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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: January, 2022

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!

Jan 26, 2022

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Andy Mowat. Andy has helped build 3 $1Billion+ companies, Upwork, Boc, and Culture Amp. He is a serial entrepreneur who knows how to build a scalable company that gets results. His specialty is building successful sales and marketing organizations.

But, at the core, he’s a great entrepreneur. He knows how to spot a trend, create the vehicle to capitalize on the opportunity, and make it go. Most recently, he is doing that in his latest company, Gated, which is a unique twist on how people can access you.

I want to discuss all of this with him today and squeeze all of the wisdom I can from him on how to start, grow, and build a brand.

https://www.gated.com/

Andy’s path was not a straight line. He went to college on the East Coast and ended up in finance and banking. He took Czech while he was in college and ended up going into private equity in eastern Europe.

He ended up running the finance function for every grocery store chain in Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland. It was early in the days of coming out of Communism and was eye opening.

He then went to business school but came out in 2001 and things were slow. He found a family office to work for and they tasked him with finding a new business to buy and get into. He suggested health clubs and ended up building high end athletic clubs throughout the west. He knew tech was where it was at, so he then reached out Elance and others and cold called the CEO’s ending up working for Elance. He ran sales and marketing operations. He then went to work for a company as a co-founder outsourcing administration assistants. He then went to work for BOCs running all their post-sale operations and then leading marketing. He then went to work for CultureAmp taking it from $5 mil to $80m. Along the way, he noticed the need to need to better guard a person’s email, so he built Gated.

At the 7:30 mark, Andy shares what Gated is. It is an email management system that keeps people from getting to your inbox unless they are willing to give a donation to charity. It helps to make sure you are communicating with people that genuinely want to communicate with you.

What elements are needed to build a unicorn – a billion-dollar company?

  • Product/Market fit
  • Brand
  • If you don’t have those 2 things, it’s almost impossible.
  • Andy gives an example of ow this happened with CultureAmp.

Talk to us about Go to Market Machines. How do you build a successful, scalable business?

  • It is a custom fit each time.
  • It is not “cookie-cutter.”
  • Andy starts with marketing because you must have the demand generation.
  • Pattern recognition is important, but a marketing strategy must be customized to each company.
  • Andy has a 6-part article series on his LinkedIn that lays out how to build the Go to Market engine.

Any specific part of the 6 that you feel is most important?

  • The team is the most important aspect of a growth engine.

What are the key elements to building a successful sales team and growth engine?

  • Read Jason Lumpkin’s stuff around hiring and building sales teams.
  • Invest deeply in sales-enablement vs. throwing people at the problem.
  • From a sales enablement standpoint, the managers are your customers, not the reps. If the managers aren’t deeply invested in the training and asking for what is needed to make their people better, it won’t do well.
  • Invest in good managers and support them well.

What should business owners and entrepreneurs do from the start to avoid some of the common mistakes in building a sales organization?

  • The classic mistake is that founder’s hire a salesperson thinking they can figure out how to go to market. The founder needs to do that and figure it out.
  • The founder needs to be selling the first half million to a million of ARR.
  • You need to be able figure what the repeatable sales process is before you bring someone into to sell.

At the 17 min mark, Andy talks about being a non-technical founder….

What type of data should people be looking at to maximize the impact of a sales team?

  • Systems that are good are Hubspot for smaller organizations and Salesforce for larger ones.
  • Look for all the ways you can scale and find leverage.
  • Key metrics to look at include:
    • Client retention
    • Funnel conversation
    • Time for the sales process. (How long it takes from lead to sale)
    • Lead flow.
    • MQL to Opportunity conversion. The opportunity to win conversation.
    • Customer acquisition costs.

What does it take to build a great brand?

  • Brand starts with what you name your company.
  • Naming matters.
  • Being very clear around what your company does and what you stand for is critical.
  • People should understand very clearly and quickly your value to them.
  • Product marketing and differentiation is very clear.
  • The last important piece is the experience people have when they interact with your brand.

Most unexpected thing that you have found on your entrepreneur journey?

  • Andy shares how Gated has surprised in that people give more than required and how much people want it.

Routines or best practices you do every day to help you maximize your success?

  • Andy writes down his Top 3 things he has to do on a notepad each day.
  • He spends each evening reviewing what he needs to do and accomplish the next day.

 

Best Quote: The classic mistake is that founder’s hire a salesperson thinking they can figure out how to go to market. The founder needs to do that and figure it out.

 

Andy's Misfit 3:

  1. Have a career thesis. Get clear around the path that is most likely for your career.
  2. Don’t worry about the steps you make in your career. You can always tell a good story about your career. Don’t take too many steps at one. Take one step and pivot, then the next and so on.
  3. Have a side-hustle to give you an outlet.

 

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Jan 19, 2022

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

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

This week’s Lesson for Hannah

Hannah, I want to share something with you that I’ve learned over the years. It’s something I have noticed about human nature. And it’s pretty consistent. Most people give up too early or right before they find success or get the breakthrough they have been seeking.

This usually happens because people cannot stay in the game long enough for all the work and effort to truly payoff. To be fair, some of this is because society has conditioned us for instant gratification. Everything has to be now, now, now.

In some ways, we all have what I call a “chaos switch” which is a pattern in human in nature to disrupt and change when things have been consistent for a while or even when things have been good for too long. It’s almost like in some ways we are wired to self-sabotage. And that is what happens to people over time and the reason they don’t succeed in reaching the levels they want.

But the secret to lasting success is to stay in the game. To outlast. Where everyone else is throwing in the towel or letting their chaos switch get the best of them, we need to focus on press on. When you feel these moments in your life is when it is most important to keep going. We need to continue toward our goal or stick with our endeavors.

I will give you an example. At 9 years old, you just got your Black Belt in Tae Kwan Do. It’s an incredible achievement that you worked several years to achieve. And after working for that long and achieving the goal, you may feel a little like it is time for a change. Time to do something else. In fact, I sense you feeling a little this way recently. That is the chaos switch in action. At 9 years old with a level 1 Black Belt, you are really just getting started on your journey. You love Tae Kwan Do and there are many more degrees of Black Belts to go. To achieve true mastery, you will need to keep going. After all, you’ve put in years of work to get this point – and now is when things get really good, and you start to learn the best stuff in the sport – it would be a shame to stop now. But that is what a lot of people do. They stop or give up right before all of the best stuff comes their way!

Hannah, and everyone listening – don’t be one of those people. You must have the fortitude to keep going and see things through to their best levels and outcomes. Don’t let the chaos switch sabotage you from achieving your dreams, goals, and reaching your best self. Resolve to follow what I’ve called the DCP formula. The D stands for discipline. The C stands for consistency. And the P stands for persistence or perseverance. Now when you hear that you think, duh, yeah those are needed to succeed. But what do they really mean? What is discipline? Discipline is doing the things you know you need to do, even when you don’t want to do them. Consistency is doing that day in and day out. You can be disciplined for one day, but that won’t do you any good. You must be consistent. And even if you are disciplined and consistent, you are still going hit walls – major roadblocks that seem insurmountable. That is where you must be persistent and persevere and keep going because it is beyond those roadblocks and walls where the great things in life are found.

Hannah, I hope you take this lesson to heart as it will serve you well for your whole life. Stick with the things that matter, give them everything you have and see them through – and practice DCP as a way to help you do it.

I love you,

Daddy

 

Best Quote: Most people give up too early or right before they find success or get the breakthrough they have been seeking.

 

Misfit 3:

  1. The secret to lasting success is to stay in the game. To outlast.
  2. Don’t let the chaos switch sabotage you from achieving your dreams, goals, and reaching your best self.
  3. Stick with the things that matter, give them everything you have and see them through – and practice DCP as a way to help you do it.

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Jan 12, 2022

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Josh Landon. You may not have heard of Josh and his holding company, Wings and Arrow. But you’ve certainly heard of his products such as Ashland Hard Seltzer, Voyage Hard Lemonade, and several others.

Josh is a serial entrepreneur. He sold his first business, St. Archer, to Coors for over $100 million and built Wings & Arrow’s portfolio to millions in revenue from the ground up. In fact, he was given a hefty offer from Anheuser-Busch after only 11 months of building Ashland Hard Seltzer, but he decided to hold on and keep growing the brand.

Through it all, Josh hasn’t compromised his passion for his craft and mission to create unparalleled products for customers. I'm excited to unpack his journey and his lessons lessons learned on the way.

www.AshlandHardSeltzer.com

www.VillagerSpirits.com

Josh took an unconventional path to becoming an entrepreneur. He started out as a filmmaker and still is. He still does all the film for the brands. He was documentary filmmaker making surf films. He won a number of film festivals and was a working filmmaker.

How did you go from film making to building St. Archer and selling it?

  • As with any business, it started with an idea.
  • Josh was on surf trip in Puerto Rico with some of his surf buddies and a Tequila brand approached them about investing in the business and being an ambassador.
  • He didn’t think it was a good idea and thought a better idea was to do it with craft beer because of its popularity.
  • That’s when the lightbulb went off the produce a beer that is part of the surf/skate lifestyle that has come from them.
  • There was never an authentic brand from the people that made up the pro-surfers, snowboarders, skaters, etc.
  • He decided to do it and worked with many of the greats in the industry that could be ambassadors.
  • But he knew nothing about the business or brewing beer.
  • He knew he could build a brand and that is what he set out to do.
  • He didn’t go to college or have a degree.
  • He didn’t even know what a capital raise was.
  • He bootstrapped and did it and figured it out and focused on what was in his control.

What are you doing different from your experience with St. Archer with Ashland? Anything you learned that made it easier?

  • He sold St. Archer to take the brand national, but it was also to see how he would move on and what could come next after getting the financial windfall.
  • He could have stayed at St. Archer/Coors, but he realized that he was motivated by more than the job and security of the money – he was an entrepreneur.
  • He is driven to complete at the highest level with his businesses and knew that he could not do that at Coors.

At the 13 min mark, Josh talks about the life of the entrepreneur and putting his family through everything over the years.

You’ve raised $50+ million with no venture money and giving up big chunks of the business?

  • Raising money comes down to an ability that is not really a learned trade.
  • You have to authentically tell the story/vision of the brand/company you are creating, and people buy into it.
  • There is no step by step to raise money.
  • A lot of it is personality, but also circumstance.

At the 17 min mark, Josh talks about when he made the decision to go all in on St. Archer and move from Ventura to San Diego with his family. He had nothing and had to win and that was part of the story and why people invested. He was all in and had to make it happen.

What have you learned about building a successful brand and community?

  • With St. Archer, he created the brand that he wanted to see and be a part of.
  • What has worked is having celebrities as investors, but active in the company and brand. They don’t just buy in and go away.
  • If he is going to have them invest in it, then they need to be a part of it.
  • Build a brand that people want to be a part of…if he likes it, he wife, and his friends/business partners – then it is a go.
  • Beware of overanalyzing. Create the brand you want, articulate the vision, and pour yourself into it.
  • Then, hire the best and allow them to go what they do best in building and sharing the brand and company.
  • Focus on what you do well and don’t do what you suck at!

How do you market and sell it once you’ve built the brand?

  • That is where the talent comes in.
  • Get experience in this area.
  • Josh describes the beer business and how it works to make sales. It’s great to listen.
  • You need to know your customer.
  • You need to know where they are.
  • You need to be there when they are ready.
  • The majority of the money is spent on sales folks and get the brand in stores.

Did anything from your time as a filmmaker cross over to help you as an entrepreneur?

  • As an independent filmmaker, you are doing everything. It is entrepreneurial.
  • You have to figure it out from scratch and then have to make it, produce, get into distribution and get people to see it.
  • Each film is its own brand and business in essence. ​

What has surprised you most on your entrepreneur journey to date?

  • How hard it is.
  • Not just the work, but emotional challenge.
  • You have to deal with everything and constantly be “on.”
  • It is a different type of pressure.
  • It is tough to keep your personality in the middle.

 

Best Quote: Create the brand you want to see and be a part of...

 

Josh's Misfit 3:

Straight hard work…especially when you don’t want to.

Humility. No matter how successful you get, keep yourself in check. Nothing ruins businesses more than ego. Self-care.

Take time for yourself and take care of yourself mentally and physically. You must perform at the highest level.

 

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Jan 5, 2022

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Liz Elting. Where to start with Liz. She co-founded TransPerfect, the world’s largest provider of language and business solutions. The company does over $800 million in revenue per year and employs over 6000 in 100+ cities across the world. She has been recognized and awarded with everything from Ernst and Young’s entrepreneur of the year to being named one of Forbes richest self-made women many years running. She and her story have also been highlighted in numerous books and publications.

More recently, Liz is known for her philanthropic efforts with her foundation, the Elizabeth Elting Foundation which works to advance the economic, social, and political equity of women and marginalized people.

I’m excited for Liz to share her story with you and the lessons she’s learned along the way.

www.ElizabethEltingFoundation.org

Growing up, Liz lived in a number of different places. Everywhere from New York to Portugal to Canada. She went to college in the US and realized she could pursue her passion of languages. She just didn’t know what she would do with it – but her dad told her to follow her passion. After college she worked the translation industry in New York. She found a company that was the largest translation company in the world that helped combine her passion for language and business.

She worked in the company for 3 years and learned the industry. She then went back to school and got her MBA. While in business school, she decided to go into finance and briefly tried out investment banking. She realized she made a huge mistake and then started TransPerfect in November of 1992. In 2018, she sold half of her company and started her foundation.

When we first spoke, you said, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” Explain that…

  • That is Liz’s mantra ever since she grew up.
  • She really felt it when she started her company working 100 hours per week.
  • She delayed gratification and it paid off.
  • She had to work intensely and not quit and the more she put in and more focused she was, the more successful the company became.

At the 9:30 mark, we discuss the first products developed and how Liz got her initial clients, then scaled…

  • At the other company she was at, they translation work for companies, but Liz knew there was so much more that they needed.
  • She knew that everything needed to be able to work in every language.
  • The first product was standard translation services for companies, but the goal was to become the end-to-end solution.
  • The goal was to do anything in a foreign language to scale.
  • Over time they talked to their clients and really listened. They needed things like staffing and litigation support and content management services.

Then they found a way to offer it to them. Talk about going through the stages of business growth – which ones did you feel were the hardest?

  • The first million is by far the hardest.
  • It is much harder to go from $0-$1 million than from say $5 mil to $500 mil because by that time, you have built the teams, systems, client base, etc. Initially, you don’t have that.
  • One of the core values was “Own It” and so when they started in a new market or sale, it was set up like that - employees owned it. It was then that had to build the first million in the market, etc. The sales teams had to work very hard.

Tell us about the core values. What are they and how have they made a difference for the company?

  • The core values end up being what is important to you and your life.
  • So, for Liz, integrity and honesty was critical.
  • One of the questions she would ask in an interview is “What would you do if you saw someone stealing money out of the cash register?” The answers were eye-opening.
  • Owning it was another value that she embodied, and it became another core value.
  • They ultimately had 10 core values.

Is there a skillset or mentality that you feel is most important for success in today’s world?

  • You must have the work ethic.
  • You must be a leader and stand out from the crowd.
  • Being true to yourself and do what is right.
  • Another value was service, and businesses need to spoil their customers and look at how to stand apart.

What did you do to stand out in the area of service?

  • Being there for the client 24/7 in the early days, but that was not sustainable.
  • When they tried to pay employees to work holidays and other things, it led to turnover, so they had to find ways to “be there” for their clients, but in a more manageable way.
  • They found ways to do this by adding in offices in different times, creating shifts, giving comp time, etc.
  • They also did special VIP events for clients.
  • They found ways to produce results for clients faster than the competition.
  • Filling gaps in products or services clients said they needed.
  • They were also innovating and figuring out how to help client in better ways.

Talk to us about the entrepreneur journey. What have you learned about how to consistently succeed as an entrepreneur?

  • No matter what – staying true to your core values.
  • When times are challenging – you must continue to put the money into sales and marketing.
  • Find ways to align incentives and compensation so that when the company does well or the employee does well, they are well taken care of. This is for all people in the company.
  • Focus on employee morale. Don’t just spoil the clients but do you best to do so for the employees as well.

What are the most important things leaders should do to ensure success and make sure they are doing the best for their employees and organization?

  • In the early days, the leader does everything, but over time, they must delegate to scale.
  • To do that, you must find the best people, so your interview process is most important. Hire slowly, fire quickly.
  • It’s the employee you keep around that can give you the ulcer, not the one you don’t have.
  • Once you have your people – focus on training, development, and retention.
  • The only way to lead is to lead by example. You cannot inspire people to do things you haven’t done or aren’t willing to do.

Advice for CEO’s? What have you learned about being a great CEO and how it is different from other areas of leadership?

  • In the early days, it is a lot of doing and doing everything.
  • Then it is a lot of hiring, training, and delegating and retaining (the middle stage)
  • Then, it is having the vision for what’s next and making sure the innovations are happening.
  • It is thinking long-term and getting the feedback from the people on the front lines.
  • It is dealing with clients at all stages.
  • And always maintaining a connection with the employees.
  • 1 on 1’s with people at all stages and levels it very important as well.

Anything you’ve learned in selling your company and starting into Philanthropy?

  • It was wonderful to lead the company for 26 years.
  • There were things she saw and bigger challenges/issues that needed to be improved.
  • There is a lot of work to be done.
  • Philanthropy is entrepreneurship in a different way. ​

What was the most surprising thing that happened on your journey?

  • Hiring an entry level person when they first started and then watching them grow and see what they could become.
  • It was so rewarding and exciting and she learned so much from it.
  • The learning is continuous and never ends!

 

Best Quote: Work today like no one else will, so you can live and give tomorrow like no one else can.

 

Liz's Misfit 3:

  1. If you don’t think you can be successful as an entrepreneur, you can. No matter what happens to you or go through, success is still possible.
  2. Hard work. Work today like no one else will, so you can live and give tomorrow like no one else can.
  3. Integrity and honesty are keys to living a great life and running a good business.

 

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