We celebrated our 100th episode of Serial Entrepreneur: Secrets Revealed this week with an exciting announcement from host Colin C. Campbell! We discussed the trade of entrepreneurship with our audience, and shared the ins and outs that we’ve learned along the way.
Unlock the secrets of a serial entrepreneur and launch a successful startup!
Over his career, Colin has celebrated great success and faced his fair share of failure, too. Being an entrepreneur for over 30 years, one learns through experience and fellow entrepreneurs what it really takes to build, grow, and exit a business profitably. Colin C. Campbell is excited to announce the debut of his first book, Start. Scale. Exit. Repeat! Colin is taking readers inside the world of serial entrepreneurship and laying out his exact framework for his success. Featuring interviews with industry experts like Reebok Founder Joe Foster, Crossing the Chasm author Geoffrey Moore, and more big names in business, Start. Scale. Exit. Repeat. shares the secret formulas behind prosperous ventures!
Colin identified a pattern that he could apply in his ventures to yield success– People, Money, Story, Systems. If you have a strong team, the right funding, an industry ‘X-Factor,’ and efficiently strategize, you’re well on your way to serial entrepreneurship. The formula for success isn’t straightforward and one-size-fits-all, but every business can benefit from learning and integrating winning techniques in your business. Emphasizing the wellbeing of your People, Money, Story, and Systems in each stage of serial entrepreneurship– Start, Scale, Exit, Repeat– is key to overall success.
Start. Scale. Exit. Repeat. is available for purchase October 3, 2023. Sign up for our mailing list to be the first to recieve important updates about preorders and launch events!
- Read the Transcript!
Serial Entrepreneur: Secrets Revealed! – EP100
Start scale, exit, repeat. That’s what Today Show is all about. It’s about cracking the code and figuring out what it is that startups do over and over and over again. And today we’re gonna talk about more about that and how we can crack the code. Now let me, lemme just give you an update about Startup Club right now as the room begins to fill.
Hello, Noel and Kyle joining us in the audience there. Uh, I just wanted to give you, um, an update. We are about 920,000 members. We’re trying to get to a million members by the end of this, uh, year. Um, I also want you to know that this is actually a live show. A number of you are listening to this right now in podcast, and you don’t, might not know this, but it’s a live show on Clubhouse every Friday, two o’clock Eastern.[00:01:00]
We run a show called Serial Entrepreneur Secrets Revealed, and you can come on stage, you can actually raise your hand, come on stage and provide advice if you’ve got information or ask a question. We often get a number of great speakers on stage, and today we’re hoping again to have a number of you on stage to share with us if you’ve ever started a company before.
We want to hear about that. We want to hear what it is that you did to make that company succeed. If you ever scaled a company before, we also want to hear from you. And if you’ve ever sold a company before, we definitely want to hear from you. And if you’ve done that over and over again and you’re in the audience, you’re definitely coming on stage today because it’s all about interactivity and the community.
And when the community comes together, we’re able to put together the most amazing contents, and that’s what propels the show, the community. , [00:02:00] now it is our hundredth episode. Uh, and Michele, I, I don’t know what you, there’s been so many great episodes. I’ve been trying to think of my favorite ones. I, I, I remember the very first episode was done with a gentleman named, um, Joseph Martin, and he started Boxy Charm and he sold it for a half billion dollars.
And that’s our very first episode. But it’s fascinating to think that when we did that episode where the world was then and where it is today, E-commerce was on a high, I mean, I don’t know what that company would sell for today, but it would probably be, you know, le sub 100 million. You know, let’s look at the looking, just looking at the publicly traded stocks and the e-commerce, uh, industry.
It would, you know, it’s definitely taken a beating. It’s a very different world. We are, we, we live in. Then when we first did that very first episode. [00:03:00] But what’s a fascinating episode to listen to and what’s interesting about all of these episodes is the principles are universal. The concepts between each show, uh, does not go out of, out of, out of, out of, um, uh, out of flavor.
I mean, it is something that will be 20 years from now, you can go back and listen to these shows and still get valuable lessons. What were some of your favorite shows, Michele and Mimi? You know, I really, you know, love the ones where we get a lot of member interaction. Our members have so much insight to provide, but one in particular that stands out for.
is, um, when Joe Foster, the founder of Reebok, came on, I mean, it was amazing. We actually met him, you know, here on Startup Club, on Clubhouse and just an amazing person to come and share basically his whole life [00:04:00] story. He’s an older gentleman now, but he really talked about his family being in the business for years.
The business was about to fail and how him and his brother took over the business and grew it into the multinational, one of the top brands in the world. So that was really inspiring and his humility was just amazing. I. Mimi, you wanna get, take a shot at it. . Yeah, I agree. The Joe Foster session was amazing.
I learned so much. Not even just about business, but he has such an interesting story, him and his brother of starting that I also really liked, um, our session with John Mullens, the, um, customer funded business models. One, I think we learned a lot and that had like a lot of great tips for our audience.
But I agree, Michele, I think the ones where we get the audience involved and try to get as many tips as possible always are great. I remember the trade show one was awesome. Yeah. And I, I think the, uh, the one, I think of two shows [00:05:00] that I’m thinking about right now, um, and just to me, I was like really nervous before starting them because I was meeting, uh, my hero based over some of my heroes and one of them was Jeffrey Moore who wrote Inside the Tornado and Crossing the Chasm.
And I just thought that episode and we talked about Clubhouse and how Clubhouse was in the chasm or not in the chasm. , it was fascinating to, to, to to, to really get a sense of, um, of, of where social audio was in the technology adoption curve. And, uh, Jeffrey Moore, I mean, he’s just a, a complete legend. The other one was Verne Harnish who wrote Scale Up.
I mean, I thought, I was just amazed that he, he, he took the invitation and came on and, and, and did a great conversation with us. And the last one was this one we did last week episode. It was episode 98 actually. And that was the one that was the one on, um, with Paul Hutchinson, who he’s coming back to do a follow up to that show [00:06:00] on, uh, on his actual story that the, that they’ve, um, put into a Hollywood movie.
It’s coming out this summer. And, uh, he was a, he ran a 50 billion real estate fund and went undercover for the US government, did 47 operations, um, trying to free, uh, um, children from. , uh, being, uh, sold off or, or, or, uh, uh, human trafficking. Thank you. Thank you, Michele. It’s, it was been a long night cuz we just got back, we just drove back in from Orlando this morning.
We went to the convention, the pet show convention. But today we’re talking about the secret formula. What is it that you’ve done to start scale, exit, repeat? And again, if you’re in the audience and you have experience in this area, you’ve started a business and you’ve had success, tell us what your formula is.
You’ve scaled a business and you’ve had success. Tell us what your formula is. You’ve exited and you’ve had success. Tell us what your secret was and [00:07:00] if you’ve done it over and over again, you repeated it, we definitely want you on stage. All right. So we do have an announcement about the book. Michele, I know you had a few questions and you wanted to sort of, uh, dig into that a little bit more.
Yeah, I, I mean, first if everybody looks up to the top, I posted an article. and, um, basically Colin here, who’s on this stage, is now a contributing author in forbes, forbes.com, and we also have a big announcement to make here. So I think, uh, Colin, why don’t you tell us like, what is going on with Forbes?
Like, I, I, I heard that, uh, there’s something that we should be aware of other than this really cool article that just got published, um, on their website about ai. So, so what have you been up to and what in the heck is this, uh, you know, book that you worked on? Like, what, what is it about? All right, so this, um, above that article’s interesting because it [00:08:00] really talks about catching the wave, and that’s one of those secret formulas, and that’s part of the today’s session.
It’s like, you know, what is it that can help you succeed in business? What makes a startup successful? And one of those things is, If you can position yourself very correctly to catch a wave and move very quickly and develop a very easy product, easy to use for customers, it’s very simple, then you can catch that wave and you can succeed in that market.
And I actually quote Jeffrey Moore in the article and, and talk about that adoption curve again and how AI will be the next largest wave in the 2020s. It was dial up in the, um, nineties, like internet getting, getting on the internet. It was broadband in the two thousands. It was social and apps in 2010 and 2020s are gonna go down in history as being the decade of ai.
And the opportunity [00:09:00] for entrepreneurs is historic. Again, we are back at the early days of the internet. It is, there’s absolutely amazing and very fun. So if you get a cha cha chance to read that, it’s a four minute read. It’s a great article. . So, uh, this, with respect to the book, this has been a project in the making.
I mean, it seems like every one of our companies, Michele and our incubator, take 10 years to succeed. And this book is no different. We, we started this book in 2012. I was asked to speak at m i t to a group of entrepreneurs at the Masters of Entrepreneurship program, ironically run by Verne Harnish. So his name kept popping up again.
Uh, my, uh, CEO coach asked me to come and speak after I had sold Hostopia, a small publicly traded company, uh, in 2008. And I worked for the company for three years. And in 2012, they asked me to come and do a, uh, a session with the entrepreneurs. And I was really nervous about this. I mean, here I am, I’m walking in These were not just people [00:10:00] from, you know, just starting their business.
These were very successful entrepreneurs. You had to apply to this program. You had to have a multimillion dollar company. and they were, they were, they only show the best of the best speakers at, at these, at these, uh, conferences or these sessions. And I was asked to speak and I had just broke my leg skiing, believe it or not, my tibula my fibula.
So I was walking in there on crutches, probably on, um, oxycodone. I was on for about eight months. And I walked in there and I had to deliver. And what I did is I reflected on my past and I realized what it is that, cause I’d done about eight successful companies at the time. Thankfully over the last 10 years, we’ve added a few to, to the, uh, to the list.
Uh, but I’d done about eight at the time. And I said, okay. What’s very interesting is the patterns, the patterns between all those companies with respect to the people, the money, the story, and the systems. And that at each stage, the start stage, the, the scale stage, the exit stage, and the repeat stage, the people, the story, the [00:11:00] money and the systems were all different.
You had to operate very, very differently. you. You become a one person in a startup mode. You’re basically weaning a baby. You control everything. When, if you wanna scale your business, it’s a completely different persona you need to take on as a leader, you need to lead leaders, allow others to do it. When it comes to exit, even another persona, one in which you step back from the company and you want to play yourself down, you wanna check your ego at the door.
And then in the repeat aspect of the book, it’s all about like what it is I’ve done from each company to go from one to the next to the next. It’s fascinating how I started a company or my partners. I started a company in 1992 called Computer Lick. Um, and that was a, BBS and BBSs back then were popular, but over time they, they began to wing.
And out of that we launched a company called Internet [00:12:00] Direct and I S P. This thing called the internet was really taking off. . Um, at the same time we did two cows because we wanted to host a, we hosted this site called Two Cows, and we wanted to, we saw the demand it had, so we launched two cows as a commercial business, uh, as a southford download site and domain site.
And then from there we said, wow. Um, actually it was a telecom that called us up and said, we’d like you to launch a hosting platform for us because you’ve done such a good job with your is p We had a hosting platform. Ding, ding, ding. The bells went off. And we decided to launch a new wholesale platform called hostopia, hosting an email.
During Hostopia, I studied something called the New Domain Extensions, and by 2012 we launched.club. We also launched an 800 person development center out of Ukraine, which still, we still own today. And, uh, and then from.club. , we began to [00:13:00] get into, um, th this thing called Clubhouse. People started registering.club domains like mad.
And so Michele and I jumped on and, and working with Ed Nusbaum, we started, well we launched Startup Club. One company led to another, which led to another, which led to another, which led to another. It was fascinating. So that’s it. Basically, that’s the thesis. But then we added on over a hundred interviews on Clubhouse, off Clubhouse, um, for 25 different authors, experts, um, and, uh, unicorn billionaires, serial entrepreneurs.
We’ve interviewed so many others to put this book together. It’s, it’s a large book. I admit. It’s, it’s over almost 300 pages long. And, uh, but it is powerful. It is going to, it is probably the one of the top. I think this book is taken on start scale as repeat. Something that no other [00:14:00] sale, no other startup book has done before.
It’s taken on a vast amount of topics and put it into one book. It really is like an encyclopedia on how to succeed as an entrepreneur. Michele, and I know you were, you’ve been working on, on with the team here, has been working on, um, the cover and everything, um, and, and we were very fortunate to get some, some really good call outs, um, and, and, uh, references from some people as well.
Yeah, I mean, I, I, I wanna talk about, Kind of your point of view on the book that I personally, um, find very interesting, that I think is different. First of all, I wanna say a lot of the content and there’s over, gosh, I don’t know Colin, but probably at least 50 subject matter experts that are referenced in the book.
So it, it is, what I thought was kind of cool is it’s not just [00:15:00] you, even though we all think you’re brilliant. Thank you, expos. Thank you. Exposing your, um, talking about what to do. It, it’s a group, it’s the members, it’s it’s subject matter experts talking about their experiences, their specialties in going to market and like you saying, scaling and Xing.
But what I love is because I’ve been able to read the book, because I’m working on it. Is your whole, uh, concept of building wealth. Now, this is something that I feel is a little different than a lot of these books that you read, right? A lot of books that you read, right, are really trying to focus on like building, you know, mass, let’s just say unicorn status companies.
But you introduced to me this whole concept, um, I think you referred to it as laddering up. And I think it would be cool if you just, you [00:16:00] know, give people here a little bit about that because this is something that I think is very much achievable for people, a way for people to actually methodically build wealth.
Can you talk about that a little bit and, and why you chose to emphasize that in, in your book? . Yeah. It’s an inter, I mean, it’s concept that’s debatable. Okay. We had a, and it’s actually in the book, but we had a, a dinner with Joe Foster, the founder of Reebok, and we had a discussion about this one, and he was sort of like, with the idea of stick with one thing and just go all the way.
And in his case, you know, he spent the first 15 years, 20 years of his business, and he got to 9 million in sales. And it wasn’t until he got his big break when Jane Fonda put on his shoe, on, on, on, on the shoes that he, they had produced that they went from 9 million to 900 million within four [00:17:00] years. Um, had they sold the business at that point, they obviously, you know, in, in, in 1979, had they sold the business at that point, they would’ve, um, walked away with, you know, 10, 20 million, whatever it was that they could have got for the business.
So for their strategy, sticking with it made sense. . But I wouldn’t say that’s the exception, not the rule. The, the Silicon Valley highway is littered with failures. Now I know it’s becoming more pronounced now with Silicon Valley Bank and the book talks a lot about Silicon Valley disease and how a lot number of startups get that disease and this obsession with venture capitalist venture capitalism.
But the fact is, we can build businesses, we’re okay, we are, our trade as entrepreneur is, it is a trade. So as an entrepreneur, like we don’t think of it often like that our businesses a being [00:18:00] a tra as, but what is it? Are we an expert at this one business or can we become an expert at being an entrepreneur?
And can we sharpen our sword? Can we become very, very good at that one trade? And if we can, we can actually start to sell more build companies. Scale them and sell them and make a lot more money. There’s, there’s multiple reasons for that. One is that there’s, it’s very tax efficient to sell capital gains, in some cases, almost no taxes under, under some circumstances in Canada, in the United States, where you can sell your business for zero capital gains.
But the fact of the matter is capital gains taxes are much lower. The second is companies that buy you, that are strategic are looking at taking your company. Take, uh, doc Club domains, for instance, which sold to GoDaddy. They’re looking at taking our company and scaling that, uh, with their current customer base or their current distribution channel.
Uh, it was GoDaddy registry that actually purchased the, the [00:19:00] company. So from our perspective, we’re getting paid, you know, at, at Hostopia that’s publicly traded. I’m not allowed to talk about valuations with Doc Club, but, but, um, with Hostopia, it was, it was, they, they purchased us for 17 times ebitda. Now think about that for a second.
17 times ebitda, they purchased it for, because they had the ability to take this technology and distribute it to all of their customers. So the, the concept I’m trying to get into startups out there and to entrepreneurs is that consider yourself as being a, a trade. Consider entrepreneurship as entrepreneurship as a trade and start scale, exit, repeat, start scale, exit, take some money off the table, repeat.
And that’s exactly what I’ve done for the last 25 years. And yes, you may be able to hold out [00:20:00] to till you’re 70 years old just before you sell your first company, but your quality of life, the way you live, you’re, you’re, um, the fact is you’re removing risk when you take assets off. When you sell assets or sell your business, you’re removing the risk from your life and you’re putting that into, um, safe and secure investments, real estate, your home, extra homes, whatever it is, it’s going into things that are solid and, and separate from your business.
Because as we saw with the pandemic, as we saw with the Ukraine war, as we saw with so many things with inflation, now with high interest rates, we cannot tell the future. But I can tell you the future will involve change and sometimes that change can be very negative for the company that you’re running.
I had a friend who was running a cruise ship business called the Groove Cruise, and he was doing very, very well. He wasn’t doing very, [00:21:00] very well for the last couple years given the pandemic. Um, you can be out of business very quickly no matter how strong your business is. You can have a real estate business and it can go under.
As well. I mean, of course some businesses are more conservative than others, so I encourage people to think differently about who they are, uh, and how they want to make money. Are you a shampoo company or are you an entrepreneur that sells shampoos? Yeah, I, I think it’s, you know, it’s some advice that’s meaningful to me.
Um, I, I like the methodology, but I see we have Jim here on the stage, and Jim, you know, we’re talking about, um, start scale, exit, repeat, and would love to hear, you know, any, any, um, experiences, advice or suggestions that you have here for our members. Sure. Michele, thank you for inviting me up. Uh, I’ve been [00:22:00] through the, uh, business cycle a few times over, you know, the last 40 years and sometimes, uh, You know, it works, uh, well on the exit and sometimes the exit is to, uh, get, get it just behind you so you can move forward.
Um, I’ve, uh, owned a manufacturer rep, uh, company for many years, and I sold that off to, uh, two guys that were working for me. That was a very positive situation. Uh, I also, uh, owned a manufacturing business, uh, in the mid nineties, but was affected by a flood in 97 in Grand Forks, North Dakota. That particular exit, uh, was painful because, uh, we had a severe flood up there.
Uh, regular insurance doesn’t, uh, pay for all the losses that we incurred, and I was able to [00:23:00] build the business back up over two years and exit it out, but, I did not come out on the right side of the money, uh, deal there. But you learn from those things. Uh, and say in the last 20 years, uh, I was an importer doing, uh, direct import, uh, for the big boxes.
Uh, probably the best part of my business career was doing, uh, direct importing, uh, for the big boxes, uh, very little capital at risk on my part. Uh, the orders were substantial. Uh, I had a value added service that they wanted, and I was able to, uh, exit out of that to a partner at that time, and that was very good.
Recently, within the last couple years, I started, you know, Amazon business, I think it was 2016. And the first thing that I looked [00:24:00] at before even, uh, jumping into that pool was there a, a secondary market, uh, to sell this business. And at that time, back in 2016, the multiples were pretty low. You were talking around, uh, two x uh, on the seller discretionary income.
But I gave it a whirl. I was able to, uh, build that business up in less than two years and make a, a very nice exit. Uh, you know, a lot of these exits, uh, that people talk about, some hit a home run. But if you can hit a, uh, a double, uh, say thank you, take the money and you can go on to the next venture, uh, you know, A lot of people just don’t realize the real payday is on the exit.
And if you get a, a couple, two or three exits that are good, um, you can, uh, have some freedom and you can move forward into other things. So that’s just in a [00:25:00] nutshell of my experience. The one thing, uh, on Clubhouse, I remember, uh, what I’ve joined a couple years ago and the aggregators were like everywhere.
And I was in a couple rooms and I was talking to people and I said, you know, you should just talk to these people to get a, a conversation going to see what your business is worth. And you may want to decide May, maybe it’s not in the timeframe that you originally set up, but it may be time to exit it.
Well, , a lot of these people that I was talking to and a couple, uh, particular, uh, people that I got fairly close to, they thought their business was worth a lot more, uh, than what it really is. And now the valuations are less than it was two years ago. So people have to be patient. Things will turn around.
I don’t know if the valuations [00:26:00] in the, uh, next couple years will meet that of uh, say 21. Uh, but it could, so the whole thing is, is kind of knowing when it’s time to, uh, hand the keys over to another buyer and say, thank you for the exit money. That’s basically been kind of my life. Well, that’s, that’s, that’s interesting about this, this, the sale timing.
I mean, I often say that half the value of your exit is timing. and people look at me and they say, wow, how is it possible that you always seem to get out just before the crash? You sold Hostopia a month before Lehman, you sold.club before. Um, the, uh, the inflation and the whole chaos of, of last year, and the stock market collapse.
Uh, , you sold. [00:27:00] The fact of the matter is, and Ed knows this one, Ed’s in the audience, by the way, he’s the, he’s the gentleman who actually started this club from the very, very, very beginning and kicked it off. So, welcome Ed, thank you for co coming and joining and listening in, and you’re welcome to come on stage.
Any of you in the audience, by the way, welcome to come on stage if you wanna just share a thought or ask a question. But the, but for me, Jim, the, the, the, the lesson I learned came from the school of hard knocks. back in my twenties, uh, we had a publicly traded company. It was the I S P I mentioned internet direct.
It was the largest in Canada. And, uh, we decided to merge it with a cable company and apply for a wireless license for all the internet for Canada. Now, I know that may sound crazy, but we actually won the license. We actually got it for free from the Canadian government, and our stock went up to well over a billion dollars.
And here I was 28 years old, you know, with worth more than Mark Cuban at the time. , [00:28:00] uh, he, he actually sold his comp. Okay, let me finish the story first, but, uh, before I started complaining about Mark Cuban, um, so here I am. Life is good. 28 years old. Things are just, I mean, think about it. You’re well worth, well over a hundred million dollars on paper, you know, and you had total, you lived in like, pretty much poverty your whole life.
And here you are, um, at, at this stage, this level and, uh, something called the.com crash. happened, and, and fortunately when I did the merger, I, I locked up my stock. I was, and I spent 10 years building a company. I couldn’t spend the right time to figure out how to exit the company properly, but I, my stock was locked up, so I had no ability to sell the shares.
And, uh, within 18 months, uh, that $19 a share went to 6 cents a share. And I, and all my employees, who we were millionaires on paper, lost everything. Um, it was absolutely horrific. I mean, [00:29:00] I crawled up in a ball and a bed and just sort of like, a lot of it’s about timing, you know, how we sold the company and were able to, or sold the shares when it was worth over a billion dollars.
I’d be the one owning the, the, the, uh, Cuban’s, Cuban’s football team. Uh, I’m, I’m, I’m not jokey. He sold his company for a relatively similar price to what I’d got, I would, could’ve got at the time as well. And it’s just timing is half the value. , you know, and, and it’s, it’s like startups as well. And so I think there’s these times to start and these times to sell.
And when things are frothy, what do I say, Michele? I always say exit stage, left when things are going really, really good. Exit stage left. Yeah. You know, let other people make the profit. It’s okay. Let other people make some money. Right. That, so, uh, lemme just, uh, interject something. Colin. Uh, I had a really good friend, uh, known him for like 30 years.
Uh, good businessman, but. [00:30:00] Sometimes, uh, the green factor sets in. Uh, he had a company, a nice size company, was in the, uh, gift industry. They were well established, like 30 year old company that wanted to, uh, acquire Jamie’s company. Jamie calls me up and he says, Hey, this is what’s going on. He shared the numbers.
I told him just from my past experience what I thought his company, uh, valuation was. And, you know, basically the guy, uh, blew the deal with the acquiring company. And lo and behold, three years later, he ended up, uh, liquidating his company. He walked away with zero. So sometimes you, you have to, uh, listen to people that have been through the battles and also, uh, like I said, yeah, some people hit the home runs, but the, uh, doubles and, uh, singles and [00:31:00] triples.
Uh, they do count because there’s, uh, cash available to be, uh, put in your bank account. Yeah. It’s the serial entrepreneur disease of optimism. You know, we often think that our businesses will be worth so much more next year. It keeps getting better, better. It’s always gonna get better. You know, nothing bad can happen.
You know, our business is worth way more than, you know, than people think it’s worth. And then we stick and we, hold on, hold on. And we, we don’t move forward. We don’t, we, we keep, we, we keep ourself cap, you know, stuck in this sort of mode of, of running this company when we could’ve sold it. I, I’m, again, I’m other, I have many other stories, um, but I don’t want to go into another story.
Right now. We have Ed on stage and, uh, ed, I don’t know if you have a thought on this topic. We’re excited to announce the book. Ed Forbes is publishing the book. It’s being published on October 3rd, and it’s called Start Scale exit, repeat. And so, Thrilled to have you on. It’s [00:32:00] been a long time, my friend.
Yeah. And when I saw the room title, I had to join and I joined the room just when I was telling all these great stories. You should, I was about to say you should write a book, but it sounds like you already did so even better. And, uh, you had a thinking that you were at the, the peak in a similar position as Mark Cuban and you know, the, all that hard work, you know, depending on the timing of exit can be such a big difference.
So I’d love to see the old start scale and exit, um, cuz that, that is something that you don’t always need to do, but if you can, time it right makes such a huge difference to, for your yourself up to do something you know, maybe even bigger next, on your next swing at bat. So, looking forward to what the book’s about and also your next swing of the bat because, uh, I know these prob probably still have a few, uh, a few interesting ventures ahead of you.
Yeah, I think we have a lot on our plate right now. with our incubator, we’ve got about 10 companies, so Michele and I are, are like just [00:33:00] exhausted to be honest with you. But, um, uh, yeah, yeah, it’s, it’s what’s interesting Ed, about the book too is it, it really is, um, not just about my experience, my pasts, but also about the interviews we’ve had on Clubhouse.
This book could never have come together, um, without the community on Clubhouse, without the interviews we had on Clubhouse. And actually I was probably closer to 50 experts, serial entrepreneurs, authors who came on this show, uh, and some other shows as well, but a book, but primarily this show where we did the interviews and we were able to take the best of the best lessons we’ve learned from these experts and put those into the book.
and, um, thankfully, uh, it’s, it’s come together very nicely. A book. It’s, it’s, it’s very well laid out. We said we wanna make a physical book fun again, [00:34:00] and we have a, you know, a number of call outs in the book. We have golden nuggets, like over a hundred golden nuggets. Uh, we have 40 illustrations that were done by an artist.
They were not done by G P T, they were not done by Dally. They were done by an artist. Uh, the, actually, I’ll say the only thing that was ever done by G P T and it was an unbelievable, I took the intro, introduction section, the, the little intro session and popped that into chat, G P T, and I said, write the inside cover of the book.
Give me 10 reasons to buy this book. And it was phenomenal. It took that. And turned it into 10 reasons to buy this book that made the inside cover. So look, I’m big on chat. G P T I was able to, thankfully while my deadlines was in November, I submitted the book in November, uh, or for a first week of December.
And uh, I was able to get chat G p T in my prediction that AI will be [00:35:00] in the 2020s, one of the greatest, uh, changes in and, and biggest opportunities for startups. And I was able to get that in the book. That was the last thing I put into the book. The very last thing, cuz chat, g p t was just blowing up at the time and I saw the potential, so I’m happy I got, I got that one right.
But, um, yeah, it takes about nine months to go from submission to the book at Forbes to actually getting it published and a lot of dates are being planned and. parties and, and launch parties and stuff like that, . So we’re really looking forward to it. And it’s gonna be a fun book to read from, from beginning to ends.
It’ll be a great reference book to pull down when you are selling a company or, you know, you do wanna hire someone. We have, we’ve got some great experts on sales. We h you know, we interviewed Jack Daley, forgot about that show. Mimi, do you remember him? Jack Daley, who came on this, uh, this show and actually gave us a really good sales primer.
We interviewed him. We interviewed another gentleman, a good friend of mine who [00:36:00] sold his company, um, for hundreds of millions of dollars. And it was a, who was ba basically did it all by sales. We have a section on the pitch. Uh, we have Jenny Kassen. Jenny Kassen, do you remember her Ed? She was doing a show, I think she might still do a show on Startup Club.
She came on this show and she gave us a, a full course on raising money, raising money for the, um, , you know, for your startup in the United States. And, and that chapter’s in there as well. We have a chapter on venture capitalist. They interviewed my ex venture capitalist . So we got his side of the story. Um, very, very interesting to get, you know, years later to get different perspectives and the perspective from the venture capitalist.
Uh, and, and, and we’ve got it. It starts with just the, the very first chapter is what makes a startup successful and how do you get your first idea? And then the second chapter is about idea to action stuff we’ve talked about on this show. And I, I don’t think this book could have come together without the community.
That’s one thing I will say, ed, it, it, it is [00:37:00] just phenomenal. Yeah, and just to, to add on a little bit here, um, the book’s gonna be available for pre-order in the middle of April on Amazon. So we are going to be doing a lot of promotions with, um, the publishers Forbes, as well as Amazon and Good Reads and other sites like this.
So if you wanna get in or get even possibly free books, just make sure you sign up for our startup.club email because we’ll be sending those out to the list. So an opportunity for you to get the book and we’d love for everyone to be able to get it. We’re actually not doing this, believe it or not, for the money.
Um, we’re doing it to help people just like we do when we run Startup Club. And, um, you know, as most people know, we have over a hundred blog posts, um, probably 200 articles. [00:38:00] Uh, recordings, et cetera on the website as well. So it’s an infinite source of, um, you know, help and hints and tools for people that are just trying to get their business going or trying to, um, get to the next stage of their business.
So we’d love to hear anybody who wants to ask questions or share a story or maybe, you know, you just wanna like, chat about what it is like to be a startup. That, that would be great and we’d love to hear from you. Thank you.
Yeah, I think you were gonna pop on there a minute ago and before Michele jumped on. Oh no, I was just gonna say, uh, thank you for the additional context regarding the book. It sounds even better than, than I thought. So looking forward to it. Yeah. One of our sayings is we do it really well or don’t do it all right.
you know, that end. You’ve seen the parties, you’ve come to the, the parties we have every year at the house. You’ve seen what we we’re doing with Startup Club, and [00:39:00] you do the same, you have the same philosophy like you came in with startup Club, with this idea of an ecosystem for individuals to come together to communicate about startups.
Did you know after two years, EDS your club would be the largest, um, clubhouse? Did you actually know that when you set out, or is that just, I don’t know. I I’m not gonna ever say it’s luck cuz you’re really good at building communities. Well, so that’s your, that’s your forte. Well, ed, there’s always luck and there’s always timing involved, but, um, This theme of your book of Start Scale exit, repeat.
I’ve done large online communities before . I started them, scaled them, exited from them, and learned the lessons along the way. So, you know, applied those lessons to, you know, from past large communities on different platforms to Clubhouse. And the Startup Club was the community that I wanted to see exist.
We all have different pieces of the same puzzle, the same entrepreneurial, you know, different puzzle pieces of the entrepreneurial puzzle. [00:40:00] And so the, the, the. It is to find and connect with other people and figure out how those puzzle pieces connect, how we can learn from one another, grow together, the better.
It’s for everyone. And so when I first hopped on Clubhouse, uh, saw the magic of that ability to discover and connect with awesome people. And so Startup Club was a celebrity, be the catalyst. And so, you know, it’s helped me, it’s helped, uh, so many people just by making easier people to find and connect with one another and do great startup related things together.
So I’m glad that it’s grown and uh, and uh, early paddling, uh, you know, hard paddling to try to kind of catch that wave of clubhouses coming in. I’m glad it paid off. And then, you know, the exit part of it was recognizing that I had kind of reached the, the limits of my ability, but discovered awesome people who could kind of scale it to the next, next level.
And so thank you Colin and Michele and the whole startup.club team to kind of. Take, take what I [00:41:00] started and keep, keep it scaling. So thank you so much for that, and thanks for everyone who’s helped along the way. Yeah. And I also wanna let you know to Ed, you actually are acknowledged in the book at the end of the book, just, you know, because you have had such an impact on me in the story in the community, and it couldn’t have happened.
This book could not have happened. Let me be very clear. Without the community from Clubhouse, without the hundreds of shows we’ve done, even the show we do on Thursday, we do The Complete Entrepreneur. I’m a Michele and I are, um, the co-hosts, but the, the main host is, uh, Michael Gilmore. We did a chapter in this book, um, and you don’t see a chapter like this in a startup book.
And it, the chapter was, was really about the toll of the entrepreneurial life. You know, there’s been a lot of studies that have been done. We quote a lot of studies in this book, but 72% of entrepreneurs, um, report, mental health, sorry, [00:42:00] self-reported. Mental health concerns were present across 72% of the entrepreneurs in the sample, which is double the rate of the average population.
Mental health for entrepreneurs is actually a huge issue and we don’t acknowledge it cuz we’re all type A personalities and we’re all like, yeah, we’re, we’re perfect. You know, we all look like from outside we look like we’re perfect, but from inside and behind the scenes, it’s far from that. So we take that topic on and that that came from that show, the Complete Entrepreneur, where we look at the human side of being an entrepreneur on that show.
It’s a really fun show every Thursday at five o’clock Eastern and Heat does that from Australia. He gets up early in the morning and does that. Yeah, and there’s so much. So much to what you just said. You know, one of which is that Laro journey can be lonely, which is another reason for a startup club where, you know, everyone makes similar mistakes.
Uh, but if you can learn from others and quick and be in a position to know the right person to talk to you or bump [00:43:00] into the right person in the hallways of Clubhouse or in startup club, things get, you know, a lot easier. And the people who are insane enough to think they might be able to make a small dent and change the world with a startup, uh, they’re, you know, they’re, it’s often hard to find those people in everyday life, but Clubhouse makes it easy.
And so all these things add up to hopefully making a difference. And I’m glad it’s made a difference in your book and because you’ve definitely made a difference in startup clubs. So I’m glad that, that, that’s a mutual win.
Well thank, thanks for that, ed. It means, it means a lot esp, especially from you. Um, cause I know you’re a perfectionist. I always got nervous at the beginning. I was so nervous when I was like in a clubhouse room with Ed at the beginning. Yeah. It wasn’t, wasn’t so much perfectionism as knowing that when you’re in a, a quickly growing scaling scenario, that especially when you’re riding such a wave, that clip house was early on, that the small little things can add up to be really big down the line.
And [00:44:00] so if you get, you know, those, those hun a hundred or a thousand different small things right? It just makes everything easier later. And so the, the scaling part is, you know, uh, you know, approach it kind of like how do you. Try to have that simple system and the simple set of rules that help free yourself up to kind of really make that difference.
And, you know, and there’s a lot of luck involved, but also we ended up with being the largest club on Clubhouse. So hopefully some of those, the small things added up. Well, you didn’t, you don’t know this, uh, but Ed goes away once a year. Like he goes off the grid hiking in Arizona. It’s Arizona, right?
Nevada? Arizona. Arizona. And he goes off the grid. And last year when he went, it was last year or the year before was last year, I think he goes off the grid and Clubhouse gets hacked. All the clubs on Clubhouse get hacked. We’re removed as admins. Uh, ed, myself, every, everybody’s removed as some, somebody put themselves in as admins [00:45:00] and we’re obviously, like we we’re tweeting it, we’re calling up.
The, the clubhouse founders, cuz we have their contacts, thankfully. And we were able to call ’em at mobile light, but when Ed was offline cuz and we needed Ed to come back and help us get back online. , um, thankfully they resolved it within I think 16 hours or 18 hours. But we were pretty nervous about the fact that we’d gone offline and we could not get Ed back to help us get this thing back online.
That’s when, you know, you, you, you have the good team where you can literally be off grid at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and knowing that even if things get wrong, they will somehow find a way to get back right before you have to get back and worry about it. So I’m glad that worked. Absolutely, absolutely.
What’s next Michele? Or were you gonna talk a little bit more about the uh, the book? Yeah. So, you know, I’m interested to know, and I’m sure some others would be too, is, um, You know, what [00:46:00] are you, you know, starting out, I know you have these golden nuggets. Could you give a, a bit of advice, um, to those or that are just starting out?
Like what are the top three things that they should think about as well? It’s interesting, and again, you know, it’s in the book and, um, you know, Carrie Purcell and John Westine, uh, we had a great session on this show around, um, launching your startup in an incubator. And John, weve is the president of the nsu, uh, lava Allen Levan Center of which I speak monthly, um, to a cohort of, um, startups there.
And, uh, he actually talks a lot about the benefits of working in an environment like that. Now, I think startup club’s great, actually. I think in some ways it mimics. A little bit like an [00:47:00] incubator, you know, you can come on, you can come on stage, you can interact, you can, you can literally come on stage and, and say, share a problem with your business and the panel will help you solve that problem.
And, and, and I think that’s critical. So, but I also think the idea of actually getting into an environment, working in a co, in a, in a, in a coworking or a, uh, an incubator. And, and, and by the way, almost every college, you know, has centers like that. And you don’t have to be a student at the college. The, the people in my cohort sometimes are, they’re older than I am, and I’ve been around for, for quite a while.
But the reality is you don’t have to be a student at the college. Uh, the cohorts that they run at NSU are free, cost you absolutely nothing. You get a lot of connections. They, they steer you in the right direction for government funding. They steer you in, they give you a, um, uh, they do pitch competitions.
you learn from lawyers, free lawyers come [00:48:00] in and, and do a session. I’ve got one with Accelerators next month where a lawyer and I go in. We talk about raising funding. I do it from the entrepreneur’s perspective. He does it from the, um, the legal perspective. And I actually, it was so good the show that that cohort we brought him on and did a show, another show on, on Serial Entrepreneur Secrets reveals, uh, again, within our, you know, it’s hundred shows.
We just keep getting, you know, great speakers and great content and community coming in and contributing. So joining an incubator is the first thing I, I think also ideas are everywhere. And when you have an idea, you know, don’t, don’t sit back. I’ll give you one last story before we’re getting closer to the end, but my friends and I, we were, and this is in the book as well, my business partners and I, we were in a Dasha in Ukraine in 2008 and the, uh,
You know, we had this problem at Hostopia. It was maybe 2007, 2006, I [00:49:00] can’t remember exactly the year it was, it was well before Uber or Lyft. But we had this problem as we traveled around Europe and other countries. We could not get a cab. It was very hard to get a cab. So we said, why don’t we invent an app that you press a big yellow button and you’ll, you’ll get, it’ll call a cab to you and you can see the cab coming towards your location and it can pick you up.
And we called it my yellow button. It was a.com. Didn’t have.club at the time, but we called it my yellow button. We still have the domain name today. And, uh, we had run, by the way, we had a, uh, 25 employees who were working in a division building mobile ops. So, you know, if anybody could do it, we could do it instead, we decided the team at there had decided, well, we don’t have enough time.
We got this new game that we’re working on. , dot, dot, dot. And years later, you know, two years later, we’re like, where’s this idea? It hasn’t gone anywhere, blah, blah, blah. Oh, what’s [00:50:00] this Uber? Oh, what’s this? And next thing you know, obviously Uber became a multi-billion dollar company. And I’m not suggesting that we’d done that app.
We would’ve been the Uber. But I am suggesting that if you have a great idea, don’t, don’t, don’t spend five years, 10 years saying, oh, that was my idea. Somebody else, you know, I could have done that. Just do it. Just launch it. Just go for it. Just get it done. When, when Ed, he had this idea of creating Startup Club when Clubhouse launches right away.
And he’s like the first what of the first people on Startup Club? Okay, I was gonna launch Startup Club, I’m gonna launch Talk Club, I’m gonna launch all these other clubs. OG Club, he became like defacto mayor of, of Clubhouse, pretty much Ed. But the fact is he, if you Ed, if you had waited and analyzed and thought about it and sat there for six months, how hard would it be to have started Startup Club?
Six months to a year after you started it, how hard would that be? A lot harder. Um, and kind of it’s like [00:51:00] the, the book end to what you were talking about when I first joined the room about the timing of your exit. The timing of the entry also matters. And it’s not saying you can’t do it, but when the timing’s right to start, you know, be ready to start when the timing, when Tommy’s right to exit, be ready to exit and it’s, you never do it perfectly.
But yes, knowing that, you know, when I’ve, I’ve done Clubhouse, it was such a magical experience and early Clubhouse was the Hus Huu of the, the Bay Area startup community and investor community, and. All I knew was I wanted more of that. And so the, when clubs became available, I, you know, fought to get the startup club.
Indeed. They actually rejected it when I first proposed it, but kind of per persevered and recognizing that as Clubhouse got bigger, that it would be harder and harder to find the people in star community who were kind of here early on. And so it was kind of done more to keep that magic going and then, you know, kind of paddling hard to try to, to [00:52:00] try to grow it so that w would be the defacto catalyst so that everyone commit, you know, easily find one another and connect and grow together.
And it worked. So, but yes, if I had waited, uh, or if, you know, if I was trying to do it now, it would be way more difficult. And so when you see those market opportunities emerge, you know, that’s, you know, that it, that trying to wait to make it perfect is often not as good as this jumping on and figuring out as you go.
It’s that catch the wave, right? It’s the ai, ai is the same thing right now. Bit, you know, crypto and, and, um, blockchain, if you’re in early on, you saw what happened. I mean, Goldman Sachs isn’t running the crypto world. Coinbase is startups just keep, you know, keep taking off. Look at Elon Musk with, with, with Electric.
You gotta move quickly. You know, if, if you’re trying to launch a club now in Clubhouse and you wanna get to a million members, I, I don’t know how many years that would take or how many, how [00:53:00] many dollars and how, what you’d have to put into it. But the fact of the matter is all about timing. And Ed, you’re so correct on that page.
Welcome to the stage. Sure. You’re another great contributor to, uh, clubhouse and I know you run the, the, the club domain club as well. Well, congratulations on the anniversary to Ed and Colin, Michele and Mimi and the whole team. And congratulations on the book. Uh, of course I’m partial to books. Being that the best joke anyone ever made about my name is when they said Page, I’ve got you read like a book.
Haha. Anyway, I want to thank you for the three things that I get from Startup Club. I get accountability if I know I’m coming to startup club, like with the name game, I know I’ve gotta have my game on. I’ve gotta think about that during the week. , you know, if I’m doing my business and I said I’m gonna rebrand and come up with the name and I know that I’m gonna be sharing it with other [00:54:00] people on the name game.
I think there’s a level of accountability you get in Startup Club. I think there’s resources. You just truly never know who you’re gonna meet. And then I’m just amazed at the encouragement that people give to everybody to say, yeah, you’re on the right track. Keep going, keep doing it. So anyway, I’ve appreciated Startup Club and all these sessions, so thank you.
Yeah. And I know I’ve been a victim of your name game. It’s every Wednesday at six o’clock or seven. You got it. Five o’clock. You got it. Six o’clock. Okay. Six o’clock. Yeah, because I often, I, that’s not a good hour for me. So, but I, but I, I’ve been able to jump in and, and play the game and with our incubator and, uh, here you go.
Here’s an example of yourself. Did you do it with Jeff Sas and you do it with, um, the late, what’s her name again? your co moderator Sharon. Sharon. That’s right. Cognac. Cognac. Sharon Cog. Yeah. I gotta hit my button. [00:55:00] It doesn’t do any good if I don’t hit the button. I know. So you go on stage and they give you all this great advice and they sharpen your, your, your story and your name and talk about the domain name and how you can protect it.
And like, it’s just amazing what you give in that panel. And it’s actually a lot of fun too. So I’ve, I’ve, I’ve played it like eight times. . Amen. Well, and we hear some great stories too. I mean, we have people turning, I think someone’s turning like rice into solar energy or something like that and, you know, new, I mean, whether it’s energy or climate or fashion or design or apps or just all kinds of solutions globally, we hear from just fascinating people.
So I encourage, I mean, I’m not hyping the show, but you know, you never know when someone else’s idea prompts. You to work on your idea in a different way. And so yes, you put your name up and we guess what we think you do, but then you do get a chance to practice your [00:56:00] pitch. And I think it’s been beneficial for a lot of people.
Absolutely. And I’ve, I’ve enjoyed it as well, as well, a lot. All right, Michele, any other questions? Well, uh, this has been an amazing look forward and backwards of what the Startup Club has done. And again, you know, we can’t thank the members enough for your support, for tuning in, for joining, for passing the Word Along, and we’re so super excited to bring Colin’s book to everyone every.
and we’re going to be doing some very cool promotions that will allow you to get the book at, you know, very good prices electronically or hard copy, whatever it is. We’re gonna be sharing a lot of the content as we, um, ramp up to the actual launch date, which is October 3rd. But we are having big pre-sale events [00:57:00] before then.
So, you know, if you’re interested in participating, we’re asking nothing from you. We just need your e email. So, um, you can go to startup.club and join that email list and you’ll be sure to have these offers. And we’re super excited and we’re so thankful for everyone who’s joined. Yeah. And we use that list really to announce, uh, speakers.
Um, I know Paul Hutchinson’s coming on to do his epic session around. Um, he’s the, uh, Not a hedge fund manager, a real estate manager, 50 billion real estate manager, or 43 billion, whatever it was. And he actually did 47 undercover missions for the US governments. And I’m telling you, I’ve already talked to him and we’ve talked to him, Michele and Mimi and I, and in their initial interview.
And it’s just absolutely fascinating the stories he has and that he’s gonna talk about. And, uh, he, he’s gonna have a session on giving back and share a lot of those stories. They’re doing a Hollywood movie about him that’s [00:58:00] coming out called something of Honor, sound of Honor. I’ll have to get the name for you.
But, uh, it’s coming out this summer and it’s looks absolutely amazing the movie. And he does some great work. So if you wanna know about the date he’s coming on, we don’t actually have the date booked. I know. Do we, Mimi have the actual date booked yet. But if you wanna know that date, get on that email list and we’ll send you an email the week it comes out.
Um, cuz it’s, it really is when we get these big speakers, They, you know, like sometimes they’ll come on like a few days before or whatever, or tell us they’ll do it and then we bring ’em on and, and, and if unless you’re on the mailing list, you’re gonna miss out. Well, I wanted to sort of end here with the reason I wrote the book and, and it’s the very last, uh, part of the acknowledgements after I talk about Ed and how great he is and Mimi and Michele and, and all the other people as well.
It is my hope that one day both my kids, Kirsten and Quinn will pick this book up and learn from it as much as I have learned from all those who’ve contributed to the book. [00:59:00] I know that sounds odd, but I’ve had that in my mind since I started working on this book. And my kids were about, at that time they would’ve been about 12 and 10.
Now they’re just finishing college, so it’s good timing. Um, but the fact of the matter is . I often also joke my daughter, my son says he’s gotta listen to it. He’s got, just gimme the audio version. I want the audible. , uh, my daughter, I often joke and say, okay, you’ll read it when I’m dead, right? No, dad, I’ll read.
I know everything. I can do this. I, she’s the one who launched, uh, p AI and she’s going for her masters in, in, uh, AI management. So she seems to have all the answers to no know everything, but it’s a lot cheaper. I think somebody else has said that here earlier. It’s a lot easier, a lot cheaper, and you can go a lot faster if you can learn from the lessons from those in this community of Clubhouse, but also from the lessons in this book.
And we go into detail, uh, and we really cover [01:00:00] a lot from start scale exit. Take some money off the table, repeat. This has been a great show. We’ll see everybody next week on The Serial Entrepreneur Secrets Reveals, I am, you’ve been listening to, uh, are my co moderators, Mimi Oder, who writes the articles and blogs.
Michele Van Till Bogan, I’m calling c Campbell. Thank you very much for listening. Great to have you, Julian. Dawn, nice to see you. Kyle Elmo, Steph Noel. Awesome to see you, Todd. And for those who came on stage, uh, really appreciate that as well. Next week, two o’clock Eastern. Set your clocks. It’s gonna be another episode 101.
We’re gonna have some fun next week.