171 - He Flunked Retirement: Tom interviews Steve Epner - Screw The Commute

171 – He Flunked Retirement: Tom interviews Steve Epner

Steve Epner is a serial entrepreneur. He teaches lean canvas and also corporate entrepreneurship, and ideas at St. Louise University and Washington University. And after selling his company, he flunked out of retirement. I know we usually bring great entrepreneurs, but he flunked retirement. Then he became an entrepreneur in residence at Boeing.

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Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 171

How To Automate Your Businesshttps://screwthecommute.com/automatefree/

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Internet Marketing Training Centerhttps://imtcva.org/

Higher Education Webinar – https://screwthecommute.com/webinars

[02:59] Tom's introduction to Steve Epner

[16:24] Entrepreneurial kid reading comic books!

[21:24] Flunking retirement

[26:09] Business just wasn't interesting for the kids

[27:13] Sponsor message

[30:44] A typical day for Steve and how he stays motivated

Entrepreneurial Resources Mentioned in This Podcast

Higher Education Webinarhttps://screwthecommute.com/webinars

Screw The Commutehttps://screwthecommute.com/

entrepreneurship distance learning school, home based business, lifestyle business

Screw The Commute Podcast Apphttps://screwthecommute.com/app/

Know a young person for our Youth Episode Series? Send an email to Tom! – orders@antion.com

Have a Roku box? Find Tom's Public Speaking Channel there!https://channelstore.roku.com/details/267358/the-public-speaking-channel

How To Automate Your Businesshttps://screwthecommute.com/automatefree/

Internet Marketing Retreat and Joint Venture Programhttps://greatinternetmarketingtraining.com/

Lots of stuff on “Lean Canvas”https://www.google.com/search?q=lean+canvas

Steve's websitehttp://outsideinsidethinking.com/

The Startup Withinhttps://www.thestartupwithin.com/

FREEBIE! Steve's book “Simplify Everything” in PDF formathttps://screwthecommute.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Simplify-Everything-Steve-Epner.pdf

Internet Marketing Training Centerhttps://imtcva.org/

Related Episodes

Ben Brooks – https://screwthecommute.com/170/

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Episode 171 – Steve Epner
[00:00:09] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.

[00:00:24] Hey, everybody, it's Tom here with episode 171 of screw the commute podcast. We've got an old friend of mine here, Steve Epner, and he's a guy that listen what he teaches. One of the things he does or did was he teaches corporate entrepreneurship. And that sounds like an oxymoron to me. And I've heard of the concept, but I never totally related to it because I don't want anything to do with being around a corporation. But Steve's going to tell us all about that and a lot more now. Hope you didn't miss episode 170. Ben Brooks was here. He's also known as Major Ben. He started out picking cotton during the segregation years and became the first African-American state policeman in the state of Pennsylvania. And then he went on to become a major. And then he retired and became a motivational speaker and consultant. Wow. Wait till you hear his story. And please tell your friends about this podcast. It's really great tips. On Mondays, we do something. Training sessions where it's something that's either made me a fortune or saved me a fortune. And then on Wednesdays and Fridays, we interview great entrepreneurs like Steve here and really give great tips for your friends that are either starting a business or in business. So tell him about it and you might want to grab our podcast app. It's in the iTunes store and you can go to screwthecommute.com/app where we have complete instructions to show you how to use all the fancy features so you can take us with you on the road. And don't forget to download your a freebie for listening to the podcast. It's my twenty seven dollar e-book, How to Automate Your Business. And just one of the tips in this e-book has saved me over seven and a half million keystrokes. And I got another little surprise over there for you once you hit that page at screwthecommute.com/automatefree. Now, I'm looking for affiliates, folks. If you've listened to the podcast, if you know me personally and you know that I provide quality stuff. You might want to recommend it to people. And so I can send you big commission checks. You can get checks anywhere from or PayPal, whatever however you want it. Gold bullion. I don't care from ten dollars to an excess of 5000 dollars. So we have everything in between and all of our stuff. We hardly ever get any refunds or returns because I go overboard giving good quality. So I think your folks and friends and the people you influence will thank you for turning them on to me. But I want to send you that that money.

[00:03:03] All right. Let's get to the main event. Steve Epner is a serial entrepreneur. He teaches lean canvas. I'm not even sure what that is. So when to hear about that, it is that some type of frozen dinner or something, at least now that's Lean Cuisines for corporate and also corporate entrepreneurship, which I mentioned, and ideas that listen to this mass disruption at St. Louise University and Washington University. And after selling his company, he flunked out of retirement. I know we usually bring great entrepreneurs, too, but he flunked retirement. So and then he became an entrepreneur in residence at Boeing. So, Steve, are you ready to screw? The commute.

[00:03:49] I'm ready.

[00:03:51] Oh, it's been, what, 200 years that I talked to you. When's the last time with you?

[00:03:58] It's been almost that long since I took you first class and learned what was. There was a program which captured my keystrokes.

[00:04:08] Oh, yeah. Oh, that's right. That's right. You were paying a fortune for a multimedia production. I remember at the time and I said, no, no, do it with Camtasia. Is like 150 bucks instead of 30000.

[00:04:22] And you said over and over again, it was a great tip. And I thank you for it profusely.

[00:04:28] My pleasure. Yeah, I do remember that long time ago. I was like, no, don't pay all this money to have your stuff made. You could do it yourself. Yeah. I've been using that since the year 2000. For those of you to know, we're talking about a screen capture video program. So to capture anything you can display on your screen and you can narrate over top of it. It's great for tutorials and customer service and just all kinds of ways you can profit from it and actual products and it's evolved. I don't know if you have the latest version, Steve, but it's evolved into like a full blown video editor. It's really a powerful.

[00:05:04] So at this stage I use my grandchildren. I'm doing it now.

[00:05:10] So tell us what you're doing now and then we'll take you back and see how you came up through the ranks.

[00:05:15] So I do teach in Saint Louis University. Oh, that's my wife's name. Oh, Freudian slip, vertigo and always tells me what to do. So I teach at St. Louis University and I just have a ball. We also have a program called Slow Start, which is St. Louis University start. And it's free for members of the community, members of the faculty, students, staff. And what we do is we have cohorts where we help people go through a process of understanding where their ideas worth pursuing and that we feel we are just as successful. We keep somebody from blowing their life savings as we are when we help somebody start a business that generates fantastic amounts of money. We do teach the course ideas of mass disruption, which is to help students of any age learn how to think really outside the box. And the corporate entrepreneurship program is how to be entrepreneurial within a company. There's some people that just don't have I don't know what to call it with the guts to cut the cord right now. And they want to be entrepreneurial, but they sure like the regular income, the payroll, the benefits. And that's great because companies large and small need people to keep innovating or they fall way, way behind.

[00:06:44] So if there's a third thing called entrepreneurial work teams or something where they feel like they have their own budgets, then, you know, they're gauged on their profit and loss of their team.

[00:06:55] Well, some of them they so I got to be careful what I say because we're on the radio, but I'll use some initials that maybe I can get away with most advanced and B.S., OK? You know, it's like if you're going to get into this stuff, you really have to release people from all of that junk. And the most successful entrepreneurial programs the corporations run are totally separate from the P&L. Because if you're worried about the P&L, you won't take risks.

[00:07:27] Profit and loss statement.

[00:07:31] Because if you don't take risks, you're not going to get any of the good stuff out. So we would rather people keep that separate. And we try and help people learn that it's OK to be wrong, which is really important, and to learn how to analyze your ideas and how to come up with ideas themselves. As a matter of fact, since you're giving away freebies, I will help you. And I will give you a PDF copy of my latest book. Put on your Web site for everybody who wants one. No charge.

[00:08:04] We'll have it in the show notes. What's it called?

[00:08:07] It's simplify everything. Get your team from doo doo to done done.

[00:08:16] I love it. Okay. The doo doo folks will be in the show notes.

[00:08:26] You know what the original title was just going to be getting from doo doo doo dun dun. In the search engines just hiccuped all over that. Yeah, right. So we had to come up with the simplifying everything is a title the search engines could deal with. And then we do the chuckle line and afterwards. In any case, there are so many things that somebody can do. And by the way, if you're working for a company right now and you want to become entrepreneurial, this is the time to test your entrepreneurial instincts. Do things within the company where somebody else is basically taking the risk, putting up the money. Yeah, you're not going to have the greatest return from that, but you're going to be able to test your own capabilities in your own ideas and hone them. So at the point that you are ready to jump ship and screw the commute, you already know how to do it. You've got the experience. You've been through ups and downs and it's not going to be anything new and it's not going to trip you up.

[00:09:27] Yeah, it's really smart. If you are in the corporate world, which I have never been. But if you are, there's no shame in that. It's the smart thing. You just said you to work your way out of it with on their dime, you know, hopefully you don't lose like ten million dollars or a billion dollar contract, but then you'll be an entrepreneur automatically.

[00:09:51] So there are accidental entrepreneurs after they get released. But the reality is corporations need to have people who are thinking outside the box and they are willing to help you do it because it's critical to them. Without entrepreneurship within the corporation, they end. And that's why Boeing came after me. I mean, you talk about the corporate life size, spent 10 years working for Union Carbide, Monsanto, Citicorp. And then I decided I didn't want to work for a big company anymore. And I defined a big company as any group of two or more people. So not only did I screw the commute, but I used to have a board of directors and meetings in the bathroom. I mean, it was so easy.

[00:10:41] That's where the doo doo came from.

[00:10:45] I started my own business and it grew. And then we did mergers and acquisitions. And pretty soon it was a consulting practice and we had over 200 people and it became big business. So I decided I was going to retire. I really do love doing the work, by the way. One of the things I would say to all of those entrepreneurs out there, one of the biggest failures that I've seen in business in small business is the entrepreneur who's got the idea and got the vision but believe that they can also manage. I did my best work. I made my most money when I got rid of that ego and I hired a top notch manager and that manager ran everything day to day. I still set the long term vision. I did the majority of the sales. But in terms of getting work out the door, I had a top notch manager who took care of all the personnel issues. Our agreement was on any given project I worked for him. He could fire me from a project, he couldn't fire me from the company. I still owned it, but I gave him permission to run the operation to put the right people on the right projects. So we got the right work done. And I got to tell you, it worked beautifully. So warning to entrepreneurs. Your ego can be the worst thing and get you into more trouble than anything else.

[00:12:21] That's you know, that takes a really strong leader to be able to do that, because most people know what they know how to do it. Everything that nobody can do it as good as them. But that's just not true. I found that the hard way when I used to be such a stickler on making every single edit decision on my speaker videos. I had like five different versions, color coded, all this stuff. You know, they never got me hired. And then finally I've met this guy. That was the retired from Hollywood that worked on Star Wars. Really. He's retired and he's just wanted to do something on the side doing speaker videos. I said, you know, what is the perfect example that just turn everything over to him. He ought to know what he's doing. And just see what happens. And he wasn't any kind of speed demon. He was the kind of guy that would agonize for three hours, over a tenth of a frame cut. So it was really took a while. But the first time the video was seen, I got one hundred thousand dollars a contract with CBS. So that was my two by four to the head that said get away from it, turn it over to people that know what they're doing. Now, when you're tight on funds, you can't always do that. But keep that in mind. Now, I want to go back for a second to back. If somebody is stuck in that corporate life and they want to do one of these entrepreneurial things, is this something that you could really pitch as an employee or you need to go find companies that are open to this kind of stuff?

[00:13:51] Well, you have to find companies that are willing to accept new ideas. You know, you can look at some old companies. I think the example most people give is Kodak.

[00:14:05] Bye bye. Some people don't even know what that is anymore.

[00:14:08] Yeah, well. Kodak was the largest manufacturer of film and photographic paper in the world. And they didn't want to get into digital photography because the corporate guys stopped. That's going to cannibalize our film and paper business. So what happened? Digital photography came around. Nobody had to cannibalize it. It died. But here's the amazing thing. Do you know who invented the digital camera? Kodak.

[00:14:42] There's the irony there.

[00:14:44] Oh, well, the irony is, the only money they're making today and the reason they keep the company around is because they have patents and everything necessary to new digital photography and they get royalties from all over the world for using their patents. Well, they didn't see the value and so they ignored the whole push. They could have owned the whole digital marketplace, but they were too afraid of losing their legacy business. And so they lost it totally.

[00:15:18] Yep, that's for sure. So in other words, a person should look for companies that are showing signs of being progressive.

[00:15:27] Right. Or what you do. Let's say that you're in a company right now and take my book, which is called Simplify Everything. And it has a lot of ideas about how to improve processes. Use it. Improve a process here or there within the company and establish your reputation as someone who gets things done. You start out getting things done and people see you. They'll give you more, more latitude. Every chance they can because you're making more money for them.

[00:15:59] Nd they're going to take the credit for it.

[00:16:03] But that's OK. If they give you the ability to test things and try things out and learn on their nickel, let them take the credit. Because at the end of the day, when you're ready to leave and start your own business, guess what? They're going to be stuck high and dry because they never learned how to produce the entrepreneurial ideas. They only learned how to steal the credit. And that won't get them very far.

[00:16:27] That's for sure. Let's take you back. Where you an entrepreneurial kid? You grew up in an entrepreneurial family or what?

[00:16:34] Well, yeah, I. My parents were amazed. I guess I was about eight years old. And most people out there won't remember these things. But we used to read comic books. They were actually printed on paper. And we had advertising and so on. And I had seen an advertisement for this company that did personalized pencils and personalized stickers and paper with your name on it. So what I did is I thought this would be a great way to make money. So I wrote to them. I got all the information. I put together a sales book and I went up and down the streets in my neighborhood.

[00:17:15] I did the same thing. What was the You remember the name of the company. I can't either, but I sold advertising matchbooks and pencils, like you were saying, and napkins.

[00:17:27] Right. So what I did is I take orders with the parents, get a downpayment to cover my costs and do this in June and July. And then in August, I got the product delivered and went around, delivered it and collected my profit. And I made a small fortune.

[00:17:42] How old were you.

[00:17:45] I was like eight years old. I started my business my consulting practice on April 1st and I thought I was gonna surprise my wife and she'd say, Yeah. April Fool's, right. Well, she didn't react. I said, Louise, today's April Fool's Day is your little surprise. She said, Listen, from the moment I met you, I knew you were going to start your own business was just a matter of when. So. But wives are hard to fool.

[00:18:16] Was your family entrepreneurial?

[00:18:20] My dad was a salesman, a commission salesman. So that was to me, very entrepreneurial. And my mom worked for a company. She did design work. And so she was just, you know, an employee. But I had this bug. And so I started out I worked for other people. I needed to gain some maturity. I mean, I I know there are a lot of people that think, wow, I'm going to start Facebook. I'm going to start Dell Computer in my dorm room. I'm going to I'm going to. But most people don't have the maturity or the understanding to do that. So I was trying to be a little realistic and I learned my trade and I learned a whole bunch of good lessons working for some very fine companies. But I finally reached the point where I thought, you know, if I work this hard for myself, I can make more money than working for someone. And so I quit.

[00:19:22] Now, did you plan for the exit or to save up some money or do so that one day that was just it.

[00:19:29] So I can't do that. As my kids will tell you, I'm anal about a plan. I'd love to prepare. So I had saved money in the bank for one year's worth of housing payments and one year's worth of food.

[00:19:46] You have a family at this time.

[00:19:50] Yeah. Two kids and a wife. I owed on a house, two cars. You know the whole bit. And and I'll tell you, one of the things there's an old saying, nothing focuses a man's mind like a hanging in the morning. So actually, if it's his. OK. So with that, failure was not an option. I just I could not afford to fail. So. And by the way, one of the questions I think everyone should ask themselves, which is the one I used, I always ask myself, what's the worst that can happen? And if I can handle the worst that can happen, I'll do it. So in this case, I said, what's the worst that will happen?

[00:20:31] My kids could starve, my wife will leave me. My house will go into foreclosure.

[00:20:37] Yeah, well, I said the worst that will happen is our family not make enough money to sustain myself. OK. So if that happens, what will I do? I'll have to go get a real job again. I can handle that. But I haven't worked since. So. So that was 1976. So you can do the math. It's been a long time since I felt I had a job because I enjoyed doing my consulting so much. That's why I don't retire. It's fun to do. I know I won't work 60 hour weeks anymore,

[00:21:14] Yeah, I'm at my my agreement with my wife and after I turned 70 was no more than 32 hours a week. That was half of what I was spending.

[00:21:28] Tell us about the the the feeling that you flunked retirement.

[00:21:34] Well, there's when you've been working for as many years as I had and all of a sudden you have this prospect of not having something to do and not having any responsibility. I know some people count the days till they're retired. I was terrified of that thought my whole life. My persona was all around the work I did. And so as I was getting ready to retire, you know, I I sold out. We actually after a couple of the mergers, we had so many people. We had a bunch of partners. And so they were going to buy me out and we had this whole thing worked out. And about that time, one of my students in the corporate entrepreneurship program had told a couple people about this program I ran and how much money it made on this little company called Boeing. So one of the vice presidents called me up and invited me to meet with him for a cup of coffee. And I thought, OK, that'll be cool. I have no idea why I'm doing this, but I will. And we talked about what they were doing and they wanted to set up a program to encourage employees in the staff to bring in new ideas, to create new businesses, because at that point, military spending was going down and they were trying to do some long range thinking and the VP I was working for. I mean, this guy was brilliant. He knew what had to be done. And so he said, why don't you come work for Boeing? I said, I just spent the last 38 years of my life getting away from corporations. And you want me to come into one of the biggest. But he convinced me to do it. You know, it was interesting since I was already past mandatory retirement age. That was a little of a problem for hiring me. But we got in and had a ball until they had to make a quarterly result and needed my budget. And so I went from a big budget to no budget. And it was almost two years. I learned a lot. And it was one of those great opportunities you can't turn down. I mean, how many times do you get asked to move the needle at a Fortune 100?

[00:23:50] Yeah. Right. Right. Nobody would ask me that. They hate me because I think they spread 40 billion on their Web site and I beat them on Think magazine and spread 600 bucks.

[00:24:05] Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Well that's right. And if you want, we can talk about Web sites, but for a company like Boeing, you know, their Web site is something else. And the security that they build into their systems will blow you away. So one of the things I would tell all the entrepreneurs out there, if you are into computer security, it is a wide open field. It is wide open. And there just aren't enough people to help all the companies out there that need to protect their information assets. And they're all learning how valuable those assets are. So if if you're interested, you want to be a consultant and you know something about cyber security. Wow. That world is your oyster.

[00:24:52] Absolutely. Not like it hasn't been in the news for last two to three years with the Russian collusion and Chinese and the you know, all the hackers and everything else. And then and then every couple of months, at least or less, there's some major breach like didn't Chase up one recently.

[00:25:12] They've all they've all had them. That's why you wonder. Why won't the Congress even debate election security now? I'm going to be careful not enter into the political figure.

[00:25:27] It's just the big mess. Everybody is everybody for themselves.

[00:25:31] Absolutely. Can I tell you my one political joke, I'm allowed to tell in class. And I stole this from some comedian one hundred years ago. But I loved it. What's the opposite of pro?

[00:25:44] What a con.

[00:25:46] Correct. Therefore, what's the opposite of progress?

[00:25:50] Congress.

[00:25:51] You got it.

[00:25:54] I think the only was the only one I ever did was when Hillary and Trump were going for presidency. It was like whichever whoever wins, they're going to go from opulence to government housing.

[00:26:12] That's the truth. That's the truth.

[00:26:14] All right. So is your family involved in any of your entrepreneurial endeavors? Do they turn entrepreneurs?

[00:26:22] Well, you know, I had thought about my kids coming into the business, but it wasn't for them. And just like I tell all my students, I told them, do what you love to do. If you enjoy getting up every morning and going to work, you will never feel like you're in jail. And that to me, the saddest thing is to meet somebody who's in their mid 20s and say, well, you know, it's an OK job. It's a little boring. I don't get much satisfaction. But in forty two years, three hundred and ten days and six hours, I'm going to be able to retire. Oh, my gosh. Horrible way to live. Horrible way to live. So, no, they they were not interested in the technology, the kinds of things I was doing. So I encouraged them to find their own route and they're doing it.

[00:27:17] Good, good, good, good. I got to take a brief sponsor break. When we come back, we're going to ask Steve what a typical day looks like for him and how he stays motivated so he doesn't flunk another retirement.

[00:27:31] So folks back around the year 2000 I kind of turned the Internet world on its head and the people at my level were charging 50 or 100 grand up front to try to teach what we knew to small business people. And half of them were rip offs anyway. And then once they got their money that they've never even did the teaching. So I thought, you know, this is no good. So I'm a small business advocate. I thought, you know, that's there's too much money putting small businesses at risk. And then where's the incentive to keep helping them if you get all your money upfront? So. So I pretty much turned the world on its head and made all the gurus mad buy by charging a relatively small entry fee to my program. And then I took a percentage of profits that's capped. So for me to get my big money, they had to make way bigger money and they wouldn't be stuck with me forever. Well, seventeen hundred students later is still going strong. It's the longest running, most successful, most unique internet marketing mentor program anywhere. I triple dog dare anybody to challenge that because of the length of it. The number of students, the successful students and the uniqueness of it has. It has elements you can't get anywhere else. For instance, myself and my entire staff will talk to you one on one and tutor you and take over your screen and show you where to click and do all this stuff where people at my level won't even talk to you at all. They'll get on stage and try to sell you some gigantic package and then disappear from it. So we don't do that. Also, you have an immersion weekend at the great Internet Marketing Retreat Center. That's where I'm broadcasting from right now, where you actually live in my estate home for an immersion weekend with a very small group of like minded entrepreneurs. And then you get a scholarship to the only licensed, dedicated Internet marketing school in the country, which is IMTCVA.org. It's distance learning so you can be anywhere in the world, take advantage of it and you can either use it yourself or gift it to somebody. And we just had a guy join about four months ago, my mentor program. He gifted this to his daughter, who he had spent eighty thousand dollars sending her to school and she was out with some menial job and so she took the school. After one month she started making eleven hundred bucks a month on the side. After two months, three thousand. She's quitting her job and going full time on the Internet. And she's got like four to six months left in school. So so this is really nuts and bolts, powerful stuff. It's not like big e-commerce stuff where they're just counting people like Wal-Mart would do or something. This is email marketing, text marketing, chat bots, shopping carts, all this stuff, blogs, social media, social media. That's where she made her money real quick because everybody goes crazy trying to keep up with that. So they said, take it over for us. And so immediately she start making money. So anyway, you could check out the whole program at greatinternetmarketingtraining.com. Love to have you in the program where I know you'll get taken care of.

[00:30:50] All right. Let's get back to the main event. Steve Epner is here. And Steve, what is a typical day look like for you now?

[00:30:56] Oh, I mean, now it's sort of crazy when you go back a couple years, if I may because that will be more meaningful to most of your listeners. My typical day was get up and 530 because I couldn't wait to get started. And seriously. So much fun. I couldn't wait to get going. And then I would use the very early morning from about seven to eight thirty to do all the hard stuff I had to get done that day because once I got on the telephone, once I started interacting with people, I lost control of my day. So the things that I needed to get done for me that I wanted to make sure were completed normally got done very early in the morning, because otherwise I'd be working on them all night. I would spend time each day with different clients, which for me was part of the fun. I love going into different businesses. I love learning how different people did things. That was the reason I love the work. And then by evening, while the kids were still at home, I always made sure I had dinner with the kids. Never missed a parent teacher conference in school. I think over six or seven year period I missed two Boy Scout events, but that was it. And I decided that there was going to be a balance in my life. I know now this is one of the big buzzwords, work life balance. Well, guess what? I did it without knowing there was a name, but that was what was important to me. And because I did things well, because I enjoyed them so much, the money follow. I never once focused on how much money was I going to make. I focused on how much fun I was going to. How many people I can help? And at the end of the day, the money always seemed to follow.

[00:32:53] That's awesome. Yeah. I don't have a family, but. And I don't have any balance. If I get as everybody is his own path. You know, so. So, hey, you know what thing I forgot to ask here was what does lean canvas mean.

[00:33:18] So the lean canvas is a method of laying out a business plan. In one page.

[00:33:25] Oh, okay. Now I got it.

[00:33:27] So what happens is most people will spend weeks, months, sometimes years writing out these complex business plans and then never look at them. A lean canvas is a one pager that lays out your whole business plan. And it's a living document. You can continue to manage and updated and it's something you can use every day to focus your business and focus your ideas. So, for example, one of the areas on the lean canvas is the customer. Well, most people think customer. Ok. I'm writing a system that's going to help teachers. Someone go sell all the teachers in the world. You're never going to go anywhere. Teachers don't buy things. OK. There are three kinds of customers and you better identify all three of them on the canvas. You've got users who are the ones who actually utilize the product. You've got influencers. These are people that the school board and such will turn to to get help and information. And then you have the economic buyer, the person who can sign the check. Well, if you sit down and lay this out on the canvas, then that helps you lay out your marketing plans, because you got to get users who want the product. You've got to get influencers who will help you get up the ladder to whatever sea level you have to get to. And then you have to find someone who can sign a check who will finally say yes. Each one of those three groups needs a different sales pitch. Each one of those three groups is looking for a different result. And this is part of what you need to understand as an entrepreneur. Because if you don't get to all three people, you're never going to sell your product and you're never going to make enough money to stay an entrepreneur. So the canvas forces you to think through that. The canvas forces you to think through. What are your metrics? What is your what is your runway? What is your financial runway look like? And it's all on one page. And and I think it's just a marvelous tool.

[00:35:33] I think you'll love by one of my latest books, I call it the one sentence business plan. I've lived this way since I was a kid like you going door to door selling stuff. Here's my one sentence business. But I actually wrote a whole book about one sentence, so that's a little crazy. So I create quality products that people actually want at a reasonable price and I service them after the sale. That's it right there.

[00:36:02] I love it, that that is a great business plan. And it's really it's it's what are you going to do, who you're going to do it for and how are you going to do it?

[00:36:13] Yeah. And, you know, it's yeah, it's work that I was 10 years old. If everybody would just not spend millions on a mission statement and just do that they'd be further ahead.

[00:36:23] How much money is wasted on mission statements. And they all say we are going to be the best in the world and we're going to do the right thing. That and that and and and I mean, give me a break.

[00:36:36] And then they do whatever they can to make the numbers look good this quarter. That's all they do.

[00:36:42] So like one of the things and I again, for your entrepreneur wannabes out there, one of the things you need is to get heard above the noise. There's a lot of people that want to be entrepreneurs and a lot of people in every segment of business. So one of the things I did, which is, Tom, how you and I met is I started doing speaking. Now, I didn't know about NSA early on. So I spoke for free for about 18 years. And people wondered, how did I become a CSP in three years? Well, that was a minimum number of years. You had to be in NSA to earn it.

[00:37:17] Nsa National Speakers Association.

[00:37:20] Right. I'm sorry, National Speakers Association. But folks get out there. So I became my tagline was, I'm the guy who made technology understandable for mere mortals and busy executives. That was my one sentence.

[00:37:37] There you go. You did it.

[00:37:39] It worked. And then once I got in front of all of these groups to talk about making technology understandable. I got hired and hired and hired and it was just it was a wonderful way to do it. So if you're going to be an entrepreneur, you've got to be heard above the noise. If you're terrified of getting up in front of an audience, you'd better be good at writing because you can write articles and books to do the same kind of thing. But if you enjoy the audience, get out there. It's an easy way to do it. Make some extra spending money. And if you're married and you have a spouse or you just have a significant other. It's a great way to take vacations.

[00:38:20] Oh, absolutely. You get paid for it. Yeah. Let somebody else pay the dime, that's for sure. And will have to get Dick Bruso on here. That's his Web site. Heard above the noise. He's a publicity guy. Yeah. So thanks so much for coming on, man. Appreciate catching up with you.

[00:38:36] Well, it's been a real pleasure. And, you know, like I said, I'm going to send you a copy of my book, Simplify Everything. Get your team from doo doo doo doo doo doo.

[00:38:46] That that is gonna be in the show notes everybody. This is episode 171. So you go to screwthecommute.com/171 and you'll be able to find all the stuff for Steve. And especially that book is it cracks me up. But I guarantee you just because it cracks me up doesn't mean it's just like my butt camp. It's a goofy name, but you know, it's heavy duty. Good information that'll help you. And I know this book will be the same. So. So thanks so much. And tell all the family. I said hi and we'll catch you next time.

[00:39:19] You got a deal.

[00:39:21] All right, folks. So that was episode 171. Check it out in the show notes to get the free copy of Steve's Book. And I will catch everybody on the next episode. See you later.

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