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How to Survive the Great Recession and Build a $25 Million Business
The Success Harbor Podcast: Entrepreneurship | Business | Starting Business | Success | Lifestyle
(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); What does it take to build a $25 million business? Rick Day is a serial entrepreneur. For over 25-years Rick has been starting, growing, downsizing, restructuring, and selling his businesses. One of his more recent businesses not only survived the Great Recession, but it grew to over 55 people and over $25 million in revenue. After a multi-million dollar exit, Rick became involved in several other businesses as an advisor, investor, and leader.   https://www.successharbor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Rick.Day_19_Jun_2014_final.mp3   Say hi to Rick at businessbyday.com. Read Raw Transcript Now: Success Harbor: Hi everyone this is George Meszaros with Success Harbor and I have Rick Day with me. For over 25 years Rick has been growing, downsizing, restructuring and ultimately selling his business. Even though he sold his business of $25 million, he is very much involved today with businesses. Rick also blogs and advises entrepreneurs at businessbyday.com. Welcome. Rick Day: Hey, thanks so much, it’s a pleasure to talk with you. Success Harbor: Thank you for being here today Rick. I really appreciate it. Rick Day: Of course. Success Harbor: Before we get into anything else, I want to talk about your first business venture. What was your first experience being an entrepreneur? Rick Day: Well it’s funny; it was not my telecom business. I had served 3 years in the Navy and got out of the Navy here in San Diego and I decided to put myself through college and finish college afterwards so I was an enlisted guy and so I ended up working at one place and it was redundant work and I had a buddy that I met in one of my classes and he was detailing cars and I didn’t know much about that business at the time, I was 22 and so I asked him to teach me and then I went and found some clients. So he taught me; I provided him with a couple days of labor, he taught me the business, showed me where to get my supplies and then I started just kind of knocking on doors and telling some friends that I was in the auto-detailing business and so that business actually got me most of the way through college, great flexible hours, met some really great people who drive nice cars which I like and then I ended up selling that business to another student. Success Harbor: So, thank you for your service; I didn’t want to interrupt you but thank you for your service. And what was that first business experience like? I think a lot of people, you know, to look at the Facebooks and the WhatsApps of the world, billion dollar exit or sale, just unbelievable businesses but starting a business like this when you do everything from actually doing the work and marketing your business, everything from the nitty gritty to just running it daily, why do you think it’s important to have a business like that or have that kind of experience? Rick Day: Well I think the first and the biggest step that I had to get over George, was just the fear of ‘what if this doesn’t work?’ and I had rented a room from my grandmother at the time and so, I’m living in her house and I’m talking with her a little bit about this and I’m going to college and I said you know what, I think I can do this but what happens if it doesn’t work? What happens if nobody wants to do their cars and maintain their cars for them and she said, “Why don’t you give it a try because you could always go get another job if you want to?”, and she really encouraged me but taking that leap was the most difficult thing. And then I just sort of, you know, my degree that I was perusing is in Finance; my degree is in Finance now and so I knew that you’d had to have the basic operations of the business. Somebody has to do the marketing and sales, somebody then has to perform the work or provide the service or the product and then somebody has to do the administration and the books and you’ve got to pay your taxes and do your banking and so, I had to do all of that myself. Success Harbor: So then you decided to sell that business. So how long did you run that business and why did you decide to sell? Rick Day: Good question. So I ran it for about 2 ½ years and I actually ended up picking up an account from–, so one of my bankers was a girl who’s boyfriend worked at this computer company and so I went down to the computer company and I said, “Hey, I would love to come and detail your cars.” They had really nice, like a Ferrari, they had some Porsches, they had a Corvette, the Toyota Supra, one guy had a Lamborghini, and it was really cool so they hired me and I was detailing their cars and we got to talking and they said, “Well what are you going to do when you get finished with school?”, and I said “Well I’m getting my degree in Finance and I love people and talking to people so maybe I’ll go and be a stockbroker or something like that”, and after some discussions they said, “Well why don’t you come and sell these computer systems with us, we’ll train you, if you like sales and you’re good with numbers we can help you with that”, and so it was really kind of a story of where, just taking that initial leap into one business led to opportunities in another business so they hired me and I had a buddy of mine at school and I said, “Hey, I’m going to have to turn over my business, would you be interested in taking it over and maybe we can work it out where you can buy it from me?”, and he said yes. Success Harbor: So then, in ’92 after getting out of the Navy, you were still putting yourself through college and you founded ‘Daycom Systems’ so did you go right after this job selling telecom to start a business or what was actually the reason to strike out on your own? Rick Day: Oh, well ok, so after the detailing business then I went to work for the company that I just mentioned, with all the nice cars and I started selling the IBM mid-range computer systems and equipment and that lasted about 3 years. It was a straight commission job so you really kind of ended up working for yourself, there was no salary, there was no safety net, but I was comfortable with that at that point and so I had some success there and this was ’87 so I got out of the Navy in ’85. So in 1987 then, I went to work for this other company, worked there for a couple of years and they ended up going out of business because they literally grew too fast and they did not have enough funding and enough money to purchase the equipment to fill the orders, that’s how fast they were growing. And then, so I ended up working for another company in a similar situation and I didn’t like the way they were doing things and so this was ’91 ’92 so then in 1992 I finally decided, you know, I think I can compete in this industry, I think I know enough people, I know enough of the tricks of the trade, I’ve got the right connections so if I could just put together a little bit of money, I can start my own business and that’s how Daycom started in 1992. Success Harbor: Is this something that you recommend for people that, you know, maybe they have a job now but they want to start a business, to try to get a job with a business, to kind of learn the ins and outs instead of taking–, because that way it’s almost like somebody’s paying you to learn instead of just trying to strike out on your own and get into something that you don’t know that much about. Rick Day: Yeah, I think that’s great and I think that’s where most opportunities really present themselves. I think if someone has an interest in a particular industry and they know nothing about it, they absolutely should be willing to go to work in that industry for a period of time, to learn as much as they can, to see how it works and then if they still want to–, I mean they might decide you know, this industry is too complicated or it requires too much money for me to operate so I’m just going to enjoy my employment here but there will be those entrepreneur that say, “You know what, I see how this works, I think I can do it better, I think I can do it faster or in a different way or with a different spin” and I think that’s a great way to start a business. Success Harbor: So can you talk about some of the early challenges of growing Daycom? I’m very interested about the first 1-2 years in business because that’s when a lot of businesses fail so maybe you can talk about some of the greatest challenges especially, like I said, during the first couple of years in business. Rick Day: Yeah, sure. So I started–, I knew that I didn’t have a lot of money to start the business and so I knew that I needed to keep my overhead low and I had to really watch my money so I rented just a cheap office and kept the overhead as low as I could and I just concentrated most of my efforts on sales during the day and then at night I would do my invoicing because I knew that it wasn’t productive for me to do that during the day so I really tried to maximize my sales and marketing time during the day and I tried to… Success Harbor: So how were you selling? Were you cold-calling or what was your sales strategy in the beginning? Rick Day: At that time, yeah, it was all over the phone. And you got to remember this is 1992, so I did have a pc and I had a fax machine but there was really emails just coming in and the web was just getting started and so a lot of our business was done over the phone and over the fax. Success Harbor: And how difficult was it to get those first sales? Rick Day: Well I had had some customer relationships when we talked earlier about people working for a particular company and then striking off on their own. Often times what happens is, when you’re working at a particular company, especially in a sales position, you’ll end up getting to know some customers and so when you strike out on your own, you can call those customers again and say, “Hey listen, I’m striking out on my own, you know, you had a good relationship with the company where we were before, if you’d like to see what I can do for you and how I’m changing the business and doing in a different way then I’d be happy to talk with you about how I might be able to do business so, it was cold-calling, it was referrals, it was a couple of customers that decided to give me a shot at my new company. Success Harbor: Ok so, sales sounds like it wasn’t a big, big challenge in the very beginning, was it? Rick Day: Well I think sales is always a big challenge for any business and it was really where I spent the majority of my time but like I said, I did have a couple of customers that would buy and I kept my overhead low and just trying to be really efficient about my time and make sure that I was doing the right things at the right time during the day. Success Harbor: And you mentioned one of the companies that you worked with, grew so fast they just were unable to finance their own success so to speak, so what did you do in your business to be able to finance just your growth. Rick Day: Well it’s interesting; I had just a little bit of savings but I only had maybe $10,000 in savings and that might seem like a lot of money to some people but when you’re buying and selling computer and telecom equipment and you have to buy it from your vendor and pay cash for it now and then ship it to your customer and invoice them net 30 and they’re going to pay you in 30 days per the contract and really the check takes 45 days – 60 days, which is one of the things you learn very quickly is, they like to use your money as long as they can. I ran out of money very quickly. So, like most businesses, the first place that you go is family and friends to see if they can loan you some money and so I talked to my grandmother who had been very supportive and she watched me progress over several years and I said, “Here’s the business, here’s what I’m doing, I’ve been doing it for a couple of years” and so I ended up borrowing some money from her and then every single dollar that I had, I rolled back into the company until I had enough cash that I thought that I can operate and then I paid my grandmother back too. Success Harbor: So it sounds to me that you really did things right in the beginning. What do you think are some of the mistakes people make during the first couple of years being in business? Rick Day: Well one of the mistakes–, and maybe this is just a matter of opinion but one of the mistakes is that people, I think, project when they start off in sales or they start off in their business, they project that sales are going to grow much faster than they really will and when you do that, you tend to be very optimistic about your sales, very optimistic about your profits and sometimes you take on too much overhead and sometimes you don’t have enough financing to really last though some very lean times so I always kind of tell people to look at their growth forecast and their sales forecast and then cut it in half and see what would happen then. Success Harbor: Ok. I’ve heard you say that systems were very important for your success. Can you give us some examples of systems that you have created in your business? Rick Day: Oh of course, yea. So when you look at–, the book that really got me going on that was Michael Gerber ‘The E-Myth Revisited’, and he talks about how you–, a business owner in early stages wears so many hats, you’ve got the sales and marketing hat, the production hat, the accounting hat, you know, everything right? And so then, as you start to bring people into the business, you’re hiring people to take over a particular area and so you need to be able to say, “Ok, I’m taking this hat off and I’m giving it to you so let’s talk about how I like to do that and how my customers expect that done”, and you write your procedures on that particular area or on that particular hat if you will, and then that person can take off and they can improve on it and they can grow. But as soon as you hire somebody, I think you have to start creating the systems whereby they can be successful and whereby they can do business the way you want it done. Success Harbor: Ok. Now you grew Daycom systems to over $26 million in revenue with over 60 people but then in the early 2000’s the dot-com bubble burst. So, we know the story, a lot of companies ran out of business, it was just a rough time for business so what did you have to do to adjust to such a shock and what helped you stay in business at that point? Rick Day: Yeah, I got to tell you, that was one of the toughest periods in my career. We were going really, really well, we were $26 million with 60 people and then the dot-com bubble burst and people stopped buying these big companies that I was servicing like Sysco and Intel and Geico and the Gap. So many of these big companies started and; they really slowed down on their technology buying and so my revenues dropped from $26 million to $20 million in one year, which is like 25% and I think I lost almost a half a million dollars that year and it was really, really painful and you know, as a young CEO who had only experienced growth and success after ten years, this was really a slap in the face and a reality check for me and I really had to just buckle down and do the work in figuring out where I could cut expenses and that was when we got into–, the first time I ever had to lay anybody off, it was terrible. It was very emotional, it was very scary. I was losing money, I wasn’t sleeping at night but we ended up doing it. And then the next year, we went from $20 million to $15 million so the sales continued to slow down but I started looking more at the prospect pipeline, the forward-looking indicators and that was one of the things that I did, was put in place where I could really look forward and project what the revenues were going to do and I could make changes sooner and that really helped a lot. Success Harbor: Ok. So do you think the companies that went out of business were unable to adjust or refused to look at reality? What do you think are some of the biggest reasons some companies just can’t survive? And it’s true even today. This economy is still not a good economy that we’re living through now, although it’s not as bad as it was a few years ago so why do you think some companies are just not able to hack it? Rick Day: Well you’re right about today’s economy. It certainly is not an easy economy and I think you have to be on your toes and you have to be really alert and you have to be really paying attention to everything and just on edge. It’s hyper-competitive if you’re going to succeed in today’s economy. But I think that the reason, to answer your question, a lot of people failed, was that they would stick their head in the sand and they would say, “Well, it’s going to get better next year, it can’t possibly be this bad”, and they don’t react, they don’t do the hard things that they need to do, like lay off their friends that are working there or cut their–, maybe sell their expensive car or return it on the lease or downsize their office building because they get so much ego involved, or they get themselves in over their head debt-wise so I really encourage that growth, especially in fixed expenses and long-term leases and things like that, keep that stuff low because you never know when you need to ratchet back and if you’re committed for a long term for big dollars, you’re going to be in trouble. Success Harbor: So then by 2009 business was good right? Because ‘Daycom Systems’ was acquired, at that point you had $25 million in revenues, so how did that exit impact your life, selling your business basically? Rick Day: Well it was interesting because after the dot-com bubble burst, we really had to go, and I say ‘we’ because I had a really good management team at that time that I surrounded myself with and we really had to look at the business and re-tool the business, and so, you’re correct at $25 million and 50 or so, 55 employees when we sold, but it was a much different business when I sold than it was when I began and that’s another important lesson for people, is you have to continue to morph your business and change in response to what your customers want. So then after I sold the business, I had a bunch of money that came in. I began to invest and then I volunteered at Connect here in San Diego to be a volunteer mentor and entrepreneur in residence so I could help other small businesses grow and I invested in a sailboat and powerboat dealership that I am now a part of and so, just travelled a lot and had some fun and did my earn out for a couple years. Success Harbor: Ok. So today you’re involved–, you mentioned this dealership, a sailboat dealership so you’re a partner in that business right? Rick Day: Yeah, that right, it’s really fun. When I bought myself a new sailboat in 2007, I became friends with the guy that sold me the boat and then in ’08 and ’09 we had that very difficult financial crash and the company that he was working for went out of business right about the time that I was selling my business so again, it’s one of those fortunate situations where, when you’re doing something, sometimes the timing just works out and you see another opportunity and so he told me that he had a great relationship with Beneteau, the French baker, the largest yacht builder in the world and that he could become the dealer here in San Diego and he asked me if I would help him start it, if I could help him get the financing together and if I would help him run the business and operations and so we did that and we’ll be 5 years old in September and doing great. Success Harbor: So how is this new business different from your ‘Daycom Systems’ business in terms of, what are you learning now about business, how has the business environment changed with this recession. Can you talk about how you had to adjust basically? Rick Day: Sure, well I think the first thing I would say is how surprised I am that it’s very similar to my past business. If you understand that in my last business we would consult with the customer, we would provide the telecom equipment and the software, we would install it and provide the services, we would take care of the customer in the long-term and then offer them upgrades when they wanted to upgrade their business systems. You could say the same thing about boats right? So we consult with the customer, we provide a boat, we provide our services, we help them maintain it and then when they’re ready for something different, we take their old boat back and sell them a new boat. So in that way it’s very similar. The big differences are that this is marketing to consumers so there’s a lot of social media involved so business to business sales are much different than business to consumer and it’s been a big learning curve for me, especially around the social media. But also, what we’ve learned is that the boating business is a lifestyle business and so you’re providing people with those dreams and answers to those dreams of sitting on a boat in a harbor or watching the kids swim or having a cocktail with friends and so not only do we provide the boats and the services but we also schedule a lot of social activities and we give people a reason to use their boats and that community develops so, the community development part has been a big learning curve for me. Success Harbor: Ok. Now you mentioned earlier that we’re living in a hyper-competitive environment right now so what advice do you have for entrepreneurs to take their business to the next level? What do we have to do today in this kind of environment to really just stand apart, stand out from the competition? Rick Day: Well I think anybody who’s had the passion and the guts to start their own business, that’s the first step, is you’ve got to have that courage. I think maybe a second point would be that you have to stay connected with your customers and ask your customers what they see coming and things that they see in their future so that you can move there with them and offer them the services and products that they will need in the future. I think you have to continue to look at technologies and how new technologies can benefit you, such as social media today and all of the free marketing. I mean it’s essentially a free referral system out there so those are key things and then just be committed to learning; learning more about your product, learning more about services that you can provide and learning more about your customers and their needs. Success Harbor: So you had a successful exit when you sold your business. I want to ask you about why so many businesses are unsellable and what can we do to prepare our business for sale? Rick Day: Well, that’s a great question and I think a couple things are key. One is, it goes back to why I’m such a believer in systems, my opinion is if you want a business that’s saleable, you have to create and you have to visualize a money-making machine and so ultimately it becomes your vision, your values, the product and customers that you want to serve but you’ve got to put those systems in place and you’ve got to get everybody the right operation systems, the right compensation systems so that people’s compensation is aligned with what they’re supposed to do in the business and ultimately, you’ve got to get it to a place where you can step out of the business and the business runs itself. Success Harbor: Ok. Rick Day: That’s a big key and I think a lot of businesses don’t sell because if you take the founder away, the business can’t function without that person and it’s really difficult to take a person from the outside and put them in there and you’ve got personality conflicts and you’ve got learning curve and those businesses are hard to sell. Success Harbor: So it comes back to creating systems right? So try to think about systems and try to create systems from as early as you can. Rick Day: Yeah. Yeah, and hire the best people that you can afford right; and you’re not going to create all these systems by yourself right? You want to hire great people and they can help you create these systems but ultimately, you’ve got to work yourself to where you can walk away from your business for 30 days like I did back in 2007 when I did an Atlantic crossing on the sailboat; I walked away from my business for 30 days and they didn’t miss a beat, it just kept going. Success Harbor: Wow. What do you think is the biggest time-waster for entrepreneurs? Rick Day: I would say worrying. Worrying about the future, worrying about what might happen if things go wrong and then I would say the second time-waster would be, when you start off on your path and you start a company or you’re pursuing your dream, that attracts a lot of people and you make a lot of noise if you will or if you’re a boat, you know you’re kicking off a big wake and people are attracted to that and they want you to–, they want to join you, they want your advice, they want you to sell their product for them and so, you get so many distractions that come at you, you really have to stay focused and say no to a lot of things. Success Harbor: If someone came to you, maybe somebody in your family or a good friend that currently had a job and they saw your success as an entrepreneur and they say, “Rick, I want to become a successful entrepreneur”, what would be the first thing that you would teach that person? Rick Day: The first thing that I would teach that person would be, look at yourself and what you can offer and then find a problem to solve. Find somebody’s problem, maybe it’s your own problem, maybe you hate the way your dry-cleaner works or maybe you hate having to wait in line for a particular service and so, solve a problem and then ask around, so you really have to assess the market, how big is the market, how much–, how strong is the need for the service or the solution that I would like to offer and then do my skill sets fit that ability to fill that need or to offer that solution and if you get those 2 things, then the rest of the things will fall into place. Success Harbor: So, you had a lot of success in business but I’m sure you’ve made some mistakes so perhaps you could give us an example of a really good learning experience or a mistake. I don’t like to call it ‘mistake’ but you know, maybe a learning experience is better for our audience that you could share with us. Rick Day: Yeah. No, I think I agree with you on that you know. One of my favorite authors Tom Hopkins, and this is early days of sales back in the late ’80’s but, he said something along the lines of, “I never see failure as failure, only an opportunity to improve my presentation” right? So you can use that same thing in many areas but I would say big failures and mistakes that I made were at Daycom when we were coming out of that dot-com bubble. I created services for my business and kind of morphed the business, we talked about that, but I also tried to add on another product line, in fact I tried to add on 2 new product lines because I thought I would diversify and I was overwhelmed by the technical training, I was overwhelmed frankly by my people’s resistance to learning something new. They would always go back to their comfort zone. So even though we had product ‘A’, if I told them, “I want you to offer product B & C”, they would always gravitate towards going back to product ‘A’ because that’s where they were comfortable and I really underestimated how powerful that was and lost a lot of money trying to do that. Success Harbor: Wow. So today, tell me a little bit about ‘Business by Day’. What is that business, what are you there; how do you help businesses? Rick Day: Well great, thank you. So I told you that when I sold my company, I invested in South Coast Yachts and helping them and I invested in a couple other small businesses, one didn’t work and a couple more did but in my volunteer time at Connect here in San Diego, one of the things that really occurred to me was all of these companies, these young companies that we were seeing coming through the Connect system, they had great products, they had great services but they were all asking the same questions. They’ve been inspired to start their own business but how do they manage sales and marketing, how do they do products, how do they protect their intellectual property, how do they finance their business and I thought, you know, ‘they don’t have enough money to afford a full time consultant but if I could somehow package these answers and provide this advice and make it available at a lower cost, then my only answer is I’ve got to have the scalability’. And so, that’s when starting the blog occurred to me and then I’m just getting ready in July to launch my first coaching class and it’ll be for 9 people where I can say, “Ok, let’s talk about your business, let’s talk about the problems that we need to solve”, but we’ll do it in a classroom environment that will also be interactive. And then it’ll be more affordable for them but they’ll still get great advice. Success Harbor: Well that’s great. I appreciate you coming on today to share your story Rick. Where can people find out more about ‘Business by Day’ or about you or connect with you perhaps? Rick Day: Oh great, thank you, yeah. The website is: businessbyday.com, just like it sounds. My last name is Day so businessbyday.com. I have also, a podcast that is called by the same name and also it’s named ‘5 Minutes to a Performance Business Podcast’. So that’s being picked up in I don’t know, 40 countries now, which is really fun and exciting and then my email address is: rick@businessbyday.com. Success Harbor: Well Rick, thank you very much. Everyone out there be sure to check him out at businessbyday.com. Thank you very much. Rick Day: Yeah, thank you very much too. I enjoyed talking with you. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); The post How to Survive the Great Recession and Build a $25 Million Business appeared first on Small Business Advice Help For Startups and Entrepreneurs.
Business Mistakes You Must Avoid to Succeed
The Success Harbor Podcast: Entrepreneurship | Business | Starting Business | Success | Lifestyle
(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); What mistakes must you avoid to succeed in business? It’s no secret that most businesses fail. They fail because entrepreneurs make the kinds of mistakes that are difficult to correct. In the following podcast I want to provide you with the most common business mistakes you should avoid. We will discuss mistakes related to planning, learning from failure, capital, management, profit, inventory management, focus, succession planning, and more. I also recommend that you read my article called “Why Some Businesses Fail While Others Succeed“. Listen to the following podcast to know what business mistakes to avoid:   https://www.successharbor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/WhyBusinessesFail.mp3 (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});       photo credit: laurel & hardy The post Business Mistakes You Must Avoid to Succeed appeared first on Small Business Advice Help For Startups and Entrepreneurs.
Find the Best Places to Live, Start a Business, and Invest
The Success Harbor Podcast: Entrepreneurship | Business | Starting Business | Success | Lifestyle
(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); What does it take to be a global entrepreneur? Andrew Henderson is a perpetual traveler, international entrepreneur, and citizen of the world. Every year, Andrew travels to about a dozen countries in search of personal and economic freedom. Andrew’s mission is to find the best places to live, start a business, and invest.   https://www.successharbor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Andrew_Henderson_nomadcapitalist_24_Jun_2014_final.mp3   Say hi to Andrew at nomadcapitalist.com. Read Raw Transcript Now: George Meszaros: Hi everyone, this is George Meszaros with Success Harbor and I have Andrew Henderson with me. Andrew is the founder of Nomad’s Capitalist. He is a perpetual traveler, international entrepreneur, and citizen of the world. Welcome. Andrew Henderson: Thanks for having me, George. Great to be with you. George Meszaros: Thank you for being here, Andrew. Uh, you have been an entrepreneur from a very early age, uh, that’s from an interview that I watched, um, can you talk about what were some of your earliest businesses – so, your earliest entrepreneurial endeavors? Andrew Henderson: I mean, it’s interesting – people who are in the US audience and Canadian audience may be familiar with, um, Kevin O’Leary from the show Shark Tank and Dragons Den, and he talks about “have you ever had any successful businesses?” Well, what’s successful? Businesses that made money. And, I was 12 years old, I guess maybe I made a little bit of money, I rode my bike up and down the street looking to do websites back before the internet was in existence, really, before there was anything on it for people selling their home. But, when I was 19 years old, I basically dropped out of college. I was going to a school in the US, you know, I barely even wanted to go, let alone did go, and I started a company that was in the broadcasting field. How people advertised their program, or get their message out in a longer format, like an infomercial. And everyone says, you know, radio’s dead. Don’t be in radio, let alone go into the bowels of radio, and help people with this, you know, low end activity. And it built into a very, very big company and worked with clients ranging from a fortune 50 company to billion dollar direct response companies that were, you know, exclusive clients. Um, after that, you know, I’ve been invested in all sorts of other things, and helped, grow businesses from, you know, home services to, you know, automotive stuff, import export, help the guys start a financial services company. So, I think if you’re an entrepreneur, I think you’re always thinking of what is the business opportunity here? And so one of the things that I do when I’m traveling is, uh, I get a lot of the ringy-dingy of, you know, here’s an opportunity – they’re often very simple. But there are so many opportunities out there, and I think that’s kind of the entrepreneurial mindset. George Meszaros: So, it’s interesting that you mention all these businesses, because a lot of people struggle with just making one business work, and I interviewed several entrepreneurs that can do it over and over and over. So, what do you think-what is it that-you know, what is it that you have and some of these other entrepreneurs have that you can-it’s really almost regardless of the business, but you just can make it succeed. What are those characteristics? Andrew Henderson: Well, I think there’s a certain amount of focus, and there’s a certain amount of, you know, visualization, if you can really visualize what is the end goal. You have to understand what it is that the customer wants, and just to visualize the market. But I also think that there’s just an element of, um, you know, just saying, you know what, I’m going to do this. I’m going to make it work. I mean, listen, I’ve, you know, run or overseen perhaps businesses in markets where there was a need for an extra business. There was a need for better businesses and I think that’s one key thing that people could take advantage of. You know, I look at markets like the United States, I see that it’s one of the most you know, one of the most competitive entrepreneurial markets in the world. And then there’s a lot of markets that would not want to enter because they’re way too competitive. What I also look at it and say, you know what, for someone who wants an on the ground business, something simple, something that’s not so sexy, something not tech, for instance, there are plenty of businesses for people who are just doing a poor job. And I think that, um, just being able to see, um, that opening, is the hallmark, like I said, of a serial entrepreneur, the person who, uh, can do it over and over and over again is constantly just seeing that opportunity, knowing how to execute, knowing how to put a team of employees and get everything in place. I really think that the whole aspect of being in business is the hallmark of a successful entrepreneur. Some of the minutiae isn’t necessarily important. In fact I think that there are probably some entrepreneurs that should just be in the business of starting businesses and getting set up and then walking away a year later. That may not be the most entrepreneurial thing to say, but I think that’s what some people’s skill set is-is getting things in motion, doing the big picture stuff, you know, assembling the team and then letting someone else do the nuts and bolts as things get settled. George Meszaros: It’s almost like when you start a business you’re an entrepreneur but after a while you become a manager, Andrew Henderson: Right. George Meszaros: and I think a lot of people don’t want to be managers. (laugh) Especially those guys that just want to start businesses and then sell them, or higher management, to move on to the next channel and so to speak. Andrew Henderson: Well, obviously, there’s a dedication to continuing and to keeping things going, but I think you’re absolutely right. George Meszaros: So, I have watched an interview with you and you had mentioned that you would like to invest in unsexy businesses with cash flow, like businesses that other people don’t want to be in. Um, what are some examples of those types of businesses? Andrew Henderson: We ended to clarify, I mean, I’m a contrarian in general when you look at places to travel, places to live, I mean, I generally just tend to go against the grain and I like that, but you know, I have a club, for example, called the Nomad Society. It’s a group of people who meet up all around the world, and we talk about stuff that we do in Nomad Capitalist, and it’s very important for them. I mean, some of these guys, successful guys, are doing things that I would consider un-sexy. They’re in the garbage business. Or, um, they have parking lots. Um, you know, any kind of business that people aren’t necessarily clamoring to get in. Or like I said, I was in things in the home services field but I mean-at one point I looked at a landscaping company. Why? Because I called about 20 different people to try and get landscaping services, I didn’t get a single person to answer the phone. So I look at some of these these un-sexy businesses, things that people often look down their nose at, you know, maybe someone delivers concrete or something like that. You know, auto refurbishment, car refurbishing. Uh, anything like that – it’s not, you know, tech, it’s not, you know, super models sitting at the front desk it’s not, oh, let’s get in a plane and fly around the world – it’s nitty gritty. I look at those and I say, first of all, the world’s richest, fastest growing cultures are becoming rich in those businesses. You go to China, you go to Southeast Asia, dedicated business culturesÉ that’s what they’re doing. They don’t want something where there’s a super model sitting at the front desk. They want something where they’re getting they’re hands dirty, or their employees are getting their hands dirty, and it’s hard work. Um – George Meszaros: Do you know- are there any unsexy locations, independent businesses in your experience? For those people that are listening, you know, they want to be location independent. Andrew Henderson: Well, you know, obviously I think location dependent business is important and that’s a great thing for someone who wants to do what I talked about. I think that by definition something that’s location dependent is kind of sexy, um, you know, it’s an interesting question. Obviously there are certain areas that everyone wants to clamor into. I would say, you know, what is it that everyone is doing? I’m not the best tech expert. You know, the web is our distribution medium to a certain extent, but I’m not the web guru. I would look at where’s everyone else going. I was talking to a young kid on a flight back from Sarajevo recently who was talking about some ideas that he had for internet businesses, but then he said, you know, I wouldn’t do them because, you know, every idea I have, I would search, and there were 92 people doing it. If you can find something that no one else is doing, which is probably a hard thing to do, perhaps that’s the unsexy opportunity, but obviously the whole location independent thing is about people traveling the world and doing thatÉ I think that’s great, but in terms of building a solid business, it makes it a little more sexy. George Meszaros: It’s funny about competition – that so many people are afraid of competition, but if you talk to venture capitalists, a lot of them won’t even invest unless there is competition. You know, they don’t want to be in a business without competition a lot of times, so, there’s- there are different philosophies on that as well. Some people are really afraid of it, and others don’t want to be in a business without it. Andrew Henderson: I (uh) think the difference between saying listen, I want to start a company that’s, you know, again, in the landscaping space, I’m going to-and this competition is basically nonexistent, and I know how to run a business and they don’t. When I talk about unsexy businesses, I love getting into those fields, because, yes, you’re opting to compete against thousands of people, but it’s Mom and Pop’s shops, it’s guys, who, they just know how to do the job, but they’re kind of gruff, and they don’t really care about the customers. I mean, I’ve seen these guys in action, their thought process, it’s not an entrepreneurial thought process. It’s not about adding value to the market, whereas I look at the tech field, and, do I want to go and compete with AirBnB? Absolutely not. You’ve got some of the most brutal competition on the planet coming out of North America, whereas, you know, look what happened in Russia with a guy who started VKontakte, I believe it’s called, the Facebook knock off in Russia. Russia isn’t exactly a tiny country like Laos, but here’s a guy who says-here’s the Facebook model, I’m going to rip it off and do it Russia. That’s what I talk about doing oversees -we can get into that later – but that’s why I’m not a huge competition fan in sexier businesses. George Meszaros: Uh, you wrote – this is on your website (yeah) – you wrote that your mission is simple, find the best places to live, start a business, and invest, and in your opinion, what are the best places to live and do business today? Andrew Henderson: Well, I just spent about 5 months traveling through Europe – Eastern, Southeastern Europe, I was admittedly underwhelmed. I think there are some opportunities there, but I think the market probably wouldn’t, um, want to take advantage of all the things that you could bring there. I’m extremely bullish on Asia and Southeast Asia. I think China’s fantastic, it’s a great business culture, certainly you’ve got enough people there, it would be tough forÉ uh, you go to Vietnam, you go to Cambodia is one of my favorites, um, even Malaysia, uh, perhaps Indonesia. Those are places that are, uh, you know, booming. And, you can run a business pretty easily. The people there are pretty open to you coming. For example, in places like Cambodia, I was in a store, any grocery store trying to buy food or trying to buy a shampoo – everything is in French, or English, because there’s just not this great need to print things in the local language, in Khmer, and people don’t really want things necessarily in Khmer. I mean, if someone’s gonna go to like a western style grocery storeÉthey want something in French that’s a level of quality, an indicator of quality. That’s a country where you can enter the market and it’s just – there’s just such an ease to it. Or a time that will dilute, but, I mean, I look at markets in Asia. They’re booming, they like foreign stuff, they don’t have a lot of that foreign stuff, there’s not a lot of the competition. Colombia in South America is one that everyone is talking about in my circle. It’s the number two most free economy in South America, and I love countries like that, because again, the contrarian angle. I was just at a dinner last night with some friends who are very intelligent people; they read the news, they know what’s going on, but what do they say? “Oh yeah, all the drug money running through there.” It’s really not what’s going on anymore. It’s just like people saying oh, Vietnam is getting attacked by the US forces. Or, Cambodia, look what happened there. Or Nicaragua, people say they had a civil war. All this stuff happened 30 years ago, people still think it’s happening, and therefore, that makes it easier for people to go in and do business. So those are probably 5 of my favorite places. George Meszaros: OK. Yeah, um, I just wanted to bring this up as a side note; what do you think of the fact that only about a third of Americans actually have passports, and that number should actually be a lot smaller; it’s only bigger because now we have to have passports to go to Mexico and Canada. Before we needed that, it was only about 20 to 25 percent. Uh, and then, that to me is important because it feels like Americans are so misinformed a lot of times and I think that’s maybe because they don’t travel so much, but why do you think that number is so small? Andrew Henderson: Well, I have to say, because I – I never complained, as an entrepreneur, I never complained about reality. I really try to work around it. I mean, I’m having a conference, a Passport to Freedom conference in Cancun, with the best attended conference in the offshore world last year, and now I’m saying, you know what? Forget this kind of Mexico and people who aren’t with us, they just won’t be able to come. Um, why is it? I mean, listen, I think that the US’s government and just US society has done the best job of any culture on earth of brainwashing its citizens. Again, I was at a dinner with some friends, and they were asking me, what are the laws for property in Mexico? What are the rules to buy property? And then they said, well, I hear in the United States that there are squatters who can come in and sit in your property and take over, and you can’t get rid of them. And I have to imagine it’s really bad in Mexico too, but it’s like, hold on a second! You’re saying Mexico is so bad because the United States is so bad and it has to be the same. Well no, it only means the United States is bad. Yet, there’s just this brainwashing. Perhaps because it’s so isolated, there’s not a lot of country surrounding it, that it’s the best country, nothing else can be worse. Look, I mean, I saw something the other day; most Americans learn about how good the government is from their government. So what does that mean? It means they aren’t going to be very critical thinkers. When I go around the world, you go to a place like China, they realize that the problems with government, and they’re trying to get around that, and the US it’s this thing of you know, it’s bad, but we’re still the best place on Earth. I think it’s bad for entrepreneurship. No one ever wants to leave, no one ever wants to explore. Uh, because they think it can’t get any better. Um, you know, why don’t people travel? Like, hey, I don’t know, there’s so much to see, why leave the perfect country? We’ve got it all here. George Meszaros: What do you say to-to those that, you know, that feel that it’s very difficult and sometimes even impossible to do business in a foreign environment? I mean, you mentioned, you know, Lao-you know, Cambodia, or some of these other places, you know, and you don’t speak the language, you have no idea about the culture. How do even go about starting a business, or even if you just want to invest in a business, what advice do you have for those? Andrew Henderson: Well, I mean, you’ve got some of these places – my gosh, Vietnam. My friend Dane Andrews, I’m always mentioning this on interviews, but he lived there for a long time, and he thinks that really, the English is catching up with that of, say, the Philippines, which is another economy that if you can tolerate some of the things that, you know, the pace there, it’s probably not a bad place. Um, but, I mean, Vietnam. Is he right? I don’t know, but certainly, English is really coming to the forefront there. I have lots of friends in Vietnam that I’m talking to about what’s going on, they speak perfect english. They’re working in jobs, you know, doing sales, and doing stuff – catering to expats some of them, but some of them are just catering to the local market. They just have to be bilingual – it’s just a growing thing. So I think English speaking is growing. Um, look, I have to say there are certain economies that are more welcoming than others, but I think focusing on smaller, under appreciated, underrated economies, you’ll have a better chance for success. It’s just like anything else, I mean, no business is, you know, 100% perfect, no business is 100% easy. But, you know, I look at trading the challenges of lots of competition, high costs, high regulations. All the things that I’ve seen even embrace simple businesses. All right, you get rid of all of that, and you go and you deal with a little bit of culture shock. You know, that’s your business as an entrepreneur. You gotta be on the ground, you gotta know how things work, I mean, that’s your intelligence. Um, that’s how you have to propel things forward, it’s understanding the market. I mean, you need to know what the market is for your business to make sure it works, but for me, you know, trading all the nonsense in the Western World for a little bit of a learning curve that you could each shorten by bringing in a foreign partner, by bringing in an expat who’s lived there. You know, to me it’s a pretty good trade off. So, um, you know, I look at some of these economies and I see that there are things that are so desperately needed or wanted that the learning curve is probably pretty short because there’s stuff that you’ve been familiar with for 30 years that they want but don’t have. George Meszaros: Yeah, I mean, you know, America is kind of built on that whole concept, but somehow it’s just not in the culture anymore, or not so much. You know, it’s about going to places that were unknown to you and actually making it. It’s not really about finding a job. It was about really building a life for yourself. Andrew Henderson: It’s funny that everything – that you know, there you go, what do people do. And they say, you know, God bless the Founding Fathers, and God bless the pilgrims, and without them, we’d have no country. And then they say, I can’t believe all these people are leave- all these expats, they want to leave the country, they want to go somewhere else, I can’t believe these people – it’s like, well, wait a second. The people that you admire so much, they took a risk. They went somewhere new, they did something different. They said, you know what, our country, the way things are, it’s not working. So we’re going to go and do something different. And then they made it, and they figured it out. That’s exactly what the opportunities right now are. I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying it’s the easiest thing in the world, but, um, you know, you have to go and you have to figure out – the question is, does the potential reward outweigh the cost, and I think for someone who wants to be in business, I mean, yes. George Meszaros: So, uh, let’s talk about Nomad Capitalist. When you started it, what were your goals with Nomad Capitalist? And what-what year did you start it? Andrew Henderson: Eh, it’s almost two years old now. I’m an investor, I’m a – like you said, an entrepreneur, I love the idea of investing in other businesses, I’ve done that with a pretty good amount of success in the United States. I mean, I’ve never had a business that lost money. So, you know, I wanted to go around the world and replicate that model. I started writing about it for fun. And it was interesting-within ten or eleven months we had a quarter million people that month come to our site, and it’s like, okay, wow – you know, people are clamoring for something. And that’s when we decided to, uh, host a conference and have Peter Schiff come, and we had the, I think, like I said, the biggest, best attended conference in the space of a year. Um, and, I never expected that to happen. I just figured, oh, I’m going to go around and I’m going to figure out where to invest by money in Laos. and ultimately, it worked out well for me because I am still doing some of that stuff, not as much as I originally thought, but there are so many opportunities that deemed the guy to aggravate them is, I think just as interesting because, you know, practically wherever I turn, there’s something interesting going on. George Meszaros: So, how do you -I mean, there are other sites out there that talk about similar things, but, you know, you’ve managed to build quite a large following. So what do you think is the difference between your sites and other sites, how do you promote Nomad’s Capitalist, what do you think makes the difference? Andrew Henderson: Well, I look at, I mean, on the internet certainly, if you have a quality product, people are going to find it, that’s just the nature of the internet, or really, anything. You know, I look at it as a business. And, I mean, there’s always ways to differentiate your business. I mean, we were just talking about the other day – about the real estate market. I mean, look at real estate agents. When the market’s on fire, they say, you gotta get in when it’s on fire, you’re never going to get these prices ever again, it’s going nowhere but up. And then when the market crashes, they say, well, look at these all-time lows, you have to get in now. (laugh) you know, there’s always different ways to depict something. I’ve chosen to come out and be totally transparent, and say, you know, here’s who I am, I’m going to do videos, I’m going to show my face at conferences, I’m going to be an authentic guy with a real story, I’m gonna come on and do interviews, and talk to people, and share the information. And that’s my business model. I feel that people want transparency, they want to know someone who they can like, and I’m sure some people don’t like me. And, just like any business, you know, my model doesn’t appeal to everyone. Um, you know, I chose this. I think it’s the right thing to do, I think it’s the right way to build trust, but I also think that as a business model, it differentiates me from guys who, you know, want to, you know, use synonyms and not show their face, and there’s multiply guys who do that. Or guys who – it’s just an amalgamation, you know, kind of a faceless entity of guys who, you know, they’re all just writing about how to go and live on a beach somewhere. Look, you know, I wanted to do something personality based. And, so that’s a business decision – is you know, again, you can do it with any other company. You could, you know, you could run, like I said, a landscaping company where, hey, I’m Andrew, I’m the owner of the landscaping company. You know, here I am on the website, with my big face, and here’s my wife and my kids. Or, you could just be the guy who’s behind the scenes, you know. What strategy do you think is appropriate for that business? Um, there’s always a strategy that appeals to some section of the market. George Meszaros: So, you were published in the Washington Post, the Huffington post, and you know, several other, um, alias publications (yeah), what advice do you have for our audience to get into those types of publications? What should they do, what- what gets you noticed? Andrew Henderson: Well, you know, I hate to sound like a-like an online entrepreneur when I say this because I think that there’s a lot of hype online where it’s just like, if you just do good, good will happen to you, and that’s not always the case – you have to go out and create action and business. I think in those cases when we weren’t looking for it, it actually happened. I think that – you know, the lesson perhaps isn’t as touchy-feely as some online people want to say it is – if you just, you know, it’s good karma. But, that, when you’re out there, and running your business effectively, and focus on what it is that people want, then people who want it are going to find it and some of those people are going to be from the Huffington Post, from the Blaze, from the Business Journal, from, you know, wherever else, um, and so, you know, again, what is the audience that you’re trying to reach now? You know, like, am I a little bit surprised to be in the Huffington Post? Perhaps. But, I mean, I ultimately think, I mean, look at what I do. I’m a personality based, kind of, site, where I’m out there. Where, perhaps, I’m an easier target, for better or for worse, for people who want to say oh, here’s what the offshore world is talking about, here’s what people who are investing overseas, or leaving the United States, are talking about, here’s the guy who you can, you know, pin this on. And I think that your strategy is probably important into, you know, do you want to be recognized? What’s important, I would argue that someone like myself was more accessible, who you can point to and say, there’s this guy, look at that-look at that guy with his tie, and he’s stuffy, and he’s, you know, yeah, he looks like an offshore guy. (laugh) That maybe makes me more of a target and gives me more publicity than guys who don’t want to be so accessible. So I think it’s all in your strategy. But, I mean focusing on what the market wants, or, yeah, what the market wants, people in your market will find it, they’ll like it, people outside of your market will publicize it in a bad way, but I mean, I think it’s all good. George Meszaros: So basically, these publications then find you as opposed to you doing outreach, and you know, push your story onto them, so to speak? Andrew Henderson: Yeah, I’m a big believer in doing PR and getting the message out, and I’ve run businesses where it’s all outbound, and we’re reaching out to people cause you have to, but, uh, yeah, in this case, people have all come to me, you know, we’ve written stuff that was quotable, or that, you know, made an interesting point, or that was, you know, controversial. And I think-by the way, I think you should apply that to any business. I have a friend who I helped start a financial services business. They do, um, I don’t know, couple million dollars over the last couple years. And, uh, just kind of a small boutique service. And I said, listen. Why don’t you guys just kind of – a more straight, centrist, middle of the road guy, doesn’t get too uptight, pretty laid back. The other guy, you know, really politically conservative in the US, says you guys – you know, you’re doing a radio show, you got your website, you got your blogs, you guys should be like the yin and yang. One of you should be screaming and yelling about the democrats and how it’s all going to pot, and then the other one should be more levelheaded, and center of the road. And the center of the road guy will attract the center of the road guys, and the screaming and yelling guy will attract you know, the people who are really fed up with what’s going on – the tea party types, for instance. Um, you know, I think having an identity is important. Having a brand identity. Trying to be milk-toast isn’t going to work. George Meszaros: Yeah. Um, you know, I am very interested in the first one to two years of business. So I try to ask this of everyone that I interview – what do you think is the most important thing for entrepreneurs to do during the first twelve months of being in business? What do you think they should focus on most of their energies? Andrew Henderson: Well, I mean, I think whatever has to be done to totally dominate that market. And I think- I mean, for me, um, especially in an on the ground business, yeah, I mean, that’s somewhere I would want to be giving the message out. But I think that, I mean, we have to look at, like, the foundation, okay? You’re building a house. You know, I think a lot of people focus on stuff that’s not important, or that’s later in the building process. What is the foundation of the business? You need the team. You know, maybe your starting the business with just yourself, but then you need a team, you need to build the team. I see so many entrepreneurs, especially these smaller or un-sexier businesses, they have no clue on how to hire. They just add hawk-hire, they hire the first person who calls them, they don’t really know the proper techniques. So, what’s the foundation is – it’s hiring, it’s getting the basic marketing practices in a place that are scalable, it’s, you know, getting everything into place that can be scaled. And you have to realize, you know, you are in business. You know, when I talk to – you know, entrepreneurs around the world, they seem to think, well, I’m in this business, so I’m not really in business. No. If you’re going to grow a scalable business that’s going to grow, you know, you have to have the proper people in place, cause one person, I mean, when I started a business, like I said, home services, we hired one guy, and basically made him the manager, and I-and I just sat back and let him you know, somewhat run stuff. If he had split, the whole thing would’ve tanked, it wouldn’t have made 2200 percent return in thirteen or fourteen months running that business, cause the rest of the team grew from that. So you have to look at like – you gotta to be HR, you gotta be marketing, you have to understand the best practices in all those aspects in business, cause if you’re not, you’re just gonna get squashed. George Meszaros: Ok. Um, also, I’m very interested in being productive, especially, you know, when you start a business, first couple of years. What do you think is the biggest time waster for entrepreneurs? Andrew Henderson: You know, that’s a-that’s a good question. Um, I think people who, again, are focusing on the wrong things, they see people who, um, again, this is why I talk about unsexy businesses. I mean, people get into these businesses that, like, they like the glitz and the glamour, and they go and they focus on all of the wrong things. They focus on doing too many things at once. I look at, you know, what’s the singular goal? You know, make a list of goals and go to them one at a time. Singular focus, you know, simple goals, big impactful goals, all the stuff on the periphery. And you know, that’s harder to find that could be in someone’s business, but you know, if you don’t have television, and you’re not lazy – you’re focused on what’s going on and achieving one main thing, I think that the problem, um, too many distractions, not enough focus – we can all suffer from that at some point, and we are, you know, entrepreneurs of probably a, you know, an ADHD or OCD lot, but, um, you gotta be super focused – it’s probably as specific as I can be for just any business in general. George Meszaros: Ok. Now, If, uh, if somebody came to you, like a friend of family member, and they saw your success as an entrepreneur, you know, especially, for you as, you know, trying to do business or doing business all over the world, what do you think is the best or the most – best advice you could give that person if they wanted to replicate that success? Andrew Henderson: Well, I think everyone replicates success in their own way, or differently. I mean, what I’ve done is a measure of my personality. Um, you know, I’ve started things, some have lasted for years, some lasted a year and then they were sold. So, I really fit that more serial entrepreneur build. On the other hand, I know of people who have started one business, and have made, you know, five, ten million dollar businesses. People who you wouldn’t think that person is a natural entrepreneur, but, you look at it, and you know, they might not be that good at going and starting a business every year, but they have this staying power, so you have to figure out, you know, what is- what’re you doing, you know, if you’re passionate about something and just want to do if for 25 years, 30, 40 years, and you have the ability to execute on that one concept, you know, that’s important. I mean, the most advice – the best advice is to just go out and do it. I mean, that’s what entrepreneurship is, you know, go out and do something. For me personally, I never really had a job. Um, so, I was 19, I was able to start a business. And, I love a cash-flow business like I said, you know, how can I bring in cash right away? You know, what does that involve? It involves doing things most people don’t want to do. I’m all for internet businesses, but, you know, you look at people who – I-I know dozens of guys who have made tons of money online, and I’ve met all the people who are trying to be like them. If it’s hard to make a thousand dollars or two thousand dollars a month online, find a way to pick up a phone and sell people. Cause that’s what I did, and, you know, and made money instantly. Um, so get out of your comfort zone, that’s what you have to do. I mean, if you’re online, how can you think of it as not just an online business? We have an online business, but we also sell things, you know, B to B or on the phone, and if all we did was commerce and shopping carts, we’d miss out in tens of thousands of dollars sometimes a month, in opportunities, because, oh, we’re not a business that picks up a phone, we do all things with clicks. No. So the point is, get started doing something, get it in motion and figure out a way to bring in the money very quickly. That’s the only way you have to succeed. And whatever you have to do to bring the money in – phone, emails, reaching out to people, going to conferences, whatever. George Meszaros: Sounds good. Thank you for, uh, sharing your wisdom with our audience today, Andrew. How can people connect with you or find out more about Nomad Capitalist? Andrew Henderson: Well, they can go to the website, of course, Nomad Capitalist. We’ve got some free materials that we gave out that goes into a lot of depth actually, perhaps too much depth on some of the countries, for example, but I like it. For different things, I really believe in using countries for different purposes, so if someone says, oh, we should move from the US and then go to Australia and do everything in Australia, that’s not what I really believe in. I believe in diversifying around the world uh, but they go to Nomad Capitalist.com, they can learn more – I think we’ve got a special offer when they sign up for the newsletter, which is free. And then, you know, we’ve got conferences, you know, from around the world, like this Passport to Freedom conference, which is a great way to meet other people, and network, and learn this stuff, but, um, as in any business, just getting started is the most important element. George Meszaros: Well Andrew, thank you very much, I appreciate your time today, I learned a lot from you, and I’m sure our audience as well, and I wish you much success with Nomad Capitalist and your travels. Andrew Henderson: Thanks so much, George. George Meszaros: Thank you. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); The post Find the Best Places to Live, Start a Business, and Invest appeared first on Small Business Advice Help For Startups and Entrepreneurs.
Find Out Why The White House Recognized This Young Entrepreneur – Interview with Zipbuds Founder Erik Groset
The Success Harbor Podcast: Entrepreneurship | Business | Starting Business | Success | Lifestyle
(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); What does it take to get recognized by The President of the United States for entrepreneurship? Erik Groset is a serial entrepreneur, an inventor and an investor. He is the co-founder of Zipbuds, an audio company that patented Zipper integrated cabling for headsets. Although Erik had stepped down from his daily activities at Zipbuds he is still an owner/investor and deep supporter of the company. In 2013 President Obama has recognized Erik as a top 100 entrepreneur under 30. Listen to the following interview to find out how Erik got the idea for Zipbuds: https://www.successharbor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Erik.Groset_10_Dec_2014_final.mp3   (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Say hi to Erik at zipbuds.com. The post Find Out Why The White House Recognized This Young Entrepreneur – Interview with Zipbuds Founder Erik Groset appeared first on Small Business Advice Help For Startups and Entrepreneurs.
Help A Reporter Out (HARO) Founder Shares His Entrepreneurial Story
The Success Harbor Podcast: Entrepreneurship | Business | Starting Business | Success | Lifestyle
(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); What does it take to start a successful business? Peter Shankman is best known for founding Help A Reporter Out (HARO). HARO is currently the largest free source repository in the world, sending out over 1,500 queries from worldwide media each week. HARO’s tagline, “Everyone is an Expert at Something”, proves over and over again to be true, as thousands of new members join at helpareporter.com each week. In June of 2010, less than two years after Peter started HARO in his apartment, it was acquired by Vocus, Inc. The New York Times has called him “a public relations all-star who knows everything about new media and then some,”, while Investor’s Business Daily has labeled him “crazy, but effective.” Peter is an author, entrepreneur, speaker, and worldwide connector. He is recognized worldwide for radically new ways of thinking about Customer Service, Social Media, PR, marketing and advertising.   https://www.successharbor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Peter_Shankman_18_Jul_2014_final.mp3 Say hi to Peter at shankman.com.  Read Raw Transcript Now: Success Harbor: Hi everyone, this is George Meszaros with Success Harbor and I have Peter Shankman with me. The New York Times has called him a ‘public relations all-star’ who knows everything about new media and then some. Once Investor’s Business Daily has labelled him ‘crazy but effective’. Peter is an author, entrepreneur, speaker, and worldwide connector. Peter is recognized worldwide for radical new ways of customer service, social media, P.R, marketing and advertising. Peter is best known for founding ‘Help a Reporter Out’ (HARO) which in under a year became the de facto standard for thousands of journalists looking for sources. Welcome. Peter Shankman: Good to be here, thanks for having me. Success Harbor: Thank you for being here Peter. In 2007, you had founded HARO, how did you get the idea for it? Peter Shankman: You know, I’m a big believer in helping people. I grew up in New York City as a public school kid and one of the things I learned was, if you want something, it’s good to give something back first so I learned to help people at an early age and I talked to everyone, you know, I have really, really bad A.D.D so I talked to everyone and I talked to a lot of people and I know a lot of reporters. I just met them over time running a PR firm and they called me and they said, “Hey, who do we know? Do you know anyone who could do this, do you know anyone who could help; I’m doing a story on (whatever)?” And overtime I’d say yea I do, like pushing [inaudible 01:24] someone and it just sort of became–, it grew from that. Success Harbor: What I love about HARO is; actually why don’t you just tell what HARO is, maybe there’s a few people in the audience who don’t know it, briefly you could describe what HARO is. Peter Shankman: ‘Help a Reporter’ is a free service that three times a day sends emails to anyone who signs up with queries from journalists all around the world; if you can answer those queries you can get famous, you can get in the press, it’s totally free and everyone wins. You get quoted in the media which helps your business, the reporter gets the story they want. Success Harbor: What I love about HARO is how democratic it is especially for small businesses, to connect with a journalist it used to be; it was possible but it was just so, so difficult. How long did it take for you to go from idea to validation to what HARO is today? Peter Shankman: Well for me it was really about building something to help people and so I never really tried to make money from it in the very beginning and so I just launched it, you know; reporters would call me and say “Do you know someone who could talk about this?”, and I’d send it to my group on Facebook, my little Facebook list and then from there that sort of grew up and it became a real mailing list but again didn’t want to make any money on it and then advertisers started calling saying “Hey could we post a little ad on your list?”, and that’s when I realized there might be some money in it so from 2008-2010 HARO made about a million dollars a year in revenue. It kept growing so a million dollars the first year, little more in the second, more in the third and then it was acquired in the end of 2010. Success Harbor: So what was the initial response of journalists in general to HARO, what was the feedback that you were getting? Peter Shankman: They loved it; reporters were thrilled because they were able to get all this great information right when they needed it. So you have all these journalists who are really sort of on deadline, rushing their asses off and all of a sudden I’m like hey guys I have thousands of sources that know what they’re talking about who can really kind of help you out so why don’t you try it and I didn’t really pitch them, I didn’t try to sell them anything or you know; use it if you want, don’t use it if you don’t want, I don’t care and as soon as they realize the value of it they were like “Oh my God this thing is great”, so it was kind of cool like that. Success Harbor: Did you receive any kind of criticism from people because it’s kind of a revolutionary idea, was there anybody that criticized it for some reason? Peter Shankman: PR Newswire wasn’t a big fan because they had a similar product that they charged like 10 grand a year for, so they weren’t too happy but everyone else loved it. Success Harbor: So what were some of the challenges with HARO especially during the first couple of years? Peter Shankman: I think that the biggest thing was telling people about it. Once people realized what it was and how it would help people it was really easy. It was really about getting that message out there and so what I found was that the better experience someone had on HARO the better chance they were of telling someone about it and that really taught me about customer service and that’s funny because that’s what I do now, I really talk about customer service and marketing so you know, I learned that it’s really about customer service. Success Harbor: So based on my research you didn’t spend much money on marketing HARO so… Peter Shankman: I didn’t spend a penny on marketing HARO. Success Harbor: Oh, not a penny, so did it basically just grow by word of mouth marketing or…? Peter Shankman: When you’ve got quoted in the news, when you get quoted in the Herald, in the New York Times whatever everyone was like “Oh my God, how did you get quoted in the paper?” Isn’t that cool because all you want to do is share it right so you would post it everywhere; you’d be like, “Look what I did” and they’d say “How’d that happen?” “Oh I used a service call HARO you should sign up too.” I realize that everyone loves to be a finder; everyone loves to find new things before it becomes public so that was helpful. Success Harbor: So HARO is kind of like a market place right? To bring people together and market places are inherently difficult to build or more difficult because it’s almost like you have to sell something twice. Did you find that difficult at all to bring those two people together to serve the needs of two different types of, you know, the journalists and small businesses or peer professionals? Peter Shankman: Well because it was free, it was really easy. It’s like you sign up; you don’t sign up I don’t have to sell you anything. We had very simple rules and the rules were like ‘Make sure you be nice to the journalists, be nice to the sources’. The fifth rule; there were five rules and the fifth rule of HARO, honest to God, it said ‘Be excellent to each other’. It’s a line straight out of Bill and Tedd’s ‘Excellent Adventure’; it was really about playing nice, if you could play nice you could be on my service, if you didn’t play nice I kick your ass off. Success Harbor: Yeah. You mentioned that HARO was making about a million dollars a year in the first couple of years, did that surprise you? Peter Shankman: Oh it shocked the hell out of me; I didn’t expect to make a penny, I got really lucky and I mean I worked my ass off for it but it was pretty amazing. It was pretty amazing; we had a really good run, it was a lot of fun. Success Harbor: So how did you have to work a lot; you mentioned you worked your ass off, what was the difficult work about it? Even though it sounds like you loved it and all that but still there was a lot of hard work. Peter Shankman: I had to talk to everyone; everyone had a [inaudible 6:50] I had to explain what it was; I had to make sure that I was curating the lists properly. The lists went out at 5:45, 12:45 and 5:45pm. If I wasn’t up at 4:30 in the morning putting out the HARO, people would complain where the hell’s the HARO, what happened? This is right around the meaning of social and so I really learned to start understanding my audience and listening to my audience and things like that. Success Harbor: So most companies do an ok job serving their customers but they’re not so great at being news worthy, what can companies do to be news worthy especially small businesses? Peter Shankman: I think the best thing they can understand; the best thing to know is that you have this ability to tell your story and you can bore the world with your story or you can figure out trends. You can find out what’s going on in your industry that’s interested and exciting and include your company in it, when you do that it stops becoming about you and it starts becoming a much bigger picture that includes you; reporters like that a lot more. Success Harbor: Can you think of an example recently maybe or just an example that kind of stands out for a small company that does? Peter Shankman: There’s a huge market; I just bought a drone, a camera drone and there’s this huge market for camera drone, if I was a drone company and I pitched that “Hey look at our drone, we have the greatest drone in the world”; more than likely no one would pay attention to that but if I posted “Hey, you’re a reporter, I’m seeing a really interesting trend in New Jersey where more and more people are using drones to film high school athletics or using drones off their boat to film the ocean; you might be interested in that, I can find some of my customers who’d be willing to talk about this new trend if you’re interested in this bigger story. Success Harbor: It seems that so many companies want stuff to go viral; it’s almost like a disease, let’s go viral. For me it’s almost like chasing something that is not there for the most part; most things never go viral but I believe in word of mouth marketing a lot more, how can we use PR to enhance word of mouth marketing or can PR be used for that? Peter Shankman: I think the best way to use PR, in terms of growing your business, is to create great stories, allow your customers to tell these great stories. Show what the company is doing by way of how much the customers enjoy it and how much the customers are happy with it, once you do that it’s usually a lot easier to tell your story because you’re not creating–, it doesn’t sound forced. It’s the equivalent of, if I go into a bar and I see a hot girl and I go “You know what, I’m awesome in bed you should sleep with me”, she’s probably going to throw her drink in my face but if her best friend says “Holy crap that’s peter I’ve heard a lot about him you should probably go talk to him he’s pretty cool”, you know, at the very least I’m getting her number and that’s a start. Success Harbor: Let’s talk about social media; in your opinion in what ways is social media misused today? Peter Shankman: I think that so many people are focusing on the word ‘me’ in media; it should be called ‘social you-dia’. You should be able to talk about what’s going on in your client’s and your customers and your friends’ worlds much more than you talk about what you’re doing. I spend every morning; I take a half an hour and I email ten people in my network, I just ask them what are you working on, how can I help? I don’t try to sell anything I just ask what’s going on and from that I’ve gotten so much business and so many people remember me and talk to me and who I am and say things like that, it’s pretty amazing. Success Harbor: So when you build your network, how should somebody build a network? Let’s say it’s a small business; what do you think is a manageable size of network and who should be in my network, is it people that are potential customers? Is it influences? Peter Shankman: It doesn’t even matter because in two years everyone in the world is going to be in your network. It’s no longer about adding friends or clicking or liking or confirming. It’s going to be whoever you interact with; you meet a person, he’s in your network, how much you interact with them, how little you interact with them, what you do with them, the sentiment of that, that will determine where in the network they go but in terms of who should be in your network it’s irrelevant, everyone will be in your network within 48 months. Every business, every customer, every company, every person, every ex-girlfriend, anyone you interact with. Success Harbor: Why do you think so much of social media doesn’t translate into sales for companies? Peter Shankman: Because people are idiots. Success Harbor: Can you be more specific? Peter Shankman: No that’s my answer. No, I think a lot of the reason is because people don’t understand how to–, they hire people to handle social and they don’t necessarily understand that it’s not about creating social it’s about marketing, it’s about selling things. At the end of the day your job is to generate revenue and if you can’t do that, you’re doing it wrong so your job is to hire people who understand marketing, not social media geniuses but marketing experts. Success Harbor: Can you share the Morton’s story with the steak house when you tweeted and what was the impact of that? Peter Shankman: Yeah, it’s my favorite story. So I was at the airport flying home and I was starving and so I jokingly sent out tweets that said “Hey Morton’s, I’m hungry. Why don’t you meet me at the airport when I land in two hours and you work with the porter house ha ha ha ha ha”, and I land ok and they showed up at the porter house and it was mind blowing and it was totally unexpected and I think they got so much press out of that, it was just ridiculous. Crazy; crazy, crazy stuff so it just shows they shouldn’t have to do that every day, that’s not their job. Their job is to create awesome steaks and they do that already, this is just sort of an advance. Success Harbor: So why do you think we don’t hear more of these types of stories or do you think companies are afraid to do this or they don’t believe in… Peter Shankman: They don’t believe that there’s value in it and you could show them that there is, as time goes on it’s very easy to show there is value and once they figure that out then they start to understand a little more. Success Harbor: Are you still involved with HARO? Even though… Peter Shankman: No I sold it and I have absolutely nothing to do with it. I had a 2 year earn-out; it is no longer my company. Success Harbor: Ok, are you working on any new ideas? What do you do now, you’re a speaker now so what are some of the topics that you talk about? Peter Shankman: I do a lot of talks, I’m a speaker, I’m a consultant, I run a mastermind series called ‘Shank-minds’, which is all you can find at shankminds.com and that goes all over the country; all over the world actually where we help small businesses really take it to the next level. It’s exciting stuff; we’re having a lot of fun with that so I’m doing the speaking and I’m doing consulting in the masterminds, I’ve just written my forth book it comes out next winter so I’m having a lot of fun. Success Harbor: What is the new book about? Peter Shankman: The new book is called ‘Zombie Loyalists, and it’s all about creating amazing customer service; such incredible customer service that your customers actually become zombies, they want to bring more customers to you. Success Harbor: Why do you think that so many large companies have so horrible customer service? Peter Shankman: Because there’s a huge; huge, huge disconnect between the CEO who believes that everything is great and the people on the ground who know that it’s not and they don’t listen to each other. CEOs don’t want to hear it, they’re surrounded by ‘yes-men’, they need to get their shit together and need to understand that it’s never been easier to lead a company. Thirty years ago you wanted to leave a bank you had to take five trips to the bank, if you’re a woman, forget it you had to bring your husband. Today I could switch banks and all my money and move it in two seconds by clicking a link, they got to get better. Success Harbor: What is the best advice you’ve ever received Peter? Peter Shankman: Fail often. Someone told me to fail often and make sure that I fail a lot and document every failure and only then can you succeed because you learn from it. I actually created a podcast around that called ‘The Mistake Podcast’ and in the Mistake Podcast every week we interview people, with CEO’s and ask them their biggest mistakes. Success Harbor: What do you think is the most important thing for an entrepreneur to focus on during the first one year of being in business? Peter Shankman: I think It’s really about getting a product out there, getting something out there that’s [inaudible 15:36] getting something out there that works. Getting people to understand why it’s valuable; never losing that passion, letting the people who understand why it’s valuable tell your story for you. Success Harbor: And what do you think is the biggest time-waster for small business owners? Peter Shankman: For me it was really about paying attention to what the haters said; I wasted too much time paying attention to what the haters said. Doing it over again I wouldn’t even bother listening to them. Success Harbor: Well do you have any last word of wisdom for our audience about either customer service or entrepreneurship? Peter Shankman: The expectation of customer service and even entrepreneurship in this country is that we expect to be treated like crap, if you can figure out a way to treat your customers; if you can be one level above crap, it doesn’t even have to be good. Just one level above crap; your customers will remember you, be five levels above crap, they’ll take a bullet for you, that’s how you grow a business. Success Harbor: Well Peter how can people connect with you or find out more about you or maybe find out more about your upcoming book? Peter Shankman: Well my entire life is at shankman.com, that’s easy and everything I do runs in shankman.com. My twitter handle is @PeterShankman, on facebook.com/PeterShankman, LinkedIn.com/PeterShankman. You can pretty much find me in all the places in the world as Peter Shankman and you can email me Peter@shankman.com, I answer every email I get. Success Harbor: Thanks you very much Peter and everybody out there go and check out shankman.com, connect with Peter. Thank you for coming on Success Harbor. Peter Shankman: Pleasure was mine. Success Harbor: Bye. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); The post Help A Reporter Out (HARO) Founder Shares His Entrepreneurial Story appeared first on Small Business Advice Help For Startups and Entrepreneurs.
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California, USA
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168
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9
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3 days, 20 hours