23 Eric H body 1 Eric Holtzclaw is a serial entrepreneur and founding member of over a dozen successful startup companies, including one of the first profitable Internet enterprises.

Eric is an unconventional thinker with 20+ years of experience, creating opportunity by identifying and capitalising on emerging trends and disruptions to business.

Eric is an award winning speaker and author on consumer behaviour and entrepreneurship, he writes a weekly column for Inc.com ­ and is a regular contributor for Fortune Magazine, Time Magazine, CMO.com, and Wall Street Journal.

Eric is passionate about helping entrepreneurs along their entrepreneurial journey. His current company Laddering Works is dedicated to doing exactly that.  

Having built and sold many businesses himself, he uses his wealth of experience and knowledge to help businesses and entrepreneurs who can’t seem to break past that $5m revenue mark to identify what’s holding them back to take things to the next level.

But Eric is also a market research and lean start up expert, and therefore offers guidance and advise to entrepreneurs who are still in the $1 – $1m mark to help them get things off the ground. So there is a massive amount to take from this episode.

As well as discussing the books and entrepreneurs that inspire Eric the most, we talk about:

  • The waves and patterns seen in business, and how to make them work to your advantage 
  • How to identify what sort of entrepreneur you are (comes down to the words ‘rectify’ or ‘magnify’)
  • How to properly test your  concept and identify your market properly
  • The mistakes that most entrepreneurs make when attempting to test a concept (and how to avoid these mistakes)
  • Strategy, Co-Founders, productivity hacks and how to avoid unnecessary failure 
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  • When I was 5 years old I either wanted to be president of the United States or work for IBM
  • A high number of fortune 500s won’t be in business in the next 5 years or so because they don’t know how to innovate
  • We come up with lots of reasons why we shouldn’t [become an entrepreneur], but you may as well just jump in and do it
  • I love the concept of shows like Shark Tank, but that happens so rarely and you really have to just get out there and bet on yourself
  • People who like to break rules or prove someone wrong make really great entrepreneurs
  • 80% of entrepreneurs are rectifies, 20% are magnifies
  • I always wanted to have lots of money
  • Being an entrepreneur is a lonely lonely job
  • We want experience based services and offerings, the only way that can happen is from the person not the brand
  • We almost always know the owners of the brands now, much more than we used to
  • You need to be enamored with solving a problem, not HOW you’re solving a problem
  • It’s easier to sell medicine than a vitamin
  • We get caught up in the tactics, not the problem
  • Behaviour change is one of the most difficult things to sell
  • People fall into two broad categories: 1. Convenience people who want things to happen ‘auto-magically’ for them. 2. People who want to save money
  • You need to think about the traits you’re trying to address, instead of the individual segmentation or demographics
  • Creativity is the one thing the robots can’t take away from us
  • I don’t know if you can live as an entrepreneur without being controversial
  • You have to have a stance, you can’t be lukewarm
  • Patience, consistency and focus. Those are the three things you must have as a successful entrepreneur
  • The patience part is one of the hardest things. It can take a long time to see a pay off
  • If you educate (your audience) they will eventually buy from you
  • Save like you’re going to live forever but spend like you’re going to die tomorrow.
  • What have you done today that’s going to make tomorrow better?
  • You can get paid for your time, or you can get paid for what you know. Trying to get paid for what you know is a more powerful place.
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Time Stamped Notes
  • 00:03:54 – Working for IBM at 18 years old, by finding out early he didn’t like the corporate way
  • 00:04:48 – Entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship (and the importance of Intrapreneurship, and building an entrepreneurial practice within a company)
  • 00:08:20 – Tips for entrepreneurs who want to get into Intrapreneurship
  • 00:10:25 – Values instilled when growing up
  • 00:10:58 – Entrepreneurs fall into two categories: they either RECTIFY or MAGNIFY
  • 00:14:30 – On Eric’s perception of money
  • 00:15:23 – Earliest memory of self expression
  • 00:17:26 – Dealing with loneliness as an entrepreneur
  • 00:20:14 – Working on strengths vs working on flaws  
  • 00:21:43 – Personality ‘Assets and Liabilities’ framework (NOT based on money)
  • 00:24:16 – Starting Eric’s current company ‘Ladder Works’
  • 00:28:18 – Discovering your entrepreneurial style. You’re either:

1. An Operato
2. An Implementor
3. A Visionary

  • 00:30:29 – Take the test here: http://ericholtzclaw.com/start-here/
  • 00:30:45 – Importance of the PERSON(s) behind a brand or business
  • 00:34:08 – The way to really go about doing customer research (beyond what Eric Ries says)
  • 00:36:08 – Balancing providing value with making money
  • 00:37:50 – Consulting and freelancing as a business model
  • 00:39:31 – Importance of the PERSON(s) behind a brand or business (revisited)
  • 00:39:41 – The concept of ‘The Fourth Turning’ (return to village)
  • 00:41:38 – Testing concepts, market research and problem solving  
  • 00:43:31 – People fall into two broad categories: 1. Convenience people who want things to happen ‘auto-magically’ for them. 2. People who want to save money
  • 00:45:01 – Importance of identifying your market properly (Traits, not demographics)
  • 00:46:00 – Eight to Forty-two interviews is a good amount for market research
  • 00:51:45 – The importance of unconventional thought (this IS what entrepreneurship is in Eric’s eyes)
  • 00:55:26 – The most controversial decisions
  • 00:56:23 – Dealing with self doubt, and the challenges of being an entrepreneur
  • 00:57:04 – The importance of ‘waiting’   
  • 00:58:25 – The three things you need to have to be a successful entrepreneur:
    • Patience
    • Consistency
    • Focus
  • 01:00:49 – The biggest mistake Eric ever made (selling his company)
  • 01:01:46 – Eric’s biggest personality flaw (he’s bad at self promotion)
  • 01:04:12 – Using content and education as a sales tool
  • 01:05:20 – Success secrets. Working ON your business not IN your business
  • 01:06:47 – On the mantra: Save like you’re going to live forever but spend like you’re going to die tomorrow  
  • 01:08:26 – Productivity hacks  
  • 01:09:43 – Morning routine
  • 01:10:56 – Who Eric looks to for inspiration
  • 01:12:37 – Eric’s personal definition of success
  • 01:14:32 – Taking risks and challenging conventional wisdom
The Rebel Wrap Up Round

If you could go back to any point in your life, and have 1 hour with your past self; what moment would it be and what would you tell yourself?

01:16:36 I would tell myself not to take the deal I did with one of the companies I started working with in the mid nineties, it turned out to be a very bad decision

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received, who gave it to you and how has it positively affected your career?

01:17:36 We are in control of creating our own destiny. It’s a matter of perspective. We get so caught up in our way of viewing the world, and we’re way more in control than we often let ourselves believe.

Who is the most disruptive, rebellious or revolutionary entrepreneur of the last 2 years?

01:18:48 Mark Cuban and Marcus Lemonis

What is the one generally agreed upon rule, or conventional piece of wisdom that you disagree with?  

01:19:55 I’m not a big fan of college. I believe it isn’t always best placed, and often ill fit.

If you could change one law what would it be?

01:20:43 Everything that has to do with the US tax system. It’s totally against capitalism.

What’s your definition of entrepreneurship?

01:21:05 Disruption, and being disrupted. Using technology in a way you wouldn’t expect. Building a new business model that hasn’t been thought of. Viewing the business world in a different way, and being the one to create it.

What advice would you give to anyone listening to this who wants to become a creator entrepreneur?

01:21:40 Just start doing it. Wanting to become an entrepreneur is just an excuse. You can do it part time or in the evening at first – but it’s all about the doing.

Who do you nominate to be a guest on the RebelHead Entrepreneurs podcast?

01:22:10 Adekunle Ayodele, founder of Mixle App: http://mixleapp.com/t

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About The Author

Matt Cheney
Executive Producer

Matt has been in the media industry for 11 years, specialising in audio post production. Matt has created Emmy award-winning music features, BAFTA nominated animations and acclaimed festival documentaries. Max & Matts’ paths merged in 2015 to produce the REBELHEAD podcast; publishing the successful series, telling stories of today’s most disruptive and rebellious entrepreneurs. Matt is currently Head of Audio at Vice Media UK and currently partner in two growing audio production companies. As part of the REBELHEAD Production team; he is ambitiously road-mapping the rise of REBELHEAD via new media and emerging technologies.

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