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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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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!

Jul 14, 2021

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Jeff Wald. Jeff is a serial entrepreneur and founder of WorkMarket, an enterprise software platform that enables companies to organize, manage and pay freelancers efficiently and compliantly. Jeff built WorkMarket from scratch and sold the company to ADP in 2018 for over $400 million. Jeff and WorkMarket won the Stevie Award for best HR software, were ranked as one of CNBC’s 25 Companies to Watch and received several other awards.

But as with any entrepreneur story, it wasn’t success out of the gate. Jeff had failures and learned a lot of lessons on his way to success. His story and the legacy he has created with it is truly amazing and I cannot wait for him to share it with you today, along with his best advice to succeed as an entrepreneur.

www.JeffWald.com

Jeff says he was fortunate to be born into his family and be born in the U.S. He started his career in finance as an M&A banker at JP Morgan working 100+ hours a week. He then went to business school and when he came back, he realized that it wasn’t the best fit for him or his life. He ended up at a venture firm and after a few years in, he really felt the call to entrepreneurship. He was helping people create their dreams and there was something about that was so amazing to him.

His boss told him that he needed to go after this calling. He did and funded the business himself. The business failed and he lost everything. In fact, his mother called and asked him if he needed to move back home. He had 30 days before he couldn’t pay rent and figured out how to create some income. Ironically, several years later, he restarted the business and ended up selling it for a nice profit. For a while Jeff wouldn’t tell people about the failure and the 2-year depression he went through. He didn’t want to own it. Eventually, he did and learned that sharing his story and telling the truth about his journey helped him find his true self and become a more effective person. It was freeing.

At the 9 min mark, Jeff and talk about this process of freeing yourself, but realizing fear and those things are still there, but you learn to handle them better.

At the 14 min mark, Jeff shares the story or Workmarket…

  • The idea had been around Jeff and his co-founder’s idea board for almost a decade.
  • In 2010, they decided it was time.
  • They raised $6 million for the business from VC’s
  • The idea was to create a solution to help manage the Gig workers and contractors.
  • After a year, they launched the product connecting the buyer and an on-demand labor force.
  • They ended raising a total of $70 million and then ADP came knocking.
  • At the 18 min mark, Jeff tells the story of how ADP ended up buying the business.

What was in the PowerPoint slides that landed you $6 million in initial investment?

  • Looking back, the presentation/look was terrible.
  • But the ideas and what they were setting out to do was spot on and exactly what they did. That was what people invested in and what they did.

What is the future of work nowadays?

  • There are 3 broad trends
    • Remote work and flexible work are one bucket
    • The on demand/gig economy
    • The 4th industrial revolution of robots and AI and how it will impact the labor force.
  • In Jeff’s book, The End of Jobs, he discusses these trends.
  • A lot of people out there talking about this stuff want to be heard more than they want to get it right.
  • Jeff’s goal is to present the trends based on evidence, so his framework in the book is looking at the history of work, looking at the data and the trends/patterns, and then looking at how companies engage workers.

What are the main findings from work?

  • For remote and flexible work, the pandemic has rapidly brought forward a more flexible workforce and has broken the 9-5 paradigm. It has also changed the need for location proximity to work.
  • As for on-demand labor, this is not something new and has been around for a long time. About 25% of the labor force is on-demand and it is growing slowly.
  • As for robots and AI, it is important to understand that we have been here before. We have been through huge technological improvements that greatly improve productivity.
  • Each time, we end up with more jobs from new ones being created where others are lost, people making more money and ultimately working less.
  • The key challenge is how we help people transition to new types of work and how smoothly that can be done.

At the 33 min mark, Jeff and I discuss why it is such a good time to be an entrepreneur.

You’ve said, “Ideas are cheap.” Explain that.

  • “Ideas are cheap, the will to execute is expensive.”
  • The idea you have is not unique – someone else has had it.
  • The difference is whether you act on it and bring it to fruition or not. The idea is super cheap. It is the will to do it that is expensive.

Top 3 lessons learned going through a process to sell a company?

  • Bankers are useless.
  • Going through a process is a huge time suck. It takes a lot of your time and you need to be prepared. It’s like having another full-time job.
  • As you build your company, you need to be building it with the mindset of creating value in the capital window you have to sell or maximize its potential to investors or buyers.
  • You should know what you potential buyers or investors care about for a business like yours and focus on those things. ​

What are the values you used to build the company that resulted in a lot of other companies being created by employees?

  • Jeff would tell employees and encourage them to go after their own dreams and create their own businesses if that is what they really wanted.
  • Core values were learning and transparency.
  • He would share everything with his team about the business to be transparent and help them learn.
  • Jeff would put on startup events for his team to help them walk their own journey.
  • It helped make employees more well-rounded at a minimum.

 

"Best Quote: Ideas are cheap, the will to execute is expensive."

 

Jeff's Misfit 3:

  1. Ideas are cheap, the will to execute is expensive. Get out there and start!
  2. No one will care how much you know, unless they know how much you care.
  3. The key to success is getting knocked down 7 times and standing up 8.

 

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Jul 7, 2021

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Aryeh Sheinbein. Aryeh is the founder of Results Driven Advisory, a firm that has 2 primary focuses. The first is to help business owners value their business, then improve the value of the business. Second, to help business owners grow their own wealth while focusing on the business. Aryeh has and still works with Alvarez & Marsal as a Managing Director. The company is one of the premier advisory companies to the world’s biggest hedge funds and private equity firms on business valuation.

He’s maintained this while building multiple successful companies such as Results Driven Advisory helping clients throughout the world. ​

And I wanted to have him on to discuss a few topics, of course how to make sure you get the full value out of your business and maximize your wealth, but also how to successfully build companies while still working in a professional you love under a company.

www.Solutionadvisory.com

Instagram: @AryehTheBusinessMan

Aryeh went to college and got a degree in finance and wanted to be on Wall Street as an investment banker. After two years, he moved to a small private equity/VC firm that was more of a family office. They invested in early stage companies and small businesses that they grew and sold or took public. He did that for 4 years and it helped to shape his path. He was the only junior person on the team and worked with private companies. He then went back to Wall Street and spent time in hedge funds and equity firms, then ended up where he is today helping those firms in valuing businesses. He always had the drive to do other things on his own and built his own businesses or invested in them along the way.

What should business owners know about how to truly value their business? What do they get wrong?

  • For most business owners, the majority of their net worth is tied up in the business, the asset. And most don’t think about maximizing that for themselves.
  • The starting point is the value today and the ending point is what you take home when selling. You have run the business to get to the destination in the right way.
  • Business value differently. Manufacturing is different than SAAS, etc.
  • Buyers are interested in the future cash flow. What does the business throw off in the form of cash?
  • If you are not generating free cash flow, you have to show how the growth with get there and how it will pay off. If you are, you need to maximize the cash flow as much as possible. Essentially, EBITA.
  • Recurring revenue in addition to good EBITA is important for value. It is valued higher than one off revenues.
  • If possible, you should work to have a recurring component to your revenues to help your with your value.

What should an entrepreneur do to start increasing their value? And how does recurring revenue affect the multiple on a business?

  • You need to layer in a recurring or subscription stream of revenue and automate it as much as possible.
  • Look for complimentary products or services to your core product to add a recurring component with.
  • Increase net revenues (EBITA) by either strategically lowering the cost to deliver your solution or look at ways to increase your pricing – do both if possible.
  • Look for economies of scale in where you can add more clients without adding cost. ​

How do you achieve a liquidity event without selling it?

  • You can do this with debt as a cheap cost of capital.
  • It must be debt as vehicle that the business can handle.
  • In a similar way you can do a “cash out refinance” on a home, you can do the same with a business loan.
  • At the 20 min mark, Aryeh goes through an example of this.

Thoughts on exiting a business?

  • There are many different factors, but the first to understand is that there are two types of buyers: Financial and Strategic.
  • A Financial buyer is buying with the intent of a future financial gain or return on the invest in buying the business. They will pay a fair market value in the middle range.
  • A Strategic buyer is a competitor or a complimentary business and views your business as a good “add on” to their business and plug it into to their offerings.
  • Strategics get more economies of scale and thus typically pay a premium value for a business as the sole purpose is not just a financial return, but there are other businesses or capabilities that the target brings.
    • Think of Dollar Shave club being bought because they created a niche and it was easier for Unilever to buy them and the niche than to compete.
    • Most business owners work on and in their business but have little time to focus on their own wealth. How can an entrepreneur maximize their personal wealth while short on time?
  • Increasing the net worth of the business increases their net worth, so maximizing that is a start.
  • If the business is generating good cash for the business owner, most business owners hire a financial planner or advisor. This industry is driven by limitations in that they sell financial products and/or are paid a percentage of assets, but these fees really eat away at the growth potential of your capital.
  • Additionally, you are not able to see all the investment vehicles available to you.
  • The #1 thing, if you want to be educated, is that whoever you are going to deal, you have to know, like, and trust, and they need to show they have a broad knowledge base.
  • Look for true investors that are Fiduciaries if you are going to work with an advisor.

Thoughts on 401ks and other investment vehicles?

  • If you are an employee, take full advantage of 401ks and the match.
  • There are limitations in that you cannot invest in things like real estate, etc. in a 401k.
  • 401ks stick mostly to mutual funds and ETF’s which over 90% do not beat the S&P 500 over time.
  • Fees are also important to track and make sure you are on top of as it is surprising at how impactful they are to the growth of your 401k in a negative way. Keep fees as low as possible and limit them in every way you can. ​

How do you manage it all and do what you do? ​

  • You need to have systems for things.
  • Things need to be able to scale.
  • Standard operating procedures that are documented and can be followed by team members is critical.
  • Your goal is not to be needed in the day to day but be needed strategically.
  • What is the trade of time? You have to see what it takes and is capable of doing before you can know if it is something you want to continue.
  • You must personally develop and get to know your true strengths to find complementary strengths in others and fill your weaknesses.
  • Staying healthy is very important as well.

 

Best Quote: For most business owners, the majority of their net worth is tied up in the business, the asset. And most don’t think about maximizing that for themselves.

 

Aryeh's Misfit 3:

  1. People are super important in business and life, and it is a 2-way street. Your development in people skills and communication is critical to success.
  2. Focus on things you enjoy doing and to do this, you need systems to help you do so.
  3. Use systems to help manage and do the things you don’t enjoy. Always be learning. It really compounds your growth over time.

 

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Jun 30, 2021

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Jeff Lieber. Jeff is the founder of Turnkey Product Management, a boutique Amazon consulting firm, which helps brands at every level sell their products on Amazon.

Jeff started by selling his own products on Amazon and identified the fundamental strategies to help sellers to stand out among the competition and see their full potential on Amazon. TurnKey offers everything from Full-Service Amazon Account Management to Consulting to Amazon Ad Management. He’s been so successful that he’s been asked to work with some of Mark Cuban’s Shark Tank portfolio of companies and has helped clients go from $0 to $100k+ in one month in sales. His secret had been mastering Amazon’s pay-per-click advertising, key word research and optimization, listing optimization, and other areas that when put together give him and his clients a big advantage.

Amazon is one of the most accessible places to start or grow as an entrepreneur and I’ve asked Jeff to come on and share his secrets with you.

www.TurnkeyProductManagment.com/Resources

Jeff graduated college in 201o and got a job at a health care company in San Francisco. But, he had always been interested in entrepreneurship and been on the lists for some of the top internet marketers. In 2014, he saw an opportunity for Amazon where people where sourcing and launching their own products. That model made sense in that he could source a product and create a brand around it. He decided to take a leap and do it on the side. He started with “puppy training pads” of all things. He paid the bulk of his life savings for a container of it, $15000. He started out slowly but got better at marketing and soon had success. He then launched other products and after about a year, he had replaced his income and decided to focus on it full time.

A friend of his launched a product on Kickstarter that did well but were not having success on Amazon. They tapped Jeff to help, and he doubled their sales pretty quickly which led to more referrals and helped him build a consulting practice. He got overwhelmed and was stressed to the max. He decided to sell off the businesses and keep just Turnkey and focus on that, which he did.

Because he could focus, it really took off.

What does it take to become a successful Amazon seller and what are some of the best practices on how to do it well such as product sourcing and branding?

  • The people that build brands around something really care about and are passionate about and working to bring something unique to the market, do well.
  • Those that chase trends and hop around all time, don’t do as well.
  • You need to be passionate about creating awesome products and brands.
  • At the 11 min mark, Jeff gives an example of a client selling CrossFit products well.
  • On the sourcing side, it depends on what your product is. Supplements for example are a huge market with a lot of niches – but that is not something you would source from China. You would want to get the products from the U.S.
  • You can google suppliers for the products you want and find lists of suppliers.
  • There are product sourcing consultants that can help you and do a lot of the work for you and negotiate on your behalf.
  • Get as many quotes are you can, at least 5 suppliers and remember, it is all negotiable.
  • Alibaba.com is great place to find suppliers for any product you want to source.
  • You should request and check samples to make sure the quality is good.
  • There will be winning suppliers that standout.
  • Once you’ve picked one, then get the smallest minimum order you can negotiate to test with.
  • Then use Amazon FBA by shipping the product to the warehouse.
  • You are then in stock and can sell.

Branding Tips

  • You can have the best product in the world, but people can’t touch or feel it when shopping on Amazon. You need to create that experience for them on your Amazon product page.
  • You have about 1 minute to convince a buyer to buy your product. An optimized page does this.
  • #1 is amazing, professional photos for your products. Invest in this.
  • #2 is customer reviews. Reviews are king on Amazon, so you need to plan on getting to at least 10 reviews as fast as possible. Get creative.
  • #3 is having a real good title and sales copy. When you search on Amazon, all you see if the title, image, and price – so title is critical. Make sure to use all real estate available to you.

Share a case study of how you doubled sales with a client…

  • A newer brand that was back by a former NBA player.
  • They had done the work to make a good product and had gotten a number of pro-athletes to represent it.
  • But, it wasn’t a popular product at the time.
  • They hardly had an Amazon page. It wasn’t unique and didn’t showcase the product well.
  • Jeff and his team optimized the page and listing and focused on the strengths of the client.
  • They went through #1-#3 above and made sure they checked every box.

Any other tips?

  • Once you have products listed and optimized and gotten reviews, it’s time to turn on Amazon PPC advertising.
  • Most search results are ads. They don’t look like it because Amazon hides it well.
  • Amazon is 3rd largest advertiser in the world now.
  • The fast way to get visitors to your page is to run well-designed Amazon PPC campaigns and you can go very targeted and detailed.
  • Start with a small amount and grow it over time.
  • You need to do this and if needed, find an expert.

Any niches you see that are up and coming?

  • The health space is very big – diets like Keto, Gluten Free and others are gaining popularity.
  • People are niching down to the submarkets under these.
  • Make sure you don’t just chase a trend; you need to be passionate about it.
  • There are tools to assess potential for products on Amazon
  • At the 34 min mark, Jeff explains this in more detail.

Anything else people should know about selling on Amazon?

  • It’s an amazing place to be.
  • Amazon could be your best sales channel.
  • Don’t treat it lightly and just throw up a listing.
  • Amazon gives a snowball effect where it compounds over time and can grow to a 7-figure business within a few years.

What surprised you most on your entrepreneur journey?

  • The roller coaster and how extreme it can be.
  • The challenges, the mess ups, and mistakes.
  • It’s on you at the end of the day and you run into things you never expected.
  • But that is balanced by the freedom you get and the great things that happen. ​

Best advice for entrepreneur’s starting out today?

  • Thing carefully and take your time to pick the right one.
  • Don’t chase something just for the money.
  • Make sure you will be happy with what you are doing.

 

Best Quote: You can have the best product in the world, but people can’t touch or feel it when shopping on Amazon. You need to create that experience for them on your Amazon product page.

 

Jeff's Misfit 3:

  1. Life is short. We never know when it could be over, and it is precious.
  2. Make sure to enjoy each day. Meditate and take time to change your expectations to equal your circumstances around you. Realize how good you have it.
  3. Take a risk on what you want in life. It’s worth it.

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Jun 27, 2021

Hello Misfit Nation! I am excited to bring a special weekend episode of the Misfit Entrepreneur. Occasionally, I find something I truly enjoy and when I do I like to share it with you. In 2021 I’ve started listening more to the immersive shows on Wondery. If you haven’t checked it out, you need to do so.

Recently, I was able to connect with them and they offered to share a small sample of one of their new shows with the Misfit audience and that is what I want to share with you in this short special episode because it focuses on one of my favorite topics – the stories, successes, and failures of businesses and what we can learn from them to help our success.

With that in mind, I want to tell you about a new podcast from Wondery featuring Marcus Lemonis called 100 Percent. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT WITH MARCUS LEMONIS is a masterclass, cocktail party, and Sunday drive wrapped into one. If you are thinking you’ve heard the name before, that because you probably have. Marcus runs a fortune 500 company and is host one the most successful business shows on TV. In his new podcast, he talks with exceptional entrepreneurs such as Kathy Ireland, Charles Barkley, and many others about their businesses and how they got started. He asks entrepreneurs if they know their numbers: revenue...sales...gross margins...But the numbers are just one part of the equation. On the show, they get personal. Marcus digs deep and understands the stories behind these companies. Where did their idea begin? Who inspires them? What are their goals? He’ll identify what they're doing right and he coaches them on what may be holding them and their business back.

Some of his celebrity friends stop by to offer inspiration, advice and sometimes...tough love. Friends like Kirsten Bell, Howie Mandel and even Gayle King. Together, they’’ll help entrepreneurs identify what they need to do to take their business to the next level

You’re about to hear a preview of ONE HUNDRED PERCENT WITH MARCUS LEMONIS. While you’re listening, follow ONE HUNDRED PERCENT WITH MARCUS LEMONIS on Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, or listen early and ad-free by joining Wondery Plus in the Wondery app. Just go to wondery.fm/100PercentMisfit.

Enjoy!

Jun 23, 2021

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 support@misfitentrepreneur.com. We’d love to share it.

This week’s Lesson for Hannah

Hannah,

I recently re-read the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The book is a metaphor for one of the most important journeys of life – finding and pursuing your highest purpose. It is written as sort of a fable of a shepherd boy who leaves behind the trappings of comfort and what he knows to pursue a dream, his dream, to find a treasure. He goes through many twists and turns, challenges, and has to overcome internal strife and the urge to quit and delay gratification many times to make it through the journey. In the book, this journey is called realizing your personal legend.

What I love about it, is that #1, the book is very accurate about this journey in life and #2, it presents great wisdom and lessons that are needed in life.

Let me share what I mean with some quotes from the book.

“Dreams are the language of God.” How true. When we dream (not so much the dreams of sleep), but when we dream of pursuing something great. Something seemingly beyond our capacity and even comprehension. When we have that vision and it keeps coming back to us in our lives, I believe that is one way that God speaks to us and shows us what is possible for us. And sadly, most do not listen. How many never realize their true potential and possibilities simply because they did not act on their dreams.

“You will never be able to escape from your heart. So, it’s better to listen to what it has to say.” If you think deeply about this quote – it is about that voice inside you that is telling you what you know you need to do. Our heart and soul will guide us if we desire something enough and steer us in the right path if we are willing to truly listen to it. And same as with the last quote, sadly many do not listen. They do not listen because of fear. They do not follow their dreams because of fear. They are afraid of failing and possibly losing what they have. In fact, in the story, the shepherd boy loses everything he has multiple times and each time he is faced with a choice to give up and quit or accept something less than his dream. And each time, his heart tells him he must keep going and because he keeps pursuing his dream and listening to his heart, his soul, and the language of God, the next quote happens.

And that is “When you want something, all of the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Hannah as you go through life, you will understand this more, but when you truly desire something that is good and true, it is amazing at how the universe opens up ways for you to get it. What you focus on truly does expand in your life. And God told us this in the bible in Proverbs where it says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Listen to your heart and pursue your dream and you can and will get it. You will have to overcome many things in your way, especially fear, but if you keep pursuing and resolve to not give up, even if setbacks take you off track for a while, you will get there. In fact, the shepherd boy after one of the times losing all of his money, works for an entire year in little store in a town, in a foreign land, where he was a stranger and did not even speak the language - all in order to get back on his feet. And in doing so, he helped make the store more profitable than ever, making himself more money than he had lost, and learns many valuable lessons that he uses down the road to reach his treasure and fulfill his personal legend.

Speaking of personal legends, the next quote I want to share from the book is “To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation.” I agree with this in principle but would add that to “realize one’s destiny in the context of serving God and being right and true by his word is our obligation.” But the point is the same. We all have a great purpose in this world from the God that created us, and we need to fulfill it. In fact, another quote from the book states, “No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.” The world is a huge place, and it can feel like each of us are just there, but everything we do has an impact and when we pursue our dream guided by our heart in a good and true way, we play our central role in the history of the world and become that which we were created to be.

Lastly, another theme that is quoted throughout the book is “Maktub, it is written.” This quote references that everything that happens, happens for a reason and is pre-ordained or written by God. Every choice we make, every decision happens because it is supposed to in the grand context of the universe. We may never understand it all or why, especially when bad things happen to us, but that is a question that only God can answer and someday when you meet God, he will. The lesson from this for me is to trust in God and trust in the bigger picture. And I have seen this throughout my life. The story of finding you and us becoming a family is a great example of this. Everything that had to happen for us to become a family had to happen exactly as it did, good, bad, and everything in-between. It was a journey, a dream of all of ours that was just and true that we pursued until we fulfilled it together.

Hannah, there are many more lessons, but if you can understand that you must listen to your heart and God’s voice in your biggest desires and dreams, and then pursue them because they are good and true to the end; the universe will help you realize them and fulfill your personal legend, or legends, because Maktub, it is written. It is your obligation to realize your destiny and play your central role in the history of the world. I know you will and cannot wait to watch you do so!

I love you,

Daddy

 

Best Quote: To realize one’s destiny in the context of serving God and being right and true by his word is our obligation

 

Misfit 3:

  1. Read the Alchemist one a year and make sure you are on the path to your personal legend or legends.
  2. Listen to God’s voice in your dreams and what your heart tells you is just, good, and true.
  3. Keep going, no matter what happens – keep the desire alive in you.

 

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Jun 16, 2021

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Greg Salsburg. Here’s the first line from his online bio: Greg Salsburg has been ostracized by society since birth and became a disappointment to his family and all those who came in contact shortly thereafter. His freakish nature, early adoption of donning loud footwear and love for all things “Seuss’ian” made him a pariah on the playground.

Intrigued? How could you not be?

Greg is the CEO and Founder of STiR Communications. STiR-communications is a business consultancy firm that leverages the ubiquitous channels of distribution to advance clients messages and bottom line objectives.

Greg’s success has spanned decades and is truly impressive working with everyone from Four Seasons to JP Morgan and even having Muhammed Ali and The New York Yankees as clients. He’s won countless awards and has been a 20 under 20 recipient, 30 under 30 recipient, and 40 under 40 recipient. How’s that for consistency. Although his forward facing role is directing STiR-communications strategic and creative forces, it’s his transformational work with business leaders behind the scenes; through his mindful practice and real word acumen, that has earned him the nickname the “Consigliere Consultant.”

But, for Greg it was not a straight up rise to success. He was a multi-millionaire who lost every penny and had to re-invent himself. He did this by embracing humility and seeking wisdom. It’s this journey and what he learned and put into practice to create his success 2.0 that I want him to share with you today.

Greg started off in news and sports in New York and with NBC TV and sports. He transitioned from there into marketing because it just wasn’t fulfilling. He met someone who was starting a business called Café Hollywood which was later changed to Planet Hollywood and became the worldwide director of marketing and public relations.

This changed the trajectory of his life. Greg had a unique ability to communicate, and it shined through. It was a leap of faith to go from journalism to marketing at a global level.

He was always very impressed with those that had an entrepreneurial spirit and could build and create something from nothing vs. seeing it and reporting on it from the sidelines. This eventually led to him creating his own marketing and PR company after his success and learning journey at Planet Hollywood.

At one point you had everything and were living a rockstar lifestyle, then lost it all. What happened and was there a moment or an epiphany that changed everything?

  • When Greg was at Planet Hollywood, it was more than a restaurant – it like running a Hollywood studio and he was surrounded with stars and agents every day.
  • He went on to work in Motown and run 6 Flags Amusement.
  • He was in the right place at the right time, but felt he had a bit of imposter syndrome.
  • He grew up with professionals that had very little failure, but not much risk taking.
  • When he started to taste his first bit of adversity, he crumbled. He didn’t know how to handle it emotionally.
  • He went from not having any failures, to having a larger one and the good money after bad to try and save it, but he was blinded by arrogance from his previous success.
  • He went from great wealth to losing it all.
  • Now, through the journey he has been on, he has gained it back “20 fold in all areas of life.”

What did you learn on the journey and what did it teach you?

  • People tend to believe success is bi-fricated into power and wealth.
  • The truth is that is a 3-legged stool and the greatest component is the “emotional balance” needed alongside the other two areas.
  • If you are not in tune emotionally, it doesn’t matter how much power or wealth you have, it will never be enough.
  • Your EQ cannot be out of balance as you cannot operate in a peaceful manner.

EQ is misunderstood and not thought about that much.  Define it for us and then tell us more about the 3 areas we need to understand.

  • When Greg was living the rockstar life, it seemingly was good and more was better. But, it was almost an angry position that it took to get it and maintain it.
  • Emotions were never talked about and it was about the “grind.”
  • There was a feeling that if you worked more and slept less, you were better or more successful.
  • Any emotional talk was dismissed and repressed. It was not “manly” to talk about it as it meant weakness.
  • Greg new this was wrong. He could feel it to be the missing piece, so he started to learn and study more about emotion and consciousness.
  • He watched the towers drop on 9/11 from his balcony, he realized that the world would never be the same and how fragile life was and it was this realization that spurred him to change and help others in a bigger way with life mission. He pursued who he knew he should be.
  • Consciousness is the key to living a good life and being your best self.

How do the 3 areas intersect with EQ?

  • At the 21 min mark, Greg talks about “PE Ratio and what it really means and its impact.” It’s best to listen.
  • With the pandemic, it caused people to have a reset, but the truth is that we’ve had a pandemic all along that has been widely ignored, which is an emotional disservice to ourselves and those around us. We have ignored the internal workings of ourselves. It is real and measurable and we need to do better.
  • VUCA- Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. This is part of life in all areas, but how do we deal with it better?
  • We offset volatility with a vision. Vision changes volatility.
    • Understanding changes uncertainty and makes it easier. Take the time to truly understand.
    • Clarity will help with the complexity.
    • You need agility to offset ambiguity.
  • ¾ of all health issues are caused from stress. People are not tuning into the areas of consciousness they need to deal with stress in a better way and leaders need to foster this.
  • Feelings/emotions are personal to each person, but understanding them and learning to work with the better is key to a better life and leaders must take time to understand help people in this area and they have to start with doing this themselves in order to be effective.
  • The CEO needs to also be the Chief Emotional Officer.

One of the things I like about your messaging is the blend being bold and audacious with a hint of sarcasm and comedy – is that the secret to standing out in today’s world?

  • It comes from being authentic. Authentic is what helps you standout.
  • You must find your honesty and authenticity and move it away from the center to the edges where the most excitement is.

Explain the significance of why STiR is spelled the way it is…

  • Greg wanted to be the opposite and deliver a different product and stir things up in the marketplace
  • But he did not want to make it about “I,” but “WE.” So he made sure the “I” was a lot smaller in the name because it’s not about him.

What are the elements of a great communication strategy?

  • A great strategy is not a one-size fits all.
  • The companies that have the best strategies are not trying to be like the others in their marketplace.
  • Companies that stand for something and have a mission and weave that into everything in a deeper, more connected way with a smaller, devoted tribe win.
  • Those that really tell a story and remove the hypocrisy of business.
  • The medium (humor, seriousness, etc.) will be different for each one, but it all comes down to emotion and tapping into it.

Any company really doing it well?

  • It was different pre and post pandemic.
  • One that is doing well is Danny Meyer. They are doing an amazing job in hospitality post pandemic.
  • Hospitality was hit particularly hard during the pandemic. Danny stood up for his people and go out and explain publicly why it was so important to get help for the industry and not lose the vitality and backbone it provides to the American economy.
  • He was also on the front line in NYC helping businesses with way to keep going and stay in business.
  • He believes people matter, caring matters, and showcases it throughout his restaurant group. When the chips were done, he put profits aside for people.
  • It is conscious leadership at its best

What is the changing dynamic of business and important to understand post-pandemic?

  • Retail has accelerated at least a decade in some ways to a demise, but others adapted in big ways where they had not or were not willing to do so.
  • Consumers now have the power.
  • The workers have much more of a say and much more power.
  • It’s not a top-down approach anymore.
  • With the ability to work from anywhere and now the proof that it works, the talent pool is now far great for businesses. But, it is also a much great flexibility for workers and consumers.
  • The means leaders must be in tune with the areas that matter most with the people they deal with on a regular basis or they will lose them.

 

Best Quote: You must find your honesty and authenticity and move it away from the center to the edges where the most excitement is.

 

Greg's Misfit 3:

  1. Be a go-giver, not a go-getter.
  2. Your mind must be stronger than your feelings.
  3. You must hustle and work smart, but don’t just simply be grinding or you’ll be left with dust.

 

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Jun 9, 2021

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Alicia Jarrett. Alicia is your quintessential entrepreneur. She is an international real estate investor with offices in Australia and the US, an educator, and founder of multiple companies including SuperCharged Offers and Global Citizens HQ which includes multiple other brands in its holdings.

She left a 6-figure job to start her own businesses and as she says “build something great.” And now years later she has done so and has also founded groups to foster women in leadership around the world. I can’t wait to dig into all of this with her and get her best advice on how to succeed in real estate investing, so let’s get to it.

www.Superchargedoffers.com

888-538-5478

alicia@superchargedoffers.com

Alicia and her partner Matthew have had great careers. Alicia was in HR and consulting for 18 years and Matt has a background in global transportation and systems. Things were going great in their 6 figure jobs. About a decade ago, Alicia started thinking there was something bigger she should be doing. Why was she there? Why was she was in this job? She loved what she did, but knew there was something bigger out there. So she started a consulting practice focused on leadership and developing people. At the same time, Matt and Alicia were doing some real estate investing. Investing in Australia was much different and limiting compared to the US.

They were doing fix and flips and rentals, but asked what could do they by combining their skills and building something bigger for themselves. The goal was to build a business they can do anywhere in the world. They ended up landing in the US doing fix and flips from Australia. They had some successes and some failures.

They then worked to combined their talents utilize data in a bigger way. They figured out a process for how to wholesale land and invest. As they had success, they decided to go further and better automate their marketing and lead generation creating their SuperCharged offers platform. This led to other businesses being created to help build their companies as they are today.

Tell us about your strategy, system, and what you do…

  • Land Scouts is a business that buys off market land usually from estates or that people have owned for long periods of time and have not done anything with it.
  • A lot of realtors don’t want to deal in land
  • There is a need for a service to help sell the land and/or get problems fixed so the land can be sold.
  • Alicia will buy and hold and/or buy and flip.
  • They also help with financing working the seller and seller financing.
  • The Supercharged Offers business helps generate the leads for the land deals.
  • Alicia and Matt are obsessed with data and have developed a science on gathering and filtering the data to find the best opportunities.
  • They then market through omnichannel to those opportunities.
  • 6 D’s- Data, Direct Mail, Digital, Design of everything in the language of the customer, Demographics, Done for you.

This discussion is the bulk of the episode, so it’s best to listen…

What is your take on the current real estate market?

  • It feels like history is repeating itself.
  • Alicia is doubling down and marketing hard.
  • Alicia is using data to help with market sentiment looking at the last 2 years of sales trends.
  • The market sentiment is shifting with people paying more and more above market value.
  • Getting good properties is harder because the sellers are in control, so you really need to be looking at the data to adjust offers accordingly.
  • Traditionally 10% of people in the US move every year…that has changed and is a higher percentage during Covid
  • The trend is out of the cities and to find more suburban life.

What are you doing to prepare for when this real estate bubble ends?

  • You have to look at pivoting your strategies
  • You cannot do nothing.
  • You have to be prepared.
  • If you wait to act, by the time the shift has happened, it is too late.
  • Demand will shift as those that wanted to get land or move from the cities will and that demand will dry up. ​

Tell us about the B-RAFT method for leadership…

  • People don’t leave jobs, people leave people.
  • B- What are the clearly defined boundaries for your team. The boundaries that help them grow and develop.
  • R-Right relationships in place
  • A- Accountability. Put processes in place to define and drive accountability.
  • F – Feedback. You have to be good a giving feedback as a leader. Feedback is not always about telling someone. It is about a leader asking good questions.
  • T- Trust. This is the basis of a team. Empower people and set expectations.

 

Best quote: Do things that scare you. Do the things that make you cringe a little.

 

Alicia's Misfit 3:

  1. Never, ever stop learning. Put your learning into action.
  2. Do things that scare you. Do the things that make you cringe a little.
  3. Listen to your gut and your inner voice.

 

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Jun 2, 2021

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur Alan Payne. When I say Blockbuster Video, what comes to mind? If you are younger, you may be saying “What’s Blockbuster video?” If you were around through the spectacular rise and fall of Blockbuster, you are probably thinking something along the lines of colossal failure. At one point, Blockbuster was the pinnacle of entertainment where everyone went on a weekend evening to rent a movie.

And most think that the downfall happened because of Netflix and streaming and the company not adapting to the new world of content. While those things had an impact, the real reasons started much earlier and Alan Payne was there. In fact, Alan was one of the most successful franchisees and his stores outlasted Blockbuster’s bankruptcy by over a decade. They did so, because Alan realized the company was Built to Fail and decided to run things differently drawing on his storied history of success in business. In fact, his book is called Built to Fail, which tells the story and lessons learned from the failure of Blockbuster as well as what Alan has learned on how to succeed in business over his 30+ year career.

I’ve asked him to come on the show and share his story, his experience, and wisdom and how you can use it succeed where others have failed.

Book: Built To Fail by Alan Payne

Alan didn’t come to own a business in the traditional way. He was working for a grocery company called HEB in Texas in the 80’s. HEB is regarded as one of the best and most well-run companies in the nation. At the time, they were looking to add video rental into their stores as it was becoming almost an expectation of customers. But HEB had decided to take things further. Blockbuster was just starting out in the mid 80’s and because HEB owned so much real estate, Blockbuster wanted to lease space from them. HEB decided to do it themselves and have their own brand called Video Central. They tapped Alan to lead it.

They opened the first Video Central store right across the street from a Blockbuster. It was the first video store run by a mature, capitalized company with a massive track record of success. Video Central was very success against Blockbuster doing 3x the sales of an average Blockbuster. Alan grew the business to 35 stores and then HEB decided to sell it to focus on the grocery business. Alan left with the stores and joined a Blockbuster franchise group with stores from Alaska to Texas.

Within a few years, in 2000, he got the opportunity to buy the stores and did so running them for another 18 years outlasting Blockbuster by almost a decade.

All of this was due to using a business model that he developed at HEB.

The reason he wrote the book was that what he saw from 1993 to ultimate demise of Blockbuster was frustrating as it could have been avoided.

What really killed Blockbuster? Why was it built to fail?

  • At the 8 min mark, Alan talks about the early days of Blockbuster success, but after the initial entrepreneur who drove it to an $8 billion valuation left, how it cratered because of terrible leadership.
  • The company was so obsessed with growth, they never took much of an interest in being really good at what they did and as such got outdone by Netflix, Redbox, and others.

What did you do differently that allowed you to outlast and survive and thrive where Blockbuster didn’t?

  • They were obsessed with being a little bit better every day.
  • They looked at things like a business of abundance and had better availability and selection than anyone else.
  • Alan committed in his stores to have more inventory, so his stores did not run out of titles as easily.
  • They also tracked and matched demand better than Blockbuster.

At the 16 min mark, Alan talks about how Netflix and Redbox came to be and how Blockbuster missed out because of complacency when it was right there for the taking for them.

  • Netflix beat Blockbuster by focusing on movies (90%) that were older and that people still loved – not new releases.
  • They then tracked the data created profiles of customers to match up their interest and market the movies that fit them and their profile.
  • Complacency and apathy internally killed Blockbuster.
  • Blockbuster also took a market share hit from Hollywood video in the later 90’s and then Netflix came along, then Redbox, etc. And with Blockbuster not willing to change, the end was inevitable.

What were lessons learned from HEB on how to run a great business?

  • Attitude. “We will be the best, period. One can of corn sold at a competitor down the street is one too many.”
  • The service and dedication to giving clients the best deal.
  • HEB had much more advanced systems for tracking what was happening in stores. Blockbuster was archaic.
  • The HEB experience is an X-Factor. It’s an obsessive commitment to excellence.

You covered several important lessons in Built to Fail, share those with us…

  • Clearly define your company’s purpose and mission. What is your purpose in your community, in society? You have a responsibility to be the best.
  • Identify what really drives your business and pursue it relentlessly. Book: Measure What Matters. You have to work hard in the right areas.
  • Respect and learn from your competitors. “Our competitors will accept failure as an inevitable result..” There is no way we will let them do it better than us.
  • If you are going to do it, be the best at it. Don’t “get bigger at it,” get better at it.”
  • In difficult times, rely on fundamentals to survive.
  • Don’t just talk about the future, plan for it.
  • Great companies create the future, they don’t wait for it.

These lessons/principles are what Alan applied to his business to make it so successful. Talk about when you finally had to close your stores and any lessons learned…

  • It’s important to learn when it is time to throw in the towel.
  • Blockbuster filed bankruptcy in 2010 and Alan had not even closed a store.
  • But the brand got beat up through the bankruptcy and was tarnished.
  • It was an uphill battle, but sales continued to slow and erode.
  • Alan ran it profitably for several more years while closing and consolidating stores.
  • Alan made sure to take care of all the employees to the very end and did keeping all salaries intact, etc. ​

Any other advice?

  • It is fun to continuously get better. That is the challenge of running the business, the fun part – how do we get better tomorrow?
  • It is the motivating factor.

 

Best Quote: It is fun to continuously get better. That is the challenge of running the business, the fun part, constantly asking – how do we get better tomorrow?

 

Alan's Misfit 3:

  1. Have a healthy skepticism of people in power. Respect them but be willing to challenge them in a healthy way.
  2. Create the future. Don’t follow, lead. Great sustainable companies create the future.
  3. Tap into the compound rate of return from continuous improvement getting a little bit better every day.

 

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May 26, 2021

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Patrick Colletti. Patrick is a serial entrepreneur, board director and advisor for angel, VC, and Private Equity backed organizations, He is a leadership and organizational culture expert and champion for what he calls “Re-Founders,” business leaders and entrepreneurs who revitalize the places where they live, work and play.

When he began his tenure as company president of Net Health in 2001, the company was experiencing significant financial turmoil resulting in laying off all but 2 employees. Collaborating with a growing team, he grew the company to where it now helps heal millions of people each year. In concert with a team which included 4 private equity partners, he completed a corporate turnaround —reinvigorating the already established organization in what essentially made NetHealth a re-startup. This is the essence of Patrick’s concept of Re-Founding and something I’m very excited to dig into with him in this episode.

www.Refounder.com

Patrick started out as an entrepreneur as a kid with a paper route. Having to do all the facets of business, including collections as a kid. He then went into selling plants. He thought differently and would re-arrange the store to help things sell better to give better context.

He then went to school and studied philosophy and business. After school, he joined a private equity backed media company. They launched Law.com. He then joined another .Com and it failed. It came down to him and just one other and the board gave them 90 days to turn things around or shut it down. He and his partner did turn it around. They eliminated the debt and worked to get the shareholders whole. In a relatively short amount of time, they amassed 100 clients and go things in a good place. He then turned to really building the company to be able to scale and grow across the world. Today, they work with over a million caregivers across the world and have done 10 deals on the buy and sell side and have become a “a billion company with heart.”

What is Re-Founding and why do you think it is do important for entrepreneurs to understand?

  • Re-Founders are the people you want in your company because when you get stagnant or complacent, they are the ones that help you breathe new life into it.
  • Founders start with an idea and go all in creating something from nothing. They are visionaries.
  • Re-Founders are visionaries as well, but in a different way. They re-imagine existing and broken structures and improve them or change them for the better. They are magicians.
  • Re-Founders use their magic to create something better from something broken.

Characteristics of a Re-Founder? Who are these people?

  • Re-Founders are not afraid to take a sober look at hard realities. They have awareness.
  • Re-Founders identify and solve “Problem Zero” which is the main problem threatening flourishing. It takes selective focus. “Kill Your Darlings”
  • Re-Founders imagine audacious possibilities.
  • Re-Founders spring to action and create better realities for people. They lead with empathy and create momentum.
  • Every Re-Founder has a team that they work through.

At the 14-minute mark, we discuss Re-Founding in the context of DCP (Discipline, Consistency, Persistence).

Where does Re-Founding start? Problem Zero?

  • There are two different scenarios.
  • The first is those that are in the midst of a crisis. These are the easiest.
  • In those moments, people are willing to spring into action. There is a playbook for this.
  • The second scenario is more difficult and is when people/companies are very successful because they are more resistant to change, but they have to realize they will need to change in the future to remain viable.
  • The key is to be proactive and be looking for the areas you need Re-Founding in ahead of time.

At the 19 min mark, Patrick talks about the problems ripe for Re-Founding as well as some of the principles used by Re-Founders to solve them. It’s best to just listen. ​

What do leaders need to do to perform at their best?

  • Great companies build great cultures.
  • Sustained success comes from a great culture.
  • Build a culture that develops Re-Founders.
  • Companies that develop Re-Founders invest in programs, processes, and ways to help people be seen, challenged, and grow as Re-Founders.
  • You also have to pay people well and take good care of them.
  • How does your programs and processes help people feel seen and celebrated? How do you challenge people in a way that engages all of their senses?

Talk to us about what you do to build a great team…

  • Everyone is uniquely made.
  • Recognize the uniqueness.
  • Your leadership team should do an analysis like DISC or Strength Finders – it will teach you so much about everyone and help you to see the uniqueness.
  • Patrick shares a story of a program he instituted in his business that helped people in his company to “be known in a vastly different way.”

Thoughts on how to better succeed?

  • If you are not failing, you really aren’t pushing yourself.
  • Beware the tendency to become “fat and happy.”
  • Think about the lead indicators and focus there instead of just lag indicators.
  • Helpful leading indicators examples are MQLs, # of Demos, successful development sprints.
  • Patrick uses the example of losing weight with leading indicators as well.

Best advice for an entrepreneur starting out today and best advice for a seasoned entrepreneur?

  • Both will need a customer.
  • Getting excited about finding customer is very important.
  • Don’t overly fixate on profit upfront as a startup – pay the bills and get really great feedback and listen to

 

Best Quote: Re-Founders use their magic to create something better from something broken

 

Patrick's Misfit 3:

  1. Get real about your purpose and your work. Learn your strengths, passions, and your “brokenness for the world” that you will fix. Resist entropy.
  2. Be a Re-Founder. Don’t get “fat and happy” and stay challenged.
  3. Rest and reflect.

 

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May 23, 2021

Hello Misfit Nation! I am excited to bring a special weekend episode of the Misfit Entrepreneur. Occasionally, I find something I truly enjoy and when I do I like to share it with you. In 2021 I’ve started listening more to the immersive shows on Wondery. If you haven’t checked it out, you need to do so.

Recently, I was able to connect with them and they offered to share a small sample of one of their new shows with the Misfit audience and that is what I want to share with you in this short special episode because it focuses on one of my favorite topics – the stories, successes and failures of businesses and what we can learn from them to help our success.

With that in mind, I want to tell you about a new podcast Miniseries on Wondery from Laura Biel, the reporter behind Dr. Death and Bad Batch, called The Vaping Fix. It’s a story of Silicon Valley idealism, reckless capitalism, and how the now infamous e-cigarette company, Juul, managed to hook a new generation on vaping.

In 2015, the founders of Juul set out to create the iPod of e-cigarettes, a perfectly designed device that would disrupt the tobacco industry and help traditional smokers quit. But their fruit flavored vaping options, high levels of nicotine, and youthful influencer endorsements lead to consequences that would put millions at risk.

“Juuling” became so big among teenagers that it became a verb. And with plooms of vape clouds surrounding schools across the nation, parents, politicians, and the government demanded answers: was this Juul’s plan all along, or did ambition blind them from seeing the pitfalls of their invention?

You’re about to hear a preview of The Vaping Fix. While you’re listening, subscribe to The Vaping Fix on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or listen early and ad-free in the Wondery app by going to http://wondery.fm/VF_Misfit. Enjoy!

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