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The Startup Mentor


On this episode of Establishing Your Empire I host Maia Donohue. Maia is the author of: The Startup Mentor – How brilliant mentors can help you launch your company. 

Over the last decade with the organization, 3 Day Startup, Maia has been working with early stage founders and brilliant mentors around the world. He realized that getting the most out of mentorship isn’t something that comes naturally, it’s a skill that must be practiced and fine-tuned.

A great mentor can make the difference in getting your company launched. They can help you learn from their mistakes, raise money, hire the right people, and so much more. But as a founder, it is up to you to make it happen. This episode will show you how.

Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | YouTube | Pandora

If you can do something that you’re passionate about, but also have a secure nut so you’re not worried about living and your survival’s being taken care of. Then you have some gestation period between success or failure and success, you know, so I’ve truly believed you’ve got to keep hitting the ball.

All of that experience is something that I love because I learned how to communicate and connect. And it was just a beautiful experience, you know? So. Yeah, I mean, I failed, but it was, it was beautiful.


All right. I got Neil here on the establishing your empire podcast. Thanks so much for coming by the house and doing this.

Thank you for having me. I’m. I want to just say, I apologize for all the scheduling issues, trying to get this going. It’s been it’s been a time when I’ve been making some transitions and, and I appreciate your.


course, you know, the thing about a podcast, it’s always a want to have not a need to have. So I totally understand. And it actually happens. Yeah. It’s not the first time know it will be less. So luckily I get to do these at my home office, so I don’t have to like go someplace or schedule something. So it’s not, not too difficult to set up, but why don’t we start off with the seemingly easy question, but not always.

It’s just tell us a little bit about yourself.

Who are you, Neil? Yeah. So grew up in Minnesota. And my parents you know, came from India. So I have an Indian background and basically lived a pretty nice childhood. My grandparents raised me, my parents were both entrepreneurs and were very much into work.

So I had a childhood. And I got really amazing wisdom for my grandparents. My grandparents were into aryuveda and all these amazing things. And my dad was kind of more of an entertainer salesperson type vibe got into janitorial or janitorial products and stuff. But mostly he was a fun person to be around and he taught me how to dance.

And I used to dance like Michael Jackson as a business, as a child. So I had a very interesting childhood. I was like one of the only Indian kids in my, in my town. So I felt somewhat special and different, but also had a pretty normal childhood for the most part. I had some traumas for sure. Broke my hips and my legs and all sorts of things, probably due to some dancing and also just, you know, parenting in the way that they were parented, you know, which is a common theme in most people’s stories.

Which leads me to some of the work I do. But yeah, grew up in Minnesota loved tennis and table tennis and racquet sports

that actually, yeah. Yeah, for

sure. But yeah, overall just had a pretty cool life there. Certain things definitely like, you know, are my roots in Minnesota still, but overall, now, Texas man.

And how long have you been here in Austin? I’ve been here

eight years. Oh yeah. Nice. Since 2008. So I’ve been here for a little bit as well and seeing the growth and the change. Austin has been both positive and negative. I’ve enjoyed seeing the city grow and I’d rather be in a growing city than a dying city, but there’s also some.

You know, the life changes out of the city. Right. So why don’t you tell us a little bit more real quick and we can go through kind of how you got there, but tell us, like, when, when you talk about your businesses, you are now, what’s kind of the main thing that you’re doing. Cause it seems like there’s a lot


Yeah. So the main thing would be cacao that’s that’s the thing that I’m most passionate. And it was also a big part of my healing journey is using various plant medicine and then noticing how cacao this chocolate bean can, can make someone so much happier and also take them out of their, their head with.

You know, I used to drink coffee and teas and all these things that would put me very stimulated and this was really amazing. And so I asked myself, you know, this is my passion, what can I do about it? And I wanted to focus on creating more ceremonial cacao on this planet. 95% of the cacao in this world is hybridized.

And, and it’s kind of like a sacred thing that I believe can have a lot of change and help a lot of people. Needs to be preserved. So what’s the difference between

cacao and chocolate?

So chocolate is like an after thought of what the original thing is, which is cacao. And a lot of times as a Dutch process of alkalizing and making cacao into chocolate.

So it’s it’s kind of like taking sugar cane and making it into some form of sugar. But it’s not the original thing as such and most of the chocolate you find is not the original the actual genetics of chocolate. So,

and like, so people that are sitting at the cows probably extremely small compared to like what, where it should be like on those journey with cacao, like what stage or level do you think you’re at or want to get to at, or wherever you want to

take that.

Right. So, I mean, I feel like I’m at a stage where I can taste and feel and know a lot about what I’m consuming. It’s kinda like a Somia in wine. When you consume something enough and various types, you get a knowledge about it. And I feel like I have a pretty solid knowledge about it. I’d love to still learn more.

And then also I’ve been meeting connections through the cacao world. And there’s people who specialize in keeping the sacred bean and my dream and my goal. And my next investment is only focused on standardizing that process and making sure that people start labeling that, making sure the ceremonial beans are rectified, notified, and know people know that they’re consuming.

It’s a lot of times, you know, you get this fair trade and it’s, it’s nothing like that. It’s just. Something

and because it was just my lack of knowledge. Like some, when you say seminar, ceremonial, excuse me. Like what’s it actually mean? Like is that is actually actually what we do in a ceremony or is it something


It’s all of the it’s a ceremony is the actual genetics. So there’s three types of genetics beans that are well-known Trinitarios, Creole, and Fronterra. So these types of things. Are the ceremonial beans, the original beans that were found in 7,500 years ago, potentially in the rainforest potentially either Ecuador, Peru, it’s still, no one really knows, you know proof says it’s found first their equity versus his boundaries there.

But I used to work for the rainforest partnership and I learned a lot about some of the details on the history and a lot of the actual science behind it. So ceremony is conducted definitely with intention. So. It’s not like you’re making your morning cup of Joe. But you can do that with ceremony, like a cow and you you’re basically setting your intention.

You’re doing some form of energy release, so it could be breath work. It could be movement, it could be dance. It could be even journaling for that matter, but various traditions have different ways of activating the medic. And you literally are almost, you know, praying and into the cup and drinking it.

And then going through some form of catharsis, like a cathartic release, where you’re able to feel incense and emotion that hasn’t been seen and are held and you’re able to express it and fully move through it. And how

is that based upon the actual, what you’re drinking and then and how much is your for less

of it?

It’s, it’s there. I mean, you can’t drink a cow and go to sleep. You know, it’s going to do something to you and just that. And it has all these amazing bliss molecules. There’s actual chemicals in. A medicine that activates releases oxytocin. So the first time you fall in love that energy is in the body.

And if you’re aware of it, you’re going to feel it. Yeah. And you know, so for

me, that’s super interesting. Cause I think we always have emotions tied to a lot for things. Foods want them drinks, coffee, all this. And I think a lot of people have some positive and negative emotions to coffee. I wasn’t a big coffee drinker.

I was, I’m more of a, I like a lot. So like. Which is still, you know, a higher stimulant caffeine, but we did our honeymoon in Africa, on a safari and, you know, they serve your coffee and it’s like this fantastic coffee outside your door, right. When you wake up. And so I don’t, I’ve been drinking coffee more now.

Cause I think I just, you know, have this positive emotions towards it, but I still only like the cold brew because I just don’t. I think it’s too acidic. I think in my mind so I think a lot of us are looking for that stimulate and what I, what I’ve found that if I, you know, coffee, a lot of times isn’t enough.

I have to actually be out and move around because I sit in front of a computer all day. So how can somebody that just a normal, like, you know, office worker or whatever. This is something in the morning type of thing.

What do you recommend? Yeah, so coffee and cacao are kind of like, then they’re like the opposites of each other.

They both have similar ingredients. Both of them have theobromine, but the amount of theobromine in cacao is like the amount of caffeine in coffee. You, so it’s like complete opposite in that sense. There’s still coffee, caffeine. And. But it’s kind of the amount where it, instead of energetically bringing you a lot here, it brings you a lot here.

It’s, it’s literally theobromine is a hard opener. That’s what it’s made to do. So it’s definitely something anyone can consume. And I think it’s better for work for me. I feel like being in a happier place when I’m working feels better. And if you look at my organization, everyone seems to be more joyful.

But just like anything, moderation is very important. So I. Even cacao fasts, and one cup of coffee requires 32 glasses of water to balance your internal pH. So just like anything, like if you’re on a honeymoon and you’re drinking really good wine from France, you know, that’s going to be amazing. And our body has certain limitations, right.

So if we’re not actually healthy, it has some form of. Anything can be not so good for us. Right. I feel that way about it. Mostly. Yeah. I mean, I think

balance is not just in food and drinks. It’s just about everything. Why don’t you? Well, let’s back up, but I love that because it’s just something, I have very little knowledge of it, but I’m always interested in, in you know, new things and trying to.

You know, work in front of the computer. Like I said, it’s not, it’s not everyday I can get out and about, and I am a very energetic type of a person to always looking for new ways to do that. But let’s talk about kind of your journey a little bit. So, so you were, you did a lot of dancing as a kid. Like what, what, what, tell me go any way anywhere you want to go in the path?

Yeah, sure. So you know, in Minnesota I was dancing. I had a lot of fun. Expressing myself, but then there was the trauma part. So that’s kind of like the work even cacao helps with is is that, so, you know, I went to college in Wisconsin and in Florida, as well as England, I went to three different colleges and I studied hospitality and the reason I got into hospitality is my father was in pharmaceuticals.

And he used to travel a lot and I used to go visit with him and these awesome hotels. And I just loved the feeling of people being taken care of and just this amazing people, love food. And I love food. I’m a foodie myself. And it was like learning that, that hospitality feeling of, of creating a space where people feel welcome and at home.

So that’s the path I went on. And, and then I was working at a hotel. I was 21 years old. I was a director of catering for 300. And I had gained so much weight from just the Western lifestyle. And that’s when I went back into what my grandparents taught me, the, you know, the way my grandma would procure and garden, and my grandpa would go to like four or five different stores and markets to get the right foods and the right vegetables.

It was that I learned that sensitivity. And, and in that sensitivity, I. Implementing aryuveda and implementing the doses and balance and went down that path. So a cacao and all those things came later on in life, but it was first healing, the body and healing the mind and healing the soul and getting out of the toxic lifestyle that I was living.

So, and then how

I actually, like, you know, I’m sure 24 years old, 20, 25, how did you actually move to that next step? Right. You’re working in a job, you know, that’s unhealthy, but like some of those. It’s sometimes it’s really hard for people

to move out of that. Totally. It was, it was addicting. I was getting paid very well.

I was in a partnership with a very beautiful human and we were connected from college and we were on the marriage path and everything. And my parents came up to me one morning and told me we have an amazing opportunity. My parents have a janitorial and sanitation supply company and a company in India.

One of the largest companies in. Approached us to do a joint venture. So my parents were like, we need you to leave your job and we’re moving to India. And so my, my partner and I both moved to India and we started working and doing this joint venture. The joint venture took a long time and a lot of money.

And in that process, I took my American express card and I started. Importing care team. My mom was flying into New York city before she to drive in India and getting care team treatments done. So it basically takes your, your fuzzy frizzy hair and it makes it flat and beautiful for a period of four to six months.

So I, I contacted my mom’s salon and I started, I became the first, the only importer of care team in India. So that’s, that was one of the things I did for three years. And my mom is still doing that. So that was, that was like going to India and immersing myself in the culture. It became really easy to just start living healthily and having support.

For someone who’s

never been to India. Just a quick side question, like where what’s your favorite places where to go?

What do you love about India? India is like, I feel like I’m such a culturally fruitful place where people just are comfortable being with each other. I love India. And I love the food and just the very, the, the, just the variants that are there.

You know, you go to north India, south India, it’s so different everywhere in even the way they consume, even the way they believe in terms of spirituality. So different. My favorite place is called gold. And go is like a peninsula. And it’s one of the most beautiful places. If you asked me it’s been owned by the Portuguese a lot and no one really owns Goa.

It goes between India and various governments. And it’s just one of those very sovereign places where people go to vacation and people go from all over the world. Kind of like Bali. I don’t know if you’ve been to Bali or I haven’t.

Yeah, but obviously

know about Bali, but you know, the BGS and the John Lennon and all those guys used to go in and create palaces there.

And there’s beautiful places all over and it’s amazing. It’s like scooter life, you, you drive a scooter around. Eat fresh food and it’s really good.

That sounds amazing. So you’re importing and doing all this, what happens next? W why, why did you stop doing it? I

guess, stopped. So, you know, it was part of my own growth, you know, like as an Indian son, only one Indian son, Belief that I had to take care of my family and I had to create something for them in order for their lives to move forward.

And it was all these things that I had to work through in order to start fulfilling my own dreams and my own passions and carotene. Wasn’t my passion. So I decided to go back to the U S and rebuild my life again. And, and I had different thoughts on what I wanted to do with that business. I also became very aware of health and just the way.

The world worked in certain ways of, of just toxins and things. And I truly believe that keratin wasn’t good for humans, you know, personally. So I didn’t want to put my energy into it anymore, you know? And so I came back and I hustled and, and rebuilt myself. And yeah, it was cool. So what was the next thing that you

did that was successful or

anything that, yeah, so I started another business.

It was called outstanding dining. It was kind of like a group on for restaurants, family owned restaurant. And local charities. So charities that I believed in and, and so I would tie them together and it was basically like an app and I got, I think 75 local, Minnesota restaurants signed up and we were doing that for a bit.

And then, yeah, it wasn’t, it wasn’t something that really took off, but

w w well, one of the questions I like to ask about, like, starting something like that is there’s always so many want to be entrepreneurs. And they always want to start something. And you know, I think one of the traits of entrepreneurship is maybe just allowing, not hearing all the no’s before you start or whatever it is, but like any tips or tricks, I’ve just actually getting started with that


Yeah. I mean, If you can do something that you’re passionate about, but also have a secure, not say you’re not worried about living, you know, your survival’s being taken care of. Then you have some gestation period between success or failure and success, you know, so I truly believe you got to keep hitting that.

You know, like the only way you’re going to be able to hit that ball with confidence and authority is, is by not doing that first. You know? So I, I just, all of that experience is something that I love because I learned how to communicate and connect and it was just a beautiful experience, you know? So yeah, I mean, I failed, but it was, it was beautiful.


and did you have like a side hustle that you were watching perhaps,

or. It’s still in the hospitality industry. I was a general manager for a hotel and arrested. Even in between those years, I was a chef at a restaurant. I also was a bartender. I ran a, a local that’s actually not local it’s based in Denver, but it was a pop-up bartending service.

So I was a manager of that. I did all these things, you know, just to keep the doors open and keep moving. You know,

it’s so funny. It’s very civil me. I’m always doing multiple things, but chef real quick. What’s your favorite? Like seasoning, like if you have a go-to one that you just kind of always have to have.

Yeah. So it’s not a have to have, but I’d really love truffle. Okay. Yeah. I can go for, you know, making anything truffle, like, you know, it has its own grounding feel to it and it’s nice. Yeah. Yeah. And

that, that took off where now a lot of things aren’t actual truffle,

but truffle it’s true.

Yeah. Ma I think mine would have to be lemon pepper is, seems so basic.

It can take some very boring dishes and at least give some life to it at least a little bit. And if you don’t have lemon pepper, then you know, obviously lemons and pepper work actually even better, but just a little bit more effort to put in there. So what was one of the things that maybe worked or didn’t work that’s of note with the with, I forget what the business was that we were doing.

Yeah. That the hot, that, where you had the multiple


areas, what did, what worked and didn’t work? Yeah. Yeah, just getting into the heart of like, getting to know people and getting to know what they needed and being able to communicate from the heart space, that was like the best experience. And also recognizing like my dream of wanting to own a restaurant needed it.

It’s still there, but I knew that there was time between when I was going to start it and you know, all of that, just like learning. Absorb wisdom, you know, and, and see the hard work people put into their business and then try to be there for them in the most integral way possible. So, yeah, I mean, that was, that was, it was a loss in the sense, like, I couldn’t fulfill all their dreams, but I got to at least experience, you know, a lot of what it takes to be a restaurant owner.

So what kind of restaurant would you want? Yeah, I’ve got an, I’ve got a really good idea. It’s a farm to table. Are you Vedic restaurant? So like, I love Casa and I’m a huge fan of Casa. But I would love to make something like Casa, but more plant like flavor. And I’m more of the curries and the, and the, in the long take, like things that take a long time to make like the long taken curries and the boss monkeys, rice, and the and things, making something like that, where it happens serves only once a day.

But food is being created all day, you know, and that you can taste that flavor in that work it’s been created. So I think some of

that was great because one just like tactically, like something can show up and get their food pretty quickly. Right. Because it’s, it’s ready to go and you can make it in mass.

Right. As opposed to. Having everything being very specific. And then you could also tell really great stories around your ingredients because it’s in season or you got at the certain farm or whatever. I could see that doing really well. Also with that. Is this something that you could do pop-ups with, you can start that way, right.

And to test some stuff out,

you know, Casa allows me to cook in their restaurant and I’ve done it a few times where I’ve had a Curry nights and things. And I

give a little quick background on Casa. Cause there’s a lot of people I actually have there’s all over the world. So sometimes they

won’t. So let me tell you a little bit about Casa, Casa de.

Is a macrobiotic restaurant, but it’s also like a spiritual center. It’s a space, a community space where they have facilities all over my business. Third eye meditation lounge is inside, along with another other businesses. And it’s a beautiful nonprofit been around for 30 years. Serving similar food for 30 years and it’s all a hundred percent organic.

They try to do as local as possible. And it literally feels like integrity. Just walking into the space. It’s like this beautiful, very tropical feeling that you are.

I feel like you’re in a different country, but you walk in and it’s like downtown Austin, which I’m sure 30 years ago was not even downtown at all.

Right on the way from downtown to Zilker park or something. But. Let’s see, actually, that’s take a side note because there’s so many different areas. I do want to talk about meditation because I think. Something that’s very helpful, helpful for a lot of people, but a lot of people don’t know who or where to start.

And we can talk about it in any direction you want to go. I do think that people would get some value on like how to start meditating and where to,

yeah. I’ll just talk about a few things about meditation that I know that’s based on my experience. You know, I believe we all, I believe that the. The body keeps the score and the issues are in the tissues and our nervous system and how we feel in our body is really important on how much you can meditate.

So if you don’t feel good in your body, it’s going to be more difficult for you to manage. It’s gonna be more difficult to calm the nervous system down and to process certain things within the body. So, I mean, for me, I started out and I went to Vipassana and I did the 10 day silent meditation retreat, which helped me face a lot of.

Has helped me face a lot of my trauma and, and allow the feelings that I wouldn’t allow myself to feel that come up. And that was very helpful from there. I learned all sorts of techniques and ways to meditate and, and also heal my body. Cause I think it’s a simultaneous thing. You, you, you can meditate, you know, forever.

But then you can also integrate some of that stuff. So it’s kind of like taking. I re a backpack when you need a suitcase. And if you, if you don’t heal the body, it’s going to feel like you’re always on a shorter journey than you could be on. Essentially. Does that make sense? It does.

And I’ll take it another side note.

Cause as though it was fun. So you’re like the third pipe, probably fourth or fifth, actually they have done these, you know, these long-term silent retreats, right? Maybe walk us through a little bit of that a little bit more. Cause I think it’s so interesting. Something that I haven’t done, but it’s

something that I’m very interest.

Yeah. So I went to the DAMA, Siri, Kaufman, Texas, it’s this organization is beautiful. They have these centers around the world and it’s, donation-based they take care of you, housing, food, you know, everything you need. And it’s just this little room that you get and it’s so beautiful. This. So my experience was I walked into this room.

I have my suitcase, and there’s nothing really that you can bring into this other than like clothes and that’s it. No supplements, just you. And it was really cool. So I walk in this room. I’m in here, got a schedule. And it’s basically 10 hours or so of meditation or learning your there’s some, some classwork.

There’s a, there’s a, a man who started his foundation who’s passed and he’s got videos that you listen to every night. The cool thing about it is if you’re, if you’re with what, what has happened. Every question you have gets answered in those videos each night, which is interesting. This guy obviously put this program together with a lot of intention and you do have questions.

I feel like I had questions and you can’t really speak to anybody about it. So this, this video at night, it was really helpful, but it’s basically breakfast at six in the morning. You get a lunch, a small lunch, and then a small dinner, and then you’re basically. One hour meditations is happening every, every hour.

And then you, you’re kind of like just in a spot where you don’t move for an hour. Each time the meditation happens. And the first three days you’re concentrating only on the air that’s coming out of your nose. And then it goes deeper. So there’s different practices that you’re learning, but really you’re learning body awareness.

You’re learning sensations, and you’re also learning to come up and feel the blocks because there will be blocks that come up when you’re not dealing with anything in the world, other than yourself. You will start to feel some of the things that are potentially within you. And do you

go in there with like a goal and, you

know, I, you know, I, I did

like a business idea or this or that, or relationship

health, or I think after the first one, you could probably do more of that.

Maybe if you do come in with the goal, that goal might not be apparent. If you face something else within your soul’s journey. You know, so I don’t want to say, you know, I know,

right? Yeah. Because you’ve been through it and back to just the normal meditation, I think a lot of people have troubles quieting their brain.

And obviously it’s very easy to reach for your phone or TV or, or whatever it is or a drink, or you can go on a large list there. What’s some just basic tips. I think for someone who. You know, they, they hear that 10 day retreat and that that’s way too much, but maybe they’re starting to feel like they need to start doing something.

What’s a great way to just,

yeah, totally. There’s some really cool techniques that you can do prior to meditation. So I say getting all the energy that stagnant or anything that’s within the body, getting that up, moving, shaking a tap. That’s really good. And then there’s also these little devices you can get there’s meditation devices, you can actually use they can do light therapy.

There’s something called a NuCalm, which puts Gabba on your PCIX. Right. Right here, it’s an acupuncture pressure point and it literally helps you shut down the brain. And then there’s followed by that there’s actual sounds that connect with the GABA and helped you get into a meditative state. So I actually love that.

I use that on a lot of my clients. And that’s just great for anybody you do that for an hour or half an hour, even it’s like four or five, six hours of additional sleep that your body receives from that transmission. So it’s

interesting that you say the tabbing cause I, what I do use in this, I guess you could be in the meditative area, but when I get nervous, I count my breasts and tap my fingers.

And I’ll do a three and three out just to kind of reset myself. And what’s great is you could do it without anybody knowing it’s, especially before you know, you’re giving a big speech or something. It’s a great way to just quit thinking about all the, what ifs and all these nervousness that are popping up and just focus on breathing.

And I think the tapping helps with that. It was Tony Robbins that I heard that did that. I don’t remember where it was from, but that’s what was very helpful. That’s very basic because he could just do it on the side. And you’ve kind of talked about, and I know we were going to jump around the journey, but you’ve talked about clients.

So when, when you say that

what’s that mean project, me and my partner, and a few other healers, it’s called a rooted integration project, a rooted integration project.com. It’s basically a four week program where we help reset the nervous system, get the gut health, the brain health, the heart health, and creating basically more, more coherence.

So we use heart math. We use a Tre, which is tremor release exercises. A lot of times trauma is stuck in the psoas and we help release just basic trauma in the body. And then we teach various meditative techniques, clearing technique. And we also have a shaman who helps with some ceremony work. So plant medicine potentially can be used, but we meet people where they’re at.

And most importantly is for people to help develop a secure attachment to them. So they understand, you know, what they’re bringing to the world and understand the separateness and the connectedness in between.

What’s kind of a, either a normal client or an ideal

client for you guys. Yeah. So someone who potentially, you know, has trauma or has found awareness with the trauma, doesn’t know how to actually heal or integrate someone who’s taken plant medicine who needs some support.

Someone who’s lost a family member, anybody who’s needing emotional connectedness, also inner child healing. So we, we do regression work. We do a lot of emotional work, so people are having hard time accessing their emotions. We help them do that. Yeah.

So it’s kind of, you know, I guess a different way of kind of a psychologist with a little bit of you know, but also with the body, it sounds like too, kind of the

merging of all the bodies, mind, body spirit.

So all of it.

Yeah. I’ll I’ll yeah, that’s a great way to put it. And how’d you even get into that stuff, obviously, you’ve you kind of have this interesting path and you were getting more connected to yourself. And then a follow up question with that is how did you make that into a business? Cause that’s something that’s super interesting.

I think a lot of people start getting involved in these unique areas that might not be so mainstream, but then they just kind of keep it to themselves or just

do with their friends. I studied tantra, I learned seven levels of a lineage and I just started teaching. I had a clients about 10 years ago.

I started. Just implementing all the things I learned after two years of celibacy, after going through my own progress of the program, I learned from this couple who’ve been teaching for 40 plus years. They were 70 plus years old and they had all this energy and vitality and I was. Sign me up, you know, so that was my first teaching.

I become certified in somatics and Reiki and all sorts of things. But Tanisha was for me, one of the most important things that I wanted to bring to the Western world in an appropriate integral way. So I started teaching the COVID. And I did this a hundred day celibacy course about seven or eight years ago here in Austin.

And it was a huge success. I think we, we made like 50 grand, you know, and it was awesome. It was like, wow, this, this actually is great. And, and to this day, a lot of these students are people very much involved in my life and I’ve seen so much progress from it. I believe you have to root down to right.

And tantra is one of the greatest tools to root down, to rise up, to get strong in your core and your mulabandha and in the lower parts. And so it was tantra that taught me a lot of these foundational work. And from there, I just studied everything I could possibly study. And I put together a program based on what I thought worked best.

And it’s always improving. I’m always taking more courses and learning more that I can implement with this project.

So what about the haters that sit there and say that. You making money off of this stuff. Do you have any, any flack in that

area? Of course, money and I think is very powerful. And you know, if you’ve read rich dad, poor dad, you know, you’ll understand just the basic concepts and power around money and.

If you value something and, and you want to do something about it, money has to be exchanged. And I think that’s important. So I

see money as fuel, right? And because you have to have it, and let’s say in your field, if you want to reach five people and stuff like that, that’s fine. You don’t have to, you don’t have to charge for it.

But if you want to reach 5,000 or 5 million, you’re going to have to have some fuel

a hundred percent, a hundred percent. If I don’t feel comfortable with the work I’m doing, if I don’t feel. In that exchange. I don’t want to be there. And it’s it’s energy for me to be able to share that space. So I value it.

It’s not cheap. Our program is $4,000 per month and I don’t think that’s a small investment. It’s a mortgage for some people. So, you know, nice mortgage.

Yeah. But you know, it’s also investment in yourself is what in a lot of people that want it want to get to the next level. To me selling on value is different than selling.

Like, you know, I’m going to give you these four attributes to whatever you’re saying. Hey, what if I can. Really some blockage of you. So you could invest in some place or starting a company, or

not only that is preventative medicine, right? So it’s genetic work that we do that help prevent things that are in your genetic line.

So we do actual gene work. It’s crazy. Like you can prevent a lot of things that your parents went through. If you get awareness, And that’s, that’s all it is. And that you can’t pay. If you can’t go to the Western, you can’t go to a doctor and you can’t even go to a psychologist to find that information it’s deep work.


I say, you know, parents of alcoholic or something is that, and that’s kinda what you’re saying is,

and fix something like that. Not even fix it first, we figured out the root of how it started. That’s how trauma works. It’s it’s, it’s something that happened too fast, too quick, too soon. You didn’t have any way of, of processing or.

Finding the ground from there. So you’re still holding something that’s nervous in the body. That’s, that’s how trauma works, really. So it could be that they’re traumatized from something within their family line that caused the alcoholic gene to turn on. So we then find that and access it and process and heal.


was it. Are there any traumatic trauma there that you would like to share that, that you went through that got you on this


I mean, I went through a lot of things with my own father and my mother that, you know, definitely taught me a lot about how to even recognize trauma. I didn’t even know I was traumatized for so long and that’s a lot of people’s story.

Sometimes people think that this happy go lucky lifestyle in life. And trauma, what happens is it when it comes up you get to see some of the parts and the areas in which these patterns are stored and you get to heal, not just that aspect, but your, your family’s reason for carrying it too. So it’s really beautiful.

The circle that happens. Wait, sorry, what was the question again? There was

some traumatic stuff that you .

So when I was a child, I walked into a party with my parents and very nice lush. Beautiful home. And, and I don’t know exactly what it was, but there was an energy there and this, this person was unbuttoning my coat and fondling me right in front of my father.

And for a long time, that was an unprocessed trauma that caused me to not first of all, trust men, my father, and we had a huge gremlin between us for a long time, which got cause a lot of abandoned us and all sorts of things. But I’m at a point where I recognize. His story and all the things that created that incident, you know, and no longer causing blame and shame and all the things around that.

So, yeah.

Well thank you for sharing that’s I mean, that’s that stuff can, you know and I’m very happy also on the flip side of it, that you’ve been able to recognize it, which is a big step and then, and deal with it to move through it because you don’t want that weight

to carry around forever. Trauma you carry people’s pain.

That’s not yours. You know, so it’s like I was carrying not just my feelings and emotions, but my father’s and his emotion and reaction was also traumatic. So you get to learn these things. And

because he probably felt very, very belittled as well or worthless or whatever it would be. It’s probably more than Muslim.

It was his inner child that was present at that moment to which you get to learn some of these. Through something called completion process, it’s a form of hypnosis that I also have trained in. So yeah. W w

why don’t you give us a little bit more on that? I suppose also there’s so many different areas

and completion process is a tool designed by teal Swan.

And what it is is it’s allowing, let’s say a traumatic incident that happened in your childhood. You there’s a whole set and setting that you create in order to have your adults. Comfort your inner child during that space. So if you have had something in a feeling or emotion, or even an incident that you feel still unsafe around, there’s a, there’s a way to bring your adult self to comfort your inner child.

And that’s what the process really is. It takes about two hours. Oh, wow. Yeah.

And you know, one thing I wanted to get to as well with a lot of these sayings is let’s say that somebody who doesn’t have a lot of money doesn’t live in Austin, Texas, But has some of these, you know, this trauma or traumatic experiences that they do want to begin to work through.

You know what, what’s a good place to start.

we recommend first thing is read the book. It didn’t start with you. That book actually comes with a bunch of worksheets that I utilize for my clients as well. It’s great. It helps you start to uncover and then process. Just learning how to sense your feelings is a great way to start moving emotions that are stuck in the body.

So there’s tools start doing that, and that will bring you to the next thing, which could be yoga or whatever it is that helps start moving the energy or tapping or emotional, you know Tre you know, things like that. So you can find a Tre practitioner in every state in the world, basically. And then what’s,

what’s, you know, what’s five years out for you.

Like, what are you, what

are you looking forward to doing? Totally I hope to have. Created really amazing connections with cacao and potentially owning a farm myself or creating more sustainability for farmers traveling and, and really sharing the medicine that is cacao. I think that’s probably the focus for the next few years.

I’m also potentially working with a franchise advisor. To make third eyes something that we can bring to other cities and to bring to other communities. And that’s also goal. And our do you guys have

plans for just selling like the rock a cow? We do it. I feel like it’s do that now, right? Yeah. Yeah.

And is that more in like a powdered state in a hard, slow?

Well, what we do is we take a cow paste, which is everything that comes from the actual being other than the, than the fruit like the. So the relish or whatever you want to call it. And we, and they grind it up into a paste, so that has all the fat in it.

And when you transport that it’ll melt. Right? So we do focus on making that and we ship it cold a lot of times. But we take that paste and we, we cold crumble it into a powder so people can consume it easier. And that’s one of our flagship products is the third act of cowlick, elixir. And people just add that to their hot water and use one of those little latte mixers.

And you’ve got your morning drink. That’s a

lot of fun. And then. Take a kind of a look back like, all right. So you’ve done a lot of interesting things a bit all over the world. It sounds like. What kind of advice would you give all the way back to like, you know, 16 year old self?

Yeah. Yeah, it would be probably to read certain books, you know, and get more info, get more knowledge around certain things that I feel like I’m playing catch up on now, you know?

So yeah, I mean, it would be to also have, don’t forget to have fun. Yeah. And remember your roots, remember how important it is that that culture brought to you? You know, there was a time and a place where I felt like my culture, wasn’t something I could be proud of and that’s completely shifted as I’ve dived deeper into it.


what about any, so you talked about, you know, we just talked about what you would recommend yourself, but in any regrets or along this path?

Yeah, definitely. Not like regrets, but just. Be slower, you know, just take more time, find, find meditation quicker, you know? I think those are the things, you know I feel like I had a beautiful life, but it happened too quickly and I wish I could have just slowed down a little bit.

I feel like that’s something. And so it would say when they’re older, so it’s great that, you know, maybe we didn’t recognize that when we were 16, but you know, the younger than better to recognize slow down. And I feel like that as well. One thing that I, it was a quote I heard or something. I do firmly believe it, in order to slow down time, you have to create your new experiences because otherwise, if you’re doing the same thing every day, your brain kind of gets on autopilot.

And it’s very

forgettable. Right? I believe that in some aspect, I feel like consistency is good. But then if you can just make 1% shift within consistency. So you’re still consistent, still in the masculine, but then you’re finding creative ways to integrate that consistent thing that you’re doing. So you’re getting better at it or you’re getting optimizing it or whatever it is, you know, so, yeah.


like, and so we do like, I, you know, to have our food at certain times and having shelter had a lot of different things that need to be consistent. Yeah. What about like, I’m sure you get with a ton of these like common myths that you hear in cringe. It could be meditation. It could be in the other areas that you do, but anything that you just want to talk about that like, just kind of, you hear and you kind of

want to talk about, yeah.

So, you know, in Austin it’s really popular now, the hot bats or the hot the sauna and then the cold baths, you know, and, you know, I really feel like putting yourself in a position to be hot and cold. Can be really good for the nerve reset the nervous system sometimes, but doing that constantly doesn’t allow for gestation to happen.

So I really believe integration is being able to go from dissonance to resonance and finding consistency and being resonant. And I feel like right now in our spiritual community, in various plant medicine communities, it’s too much of the medicine. It’s too much of the. The, the party without the, the rest and the meditation and the, and the parts that require integration.

So I know it’s cool to take mushrooms and all these other things, but you know what we’re doing at third eyes, creating classes and spaces where people can integrate, you know, what they’ve learned from their journey and to really slow down, to speed up so that, you know, they have more focus and clarity.

They feel more fulfilled in their life. And I think that’s really important.

So let’s talk more about plant medicine. And I have very little knowledge in this area as in personal out knowledge, but I’m very interested in the area, right. So I’m actually just take it wherever you like it. You know what, what’s a very common questions that people have asked you, or what do you guys start with?

Like w w w

wherever we want to take it. So so in terms of health, just basically, I believe that when we’re healing, we have a lot of symptoms and when we heal too quickly, So when our body is, is doing something internally, that’s moving something too quickly. Energetically our physical body may not be able to handle it.

So you know, Plant medicine can, can be really good if let’s say you have a block that your consciousness can not overcome. Plant medicine can be helpful to help you change your state in order to move through something, you know, that can be potentially painful or traumatic or whatever it may be.

It could be even genetic that you have no idea about that you’re carrying, you know, so. Depending on what it is. There’s various different plant medicines. There’s things that open you up. There’s things that bring you in this things that is various things. So like ketamine is a disassociative. Iowasca is one of those things that can be very spirit.

It’s like a spirit molecule where it connects your soul to, you know, to the earth in a very, in a way that can be very disruptive. Can take a long time to integrate from. So that’s why I believe set and setting are super important. Let’s say you lose a partner of 20 years, you know, and you have a hard time processing it and your children are tired and you don’t have a lot of, you have a lot of time on your hands.

I asked them might be good for you, you know, but let’s say you’re an entrepreneur and you’ve got shit going on and you can’t take two months off for three months off to rest and do that. I will ask us not recommend it. I would potentially recommend maybe mushrooms, which has a quicker gestation time from recovery.

Because these are poisons in our body is going to react in a way that will heal in certain ways. If you’re, if you’re in the right space and you have the right time and you have the right dealers and support around you. So it’s really sentencing. And all these different medicines do different things.

Our Western world is becoming very open to that in our current timeframe, which is cool. However, there’s an extreme to everything, right? So. I really believe, you know, the person who’s procuring the medicine, the person who’s receiving the medicine have really good intentions is coming from a really grounded place.

And, and really decides, you know, this is what I want to do. What do you ask the right person? What they need, you know, and where do you see you kind

of the future of this? I mean, it seems like you said it, you know, the U S itself seemed like they’re becoming more and more open to some of these MDMs and stuff like that.

Where do you see

this? Yeah, like MDME are our sassafras. That’s like more of like, let’s say someone who’s been bitter for a long time, you know, it needs to find more love. It’s a good one for that. What I see it going is, do you know what spiral dynamics is? I do not know. Okay. So spiral dynamics is this, is this a.

Thought belief system in which there’s various types of consciousness that live in our planet right now that if you believe in spiral dynamics, this is the first time in our life where we have so much variety of consciousness. So there’s different groups and people and humans who live in a certain vibration live in a certain lifestyle that carry a certain vibration and consciousness.

That’s why there’s so much difference right now, this very much difference between our parents. Or grandparents and grandchildren, whatever it may be technology and various human or earth changes have created these separations. Not that it’s good or bad, but because of this new consciousness that’s coming, you know, we’re going to have a lot more evolution.

So I believe we’re going to evolve. And, and that’s what I see at our future being is being more evolved society. But with variance, you know, there’s still people in our world living primitively there’s people who are living very much in a technological AI world. So you see how there’s so much variance

and when you say kind of evolve or primitively.

I have, I think I got a pretty good idea what you’re saying, but are you saying basically at some people just won’t make it to the next kind of state that they should be in or they’re just going to live poorly or like, what do you mean?

See, I don’t believe in shooting, you know, are like shooting on me or anyone because everyone has their own life and purpose.

Right. So dogs going to be a dog and maybe next life there’ll be a human, I guess what you’re saying now. Yeah. So that’s the reincarnation aspect of how I believe. So if someone eats Doritos, smoke cigarettes, drinks, alcohol, they’re going to live out their life purpose to whatever it is. Or if you look at like a guy from SunLife organics who completely shifted his life and how now has these juicing places and yo you know, healthy things, people can make a shift, you know, and it’s not any.

Like forced to do. That’s an internal thing, you know? So I, I truly believe everyone’s, life’s purpose is their life’s purpose. And if they decide to upgrade their consciousness, that’s going to be a sovereign personal choice and then they’re going to do it. And then and it could be even a downgrade of consciousness.


very much so. Right. Yeah. And, and kind of that’s, it’s interesting. Cause that’s what. More where I, how I grew up as is believing a lot of those different things. And the religion that I grew up in was very much in the reincarnation of kind of moving your soul to the next journey next step, and try to move up.

Of course

C and then there is no hierarchy though. That’s where the sovereignty and the unity comes from because the dog and the, and the, and the, the very evolved person hold the same amount of power that creates the. The same godly energy that circulates in that dog is in that human too. That’s the only way we will be able to see them.

On this dimension. So what does success look like for you? So success for me, I’ve been around, you know, outwardly successful people and I’ve been around people who I never thought would be successful or is successful, but successful to me is feeling really good. And the being so nervous system is happy.

Physical body is happy. Sex life is intact and fruitful. Finances are, are good. Friendships are really strong. Community is strong. So I don’t want to be rich and lonely. I’m not going to be that guy. I don’t care about that. That’s not my end goal. My end goal is to be surrounded by loving, amazing trustful people who are creating in this world.

And, and, and it’s, there’s no like unseen unsaid competition. Creating beautiful creations together and sovereignty, you know, so success to me is being able to give to the world, you know, and, and create with the world. So, yeah.

So what do you think what are you proudest of that you’ve have you’ve accomplished.

So it’s, it’s an internal thing. That’s proud. I don’t, I can’t be proud of it to other people because it doesn’t make sense. But for me to overcome all the physical challenges and to be, you know, an athlete to be a a competitive pickleball player, it feels. Or even tennis player, whatever it is.

I felt like that could have never happened in my life, just from all the difficulties I had from just walking. So that to me is such a thing I’m very proud of. You know, I feel like that’s an accomplishment. Absolutely. Yeah.

Anything that we didn’t cover that

you would like to. So I did start a rejuvenation center in Costa Rica.

I started this thing called blue zones, rejuvenation. I had a tragic incident after I was working for my family’s business and I wasn’t in integrity and I wasn’t living my passion and I lost part of my finger. Oh, wow. I’d never noticed that. Yeah. So I lost part of my finger in a boating accident. I was wakesurfing and a rope got cutter on my arm and I pulled my hand back and it caught my finger and it completely changed my life.

Spirituality wasn’t on the back burner. It was like on the front burner and I was ready to follow my dreams and start third eye and do all the things before I started third, I started blue zones, which blue zones. I dunno if you know who Dan Bittner is. He’s probably a 10 time bestselling author of the blue zones book.

He was a national geographic photographer who made his name and did some amazing things. And. Places around the world that people lived over a hundred years consistently. And that’s what called blue zones. So I studied the blue zones. I got into it and I created a rejuvenation center in Costa Rica called Costa Rica called blue zones rejuvenation center.

So I left everything. I took all the money I had and I invested into this hotel and we converted into a center and we started doing these things and I just fell in love with Costa Rica and retreat. We got a season, this, this letter from a guy named Dan Bittner who wrote those books. And my partners were lawyers who did not want to change the name.

And I was like, I just want to do retreats. You know? So they were like adamant about it. I was like, you know what, I’m going back to Austin. And, and in that time, a gentleman gave me some investment to, to start making elixirs. So I started this whole business, just making it like. And in my retreats, I used to make these really awesome elixirs, cacao, elixirs, and golden milks and all these things to help people feel good in their body.

And that’s kinda how I started out. Third eye is really

interesting. And so is, is that retreats still there?

And no, they went. I was kind of the, the brain around the whole business. They went back to the hotel, but I did build a yoga teak, so they did get to

keep it, keep it. And do you still travel back to Costa

Rica often?

Or I haven’t. You know, I desire to go back, but other places that I desire to put some energy into, it’s so

hard. There’s so many amazing places in the world. I actually haven’t been to Costa Rica because my wife has been multiple times. We’ve been to Nicaragua. I had an amazing experience there and I loved it.

They’ve got good,

good cow there too. I’m sure they do. I’m

there, right? I mean, they’re right next to Costa Rica. One way that she described Nicaragua is it’s like Costa Rica, but like 20 years ago before it got so popular, The days it’s not near as popular because we, you know, we have a pretty negative commentation and of the area as Americans, but also it has had some political instability over the years.

There’s been a, there’s a million people from Canada. They’re like, they’re like, yeah, it took me 14 hours to get here. I’m like, yeah, I got here in six hours, you know, like, or, or five and, you know, from Austin, cause it’s straight south and pretty easy. And they just don’t have that negative connotation of the area.

And then there all the time, and there’s fantastic surfing. And you can say on Alma temp is this like volcano that you can stay on and right up on a horseback and just, and it’s cost nothing like literally nothing.

My friend has a property up. She owns a property that she, she doesn’t know if she’s gonna go back to but it’s crazy because you can own property there, very inexpensively.

And but there is a little bit of fear around the local war that’s happening there and you can lose it all. Yeah, yeah, for sure.

When we were there you know, we weren’t stupid. Didn’t do anything crazy, but we felt totally safe at the time and that obviously could be fluid, but we were, there was, and also it’s a touristy.

And the fact of the Nicaragua Nicaragua’s touristy, which is nothing like touristy places that are known to house travelers, just fine. Airbnb, places like that. So, yeah. And this is my last question. I end every podcast with this. How would you like to be remembered? Yeah.

Yeah, so in India they have this thing called

So someone who is heart giving, you know, someone who. Is able to give, you know, with less thought involved, you know, so obviously having good boundaries of what I need to do to take care of myself, but being able to give with a good heart and that’s something I feel like is really important. I love it.

Yeah. Well, Neil,

thank you so much for being on the podcast. Thank you for having me. Pleasure. Yeah,

that’s great. Cheers. Yeah. Cheers.

If you’re going to go and get money, you need traction first. You know, you need to be like, nobody’s going to give you money unless it’s your parents, unless you have traction and traction is measurable proof that, that the market wants what you have. There’s a lot of ways that that can be done. You know, like the traction doesn’t always have to be like super amazing numbers so much as just proving that you can do something, you know, in what a lot of teams do.

If they’re able, is that they’ll build some type of prototype, but then you can go and talk to, you know, an accelerator or an angel network and say, This is the stuff we’ve got with just the two of us. If we get, you know, a $2 million round, we can hire the developers to build out the backend and to really go crazy on getting customers in, but they’re not going to do it unless you have that traction. The traction also proves that you actually get things done, which is huge.


All right. I got Maia here on the Establishing your Empire podcast. Thank you for so much for coming out. We’re outside in this beautiful November weather down. Yeah, this is great. This is gonna be a lot of fun. Hope we don’t have any sound issues, but if we do, we’ll try our best to edit those out. So why don’t you do, why don’t you, we start with just tell us a little bit about yourself, what you do and who you are.

So so I’ve been working in the field of entrepreneurship for close to a decade right now right on with three-day startup. And so we’re a global nonprofit that helps students phone companies all around the world. And so the impetus for the book, the thing that really launched the book was that I saw continually over time working with students that mentorship was this kind of normal thing that always happened.

Like, you’d just go find a mentor right away, but the sort of understanding what you actually do and what you need to do part was completely lacking everything from really high level stuff. Like. How to, you know, build a network around these people. And, and, you know, just, just like, Create really positive social capital with them all the way down to the littlest things.

Like sending a thank you email, like just top to bottom. It just wasn’t working the right way. And what I realized is that it’s not something you learn naturally. You have to kind of, you have to figure it out. Like, like you just don’t figure it out over time, I guess is what I’m saying. So so yeah, having, having traveled and facilitated, and when I facilitate, what we’re talking about is roughly like three straight days of working with entrepreneurs in a really in-depth environment.

That’s been all over like. England Scotland all over Europe, South America, Africa, every continent, except I would say Australia, so it’s been a really big group of people and it was just kind of compiling all these thoughts and stuff like that into the book. So you got funded in like four days.

Yeah. Tell us about that experience of launching, preparing to launch, getting excited to launch a product and doing it. Definitely. Yeah. So and the cool thing is that I had done a lot of research on. Launching a crowdfunding campaign through work, just because it is something that for so many of our students, it’s something that they are interested in doing, you know?

So when I did it, I was ready to go. And the big thing with launching a crowd funding, the campaign is you want to have your network figured out how to time, like who you’re going to reach out to the pledges. Like, and you want them to know about it ahead of time. So it’s not like they get an email.

They’re like, what’s this, like, they’re they know about it. You’ve talked to them about it. They’re excited about it. So I had this pretty big group of people through my network. You know, that, that I’d interviewed for the book that knew about the book. So when I put it out there, yeah, it got funded really quickly.

So we hit our 10, I like 10 grand basically. And just a matter of days. And that was really awesome. Fantastic. And did you already pre-write the book or before at that point? Yeah. And then, so did you also use that as just a, Hey, I need Monday money to, to that marketing costs and stuff like this, or. Was it also kind of a proof of concept.

Do you think people will like this book? No, I think I’d done that stuff ahead of time. Like, I’d done a lot of research on, on is this book necessary when people need, this are these skills people need in both from the mentor and mentee side, it was pretty clear they did. And that was kind of an ongoing process.

So I think when I started the book, I wasn’t really a hundred percent confident in a lot of these principles and ideas, but one of the nice things about, about writing it and doing all the interviews is you talk to so many people and you get to try out. Theories you have in the book, ideas are these things that people generally agree on and et cetera, et cetera.

So there are a lot of things that I would actually put it in front of somebody I was interviewing. To try to get them to punch holes in it. Does this make sense? You know, and they would tell me like, you know, waiting for them to say, like, I don’t agree with that or something like that. And and that didn’t happen.

And there were several people who I think really tried, you know, like they pride themselves on giving critical feedback. So there is that process all along the line. And then, yeah, the Kickstarter was just to get it funded, get some publicity, all that that’s so much fun. So let’s talk about startups. I think w w a good place to start is I think there’s so many people who want to create a company, a business, a startup name, it what’s one of the first steps they should do.

They have an idea. They want to move forward with something. Yeah, there’s a lot here. And I’ll preface this by saying, I think that as a society, as a world early, we’ve gotten really good at like the, if you think of it as like a bell curve, you know, and the up end of it, like the beginning of it, like the coming up with ideas like figuring out your competitors, we’ve gotten really good at that stuff, but I think you take the bell curve and you break it open because there’s this huge gap where they don’t know what to do.

And I’m copying the book crossing the chasm. It’s the same image they use on that book. And, and once you get past that, you don’t know what to do. So I think the first things you need to do are just. Run your idea by as many people and have them poke holes in it as possible. What people do is with their startup idea, they want to be told that it’s awesome.

They’re theirs. And we understand that, right? Like there’s something nice about like, sharing your idea with somebody. That’s like, dude, that is so cool. Like, I can’t believe you thought this up, you know, like, wow, how amazing you’re a genius. You know, people love that stuff. That’s actually not what you want to hear.

You want to hear people like put in front of people and say like, What about this, or I don’t think this is going to work because of this, or, you know, maybe like your competitors would just eat you alive the moment they see this, or just, you know, all that kinda stuff. So really punch it full of holes as much as possible.

I would be one of the first things I would say. And then doing something like like, like some type of event, like a three-day startup a startup weekend. Pitch competitions, the more of that kind of stuff you can do and get it out there. I think the better. So those are the first things I think let’s say that you ran it by a bunch of friends, you know, you’ve kind of as well as other people, you know, people at Starbucks, whatever, and what, what should somebody do before they start pitching?

Like what’s some tips or tricks to get their pitch down? Yeah, I would say the first thing is talk to as many customers, quote, unquote, as you possibly can. And yet, like the thing that nobody does that you should do is talk to random people. Like, so you have your idea. And then just like, yeah, just go to like Starbucks and just chat with people and be like, Hey, can I, you know, and you could say like, Hey, I’m a student at, or I’m doing some research for or something like that.

So they know you’re not like. Part of a cult or asking for money or anything like that, you know, the moment, like you say, I’m doing research or I’m a student, people like relax a little bit and then just say, you know, I’m doing research on this idea and, and really focused on the problem, solving, not like how cool your startup is about the problem and really get into that stuff.

You know, as much as possible, that’s gonna help inform your pitch. You’re gonna realize like, Th th the problem that people have or something like that. And it is oftentimes very different than you think, which is really fascinating. How often you think like, Oh, it’s simple, it’s this, but then you talk to people in your eyes.

It’s not quite that it’s a little bit different from that, actually. So I think that’s a really critical thing is, is your pitch has to be something where you start with a problem and you illustrate that problem in a way that the moment you start talking to somebody about it, they’re like, Oh, Yes.

Like, I know I it’s, it drives me crazy, you know? Like where like they immediately get that. They’re like, yeah, yeah, yeah. Let’s how are you gonna solve this? You know? And like, well, we have a solution. This is it. And they’re like, that’s awesome. You know too many people don’t start with a problem. They just launch into their and their idea.

And nobody knows why. Like, what’s the point of this? What’s what’s this, this, what is this for? So really understanding that problem, I think is huge. You have a chapter, I think it’s called. Prepare for deal killing questions or something to that effect. And how does one actually do that? Right. So I think you gave a really good example of someone doing this, but how do you get yourself positioned correctly?

So that way you don’t say something are our answers. Do you have an answer that’s really going to kill the deal, right? I mean, I think it depends on the deal. And one thing I guess I would say is I think that’s something that’s really necessary. Evolution for entrepreneurs to make is to actually don’t worry about, and this is like if you’re pitching to founders or customers or whomever, to be really honest about what you’re actually doing.

And one of the things that I think has been really troubling about. Society’s got really good at those pitch competitions, you know, $5,000 for the winner. And what that trains you to do is answer all the questions perfectly, like tell them what they want to hear all the time. And if you have a question where they say like, well, how are you going to defend the and such against your competitors?

And you say, honestly, that’s our weakness. You know, like we hope to go into stealth mode and build up enough users to where we could, you know, defend against that. But that’s a real weakness we have being honest about that is so huge, but we don’t live in a world that values that. So people will go into those.

Whether it’s a pitch competition meeting, meeting with investors. Ready to sort of tell them everything they want to hear. And this is what I call like, it’s like the fire festival effect where those guys started with a belief and then it turned out to be complete garbage, and then they just lied rather than just tell people that the thing they thought they could do.

Wasn’t true. You getting yourself into a huge problem. I think with that. So it’s more about, it’s not, it’s not as much about like avoiding or like answering those questions correctly so much as I think being really honest about those things, because it’s going to catch up to you sooner or later, you cannot hide from Everett forever from that stuff.

Talk to me the difference between like a. Incubator versus a Sellerator versus even doing it on your own. Like w w w w which ones do you recommend? What do you like? What’s the differences it’s different. I think for everybody, I think an incubator is ready as a team. That’s, you know, they’re ready to go right now.

It’s a three-month program, generally speaking, and they give you some, some money. So that you can survive during that time. And then it takes some equity incubator. I think it was being a little bit more like a, like an office space type of thing. But there’s a lot of similarities there as well.

As opposed to going on, on your own. It’s a tough one. I think it’s different for everybody. I think accelerators can be useful for most people. And I see a lot of teams that are like, they’ve got to this point where like, They’ve sort of done what they can do right now. They’ve made a lot of progress and they just need, like, we need that next step, you know, and that’s, and they’re going to go in and they’re going to be like go on all in during the time to really launch.

So okay. And then I think I kind of I don’t know, it’s a similar question, but I think there’s a question that’s important is what about seeking money? Or funding or whatever it would be versus just traction or gaining customers. You need the first part you need traction first. Yeah. That’s the, that’s the big thing that nobody knows is like, if you’re going to go and get money, you need traction first.

You know, you need to be like, nobody’s going to give you money unless it’s your parents. Unless you have traction and traction is it’s, it’s measurable proof of like that, that the market wants what you have invasively. And there’s a lot of ways that that can be done. You know, like the traction doesn’t always have to be like super amazing numbers so much as just proving that you can do something, you know, and what a lot of teams do, if they’re able, is that they’ll build some type of prototype.

And oftentimes it doesn’t have to be, I think that’s not a thing that’s scalable, even. It’s just something where, you know, my co-founder and I get text messages when somebody fills in a form and then we go do the thing on the back end, which would at some point be this really you know, sophisticated you know, database or something like that.

They’re just doing that stuff by themselves. Totally not scalable, but then you can go and talk to, you know, an accelerator or an angel network and say, This is the stuff we’ve got with just the two of us, you know, just like getting text messages, whenever anybody fills out a form, like it’s going pretty well.

If we get, you know, a $2 million round, we can hire the developers to build out the backend and to really go crazy on getting customers in, but they’re not going to do it unless you have that traction, the traction also proves that you can actually get things done, which is huge. Yeah. So it sounded to me like cause I think one thing that somebody might think about a lot is.

All right. I got this idea. I want to build this perfect prototype. Right. And it sounds like to me that perhaps an okay. Prototype and then go get feedback, get some talk to some people changed some things, all that stuff about the book, right? You, you, you were able to fund it. Cause I think you had this you know, social capital how’s.

How does. What’s some tips and tricks to grow your community, meet with people, whatever you want to call it. What’s some thoughts there. Yeah, absolutely. And I think that nobody can really launch a company without that community. Like it’s a huge, huge part of it. Everybody needs it. And you have to approach the community in a standpoint, that’s not about what do I get out of this, but what can I also give forward, which is sort of counterintuitive as you think, like, if I’m going out there and going to a bunch of events and stuff like that.

I need some ROI. I need some something back. But you’re gonna find pretty quickly that people aren’t super antsy to help you out. If you have this, I gotta watch out for her. Number one, attitude, you know, like nobody wants to help that person out. So you really have to approach it from a standpoint of helping other people.

And, and that’s what I get into with, with social capital. It’s about building social capital and social capital is it’s your network plus your reputation. So it’s like, who do you know and what they say about you? And we’ve all been around where. Some people are talking about another person who wasn’t there.

Right. And sometimes you hear them saying like, this guy not good, you know, like, like just super dodgy, like people in the back, it doesn’t look good. And then you hear the opposite where people say, yeah, have you heard of, so-and-so like, Oh man, this person is doing amazing stuff. Like, you know, every time I meet with her, she’s doing like, things are moving her.

Company’s really cool. Like that those are different, like element it’s a social capital. One person was very bad because they’re doing all the wrong things. And one person is very good and. You know, in order to really launch and do well with your company, you need your social capital doing work for you when you’re not there.

Like people are talking about you in positive ways. So like when you meet people, like I’ve already heard of you, you know, like in a really good way. So the way I kind of map out building social capital is. Listening, helping and building and the, and the easiest thing you can do that sort of foundation of the pyramid is just being a great listener.

So you go to a networking event, you talk to some people, and you’re not the one who’s just like, okay, enough about you. Let’s talk about me. You love talking to them and whatever they want to talk about, you just keep asking more questions about that and, and whatnot. So that’s listening and that’s where that’s a really big thing.

And it’s really the foundation because he can’t do the other stuff without being a great listener. The next thing is building, I’m sorry. The next thing is helping. And that’s where, you know, you go out and meet people and you want to find ways to help them. It’s not just about you, but I could introduce you to somebody or you know, Let me run through your prototype with you and give you some feedback or, you know, volunteer for an event you’re doing or something like that, whatever that might be like you give that impression that you’d like to help people out.

People find a way to pay that back to you to say, like, you’re just a person who likes to help. I want to help you too. And then I think the final thing, the building is really important in that. You can talk a great game and be helpful and be, and all that kind of stuff. But at some point people expect you to actually accomplish something.

I mean like just a podcast is an example of that. Like the fact that you’re doing a podcast, people see that from a social capital standpoint is Darren can get stuff done. Like if he talks about a podcast, the podcast happens, you know it can be your startup, like your startup actually launched even a prototype of your startup.

You’re proven that you can do something. And, and, you know, like another, like I talked to like Mark Nathan here in Austin, he, and he mentioned how just starting a, like a meetup group, you built something. And, and he loves to talk about how, like the first couple of meetings, two people showed up, did it suck?

It kinda sucked. It was sort of a bummer, you know, like you, you thought like hundreds of people would show up, but you keep at it. And things happen and you prove that you can, you can do that. So a lot of people like you might move to a new community and say, I’m going to start a startup meetup group for the certain type of founder that I fed that just, I feel like isn’t getting a lot of love right now, you know?

And and that can really help you get some, some really positive social capital where people are talking about you in a positive way. So that’s something that’s really essential for your community. Got to get out there and talk to people. But don’t miss those opportunities by not generating positive social capital.

And you already gave some great examples, but let’s talk about COVID with that, right? How to do, how to get some social capital, how to network anything that’s worked for you over these last, like, I don’t know. It feels like eight, nine months now. It has been about that. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I think in some ways the connection apparatus still takes place from the standpoint that people are still making connections.

People, you know, are still saying, Oh yeah, yeah, let me introduce you to you to so-and-so or something like that. So those things are still happening. It may have sort of put more emphasis on, on online, just cold outreach to people, you know, like via LinkedIn and stuff like that. But that’s also dangerous because, well, not dangerous, but like, you still need a reason why, you know, like, have you reached out to somebody that should be like something very specific.

Cause I sort of avoid the networking attempts where somebody doesn’t have any reason. I get like five a day and I just, I don’t look at it. You know, why like gonna be talking about what do you need? You know, like so th those two, I think those things are really important to be able to say very specifically and the people who do well with this stuff are the people who say I’d love to learn about such and such.

You know, like one person I interviewed in the book is Jan Ryan here in Austin. And she’s just this really amazing person she gets. Buckets of, of like requests and stuff like that. But the ones that stand out to her are, I would love to hear more about how you founded women at Austin or something like that.

Somebody says that, and you set yourself apart from the other a hundred people. Who asked for your attention? So I think that’s a really big thing is get super specific about why you want to meet somebody. And that’s, that’s something I talk about in the book quite a bit. Let’s talk about mentors and mentorship.

I think a great place to start is how to find mentors. And a little background is I have a buddy right now is thinking about changing careers. Been kind of in the physical world where he’s actually working with his hands, stuff like that, and wanting to get more into something completely different, you know, maybe the tech industry or something.

And my first thing was, Hey, you got to get around. Some people find some mentors. How would like somebody like that start to find some mentors? Yeah. There’s a lot of different things. I think one, one thing is just check your personal connections. People are surprised how often somebody they already know.

Is, it could be really helpful, you know going to events as much as possible. That’s a tough thing to do right now, you know, as we are right now in November, we’re hoping that we’re kind of emerging from this to hopefully, and people, a lot of people watch this, this will be old news. But you know, going to as many events as you possibly can, I think can be a really good thing.

Finding connectors, you know, people who just love to help you meet other people, it can be really good. I’m trying to think of the other ones. I’ve got a whole list of areas of how to find mentors for people that are already customers are already entrepreneurs. Like your customers can be great mentors.

No, that’s another one. And then, like I mentioned earlier, just creating your own like group, whatever that might be, can be a great place to sort of find mentors. You know, I mean, one thing I did offhand that I even like expect to go anywhere is I just started They can see my Lambo had, I just started a Packers group on social media for, for, for like Packers fans like like for me, punk rockers who love the Packers and like just hundreds of people suddenly just like thrust in.

And it’s like this big group that watches the game every, every single Sunday. So like, Who knew. Right. But you just, you can start a group in the weirdest way and, and reach out to people. And if it’s entrepreneurship related or related to your market or whatever your interests are, there’s a decent chance that you’re gonna start to find people that would be good mentors for you.

Some of the, you mentioned customers could be great mentors. I think that’s really interesting. Yeah. You tell it that. Yeah, that was one that I mentioned Jan, Ryan and Lucas, Basemore both brought that up and I had never thought of that before, but You know, you, you could be a company that has just a handful of early adopters or something like that.

And those people in some senses know your product better than you do, because you’ve had your product from the ground up, but they see it for the first time, as some, as a newcomer. And oftentimes, you know, they can help you with all kinds of things about like what your customer acquisition channels look like.

You know, things like that and, and, and kind of point you pointed out like how it works for them and how it could work for you. And because they’re early customers, they care about you already, you know, they have that in there and they’re really excited to kind of help the CEO out or something like that with some feedback.

So that was just something I’d never thought about before started reading, writing the book is how customers can actually be really good mentors for you as well. And I’ve talked to quite a few people who ended up hiring. Customers turned mentors into like people in that, like they actually hired them for the company as well.

Yeah. That’s really interesting. I think that’s a great approach also any, and even just establishing that dialogue could make you at the very least be more in tune with your customer and maybe a stronger, stronger connection there. Yeah. Let’s talk about the three-day startup a little bit more you know, you’ve been, you know, 70 plus different programs, startup programs around the world, been all over the place.

Yep. Maybe go back and how you got involved, how you first, how it first began and then, and then just kind of take it from there. Yeah. So, so my philosophy was always. Just help other people, indiscriminately, you know, like that’s what I always believed in this world. Just help other people out. And it’s going to come back to you somehow.

You don’t know how it’s going to happen. So when I was a student at university of Wisconsin I participated in a three-day startup back in 2011 is when that started. And I came around and from there I just joined the organizing team locally, you know, so I would just, we’d just come together and work on organizing these, this program, you know, and it was fun.

It was exciting and all that. And then when I graduated. I actually joined the team and then got married, my wife and I moved down to Austin back in 2013. So we’ve been here since then. And so that’s kind of how I began. But then yeah, you know, you, you facilitate these programs and it’s a ton of fun and you just get to meet people.

And the, and the travel part is great. Like you travel someplace around the world. And you already have like connections there and all that kind of stuff. It’s just really, that’s really cool. And who’s the, what’s a common, like, I guess, quote, unquote, customer that you guys serve right. For the three day startup, generally universities.

So we have a university and they will, and they will have you know, like say an entrepreneurship center or something like that. But they’re looking for a little something to sort of bump up student participation, you know, like they get a lot of students that don’t really have an idea yet, or they have this idea and they don’t know how to develop it.

They’re having a hard time getting students to work together. And our program does all that stuff. People come in with a little bit of an idea, no idea whatsoever, something they’ve been working on for two years and we throw them together with some people and they form teams that have like their little co-founder groups and they just spend the next three days.

Working through the land lean canvas, which is a tool developed by Ash Moria here in Austin. Doing customer discovery, prototyping, learning to pitch, all that kind of stuff. So they just go crazy on this stuff and make a ton of progress in just a few days, any big success stories that can come from it or any interesting stories.

Yeah. One of the interesting stories if you go to the wall at three-day startup.org, there is a list of like the companies that have been launched out of the program. Ton of stories. I’m trying to think of some good ones. Well, one of them I love is like we had this company called called offline labs and they told the story at our global Roundup conference a couple of years ago.

And it was a funny story because they came out of Cornell and it was a video editing software. And so the usual startup journey where, you know, you get out of college and you’ve got your co-founder team and then some people leave. Other people come in and all that kind of stuff, and they had a product, but they weren’t making any money.

You know, so they were like running out of money. The co-founders are ready to bail ship and go find real, real jobs, quote, unquote. But then tell Tim Novikoff the founder, the CEO there were, so there Cornell, so the New York based and he’s, he goes to this Startup slash networking party somewhere in New York city and who shows up, but mayor Bloomberg, Michael Bloomberg, you know, so he shows up and and Tim manages the chat with them for a few minutes, just, you know, just whatever, like, Oh yeah.

You know, tell me about your company, blah, blah, blah. Oh, cool. That sounds great. You know, like talk for a few minutes, you know, and then as he was on his way out the door, some news. You know, camera people, you know, like news organizations came and interviewed the mayor, you know, they got the same setup as we have lights, all that, you know, tell us what you’re doing here.

You know, what’s this all about? And the first thing the mayor does is his name drops, fly labs, and Mike and Tim Novikoff. And of course the mayor is talking to them up, but highlight this amazing product and they’re gonna do great things and all kinds of stuff. So next thing you know, he’s getting like all these calls from angel investors who want to fund the company and all that kind of stuff and that succeeded, and he ended up selling the company to Google.

Wow. So that was kind of a funny, and what I like about the story is like, it involves like the The community element of it, of like in this case, what saved them? Wasn’t just writing better software, but just getting out in the public and talking to people, you never know who you’re going to meet. And then just being really resilient, you know, just, just like being able to kind of keep fighting and, and all that kind of stuff.

So that was one, I think that’s one story that I liked. I’ve always thought motivation’s very powerful. Excuse me. Not motivation, but momentum is very powerful. Just getting the ball rolling and pushing it forward. And you mentioned fundraising, and I know that’s a crazy story, but what’s some other ways that somebody that could get, you know, to get fundraising with some, some thoughts around that and things that have worked for people or just even recommendations or advice.

Right. And I think fundraising is one of the most missing, misunderstood topics out there, you know, like it’s, it’s, I feel like. The public’s idea of fundraising is still stuck in the pre.com bubble era of you have a cool URL. And like somebody gives you $5 million. So like that people still think like that investors just want to give you money because you have a great idea.

Not that those times are long gone, you know? So I mentioned the traction thing a little bit already. Let’s see. So how to get fundraising. I think first of all, I, one important thing is that investors don’t care that you need money. And everybody seems to think like, Oh, we need, we need money. So we should go raise money.

And nobody cares about that. That does not enter any investors, prism of like, why actually care about this. Like everything else. And that’s why it is actually a pretty important topic in the book. It’s all about networking and getting out there and talking to people because if investors invest in you, especially angels, they’re going to want to know you and like you as a person, they want to know that you show vulnerability that you’re coachable.

That you’re easy to work with. That you’re fun to be with, you know, that like, if we w we grab coffee and talk about the company, and it’s like, I love hanging out with you. It’s like the best part of my week. You know, I’ve never heard an angel investor say. I got this company total dickheads, super dishonest, but man, they’ve got a great idea.

So I’m finding these guys like no, nobody ever says that, you know? So I think like the, the relationship element of that is really is really important in many ways. It’s like dating, you know, you get up there and once you’ve got that traction and you’ve proven that customers like your product, and now you have this argument that we just need more money and we can do more stuff with this.

It’s the dating process. You’re just getting out there and talking to as many people as you can, as many touch points as you possibly can. And in a place like Austin, they want to get to know you super well. You know, so it’s a lot, it’s a lot of getting dinner, coffee hanging out and before they get really comfortable doing it.

And then from there, usually an angel investor is going to be part of a network. So they’re not going to invest in you by themselves. They’re going to act as a lead investor and they’re going to bring on several other people and they sort of act as social proof. Like, Hey, I’d like you to meet Darren. And they’re like, well, if this investor likes Darren, he must be pretty cool.

You know, he must know what he’s doing. And then they kind of come together as a big group of angels and fund you together. That’s usually what happens, but what about common myths of. I dunno if mentorship, right? I’m sure there’s some stuff that you hear all the time that it’s not even completely true or, or that you just kind of cringe yet.

Yeah. There’s a lot of stuff. First of all, I’m your mentor is not an official title. You know, there’s a lot of instances where your mentor doesn’t even know they are your mentor, you know, and that’s okay. I’m like so I think that’s one thing is like, it’s, it’s very, very unofficial, so to speak, you know you can have several different mentors if you want.

But I think one of the, if there’s one really big misconception that I think fuels the book, it’s that it’s the sense that I need something. Therefore I’m going to go meet with a mentor and therefore this relationship quote, unquote, is all about that mentor giving me something, whether that’s great advice.

Introductions to people and I don’t need to give anything back. They’re just going to give me the thing and that’s great. It truly is a relationship. And I think that if there’s one big misconception, it’s that you just get a half hour meeting with a mentor and that’s awesome. Like you’re good to go.

Usually you’re not going to get everything you want in that first meeting. You know, it’s going to take time to sort of build that up in any kind of conception that you’re going to have that meeting with a mentor, and they’re going to like. Give you the answer you’re like, Oh my God, we’ve been like, just treading water this whole time.

And now that we met with a mentor, like, it’s so clear to us, we just need to do this thing. And we’re, and we’re just, we’re rocking now. You know, it doesn’t usually work that way. The good stuff that comes out of mentorship comes over time. It’s building up a relationship with that person and you, you know, you meet with them for coffee, then you see them all different kinds of places.

And every time you see them, you keep building up more trust, more social capital, all that kind of stuff. To the point where that person is willing to really help you out with something, you know, help you out with like bigger things, so to speak introductions, trusting you more with the kind of stories and feedback they give you and things like that, that stuff all really factors in.

What about, so now that the book’s been out and it’s been funded and it’s, you know, you’re, you, you have it’s physical as well as digital and you get it on Kindle version. What’s your been your approach to marketing? How do you get more sales? Right. We’re in the process right now. So of got pushed back with the, with the pandemic, with parenting and all that kind of stuff.

But for a not right now, it’s just doing as many kind of book talks and and podcasts and stuff like that as possible. And then once enough people have read the book, getting it on Amazon, it’s actually not on Amazon yet. Cause I want to make sure that. I know people have read it, that I can get some reviews right away and then get their views going and hopefully get more traffic and whatnot to the book.

And then just keep building stuff up more and more, I think is what it is. Yeah. And then what about mentorship for you? Like who is it written, any mentors around in your life or, and also, I always ask that question in case somebody hasn’t had a lot of mentors, but books as well, but any stories or any people that you want to talk about?

Yeah. One of the, one of the best mentors I had was Amos. Who’s the managing director of Techstars here in Austin. And that was a really good one because I wanted to talk to him about mentorship and, and he, and, you know, Jason seeds from Techstars have some of the best in input. That’s in the book.

But, but Amos is interesting because he had also just written his own book. So in addition to giving me feedback, he was also mentoring me about just being, you know, writing a book as well. And that was really great. And some of the good feedback that he gave us is the fact that as a book author, you don’t look at like scalable the way you do with like a high tech startup where like, we just need to get thousands of new users.

And like, but any person you can get to read your book as positive, even if they just read one chapter, that’s really good. And that was one of the best bits of advice that I got that I think helped a lot is when I finished the first go around to the book and I wanted to get as much feedback as I could.

I reached out to a lot of students and early, early, early startup founders, the, the, the kind of audience for the book. And my ask, according to what Amos had mentioned is can you just read one chapter that is so much easier than can you read the whole book? It’s really easy to say one chapter. I got that, you know, it’s six pages or whatever.

I got that. So they would read that chapter and they’d be filling it up with comments, you know, said Chariton like docs and they’d have all these comments and all that. So it’s a great way to get some of that feedback. So that was one bit of advice. That was really helpful. Luiz from who wrote the book of venture venture girls was another person that helped out a lot.

So yeah, I had my own mentors who helped with kind of getting the book out as well. So why did you write the book? The biggest thing was that I was looking to help people in the three-day syrup network with the mentorship thing, because I had so many meetings with people where we would meet up. And like I said, it would be like, we’d meet for half hour, hour, we grab coffee and then.

Nothing would come out of it. I’d get the sense, like they didn’t take notes. Do they remember any of this stuff? Did anything good come out of that? And so that was kind of frustrating. And then when I started talking. To people more broadly. And I talked to like, like mentors at Techstars. I talked to university faculty staff about their own mentorship programs and they said, yeah, we have the same problem.

It’s the same for us. You know? So started realizing that this is a widespread thing. And also I was the dumb ass who was doing that myself at one point, you know, early founder, you know, I met with a mentor and didn’t do any of this stuff. Right. And so just realizing that like, This resource is becoming kind of a waste of everybody’s time because the mentees don’t know what they’re supposed to do with it.

So I started looking for a good book. I could share with people about like, this is the thing you need to read to be a great mentee. It didn’t exist. There was literally not a book on it. There are plenty of books for mentors, but nothing for the founder of how to really be a great mentee. So that’s why I decided to write the book.

It’s a fantastic name. It’s a very obvious name, but how did you come up with it? Why does something that was easy to the point? Man, I came up with some super convoluted things to shut it down. Like I was trying to think of like mentor and mentee are like two animals, like a whale and a monkey. And my wife’s just like, that’s crazy.

Like, don’t do that. Like, nobody’s gonna know what the book is about. Like, all right. You know, so in the end it was just a really straight direct to the point. People understand it. They don’t have to like go through somersaults to figure it out. Well, I was going to say is a lot of times people use a book, right.

To help their personal story or to sell something else. But I, I figured you guys are more probably just using that for them is just probably more for your personal brand. Yeah. I think, I think in a lot of ways of book has sorta like almost like a career supplement type of thing, you know?

Like it helps you yeah. Just with like your own career ambitions and stuff like that. I think that’s part of it. That was definitely like a motivator. Also like the fact that a book is much more permanent, you know, it’s, it’s there. And I, and I kind of liked that part of it as well. So there’s a lot of reasons to pick a book instead of just like writing a blog or, or doing videos or something like that.

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I agree. And I think it’s a little bit more legit, right? Like, you know, it’s and I, I, it’s gotta be great to sit there and say, Oh, and by the way, I’m an author as well, right? Yeah. It’s it’s, it does help. I think it definitely, it definitely does help. The perception element of that I think is really good for sure.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Oh, man. I think wanting to ride several more, you know, get those out there and then just, and just out, I don’t know, see where that goes. And part of it is that like, there is an unknown component of it of just saying like, I don’t know where that’s going to take me, but I’m, I’m assuming it’s going to be someplace good.

You know, that’s kind of part of it. What about, what advice would you give your 16 year old self? Right. As far as being a writer, five minutes, anything, anything. Okay. Well, I always wanted to be a writer and I think the one mistake I made that I wish I would’ve done differently is I had this, this muse complex where I sorta felt like, Oh, you know, like if you’re going to create something amazing, like it’ll be a sudden burst of inspiration.

And then it’ll just happen. And that’s also kind of like a, that’s also kind of like a backdoor to laziness. Like, well, I’m not having my burst right now, so I’m just going to kind of do it, you know? So for me it was all about just write it consistently and, and, and using the software I used, I could see, like every day I wrote.

And it was generally six days a week. Like I usually took one day off. And for me being a new father I was able to do it every morning before my son woke up. And once he woke up, that’s it that’s like the day, you know? So like you have an amount of time. So there was like a, like a weird like gamblers element to it of like, you never know how much time you’re going to get.

You could have five minutes, you can have an hour and 20 minutes. You never know. But you just get crank at every morning and really stay. Super super strict about that, you know, so you don’t take days off just because you don’t want to, you always stay really straight. So I think that was the biggest thing.

Whether you’re writing fiction, nonfiction, doing a podcast, a video series, just be consistent with it. I think that’s the big, any other routines besides getting up and riding right away. Was there any other routines that got you to complete this big project of writing a book? I think the other thing was just doing a lot of interviews.

Just getting as many interviews as possible was always really good. We talked about like the vice for your 16 year old self. What about any regrets along the way of your whole career? Oh, man. Let’s see. I’m trying to think of it. That I don’t have a ton of regrets, I think from my recent career I don’t think, I can’t think of another way to put it.

Is there, is there anything that you wish you would have done differently along the way? You know, there had been times in the past where I felt that way and I can’t even remember what they are right now, because right now I’m at, I feel like I’m at a really good place. And I can’t think of what those are.

I mean, I think when you’re super young, Like you have so many avenues in front of you and that can be distracting. Cause you feel like you want to do 20 things all at once. And you, and you feel like every one of them deserves your time. So again, it gets spread thin. So I think in some sense, just pick one thing and just really go at it, you know?

And, and the more things you try to focus on, the more you’re going to be distracted. What’s something that when you were writing the book like that, you wish you would have known that you probably know now right before you started out or why you’re going. Yeah, I think let’s see. Doing a good outline, I think was important.

You know, so I, there there’s too many things where I just kind of like dove right in. And then I really like, quite a bit of the book was editing stuff where I would have like a chapter that just. It didn’t make sense where it was, or it’d be taking too much of this part over here. There were just things that were really messy and they didn’t like fit together very nicely.

So had to do a lot of that kind of stuff. So there were parts of where I would say, like this whole chapter, I can eliminate like 95% of it and then just move this part over to chapter 17. Cause that’s where it fits normally. Anyways. I guess another thing I think is interesting is as far as mistakes is that there are a lot of things in the book that I just sort of thought were super clever.

But they’re only in there because I thought they were clever, you know, not because they’re necessarily like useful or even interesting. And a lot of times, like my editors would say, that’s not actually as clever as you think it is. And it’s like, yeah, you’re probably right about that. So there are a lot of things I cut, you know, same thing about a business.

A lot of times people put stuff in there cause they, they like it, but it doesn’t really make sense to the customer or the client. Right. Exactly. Customers don’t need this, so just get rid of it. And so th the, the, so the editors ad for the book were Shana and cam both from three-day startup Lucas Baysmore I mentioned.

And and then Carina where the people that edit it as well as my wife. So I had five editors at all, you know, know a lot about startups and whatnot. And they were able to put a ton of help into making the book happen. So really grateful for that. But they were the ones who were like, Why is this here?

You know? And they did that kind of work. If I couldn’t defend why I was there, it was time to just get rid of it. I love that you had that feedback process because at the end of the day, that just makes a better book. Right. Which is what I think a lot of people have a lot of pride in whether it’s a book or like we said, a company or even just a project, or I worked with a lot of, with a lot of photographers and videographers and they, you know, you kind of make it for yourself sometimes when you should be making it for the end user.

Right, right. And what about like, and this doesn’t have to be pretending to book or anything like that, just in any way, shape or form, but what does success look like for you? What a success look like? Oh, man. I think in some ways, successes, just if you’re always learning new things, That’s I think a good way to measure success.

Like if you put your, if you position position yourself in such a way that whatever you’re doing, you feel like you’re learning new things all the time. I think that’s really good because I feel like it’s kind of antithetical to the human nature to just get static. And you’re just doing the same thing every day and never changes.

That can be pretty dull. So I think that if you’re learning new things, you’re doing well, you’re successful some way or another. I love it. And just, this is kind of a funny question. I don’t really ask, but since you’re you just got this book and all this. What would you title this chapter in your life right now?

Yeah. Ooh boy. That’s a good question. It’s kind of interesting one. Yeah, no question. It’s like so many thoughts on like where we’re at right now with like the pandemic and everything like that. Yeah. Yeah. It’s kind of like a weird time of like waiting, but also charging ahead faster than ever.

Before, you know, because I feel like a lot of people are like in many ways they’re busier than they’ve ever been. But yes, we also, we all feel like we’re kind of waiting. Like, it’s kind of like the hurry up and go time, you know, like, like not like hurry up and stop. I don’t know what, but like yeah. I feel like we’re waiting and charging ahead all at the same time, basically right now.

So this is my last question is that is how I end every podcast podcast is how would you like to be remembered? I would like to be remembered as a person who helped as many people as I possibly can throughout a community where everybody’s seen where people have stories of, yeah. This person did this thing for me.

And that was really amazing, you know, that’s kind of what it is all about for me. I feel like I’m going to helping enough people. That’s gonna be a really good thing. Well, I appreciate you so much to be on the establishing your empire podcast was great to be outside. And just great to have a podcast in person.

I know it’s been awesome. Yeah, I appreciate it. Thanks. Thanks a lot. Yep. Cheers.

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