What does it mean to be an Entrepreneur? Is it about making a lot of money or is having control? In this episode of the Aww Shift Podcast, our guest is Cameron Herold. He is the founder of the COO Alliance, the host of Second in Command Podcast, Businessman, and author of Double Double, Meetings Suck, Free PR & Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs. Today, he talks about what it means to be an entrepreneur, the COO Alliance, being a leader, and what you should do to reach your goals and be successful in your entrepreneurial journey.
[7:08] Investing in conferences, events, and meeting Eben Pagan
When I met Eben Pagan, he said that he invests in attending conferences and mastermind events. He said that if he spent $20 going to events, he’ll leave with $200,000 worth of ideas and that was interesting for me so I started saying yes in going to events.
[7:53] Every time I go, I can quantify the ideas that I’ve taken and put them in place and run with so that concept of meeting Eben was a huge shift in my business for sure.
[9:18] What is the game-changer that people like you do with those ideas that people who aren’t successful don’t?
I keep a list in my pocket and I’ll go back to do what I have to do and that’s been very powerful for me. The second part is whenever I leave a conference, I take all of my notes and summarize them into 10 takeaways then put them into a Word document with all my other conferences and I revisit it every month or two to look at which ones have I gotten done and which ones can I put into my plan.
[10:30] The CEO Disease
Most entrepreneurs are on the spectrum for bipolar and the medical community has nicknamed bipolar disorder as the CEO disease. I wanted people to understand that we’re on this bipolar curve because it’s part of our DNA.
[11:41] The entrepreneurial rollercoaster never ends. You become more aware of it but you have the highs and lows, you have the mania, you have the crazy depression, you have the stress, it never ends. But we become more cognizant of our highs and lows. We try to either flatten the curve a little bit or just enjoy the roller coaster ride and call it what it is.
[12:26] Why being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone
Most people should not be entrepreneurs. 3% of the population should be entrepreneurs, 97% should work for people, and only 3% of the population is bipolar so there’s a correlation in there. The mania is why people follow and join us. It’s why they quit their job and invest.
[13:05] I think most people shouldn’t be an entrepreneur. I think you could be entrepreneurial. But most people don’t have the DNA for it and they don’t necessarily have the skills for it and it’s okay. I think you need to be more entrepreneurial, like don’t rely on a paycheck. But I think not everybody should run their own company at all.
[14:51] Entrepreneurial Journey
I was groomed as an entrepreneur because I came from a family of entrepreneurs and now, my siblings and I each own our own companies. We were groomed to be entrepreneurial but what’s interesting for us as entrepreneurs, we were told to push to be an entrepreneur to have control of our time.
[15:25] I have a lot of control over my free time and I make a lot of money as well. I understand that for me, the entrepreneurial journey is controlling my time. A lot of people get into entrepreneurship to make a lot of money and they miss the whole point.
[16:14] What should people know for them to handle the Entrepreneurial Rollercoaster?
Remember that we don’t have to be the smartest person in the room. The school system taught us to be the smartest person in the room but not in business. In business, you have to know where the A students are and hire them. You don’t have to be the smartest person and you don’t have to be the one to solve everything.
[16:42] Stay focused. We can get very distracted with the new idea, the new marketing strategy, or the new plan but you have to set our course and really drive towards it.
[18:05] Ego among successful entrepreneurs
When I got to a TED conference where Bill Gates and Michael Dell is in the audience. You realize these are like normal guys without that ego. They might get a little bit of confidence but they’re there to learn and to connect. They’re not there to be showy or to flex, they’re all just paying attention and learning and connecting.
[19:30] Where do you see the world of entrepreneurship going in the future?
We have freelancers who have the gig economy. Maybe they used to be a copywriter and now they have a copywriting business. Maybe they don’t really have employees yet. They’re more entrepreneurial and they’ve got a lot of different clients paying for their skills.
[19:50] You become a real entrepreneur when you’ve hired some people and you’re replicating yourself. You have other people driving it forward, driving revenue, and running the business and to the next layer of entrepreneurship where you build a management team, you can almost replace yourself. So you can still be a very successful, balanced, and heart-centered entrepreneur running a 1000 person 10,000 person company.
[20:40] What are you building now?
I’m building the only network of its kind in the world. There’s a lot of organizations for entrepreneurs, engineers, lawyers but there was never an organization that was just for the COO. So I started a group called the COO Alliance and we have a full monthly online community. Then we have optional in-person events that we run once a quarter and we’ve got members from six countries all over the world.
[21:28] What’s the future of the COO Alliance for you?
I’m building it just because I enjoy it and it was in need. I played the COO role three times so I’ve been in that role and I saw it and went for it. So just continuing to do that and continuing to do my speaking and writing books and continue to be a thought leader.
[22:07] What are the thoughts you’re leading with?
I coached and worked with famous and successful people on building world-class cultures, and kind of giving them the cheat sheets to build great brands.
[23:00] What are the things we should teach to single entrepreneurs who still need to grow their culture and brand?
Start with a vision of what you’re building. Articulate and clarify what that vivid vision looks like.
[23:30] Stick to your knitting. Decide what it is you’re really good at and stay in that zone. Don’t get distracted and just stick with what you’re good at and what you can excel in.
[24:46] How do you stop the distractions?
First is your vivid vision. The second is knowing your core purpose. The third is your audacious goal which is your driving force. And then your core values. As long as you’re obsessive about your core values, that helps you make decisions so those are probably the good filters.
[25:56] The Jigsaw Puzzle
I see every business like a jigsaw puzzle and the four corners of your jigsaw puzzle are your vivid vision, your beehive, your core values, and your core purpose. The size of the jigsaw puzzle is your people’s systems, strategic thinking, meeting rhythms, and financial systems, and so the culture comes from there. That’s how I approach every business.
[27:05] What are the things you’re most proud of outside of business?
I want my kids to say that “my dad spends time with his friends, goes on recreational activities, he takes us on holidays, he loves to travel, and he’s a speaker and author”. If somebody asks them what their dad does, I want them to start with my hobbies and my passions, not with what I do to make money. That’s been a really big focus point or shift for me.
[28:18] None of this actually matters. This is just what we do to make money but we’re all going to die. Whatever your business is or my business is, when we’re dead, none of this matters anymore so we may as well have fun along the way, connect with good people, and build stuff we’re passionate about.
[29:27] What promise did God make to the world when He created you?
I think that I was just going to be a good guy. Like at the end of the day I am just created to be a good guy. I really care about people. I care about my family and my friends.
[20:21-20:24] “People have to decide what it is they’re doing and why they’re doing it.”
[26:48-26:51] “When the foundation is strong, then you can scale.”