As a business owner, it’s difficult to do the right work AND guide your company toward its next big initiative.
With Red Direction Business Base Camp, learn how to implement and handle processes to meet your business’s specific needs and better understand your market.
Starting the conversation:
The energy you bring determines your success. And then putting intentional effort into the 4 Cs, your self-care, and the ability to communicate creates your generative mindset to risk taking the next step. Lloyed Lobo, Boast.AI & Traction | From Grassroots to Greatness talks about how to cultivate your motivation and bet on yourself.
Consistency sounds easy, and it is … at first. What makes it hard is the lack of certain results within a certain time, comparing yourself to others, and even surrounding yourself with the wrong people. Do yourself a favor and be thoughtful about the market and product you will offer and then commit to it. Learn, act, evaluate results, adjust — and then repeat. It’s consistency through the hard times that creates the success you’re on the road to achieving.
Energy and consistency require cultivation. In this program, you will hear the 4 Cs of success, 4 things to build credibility (and a community), and 4 questions to pick the right market for your product. Jess Dewell talks candidly with Lloyed Lobo, Boast.AI & Traction | From Grassroots to Greatness about having an energized state of mind and confidently taking the risk of betting on you and your success.
Host: Jess Dewell
Guest: Lloyed Lobo
What You Will Hear:
What we do ultimately comes down to how we can help each other to make our lives better.
Self-learning is having the interest and desire to do anything.
It is important to have community and companionship.
Communication (and the willingness to get better at it) moves mountains.
Luck and risk are two sides of the same coin.
Self-motivation is making choices that force you to practice.
2 ways to get uncomfortable and learn new skills.
The creation of information, playbooks, and products that are helpful and useful.
Consistency in doing the work to keep making progress.
Consistency compounds and you can feel the payoff when you start to feel the pull!
4 questions to pick the right market where you can find success (if you don’t like it, it will fail).
Inspiration can come from anywhere — hear some of Lloyd Lobo’s go-tos.
Make self-care non-negotiable.
Where to start within the 13 Rules to Build Iconic Brands.
It is BOLD to double down and believe in yourself.
- “From Grassroots To Greatness: 13 Rules to Build Iconic Brands with Community Led Growth” (Wall Street Journal Bestseller) at https://FromGrassrootstoGreatness.com
- Lloyed Lobo’s post on LinkedIn
This is Uncharted, a series of candid conversations about facing uncertainty. When we are called upon to be courageous, the strength of our leadership is tested. Jess Dewell is your guide. Jess brings you a 20-year track record of business excellence, where strategy and operations overlap. Your path comes from consistently working from the special place, your unique True North. Now, here’s Jess.
Jess Dewell 00:28
Welcome to the Bold Business Podcast. This is a program where you are coming here to listen to be inspired to solve a problem. Many even to get a new idea or be creative in a whole new way. Guess what you’re in the right place, because with me today is Lloyd Lobo, an entrepreneur, a podcast host and community builder. And not only that, he has experienced the Gulf War as a young refugee in Kuwait, witnessing the strength of community in evacuating the population to safety. He’s taken that knowledge that desired that benefit that drive of community. And he found it a FinTech platform boast.ai, where he leveraged a community-led growth model to bootstrap his company to $10 million in annual recurring revenue. For those of you who like the acronyms, that’s AR AR, he also co-founded traction, a community empowering more than 100,000 innovators through connections, content and capital. Now, here’s the thing. Here’s the thing that’s really common throughout this thread of Lloyd’s life, and that is connection. We’re going to start right there. And we’ll learn more about you as we go along. Boy, but I’m like there’s so much community, we let’s just start here. Once it being a refugee that made community important ones, it’s something else even before highlighted community, the importance of community when it mattered most.
Lloyed Lobo 01:56
I think community part of my DNA growing up, my parents were piss poor. My mom grew up in the slums of Mumbai, my dad was a farmer, both uneducated in India, because they weren’t educated, they couldn’t go out west. And so back then, you had only two options either stick around in India, or go to the Middle East, where the currency translated significantly higher. And so my parents moved to Kuwait in their early 20s, to make a living, and I was born in Kuwait. And because they couldn’t afford to take us anywhere out west. In my childhood, summer vacations were spent in the slums of Mumbai, where I think my mom had nine siblings, and they all lived in this house. I can’t even call it a house because for cement block walls and an aluminum roof, there was no toilet. And going into the toilet every day was a communal activity, you’d stand in line. pumping water was a communal activity, eating food was a communal activity, one in 10 homes probably had a TV my mom, since she was my parents were in Kuwait, they could send home a TV. So watching TV was a communal activity. And every summer I’d visit, right, it would rain a lot and puddles would turn into ponds, and we’d be swimming in there. And here’s the kicker, whenever the summer vacations would come to an end, I grabbed my parents by their feet and cry and say, Please leave me here. I don’t want to go back to Kuwait. And so I think that was my first sort of connection and recollection of community, where people come together to interact with one another to make each other’s lives better. And now today, where I’ve had the opportunity to indulge in some of the most exquisite experiences possible, I think, still my fondest memories are those childhood summer vacations in the slums of Mumbai.
Jess Dewell 03:49
You mentioned education and the fact that created limits, which also made it part of your DNA around community. So let’s talk about education for a minute. How did you take the background of your parents and what did you do the same and different than them and regarding education, and opportunity,.
Lloyed Lobo 04:07
My dad, a lot of kudos to him. He wasn’t educated, but he self-learned to be an executive chef. And when he retired in he was ashamed. Notice here, Chef and this is before Michelin star was popular. So he self-learn, I think starting as a dishwasher and then a cook and then then a chef and then eventually an executive chef, a celebrated Executive Chef, he learned himself he learned to speak English himself. He learned to read and write himself. And it’s funny because a few years after the Gulf War, he applied for Canadian immigration himself without a lawyer or an agent, and got us all immigration to Canada. So I think while education may create limitations, I think your desire to punch higher and achieve higher will help you accomplish anything. Ultimately pain is the precondition for growth. My wife’s an ER physician going into med school in second year of undergrad, she’s, He’s an associate professor at Stanford, we have differing views in the house, I actually don’t believe in education as a means to success. I think success requires four key things. And this was my fundamental learning, looking back. And I call them the four C’s. The first C is your community or your companions. If you look at my journey, I had the good fortune from the time I graduated to only work with founders. My first job was cold calling, working alongside of founder than running sales, or rather doing sales and marketing with a startup where I work alongside the founder than running sales and marketing working alongside a founder. And so because I’d worked for three or four founders, when my co-founder was my best friend in the university gave me the opportunity to start this company, I jumped at it because I had experienced the risk, you become the average of the five people you surround yourself with. The other thing I’ll tell you, when I was a refugee of the Gulf War, like the internet, there was no Internet, there was no phones, and you weren’t sure if you’re going to live or die currencies were invalid security at computer labs, the community came together, to evacuate the country to safety. Every building became a sub-community that communicated with the next building in the next building, and the next building over communicated with embassies with governments and organized buses. And I was going on this rickety bus from Kuwait to Baghdad to Jordan, on the Highway of Death, and you could see buses are bombed and everything when you google search Highway of Death in Kuwait, the adults should have been crying and moping because they weren’t sure where they’re going to go, currencies, invalid. They’d lost everything. But there was one thing very constant on that bus, the adults were singing and laughing and playing the guitar, nobody acted. They were miserable. And that made me realize something, as I reflected back is it’s neither the destination nor the journey, but the Companions you’re with that matter the most, you could be on a crappy journey on the way to hell, but great companions make it memorable. Like me as a kid in the slums of Mumbai, during the summers, I would give anything give up anything to be there, I’ve now hung out and wineries in chateaus in Paris, with people who are just fake and suffocating, I just want to get out of it. So I think your community matters a lot. Everything I have is because of the community we built from the biggest clients to my closest friends. When I moved to Dubai, they made so many introductions, almost half the people I know here’s because of the community, even the company, the growth equity firm that acquired 50% of boste also came through a community event we hosted. So I truly believe your communities, your currency, community matters the most. That’s the first thing. The second C is communication. And if you can’t communicate, you don’t have an audience, you have an empty room, everything you do as an entrepreneur from convincing your spouse that you’re not going to bring any money to convincing early employees to join for low-pay to convincing customers when you have no product to believe in your vision. All of that is communication. Right?
Jess Dewell 08:21
Well, before we go to the third one, let’s take that back to the self-learning there are no oh learn to, to just know how to communicate the way every other person around us wants to be communicated to or needs to be communicated to, or to hear the point that’s most important to us and make that come through all of that noise. So when you tie your four pieces of success, those pillars that you’re telling us about the second see with communication that’s also just needs desire and passion to figure out how is that going to work for me? What skills am I bringing to be able to do this?
Lloyed Lobo 08:59
Exactly. Just I was a crappy communicator. Okay, so I graduated engineering, and I graduated engineering and I didn’t want to do an engineering job. Being a refugee of the Gulf War gave me this risk appetite. A lot of the times we think of entrepreneurship as a means to make money, but what is the entrepreneurial spirit? It is taking an obscure idea and turning it into execution and impact while dealing with extreme risk, uncertainty and ambiguity. That’s what the entrepreneurial spirit is in a big company or small company no matter where, and there’s no bigger uncertainty and risk than going through a war. Right. That gave me the entrepreneurial spirit. It also made me understand that great leaders cascade purpose I was like a nine-year-old kid threw on a bandana red bandana like Rambo Rambo was huge back then acting like I’m saving Kuwait from Saddam Hussein. No buddy there no adult made me feel like I was insignificant and remind Let me have this example by President Kennedy who was walking the halls in NASA and at midnight sees a janitor sweeping the room. And he says, What are you doing in this hour? And the janitor says Sir, I’m putting a man on the moon. And that just tells you that great leaders cascade purpose, not just goals where even the lowest common denominator feels like they’re driving the greater purpose. And I was always on the other side of risk just and I didn’t finish high school as a function of that. I just was this bad rebellious kid. I didn’t finish high school.
Jess Dewell 10:32
You were wearing a red bandana being rainbow. Why Rambo? Superfan.
Lloyed Lobo 10:41
You and me both. You and me both a big Sly Stallone fan even today. my morning ritual is Rocky Balboa as I have the tiger in the morning pumped me up. Even before I go on a talk I listened to I have the tiger before I jump on. It’s my ritual. But nonetheless. So I didn’t finish high school, I ditched all my exams. I didn’t graduate with a high school diploma. Nonetheless, I got into engineering. And this is a very funny thing. And I’ll preface this by saying that luck and risk are two sides of the same coin. Everyone tells me I’m lucky and I agree with them. I’m like, Yes, I have been lucky through various phases of my life like my life partner. If I didn’t marry her, I wouldn’t have had the support I needed. She’s a doctor. She paid the bills through multiple failed startups. And she persevered. The Companions I surrounded myself with the community I build, everything has created opportunity for me, which I view as luck. But here’s the thing, luck and risk are two sides of the same coin. The ones that get lucky are the ones that never stop flipping risk, right? And so what happened was most kids, if they didn’t finish high school, they would never apply to university. Now, we had emigrated to Canada, I applied to every university possible, and we call it every university. And Canada’s and LSATs, no luck would have it. One College responded and said, Hey, why don’t you write these? We have these entrance tests. And I wrote the math and English was rudimentary. And they said, where are your transcripts, and I just made up some excuse. And they said, Listen, we need to have your transcripts semesters Coming up, we’ll let you start since it’s cutting close. But if we don’t have your transcripts within the month, you have to unenroll now luck would have it, they never followed up. And I graduated with an engineering degree without a high school diploma. And that just tells you right, like, you got to just keep trying. So nonetheless, when I graduate engineering, now, I don’t want to do this nine-to-five job, right? So I asked around, hey, if I want to be a business person someday, what’s the best skill I could have? Because in 2004, or five, we weren’t using the word startup or entrepreneur, it was more like businessman, businesswoman. And most people would tell me that, hey, man, you’re not a great communicator, you’re awkward. You need to improve your communication skills. Now, the one thing I realized I knew about myself is self-motivation is a BS hoax, right? 99% of the people are not self-motivated, self-motivated, is not sitting on a beach and showing up when conditions are perfect self-motivation is, are you able to show up when you’re repeatedly punched in the face? And I knew one thing if I took a public speaking class, and five people laughed me off stage, I would never have the courage to show up. So I’m like, Hey, how do I fix this? And so I started looking at what are the jobs I could do that would force me to communicate day in day out. And the only thing that made sense was sales.
Jess Dewell 13:27
Everybody needs to have sales job. Everybody.
Lloyed Lobo 13:30
100%. And so I started applying to sales jobs, and nobody company would hire me because like awkward engineer, why would we give him a sales job? So luck would have it that one startup founder, running a telecom startup, needed cold callers. And so I got my first job in cold calling. Now, here’s the thing. That first call I practiced for hours. And as soon as the decision maker came on the line and hung up, and everyone that there are other cold callers, who knew Yeah, they chuckle, but we encourage each other. And so I realized then that if you want to get good at something, don’t look for self-motivation. Look for an environment that forces you to do that something over and over again. And so consistently over time, my communication got better, and just doing it repetitively. Now, if you see my book will From Grassroots to Greatness became a Wall Street Journal bestseller one of the key things I did to hit that list was, in the last 10 weeks or so, or in the eight weeks leading up to the book launch, I appeared on more than 80 podcasts, the bulk of which released during the week of the book launch. Now in the beginning, I had to probably read notes and everything else. But when I was doing two, three to three podcasts a night, my, my talk track just got fluid, we’re now I can just speak on anything off the top of my head. And so that is really important. Communication is key. And how do you get better at it is put yourself in an environment that forces you to do that. communicate over and over again, maybe start a podcast, interview people appear on podcast or get a sales job.
You are listening to the Bold Business Podcast. This program was created to develop your capacity on demand by sharing insights, tips, as well as lessons learned by business leaders, unedited, and uncut. Now, back to Jess.
Jess Dewell 15:22
I actually started this podcast Lloyd because I was having such great conversations with people just out in the world that I was repeating my biggest takeaways 20-40-70 times because these things stuck with me. And it occurred to me one day, many years ago, now that what if I recorded it, what would happen, and mine was totally a, if I’m taking something away with somebody else. And sure enough, here we are six seasons later. And I think this is my second podcast. So six seasons later in this podcast was pretty amazing. When you think about it, and there still is, even this, I’m like, this is the podcast you need to listen to, I won’t tell it as good as Lloyd does. That’s how this goes and finding the process, figuring out where are the areas that you want to improve on or at, I’m telling you what, and this power of self-learning this drive to know more, if somebody doesn’t feel like they have it, or let’s say they got a little too comfortable. So before we move on to the third, see, I know we’re not there yet. We’re still there, on the way. But we’re thinking about communication for you being part of this, the four parts of success. I want to know from a self-learning place, you know, they feel comfortable, or they’re afraid to put themselves in a place where they’re forced to what is a question they can ask or a thing they can do besides listen to I have the tiger because I know that’s a good one. But I’ll bet you have a second thing that they could do to get started to move toward that.
Lloyed Lobo 16:52
Definitely, I think the first thing is self-reflection, right? You need to think through what you suck at. And that is really important. And there’s two ways to do that. One, you need to be self-aware. But sometimes you might not be self-aware. So you just asked have a close circle of friends, that’s what comes to your first see your companions is, how am I doing this? And they’ll tell you honest feedback, right? I think that is key. And then you ask them, How do I improve? What are your recommendations, and they may or may not have one. But the key thing, especially today, we’re in the age where communication has so many avenues, right? There’s social media out there is speaking or podcast or events, just pick one lane and just do it repeatedly. That’s how I would look at it. But the first thing is you have to be self-aware. And most people are I’ll be honest with you, they may not come across as being self-aware. But you got to know right? If you’re not good at something, that means you don’t you’re not putting yourself out there to do that something. And if that is something is key to help you propel forward, then you got to do it. Pain is the precondition for growth, everything great is on the other side of risk and pain. If you look at it, like going to the gym, when you workout and lift the same weight over and over again, you don’t grow, how do you grow, when you keep increasing the weight, either doing more reps or increasing the weight, it creates micro-tears, and then you recover from it. And then you get stronger. And you got to do things that make you uncomfortable. Maybe the first second third time it’s uncomfortable, and then it’s a little easier. And then it’s flow state, right? And that is the key thing for me with communication was the same. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. And then I got good at it. And now I think like a communicate for a living in a way.
Jess Dewell 18:46
You are listening to Lloyd Lobo. He is the author From Grassroots to Greatness 13 rules to Build Iconic Brands with Community-Led Growth. He’s alluded to that in the first part of our conversation. By the way, I’m Jess Dewell, your host of the Bold Business Podcast. I know you’ve already taken something away from this podcast, whether it’s to watch a movie, whether it’s to add to your playlist and definitely the questions to ask to become better at the things that you are weak at today. To create that drive, create that opportunity to be curious to go after what you want, regardless of how far away how hard how impossible it might seem. Because Lloyd is actually telling us here anything is possible and he’s giving you experience after experience and we’re only halfway through our conversation. So Lloyd I want to know what is your third C.
Lloyed Lobo 19:39
But before it before I jump into that actually I want to I wanted to give you as an example to the audience here. One great thing about communication and just in general about building connection is a you attract the energy you give out just has such phenomenal energy that where I’m at right now is 1030 which is my normal time, but it’s been a long day for me and I’m like that, and then just comes on and she has this great energy. She’s just bringing it and I’m like, now I got to match up to that energy, right? You attract the energy you give out. And energy is a key part of building connection, building audiences, building communities, look at some of the biggest movements, right, they fade away without energy. So kudos to you just on bringing that energy. The third C is creation, whether you’re creating content, whether you’re creating playbooks because when you’re starting a company, anything new you learn, you eventually turned a playbook for your successors, or you’re creating products or services you’re creating. So be become good at creation, pick one thing and learn to create. And the fourth C, without this fourth C, you have nothing you may be the best communicator, the best creator and have the best community. But without this fourth, C, you will get nowhere for Mr. Beast to Warren Buffett, Elon Musk, Gary Vaynerchuk have this in droves, is consistency, consistency is the secret ingredient that turns small actions into big outcomes. Go back maybe seven, eight years or six, seven years and look at Mr. Beast, earliest videos, he never stopped. He kept doing it and doing it and it kept growing. I know some phenomenal LinkedIn creators that were getting like one two likes, no views. And today they get 1000s upon 1000s because they never stopped, right? Pick your audience. Keep creating, keep communicating, and be consistent. And mastery follows consistency.
Jess Dewell 21:38
Hands down 100% My favorite stories are always the overnight successes that take forever. They’re story after story of that 30-year, overnight success. We forget about the grind. So I was out of town this last weekend, I was working in Colorado wood. And I was meeting a friend and we took a hike. Number one I live at sea level. So to be at 5300 seat a mile up was part one, I was not ready for this hike. Part two, we started and I didn’t even make it to the trailhead before I was out of breath. And I’m thinking, Okay, how long is this hike going to be? What are we going to do this thing, one foot in front of the other. And my friend is trying to have a conversation with me. So I have a conversation going on. I can barely breathe, I can’t talk. And I have to look at the ground because it’s so steep on this trail. Some point along this trail, I’m going slow. I think I’m gonna fall down. I’m really worried about the fact that can’t have a good conversation with my friend. I get to the spot where we where we stop. And she says let’s take a break here. I’m like, Oh, this is so great. So I pretend to tie my shoes, I catch my breath. I can actually talk to her now. And she goes, You haven’t even turned around yet. And I turned around and it was this amazing VISTA. So I had done this in some short period of time what you have been talking about taking long periods of time, the same journey just in this day to day and so I’m going to I wanted to bring it back to it doesn’t matter how big our goal is. It doesn’t sometimes we have to get through today. Sometimes the fires that we have to fight the things that show up the what’s important. The choices we have to make that are hard, are right here. And everything that Lloyd is talking about fits right here. Just like my height did for the first 20 minutes of my turned out to be a three-mile hike. I thought I did very poorly. And I’m like, wow, that was the longest one-mile I’ve ever gone on for hike. My friend said no, we just went three miles. And I was really proud of myself because of all of the wonderfulness of completing farther than I thought. But most important was that view somewhere along right after you get to that top of whatever it is. We have to stop tie our shoes, take a breath and turn around sometimes to see the goodness that we have created. Lloyd?
Lloyed Lobo 23:48
Definitely. And you had a great companion along the way. And you weren’t alone I think.
Jess Dewell 23:53
They all came together I was not alone. Because otherwise, the message in my head would have not I don’t know if I would have I think that might have turned around had I not had my community with me then my friend.
Lloyed Lobo 24:04
Great companions make it memorable is my favorite definition of overnight success is compound interest. And consistency is what we call overnight success.
Jess Dewell 24:15
All of the experience all of the success that you have had, when have you realized the compounding was actually working?
Lloyed Lobo 24:21
So I’ll give you an example when we started boast. We defaulted to our experience. My experience was cold calling and sales. What happens is when your experience fails, your reflexes kick in. Right, we started. What Bose does is we provide R&D funding to companies that are building new or improving existing products or technologies globally. There’s hundreds of billions of dollars in government funding for companies building new or improving existing products and technologies, but it’s a cumbersome application process is prone to frustrating audits. It takes a long time to get the money. So we set out to automate it. Now here’s the thing. When we started, we said, let’s call some stable companies. We started calling manufacturing oil and gas construction, nobody would take our calls. Sounds kind of scammy. Right? Give me your R&D and product development data and your financial data, I’ll get you money, no equity, no interest. And even if they knew about it, they were working with some big accounting firm. Okay, so dejected, we start hitting up their events. And when we hit up their events, we realize we have nothing in common. It’s not our tribe, we we look like two young guys who threw on a suit jacket on top of a hoodie. And they’re the cigars club. So very rejected, we start hitting up the startup events, and we instantly feel a connection, we found our tribe. Those conversations turned into dinners and lunches and hanging out together and partying together and hosting events together. And when we started targeting this market, I was hanging out with the startup market, because we were starting a company, they were starting a company, we actually found a couple of whitespaces. One is all the content back then in 2012. For startups were coming from blogs, but all the events. They weren’t talking about tactical advice, right? They were all like SEO platitudes. This was a time where blogging was the only medium LinkedIn for content distribution wasn’t huge. LinkedIn for thought leadership wasn’t prevalent at all. Podcasting for business wasn’t prevalent at all. And so it was events and it was blogs. Now, here’s the thing with events, all the events were high-level SEO platitudes because they were organized by event organizers who wanted to put butts in seats. Uh, here’s the thing, though, if I quit my job, I don’t need inspiration for the 100th time. I need tactics. How do I get my first customers? How do I get my first employees? How do I land my first angel investor. So we found that one whitespace, the second whitespace, we found is at the time, no local media outlet were covering was covering startups. And so we reflecting back when you’re in the situation, everything seems like you’re throwing spaghetti on the wall. But when you’ve seen success, and you reflect back, it becomes a framework. So now before I jump into, you know how I leverage consistency there. I tell you, if you’re starting out, and you don’t know what market to target, here are four things you need to know on how to pick the right market one, do I have a passion for this audience, or this market? It’s important. And it’s key because building anything is a long slog. It’s a marathon of the heart and mind. If you hate your customers, you won’t sustainably create for them.
Jess Dewell 27:31
Truth about it? How long have you been doing this podcast? A long time, right? This is our sixth season. So six years basically.
Lloyed Lobo 27:40
Yeah. If you hated doing it, or hating hated this content, or your audience or your customers, would you be able to show up?
Jess Dewell 27:48
No. And you would have not given me the awesome compliment earlier either.
Lloyed Lobo 27:52
Yeah, exactly your energy, right? Your Energy says it all. The second thing is it a small but growing niche startups was a small niche, but we could see it grow. When you’re starting out, it’s important to niche down because you want to be an inch wide and a mile deep rather than a mile wide and an inch deep and you niche down you’ll find like whitespaces that you can’t in a very big, niche or broad. The third is do they have a propensity to pay. If you don’t, if they don’t pay you, you’re out of business, or you don’t have a business. And the last one is have access. We wanted to target manufacturing oil and gas, but we couldn’t get access. If you don’t have access, you’ll never get off the ground. So niche down, pick a market you’re passionate about and can sustainably create for and if you look at it, we built two other startups that failed for the same audience bolstered Well, we also built a community called traction for this audience. And I wrote a book for this audience, which ended up becoming a Wall Street Journal bestseller two weeks ago. So that just tells you like you need to have the passion for the audience. And nonetheless, we found these white-to-white spaces where the local media wasn’t covering startups. And all the events were high-level CEO platitudes. So reached out to the local newspaper and said, Hey, would you give me a column to cover startups? And they said, it’s not of interest. So I didn’t take that no for an answer. I reached out to a regional blog. I said, Let me cover startups here. They’re like, fine, we want content. And I covered two or three startups. And I sent it to them, they put it on their blog. Now, I didn’t just let it sit there on their blog, I went to everyone in my contact list on my LinkedIn and my email contacts. And I asked them to retweet and they blew it up. Now I took that article or that blog post, and I went back to the newspaper and see, I said, See, you said no, but I posted on this original blog and look at the traffic and the number of retweets had gone. And the editor said, You’re right. Maybe I’ll give you a blog post. I’m like, if I write for you consistently, the newspaper is a dying medium for the younger audience. You will retain the startup audience, young audience, right? And he’s Yeah, what are you saying makes sense? We’ll give I’ll give you a blog post, not a column, a blog post. Let’s see how it does. And now my The other learning is unless you’re doing something illegal as an entrepreneur never asked for permission to beg for forgiveness, because bureaucracy will kill you. So I call that blog post startup of the week, which implied that it’s an award ceremony. It implies there’s an award ceremony by the newspaper, and I covered a startup that wasn’t getting, like other coverage. And they’ve just raised 3 million. And I put it on their startup of the week, ask them some questions, a very simple format. And he blew it up, and that I reached out to all my contacts, and now I got a couple of missed calls from the editor. And like, he’s gonna get pissed off, download back. And he’s Lloyd, this did really well, if you commit to writing it every week, I’ll make it a print column. And that print column now did a few things to guys who had no social proof website, new website, got instant credibility by being columnist. In the newspaper startup of the week, I got a weekly backlink to my website, which, from the highest Domain Authority website in the country, it’s either the universities, the government, or is the newspaper. And I got that every week we juiced up our SEO and keep kept bumping up our domain authorities, even today with the proliferation of blogs, if you put something in print, people want to savor it. And so entrepreneurs were going to the newsstand, and seven in the morning, every Monday, and taking print copies of it, and sharing the clippings on social. And the fourth thing, what it did for us is I threw a form in there saying if you want to be featured apply. So now what happened was that newspaper blog startup of the week helped us build an audience. But through that form, I was able to collect email addresses, which gave me the opportunity to now bring that audience together and turn it into a community. And so that newspaper blog, I never stopped. I wrote startup of the week from I think 2012 or so through 2015. And when I stopped that column stop, but I wrote it consistently for two and a half, three years. And in parallel, everyone who would apply would invite them to our co-working space for a tactical pizza night meet-up. Hey, founder, we have just talking about how to get your first 10 customers. There’s going to be free pizza, we got 10 spots only everyone would show up because of course just as an influencer for that audience. And we never stopped we kept doing these meetups, we kept writing startup of the week weekly meet ups weekly startup of the weekend, one day 200 people showed up at the co-working space and the guys who run the corking space. This is not a pizza night, you’re like trying to you hijacked all the aisles brought in and throw brought in a projector and turn it into a makeshift conference. Facilities. You got to get out of here if you’re hosting big events like this. And that eventually evolved into what is today we call the traction community attraction conference. We’ve had Uber CEO and Atlassian and Twilio at some of the biggest names in tech speak at our events. But it started with doing these small meetups now as a function of doing these meetups and startup of the week, we got customers, we got partners, we build social proof, and it propelled our brand forward. So what I’m saying here is just being consistent is key.
You are listening to BOLD Business Radio. In every program, we share stories, tips and concepts that benefit short-term goals and increase confidence in long-term positioning. For additional perspectives on your growth strategy, Jess Dewell is your business advisor and consultant. Now back to Jess.
Jess Dewell 33:52
So today in this world that you’re in right now, I am curious, what are one or two places that you go for inspiration?
Lloyed Lobo 34:02
I listen to a lot of podcasts, right? But more importantly, I scroll a lot of short-form content and on LinkedIn as well. Like I follow Jason Lemkin, I follow some key influencers on LinkedIn on specific topics. And even on Instagram, right, there’s a lot of these short-form content. I’m a big fan of these 30/62 clips. I think it’s one of the fastest growing mediums, the shorts, I Doom scroll through content like that, and a lot around business and personal as well. When I say personal meaning as an entrepreneur business and personal life is blurred anyway. Oh, but and what makes you a good entrepreneur? See a lot of the times we as entrepreneurs, we focus in the business so much versus on the business. What helps you focus on the business is the things you do outside the biz furnace, right? We spent every waking moment on the business and then we eventually burn out. But the things you do outside the business is what helps you play the long game. Look at any athlete playing the game, the sport, the championship, the matches they got to do. That’s their job, and how do they get better at the job, they get coaching, and they get training, and so on. So what are we doing as entrepreneurs to play the game to do our job? And for me, it’s a lot of mental health and fitness and diet, and functional training, things that we do outside. And so for me, when we sold the 52% of bowls, and I stepped out of the day-to-day I actually got depressed all my life, I was piss poor, and I was happy. And then the one time where I came into millions, I ended up depressed because I felt I lost my tribe, I got overweight, I became insufferable. And what brought me to good health and sanity was actually a community of fit people. And I realized self-care is not selfish. It’s the only way you could create value in the world for the long haul. And it’s like putting your oxygen mask versus what they see on the planet. If you don’t take care of yourself personally, you are no good to your family or the business. And so what makes you perform better personally, and at work? Exercise? Yep, key thing, exercise releases endorphins in your brain that calms the feeling of stress, particularly working out first thing in the morning, there’s a study by Naperville High School that you should take a look at, they have this program called Zero Hour PE, students would show up before they open a page of paper, they would work out and those kids end up having some of the highest IQ and athletic ability, because you start by being energized. And so for me now that’s a non-negotiable wake up and either walk or workout, bang out push-ups, whatever it is workout first thing in the morning, where you just in an energized state of mind, you have all these endorphins released and you’re ready for the day. Do activities outside of work, whether it’s playing a sport, whether it’s dancing, like I do gymnastics, I learned to dance, those kinds of things that will make you happy and feel like you’re achieving things even though you might be failing at work. Being an entrepreneur is really hard. You’re not winning every single day. But the things that you do in the gym, or dance or activities, you can win every single day.
Jess Dewell 37:35
Yes, it is so true. And find the things that you love. I was having a conversation with my son this morning. He’s playing Badman, he goes, he’s a super athlete. He goes, Mom, I’m really not good or bad men, so we don’t have to be good at everything. Do you like it? He goes, No. I said, have fun in gym while you’re doing that, and you’ll do something else. But you’re getting exposure. I said I’m not very good. But I love badminton. I think it’s one of the funnest things ever. And I said and I really don’t like frisbee and he goes on if we had played frisbee every day, right? So to your point, and where the inspiration comes from mine, especially around exercise, reminding them the point of this was it can be playful, and not so yes, it can be an accomplishment. Yes, it has a lot of things. Yes, it puts us in a higher energy state. And play also is key for what for curiosity, for fun for finding the cool thing, even when it’s tough for remembering to slow down and turn around or in your case to keep going because maybe nobody will follow up. Or because it turns it just the action that we take builds that momentum and we don’t know how powerful we are until we get out of our own way. Exactly.
Lloyed Lobo 38:45
If you keep doing things that don’t bring you joy, you will eventually burn out. Everything I talk about is loving yourself and loving the people you’re surrounding yourself with. And being a part of a community that loves you and adds positive energy from you versus drains you right. And my biggest hacks in life have been your environment matters the most meaning your companions, the people you surround yourself with. And why Listen to me, there’s this study called the Blue Zones, right five places around the world where people live functionally until 100. And functionality is key to longevity without functionalities useless. And they’ve got nine trades and four or five of them have to do with human-to-human connection. Loneliness is the number one killer in America. Look at me even right I went from being the happiest person ever, no matter. I had nothing. And then when I felt I had everything I got depressed. Why? Because I felt like I loved the day-to-day of the company. We built a community-led business and I felt I lost my tribe. And so I think who you surround yourself with your community, matter the most surrounding yourself with positive people working out, doing things that bring you joy, whether it’s playing a sport or running around with your kid Kids are just hanging out and socializing with people, every single day learning to dance, I love this picking up non work related skills in your spare time and getting better and better at it. Trust me, you may say, Oh, it doesn’t relate to my work, who cares? It will get you better. It expands your brains better, better. It helps you with critical thinking and react to situations versus just being myopic. And in a box, right? Yes,
Jess Dewell 40:27
There’s a book called Range. And I don’t remember the author right now it’s about lateral thinking. And this is what you’re describing when we go out and how joy have interests, had hobbies, know what we like and what we don’t like, know where we contribute and what we don’t want to and going back to your four questions around picking a market that for a hobby, same four questions work for a hobby, actually, if you think about it, am I going to like the people that show up there? Do I want to do it for a long period of time? Is there something that is exciting for me in it regardless of if I want to do it? Because all of those are pieces to that pie that make up a balanced meal, if you will, since we’re talking about how to instead of not, so that’s really interesting. So tell me this in your book. If you were to pick one, if you were to pick one of the 13 rules, what’s the one based off of our conversation today? That matches here? So that people can go read your book and get that and then learn the rest is what
Lloyed Lobo 41:31
I’ll give you three or four rules in quick succession. I’ll tell you one thing, just to summarize. As I was depressed and came back to sanity, and I realized, man, loneliness is the number one killer in America. And what brought me to sanity was community I’m everything I am because the community so I wanted to write about community. And as I started to research and talk to over 1000 people that I knew in the community over time, and I rewatched, all our content that we have on our YouTube from traction 400 plus videos, I looked behind the scenes as best as I could, through research of every obscure idea that became an enduring iconic brand, let’s not just talk about the tech brands that have been prevalent since the 2000s are talking about like the Harley Davidsons of the world that have endured the test of time. And I found something extremely interesting, every obscure idea that eventually became a global enduring phenomenon. From Christ to CrossFit, every obscure idea that became an enduring global phenomenon, went through the exact same four stages. People listen to you, or buy your product or service, you have an audience. When you bring that audience together to interact with one another, on a cadence, it turns into a community. When that community comes together to create impact, towards a purpose that’s far greater than your product, or profit, it becomes a movement. And when that movement has undying faith in its purpose, through sustained rituals, over time, it becomes a cult, or a religion. So audience, community movement, religion, boast, of course, didn’t build a movement, or cult or religion, but we stopped at community, but we’ve been 10 years or so in the business or less, and we have a long way to go. But companies like CrossFit, have companies like Red Bull have, right? And I think there’s a very interesting framework here is, first step is building an audience. How do you build an audience, pick a niche down as much as you can, right? It’s better to be an inch wide and a mile deep. Figure out if you love this audience and can sustainably create, figure out where they eat, breathe, drink, sleep, figure out their goals and problems, but goals and problems are short-lived. So also figure out their aspirations, and what stands in their way. And ask yourself if I had to write down the ultimate guide to hitting this aspiration or solving this problem. What would be the chapters, subchapters and key topics? What are the 100 burning questions this audience would have? And also then figure out their circle of influence, which is who do they fund. Meaning what tools or service they pay for? So you have a list of people to partner with? Who do they follow meaning who are the influencers? In that space? So if you have to invite people on your podcast or speaking to events, you have that list, and then where did they frequent meaning what blogs, magazines, platforms they hang out on so you can distribute your content there and just start creating sustainably once you start building this audience. Now, make sure you’re bringing this audience together on a cadence meet and it doesn’t have to be a big production conference. It could be a meet-up once a month or every other week, right? Or it could be turning your podcast into a live Zoom webinar where people can interact with one another. Or it could be a WhatsApp or a Discord group where people are asking each other questions. I though love the in-person meetups, no matter how small done on a cadence, because anytime you incorporate more than two senses, you start to build stronger connections and bonds right now where sound and sights, and in person or taste, touch and smell, and we end up spending a long time together. So I think those two steps is where I would start is look at this path of audience, community movement, religion, start by building an audience, Keep creating. And then make sure you’re collecting these audiences, email addresses, LinkedIn, and social platforms have made it very difficult for you to collect email addresses and make sure you’re collecting their email addresses. And then bringing them together on a regular cadence. I’ll give you an example. Because I truly believe this yesterday’s innovation will always become tomorrow’s commodity. If you build a community, you won’t become a commodity. Why look at the innovation of today? Right? Although just giving you that example. AI is all the rage, if open AI didn’t have its community contributing data and content. That’s right. It will never be open AI. It’s the biggest community-led company. But why look at today, right? Let’s look at the 80s. What happened in the 80s? What was the innovation then it was electronics, the Japanese manufacturers commoditize electronics and Harley Davidson almost went bankrupt when these Japanese bikes were flooding the market. What did the management do? They made community a part of their ethos. It wasn’t a marketing strategy was a company strategy. They went out there and started hardly writer clubs around the camaraderie and the joys of writing. Employees became writers became employees had direct oversight from the President. They came together regularly for these weekend warrior trips. And then eventually they turned it into a movement by coming together to support causes like cancer and autism. And not only they save hardly, but today Harley is an iconic brand worth over $7 billion. forget anything. If you see a dog, wearing a leather jacket, you’re like, Oh, that’s a Harley dog. That’s how iconic Harley is. And so that’s what I leave you with is brands of yesterday, were built on what they told the world about themselves and brands of the future will be built on what the community says about them. If you build a community, you will not become a commodity.
Jess Dewell 47:37
Okay, one last question. What makes a bowl? What makes it bold to double down on yourself?
Lloyed Lobo 47:43
I think what makes it bold is energy. Right? Like for me energy is everything. And look at Red Bull or look at every major movement out there. Look at even some of the conferences you’ve been to, you’ve met some of the greatest people but like a speaker comes on that’s like putting you to sleep and everyone just leaves a row, right? And so I think energy is what makes it bold. And if you have energy on your life, you’ll feel like doubling down on yourself. So what is energy? Let’s say I go to the gym and I lift a heavier weight and I feel really good like I accomplished something I’m energized or I’m sorry by good people that uplift me and I’m energized and so having energy in your life is key to making it bold.
The Bold Business Podcast is brought to you by Red Direction. Jess Dewell dug into one idea in this program. Her goal is to ignite your creativity and spark different thinking with the presented material. How you apply this to your current priorities is up to you. Jess Dewell can bring the missing voice back into your company. With you, Jess will solidify your company’s TrueNorth. Your unique Red Direction. Provided you are ready to work with Jess, email her at [email protected]. Special thanks to The SCOTT Treatment for technical production.