At age 15 James found himself without a home, but never without hope.
From the moment his birth-mother kicked him out of the house to fend for himself, James knew that the next set of decisions he needed to make would have a massive impact on the rest of his life. James had to decide (as he walked to a local 7-11 to use a payphone because there were no cell phones back then) if he was going to play the role of the victim, the opportunist, or the warrior. He chose the warrior.
That decision, at age 15, set him on a course that surrounded him with people that gave him hope and an unwavering belief in himself. He started to learn the real power of community and brotherhood. The people that surrounded him early on gave him so much more than just shelter or food. They gave him a vision for what his life could be like as long as he decided to put in the work.
While circumstances were certainly working against him, James refused to believe he had to give up on his goals and dreams; dreams like going to college. With tenacity and resilience, James knew there was one way he could make that dream come true, through enlisting in the United States Marine Corps. Did he chose the Marine Corps because of his warrior mindset? James would like to think so, but he also knew his distracted mind needed structure and accountability. It also didn’t hurt that as James would authentically share, “the dress blues would get the ladies.”
James describes his time in the Marine Corps as life-altering. His service allowed him to see just how much he is truly capable of. He saw in others how much a human can endure if they have a “no quit” perspective. He saw just how powerful it can be to have someone fully committed to your personal success, so much so that they would be willing to die for you. The unselfish service of thousands in the Marine Corps shaped how James sees his service to everyone he meets.
James achieved his goal of a college degree but knew he wanted more than a “job”. His dad was an entrepreneur and that “gene” was deeply rooted in James. In fact, James had been starting various ventures as early as 7th grade when he would buy a 5-piece Bubble Yum pack for $0.50 and sell each piece for $0.50. Or in 8th grade, during the Persian Gulf War, when his Dad and he designed Patriotic flyers and sold them for $1 each. Then in High School when he started a direct-to-consumer music CD business.
James’s entrepreneurial journey has failures and successes. His story has moments of absolute joy and crushing defeats. His journey includes moments where the rewards were abundant and moments where he lost everything. Everything except his belief in himself.
The Startup Story isn’t about James’s entrepreneurial journey, it’s about every Entrepreneur's journey. This podcast is for the active Entrepreneur that finds themself grinding alone and not making much progress. It’s for the Entrepreneur-in-waiting that has unaddressed uncertainty and fear and is reluctant to move forward. It’s for the defeated Entrepreneur that has failed numerous times and is unsure if they have what it takes to do anything.
As we hear The Startup Story of some of the most successful companies in the world our focus is singular…
To give you the belief and courage to Start Your Story
September 17th, 2019 | Season 1 | 47 mins 50 secs
I’d like you to meet Alina Vandenberghe, co-founder of Chili Piper and Gipsybot. You read that correctly, she has co-founded TWO startups at the same time. Chili Piper is an incredibly powerful sales tool for enterprises. Her second startup, Gipsybot, is a productivity tool to help you prioritize what is important to you, not what others delegate to you.
September 10th, 2019 | Season 1 | 59 mins 9 secs
This week I would like you to meet featured founder, Anna Victoria. She is the founder of Fit Body App. The health and fitness app launched in January 2018; then in 2019, Apple featured it in their “Apps We Love” section. Since then it has become one of 2019’s best fitness apps. Just because numbers are impressive…when Apple featured the Fit Body App in the “Apps We Love” section it generated over 1 million impressions within 24 hours!
September 3rd, 2019 | Season 1 | 52 mins 8 secs
I’d like you to meet John Paul Taylor, founder of Real Life Poets. Real Life Poets is a nonprofit that leverages the creative process of poetry and spoken word as a means to empower youth, that otherwise might find themselves in prison or on the streets. John Paul started Real Life Poets because writing saved him and he wanted to do the same for youth in situations similar to his.
August 27th, 2019 | Season 1 | 54 mins 2 secs
This episode marks our 35th episode since we launched in January 2019. When The Startup Story launched we had no audience. Yet, even with not having an audience, Larry Namer, founder of E! Entertainment Television, was gracious enough to share his Startup Story for our launch.
There is a high chance that you have not heard our first few episodes. For that reason, we are going to bring our first two episodes off the shelf to ensure they make your podcast queue. This week is the first of those two episodes. I hope you enjoy this episode as it originally aired on our launch date of January 15, 2019.
August 20th, 2019 | Season 1 | 49 mins 54 secs
This episode marks our 34th episode since we launched in January 2019. When The Startup Story launched we had no audience. Yet, even with not having an audience, Jason McCann, the Founder and CEO of VARIDESK, was gracious enough to share his Startup Story for our launch.
There is a high chance that you have not heard our first few episodes. For that reason, we are going to bring our first two episodes off the shelf to ensure they make your podcast queue. This week is the first of those two episodes. I hope you enjoy this episode as it originally aired on our launch date of January 15, 2019. Today’s startup story comes from Jason McCann, founder and CEO of Varidesk. While Varidesk is a global company today, Jason's story is not one where you assume everything he has ever done has been a success. Today he shares his early beginnings from selling beach chairs all the way to the burst of the dot.com bubble and later, how Varidesk came to be.
August 13th, 2019 | Season 1 | 13 mins 2 secs
This week instead of featuring a founder’s story, we are going to focus on part of a story that many founders go through — founder depression. Yes, founders can get depressed, very much so, and yet not too many talk openly about it.
August 6th, 2019 | Season 1 | 49 mins 48 secs
Brian Burke is the founder of SellYourMac.com, a website that helps you to sell your Apple products in a way that ensures you receive top dollar. Brian recently received an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year nomination. Ernst & Young is one of the largest firms in the world and since Brian’s firm was nominated, I definitely wanted to invite him to unpack his story on this podcast.
July 30th, 2019 | Season 1 | 1 hr 3 mins
Meet Michael Littig, Co-founder of the Zuckerberg Institute. And yes, the Institute is kind of associated with the infamous “Facebook Zuckerberg,” it’s actually co-founded by Mark’s sister, Randi. Their mission is to establish a community of entrepreneurs that encourage and inspire other entrepreneurs as they build their business or start their next venture. Sound familiar? It should because that's what I am hoping to build with this podcast, too.
July 23rd, 2019 | Season 1 | 57 mins 54 secs
I’d like you to meet Danielle Salinas, Co-founder of Maison de Papillon. Maison de Papillon is Danielle’s 2nd venture and it started when she lost her sleep mask during her trip at the London Olympics. Yes, you read that correctly and that is what I love about The Startup Story. Our businesses are birthed out of a need in our lives, yet pivot as we learn more about where the opportunities really lie.
July 16th, 2019 | Season 1 | 52 mins 39 secs
Our guest today is James Fratzke, co-founder of Fratzke Media. Fratzke Media is a digital marketing consultancy based in Southern California. What piqued my interest in Fratzke Media was that James and his brother are identical twins. That said…it was not long into our conversation that I realized James’s startup story is much deeper than the fact that his co-founder is his twin.
July 9th, 2019 | Season 1 | 54 mins 14 secs
This week’s featured founder is Paige Robinson, founder of Will Reed. Will Reed is a recruiting firm that partners with innovative tech companies and VC-backed startups to scale sales organizations and actualize growth strategies. In other words, they hire the best people to help the best people find the best jobs. It became very apparent that her startup story was going to shake up many preset ideas within our entrepreneurial audience and even within me.
July 2nd, 2019 | Season 1 | 1 hr 6 mins
Our guest this week is Josh Stine, CEO and co-founder of Seat Insiders. Seat Insiders is a concierge ticketing firm that makes ticket buying for sporting events, theater, or concerts unbelievably easy and cost-effective. Josh’s story was compelling because when you think of ticketing you immediately think of Ticketmaster and StubHub. And one has to wonder why you would want to take on those monsters of industry? But that’s the interesting part, Josh isn’t taking them on, he is filling a gap that those companies cannot address, the human aspect of ticketing.
June 25th, 2019 | Season 1 | 51 mins 55 secs
Our guest this week is Catherine Stiles, founder of Barbecue Wife. Barbecue Wife is a cocktail mixer brand that began as a platform to tell the unique stories of some amazing women within the barbeque industry. Barbecue Wife has grown to be a well-recognized cocktail mixer within the state of Texas. After researching the barbecue industry and the beverage industry, I became incredibly intrigued by Catherine’s story and knew it would make for a great episode!
June 18th, 2019 | Season 1 | 52 mins 54 secs
This week on the podcast my guest is Meghan Asha, founder of FOUNDERMADE. Meghan and the FOUNDERMADE team are focused on bringing consumer brand companies together with some of the largest retail buyers in the world. Meghan has helped hundreds of startups in the consumer product space elevate their brand. She also has a real passion for connecting the right people together for mutual value. I love what this can do for startups in this space and I loved hearing Meghan’s personal startup story.
June 11th, 2019 | Season 1 | 46 mins 44 secs
This week’s featured founder is Chad Phillips, co-founder of Highpoint Brewing Company in San Dimas, California. This episode combines a few things that I love dearly, small business and creativity. When it comes to beer and brewing, I don’t think many people would have thought about the creative side of it all. Chad will discuss just how personal beer making is to him and how his beers are a personal expression of his creativity.
June 4th, 2019 | Season 1 | 48 mins 27 secs
I’d like to introduce you to Michael Alvarez Jr., founder of Vision Media. Vision Media is a fulfillment and logistics company that services movie studios and television networks. In fact, if you walk into almost any movie theater today, I am confident that all marketing collateral you see has come through one of Michael’s warehouses. Vision Media has experienced some tremendous success, but Michael’s journey in bringing it to its current state was not without incredible trials.