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Wall Street Investment Banker → Entrepreneur & Startup Consultant. “Top 10 Entrepreneurs of 2020” Yahoo Finance. CEO of Beta Bowl. Mom of 3 furbabies ❤

Just another day in my dog’s shadow…working hard to afford her extravagant lifestyle. I also work with startups, when she lets me.

Picture of me, my dog Esmeralda, and Laguna Beach
Picture of me, my dog Esmeralda, and Laguna Beach

If you don’t like dogs, startups, coastlines, and a healthy dose of sarcasm, I may not be your cup of salted almond milk cold foam iced coffee with 9 pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup, 7 packets of salt, and 2 Splenda (Starbucks baristas, you are the real MVPs).

My life in a pistachio shell:

I was born on the East coast but always identified with the West coast. …

This formula is proof you can launch a business for under $1,000.

I’ve built companies for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and I’ve built companies for hundreds of dollars. I’ve also lost hundreds of thousands of dollars (typically on those more expensive-to-build companies), and I’ve made hundreds of thousands on companies with an initial investment of under a thousand.

I’m living proof that there is not necessarily a positive correlation between the amount of money you put into a company and the subsequent success (sales, profit, growth, etc.) that company can go on to achieve.

I’m also living proof that every dollar you spend is not equal. …

A few considerations before you accept venture capital (or any other type of funding).

man holding money
man holding money

A few years ago I received an email out of the blue that really took me by surprise.

I was at least a couple of years into my startup journey (also known as, living in a dingy 400 square foot studio apartment and trying to stretch my savings as long as possible, while attempting to build a business in a vacuum).

These were the early days. We were making money, but we were also spending money — and we were spending more per month (on the business) than we were bringing in. Also known as not being profitable.

However, there…

What I learned in my first startup failure and how you can determine if and when to cut your losses.

Let’s be honest: I know why you’re here.

You’re excited to hear another startup failure story from someone whose dreams have crashed and burned before them, even better to hear it was all their fault (what a poor, pathetic loser of an entrepreneur they must be), and you can’t wait to use this example as an excuse to justify your own entrepreneurial self-doubt or shortcomings.

Don’t worry; I meant what I said in the title, and I will deliver.

I’ll even offer some helpful takeaways that you may be able to apply to your own current startup or other future…

How a boy named Esmeralda changed my life. A love story for those who don’t believe in love.

dog face
dog face

Let me preface this with the fact that I’m not a very emotional person.

I don’t open up quickly or easily and I have an auto-cringe response to most anything mushy or gushy hurled my way. I like to keep my friends, enemies, and pretty much all humans a good six to ten emotional feet away from me on a fairly regular basis.

On top of my lack of emotional availability, I’ve also never felt very maternal. I see babies kind of like I see socks. They’re (sometimes) cute? They’re cool. I guess…

Do you see where I’m going with this? The fact that I could even write that last paragraph and admit it…

What they deem “slow-moving inventory”, the rest of us call utter failure.

tax and accounting papers for a failed company
tax and accounting papers for a failed company

It was 3 am on a Thursday before the most important Friday of my life — and I could not sleep. Tomorrow morning would mark the product launch of a lifetime and my company’s first very public debut. It was made far more public due to the world-famous “celebrities” with whom we were partnered — partners who were sure to bring in hundreds of thousands of lightning-fast sales and millions more in ongoing traffic.

We paid our tech team an extra $1k/day to remain on standby throughout the launch, in case traffic threatened the site or unforeseen glitches stood in…

Maybe the customer isn’t always right… but at least they’ll add a bit of color to your inbox

Bearded man making a funny face
Bearded man making a funny face

When you enter the world of business — be that through running your own entrepreneurial venture or working for an employer — you’re bound to encounter a wide array of diverse characters and unique personalities. Typically, when we prepare to coexist with these varied personalities, we envision them as our colleagues, bosses, subordinates, investors, and maybe partners.

What we fail to prepare for, however, is how to deal with unexpected responses from erratic, fickle, confrontational, aggressive, and downright incorrect customers or prospects.

As someone who’s built and currently runs multiple companies that market to and boast customers all over the…

We entrepreneurs can’t stand those guys either.

an influencer entrepreneur working from a rooftop
an influencer entrepreneur working from a rooftop

The view from my penthouse rooftop is a miraculous one, stretching from the downtown highrises on one side to the glistening ocean on the other. That view is only sweetened by the constant payment notifications that vibrate in my pocket. Another $100,000 client deposit — of course.

My morning routine dictates that I snap a picture of this view, throw on a filter, screen-shot that $100k payment notification for the braggadocious social post, and go pose alongside my holographic chrome-wrapped Lamborghini as I ruminate over how best to spend this latest cash inflow.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned Lamborghini poser declined to…

A business degree, Wall Street background, and prior startup experience couldn’t save me from these grave mistakes.

startup ceo planning and failing
startup ceo planning and failing

I knew something was wrong when I couldn’t get out of bed until 9, then 10, then 11 am. I had spent the prior years working 80 to 100-hour weeks in high-pressure investment banking jobs pitching and selling $100M companies, so running on minimal sleep should have been a habit by now. I should have been a pro. I also should have been a pro at understanding and building financial models, pitch decks, and successful businesses, with the added help of an entrepreneurship and finance degree from a top ten business school.

Yet here I was, wiring out my life…

Going it broke and alone might seem like a bizarre strategy, but it can yield some surprising payoffs.

startup founder all alone in a room
startup founder all alone in a room

If you want to build a company, the first two things you need — besides an idea, of course — seem obvious: capital (to fund the idea) and a team (to execute the idea). Anything else you’ll need should be achieved through the deployment of those two assets.

At least, that’s the idea society and much of the startup-focused media perpetuate. …

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