23 minutes | Jun 17, 2019
David McKinzie talks mentorship and the hardships of being a young guy trying to make it in the world as an entrepreneur
In this interview, I get the opportunity to discuss a number of subjects with my friend, David McKinzie. He's started multiple businesses, hosted live events, begun a product line of sports bow ties, all while holding down a new job to help float his entrepreneurial endeavors. It was great to talk to David about mentorship, friendship, what it takes to push through down times, and how he's doing these days. Enjoy the conversation!
38 minutes | Jun 9, 2019
Grant Baldwin on starting a speaking career and how he's helping others get paid to do the same
I started following Grant years ago while running on the treadmill and listening to dozens of his episodes of The Speaker Lab Podcast. If you have any interest at all in becoming a paid public speaker, I'd suggest you start with Grant at The Speaker Lab. The episode is chock full of Grant's story of his start, how it impacted and still impacts his family, a broad discussion on how hard it is to be an entrepreneur but how rewarding, and much more. The highlight of the discussion to me were his thoughts on not allowing your profession to become who you are. It's an interesting dive into the human condition, and I hope it hits home for you like it did for me. Beyond that, I'm thankful that Grant joined me for a quick conversation about his business, his start, his family, his love for the St. Louis Cardinals(!!!) and golf, along with many other sidebars. Enjoy!
33 minutes | Jun 9, 2019
Jason Jett on creativity, marketing, and leaping into entrepreneurship
This was a great discussion with one of my dearest friends, Jason Jett. He owns the marketing firm, wetsu creative. He's an incredibly talented marketing mind who has left multiple high level positions to run his own firm where he's served clients big and small. The talk was fun, but I was very encouraged by his clarity on entrepreneurship and loved discussing his passion for what he does. If you are doing what you love, you don't really realize you're working. The opposite is also true, if you don't love what you do, you'll feel like you're working double the hours.
7 minutes | Jun 9, 2019
SEASON 2! What's this all about anyway?
In the latest episode of the RBP, I delve into what I'm trying to accomplish with the podcast, namely, to hear the stories of leaders who inspire me in all fields of work. The start of their stories are of particular fascination and the hard stuff that was encountered on the timeline of their stories. Thanks for taking on season 2 with me!
37 minutes | Apr 29, 2018
Best-selling author, Bob Burg, discusses real influence, sales, and his international career as an author and keynote speaker
Bob Burg co-wrote the book "The Go-Giver." It's one of my favorite books on sales and discusses how you can have real influence, provide value in people's lives, and how that translates to the sales process. Over a year ago, I was in Florida and we had breakfast in one of his favorite hometown diners. He encouraged me to start this very podcast and agreed then to be interviewed when I had it up and running. It's only fitting that he is our final episode in our inaugural season of The Risk Big Podcast. One thing that I really love talking about is real influence, and in the podcast, Bob dives into that subject. You'll hear about his 5 laws of influence and he goes over each of them. Finally, it's just fun to talk to someone who's been such an inspiration. If you told me a few years back that I'd be interviewing one of my favorite authors, I'd say you're crazy. With that, I hope you enjoy this conversation with Bob Burg.
38 minutes | Mar 11, 2018
Billy Hurley III talks about starting his PGA Tour journey and winning on the highest level
I love golf, completely love it. So, you can imagine my excitement to release this episode with PGA Tour golfer Billy Hurley III. He earned his way onto the tour after serving in the US Navy all over the world after graduation from the US Naval Academy. He talked about the difficulty being a golfer while serving in the military and while going through the academy. He talks about his journey not being a risk to him, but from the outside looking in he says how it would look like one. He gives us a deep dive into the journey of getting his tour card and how he worked through tragedy while trying to succeed on the tour. I loved hearing Billy's story. I hope you enjoy it.
43 minutes | Feb 19, 2018
Steve Powell bought the company he worked for and turned it into a successful software company
I didn't know what I was getting into when Steve agreed to be interviewed by me (I don't think he knew either.) This episode became one of my favorite interactions because Steve is such an engaging guy. Steve started as a software developer before software development was cool. He bought the company he worked for which was doing computer training and turned it into a successful software company. Steve is an inspiring entrepreneur that created a software department in the company he worked for before he bought it. Not long after he started his job at Delta Systems, he became the CEO of the company. Then, he purchased Delta Systems and turned it into a software company and programming business. Since then, he's grown the company to millions in yearly revenue. Enjoy!
30 minutes | Feb 4, 2018
Helen Ciesielski discusses her ascent into venture capital while starting her own business
Helen Ciesielski is a Principal at Lewis & Clark Ventures in St. Louis, Missouri. Lewis & Clark Ventures funds startups in the information technologies (IT), agriculture, and health care fields. She has also started and manages Pumpie, LLC, a company that provides dishwasher bags for breast pump parts. Helen is a highly regarded startup investor in the St. Louis area and has an incredible array of experience as a young professional by working in multiple venture funds providing early round seed money for startups. She has accomplished this while building her own business to learn the process of being a startup, enabling her to build her knowledge base for her own venture fund research. She discusses multiple facets of her professional work including why she only funds people who won't quit (Once you take her money, there is NO quit!), how she's learned to start her own business and understand her market opportunity, who she invests in, and much more. I love that Helen takes a little bit of a deep dive into the type of person she invests in as a venture capitalist. Enjoy the listen from this inspiring entrepreneur.
37 minutes | Jan 29, 2018
Johnny Eaker left one of the largest in-house marketing agencies to work full-time on his video marketing company
Johnny Eaker is an inspiring young entrepreneur that is an artist with a video camera! In the latest Risk Big Podcast episode, he talks about the story of his start by leaving one of the nation's largest in-house creative departments to work on what was his side gig, Cosmic Sauce. Cosmic Sauce is a video marketing agency that uses the art of video making to tell the stories of companies, people, and organizations in a visually appealing way. Johnny has an excellent eye for video and with video exploding as a means for marketing and telling stories, Johnny has really carved out a niche for himself in video production. I wanted to talk to Johnny because he took a significant risk leaving a huge agency to build up what he had already built over the last few years. He bet BIG on himself. I wanted to hear and tell his story. Beyond being a renowned video artist, he's a leader with a heart to do good with his business. Enjoy, Travis
35 minutes | Jan 14, 2018
Steve Grubbs left elected office to become a full-time, serial entrepreneur
Steve Grubbs joined The Risk Big Podcast to discuss how he left elected office in Iowa as a state representative to start a business out of his basement. It's a cool story of a guy who just loved starting businesses and followed a path to do what he was passionate about. He talks about failures, how to move on from them, how to iterate in business, pivot, and take your business through hard times. He's got a tremendous story about how he's built a really successful business that has multiple products and services. He got there by continuing to curiously innovate and start new ventures, while cutting his losses on ventures that weren't paying off. If you're an entrepreneur that can't get the idea of starting businesses off your mind, you'll love this conversation. Steve loves to test out new ideas. He spends a good bit of his time looking for new opportunities for his business, Victory Enterprises, which he founded. While that has worked wonders for Steve, he's also done a terrific job of hiring the right people to run the ventures that he starts. He has a fascinating story on the podcast about how he likes to start new ventures for his business then hand them over to staff to maintain. When you think of a serial entrepreneur, Steve's name ought to come to your mind. His inspiring story of starting from the bottom and working towards a large business that does work around the country will provide some motivation for those of you out there that think the same way. Do what you love. Enjoy! Listen to the show online: www.RiskBigPodcast.com/episodes Follow The Risk Big Podcast on twitter and Instagram
43 minutes | Jan 7, 2018
How Beth Snyder built a business around her passion and welcomed a huge fan base as a result
Beth Snyder joined The Risk Big Podcast to discuss how she built her business in rural Missouri that has a global customer base and raving fans (10s of thousands of followers online and locally). Beth is an entrepreneur and the founder of 1canoe2, an "an illustration company that cultivates community through cheerful, heartfelt paper goods and gifts." When Beth started, she wanted to do what she loved, which included starting a business built around her love for design and art. Long before her 1canoe2 start with a partner, she had the entrepreneurship bug. She loved making money by selling things she created, and even paid for college this way (Find out how on the podcast). She had her start with 1canoe2 while working as a graphic designer and built her empire as a side hustle with a friend. Eventually, she was running her business out of a remodeled barn. And, over a period of years, she turned it into a business she could run full time from her new office space in the rural town of Fulton, MO along with her employees. She and her staff began going to conferences all over America and getting her products into retail space across the country. And, her online / ecommerce offerings have continued to grow over the years with her biggest Black Friday ever in 2017. She took some big steps and made some bets on herself to do what she really loved to do. I hope you're inspired by her story to follow your passion.
37 minutes | Dec 27, 2017
How Clyde Lear started a billion dollar sports media company
Out of all the conversations I've had thus far, this one means as much as any of them to me personally. Meet Clyde Lear, the founder of Learfield Communications which is now one of the largest college sports media companies in America after merging with IMG recently. Clyde sold the company a few years back and is retired now. But, his story of the start in 1972, how he got seed funding from some mentors, and the story behind his confidence in selling is gold. If you're struggling with the idea that you can't start something let Clyde inspire you with some of the below insights into his story: Why he started a media company and how it pivoted to add a sports element even though he's a self proclaimed nerd. How he started and how hard that was. How he got Chrysler to agree to trade with him dozens of cars for ad space on his network they never used. How he created a culture to grow his company and have fun. A story about how a lost opportunity early in his career became a blessing in disguise. Clyde is a mentor of mine. My friends and I have a terrific and deep relationship with Clyde as he's invested in our lives. He's become a dear friend. This is one of the interviews in my podcast series that I'd highly recommend you listen to when it's released in January.
27 minutes | Dec 27, 2017
A $60 million company started in a garage with Shawn Burcham, founder of Pro Food Systems
Shawn Burcham is a visionary entrepreneur. He's the founder, with his wife, of Pro Food Systems, which they started out of their garage after college. Through determination, persistence, and hard work, they started a company that's now in over 35 states, employs more than 100 people, and thanks to their visionary leadership, is now a completely employee owned business. They sold the ownership back to employees! Think about it: A swiftly growing company with founders who want employees to be invested in the company, so they sell the company to the employees. It's an interesting model, and a story you'll want to hear Shawn tell. And, when you drive to PFS in Holts Summit, MO, you'll notice his beautiful new corporate office he's building just down the highway from the Capital City. Shawn is also an inspiration on a few other levels: He's a devoted husband and father with three daughters (I hope he writes a book about how to raise three daughters as Amy and I are trying to do the same thing. #DaughtersAreAwesome). He's committed to his employee's growth and well being -- He invests in training, everyone (only employees) has access to buy shares in the company, and his company is often voted one of the best places to work. The culture he's built at his company is of utmost importance to him. As I'm interviewing these founders, it's interesting to talk so much about how culture is so important in their businesses. These folks want to take care of their people and provide a place wherein people are proud to work. Shawn talks on the podcast about having an "open book management" policy which he explains as being as transparent as possible with the whole team, leading them by example and ensuring everyone has access to information to feel good the state of the company. Shawn is also a pilot, so he will often fly to one of the many states they do business to meet with his company's partners. He's incredibly interesting.
49 minutes | Dec 27, 2017
Starting from scratch with entrepreneur Gabriel Hulsey, founder of Redwood Financial Group
Man, 49 minutes... That's how long my first interview was. But, I wanted to start with someone I was comfortable talking to who is an inspiring entrepreneur and leader. That person was one of my best friends. I knew I could crash his business in the late afternoon and we'd have a quiet space to have what was supposed to be a 30 minute conversation (It lasted 49 minutes...). Anyway, Gabriel Hulsey, the founder of Redwood Financial Group which is an insurance company, is one of my best friends. We had a great conversation on his founder's story. And, we talked about how he got to where he is today as a successful business owner with really impressive earnings every year he's been in business. I loved talking to him about the risk he took when he left a SIX. FIGURE. JOB. to start Redwood Financial Group that included no promise of any pay, whatsoever. It's not easy to take those types of risks and become an entrepreneur when you have three young daughters, a wife, and a mortgage. Gabe has been an inspiration to me due to what he has been through since he began this journey. It's inspiring, you'll want to hear about it. On top of that, Gabe gives some great thoughts on his staff culture, his sales process, and much more. He'll be the first interview we release in the wild.