This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Sean Castrina. Sean gives new meaning to the term “serial entrepreneur” having started over 20 companies in the last 20 years. In fact, he seeks to start a new venture annually.
Sean has been featured everywhere from Entrepreneur, Fox Business, Forbes, NBC news, and just about every other business media outlet that exists. He’s the author of 8 Unbreakable Rules for Business Startup Success, The Greatest Entrepreneur in the World, and The World’s Greatest Business Plan.
Needless to say, Sean knows how to build a business and succeed and I’ve asked him on today to give his best advice on how you can do the same.
Sean was a good high school athlete and got a scholarship to play in college. He came out of college and got his dream job by offering to work for free for 90 days and bet on himself. It worked well for 5 years and then leadership changed. He had the picture perfect life at the time – new house, married, a new child and was in grad school. Overnight, he was let go.
It was at this moment that things really hit him – employment was a fantasy of security. He had done everything he was told to do to succeed, was doing well at a good company, and in one day, he was gone. Oddly enough, the CEO that had left remained friends with Sean years after and his son is one of Sean’s business partners.
Sean realized that when you work for someone you don’t have much security and you make them wealthy. It’s ok if you have that type of mindset and really want to be an employee, but if you have any inkling of entrepreneurship in you, you must explore. So, Sean went out on his out.
What is the most important qualification for business ownership?
- You have to know why you want to be an entrepreneur and it has to be so motivating that you will be willing to do and go through everything to make it work.
- Every roller coaster starts with a steep climb and that is how entrepreneurship and achieving success is.
- You must be relentlessly focused.
- Ideas are nothing if you don’t take action or are able to stay on them like a “dog on a bone.”
- Bet on a person with the right qualities over the business every day.
- The good thing about entrepreneurship is gives you more control. You can make changes when you see things coming and adjust.
Have you developed a “blueprint” for starting and building a business?
- Sean talks about how figuring out service companies and the systems around them.
- He doesn’t need to do the service; he just needs to make the phone ring.
- There were big benefits in not having inventory, space, etc. and required very little in startup capital.
- There are 2 things you need to do well.
- You need to market well.
- You need to hire good people.
At the 12 min mark, Sean talks about how he has built a $60+ million business started with Handyman business – but the most important thing is to stay in his lane and be focused. Its when he deviates, he has troubles.
What are your keys to marketing?
- It’s very basic.
- You have a target customer.
- You need to know what your target customer wants.
- You need to carve out your unique place among your competition.
- You have to know your customer, you have to attract them, and you have to stand out from the competition.
- Then you have to know how you will reach that person.
- Where are they? What message do they respond to? What is your competition not doing? How can you craft a unique brand position for your business.
The mistake small businesses make is that they stay small and think small. You should follow the same strategy you would follow if you owned a Fortune 500 company.
- The secret is to relentlessly attract customers.
That solves all problems. Be so great at what you do that you customers know there is no alternative. It is too expensive to be average. If you build a great company, market it like a Fortune 500, and staff it well, you will have a great company.
Where do you see most businesses fail? What do they miss?
The Bermuda Triangle of why startups fail:
- Falling in love with the idea and not confirming it will actually be something a target market will buy.
- They staff horribly – family and friends from the start, etc.
- They don’t aggressively market or advertise
The 3 mistake businesses make in general:
- They become content and happy with survival.
- They don’t plan to thrive and strategize for future threats.
- Founders/Owners get too much in the day to day.
8 unbreakable rules for startup success?
- You need to work on yourself and be a great entrepreneur.
- Your business idea needs to be tested. It needs to be qualified. Any way you can test your idea, you need to.
- You need to plan your business out – from launch to day to day.
- Protect yourself with partnership agreements, insurance, etc.
- Build a successful team. Get the best, be the best.
- Marketing is not optional. Build a brand from day one. What is the one promise that you could make to your customers that if you could deliver on it, they would chase you down for your business?
- Know you numbers and be a numbers junkie. Numbers allow you to make good decisions.
- Learn from others. Failure is best heard from a secondhand story and it’s a lot cheaper.
Most important lesson from the Greatest Entrepreneur in the World?
- Fictional story that teaches the 8 unbreakable rules.
- But, Sean added another rule – You’ve got to recognize when you have to pivot and change. Good business owners see change before everyone else.
What are your thoughts on thriving as an entrepreneur during the pandemic?
- Start the business over again in your head.
- In the pandemic – Who is your target customer? What do they want? and How can you get it to them?
- It comes back to the basics.
Best Quote: Be so great at what you do that you customers know there is no alternative. It is too expensive to be average. If you build a great company, market it like a Fortune 500, and staff it well, you will have a great company.
Sean's Misfit 3:
- Read and consume quality information. It makes you better and smarter. The average CEO reads 60 books per year.
- Partnering can be your be superpower. It fills your gaps and allows you to scale and grow. What is the one thing that if you had would take your business further? Partner for it.
- Set goals that stretch you and the relentlessly pursue them daily.
5 Minute Journal: www.MisfitEntrepreneur.com/Journal