The Pain Every Entrepreneur Feels and What To Do About It - with Cameron Herold

When you were in school did the idea of sitting still in class seem impossible? Did your teacher have to constantly remind you to be quiet and pay attention? If so, you were probably labeled as “disruptive.” If school was more recent for you, the term “ADD” may have even been used. Well, today’s guest wants to pin a new label on kids who don't always fit in.


Cameron Herold is the former COO of 1-800-Got-Junk; a company he grew from $2 million to $106 million in only six years. Today he runs where he coaches company CEO’s on the steps they can take to grow their business.

In this interview, Cameron goes deep. He describes, in detail, the common pain that nearly every entrepreneur feels, where it comes from and what to do about it. If you’re just starting your business there’s a lot in this for you.

In This Interview You'll Learn...

  • 4:20  What to do when you’ve hit a low point (ie: the pain)
  • 8:00  Why the badge of honor of working every hour is flawed and what the new badge should be
  • 23:00  How to hire superstars.
  • 28:19  What every CEO with a company earning less than $1 million should focus on
  • 32:00  Why you should create a Stop Doing List (just add it to your to do list : )
  • 34:33  Why growing a company quickly is not hard
  • 40:11  How to raise kids to be entrepreneurs


Show Notes

Podcast transcript:

Andy: All right. Welcome everyone. Today we’ve got
Cameron Herold with us and Cameron is one of the most sought
after business minds around. He’s the former COO of 1-800-GOTJUNK,
a company he grew from 2 million to a 106 million in only
six years without taking on any debt and without raising any money
which is incredible.
He also created a corporate culture that repeatedly landed the
company on the best places to work list in Canada. Today he runs where he walks CEOs through the process of
developing and implementing the systems that will increase their
revenue and profitability for their businesses.
He’s a bestselling author. He’s spoken in something like 25 different
countries giving keynotes and he mentors 14 different CEOs right
now. Better than anyone else I think he knows what it takes to
optimize and skill a business the right way. So Cameron, welcome
to the show.
Cameron: Great Andy. Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.
Andy: Yeah. I’m stoked to have you here. Cameron, we met
at … we were speaking at Yonex underground event together and I
was riveted by your talk because so few people are talking about the
emotions of entrepreneurship and a lot of people just have this
hustle, hustle, hustle mentality without really taking the time back to
… step back in honor of what we’re feeling on the ups and downs of
the rollercoaster. I’m really excited to talk with you about that. But
before we get into that tell me what you were doing when you were
20 years old.
Cameron: When I was 20 … I actually had my first operational
business when I was 20 years old. I had 12 full time employees and
I was painting houses. I got a franchise for a company called
College Pro Prainters. College Pro is the world’s largest residential
house painting company. They go from 60 head office people to
8,000 painters and use 60 million in revenue in four months and
they go back to 60 people. I actually had a franchise with them and
built my own painting franchise. Ran a franchise for three years
while I was in university and then I ended up joining their corporate
team and that’s really where I actually learned how to run
companies was College Pro. Twenty years old I had my first
business while I was in second university.
Andy: Twenty years old. I remember getting recruited by
College Pro Painters when I was in college. Yeah. I remember
sitting down and I didn’t do it.
Cameron: Yeah. I’ll tell you that some of the people that …
there’s some extraordinarily famous individuals who ran College
Pro Painters franchises. One of my favorite stories is I was a
reference for Elon Musk in his very first round of fundraising back
in 1995. Elon had just dropped out of Stanford and he and his
brother, Kimbal, who work for me at College Pro were starting a
business called Zip2 which they sold in 1997 or ‘98 for 305 million
cash to Compaq. But at the time Elon had no business experience at
all and they needed a reference to find out why to invest in Kimbal
and it was a group called Kleiner which at the time was a merchant
bank but it became Kleiner Perkins. I was actually a reference in
using all the College Pro Painter’s experience and why they should
invest in Elon Musk and Kimbal Musk and they gave them five
times more money than they were asking for.
Andy: Wow!
Cameron: College Pro has built some people.
Andy: They totally have. Are you familiar with South
Western Book Company as well?
Cameron: No.
Andy: I think they have a similar motto where they hire
college students and then they sell books door to door for a summer.
It’s such a cool training ground.
Cameron: Totally.
That’s where I actually learned about the entrepreneurial roller
coaster was at College Pro Painters. The CEO and founder, Greig
Clark, pulled me aside and he said, “Cameron, as a franchisee
you’re an entrepreneur and you’re going to have these periods of
crazy, high energy which is when people follow you. But you’re
going to have this crazy, stressful, depressing down periods. When
you need to unplug and go and wind surf and go and play golf and
not feel guilty because nobody is going to praise you when you’re
up here and nobody’s going to save you when you’re down here.
You need to understand your own emotional rollercoaster and enjoy
all the stages because you’re going to be riding it forever.” That’s
why I learned the concept that I had been since built out and I teach
all over the world now, the entrepreneurs.
Andy: Got it. I have like a whole format I was thinking
about following but … let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about that
because it can be really painful. I’ve felt like the highs and I’ve felt
the lows and … what do you do when you’re in a low or when
you’re at funk?
Cameron: First, let me talk about the pain.
Andy: Yes.
Cameron: Part of the pain … and this is what I did my Ted Talk
on. I have a talk that’s on about raising kids to be
entrepreneurs instead of lawyers. The talk went viral; it had almost 2
million views. The idea was that as a child, when I was in school,
teachers kept telling me to sit still and pay attention and why can’t I
be like everybody else and why can’t I focus? Why don’t I
concentrate? And why my energy is so high and why am I so down
and grumpy the next day? Why am I so high? Maybe I should be on
medication. Ten years old I’m thinking to myself, “I don’t have a
problem. You have a problem. You’re boring, you have no energy,
nobody cares what you’re saying. Everyone’s tuned out and they
want to buy my stuff.”
I realized at a young age that I didn’t have a medical problem, I was
just different. Since now working with CEOs all over the world
almost all entrepreneurial CEOs have Attention Deficit Disorder.
They almost all are bipolar. Bipolar disorder or manic depression is
nicknamed as the CEO disease by the medical community. Almost
all entrepreneurs are on the spectrum from Tourettes. So it’s not the
swearing part of Tourettes but it’s the thinking out loud component
and we’re all narcissists.
Well, if we were medicated for those things we become very crappy
entrepreneurs. The high periods, the energy periods are why people
follow us. The stressful depressing downs are just us being
completely drained of the energy that we had up here. The pain that
we feel is really a pain from society telling us there’s something
wrong with us. Telling us to be more like engineers and accountants
and doctors and dentist and teachers and politicians who are all
more stable; so they’re normal.
Andy: Yeah.
Cameron: They’re actually not normal, they’re just different.
Once you realize that as entrepreneurs: Richard Branson, Steve
Jobs, [inaudible 00:06:10] founders of Netscape Bill Gross, we’re
all clinically up and down this bipolar spectrum. There’s nothing
wrong with us and as soon as you accept the fact that, “Shit! Maybe
there’s nothing wrong, maybe I’m just an entrepreneur,” the pain
goes away.
I talk about the analogy of an iPhone. I don’t know anybody who
feels guilty plugging their iPhone in at night … to charger. Because
we know we can’t use it unless it’s well-charged.
Andy: Yeah.
Cameron: Why do we as entrepreneurs feel guilty about
unplugging for a weekend and not doing any work? It’s because
there’s some guilt that we need to release ourselves up and as soon
as you do, as soon as you say it’s okay to be stressed and depressed,
just like it’s okay to be manic, the pain is released.
Andy: That makes sense for me. Just accepting where
you’re at and not trying to fight it.
Cameron: Yeah.
Andy: We just did this big product launch last October and
then in December, in January I was just in this [inaudible 00:07:06]
for like six to eight weeks of just huge, huge launch and all this
cool, fun stuff happening and then everything breaks.
Cameron: Right. I talked to Yannik about that after his
underground seminars where we met that … I said as soon as his
underground is done the next day he’s going to be completely
burned out. He goes, “Yeah. But I go on vacation.” I just talked to
Jason the other day, he ran mastermind talks. Great event that he ran
and I said literally the last night “By the way, tomorrow morning
…” he goes “I’m going to burned out really” I’m like “Yeah, big
time.” He goes, “Good, I booked two weeks off.”
So, it’s just understanding that we can’t operate … an iPhone can’t
be at a 100% charged all the time. Release yourself with that. It’s
Andy: What about like this badge of honor that we as
entrepreneurs tend to have for working more hours. I feel like …
Cameron: We’re sick. We’re sick. See, we’re fucked up in
thinking that if we work hard people will like us more. We identify
ourselves with our brand but the reality is none of our friends give a
shit. See, our friends like us because we are who we are. The more
we work and the more we identify ourselves with our brand, the less
friends we end up with. You’ll see that with entrepreneurs that
haven’t quite figured it out yet. They start becoming very shallow
and using the excuse of “Well, this isn’t work for me because I love
what I do.” Well, we don’t talk to all of our friends about their work
so why do we assume that they want to hear about ours?
Andy: Yeah.
Cameron: We need to disconnect from that a little bit. That’s
kind of where that maniac and be dangerous. See, every stage of the
roller coaster is good and bad. It’s simply a stage. When you’re at
that first high period, kind of like going up the rollercoaster, the
theme park, you’re filled with energy and enthusiasm and optimism
and everything is really exciting, even though you don’t know
what’s coming yet. Its’ called the uninformed optimism.
Well, that uninformed optimism is a great stage to be at if you want
to talk to the media and do recruiting and do marketing and sales
and promotion; anything out really facing. But it’s a bad stage to be
doing any planning or buying decisions or hiring because you’re so
optimistic that you’re going to make mistakes. It’s like buying the
million dollar Super Bowl ad. And then you kind of go over the top
of the curve and you go, “Oh shit!” You kind of look down and go,
“Wow! This is a big steep roller coaster. I’m now informed
pessimism.” You have to kind of understand the stages that you’re
at and what should do and what not to do at each stage.
Andy: Those little [inaudible 00:09:28], I remember you
talking about this and I remember being like “Holy shit! This is
brilliant” about … to understand what stage you’re at and to honor
that and then to know that these are the types of activities you
should be doing. So first stage you should stay away from like
buying decisions or hiring because you’re so overly optimistic.
Cameron: Right. And the same part is if you’re stressed and
depressed … fuck! Just tell people. “You know what? I’m a little
stressed and depressed today.” It’s okay. You’re entrepreneurial
friends will actually understand which is why it’s really important to
get involved in mastermind groups or EO, the Entrepreneur’s
Organization or Young Presidents Organization or Vistage. Groups
where you can plug in and connect with entrepreneurs so that you
can all talk the same language because the rest of society thinks
we’re crazy. They don’t go through these highs and lows; they don’t
have the additional stress of having their house on the line.
I just talked to a guy today, a CEO that I’m coaching of a company
called Gongshow Gear and he was saying that he’s got this one
group of people that he feels so responsible for. That’s not normal
that someone feels so responsible for somebody else’s financial
situation in life. But as CEOs or entrepreneurs we have all these
extra pressure that we put on our selves.
Part of that badge of honor thing is it’s a disease that we have. We
need to let go of that dodge of honor of working hard and working
long hours. We need to work smarter. We need to try to strive for
more balance. We need to keep our exercise and that healthy mind
and the healthy body.
We also need to realize we will never get it all but … as
entrepreneurs, as soon as we get all the element done we’re going to
set new goals for our self. No one is going to delegate that to us.
Why try to work the 80-hour weeks to get it all done because the
reality is as soon as we get close to getting it done we’re going to
move the goals. It’s kind of like chasing the horizon. Are you going
to be happy when you get to the horizon? You can’t get there
because by the time you get close to it it moves again. We have to
let go of that badge of honor because it’s not a badge of honor.
Andy: Perfect. Especially for like friend circles because I’ve
been in like friend circles before where it’s like who’s working the
most or who’s working the hardest. It’s a game to the bottom; it’s
raise to the bottom.
Cameron: Absolute raise to the bottom. The real game circle
should be who’s doing the coolest stuff? Who’s learning the coolest
stuff? Who’s giving back the most? Who’s growing the people
around them? Who’s making the better connections … the real
connections, human connections with people?
One of my biggest badges of honor is I take awful way more free
time now than I did ten years ago. Like probably, close eight to ten
weeks a year of pure unworks, like no work at all. No laptop, no
iPhone, no business books, no business periodicals; I unplug. I go to
places with my friends or with my family.
Andy: I love that. Especially in like the friends are
[inaudible 00:12:22] … the work in hard things seems like just such
an ego driven desire. I like the idea of shifting the culture of your
friend group to be [inaudible 00:12:31] about that and focus more on
how much are you impacting others, how much are you going to
impact, how much time are you taking off. Who’s doing the cool
Cameron: It is ego driven. You watch the truly successful
people, they’re not sitting on Twitter and Facebook telling
everybody what they’re doing. They’re just out doing it. My brother
is not on Facebook telling people how his golf game is doing so
great and how he’s at the World’s for Long Drive. He’s just simply
at the World’s for Long Drive. He’s not telling anybody, he’s
actually out driving.
I think there’s something that we need to learn from that is that we
need to remain interested to remain interesting. And if we’re
interested in other things, if we’re truly plugged in to other things
we don’t need to be out there telling people what we’re doing, just
go do.
Andy: Just do it.
In your demeanor you seem very relaxed and very calm and just … I
don’t know. You have a very peaceful energy to you.
Cameron: Thank you.
I’m lucky I learned the concept years ago called unique ability and it
talks about literally looking at everything you do in your business
and getting rid of the stuff that you’re incompetent or competent at
and trying to read yourself with the stuff you’re excellent and
unique ability. Well, the excellent stuff is stuff you’re really, really
good at but you don’t love doing; you don’t get energy from doing.
So if you can get bad off your plate … so the only things you do are
the stuff you love doing, you’re really good at. The more you do it
the better you get. When people watch you they’re like, “Wow!
You’re good at this?” That’s what I’m doing.
When I talk to the media, when I do my coaching, when I do my
speaking, I would do it for free except my kids like to eat. Right?
That’s exactly where I am is I’m in that unique ability space, I’m
doing exactly what I’m meant to be doing. My [why 00:14:08], the
reason I wake up in the morning is I love helping entrepreneurs
make their dreams happen. That’s what I do.
Andy: Which unique ability? Is that Dan Sullivan stuff?
Cameron: It is. Yeah. I did three years of Dan Sullivan’s
program about ten years ago.
Andy: How was it?
Cameron: It’s solid. It’s solid for the right people at the right
time so I did the first two years of the normal program and then I did
a year of the master’s program. At the time I was running a $100
million business with 3,000 employees and I was trying to learn
how to become a better COO so it didn’t quite fit. But there were
stages of it that it absolutely fits. It just depends on where you are in
your need for growth personally and business wise. There’s some
really solid stuff in there for … certainly for entrepreneurial CEOs
there’s some solid programs.
Andy: Yeah. I’m blown away by his model. How he’s able
to keep it. People who are just starting in like low six figures all the
way up to people doing tens of millions of dollars and he has
something for everyone in between. It’s incredible.
Cameron: What’s interesting is exactly the same content. It’s the
identical content regardless of the revenue level.
Andy: Oh, no way.
Cameron: Oh yeah. He’s charging … I’ve known Dan since
1994. He’s charging the exact … completely different amount like
three to four times the amount but it’s the same system, it’s the same
modules. He just knows that you can make more off of it. If he can
help you … it’s like, if I’m coaching someone who’s a billionaire
and I get you 10% more value well you made a hundred million. If
I’m coaching a millionaire he’s only going to make a 100,000. Well,
guess what. If I make a 100,000 or 100 million I’m going to charge
accordingly. That’s all he’s doing. He’s charging accordingly.
Andy: Of really, really good marketing lesson right there.
Cameron: He’s putting like people together. If you got a
billionaire, he doesn’t want to be in a room with a millionaire
because the needs are different. He wants to learn from his peer
Andy: Totally. And there’s so much value in that. About
getting people together in person.
Cameron: Absolutely. Breaking … releasing. Nobody sits at the
table with their iPhones. We sit there with no laptops, no iPhones
and we have our little work plugs and we work. On our business, on
ourselves, just for the one day.
I actually met some really cool people on planes just seeing they
were working on strategy coach content. It’s one of the reasons why
I fly business class or first class is because I actually end up meeting
people who are in my circle. Right? If further back in the plane you
sit the least … or the less influential the people tend to be. You plug
yourself in with that group.
Andy: It’s funny. I’m in Bryan Franklin’s mastermind group
and he mentioned at one point, if you put a bunch of entrepreneurs
in a room together, the thing they naturally do is start helping each
Cameron: Right.
Andy: I find that really, really cool.
Cameron: We totally want to be. I met Bryan about four years
ago at Burning Man and we got into a discussion and within 15
minutes we’re about trying to help each other with our businesses.
Andy: Are you going to Burning Man this year?
Cameron: Absolutely.
Andy: Yeah?
Cameron: Year five. Yeah.
Andy: Where do [inaudible 00:17:01]? Or who you with
and …
Cameron: This year I’ll be at Spanky’s.
Andy: Nice. We’ll be in [inaudible 00:17:06]. Maybe we’ll
see you out there.
Cameron: I’ll be there. My wife and I will be there this year.
Andy: That’s awesome. Okay. Tell me when this shifted for
you. Because …
Cameron: When what shifted?
Andy: When you shifted … focusing more on taking time
off and not working so hard. Yet your story with Yannik was just
mind blowing.
Cameron: I have two periods. The first one was about 11 years
ago, I had somebody tapping on the shoulder in an elevator and say
“Are you okay?” I turned around to say yes and I collapsed on the
floor of the elevator in tears and I was clearly having a nervous
breakdown; I was stressed.
I went to the doctor about two weeks later for a normal routine
physical and the doctor said “What’s going on?” I’m like “Not
much. I’ve got this weird, kind of metallic taste at the back of my
neck but I’m not here for that, I’m just here for my normal
physical.” He goes, “Well, tell me about that back of your neck.” I
said, “I don’t know. It taste like I’m chewing on tinfoil or aluminum
foil. It’s just this weird kind of metallic-y taste.” He goes “What’s
going on?” I said “No, not much. I’ve quit my job and the company
that we sold for $64 million has just collapsed, it’s now only worth
$3 million. I bought a house and I got married six weeks ago and my
wife’s now pregnant and I’m moving from Seattle back to Canada
and my mom’s got terminal cancer, my wife’s quit her job but
everything’s pretty good actually.”
Anyway, I did this stress test and I was literally, clinically [red
lining 00:18:24]. If you got a 150 points on the test, you had a 50%
chance of heart attack. I had 435 out of 500 points. I was clinically
red lining and the chemical taste that I have in the back of my neck
was a chemical secretion that’s caused by stress.
That taught me that I needed to listen to and feel the feelings to feel
my body more. Fast forward about four years ago I started to
actually really work on some of the stuff I learned in the Dan
Sullivan program in about three days. I stopped reading business
books just for the sake of reading another book because it does two
things: it adds more to my list, it’s not necessarily focused and it
stresses me out because of all the stuff I should be doing. Now, what
I do is I read for fun.
Last night I was reading Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Chef. There was
nothing … nothing in there about business but it’s freaking cool, it’s
a great book. I sent Tim a note, I’ve known Tim for years. I sent him
a note last night, I said “You fucking killed it.” Like this book is
really … fun and interesting book. With no to-do is a no stress.
I started taking more time off and then I got married. Started dating
a woman about two years ago, got re-married and I’m absolutely in
love and I want to spend time with her. I want to spend time with
my kids. I want to spend time with her kids. I’m really engaged in
life and just super happy about it.
Andy: If you were talking to somebody who is going
through a really stressful period or they’re an entrepreneur that
works a lot and they like that side of that or they think they do.
When you talk about [inaudible 00:19:53] and feeling your body
more, feeling your feelings more, what are one or two things that
someone can do to start doing that?
Cameron: One that I learned was actually put your arms out like
this. If you kind of put your arms out and you reach out as if you’re
reaching for somebody, what does it feel like? It feels good, doesn’t
it? To be reaching.
Andy: Yeah. Like I’m stretching.
Cameron: Right. It’s kind of like I’m reaching for something
that I want. When you get them and you pull them in and you go
like this, what does it feel like? It’s warm.
Andy: Yeah.
Cameron: It’s comforting. It’s like this is a position we’re in the
By reaching out and asking for help, by reaching out and being
vulnerable, by reaching out and saying I’m scared or I’m stressed, it
actually feels wonderful when you pull your arms back and it feels
wonderful when you actually get the support. I think anybody who’s
going through a tough time, it’s just about being vulnerable. We’re
all people. We’ve all been there. No one’s having it worse than we
are. Hell, a lot of our problems are pretty much first world problems.
Andy: [Laughs] Truth.
Cameron: It’s just not so bad that if you reach out and ask for
help you’re probably going to get it and it feels pretty darn good
when you get it.
Andy: True.
Cameron: The other thing I think we have to realize is that we’re
all 13 year olds trapped in adult bodies.
Andy: What do you mean?
Cameron: You’re still your 13-year old self. You’re who you are
when you were 13, now you just look more like an adult. I’m who I
was at 13. I just look more like an adult. But I still have my same
[theories 00:21:14], my same insecurities. I also have my same joys
and my same passions. I loved to golf and loved to play tennis and
loved to hang out with friends and loved to eat when I was 13.
Jesus! Any wonder that those are the things that I love to do now. I
don’t need to find a new hobby, what I need to do is do the hobbies
that I like to do when I was a kid and when I reengage in that stuff
life’s pretty amazing. Work wasn’t a hobby at 13. It certainly
shouldn’t be when I’m 47.
Andy: Yeah. It’s so true. I tell you what … when I was 13
or 14 I started playing paintball and we started playing
competitively when I was 15, 16 and … about a month ago me and a
couple of friends went and played again and I felt like a kid. I was
like grinning from ear to ear. I was gleeful.
Cameron: Right. When you allow yourself to do that in the
middle of the day as entrepreneur, that’s the bonus drive by.
Because that’s when all of a sudden you go, “Oh, that’s why I’m
doing what I do. I disconnect whenever I want to and I can work
whenever I want to.
It’s okay to take time off in the middle of the day because we also
know we’re going to work at 11:00 at night when we’re inspired. Be
okay with taking time when you want to take time. Don’t feel like
you need to work just because it’s work hours. Otherwise you got a
pretty shitty boss and guess what? You’re the boss.
Andy: Yeah. Totally. You know what’s funny is after doing
that I come back more refreshed and more energized and more
excited about work.
Cameron: Yeah. I mentored a guy David Hauser who is the CEO
of a company called Grasshopper used to be
[inaudible 00:22:46]. David has a year pass to a Formula 1 go kart
course in Boston. He is a go karting addict. He would duck out of
work and tell his team that he’s off to go see the lawyer and then all
of a sudden he’s like “No, I’m not actually. I’m going go
karting.” [inaudible 00:23:03] was like, “Dude, that’s awesome
because we know that you’re working too hard anyway …” so they
were all of a sudden cheering him on by going, “Dude, go go kart.
We’ll take care of your business for you.”
That’s really empowering when the CEO can actually tell the truth
of unplugging in the middle of the day and the team will support
you because the reality is they don’t want you around that much
Andy: It’s so true. And it creates a culture where it’s okay
for other people to do that as well which I think is really cool.
Cameron: Yeah. It’s one thing to say work hard play hard, it’s
another thing to absolutely embrace it and [inaudible 00:23:32]
wants to be driven based on the results and the meritocracy. They
don’t want to be clock watched.
Andy: Yeah. Tell me a little bit more about hiring superstars
Cameron: I was just coaching some of this morning and that as
well is one A player replaces three Cs. You always want to go and
try for the absolute best.
In looking for A players you have to decide what is it over the next
two years of this person has to get done in their role? What’s the
real score card? Not a job description but if I was going to grade the
person on their role over the next two years, what’s the key stuff
they have to get done? And then do a job posting related to that and
interview and hire people who had done what you need them to do.
Not that they know how to do it.
There’s all kinds of people that had read lots of books and read lots
of blogs and gone to lots of business school but if they’ve never
done it, I don’t want them. I only want people who have done what I
need them to do and fit culturally. It’s not and/or and it’s not hire for
attitude and training for skills. It’s hire for attitude and improve in
skill base. That’s where your [inaudible 00:24:36] come from. At
that point you pay what you need to pay.
Andy: Yeah.
Cameron: See? The other thing with A players is don’t get them
sucked in to the reply all and CCs and meetings. Keep people focus
on the core stuff that they need to be doing and try to eliminate all
the destructions from their life. Keep people working on the critical
few things versus the important many things.
Andy: Let’s say … a lot of our audience is … they’re in the
startup phase where they’re either working on their business model
or trying to prove it or … Not at the point where they’re ready to
skill a lot. They might be hiring their first or second employee or so.
If you’re hiring your first person … that’s so important. How would
you go about that? What would you look for? What would you want
in the person?
Cameron: Yeah. If you’re hiring a first person for a small
entrepreneurial startup or a small entrepreneurial company, you’re
really looking for very much an entrepreneurial, well up your
sleeves, can-do kind of person who has that entrepreneurial mindset
that it’s okay to be going a 100 miles an hour this way and if we
decide to change this way they’re going fucking A, let’s go.
They can’t be so rigid and so red tape. You want people who are
very much about the outcome, not the process but understand that
it’s about putting systems in place but if we can get a quick win let’s
get the quick win. It’s about somebody who’s into bootstrapping,
who lights to cut corners and find favors and ask for deals. It’s that
kind of scrappy, jack of all trades, master of none.
Andy: Got it.
Cameron: But then ones you got this jack of all trades master of
none it’s about organizing your time and priorities, right? It’s about
focusing efforts. Yes you can get these great generalist but you need
to focus their efforts around core results.
Andy: Got it. Focus … saying he can do a lot of things but
he needs to be … like there’s one spot that’s his sweet spot or his
own that he needs to focus on [inaudible 00:26:28].
Cameron: Or there might be multiple ones and then we organize
them by quarter, by month, by week, by day so that we actually
focus the efforts of these individuals so they’re not so random.
Andy: Got it.
Cameron: Like a director of marketing knows they’re focusing
on marketing but if you’re hiring somebody in marketing as one of
their hats and sales is one of their hats and operation is one of their
hats, you need to have roles and goals for each of those hats that
they wear and that it helps support them to make sure that all that
stuff is getting done. Otherwise they tend to gravitate towards
something that they like which may not be the [substance 00:26:56]
getting the results.
Andy: Got it. So reading your book, I felt like the book was
for more establish businesses. Like people …
Cameron: Yeah, it supposed to be. Double Double was written
for entrepreneurial companies that tend to have revenues of a
million to 20 million. Really want to go to the hundred million to
half a billion in revenues. I actually coach a couple of CEOs that run
$400 million companies. When I coach small ones that they’re
running three, four million dollar companies.
The book there’s … there’s parts of the book that work well for the
home-based one person entrepreneurial company. Stuff around
focus, stuff around the painted picture, around [inaudible 00:27:37].
And then as you scale there’s other choppers to [root 00:27:40]. It’s
one of my big pet peeves is I don’t understand why an entrepreneur
reads an entire book when the reality is they should only be reading
a few chapters. I tell CEO should all read chapter one, two, three,
four, 12 and 17. One, two, three, four, 12 and 17. That’s all they
need to read.
Andy: That’s it.
Cameron: Yeah. They have to read those.
Andy: All CEOs no matter where they’re at.
Cameron: Yeah.
Andy: The book is for people, the one to $20 million
revenue point. For people that are below a million dollars in revenue
what should their focus be on?
Cameron: Well, read those six chapters. That’s for them.
Chapter one is around the painted picture. It’s around [inaudible
00:28:24] division and communicating division of what your
company looks like three years out so that all of your sub-trades,
any initial employees, your account, your lawyer, anybody. Your
customers they all know what you’re building. [And maybe it’s
about reverse engineering 00:28:39]. It’s about how to take that
vision to the future, how to reverse engineer [inaudible 00:28:44].
The next is around people, [inaudible 00:28:48]. So there’s
[inaudible 00:28:51] on that.
Andy: Let’s talk about the painted picture because I think
this is so important and not even … not just from a business
standpoint of painting the picture for your business but really
painting the picture of what your life looks to look like. I think this
is something everybody should be doing. Could you walk people
through the process?
Cameron: Sure. I learn the process from a high performance
sport psychologist who’s Olympic coach who work with athletes.
The idea is that it’s almost like you’re going to a time machine three
years out. So you travel three years out into the future, let’s say
December 31st 2015, and you look around and you describe
everything you see in your personal life. You describe your family,
your relationships, your health, your focus, your spirituality. You
describe everything into the detail. Without worrying about how you
made it happen but you’re describing that future state. That’s the
process of the painted picture. You got to end up with a three-year
or four page written document that clearly describes all aspects of
your business.
Then the way you use it is you start sharing that with everybody to
say this is where I’m going, this is what it looks like. Help me put
the plans in place to execute on those. Help hold me accountable to
this stuff. Help me learn about each of these things that my future
looks like.
Andy: Is there anything people generally forget when
they’re doing the painted picture or they don’t it clear enough or …
Cameron: Sometimes people we know too far and who try to do
five years out but it’s too far out. It gives you too many excuses.
Where they only go one year out but it’s too close to today, it
doesn’t inspire, there’s not enough change, there’s not enough
tension in making that stuff happen.
The second thing is people forget to actually put plans in place.
Vision without execution is hallucination. You can’t just have this
vision board or a painted picture or this … you got to do some shit.
You got to actually … the old Chinese proverb of talk doesn’t cook
rice. You actually have to do something with it.
Andy: Never heard of that before but I dig it.
Cameron: I have another one which is a shovel doesn’t dig a
Andy: Yeah.
Cameron: You grab a shovel and you want a hole then you got
to pick up the shovel and do something with it. Yes, you can have
this great vision but now you have to actually put the plan in place
to make it happen. It’s much like building a home. I’ve got a great
vision of what my home is going to look like, now I’m going to
create the blueprints and it create the engineering drawings then I’m
going to hire the people to start building the business, building a
house from the foundation up.
Andy: Got it.
Cameron: That’s how you build your life, it’s how you build
your business, it’s how you build everything.
Andy: I dig it.
Cameron: Chapter one of my book Double Double is available
for free as well. If any of your readers want it they can go to and get it for free.
Andy: Cool.
Let’s talk about … another thing that I really dug in the book which
is applicable to everyone I think is the idea of focus. And you talked
about creating a stop doing list.
Cameron: Yeah. So Jim Collins in the book Good to Great gave
the analogy of the stop doing list and the reality is that we’ve all got
to-do list but we never actually stop and take [inaudible 00:32:06]
and look at all the stuff we’re doing and decide which we actually
stop doing.
I had a period for about a year and a half where I was tracking all
these numbers in my business and then I realize I was like … first,
who the hell am I tracking it for because it’s just me. Secondly, I
wasn’t even looking at the data that I was tracking. All the time that
I was spending tracking stuff was pointless. Taking a look at what
you’re doing and why you’re really doing it.
The other idea around focus is that … it’s like light.
Andy: Real quick. Before you go into that, with the stuff
that you’re tracking like how important are metrics to you?
Cameron: Metrics are very important for the right things but not
for all things and not at all times. There’s certain data points now
that I realize that if I have a couple of key data points, those are the
only ones I need. Now I know what they are, I know how many
clients per month I need on average and I know how many speaking
events booked on the calendar I need. Those two metrics alone I can
estimate what my annual income will be for the next two years.
Andy: Wow! And so you just get rid of everything else and
just focus on those two key ones.
Cameron: Those two things. Right?
Andy: Got it.
Cameron: For any business it’s what are the critical few things
versus the important [inaudible 00:33:17]. Yes, we can track
everything but what are the key things we’re going to focus on?
What are the key … right? Part of focus is waking up every day and
not looking at your email first thing in the morning. You don’t even
know what’s there. It’s like running out to the mailbox to see what’s
there. It’s really about sitting down and saying “What are the top
five things I need to get done today?” Putting those five things in
order of their importance. “Which number one thing I need to do
today?” Start working on number one and work on it until it’s done.
Then start working on number two and maybe at 11:00 check your
email for the first time. But what’s the urgency to take care of all
these busy work? It makes no sense.
Everybody that I see out there is just busy, busy, busy, busy.
They’re busy because they have no focus. If you take lights and you
just put it out there you can light up a room. But if you focus light, if
you intensely focus it it becomes a laser and you can cut through
steel. The most highly effective individuals and highly effective
companies are the ones that are focused.
Andy: Got it.
Cameron: It’s not hard to double the [inaudible 00:34:22]. I built
the company and we grew by 100% growth, six consecutive years in
a row. Growing company quickly is not hard, focusing is hard. So
people don’t focus, they just end up being busy.
Andy: What do you do to keep your team focus? Like the
first step is you mastering the …
Cameron: I hire people who are focused.
They asked Herb Kelleher from Southwest Airlines like “How do
you get all your people to smile? How do you get all your people to
smile?” and he goes, “I hire smiley people.” If you hire people who
smile you don’t have to train them to smile. If you hire people who
are focused they focus. If you hire people who set goals all the time
they’re going to set goals at work. Hire people that wake up in the
morning and are … knocking to cover off the ball in their personal
Andy: Got it. They’re already doing it.
Cameron: And don’t compromise. As soon as you hire a few C
players then you’re starting to kill your culture. If you watch a group
of people who knock the cover off the ball and a group of C players
who sit around and smoke and drink and watch TV all day long and
you put them into a room together, they will naturally move away
from each other in the room because they have nothing in common.
Andy: Oh really?
Cameron: You go to a cocktail party and watch what happens.
[Inaudible 00:35:40] people and happy people hang out together and
the grumpy, negative people hang out together and at some point
they all moved away from each other in the room. It’s just a [log
00:35:47] magnetism. You either attract or polarize. Hire the people
that are the cultural people you want that focus, that drive, that
knock … cover off the ball with a goal orient and they’ll continue to
Andy: Got it.
Cameron: I was asked by Fortune magazine about ten years ago
how do I motivate employees. I said I don’t motivate employees. I
hire motivated people, I inspire them by showing the painted picture
of where we’re going and then I support them and help them in their
role. I get the heck out of their way.
Andy: Picture. This concept is so important. I really want
people to grasp. Can you tell a couple of stories of crazy things that
happened from you starting this painted picture? I remember you
had the wall of ideas that you talked about.
Cameron: Yeah. The can-you-imagine wall. We took the painted
picture and then we took aspects of it and put it up on our wall and
describe certain things that people could imagine in the future. One
that we put up was being on Oprah. Thirteen months later we were
on Oprah. This was back at the time when we only had about 35
franchisees and only had 25 head office employees but by
committing to it people thought about it every day, people pushed
on it every day, people connected with the Oprah show every day.
We kept pushing and talking and it happened.
I rode down to the wall having 1-800-GOT-JUNK the case study at
Harvard and about six months later a guy walked into our office and
he’s walking around and he said “Are you guys really serious about
this? I know the guy at Harvard that approves the case studies.” We
said yes. He did the introduction, we got approved and we’ve been
studied by the Harvard MBA program for the last six years.
It’s about this concept of conceive, believe and achieve. That if you
put the ideas up there people will buy into them and they’ll figure
out a way to make it happen.
Andy: Let’s talk about marketing. You … let’s see,
[inaudible 00:37:34]. Okay. I think you’re a really good marketer
especially going through all of the College Pro days where it’s just
straight up like hustle marketing. Where you’re knocking on doors,
you’re handing out fliers, you’re painting your car. What were some
of the biggest lessons you learned about marketing really early on
that have stuck with you?
Cameron: Yes, it’s interesting because a lot of the basic
principles of the hustle kind of marketing that you mention are
absolutely applicable even if you’re a billion dollar company. It’s
about focused marketing. We hustled but we pick small geographic
territories that we would get to know every men, women and child
in that zip code. We chose parts of the zip codes and we would
hyper focus on it. We would hit them with three fliers and three door
knockers and three mailing pieces and we would knock on their
doors. We weren’t trying to market to everybody, we were picking.
People can sit down and go “Well, I’m using Twitter for my
marketing.” It’s fucking stupid. Unless you’re actually building
relationships with specific people who are actually going to do
something, it’s just way too random. If you’re doing Facebook ads,
well, unless you’re geo targeting and you’re using profiling and
you’re targeting certain groups, it’s pointless. If you’re not doing
any remarketing, it’s pointless. I have everybody who comes … I’ve
been doing remarketing with [AdWell 00:38:51] and Google
AdWords for three years so that everybody that comes to my
website all the sudden see these banner ads, along these other
websites they go to. It’s effective. So if you’re not focusing your
marketing it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. If you’re not
focusing your message, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing.
I also realized early on that it’s not about having yet another new
piece of creative. The reality is none of your prospects are sick of
your marketing material. They haven’t really even seen it. You’re
sick of it because you see it around your office every day but your
clients need to see … it’s something called the Rule of 27 that it
takes nine impressions for the person to buy but they only see one at
every three impressions that you try to get [from the C 00:39:33].
Reality is you need to hit them 27 times so that they see nine of
them and they act based on one of those nine.
Andy: Wow! It’s awesome here in your marketing stories. I
think a lot of people were just getting started with stuff, they really
struggle with that and so it’s cool. It’s cool to hear all of those.
Before we wrap up let’s talk about your Ted Talk and how we
should educate children moving forward. Yeah, go ahead.
Cameron: Something I’m really passionate about, I’d love all
you viewers to go on to the site and look up Raising Kids to
be Entrepreneurs. Watch the talk and then rate it, comment on it,
share it with their friends on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s an
idea that I’m very passionate about. The idea is that at a very young
age entrepreneurs are picked on and discriminated and bullied not
by other kids but by the teachers and by the school system. We’re
told to sit still and pay attention and not collaborate and not look for
shortcuts and there’s only one right answer and to stop selling stuff
to the other kids and why can’t we just be like everybody else. Well
we’re not like everybody else and we don’t need to be put on
[inaudible 00:40:51] at all. We’re not supposed to be focused. We’re
supposed to be looking at everything because that’s what makes us
strong as an entrepreneur.
What I want people to understand is to identify entrepreneurial traits
in children. Find these kids who are hardwired to be entrepreneurs
and instead of medicating them let’s actually help them get better at
that. Let’s give them a place in the school to run their little
businesses. Let’s let them pay rent to the school. Let’s let them pay
a percentage of the revenue as rent. Let’s have them teach other kids
how companies work. Let’s actually inspire them to not sit still.
Let’s allow them to collaborate in groups. The reality is it’s not
about memorizing an answer in a text book because that’s not how
we use Google. It’s about how to quickly access the information to
come together with something that’s good enough versus perfection.
If we can identify these entrepreneurial traits and show kids that,
you know what, being an entrepreneur and making profit is a cool
thing and don’t give all of your profit to charity. Build businesses,
create jobs, build more businesses, create jobs and then give money
to the charity. But profit isn’t a bad thing.
Andy: So important for people listening. I watched your Ted
Talk a while ago before we ever met and it just blew me away.
Honestly I believe that entrepreneurs are people who will save the
world at some level because they are the people who are providing
Cameron: We don’t need more government, we don’t need more
government paid jobs, we don’t need more government pensions
and we certainly don’t need more lawyers. What we do need are
entrepreneurs to take their ideas and allow them to actually grow. If
we can inspire these kids, many of whom have entrepreneurial traits.
Yeah, some should be engineers, some should be doctors, some
should be nurses but hell! Being an entrepreneur is cool and we
need teachers to say entrepreneurship is just as good as all the other
careers we tell you about.
Andy: Absolutely.
Cameron: We need people to realize that if someone’s hyper
focused and linear they might be good as a Mathematician. But if
somebody is scattered and up and down and selling stuff, jeez, they
might be an entrepreneur and that’s freaking cool.
Andy: Totally. Real quick, can you give me a couple of
examples of how you’re raising your kids with this philosophy?
Yeah, what skills are you trying to instill in them and teach them?
Cameron: Yeah. I’ll give you a couple of good ones. First one is
that allowances are really a stupid idea. An allowance, to pay a kid
five bucks every week to hear the same things, teaches them how to
expect to get a regular paycheck every week and do the minimum
amount of work to get that money and you end up having to nag
them all the time to do the stuff. What I like to do is say to my kids
there’s no allowance but there’s all kind of stuff that needs to get
done around the house.
If you come to me and say “Hey dad, the garbage needs to be taken
out. I’ll take it out for a buck.” We’ll negotiate. I might give you 50
cents or maybe you say two bucks and you get me down to a dollar.
You can swap the opportunities and negotiate for it. You can make
as much money around here as you want.
However, if you don’t notice the garbage needs to be taken out and I
delegate it to you, you’re just doing it for free because that’s part of
being in the household. But if you spot opportunities, want to make
money, negotiate for those things, there’s as much opportunity out
there as you want. And that’s like the real world. There’s an
opportunity to make money if you look for it and teaching kids to
negotiate is actually a great entrepreneurial skill as well.
Andy: Wow! That’s incredible. I feel like we should be
teaching high school students, college students at exact same motto.
Cameron: The problem with business school and university is
being taught by professors who have never actually started their
own company.
Andy: Totally. Totally. I remember taking entrepreneurial
classes and like they had no basis and the action that you took it was
just like “Did you pass the test?” It’s just like the complete opposite
of what they should be teaching.
Cameron: I remember that in first year university when I had …
or second university I had 12 employees and my teacher is talking
about organizational behavior about interviewing and recruiting and
hiring and I put my hand up and I said have you actually ever
interviewed anyone or hired them? The professor said “No, but have
you?” I wasn’t trying to be rude, I was trying to understand if what
he was talking about was exactly what I just read in the text book
last night. Or have you actually done it? I said “Yeah. I actually
have 12 employees of my own. I interviewed and hired all them.”
and the whole class turned to listen to me. That was when I realized
that there was value in experience, not just in the theory.
Andy: So true man.
Wrapping up. I just want to recap a couple of things., the first chapter of it is available online
for free. Check that out. is where you can check
out Cameron’s blog, learn more about him. The Ted Talk … what
was raising entrepreneur is? Is that the title?
Cameron: Raising Kids as Entrepreneurs.
Andy: Raising Kids as Entrepreneurs. Honestly … everyone
listening, this is an incredible talk on Ted. It was one of the few that
was featured for their main website, is that right?
Cameron: Yeah. It was on the homepage for a couple of weeks.
Andy: Yeah. Out of hundreds and thousands of people that
have given the Ted Talks, this one was featured because it was so
incredibly valuable. Cameron, anything else before we get out of
Cameron: No, that’d be great. Ted Talk is actually one of the top
200 all time watched Ted Talks of … for anyone in the world. You
either love it or you hate it. If you’re on the entrepreneurial side you
love it and if you’re kind of more social or you’re a teacher you
think I’m the anti-Christ. So go at it, argue with [inaudible 00:46:12]
online, show your comments. Love to see it.
Andy: Which is an incredible last marketing lesson to leave
you with is that.
Cameron: [Inaudible 00:46:20].
Andy: Yeah. Polarizing.
Awesome man. Well, thank you so much for coming on. It’s been
incredible chatting with you.
Cameron: You’re welcome Andy. Thanks very much. Send me a
link to this when it goes live. Love to see it.
Andy: I will. Thanks Cam.
Cameron: Bye.