This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Rick Sterger. Rick is epitome of what it means to find a niche and focus intently on being the best in that area. He is known as “the Immigration guy” and has built a law practice that continues to grow exponentially each year. Rick has a very specific focus in practicing immigration law with an emphasis on removal defense, but also has a breadth of experience in developing business systems and strategies for companies like Samsung, Motorola, Sprint, and Dell prior to starting his practice. He’s received numerous awards and his firm services clients throughout the U.S. and the world.
The reason for having Rick on today is not to talk about immigration, but for you to hear his story of hitting bottom, figuring out what was really important in life, and then creating the life he wanted to have. And of course, to discuss how to identify and maximize a niche in your business.
Rick’s story started with being in the mobile phone market early on. He rode the wave from a 30% market penetration to a 120% penetration. As growth begin to slow and the market started to consolidate, Rick found there was no place left to go and in 2008/2009 with the economy was collapsing, while going through a divorce, he was laid off.
He took a gig consulting, but knew he needed to find out what he was truly meant to do.
The opportunity came serendipitously. He was having a conversation with a friend, who worked in borders/customs and was told that you don’t have to be a California lawyer to practice immigration law in California, because it was handled under federal law. The light bulb went off to go start a firm because Rick had originally gone to school for law.
Within 8 mos, he had gotten rid of everything (fancy car, house, expenses he didn’t need), had his new practice up, but had not clients. He then starting building from there.
You hit bottom – how did you get back up and get out of the bottom you were in?
At 12 min mark, Rick talks about how it took going through a full financial collapse to make him realize what really mattered.
Ego and pride got in the way of asking for help, but also helped in needing to prove himself and kept him going. He had to learn the hard lesson of balancing them.
He also had his father’s rise from poverty as a role model for him.
At the 19 min mark, Rick talks about how he took his business from $0 to growing at hundreds of percent by bootstrapping in a niche.
At the 27 min mark, Rick talks about how selling his service from a video store became his biggest revenue source and other guerrilla tactics he used to get business…
Rick was then able to use his 6-sigma training from his former positions in the mobile industry to create systems to help his business find leverage through technology and create an infrastructure to grow at a rapid pace.
Tips for growing a tribe on social media:
The best thing and toughest thing about being an entrepreneur is that your growth in business is directly related to your personal growth. Growing yourself will help you come to peace with the things you fear and help you overcome them. The battle is growing as a person so that you can realize the business that you are truly capable of having.
Best Quote: “The best thing and toughest thing about being an entrepreneur is that your growth in business is directly related to your personal growth.”
Rick's Misfit 3:
This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Perry Marshall. Perry is one of the most respected entrepreneurs in the world. Perry is the authority when it comes sales and marketing online. His google AdWords books laid the foundation for the $100 billion dollar pay per click industry. And the techniques he created have become the standard best practices. He also wrote the world’s best selling book on web advertising, The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords. Other best-sellers by Perry include the Ultimate guide to Facebook advertising as well as his book 80/20 sales and marketing.
In fact, he has taken 80/20 and turned into a verb teaching people that it's not just a fact about your business, but an action you take on your business.
Perry has consulted in over 300 industries and has served as an expert witness for marketing and Google AdWords litigation.
With all that said, the area of expertise is not the most important thing I want to talk with him about today. You see, Perry is an adoptive father just like me and together we want to share our best advice for adoptive entrepreneurs…
Perry says her journey happened in multiple phases. His first foray into entrepreneurship was when he was 17 selling speakers out of his garage. It was a technical hobby that made some nice money. Perry then went to college for engineering and was working for Grainger.
At the 6:30 min mark, Perry talks about how a prank at his first job that got him fired, turned into a blessing in disguise – it led to a series of jobs that didn’t work out. This totally shook him up and he started to sour on working for someone.
A friend introduced him to Amway and it made sense to him for where he was in his life. Perry did Amway for 6 years, but in Perry’s words, it was a failure as a business. But, he learned how to put on a suit, give a presentation, how to sell, deal with rejection, and cold call. Without knowing it, this was preparing him for his future.
He then moved to Chicago and took an engineering job for 2 years. He was laid off, so he went into sales. It was still hard and not natural for him to sell. He was fired – again.
It was 1997 and Perry was up to high eyeballs in debt. He had another child on the way and was having health issues because of stress. It was at this time that he found Dan Kennedy and started to use Dan’s principles of direct marketing. To Perry, direct marketing was like the engineer’s version of selling because it is based on a system and series of levers.
Things finally clicked for him. At this time, the web is just starting and Perry saw an opportunity to take direct response/mail marketing and apply it to the web.
He got a new job and put it into practice for himself to generate leads. His systems started generating daily leads for him of people who were really interested in his services. When Perry started with the company, the part of the business he was in charge of was doing about $200,000 per year. Within 4 years, he had grown it to over $4 million and the company sold giving Perry a nice bonus because of stock he had. He took what he had done and started consulting in this specific niche. This put him on the path to the business he has today.
At the 28 min mark, Perry talks about success and how he pieced together everything he learned from his numerous jobs and firings and where life took him to build his business. He talks about being a student and teacher and how both are needed to succeed.
How has being adoptive parent impacted your life as an entrepreneur?
Explain the most important points of 80/20 sales and marketing… Your initial thoughts when you hear 80/20 are just the tip of the iceberg
What's working/not working today with AdWords?
Best Quote: “Cynical people think that success is random and accidental. Life is kind of that way, but success is taking what happens to you and piecing it together into a coherent force that makes sense and delivers results.”
Perry's Misfit 3
This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Bob Roitblat. Over 3 decades, Bob has innovated, developed, and successfully exited over a dozen businesses. He has developed a unique way of leading and building a business in that he is a competitive sailor and has used the principles needed to succeed on the water to help his businesses and those he consults with to succeed at the highest levels.
The thing that struck me the most about Bob was his thought process around innovation and the tried and true systems he has created to help companies not only be able to innovate and create opportunities at high levels, but to continue to sustain that innovation over the long term.
Innovating is more critical than it ever has been in business. You can come out with a solution today only to see if become obsolete a short time later. Your ability to innovate as business owner, leader, or even just as an individual in your everyday life is a critical skill you must embrace. And in this episode, my goal is to give you a great set of principles to do that from.
When Bob was a kid, he wanted to be a star and he has actually been on more than 60 tv shows, feature films, and movies – it has been a hobby of his for many years. He also has sailed everywhere from California to Hawaii, the Caribbean, and the oceans in-between. As Bob notes, sailing is a wonderful metaphor for business because of the processes, systems, and strategies you need to follow the not only survive, but make a successful sailing trip with a crew.
Why does competitive sailing translate so well to running a business?
What is the one thing you have taken from sailing and used in your businesses that you would say has contributed the most to your success?
Weather forecasting – In business, we do a lot of market and customer research. If we are narrow-minded, we blindly follow the research.
At the 9-min mark, Bob discusses how entrepreneurs can prepare themselves for the storms that come up in business
There are 3 kinds of business owners: Reactors, Managers, and Leaders
We must become leaders and anticipate so we can respond and not just react
Why do some organizations always seem to be on the cusp of innovation, while others stay stagnant?
What steps are needed to have a good innovation process?
Which step is most important? Why?
Insight before ideas. If you don’t have insight into the problem you are really solving, then your idea is much more likely to fail.
“People don’t buy products. They buy results. They buy progress. If your product can deliver the results and progress that people crave, it’s a winner.”
Characteristic of Great Innovators?
How does being a contrarian fit into innovating and success?
Things are different in that there are tons of micro-markets now
When everyone is going one way in the “red ocean,” you can be a big player in a small market and create a blue ocean.
Look for the contrarian play as they exist in almost every industry in today’s world.
At the 34-min mark, Bob talks about what he has learned about creating a business to sell and selling a business How can businesses best boost their profits?
What is the most important area for business owners to focus on in their business?
Spend more time educating employees and expanding their ability to think and innovate
Best Quote: “The Customer is always right. Just sometimes they are right for someone else.”
Bob's Misfit 3:
Hello Misfit Nation! Welcome to another edition of "Lessons for Hannah!"
In November of 2016, we introduced a new format that we are putting alongside our regular episodes called “Lessons for Hannah.” Hannah is my daughter and one of the main inspirations for the Misfit Entrepreneur. I wanted to have a place where she could go and learn from her daddy and his Misfit friends throughout her life….even after I am gone. If you haven’t listened to the first episode of "Lessons for Hannah," I urge you to as it gives some more background and tells the amazing story of how Hannah came to be in our lives.
"Lessons for Hannah" are short, very useful, and sometimes comical lessons, that I have learned which I want to share with you and give to Hannah to help in your lives. Because I want Hannah to have these for her life, I’m going to speak as though I am talking directly to her. These episodes are a lot of fun and if you think there is a lesson that we should include in these episodes, please don’t hesitate to send it over to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to share it.
This week’s Lesson for Hannah
Hannah, It is amazing how fast time flies. You are 5 years old, soon to be 6 and heading off to school. I still vividly remember the day we became a family like it just happened yesterday. Your mother and I have been so blessed to have you as a daughter and create all the amazing memories we have in such a short time. As I took some to reflect on our journey as a family, I realized some awesome things that I have learned from you, even in our short time together at this point. Here they are.
1.) The Power of Resilience
When I first held you in my arms, you could not talk, you could not walk, and you had but 2 teeth growing in. You had spent most of your life sleeping on a wooden flat, a board, and playing on the ground. You caretakers had done the best they could with what they had, which was not much. But through it all, you kept your smile. I remember the first smile you gave your mother and I shortly after we were united. It was a sign of your resilience because you still really had no idea what was happening and were still trying to figure out who we were. You had made it through so much, from being found out in the cold as an infant, to living in the conditions you were in, to going from everything and everyone you knew at 18 months old to your mother and me. You were and are so resilient and have proven that the human spirit can accomplish anything. I learned what real resiliency is from you.
2.) The Value of Taking Care of Yourself and Getting Good Nutrition
As I mentioned before, when you, your mother, and I were united, you could not walk, talk, or had any teeth – at 18 months, but in less than two weeks of getting you on a steady diet, you had teeth coming in and were walking chasing me up and down the halls of our hotel. It was so amazing to go out in the hallway each night and work with you until you finally stood up and ran around on your own. I’ll never forget that moment – and I’ll never forget how just a little bit of good food and care can make such a difference in a person’s life. Make sure you always take care of yourself and feed your body well.
3.) A New Type of Love
Hannah, in becoming your father, I was very lucky in that I got to join a unique brethren of men who get to call themselves “Dad”. And as a dad, I have learned a new type of love. A bond that only a father and daughter can have. It is not easy to describe, but what I can say is that it creates a lasting soft spot for you in my heart and brings about a heightened sense of attention to the world in which we live, both from a protective sense and opportunistic sense. It also gives me a deeper focus in life and in my work as I know that I only have so much time in this world and I want to be able to maximize it with you and your mother. Thank you for showing me this new level of love in my life.
4.) Don’t Hold onto Regret
Everything that has happened to get us here right now, had to happen exactly as it did. We are fortunate to even be alive. It truly is a miracle. One wrong step throughout history by someone and we wouldn’t be here. In fact, I read an amazing stat the other day on the probability of being born that said the odds of any one of us being born is 10 to the 2.7 millionth power. To put that in perspective, That’s the probability of 2.5 million people getting together — about the population of San Diego — each to play a game of dice with trillion-sided dice. They each roll the dice — and they all come up the exact same number. The fact that we are alive is a miracle and it means for us to be alive, so many others weren’t. The story of finding you and becoming a family had even less of a chance. So, here’s one of the biggest lessons the journey with you has taught me. Embrace everything, don’t hold onto regret. Yes, learn from mistakes. But, don’t have regrets in your life because you are a miracle, you only get one life, and you must live it to the fullest and be the best that you can possibly be in the world.
5.) Impact of an Infectious Laugh
The last lesson I learned from you is the power of an infectious laugh. Those that know us as a family of have ever spent time with us, know what I am talking about. You have one of the most distinguishable, infectious laughs I have ever heard – and every time I hear it, it brings a smile to my face no matter what is happening in life. Your little laugh brings so much joy and echoes daily through the house. Don’t ever lose it. In fact, infect others with it. Make them laugh. Help them find joy and happiness in laughter because it is such a gift in life.
Hannah, keep being awesome and teaching your mother and I great things!
I love you, Daddy.
Best Quote: “Everything that has happened to get us here right now, had to happen exactly as it did. The chances of us ever being born are so small. Don't hold on to regret and live your life to the fullest..."