Richard Fertig is a master Airbnb lifestyle, money-making machine. He pops into Inside LaunchStreet to share his incredible journey — all the ups and downs. We dig deep into how to become an entrepreneur — something anyone can do. He also shares his strategies for building the global lifestyle you desire and how to turn what you’ve got right in front of you into money-making assets.
[1:03] Richard shares his personal journey, including some trials and hardships. He had an exciting ride on Wall Street yet found himself in uncharted territory, dismantling a team.
[9:23] Richard talks about the lows of trying to find a new job in finance in 2009. He started running with his dog. This provided him time to think and he realized that life is a journey, and a process, and there would be an opportunity in the end. His optimistic attitude led him to become an entrepreneur.
[14:00] Tamara believes that it’s often a good idea to sit on things for a while and figure things out. The subconscious mind is 20 percent more active if you can shut off the conscious mind.
[16:05] Richard talks about how he handled his less-than-supportive response from his wife. He learned to respect that his journey is an individual journey. He did not need external validation.
[23:56] Tamara challenges LaunchStreeters to think about where your identity is coming from. If it’s coming from the outside, you don’t really own it.
[24:17] Richard tells about his separation from his wife and how it has affected his identity. He’s reinventing how and where he lives. He’s looking to find out how his divorce is part of his journey and looking for things that come out of the woodwork.
[26:48] When we are stuck in a rut, we tend to think of it as “How do I get away from that,” instead of “How do I move towards what I want?”
[27:19] How has Richard’s eternal optimism helped him to become a successful entrepreneur? How can embracing the pain for a period of time be a learning experience?
[32:06] Tamara believes that having the right mindset is powerful in becoming an entrepreneur.
[32:27] Richard spends a lot of time thinking forward. He believes you have to be willing to be wrong and reward being wrong. You have to take the risks. Tamara and Richard talk about letting the genie out of the bottle with Uber and Airbnb.
[37:44] Richard’s Airbnb sharing has led him to partner in a variety of real estate deals. People’s lives are being changed when they open up their identity and see life through a different lens. Richard challenges people to find ‘their why’ so when things get tough, they can follow through.
[40:52] One of the most common mistakes people make on Airbnb is that people charge too little. They have the wrong metric. Occupancy rate is not the metric you should be viewing success with.
[42:14] Richard’s favorite tip from his Youtube channel is to ask guests for the 5-star review. It’s critical to ask for the 5 stars. Tamara’s favorite tip is to have the Smart T.V.
Richard also suggests to not hide your weakness, but turn it into a positive on the listing.
[46:00] Get introduced to Richard’s 15-year plan. Find out why he’s most comfortable in real estate.
[50:10] Richard thinks it’s still early in Airbnb and Uber investing. He shares a story about every child at his kid’s birthday party being picked up by an Uber driver.
[53:49] The most successful, forward-thinking person Richard knows is Jeff Bezos. He was able to convince Wall Street that he was managing long-term.
[55:25] Tamara reminds LaunchStreeters that to be an entrepreneur, you can use what you already have.
[57:00] Richard’s parting advice is to put a different lens in and see things differently. This allows you to go find opportunities and go where others won’t go.
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Tamara knows that these three questions will bring you game-changing business innovation. They are the questions she asked herself that got her business out of the commodity game and into the no-competition growth. As she talks about, these questions led to hockey stick growth at Inside LaunchStreet. A big thank you to Julie Ford out in California for asking this important question. Tamara answers with a discussion around the assumptions holding you back, how customers really see you and why your weakness is your greatest strength.
[1:58] Tamara believes that we all feel the squeeze, and if you aren’t feeling it, you’re living in denial. She advises that the game you want to be playing is the value game. Tamara keynotes often include speaking about getting out of the ER trap. The ER trap is when you are a little bit better, stronger, faster, and slightly improved from the competition. In today’s marketplace, you have to be different and innovate business differently. You have to get out of the ER trap and find that spot of differentiated value.
[5:25] The first question is: What is the biggest assumption of how business needs to be done and if you flip it on its head, what opportunities does it uncover? Tamara shares experiences with razors and wine. The assumption was that you made your money with the refill razor blade. Along came Mike Dubin, who flipped this marketplace on its head and created Dollar Shave Club. Ben Parsons flipped the marketplace on its head when he opened The Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery in Denver. He sells his wine in single-serve cans. Mike opened up a whole new market in the wine market!
[9:28] When Tamara entered the marketplace, twenty-some years ago, the assumption was that consultants needed to come up with business innovation ideas. These ideas ended up on the idea shelf, collecting dust. LaunchStreet dumped this idea on its head and challenged this. Instead of giving people ideas, they give people tools to facilitate ideas. You must marry the people in the room with their ideas and what they are percolating. LaunchStreet decided to make innovation tangible. Their playbook, Think Sideways, will help you dig into the book and empower you to innovate. The Innovation Quotient Edge Assessment was developed to empower people to recognize their own innovation. When they challenged the assumptions at Launchstreet, it was transformed.
[12:13] The second question is: If I asked your customers, would they be able to quickly and truly identify how you are different than the competition? Tamara thinks the key here is to truly tell how you’re different. Tamara likes to think of it as a triangle. Cost of entry is on the bottom and differentiated language is on top of it. Cost of entry is the language you have to provide. We tend to use these words as our marketing language: gets results, action-oriented, interactive, highly skilled. These words do not differentiate. Tamara shares the success of the company, Rackspace. They put their stake in the ground around fanatical support. That is their differentiated language. Zappos is known for delivering happiness. Not delivery time, competitive pricing, range of inventory. Your customers should be able to quickly pick out your differentiated, unique selling space.
[15:34] The third question is: What perceived weakness could you leverage to become your greatest competitive advantage? Tamara believes that as we share our own journeys, we help others to become better. Launch Street was losing work because they were small. The boutique model was created to be small, but this perceived weakness inhibited their growth. They flipped this and launched the online innovation library and are having people come to them. They can now answer questions, listen to our customers and develop new things. This smallness helps us be nimble and it’s now their biggest competitive advantage.
[19:20] Tamara challenges Launch Streeters to take the time and honestly answer these questions to avoid the ER trap. Sign up for our online innovation course and library at Launchstreet.com.
If you are ready to:
Join us on LaunchStreet — gotolaunchstreet.com
Mentioned in This Episode:
Sharon Bolt is a publicity expert and founder of Get Free Publicity Today. She has been a business owner and Entrepreneur for over 16 years and she has received over £1.5 million ($2 million) in free publicity and free advertising. She is also the co-author of two highly-acclaimed books called Successful Women in Business and Every Entrepreneur’s Guide: Running Your Own Business. She came by Inside Launchstreet to have a convo about marketing tactics for small businesses, the easiest way to get media, how to pitch your ideas so they stand out, and how your journey is your experience.
[1:16] Sharon shares why it’s crucial to share your brand story. People like the human touch and connect with both the head and the heart. The more relatable and authentic you can be, the stronger the connection.
[3:20] Social media and reality TV have personalized everything. The YOU behind your business is a powerful marketing tactic.
[4:38] Tamara believes that often entrepreneurs are too close to their business and tend to hide behind the business. She asks Sharon, “How do we craft the most relevant story for our marketplace?”
[5:48] Are people only interested in rags-to-riches success stories? A great place to get started on ‘your story’ is to ask your friends and colleagues what they would like to know more about. It’s the little things that people can relate to in their everyday lives that make for a strong marketing tactic.
[8:45] Tamara shares her experience of climbing the corporate ladder and realizing that her ladder needed to be on her own wall. Sharon offers some tips about why Laura’s experience is relatable to so many entrepreneurs.
[11:44] Vulnerability and living up to our image hold us back from moving forward.
[12:43] Tamara questions the myth of whether your business needs to market a ‘sexy’ product. Sharon feels that each business just needs to find their niche, make their story unique, and attract people with the same interests.
[15:34] Listen in to find out what is unique about Sharon’s story and how she entered the arena of healing and earned the title of Dog Training Expert.
[19:09] Tamara challenges listeners to think about their own personal WHY experience. This experience should be driving all other experiences.
[20:16] Tamara and Sharon discuss the importance of your story focusing on an area where you have experienced success. The story must be beneficial to your business.
[22:55] Sharon shares essential tips for getting your story out there. She shares an analogy of creating a painting to marketing your story.
[25:07] Are press’ releases dead? Listen in to find out when to issue a press release and how to be successful.
[29:04] One of the most important things for entrepreneurs is to find out how journalists want to communicate and communicate that way. Finding out what their angle is and building a relationship will help build credibility.
[31:14] The job of a journalist is to entertain, inform, and educate their audience. You need to come up with stories that are relevant to what they want to publish about. It’s about making their listeners’ lives better.
[33:57] Sharon advises entrepreneurs to focus on what’s new. Journalists like talking about new things. Find your unique way, something they haven’t looked at and focus on what’s new and fresh.
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Jeff Platt is the CEO of SkyZone, a trampoline fun park that helped create the active fun category. Under his guidance, the business has scaled quickly and is now a global powerhouse. Jeff chats with me on Inside LaunchStreet about how to grow your business into a global powerhouse, the major hurdles he faced when growing a business, the power of innovation and listening to your customers and why knowing what you do well is key to success.
[1:30] Jeff shares his inspiration for SkyZone and his dream for creating a new category in the entertainment space by creating play through active entertainment.
[2:22] SkyZone grew to be a global powerhouse due to the publicity of childhood obesity and the need for people to be active.
[4:59] Jeff shares some of the hurdles he faced while paving the way into a new marketplace. It was challenging because it required a lot of education. You had to create a message to resonate with the consumer. Everything had to be created organically.
[5:55] The most important place you can look for inspiration is your guests. Jeff gives an experience about how kids bringing a ball into the park helped to create and organize the dodgeball courts.
[7:15] Tamara believes that the customers have all the answers. Jeff shares some ideas for getting useful customer feedback. First, email shortly after the visit asking for recommendations. Second, research done by in-depth focus groups. Third, do a lot of listening. This provides actions as the company moves forward.
[9:47] Jeff shares that the best way to solve today’s problems and move into the future is by empowering an amazing team of people. You must also be willing to evolve.
[11:45] Listen in as Jeff discusses innovation versus inventing. Jeff and Tamara discuss failure in innovation and why knowing your core make you innovative.
[13:39] How do you translate innovation into company culture? Inspiration for innovation should come from those working the front lines.
[16:43] Tamara thinks that often when one fails at innovation, they are not treated well from that point forward. Find out how Jeff handles failure and then determines what’s next.
[18:10] Jeff shares the importance of the front line feeling safe and recognizing the value of the people behind the front line.
[20:01] Consumers want convenience in all aspects of their lives. Jeff believes that Amazon has changed our culture into everything being about ease, and no friction.
[21:42] What can you accomplish by removing friction?
[24:16] Jeff offers advice to Launch Streeters on how to grow your business First, find a mentor. Someone who’s willing to guide you through the challenging and rocky days. Second, trust your gut.
[26:14] Jeff and Tamara discuss the importance of failing fast and why it’s essential to test ideas live. It doesn’t matter what’s on paper.
[28:19] Jeff thinks that there is no magic bullet in how to grow your business. He is a firm believer that it takes passion, hard work and a level of ‘crazy.’
[30:13] Find out how Jeff stays passionate during the crazy times.
[31:40] If you’ve never experienced Sky Zone, come play their way! You will experience coming alive through different types of play. You will engage in the here and now and experience play, thrill, and social interaction.
If you are ready to: