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Dave Lukas, The Misfit Entrepreneur_Breakthrough Entrepreneurship
Dave M. Lukas, Entrepreneur, Author, Investor
Top 10 Dave Lukas, The Misfit Entrepreneur_Breakthrough Entrepreneurship Episodes
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This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is David Shriner-Cahn. David is the host of the wildly popular Smashing the Plateau podcast and his business helps consultants and coaches build their business following their careers as professionals employed in the marketplace. Simply put, David helps employees’ transition to thriving entrepreneurs.
He has been features in Forbes, INC, and many other outlets and is also a popular speaker. David’s mission to help people become entrepreneurs was born out of his experience of being a highly successful employee for 28 years only to wake up one day and be told it was over. He had to go through losing his job and identity to finding a new path as an entrepreneur and his experience and what he has learned can help so many that are in the same situation, so I’m excited to get into it.
David has a master’s in engineering from Cornell. He worked as an engineer early in his career and then transferred after a job loss to the not-for-profit sector. He had no formal training to become a not-for-profit executive and did that for 23 years. He had plateaued in the organization and could not become the CEO as he was in the #2 position. He decided that it was time to scratch entrepreneur itch he had most of his life and became a consultant.
He had built a network that he used to start his business.
What do you think is the hardest part about transitioning from an employee to entrepreneur? And talk to use about “chicken entrepreneurship.”
- The challenge with “chicken entrepreneurship” is deciding when you are ready.
- You real need to be mentally ready.
- The first step is the hardest piece for everyone.
What does that look like to be ready in your mind? How does someone know?
- Most of the time, you don’t know.
- It is when you have enough courage to jump and do it.
- What most have never done is the business piece – building and running a business day to day.
- The knowledge base someone has gained from their role over the years to solve a problem and set of problems is important to build your business around.
- You won’t know how to do everything, but you must be willing to work to figure it out as you go and take it as it comes.
Thoughts on the mind shift that has to happen?
- Its both a mindset and behavioral shift.
- If you are employee and are wrong 10% of the time, you are going to hear about it and not in a positive way. If you are an entrepreneur and right more than 10% of the time, you are probably doing well. It’s a big change to get used to.
- As an entrepreneur, you are going to try and fail all the time to succeed.
Is there a process people go through to manage the transition from employee to entrepreneur?
- It’s very helpful to have time for reflection and take some time not focused on producing income. You need time to focus inwardly.
- You can also see if you can get a role that is time limited, a short contract gig to pay bills while you get your business going.
- Step 2 is getting in touch with a few things about yourself and your impact.
- Understand what you love doing the most and are committed to.
- Get clarity on what it is you are most competent and doing – they may or may not be the same as what you love doing. Find the intersection of them.
- Then decide who you want to serve and what problem(s) you will solve for them.
- Next, do a little market research to determine there is a market and potential clients. Talk to them and see if they would hire you to solve the problem(s).
- You then need to test and start trying things and iterate.
Talk to us about the business side and running the business once up and going...
- How much money do you want to make? Margins matter because it is almost impossible to make up low margins with volume.
- You need to think about how many hours you want to put in. You can make more money, but not more hours.
- How much do you want your business to be about your own personal brand or not? How much is it based on you? This determines how you design things.
At the 27 min mark, David and I talk about why most people don’t get what they want... What are some of the best resources and tools you’ve found to help entrepreneurs?
- First, manage your processes with pencil and paper or typing out the steps.
- Pay attention to things that are repetitive.
- Once you track then, you can create systems that are repeatable around these processes so they can be handed off to others.
- Once you’ve done this, it will start to show what types of solutions you need to put in place for these needs such as technology, apps, virtual assistants, or assistants, etc.
This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Anna Parker-Naples. Anna is he host of the #1 international podcast, Entrepreneurs Get Visible. She is the #1 best-selling author of Get Visible: How to Have More Impact, Influence and Income, and Podcast with Impact: How to Launch Your Podcast Properly.
She has been recognized as the National Businesswoman of the Year and finalist for SME’s National Entrepreneur of the Year. And if that is not enough, her audio skills have caught the attention of Hollywood and she’s been honored there.
But Anna’s story has some major twists and turns and what I love most about her is how she learned to blend strategy and mindset together to overcome massive challenges and achieve greatness. Of course, she’s not too bad at teaching entrepreneurs how to seriously grow their visibility and I can’t wait to get into all of this with her.
Anna came into the entrepreneurial space a few years ago. 4 years ago, she was working as a voice actor receiving awards on the red carpet in Hollywood for her work. 6 years before that, she was told after a complication with a pregnancy that she would never walk again. To be fully recovered and at the top of her game on the red-carpet years later made her realize that others can do what she did and that there was a process to that success, so she started her business, podcast, and speaking.
How did you from being not being able to walk to walking on the red carpet? What was the transformation?
- Anna was as broken as you could imagine.
- Before having children, she was a stage actor.
- She could hardly get out of bed or function with the amount of pain she was in.
- She had a moment on a New Year’s Eve where she realized that she could no longer stay in her frame of mind.
- She went to a therapist. They talked and the therapist questioned her views of the world using NLP.
- This got her to think 2 things. What is she was in a wheelchair the rest of her life, but was highly successful and her work could still be seen all over the world? And What if the doctors are not right about your body and could heal itself?
- Thinking about those things sparked a new view on her potential and started her on her path.
At the 9 min mark, Anna tells a story about she was carried into a job interview and how it was presented to her to have a home studio to do her work.
At the 10 min mark, Anna and I discuss the power of the mind what working on your thoughts can do for you.
- It is a constant work in progress.
- Many of the things we tell ourselves are not true and are just limiting beliefs.
- What happens if you decide to think something different about yourself? You’d be surprised.
- Everything is choice in our lives. It is not rocket science, but it starts with how you think.
At the 14 min mark, we talk about how everything begins with an idea, a thought in our lives.
How have you learned how to blend your mindset with strategy to exponentially grow results?
- Anna uses the term “envisioning.”
- You envision everything. Where you want to be. Who you are clients are. How much you are making. Who you surround yourself with, etc.
- Podcasting is a great medium to get in front of the clients you want and also, as a podcaster to bring guests on your show that you want to network with and have in your world. Be strategic and deliberate about it.
Is there a process for envisioning?
- Yes, it is called the 10 Pillars of Purpose and Profit.
Listen at the 18 min mark as Anna goes through the 10 pillars.
- Good book called the Micro Pitch Script by Bill Slay to help you hone your message and how you connect how you impact and help others.
“Make sure you are not positioning yourself at the bottom for the heap. Strive for the top. There is much less competition there.”
Confidence is key to get visible, explain that...
- Everything is a choice.
- People choose not to put themselves or their content out there because they are not confident in themselves.
- But you have every right to put yourself out there and share your talents.
- Confidence comes from changing how you think and recognizing that is it ok and safe to fail.
- Be willing to be yourself in front of others knowing you cannot and will not ever be a fit for everyone, but you will for enough.
Talk to us about gaining visibility and things people should be doing to stand out...
- Podcasting is the fastest growing medium with the highest conversion rates, so you need to have a strategy.
- On social media, are you communicating a consistent message and story across your different channels?
- Use story to share...
This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Krista Ripma. Krista is the founder of the digital marketing agency, Authentic Audience, which helps transform clients’ businesses by implementing innovative marketing strategies focused on authenticity, storytelling, and selling the truth. She is also the host of the Authentic Audience podcast.
Krista and Authentic Audience have been featured everywhere from Forbes to Entrepreneur and her passion for helping others tell their stories and share their truth through radically honest marketing is un-matched.
Radically honest. We don’t see that as much as we should these days, and it’s important to make sure we are being true to ourselves and our businesses, so I asked Krista to come on the show to discuss what it truly means to be authentic and honest in today’s world.
Krista has always been in to sharing stories and sharing stories. She studied communications and film in college and went to work in film in LA. But the whole industry was inauthentic. She loved the stories, the scripts she read, but the world around her was fake. She did all sorts of jobs and learned what it meant to work hard.
From there she went to working with TV networks in health and wellness. During this time, she met a Yoga star who needed help with her brand and Krista helped her grow the brand. She loved it and realized that is she is what she wanted to do. Help people grow their brand in an authentic way.
- It is something that really cannot be taught.
- It is when you are in alignment and you know when you are.
- It is when you are walking your talk and being the person or brand, you want others to think you are.
- It is the lack of fear or doubt – just truth.
- There is a big difference between transparency and authenticity. As leaders, we have to pick the appropriate time to share things and be transparent – but we can always be authentic.
- Authenticity is standing in your truth and opening your heart up so others can do the same.
How does someone transform their business through authentic? What do they do?
- You have to answer the 4 most important questions.
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- Why does it matter?
- What’s in it for me? (your dream client)
- Anonymous brands are dead. People want to know who is behind the companies where they spend money.
- We have to create personal brands within our bigger brands to thrive and succeed.
- The X-factor that sets your product or service apart is you.
- Customers want to “be seen” by you and feel like you see them.
What is working and what is not in marketing strategies and launches today?
- The biggest mistake is taking someone from awareness straight to the sale.
- The best part of marketing is the “consideration phase” which is the time you take to share who you are and what the value of your product or service is and establish credibility.
- What is working is a longer warm-up/consideration phase where you provide a ton of value before ever giving an offer.
- Consideration used to be about 7 days, now it is more like a month to do it right.
- Best practice is a longer warm-up and shorter buying timeframe.
Is there a formula that you use for launches?
- Krista has an e-book called the 90 Day Launch plan which breaks it down week by week of what needs to be done.
- You can get it at AuthenticAudience.co
- She discusses her process at the 20 Min-mark, and it is best to just listen.
How does someone get leadflow and build a list to market to?
- You don’t have to have a big list, but you need to have a way to build a list.
- You will have to invest, and you need the confidence to do so.
- Lead gen campaigns on Facebook work well – you have to give something of great value for free to be successful. Something that really speaks to your dream customer.
- LinkedIn is another great place to get leads. It has the most opportunity.
- YouTube is also a place to be if you create content.
- Growing your email list is by far your best investment.
At the 31-minute market, Krista gives her best advice on selling, both online and in general..
- Get your money mindset right.
- Understand the abundance of money around you and be careful not to let a scarcity mentality stop you.
- There is so much money out there, it’s everywhere and we are deserving of the piece of the pie as long as we work hard for it.
- After money mindset is the seller’s mindset.
- This is the confidence in what you are selling.
- Your dream customer is why you created your product and service, how can you no...
This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Harma Hartouni. After listening to Harma and his story today, you will have no excuse for not being able to keep going and reaching your goals. Harma grew up in Iran during the Iraq-Iran war taking shelter from bombs every night. He later had a traumatic accident that crushed his lower body and took him a year to come back from. And I will let him tell you about everything else that has happened to him in his life. But this guy never quit.
And today, Harma is a self-made millionaire entrepreneur and developer, owns a real estate company employing hundreds of residential and commercial real estate agents in Southern California, and runs the #1 ranked real estate business in his region. His real estate practice exceeds $1B in sales volume and he is also the founder and CEO of multiple companies servicing the local real estate industry, His businesses include financial services, technology and coaching. If that is not enough, he is the author of Getting Back Up: A Story of Resilience, Self-Acceptance & Success. Fittingly, those are the topics we are going to discuss in this episode.
Harma was born in LA and within 30 days moved to Iran. Shortly after, the revolution happened and his mother lost all her rights and they were stuck in the country. At 18, Harma got into a car accident and did not get hurt, but when he got out of his car, another car hit breaking both his legs and mangling his lower body. He was not supposed to walk again. He did everything he could to get back to walking and was able to move to the US.
He ended up in Glendale, CA. He had a lot of struggles and it took him a year and half to become confident enough to come out to his family and reveal he was gay. He quit dental school against his families wishes to be a real estate agent.
He’s been in real estate for 18 years and his business now does over $1.2 billion in sales a year. His passion has grown to really building the business and he has the top agents in the nation working for him. He’s married and had 3 kids.
I’ve heard you say that “everyone is a survivor.” Explain what that means.
- Every single person has a story.
- Some are deeper, other not so much.
- Everyone has been through challenges.
- Understanding this helps you to appreciate not only them, but what you have gone through as well.
- Resilience comes from learning from the past and choosing to move forward.
- Everyone has gone through and overcome something in their lives.
You talk about not letting yourself become a victim. Talk to us about the difference between being victimized and being a victim.
- Run towards your fear. Accept it and own it.
- If you start doing that, you cannot be a victim.
- Harma has been so broke that he has been in place where he had no hope in anything else. He had not choice, but to find a way to survive.
- People that manage to become victims at some point were given a false hope. They were not pushed to move through their challenge or trauma.
- You cannot move forward by being stuck in the past.
- If you keep reading your last chapter, how will you write a new one?
There are of people in the same situation you have been in that don’t break out and reach their full potential and accomplish successes like you. A lot of people would just give into their state and accept it and stay there. Why didn’t that happen to you? How did you break out?
- This is one of the reasons he wrote the book with his lessons.
- Harma had a very challenging upbringing with his father. He had to think ahead. He had to protect his mom.
- But, his father was very successful, yet didn’t have followers. He would use people and burn through them.
- Seeing this gave him a why and purpose – not to be like that in his life. He was fueled by a mission to become more successful and bigger than his father.
- He was also fueled to be able to get his mom and family out of Iran and to help fund them in the US.
- Harma was fueled by gaining a better live for himself and all those around him.
- You must get in the habit of loving the journey. You must find the joy and meaning in it as you go through it.
At the 22-minute mark, we talk about the peaks and valleys of entrepreneurship What are a couple of your favorite lessons from your book?
- Unsolicited advice should not be welcomed. Don’t let yourself get derailed by someone else’s opinion.
- Seek advice from those that are successful and doing it and learn from them.
- The 5 Minute Funeral. We all have setbacks. Deal with them for 5 minutes and move on. Be fast to move on to a solution.
- Don’t get hung up on things. It does no good.
Talk to us about th...
This week’s Lesson for Hannah
Hannah, I want to share something with you that I learned a long time ago but have been amazed at how true it is. There are a lot of things that separate top performers from the rest of those out there. What is that allows some people to do more, accomplish more, push further, and endure more than others or what people think is possible?
I talk a lot of about Discipline, Consistency, and Persistence or Perseverance and have called it the DCP formula. In my mind, the most important part of the formula is the P. Because no matter how disciplined and consistent you are – you will run into major walls or seemingly insurmountable challenges. And if you are not willing to persist or persevere through them, then you will plateau. You will become stagnant.
You see this a lot in companies. When they begin and really nail their product or service and model, they grow quickly and have enormous success, but many, after a while stagnate. Usually, it is after the founder or owner steps down or steps back. Apple was a good example of this. For many years, Apple was the upstart and was so innovative that it continued to nail the market with its products and grow. But, then after the “professional managers” took over and essentially expelled Steve Jobs from his own company, the company plateaued. It got stagnant and comfortable just making Macs. But others begin to make PC’s just as good or even better and the company started to wither to the point where its stock got to just a couple bucks. Of course, the shareholders blasted the board, and the company became a place of turmoil. Reluctantly, the company brought Steve Jobs back and well...you know the rest of the story. Steve reimagined the products and reimagined how to change the world with technology starting first with the iPod and then iPhone and so on.
The company had not been willing to persist or persevere through its biggest wall – the need to reinvent itself into a company with totally different offerings. But Steve was willing to and guided it through.
So, where am I going with this?
There is a rule that has existed throughout human history. It has been called many things, but the name I like for it best is the 40% Rule. In fact, the place where I saw it coined best was in a book from a Navy SEAL named David Goggins.
The Rule is pretty simple: When you think you’ve given it your all or are exhausted and your mind is telling you are done - Telling you that you cannot go further, you are only 40% done. You have 60% more left in you.
Wait, what? Yes, what I am saying is that when you feel you are most exhausted, and you have given everything – you still have 60% left.
How can that be? Because our limitations exist in our minds. I’ve said before that what you focus on expands in your live. The bible says, “that which gaze upon you become.” What we believe and tell ourselves becomes our reality. So, when our mind is saying we are exhausted and cannot go further – guess what happens? We don’t go further. But, what if when the thought pops into our heads that we cannot go further and have given it all, that we tell ourselves, “No, I haven’t. I am only just beginning. And we repeat that over and over as we take our next step, etc.” What will happen? We will not be done. We will keep going. Winston Churchill once said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” This is the essence of the 40% Rule. Keep going.
In my life, I have sought ways to seek opportunities to test this rule and expand my capacity to endure. I hope you will do the same.
One way I have done that is through Ironman racing. A full Ironman is a 2.4-mile swim, followed by 112-mile bike ride, followed by a marathon. Every race has new challenges. No just in navigating a new course, but the risks around you from others (look up Ironman bike crashes) and being pulled and stretched in completely new ways mentally and physically. For example, my last full Ironman brought completely new challenges and almost broke me until I remembered the 40% Rule. First, the swim was like no other in that there was a stinging jellyfish bloom in the water. Imagine swimming 2.4 miles navigating jellyfish, even in a wetsuit, getting stung on your face, feet, hands, really any exposed area. Then getting out of the water and getting on a bike for 112 miles with the pain from it and your body reacting to it while you ride.
I admit, it was my fastest swim ever! Then, on the bike the headwind picked up to almost 20 miles an hour, forcing me to have to work harder than normal to maintain my pace. And if that wasn’t enough, the original temperature for the day was to be in the high 60’s. Pretty ideal weather. Well, about the time I was ending my ride, the overcast clouds parted, the sun came out, and it shot up into the 80’s. Needless to say, after the swim, hard bike, and now it bei...
This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Shawn Finder. Shawn is an interesting guy. He grew up as one of North America’s top tennis players and ranked 2nd best at one point. He was literally competing to be the next Andre Agassi. At age 23 that he was told that he had to decide whether to try and become a tennis professional or get an MBA. He chose a university education.
You see Shawn is an entrepreneur at heart and he knew that was his calling. At age 24, he started his first venture importing packaging and selling to retailers, but his real passion was selling. So he started a list building company to help salespeople called Exchange leads, grew that to huge success and then started AutoKlose which he just sold to Vanillasoft.
I brought him on to talk about his journey, what he’s learned, and how to get more leads and business.
Shawn was top ranked tennis player playing world-wide and go to the age that he needed to make a choice to make it a career or go to school. He got his MBA in finance. And this has served him well as an entrepreneur. He started out working for a company as head of sales, came up with the idea for his first business, Exchange Leads, his 2nd day on the job and 18 months later had built it into his first company.
You’ve bootstrapped all of your businesses to success. What is your best advice on how to bootstrap a business?
- Shawn focuses on growing as lean as possible and focus on profitability.
- He outsources using Upwork and other mediums for resources.
- It is also important to be very strategic from the start.
Tell us about some of the pitfalls or things you would do differently if bootstrapping again...
- You have to find a balance between being profitable and using the money in the bank to invest in your business. Don’t keep too much in the bank.
- You are going to try a lot of things to grow your business or make it successful, be careful not to neglect things that are working and make sure you are investing further in them alongside all the stuff you are trying.
- Start SEO before even launching the business if you can – organic growth is a huge opportunity.
- Beware the personal ups and downs that come with having a successful business, but it not translating into personal success and income right away. You will delay personal gratification a lot.
Lessons learned going through the acquisition process?
- Always be prepared for an acquisition.
- Make sure your financials are up to date, accurate, and dialed in.
- People don’t acquire you just because of the money you are making or your MRR/ARR.
- You need to value every area of your business. Your team, your clients, your income, your IP, etc.
- Working capital is very important to understand in an acquisition.
At the 12 Min mark, Shawn explains working capital and how it impacted his sale...
- Working capital is deferred revenue. Revenue paid up front for services to be rendered in the future.
- It will be taken off the purchase price from a buyer.
- This impacts to valuation as it comes off the purchase price and can be higher than you think.
- Talk working capital early on in an acquisition process so there is no surprise at the end.
What did playing tennis teach you about success, business, and life?
- When Shawn was 18, he started teaching tennis.
- Training others and top executives opened doors for him and helped learn how to become more professional in communication and business.
- Networking through your passion(s) and connecting with others that have similar interested – and that can partner or help you is a huge opportunity
- Coaching others for money is selling and fighting to keep business, so it prepares you for success in a lot of ways.
Talk to about selling in today’s world? What works? What doesn’t?
- It’s getting tougher and tougher and things are changing very fast.
- The most important thing to leverage is LinkedIn. Being genuine and connecting on the platform is important to help build trust.
- The biggest problem is all that we are asking salespeople to do from a CRM, tracking, detail standpoint that they don’t have time to sell. Put the sale first.
What should people know about the CRM and lead management systems out there and how best to use them?
- Build a sales stack that has a lot of automation. Automate as much of the process as possible allowing for automate scheduling, etc.
- Get as much of the busy work out of the way for your people so they can focus on the sale.
Best ways to boost sales?
- Get outside the box.
- Use Vide...
This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Brandon Fong. What if I told you that at any point in time, you are one connection away from huge growth and success in your career or life? Just one connection. Would you believe me? Brandon does...because he has proven it – not just in his own life and businesses, but for the thousands he has helped realize this power in their own lives and businesses.
Brandon is the founder of 7 Figure Millennial. He’s been featured in Fast Company, became the youngest member of the Genius Network with Joe Polish and elite millionaires at age 22, and has helped build multiple 7-Figure marketing operations. He teaches people how to deeply connect and develop real, authentic, and meaningful relationships with people – virtually.
In the current climate we are operating in as entrepreneurs, this skill is invaluable, so I asked Brandon to come on the show and share all of his secrets with you.
7 Figure Millennial Podcast
Magic Connection Method Gift: BFO.NG/Misfit
Brandon’s entrepreneurship journey started in middle school. Each day when he went to pay for his launch, when he went to pay, on the screen it would say $0. The reason being is because he qualified for the school lunch program because his family was very challenged financially. It frustrated him and drove him never to have that problem. His parents did everything they could to nurture this in him and taught that many times success comes from being resourceful. And you can be insanely resourceful if you know how to connect with people.
His parents would let him skip school at 16 to go to networking events to meet, learn from, and connect with successful people.
Every time Brandon has leveled up in his life has been because of someone he has met and connected with. He also learned to prioritize health, happiness, and relationships alongside money.
Talk to us about being just one connection away and how real that is for people...
- The people you look up to are a lot more accessible than you think they are.
- Just because someone has large success, doesn’t mean they are not open to connecting with you.
- You just have to reach out. The worst thing that can happen is that nobody replies.
Tell us about the Magic Connection Method. How does it work?
- If you reach out in a real, genuine way, you will stand out in today’s world.
- The Magic Connection Method is a process Brandon Developed that has 3 parts.
- The goal is to get someone to respond and open the door to have a relationship.
- Step 1: The Hook
- The biggest mistake people make when reaching out to others is they make it about themselves instead of who they are contacting.
- The goal of the hook is to make it about them and connect with them in a genuine way in which you are interested in them and can talk to specific reasons why.
- Step 2: The Irresistible Offer
- “A compelling offer is 10x more convincing than a compelling argument”
- Example of normal offer vs. an irresistible offer is the new mattress companies that let you sleep on the mattress for 100 nights and if you are not satisfied, you can send it back and get your money back – no questions asked. It’s a win, win compared to going to a store and buying a mattress and hoping it works out.
- For your irresistible offer, ask “How can I show that I care about them, minimize risk for them, give them a lot to gain, and make it easy to say yes.”
- At the 19 min mark, Brandon gives an example of how he worked for free for a short while with Jonathan Levi.
- Step 3: The “No Oriented Question”
- When you say yes to something, you are giving away something
- The exact opposite is true with saying “no.” It is choice.
- A “no oriented question” may be something like “Would you be opposed me to doing x”
- It is giving them the opportunity to say no instead of trying to force a yes.
You’ve said you can help entrepreneurs uncover $100k+ in their backyard, explain more on this...
- There is lots of untapped potential in a business. It just needs to be found.
- It goes back to the Magic Connection.
- Identify your best client
- Refine the offer to be irresistible
- Communicate with clients and prospects in a better way and you’ll get better results.
Talk to us about the steps you take in a business to create a world marketing program?
- It takes a systematic process to genuinely reach out to people.
- Business is people at the end of the day.
- The Magic Connection Method is key.
- One exercise is to identify your top 5 customers that are the best and most profitable and who the top 5 worst customers are that are not profitable and drain time.
- Once you have the profile, you can then creat...
This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Mark Tepper. Mark is a highly successful entrepreneur in the financial space and multi-time INC 5000 winner. You probably have seen him weekly on CNBC and Fox Business where he’s known for his no-nonsense, direct approach. I personally enjoy his honesty, willingness to stand on his principles, and insights and use them in my investing business.
Mark is also the author of 2 best-sellers, Tilting the Odds and Walk Away Wealthy.
But, what I love most about him is that he is an entrepreneur to the core and is a fierce competitor before anything else. And I’ve asked him to come on and share what he’s learned along his journey, his thoughts on how to navigate the crazy markets in today’s age, and what he sees for the future.
Mark grew up an entrepreneur at heart. He’s always been very competitive and as he says, “I would not make a great employee.” He came out of college and started his own business. He loves how rewarding it is to own his own business. He loves the wealth management business because he has a scorecard every day he shows up because he is either performing or he is not.
Tell us about your philosophy on investing and how to succeed as an investor?
- Mark’s free eBook on his website called Tilting the Odds breaks it down if you want to get it.
- There are 3 main things Mark and his team look at
- The first is the management team. Mark and his team look for quality management teams that have tenure and consistency.
- The second is that the company has to prove it has a sustainable growth story either in the market they are serving or other areas and that is has run room to continue to grow and not be a “1 hit wonder.”
- The third is price. You must discipline and not overpay for growth.
At the 8 min mark, we talk about the recent event with Gamestop in the market and how it related to entrepreneurship. Its best to just listen.
“Every single lesson I have learned from the stock market can be applied to running a business”
Talk to us about the business of investing and financial planning. What is most important to know about the industry and what should they look for in an advisor?
- The industry is a lot of smoke and mirrors.
- A lot of “wealth management” companies are just salespeople that are really glorified middlemen.
- Most do not have a strong value prop or competitive advantage.
- Mark and his team are active investors who have sought to have a strong value prop and a competitive advantage through their processes, reinvestment into the company and technology.
- The best question to ask a financial advisor is “What separates you from your competition?” If they can’t easily answer that, then they don’t have a separator.
- The next question is “What is your investment philosophy? Active? Passive? Investment vehicles you use?
- Lastly, ask “Are you a fiduciary?” Fiduciaries are required back law to put your best interest ahead of their own.
What should people know about today’s market and what should they be preparing for?
- Liquidity and money printing have been a huge driving force behind the current market uptrend. Trillions of dollars are flooding the market.
- It is long term very unhealthy.
- The insider buying activity is down. Executives internally are not buying more of their company stocks because they are at all time highs.
- M&A activity is expected to slow in 2021 because companies don’t want to overpay for acquisitions.
- But, until bond yields go up, there is some runway. It depends on the Fed actions, Treasury actions, etc.
- Stocks are still attractive compared to bonds.
Advice for new investors and those just starting out?
- Have a process and stick to it. Be disciplined.
- You should go into any investment or any trade, you should know ahead of time how to unwind that trade.
- If you are not willing to be disciplined and have a process, then it’s maybe best to just use index funds.
- Check out the book Unknown Market Wizards
- They all got lucky in some way
- They all had a system
What are the principles you’ve taken from investing and used to build a business with?
- Begin with the end in mind. When you buy a stock, you need to when you are going to exit and have the strategy.
- The same goes with a business. As you put together your business plan, you should also be preparing your business to be able to be sold as well.
- If you do that the right way, you will build a very efficient, profitable business.
- Know what the end looks like as you get into your business.
- Systematizing every is so important. ...
This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Jeremy Parker. Jeremy is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Swag.com. Swag.com is the best place for companies to buy and distribute quality promotional products that people will actually want to keep. They work with over 5,000 companies including Facebook, Google, Amazon, Spotify and Tik Tok. The company was ranked #218 on 2020’s INC 500 list and has been growing tremendously.
But, a promotional products company growing massively in age of no tradeshows or in person meetings where these things are typically exchanged, how can that be? That was exactly the question I had when I was first introduced to Jeremy. What is he doing differently at Swag that has people flocking to them?
I thought it best he share his secrets with you.
Jeremy went to Boston University for filmmaking. But he also liked branding. He chose filmmaking because YouTube was just beginning, and he saw a way to tell stories/market through filmmaking. He did a documentary that won the Vail Film Festival. It was this point that he had to make the decision on if he wanted to continue down the filmmaking path or go to his true passion in marketing. He went back for his final year in college and focused on marketing. He decided to start a high-end T-shirt business and use it as a learning process – right before the crash in 2007.
Just after getting started, all the places he was selling his shirts to were starting to have trouble. He decided to index the price of his shirts to the price of the DOW Jones. Every 100 pts it fell equaled a discount on his shirts. Jeremy wrote to Mark Cuban sharing what he was doing, and Mark shared it on his Maverick blog. It then got seen by the CEO of MV Sports, a larger player in the promotional space. After meeting, the CEO committed to help fund his next business.
He decided to re-imagine university apparel and started a brand under MV Sport. He then started a company doing product placement in Youtube Videos which then sold to a publicly traded company.
He always liked the promotions business and new it was stuck in old ways and needed to be tailored to work with the Millennial buyer.
Talk to use about the early days and getting going. What is your best advice for entrepreneurs just starting out?
- When you start a business, you have to put yourself out there, listen to your customers and adapt quickly.
- Know the power of a name as the name of your company have a huge impact on your success if done right.
- They successfully negotiated to get the exclusive license to use the Swag.com domain for 2 years in exchange for a little equity and have the option to buy the domain for $200k during that period.
- Then, Jeremy went big. He did a top-down approach to get logos and focused on Facebook and others to get any type of sale so it could then be referenced to parlay future sales.
- They focused on sales first and didn’t even build out the website.
- They got a number of Blue-chip companies, got their feedback for what they wanted in a buying experience and then built the Swag platform around it.
- Don’t be afraid to go after the big clients from the start.
Is there a framework you use for disrupting an industry?
- Look for an industry or niche where every player is doing things the same or not collectively serving a market.
- You can either disrupt by doing something that no one is doing or by recognizing that the players are doing it wrong or not adapting to the changes in the market because they are “stuck in their ways.”
- You have to talk to all those you think are customer and get great feedback you can use to fix the problems and pain points they have as a group.
- Customers will tell you what they are looking for.
- You will not have everything clients want and have it working properly and that is ok. You solve a problem and continue to improve.
What has been the most impactful decision for your success during the pandemic?
- Pivoting. They started to sell masks, either blank or printed with logos, etc. Access to their manufacturing power for clients.
- They kept their team intact.
- The sped up the release of Swag Distribution where they allowed clients to ship 1 item or a few at a time to individual addresses. Swag would hold the inventory and clients could send them out to whoever they want at any time. This made a huge difference and gave clients a new way to engage and promote.
- They changed to give the customer experience people needed in the pandemic quickly.
How do you get customers today? What works? What doesn’t?
- Started with knocking on doors
- Graduated to Google Ads
- Once customers were coming in, they thought long term, SEO
- Content strategy is crit...
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to share it.
This week’s Lesson for Hannah
Hannah, I want to speak to you about sacrifice. Your life is going to be filled with it. When most people hear the word sacrifice, they think of it in a negative way. But I want you to know that sacrifice, more often is good and brings good into our lives.
No matter who you are or your status in life, life is hard. It is full of twists, turns, wonderful moments, amazing experiences, happiness, sadness, love, suffering, and sacrifice. And each person has to navigate life in their own way and each person will work through the challenges of life in their own way.
But, if we can build a positive relationship with sacrifice and see it for what it is – a natural steppingstone to bettering our lives, we can use our sacrifices to make ourselves better, create opportunities, and have a better life.
What do I mean? As we go through life, we will encounter challenges in every area. We will have challenges in our work lives, in our personal lives, and even be affected by things we cannot and do not have control over. You will have to make sacrifices all the time.
A sacrifice is really a choice. Many times, it is a choice between what is right and hard, and what is easy. It is very tempting to take the easy path and not go through the struggle. But the easy path many times leads to bad outcomes. For example, it is easier for a married couple having issues in their lives and marriage to get a divorce than it is to work on the problems together and overcome them. But those that do make the commitment to work together to overcome their challenges come out with stronger, more loving relationships and are happier than those that don’t. At least I can say that is what has been shared with me from those I have spoken to over the years who have been in those situations.
By the same token, it is easier to set aside big problems in business and one’s work and just pretend they don’t exist. This avoidance usually leads to the problem growing bigger and festering to a point where it must be dealt with and at that point it is much larger and more painful than it would have been if handled earlier.
I’ve made many sacrifices in my life, so has your mother. And we will continue to have them and to make them. I know that sometimes, in making the sacrifices it makes things harder in the short term, but in the long term, it is worth it. I think you’ve seen this already even as young as you are. If you’ve ever heard of “delayed gratification,” this is where it comes from. Making a sacrifice in the short term for a bigger gain in the long term. I know and trust in that if I make a sacrifice for the right reasons, it will turn out good in some way, shape, or form in my life and it almost always does. Delayed gratification has paid off for me big time over the years. Therefore, I do not shy away from these times in life, but welcome them and am prepared for them as best I can be.
I hope that you can learn to do the same. To embrace that life is full of sacrifices, choices we must make – and that as much as possible, we must make the right choice, even if it is hard, maybe even painful in some way in our lives. Just know that it is worth it. The pain will be short-lived and lead to a better, richer life, and make you stronger.
Hannah, don’t be afraid of sacrifice. Embrace it and watch for the good that comes from it.
I love you,
Best Quote: A sacrifice is really a choice. Many times, it is a choice between what is right and hard, and what is easy.
- When most people hear the word sacrifice, they think of it in a negative way. But I want you to know that sacrifice, more often is good and brings good into our lives.
- A sacrifice is really a choice. Many times, it is a choice between what ...