44 minutes | Mar 13, 2020
Ep. 056: On Becoming a Sales Virtuoso -- The Mickeli Bedore Interview
Let's face it, many aspiring entrepreneurs are held back by a fear of selling. In this episode, I interview sales luminary, Mickeli Bedore, where he provides insider tips on strengthening your sales skills, establishing the right mindset and overcoming rejection. Additionally, he reveals the story about when a key person underestimated him when he was a teenager, which drove him to become a sought-after keynote speaker and a sales superstar in some of the world's biggest companies, such as IBM, Verizon and Oracle. Leave a Rating & Review in iTunes for the Product Launch Rebel Podcast Top Takeaways from this Episode: (1) Acquiring and nurturing "emotional intelligence" is an important quality for a successful sales person. (2) To be successful at something, it's important to develop an appreciation for something. Appreciation helps to drive learning, which leads to success. (3) Curiosity is at the root of any successful sales person. The best marketers and sales professionals are driven by a perpetual interest in others' situations and needs. (4) Introverts can be very successful sales people, because of their heightened ability to listen, demonstrate empathy and thoughtfully solve problems. (5) The fear of rejection in sales can be diminished by (a) knowing that we all experience rejection in various ways, (b) by understanding that a "no" isn't necessarily bad and (c) by investigating the "why" behind the "no." Transcript: Transcript coming soon!
14 minutes | Feb 28, 2020
Ep. 055: Do you believe in LUCK?
Today's episode highlights the fascinating topic of luck. It explores important questions such as: (1) Do you believe in luck? (2) Have you experienced luck in your life, career or startup? (3) What role does luck play, if any, in a startup? (4) Can luck be created for oneself, or do some people just have more luck than others? Leave a Rating & Review in iTunes for the Product Launch Rebel Podcast Top Takeaways from this Episode: (1) Simply being alive and healthy is, itself, the great foundation of luck. We take much of life and its resources for granted -- and there's so much luck available to us, regardless of our weaknesses or starting point. (2) You have the power to increase your luck in a very simple way. Simply, you can do it by setting a goal. When you set a goal and move towards it, it’s a proven principal that the world delivers more luck to you. Transcript: John Benzick: Greetings, everyone, John Benzick here, welcome once again to the Product Launch Rebel podcast. As always, if you like the podcast, share it with others and post a review on Apple Podcasts. You know, the other day, I was asked to speak on an entrepreneurship panel on the topic of luck and how it relates, if at all, to the notion of successfully starting a business. It was a fascinating topic, so I thought I’d extend the conversation to you guys. During that panel, we were asked questions such as: Do you believe in luck? Have you experienced luck in starting your business? What role does luck play, if any, in a startup? Can luck be created for oneself, or do some people just have more luck than others? As I considered these questions, I expressed that, when intersecting with hard work and perseverence, and luck can be, and often is, a factor in successful startups. Not all of the panel participants felt the same, but Consider that there’s a spectrum of situations that can occur for entrepreneurs; On one end of the spectrum, unprepared or disadvantaged entrepreneurs can succeed with their startups, sometimes wildly, when they are in the right place at the right time for their product to be accepted by the market. A startup can succeed in spite of an entrepreneur’s or even a product’s imperfections. On the other end of the spectrum, we’ve seen very experienced and highly skilled entrepreneurs that have outright failed in their startups, when the hidden market conditions surrounding them conspire against them. Now, of course, one of the key elements of whether or not a startup succeeds is the leader of the startup. But what I’m saying here is that there’s another key driver, and often a more powerful one, which is market timing – which often includes the key element of luck. Not always, but often, the entrepreneur has to be somewhat lucky to correctly time the demand of the market. Even if one is slightly too early, or slightly too late, it could effect their survival. So, despite the level of entrepreneurial skill and persistence, sometimes, luck plays a huge factor. As an example, I read a lot of rock-n-roll biographies, and what I often see is that a lot of famous musicians, especially those from pre-internet days, when they look back at their careers, they claim that luck has played a key role in that success. They were in the right place at the right time when they were discovered, or by pure accident, they were centered in a confluence of trends, bringing them a tidal wave of success, despite their artistic weaknesses. Another example, in business, is if an industry is consolidating, either on the buyer side, or the manufacturer side. Industry maturity and consolidation (i.e.
56 minutes | Apr 20, 2018
Ep. 054: On Launching a Snowboard Outerwear Company — The Mike West Interview
Hear how Mike West, the founder of 686 Outerwear, launched his snowboard brand just out of college, with no formal design experience. Listen as Mike describes his past mistakes as a “blessing in disguise.” Hear him express the importance of curiosity, listening, and remaining humble, as an entrepreneur. Additionally, Mike encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to not wait for the perfect time to start a business. Leave a Rating & Review in iTunes for the Product Launch Rebel Podcast Top Takeaways from this Episode: (1) To become an entrepreneur, put yourself out there and take a chance; be prepared but don’t aim for perfection. (2) It helps to be a regular customer for the types of products that you’ll sell as an entrepreneur. This helps you understand the needs and desires of your customer base. (3) Starting out, you can do a lot with a little. You don’t need much staff to start a clothing business. Much of what you do can be outsourced to other suppliers and freelancers. (4) Counterintuitively, business challenges and mistakes can be blessings in disguise. Transcript: John Benzick: Oh man, in this terrific episode I interview Mike West, the founder of 686, The Technical Snowboard Outerwear Company. And one of my favorite parts in the interview was when Mike emphasized a key decision point of entrepreneurship, which is the importance of not waiting for the perfect time to start a business, and learning to be comfortable, or courageous enough, to just get started and to take the leap. Mike West: Putting yourself out there, and maybe going out and learning it firsthand is okay. You will never be ready and everything set to go. You have to be ready but you won’t have everything perfect. I would have never been able to be where I’m at without taking a chance. And you will give excuses to yourself about why you can’t do it, but if you want to try it, try it. And if you don’t, it’s fine. It’s not for everyone, believe me. There’s so much pressure right now to be that guy. You don’t need to. But give it a try if you want to. John Benzick: Greetings product launch rebels and welcome to the Product Launch Rebel Podcast, brought to you by venturesuperfly.com, where we help double your entrepreneurial courage, even if you’re in a sea of self-doubt. Please visit the Venture Superfly website and check out the contact page to join our mailing list. John Benzick: Today I’m stoked to interview Mike West, the founder and CEO of 686 Outerwear for snowboarders. He started the brand just out of college with no formal design experience. When you go into many outdoor retailers across the country, you’ll see 686 prominently displayed. In fact, our family is a happy customer of 686. All of my three step kids, even Nadia and Pierce, wear 686 when they’re riding on the slopes, keeping them warm and dry and stylish to boot. John Benzick: Mike also launched Matix Clothing, which is a lifestyle apparel brand stemming from the skateboard and surf culture of Southern California. Mike is a partner in North America’s largest action sports and outdoor warehouse fulfillment center called NRI Distriubtion, where they help distribute leading brands like Electric Eyewear, SurfTech, Outdoor Research, Black Diamond and many others. John...
32 minutes | Apr 13, 2018
Ep. 053: On Launching a Smartphone Accessory Brand — The David Barnett Interview
Hear how David Barnett, the founder of PopSockets, evolved from philosophy professor to entrepreneur, and quickly grew his smartphone accessory company to 40 million units sold in his fourth year. Listen as he describes how employing “the power of reason” became a key to his success. Learn how his early product assumptions changed based on customer feedback — thereby leading to crucial new product and marketing strategies. Additionally, hear how he overcame early manufacturing challenges to finally achieve massive success. Leave a Rating & Review in iTunes for the Product Launch Rebel Podcast Top Takeaways from this Episode: (1) Don’t defer to the norm. Don’t defer to what most companies do. Don’t defer to general rules of thumb about how to start a business. Think through every problem on your own. Weigh the pros and cons and reason through it. It will bring you success. (2) We have an amazing opportunity here in the United States that most people in the rest of the world just don’t have — opportunities to start our own business. (3) Do not quit your job or quit school to become an entrepreneur, unless you have good reason to think your idea will be successful. Transcript: John Benzick: You know, one of the great things about my role interviewing entrepreneurs is that I get to hear so many diverse perspectives and advice on how to best launch a business; and as a result you’ll learn that there’s just not one or two or even three ways to succeed as an entrepreneur. There are many ways, many different ways to succeed. But the challenging part is that the advice I hear from one entrepreneur for example, can very often conflict with another entrepreneur’s point of view on a particular topic. And so it’s interesting to hear in this interview with David Barnett, the founder of Pop Sockets, how he uses the power of reason to sort through the noise and advice that he gets when he needs to make effective, crucial decisions. As a new entrepreneur who’s struggling to find his way. David Barnett: They’ve actually learned that the power of clear thinking, I just have more and more confidence that people should not be deferring to the norm. Don’t defer to what most companies do. Don’t defer to what, what’s normal out there in business. Don’t defer to general rules of thumb about how to start a business. Think through every problem on your own, you know, weigh the pros and cons, really reason through it. It will bring you success. So it’s helped a lot that I paid no attention to someone’s background or when somebody says I’m an authority on this. To me, I didn’t even hear that until they give an actual reason for making a decision one way or another, it’s not going to have any impact on me. So the power of reason, I guess, is quite powerful and in business. John Benzick: Today I’m interviewing David Barnett. He’s the founder and CEO of pop sockets. If you don’t know about Pop Sockets, the offer very clever smartphone accessories. My family has been using them for an a of years now and I’ve had my own custom made venture superfly branded Pop Socket as well, which is super cool. David officially started pop sockets in 2014 and now in 2018 he has sold over 40 million pop sockets worldwide. 40 million. This will be a terrific interview to learn about David’s journey as a new...
47 minutes | Mar 22, 2018
Ep. 052: On Launching a Performance Apparel Brand — The Joe Kudla Interview
Hear this new episode where John interviews entrepreneur Joe Kudla, the founder of Vuori Clothing. Listen as Joe uses fear as an opportunity to grow professionally and personally. Learn how Joe raised capital for his startup, who has influenced him the most as a business owner, and what has brought him the most joy -- and frustration -- since starting his company. Leave a Rating & Review in iTunes for the Product Launch Rebel Podcast Top Takeaways from this Episode: (1) Experiencing fear could be a way to identify where you need to grow, either personally or professionally. Let fear be a guide, not a burden. (2) Lacking experience, in your startup, can often be a curse -- but it also has its benefits. (3) It's amazing what you can accomplish when you rid yourself of ego, and trust people with their expertise. Transcript: John Benzick: In today's interview, I talk with Joe Kudla the founder of Vuori, a hot new clothing brand out of southern California. You'll hear Joe talk about his joys and frustrations of being an apparel entrepreneur along with key advice on all aspects of launching a startup. One of the key lessons revealed in the interview was how Joe uses fear to his advantage, which is in contrast to how most of us experience fear, which is unfortunately a barrier to our own personal and professional advancement. Joe Kudla: I've always enjoyed that kind of risk versus reward relationship, and I've never been afraid of taking a risk and falling on my face. And I guess if I was to say anything, it's to let fear sometimes guide you and for me, if I'm afraid of something, I'm typically drawn to it. So the idea of going out and getting in over my head or you know, taking a public speaking engagement or talking on a podcast. Sometimes it can be a little scary, but I try to use that as a beacon to know that I need to walk through that door if I want to grow as a human being, and I think that that has served me well in entrepreneurship. John Benzick: Greetings Product Launch Rebels and welcome to the Product Launch Rebel podcast brought to you by VentureSuperfly.com where we help double your entrepreneurial courage, even if you don't know what you're doing, please visit the Venture Superfly website and check out the contact page to join our mailing list. Bear with me today as I'm trying to recover from a cold. As you might hear my voice by won't let that hold me back with my excitement because today I'm interviewing Joe Kudla. He's the founder and CEO of a clothing brand called Vuori clothing based in Encinitas, California. The brand has sort of a west coast vibe, but with definite and smart technical elements. Joe Distributes his brand through leading retailers, including REI and Core Power Yoga. Additionally, Joe has an interesting background. He grew up in avid multisport athlete. He attended the University of San Diego and a model traveling the world for major...
41 minutes | Mar 2, 2018
Ep. 051: On Launching a Tea Company — The Jim Lamancusa Interview
Hear this inspiring interview of Jim Lamancusa, the founder of Cusa Tea company. Listen as he describes the joys of starting the world’s first “premium instant tea” brand, along with his advice on partnering with a manufacturer, selling to retailers, proper price strategy and overcoming bouts of self doubt. Leave a Rating & Review in iTunes for the Product Launch Rebel Podcast Transcript: Transcript will be posted within 24 hours.
64 minutes | Feb 22, 2018
Ep. 050: On Launching an Innovative Bedding Company — The Eugene Alletto Interview
Hear the spectacular entrepreneur journey of Eugene Alletto, the Founder of Bedgear, a performance bedding company. Learn how overcoming the loss of his father as a teenager, in large part, drove him to eventually succeed as an innovator and business owner. Listen as he shares his wisdom on the topics of perseverance, resilience and utilizing your strengths to overcome life’s obstacles. Leave a Rating & Review in iTunes for the Product Launch Rebel Podcast Top Takeaways From This Episode: (1) You can teach yourself to not be a victim of your circumstances. Successful entrepreneurs have a key trait of not taking on a victim mentality. (2) “Being an entrepreneur is not something that you can say you are. Being an entrepreneur is something you become. I had no idea. I wasn’t born to be an entrepreneur.” (3) “Part of being an entrepreneur is learning every day. And if you’re not learning, you’re not growing personally. And if you’re not growing personally, you can’t grow professionally.” (4) If you aim your mind towards things that you’re passionate about, you can become a great learner. And learning can deliver you success. Transcript: John Benzick: This episode of Product Launch Rebel features Eugene Alletto, the founder of Bed Gear. I walked away from the interview feeling inspired by a guy who became really transformed by entrepreneurship and by following his vision of a better bedding company. This is a guy who had lost one of his parents at a very young age and at face value, didn’t have anything special to offer; not being particularly good at schoolwork, not being a great athlete, having bad skin, a bad haircut, and as he describes — lacking confidence as a young man — not being one of those “chosen ones” within his peer group. But as you will hear in this episode, you’ll see how starting a business built his confidence in not just his career, but other areas of life. A value packed episode is in store for you as you hear an entrepreneur’s story about persistence, pursuing what you’re good at and passionate about, and learning that you’re capable, and not a victim, of your poor circumstances. Eugene Alletto: Just the ability to just move on and not not get pissed off at what you’re not good at, or not get pissed off at circumstances, or not get angry when someone says no to you and blame it on somebody else is really, I think from an entrepreneur’s perspective, the people I meet that start businesses and are successful entrepreneurs and are happy are ones that are not victims and it’s really an lesson — and I think it’s something you can even teach yourself. John Benzick: Greetings, Product Launch Rebels and welcome to the Product Launch Rebel podcast brought to you by VentureSuperfly.com where we help double your entrepreneurial courage, even if you don’t know what you’re doing. Please visit the Venture Superfly website and check out the contact page to join our mailing list. Today I’m excited to interview Eugene Alletto. He’s the founder and CEO of a super cool bedding product company called Bed Gear. I met him at the massive Las Vegas Market furniture trade show and I was blown away by the smart products his company is offering, which includes some really high tech mattresses, pillows and sleep related products. In fact, as I was walking through...
44 minutes | Jan 24, 2018
Ep. 049: On Launching an Innovative Pet Product Company — The Ken Goldman Interview
Hear the fascinating story of how Ken Goldman launched his dog gear company, Stunt Puppy. Learn how he started producing dog leashes and collars by hand, and how he utilized his professional marketing experience to grow the brand. Listen as he describes his number one lesson since starting Stunt Puppy, and who has most influenced him in his career. Hear why he chose to produce his products in the United States, and what has frustrated him the most as an entrepreneur. Leave a Rating & Review in iTunes for the Product Launch Rebel Podcast Transcript John: Greetings Product Launch Rebels, and welcome to the Product Launch Rebel podcast, brought to you by Venturesuperfly.com, where we help double your entrepreneurial courage, even if you don’t know what you’re doing. Please visit the Venture Superfly website and check out the contact page to join our mailing list. Today we’ll be learning about the pet product industry, which should be a lot of fun. I’m interviewing Ken Goldman. He’s the founder of a unique brand of dog gear called Stunt Puppy. It offers products such as collars and leashes that are designed and made in the United States, right here in Minnesota. The company designs products with cues from the rugged camping and climbing gear industry, so they are extra durable. Seems pretty smart and cool. Ken’s products are available at StuntPuppy.com, as well as through many retailers across the United States. To learn more about his company, visit StuntPuppy.com. Hello, Ken. Thanks for being here, and welcome to the Product Launch Rebel podcast. Ken: Oh, it’s great to be here. Thanks for the invitation. John: Absolutely. This is going to be a lot of fun. Thanks for your time. Ken, within this podcast there are three segments. The first is called “give me the basics,” which helps set the context about your company for our listeners. The second part is called “let’s get personal” where we get into some of the more personal topics about what it’s like to start a business. The final part is what I call “tell me how” where we’ll get to the heart of the matter on issues that aspiring entrepreneurs want to know now to help them move forward. What do you think, Ken, are you ready for some questions? Ken: I’m ready and I’m hoping you’re gonna tell me how at the end. John: Fantastic, here we go! 02:29 — Ken, tell us the story. How did you originally come up with the idea to start Stunt Puppy? Ken: It probably sounds cliché but it definitely was not on purpose. My dog Bauer and I, he was a golden retriever and we were a therapy team so we spent a lot of time in hospitals moving out and about and I wanted some gear that helped us move around the hospital easier and more fluidly. And that combined with the fact that I know how to sew, combined with the fact that I love gear, uh, it just all kinda came together. I went down to my basement and started making stuff for he and I. So we were, it’s definitely a happy accident. Um, then layer on top of that, I have another company that’s a marketing agency and we kind of looked at it and said, hey, we could build a brand around that. So that was 11 years ago. 03:31 — John: Yeah. That’s very interesting. And tell me about your sewing background. How did you get into that? Ken: Definitely not on purpose. My mom, who still sews to this day, she’s a big...
40 minutes | Dec 14, 2017
Ep. 048: On Launching an Innovative Baked Goods Company — The Michael Tierney Interview
Learn how young Michael Tierney, the founder of Mikey’s Muffins, launched his company and, within three short years, is selling through major grocery retailers. Hear how he gets motivated, mostly, by failure. Listen as he describes what he’s most proud of along his entrepreneur journey, and what frustrates him the most as a business owner. Learn his advice on raising capital and the importance of surrounding yourself with good people in order to grow. Leave a Rating & Review in iTunes for the Product Launch Rebel Podcast
54 minutes | Oct 11, 2017
Ep. 047: On Launching Justin’s Nut Butter — The Justin Gold Interview
Hear this exciting interview with Justin Gold, the founder of Justin’s Nut Butter. Listen as he describes overcoming a deluge of obstacles in starting and growing his company. Learn where he discovered his entrepreneurial drive, how he raised money and why he still doesn’t know what he’s good at — despite his tremendous startup success. Leave a Rating & Review in iTunes for the Product Launch Rebel Podcast
34 minutes | Jul 6, 2017
Ep. 046: On Launching a Healthy Food and Beverage Brand — The Rita Katona Interview
Hear how Rita Katona followed her passion to launch a healthy food and beverage company called So Good Brands, Inc. Listen as she shares her inspiration to start the company, and her biggest joy as an entrepreneur. Learn Rita’s biggest challenge of managing multiple business models as well as “getting it all done” on a daily basis. Hear her advice on pitching your product to retailers and surrounding yourself with personal and professional supporters. Leave a Rating & Review in iTunes for the Product Launch Rebel Podcast
46 minutes | Jun 24, 2017
Ep. 45: On Launching an Adventure Travel Clothing Brand — The Ryan Hitzel Interview
Hear the amazing startup story of the wildly successful Roark Revival apparel brand, founded by Ryan Hitzel. Learn how he channeled his experience as an adventure traveler and surfer, as a creative director in advertising, and as an employee at Volcom clothing, to become an apparel entrepreneur. Listen as he describes his top frustrations as a business owner, and how he overcomes his occasional feelings of self doubt. Hear him describe how key people have influenced him, and how entrepreneurship has changed him. Leave a Rating & Review in iTunes for the Product Launch Rebel Podcast
33 minutes | Jun 9, 2017
Ep. 044: How to Unleash Imagination and Create New Products — The Barry Kudrowitz Interview
Hear how Barry Kudrowitz, a leading authority on design, innovation and new product development, helps people to think more creatively and unleash their imagination to create new products. Leave a Rating & Review in iTunes for the Product Launch Rebel Podcast
41 minutes | Jun 5, 2017
Ep. 043: The Launch and Growth of Pure Cycles — The Michael Fishman Interview
Hear the exciting story of how three childhood buddies launched their own bicycle brand, in college. Learn how they first bootstrapped the business with their own startup capital. Listen to Michael Fishman, Pure Cycles co-founder (and our interview guest), describe how he would approach his startup differently if he could do it over again. Hear his core motivations to become an entrepreneur, and how he found his entrepreneurial moxie. Leave a Rating & Review in iTunes for the Product Launch Rebel Podcast
45 minutes | May 25, 2017
Ep. 042: On Launching a Domestic Bike Manufacturing Company — The Zak Pashak Interview
Hear how this young Canadian serial entrepreneur moved to Detroit, USA, to start the largest US-based bicycle manufacturer, Detroit Bikes. Learn what drove him to start a bike company (it wasn’t primarily about bikes) and the personal and professional obstacles that he faced in his quest. Listen as he describes how starting Detroit Bikes helped build his confidence and taught him key lessons about entrepreneurship. Leave a Rating & Review in iTunes for the Product Launch Rebel Podcast
35 minutes | May 20, 2017
Ep. 041: On Starting and Growing a Pickle Company — The Rick Field Interview
Hear how a series of mid-life challenges, and a passion for pickles, drove Rick Field to launch Rick’s Picks, a fancy product line of pickles. Learn how he tweaked his family recipes based on customer feedback from NYC farmers’ markets. Listen as he describes his biggest joys, and most challenging frustrations, as a food entrepreneur. Hear how he deals with entrepreneurial self doubt and separates work-life from personal-life. Leave a Rating & Review in iTunes for the Product Launch Rebel Podcast
45 minutes | May 11, 2017
Ep. 040: On Disrupting the Food Condiment Business — The Scott Norton Interview
Hear the amazing story of how this young entrepreneur, Scott Norton, and his business partner, sought to disrupt the sleepy food condiment industry. Learn what inspired Scott to see a career in “business” in a whole new light. Learn how he tested early condiment recipes in a college apartment, raised startup capital and chose influential retailers to drive revenues. Listen as he describes what he’s learned most about himself since becoming an entrepreneur, who has been most influential to him, and what he’s most proud of since starting the business. Leave a Rating & Review in iTunes for the Product Launch Rebel Podcast
36 minutes | May 4, 2017
Ep. 039: On Launching a Women’s Surfwear Brand — The Amanda Chinchelli Interview
Hear how this accomplished surfer started one of today’s hottest surf wear brands — Seea. Listen as she describes how entrepreneurship has changed her, where she draws her inspiration and where she finds joy as a business owner. Learn who has influenced her most, and why she thinks launching Seea was her destiny. Leave a Rating & Review in iTunes for the Product Launch Rebel Podcast
50 minutes | Apr 30, 2017
Ep. 038: On Launching Two Ski Companies — The Jason Levinthal Interview
Hear the wild story about how Jason Levinthal started and grew Line Skis (the first modern twin-tip ski company) and ignited a youth ski movement and helped save skiing. After a few years of struggle and lackluster sales, learn how another competing brand and the X Games helped boost his fledgling company to the stratosphere. Listen as he describes how he launched his second company, J-Skis, with a smarter business model. Leave a Rating & Review in iTunes for the Product Launch Rebel Podcast
84 minutes | Apr 20, 2017
Ep. 037: On Launching a Line of Fitness Products — The Tee Major Interview
Hear how entrepreneur, Tee Major, expanded his fitness training business by launching a new line of unconventional fitness products, including — of all things — steel maces. Learn how he went from strained “solopreneur” to relief by choosing to work with co-founders who offered skills that Tee didn’t have. Listen as he describes how entrepreneurship has enhanced his communication skills — and relationships — in all aspects of his life. Leave a Rating & Review in iTunes for the Product Launch Rebel Podcast