Episode Thirty Six Features Guests Six Through Ten Imparting Wisdom and What They Have Learned
My Key Takeaways:
I was extremely lucky to get the following guests as my next five interviews:
Episode 6 - Rick TerrienEpisode 7 - Dave StokesEpisode 8 -...
Episode Thirty Six Features Guests Six Through Ten Imparting Wisdom and What They Have Learned My Key Takeaways:
I was extremely lucky to get the following guests as my next five interviews:
Episode 6 - Rick Terrien Episode 7 - Dave Stokes Episode 8 - Bill Nowicki Episode 9 - Jeffrey Nash Episode 10 - Travis Rosbach
In this episode:
To learn more about each guest, please check out episodes six through ten on Entrepreneurs Over 40. Be sure to hit Subscribe in your podcast app so that you don't miss it or any other episodes. Show notes and more can be found at EntrepreneursOver40.com
[00:00:00] My first guest today is Rick Tarion. I actually heard about him from his book ageless startup. Start a business at any age. Rick has since gone on to launch the center for ageless entrepreneurs.
[00:00:14] And organization devoted to helping both new and experienced entrepreneurs. Create new opportunities and to help market our collective capabilities as a network to worthy projects worldwide.
[00:00:27] I asked Rick, how could someone start their own business without having any prior experience as an entrepreneur? This is what he had to say.
[00:00:36] Rick Terrien: You don't want to start small. You want to start smart. And most of all, you want to start right now and starting small part of this is if you take the total number of businesses we had in the United States pre pandemic, there was 32 million businesses in the United States of those 32 million, 25 million of 32 we're one person business.
[00:00:59] I mean that's over 75% of the businesses in the United States as one person business. There's no harm in this. It's often looked down on. When I started an economic development agency in a prior life, and I've got to learn that language and hang around with state national and regional economic development types, they would sneer at one person businesses.
[00:01:20] They would call them lifestyle businesses. If it's your business and it's supporting your. There's nothing to lifestyle about it. It's critical. And in you're making a contribution to the world and in my lifetime, there's never been an easier time to wrap yourself in the armor of a one person business, get an LLC around you, get the insurance, get the banking that the world is getting set up for one person businesses in ways that I've never seen before.
[00:01:47] So you want to start small. It's the way to do it. The idea is. Not to be a lone ranger as a one-person business, but to do the next part is to start smart and that's get yourself in a network of other small business people. That's why I'm helping start this center for angels. Entrepreneurs is what happens then is you've got other peers that have had life experiences and separate skills and ones that you don't have.
[00:02:14] You have ones they don't have. Now you can put yourself together as a team you're starting. And those teams can go out and meet individual projects as they come and go, and people can stay out there and longer terms on those projects or melt back into the group and pick it up again. So this idea of starting smart, that we have the communication technologies, look at us now talking over the computers that are free and easy and ways to put networks and solutions together.
[00:02:42] So that's the start smart. Pardon? And I would really like to help enable that with this new nonprofit. But maybe the most important part Greg is to start right now. And I try to quote that famous line about when's the best time to plant a tree. And the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is today.
[00:03:02] Rick went on to say that it's human nature to think that a business will start large, but that's not necessarily the case. In his own words.
[00:03:11] Rick Terrien: I think that this one person business model that I'm talking about, you can certainly grow it to more than that , if need be. But in this day and age, once you get two or three people in that are highly. And the, and they are applying their networks and their leverage. You can move mountains with really small teams.
[00:03:28] So for those really small companies that I'm recommending, I think certain kinds of consulting, subject matter expertise that you can share, right away, everybody goes to you gotta be a neuroscientist or a physicist. You have some tablet from the mountaintop, but the world needs landscapers and they're going to need advice on corporate landscaping and or fire safety, suppression systems and there's room to advise people going forward on virtually every subject.
[00:04:00] And especially if you can combine that with your peers into a cohesive package. That meets a specific demand at a specific time. These are wonderful. Now these are a one person. Business is not going to make the cover of most magazines is, are not hockey stick returns. The returns are often quite modest.
[00:04:20] There was a survey that. We did it, it was encore.org. I really liked that organization. They did a survey a while back, but they asked these folks in this demographic, if you had your own small business, did a startup, how much more money would you make you happy? And the overwhelming majority of them said if they could make 15 to 20 grand.
[00:04:40] And in addition to what they had coming in, they'd be thrilled. They'd be making a contribution. It would be putting some more resiliency and safety net into their life. Now you can certainly grow it more than that. A group of them wanted to make 50 or 60, and that's fine. These are probably not million dollar consulting jobs, unless maybe you are a neuroscientist, but, for the rest of us landscapers out here and all of the people who these skills that we raised our family around.
[00:05:05] There's plenty of room to do new kinds of commerce around it. You can advise people on landscape. If you're in Portland, Maine, you can advise somebody in Portland, Oregon on how to do it, their money. Money's just
[00:05:16] Greg Mills: as good.
[00:05:16] Rick Terrien: And if I had to choose among the problems that I was going to look. It reminds me of, two different newspaper articles that were written about work. I was doing, they were 20 years apart. One was back in the very early banner business and one was in an engineering business later on and the headlines were the same.
[00:05:33] It was Rick Darien does work. Nobody else wants. And that's finding the, if you're a landscaper, what is the hardest part? Where's the problem in land? Or in neuroscience or in fire suppression systems, there, there is a problem somewhere in here. And if you're those markets, you know where that problem is. And that's a value that newer people to an industry may not have that insight. So I would set myself up as a one person business and I would go tackle that problem and become the subject matter expert in that problem. That's how I have guided each of my next steps. I usually go find broken stuff, broken
[00:06:07] Greg Mills: stuff or stuff that no one wants to do and go
[00:06:09] Rick Terrien: from there.
[00:06:10] And if you can integrate. even the slightest way, you don't need intellectual property, you just have trade secrets, something that you're doing a little bit different than the average bear. It gives you a heads up and I'll read something from my favorite business author is right over my computer here.
[00:06:27] It's this from Seth Goden, a really great business writer. And Seth says the best way to make a hit is to build something for the smallest viable audience and make it so good. That people tell their peers, that's the way we grow these little businesses. You want to make them small. You don't need to necessarily have hockey stick, , all the million likes and all of this stuff.
[00:06:49] That's all fun and interesting, but you need to solve a problem and you need to solve it for a few people. You can write invoices and they'll pay you with jacks for
[00:06:58] My next guest was Dave Stokes. And Australia who founded author to audio. A studio free audio book, recording, editing, publishing, and distribution platform geared to help authors and podcasters get their message out into the world. David and I got along pretty well, partly because we have similar it backgrounds.
[00:07:21] I happened to ask Dave about the power of storytelling in business. And this is what he said about it.
[00:07:27] Dave Stokes: I think in the same way that we've done that full circle, really back to those days in the eighties and the seventies on those family holidays, with the cassette tapes playing in the car, really.
[00:07:40] We're actually back to that stage with audio books now, just that we're delivering it in a totally different method, but it's really still the same idea. And if we talk about storytelling, then storytelling itself, it predates language. It certainly predates. It predates written language. It predates printing technologies.
[00:08:00] It predates printing technologies. Effectively, if we went back a million years, then the two of us together on a hunt and Rick sees something and just goes, oh, and I say know, I see the same thing and just go, message conveyed. Greg's just send some priority.
[00:08:17] And he's just alerted Dave to it. Dave sees it too, and we're off to pursue it. So without words, without language, just a series of grunts is enough to generate the story. And I think to me, that's the really important thing about storytelling and particularly about, about audible.
[00:08:35] The auditory format is. We can not only share the words, but we can also share the feeling behind those words, which if you're reading, it's not quite so easy. You've got your own interpretation of what you think the author means, but you're really creating the movie inside your head.
[00:08:52] Whereas for an audio book, you are actually hearing the absolute emotion intention and emphasis behind that story. That's intended by the author in their own words. And that generally has helped with. The second factor in business, I think is that, and again, something perhaps we share in common having worked for some large corporations over the years, we have seen lots and lots of corporate presentations by the leaders of industry, where we've sat down in a staff room and in a group of 500 people listening to a town hall presentation, which describes, the company's objectives for what we want to do, in the next 12 months.
[00:09:26] We've sat through an hour's worth of PowerPoint presentations that go through very esoteric, hard to understand and abstract concepts. Whereas now those same presentations, there's a huge shift towards starting the story with. Well, the other day in our, in our Delaware store, a woman fell over and hit the floor.
[00:09:47] And one of our staff members went immediately over to help her. And she said, look, the terrible problem is that I don't have my heart medication with me. But there's some in my purse. I don't have. If you would be so kind as to fill that prescription, then that will sort me out and I'll feel better within a half an hour.
[00:10:02] So off goes, the store representative goes to the local drug store, fills the prescription, comes back to the client. Who's been made comfortable and given a glass of water, gives her the heart medication and then half an hour later, she's back on her feet and she's feeling fine as opposed to a PowerPoint slide that says we take ultimate care of our customers and nobody's.
[00:10:22] In the industry is going to take better care of their customers than we do. And everyone goes well. Yeah. but the story about the fallen customer, this actually demonstrates exactly what was done. It's a more engaging way of getting the point across people are gonna remember that one, as opposed to the, just, remember these 50 things and remember all of them and commit them to memory and rote, learn them
[00:10:44] So paraphrase Dave's advice to all entrepreneurs starting out is to listen to your customer and to do your market research.
[00:10:54] Dave Stokes: I think the most important element. And it probably makes sense that I would say this, I guess, because I am in the listening game, largely this is about listening. And I think in terms of the broad success of the business, remember this one thing that you were born with two ears and one mouth, and there's a very good reason for that.
[00:11:13] So in the early days, just listening to what people's advice. What their experience was when that, when that was, when they were starting their own business, what were the things that they really struggled with marketing? For example, like it had absolutely no idea of what I was doing. So for me, that became a massive listening experience and the best advice that I got from, uh, an expert market, a friend of mine.
[00:11:36] So again, use your connections, use people that you know, the questions that you're asking yourself that you think you can do. Ask them out to your potential market.
[00:11:45] So actually get the market research done first. So if I hadn't had my time over again, I would have spent much more time on that now because I spend a lot of time doing it now. So you're getting all of the feedback. So you're starting to understand what the demand will be for your services. Before you spend a dollar, you you'll find plenty of things to spend your money.
[00:12:05] So you need to really know where your demands go to be. So for me, that's the key bit of advice about working as an entrepreneur is talk to as many people as you possibly can.
[00:12:15] In your industry, out of your industry, in your target market. And you'll find that people are very, very happy to talk to you about what they want. People love for someone to come to them and say, Hey, tell me about a problem you've got with publishing. Can you let me know how I might be able to help solve it?
[00:12:31] People really love that approach and they will often be forthcoming and tell you everything you need to know. They'll tell you what service you can construct till then, you know, you're going to have so.
[00:12:41] Build a Wiki used to live about 15 minutes up the road for me though. Neither of us knew each other at the time. I happened to hear him on Nick Lopers side hustle nation, talking about the power of local podcasting via his podcast. Marietta stories. And knew I wanted to talk to them more. Bill shared with me that interviewing others helps them to better understand them
[00:13:04] And their motivations.
[00:13:06] bill-nowicki-audio-only_recording-1_2021-04-29--t08-41-42pm--bill-nowicki-1: I love when you hear somebody's story, if it makes sense, the way they act and you know, all the stuff we do on social media that know has like this, person's a jerk, we should ban them.
[00:13:19] I don't know these people. I think the more I know about interviews and talking to people, the more, I think everybody's complicated. Everybody has their own story. I'm not going to judge you. Based on some Twitter post when they were drunk or whatever, I don't know what their journey is. And if I do find out their journey, typically I feel I'm more empathetic to them than anything, .
[00:13:49] Bill went on to share how we often create mental images of worst case scenarios in our mind that are either illogical or that just aren't true
[00:13:59] bill-nowicki-audio-only_recording-1_2021-04-29--t08-41-42pm--bill-nowicki-1: Experiences really helps. Connect you with other folks, if you're in your twenties. Yeah. That's great to have a podcast, but by gosh, people in their fifties, forties, fifties, and sixties should be doing podcasts. If they can get out of their own way and, shift their paradigm a little bit.
[00:14:20] But to me, it's so much fun when you get out of your own way and start doing. It's worth it. It's worth the fear that you have, but find the people that do something is the best way to do that, you know?
[00:14:35] bill-nowicki-audio-only_recording-1_2021-04-29--t08-41-42pm--eo40show-1: At least from the generation that I'm in. I was always worried about what other people were thinking about me. And now that I'm 50 plus years old, they weren't thinking about me at all.
[00:14:45] bill-nowicki-audio-only_recording-1_2021-04-29--t08-41-42pm--bill-nowicki-1: Right. Absolutely true. And it's funny, you should mention that. I asked that Israeli guy said like, I dunno if I can launch this podcast. Cause what are you scared about? And I said, well, what if no one listens? And there's no. Nobody's listening then last wall. What if a bunch of people listen and they hate it as well?
[00:15:04] A bunch of people are listening. That's true. So I hit publish, but it's that kind of thing. If you actually think through what are you really scared of this really nothing. There's no downside to it except your own embarrassment. And to be honest with you, you're everyone's first episode sucks. Everyone's first video sucks.
[00:15:24] It's just how we learn, but not doing it is the biggest issue is most people never publish. And it said, like I said, I'd rather they try it and find out I don't like it. And here's why, but you know, it's getting over your own hesitancy.
[00:15:44] . Jeffrey Nash first came on my radar. When I overheard a young couple talking about this amazing product that they'd found to help teach their child to walk safely without killing their backs. I was able to track him down and he was gracious enough to let me interview him. Like other guests, he talked about mindset and attitude.
[00:16:04] And how they could make or break you.
[00:16:07] Yeah, you're starting out and you're already. In an arena that you know nothing about. So you have to rely on, your vision. You have perseverance, you try to stay open-minded, like a lot of people I think have the wrong perspective when it comes to fail. I embrace adversity and, I try to stay as optimistic as
[00:16:33] Listen in every disadvantage, there's an advantage. Again, to stay positive is so important because you're going to run into so many situations that could devastate you. I am just happy that I got an opportunity to invent something that nobody else has thought about. It's been relatively successful because of my attitude.
[00:16:59] What I found to be extremely helpful was things like. Meditating listening to motivational speakers because you need that motivation every day, as you're going through the trials and tribulations. Of navigating through all the things that come your way, when you're trying to set up a business a lot, depends on your attitude.
[00:17:27] And if you've got a good attitude, you can make it through. And if not, you're going to, continually think about things that you shouldn't be thinking about. Like sales.
[00:17:37] Since our interview, Jeffrey has closed down the jumpy.com. And is no longer manufacturing or selling it. There were a lot of knockoffs and patent infringers and it just got to be too, honorous dealing with all that. He's now the director of sales at orange Birch solar. In his own words I decided that, I was going to start a entire new career. In, renewable energy. I've been very interested in renewable energy, solar power, to be specific.
[00:18:12] I started to look at some of the companies that are in Nevada and, I did some research, a lot of research actually. It was very interested in possibly hooking up with a company that had outstanding service because it seemed to me as that. If I was a customer that bought solar paneling, I would want to make sure that if something went wrong, I could pick up the phone.
[00:18:41] 24 7 and somebody would actually show up. So what I did was when things started to loosen up a little, I went to about four companies and interviewed and out of the four, I decided to go with this one particular company named orange barista that, has a service through Palmetto.
[00:19:02] And just an outstanding company. So I'm having a good time, learning about solar energy and how it's going to help the future. As far as power is concerned.
[00:19:14] My final guest today has had quite a colorful life. He even negotiated his way out of high school, but that story is not in this interview. If you want to hear about that, you'll have to go back to episode 10. Now Travis Ross back invented the Hydroflask and he now operates the Tableau group where he helps fellow inventors bring their products to market.
[00:19:37] Here. He talks about inventing the Hydroflask.
[00:19:41] Travis Rosbach: It came to me in different segments. The first time it came was out the sign company. I got a magazine that was advertising a cylindrical screen printer.
[00:19:53] So a printer that could do a full wrap around a aluminum bottle was how it was advertised. And you can do one at a time. It was very slow and tedious. But when I saw the picture of it, the ad, something just went off in my head that. I don't, I can't explain, but something just told me there's something here.
[00:20:12] So I told my brother, he was in a law who at the time as well, I said, Hey, Jeff, Hey, here's a great idea. Maybe you should start a water bottle company. And he was too busy with his girlfriend and their sailboat and, chasing dolphins and going snorkeling and stuff. He said no, and I forgot all about it.
[00:20:30] And then one day I was thirsty. I was downtown Honolulu dropping off some supplies. And I went into the sporting goods store to buy a water bottle. And there was this huge big wall where the bottles were and they were gone. There was only about two or three left. And I said, what happened to all these bottles?
[00:20:53] And they guys said there's this thing, we're not really sure what it is. The owners are French. And they saw an article that came out in Europe about this stuff. We don't know what it's called, but it's in plastic, later we found out BPA not real safe, not real good. So as a precaution, . We've taken all these bottles off and I said who's going to replace this wall of bottles. And the guy said, nobody, there's nobody else to do to make water bottles. And again, it hit me in the back of the head right here and it came out my mouth and I said, I will I'll do that.
[00:21:24] And he laughed at me. And the amount of time in between me saying it and him laughing at me, I saw the future, which was amazing. It was it was wild. Like I saw myself talking 10 years later about these water bottles at a university or a campus. And and so I went back to the dive or to the sign shop and I said, Hey, tell me about water bottles.
[00:21:49] I asked the employees and the first one said there's this aluminum brand. You need to get it. It's the best in the world. So I went out and bought it and it Was awful. It, for a multitude of reasons and it had BPA in it and so on and so forth.
[00:22:04] , we'd go surf and I would pick up my bottle and take a swig and it would just be too hot to drink, which kind of defeated the purpose of bringing water with, and so I thought there's gotta be a better way.
[00:22:15] And then about a year and a half later figured out how to do Hydroflask it, it took quite a while.
[00:22:21] I wanted to see if it was possible and I wanted it for myself and I kinda, it's not that I didn't care if anybody bought him or not, but I thought even if I could just make a couple for myself and my friends and family, that'd be cool.
[00:22:36] And when we got the samples, we got the first couple of prototypes. We drove around the island, taking a lot of photos. And everybody who held them or, posed for the photos was just blown away. They. Instantly recognized that was something that they would use and want. But then yeah, when we went to market and we would start getting a lot of fan mail and people would come up to me at the fairs or street, events that we would do and give their praise for the product, it felt really good.
[00:23:07] And it gave us a lot of incentive to keep going. .
[00:23:11] In the early days, Travis didn't have a ton of money to spend on marketing. So you embraced the power of gorilla marketing.
[00:23:18] Travis Rosbach: It was a lot of guerrilla marketing and at that time, I, and we grew Hydroflask isn't necessarily the same way that I am and we are growing businesses today. But back then it was a lot of trade shows. It was a lot of gorilla marketing, meaning hats, stickers, t-shirts banners. A lot of the things I learned at the the sign company in a law, there was a lot of t-shirt companies in Oahu, and they were all trying to be the best and the biggest and the greatest and the, make the biggest mark on, on society.
[00:23:54] So I picked up a lot of guerilla marketing techniques in Oahu and I would literally, we'd show up at a trade show and I would get all of the security Hydroflask t-shirts. And I would give them four free t-shirts for four days of trade show and they would wear them. In fact we got to the point where we would print security on the front and Hydroflask on the shoulder and then Hydroflask and security on the back.
[00:24:24] And they would wear them, and so everybody thought were sponsoring the, the event. And then also in, in giving out free water bottles. That was one of the best ways to market because they literally were selling themselves. Nobody had ever seen such a thing before, and it only took a day or two of drinking water.
[00:24:44] Before people would start feeling much better, physically, mentally, emotionally, every other way. And so after two or three days, they would be hooked and they'd come back for more for themselves or their families. And we would always say that they were the number one most stolen product in most people's homes because, a spouse or a sibling would steal one somebody else's, and then come to us and they would tell us their story of how their sister or their brother or their husband stole their bottle.
[00:25:12] Now they needed their own, and and word of mouth. I really felt if we can get bend Oregon, which was a very small. Quiet town back then. If we could get binned to drink out of Hydroflask.
[00:25:24] maybe we could get Oregon and if we get Oregon, perhaps we could get the Northwest.
[00:25:29] And if we get the Northwest possibly the west coast, and what we found was that the sales reps were also a very big part of our growth as well. The sales reps all around the world, we had sales reps in, in the far reaches of the planet and we would get them t-shirts and hats and stickers and.
[00:25:50] They would get more orders and we would get them more free bottles for samples, for owners of businesses and we'd get more orders. And so it was, we had a really good product and we were just good people doing good things. And lifetime warranty was another thing that was a big help. For whatever reason, if you weren't happy with the product, bring it back in and we'll get you a new one or send it in.
[00:26:14] And a lot of people told me I was crazy and I don't know that they really do that anymore. At least not how we used to do it. But people thought if they're just going to buy one and then they'll never buy a second one, they'll just get it for free. That proved to not be quite accurate.
[00:26:28] People would come back and buy 10 or 15 more.
[00:26:31] The story of how Travis knew that it was time for him to exit out of Hydroflask is bittersweet.
[00:26:38] Travis Rosbach: My brother had just died. There was quite a few frivolous lawsuits flying around. That was another thing that I didn't realize. I didn't really read in any of my books that the bigger you get, the more people want to throw rocks at you, and people will want to Sue for a multitude of reasons, whether it's legit or not.
[00:26:59] I had just gotten married and I was on my honeymoon. We were in, in the Louvre in Paris and I saw a hydro flask and that was always one of the, one of the early days.
[00:27:11] When we, before we had even a hundred bottles sold, we always said that it'd be really neat to find a bottle out in the wild somewhere. And that would be when we knew that we were, we had made it, we were established and we were a legit brand. And so when I saw that bottle in Paris at the loop I was, I, it was like the whole thing just came to it together.
[00:27:33] I now have closure. I feel like this chapter is wrapping up here fairly quickly.
[00:27:39] And I was ready to just go do something else that the season had ended.
[00:27:43] Travis and myself firmly believe that our world needs more entrepreneurs. Why. I think he says it best here.
[00:27:52] Travis Rosbach: The world needs entrepreneurs. We need people to stand up and try. We need people to save this planet and make our lives easier. And we needed to make our lives better. In a lot of ways we can do that is with entrepreneurial help. I really firmly believe that tomorrow's inventions are out there today, listening to this right now.
[00:28:16] And we need people to just stand up and take a risk. It's not easy. It's not fun all the time and it's not for everybody. But if you have a calling to be an entrepreneur, please by all means, stand up. We need.