The Entrepreneurs Radio Show 060 Dan Martell


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The Entrepreneurs Radio Show 060 Dan Martell

  1. 1. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 1 of 20 EPISODE #60: DAN MARTELL In this episode, Travis and Sandra had an interesting talk with Dan Martell. Dan is a successful entrepreneur who founded companies such as Flowtown, Spheric Technologies, as well as Clarity; a company that provides access to industry leaders as mentors for entrepreneurs. He is also a mentor as well as an angel investor in over 15 companies. Dan shares valuable insight on his humble beginnings and the importance of getting valuable advice from entrepreneurs that have succeeded in their own field. He also points out the value of giving back and contributing to society in order to achieve success and in growing your business to the next level. Dan’s philosophy of creating business that is based on your interest and sticking with what you’re good at is a good lesson for entrepreneurs in establishing their business. Dan Martell – Mentoring strategy to grow your business Travis: Hey, it's Travis Lane Jenkins. Sandra: And this is Sandra Champlain. Travis: Welcome to episode six zero, 60, of the Entrepreneur's Radio Show. Hi Sandra. Sandra: Thank you. Hi Travis. Travis: How are you? Sandra: I'm happy. Travis: You're excited today aren't you? Sandra: I love sharing, I love what we do, and from our feedback others do well as well. Travis: Yeah. Well, some of you guys may not know that what we do is we record the show first and then we come back and do the intro so that we can talk intelligently about what the show's about, right. Sandra: Yeah. So not just giving you the bland XYZ, this person did this, this, and this. Travis: Right. Sandra: We've engaged with him, we know, we've found their diamonds and we get to bring out their best to you.
  2. 2. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 2 of 20 Travis: Yeah, exactly. And so we're super excited because today our guest is Dan Martell and he's a brilliant guy, has a great story of coming from a very tough childhood and transitioning into a really incredible person after several series of failures along the way. There's a lot of bullet points, a lot of advice that he gives that I feel like is going to be very valuable. Sandra, what were some of the things that were take-away topics for you? Sandra: Oh, my biggest take-away is what a giver this man is and you'll find out soon he's created at a very young age a giant amount of wealth for himself and between angel investing, and giving, and creating an environment for business owners to succeed above and beyond what we give you here on the show. He's a giver; he's one heck of a smart man, and just some things to make your businesses work. Travis: Yeah, exactly. He talks about how to choose a mentor which is a great point. The common problem is most people tend to commoditize their business which is a major mistake and it's very difficult to run a profitable business when you do this. We also discussed outgrowing your parents, your relationships and other people that maybe were leaders or authorities to you at one time but as you grow as a business person, a lot of times those people are no longer equipped to give you the right advice at least related to the path of business that you're going down, right. Sandra: Uhm hmm. He is so successful and that he breaks down into basic steps of what every business owner must be doing and having in place to be successful and to take those actions, and to have a structure to make it work. So it was really great to hear that from him. Travis: Right. Plus he also touched on something that is a word that really resonates with me which is clarity. I feel like ultimately, clarity makes a better human. As you'll see he agrees and gives us a lot of great advice. I'll give you a little bit of a background. Dan is a Canadian entrepreneur that lives in San Francisco. He's the founder of Clarity. He co-founded Flowtown and that was acquired a large business in 2011, and then he found this Spheric Technologies which was acquired in 2008. He's a mentor at 500 Startups and GrowLabs, and he's an angel investor in 15 other companies. So, Dan's got a lot going on and very, very sharp when it comes to being an entrepreneur, or actually sharp on many fronts beyond that. Sandra: Yeah. Travis: But we'll focus on the entrepreneur phase for now. Sandra: And if I can just jump in, listening to this episode today for the listener, if you had all the money in the world and your business was ultra-successful what would you be doing with your time? Where would you be making a difference? And if you could just kind of have that kind of in the back of your
  3. 3. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 3 of 20 mind as you're hearing Dan speak, you'll actually get that those things are possible and maybe even in record time. Travis: Yeah, he's a classic example of setting an ambitious, crazy goal, but excellent thing to model I believe. I think we've rambled on enough about Dan, he's such a great guy, obviously we are ready, we just love the guy. So, before we get started I want to remind you to be sure and stay with us until the very end if you can, as always, we have a little inspiration that we'd like to share with you. And we'll also reveal who we're going to connect you with in the next episode. If you enjoy these free podcast that we create for you, we'd really appreciate it if you'd go to, that's, and click on the iTunes icon and then post a comment and rate the show. It would help us reach and instruct more great entrepreneurs just like yourself with each and every guest we bring on the show, right Sandra. Sandra: Absolutely. Travis: So without further ado, welcome to the show Dan. Dan: Hey Travis, thanks for having me. Travis: We appreciated you coming on; you want to say hi Sandra? Sandra: Hello Dan, thank you, very excited to hear about you and what you're up to. Dan: Awesome. Travis: Yeah. Hey, before we get into the things that--I know that you're passionate about teaching and helping entrepreneurs. Do you mind giving us the back-story of kind of what brought us to today? Were you always this rock star entrepreneur or was it a journey for you? Dan: Yeah, no. My story, the quick version is I've been starting companies since I was 18. My first two for the first 4 or 5 years are complete failures, they left huge craters, I borrowed money from my parents. One was a web hosting company and I learned a lesson that you should never start a web hosting company, it's like trying to build a company selling gold, it's like a commodity, so that didn't make sense. And then did another technology company, got a lot of credit, borrowed more money from my family and lost it all in a couple of years. And it wasn't until I was about 24 that I kind of figured it out, I started a company called Spheric Technologies, we did enterprise software for companies like Procter and Gamble, Dole foods, and over a 4-year period I grew it to 30 employees, through a million in revenue, and then in 2008 we began acquired by a company in the US. So I come here and bootstrap to a profitability. So at 28 I was financially independent and I had a lot of fun this summer following, I thought, "What more do you need a cottage, a hot tub, and a speedboat?” So I thought I
  4. 4. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 4 of 20 was going to retire, but it turned out for me that it wasn't really about those things, it's about the opportunity to have an impact so I packed up my suitcase and mountain bike and moved to San Francisco to see if any of the crazy ideas I had would like a cold water with some of the smartest people in technology in the world. And a year after landing I started a company called Flowtown which is a marketing application for small businesses. Within a few months we got the profitability. We ended up raising 750,000 from some investors like Mitch Kapor who invented Lotus notes and a bunch of other notable Silicon Valley investors and over a 2-year period we grew that to about 50,000 small businesses as customers and then got acquired by a company called Into It about a year and a half ago. And then now, I don't know if you have any questions so far, but... Travis: Well, how large was that business that you grew, the second business that you had taken to a level to where it was acquired, how large did you grow that to? Dan: Well, we had 50,000 customers in a 2-year period. We never disclosed revenue; in terms of the acquisition it was private. It was a private deal but the outcome was more 7, 8, 9 figures. Travis: Right. Sandra: Wow. Dan: Yeah. Travis: So I'm going to ask you, how do you go from a couple of failures to bootstrapping two businesses and beyond, because I know your story goes beyond there as well? How do you make that transition from such catastrophic failures to quick ramp-ups? Dan: You know, I just always believed that I'm unemployable, like I just knew that I could never get a job anywhere because they'll probably fire me within a few months. So I guess out of personal necessity I just always wanted to create something and even if that something existed in the world like a web hosting company or what not, I always had a unique approach to it and I just thought that the journey was a lot more fun than the end. Yes it's nice to make money but just that create process and executing on that was always the part that I enjoy the most. So I know for the rest of my life I'll always be an entrepreneur. Since I was 28 I started investing in other companies as an angel investor. I've done probably 23 investments, companies like Get Around, and, and a few others that have been acquired since. I like that but I really am very much a bit older and I just attribute it to being unemployed, like nobody's going to hire me, nor today would ever take a job but I just really like building stuff, like solving problems. Travis: Yeah. I've had some similar things. Now, none of my businesses have been acquired but I went through a process to where I built a business and it took me 15 years to build it to a really large size,
  5. 5. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 5 of 20 many, many, many millions, and that I lost it all and I thought it was the end of the world for me and fortunately I made everything back in 18 months. And for me it was the clarity of setting with what I had done wrong and really kind of digging deep. I think until you completely fail, you allow yourself to not be completely honest or straightforward about what is or what is not working. Dan: Yeah. The interesting part is since I failed the first two times, saying it wasn't as hard because the expectations were so low. And then the third time I guess they were even lower but obviously I didn't want to do the same thing like different results, and for me the big change was realizing that we should probably only get advice from people who had success in the past, and that for me is the real light bulb that changed my entrepreneurial intrajectory was instead of finding the people that were--even entrepreneurs in general, like going to people that even lived in other cities and other countries and saying, "Hey, I really respect what you've built and I'd love to take a break for 15 minutes because I'm going through the same thing." That changed my life, getting mentors that have built big companies and being able to call them when you have these critical moments. I always joked that mentors are the people you should call instead of asking your parents. Travis: Right. Dan: Because that alone, if you get people who have had success and deciding where you should go for school, or should you start a company, or should you raise capital. Instead of asking your family, you ask someone who has been through it; your life will be dramatically different. Travis: Right. I feel like there should be a penalty for people that give opinions masqueraded as advice. Dan: 100% Travis: Because there's an incredible amount of people that want to advise. I mean some mastermind groups and I love masterminds but at times I see and hear people speaking up that should not be speaking up. And so really what they're doing is they're crowding out the other people that actually have experience in that and want to give them advise. And it sounds like you've been through some of those things. Most business owners in my experience have a hard time, at least until they find a level of consistent success, they have a hard time separating between everybody's opinion, an empirical advice and proof from someone that's done it, right. Dan: Yeah, and I think what we get good at is we actually get good at asking questions, right. You did it with me so far, like you know how to ask a question and kind of figure out what part of that information should I internalize versus just be thankful for it but dismiss it because that is what will separate. Everybody's got an opinion, that's cool but how do I figure out what stuff's relevant to me in my context. And I think that's the thing I've gotten really good at doing now is a 15-minute conversation about a
  6. 6. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 6 of 20 specific challenge, I know how to craft the question to get what I need and not take it too far where somebody else is running my company. Travis: Yeah, exactly. And it takes years of training in business to get to where you have a level of confidence to be able to ask those questions. It's not easy to be able to ask questions on that level and really, what you're pointing out is, I almost look at it like an XY vector. When I'm trying to dig in to something I look like, not a vector, but the XY-axis, and try to drill in to what's going on and what's accurate and what's not. Of course you can do that in business, you can also do that in communication with people and just general, right. Dan: Yup. Travis: So, now--no, go ahead. Dan: I was just going to obviously say, and honestly now I believe in this so much I built a company around it with Clarity, and that was the interesting thing. Clarity allows anybody to get advise, we help them find, schedule, and pay for expert advise over the phone. The thing that I realize for most people, they actually don't get enough advise from people who been there before, they don't have access to it. So that's step 1, is solving the amount of advise you can get to help you kind of move forward, and then step 2 for us as a product in the company is really trying to figure out how do you qualify the advise which is back to your point, people that are putting their hand out giving well-meaning advise but it's definitely not the right person. I always think to myself, what would the world look like if nobody ever shared advise. Sandra: Right. Dan: What would be the difference? Really interesting kind of mental game to ask yourself, like what it looks like? How would you learn? Travis: Dan, we had a little bit of an interruption with the signal there, so let's take it from the top on that question. One of the things that I asked you is I personally resonate with the word Clarity in business, can you give me some more direction of what you're talking about from a business perspective. When you don't know a business very well, how can you get on the phone and give them some advice and kind of give them that clarity. Dan: Yeah, so I guess the high-level clarity is a market place for business advice and we allow you to find, schedule, and pay for expert advice. We have 14,000 experts, guys like Mark Cuban, Eric Riese, the author of Lean Startup, every industry, every domain, every background is covered. But when I started the company a year and a half ago, my filter and it was after I'd sold my previous company, Flowtown, I kind of sat down and said, "No matter what I work on the X there's kind of two non-
  7. 7. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 7 of 20 discussions," like these things have to be true. One was I had to be ridiculously, absolutely passionate about the problem and the customer which helping entrepreneurs is one, and two was that I had to feel that I could potentially have a positive impact on a billion people within the next decade. So it was like the second filter, and a lot of people think that's crazy but if you look back at all the different tools that have had that kind of impact, they're all built around communication tools. Skype for example, or Facebook, or Dropbox, there are all these technologies that allow people to collaborate and discuss. So the question was how many entrepreneurs are there in the world, there's 400 million, if I could help them be better at what they do, would they have a positive impact in other people. My assumption is yes and that's why I started Clarity. So we've already completed 20,000 calls across 57 countries in the last 12 months. Sandra: Wow. Dan: Yeah, it's been pretty phenomenal, mobile-enabled, you can go on there, search, drill down in different categories, read reviews. How is somebody qualified? My philosophy is you should only get advice from people who've been successful, and people have profiles on there, they tell you what they've accomplished in life, other people call them, leave reviews, and then we take care of scheduling, booking, and paying for those calls. Travis: I like it. Sandra: What a great thing. Travis: So are you telling me that I can get on the phone with Mark Cuban? Dan: Yeah, if you want to spend 10 grand an hour to talk to him. Travis: Right. That's all? Dan: Yeah, that's it. It's like $500 a minute, and the beauty of it is for those guys they donate their proceeds to charity. So the notable experts on there, they're obviously in the high cost--they don't do it for the money, they want to make themselves accessible, but they obviously need a filter to make sure that people come prepared and are serious about wanting their time. So that's what they do but 90% of the experts actually do it because there's income, they've had success, they don't have a network of giving back and we're really honestly and just make it super simple. I think our scheduling technology is better than anything that exist today and that's not even our core business, our business is all about demonstrating who has the best expertise and how can you get connected with them. Travis: And so does that lead to--oh I'm getting feedback now. You hear that? Did you shift over to the wire headphones because I'm hearing my voice now?
  8. 8. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 8 of 20 Dan: No, but if you want I'll reset my connection but I'm going to get dropped to do that. Travis: Yeah, sorry about that. Dan: Yeah, I'm just going to turn off all--quit. Alright, let me come back to you. Travis: Okay. Sandra: Perfect. Thank you for going with the flow Dan. Dan: No, I feel bad, I want to give your listeners the best and I feel like I... Sandra: Oh, you will. No, this is how it works, that's just life, right. Travis: Yeah. We're all entrepreneurs so we're used to pushing through. Hey, so does that lead to like back-end stuff? So I get the advise or I can find someone to give me advise, walking me through the next stages of my business is that something that leads in to other back-end things or an ongoing type mentorship thing. Dan: Yeah. So we have like community guidelines, right. We're not trying to be LinkedIn and we're not trying to be Elance or Odesk, we're really trying to be a site that connects people over the phone and get advise, and a 100%, not a 100% of the time, but there's definitely moments where you're taking to somebody and there's a connection, and you want to help them out above and beyond. Our only rule is we called the No Hockey Rule. We're not a used car dealership, we're not using Clarity to sell, and the experts aren't allowed to sell you. So the rule is if somebody's talking to you as an expert, if they're telling you about you about your idea and you find what they're doing interesting, you could offer, "Maybe we should take this offline because I might want to be an investor." Or if the entrepreneur's pitching you--they're allowed only when somebody else offers it, like, "Hey, do you do this, it's for work, the advise is great, are you somebody I could hire to do this?" But nobody's allowed to sell, it's really about the advice and that's the thing. I've used Clarity every week and there's many times I ended up either being friends at somebody or end up hiring somebody as a contractor because it's a really great way to get know who really knows what they’re doing. Travis: So things just grow organically from it? Dan: Exactly. But we do have the ability to do reoccurring calls, so we have a lot of business coaches and consultants that do more phone-based kind of advice where they use Clarity for all their advising. So maybe they have 10 clients, they do an hour of call a month, and they use Clarity for all that. Travis: Okay. So mathematically speaking, how much more growth will you need to experience to project your target in 10 years?
  9. 9. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 9 of 20 Dan: I want to do it like--my goal is 10 million calls a year, and we're 20,000 in the last 12 months, so there's some real exponential growth required. Travis: Right. Dan: The good news is I absolutely see the way the product needs to evolve to get there and all signals point to yes, but we're talking like 40% compounded week over week growth. Travis: Right. Dan: The great part is it's there. I don't think there's a better time, people always ask me, "Why now? Why is Clarity a now idea?" And I mean there's identity for the first time on the internet before Facebook and LinkedIn we actually know who you are. There's reputation, so what you do online, Twitter, Facebook, all these things provide reputation and mobile. Mobile is growing, there's going to be 2 billion people on the internet soon, half of those people are going to be using their phone to connect, and Clarity is inherently a phone system. I think we have a really great shot of actually achieving that goal. Travis: Right. It's primed to take advantage of all of those different platforms and current technology. Now I mentor a lot business owners one-on-one and I'm creating a mastermind, and there's some common things that I see among virtually every business owner, and it's what prevents them from taking a 2, 3, 400,000 dollar a year business to a million dollar a year business and beyond. And so rather than me telling you what I found, I'd be interested from your perspective. What are the top 5 things that you see with business owners that commonly prevent them from growing their business? Dan: It's interesting, right before our interview I was just meeting with a friend that's in that exact same spot. I've been dealing with kind of high-growth entrepreneurs now for awhile, so the 400 to million is kind of not--they're trying to do a bit different game, but I think all the business principles hold true. One of the biggest things is probably that they're not clear on what they offer their customer. So they do too many things, they don't do one thing really well, I always like to use a restaurant example, like, I'd rather eat at the Ramen noodle place and that's all they sell, than the buffet, because then it's mediocre. I would say that they don't put enough time into the human capital side of the business, they don't understand that hiring your nephew or your best friend because he's cheap, that's not the way to build the business. People always say you should hire people smarter than you are but not a lot of people do it, which just means you're not working a lot more and harder than you have to. There's a lot of stuff I would say--they don't price themselves accordingly, they try to be the cheap person in the market and that is a recipe for failure.
  10. 10. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 10 of 20 They don't get advice from people who'd been there, I know that I've said it three or four times but like you said, masterminds and other types of scenarios, like I believe every entrepreneur should have your mentor. Those are like the guys that have built really successful businesses and you only need 2 or 3, they're the ones you turn to for like those big decisions maybe a couple of times a year. Then you should have your coaches or your mastermind groups. Those are the people you meet with on a regular schedule that hold you accountable as an entrepreneur because honestly you don't really have much accountability other than your customer. And then you should have advisers, and these are people that are domain experts in specific things, maybe marketing, or distribution, or operations that you can call on more on a week-to-week basis. And if you kind of think about that framework and you get those types of people around you, you should be able to get to a million dollar business if the market's there. But if it's not then you'll give the advice the kind of pivot or change to be able to address a need that's actually big enough. Travis: Right. What size businesses are you normally helping? Dan: All venture-backed, $100 million-in-the-next-5-year kind of companies. Travis: Okay. So it's more of the start-up culture type, right. Dan: Yeah. All technology, exponential growth, no service companies, varied product. Travis: I see, and I'm reverse of that. Dan: Yeah. No, and my brother's a home builder so we get together almost daily so I see it from his point but he's now building a 150 homes a year, so he's surpassed the million mark a couple of years ago. But I remember early days when we were talking, he went through all those, all those challenges I just mentioned he went through them and that's why they're still clear in my mind. And my friend that I just had lunch with, he has a design architect company and it’s him and a contractor and he's trying to bring it to the next level. It seems like those are the themes that I've seen with solo-preneurs, or a kind of founder-led companies. Travis: Right. The interesting thing in--one of the things that allowed me to bounce back really fast is before I lost everything a large supplier had brought in this company to do an analysis, and they gave me suggestions of what I should need, what I should do to take my business to the next level. Because as a manufacturer they wanted us to grow nationally for their own selfish benefits, right. Dan: Yeah. Travis: And I had built this business to a really--8, 9 figures, and I didn't want to listen to him out of arrogance and all the other young man diseases that come with being that age and arrogant and all the
  11. 11. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 11 of 20 other things. And so a few years down the road I had my rear handed to me because I didn't systemize and I didn't do a lot of the things that they had told me to do, and once I set my ego aside and went back and looked at those notes and then thought, "Why hadn't I had a mentor in my life to shorten the learning curve on everything." Once I got all of those things and the ego out of the way and focused on what the best solution was rather than focusing on being right, I'd lost my entire life savings trying to turn that business around, something that took me 15 years and now I made it back in less than 18 months which was astronomical for me. I thought it was the end of the world. And so there's just an incredible lesson there and I guess what I’m getting at what I see with businesses that want to go from 400,000 to a million, 2 million, 3 million, are the basics. They understand their industry. They may be a doctor or a lawyer or whatever, but they're not good at business and they're not good at marketing. And without those core things there's no way to eliminate what's not working and increase what is, right? Dan: Totally. I mean it's interesting that you said that you rebuilt in 18 months because I've known for probably the last 7 or 8 years that the value of the network is something nobody can ever take away from you. And as long as you're a good person, you're a good steward of capital and you play above bar, even if you do make decisions that end up in bankruptcy, if you still have those relationships like you explained, that is the value, it's not the money. And people misunderstand it like venture-backed start-ups are built because they have capital from investors, those investors invest in people they trust, from other referrals that they trust, and it's all relationship-based. Huge enterprise contracts, my third company that finally succeeded, all relationship-based. So even if that thing that you're working on dies or fails, if you still were a good steward of the customer and you treated people right, they will go out of their way and you can always do it a lot faster, and your proof of that. I remember a girl said that to me once seven years ago and she said, "As long as I have my network and those and I'm good to them and I'm honest and I'm above bar, I don't feel like what I'm doing is risky because they'll be there." And the bank can't take that from you. Travis: Right. And when people know that when Dan Martell gives his word it's good as gold, period. Dan: That's done and done. Travis: Yeah, there is no second-guessing and there has to be that level of trust when you do business with someone. There's so many people that can't show up on time, can't return a phone call on time, can't do what they're supposed to do, and I'm not saying that you need to be perfect but you do need to be as close as possible to perfect when it comes to keeping your word. Dan: 100% Travis: That's the big commodity. Dan: Yeah, know who I can trust, that's the key.
  12. 12. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 12 of 20 Sandra: Travis and Dan, can I jump in for a minute? Travis: Yeah, please do. Sandra: Love that. Well, first of all your advice that you just gave was awesome, about having advisers, having mentors, having people that'll hold you accountable. I think that's missing a lot no matter what size business. So thank you for that, being clear on what you do well, all of those things. So thank you, big time thank you. And just looking at who you are, you're doing a whole heck of a lot of giving, angel investing, making a difference. Can you answer like why, why do you feel such a need to give back, does that come from somewhere? Dan: What a great question Sandra. Yeah, I think there's a reason for everybody's actions and for me I learned, I always joked that I had a colorful childhood which meant that 11 years old I was taken out of my home, placed in the foster care. By the time I was 13 I was in a group home, got introduced to drugs that year, my parents got separated or divorced and then things spiraled out of control. So I grew up as a drug addict, eventually going to jail once, found in myself there the second time, getting sentenced to 16 months in adult jail, I was a juvenile. And then eventually going to rehab and learning--had a code, had a program in rehab. And the interesting part I think is at 17 the unique place that I got to go, it's called Portage, New Brunswick. Portage had a philosophy that all the staff the worked there were actually ex-drug addicts because they felt that the best people to give you advise about how to get out of that hole that you might find yourself into. Where to put your head and your feet to kind of climb out of it, or guys that have been or gals have been through it before. And at 17 I learned that lesson and one of the big ones that they say is you can only keep what you give away, you sobriety, right? You don't help other people space over, it's the beginning of a downhill spiral and I believe that's true for business. I know that all the success I've ever had is because I've helped other people achieve their goals and their dreams and somehow, some way works its way back. I don't expect it, ever. Never ever is there an expectation, I just put it out there and I just realize the more I do it the more I get, and that's just a really great way, for me anyways, to live my life and I can't complain with the results. Sandra: Yeah. The second part of this, there's like actually a three-part question here. The second part is, you impact a billion lives in 10 years, what does that make available for--how does the world work? Dan: I think the world's broken today. The fact that where you live and who you know dictates your opportunities is not right and I think the internet started building foundation for us to fix that in social media. What I see with Clarity is I'm enabling people that might not have a platform that actually have success and how to experience to make themselves available to those who need them the most. The fact that we do calls from guys in Africa to South America, or Australia to North America, or all over Europe. Just really motivated. I mean the 18-year old version of me that had no clue of what he was doing building code in his basement and turning to my dad who never built a company for advice. Your
  13. 13. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 13 of 20 parents give you well-meaning advice but you got to understand that they're doing it under their filter and if you want the exact same lifestyle as your parents, great. Turn to them for advise but if you can give anything more and you have aspirations for bigger meaning in life, you need to find people that have done that and take their feedback because that's the way it works. Sandra: Right. And what I see ultimately, I see like a world in commerce that works, people's businesses that work, and when people's businesses work and they're not worried about money--I'm probably not going to answer, ask you those question, I'm just going to say what I see is I see that people, when they reach a certain amount of success, your lives work, probably your relationships have less stress but ultimately you can look inside yourself to see where you can give and what your passion is and where you can make a difference, is that...? Dan: A 100%. Yeah, to me it's Clarity helps people make better, faster decisions, they'll have more success they'll hire more people that create more economies, solve bigger problems, faster at scale globally. And like you said, there's a plan, there's Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and the very top one is self-actualization and I feel like that's what happens as entrepreneurs end up becoming--having more financial means, they're not looking at how do they make money anymore, they support their lifestyle or feed their kids or send them to college. They're looking at how can I matter, because somebody said onstage at a conference and I'll never these words, this guy Clay Bare, did this amazing talk and at the end he says to everybody, "I have no doubt that you'll all be successful but will you matter?" Sandra: Wow. Dan: It's like you could've slapped me at the side of the head. Travis: Right. Dan: Because he was right. Anybody in that room could've built $100 million companies but will you matter? That's huge. Sandra: That's the world I want to play in with you guys, I'm in, thank you. Dan: Awesome. Travis: Hey Dan, I think Clarity makes a better human being. Dan: I like that. Travis: I come from a very rough childhood myself filled with aggression and all the things that you find in a very, very extremely tough neighborhood, and you know, growth and knowledge, and all of those things made me want to leave those behind. As a young man I figured out I could get things through
  14. 14. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 14 of 20 aggression and through outwitting people. And at a young 17, 18 ages I decided that that wasn't going to be the path for me, that I wanted to get it on merit and respect and abilities. And that was a level of clarity for me at that age. Dan: And honestly the same age for me, I think we're fortunate. A lot of people go many more years before if they ever figure it out and the one thing I've learned actually talking to thousands of entrepreneurs now at the last 10 years is chaos at a young age is actually one of the elements that I see more often than not that dictate if they're going to be a great entrepreneur, and I don't know what it is. And I don't mean chaos like having to gone to jail or being abused but just something at a young age, maybe your mom passed away when you were 7 but I think going through chaos at a young age enables you to see the world as this thing that you can define, that you can create your own, essentially resources that you could take care of yourself. And I ask that question to every entrepreneur as I get more friendly with them and we know each other for a while. I always ask them, it's like, "Hey man, did you ever go through chaos as a child?" and 9 times out of 10 they know exactly what I'm asking and they share it with me, it's interesting. Travis: Yeah, I agree with you. I think it fire proofs you to a certain degree is you get used of having to deal with challenges and overcoming that mental talk and all of those other negative things, I had several challenges. And I had clarity, or 17 or 18 but it took me until 21 to really light a fire under my butt and really do something about it, you know. Dan: Yeah. Travis: But I agree with you, there's something about turmoil, whether it be family turmoil, or the neighborhood, or just whatever it is. The kids that have everything don't have that fire in their belly. Dan: They don't. It's the ability to deal with uncertainty, right. When you go through whatever turmoil, like you don't know what tomorrow's going to look like, isn't that entrepreneurship at its best, right? Travis: That's it. Dan: Yeah. So I think that learning that at 12, 13 years old and maybe it takes a few years to finally... So what happens is as an entrepreneur you realize it's a secret power. Travis: Right. Dan: For anybody else, entrepreneurship would scare them and they won't feel they can take the risk, but when you end up starting your first company and realizing that the ability to deal with unknowns and uncertainty is actually a real benefit as an entrepreneur, that's when you start seeing success. And I
  15. 15. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 15 of 20 believe that's a major reason why some of the best entrepreneurs I've ever met definitely have those moments that they can point to. Travis: Right. I feel most alive when I'm on that edge right there. When I'm on the edge of potentially losing it all. Now not always because I don't always make those gambles but you could tell me that you're dropping in Europe tomorrow in a place I don't know with no money and not be able to speak the language, I would be excited. Dan: Let's get her done. Travis: Right. And I've got a lot of friends that would be horrified over that, right. And so that's a lot of what you're talking about. Dan: We paralyze them, that's the difference. Travis: Exactly. Sandra, I hear you wanting to jump in, go ahead. Sandra: Oh, you didn't hear me wanting to jump in, I'm excited, I want to play with you guys, this is awesome. Travis: Well you know, one of the things that you had mentioned, you talked about several things that hamstrung businesses from growing and something that I wrote down is commoditize and that even cause the failure of your first business is getting in to something that's a commodity, and that is so misunderstood, or... not misunderstood, most people don't have a level of confidence to really understand the impact of commodity type service or product. Trying to run a business off of thin margins will give you as much pain and aggravation as you can possibly stand. Dan: It's really exactly that Travis. It's the fact that businesses only grow if they have profit to reinvest, and if you're in a commodity business the only way to get an equivalent amount of cash or profit is to have volume, and to get volume requires that much more investment to get there. You can have 5% gross margins if you're Wal-Mart but you're doing a 120 billion a year in revenue but if you're starting off, like you want to have at least 30% net margins to be able to grow the business into something because you want to be able to hire other employees, you want to be able to hire people that are executing on the operational side and you can't do it if you're not making any money. And hats off to anybody in the restaurant space because those are absolutely the worst margins in any industry and probably the highest failure rate but there is something to be said about passion as well because most chefs in restaurants as far as I know are filled with passion for what they're doing. Travis: And within margin they're not in the position to really deal at a high level with customer service or quality issues or anything because they're having to run so thin.
  16. 16. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 16 of 20 Dan: Yes, that’s right. Travis: Right. And so it's very difficult. A matter of fact that's one of the things that help me shift my businesses, so I was running the numbers and I'd position my business as a company that provided services although our prices were at commodity levels. And one of the things that we changed whenever we came back and I rebuilt the business and made everything back in 18 months is we had a pretty good 40% gross profit although we were discounting things to get them in the door. We made some price adjustments and some strategic adjustments and all of a sudden we were making 800% more margin on every job. Dan: 800% more and absolutely better customers and less time. Travis: Yeah, exactly. And so we could slow down, we could be kind and considerate, and take time with everyone, love the customer up and it was just a less chaotic business and more of a pleasurable experience. We could do half the amount of jobs, so if we were making 800% more margin and we're doing half the amount of jobs then of course we're making 400% more than we were used to making. And it just completely changed my perspective on things and I thought, "Wow, I've been doing this the wrong way all these years." And that was the beginning of my eyes completely opening and shifting things into more of a strategic business model rather than--I feel like most people focus on growing their business by pressing the gas pedal down harder or farther. Dan: 100% Travis: Hey, so we're starting to run close on time. Sandra are you ready to transition Dan to the... Sandra: To the Lightning Round? Yes. Travis: Alright. Are you ready Dan? Dan: I guess. Travis: You got your seat belt on? Dan: Let's do this. Travis: Hey, what book or program made an impact on you related your business that you'd recommend? Dan: You know, the first book I ever read, and honestly I couldn't even read was an audio CD I bought called Love is the Killer App by a guy named Tim Sanders. Tim Sanders was the Chief Operating Officer at Yahoo! and he wrote this book 10 years ago I believe. The idea is, there's 3 main concepts
  17. 17. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 17 of 20 he talked about. Your network is your net worth which we mentioned earlier, and why that's important. Why you should acquire knowledge for yourself and your customer. I thought that was a really interesting concept so that book obviously taught me to continue reading, becoming a lifelong learner. And the last one is this whole attitude of being a love cat or somebody that people want to be around and having an attitude of gratitude. You know like, to this day, and I ended up eventually being friends with Tim. Like those 3 things are absolutely part of who I am as a person, now I operate as a business owner and I just can't think of what my life would look like had I not read that book at that point in my life right before I started my third company. Sandra: Wow, great. Dan: Yeah. Travis: Good stuff. Hey, what is one of your favorite tools or pieces of technology that you've recently discovered, if any, that you'd recommend to other business owners and why? Dan: Well, I have this new filter, I started about 6 months ago, I don't use any product or software that doesn't have an iPhone app, my life would be inherently mobile. So it's a filter, it's non-negotiable. And there's this great product called HipChat, and what HipChat is it's a team collaboration chat software, so there's probably Yammer that's similar but I like it because it's just collaborative chat. It's like Water Cooler and it's where the team hangs out. So everybody's at meetings all day and we're busy but if you want to just publicly ask a question and give an answer, share something quite interesting, we use HipChat and I do it on the go between meetings. It's my way of keeping in touch with the team from travelling, and I think it's just a great tool for every company to use. Travis: Excellent. What quote would best summarize your belief or attitude in business? Dan: There's one--you know those moments in your life when your perspective changes forever. It's a guy named John Assaraf said it a conference. He said, "Ask not if you're worthy of your goals but ask instead if your goals are worthy of your life." Sandra: Wow. Dan: Yeah. Travis: That's an interesting way of looking at it. Dan: Yeah. It made me step up and play a bigger game ever since. Sandra: Sure.
  18. 18. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 18 of 20 Dan: Hey, now what did you say the name of the app was again? HipChat, H-I-P-C-H-A-T, hip. Travis: HipChat, okay. Cool. How do people connect with you? Dan: Twitter is the best; I'm DanMartell with two L's on Twitter. You can have a blog I have a blog, I blog quite often., and my email is Obviously, if you want to talk, I've built a product to do that so if you want to schedule a call with me you can, but if you have a quick question or you want to connect over email that's always a great way as well. Travis: And you're a rock star. Sandra: Thank you. Travis: I've thoroughly enjoyed it. We could spend hours talking on other subjects. There's several other directions I want to go but Sandra's been quietly nudging me to help me stay on time. Sandra: Yeah, very lovingly. And Dan, I just really want to thank you too from us because your portraying that attitude of gratitude, and somebody that you want to be around, and it's like--I don't know much about you but now I want to find out. And for all of us to be that kind of person, you don't necessarily have to read the book, whatever, but there's a being-ness about you that you want to be around you, you want to find out what's going on. So thank you for being that kind of person and showing us that we can all do that. Dan: You're too kind, I really appreciate it, really grateful for having me on. Travis: Yeah Dan, you're definitely emanating it so just given you some outside perspective. So you're living it man, I appreciate it. Can you hang out for a couple more minutes? Dan: 100% Travis: Excellent. So listen, I want to remind you guys that you can find all of the links to the books, the resources, the recommendations and everything in the show in the show notes. Just go to which is short for what Sandra? Sandra: Diamonds in your own Backyard. Dan: Yeah, which is actually the old title of the show and we're transitioning the name over, but nevertheless it's just an easier way to get to--it will take you to the landing page. And also while you are there you can enter your name and we'll send you the 2013 Business Owner's Guide to a profitable million-dollar business. It's a candid behind the scenes look at what you need to know to grow your business to incredible levels of success. What we tell you in the guide is critical to your success and no
  19. 19. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 19 of 20 one's really talking about many of these issues for a variety of reasons. In the guide we'll talk about the 6 misconceptions that most businesses are costing most businesses a fortune in this economy. The 5 skills that will determine the success of your business over the next 18 months, and lots more great information for taking your business to that next level. Before we close the show today, I want to remind you that little voice that's constantly nagging you, trying to make you question yourself and your mission and trying to talk out of your dreams. I want you know that we all have it no matter what level you're at. So keep going. No matter where you are as an entrepreneur, what size your business is, you're an inspiration to those around you and your circle of influence. So we want to encourage you to go after your dreams and keep pursuing your business because you're encouraging them to go after theirs too. Our inspirational quote for today comes from--I'm getting some crazy feedback there that's--are you making that noise Sandra? End of Interview Sandra: You're just too powerful Travis, you tuned it up a little too far with Dan has taught us. Travis: I'm sorry. Let me dial my power down here a little bit. So our inspirational quote for today comes from Henry Ford, and it says, "A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business." It's a great quote. Sandra: Wow, yeah. Travis: In the next episode, we're going to connect you with a brilliant Casey Zeman. Casey is the founder of video marketing expert, webinar conversion, strategist, and also easy webinar, as well as some other things. I believe he does YouTube secrets doesn't he? Sandra: Yes. Travis: Yeah. As always, its lots of great stuff for growing your business so this is Travis Lane Jenkins signing off for now. Sandra: And this is Sandra Champlain and we look forward to seeing you on the next show. Travis: That's right. So to your incredible success, take care.
  20. 20. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 20 of 20 How We Can Help You We know that finding someone that you can trust online today is hard and that so many “so called gurus” are self-‐appointed and have never really even done what they teach you to do. That’s exactly why we created the Double Your Profits Business Accelerator. This is an exclusive offer for our fans at a fraction of its normal cost. Here's what to expect. We'll Schedule a 'One on One' private session, where we'll take the time to dive deep into your business and tell you what is missing, so that you can have your best year ever! We'll do this by performing a S.W.O.T. Analysis. This tells us your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats within your business. This will be an eye opener for YOU, for several reasons, however some of the most common reasons are. As the 'Business Owner' it’s difficult to see the big picture of your own business because you’re in the middle of a daily management. And you are too emotionally involved to completely impartial. This is a common problem for EVERY business owner. It doesn’t matter if you are a one-man army, or an army of 150, the problem is still the same. Travis Lane Jenkins Business Mentor-Turn Around Specialist Radio Host of The Entrepreneurs Radio Show “Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs That Grow Your Business"