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
March 26th, 2019 | Season 1 | 1 hr 5 mins
In January, I posted a call for Female Founders on our LinkedIn company page with hopes of being introduced to more female founders to feature on The Startup Story. Today’s guest was mentioned more times than any other person. After spending some time with her, I am fairly confident I know why she was thought of by so many other people…because she is someone that is always looking to help others.
This week I am joined by Ilana Zivkovich, the founder of WERQ; a strategic leadership advisory firm. WERQ helps teams look at their strategy, process, and people to ensure all of these pillars will best support their business.
March 19th, 2019 | Season 1 | 56 mins 2 secs
When I started The Startup Story I would have never expected to be interviewing a founder
of a homeschool group, but here we are. This week, Tiffany Sorya, founder of Novel Education Group, shares the many unconventional pieces that have comprised her entrepreneurial journey to this point. It makes sense that her story would be unconventional since her goal is to meet the educational needs of those whose lives are unconventional. Her first two clients were Kylie and Kendall Jenner, and she continued working with other high-profile children such as those of Fortune 100 executives.
March 12th, 2019 | Season 1 | 1 hr 36 mins
This week’s episode was a special one for me to create. Why? Well it was not due to the celebrity status of our featured founder nor was it due to his gift for handcrafted woodworking (although I am fascinated by woodworking). This episode was special because of how incredibly similar my entrepreneurial story was to this week’s guest, Clint Harp.
March 5th, 2019 | Season 1 | 1 hr 5 mins
This week’s featured founder is Barry Stiles, Founder and CEO of TRUEGRID Pavers. Yes, a paving company. My hope in exploring stories like Barry’s is that you will process his challenges and triumphs to see the commonality within your own journey, too. And yes, when most people think of a startup they immediately think of technology. But every single business you interact with was a startup at some point. That is why I love exploring the startup stories of a diverse collective of founders, like Barry and TRUEGRID Pavers.
February 26th, 2019 | Season 1 | 1 hr 7 mins
As you may already know, The Startup Story is a new podcast. And if you are an avid podcast listener, then you know that the production quality of many new podcasts can be...well, less than stellar. But what you probably have noticed is that the production quality of this podcast is really good. And that’s not because of pure luck. The reason the production quality is so good is due to our incredible sponsor MovoCash and its founder, Eric Solis. Because of their sponsorship, we are able to enlist the aid of top notch podcast producers. But I am not here to talk to you today about podcast production, instead I am thrilled to introduce you to Eric Solis, founder of MovoCash. Today, you will get to hear his startup journey.
February 19th, 2019 | Season 1 | 1 hr 5 mins
I'm huge fan of incredibly creative individuals, especially those involved in woodworking. And my guest this week, Brandon "Monk" Muñoz, is a handcrafted furniture designer and artist. He is the founder of Monkwood Studio where he designs unique furniture and interiors that change the atmosphere of work, living spaces and retail establishments. His work includes some of the most beautiful studio desks and tables you will ever see.
February 12th, 2019 | Season 1 | 57 mins 26 secs
Today, you will hear the startup story of Bryan Elliott, founder of The Goodbrain Digital Studios and creator of Behind the Brand Show. I’ve been following Byran’s work for few years now with intrigue. He has helped to build audiences and engagement for some of the biggest movies. He has also produced original video content (for movies on DVD), managed brand partnerships and movie titles with advertising budgets of over $30M. As you’ll hear in today’s episode, there are many patterns that set us up for what is to come in the future, like the ability to adapt in the midst of chaos and uncertainty. Bryan’s story is one enveloped in resiliency.
February 5th, 2019 | Season 1 | 1 hr 8 mins
This week we’d like to introduce you to Steve Glaveski, CEO and Co-Founder of Collective Campus and author of Employee to Entrepreneur: How to Earn Your Freedom and Do Work that Matters. Unlike some of the past founders we’ve featured so far on this podcast, Steve had zero aspirations to be an entrepreneur growing up and spent his 20’s navigating the corporate hallways of some of the largest firms in Australia and internationally.
January 29th, 2019 | Season 1 | 48 mins 56 secs
In today’s episode you will hear the startup story of Zach Knickerbocker, Founder of 14th Floor Apparel. He’s an Amazon reseller who is very early in his startup journey. While we’ve shared the stories of several founders who have been in business for many years, we also wanted to be sure to share with you startup stories of guests who are still in the thick of the startup process. In the trenches, so to speak, still building their dreams as a side hustle. And that’s exactly what Zach is doing, he is building his dream.
January 22nd, 2019 | Season 1 | 1 hr 11 mins
This week’s guest on The Startup Story has a bit of a different perspective when it comes to business and startup. Why? Well, because his startup exists in a space where he has had to stand toe-to-toe with watch industry giants since Day One. Our guest today is RT Custer, CEO and co-founder for Vortic Watch Co. His passion for this unique watch craftsmanship does not reside in the product alone, but also in the process.
January 15th, 2019 | Season 1 | 1 hr 1 min
This episode of The Startup Story features Dr, Jen Esquer or as she is known by her hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, DocJenFit. Doc Jen is the founder of The Mobility Method. After spending some time with Jen, I realized how much our bodies are capable of and how little most of us, including myself, truly don't understand. This is especially true in the arena of mobility. Yet Jen’s startup story is not one centered around health or fitness. It's actually a story of an entrepreneur that never had a vision to be an entrepreneur in the first place.
January 15th, 2019 | Season 1 | 52 mins 12 secs
This episode of The Startup Story features Larry Namer, founder of E! Entertainment Television. When you think of E!, you may instantly think of the show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Now for the record, Larry had nothing to do with the Kardashians phenomenon. He did, however, have everything to do with the building of this media network giant, which eventually sold for approximately $3,000,000,000 in 2007.
January 15th, 2019 | Season 1 | 46 mins 52 secs
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.
January 7th, 2019 | 3 mins 16 secs
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.
Every successful startup began with a single decision. It’s not about the dream, it’s not about the vision, it’s about having the courage to take that very first step -- to start.
How did UBER grow to $50 billion? How did Spanx become massively successful without one dime of venture capital? The stories are out there. But The Startup Story goes even deeper. What exactly did they do to go from idea to launch? What was that first step and how did they decide to take it?
Each week, hear from the courageous founders behind some of the most successful brands in the world as they share their Startup Story. We’ll unpack the early beginnings, and uncover those first steps that ultimately led them to where they are today.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur who’s in the thick of it and not making much progress, or feeling stuck in the fear of failure, not sure if you have what it takes, this podcast was created for you.