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The Startup Story

Author: James McKinney

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As we hear The Startup Story of some of the most successful companies in the world our focus is singular…
To give you the belief and courage to Start Your Story.
Every successful startup began with a single decision. It’s not about the dream, it’s not about the vision, it’s about having the courage to take that very first step -- to start.
How did UBER grow to $50 billion? How did Spanx become massively successful without one dime of venture capital? The stories are out there. But The Startup Story goes even deeper. What exactly did they do to go from idea to launch? What was that first step and how did they decide to take it?
Each week, hear from the courageous founders behind some of the most successful brands in the world as they share their Startup Story. We’ll unpack the early beginnings, and uncover those first steps that ultimately led them to where they are today.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur who’s in the thick of it and not making much progress, or feeling stuck in the fear of failure, not sure if you have what it takes, this podcast was created for you.
61 Episodes
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About this episode The Guild is looking to bring the 200,000-year-old hotel industry into the new age. In this episode, we highlight one of its co-founders, Brian Carrico. The Guild has over 600 units in 6 major markets and continues to grow. The Guild brings to hotels all the things you love about being home. The goal is to bring all the best of what we desire from a hotel stay and what we love about home into one vacation experience. It's an amazing model. Brian and his team are doing an incredible job scaling in a really smart way. Today you will hear from Brian just how important it is to seize the learning opportunities that come in moments of challenge, or even failure. You will hear how powerful it is to surround yourself with people that are there to pick you up when you need it most. You will also learn how empowering it can be to fully understand your strength as a founder. Are you one that can function at a high level as a solopreneur or do you perform better alongside a co-founder? Those nuances make all the difference as you move forward with your business. Of course, another nuance that matters is the very early lessons we learn during our childhood years. This is Brian Carrico’s startup story. In this episode, you’ll hear How he loved the experience and challenge that came from moving throughout his childhood as his father moved up in his career A powerful life lesson from his mother that it’s never too late to reinvent yourself How he went to college and graduated with an environmental engineering degree His career path after getting his environmental engineering degree, including his starting out as a consultant, moving to Denver, and traveling a lot in between environmental consulting work How in 2009 he and his wife sold their house in Denver, went to Honduras to work for a water nonprofit and traveled around Central America (and how his mom was terrified and horrified by the decision!) Brian talks about the idea of the founder’s dilemma His move to the Middle East to work as an engineer at a new international location and how it was during that move he experienced his first spark of entrepreneurship the idea of moving from employee to entrepreneur adds so many more processes to figure out your mindset How an invitation to come back to the U.S. to work in Brian’s wife’s family business (a cabin resort) and how it was a turning point for his journey as an entrepreneur The most surprising thing about his transition from engineering in Oman to West Texas in the cabin business His first-time experience pitching to investors, and then deciding to go back to college to get an MBA in business Transitioning from the cabin business to The Guild, what that looked like, and how he went about transitioning from one entrepreneurial season to the next Some of the lessons, challenges, and wins Brian has experienced through the growth of The Guild and the progression as an entrepreneur Resources from this episode Creedon: Legal partners you want as you build your business and brand. Listeners get a 30-minute brand consultation + $200 discount on a trademark application. Visit http://creedonpllc.com/startupstory Brex: The credit card specifically for startups. Visit http://www.brex.com. Listeners, use code StartupStory and get fees waived for life! Brian and the team at The Guild are offering The Startup Story listeners 10% off your stay at any of The Guild properties. To book your next stay, be sure to visit: theguild.co/startupstory The Guild: https://theguild.co/ Brian Carrico on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-carrico-15317637/ The Startup Story on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/thestartupstory/ The Startup Story is now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/jamesmckinney The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory/ Share the podcast The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help. First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you! Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us. With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you! EPISODE CREDITS If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment. He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world. Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory Special Guest: Brian Carrico.
About this episode I’d like you to meet Sean Cannell, founder of Think Media. Sean Cannell is a best selling author, YouTuber, and speaker centered on helping entrepreneurs and creatives build their influence with online video. Sean’s YouTube channels have over one million subscribers, his videos have been viewed over 43 million times and he has been featured as one of the “20 Must Watch YouTube Channels That Will Change Your Business” by Forbes. The Think Media team is on a mission to help 10,000 people create a living, doing what they love to do, utilizing online video. That is what I love about Sean’s story, is that it is grounded in helping others achieve something more for themselves. In this episode, we take a deep dive into how Sean made it out of a rough season with a new vision for what he could have in this life. While most of us might not be able to directly connect with a journey that includes a myriad of drugs or multi-day bingers, we can definitely relate to the idea of hopelessness or the absence of vision or direction. Even more importantly, we should be able to relate to the idea of being surrounded by people who help when we need it most. Entrepreneurship is not a solo journey. Sean unpacks elements of his story that, he will admit himself, have never been told before. This is Sean Cannell’s startup story. In this episode, you’ll hear His early childhood, not seeing himself as becoming an entrepreneur, and his upbringing by two fathers; his biological father John (a creative) and later, by his stepfather About his rough teen years, being expelled from high school, getting into hard drugs; Sean shares his story of hitting rock bottom (which he has never shared anywhere before) and how this led to the most transformational time in his life Enrolling in Bible College and how by getting his faith in order it sparked his vision for a future beyond the fleetingness of pursuing pleasure His struggle with imposter syndrome (while in Bible College) and feelings of undeserving of his opportunity; and later how being immersed in the church community changed everything How an invitation by his youth pastor to start shooting videos for the church was the beginning of his career as a video creator Going from intern to working within the church and leveling up his skills and entrepreneurial aspirations The story of how he got into creating videos specifically for YouTube and YouTubers, which includes known YouTuber Benji Travis How and why he made a shift to move to Vegas to take a position as a Communications Director for a church and what happened next Some encouragement from Sean to capitalize on the part of your journey you are currently in, whether that season is as an employee and delivering for that employer and figuring out, what are the things that are going to work for your future state Moving away from his Director of Communications position at the church and moving forward towards his early path to creating Think Media In October of 2015, Sean lost 90% of income due to clients ending contracts; and while he was very worried about making ends meet, a mentor urged him on, “It seems to me that you just got kicked off the cliff and now it's time to fly.” Building Think Media and where the company is today “At some point, as an entrepreneur, you have to jump off the cliff and go all-in.” – Sean Cannell, Think Media Resources from this episode Creedon: Legal partners you want as you build your business and brand. Listeners get a 30-minute brand consultation + $200 discount on a trademark application. Visit http://creedonpllc.com/startupstory Brex: The credit card specifically for startups. Visit http://www.brex.com. Listeners, use code StartupStory and get fees waived for life! Think Media on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGxjDWAN1KwrkXYVi8CXtjQ Sean Cannell on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/seancannell/ The Startup Story is now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/jamesmckinney The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory/ Share the podcast The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help. First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you! Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us. With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you! EPISODE CREDITS If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment. He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world. Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory Special Guest: Sean Cannell.
About this episode This week’s featured founder is Ju Rhyu, Co-Founder of Hero Cosmetics. Hero Cosmetics is an acne and skincare brand. Hero started out with the Mighty Patch, an acne patch which provides you with a real solution for pimple emergencies. When I mentioned to my 14-year-old daughter that I was interviewing the founder of the Mighty Patch, she knew exactly what it was. Ju’s story really paints the picture of how someone can leverage their corporate career to build their own business. Ju’s career includes experience with big-box retail and direct-to-consumer experience. Both channel strategies she now employs with Hero Cosmetics. Her journey is one of perseverance. Ju tried to bring Hero Cosmetics to market in 2013, but found herself overwhelmed with the cost to do so; so she tabled the idea. Does that resonate with you? Does the weight of what it will take to execute on your idea cause you to not execute? Well, then you are going to find some tremendous value in today’s conversation. This is Ju Rhyu’s startup story. In this episode, you’ll hear About her childhood, moving from Korea to the U.S. and how much of her entrepreneurial influence came from her dad. Following high school and how she thought she wanted to be a doctor, but her parents dissuaded her from doing so because they knew it was a hard lifestyle. Her experience attending Brown University and really struggling with what she wanted to become and how she finally landed on majoring in History and International Relations. The path she wanted to pursue (marketing) but how she ended up working as a data analyst instead. Her decision to attend Columbia Business School in New York, how she went on to intern at Kraft Foods in brand management and eventually working there full time after graduation. About her time working at Kraft, being an intrapreneur, and her transition to product development at American Express, plus how she became Senior Marketing Manager for the brand Her move to Korea as an ex-pat to work for Samsung Card and how that period in her life was challenging, yet it is also when she first discovered the Mighty Patch Traveling back to the U.S. following her time in Korea, she began to seriously pursue the idea of bringing the Mighty Patch to market in the U.S., some of the plans she made and how (and why) she ultimately tabled the idea for four years The launch of Hero Cosmetics in 2017, Ju describes the pre-launch, the steps she and her team made to bring it to market, and her initial sales strategy How the brand began to gain momentum, grow, and expand. Some advice from Ju for any founders with a consumer product idea, who found something overseas, they have exclusivity in the US and want to bring the product to market “Fundamentally everyone can be an entrepreneur, but not everyone will have the ability to withstand the hardships that come with it.” – Ju Rhyu, Hero Cosmetics Resources from this episode Creedon: Legal partners you want as you build your business and brand. Listeners get a 30-minute brand consultation + $200 discount on a trademark application. Visit http://creedonpllc.com/startupstory Brex: The credit card specifically for startups. Visit http://www.brex.com. Listeners, use code StartupStory and get fees waived for life! Hero Cosmetics: https://www.herocosmetics.us/ Hero Cosmetics on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/herocosmetics/ Ju Rhyu on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jurhyu/ The Startup Story is now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/jamesmckinney The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory/ Share the podcast The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help. First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and thank you! Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us. With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you! EPISODE CREDITS If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment. He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world. Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory Special Guest: Ju Rhyu.
About this episode Meet Jeanne Schaaf, Race Director and Co-Founder of Ultra Expeditions. Ultra Expeditions creates incredible running adventures, organizes races, and develops custom coaching programs for all ability levels. I’ve interviewed several past founders who, along their journey, created race companies. They’ve even shared some behind the scenes of what is needed to execute one. Yet, for the very first time, during my conversation with Jeanne, I heard a side of the running experience I have never heard before. It was a side which focuses on the journey leading up to the race, and less about the finish line. That is when I realized the running experience closely mirrors the entrepreneurial journey. Jeanne’s story is rooted in one of the most unique dimensions of an entrepreneurial story, the immigrant story. She takes us through what life was like as a child and how her parents encouraged her to think outside of the box. She shares some insightful thoughts about limiting beliefs, by runners and maybe even aspiring entrepreneurs. This is Jeanne Schaaf’s Startup Story. In this episode, you’ll hear Her early upbringing, being raised by adventurous parents, and being encouraged to think outside of the box How the fact that her parents were Americans by choice played into her own overall work ethic Jeanne’s post-high school aspirations of being an entrepreneur, attending Ohio State University, and what she actually ended up doing right after college Her experience in food services and being a woman in a male-dominated industry in the 1980s About her 12-year employment with PepsiCo (turned Yum Brands), including how and when she began working in product development Her leap of faith moment, deciding to leave Yum Brands at the height of her career to pursue entrepreneurship and the creation of her first venture How wanting to find balance in her life ultimately led to running and her first meeting with the co-founder of Ultra Expeditions, Jason Gates Jeanne and Jason began to look around at the running space and realized there weren’t races out there they truly were looking to run; and so the seeds for Ultra Expeditions were planted Launching the first race in 2015, some of the challenges experienced, and how they built a foundation for the company early on How Ultra Expeditions is different from other running companies in the marketplace, plus why Jeanne believes anyone can be a runner “I believe anybody with passion and desire can accomplish quite a bit.” —Jeanne Schaaf, Ultra Expeditions Resources from this episode Throughout the month of January we are highlighting the mission of Destiny Rescue. Visit thestartupstory.co/rescue to help today. Ultra Expeditions: https://www.ultraexpeditions.com Ultra Expeditions on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ultraexpeditions/ The Startup Story is now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/jamesmckinney The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory/ Share the podcast The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help. First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you! Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us. With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you! EPISODE CREDITS If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment. He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world. Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory Special Guest: Jeanne Schaaf.
About this episode This week I am joined by Patrick Curtis, founder of Wall Street Oasis. Wall Street Oasis serves more than 2 million people per month through its free discussion forums and its premium online courses all related to finance careers. Over the last decade, Patrick has built Wall Street Oasis into the largest online community focused on careers in finance. Patrick built Wall Street Oasis as a safety net after he was terminated from his job. Wall Street Oasis began as a backup plan, but Patrick soon realized that there were many in the Investment Banking world who would find value in hearing what it was really like to work in the industry before committing their entire career to it. Entrepreneurship takes courage because, like Patrick shared, there will be moments where your mission and goals seem so much greater than you think you are capable of pulling off. Sometimes that courage comes from someone else. That is the power of community, like the one Patrick built with Wall Street Oasis and what I hope to build here with The Startup Story. Of course, every founder’s story has a beginning. And, for Patrick, it was crystal clear for him where his journey began… This is Patrick Curtis’ startup story. In this episode, you’ll hear Looking back on Patrick’s youth and picking up the early breadcrumbs that would lead him to become an entrepreneur one day About how he didn’t really know what he wanted to do after high school, but how he was lucky enough to be surrounded by incredibly smart friends who taught him early on about work ethic How college allowed him time to figure out what he really wanted to do and to push himself academically; and how entrepreneurship was still NOT on his radar Why he decided to start his career in Investment Banking following college Some of the things he learned from being an investment banker and some of the hardships he endured followed by his decision to move to a career in equity banking About the time he thought he was going to get a $40,000 bonus and he got fired instead How getting fired became the catalyst for building Wall Street Oasis and where the initial idea spanned from When he recognized that Wall Street Oasis could be a bigger business and how he began to build and expand “It takes a special breed to deal with the day-to-day grind to be an entrepreneur. I think anyone could be an entrepreneur, but I DON’T think everyone should be.” —Patrick Curtis, Wall Street Oasis Resources from this episode Throughout the month of January we are highlighting the mission of Destiny Rescue. Visit thestartupstory.co/rescue to help today. Wall Street Oasis: https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/ Patrick Curtis on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/patrickmanningcurtis/ The Startup Story is now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/jamesmckinney The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory/ Share the podcast The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help. First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you! Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us. With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you! EPISODE CREDITS If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment. He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world. Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory Special Guest: Patrick Curtis.
About this episode This week we are featuring Randi Zuckerberg, founder of Zuckerberg Media. If her last name sounds familiar, it should. It’s also the last name of her little brother who had a startup about a book of faces or Facebook or something like that. Randi Zuckerberg is an entrepreneur, investor, best selling author, and Emmy-nominated tech media personality. She is the founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media, with the mission of supporting current and future entrepreneurs through investment, mentorship, and media. Growing up she wanted to be a Broadway actress, yet while in college she had to pivot from that dream to pursue a career in advertising. But what I love about the stories of many of the founders this show highlights, is that we always find our way back to our passion, in one form or another. Like every Startup Story founder, we need to go back to the early days to find out what life was like for Randi before Facebook LIVE, before two best-selling books, and before receiving two Tony awards. You’ll soon hear how her beginning wasn’t all that different from others who have come before her. This is Randi’ Zuckerberg's startup story. In this episode, you’ll hear About her childhood, being raised by doctors who had a true entrepreneur spirit, as well as some of the things she learned from them Her aspirations of becoming an actress and how those dreams got crushed early on Randi’s experience pursuing a Psychology degree at Harvard and how college was a place of soul-searching What she did after graduating from college, including working at a top ad agency and being placed on the digital marketing team The fact that you can be an entrepreneur even inside the biggest company on Earth About creating her first ad campaign for the Special Olympics The transition from working in an ad agency to working for Facebook and becoming the creator of Facebook LIVE About the time she received a call from the producers of the Broadway musical Rock of Ages and the start of her Broadway career How her experiences have taught her that none of us have just one calling and there are so many chapters and phases of our lives, each with different callings Her realization that her best skills were on the production side of the entertainment and Broadway industry; and how she began to apply those skills as an entrepreneur The founding of Zuckerberg Media and Randi’s hopes and ambitions for her venture “Anyone who has a platform must consider how they can use that platform for a greater good.” —Randi Zuckerberg, Zuckerberg Media Resources from this episode Throughout the month of January we are highlighting the mission of Destiny Rescue. Visit thestartupstory.co/rescue to help today. Zuckerberg Media: https://www.zuckerbergmedia.com/ Michael Littig, Zuckerberg Institute: https://www.thestartupstory.co/zuckerberginstitute The Startup Story is now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/jamesmckinney The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory/ Share the podcast The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help. First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you! Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us. With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you! EPISODE CREDITS If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment. He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world. Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory Special Guest: Randi Zuckerberg.
About this episode To kick off Season 2, we are featuring Tony Kirwan, founder of Destiny Rescue. A listener reached out to me last year and suggested that I highlight his story. Destiny Rescue is a nonprofit organization that focuses on rescuing young girls out of the sex trafficking industry, providing rehabilitation services and vocational training. January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, so I felt it was fitting to highlight the work of Tony and his organization. When we think about founders and entrepreneurs we do not include those who founded a nonprofit organization. For some reason we look at entrepreneurs as those who build for-profit businesses. Yet, the startup story of a nonprofit is almost identical to that of a for-profit business. In this episode, we spend quite a bit of time unpacking how Tony started Destiny Rescue and the rescue tactics they use. Tony’s entrepreneurship is a journey of choices. At age 22, he chose to purchase a business and try to grow it. He had a great 10-year run with that business, that is until another choice was put in front of him. Like Tony said, whether you choose to do something or nothing…it is still a choice you have to make. This is Tony’s startup story. In this episode, you’ll hear His first lightbulb moment, realizing he wanted to be hands-on and helping kids overseas How Tony first learned about human trafficking and how it turned out to be the catalyst to rescuing young girls out of the sex trafficking industry The story and meaning behind the name, Destiny Rescue Securing funding and creating a nonprofit organization For the first five years, Tony’s focus was on helping widows and orphans Some of the lessons learned in those first few years, including learning to provide enough time to build trust in order to help women and children from sex trafficking All about his first rescue, what is involved in a rescue, and two of the ways it can take place (with law enforcement or with rescue agents) What aftercare looks like, including rehab and vocational services The importance of understanding your strengths and weaknesses as a founder, and putting yourself into a position where you can utilize your strengths for the organization’s greater good Tony’s biggest lesson and advice to those wanting to start an organization, whether it be for profit or nonprofit "Everybody has the capacity and ability to do something. It’s a matter of deciding what your ‘something’ is and deciding to do it.” —Tony Kirwan, Destiny Rescue Resources from this episode Throughout the month of January we are highlighting the mission of Destiny Rescue. Visit https://www.thestartupstory.co/rescue or https://2dr.li/5BXh to help today. Destiny Rescue: https://www.destinyrescue.org/us/ The Startup Story is now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/jamesmckinney The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory/ Share the podcast The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help. First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you! Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us. With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you! EPISODE CREDITS If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment. He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world. Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory Special Guest: Tony Kirwan.
About this episode We launched The Startup Story 12 months ago. Over the course of 53 episodes, we've unpacked the authentic and raw entrepreneurial journeys of founders from all industries and stages of growth. During each journey we pause to reflect on key milestones because they are moments that provide incredibly powerful learnings. This week’s episode is a bit different than most. In every single episode this year, we ended with our founders speaking directly to you, and giving you some pearls of wisdom that comes from their experience. The final words from our founders have produced change in many lives of our listeners. So for that reason, I thought it would be helpful for me to aggregate some of the final words from past episodes as a way to help you to frame up a new vision for yourself as we head into 2020. A new year is a new life marker for all of us. So let's hear from some incredibly successful founders and take that momentum into the new year. 2020 is the time to truly start your story. That is the startup story.. In this episode you’ll hear A reminder that there is infinite freedom in life from Paige Robinson Goli Kalkhoran reminds us of the importance of getting quiet and bringing focus within Thoughtful advice from Anna Victoria about what to do when doubting yourself and your abilities Clint Harp shares why perseverance is important to the startup journey We hear why taking a step back from your idea can give you clarity from Emma Rose Cohen And, Zack Swire reminds us about passion and how passion can lead you to the right place and the right path Why raising capital is crucial and how your 9-to-5 job is your first investor, from Scott Paul Steve Glaveski offer budding entrepreneurs advice on assumptions and how to not let them underpin your success Mia Plecic shares an insightful reminder about how our past doesn’t define our future And, Brandon Munoz also offers insight and wisdom on perseverance and how staying the course will eventually lead you to creating “your something” Why networking is so important to any startup journey from Nick Alexander Last, but not least, Michael Littig points out why compassion is key to any endeavor Resources from this episode Paige Robinson: https://www.thestartupstory.co/guests/paigerobinson Goli Kalkhoran: https://www.thestartupstory.co/lessonsfromaquitter Anna Victoria: https://www.thestartupstory.co/annavictoria Clint Harp: https://www.thestartupstory.co/clintharp Emma Rose Cohen: https://www.thestartupstory.co/finalstraw Zack Swire: https://www.thestartupstory.co/goodgrains Scott Paul: https://www.thestartupstory.co/scottpaul Steve Glaveski: https://www.thestartupstory.co/steveglaveski Mia Plecic: https://www.thestartupstory.co/miaplecic Brandon Munoz: https://www.thestartupstory.co/monkwoodstudios Nick Alexander: https://www.thestartupstory.co/yoshi Michael Littig: https://www.thestartupstory.co/zuckerberginstitute The Startup Story is now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/jamesmckinney The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory/ Share the podcast The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help. First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you! Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us. With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you! EPISODE CREDITS If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment. He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world. Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory Special Guests: Anna Victoria, Brandon "Monk" Munoz, Clint Harp, Emma Rose Cohen, Goli Kalkhoran, Mia Plecic, Michael Littig, Nick Alexander, Paige Robinson, Scott Paul, Steve Glaveski, and Zack Swire.
About this episode When I started The Startup Story I would have never expected to be interviewing a founder of a homeschool group, but here we are. This week, Tiffany Sorya, founder of Novel Education Group, shares the many unconventional pieces that have comprised her entrepreneurial journey to this point. It makes sense that her story would be unconventional since her goal is to meet the educational needs of those whose lives are unconventional. Her first two clients were Kylie and Kendall Jenner, and she continued working with other high-profile children such as those of Fortune 100 executives. In exploring her startup story, you will gain insight into how cultural heritage can impact the entrepreneurial journey. Also, Tiffany says, “People shy away from entrepreneurship because of the fear of the ‘what ifs.’” We will discuss not only how paralyzing that can be but also how powerful your story can become once you find yourself free from that fear. You will also learn how important it is to be aware of gaps in the marketplace. Make sure you listen to the very end of the episode because there is a critical learning that Tiffany shares with us from her relationship with Kylie Jenner. It is at the very end because, while Tiffany’s story may include Kylie and Kendall, her story is so much more. It is one that needs to be heard without the distraction of the Hollywood limelight; especially because her story begins as far from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood as you can possibly imagine. This is Tiffany Sorya’s startup story.. In this episode you’ll hear How, after moving to Los Angeles, Tiffany discovered knowledge is power Connecting with young people through tutoring is where she discovered her entrepreneurial spirit How she saw a gap in services being provided and knew she could do something better Having the courage to step out to try a business and overcoming obstacles such as awareness and branding The importance of having a business plan for several years down the road The great thing about being an entrepreneur, according to Tiffany Being smart is cool: Tiffany wants the fans of the students she educates to realize the benefits of education How looking back on your journey and having gratitude for the people who helped and supported you along the way is important Understanding, as Tiffany says, “This journey that we call “entrepreneurship” is NEVER linear, so stop comparing your journey to another.” Resources from this episode Novel Education Group: https://www.noveleducationgroup.com/ Connect with Tiffany on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tiffany-sorya-7a4280a4 Follow Tiffany on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tiffanysorya/?hl=en The Startup Story is now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/jamesmckinney The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory/ The Startup Story on Facebook: https://facebook.com/thestartupstory Share the podcast The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help. First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you! Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us. With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you! EPISODE CREDITS If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment. He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world. Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory Special Guest: Tiffany Sorya.
About this episode This week’s featured founder is Fraser Hall, Co-Founder and Director at Article. Article is an online-only, direct-to-consumer company that offers beautiful modern furniture that is well made. I speak from first-hand experience as I have a few pieces from them. What is so fascinating about Article is that they are founded by a team of software engineers, not merchandisers or designers. Article launched in 2013 and reached profitability in 2015, having only raised approximately $5 million in funding. By the end of 2017, Article achieved $100 million USD in revenue and company sales have continued to grow. After hearing Fraser’s story, it became so apparent why Article is having the success they are having. I believe it is Fraser’s eclectic background which has contributed to this success. His journey started so far from the furniture industry. In fact, his first startup was a heads-up display company. Yet, Fraser’s startup was in the market before Google Glass. And even before he started that cutting edge hardware company he was sailing the seas protecting whales aboard The Sea Shepherd. Like I said, Fraser’s journey is so diverse and fascinating. Many of our featured founders have spoken about the importance of pursuing something that you are passionate about but nobody, except Fraser, has ever shared the idea that passion can be developed or as a developer would put it, ”incubated.” His journey is varied and those experiences have flavored how he built Article, as well as his new venture capital firm. This is Fraser Hall’s startup story.. In this episode, you’ll hear His early childhood being raised in an entrepreneurial family and his first foray into entrepreneurship was a mail packing venture at the age of 13 The story of how he leased the land and refurbished a decrepit gas dock and turned it into a boat gas business, in the 11th grade His views about entrepreneurship, including seeing it as a responsibility and not a right How he discovered engineering and pursued it in college; how it led to his first career The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society: what it is, how he became involved, the lessons he learned from his time on the Sea Shepherd, and how they can be applied to leading a startup His time working on cutting-edge, heads-up display technology, entering a local pitch contest, and losing to a ceviche restaurant; eventually being approached by big tech to buy the hardware and what experience taught him about deal momentum The beginnings of Article, where they focused their work early on, how the company evolved, and what they offer to the consumer market today How being founded by computer programmers plays to Article’s advantage The importance of receiving customer feedback and making responsive changes Fraser’s unique and inspiring approach to working with passion: doing things you love and how passion gets you through all the tough times “Passion is not necessarily something you are born with. Sometimes you need to incubate it.” —Fraser Hall, Article Resources from this episode The Startup Story is now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/jamesmckinney Article: https://www.article.com/startupstory The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory/ Share the podcast The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help. First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you! Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us. With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you! EPISODE CREDITS If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment. He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world. Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory Special Guest: Fraser Hall.
About this episode This is a very unique episode of The Startup Story because this week I am sharing my story. Listeners reach out to me often, wanting to know more about my story and why I am passionate about what I am doing with this podcast. The hard part for me has been finding the right person to interview me. One of the aspects of The Startup Story that I love so much is the conversational side of the show. I soon realized the perfect interviewer was right in front of me. This week, my wife, Melissa McKinney, helps me unpack my entrepreneurial journey for you. Allow me to introduce myself, I’m James McKinney, Creator and Host of The Startup Story podcast. With over 30,000 listeners, The Startup Story has unpacked the entrepreneurial journey of some of the most amazing people, including founders like Jason McCann from Varidesk, Larry Namer from E! Entertainment Television, and Clint Harp from HGTV and Harp Design Co. Throughout our 49 episodes you have heard me relate to founders that have overcome challenges and obstacles. You’ve heard me ask questions about how their marriages were impacted throughout their journey. Those questions are not arbitrary. The reason I asked them was because of my own journey. It’s that relatability to the founder that makes the stories so compelling and why you keep coming back. So, just as we’ve done for the last 49 episodes we have to start each story at the very beginning. My beginning was far from normal. This is my Startup Story. In this episode, you’ll hear About my early childhood, being a child of divorce and how it affected me How as a child, I watched my dad grow his side hustle into a multimillion-dollar enterprise Some of my early side hustles, dating all the way back to elementary school How in high school I created one of the first direct to consumer CD distribution businesses and the important (hard) life lessons I learned from the experience About being kicked out at the age of 16, living on my own, and how my dad delivered discipline in an intentional way How learning lessons of hard work and determination affected me as I continued to grow My focus and what I wanted to do with my life and how and why I joined the Marines What my life was like after the military, including going to Jr. College and starting a bookkeeping services business Why passion is so important in every person’s journey About building and growing a promotional product business and recollecting on the day I lost it all If you are a married entrepreneur then you need to understand that this journey is not just yours What I did after ending the promotional product business, including working at Disney and looking to provide a stable life for my family How working at Disney led me to believe in myself and owning the title of entrepreneur I answer the question, “Do you believe that entrepreneurs are born or do you believe that they're made?” “There is a ton of value in the lessons learned when you endure the fire.” —James McKinney Resources from this episode Article $50 offer: https://www.article.com/startupstory James McKinney on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamesmckinney1/ The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory/ Share the Podcast The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help. First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you! Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us. With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you! EPISODE CREDITS If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment. He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world. Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory
About this episode This week we are featuring Ashley Borden founder of Ashley Borden Fitness. Ashley is one of the most sought-after experts in her field. She has helped transform some of the biggest names in Hollywood, like Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling, and World Series Champions Nick Swisher and Brian Wilson. She is a featured trainer on programs like Khloe Kardashian’s Revenge Body, as well as, The Today Show. Ashley is a true expert in her field. After a long career helping people 1:1, ,she is now utilizing technology to reach even more. While the use of technology in fitness is not unique, what is unique is Ashley’s journey. Her entrepreneurial adventure has faced tremendous obstacles. Within Ashley’s story we see the epitome of resilience and agility. Ashley did not enter her industry as an expert, she became an expert when she entered the industry. As she learned the technical side of her craft she also began to master the business side. Her consistent pursuit of self-improvement and her improvement of her brand is what has led her to be the expert she is today. This is Ashley Borden’s startup story. In this episode, you’ll hear Her early childhood, growing up in a household of business owners but not understanding entrepreneurship Struggling through school with a learning disability and the impact it had on her future Her realization that working against her nature, she started to learn what worked for her Ashley’s decision to move to LA, her journey through acting, reaching a breaking point and leaving the industry Her journey to recovery from an eating disorder through Overeaters Anonymous Her realization that she needed to find her purpose in life and the importance of focusing on your strengths Her introduction into the world of fitness training, learning as she went, and her first client experience, working nonstop to make something happen How working with Christina Aguilera changed everything for her and her fitness training business How her grandmother funded her first publicist for $2,500 a month The importance of asking for help “In training you have to focus on your weaknesses, but in business you are better served to focus on your strengths.” —Ashley Borden Resources from this episode Article $50 offer: https://www.article.com/startupstory Ashley Borden Fitness & Lifestyle: http://ashleybordenfitness.com Strengthfinders 2.0, Gallup and Tom Roth: https://amzn.to/2OKfrgt The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory/ Share the podcast The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help. First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you! Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us. With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you! x EPISODE CREDITS If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment. He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world. Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory Special Guest: Ashley Borden.
About this episode This week Ryan Hogan, co-founder and CEO of Hunt A Killer,,, joins me on The Startup Story. Let’s be clear, Ryan is not a bounty hunter that lives a high adrenaline lifestyle. Instead, Hunt A Killer is an entertainment and media platform that has leveraged the incredibly popular box subscription format as one way to distribute their content. Ryan served in the United States Navy for 15 years and left to pursue his startup, Hunt A Killer. Serving in the military is an all-consuming endeavor. Yes, there is plenty of downtime, but never would I have expected to meet a serial entrepreneur that built numerous businesses while serving on Active Duty. And these were not just small side hustles. While serving in the U.S. Navy, he created a Zombie Adventure Run that brought in close to $8 million in its second year! There were so many elements of Ryan’s story that were surprising to me. In fact, sometimes on this podcast, a founder will drop some truth that shakes me a bit when I hear it for the first time; because it hits close to home. Ryan’s story includes one of those moments. This is Ryan Hogan’s startup story. In this episode, you’ll hear His early childhood, having a father who left the police force to pursue entrepreneurship and what it taught him Ryan’s own early start as an entrepreneur in the third grade and later starting a lawn mowing business What street racing and nitrous gas has to do with his decision to enlist in the military and his decision to join the U.S. Navy and his 15 years of service His various business ventures during his time of service, including buying and selling items from local auctions, as well as creating a moisture-wicking shirt business Starting, running, and executing on a startup while serving in the U.S. military and how the shirt business would ultimately lead to creating a successful zombie adventure run series The logistics of putting on a running event and how it helped Ryan move over $250k in shirt inventory; plus the eventual shutdown of his running adventure business and some lessons he learned The unknowns of entrepreneurship, why it can be amazing and scary; and how Ryan puts everything into perspective The formation of the idea for Hunt A Killer, creating the game design, realizing quickly the original concept wouldn’t scale and going back to the drawing board Building community around the Hunt A Killer experience, moving to a subscription box model and some lessons Ryan has learned thus far “Every failed startup attempt is a building block.” —Ryan Hogan, Hunt A Killer Resources from this episode Our Sponsor, Vortic Watch Co.: https://vorticwatches.com/ Help Support Socks for Heroes: http://scmcsg.org/ Hunt A Killer website: https://www.huntakiller.com/ Ryan Hogan on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryanehogan/ The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory/ Share the podcast The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help. First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you! Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us. With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you! EPISODE CREDITS If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment. He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world. Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory Special Guest: Ryan Hogan.
About this episode This week’s featured founder is Daniel Alarik, Founder of Grunt Style. Grunt Style is a brand for Patriots; a brand that has reached incredible heights at unbelievable speeds. For the month of November, we have been focusing on Founders who are Veterans. Daniel served in the United States Army for 8 years and left after a tour as a Drill Instructor. Daniel started Grunt Style with a mere $1,200 and grew the company to one that is exceeding $200 million in revenue today. He shares practical and actionable wisdom about how he got from Point A to Point B in the process. Daniel also shared about the value that comes in building a business without investment capital; it forces you to make decisions based on cash flow and ensure the business is profitable as you scale. Daniel brought us some tremendous entrepreneurial value. He even put me on the hot seat with a brief interview of his own! Before we go any further, as returning listeners know, his entrepreneurial journey really started a whole lot earlier...well before Grunt Style was an idea. This is Daniel Alarik’s startup story. In this episode, you’ll hear His early childhood, his dad was an entrepreneur who had a few good years and a few bad years running the family business and how that left a lasting effect on Daniel What he wanted to do after high school; he knew he wanted to do something bigger than himself, but didn’t know what that was; until an Army recruiter called His time serving in the Army and Army Reserves (following 9/11), becoming a Drill Sergeant and what he learned from the experience After 10 years in the military, Daniel began to think about “what’s next?” He loved being in the military, but with a growing family, he needed to figure out what he could do to provide for his family but also keep his connection to the military His desire to create something that spread the military culture of pride and patriotism and how the concept of Grunt Style was born The beginnings of Grunt Style and determining his market, “My target market were people just like me. The first people I spoke with about Grunt Style were people just like me. The first products I made were for people just like me.” Starting out with $1,200 worth of goods and how he scaled from there, including attending a trade show obtaining $8,000 in revenue and almost a year later garnering $64,000 and continued to grow rapidly The shift he made in Grunt Style’s messaging when he realized that people will always care more about themselves so Grunt Styles messaging had to speak to that perspective His passionate plea to help us think through why we are even pursuing our business endeavors “By not taking investment capital in the early days it forced me to focus on building the company the right way.” —Daniel Alarik, Grunt Style Resources from this episode Our Sponsor, Vortic Watch Co.: https://vorticwatches.com/ Help Support Socks for Heroes: http://scmcsg.org/ Grunt Style’s website: https://www.gruntstyle.com/ Daniel Alarik on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/danielalarik/ FUSE Workspace: https://www.fuseworkspace.com/ The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory/ Share the podcast The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help. First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you! Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us. With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you! EPISODE CREDITS If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment. He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world. Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory Special Guest: Daniel Alarik.
About this episode This week I’d like you to meet Andy Mackensen, co-founder of SnackNation. SnackNation is a healthy snack delivery service for businesses. In 2018, SnackNation was recognized at #24 on the INC 5000 list of fastest growing companies. They were founded in 2014, and after just four full years they hit $24 million in revenue. Andy and his business partner Sean Kelly are killing it! In fact, Andy is one of the industry's best internet marketers. In this episode, you’ll hear some tactical advice when it comes to internet marketing. But what I hope will really hit home for you (as it did for me) is the idea of focusing on “that one thing.” As Andy puts it, “The only thing that matters is this present moment. And what you can do right now, the one thing, the one most important thing that you can work on right in this moment, that's what you need to focus on.” With this episode, we are continuing our month-long feature of founders who are Veterans. Andy served in the United States Navy as a Special Warfare Officer. During Andy’s time in service he would spend the evening on operations taking down terrorists and spend the daylight hours applying to MBA programs as the entrepreneurial itch magnified in his life. But his entrepreneurial journey began years before his military service did. This is Andy Mackensen’s Startup Story. In this episode, you’ll hear His start as a young entrepreneur in grade school, buying and then selling candy bars What delivering papers at age 11 taught him about commitment and self-discipline Starting a lawn mowing business as a freshman in high school and what it taught him about leverage Applying for and getting a full ROTC scholarship, attending Boston University and what it was like when it was time to report and serve in the U.S. Navy His experience in the U.S. Navy immediately following 9/11 attacks, providing air defense radar for the entire East Coast in the days following the 9/11 attacks How and when the desire to start his own business began and the plans he started to prepare, while still serving in the Navy Entering back into civilian life and working in real estate after graduating business school, and what came next Getting started selling network marketing products and how he learned all about lead generation, landing pages, and ad marketing His entrance into the vending machine industry, how helping get a hot vending machine to market paved the way for what was to come The journey with the vending business and flipping the switch to his current business model, SnackNation “Life is so counterintuitive. When you do the easy stuff life is hard, and when you do the hard stuff life gets easy.” —Andy Mackensen, SnackNation Resources from this episode Vortic Watch Co.: https://vorticwatches.com/ Socks For Heroes: http://scmcsg.org/ FREE Snack Box from SnackNation: https://snacknation.com/startupstory Andy Mackensen on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewmackensen/ The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory/ Share the podcast The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help. First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you! Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us. With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you! EPISODE CREDITS If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment. He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world. Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory Special Guest: Andy Mackensen.
About this episode This week’s featured founder is Jim Hogan,,, co-founder of a program called Socks for Heroes. Jim and his wife Carla started Socks for Heroes after their son, Donald, heroically gave his life in service to his country while deployed to Afghanistan. Why socks? In the time period that followed the tragedy of losing their son, they spent a lot of time with the Marines who served with him. During each of their conversations with these men, they asked them what they needed the most. Their answer was simple, socks. So Socks for Heroes does exactly what you would expect. They ship new pairs of socks to U.S. troops that are deployed overseas. They have shipped over 50 tons of socks, hygiene gear, and other essentials to Marine Corps and Army combat Infantry units. Throughout the month of November, every single episode of The Startup Story is going to feature founders that are Veterans of our Armed Forces. While Jim and Carla are not Veterans, it was their son’s service and sacrifice that became the catalyst for Socks for Heroes and it is a Startup Story that needs to be told. With that said, this is a story like none we have never told before, so it would make sense that it begins like one has never begun before too. This is Jim Hogan’s startup story. In this episode, you’ll hear Socks for Heroes and the Southern California Marine Corp support group is a partnership between Jim and his wife Carla Jim and Carla’s childhood, Jim was raised by his Marine father and his mother worked for the IRS, and Carla’s father was a true example of an entrepreneur The amazing story of how his wife, Carla, and her sister set out to sell some gourmet picnic baskets to fund a trip to Europe, and instead sold $60,000 worth of picnic baskets in one day, leading them to launch a business which was later sold to Aladdin About Jim and Carla’s son Donald, how he went to college for about an hour and then came home to tell his parents he joined the Marine Corps, how much he loved being a Marine, and later getting the devastating news that he was killed by an IED and how the Marines closed in around them to offer support and care The story of how Socks for Heroes actually began and the steps they took to create a 501c About how at the start, they sent 220 pairs of socks overseas and within six-weeks time they shipped 10,000 pairs to Afghanistan How Socks for Heroes is a program within the Southern California Marine Corps support group and several of the missions and projects they serve as part of the group The reason Jim and Carla keep going with their mission, “My son was a Marine and every Marine was my son’s brother. Therefore, they are all our children. That is why we keep going.” How you can help support Jim and Carla’s program, Socks for Heroes, and the other programs served through The Southern California Marine Corps support group “In this life there are two lines, one to do the work and one to take the credit. Always get in the first line because it’s shorter and you’ll meet better people.” – Jim Hogan, Socks for Heroes Resources from this episode Socks for Heroes: http://scmcsg.org/socks-for-heroes/ Email Jim at info@scmcsg.org to see how you can support their mission The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory/ Vortic Watches: https://vorticwatches.com/pages/military-edition-info Share the podcast The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help. First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you! Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us. With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you! EPISODE CREDITS If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment. He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world. Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory Special Guest: Jim Hogan.
About this episode Meet John Wilson, co-founder of STANCE. STANCE has turned socks into one of the world's most exciting accessories in less than five years. If you think about denim you instantly think of the brand Levi’s. If I were to ask you to think of an iconic brand for sunglasses you would probably say Oakley. And,,, if I were to ask you to name a major brand of socks, you would probably be stumped. Until today, that it is. That is the significance of STANCE. The global market for socks is $20 billion and STANCE entered the game a few years ago. John was 39 years old when he co-founded STANCE. That age bucks all the narrative standards when it comes to startups. During our time together he shared his belief that entrepreneurial abilities and tendencies show up differently. I tend to agree. So, as you listen to John share his journey, remember how fortunate we are to hear about the building of a future icon because like all founders, the beginning was far from iconic. This is John Wilson’s startup story. In this episode, you’ll hear His early childhood, entrepreneurship not being a part of his life, and discovering a love for surfing Getting his first job at a surf shop, the lessons he learned, and how it set the stage for his journey Attending college at San Diego State, getting a degree in Marketing, and being hired by Oakley just prior to graduation What it was like for him going from one side of the retail counter (in-store customer sales) to the other (sales and manufacturing side) His progression at Oakley, what he learned, mentors he learned from, and how he evolved Entrepreneurship is sometimes incredible and sometimes there's a whole lot of hardship to it His decision to leave Oakley and take a position at Reef to eventually become their VP of Sales and later, president How the conversation about starting STANCE began and his transition away from Reef Learning everything he could about the sock category, from merchandisers, retailers, and designers Setting out to make the sock category more than just an afterthought, the start of STANCE, and where they are now “I think everybody has entrepreneurial DNA strands they just show themselves in different ways and at different times.” —John Wilson, STANCE Resources from this episode STANCE: https://www.stance.com/ John Wilson on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-wilson-05416321/ Oakley: https://www.oakley.com/ Reef: https://www.reef.com/ Clairemont Surf Shop: https://www.instagram.com/clairemontsurf/?hl=en The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory/ Article $50 offer: https://www.article.com/startupstory Share the podcast The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help. First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you! Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us. With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you! EPISODE CREDITS If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment. He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world. Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory Special Guest: John Wilson.
About this episode This week I’d like to introduce you to Chris Brownridge,, co-founder and CEO of GawkBox. GawkBox was a third party platform that allowed people to tip their favorite live streamers without having to pay anything. They did this through various incentivized actions like installing an app, for example. Unlike some of our past founders, Chris’s startup, GawkBox, is no longer around. He had to shutter his business in July 2019. Chris and his team raised $4.4 million during their three-year run and just could not solve some key challenges. We're also fortunate enough to hear the lessons learned from someone who accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. In this episode, Chris gets very tactical, explaining what he would do differently in his next startup. Not all founder stories are the same, but there are many parallels that exist. As Chris shared his story, I was often reminded of my own experience with closing my startup. This episode is a powerful one for each of us because we get to hear from a founder who is still processing the journey after having to close his startup only three months ago. Part of what makes Chris's journey so interesting is that the challenges of entrepreneurship are not foreign to him. He was surrounded by entrepreneurs from a very young age and got to witness the ups and downs that come with it and yet he still chose to make it his own journey. This is Chris Brownridge’s startup story. In this episode, you’ll hear His early childhood, entrepreneurship being “in his blood,” and what entrepreneurship was like as a child in the U.K. Experiencing firsthand (through his family’s businesses) the highs and the lows of entrepreneurship as a child, teen, and young adult Going to college without any real direction of what he wanted to do, experimenting with entrepreneurship using eBay, selling bread bins, and starting a subscription condom company His first foray into the startup world, moving to Paris after university, working for an AI startup which was later bought by a U.S. company How his job at the AI startup was a really good springboard for moving forward His experience of working at Google for four years prior to moving to the USA to work for a startup called Vungle and how he came to work with them Leaving San Francisco, relocated to Seattle, and laying the foundation for what would become GawkBox About testing GawkBox with various streamers on sites like YouTube and Twitch for a year, learning the ecosystem of streaming and getting paid for streaming, identifying retention issues but not truly resolving them and launching the app in 2017 Going live with GawkBox, obtaining funding, lessons learned in hindsight of what Chris and his team did right and wrong Back to the drawing board with the startup, launching tournaments, and other experiments to keep the startup alive; the ultimate decision to close the startup in July 2019 Resources from this episode: Chris Brownridge on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chrisbrownridge/ Pastel Frog: https://pastelfrog.com/ Entrepreneur’s Handbook Article: https://entrepreneurshandbook.co/after-more-than-3-years-we-just-shut-our-company-down-what-did-i-learn-71938679df7d Brian Burke on The Startup Story: The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory/ $50 discount from Article: https://www.article.com/startupstory Share the podcast The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help. First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you! Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us. With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you! EPISODE CREDITS If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment. He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world. Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory Special Guest: Chris Brownridge.
About this episode This week’s featured founder is Scott Paul,, founder of Wooly. Wooly allows brands to see who their fans are, what their social reach is, and then reach out to them directly as potential brand ambassadors. It is a startup created to bring authenticity to the influencer marketspace; created by the guy who helped build the influencer marketspace to the heights that it has become today. In this episode, you will hear how Scott’s mobile startup pivoted from what it was to become one that helped leverage social influencers. Later, he shares how that expertise played a key role in becoming part of a firm that Disney acquired because of the impact on the marketspace. I like hyperbole as much as the next hopeful entrepreneur, but this is 100% legit with zero overstatement. Scott’s story will take us through his various startups. Like Scott, I hope you’ll hear how the dots all connect or rather how they started connecting from when he was a very young kid. This is Scott Paul’s startup story. In this episode, you’ll hear His childhood, being diagnosed with ADHD at a young age, and having an interest in how to make money, but having no knowledge of what being an entrepreneur actually was His tenacity and perseverance as a teen, how he started selling products at 17 years old and how not too long after he was running an ecommerce store Some of his lessons learned from the world of startup, like, “My first startup involved courage and execution, but I had the wrong idea.” Plus lessons about failing and learning from others who are successful His experiences with startup exits, how they were life changing for him and allowed him to work on the next project On becoming an angel investor and the kinds of projects he supports, plus some wisdom for those seeking to work with investors Trying to get traction and eyes on a mobile app in 2012, paying a fashion Instagrammer to help promote the app and what happened next! The beginnings of Wooly, what they do, and how they help brands find their true influencers “After 10 years of having ideas and seeing someone else bring them to market, I got tired of ‘dabbling’ and jumped all in.” – Scott Paul, Wooly Resources from this episode Wooly: https://www.wooly.com/ Scott Paul on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottpaul2/ The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory/ Share the podcast The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help. First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you! Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us. With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you! EPISODE CREDITS If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment. He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world. Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory Special Guest: Scott Paul.
About this episode This week I’d like to introduce you to Nick Justicz,, Founder of Gazpacho. No, not the cold soup, a mobile app that “serves up the best of the internet based on your tastes.” The app is what happens if you merge Pandora and Tinder together - swiping action while building up a database of your likes and dislikes, all based on memes. It’s a unique app and incredibly entertaining. Nick’s background is not in technology, it is in stand-up comedy and film making. As we unpacked Nick’s Startup Story it made sense that his first entrepreneurial endeavor would be such an entertaining one. What I love about Nick’s journey is that it is one that I know many of you will resonate with as he still has a 9-5 job and is building Gazpacho on the side. Another area of relatability is that, like many of you, entrepreneurship was not something he became aware of until much later in his life. As we recorded his episode, I was incredibly surprised at how similar film making and entrepreneurship really are… this is Nick Justicz’s startup story. In this episode, you’ll hear Nick’s early childhood, growing up in upper-middle-class Atlanta, seeing what traditional success looked like (his father was a surgeon) His feeling of never feeling satisfied and yet he had no idea what he wanted to do but did know, with full assurance, what he DID NOT want to do His decision to go to film school and move to L.A., exploring comedy more in-depth and experiencing a bit of culture shock Life after film school, working at Showtime, becoming Pauley Shore’s assistant, and what he learned from working with Pauley The importance of returning favors, expressing gratitude or paying it forward to those who help you at the start of any career or endeavor Moving on to working in new media, losing your passion for the entertainment industry and what happened next Starting Gazpacho, his idea, how it all began and how he continues to build it while working a 9-5 job How the parallels in film making and entrepreneurship are remarkable “Nobody cares about your idea, they care about whether or not you can execute.” – Nick Justicz, Gazpacho Resources from this episode Gazpacho: https://gazpacho.io/ Nick Justicz on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nickjusticz/ Pauley Shore: http://www.paulyshore.com/ The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory/ Jason McCann on The Startup Story: https://www.thestartupstory.co/varidesk Share the podcast The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help. First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you! Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us. With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you! EPISODE CREDITS If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment. He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world. Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory Special Guest: Nick Justicz.
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Comments (2)

Carey Pott

Phenomenal podcast, excellent host and conversations, deep insights and very encouraging for us early-stage entrepreneurs. Keep up the good work James!

Jan 20th
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