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 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 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!

Jun 10, 2020

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Rytis Lauris. Rytis is the co-founder and CEO of Omnisend, the Powerful marketing automation platform focused on moving eCommerce marketers beyond generic email marketing tools. It’s currently the fastest growing marketing automation platform in the industry. Because of this, Rytis has gained a lot of notoriety within the eCommerce community for his insights on omnichannel and the future of eCommerce.

With over a decade of experience building and boostrapping successful startups in e-commerce, I wanted to have Rytis on to discuss the importance and future of marketing coming out of the Wuhan Coronavirus quarantine and how important it is for you to understand the different ways you need to market to stand out.

Rytis Lauris on LinkedIn

Rytis graduated with a degree in political science and no experience in technology or marketing. When he was 21, a friend ask him to help with a business he was starting. He had no experience but figured it out and made it work. He never looked back and has been an entrepreneur ever since with a number of businesses. He got into digital marketing (which Onmisend was born from) and had success, but while running that business, started a few others that didn’t work out. One was a postcard business and the other was a polling tool for presenters on stage at conferences and events. He learned a major lesson in that every business has to solve a real problem. The two failures were “nice to have” products, but not necessities.

“You have to find a monetizable customer pain/problem to solve. That is the only way to build a proper business.”

What is Onmichannel marketing?

  • It is a way to communicate with a customer based through multiple mediums at once including email, text, chat, messenger, push notification, Facebook/Google/social ads and retargeting.
  • It is one tool where you can market through all channels at lunch.
  • It can be customized to communicate across the different mediums at different times and different ways to customers during their lifecycle.
  • You need a way to meet customers where they are – and nowadays that is in a number of channels.

At the 12 min mark, Rytis talks about Omnichannel in action with examples…

  • Marketing needs to follow the same path in how buyers behave and each customer will have different preferences and behavior.

What works best for a B2B and for a B2C strategy with Omnichannel?

  • Most of the work Rytis does is with B2C and mainly physical goods.
  • Omnichannel works better for B2C.
  • B2B doesn’t typically buy through things like Facebook Messenger and typically has a more formal process and decision-making process.
  • It does depend on what the product is as some B2B products may make sense for Omnichannel.
  • The consumer channel is the bigger opportunity for Omnichannel.
  • Omnichannel can work for informational type products or services as well for B2C.
  • It is especially good for things sold online as it can track everything.

Are there any changes or shifts you see happening or coming because of the virus?

  • Massive change that will make a major impact for the future – almost all businesses are transforming to a digital presence by nature.
  • Consumers have all gone digital and expect it, so your business has to accommodate it.
  • In harder times, businesses turn to selling into their customer base instead of investing to get new customers. This can work as it is a warm market, but they have to be careful not to sacrifice the future and keep a focus on gaining new clients.

Amazon? Friend or Foe? Should it be a part of an Omnichannel strategy?

  • It’s a tricky question, but ultimately, the answer is yes.
  • Everyone should have Amazon as a part of their strategy, but not rely on it solely.
  • It is easier to start on Amazon. It has the traffic and the platform and the tools you need to get going.
  • Once you are going, you need to be building your own brand, own platform, and owning the customer journey.

What is the difference between a Omnisend type solution and a Hubspot type?

  • Hubspot is more for B2B needs, Onmisend is built more for B2C.
  • Hubspot and other tools like it are more CRM and drip campaign type tools.
  • Omnisend has order follow up sequences, synchronizing with your online store, etc. Hubspot does not.
  • They are really completely different types of solutions and focuses.

If you had to give one of your best pieces of advice, outside or Omnichannel, for entrepreneurs to market their business, what would it be?

  • Be consistent.
  • Deliver what you promise.
  • Respect your customers and they will respect you.
  • Marketers and businesses need to think in terms of campaigns and lifetime values of customers.
  • It needs to be about what customer want to hear from you, not what you want to say to them.

How important can the little things be such as reviews online, etc?

Very important!

Social proof and reviews are critical for selling online and validating your products/services.

You customer feedback is gold and must be listened to.

Another little thing is keeping people informed and up to date.

What has surprised you most on your entrepreneur journey?

  • Rytis never thought of himself as a creative person, but entrepreneurship brings that out in him and has made a large impact on his success.
  • The 80/20 rule is real. 20% of the effort drives 80% of the results. Stay true to this.

What is your best advice for an entrepreneur starting out?

  • Just do it. Whatever it takes – find a way and make a way.
  • And there is no better day to start than today.
  • Plan on the move… ​

Anything else you want to share?

  • Use Omnichannel
  • Be consistent
  • Think in terms of customer lifecycle.


Best Quote: "You have to find a monetizable customer pain/problem to solve. That is the only way to build a proper business.”


Rytis's Misfit 3:

  1. Just do it. Take action and take the first step.
  2. People overestimate what they can do in a short amount of time and underestimate what they can do in a longer amount of time.
  3. Dream responsibly.


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Jun 3, 2020

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 We’d love to share it.

This week’s Lesson for Hannah

Hannah, I can’t believe it – we are now at episode 200 of the Misfit Entrepreneur. What a milestone and what an awesome honor to have it be a Lessons for Hannah episode. I am going to take a break from doing the Wuhan Coronavirus updates and change things up for this episode with a very simple, yet incredibly important lesson. After a few months of being quarantined and working almost every day, because, well, there wasn’t much else to do – we decided to take a week off and go to our cabin at the lake. We originally had planned a vacation during this time, but because of travel restrictions, we had to cancel it. But, we could go to the cabin.

And after a week of being there, it reminded me of a very important lesson we all need to remember in our lives and as we have approached episode 200, it has come into even more focus. We must take the time to truly relax and recharge in our lives! I didn’t full appreciate and realize how much I was not relaxing until after about 4 days into our time there. In fact, the first day we were there I used the morning to do a 70.3 triathlon in and around the lake. It was great. Just me and 5 hours of exercise. But, even after that, I was checking the computer and my phone to “see what I had missed.”

The next day I woke up and checked email, etc. before the day started and then we went out to the boat and hung on the lake – but of course, I would periodically still check my phone. Over the weekend, family came in and we spent the long weekend hanging out, boating, etc. As the weekend went on, I felt less of a need to check in. I even started reading a really good book, The Last Odyssey by James Rollins and devoured it in about 3 days. I started to feel myself loosen up and begin to relax. I even slept in a little longer as the week went on and gave myself a few days off of doing any exercise, etc.

By the end of the week, we were just hanging out, enjoying time as a family, having fun, and not worrying about things. It was very nice and made me realize how much we are on the go – even during a lockdown. In a normal week, I am going from 5:30am in the morning to early evening, you are doing your schoolwork with mommy, then jumping on web meetings for classes for your Tai Kwan do or other activities, and your mother has her work and priorities. We are literally, non-stop every day. And it takes a slowdown, a change of venue, and pace to shock yourself out of that daily grind to show you that you are in need of time off and time to recharge and relax.

By the end of the week, I felt better overall. I felt like we all connected as a family in a larger way that we haven’t in a while, and I had new perspective to go back to things with. You had a blast playing with your cousins, hanging out on the boat doing things like tubing, fishing, and all the other fun stuff we do at the cabin. I could tell you needed that after being basically relegated to home for 2 months with your mother and me. And your mom got to catch up on some sleep and enjoy some much deserved R&R. ​

Hannah, it’s important that we take the time in our lives to break out of our daily grind and routines and get recharged. It helps us reconnect with our family and ourselves, see things we have been missing, and enjoy life in different ways. I urge you to take these times in your life, at least several times a year as helps you to be even better in all areas of your life. The week at the cabin reminded me of that and reminded me that we need to do it more often and I have a feeling we will spend more time at the lake this summer. Here’s to 200 more great episodes with some recharging breaks in-between!

I love you, Daddy.


Best Quote: It’s important that we take the time in our lives to break out of our daily grind and routines and get recharged. It helps us reconnect with our family and ourselves, see things we have been missing, and enjoy life in different ways.


Misfit 3:

  1. We often don't realize how much we need to relax and recharge until we take the time to do it.
  2. When we take the time to recharge, it breaks us out from our daily grind and helps us reconnect with ourselves and those around us.
  3. We must make it a point to take several weeks per year to recharge ourselves and relax in our lives.


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May 27, 2020

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Carol Little. Carol is a top public speaker and founder of the Little Training Company, a company devoted to helping people learn how to make a memorable first impression and take their public speaking to new levels. She works with professionals and entrepreneurs throughout the world helping them to craft their message and deliver it in the best way to their target audiences.

But, that is second to what I want to speak with Carol about today. You see, more recently, Carol lost everything to a natural disaster, and through ingenuity, determination, and hard work, she came back and has built and even better business and life for herself. There are so many entrepreneurs experiencing what Carol went through right now across the world, so I could not think of a better person to come and share how she came back from losing it all and what she learned along the way. ​ ​

In 2017, Hurricane Harvey hit Houston. Carol’s entire neighborhood flooded. Carol has to leave everything to save herself. Harvey was the event that changed her life. There is life before Harvey and life after. She lost everything she owned.

In the aftermath, she was faced with questioning herself, asking, “It’s it not about who I am, but who I want to be.” And she had to make a choice. Everything had to be rebuilt.

She made strategic changes to her business and how she works, and who she serves. What started out as a tragedy ended in a victory because the lessons learned through her experience have prepared her to succeed and overcome anything.

Can you describe the decimation that took place with Harvey and in your life? It’s best to listen at the 5 min mark…

  • It was nothing like she had experienced being from California.
  • Her neighborhood wasn’t in the flood zone and did not have flood insurance.
  • But the officials decided to open the dam and flood her neighborhood. No one was spared.
  • Carol was taking care of her mother who was in a wheel chair at the time.
  • They had to carry her upstairs to get her up to safety.
  • The water started coming in the middle of the night and the sounds were horrifying.
  • Carol called 911 at midnight and they were not rescued until 11am the next day.
  • 4.5 feet of water came into home. The boat to rescue could go to the front door.
  • They were taken to a shelter and eventually lived with a family friend for 2 weeks.
  • Carol shares that it’s not just your house that floods. There are no banks, grocery stores, gas stations, etc. everything was flooded. Some places got 10+ ft. of water.
  • Carol said she was naïve that she thought she could just clean up after the water, but everything is destroyed – everything has to be stripped, belonging and appliances have to be thrown out.
  • Your sense of security and safety gets lost. Everything Carol had worked so hard to build was gone in an instant. ​

Talk about losing your business in the midst of this….

  • Carol had speaking engagement and trainings but could not go.
  • The airport was closed.
  • She literally didn’t have clothes or even underwear for days.
  • And with everything that happened, work was the last thing on her mind.

Was there a point where you hit a bottom in going through this? How did you get yourself back up and keep going?

  • Carol laughs as she says she so many times it was like a bouncing ball.
  • It was a year and half before contractors could even get to her house to start redoing it.
  • Her first bottom was after the people who had come to help had to leave and all that was left was Carol and her destroyed home. She just lost it and broke down. It all finally set in.
  • Carol says that in times like this, you find out what you are really made of.
  • She tells the story of when someone called her a “victim” and she could not take it. She said “No, my house flooded, but I am not a victim.”
  • Being a victim is a choice.
  • You can feel like things are forced on you like a Hurricane or Pandemic, but even in those situations, you are not victim unless you choose to be.
  • Many times, people play the role of a victim because there is comfort in that. You can’t play the victim to reach the level of success you want.
  • There is only 1 thing that no one can take from you – your ability to choose.

At the 18 min mark, Carol takes us through the timeline and actions she took to put her life and business back together…

  • First, she got stable. She had to find a place to live and get her mom safe.
  • She didn’t have a “plan.”
  • She put one step in front of the other.
  • She started working her way back into her business.
  • The most important work she had to do to be successful was on herself.
  • Carol had to become OK asking for help and to find.
  • Carol started making a list of everything she found that was lost. It helped her to focus on what she did have. It gave her a feeling of control.
  • Carol’s “Found List” was an anchor.
  • Sometimes, you have to be your worst, so you can be your best…
  • Halfway through the rebuilding process, Carol’s mom passed away.
  • She kept trying to hold it together putting on a good face. But, it wasn’t helping her. It was making it worse. Eventually, she could not keep it together and imploded from the inside out.
  • Things got very tough as Carol was at her worst for a while – things got messy- but this showed her where she needed to work.
  • It is ok not to be perfect or always be strong. It’s OK to need help.
  • Carol had kept the best of herself trapped by trying to be so strong and independent.

Now that you’ve gone through this and come back, what really matters and what are you during the pandemic to succeed?

  • What matters most now is service. So many came out to help Carol during her time of need and now it’s her turn to pay it back.
  • Carol is able to serve and coach people during their tough times now and help them overcome the same types of challenges.
  • It used to be more about making money – now, it is more about serving. The focus used to be more on the end result and now, it is on the process itself.
  • And the big lesson Carol learned is that all of that end result stuff that money buys can be washed away and destroyed in a moment. It can be gone in the blink of an eye.
  • The real gold is in the now – it’s in each moment.

What are you seeing out there right now that people need?

  • People are in fear.
  • They are in fear for their health, their finances, their livelihood, their family, etc.
  • The pandemic has created a space to deal with the “things that are in the way” of where they want to go or the level they want to get to.
  • Now is the time to deal with it and you can come out of this pandemic to succeed at a higher level than before.
  • People don’t take the time to slow down or don’t want to confront and deal with debilitating thought patterns or major obstacles holding them back.
  • And even in confronting these things, you need a way to hold yourself accountable, so you don’t slip backward. Whether that is a coach or some other support system, it’s needed.
  • It’s really easier to fail and people tend to take the path of least resistance. It’s the unknown that scares them – failure is known, success is the unknown.

The skills of making a first impression and messaging is going to be very important coming out of lockdown. How can we do our best in these areas?

  • Authenticity has been so overused and has become cliché, but as scary as it can be, you want people to see who you really are.
  • People will hide in plain site. It is terrifying for most people to just stand in a room full of people and be seen for who they really are.
  • If people cannot see you for who you really are, then they cannot hear you either. They won’t care what you have to say.
  • You must eliminate the ways that you hide. Let people see who you are. You won’t be for everybody and that is OK.

How does someone articulate in the best way possible who they are and what they want and stand out?

  • People miss the opportunity of the “introduction.”
  • You must be memorable.
  • It’s important to tell someone who you are and who you serve and how you help them in an introduction.
  • Don’t just say what you do or job title.
  • When it comes to messaging use MESSAGE as an acronym for the elements needed
    • M is for Me – telling who you are. It is not your resume. Start strong using a story or a quote or ask a question that your talk will answer.
    • E is for engagement – this speaks to getting your audience involved. Make the audience part of the conversation.
    • S is for social proof. This is showing what qualifies you to have the expertise.
    • S is for stories. Tell stories, they are the heart of your speech.
    • A is for action steps. You always want to let them know what to do next. Action items.
    • G is for giveaways. Giveaway an e-book or something.
    • E is for ending. End as strong as you began and ask for what you want.


Best Quote: "It’s it not about who I am, but who I want to be. That is a question everyone must answer at some point.”


Carol's Misfit 3:

Don’t be a hoarder. Share your gifts, skills, talents, and ideas. Put them into the world. The more you hoard the less you have.

Don’t argue for your limitations. Stop giving all the reasons you cannot do something. Argue for what you can do something. Argue for your liberation.

Stop struggling and allow yourself to rise. Struggle is an energy that can keep you from getting what you want to achieve. It’s like quicksand.


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May 20, 2020

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Mathew Nemer. Matt is the co-founder of GetLinus.IO, a fintech company that is changing the game when it comes to what banking is and getting great returns on your savings. Linus pays over 57 times that national average interest on clients’ accounts and is able to do so by taking advantage of blockchain technology and the decentralized, digital asset credit markets. Don’t worry if that went a little over your head, because Mathew explains it a lot better and simpler than me.

The important thing I want to discuss today is the future of banking and finance and how companies like Linus are at the forefront. And we are also going to discuss how Mathew was able to get a rag tag group of IBM’ers, former founders, and top software execs to join his crew and make Linus a reality.

Matt’s career was launched in 2008. He started with a wealth management firm/hedge fund and hustled to make a name for himself. With all the carnage happening in the markets, he knew that the firm probably wouldn’t keep him, so he went to grad school and finished tops in his class. He worked at Chicago Board of Trade during school in the grain pits.

He then worked at Morningstar in 2012 as analyst. He started his first startup in 2012. As he says, he didn’t know what he was doing. It didn’t pan out. He then moved to Nashville and took a job with Vanderbilt University. It was at this time, he started to learn about Blockchain and Bitcoin and started following it.

In 2016, he noticed that BTC Media was gaining steam and Bitcoin meetups were becoming more common. He started doing work on the side for people doing ICO’s to get his feet wet. He then worked for BTC Media as their CFO. He was recruited by some other companies in the space and pitched an idea to one of them and landed with a crypto wallet company. This is where he met his business partner, who worked at IBM in the blockchain area. They were working on ideas on the side and decided to build the idea of Linus on their own. They got funding and put the pieces of the team together.

At the 10:30 mark, Matt and I discuss our current money system to set a baseline for what he does at Linus. (It’s best to just listen)

How does Linus work?

  • It is a cash deposit account, similar to a high yield savings accounts.
  • The difference is that Linus gives 4%+ interest. T
  • hey can do this by tapping into the digital asset credit markets outside the FED system.
  • Borrowers in these markets will pay higher interest to borrow US dollars.
  • Linus is considered a Fintech company.
  • They only deal with fiat dollars (like the US dollars), but use a blockchain concept.
  • The platform does the conversion of fiat to crypto assets and handles the lending process.
  • It functions like a bank account and you can deposit or withdrawal any time you want.

Break it down for us all to understand…

  • There are people that need USD to purchase cryptocurrencies and are willing to pay more interest for the ability to do.
  • Linus helps to provide this money. It is similar to a money market type of account.
  • It is a global market that Linus taps into.
  • Because people are willing to pay higher rates for the money, the amount Linus can pay customers is higher.
  • The borrowers put up collateral and have to store more collateral in escrow with Linus than they borrow, so that Linus has claim to it if they don’t pay.

How do you address that you are not FDIC protected, etc.?

  • Linus is outside the FED system, so it would not participate.
  • Linus does not do fractional reserve banking, so it would not apply to them anyway and they would not get approved.
  • The FDIC doesn’t even currently have to a reserve ratio because of the CARES act.
  • Matt says that if you do truly feel you need to know that the money is there no matter what in the matter of 3-6 months, then invest in something like a Marcus account.
  • If you are looking for a solution between traditional low interest savings accounts and investing in the markets, which carries minimal risk, Linus or a solution like it may be a good option for you.

At the 27 min mark, Matt talks about risk and the “efficient frontier.”

What else should we know about blockchain and the emerging digital ecosystems?

  • Matt is a big fan of Bitcoin and Etherium
  • Linus is built on the Etherium ecosystem.
  • Bitcoin is the largest and most widely used.
  • Bitcoin is more like gold in that it is a deflationary currency – it is predictable like gold.
  • There is a limit to amount of Bitcoin that can ever exist. It is finite.
  • A lot of people haven’t notice that most of the big players and banks are going into cryptocurrency and positioning themselves to be the players in the space.

At the 34 min mark, Matt shares the example of JP Morgan getting into crypto and creating it’s own stable coin (digital dollars).

  • The technologies JP Morgan/Chase and others are using are the same ones Linus is, so it confirms they are headed in the right direction.

What have you learned so far in this venture about entrepreneurship?

  • It is an interesting time to be an entrepreneur because ideas can grow so well.
  • We need to be careful not to get stuck in the day to day.
  • Take a step back and look at the longer-term opportunities.
  • It’s important embrace the digital world and interact with people as much as possible and in every way possible during this time.

“The best thing you can do in your life an career is put blinders on. Don’t waste energy worrying about things you cannot control.”

How were you able to get a team of top talent like you have pulled together for Linus?

  • The best place to start is with like-minded people.
  • Network through friends and those you work with currently.
  • Be open to people that are unique and have other skills sets or experience that lends it to succeeding in your business. Even if they don’t have experience in the business you are in. ​

What is your best advice for an entrepreneur starting today?

  • Put on blinders
  • Find joy in other things.
  • Don’t forget to learn lessons from all areas of your life.
  • Practice passive thinking. Sometimes synapsis fire and connect better when you are away from your business.


Best Quote: "The best thing you can do in your life an career is put blinders on. Don’t waste energy worrying about things you cannot control."


Matt's Misfit 3:

  1. Be yourself. It sounds cliché, but it is actually really hard to put into practice.
  2. Grow your network. You will owe a lot of people a lot of favors. Do your best to repay them.
  3. Persistence is king. You cannot give up.

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May 13, 2020

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Dylan Jacob. Dylan has a incredible story. He’s already built and sold multiple companies, has built his current company, Brumate, to over $50 million in sales in just a few short years with less than 10 employees and no outside capital, he’s been awarded Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the Midwest, is a Forbes 30 under 30 recipient…and he’s only in his mid-20’s.

But, he didn’t start out with anything handed to him. In fact, quite the opposite and his path went through a lot of twists and turns, but one thing was constant – he was an entrepreneur from a young age. A Misfit Entrepreneur. And true to Misfit form, he’s used his inner Misfit to bootstrap companies and create whole new markets. I’m excited for our conversation today and know that your going to get some great takeaways from him.

@Dylan.Jacob on Instagram for updates and keeping up with Dylan’s story

Dylan grew up in a small town in Indiana. There wasn’t much to do. His childhood consisted of him looking for and finding things to do. He always wanted to be an inventor, so he would tinker and create things. He grew up poor and his parents split with he was in 4th grade. His mom was working for minimum wage. He had been home-schooled prior and thus 4th grade was his first year in traditional school. Of course, having next to nothing, he would see other kids with things he wanted to get.

So, he started doing everything he could to make money to buy things and not burden his mom. He did everything from yard work to odds and ends jobs for people. This made him realize that if could provide value, he could get paid for it.

In 7th and 8th grade, trying to fit in and gain acceptance led him to hanging with the wrong crowd. He was expelled twice. He was an entrepreneur, but not in the right way. He sold drugs (weed). It wrecked his life. He was expelled, when to juvenile detention for several months and was put on house arrest. His mom had to pay for everything and it hurt their family.

It was at this time that Dylan took a step back to reexamine his life and looked for legal ways to make money to pay back all the costs of his trouble. He took a nod from his grandfather who had come over from the middle east and started fixing things like TV’s and VCR’s, etc. and had a little shop. As Dylan went into High School, people were getting smart phones and would damage them or break screens. Instead of repairing them, Dylan would buy them cheap, fix them up, and sell them on Craig’s List. He would order the parts from overseas and resell them. This was his first taste of making real money.

This started Dylan’s career of finding unique opportunities in gaps in markets. Big gaps.

As sophomore year started competition in the form of repair shops started to come in and he was doing less business because people were getting their phone fixed. But Dylan found another gap – He got to know the others of the repair shops and where they were getting their repair parts. They were ordering from E-bay and Amazon and getting B and C grade parts, not OEM parts that were A-grade. Dylan made deals to supply better parts from the connections he had made and was using. He made the competitors his new clients.

By senior year, Dylan’s business was working with over 100 repair shops around the U.S. doing hundreds of thousands of dollars. The funny thing was he still held to this theory of wanting stability and a job in life and decided to go to college for engineering. As he says, he “didn’t quite believe in himself as an entrepreneur.” He had gone from being expelled to being top 10 in his class with a thriving business – but still thought he needed a job!

During Christmas break of his first year, a larger franchise ended up putting Dylan’s repair parts in the bulk of their stores and then shortly after gave him a buyout offer. He took the deal and took the semester off. Once he saw the money is his bank account, it was a reality check. There was something to entrepreneurship.

He decided to put school on hold and go full time as an entrepreneur. He bought a house to fix up and as he began to fix it up over the course of a year. He kept a journal and would jot down ideas they came up. One idea came to him while fixing the house. It came out of the need for a better selection of kitchen backsplash tile. There was hardly any selection and none of the options, he liked. So, he saw the need for more options, specifically glass backsplash. Vicci Design was launched in 2015 and provided the largest color selection and size of glass tile available. Over a year, he knocked on doors and local showrooms and started working with Wayfair and Overstock. It was profitable from day one. He was still doing side hustles and launching other businesses during this time.

He turned 21 in 2016 and started to love craft beer. And most of it came in 16 oz cans. He’d notice that always the last ¼ of his beer was warm. It drove him nuts, so he wrote in his journal, “Find a way to keep beer cold.” That was the beginning of Brumate.

He started looking at the stainless steel insulated drinkware market. In 2016, it was the fastest growing category in the housewares market. All the major players were focused on hydration drinkware. It was all about water bottles or coffee. Dylan decided to create the products for the “dehydration” market – making drinking alcohol a better experience. It was huge gap that no one else was doing and ignoring.

His first launch on the concept sold out in a couple weeks.

Dylan’s story has a lot of teachable moments…

  • There is opportunity in everything you do.
  • Don’t give up on an idea.
  • Asking how and finding a way and making a way.
  • Looking for the gap, opening the niche, and owning it.

It’s one thing to have an idea for a product, it’s another thing to create it. How do you source and get a product done?

  • If you can source locally, it’s better.
  • It won’t be cheaper, but will be better.
  • In Dylan’s case, he could not find a manufacture in the U.S. capable of producing insulated drinkware.
  • He worked with a company in New York to take his designs and get a protype type 3D printed.
  • He looked up records of competitors or like companies on Port Examiner to see who their manufacturers were.
  • He contacted them to see which would be the right fit and new they had experience producing the kind of product he wanted.
  • It was important to have a manufacturer that had a very strong in-house engineering team – it was the best thing he ever did. They helped him take his concept and make it manufacturable from day one.
    • Many times the engineering is free as part of their service.

What can you tell us about selling online once you have a product?

  • Dylan’s has used Shopify for his sites.
  • He started with creating a landing page with pictured of people holding the product. He collected emails of people who opted in with interest for when he launched the product. This was the group that was the first round of buyers.
  • What worked for Dylan was showcasing the product in real life situations. He photoshopped it into pictures.
  • Dylan scaled the company to a little over a million before beginning to hire a focused, in-house team.
  • Customer service is another part of marketing as it is a retention tool. So a lot of emphasis was put there as well.
  • Messaging is key and will be different for every product or service. You must try as many times as needed to figure this out.

At the 43 min mark, Dylan discusses some unique ways he figures out what is in demand.

What was the tipping point? $50 million+ in 4 years – what was the inflection point?

  • Q4 2016 did over $300k in product selling out.
  • He put his up for sale, sold Vicci, and got as much cash as he could putting every penny into Brumate.
  • His biggest challenge was cashflow and keeping stocks.
  • He would be out of stock for months and have to take pre-orders.
  • Once there was enough cashflow to sustain inventory and outsourced fulfillment, things really started to take off.
  • He was then able to focus on marketing full time with the team he was building.
  • Basically, the company now is really just a marketing company for the product, everything else is outsourced.
  • This took them from $2 million to $20 million in the next year.

Constant innovation and testing is critical to staying on the forefront of product creation and growing the market.


Best Quote:  Your biggest opportunity is what your competition is failing at or not servicing with their products.


Dylan's Misfit 3:

  1. Your biggest opportunity is what your competition is failing at or not servicing with their products.
  2. As a founder, focus on what you are very good at. Stay in your lane.
  3. Outsource to scale and grow. Fill your team with those that are best in class in their own categories that compliment you.


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May 6, 2020

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Mark Given. Mark is a philosopher, teacher and speaker and travels extensively helping companies, organizations, associations, educators, and individuals understand the science of building, maintaining and repairing TRUST.

He is the founder of the Trust Based Philosophy and the Trust Based Academy and best-selling author of 8 books about Trust.

He’s started and sold multiple companies and built a global brand and I’ve asked him on today to share his best wisdom on how to create, build, and grow trust as I think it is one of the most important currencies we have as entrepreneurs – and I also think it will be especially important as we get back to doing business as the global pandemic subsides.


Mark has had transformations throughout his career. He graduated from college with a music performance degree, but always wanted to be in business for himself. After traveling for music for a while, he decided to get into business doing a short stint in insurance. He then opened a small retail video rental store in 1980. He started long before Blockbuster and others. He focused on opening stores in towns with 25,000 or less people. He grew it to over 47 location in a 24 year period. He had the vision to see the changes coming with streaming and movies moving to online and sold the business long before others got out or went out of business.

He did very well on the transaction and then started into the real estate industry. But, really loved working with people and helping them. He realized that he operated for much of his life and career on a specific concept of trust. He realized that no one was teaching any science behind why trust works and how to build, maintain, and repair it. Trust is the foundation, but it’s more than just a philosophy.

Define what trust is….

  • Trust is not a feeling
  • It is something we know when see it and we know when we don’t.
  • We see it in body language, facial expressions, etc.
  • Trust is the foundation of whether we want to associate with a business or a person. If we trust them and believe in them, we will continue a relationship and do business with them.
  • It is a principle, not a concept.
  • It’s important to know why you or other trust. The how and the why is critical to understand trust.

What are the 4 Facets of Trust?

  1. Grand Opening: This is your first appearance or introduction. Instead of the standard 2 step greeting of “Hi, I’m…” to a 3 step greeting of using the word “you” twice before you introduce yourself.
  2. Rapport: Ask really good questions that resonate really good questions with the people you are speaking with. It is about asking and listening. Ask better questions and really listen.
  3. Maintenance: Be a giver, not a taker.
  4. Apology: We all make mistakes. It is how we handle that mistake that matters most. We must apologize properly to build, maintain, and repair trust.

At the 13 min mark, Mark gives examples of each?

  • Grand Opening: Use the 3 step greeting. It needs to be about them and not you. The key is to include the word “you” in how you greet someone. “It’s nice to see you today. Thank you for taking the time speak with me.” Then you can talk about yourself. The formula is “you, you, I.”
  • Rapport: People like to talk about themselves and are interested in their needs. Ask them questions to give them the opportunity to speak about themselves. The principles of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” are just as relevant today as they were in the 40’s.
    • Use FORD:
    • Family
    • Occupation
    • Recreation
    • Dreams “
    • You cannot solve someone’s problems unless you know what their problems are and you’ll never understand what their problems are unless you are listening and get them to tell you.”
  • Maintenance: Giving more and take less. Be generous. When you are a sincere giver, you give with the intent to serve and help someone else succeed without concern for what you get in return. Examples including checking in on those you care about and seeing it you can help them. You can have everything you want in life, if you just help enough others get what they want.
  • Apology: There is a system for apologizing the right way. 4 steps
  • Recognize that you have made a mistake
  • Admit and recognize the fact that you did make a mistake to those affected.
  • Reconcile and determine how you can make things better.
  • Tell those affect that you will not let it happen again and then deliver on that promise.
  • Understand that you need patience as it will take time for people to come back around.

How do entrepreneurs go about establishing trust and asking people to buy our products and services in the “new normal” coming out of quarantine?

  • How we interact with people will change because of social distancing.
  • We will need to listen and watch even more to how we need to deliver our products/services.
  • It is going to be harder to earn trust. People will be more sensitive to it.
  • Being a giver is more important than ever.
  • People are going to be craving the truth even more and will be OK with it, even if it is bad news – they just want the transparency upfront.

How do you see the Trust Based Leader in all this?

  • Managers are not the same as leaders. They are responsible for getting tasks done.
  • Leaders have a different role. They have a vision for the future.
  • They inspire people to follow them to make it reality.
  • Great leaders inspire people to be their best and/or become their best.
  • Great leaders are inherently trusted because their ability to inspire and bring people alongside them to where they are going.

Best advice in managing the stress of these times and ongoing?

  • There is always stress – it’s how we deal with it that matters.
  • The habits that you have throughout the day are the things you can use to put in place systems and principles to help you reduce stress.
  • It takes great habits
  • It takes focus
  • It takes knowing and being OK with your reality. ​

7.5 Things to Thrive in the Next 3 Years?

  • Decide what you want. Where do you see yourself? (Vision)
  • Create the plan to get to what you want and are seeing. (Mission)
  • Know the cost – what is going to take to get what you want.
  • Do not let anyone try and steal your possibilities and dreams.
  • Get to work.


Best Quote: “Trust is the foundation, but it’s more than just a philosophy.”​


Mark's Misfit 3:

  1. Legacy. No matter what we do, we are leaving a legacy. What do you want yours to be?
  2. Transparency and spirituality. Be transparent with others and be in tune with yourself and the universe.
  3. Authenticity and Productivity. What you see is what you get. Be yourself because everyone else is already taken. Be positively productive.

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Apr 29, 2020

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 We’d love to share it.

This week’s Lesson for Hannah


It’s been 5 weeks since I gave the background and my first status update of the Wuhan Coronavirus and its impact throughout the world. And it is incredible what can happen in 5 weeks. I wish I could say things are much better now, but we have not yet turned the corner.

First, let me review some of the biggest things that have happened over the last 5 weeks so they are on the record. I am probably going to miss some, but here is my best list of them:

  • At the time I am putting together these thoughts there are over 2.7 million cases in the world and over 190,000 deaths. In the U.S., there are almost 850,000 cases and over 47,000 deaths. At this point, the U.S. seems to be testing more thoroughly and giving the most accurate numbers so the totals for the world on both cases and deaths are probably higher.
    • I do want to point out as I did in the last update, because perspective is very important, that each year upwards of 50 million people get the flu around the world and in an average year between 30,000-40,000 people die from it in the U.S. alone. So currently, it looks like the coronavirus is more deadly than the flu, but we may not ever know because of the lack of testing on a worldwide scale. The amount of people that may have had the virus may be dramatically higher than what is being reported.
  • Almost all states have been shut down and “shelter in place” orders have been put into effect basically keeping people in their homes. The same is true for most countries around the world. Some states are even arresting or fining people for being outside or driving.
  • Almost all businesses have been ordered closed with the exception of what the government deems essential such as grocery stores.
  • Almost 25 million people have filed for unemployment losing their jobs in the U.S.
  • Many businesses have closed and some major ones, especially in the retail sector, are starting to file for bankruptcy.
  • Trillions of dollars have now been printed by the U.S. and other governments and are in the early stages of making their way into the economy to help.
  • Major sectors of the world economy, such as travel, are in a terrible state with most airlines cutting over 90% of the flight routes and having to get money from government to keep afloat.
  • Most recently, in just the last week, it has finally hit the oil sector to where the price of a barrel of oil actually went negative. That means oil producers were paying people to take oil from them.
    • This is just an indicator of how low demand is in the marketplace for fuel and the other things oil is used for. Most people don’t realize that oil is used to make everything from your clothes to your computers – but if all these businesses are shut down or drastically have cut back in their production and very few are driving cars, flying, using transportation, etc., the demand is almost non-existent. And because just about 8 weeks ago, the U.S. and the world economies were doing well and there was huge demand, we have a major supply issue in that there is too much oil out there. So, it’s not a surprise that oil has cratered, but it is a great barometer of how decimating this has been to the world economy.
  • Additionally, from the medical area, things like elective surgeries have all been cancelled where people will have to wait.
  • In Ohio, we have about 500 deaths from the virus and from talking to the many members of our family that are in medicine and on the front lines helping patients, the major surge of cases that we were told would happen – has not. In fact, most hospitals are operating with most of their capacity open. (more on that in a little bit)
  • Lastly, many states, including ours in Ohio, have closed school for the rest of the year and have not indicated yet how and when things will fully open back up.

Now, Hannah, at this point in your life, you are 7 years old and you probably don’t care much about unemployment numbers or what the price of oil is or what that even means. I know that, but I also know that you will listen to this when you are much older and understanding what happened in the past will help you in determining things that will happen in your future.

I think, it is also important that I share my thoughts, feelings, and opinion on our current state. First off, I can say, and I thank God every day, that your mother and I’s businesses have weathered the storm to this point. While my largest business is in the travel space, because of the diverse markets we serve, we have been able to hold steady. We are seeing some major impact across travel and I think we have a ways to go. We haven’t gotten the full brunt of it yet. At this point, we have been able to keep our employees and benefits in place for them and plan to continue to do so as long as we can. There are some government programs/assistance that have been created over the last few weeks that will help us in being able to keep people employed. We have applied for them and been approved but have not yet gotten any relief.

At home, we have settled into a pretty good routine with your schooling. You mother, like so many other parents that have been thrust into having to teach and school their children, is an angel for taking on the bulk of this while I work to keep things going across the different businesses. As you’ll someday remember, she has created lesson plans, works with you every day, and is fully immersed in making sure you thrive in your learning.

Each Sunday, we have been doing a family video conference with all our family and your cousins where we play games, share updates and eat around the table together.

The spring has warmed up outside so you now can go play outside and enjoy things like going on bike rides and playing in the yard. And we have set it up so you can Facetime and have virtual play dates with your friends. I know it is not the same as seeing them and doing the things you used to do, but it is the closest we can get for now. And you’ve adapted amazingly. Your resilience and ability to adapt to whatever life throws at you is amazing and has been evident ever since the day you were put into our arms in China.

Ok, so up and until this point, I know I sound pretty gloomy, but to tell you the truth, I’m not. We just must understand and face the reality we live in. Once, we do that, we can then see the opportunity and good things all around us. For example, in business – some of the best opportunities of my lifetime are showing themselves and I’m not wasting any time on actioning on them. More millionaires are created during recessions and economic downturns than at any other times. That is because those that are willing to go after opportunities and do what is necessary to seize them will get them. This is a great lesson that people can learn right now. On the other side, because life has “slowed” down, I believe we are finding as people, how to get back to truly connecting and caring for one another. There are so many examples of this from people helping go get groceries for older people stuck in their homes to people giving and donating to provide medical gear to first responders and on and on. As families, we no longer have the go-go-go of work, organized sports, after-school activities, etc., so we have more time to spend with each other and become closer. We have found innovative ways to still do things and participate. For example, you are currently having your Tae Kwan Do lessons virtually on Zoom with your entire class all learning and practicing with your instructors from our living room. 3 days a week, you are dressed in your full gear and go at it. It’s great.

As they say, when life gives you lemons…or maybe its better stated, when the Wuhan Coronavirus gives you lemons – you make lemonade!

There are some things that I am watching that are important and will be into the future. First, I am watching and concerned about how states and governments are suspending rights and liberties, in our case, given to us by our Constitution. They are doing this in the name of keeping people safe, but there is no reason for you to be arrested for going for a drive in your car like they have done in states like Michigan. This concerns me because when things do get back to some normalcy, will these governments give up this power? It’s been shown through history that they typically don’t or at least not all of it.

The other thing I have been doing over the last 5 weeks is studying epidemiology and reading and listening to the thoughts of the top epidemiologists from places like Standford, Yale, Rockefeller University, and others. And ironically, most have been saying the same things, which concerns me. First, it is important to note in the U.S. that people in charge of the response to the pandemic are not epidemiologists, whose job it is to study and understand how viruses spread and how we handle them as human beings. Don’t get me wrong, the people in charge as some of the greatest medical minds in the world. But, in listening to what top epidemiologists are saying, there are some important things I think we have missed. First, we do not have and may never have a vaccine for the coronavirus. There are some treatments that are showing promise, but nothing on a grand scale.

I found it interesting that almost every epidemiologist has stated that the absolute best way to fight the virus is herd immunity. Herd immunity is when a large majority of the population has gotten the virus, overcome it, and development antibodies as an internal defense. Their argument is that this is what naturally stops the virus because it makes it very hard to spread it once this level is reached. Logically to me this makes sense. If you have 100 people in a room and 80 of them have had the disease and there is herd immunity, it makes it a lot harder for the virus to jump from one person to the next because there are essentially 80 barriers in the way. The next thing they’ve almost unanimously said is that closing schools was the worst thing we could do. Wait, what? Yes, and the explanation is that children are designed specifically as part of their growth and immune system development to be able to get and overcome viruses and diseases as they grow to build up the immunity for when they are adults. The epidemiologists argue that in closing schools, we have hurt our best vehicle for creating the herd immunity that ultimately slows the spread of the virus. They are stating that all we are doing is delaying what inevitably has to happen in nature to overcome a virus. Until we reach herd immunity, it will continue to have its impact and come and go. Again, this logically makes sense to me and why we keep being told that even when we are allowed to come back out of quarantine, that this can come back. It still needs to work its way through. The last point they have made was that we should have focused on the most susceptible groups like the elderly and people with existing conditions and let the healthy go through the process of herd immunity.

Now, whether you agree or not with that, in studying past outbreaks like this, even Swine Fu about 10 years ago, it killed almost 20,000 and infected about 60 million in the U.S. in the span of a year and then essentially disappeared. It didn’t go away. It’s still out there. But, in less than a year, herd immunity took place. The government did essentially nothing. Nothing was shut down. No quarantine was done. In fact, it was hardly mentioned in the news. So, this is something I will continue to monitor and watch in the coming months.

There are few other lessons I’ve take away over the 5 weeks that are important for me to share.

First, I believe that we must prepare for a “new normal” after things begin to come back online and restrictions on our lives are removed. We will not go back to the way of life we were used to before this pandemic. Wearing masks will become a part of everyday life. Distancing ourselves will become the norm. Testing for the virus will become an annual event. Things like going to restaurants will change and tables will be spaced much further apart. They may only allow a certain number of people to sit together. Travel will change dramatically. It already is. I read an article this past week that Emirates Airlines is now requiring a blood test to be able to fly. Can you imagine giving your blood to fly on a plane? Professional and Collegiate sports and organized sports for kids will change. We may not be able to have crowds at events. Close contact sports may be more limited or in the interim be stopped all together. (think football, wrestling, etc.). I could go on with example, but the important thing is that we have to prepare for the changes in our lives and mentally to be able to accept and manage these changes in our lives and adapt to the new normal. The ability and willingness to adapt will be one of the most important skills we can possess coming out of this.

Second, there will be huge opportunities for innovation and new industries as a result of the “new normal.” As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. And with people working from and staying at or closer to home for the foreseeable future, there will be an explosion of new services for you at your home. Many of them will be innovations on what have already existed, but even a small innovation can create a whole new industry. For, example, in home haircuts existed prior to the virus, when a stylist came to your house and cut your hair. Was it a huge industry? Was it something that was reserved for the wealthier? Yes. But coming out of this, there will be a higher demand for such services and thus the prices will come down and the market will grow. Innovation will take place and a whole new version of that industry will take place. Same thing for things like massages, etc. Could Massage Envy pivot to having their people do house calls? Things like this are possible and thus, for those that are innovative and willing to look at things differently, whole new business verticals could be created. AirBnb was a great example of this pre-virus. But, to show you how fast things can change. Post-virus, who knows if AirBnb will be able to thrive at the level they once did. They will have to innovate and pivot I would expect. So, the lessons, innovators will thrive in the coming years.

Lastly, parents have learned that they can school their kids at home supported by the local school districts, so I think we can expect to have more of a blend of schooling with virtual at home classes and going to an actual classroom. People may now be given the choice out of safety concerns and parents will have more involvement in their children’s schooling than previously. I think this is a great thing and I think it will lead to better learning experiences and better overall results for student learning. The lesson for me is that while parents have always been encouraged to be active in their child’s learning, it is now going to be more part of our everyday routine and we as parents have gotten used to it, making it easier for us to be more active in learning. The lesson I am taking is that we should embrace it as it will usher in a new renaissance of learning and development of our children and lead to what I believe is a brighter future.

Hannah, it is clear that we are going through another shift in the way of life of the human race. This has happened many times throughout history and each time has led to the betterment of the society and our lives. Whether it was early man learning to create and use tools and harnessing fire, to the Renaissance, to the American Revolution unleashing the power of the individual and it’s capability, to the industrial and technological revolutions sending us to space and leading to the technological capability we have today – each time our lives changed for the better. The changes that are happening will lead to a different way of life, but one that will ultimately lead to a better one as we innovate and grow into it. Maybe that is the biggest lesson of all.

I love you,



Misfit 3:

  1. We must prepare for a “new normal,” especially mentally coming out of the virus. Everyday life will change and the ability to adapt will be a critical skill to thrive.
  2. Innovators will thrive as whole new industries will be created to serve a new way of life.
  3. Each time there has been a major shift in the way of life in human history, it has lead to better quality of life as we innovate and grow into it.

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Apr 22, 2020

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Tom Libelt. Tom is the founder of Smart Brand Marketing, a company that focuses specifically on helping people better sell their online courses.

Tom has had a very interesting life that basically made him an entrepreneur from the time he could walk and talk. He was born in communist Poland. By 7 years old, he was laying on the back seat of a car smuggling liquor into the country and his job was to cry and scream if immigration stopped them and wanted to check. At 9, he started helping his dad push products at soccer stadiums in eastern Europe. As he says, “He was hustled a few times by Russians and learned his lessons.”

At 11, his family was able to escape communism and make it to the U.S. Tom became an entrepreneur because his family had to use entrepreneurship to survive. He then took those skills and used them succeed in a number of business ventures proving he’s a true Misfit Entrepreneur.

Tom has always had drive toward two different things, music and business. Early on, he focused more on music. He was creating his own music and working as an engineer, but was also working on businesses, etc. He’s tried a lot of things – retail, online businesses, selling products, etc.

He knew how to sell, but wasn’t sure why he knew. He worked from everyone from Nestle to Metlife to learn the art of selling.

Lessons from run-ins with Russians?

  • When he was younger, he would sell VCRs and video tapes to make good money because they were illegal. He and his dad would move them.
  • He learned hard lessons like when he got conned by Russians selling him soccer balls with no rubber inside.
  • Or in trying to sell comic books and create value
  • He also learned how to have a poker face and utilize human behavior and psychology.
  • In studying human behavior, Tom learned to focus on the things that don’t change.

What is it that doesn’t change? What can you teach us about how to sell?

  • The drives, emotions, and whys don’t change for people. Health, wealth, happiness, etc.
  • Selling is basically a transfer of emotions.
  • You have to tap into people’s imaginations and let them bring their emotions into it.

At the 11:30 mark, Tom talks about selling online today….

  • The way you sell doesn’t change – even in a changing world.
  • First, you need to meet people where they are and on the level they are thinking. Empathy and understanding is key.
  • Feel, felt, found.
  • Stories sell and you need to use them to connect.
  • Selling in person is easier because you can see the other person, their emotions and reactions. When selling online, you have to anticipate these reactions and have the answers and solutions baked into to your promotion.

Where is it that most course sellers breakdown? What don’t they do that prevent them from making money?

The main thing is the simplest thing – Does this course make sense and is there a compelling reason to buy it?

  • It has to easily show it’s value in how it’s presented.
  • You must be very clear and easy to understand on how you can truly help solve a problem.
  • As an example, some of the easiest courses to sell are for things like a test to get a job and there is a very short time frame such as a Series 6 license or selling life insurance. In order to get the job, they need to pass the test and maybe have a month to do so.
  • And the pitch becomes, “I will help you pass this test in the timeframe you need so you can (insert emotional need such as make more money, but the car, get the girl, etc.)
  • Some of the most successful courses are prepping for tests or certifications.
  • Tom does not work with courses on abundance or manifestation because he doesn’t believe in them and thus won’t work with them out of integrity.

How do you help someone create an online course in 14 hours?

  • Making the course isn’t the most important thing. 80% of success is marketing.
  • But having a good system to create a course can make it easy and able to do quickly.
  • Keeping it simple and basic is easiest way.
  • From A-B, it is about a 14 hour process.
  • Focus on the simple steps you need to bring your course to fruition – you can always make it better as time goes on.

How do you market it and make upwards of $30,000 on a course?

  • First, focus on the messaging.
  • Even if you have 500-1000 of an audience, you have enough.
  • You then take messaging after seeing the results from the audience, you then “rack the shotgun” and try across all platforms. Everything from Facebook to Quora.
  • Based on the results, you then just keep narrowing in to see the best place to sell the most and focus.
  • And focus on one course at a time, don’t try to do multiple courses at once and market them.

Can you give an example of how you market on different platforms?

  • Pull marketing
  • Get people interested to come to them (sales page, etc.)
  • Using case studies, social proof, and sharing unique processes.
  • You need to do 2 things: The right audience and the right product, but also a 3rd thing – education. You need to educate people to have them like you.
  • You have to make the connection as to why the course creator is the right person to learn from.

At the 31 min mark, Tom talks about the challenges of being successful with courses.

What are some of the best entrepreneur lessons you learned from the music business?

  • In music, it about knowing the right people – a lot of gatekeepers. It was lesson in how important it is to build your network well.
  • For most, it is a short career, so you have to be setting yourself up for life after music and as entrepreneurs, we need to be setting our business up the market changes that come our way.
  • Do it your way. Hold your ground.
  • Don’t try to copy other exactly the way they are as you will be a crappy copy of them. Craft your own style.

At the 39 min mark, Tom talks about why meeting his heroes was such a disappointment and lessons learned from working with “stars…”

  • You don’t’ always get to do what you like. Professionals get in and get it done – regardless of how they feel or how things are going.
  • Lauren Hill left the studio because the “grapes were soggy on the table…”
  • TI was someone who came in and was lesser known at the time. He was all business and got it done.
  • You can see someone’s career trajectory by how the operate in the studio. Are they focused, serious, ready, and go to work or do they mess around, waste time, etc.

“Don’t be the person who needs special slippers and McDonald’s from 34th Avenue to record a track…” ​

You started a coffee shop in Atlanta, but don’t drink coffee? How did that work out?

  • We all have our impulsive buys. This was Tom’s.
  • He was in a place where he was deciding to do next and wanted to buy a business.
  • He sold within 6 months.

Any favorite place you’ve lived around the world?

  • Japan is amazing in a lot of ways.
    • Very nice, organized, great culture, etc.
    • But at times, it is too rigid and too organized.
  • Thailand is exactly the opposite – it’s the wild west.
  • Splitting time is good.
  • Standard of living is different where you are.
  • One issue with digital nomads is that because things are less expensive, many times they coast and end up not being able to go back because they don’t make as much from coasting and have lost their edge.


Best Quote: “Don’t be the person who needs special slippers and McDonald’s from 34th Avenue to record a track…”​


Tom's Misfit 3:

  1. Do your thing in your own way. Own your success.
  2. Nothing lasts forever. Past performance doesn’t indicate future results. Don’t rest on your laurels.
  3. Have your own opinion and stick to your guns.


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Apr 15, 2020

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Sharon Vinderine. Sharon is the founder and CEO of PTPA Media - Parent Tested, Parent Approved. She created the company to help consumers make the best purchasing decisions for their families and it has become the leading global recognition agency for family focused products and services. The Parent Tested, Parent Approved Seal of Approval program helps brands worldwide stand out from their competition and provides instant trust and credibility to consumers. As a result, PTPA is one of the most sought after awards in North America.

In fact, Sharon and PTPA have received numerous awards including the prestigious RBC Women Entrepreneur Award. So, how did Sharon take a simple idea and simple seal of approval and create a massive brand and worldwide standard in just a few years? That's just one of the topics we discuss in today’s episode.

Sharon actually has a tech background and had owned a tech business. When she became a mom, she decided to invest a baby product. She was trying to market the heck out of it, going from store to store to get it on shelves, and was not having any luck. Then, she found an “awards” program that promised if she worked with them, they would help her get her product into stores, get media attention, etc.

She submitted her product to win the award. And she won it. But, the feedback she got was terrible. She got the seal for the award, but found out if she wanted any marketing or publicity, it was thousands of dollars more.

So, Sharon unleashed her inner misfit entrepreneur and decided to compete and do it bigger, better, and build something that would truly help people.

Talk to us about the business…How does it work?

  • It is a seal of approval that is marketed and has be shown around the world to signal great products for families and parents.
  • Sharon has been on over 200 tv shows and outlets sharing what PTPA does.
  • PTPA has a database over of 150,000 moms and parents that give an extremely thorough test of each product and provide a very detailed survey and evaluation of their experience.
  • Everything is based on the feedback.
  • If a product meets the standards required, they get a license to the PTPA seal of approval, marketing to PTPA’s entire consumer database, facebook campaigns with over a million impressions, and so on.
  • It allows companies to put their money where their mouth in an economical way and get it tested and receive detailed feedback on their product.

What are the thresholds you use to decide if a product gets the seal of approval?

  • Qualitative and quantitative data is used.
  • Subjective feedback is taken out.
  • Quality Does the product live up to what the company says it will do.
  • Does it give great value for its price.

What should a company that is looking to use a seal or award to recognize their product or service look for in award service and what’s the value of that to them?

  • The recognition of the program itself amongst their target audience is important.
    • They need to have good recognition in the target audience and your target audience.
  • You must make sure they have the target audience that you are looking for – not just a big audience.
  • You also need to make sure that they have an audience that they can promote you to.
  • Ask lot of questions of how they will market you because an award without any marketing assistance is just a sticker on a package.
  • It comes down to making sure the award is well recognized in the target audience you are focused on and ensuring they will partner and really market you if you are chosen for it.

What type of marketing should be provided from an award service?

  • Their sole goal should be to bring awareness to your brand – otherwise, they are just a “pay for play”.
  • You want a company that you can see online the results they get, the campaigns they do, the points of reference of how they support winning products.
  • They must have track record of results they’ve gotten for other brands.
  • It must have value to you. It is also a two-way street – you must be ready to use the award and market it in conjunction with the award service for best results.

Talk to us about your marketing. How did you get Mr. Wonderful to endorse PTPA?

  • Paid endorsements never hurt!
  • Mr. Wonderful went above and beyond and really took the time to understand what PTPA does as his endorsement was much more than expected.
  • TV is still a very good avenue for brand awareness.
  • Podcasts
  • Print
  • Articles
  • Social media

Tell us more about how you leverage TV…

  • Sharon spent over 6 months coming up with different pitches for TV producers.
  • Every single day, she would professionally harass producers until they gave her a chance. She was relentless.
  • Persistence absolutely pays off
  • You can to be creative in how get attention.
  • Going against the norm or smashing stereotypes is a great way to get attention.
  • Sharon also invested heavily in building her parent community so she had an army behind her that backed her up and gave social proof to what she was doing.

How did you start building your parents’ community?

  • Offered free product to friends and people she knew.
  • She then asked them to tell 10 of their friends, etc. I
  • t grew very slow for the first few years.
  • TV was always being relentless.

At the 21:40 mark, Sharon tells the story of how the Rachel Ray reached out and she thought it was a joke.

  • It ended up being real and after her segment, she got over 10,000 sign ups for the community.
  • She got a similar bump from being on Steve Harvey.
  • It was 4 years into the business before PTPA was on Rachel Ray, etc.
  • It never comes easy.

What have you found that makes the best pitches to TV?

  • “Ditch this, get that” is a good one. Where you get rid of one product and replace it with another.
  • A little bit of negative and controversy while also showing a positive or better way is good.
  • Current research that is unique and not in the mainstream yet is good.

You have a lot of data – are there any trends you see happening right now or that we can expect?

  • The impact of trust is the biggest thing they have seen at PTPA.
  • Consumers aren’t sure who to trust anymore, which means it is very important for businesses to focus on.
  • First – does your business stand for something? If not, it should and you need to let everyone know about it.
  • Price is next. You have to be as cost-effective as possible. People are by nature conservative with their dollars and will be even more during 2020 and the pandemic.

What are some of the best lessons you’ve in your time in business that have made a real difference for you?

  • Hiring a good team and surrounding yourself with people that can add a lot of value.
  • When you bring someone into your world, they need to have strong passion that you can see and feel.
  • You cannot take everything so personally, either.
  • For example, if an employee leaves – you cannot take it personally. It’s what they feel is best for them and their family.

What has been most surprising to you on your entrepreneur journey?

  • It goes back to losing great people.
  • At the 5 year mark, Sharon lost one of her best salespeople, who went to one of her clients.
  • Sharon was devastated and thought it was over as this person was driving all the sales at that time.
  • Her husband reminded her that she started the business, that she has made all the sales, and that ultimately, she is what makes the business go.
  • It made her stop and take the time to realize what she had actually accomplished.
  • You need to stop and celebrate your accomplishments and give yourself a pat on the back. It is ok to be proud of what you’ve done and realize it from time to time.

How are you adapting to the global shutdown we are in now?

  • It has not been easy.
  • She’s had to do some layoffs
  • The uncertainty makes things harder, but sales can be made.
  • Everyone has the exact same issues that most businesses are dealing with.
  • She is discounting services to give people willing to work with them better rates.
  • She is taking to reboot and reorganize to be prepared for when things pick back up.
  • Connecting with the community is very important and there are happy moments to focus on. ​

You started with $5000, an idea, and made it happen. We have people listening right now that are just like you. What is your best advice for those that are in the same position you were?

Look at your idea and present it to a group of people that isn’t family. Use friends or LinkedIn.

Determine if there is a market opportunity.

Your passion must be big enough for the idea to ride the peaks and valleys of entrepreneurship.


Best Quote: “You need to stop and celebrate your accomplishments and give yourself a pat on the back. It is ok to be proud of what you’ve done and realize it from time to time. Entrepreneurs have a hard time doing that.”​


Sharon's Misfit 3:

  1. We must always challenge ourselves to be better than we were yesterday.
  2. Love what you do so much that you are willing to go through what it takes to succeed in it. Have a PURPOSE!
  3. Don’t rely on the word “luck.” Luck is the result of your hard work and innovation.

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Apr 8, 2020

This week I have special episode for you with a good friend, JV Crum III. In this episode, we are going to share our best thoughts, advice, tips, and information on how to best navigate your business through the global shutdown due to the Wuhan Coronavirus.

For those of you who don’t know JV. He is a serial entrepreneur who became a self-made millionaire in his twenties, a best-selling author, keynote speaker, certified business coach, licensed attorney, has his MBA, and is host of the #1 Ranked “Conscious Millionaire Podcast”, listened to by millions weekly worldwide. Through his Conscious Millionaire Institute LLC, he provides entrepreneur business coaching, training globally.

The reason I wanted to have JV on for this special episode is that he has one of the best minds I’ve ever encountered for seeing the bigger picture and thinking through challenges thoroughly to see and act toward the best outcome. We regularly coach each other in our businesses, as our skill sets complement each other very well.

And in this episode, we are going to interview each other on how to not only survive but thrive during these times.

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JV, talk to us about the psychological side of this – how does life and business change after this?

  • JV shares how he is a great test case as he’s had a heart attack and has diabetes and chose to self-isolate in the middle of nowhere for 4 months.
  • JV is single and talks about the psychological side of being single during this.
  • He is doing virtual Zoom dinners and finding ways to be social virtually.
  • He’s created celebration days to have gratitude and had even started cooking
  • Routine is important – structure is critical during this time for people at home.

At the 9 min mark, I talk about the adjustments to life and the routines that I’ve put in place and had to adjust.

  • I’ve been able to keep my schedule, but now are sharing homeschooling duties.
  • I started doing “Real Life Lessons with Daddy” to teach my daughter the lessons for life that she needs to learn outside of school.

JV: How are kids adjusting to this new way of life?

  • Kids are the most resilient beings in the world.
  • They can adapt to just about anything.
  • The biggest challenge has been sitting down and coming up with the daily and weekly routines.
  • We have a points system for Hannah where she can earn points toward things and now that she is home during the day, she has more chances to earn them and is excited about it.
  • She also friends to play with in our private drive.
  • She uses Kids Messenger with her other friends.

At the 13 Min mark, JV talks about the 3 ways we can respond to this…

  • #1: A segment will immediately go to fear and panic – a sort of Psychological shock.
    • JV relates an experience he had after being in Kenya when the American Embassy was bombed, and he barely got out and had psychological shock for a few weeks after.
  • The virus is like a Hurricane hitting the world.
  • #2: Survival mode. This is where about 75% of people will end up.
    • This is the worst place to be as you will miss all of the opportunity around you.
  • #3: People that decide to thrive and prosper.
    • If you can commit everything to thrive and prosper you will.
    • You will look for all the ways you can thrive and open up new opportunities and doors around you.

At the 18:30 min mark, I share my thoughts on the mental side and share the story of James Stockdale.

  • Faith is key.
  • Don’t confuse opened ended optimism with faith.
  • You must confront the true reality of your situation while keeping your faith.

JV uses an example of stating reality as it is with Great Britain’s example.

  • You need to make a plan that takes into account that this isn’t a 2-month thing and its done. You should be prepared for it to go on longer and be worse than it is.
  • It is easier to plan for that scenario and have things turn out to be better than expected.

What will it take for things to get back to normal?

  • Belief. When people belief things are better, they will be.
  • We have the power to control our mindset, emotional state, and our actions on a daily basis.

“Stats show wore millionaires are made during recessions and bad economic times than at any other time.”

  • This happens because those that have the characteristics of resilience, adaptability, and agility find opportunity and solve problems.
  • It’s the entrepreneurs.
  • The biggest key is “are you willing and ready to act when opportunity presents itself and not let it pass by?”

JV, what are you doing in your business right now to thrive this year and beyond?

  • It’s time to put less emphasis on lowest level group that you serve because they are the ones most likely not to make it through.
  • It’s not heartless – you have to understand who you truly serve and want to serve and the best place to do business.
  • Who is most likely to be your “premium” client in a recession?
  • It’s time to level up higher and go after a higher level of client.
  • The premium group are the people that still have the money and will pay premium prices to those that can solve real problems for them that will be worth a lot to them because they got the solution.

At the 36 min mark, I talk about what I am seeing in my business in the travel sector and the impact and reality of things.

At the 41 minute mark, JV shares some of the unique offerings he is doing now.

  • Double down on your marketing and sales, but also double down on your relationships. Now is a great time to better the most important relationships that could provide the best opportunity in the future for you together.
  • JV is doing “Infinity Calls” with the top minds he know, because on those brainstorming calls – anything is possible!

At the 44 min mark, I talk about what it means to “Be There…”

  • Share your best tips, insight, and ways to help your clientele.
  • You must still sell, but sell through helping clients. Share ideas with them that they can take and use. They’ll remember your help.
  • You also have to know what is on the mind of your clients and where they are – meet them there.
  • Bring your heart to service, but combine it with good business practice (Dave’ Diner example)

At the 50 min mark, JV and I discuss the opportunities for small business in the CARES Act in the U.S.

  • Review the SBA 7a loan program.
  • Collateral requirements are being relaxed.
  • Loan forgiveness is possible through the Payroll Protection Program
    • 250% of 1 month's payroll, rent, and mortgage
  • Loan that can turn into a grant
  • Here is the link to learn about it:

At the 54 min mark, JV and I talk about the stock market.

*We are not giving financial advice in this segment. We are simply sharing our opinions. Please consult your financial adviser when it comes to investing and the stock markets.

  • Markets and the economy are two different things.
  • Markets at the very core is a forward-looking instrument for earnings. It trades on what it believes earnings will look like in the future.
  • So you can understand why the market dropped when the virus started to take hold because it quickly became clear that earnings would be impacted in the future to the downside.
    • You can’t shut down the world of commerce and not have earnings go down.
  • True certainty in the markets will come from a real treatment or vaccine.
  • There are amazing companies at firesale prices, but it take a long-term view.

It’s time….

  • Choose how you to operate in this environment.
  • See the opportunity ahead for you.
  • Commit to it and go after it – act daily toward your goal.
  • Decide to make 2020 your best year yet, because you can and you will.
  • We challenge you to MAKE THE DECISION!


Best Quote: "Stats show more millionaires are made during recessions and bad economic times than at any other time."


Misfit 3:

  1. You have the ability to choose how you will respond to the current environment.
  2. What you believe about the world, your environment, your business, and ultimately yourself will become the reality you live in - as long as you are willing to see things as they truly are and act toward your goal(s).
  3. You must totally commit to succeeding if you want to thrive in 2020.

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