In 2009, my guest co-founded and was Director of Analytics at Loudpixel, a successful social analytics company. After many successful years she realized it wasn’t quite what she wanted to be doing, so she made a change.
Today my guest is an independent wedding and lifestyle photographer. In a market that most people struggle to start a business in, my guest has managed to build one to where she works part-time and makes a full-time income. This allows her time to spend with her 1-year old daughter.
She also runs an interview podcast series for photographers called Photo Field Notes and teaches in Michigan State University’s Advertising Department.
Now, let’s hack …
In this 35-minute episode Allie Siarto and Jon discuss:
- The need to take calculated risks in business and life
- Brushing off failures and embarrassment (and how your biggest embarrassment can help you)
- How putting your goals out to the world can help fulfill them
- Finding what makes you happy and building a business to suit that
- Why you should do things before you are ready
Listen to Hack the Entrepreneur below ...
The Show Notes
- Loud Pixel Website
- Photo Fields Notes Podcast
- The Creative Career
- Allie On Twitter
- Jon On Twitter
One Simple Step to Attracting More Business Opportunities
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Voiceover: Welcome to Hack the Entrepreneur, the show which reveals the fears, habits, and inner battles behind big-name entrepreneurs and those on their way to joining them. Now here is your host, Jon Nastor.
Jonny Nastor: Hey, hey. Welcome back to Hack the Entrepreneur. I am so glad you decided to join me today. I’m your host, Jon Nastor, but you can call me Jonny.
In 2009, my guest co-founded and was Director of Analytics at Loudpixel, a successful social analytics company. But after many years, she realized it wasn’t quite what she wanted. Today, my guest is an independent wedding and lifestyle photographer.
In a market that most people struggle to make a living in, my guest has managed to build a business in a short period of time to where she works very part-time and makes a full-time living. This allows her to spend more time with her one-year-old daughter. She also runs the interview-based podcast for photographers called Photo Field Notes and teaches at Michigan State University’s Advertising Department.
Now, let’s hack Allie Siarto.
Before we get going, I want to take a minute to thank my awesome sponsor, FreshBooks. FreshBooks is absolutely made for people like me and you — entrepreneurs, small business owners, or medium-sized business owners. I don’t know why it took me two years to figure out. When I moved to online business, I was still printing everything out and just going completely old school as in dealing with a proper bookkeeper and accountant off to the side, but having to deal with the offline aspect of that. I absolutely hated it. I didn’t know how to write checks for these people. I didn’t.
All this stuff that, as my business ran online, I felt like the rest of it should have been done online, the bookkeeping, the accounting side of it. FreshBooks absolutely now allows me to do that with the app on my phone to the fact that they can integrate fully with PayPal and with my MailChimp account. Also that everything is done there, all the reports, and it can just email it to the accountant to take care of. I don’t have to worry about being absolutely, absolutely disorganized anymore. I want to thank FreshBooks for that and for sponsoring me. Thank you so much.
If you are an entrepreneur or a small business person like myself, I really strongly urge you to go start your 30-day free trial today. No credit card, no anything necessary. Just go to FreshBooks.com/Hack. Don’t forget to enter ‘Hack the Entrepreneur’ in the ‘How did you hear about us?’ section. Trust me. You’ll be absolutely, absolutely happy that you did.
We are back with another episode of Hack the Entrepreneur, and we have a brilliant guest today. Allie, thank you so much for joining me.
Allie Siarto: Thanks, Jon. You’re too kind.
Jonny Nastor: Alright, Allie. Let’s jump straight into this, shall we?
Allie Siarto: Sure.
Jonny Nastor: Allie, as an entrepreneur, can you tell me what the one thing is that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your successes so far?
The Need to Take Calculated Risks in Business and Life
Allie Siarto: Sure thing. Looking back, when I look at myself in my early vision of what I thought I would be when I didn’t think I would be an entrepreneur, and then that point where I diverged from my peers and actually became an entrepreneur, grew my company, then started yet another company — and grew that company and have had pretty good success within both companies — the difference started when I was actually working in Corporate America, thinking that I would just work my way up one promotion at a time. This would be how I would go about my life. Then make a nice salary and just be comfortable. That would be life.
What I first realized was I started to raise my hand when other people wouldn’t. I would take on opportunities when an opportunity would present itself. It’s so easy to say, “Uh, I’m not qualified for that opportunity. Somebody else will do it. They’ll probably do a better job anyway. I’ll just let it pass.” I just decided that even things that seemed a little bit over my head, I was going to take them on. So I started to raise my hand to opportunities, and I started to build a lot of connections that way.
The other thing that I did was I put my dreams out there. I talked about what I wanted to do. I was out just having drinks with a friend, an old colleague — I was 24 years old — and I said, “You know what? I actually think I would love to start a business of my own.” It seemed crazy. I was working in PR at the time. Everyone who I had seen who had started businesses was at least 15 or 20 years older than me in that industry. They had long-term experience, long-term client contacts.
I just had this seemingly silly little dream, but I told my friend that I wanted to start this business. What do you know? Within a week, she got in touch with me, and she said, “If you’re serious, I have your first client for you.” It turned out that that client was a very well-known global client and a very good first contract in multiple six figures that allowed me to quit my job within a few months and start the company with my then fiancé, my friend.
Now, the funny thing is I actually had another friend, who I worked with. She was interested in this idea of starting a company at the same time with me. When the opportunity actually presented itself, the difference between her and me was that I said, “OK. Sure. I’ll meet with them. Let’s do it. Let’s see what happens.” She said, “Oh, gosh. I was just talking about it, but that’s really scary, and I have this stable job. I can’t possibly leave this stable job because that’s too much of a risk.”
I never really thought of myself as someone who is willing to take big risks, but I guess I take calculated risks along the way. Little calculated risks that I’m not jumping into the deep end in a way that it could ruin my life if everything goes belly up. But I’m taking enough of a risk where the success that could come out of it or the benefits that could come out of it are pretty big, but the risk that could come out of it, I always know I can land at least somewhat on my feet.
Jonny Nastor: Nice. I love it. Let’s go back a little bit there to this idea of raising your hand when others wouldn’t, of being willing to try and do things even if you’re not fully sure of how to do it. That’s obviously an absolute necessary skill — or at least having the guts to do it — is big in starting a business, obviously, because we don’t know what we’re doing. Nobody does until we do it. That’s just how it works. Is this something you’ve always had? Is this like innate within Allie, or is this something you had to nourish and really push yourself to do?
How Putting Your Goals Out to the World Can Help Fulfill Them
Allie Siarto: That’s a really interesting question. I think in some ways, it was in me. I didn’t apply it to entrepreneurship, but I think it was in me. I was actually a really shy kid. In kindergarten, I wouldn’t even talk out loud. I had this friend who was my translator. I would whisper to her, and she would translate for me. I was like no risk at all. I think because of that, I felt this need to go completely in the opposite direction as I got older and really push myself, and say, “Look, I can do this. I can do things that I didn’t think I could do.”
It started, I guess, in college. I volunteered to give the commencement speech at my university in front in front of 10,000 people. The thought was absolutely terrifying to me, but I was like, “You know what? You need to face the things that you’re afraid of if you ever want to grow and move beyond them.” In that case, again, I didn’t think that I was going to start my own business, but I knew that if I wanted to grow as a person, I needed to push myself and do things that other people wouldn’t necessarily do.
I remember applying to do that and thinking, “They’re not going to pick me. There’s so many people in this college,” but they did. I don’t know how many people applied. Really, I’m sure it wasn’t that many, just maybe a handful. It was that first realization that, “OK. If I actually just put myself out there, there’s a good chance that people will respond.” Then, I actually started a podcast while I was in college. This was in 2007 I think.
Podcasting was really not a big thing at the time. I started just reaching out to people who were in cool careers. It was called The Creative Career. I started reaching out to people who had, what I thought, were cool careers. These were corner office, very well-known people, CEOs of companies and so forth. I thought, “OK. Let’s just see what happens.” I was that like happily, naïve young person who just wasn’t afraid of rejection.
Lo and behold, some of these really powerful, successful people were like, “Sure, let’s chat.” I went to New York, and I was invited into offices to sit down with people who are crazy busy. I still to this day don’t understand how it happened. It helped me build connections, but more importantly, it helped me realize that people, if you put yourself out there, are much more receptive and willing to provide opportunities than people might think.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah. Isn’t the famous quote something like 90 percent of success is just showing up? Like not just showing up — to speak in front of 10,000 people, you had to apply, and most people wouldn’t. Most people wouldn’t do that. They wouldn’t. Then you had to beat all the other people, obviously, that applied. Like with your podcast, The Creative Career, you want to talk to these cool people that have these really great corner office jobs. You just ask them, and they will.
Allie Siarto: Right.
Jonny Nastor: I love it. It’s such a great thing of just really not being afraid of people saying no to you and not being afraid — even with the 10,000 people, that blows my mind. Just, “How hard can it be? I’m just going to suck it up and do it.” It’s like, “OK, well.”
Brushing Off Failures and Embarrassment (and How Your Biggest Embarrassment Can Help You)
Allie Siarto: Yeah. I feel like in some ways, just being naïve helps me because I feel like even now I might be like, “Ooh, that sounds scary,” but you have to realize that, yes, rejection is out there, and yeah, it’s going to happen. I think it helps that I cheered at Michigan State. I was a cheerleader at Michigan State, and I think the fact that I had literally fallen on my butt in front of tens of thousands of people helped me realize that, “Eh, maybe the worst has already happened. I’ve already embarrassed myself falling down, skirt up, whatever in front of all these people.”
I learned to laugh it off and realize that those things are going to happen. It’s really OK. I think that probably made me more comfortable with the whole concept, the whole idea. You just have to get a few solid embarrassing experiences and a few solid failures under your belt. Then whatever, it’s no big deal. You can brush it off.
Jonny Nastor: Best career advice ever. You just have to get a couple good, solid, really just bad embarrassments, and you’re good to go. That’s it.
Allie Siarto: Yeah. Maybe some actual falling on your butt in front of people. That’s ideal if you can find that.
Jonny Nastor: When you think there’s nothing worse that can happen, then you’re golden at this point.
Allie Siarto: Right.
Jonny Nastor: I love it. I love it. OK, you told us specifically what it is, the one thing that you’re really, really good at. Every blog post, every expert tells us the 80-20 rule. Do 20 percent, get 80 percent of the results. Do what you’re good at. Delegate the rest. Allie, can you tell us something in your business that you are absolutely not good at?
Allie Siarto: Sure. We’ve all made our share of mistakes. Definitely. Actually, this is a good opportunity to talk about both things that I have struggled with and how I’ve overcome them.
Jonny Nastor: Awesome.
Why You Should Do Things Before You Are Ready
Allie Siarto: I definitely have looked at my weaknesses in running a business. This is kind of silly as an entrepreneur because sales is such a big thing, but sales was something that I really struggled with early on. Again, it seems silly because I was able to sell this really big contract to start and then continue to sell these contracts at age 24 to these really big global companies. I felt like, “Oh, gosh. This is just … I don’t know. What is this? Luck? How do I really replicate this?”
What I’ve done, even public speaking, I go through eras where one day, I’m like, “Yeah, no problem,” and then one day, I’m like, “Ah, I can’t do that. I’m not … Like what am I doing?” I have over the years hired coaches to help me with these things. I’ve hired a sales coach to get on the phone once a week and talk about, “How the heck am I supposed to do this? Where do I start? What do I say? What do I do?” A speaking coach who, same thing, I would just get on the phone with him about once a week or once a month, and we would just talk through everything, my issues, and how to get better at it.
It doesn’t have to be necessarily a paid coach, but I think having someone — even another entrepreneur — having those mastermind groups, or support groups, or even just online sites like yours where people can talk back and forth, is really helpful for overcoming the biggest obstacles in running a business.
Jonny Nastor: Coaches. Coaches, obviously, are talked about a lot on the show because I think they do play a big, big role in people’s success. How did you, how do you now … is it different? How did you go about finding a coach, a speaking coach, when you maybe didn’t have connections and didn’t know the right people?
Allie Siarto: In my case, they were actually both of the specific coaches that I hired were people who I had met in just these random places. One was a friend of a friend who I had met when I lived in Chicago, and I knew that she had done sales. I think it was the same thing for her. She’d put it out there, “Hey, this is what I do.” It was probably a good two years before I hired her, but she had put herself out there. I finally came across that need, and that’s when I decided, “OK. Hey, I’m going to hire you.”
The public speaking coach, he was actually speaking in town. I went to see him speak through Toastmasters, which I’ve been a part of. I just went up to him afterward, and I said, “Hey, I really like what you’re doing. Like what do you have? What kinds of opportunities do you have?” We started a six-month or a one-year phone coaching relationship at that point. These are people, I didn’t necessarily seek them out, but I was open to the opportunities when I came across them and always kept tabs on who is out there who I knew could help me.
Jonny Nastor: Excellent. Toastmasters. Are you still part of Toastmasters?
Allie Siarto: I’d like to say yes. The one that I was going to, it’s really early in the morning. Once I had my daughter, the schedule became a little bit more difficult, but I still have my intentions to go back. I love Toastmasters. It’s been one of the most useful things for me in terms of just getting comfortable speaking and also just being aware of how I speak. Simple things like not saying ‘um’ all the time, or realizing my little ticks and my little quirks, and just getting better about learning to pause instead of saying ‘uh’ as I’m going. It still happens, but I think it’s gotten better. They have just been a really amazing group, and I can’t recommend them enough for everybody.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah. I love that. I was part of Toastmasters, then I stopped going. Now, when I ask people about it, nobody seems to be on the fence about them. They either love them, or they’re just totally not into them. It feels like the people who aren’t into them really haven’t ever gone.
Allie Siarto: I also have to say, you have to find the right group. When I moved to Washington, D.C., I had been a part of the group here in Michigan, and I immediately wanted to find another group. I actually had to go through a couple of different groups before I found one that I liked. It’s just who’s well-organized, how they’re run. I think if you don’t like Toastmasters and you’ve been to a meeting that you didn’t like, I definitely encourage people to find another group. Just try a couple of groups until you find one that’s the right fit and the right time for you, because that really makes a big difference.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah, that’s interesting. I guess they’re not as cookie-cutter as they try and be where they’re all the exact same.
Allie Siarto: They’re pretty, pretty close, but they’re all run by different people. People are different. People are different scales of organized, so it makes the difference.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. OK. Let’s move to work. You have a really interesting work schedule and setup going for yourself now.
Allie Siarto: Yeah, I do.
Jonny Nastor: You were a co-founder at Loudpixel, and now you are doing photography through your own website, AllieSiarto.com. You really don’t have to work very much.
Finding What Makes You Happy and Building a Business to Suit That
Allie Siarto: Yeah. I used to work a lot of hours running Loudpixel. Actually, part of the reason I was working so many hours was because I did start my photography company basically the same time as Loudpixel. I would work all week, working with these Corporate America marketing people. Then on the weekends, I would put on my — I call it my alter ego — I would be completely in a different mode going to people’s weddings, helping people, everything from the crying bride and the touching moments. It’s just a very different mentality.
I was doing both for a little while. Then at one point, I thought, “OK. I can’t do both. I need to focus.” That’s another weakness I think I have had is I just love everything. I want to do everything. I said, “OK. I need to really focus.” I focused on Loudpixel for a year — I’m going to make this story as short as I possibly can — our company had an offer from our biggest client to be purchased. We decided after looking into everything that we didn’t want to sell because we would be then going to work for them, and we didn’t want to work for somebody else.
We also knew that at that point that was going to be us needing to find a different path because that was our biggest client. We knew that eventually we would want to go separate ways. So I then started focusing on photography again and really realizing, I think my turning point with this — and I promise to get into the schedule part of it, too, but I feel like I have to tell a little bit of the backstory.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah, of course.
Allie Siarto: My turning point I feel like was when I photographed a wedding for a couple. The bride’s father had terminal cancer. She called me one day and said, “We need to move our wedding date up. Are you available on this day? We need to move it up a couple months because, basically, we don’t think he’ll make it to the wedding day.” Being a part of that experience — photographing that wedding, just the emotions, taking these pictures that we’re going to mean, I knew, so much — and realizing that across other work that I do, these photos are not something that’s so fleeting. I felt like the marketing was very cool and good money, but it all felt so fleeting to me.
What I was doing in photography, it felt just more tangible, and long term, and meaningful. After that wedding, of course, I’m crying behind the camera because there are all these really amazing, touching moments. Her father did end up passing away about a week before her original wedding day. It was just this amazing experience to have been a part of that. I knew how meaningful it was.
Then, I really got into saying, “OK. You know what?” — just looking at what I want out of life. Fortunately, at that point, I had the ability to choose. I didn’t have to just choose one or the other because I had to. I was financially in a good place to be able to pick what I wanted. At this point, my daughter was coming. She was born November 2013. Basically, into probably March 2014, that’s when I really made the switch over to focusing on photography. I have to say, it’s pretty awesome.
Photography, I live in Michigan. There are definitely projects that I do in the winter. I’ve done projects this winter, but the main focus is very much on the summer. So I am able to work in the summer mostly. Even then, put my daughter in daycare part time. I am working Saturdays because weddings happen Saturdays. They sometimes happen Sundays. The hours can be a little bit different, but I’m able to still work a lot less than I used to and still make a full-time salary. I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty much my dream come true. I’m pretty happy with it.
Jonny Nastor: That’s awesome. You’re one of these lifestyle entrepreneurs now?
Allie Siarto: I guess you could say that I suppose. Yeah. There are definitely days when it’s a lot of work, but the winter, sometimes I’m just like, “Wow, I feel like I should be …” I’ll focus on the business and growing creatively, just looking at the big picture. Sometimes, I’m like, “Oh, should I be working more right now?” I don’t have to. That’s just the way it is.
Jonny Nastor: It’s interesting, though, because I actually know someone, possibly two people, that I’ve known that have been photographers for weddings like you are, and they struggle with it. You have it set up that you make a full-time living in a short amount of time. Obviously, you’ve done something or you’ve figured something out about your business. Do you think you brought any of the say marketing or positioning of a brand into a market that you can use to, I guess, probably charge more money for your services, and not have to struggle, not have to try and keep jobs going all winter because you don’t make enough money in the summer?
Allie Siarto: Yeah.
Jonny Nastor: It’s interesting. It seems like such a struggling, hard business for people, and you’re just like, “This is awesome. This is great.” It’s brilliant.
Allie Siarto: Yeah. There are a lot of people in that position. I think it’s a couple of things. First of all, it didn’t happen overnight. I started the business in 2010, and the intention at that point was always just this side gig. It was always about the passion of it. It wasn’t about the money at all. Here we are in 2015. I’ve had a lot of years to grow the business. When I actually said, “OK. Loudpixel isn’t going to be my focus anymore,” I had already been in business for quite a few years. I think that that helped.
Every single — not every single — but most of the shoots that I do, I blog. I submit them to other popular blogs. I’ve been featured in print magazines. I’ve been featured in very well-known national blogs. Actually, now, in my market, when people search for wedding photographers in Lansing, I come up on top, so that helps a lot.
Jonny Nastor: That helps.
Allie Siarto: I get a lot of my clients from search. They’re just searching, so yeah, I think that my marketing background’s helped. When I blog a wedding, I’ll put it up in a blog post, and I will mention the name of the venue. Then I still get a ton of inquiries for Chicago for this one particular venue that I photographed a wedding at where my blog post just comes up at the top. People look at my pictures, and they’re like, “Well, OK,” like they’re just looking for pictures of what the venue looks like, and that’s how they find me.
Then, of course, when you’re doing it for a while, you build your client base, and they refer you to other people. So that helps too. I think that just keeping fresh content, blogging the weddings, coming up on search, that’s done a lot for me.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah. I think most people would leave their business at taking the photographs and getting them to the customer after that. You take it that whole step further, which has really created that network of, “Well, this job can now turn into two more jobs or three more jobs.” That’s brilliant.
Allie Siarto: Yeah. Absolutely. At one point, I actually decided to write a blog post, where I said something like, “The best places to do a photo-shoot in the Lansing area.” I basically posted samples from a whole bunch of different shoots that I had done, and I noted the place of everything. When people are looking for either like Googling, “Where do I do a photo-shoot in Lansing?” or they’re looking for those specific locations for pictures, they find me. Yeah. I get a shocking amount of traffic from search. That’s just been huge for me.
Jonny Nastor: Excellent. OK. We’re going to end with, near the beginning, you said how earlier on, you began to put your dreams out there and just tell people about them, and you found that they’ve worked for you. We’re early in a year. We’re coming up on your season for your business. Do you have any big dream of what you would want for your business this year?
Allie Siarto: Yeah. It’s been really fun to just continue to see it grow. I think it’s been this great organic growth. It’s been really fun lately has I’ve been submitting to more places to see the work recognized. I don’t know whether that helps me or not. Maybe that’s just an ego thing where I’m like, “They like me.” I think at the end of the day, it’s really about the clients. If my clients are happy, I am so thrilled. Taking beautiful pictures and creating these long-term memories that they have to take home with them.
I think the more clients that I can reach, the more fulfilment I get out of it. When I come home from a shoot or a wedding, and it’s gone really well, I’m giddy. I’m really giddy about it. Just continuing that and continuing to grow the business. Because of Loudpixel, I’ve been a part of networks that are people who are very much about dollar signs and growth, and I would always be asked — it was like measuring my success — I was being measured in how many employees I had, how much money we made, what our growth was year over year.
To be honest, I totally hated being asked those questions. Now, it’s cool that I can measure the fact that, “Yeah. I make good money in it, and I make a full-time salary, and I have a great lifestyle.” Really, it comes down to I’m really happy. To me, that’s what matters most. A lot of entrepreneurs will say, “Well, I’ll be happy when … ” Then they continue to strive for this next big thing and working their butts off.
You do need to do that. You have to put the time in, but you also have to realize, at some point, that you need to stop just looking at the future, and the goals, and you’ll be happy when. You have to realize what will make you happy now.
Jonny Nastor: That is a beautiful answer. I think you’re totally right. I guess that’s why I refer to you as a lifestyle entrepreneur. Not because it means you can travel with your laptop and all that stuff. You’re making your business make you happy. It has to go around your life and the life you want to live rather than just exactly like, “How many employees do you have? How much was growth this year? How much was all this?”
I think sometimes we get stuck in that where we think that we have to always play that game. Get more employees. Get new offices. Get all this. All of a sudden you just have this job in this company that now runs your life. You don’t actually control it anymore.
Allie Siarto: Yeah, yeah. I’ve met a lot of really successful entrepreneurs who look incredibly successful from a numbers standpoint, but when you really talk to them, they know there’s something missing. They’re not fully satisfied. I felt that way. I had a company that I would be speaking as this very successful young entrepreneur, and I was not quite satisfied with what I was doing. Now, I think I can really say, “Hey, I’m happy with this. This is what I want to be doing.”
Jonny Nastor: I love it. I love it. I love it. OK, Allie, we’ve got to talk in passing about your business. Can you specifically tell the listeners where they can find out about you?
Allie Siarto: Sure thing. You can find me at AllieSiarto.com and pretty much find all my other projects from there.
Jonny Nastor: Excellent. I will link to that in the show notes for everyone, so it’s very, very easy to find. Please go check out her blog and see what she’s doing. Maybe there’s something you can implement in your business to help it grow the way Allie has done.
Allie, thanks so much for your time. I truly, truly appreciate it. Please keep doing what you’re doing because it’s awesome to hear you being so happy in your business.
Allie Siarto: Thanks, Jon. Thanks for having me.
Jonny Nastor: My pleasure.
Thank you so much, Allie. That was a lot of fun. It was great talking to you. You sound so happy, and content, and not overworked anymore. I really liked that. I guess if I would have got to speak to you five or six years ago during Loudpixel still in its heyday, you would have been a lot more high-tension and, I guess, probably not quite as happy. It’s just great to see. It’s great to hear. Just thank you so much for the conversation.
Allie is a smart, smart lady. She’s done some amazing things. She has a very, very cool business. The kind of business that I really love and aspire to. The very lifestyle-based business where the business is for her lifestyle, not a business that totally takes over your life and you have no control over it. I really, really admire that.
Allie said a lot of smart things in our 25-minute conversation, didn’t she? She did. She said a lot of smart things, but she said that one thing. One thing. Did you get it? Did you hear it? Let’s do it. Let’s find the hack.
Allie Siarto: It doesn’t have to be necessarily a paid coach, but I think having someone — maybe just even another entrepreneur — having those mastermind groups, or support groups, or even just online sites like yours where people can talk back and forth, is really helpful for overcoming the biggest obstacles in running a business.
Jonny Nastor: And that’s the hack.
Yes, yes, yes, Allie, it is absolutely who you surround yourself with. It does not have to be paid coaches if you don’t have access to them. But you need to surround yourself with people that are ahead of you. People that, when you think of where you want to be in six months or in a year, these people need to be where you want to be or beyond that, and need to be able to pull you along and help you out with the mistakes they have made.
I’ve spoken many times about the power of masterminds and how valuable they are, how valuable they’ve been to me in this past year that I’ve been in one. About a month ago, I opened up HTE Insider. I opened it up as a free private group, and 64 people got in there in a couple hours after I emailed. It was amazing. It’s an amazing group that, every day, I get messages from people of just they’re being helped so much.
I am going to open up more spots in it. It’s completely free. You have to fill out a certain survey, and you have to get, I guess, accepted by me. After that, it’s free. It’s an amazing place where you can go help others and people can help you — anything you’re struggling with or just stuck on. It’s just such a valuable, valuable thing. Not just HTE Insiders, but all groups. It’s hard for people to find groups. I appreciate that, and I know that from my own experience that it is hard to find these groups. I absolutely agree with Allie that it is necessary and key to you moving forward and becoming successful.
If you want to get on to the email list, HTE.io will take you right to the landing page or HacktheEntrepreneur.com. Right at the top, you’ll see a place to put your email address in there. Get on that email list. That is where I announce when HTE Insiders opens back up.
I’ll probably let in another 25 or 50 people in the next go. I want to do it incrementally so that I can keep control of it and make sure that’s a super, super valuable place, and it’s not just a wide-open place where anybody can just come and go. I want people that want to be in there and want to give back as well as be helped along in their journey.
This has been a lot of fun. I want to thank Allie one more time, and I want to thank you for stopping by and spending the time with me. I truly, truly, truly do appreciate it. I know there are a ton of podcasts out there, but there’s only one Hack the Entrepreneur, right?
But seriously, I thank you so much. Please, until next time, keep hacking the entrepreneur.