This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Adam Robinson. Adam is a serial entrepreneur who has started and bootstrapped multiple companies to 7-figures, most notably, Robly and his latest venture, Get Emails. But, he didn’t start out down the entrepreneur path. He was a trader and investment banker for almost a decade before he made the leap to entrepreneur.
In 2017, he made a major change at Robly, where the company changed from everyone coming into the Manhattan office ever day to becoming a fully remote organization – and Adam decided to go on the road working remotely while traveling the world.
I am really excited to explore what this change was like and what he learned in addition to his insight on entrepreneurship and how to bootstrap a multi-million dollar company in today’s episode.
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When Adam graduated from college, a friend of his convinced him to go up to New York and get into the trading and investing markets. He managed to get a job at Lehman Brothers. He showed up in New York and was sharing an apart with a few other guys. These guys happened to working on building a business by the name of Vimeo. Adam watched this group of guys begin to flourish and see them really enjoy the fruits of entrepreneurship.
While this was going, Adam was doing great at Lehman. He was trading credit default swaps which were the instruments at the center of the 2008 financial crisis. Even though he was doing well, he felt that he had a calling to pursue and build his own business.
He managed to save a decent amount of money and in 2011, he left the investment/trading business to start his own business. He invested in several businesses and lost his money. As he says, “The overconfidence of being a Wall Streeter is a real thing.” He didn’t know how to build a team, operating an organization, etc.
Fortunately, one of the things he invested in got some legs and eventually became Robly.
At the 7:30 mark, Adam talks about how Robly came about and some of the biggest lessons he’s learned on his entrepreneurial journey?
Successes and Failures?
Tell us about Get Emails…
Talk to us about the results you realized from going fully remote as a company?
What is your best advice on how to be effective as a remote CEO?
What is most important when hiring a remote workforce?
Was there anything that you learned as an investment banker that helped you on your entrepreneurial journey?
What is something you think every entrepreneur should know?
Start with an unfair advantage. Find that hack or niche or thing that gives you a real clear advantage.
You must have cushion for the mistakes you will make.
Best Quote: A sign that you are on the right track in business is that it will feel so much easier from the beginning vs. trying to force something through. If you haven’t felt that feeling, you need to dig deeper and find a bigger edge or differentiator.
Adam's Misfit 3:
This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Oleg Loughheed. Oleg has an incredible story. He was born into poverty in Russia. He lived with an alcoholic mother, slept with bed bugs, and was lucky to get a good meal when he could – even if that menat he had to steal it. He never met his father. At 12 years old, he left his birth mother behind not knowing he would never see her again and entered an orphanage to be adopted so he could have a better life.
He was adopted by a family in the U.S. This changed his life and gave him all the opportunity he could ever asked for. And Oleg is not wasting it. He is the founder of Overcoming Odds – a non-profit dedicated to helping people share their stories and experiences of resilience and overcoming insurmountable odds to teach others how they can do the same.
As an international adoptive father, I can not only relate to Oleg’s story of where he came from and the situation he was in, but I also have a special appreciation of what it took to overcome it. And it’s this unique perspective that I want him to share with you in this episode.
Oleg’s story begins in a small town in Russia. He was born into a broken home. At 3 years old, Oleg’s mother became an alcoholic. And at 3 years old, Oleg was reliant on her and in her state, she could not really be there for him. His sister started to become his caretaker but was not prepared for it. He was a “rock in the middle of two islands.”
His sister was reluctant to look after him and resented her mother for it. Oleg says he is grateful because everything he went through makes up who he is today. The strength, courage, and who has become is all due to these experiences. At 9 years, HE DECIDED to relinquish his parents’ rights and become an orphan. He decided that the orphanage could provide better for him than his current situation. Some of this was true, but there was also physical and mental abuse that came with it.
At the 9 min mark, we discuss the amazing decision Oleg was able to make at 9 years old to separate from his family. He shares how he had to mature much faster as he was tested at a very young age at the highest levels to have to grow up. Whether it was fighting hunger, finding a way to survive, watching his mother’s abuse and her being abused from those around her, he had to essentially live on his own and take care of himself. He learned early on to be a problem solver and part of his issue was he wanted to solve problems for his mother but could not.
At 12 years old, he was adopted and brought the U.S. He was put into 6th grade. He could not speak English and new very little about this area of the world. He had to figure everything out. He had challenges with keeping up, making friends, even communicating. The only way he could communicate was by kicking the soccer ball back and forth on the playground and this is how he began to make friends. It took him about 2-3 years to get up to speed.
At the 16:30 mark, Oleg talks about how he found his drive in the times he had gone out searching for his birth mother and what he encountered.
What are the biggest lessons you’ve taken away from your journey that have helped your success?
What was the hardest thing you had to overcome in your journey?
Tell us about RDNA. What is it?
At the 37 min mark, Oleg talks about discovering one’s purpose…
What is developing an entrepreneur mindset a necessity?
What is the best advice you would give an entrepreneur starting out today?
Oleg’s acronym for authentic…
Best Quote: Your past doesn’t have to define your present or your future. Your past is a foundation to learn from and give your lessons and takeaways. It is a reference point for how far you’ve come in life.
Oleg's Misfit 3:
This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Ted Thomas. Ted is a real estate expert, especially in the tax lien and tax deed areas. In fact, Ted’s organization is the single largest “SOURCE” of Tax Lien & Tax Deed Information Products in the world. He’s written over 30 books and helped over 75,000 clients learn to invest in tax liens.
On top of that, Ted is an internationally sought after speaker and has created sales systems and selling processes that many of the of top gurus pay Ted to teach them. He’s shared the stage with everyone from Donald Trump to Tony Robbins. I am really excited to have Ted on to talk about his experience in real estate and get his wisdom on business in general.
Ted’s first career was as an airline pilot. He traveled the world. After a while, he decided to move on and get into business. He moved to California and started into real estate. He did very well and hit things at the right time and right place and amassed it to over $200 million in property in 6 years. But, then the 80’s savings and loan crises hit and he lost everything.
He then had to start over again and decided he didn’t want to put himself in situation with as much risk. This led him to the business he is in today.
As Ted says, “Crisis are good, because you learn a lot more on the way down than you do on the way up.”
What did you learn through your business crashing?
Explain tax liens and how you invest in them…
What are the risks of investing in tax liens?
How is it possible to create a 6-figure income in less than a year doing this?
Ted starts with an example of doing something different…
Anything else we should know about tax liens and deeds?
What are the principles you teach on how to sell?
Is there a format or steps that should be followed to present well?
What is your best advice to succeed as an entrepreneur and what would you tell a new entrepreneur starting out today?
Where do you see thing going in real estate? What is the trend and are we getting close to another downturn?
Ted talks about Schiller and his book on the history of real estate as well as the Case-Schiller index.
Best Quote: Crisis are good, because you learn a lot more on the way down than you do on the ways up.
Ted's Misfit 3:
This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Jonathan Levi. Jonathan is a serial entrepreneur and lifehacker born and raised in Silicon Valley. He’s the author of the blockbuster “Become a Super Learner series,” founder of Superhuman Academy, and host of the top rated podcast, Becoming Superhuman.
And he’s just released his latest book, The Only Skill That Matters.
Jonathan has taught hundreds of thousands of students what it means to be superhuman and live richer, fuller, healthier, and happier lives.
And it all stems from asking one simple question, “How do you know how to learn?” I can’t wait to explore this with him and have him share what he has learned along his entrepreneurial journey.
Free 7-Day Trial www.SuperhumanAcademy.com/squad
Jonathan has always felt like a misfit. When he was young, he was the quirky kid in class and had ADD. His parents didn’t want to medicate him and things worked out ok until he got into his early teens. He had trouble keeping up and learning and keeping up socially. Even some of his friends turned on him and made him the butt of their jokes. He went through several years of depression and contemplated suicide. He felt worthless.
Then he discovered entrepreneurship. His first stab at it was as a DJ for parties. He then started doing web design. He realized that through entrepreneurship he could develop and improve himself. It helped to understand that if he can be good at entrepreneurship, he could be good at other things and develop into the person he wanted to be.
The way he got our of depression was through accomplishment – but also learning about being the type of person he wanted to be. He realized his self-esteem was based on who he was, not what he wanted to achieve. Learning and the ability to learn is what made the difference. After graduating college and selling his business, he went to an accelerated MBA program where he met some individuals that were experts in accelerated learning. Jonathan immersed himself in learning this skill.
What does it mean to be superhuman?
At the 10 min mark, Jonathan and I talk about how being superhuman is also about the standards you have in all areas of your life…
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” ― Robert A. Heinlein
Explain Pneumonic Training…
At the 17 min mark, Jonathan goes through an example with me on how to use pneumonic training to learn a different language.
What can people do to read and comprehend at a higher level?
Tell us about the “slipstream technique…”
Tell us about the Only Skill That Matters…
What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned in building your businesses?
At the 43-minute mark, Jonathan and I have a discussion about what it is like to have our eyes opened up to bigger possibilities and be shown by others what can happen in this world.
Best advice for an entrepreneur starting out?
At the 47 min mark, Jonathan talks about Brain health….
Jonathan’s favorite quote: “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” ― Robert A. Heinlein
Jonathan's Misfit 3:
Hello Misfit Nation! Welcome to another edition of "Lessons for Hannah!"
In November of 2016, we introduced a new format that we are putting alongside our regular episodes called “Lessons for Hannah.” Hannah is my daughter and one of the main inspirations for the Misfit Entrepreneur. I wanted to have a place where she could go and learn from her daddy and his Misfit friends throughout her life….even after I am gone. If you haven’t listened to the first episode of "Lessons for Hannah," I urge you to as it gives some more background and tells the amazing story of how Hannah came to be in our lives.
"Lessons for Hannah" are short, very useful, and sometimes comical lessons, that I have learned which I want to share with you and give to Hannah to help in your lives. Because I want Hannah to have these for her life, I’m going to speak as though I am talking directly to her. These episodes are a lot of fun and if you think there is a lesson that we should include in these episodes, please don’t hesitate to send it over to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to share it.
This week’s Lesson for Hannah
Hannah, I recently hosted our 3rd annual Grow Thrive Revive event with my business partner in the venture, Evan Money. Yes, that is his real name. Each time we do the event, it gets better and stronger. It is a unique event in that we keep it small – 15 to 20 people. Our goal is to not only provide an amazing experience, but to really focus with our guests to help them have real breakthroughs both personally and professionally and get the tools they need to double their business or more over the next year.
It is always interesting as people are not sure what to expect when they come in and then we start teaching and doing our focused sessions, and at some point it clicks for each attendee.
One of the best parts of the event – and where we see some of biggest breakthroughs, is when Evan takes everyone through an exercise in ROF. The Return on Forgiveness.
Think about that for a second, the Return on Forgiveness. In fact, Evan will tell you that the best return you will ever get is the return on forgiveness. But, what does that mean?
It means that the more you forgive in your life, the bigger benefits you will get. How does that work? Well, a lot of us carry around some very heavy burdens and loads in our lives due to anger, resentment, and apathy to negative events or those that have wronged us in the past. These burdens weigh us down, eat at us, and act like a dead weight holding us back. They occupy our thoughts and keep us from thinking about the more important things in life – like what we need to be doing to find higher levels of success and deeper relationships with the ones we care about.
And don’t get me wrong, most of the time, people have every right to feel this way. In fact, many people, including our guests at Grow Thrive Revive, have been through some really bad times which I won’t go into detail on.
But, if or when they ever get to a point where they can truly forgive those for their wrongdoings – the results are incredible. It is like the giant albatross is lifted from their back. They see life differently. They shake off the things that have held them back. They leave their old self behind and almost renewed in a lot of ways.
There are so many stories of this. One that Evan tells is about a young man living in the inner city, who was abused by his father. The young boy named Emmitt was very good at writing. So good, that his friends told him he should put on a play. So, he did. He failed. In fact, he failed several times over and over. All the while, he carried this major anger toward his father. It ate at him almost daily. He got to a point where was ready to give up. But, before he did, he decided he would do one last show and that before he did it, he would just forgive his dad. He did it for himself. He just wasn’t going to carry the burden any longer. After he did so, he had an inspiration and re-wrote the whole show. It was a success. In fact, over the next year, his income went up over 1000% and he had successful show after successful show on his way to bigger stardom. And he credits the thing that changed…that made the real difference was when he finally forgave his father. Who is Emmit? His full name is Emmit Perry Jr. You know him as Tyler Perry, one of the most successful directors, producers, and actors of our time. Imagine that. Just by forgiving someone, a whole life can change.
Yours will too if you practice Return on Forgiveness in your life.
In fact, sometimes the biggest return on forgiveness is when you forgive yourself. It may not always be outside influences that affect us – but a guilt or burden that we carry from our own actions that eats at us and weighs us down. At some point, you have to come to terms with it. At some point, you must not push it aside any further and confront it head on in your life. I know, because the person I had to forgive in my life years ago was me. I carried some guilt and regret from actions in my past that I kept buried. They made me feel like an impostor at times, a fake. But, it was all in my head the whole time. Finally, I had a enough and had two choices. I could let these things continue to pull me down and let them win, or I could shed them and move on. I chose the latter. I truly forgave myself. I wrote a letter to myself forgiving me for those few things out of an otherwise incredible life that I had done and that were holding me back.
As soon as I finished the letter, I instantly felt different. I felt better. I felt like I could see things more clearly and I felt a new level of energy.
Hannah, and for those of you listening, forgiveness is the answer to many of the biggest issues we have in our lives. Write a letter to those you want to forgive. Drop the dead weight and the negative feelings that are holding you back. And remember, the person that you may need to forgive the most in your life, is yourself.
Resolve to practice forgiveness and learn the true power that it holds for you and watch the difference in makes in all areas in your life.
Hannah, I promise that if you make it habit to forgive, it will be one of the greatest things you can do to live at your true potential.
I love you,
Best Quote: Resolve to practice forgiveness and learn the true power that it holds for you and watch the difference in makes in all areas in your life.