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Dave Lukas, The Misfit Entrepreneur_Breakthrough Entrepreneurship

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

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

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

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

Oct 27, 2021

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

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

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

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

www.KenEhrman.com

www.HaloCollar.com

Connect with Ken on LinkedIn

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

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

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

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

Talk to us about shaking up markets…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ken's Misfit 3:

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

 

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Oct 20, 2021

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

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

www.connectwithshawn.com

www.Eplaybooks.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where do you see the future going?

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

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

 

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

 

Shawn's Misfit 3:

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

 

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Oct 13, 2021

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

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

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

https://Abunden.com/​

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Customer retention strategies?

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

Talk about navigating pivots. What advice can you give?

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

Timing?

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

How do you see leadership?

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

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

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

What has surprised you most on your journey?

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

Advice for new entrepreneurs starting out?

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

Final thoughts?

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

 

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

 

Karl's Misfit 3:

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

 

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Oct 6, 2021

Hello Misfit Nation! Welcome to another edition of "Lessons for Hannah!" Many years ago, I introduced a new format that alongside our regular episodes called “Lessons for Hannah.” Hannah is my daughter and one of the main inspirations for the Misfit Entrepreneur. I wanted to have a place where she could go and learn from her daddy and his Misfit friends throughout her life….even after I am gone. If you haven’t listened to the first episode of "Lessons for Hannah," I urge you to as it gives some more background and tells the amazing story of how Hannah came to be in our lives. Lessons for Hannah are short, very useful, and sometimes comical lessons, that I want to share with you and give to Hannah to help in your lives.

Because I want Hannah to have these for her life, I’m going to speak as though I am talking directly to her. These episodes are a lot of fun and if you think there is a lesson that we should include in these episodes, please don’t hesitate to send it over to us at support@misfitentrepreneur.com. We’d love to share it.

This week’s Lesson for Hannah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love you, ​

Daddy

 

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

 

Misfit 3:

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

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