Serial Entrepreneur: Secrets Revealed EP105
Today is gonna be all about putting your startup on a diet. We’re gonna try to come up with a number of different ways that your startup can cut expenditures, save money without sacrificing quality of anything.
This show is all about cracking the code, figuring out what it takes to start, scale, exit, repeat. There is a code that entrepreneurs follow. There is a lesson that we can learn from all other startups. We can become better at starting businesses, and this show tries to crack that code. If you haven’t already done so, go to Startup.Club and sign up to the email list.
It’s really simple for us. Like we just wanna be the place that people can come to, to learn, [00:01:00] connect, and grow, and we’re trying to service all the aspects of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Even if you’re in aspiring or you work for a startup, like we wanna be a place that you can come and learn and interact with each other.
And, um, we’re talking about diets today. Oh my god, my favorite subject, Colin. Diets. Yeah, it’s all about, it’s all about coming up with, you know, a dozen or two dozen hacks of how startups can save money. I’ve already got a couple in my, um, a couple of ideas that I want to share
and if you’re in the audience and you want to share one of your hacks, please raise your hands and we’d be happy to have you on stage. In fact, we more often than not follow anyone who comes on stage because we believe that having people on stage really helps the, um, helps the message. And we got, we got a lot of really great ideas from the community.
So we’re talking [00:02:00] about how do we reduce costs without sacrificing our product or service.
And when you do cut costs, you know, that goes right to the bottom line. It’s almost like, uh, when you add an extra dollar of revenue, well, this is sort of, sort of personal, but when you add an extra dollar of revenue, You’ve got a lot of costs associated with that. You have your cost to get sold, you have other costs to go with it.
And, and Maurice, it sounds like we almost had you on stage here. It would be cool to have you up there. Um, but you have a lot of costs. Um, so when you cut costs, you’re adding a dollar of costs. You’re adding a dollar to profit, and that’s the key here. Alright, I’m gonna kick it off with a couple of hacks and then Mimi, Michele, you could, could follow up with one with them as well.
So first of all, you know, it’s out there. It’s big. It’s called chat, g p t. We all know it. Um, I literally took the introduction of the book that’s [00:03:00] coming out that we pub we’re publishing with Forbes. This, uh, October 3rd. It’s coming out called Start Scale exit, repeat. I took the introduction of that, um, the whole intro of the book and I said, write the inside flat as to why people.
Would want to read this book. And it produced a phenomenal, I said, write 10 reasons why. So I even pushed it to write 10 reasons why it wrote them out. They were phenomenal. And I used that. And I, I’ll say right now, if I had went to a, a writer or marketing person, I said, can you take this intro and read it?
And I we’re talking no less than eight hours of work would’ve gone into that at probably about a hundred dollars an hour. So there’s a thousand dollars to put this one piece together and I did it within seconds. So chat g p t is a game changer. It does help startups save money. And I’d actually recommend pay the 20 bucks a month.
I know they have a pro [00:04:00] version. I do. And, uh, you get better access and you’ll be surprised at how many times within your startup you start to use, um, you use Open AI’s Chat. G P t. Michele, have you got a hack for us? I’ve got a heck. All right. So for me, I, um, you know, it’s along those lines, but it’s really about using, you know, freelancers and offshore people.
You know, I think if a lot of us look around, there’s a lot of positions in our company that you probably really don’t need them sitting there and actually working. I say actually, cuz a lot of people just, maybe they work 50% of the time, even though you’re paying them for a hundred percent of the time.
So consider giving people flexibility in their schedule. Like that may mean more to them other than requiring them to be a [00:05:00] hundred percent dedicated. And along that line, you know, freelancers and offshoring, I know I said several things there, but it’s definitely something to consider, like how. Long, how demanding, et cetera is the job.
Not every job starts off as, uh, you know, an executive job. And a lot of people value highly value, value, um, you know, freedom and flexibility and ability to move to other positions in the company. So just really know what the job requires before you go throwing out, you know, like whatever X amount of money before you do that.
Like, understand, could it be remote? Could they make less? Would they like flexibility and they would take 25% less. There are ways to do this where everybody comes out happy and you’re not taking advantage. So that’s it Colin, for me right now. Yeah, so I think you got two [00:06:00] concepts there, which is, you know, starts, we can’t afford to necessarily compete with Fortune 5,000 companies and pay top dollar, but what we can do is give them more flexibility.
Uh, and that can help get us top talent at a lower price. And I know in our office, Olivia, who runs marketing, she was in Fort Lauderdale and she had to pick up her son every day at three o’clock. And we do miss her in the office. Um, let me say this, she had to pick up her son every day. So the son would come, he’d play soccer in our incubator.
It’s pretty big, and with this ball. And he’d be running back and forth for like two hours, whatnot. Uh, and then she said she wanted to move to Chicago, and so she moved up to Chicago and she’s living up with her, with her son now, and she continues to work for Startup Club. And it’s just interesting. Like we were like, whatever you want, whatever you want.
Now I’m, let’s be quite frank, we’re still, startup Club is a startup. You know, we’re not a big corporation. We’re not Ink Magazine or Entrepreneur Magazine. We’re still getting our, we’re still, you know, trying to [00:07:00] build up a community here. And it’s not a profitable at this stage. And hopefully one day it will be soon.
But the reality is, We gotta keep, you know, we have to watch the costs very closely. Michele, the other thing you talked about is this idea of outsourcing offshore and this, you know, I call it a B P O mindset, business process, outsourcing mindset. And you have a very cool story that I shared in the book around, um, an artist that you hired.
You had a, an employee who was making $60,000 a year doing your cartoon. Can you talk to that? Yeah, I, I’m a big fan of this. I mean, um, specifically I’ve had very good success out of the Philippines. And um, basically there’s some anma, there is amazing talent in other countries now, what you have to be aware of, and, and I’ve worked at companies and I’m sure others have as well too.
You have to really be prepared to manage and [00:08:00] interact with them. Because like anything else, like any other employee, if you just throw ’em in the corner and expect them to read your mind, you know what? It’s not happening. So we found an amazing young lady who’s an amazing illustrator and we actually use her across projects and across companies and incubators, and she’s making, you know, beyond a fair wage in her country.
And it’s a real, you know, save and blessing for us because we were able to acquire some talent. And I was actually telling Colin today, because we’re looking at someone else specifically out of the Philippines, is like, I, I have this whole approach I use, like you really define the job well. You really set the stage for what the working environment is, how you wanna interact with them.
And then what I do is I actually find a couple of projects that I pay them for as part of the interviewing process, cuz I don’t [00:09:00] know about everybody else, but it’s really hard to tell if how well you’ll work with someone, which to me is, you know, skills probably about 50% and how you work together is another 50%.
So I do these little one-off projects with them as part of the hiring process, which I pay them very fairly for. And then we’re able to make a good decision where everybody’s happy. And you know, I believe that people wanna work places where they’re happy and they can have fun and be productive and grow.
So that’s, that’s, uh, how we did it. Colin. Yeah. And I, so you’re talking about one 16, the cost. Um, and so the cartoon, you’ve continued to run the cartoon, it runs every day. It’s called Built in the Cat. It’s actually. Very funny cartoons, and I know you, you have your team here in, um, south Florida, design the concepts and you know, that really doesn’t take as much time, although there’s definitely talent in that, don’t get me wrong.
Um, and then you have her make all of the cartoons. And when we came out with, when we, [00:10:00] um, submitted the book to Forbes Start Scale, exit Repeat, we had her develop over 40 illustrations. And actually, uh, we’ve done two articles now with Forbes. Um, if you search for eight reasons why Startups failed to scale, you’ll see the last one.
And you can see an illustration that she did as well, uh, which is really interesting. Like you can do amazing things with, with support from offshore tej, uh, always enjoy you coming on stage and, you know, sharing your wisdom with us. You know, you know, do you have a hack or idea that startups can use to save money that doesn’t affect the product or service?
Thanks for having me, Colin. Yes, I enjoy your room. So I was listening in the background and I joined a little late, but good feedback so far and the way we look at it. So we, we deal with late stage companies, right at the earliest around a and beyond and then debt ready companies. So, but for even the startup, whether [00:11:00] you are, are in your first a hundred thousand dollars in revenue or a hundred million, the first thing I always think about is know what to expect.
Cause no one likes surprises, so don’t ever be caught off guard, meaning we’re in a bad year right now. Um, it’s a recessionary field, layoffs, train supply, uh, sa, supply chain crunches, still banks getting foreclosed on or, uh, getting bought out, right? First thing is most any businesses, whether you are a solopreneur or you have a thousand employees forecast, Your cash flow look forward, right?
Assuming you might lose some clients or whatever it might be. But look at your revenue over the last 12 months, 24 months, and then looking forward, how long will that last until you’re in solvent? So is this three months, nine months, 12 months? If nothing changes, do that. First and foremost is forecast so you know what you’re in for.
Surprises are never a good thing. Okay? And if you can, this might be a little late, but get a line. We had our best year last year and we [00:12:00] thought, and I said to the partners, We had our best year. Everyone’s throwing money at us, but things are going to change. It’s been about five years of good times.
Things are gonna change. We set up a line of credit. We haven’t dipped into it, but we set it up when times are really good, set up your line of credit. If you’re doing well right now, go get a line of credit any way, shape or form, because when you need it, no one’s gonna give it to you when you don’t need it, everybody’s gonna throw the best rates and money at you.
Uh, so do that. And then the third tip I’ll give is make proactive calls. Not reactive ones. Reactive calls, just like surprises will do your business Dirty. Proactive calls might save clients, might save employees from leaving. It might save your partners, vendors, banks, from giving you a bad call because things are going sour.
So make the proactive calls versus the reactive calls. The worst times get this year, the more you’re gonna reach out before anyone calls you. Because if someone calls you in a panic, whether [00:13:00] it’s employee, partner, vendor, uh, supplier, or um, uh, an investor, That usually is not gonna go well in a bad market.
So those are the three things at a high level that I would say. So forecast looking at how long are you viable and comfortable to maintain this? If the market stays bad for 12 months or otherwise, get a line secure, some kind of cash or otherwise. And most importantly, make proactive cost to everyone because when times are bad, people shy away from making calls.
You stand after the crowd by making those calls, fortifying the relationships. And that might be the difference of you sustaining for six months versus maybe 18 months if you need to. So there’s my three tips. I hope that makes some sense, guys. Yeah, I mean it’s, it’s amazing, especially in a time like today’s environment where interest rates are so high and ha, you know, high sight is 2020.
If we could have just went back at startups and raised more money when the interest rates were lower or when the market was more frothy. [00:14:00] I know in the e-commerce space, we have a number of e-commerce companies here in our incubator. And in that space, it’s actually, you know, become very challenging. You know, we had supply chain shocks, uh, $25,000 container costs, and we had, um, market valuations collapse.
I mean, even publicly traded e-commerce companies have collapsed about 80% in value. And so raising money as an e-commerce company right now is, it’s deadly. It’s, it’s a hard time to do that. And yeah, it’s going to, your advice is very wise, but we’re stuck in a difficult time. Tej. I mean, like, what do you do now if you did raise the money?
I’m just curious if you have a thought about that. Yeah, well, I mean, if you, if you did or if you didn’t raise money, if you did not, well, obviously you did raise the money early on. You’re the smart one. Okay. But I have a number of companies in the incubator who didn’t raise the money, and I, I have shares in these companies as well, obviously.
But what I’m saying is, what’s the advice for them at this stage? [00:15:00] Good, good question. If you did not raise the money, then you have to cut ruthlessly on things like, I think Michele mentioned things you can outsource. Right? You gotta look to minimize, um, the variables, right? Because fixed cost, typically like your lease, um, salary, things like that, you are not gonna be able to control as much unless you’re cutting employees, which might be something you need to do.
If you can say, if three people are doing three jobs that overlap, you might be able to get one or two people to do those three jobs, um, without too much disruption to them. And you can save on salaries. But outside of things like that, the variables. Such as outsourcing things versus doing it, um, yourself and having allocated.
For example, if you have a cfo, o someone manages finances, you may not need that person if you’re a relatively small shop, uh, and you can go out and maybe hire some kind of a virtual bookkeeper or using TurboTax for things to manage it yourself. That might be a way, but first and foremost, [00:16:00] th this is more of a proactive thing.
I’m a very, and you can hear my tone, that even the ba the worst of times, there’s things you can do that are in your control and some things are outta your control, but don’t let that get worse. So for me, it’s calling clients who already do business with us to see if we can drum up more business from those clients, right?
Revenue generation first and foremost before anything else. So in bad times like this, we are calling every single client. Not only that, we’ve done business with recently clients that we have not talked to in three or four years, because think about this, Colin. What’s easier to go out and figure out how to, uh, to put the tourniquet on the, on the bleed of money right now when you may have already cut everything or.
Drive a little bit of extra revenue instead of just putting the tourniquet on it. And it sounds counterintuitive, but make those calls to pre 2020 clients, cuz pre covid clients that may, you may have lost clients you could have done business with or you didn’t do business with. Now the market and the dynamics of [00:17:00] doing business have changed completely.
It’s an absolutely new world. So for us, we’re going back and calling people to do business with ’em and we actually end up getting two engagements in the past two years that we otherwise wouldn’t have had prior to Covid. Um, so things have changed in market. So I would say make those proactive calls to every single person that’s, that affects your company and you will find new business out of it.
You’ll find that you’ll, you’ll have employee attrition, uh, kept at bay. Um, and actually opportunities will come out of it. That’s the simplest way to look at it. Outside of the things, like Michele said, outsourcing, uh, maybe cutting a few heads if you have to. Unfortunately taking three jobs, you know, combining ’em into one or two jobs, things like that.
But make the proactive calls cuz the reactive calls. They will take your business from here to zero overnight if you get a bad call. So I, I’m a fan of first and foremost protecting what you do have and you like Tay, that’s amazing advice. And obviously you’re acting [00:18:00] from experience, but you really made me just think of something.
Thank you. And that is along the side of like looking at your current customers and going and talking to them. I have worked and managed companies where we went back and looked at supplier contractors and what do those agreements say? And I’m gonna tell you almost always there is an opportunity to adjust those so that you save more money.
And it can even be tied to success for them as well. But oftentimes in the beginning, you know, we sign these contracts cuz we’re trying to just get them on board and quite honestly, they’re not even meaning they’re more towards their favor than they are ours. And then you start making them money, et cetera.
Well there is an opportunity almost always to go [00:19:00] back and rightsize those and make ’em more equitable. Like there’s huge opportunities there. And it’s the same for like subscriptions and software. Oh my gosh. People like track your subscriptions, your memberships, your agreements, because you can have a lot of leakage.
It’s not hard to get out of control on those. Right Tej. That’s, that’s a super point. And actually since you’re brought it up for anyone listening, renegotiate, like she just said, renegotiate, I was talking about suppliers and vendors and partners, et cetera. But that’s even a better point. Renegotiate if your term was done prior to a pre covid or whatever.
Um, and you may have room in there, especially think about this. If someone calls, if someone calls you, you’re selling whatever it is, widgets to your people that you’re distributing to, you’re a b2b, they call you and say, we have a choice. We are either going to go to another vendor. Unfortunately, we have a great relationship.
We wanna stay [00:20:00] with you. So we’re hoping you can reduce some of our bills, um, and giving us the same product, maybe, you know, longer term. So we can pay you in 90 days instead of 45 days. Or if we pay you early, give us a deeper discount of 20%. That would help us otherwise. We are forced to have to go find other vendors or suppliers that can help us right now, because right now there’s a crunch for everyone.
And this is the call that we didn’t wanna make, but we have to make. So there’s a good proactive call to make renegotiate every single supplier vendor relationship you possibly have. And I’ll tell you right now, you can even renegotiate a lease, re, re renegotiate our lease a couple years ago, which prior to Covid, you would’ve never renegotiated a lease.
They would’ve said, please, uh, there’s the door. Don’t let, don’t let yourself, uh, you know, get hit on the way out. But now a lease, probably one of your biggest expenses can be renegotiated because they do not want you saying, well, we’re not gonna, we’re gonna run outta money in three, four months at this rate.
So then you come after us or work with [00:21:00] us, right? It’s like a bank says they’d rather you call them now, let them work with you in advance. Remember, surprises are ever in any way, shape or form, never a good thing. So don’t surprise anybody. Call them first. So that was a great point, Michele. Geez. I, I love the mantra.
I love his mantra, Collin. And then I’ll, I know, I was like, you should be running a show on, on Startup Club, sir. For real. No show. I think you should. I, I dunno if you do or not. Are you a leader on startup club? But you might wanna think about it. We’re always looking for great leaders and people to run their own shows, even if it’s a once a month show, it’s, it’s a good idea to, to, to do that.
You, you, yeah. I, I, I’d love what you’re talking about. I think you’re, you’re bang on. Yeah. No, I, I’d like to, I talking off flying. I’d love to do something like that. I love educating, right? You can hear my voice. I love sharing what I’m, I’m accumulator over 22 years, so Yeah, absolutely. We can talk about it.
Sure. Yeah. No, absolutely. I, I, I, I like it. I think the, uh, this idea of being humble and approaching your suppliers with your problems, share your [00:22:00] problems with your suppliers, Mr. Supplier. I can’t pay you $50,000 a year. Here’s what I, because my company just, it doesn’t have the money. We have some good products.
You don’t wanna show your, your two week or else they could question your ability to pay the bills. But, but here’s what I can do. Look, we’re all human. We all want to, we all talk to humans, and we all want to help each other out. And your suppliers want to help you too. Sometimes you can share your problems with your supplier and they help you solve them.
Don’t hide them sometimes. Don’t always try to be this sort of strong, you know, I am this great startup of blah, blah, blah, and I’m, I’m taking over the world. No, I’m not humble startup, you know? Okay. Here, here, I’ll tell you one story and then we’re gonna jump to Cobram. You’ve been very good and very patient.
And Jack, welcome on the stage. You’re all, all amazing that you came on again. But, um, oh geez, Jack, I just moved to the audience. I meant to make you a moderator. Let [00:23:00] me try that again. Sorry. I got it up. Lemme you got him up. Alright. I meant to make you a moderator, Jack. I didn’t mean to do that. Sorry. I got him.
But, uh, um, when I was just, uh, after I graduated from university, uh, I worked on the farm and we would sell vegetables at the, at, at, at our stand on the farm. So, uh, often if, if you know farmers, they don’t have every vegetable. So you’d go to the market and you’d buy vegetables. We’d, I’d go to the Toronto Food Terminal and I’d wear my University of Toronto jacket.
And I remember negotiating, uh, multiple, multiple vendors and they saw me coming. I’m like this poor student who just wants to pay for college. And I would put the money in their hand. I literally put the thousand dollars in their and says, I wanna buy your corn. And I put the thousand dollars, here’s what I got and here’s the price I need.
And, and he was like, no, I could never do that. In a half hour later, after I told him over my college what I was doing, and I just needed help, [00:24:00] bam, I got the deal and moved on. You know, it was, I got it. Now, of course, you’ve gotta be authentic here. You can’t just go be complete bullshit. And I really was trying to put myself through college.
This is totally a true story. Um, so there it is. You know, try to share your problems with your vendors. Cabra, am I pronouncing that correctly? Don’t know. I’m following you by the way. I’m your first follower. Uh, welcome to Clubhouse. Thanks. Thanks. Yeah, I just, uh, installed Clubhouse. Now I had another account, but, uh, I couldn’t, uh, retrieve it.
Um, actually, I, uh, wanted to speak when, uh, I heard, uh, was it Colon speaking about tr to, uh, optimize. Costas. Um, yes, please. I’m, uh, yeah, so I am a technical person, and from the technical perspective, I was shocked when I, uh, tried using chart g p t on technologies that [00:25:00] I, uh, do not have the technical ability, ability.
And I was able to do the job with jt. It was, uh, actually a web game. But the, I, the, the thing is, if I can do it without any knowledge of the technology by just only chatting with jt, um, imagine what it can do. Uh, if you enforce it within your startup, if you, uh, if you, uh, uh, make it available to all of your employees, if you, uh, uh, enforce it, uh, to, uh, be used, uh, it can be, uh, helpful.
Um, as a developer, it kind of makes me 10 x better or, or, or productive. Um, and this is really huge opportunity actually. Um, I mean, companies, enterprise companies are using G [00:26:00] P T four and as a starter, as a small startup, the, um, opportunity of having that API or the opportunity of, uh, the new tools can, uh, improve the, uh, performance.
Uh, I mean, in my view, it’s kind of 10 x. So, uh, that was, um, uh, a good idea from Colleen that that’s why I wanted to kind of add something. Yeah. No, thank you. And, and, and pronounce your name again? Cabra. Is that right? Yeah. Yeah. It’s Karo. Yeah. Ka. So tell me, like as a developer, how does it help you save time?
Can you just give us a little bit more detail on that? Sure, sure. Yeah. Um, first of all, you can ask Chuck g p t anything, and then it kind of knows what you, what your intention is. So [00:27:00] it saves you, uh, some hours that otherwise would’ve been spent on searching, uh, on Googling. Uh, and the other is, um, co-pilot actually.
There is this, uh, plugin for developers. So it’s literally magic. I mean, uh, the other day I was kind of, uh, doing some if l calculation. It took me kind of 40 minutes to, uh, figure out all the conditions. But then when I just typed, if. It kind of auto completed the whole page, and then everything was kind of perfect, and then it’s, it kind of knew what I was up to based on what I’m working on.
And programming is kind of becoming a joke right now, to be honest. Um, so it’s, uh, really game changing. Actually. I, uh, uh, I am, uh, starting a startup. Uh, the [00:28:00] idea is to kind of, uh, make it fully, uh, anonymous with ai, but for now it’s kind of, um, game is to reduce, uh, development in startup costs by, uh, around 75%.
Uh, so we use chat g p T on the front page of our websites. It’s kind of, uh, uh, refines the requirements. And then we also, uh, Enforce our developers to use tr GT and co-pilot to do the tasks. Uh, so it’s um, kind of promising. I mean, for me, this new GT four is game changing. Uh, it’s uh, really, really big deal.
Yeah, I mean, it’s, it is amazing and, uh, I think we’ve all seen what it can do and the [00:29:00] more startups embrace it, the better productivity, the lower costs. I mean, I know in our call center we have offshore call center for pod.com and you know, sometimes their language, their English language is not perfect.
It also, when a call center res person responds, they don’t necessarily respond in a positive tone naturally. So we have implemented a system where they go through chat G P T, so that. When they respond, we say make it more positive. The response, uh, I, I, you know, it’s just, it’s just, it is absolutely amazing.
I know we don’t want this to become a chat g b t hour, so I’ll share one idea and then we’ll jump to Jack another idea cause we wanna get to 18, right? We wanna get to 18 really cool hacks and ideas. And you can, by the way, you can, you know, you can actually see the blog that Mimi’s gonna put together on startup.club.
It’s a very cool blog. She writes it out every week based on the show. And if you caught this midway, you can recapture the show on your favorite [00:30:00] podcast channel. We are Serial entrepreneur secrets reveal, and my co-host now, Jack Tej, Michele, Mimi, and myself are, are happy to help you with, uh, with coming on stage and, and answering questions.
Or quite frankly, share an experience, like if you’re in the audience, you know, if you had a cool idea to cut costs or cool, I call it minor major or growth tech, or. Slash hack. I don’t know what we’re gonna call that, but if you have a way of reducing costs, it doesn’t affect your customer service or your product, we’d be glad to hear from you.
So my next one is this. On startups, all startups should consider not paying for office space, but joining a local incubator. Often the universities offer a space, or they have like some cities offer, the libraries offer a free space, but you not only connect and get an office space, you also make a lot of connections.
You meet investors and they’re [00:31:00] free. Like we want, we, we run one at the Allen Lavan Innovation Center at nsu, and I’m one of the people who teaches the cohort and it’s absolutely free and you can apply for it absolutely free. And there are about 10 different speakers that come in over 10 weeks and you do a pitch competition and everything.
And that’s actually a way of. Really making a lot of connections and not spending any money on space. Jack, you’ve been patience. Nice to see you again today. Really looking forward to hearing your, what are we gonna call this? Okay, call it, it’s not a growth hack. It’s like a say hack. Is that it? Jack? Hi Colin.
Hi, startup club. Hi, everybody. Can, can you give me just like one minute and come back to me in like one minute? I’m about to step in the elevator. I don’t wanna lose your guys. Yeah, no, that’s Abs. Absolutely fine. And I know we’ve got some more ideas here. We do have Michele, who’s come on stage. Michele, I’m gonna follow you there.
Again, I promise to follow you [00:32:00] if you come on stage, we’d love it. We’d love to hear from you, Michele, what your say pack is.
Michele, if you’re there, can you hear? Can you hear me? I’m getting a red bar. Uh, I I’m hearing you. Yeah, we’re here. Okay. If I drop, I’ll come back on. Thank you for, um, inviting me up. Uh, right now my save hack is actually, um, I’ve began, um, reaching out to people in my area that are also in my same type of industry.
So let me just introduce myself. My name is Michele. I am from North Carolina. I’m a new entrepreneur. I just started two, um, brand new businesses. Uh, the first is ClearPoint Notary, where I, I, I’ve been a notary for seven years, but I kind of took it to the next level, learning how to read loan documents, and so now I’m a loan signing agent and just for the state of North Carolina.
And shortly after that I opened a, uh, glow Beauty business, uh, glow Beauty Supply, [00:33:00] which is in the business of giving natural and organic, um, products for people who are suffering with eczema. I’ve been suffering with eczema since I was 17. So I give, I offer natural product solutions on my site, um, to the alternatives of, um, having, uh, prescription and over-the-counter medicines that used to do more damage than good.
Um, being a new startup for, you know, two new startups, I don’t have a tremendous amount of, um, Uh, capital just to waste. So I’ve, I’ve reached out to others in my area and I share spaces with realtors. I share spaces with, um, people who already have offices. And I, I offer some of my services for free if they need notarization, um, documents for free.
I can stand that day, you know, their office for like that week. Um, and just kind of get some work done, meet clients. Um, I’m always open to looking at learning more ways to save money, but for right now, that’s, that’s been one of my biggest, [00:34:00] um, hacks to save money as a, as a new startup. And I rest my mic.
I think that’s so cold that you’re using, you know, this notary service as a way to help others and, you know, help yourself too. Like that’s really cool. Like just, I think people limit their own selves and Right. Jack like, It reminds me of, of your talks, like, like don’t limit yourself. You have, you know, Michele identified something that she has to give and she’s giving it in exchange.
She’s not going around like feeling sorry for herself or asking for a hangout. I think that’s a fabulous idea. Like people should just think what do they have to offer and it can also help you move forward. Fantastic.
One thing I might quickly add is, um, that was, uh, [00:35:00] great shares, um, by her and leverage the power of relationships, which is huge because of the fact that she’s smart, right? It’s complimentary. She’s offering something to other businesses that gets her to expand her, reach her marketing. They can market for her if she does a good job, et cetera, et cetera.
So, I’m such r o r, you know, return on relationships. So that was a great point. Uh, one of my biggest things I talk about. So thanks for bringing that up. Leverage all of your relationships in every possible way. It’s a lot easier to co-brand and co-habitate, uh, like Colin said, versus having your own space.
So, good point. Great point actually.
All right. Sorry, I, I know I had a technical problem, but, uh, Cate you were gonna jump in there. Go ahead. Yeah, I just want to say about one of the moderators out here, you know, if, uh, someone is actually, you know, facing issue with eczema, then there are two solutions that, that I know as of now. The first thing, we should go ahead and take four [00:36:00] medication, which is dry eczema, you know, eczema.
That one has to figure out, out. I’m sure that it will happen. One would be dry eczema and the other would be that for sure if the person opens. Or, you know, uh, I would say the person opens the eyes in the morning, give them, uh, Luke Wong water and, uh, you know, okay. I’m sorry, I fell off for a minute. I’m sorry, son.
Can I, I can’t do this. I fell off for a minute and then apologize if I’m cutting you off here unnecessarily. But I don’t know what we were talking about, but we’re running into, uh, a conversation that I don’t thinks, uh, what we’re intending in this room. Am I right, Michele? Or someone? Someone actually said Yeah, yeah, yeah.
You’re, you’re right. Oh, okay. So I apologize. I apologize. That’s why I want to clarify. I apologize. Yeah, I apologize. But let’s, let’s keep it. Yes. And we [00:37:00] appreciate that Kimbra. Um, so back to how do we save money? And I think I’m, I’m gonna move that forward to, you know, leveraging what resources you have. I don’t know about everyone here, but No, no.
I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you. I, I can’t tell probably anyone in the world probably whatever skills that, whatever skills that you have, whatever skill, supposedly you do anything in the world, whatever you do, do it. Do it on Za. I’m not promoting myself, I’m not promoting anything, but I’ll tell you that you have the best resort.
You just go there. If you are thinking of anything, then probably you should find the resort. I’m not saying you go there. Don’t, don’t, don’t think about it. I don’t want to be a marketer. I don’t want to be, I’m, I’m the [00:38:00] founder, so I don’t want to be like occupying. But then again, you have to find a resort that if you are at phone, You want to own something, how you can go ahead and do that.
You find it on Google, you find it on everywhere. But technically, if we speak of AI with everything, what you can think of here, AI is there. AI is not bad. Yeah, it’s not good. That’s what I can say. Whatever your skills are, develop the skills and whatever skills that you have, you can get it monetized.
Think of monetization and I, I assure you that you come to Essar and I’ll make sure that you will get monetized. Whatever skills that you have, that’s all that you have to think of. Connecting to the world. Get connected to the world, get connected to anywhere and everywhere. Don’t think about Occupy and I am in US, [00:39:00] uk, India.
There, there, there, there, there. 180 6 countries. Get connected to the world, get your connected, right. All right. So thank you for that. We really appreciate it. Um, you know, what I was trying to say is it’s important to know what resources you currently have at your company, because I’m gonna tell you, there’s not been a company that I’ve worked for where they, where people weren’t like, oh my God, we need to hire more people, we need more tools, et cetera.
That’s always the, that’s always the reality. But, you know, quite oftentimes we have what we need, but what we really need to do is focus on what really works and move that forward. Right. So prioritization and really understanding your current resources and make sure you’re maximizing those. I think there’s a lot of.
Under utilization of people and tools, et [00:40:00] cetera. So really understand what are your goals and what do you need to do them. Thank you. And, and it’s, it’s a, it’s a very basic thing for the founder, because founder has to go through all those things. You go anywhere who has been the founder, who has not gone through all those things.
It’s a very absurd thing. If you, if you would be a founder for something, everyone in the room has been founder or maybe doing something, they would be doing something. So founder, if founder is not God, he is there. So he has to go with the procedure only. It’s just that the differentiator is there, you know?
Okay, fine. When, when we see anything, you know, if, if, if, if, if supposedly I’m there and I will be in the shock time, okay, fine. Someone will ask me, okay, fine. What do I need to do to do? And founder has to go through all those things and the founder has to find its own way. [00:41:00] And that’s a very, very basic phenomena that there is no rocket science about, you know, all those things.
Yes. And so when Mr. Let, let’s do a quick reset, Sankt of the room. Um, we got, I’m ready whenever you guys are. Yeah. We have about 15 minutes left and we’d like to end right on time. So I’d see we have Augustine. Augustine, we’d love to hear what you have to say, please. Um, good afternoon. Thank you for, um, hosting this session is very important there.
I’ll make it quick and to the point. Um, I’m working for a fairly new FinTech that within the last year we’ve had to retrench one on our product offering, uh, based on the different sprints that we have to do to contain costs. So that’s one of the areas that we have to look at, at what is our value proposition in hitting our target market.
Um, obviously this is in alignment with [00:42:00] our investors and of course with the executive board. Yes. We’ve touched a couple, uh, points that you guys have mentioned. Uh, we grew very big and then we had to retre, so we are back to what our employee number was in 2021. So that’s a, has made an impact and we’re wearing multiple hats.
We’re maintaining a business that hopefully is, uh, incrementing. So one of the areas that has impacted us has been the, um, You know, individuals in the corporation itself. Uh, two, um, the funding, obviously we’ve had to stretch it and some of the content that we used to put out there and internal groups that we’ve had, we’ve had to um, basically break ties with them and of course look to outsource, which is something that I heard earlier.
Uh, all this impacts the morale of the company and the individuals. Of course, we try to understand what the [00:43:00] value proposition is and maintain everybody focus. Uh, so one of the things I heard was prioritization that you guys had mentioned. That has been something key, especially in our products and services, and see how we best align to ensure that what we deliver is what’s gonna have a revenue impact, because that’s the name of the game, what’s gonna be my revenue in the next quarter and the following quarter.
Um, likewise. Um, I’m also working to start a new mvp. Uh, this is separate company that I, I’m pushing with a partner and one of the things is lesson learns. What do you want to put out there and how are you gonna work with a developer? And trying to streamline how many services are available. If you could tie any development work to, let’s say, a CMS system or an lms, uh, learning management system and drive some of the content that can actually help you [00:44:00] based on your incremental of resources and prospect, uh, customers out there.
So just wanted to put that out there because, um, From my perspective, the, it’s been a learning experience, uh, coming from corporate America, going to a FinTech, seeing the struggles, seeing the changes. How do we adapt to today’s economy? And, uh, highlight the different points that we have out there that we’ve mentioned in this call, and then what’s the next phase?
And I’m actually seeing how I’m gonna work with this new MVP that we’re putting out there to have an opportunity to, uh, base everything on lessons learned. Thank you.
All right. That was, that was pretty cool. Uh, yeah, it’s interesting. We’re, we’re learning about San It. Hold on hands. Hold on. San it, hold on. I know you’re, you’re eager to go here, but hold on. Um, we’re trying to come up [00:45:00] with 18 really cool save hacks. That’s what we’re doing here today. Appreciate that, Auguston.
That was really, really good. Um, one of the things that I often tell startups is to pay your people with love, ownership, and freedom. And I know we touched upon the freedom a little bit earlier, Michele, when you talked about how, um, you know, making it flexible for employees. So I won’t go into that right now, although that’s become more challenging since the pandemic because a lot of Fortune 5,000 companies aren’t actually giving more freedom to their employees right now, but payer employees with, with love.
What do I mean by that? And this is gonna sound very, very basic for a minute here. Uh, it’s simply about recognizing greatness, recognizing their achievements, helping to develop them as individuals. We’re talking about things we can do here that [00:46:00] cost absolutely nothing. And yet can have a huge impact on your employees.
When we recognize greatness, we recognize their achievements. We recognize what they’ve done. A large percentage of individuals leave their businesses, or sorry, leave their, the companies they work for because they don’t believe that they have been recognized for the efforts they’ve put into that company.
Think about that Now, is it natural for a startup founder to recognize greatness? I’ll be quite frank. It’s not, it’s not been easy for me. It took me 25 years to figure this out. You know, Mimi does absolutely a great job at writing these blogs. She’s tied hard in this company, and I probably haven’t told Mimi enough.
Now, hopefully she, she gets the message, but the reality is we don’t do that. So let’s start recognizing greatness. Let’s start. Helping to develop our people more [00:47:00] because we have a problem. We don’t have the budgets that the Fortune 5,000 companies have. So we have to come up with alternatives. We have to figure out different ways that we can motivate employees that Fortune 5,000 companies don’t normally use, or, or methods that they don’t normally use, so that we can actually help motivate them here in our startup.
So payer people would love pay your people with freedom and ownership. When I talk about ownership, I talk about I love stock options and giving every employee stock options are part of a company, but you know, it could be a little bit complicated and and expensive for the legals, but you can do bonuses or milestone payments.
So if we hit this objective, everybody in the company’s getting x. I loved how in Spanx the founder of Spanx, I think it was either they sold the company or did something big and they gave every employee $10,000. You know, I thought that was, yeah. Was it Sol? It was Soly and Jack. Yeah. Yeah. Maybe I’ll pass it over to you, Jack next, but [00:48:00] pay your people with love, ownership, and freedom.
What do you think? No, I love it. I love it. And I think, you know, I, I love, that’s Sarah Blakely you’re talking about. I, I love Sarah Blakely. She, she’s amazing. I gotta get her on Jack. We gotta get her on. Wouldn’t she be amazing on, I’ll work on. Oh, you’ll work on it. All right. I’ll work on that. I actually have a connection to her husband.
So her name is Sarah Blakeley. Yeah, yeah. Sarah Blakely and Jesse Ler. They’re, they’re a great couple. Um, but I, this has been a great talk, number one, this has been a great talk. I know we’re kind of pushed for time, so I’ll make it quick cuz you guys know how I can get long-winded. But one of the things that I’ve been doing, uh, in these difficult times is, um, you know, really embracing the, my best employees, you know, embracing my best employees and to be honest with you, um, l letting go, the ones that are, you know, I’d rather have one.
Amazing rockstar employee than than five, you know, average employees. And so for me, like what I’ve been doing in, in this time, cuz it’s like, let’s be honest, it’s been, uh, you know, the market’s just been kind of crazy what I’ve been doing. What what has helped me is, um, [00:49:00] you know, we, we have a full stack development development team for fans plan.
And, you know, one of the things that we’ve been able to do to be able to cut our costs significantly is, uh, you know, we just doubled down on the people that, that really are providing the most value for us. And we embrace them and, and we actually kinda like what you were talking about, about giving them freedom and, and really giving them, uh, you know, equity in the company, uh, to where almost they’re, they’re, they’re becoming our partners, um, with us.
And so the number one, because you know, he also, I think it, I’m not sure I was driving so I’m not exactly sure who who said it, but you know, the, uh, the morale of, of the company is, is important, right? And so, For, for me, and, and for anybody out there that has a startup, like, you know, you, you want to keep the morale high.
Um, but you also have to look at the reality of like, you know, are, are the, are all of these employees needed? You know, sometimes, um, you know, it’s hard times call for, for hard decisions, you know, let’s be honest. And so, you know, before we’ll talk about, like before the pandemic, like before the [00:50:00] pandemic, um, we had about 13, 13 people on, on payroll that we were paying and we’re down now to three people that we’re paying.
And tho those, what’s crazy though is we’re now making more literally in a, in a, in a downturn. We’re now making more money than we’ve ever made. Um, the people that we actually are, you know, quote unquote working with that are, are quote unquote employees. Um, they, they, they have got a piece of the pie, per se.
So they’re, so the also just the, the morale has been increased. Uh, I, I find the, their excitement is a lot, is a lot more. And they were actually, and the, and the crazy part is, is that. Uh, you know, pre covid, they were actually making more money with me, um, because they were developing the site. They were developing what we were doing.
And, um, but now we’re, what we’re kind of getting to is, you know, we’re forming these strategic partnerships and I think that’s what I would kind of, you know, drive home to people that have a startup and may, and maybe they’re struggling or maybe they’re trying to cut [00:51:00] costs. Cause I think that, you know, that’s what we’re talking about today is kinda putting our startup on a diet.
And, and that’s what I did. And what’s crazy about it is, um, it’s, it’s like a blessing and honestly, it’s like a blessing. It’s, it’s a little bit, it’s, it’s sad, right? Because some of the people that started with us aren’t gonna finish with us, but the people that have stuck around and kind of have bought into the vision per se, um, you know, we’re, we’re planning on rewarding those people.
And, and I really feel the, the morale, I really feel the, even the. The workflow, the sprints, everything that they’re doing has just, the turnaround time has with even less people has been actually faster because they’re more, uh, more excited about what we got going on. They’re more excited to be a part of, uh, you know, the, the company as a whole.
And so that’s what I, what I would tell people is I would tell people to embrace your best employees and, and look at what the, you know, look at your employees and you have to really ask your, at the end of the day, I had to ask myself, uh, you know, with all 13 of those employees that I had on the books, I had to ask myself, Hey, are these, are [00:52:00] these people?
Are they an asset? Are they a liability? Um, and you know, and, and, and I’m, again, I’m sorry that I don’t know who was bringing up the valid points, but somebody was also speaking about Chad, uh, Chad, g b t, and we. That as well, um, into the, the, the script writing and all the different things. The email marketing, uh, literally chat GPS has basically, uh, replaced our entire marketing department.
And so, you know, it’s just a really interesting time that we’re, we’re living in. And so I would also just tell people to be very open-minded, uh, cuz that was one thing when first, you know, chat g p s came out. I was kind of a little bit hesitant, but as, as I got more information and more, uh, you know, the, the ability to kind of see what it had, what it could offer me, I realized very quickly that wow, this was a great way to save some, some money.
I couldn’t agree more, you know, I mean, coming full [00:53:00] circle, like cost, but people, like people are invaluable. We can’t do anything we do. At least I can’t. Without great people, so I, I’m, I’m all with you, Jack. Like we need to like reward and value, you know, people that really are the ones that make the, you know, the machine run great feedback.
It’s all about the team. It’s all about the team. You know, how team works, how team does all those things mean, you know, because if you go ahead and check anything and everything, you check anything and everything in the world, it’s not that the car has been made by fault only, it’s the people. It’s not something that, that maybe Elon, okay, fine.
He, he launched the, you know, uh, he’s in that [00:54:00] then. Then one thing is for sure that it’s all about the team work. And you have to believe the team. That’s what I can say. Otherwise, I have to say a lot of things. But then again, I’m sorry. Then again, you have to have the team and the believe in the team is, is the foremost thing.
For sure. Thank you sank. And, uh, and Jack as well. You know, my wife and I, we run a, a school and, uh, you know, we went through the pandemic. It was pretty tough, I have to say, you know, trying to survive through that and what we, what I said to her, I said, you know, you need to start looking at your costs. You know, you have, she had a subscription for cents, for instance, for $49 a month, and she had, you know, all these little tiny costs.
And I said, if you cut a hundred co, like a hundred small things within the [00:55:00] business that are not gonna affect products and service. A hundred small cuts can make a difference because when I said she should do this or she should, she’s not gonna make a difference. Well, you know what? A hundred small cuts do make a difference.
And that’s just, just remember that story. And, uh, by the way, the school’s thriving. It’s doing very well. It’s one of the top rated schools in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. So, um, you know, she’s, she’s doing well with it. And, uh, one, one, no, one thing. I’m sorry. Let take it. Yeah, we, we gotta close out the show sake.
It, uh, but appreciate all of the contributions that you’ve made today, you know, because you said, uh, you got hundred things, you got hundred things. That’s not the point. But the point is that you said it rightly, you know, every company is cost cutting everything. Because even yesterday we, uh, I heard the news that at the time Amazon cut down 10,000, you know, people.
So it happens. [00:56:00] Anything and everywhere. Because people are understanding, okay, fine. What is the use of online? Online, as in going online, there is no, I mean, there is no, no thing in the world that would not want to go ahead and let you want to go ahead and, you know, go to a bank and do it the same way. So transformation is happening.
That is that, and we should have, we have to accept it. We, we have to accept it right here. We have to accept it after 10 10. I think that’s a perfect kits, probably time. That’s a perfect San kit. Those startups that embrace technology, those ones that embrace technology like San Kit said there. Um, If you put your head in the sand [00:57:00] and you ignore chat, g p t, you ignore technology.
Ignore a ignore automation of your services. Uh, using technology to cut cost is probably one of the best piece of advices, the best piece of advice that we’ve gotten here today. Thank you very much, San Kit. If you haven’t already done so, check out startup.club. We pinged it at the top of the room here.
Roland, do you just joined as a listener? You came in late. We’re closing the room. All right, but we always love you, Roland. Uh, so we’re just gonna, uh, uh, I wanna let you know that you can ju go to startup.club. We have over a hundred, 105 episodes now. Um, around Serial Entrepreneur Secrets Revealed. We also have, uh, episodes recorded for the Complete Entrepreneur, which focuses a little bit on the different.
Aspect of entrepreneurship. It’s really about the human toll that an entrepreneur goes through. And every one of those episodes is absolutely fascinating. Uh, this has been [00:58:00] Serial Entrepreneur’s Secrets, secrets Revealed. Thank you to my co moderators, Michele Van Tiborg and me Amy Ostrander, who’s also writes our blogs.
I’m c Campbell and we’ll see you next week on the On, I was supposed to say The Complete Entrepreneur, Michele. Oh, on The Serial Entrepreneur Secrets Revealed on Serial Entrepreneur Secrets Revealed. You can find it on any podcast channel out there. And, uh, there’s some phenomenal episodes. Michele, do you wanna close it out?
Yes, yes. Everyone have an amazing weekend. And check out www.startup.club. We have a email list where you can get notifications of really cool speakers like Jeffrey Moore or. You know, Jack Foster, who started Reebok, we, we really have amazing speakers and we would love for everyone to attend or listen to replay.
So thank you so much and be well.