1 in those areas – the small little towns that were suburbs around the main city and eventually, they began to be ranked for the larger city itself.
  • Launching a market is launching all the little towns around it.

What did you do that got you noticed?

SEO 101:

  • On page (content). They created guides on the best lawn care services in each township. The best content possible.
  • Technical: Page load and URL structure, key words, indexable, etc.
  • Backlinks: Who talking about this website or page? They would reach out to local reporters of the small-town magazines and give them stories as they launched in their area. Test, then invest. You need to do it yourself before you build out the processes and teach others.

How do you start a business with no money?

  • Even with no money, you have asset and resources you can put to work. Many times, they are in your mind.
  • As you start to get money into the business, the key is to be a good capital allocator to invest back into the business.
  • The least you can live on, the greater your options in a startup gutting it out with no outside capital.
  • You are your business as a founder and the business needs to come first when it comes to money.
  • The first couple of years will be tough.

Talk to us about playing the long game?

  • Genius gets mistaken for consistency.
  • There are very, very few overnight successes.
  • People don’t see all of the work that happened, many time for years, before the success is known.
  • Success is a cumulation of work over years.

Thoughts from your experience selling and exiting a business?

  • It’s the dream and it’s hard to do well.
  • Work a 5-year exit strategy plan.
  • Things like EBITA growth and systems are key to selling.
  • Read the book Built to Sell.
  • Many times, the time business owners try to sell are when they or the business is in its worst shape.
  • Face and fix the things you don’t want to deal with.
  • You want to sell when things are at their best and you’ve optimized. Sell your business when you are in love with and would hate to see it go.

What should people know about the lawn and landscape industry?

  • You can learn so much running a small service-based business in a couple years than in a year of classes.
  • It is also a great place to get your first exit under your belt. You can start a little service business, built it up to $500k or $1 mil and sell it.
  • At the 40 min mark, Bryan shares his message to people who think they can’t do it…

 

Best Quote: Genius gets mistaken for consistency. There are very, very few overnight successes.

 

Bryan's Misfit 3:

  1. Spend less time on things that don’t matter.
  2. Know when to delegate and when not to delegate. Delegate from a standpoint of stewardship.
  3. Are you going to be a fox or a hedgehog from Good to Great? The fox is flashier in style and the hedgehog just keeps it head down and works one to two things really well. Pick which one you are.

 

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