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Serial Entrepreneur: The Secret Sauce for Startup Success


 Today’s topic, Michele is all about what makes a startup successful.

I did a cohort on Monday, Michele, at the Nova NSU, Nova Southeastern University, and every time I do a cohort, I do one about every two months with the university. I start the the class off by talking about or just asking everybody in the room what, what makes a startup successful? And I get so many different ideas.

Uh, it’s actually very, very interesting. And today I thought we could run a topic in this, in this hour on that, on what makes a startup successful. So first of all, if you’re in the audience or on stage, let’s, all right, now, let’s all share the room. Right down the bottom left, you can click on that button and share the room on Clubhouse.

We’ll do [00:01:00] that and that’s great. Um, second, if you’re in the audience, then you have a startup and you’ve been successful. Please open mic Friday. So we really want everybody in the audience who’s who, who wants to come on stage to come on stage and talk about their startup and what made it successful.

What was the secret sauce like? What was unique that you did in your startup to make it successful? Jeff, Michele, my co-hosts, and I’m calling c Campbell. We’re here today on Startup Club, on the Serial Entrepreneur Club podcast and live show. Now I wanna make a special announcement. We are changing the name of the podcast to Serial Entrepreneur Secrets Revealed.

All right, so we are changing the name of the podcast and, um, but if you search for Serial Entrepreneur, you’ll still be able to find it no matter what. [00:02:00] It’s, uh, one of the most popular podcasts under that search term. Michele, Jeff, any thoughts about today’s topic before we kick it off? Yeah, I’m super excited to hear what the members have to say.

You know, we’re really here to learn from each other, so don’t be shy. Come on board. Even if you were working at a startup, right? It didn’t have to be your own startup. Raise your hand and share with us, you know, what you saw worked. Um, we’re all dying to know. And, um, Mimi’s gonna do another amazing bo post that will be posted on within a week as well.

So raise your hands. And I think, um, we’re probably ready to get started. Colin, who do you wanna start with? I think Jeff, Jeff, I mean, you’re, you’re working for a very successful startup right now, and you own, you’re actually a shareholder and you were co-founder, but I was gonna, I was gonna [00:03:00] ask you about, like, you know, I know it, it hit, um, Inc.

Magazine. Three years in a row for the, one of the fastest growing companies in America. And I was just gonna ask you like, what do you think was successful about Like, why do you think it just took off like that? Well, actually, Colin, I what I was gonna say before you, uh, asked a specific question, it doesn’t just relate to, although it definitely applies.

But I think one consistent thing I think you’ll find across every successful startup is a great team. Um, the team is so important and we’ve experienced that together with the team, uh, assembled for, uh, doc club domains, uh, and pretty much. Company that I’ve been involved with that I would call successful, um, largely was in part because of assembling a great team.

You know, where you have people who are aligned, who are motivated, who are entrepreneurial in spirit, even if they’re not [00:04:00] the founders, um, and really are willing to wear many hats. Cuz that’s one of the challenges. Um, you know, when you’re a startup, um, everyone’s role is, is probably much larger than what the job description might have said at first.

And, and I think really putting together the right team, I think is something that you’ll find if you peel back the onion at just about any successful startup. I agree. I think it’s people, right? If you don’t have the people, like what do you have? I mean, it’s, it’s part of the formula. People. I also think with Paw that, you know, we look at the products that we’ve launched and we’ve, you know, we’ve done well in a lot of them and we’ve failed on some of them.

And it seems like we’ve done well when we come out with products that are different that nobody else has, that we have something unique and different that no one else has on the marketplace. We seem to do well with that. I, I don’t know. What are your thoughts on that, [00:05:00] Jeff? Yeah, I think certainly, you know, this is gonna vary, uh, by vertical in what, what industry or business your startup is in, but certainly in our case, going into the pet category, which is a fairly crowded category where there’s a lot of, uh, me too products, especially in the dog bed area where everything kind of looks the same.

Um, us being more innovative and coming up with, you know, something that almost defines or redefines, you know, what a pet bed can and should look like and, and, you know, um, marrying it with home decor. So it doesn’t just look like something stinky for the pets, but it’s something that you’re proud to have in your home and don’t have to hide when company comes over.

You know, that’s proven to be a, a very successful formula for So, in our case, in that category, definitely, you know, coming up with something that was innovative and differentiated us from the rest of the products on the market, um, was a large part of our success.[00:06:00] 

Yeah, I mean, it’s interesting, uh, Michele, you know, you’re a president What do you think was the secret formula, Christina and the welcome on stage, But Michele, what do you think? Why do you think we did so well We started it 2012. Uh, we built it up to a million domain names and we were able to sell it to Godad for, uh, a very high multiple.

Yeah, a very high multiple. So, So what do you think made it successful? I mean, we had barris sign Why did you Absolutely. So one thing I would, and this is a good thing, it it, it’s not always one thing you know, that you have to do in every company that works. The beauty of being successful is, There’s, there’s probably multiple ways you could be successful, but specifically in the case, I’m gonna say like focus, [00:07:00] we had laser focus and that really made all the difference for us.

Again, it’s another situation where it was a hypercompetitive situation. It was a situation where 2000 other new domain extensions were released ostensibly all to the market, placed within probably a year or so, and we were just one, one So for us, we were super passionate. We were super, super focused and that made all the difference in the world.

And then second to that focus, you know, which bred execution, you know, we. Very heavily. We had a small-ish team and we held each other accountable for it. So for me, um, I would say focus and execution make all the difference in the world. You know, I think [00:08:00] we all know in anybody that’s read Peter Drucker, who, if you haven’t, I strongly recommend reading his books, their classics.

Um, the hardest thing in the world sometimes, and including myself and probably many other people, is to say that two letter word no. But no is your, you know, that’s your friend. If you’re super concentrated and you know what you’re doing, you can execute. Um, and if you’re doing that, you know, you’ll be able to be nimble and, and you know, sometimes you have to pivot.

Like, I, I don’t know of a single company that doesn’t have to pivot at times. Like it’s not all a Garden of Roses. So being actually very specific about what you’re doing and executing actually helps you do that. And I think that, you know, one of the things was distribution and we traveled to about, probably about 50 countries, Jeff, Michele, and myself.

And [00:09:00] the key was we had to get dis cause we couldn’t sell directly to the public. We had to sell through GoDaddy, through other distributors to make this happen. And, and the key was not only did we have to sign the distributors up, but we had to build relationships with them and then also convince them or work with them and sometimes pay money to have the distributors.

Um, or the registrars, they called registrars, but in Sense Essence, they’re dis distributors. We had to pay for them to, um, to in a good placement on the search engine. So when someone goes to, they’re looking for a domain name, they’ll as an alternative, um, domain extension. So I think in that particular business, our focus on distribution and building out a distribution channel is what helped us succeed.

Any last thoughts, Michele? And [00:10:00] we’ll jump to you, Christina, right after that. Yeah, I mean that definitely was the top key, um, strategy that we focused on and that’s, you know, we determined that that was the lover. So we focused on it like crazy and the results paid off. So of course, know what you need to focus on is, is absolutely critical.

And I don’t think that decision is made in, um, isolation. You know, for us it was an ongoing, our senior team was constantly, you know, evaluating, you know, what was the top thing we needed to do, and then we, you know, doubled down on it. You know, here’s the funny thing, I, I hope I didn’t, you didn’t hear me munching away there on my food, but in, in Clubhouse we multitask often.

I’m certain everybody who’d come on stage is guilty of this. But I was doing that and I just realized the mute was on, was not on, and I was munching away. So I hope I didn’t disturb the disturb the audience much. Christina, welcome on [00:11:00] stage. What makes a startup successful? Startup successful, again? Um, first of all, I would like to say thank you calling Michele, Jeff, um, for this, a beautiful platform for all of us to be able to learn and to integrate this into our own businesses.

Um, but I feel as though a startup takes whatever it takes, whatever it takes, whether it’s dot That level as far as concerned, as long as the background, because a lot of people don’t, um, see what we do. on the backhand of things, they don’t see how much it takes for us to really be successful.

So with that, I will say whatever it takes, sometimes it does take long nights. Some do, sometimes it does [00:12:00] take, uh, outsourcing and networking and whatever you have to do, your startup is going to, uh, your startup in the success of your business is going be contribute to whatever it took for you to get there.

So if you do the minimum, that’s what you’re going to get. It’s funny you say that. It’s funny you to do whatever it takes because I, I, I remember at hostopia, and this was in 2006, 2007, uh, I was told that we lost the EarthLink contract. EarthLink was a pretty big company. Uh, and we lost the EarthLink contract.

And I said, Okay, well, we’re not gonna take that. We jumped on a plane, my CTO and myself, we flew down and this contract was worth about 10 million. It was a big contract, it’ll be quite frank, right? Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . So we flew down and met with the buyer and we said, Okay, let’s go to the restaurant. But he had a weo, and a WEO [00:13:00] is a two seater car.

Mm-hmm. with a little trunk in the back. Ooh. And since I was the smallest guy, I, so I said, I’ll sit in the trunk. And I literally sat in the trunk and he just had a good laugh about that. But, uh, we, we, we, we, we, we won the contract in the end. Yeah. And so it’s like sitting in the back of a trunk and doing whatever it takes to win.

It is. Whatever it takes. Whatever it takes. And it’s, um, regardless of how you have to do it, you have to use your mind and your ingenuity, also your creativity. Think outside the box, but the way you we’ll get there and you will succeed is by whatever it takes to get there. So, and I think that’s what drive a lot of startups, right?

If it’s in the back of a trunk, if that’s what it takes, that’s what it’s gonna take. Thank you. Yeah. Well, that’s awesome. I like that. I like that point. I think it’s this tenacity that entrepreneurs have that get us through the, you know, through all the challenges. It’s the rollercoaster, [00:14:00] right? Like, you know, it’s up and down.

It’s never ending. Like I know, um, Michele is working on a company called Meowing Tins, and you can see it’s going up and then it’s going down. It’s going up, it’s going down. It’s just crazy. It’s, it’s, it’s insane. Michele, like this, I, I don’t know how we, how we put up with it. What do you think? It’s painful, , it’s painful.

But you know, again, we continue to persist. Um, you know, but a big part of what we’re doing is making sure the business is not spending more than it should be based on what the projections are. So, you know, this is the dance we play until we get it all down and straight. So there’s a lot of components certainly to look at.

All right, Christina, well stay well if you have a few minutes, stick, stick around, stay on, stay on stage. Uh, we’d love to hear your comments, some more of the topics that we bring up here. And I’m following you now. You’re, you’re awesome, Ashley. Thank you. Thank you. Actually, [00:15:00] uh, you’re new to the platform, You’re new to Clubhouse, Welcome on stage and, uh, what makes a startup success.

Um, first off, I would like to say thank you guys so much for welcoming me into the group, and I really appreciate that a lot. So for those of you that don’t know, my name is Ashley Filip Peas. I’m from Port St. Louis City, Florida, and also a full-time college student. But what I believe is that what makes a startup business successful is having the right resources and, you know, having the right people in your group.

And also to, you know, having the right belief system so that you’ll be able to integrate what you truly believe in and all of the desires and the skills that you really want to integrate and implement into the world so that, you know, you’ll be able to, you’ll be able to make a better impact for others, but mostly [00:16:00] for like a, but for like, um, But for good cause and whatnot.

And how I’d like to further elaborate on that is that there were some experiences, Well, first off, I would like to start off, um, I actually started out as like a, I’m currently a college student now, but I, I, I’ve actually wanted to do something that’s much more greater than, you know, the, the current norm that we have in society and whatnot.

So I decided that I would take it a little bit of a step further, so I’ll be able to, I’ll be able to make a better impact for other people and whatnot. And I’ve act, and throughout my search, I’ve came across a lot of multimillion dollar companies and whatnot for throughout my, throughout my search and.[00:17:00] 

you know, they started out pretty well and you know, after a, after a couple of, a few months or, or even a couple of few weeks from now, I mean a couple, few weeks I had, I’ve had a lot of, I’ve had a lot of, you know, trouble trying to, you know, maintain like a good momentum so that I’ll be able to, so that I’ll be able to, you know, be a little bit more so I’ll be able to be a little bit more productive and more impactful.

Cuz there was a lot of stuff that I faced. First off, I faced with a lot of, you know, uh, nervousness because, I, it was my first time doing, you know, sales and whatnot, you know, for commission. And I’ve really wanted to make like a lot of great impressions for people, not only for, not only for myself, but also for the product as well.[00:18:00] 

And that’s where Wow. Wow. Actually, you, you have talked about four or five different things and I feel like we need to unpack ’em a little bit. All right, So let’s talk about, first of all, purpose. So, you know, you talk about this idea that doing something good and doesn’t that, you know, I’m curious to hear from Jeff, Michele, and Christina as well.

Doesn’t that help you get through the hard time so you know you’re doing something good that is actually helping people, your business, the purpose, this concept. Any thoughts from the rest of the panel on. Yeah, I, I think, you know, purpose ha has an important purpose in a startup because also when, when there’s a purpose, it makes it much easier to align everyone on the team and to really have a strong culture cuz a, a good purpose drives a strong culture.

But it’s funny in hearing, in hearing Ashley speak and thinking about everything we’ve said so far, you know, I love alliteration [00:19:00] and, and I really think that what we’re talking about and what makes a startup successful, it’s kind of like four P’s. And the four P’s are people. Right. As we talked about, you have to have the right people.

You have to have a great team. Then you need a plan, right? You, you, you know we talked about Colin, you said being innovative. That’s all part of your plan. What is your plan? You have to have a purpose, uh, right, as we just talked about. And then finally, you have to have perseverance. That’s the fourth p because there are gonna be ups and downs as we talked about.

There are gonna be challenges. Um, and you have to have a certain mindset and a certain inner strength to not be thrown off course by those bumps in the road. The roller coaster Michele was talking about earlier. Um, so you have to have perseverance. So I would say to have a successful startup, you need those four Ps.

People plan, purpose, and perseverance. What do you think about those four Ps? That’s pretty high. It sounds like you got a book in the making there. That’s pretty [00:20:00] cool. What do you think, Ashley? What do you think? Yeah, I just thought I just jotted those down just now. Yeah. People plan purpose and perseverance, those are the four main keys to, you know, a healthy development and also for like a successful business.

I definitely agree with that. Yeah. And it’s, it’s, you know, so Michele and I, Okay, just here, full disclosure, we, we have a lot of, we’re involved in a number of businesses and two weeks ago there was a storm called Hurricane Ian. And literally it hit our, the island that we have our vacation rentals on.

And we, we co-own a vacation rental there and I have some other vacation rental properties there and it hit it dead on. And just the idea of perseverance is like, you know, when it first happens, you’re maybe in denial or whatever, and then you accept it, whatever. And the fact is, we gotta rebuild, you know, we gotta put a new roof on, we [00:21:00] gotta.

you know, there’s no power on the island right now. And it’s, it’s like there’s so many issues that can happen in business, you know, and there’s so many external events, whether it’s the inflation, whether it’s the stock market crash or crypto crash, or you know, the NFTs, whatever it is. We can’t control all those things.

So I think perseverance is something that every startup founder sort of hasn’t, you know, it’s part of, it’s part of who they are. Michele. I mean, we, we sort of persevered over the last 10 days right now with the storm, and thankfully by the way, all our homes are still standing that, you know, our vacation rental homes.

But, um, it was not easy going through this experience in the last two weeks. Right. It was tough. I know it seems like a week, but maybe once. It’s crazy. Yeah. I mean, that’s when you really find out. How well the team [00:22:00] works together, right. During these tough times. I think to your point, Ashley, people being at the top of the list.

Absolutely. That’s what gets you through the bad times. And by the way, it also gets you through the good times because you can have different issues there as well. So absolutely. People are critical and it’s the only way to get through these horrible times. It really shows the character and the culture.

Absolutely. Yeah. Now just resetting the room. If you’re in the audience, it’s open Mic Friday. We want you on stage. Just, just feel free to come on stage. Tell us about your startup. Tell us why you think it’s succeeded or, you know, it’s, It’s really just about a conversation with everybody today, but I will say this is that I feel like we haven’t really hit the number one reason why a startup succeeds and.

It’s funny because the cohort had missed it as well. Christina, are you gonna try Golf Mart? Are you gonna [00:23:00] try that? Yes. I wanna hit that number one. We reason I wanna go back to Jeffrey and he was speaking about purpose. Please do not mind my baby girl on the back seat. No, we love babies. Some club, but purpose.

I’m a woman of words. I’m a woman of words in definition and purpose is defined as the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists. So my key word is the reason. What is your reason? Because behind your purpose and there is a reason for your purpose. And so when you, you’re, you’re not just going into business because if you go into business, you know, does stats say between one to three years, it may not, it may not work out for you.

So it really does have to be a reason and a [00:24:00] purpose behind whatever you are at trying to do. So I think, um, your reason is also important too.

Yeah. I, I think I, you know, it’s, it’s really, really is, and it, what drives us through all of it, um, through all of the challenges. And I know even with the vacation rental business, we really do enjoy it. And we, you know, we, we are really fighting for good reviews. It’s actually a bit of a game. And, uh, when we do launch them, we actually have, you know, We actually look for those reviews, and we’re trying to get really good reviews, and it makes us feel really good that we’re doing a great job.

I will tell you the number one reason why startups succeed ultimately is that they solve a problem. And, you know, a lot of startups launch and they don’t solve a problem, and then ultimately it, it, it sort of peters out. [00:25:00] Um, I’ve probably done a few of those startups in my, in my own time, but the fact is, if you can solve a problem in your industry, uh, that can help your startup succeed.

Michele, Jeff, Christina, Ashley, any thoughts on that? Just solving a problem.

Yeah. Well, I, I, Oh, sorry. I’m sorry. Go ahead. Okay. No, go ahead. . Yeah. Um, I think what I think what solving a problem means for entrepreneurs or in businesses is that they take, is that they learn to observe. They actually learn to observe the what happened, what goes on in their community, or among other people that they may know or may not know, and they’re able to, you know, find and see the problem, you know, for just as is.

While [00:26:00] there’s a lot of other people, some of them, they may see the problem, but they don’t really do much about it because it’s, it just come, becomes like in a, a nami like it’s, I mean, it just becomes like a, it just becomes like a, a norm just to having problem stay there, like kind of sleeping in under the rug.

But if it’s, if, if it is, if it’s not benefiting anyone, then why is it still the way it is? So, I think for, So I definitely think for, you know, businesses and entrepreneurs, they, they’re here, we are here just to, you know, be able to help people, you know, find better solutions, or we ourselves can make up those solutions that would best fit, you know, that would best, you know, resonate and that could best, you know, implement to the problem.

And [00:27:00] then it’ll, it will immediately just, and then, or immediately or over time, it could, you know, it will have to be so negatively impactful for other people. And it also provides, it also provides a lot of great, um, value and. a lot of other stuff, right? Yeah. Thank you. Thank you for that. Uh, very articulate.

Jeff, you were about to jump in as well. Any, Well, I, I was gonna say, Colin, I think certainly that’s, that’s a common, um, belief that you have to solve a problem, but I think it also depends on what type of business you’re in. So I would broaden it a little bit and say that you need to solve a problem, a need or a desire, because there are a lot of successful products, especially if you get into consumer goods.

Um, you can have a very successful product that doesn’t necessarily solve a problem per se, but it solves a desire. And that desire could be [00:28:00] to look cool. So some of the big successful fashion brands, you know, they don’t solve a problem necessarily, but they solve that need or desire where someone wants to have something that’s gonna make them look a certain way or make them feel a certain way.

So I think it can be bigger than just a problem, but you have to find. Place in your customer’s heart, whether that’s getting there through solving a problem, a need or a desire, in my opinion. Yeah. Interesting. And then if you take it a little bit further, you know, I’m sort of like, I’m, I’m, I’m reaching into my past now and pulling out, um, different companies that have succeeded and whatnot.

And I’m thinking about Hostopia Hostopia. It was a company, it did an ipo and it sold to a Fortune 500 company in 2006. Uh, that particular company, it took us about six years to figure out an X factor. And [00:29:00] X Factor is something that Jim Collins talks about that Burn Harnish talks about. He’s been on our show Burn Harnish on this show, and you can catch him in the, in the podcasts, uh, your favorite podcast network.

You can just listen into those shows. But, The X factor is something unique and different that you have that no one else in your industry has. And be harnish sometimes talk about, talks about solving a bottleneck in your indu industry. And, uh, the company I like to use as an example is national car rental.

They literally re-engineered the way you rent cars. And I’ve, I’ve used them now for about six years and it used to be you fly into an airport and you line up and then you, you know, spend half an hour, blah, blah, blah. Getting up. Now I just land in, I just did a few days ago in Toronto. I landed, walked to the lot, [00:30:00] picked my best car out on the lot and drove out, showed my ID and credit card, and drove out.

It was so fast. They reengineered their entire company to serve, to solve that problem. Domino’s Pizza is probably another famous example, 30 minutes or free in Canada. It was pizza. Pizza. And I was actually running a pizzazz R at the time when they came out with this. And I’m like, Oh, there’s no way they’re gonna stay in business.

They can’t do that. And then they became the largest pizza companies in the United States and Canada. So it’s interesting. I’m not saying the quality’s good of dominoes. I cannot, or pizza. Pizza. I cannot stand either their pizza. So I’m just saying, you know, they’re very successful with their business model at host driving it back to host topia.

What was our X factor? Well, we recognize, you know, if you remember I told you a story about the, We go and flying into EarthLink in Atlanta, and, uh, the, uh, problem in that [00:31:00] deal was that the individual who was making the decision was very concerned about a migration that if we migrated a million or 2 million email addresses and 75,000 websites that.

Uh, that the product would, would, that, it would, something would go wrong and he would lose his job. Quite frankly, that was the number one thing holding us back from getting deals was people were worried about losing their job in the migration. So we came up with a hundred percent migration guarantee and we actually would pay them $350 per website that they lost, cuz that was the fair market value of those customers at the time.

Uh, and it was unbelievable. We won that deal. And then not only that, then we won at and t and then we won all the rest of the customers in the industry, and the company did very, very well. If you can figure out your X factor, that can be really helpful in helping your [00:32:00] startups be successful. All right, let’s get some more people from these.

I think the audience too, Jeff, go ahead. But let’s, Yeah.

Go ahead. If you’re in the audience, raise your hand. Come on. Exactly. Thank you, Jeff. Join the conversation. . Um, I, I love that hearing that story co. And I’ve told you, I’ve heard you tell it many, many times, but it is great, you know, finding that X factor, but I wanna drag it back to desire because what your X factor and that example did was satisfy a desire.

And that desire was not to get fired, right? Your customer, the person you were selling it to, didn’t want to get fired. So you came up with a structure, uh, which was ingenious, which would prevent them from worrying about getting fired. So you satisfied not their need. They didn’t really need to change platforms.

Um, they needed to figure out a way to do it and not get fired, and that was their desire.

Yeah. Uh, [00:33:00] well we have a comment in the comments there, sort of try to ask you to join on stage. Um, but you know, not every. Business is about. Okay, let me, let me read it here. Let me, let me read the comment. All right. Not everything or every startup is about solving a problem. The problem might have been solved by other startups, and the new ones can be the replica.

I actually thank you onto something there. Um, these, you know, quick copies, uh, you can copy a concept or an idea and do pretty well if you’re fast to market. Uh, CK beya, if you’re in the audience there, do you, you feel free to just click the microphone, but I’d love to have you on stage and just sort of get some more, more, more from you.

There he is. All right. That’s great, cuz I think that’s a good point. I think you’re, you’re making a, a great point there about areas. So what do you think ck like you, you know, I, I think you’re right. I think you couldn’t find [00:34:00] somebody else who solved the problem. I somebody else did the. Technology and just copy them and go to market.

And I see that happen an awful lot and I see some success, especially if you can sell them in other channels. Like, you know what, you might be a Facebook expert or you might be an Amazon expert, or you might be a, uh, uh, you might have retail stores, or you might be a, another one is the, uh, home shopping network.

You might have relationships with them and somebody launches a product and you see that product and you launch it into your own networks as well. What do you think? Ck Hey Colin, thank you for adding me to the, uh, group. Um, so my thought over there, I’m also, you know, just to introduce myself, I’m into this industry for like the last 20 years into the IT industry.

Um, I’d left Microsoft and, and, uh, you know, to build my. And while I’m building my startup, definitely all the questions which are being, you know, raising over here, how to be, you know, make the startup successful and the challenges people are [00:35:00] facing. I’m right now facing in building up the problem because while I’m developing and while I’m thinking about the features, the use cases, I do see, you know, these things are already into the market.

The cushions, when I go to the people and, you know, connect with different, uh, you know, the in, uh, leaders into the market, they do have the same cushion. What is the differentiator? I said, what differentiator you need it, it’s about, you know, how much Then, you know, for example, I’m working on my education startup and, uh, education applications are already there.

What is the differentiator? I’m doing it. The second question comes, Okay, I will add more technology, like, you know, NFT meta words, so and so. The cushion comes, that can be, you know, uh, people can have, uh, the same replica out of that, where is a differentiator. So for me, getting the business and, you know, uh, putting [00:36:00] it into the market with the different perspective and, you know, with the add-on features, which comes down the line, you know, maybe later it may become a differentiator.

For example, Facebook, what Facebook has started earlier and now what the Facebook is, you know, is a very different story. When Facebook has started, we were having a lot good, um, uh, social, you know, media like Awkward, which was almost doing the same thing, but down the line it has gone down and Facebook has taken over.

So I always feel that, you know, being, and what was the name of that site? What was the name of that site? Before Facebook. Jeff, do you remember the name? No, it was Ster. It was Fenster, but there was another one. My, Was it MySpace? Well, MySpace was after Ster. I think Ster was first. Was it Fenster and MySpace.

And so why didn’t they become number one? Why didn’t Facebook take over and now tos, you know, ticking them off, but they really are taking over. [00:37:00] But this is, so, it’s ing like again, I mean App, App. The iPhone was not the first smartphone. It wasn’t the first touch screen phone, but it was the one that made the difference.

And Apple, once again, with the MP3 player, the iPod was not the first MP3 player on the market. There were many, but the iPod innovated and, and changed the, the message and story behind it and dominated ever since. Yeah. CK is that sort of where you’re going with this? This notion that you can be, you can basically copy, but you can just make it a little different.

Make it a little. Unique is that yes, absolutely that will go down the line, but for the startup, let’s have the product into the market and then adding the features based on the behavior and all that always, you know, keep on adding and, you know, with the differentiator. And I really like the, uh, the comment, uh, um, I forgot the name, like, you know, so, uh, achieving the, you know, solve a desire.[00:38:00] 

So every entrepreneur, I believe is ha, is, you know, uh, going with the desire to do something. And if that desire is being solved, I think the purpose is also getting solved with that. And with that thing, we are getting some product into the market. So I really love that, uh, you know, solve the desired part, which is very, very important.

Before even we, you know, we may come a bit differentiator someday, you know, people may, you know, do something with the quantum computing, which is right now in the theory, in theory, But, uh, who knows? You know, we do the things a bit faster. Like I give you the example, uh, another example by Jews. Uh, the, I’m, I’m not sure how many of you have heard about that by Jews educational platform, which is from India.

And, uh, that guy, that byu. Byu byu or Baj, how do you say? Byu? Byu, B Y Z Z U. I think that’s how it byu. Okay. [00:39:00] Yeah. So that’s an, uh, educational platform. So how that particular entrepreneur, you know, the owner started, he was a tutor. He started Chen in his room, in his, in his house, and from there he started off his journey and build up the platform to have the mass.

And then later he said, Okay, I want to get, uh, the education in a specific format where people can understand, uh, more in a better way. So he started, uh, indulging big entrepreneur. Even the, the videos, the content is being, he tied up with Disney. So the content and the videos, the characters, he take outs from the Disney because he has got the tie up.

But what is making that particular bio, uh, not much successful is his cost, because it’s cost has got increased. So it is not as a mass product now, it is only being achievable [00:40:00] who can spend money? You know, uh, how many of you can spend, you know, additional money of 500 to one K every month on the, on the tuition, which is not the actual education, but the additional curriculum activity.

Not everyone, so. So it’s bio is solving the problem, but not at the mass at the same time. Yeah. And I, you know, it’s interesting cuz you know, America has got such a broken education system. It’s the best in the world yet, you know, it’s just unattainable for the vast majority. And I think that these, um, education companies that have come out with these learning modules and online learning and these kind of things is sort of a democratization of knowledge.

Yeah. And, uh, so what you’re bringing up this whole concept of, you know, solve, that’s, they’re solving a big problem. And I also think that you’re, you know, you’re, these [00:41:00] companies are, you know, sort of catching the next wave and, and, and, and that they’re positioning themselves. You know, you see that with the doctor’s offices now.

And you see, you know, online, online. And you saw, you know, Peloton did very well. It’s obviously doing. Poorly now, but I’m just saying like you saw them as the world shifts and changes. Positioning your idea or startup around that could actually make a big difference. Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. I’ll see.

Kate, thank you. Thank you for coming on stage and just to reset the room, we got 18 minutes left and we’re just having a fun conversation about what makes a startup successful. Uh, I know v you’re working on your first tech startup there. I’m just checking at your profile there and, uh, would love to have you on stage to hear about it and you know what your challenges are or whatever it is.

But, uh, anyone in the audience today, if you want to come on stage and talk about what you know, a startup, you know, what you think has made your startup successful, [00:42:00] please join us. It’s an open mic Friday here on the Serial Entrepreneur Secrets Revealed Life Clubhouse and Podcast. All right. Uh, what’s next?

Jeff? Michele, Christina, Ashley.

Um, Hey guys. Yeah, so there was something that I, there was something I’d been mean to mention, if you guys don’t mind. Yeah, let’s go for it. Yeah. So, um, reason being, you know, we’ve been talking about a lot about, you know, uh, earlier about purpose and whatnot, and also about learning how to solve, uh, problems, you know, through businesses or entrepreneurial.

Entrepreneurial, Sorry, I’m just trying to say the word Entrepreneurial. Entrepreneurial. I know it’s the worst, isn’t it? Try spelling it, by the way. . [00:43:00] Yeah. Yeah. So there was, there was something that, you know, I’ve actually started a new division for a current company that I’m working with. That company is called, uh, Seven Figures Funding.

I’m not sure. Now I’m not a hundred percent certain if anyone is familiar with it, but it’s actually a funding company that helps, uh, startup businesses, you know, just to help get them off, off the ground so that they’ll be able to, you know, provide for themselves, you know, as many resources and, you know, viable, you know, viable help and, you know, just to help their businesses become successful.

Especially. That’s interesting funding, like you’ve been holding back Ashley, because funding is such a huge element of what makes a startup successful if you don’t have the funding or you don’t know [00:44:00] how to get the funding. So with this platform, um, does it sort of give direction, Uh, what kind of funding do they talk about?

Um, they actually give, they actually give, uh, different types of funding. They actually give about, hang on. Yeah. I’m just in front of my, you know, computer. They actually give startup funding for, you know, business credit and also for personal loans. So those are pretty good funding options for, you know, startup businesses.

You know, and as do they do any government, like, like do they talk about any government funding? Because the one thing about, you know, being Canadian, you know, and I live in the United States, but US Canadians, we all looking for the government to help us on everything. And, uh, in the United States, I was actually able to get a $350,000 grant to build the incubator in Fort Lauderdale.

So there are programs out there, and I’m just curious if you, if that [00:45:00] platform talks about like how to get government funding for your startup. Yeah, there is one platform that. Seven Figures. Funding has also partnered up with, and it’s called, uh, Referral Partners for the, it’s called Bottom Lines. So Bottom lines.

That’s, that’s actually a government funding program where they offer something called, I’m not sure if anyone’s familiar. Is anyone familiar with erc? The employment? Yeah, the employment. Um, sorry, Yeah. The employment. No, I mean, like, you know, more than us on this topic, I think we’re all pretty much in the dark on this.

So you’re doing great. And, uh, um, yeah, I mean, I, I think it’s interesting. Like, I think we, we, you know, in order for a startup to be successful, we need funding. We need the oxygen. We need to have that oxygen in the, in the company to be able to function and, and start and grow, et cetera, et [00:46:00] cetera. I know with our vacation rental business I talked about earlier, Michele, You know, it’s all about buying at a good price, but also leverage.

We need to be able to find a bank that can work with us, that will lend us the money, that will allow us to do the next vacation rental and so forth and so forth. So it’s, it’s, uh, it’s funding’s absolutely critical. Actually, I do wanna jump to B right now cuz I, she, I know I harassed her and, you know, asked her to come on stage and, you know, I see it’s a, it’s a tech startup that you’re launching.

V uh, what do you, what, what is it that you’re launching and, uh, what do you think’s gonna make it successful?

Hi, thank you for bringing me up. So, um, my startup is actually in the health and fitness industry, but I had a question if that’s okay. I don’t really have, That’s fine. Yep, that’s fine. That’s fine. Okay. So my question is, I have the opportunity to work with someone, but they’re in another country. Um, [00:47:00] and the way that we met was through a co-founder matching site.

Um, so I was wondering if y’all have any suggestions on how to kind of vet this person and how I should structure it. Because when you sign up, you have to tell the platform that you’re willing to give away a percentage of your company, but I haven’t spoken with this person or met with this person yet, and we’re supposed to have our first conversation on Monday.

So I was wondering how you would approach that situation. Okay. I love this question and I was talking about it in the cohort on Monday with the class at nsu. Uh, the one thing that I would do first and foremost is profiling. So we’re gonna wanna profile you. I don’t know if you know the disk profile or if you know Bri, uh, Myers Briggs, but, uh, we’re gonna wanna pick a platform.

We’re gonna figure out your profile. First of all, we have to v we have to know your profile. And I’m already getting a sense of it right now, um, that [00:48:00] you’re, you know, you’re pretty social and, and, uh, very thoughtful. Um, so I’m, I haven’t got your profile done yet, but you can actually get very good at figuring out people’s profiles.

But what you wanna do is you wanna figure out what’s your profile. Now, if you, if you love sales, we don’t need another salesperson, so what we’re gonna need as an operator, or we’re gonna need a technology person, or we’re gonna need, you know, somebody who’s gonna compliment. And if you connect the right profiles with your business partner, that can make a huge difference.

Um, you know, it’s funny that a lot of people will often partner with their friends postcollege, and this is a formula for disaster. And I hear so many horror stories. You hear about the good ones, though. You know, you think about Steve Jobs and Wosniak and what different person, I mean, but, but if you know the two personalities, you know, they’re diabol, they’re totally the op, they were totally the opposite personalities.[00:49:00] 

Is it Steve Jobs and Wosniak? Jeff? And, uh, and, uh, who did Bill Gates partner up with when he, uh, with uh, oh, what’s his name? Steve Baller. Not Steve Bomber. I know that was, He destroyed the company. I’m talking Paul Allen. Paul Allen. Paul. Yes. Paul. I usually rely on you for the names. Right. But we’re talking about very different personality traits.

And when you’re doing a startup, Sales is a key element, right? So we’re gonna wanna figure out, So I’m very, I’m not very good at sales. Jeff is very good at sales, by the way. So that’s why I partnered up with Jeff when we and like, I can’t remember people’s names. And you know, of course now here I’m remembering the names and Jeff’s not.

But Point is, uh, um, no, but Jeff is really good at this and he really knows how I make sales happen and I’m really not good at that. So I needed to have a business partner. So when I, I partnered up with Jeff and, and that’s, you know, and he, you know, that’s how we, that was one of the reasons why the company succeeded, quite frankly.

Cause I’m just not, it’s not my, it’s not who I am. [00:50:00] So we’re gonna wanna profile and, uh, that’s the first piece of the equation. Now it’s a bit scary, this platform. And you gotta give up shares and no, no, you’re gonna have a relationship. You’re gonna talk to him or her and you’re gonna figure out, you know, what is the deal here and then you’ll move forward, hopefully.

Um, but do make certain it’s complimentary. The. But the thing I’d mention also v about, um, equity and, um, we’ve talked about this before in other, uh, other episodes of this show. Um, it’s very important, especially when you’re, and even if you’re starting a business with a friend, in this case it’s someone you don’t know.

But even if it was a good friend, when you’re starting a business with someone and you’re giving them some equity, you want to have a vesting schedule for that equity. You want to right up front know what happens should that person leave the company because. Startup founders have, have hurt themselves by starting a company with someone splitting the equity 50 50 or [00:51:00] whatever split they did.

And then after a year or something, the one of the partners decides, I don’t want to do this anymore, but they still walk away with their equity. So now you have someone who’s not part of the business, who owns half of the business, and that’s gonna really make it hard for you to raise additional capital in the future.

So whatever equity you’re, you have to give this co-founder. You want to make sure that it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s documented in a way that it’s tied to them staying with the company for a period of time and, and, and, and anticipates what happens to that equity should they leave, um, before a period of time. So it’s really important to equity vest.

You said something really important there about documenting. I don’t, I just, I’m just agast it that how many times I’ve seen. Um, people start businesses without documenting the ownership. It’s just absolutely fascinating. We gotta document it. It’s, it’s, [00:52:00] it has to be on paper. It has to be written down. Um, does that answer your question be at all, or do we, do we help dear?

Or maybe Michele, you have an idea to be Yeah, I, I just wanna throw this in here because when v asked her questions, she said something very specific. She said, How do I vet them? So first I would say to v like, really be sure that you’re listening to your internal voice, because what I took away from that, what you were saying, There is a need.

This is somebody in another country that you’ve never met before, to know that they really have done what they’ve said they’ve done and that they really have the capability to do what they’re saying they can do. So I think listen to that internal voice. You know what you need and I think you need to like be able to, you know, vet this person by, by talking to other people that they’ve worked for.

You need to make sure that they’re for real and that they can do what they’re promising to do. [00:53:00] Uh, I think that’s absolutely critical. And just listen to yourself and don’t stuff down that voice. You know, you need answers and you need to make sure it’s gonna work. Yes, that is my concern because, um, so we put our profiles up on this website and everything looks good.

I looked at the LinkedIn, everything looks good and it almost looks too good. . So I’m, I’m just a little bit apprehensive going in, but I think it’s a healthy amount of nerves. I don’t think I’m being paranoid or anything like that. No, I, I, I don’t think you are. And I think, yeah, you, you gotta figure out how you can get third parties, you know, to collaborate that this is person is who they say they are and can do what they say they can do.

And for me, you know, I, I heard you say they’re in another country, but I, I’m gonna say for me, I, I would wanna meet ’em in person if it’s something that you wanna move on. I, I find that just to be immensely, you know, helpful and, you [00:54:00] know, different things for different people, different styles. But I would wanna meet them in person for sure.

Yeah. And I think with the partnership, we, we also not only talk about profiles, but we also wanna values like what are your values? What are your core values? And do they align? Because if they don’t align, this ain’t gonna work. And that’s something that maybe, I think you’re right, Michele, going, having an in person, sort of like even just going to a restaurant and, and sitting there with them for an hour, you can learn a lot about somebody.

So I, I totally agree with you there. And we do have to, we only have five minutes left and we got Sahi and, and, and, and food me on stage. So, uh, I’d love to hear from you, uh, Sahi about what makes a startup successful. Absolutely. Hello everyone. And this topic is really, really very interesting and, uh, so without any further delay, I would like to start.

So I’m Sahi, I’m from India, and, uh, I’m into a tech space. We have a machine learning [00:55:00] platform where we evaluate the learning style and the learning curve of a child and provide them soft skills enhancement, uh, like emotional intelligence, techniques of debating and all. All right, so quickly, uh, on the topic, uh, what makes startup successful?

I believe, uh, it’s customer. As, uh, being, as a business or, or being, being as an entrepreneur, you have, you should have a direct conversation with your customer. And I think your organization or business is the medium to communicate with your customer. Uh, it should be like point A to point B, like point A is your startup point B, delivering your services to your users.

Uh, this is what makes your success, uh, what makes your startup successful. And everything in between, like co-founder investment is making that [00:56:00] bridge more stronger to reach out there and to hear customers more than more about the suggestions, feedback, and the conversion ratio with automatically increases and it will get success, uh, succeed.

Uh, for sure. I mean, this is asper my understanding because I’m, I’m from marketing and sales background, so I’m more over customer centric person and, uh, beliefs in profitability as well. So that’s it about my point of view. I’m done speaking. Thank you for the opportunity. Yeah, thank you. And, and you know, it’s interesting because this idea, uh, that you have to be customer centric startup is not really, not everybody gets it.

Like, you know, not everybody really jumps into that idea or concept, but that’s one thing that, you know, I’ve been, I mean, let’s talk about this vacation rental business, right, that Michele and I have. And it’s like five star reviews. That’s all [00:57:00] we want, we want, it’s cus what does a customer want? It’s all about the customer.

So, That’s right. You know, that’s probably one of the key things. If you can build a customer centric company and focus on the customer that can help you improve your chances of success. We have three minutes left. Phoneme, you’re on stage, you’ve been waiting. Very patient. We’d love to hear from you, phoneme, as to what makes a startup successful.

You there? Hi, Colin. Hi, Michele. Jeffrey. Hi everyone. Um, I did have a question, but I know the room’s finishing , so I’ll quickly say, um, I’m realizing that um, having a core team is crucial for the success of a startup. I feel that an entrepreneur definitely need support, um, but support from the right people in the right areas.

Um, so I would definitely, and I, you know, going from these question around finding a co-founder, I think it’s, yeah, super [00:58:00] important to have that core team to help you execute upon the vision. So that would be my, my tip. Thank you, Colin. It is so core. It’s so important. It’s so core. It’s the team. It really is the team, right?

And, uh, do we have any last thoughts from anybody on stage here? Popcorn style, Jeff, Go for it. People plan purpose, perseverance. I think that’s like literally the blog that’s gonna be published that Mimi’s gonna write here on this. Anyone else on the stage?

Well, I Go ahead. Always. Yeah, Sorry. Oh, go ahead. There’s a very famous code, which I would like to say the only way to predict future is to create it. So go and get it. That’s it, Ashley. Oh yeah. And also guys, whoever might be interested in, [00:59:00] um, whoever wants to fund their business, feel free to follow me on my page and, you know, I’ll be more than welcome to help you out and send you a couple of links so that, you know, you could be able to, you know, get in touch with a few of my other partners.

And that way the business will be widely and flourishing. Well, that’s, that sounds great. We, I think everybody, you know, who’s a startup appreciates that. And, uh, we will, I’m certain everyone will reach out. I, I know I’m now following everyone on stage for me. I didn’t even know like you’re on clubhouse until right now, so that’s pretty awesome that you came on stage and, and and shared that stuff with us.

And I’m following you too. So, look, it was a great episode. It was really all about the community coming together and figure out what makes a startup successful. I feel like we should run this show much more often with this title because I think that’s what this is all about. We’re trying to help each other, figure it out, figure out what it is that’s [01:00:00] gonna make us successful.

Because we’re not alone. We’re on clubhouse, we’re in startup club, and we all have our startups, but we’re not alone. We have a place to go and to learn and to connect and share with others. It was really, really appreciate everyone on stage for, for everything. Uh, it was great show. We have two very big authors who are coming on this show in the next month, which you’re not gonna know about ’em unless you are on the email list, which is on

So if you go to, you can actually sign up to an email list and, um, when we have a big author or, or a big serial launch where we had a, we had Bavan Turka on who started two unicorns. I mean, he’s a multi-billionaire and it was pretty fam, you know, pretty phenomenal. We had the founder of Boxy Charm on, we had the founder of Reebok on like these, these speakers, they come on to our show.

It’s pretty really cool. And we got two really, really good [01:01:00] authors, famous, very bestselling authors, famous authors who are coming on next month. Go to www and sign up to that mailing list. What a great show. Thank you everyone. It was, uh, a great, uh, and by the way, come back next Friday. We want you on stage.

We want you on Friday. Every Friday, two o’clock Eastern. Bye for now.


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