EP 01 - Steve Simonson – Host Steve Simonson Explains What an Awesomer is in this First Episode

Steve Simonson is a lifetime entrepreneur having founded, purchased, built, and sold numerous companies over the past 3 decades.

Along the way Steve’s companies have been publicly recognized with three consecutive years on the Inc. 500 list, multiple listings on the Internet Retailer Top 500, Washington State Fastest Growing Business as well as a number of other company accolades. Steve was also a finalist in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

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Steve brings his deep expertise as a leader and operator at many companies which he has taken to from start-up to exit.

What does Steve do today?

His company operations today are managed through his holding company: SYMOGLOBAL.com and his FREE entrepreneurial support site: www.awesomers.com as well as the exclusive mastermind group www.Catalyst88.com.


Short term, Steve’s focus will be on two newer entrepreneurial focused startups. Parsimony.com is a complete ERP system for e-commerce entrepreneurs. The new Empowery eCommerce Cooperative is a member owed COOP designed to help members gain access to products, services, and a community they need while banding together to save money. www.empowery.com

Steve is especially passionate about entrepreneurship and is inspired by the great Zig Ziglar quote: “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”


Welcome to the very first Awesomer podcast where we bring you quality, actionable and inspiring content to help you on your Awesomer journey.

In our first episode, we’ll hear it from the man himself, Steve Simonson. Steve is a successful serial entrepreneur who firmly believes in the philosophy of paying it forward. He has over 30 years of entrepreneurial experience and will share with us amazing words of wisdom including:

  • Why equity over the long run is the most important strategic indicator that your strategy is working.

  • Understanding your personal whys and its importance in mapping your chart towards the course to success.

  • His personal Zig Ziglar mantra, “You can have everything you want in your life if you will just help enough other people get what they want in their life.” and the story behind it.

  • And his core philosophy about entrepreneurship, the differences between Awesomers and Normies and the different paradigms that sets them apart

Join us on our Awesomer journey and learn how you too can live a life of abundance, gratitude, and positivity!

Welcome to the Awesomers.com podcast. If you love to learn and if you're motivated to expand your mind and heck if you desire to break through those traditional paradigms and find your own version of success, you are in the right place. Awesomers around the world are on a journey to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. We believe in paying it forward and we fundamentally try to live up to the great Zig Ziglar quote where he said, "You can have everything in your life you want if you help enough other people get what they want." It doesn't matter where you came from. It only matters where you're going. My name is Steve Simonson and I hope that you will join me on this Awesomer journey.


If you're launching a new product manufactured in China, you will need professional high-resolution Amazon ready photographs. Because Symo Global has a team of professionals in China, you will oftentimes receive your listing photographs before your product even leaves the country.  This streamlined process will save you the time money and energy needed to concentrate on marketing and other creative content strategies before your item is in stock and ready for sale. Visit Symo Global to learn more. Because a picture should be worth one thousand keywords. You're listening to the Awesomers podcast.

Steve: You're listening to the Awesomers podcast. Welcome on Awesomers. This is a very first podcast for the awesomers.com brand new podcast and you're going to be able to find all the show notes and episode details at awesomers.com/1 that's awesomers.com/1 for all the particulars on this very first Awesomers podcast. Today we're going to talk about my own definition of what exactly an Awesomers is shortly but first I want to tell you about my vision for this podcast. Again my name is Steve Simonson. I'm thrilled you're joining me for what I hope to be an exciting adventure. I'm not ashamed to say that I'm a little nervous if this podcast will be well received or not. I don't know if anybody will listen but I'm going to record it too just the same. I'm going to focus on my entrepreneurial lessons in part because it's my field of experience and not just experience in a theoretical sense, but you know tangible real life experience and I'm going to tell you a little bit about my story here in a minute. Of almost 30 years in business. This is my 30th year in business just starting now. So most of what I focus on will be things that entrepreneurs go through especially related to the e-commerce world because that's the world I know best but Awesomers existed in every part of life. For those that are building a business, my primary mission is to deliver content that will help you drive equity into your business. Equity over the long run is the most important strategic indicator that your strategy is working. And by building equity that's something that is an asset over the long haul. So let me tell you about an Awesomer that's not necessarily an entrepreneur. It's one of my favorite stories that I think is indicative of what the Awesomer spirit is all about. So I think it was in 1961,  John F Kennedy was visiting the NASA headquarters for the very first time. This is after announcing you know put a man on the moon initiative and getting out there and really you know throwing down the gauntlet. So he's down there at NASA and he just he's touring the facility and sees a janitor who's really just mopping the heck out of a floor and he goes over and he introduces himself and he says, “I see you're putting a lot of effort in here. What exactly are you doing?” The janitor says very clearly to the president, “I'm helping put a man on the moon.” That janitor got it in every possible way he understood the vision. He knew that he had purpose himself in what he was doing and he was willing to play his part in it. What’s refreshing my memory on the JFK story I wondered if you've ever heard of this other story which is about the Christopher Wren who was a great English architect and this is a pretty famous story so even if you don't know his name you might have heard this. He went up one day to the guys in London who were building the St. Paul's Cathedral in London obviously and he says, “Hey what are you guys doing?” to one workman and the workman says, “Hey I'm cutting a piece of stone.” He went out to ask the same question of another man who says, “I'm earning five shillings and two pence a day.” That's the question of what are you doing. That one guy's there to cut a piece of stone the other guy's there to earn a pence or two even a shilling. Then the third man asked the same question, “Hey what are you doing?” and the third guy says ”I'm helping Sir Christopher Wren build a beautiful Cathedral.” The point is that Awesomer had the vision. He understood what he was doing, he understood beyond the physical part of cutting the stone, beyond the tangible part of earning a living wage, you know to put food on the table. I think that's the important definition of how an Awesomers transcends from the world of normie into Awesomers. Now you will hear that I talk often about entrepreneurs again, that's the world I come from but Awesomers are not just found in the world of entrepreneurs. They're found in every possible concept. I just gave you an example of a janitor and a stone cutter and every other trade will have awesomers within it. We'll talk a little bit more about you know how people are able to kind of elevate themselves beyond the normal and break the standard paradigms that hold so many normies back.

You're also going to hear me talk about my personal why but more importantly your personal why and how you should get it and why these indicators of you know once you understand your why, you’ll be able to help you map your chart you know or map your way to your ultimate destination whatever those objectives are but it's most often oriented towards living a fulfilling life and that is to find however you want it to be defined. So our mission is to share different episodes and episode types with our fellow Awesomers around the world so they can become empowered to take control of their own lives and whatever way makes the most sense for each of you. Maybe that means you'll grow a business you already have. Maybe that means you'll start a business maybe it means, you'll be digital nomads and just do gig work while you travel the world. Maybe it means you'll find some other path towards fulfillment that will lead to your own happiness. The possibilities literally are endless and the only thing limiting you is your own imagination. So here's the big news we're going to deliver an episode every single day that's seven days a week. Man, I must be insane. Honestly, it's a huge undertaking and I'm committing personally to bringing you an episode every day for at least the next 180 days, that's six months. So you know whether or not anybody listens. That's my commitment and that means we're going to set a milestone as I would recommend anybody when you decide to enter a project you need some milestones to decide if you're going to be successful or not. You define that for yourself and in my case I've said that by the end of that six months we need to have at least 6,000 subscribers by the end of that hundred eighty days. That will you know give me a sense that what we're doing is worthwhile. So it seems like a lot of subscribers when you start out with zero but any goal is achievable if we work together and that means for those Awesomers out there listening, if you enjoy what you hear go ahead and share this. Don't forget to maybe leave a review or help in any way that you can really ultimately telling somebody else that you enjoyed this and sharing it with them is probably the ultimate in a pay it forward attitude. So we'll talk probably each month about our goal and whether we've hit or missed our milestones and between myself and my resources all the team that are helping put together these episodes and producing from the pre-production side, the post-production side and the actual production side were delivering this at every single day at no cost to you. In exchange we hope that we can just count on your support for sharing, leaving a review and even supporting the sponsors of the show which we'll talk about a little bit more. I do want to say in terms of full disclosure I am not a broadcast expert. I'm not a professional orator and certainly, I'm no sound engineer so my number one goal as I've listened to other podcasts it makes you qualified just as well. I don't really know what goes on behind the scenes but I know that these are just problems that will be solved and my team and all the capable people around me I know that they'll help bring their expertise to you know podcast and help us get this get this job done. Now I have some experience, really the business and problem-solving and things like that which I'll share but regardless of how we start I want to assure you that it will get better as we go the team I brought together will help us deliver quality, actionable and inspiring content for you every single day there's going to be multiple nuggets every day for you and I can imagine a year from now everything will be better. In fact, I cannot guarantee it that's how everything works. Experience builds on experience making people and myself included, more professional.  So to start out with our episode formats are going to be something that we hope is unique and deliver lots of value to you. Here's a couple the different formats just in a summarized version. We're going to do Awesomers origin stories, Awesomers authority stories, Awesomers talkback step sessions and the Awesomer book of the week club and even Awesomer insights. Now each episode will have its own deliverable and these may evolve over time based on your feedback. So don't hesitate to go to Awesomers.com/contact and let us know how we can improve the show from your own personal perspective. So let's get on with it. I want to share a little bit about what my philosophies largely driven by and before I dive into each of the Awesomer show concepts individually and my own background I want to share the core reason why I'm spending an extraordinary amount of time and I have to say money and other resources to bring this podcast to you at no cost. I really do believe in the Zig Ziglar mantra that you can imagine goes a little something like this - you can have everything you want in your life if you will just help enough other people get what they want and it implies in their life so again,

I'm paraphrasing probably but you can have everything you want in your life if you help enough other people get what they want.  It really is an inspiring mantra for me and something that I truly believe in and something that I think the great Zig Ziglar lived by. I did have the pleasure of meeting Zig Ziglar back in the 1990s and I even attended a special breakfast where he spoke to a small group of people before going out to talk to the big giant filled up Stadium in downtown Seattle, maybe 15,000 people in there. Zig was old school but his philosophy about helping others is true today as it was at any time in history and there are countless examples of how helping others without any expectation of getting anything in return can help improve those lives of those people you're helping but ironically and perhaps counter-intuitively it helps your life too. And I can't do the the the physics or the math on exactly why it is I just know that it is so I really hope the Awesomer community will take this position of pay it forward and do whatever you can to kind of help those around you. I will do whatever I can to lead by example. So let's talk briefly about what is an Awesomer origin story so an origin story is a chance to hear the backstory about the journey from a particular Awesomer and the road they took to become Awesomer. You know based on their milestone today. Now, these stories are incredibly varied and the takeaway for you should be that Awesomers come in all shapes and sizes and backgrounds, creeds colors, education levels and every other variation you can you can come up with. So the point is there's no single you know route to becoming an Awesomer there's nobody who's exclusively in that group and there's nobody who's excluded from that group it really is an amazing opportunity that everyone can be an Awesomer. So on your Awesomers road you will face adversity and you know what that's just life as I like to say, suck it up cupcake. And get on with it the question you have to deal with is how you deal with the adversity, right? So it's never the question of all I hope there's no trouble along the way. There's always trouble along the way. It's just a question of what are you going to do with that trouble? I do want to say this as plain as I possibly can that wherever you are in your life today it's because of all of your decisions up until this point right, so let that just sink in for a minute. Wherever you are in life today no matter how great you think it is or how crappy you think it is, it's the culmination of all the prior decisions that you've made in your life up into this very moment. So the questions before you are really what decisions you will make in the future from today forward, from now forward and where will that take you. Ideally, it'll take you where you want to go. So one of the things I love about origin stories is that they give a surprising look at parts of the journey that you're not going to find on Facebook right? You're not going to find any of the Awesomer defining moments, the sandwich that they were eating on Instagram, this is not a Facebook type of scenario. Life's far too complex to be captured in a simple Instagram photo that summarizes everything that's happened up until now. And the social media culture rewards you know sharing only the positive parts of our lives but we all know sure you want on vacation somewhere really cool and that's a beautiful shot and it looks fun, awesome, kudos to you enjoy. The dream house looks great and that cool car looks awesome on MySpace, is MySpace still a thing everybody? I don't know you know. Even that Cuban sandwich you had that you tweeted about at lunch yesterday to all your loyal followers. Cool. Whatever but that that's really just balderdash. When you think about it compared to real life and yes I know there's drama junkies who published nothing but their most recent oppression and they you know they need you to tweet over prayers or you know whatever it is to help them get through their latest injustice then I want to say that the point is social media is really not where you're going to find the real full telling of the story of life but I believe Awesomer origin stories will give you a deep enough look into some of these stories to help you see all of the context that went into it, not all obviously. We generally only cover those episodes in you know 30 to 60 minutes, so you can't cover a lifetime in that time but the highlights and the connections they've made along their way in their journey I think will be instructive to you. I think they'll be inspiring to you as they have been to me and I really look forward to you guys taking some Awesomer origin stories for a ride with us. Now my point is, to really make a human connection, it requires a conversation not just posting and tweeting you know whatever the soup du jour is. Awesomer origins really can be inspiring and compelling and revealing and I can't wait to share some of these with you.

Now let's talk about another episode type which is Awesomer authority episodes. Now Awesomer authority episodes will feature subject matter experts that we believe and we know are helpful to others who are building businesses or who wish to build a business. Maybe you haven't you know yet pulled the trigger on building a business but you're thinking about it and many of these resources are to help others Awesomers around the world get into business or accelerate their business growth. Now we'll learn about each authority. We'll dive in a little bit about their background, we'll dive into their area of expertise so you can learn from an authority that has a particular set of skills. They will use those skills to help you and they will share why those skills should enlighten you and perhaps even give you an advantage over your competition. Now it's up to you to decide if you're going to embrace those skills or not. Sometimes it's a matter of timing. Your ability to learn from these experts will always allow you to be prepared as your journey continues. Whether or not you can use the information on the day you hear it. Sometimes it's all about just putting the components and putting the pieces of the puzzle into your brain and then later over the course of time you can put those puzzles together and you see the picture more clearly. Now your opportunity to enhance your own knowledge and build additional skills there's something that should not be undervalued these experts have something to say and you should listen carefully in my opinion and figure out how to apply the lessons in your own business entrepreneurs in particular and Awesomer is in general know that building knowledge is valuable. I do want to say and I'll probably repeat this numerous times to get used to it “knowledge is equity” nobody can take knowledge away from you. Knowledge is valuable and knowledge is your own personal equity.


Hey Amazon Marketplace professionals, this is Parsimony ERP and we get one question over and over. Can you please tell me exactly what parsimony does? Well, we'll try but this only a 30-second spot so we're going to have to hurry. Connect to your seller central account and pull all the new orders, enter the orders with all customer data, enter all of the Amazon fees and charges, store them at the item level, generate profit loss reports at the SKU level, automatically generate income status, handle multiple companies, handle multiple brands, handle multiple currencies, facilitate budgets and forecasts so all customer interactions are in a sophisticated CRM system. Hey, you get it that's Parsimony P-A-R-S-I-M-O-N-Y.COM. Parsimony.com, we've got that. You're listening to the Awesomers podcast.

Steve: Alright let's talk about the Awesomers backtalk session now these sessions are where we do live Q&A, where myself and maybe from time to time I'll invite some other experts on to join me, and take your questions live now. Sometimes these sessions will be in a group mentor type of format and sometimes they may be just one-on-one conversations about a specific question or challenge that you face. This is your chance to participate in the podcast as well as get real live tangible help. We really will answer questions from the audience and for context, I want to share that my time is valuable and I don't say this to brag I'm not saying this for any other reason except to let you know that what I do. I have done for many people and most of those people pay me lots of money for example when I consult with fortune 500 level companies it's not uncommon for me to bill more than $50,000 per day and so this is your chance to get free advice for me and you know it's free so you know you could take it or leave it and you can get your money back at any time if you don't like the advice. Now I’II do this because not only the Zig Ziglar mantra which I've shared with you but because my core philosophy is that I love entrepreneurs so this is one of my favorite opportunities to interact with the Awesomer community. You'll be able to find information about our next backtalk session when you're watching Awesomers I may announce it from time to time but go to the website Awesomers.com look for it there and you also find other Facebook announcements that happen from time to time as well. Okay, Awesomers let's take a quick minute so I can share a story about one of my companies called Symo Global and you can check out SymoGlobal.com to learn more about the services that we offer and by the way we call services, engagements right? Because we don't think this is just something that we roll off a line at a restaurant. This is something that we engage with a client and try to produce a specific result. Often we say that we're not a consultant, we're a resultant. Now I personally don't work in Symo Global for the most part. My China team handles almost all of the business that you will see on SymoGlobal.com. Now each of the engagements are set up to help businesses source products in China and my team in China has decades of combined experience and has helped process well over 250 million dollars in purchases from China over the recent year so they're real and they're world-class. Now despite all the tough trade talk about tariffs and trade wars, China really is a de facto world Factory to make almost anything. They have the infrastructure, they have the support and the history in the supply chain so no matter what you hear about you know China this and trade war that it really doesn't matter in the long run. There will be some you know issues that come up along the way that needs solving but long term China's not going anywhere. The team at Symo Global can help you with sourcing products including obtaining samples, negotiating, managing the actual purchase and inspection process and all the way through to helping Amazon and e-commerce companies take high-resolution photos with lifestyle settings or just with the basic photos so if you're launching a product on Amazon, eBay, Etsy your own e-commerce platform just take a minute. Check out the engagements offered at SymoGlobal.com. You'll be glad you did. My china team well you know they manage this company they'll take really good care of you and it's something that we truly believe is there to help entrepreneurs of all sizes so we're gonna go back to the program now but thank you for taking a look at that.

All right so another episode type is what we're gonna start out by calling a book of the week but honestly if anybody has any more clever wording for this episode title I'm all ears. I've been struggling with it and can't come up with one. So the concept is that you know we're going to share some of the best books that we've ever read, some of the most meaningful ones and by the way most of them will probably be hey I read this is a great book here's my takeaways you should check it out too, fairly short episodes. But some of them are I read this book it sucks here's where it's wrong at least in our opinion and this is why you should stay away from them. So it could go either way. The point is we believe that you know reading and building your knowledge and we talked about equity building early on and we talked about knowledge becoming equity for you and a personal asset that's an intellectual asset is important but you don't have to take our word for it. You know Warren Buffett, the Berkshire Hathaway founder and you know very successful guy everyone probably knows the name if you're listening to this. He spends somewhere between five and six hours a day reading lots of different newspapers coming through financial documents and he recommends that all investors do the same and he said this is a quote, “That's how knowledge works.” he recently told this to an investment class at Columbia University by the way. “It builds up like compound interest. All of you can do it but I guarantee not many of you will do it.” Now, this is Warren Buffett telling everybody one of his secrets to success is reading and building knowledge and he said very clearly it builds up like compound interest and he's telling you everyone at this Columbia University class and he's like everybody can do it but I guarantee not many of you will do it. Now that's kind of the difference between Awesomers and normies right there. Those in the class at Columbia University had the pleasure of hearing Warren Buffett speak were able to you know carry that advice and then act upon that advice and they are therefore Awesomers because they're acting and they're making things happen. Normies are like wow that was really great to see Warren Buffett I took a selfie with him in the background this is awesome. Now I'm going to go out and you know go to the club or whatever. I don't know what they do. The point is that is a real opportunity for all of us to act and do the same types of things that somebody successful like Warren Buffett does a lot of people may not know this but when Elon Musk was young he read for ten hours a day before becoming the Tesla CEO and this is just again knowledge building, equity building in that intellectual way and by the way even today Bill Gates still reads a new book every single week. Often he posts the books that he reads on LinkedIn if you haven't been looking for it. So there's a bunch of experts. And by the way here's one more Sheryl Sandberg who is the COO of Facebook, she recommends reading all kinds of books, not just business books. So she talks about the fact that you know you know books and knowledge is important as we've already discussed, books and knowledge are important and therefore the most successful people tend to all have this one thing in common they read. Now if you say I hate to read, that's fine don't read it. Have somebody read it to you. Audible is a great way to check that out and we'll try to link an Audible link in our show notes. So we're going to share some of our favorite books over time and books that specifically helped shape my understanding of the world and these books also helped expose me to new topics of interest and increase my knowledge. I think they can do the same for you so I'll share my own comments about the book sometimes I may have a guest in fact sometimes I'll bring the author on but it could be you know either positive comments or critical comments. The point is just to kind of share our view of the world and maybe expose you to something you hadn't considered. Now you can choose to learn and approve your knowledge or you can choose to watch another hour of TV right? Those commercials are really not equity building by the way. Now I want to be clear I love to binge Netflix from time to time like a madman and especially to unwind at the end of a long day but I love to learn and I love knowledge and I think Warren Buffett said it very clearly that you know knowledge can be equity and nobody can ever take that away from you and I think that's an important note.

So another episode type is that something I call an insight episode. Now Awesomers insights are most often where I share one of my fundamental beliefs about what leads an individual towards achievement through not just self-improvement but also learning business lessons on how to structure, build, grow and accelerate growth in an organization to help you accomplish and achieve business goals while you maintain a lifestyle that is worth living, a lifestyle that works for you. So the concept of continuous improvement is something that people regularly talk about. In fact in the 80s it was a very common thing because that was the Japan secrets of success and how they became so good at making cars so continuous improvement is something people talk about but when it gets right down to it most of us are not doing it day in day out and very few even fewer of us probably have it as an organizational goal. I like to put continuous improvement into a couple lenses; one is you should do it because it's good for you right? That doesn't always work, right? There are so many times where we do things that aren't good for us because they feel good or they're convenient or you know whatever the reasoning is. But the other reason and perhaps more compelling for those with a competitive streak is that other people are continuously improving. Your competition is improving and those around you are improving you know that are in your field of expertise or your field of business so by investing in yourself and you know not only can you improve yourself but you can stay ahead or at least even with your competition. I just want to say that leading by example is a critical part of being an Awesomer right. We should be able to put our money where our mouth is and so you know because I like to you know that I'm leading this podcast I want to let you know that learning is a foundational element of being Awesomer and staying Awesomer and we do take a different attack when it comes to improvement. We don't focus on our weaknesses, we double down on our strengths. We'll talk more about this concept in the coming days and weeks and even months. If I am terrible at math, I don't spend my days and nights beating myself into the ground about my math. If I'm great at marketing or communication I'm gonna double down on that skill and I'm gonna get somebody else on the team or somebody else to help on the parts that I'm weak at. So we definitely are focused on our strengths organization. By the way, Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook also talks about Facebook becoming a strengths-based culture and for those who are so focused on Amazon, many Amazon departments are now becoming strengths-based cultures too. We're gonna talk a lot about that because it's a core part of what I think organizational development relies on. So in addition to talking about your own personal development, I'll share lessons that I found to be vital to creating something of long-term value and that is sustainable. Too often I see superb businesspeople, creators and other Awesomer that get tempted by a quick fix. A short-term tactic, a hack. Well, who doesn't love that word hack? And and they just want to solve all their problems as quick as they can but almost always not always these hacks are short-term fix; their patches, they're their band-aids that will get you by or help you for some short period of time but they rarely will turn into long-term sustainable business strategies so I have no issue with hacks and the, in fact, they can be helpful and often they could be shared and recommended by me but they're not a replacement for long-term strategy. The laws of physics and the laws of economics still apply and therefore long-term strategies are what we're going to focus on for the most part. Wow, Awesomer insights are about me and you know some of the hand-picked experts that I bring on with me to share proven strategy, systems, and scale lessons. Now in a bitter twist of irony, this lessons often resume only after somebody decided to go against my recommendations. Yes believe it or not that's true. Often that means they learned the lesson the hard way. Only after they kind of loop back to the strategic sustainable lesson and realize oh that doggone Steve was right. I wish I would have listened, I wish I learned earlier. Now believe me I'm not saying this to be a condescending or even conceited in fact I'm not saying it because that I'm infallible you know. I'm definitely fallible if that's the opposite of infallible. I fail by you know regular intervals it's just a common thing. I make mistakes at volume so the teams around me can learn as fast as possible. I am definitely not perfect not by a long shot but I do know a few things and I've learned some lessons and if those lessons apply to you I really do hope that you open your mind and listen to those lessons. So often I've had extraordinary extraordinary people and they'll hear the lesson and I can give you some examples and I will in future episodes where you know this exact business lesson was presented and the person listening just kind of ignored it or went their own way or maybe they felt they knew better based on their own experience. But in many cases when they are big-time strategic lessons they ended up coming back and going, well it turns out you were right and I have no time for I told you so's I don't care about that. I just want people to be able to skip some of the painful lessons that I've learned and some of the scars that I've had along my journey. Ultimately my mission is to share insights about all things entrepreneur for my last thirty years in business to help you accelerate your own success and ideally avoid some of that pain that I've experienced along the way. Now the purpose of all of this is to give you breadcrumbs to make your journey easier okay. We cannot take the journey for you but the best Awesomers are able to take the data points, all those little breadcrumbs and they can chart their course they can figure out where they want to go. Your ability to apply these lessons is a key indicator of your overall potential right? The old saying you know if you give a man a fish eats for a day if you teach man to fish eats for a lifetime right? Well, that parable really does have still applicability today. We want to teach you how to fish. We want to give you the clues and the lessons learned and we want you to put those together and figure out how they apply to your own life, your own business, your own Awesomer journey whatever that may be.  

All right so those are some of the episode types so let me tell you a little bit about me. Again my name is Steve Simonson I am your host. After dropping out of college I bought my first real business when I was still 18 years old. It was at the tail end of when I was 18 and I'm now 48 so this is where I've just entered my 30th year in business. I've raised funds from venture capital private equity and other so-called smart money sources along the way. I've done a bunch of M&A transactions that means mergers and acquisitions. I've done roll-ups and other midscale transactions, roll-ups are when you buy a series of similar companies and put them all together and we'll probably talk about some of these deal types in future episodes but midscale transactions are you know anywhere from you know ten to fifty million dollars and I've done other smaller transactions below that as well cumulating in you know well over you know 120 hundred thirty million dollars worth of deal value. I've served as a CEO or chairman of the board for companies in the United States, Europe as well as China and my first million-dollar sales day, my first sales day that was a million dollars or above was in November of 2000 seven and my first $2,000,000 day was in February 2008 so I've been able to put some points on the board in fact I've generated well actually I should say my companies and and those that I have strategic relationships we have generated cumulatively well over 250 million in B2C sales that's business-to-consumer and again well well over 500 million in B2B sales, that's business-to-business. I should point out that those are probably just about due for an update. I figured I'm not gonna update it till we tell I know for sure that we've passed a billion dollars of cumulative sales. So my point is that I've been around. We have experience we've built reasonable sized companies.We've been able to move stuff and most of this has been done in the kind of e-commerce space as we've gone. So my core philosophy again is the world needs more entrepreneurs. The world is helped by entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs make stuff they don't take stuff and I believe the best route to starting and an entrepreneurial venture is through e-commerce and then expanding from there. Okay, so just a quick maybe definition of what an Awesomer is. So Awesomers are people from all walks of life who have decided that the status quo is not enough for them. Awesomers set their own destiny through their cumulative actions over the years. Awesomers understand the world of abundance and disregard, the scarcity mindset.  Awesomers are willing to take risks, to impact the world in a positive way even if those risks could lead to failure. And Awesomer continues to learn and improve themselves and those around them on a regular basis. You are Awesomer. Every person has the capacity to be Awesomer and Awesomer is not a destination it's a journey. So being on the Awesomer road means that we're making incremental steps and we're doing these things to break those paradigms that you know equate to the status quo. That we're not satisfied with average and being adequate. We want to be Awesomer and so we choose to be on that road and we do it proactively and we do it for a purpose. So I want to say as a comparison as a contrast not as a judgment this is what a normie is in my own view. Now normies are folks all around Awesomers with good intentions but often bad advice. They rarely understand the strange paths that Awesomer take and they often will try to protect the Awesomer from making a big mistake. All of us have normies around us that are wonderful friends family and we cherish them, we love them. However, we also know that the most common thing that people face the most often the Awesomer lifestyle is difficult for normies to understand or appreciate. It's not their fault and so without judgment, we embrace our normie friends and family but we recognize that being Awesomer allows us to live the life we want to live. And therefore it forces us to kind of think past the Normie, you know norms if you will. A Normie norm that's a new thing. So if you've ever had an idea or as I like to call him a harebrained scheme and you're like gosh I'm gonna start this thing and I'm gonna do this thing and everybody around you says that's a terrible idea, this is a big problem - I always like to reflect it you know these folks are trying to do what they think is the right thing for you. They're trying to help you it's in part it's because they're scared that they couldn't make that choice and they wouldn't do that thing. And that's okay. They're giving you their authentic credible advice but you just have to give yourself the permission to ignore it frankly. And in many ways, you should probably give yourself the permission to stop telling them Awesomer stuff because they don't understand it and they kind of look at you like you are an alien from outer space. If anybody has ever told somebody about a great business idea, a great creative concept that they have and people around them looked at them like they were you know aliens then you're almost certainly in the Awesomer camp and you're that means you're in the right place today. So we'll talk a little bit more about Awesomer and Normies later on.

Okay, so earlier I mentioned that I like to focus on three primary concepts when it comes to building a business: strategy, systems, and scale. Now, this is a common thread between all of my businesses and always has been and always will be. Now you have to come up with your own strategy right? I can't tell you now if you should go into you know the food truck business or start a business on Amazon or a Shopify store or you know go invent something or you know I can't come up with your strategy for you. There are millions of strategies, billions of strategy, unlimited numbers of strategies. And you just got to find the one that resonates with you and don't bother going you know giving a pull to a bunch of normies who tell you it's a terrible idea and that you should just stay at your job at the toll booth. I'm telling you to figure out your strategy but when you're ready to talk systems I want to tell you about another company I started with a partner mine Michael Pankowski called Parsimony.com. Now I've had the good fortune to build a number of businesses, many businesses from nothing to something reasonable. Let's say about 50 million dollars a year in sales multiple times we've done this. So we know a thing or two about starting a company building it and scaling it. Now a little-known fact is that all big companies use something called an ERP system. Now ERP means enterprise resource planning which some account must have come up with it sounds about as exciting as watching paint dry right? nobody is going to burst into the boardroom ago hey great I've got a great idea everybody let's see ERP it. It just sounds it sounds really lame but I want to tell you that they the core ERP functions that combine finance, purchasing, sales, inventory, CRM, HR, project management all of that stuff combined in a single system a single source of truth that is anything but boring. All of these things together as one system that runs a company is extraordinarily exciting and empowering for any business. In every case we relied on systems that have allowed us to be the foundation for the company and that allows the company to scale and as I repeat from time to time from the great Michael Gerber who wrote the book the E-myth and the E-myth Revisited, the system runs a business and the people run the system and that is what leads to scale. That's what leads to equity in a business. Now there are so many opportunities, e-commerce businesses today when you've built it up and you're ready to exit yet very few of them have a complete operating system which ultimately lowers their valuations. Because the new owner has to step in and build their own systems that new owner has to step in without really knowing what your true cost of goods sold is or what your true financial performance so the reason we put Parsimony together is because in the past I've had you know the wherewithal and the resources to put big software systems in an accounting system in the old days from Microsoft and I believe we paid sixty to eighty thousand dollars just to implement that system. Just the implementation one time we implemented Netsuite and that was nearly a hundred thousand dollars just for the implementation and fifty or sixty thousand dollars a year after that to carry on. In fact, I just checked with the company recently that same company which I exited from some time ago now spends over a hundred thousand dollars a year to maintain that license with NetSuite which was purchased by Oracle. By the way we even programmed our own systems from scratch and as much as all of those numbers may have sounded like a lot for implementation and ongoing costs, developing yourself it could be most expensive and we had the solutions range in costs from a few hundred thousand on the low side just to get started and then to millions in development costs over the years. So the point is almost all this is out of reach for a typical eCommerce company especially those that are that are less than a few years old and less than say twenty-five million in sales. So today our vision is to bring the best combination of open source our own vision and lessons from the big boys to the sass platform and give you an ERP solution without breaking the bank. To learn more go to parsimony.com  and get the access, the same kind of tools the big guys get without having a big guy budget. This is another effort for myself and my partner Michael to try to empower entrepreneurs without breaking the bank. This is a huge risk for me and for him but we believe in it and we think it's going to help entrepreneurs around the world so check it out today.

Okay, so I want to talk a little bit about some of the defining characteristics of Awesomers as compared to normies. Now notice I didn't say versus normies. This is not us versus them. This is just a comparison to contrast the different behaviors and the different mentalities. Now I want to reiterate normies are important and we're surrounded by them regularly so this is not a judgment it's just a recognition of different human behaviors that lead to different perspectives and embrace the reality of those differences is my advice to you today. Don't say oh we're all the same, we're not all the same. There are differences in us that's okay. And in fact, we are engineering those differences by learning and building skills and so on and so forth now. I have friends of the family who are enormous and I love them dearly I wouldn't replace them at all the portrayal of these difference differences between Awesomers and normies is not an indictment against anyone it's just a reconciliation of why some people are different than others. Those differences lead to behaviors and those behaviors can lead to you know awkward conversations about what you should and shouldn't do so this common scenario that creates tension between these two groups is when an Awesomers is so excited about this new business concept or idea that I kind of alluded to earlier now we can't wait to share this breakthrough with the world. I mean we are on we're on fire we're just excited. You want to share it with everyone who will listen but normies are so risk averse they start telling you well this could be trouble and look out for this and this is overall just a terrible idea. For me, I want to share that it's vital to understand the most that most often normies are telling you this because they think that is helping you. It's true in some cases that misery loves company right? They want to keep you in their own kind of the same ecosystem that you're in but I don't I don't think that generally I like to think overall people are good and they're trying to protect you so they don't get it and they're just trying to do the right thing for you that's that's what I prefer to think. Now that has little solace for you because after a few times pitching your latest ideas to ignore by your audience, you'll simply realize it's a waste of your time. In fact, they suck a little bit of the excitement away. Often times and this is a time where entrepreneurs Awesomers and creators find themselves feeling alone and isolated. I just you know think about that just for a minute. If you've ever felt alone or isolated especially after being super excited about something it's probably because you shared your breakthrough idea, your concept with people who just simply weren't ready for it or they weren't wired to see the opportunity the same way you did. Trying to explain your latest SEO technique or supply chain breakthrough to a normie is a waste of your energy and in fact, as I said earlier it can drain you when you talk to people who don't get it so try not to get drained. Awesomers need to share those stories with other Awesomers because together the exchange of ideas and concepts can actually be exhilarating for both the person sharing the idea and the person reflecting the idea back to them.  Awesomers together actually create more energy than existed before and it could be a case of one plus one equals four. Awesomers universally want to make the world a better place. Also, Awesomers want to be responsible for their own destiny. Awesomers are understanding the life is a series of decisions and will do whatever it takes to stack up good decisions over time that will lead to a life worth living. And we all will make mistakes along the way that's okay. You know we learn from those mistakes and we move on. So let's dig into some of these differences so one of the first monikers that I bring up is the fact that Awesomers own it and normies blame it. So Awesomers are responsible and they will own up to their mistakes. We'll just say hey that was my bad that's on me and by the way, I'll do better next time sorry about that. Awesomers want to deal with whatever the worst problem they have is first and when I say what I mean they're willing to suck up the pain and deal with it Awesomers just like anybody else we would love to procrastinate but we know that whatever that worst problem is whatever that is happening the worst in your day if you get that knocked out first at the very first part of your day the rest of your day has the potential to be great. I want to ask you guys just kind of a big-picture question how many times have you faced a problem in your business or even your personal life and you wanted to procrastinate, you wanted to avoid it, but intellectually you knew it was just faster and better to deal with it right up front and just kind of get it done? Most everybody knows that's the way it should be and Awesomers own it and they own up to it. Now normies have a tendency that is to blame it instead of saying hey I screwed up the report was late because I didn't get it started early enough and I didn't finish it. That's actually why it was late. Normies will have a series of moves in the blame game right first it could say hey I couldn't get a stable internet connection, my phone battery is low, my printer was out of paper and by the way I couldn't connect to it any way I got some problem on my network. Normies will often have so many excuses that Awesomers feel like we need to apologize to them jeez sorry everything in your life is going so poorly maybe I should just do the work myself and normies will say no that's ok it's not your fault I'm cursed. But they're only half-joking. Now Awesomers we'll take control of their own future through actions and accountability and Awesomers want to be accountable both for their successes and their failures after all Awesomers understand that a fail point is just a marker on the road to success right? And there's the old saying something I'll paraphrase here for you but you know failure is an orphan and success has a thousand fathers right? But we shouldn't think of it like that. We should be accountable for whatever we do rightly or wrongly and there have been many times I've had to sidle up and take my beatings for doing something that could have been done better or I failed to do something on time. Again I'm definitely not infallible the opposite of infallible is me fallible. I don't even know if that's a word? All right let's talk again about another paradigm that should be consistent and that is Awesomers do the right thing but normies often think about it I'm gonna just act for me what's best for me today so Awesomers will never compromise the long-term for an immediate gain. So if today doing something would get you an immediate gain great but not if it's going to compromise somehow the long-term and too often today I think we live in a gratification world it's all about me and I want it now. This is perpetuated by social media - Facebook Instagram Snapchat. you know pick your poison. So Awesomers need to build a discipline and have built a discipline around the idea that there's no substitute for doing the right thing, even if nobody is looking. Let that just soak in for a minute. It doesn't matter if anybody else there is to judge whether you did the right thing or not you are there to judge for yourself if it's the right thing to do. I'll give you a quick story and this is you know way back when I was eight or nine years old so this is you know near 40 years ago and I got a new chest of drawers and my parents had gone out yard sales shopping or what-have-you and I was living in Virginia on the Fort Lee military base, it's an army base. My parents for some reason I already remember why I said hey you need a new piece of furniture and they grabbed one and I don't recall how much they paid but probably you know 20 30 40 bucks I don't know and they brought it home they put it in my room and when I started putting in my clothes I realized there's kind of a paper liner on the bottom of each drawer and I don't know why that was there. I'm a kid and so I just removed the paper and you know I'm like I don't need that and then I noticed underneath one of the sheets of paper was an envelope with hundreds of dollars in cash. I don't remember the exact but as best as I can recall somewhere between six and seven hundred dollars. Now as an eight or nine-year old I didn't have any understanding or wherewithal to hatch a scheme with that money right it was not my seed money. I had no idea what to do with that kind of money and they were is if I'm not mistaken it was in large denominations which you know a kid has even less understanding of and so I just simply brought it to my parents and said hey I found this and if you can you know bear in mind that you know forty years ago six or seven hundred dollars that was real money you could buy a couple cars for that kind of money not new, but a couple used now my parents didn't hesitate. They returned the money to the person who sold a suggester drawers as I recall the person was so surprised they paid a handsome reward to my parents which was then given to me. But that's not the point of the story the person who sold that piece of furniture forgot about the money they would have never missed it now. My parents had a number of kids by that point I think four or five kids and we're living on a relatively low military salary, they could have used that money in meaningful ways. In ways that would be beneficial for you to know their kids but they didn't hesitate. The story's not about me turning in the money because I was eight or nine I was irrelevant. The fact is my parents never stopped for a minute to do the right thing and that story reinforces what Awesomers already know. Doing the right thing is simple, it is clear, it's indisputable. You just do it. Now normies can fall victim to the idea that if they don't take today whatever they can get they may never have anything and that short-term thinking is destructive both for the individual and for all of those around them. The irony is that most often normies can only see the big picture if you lay it out for them. They're too focused on that short-term thinking and that leads them into this ironic pattern of behavior that leads them to negative results over and over and I think one of the defining characteristics of an Awesomer not just doing the right thing but seeing that big picture, very very important.


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Steve: Okay now Awesomers they're all about making skills and again we've kind of talked about this a little bit earlier but normies prefer to make excuses oftentimes. So again note that I've I'm regularly using often and sometimes and things like that, I'm not indicting normies I'm just saying here are some behaviors that are common between these two groups. Now because Awesomers love to learn and we make skills a set of excuses. We know that that is going to pay off for us in the long run. Now if we fail at a Facebook campaign we don't blame the idiots who didn't click on our ad or propose somehow that Mark Zuckerberg has taken a personal interest in ensuring our failure instead Awesomers will identify the areas that can be improved in the Facebook campaign and go build skills around it. Perhaps we need to tighten up the copywriting, maybe we need to test different images, maybe targeting new audiences and hey what about trying the new Facebook dynamic content multivariant split tester? That's a mouthful. So there are lots of ways that we can get better at that type of things Awesomers are problem solvers you know plain and simple we solve problems. Now normally will find a thousand different way different ways the world is working against them. Sure Facebook works well for others but for me, it didn't work because of reason one. Then I got reason two over here and don't even get me started on reason three. Believe me, you don't want to know about reason three. So the point is that normies will make excuses, Awesomers won't go about adding skills and knowledge which is equity in your brain. Making excuses is just plain lame. Hey, that kind of rhymes. Our next kind of noteworthy behavior difference is that Awesomers again we'll focus on that big picture which we just alluded to earlier where normies will often put big problems instead of the big picture and this is where they lose the focus. So Awesomers want to focus on that big picture because then they can dive down to the tactical details that will be able to help them chart their path to their destination right? If you start with the end in mind then it's easier to engineer your way to that end. Normies we'll start with the premise that obstacles are too great to overcome so why bother? An Awesomers pontificate to double business in the next 12 months we need to increase our product selection, inventory levels and our staff and then we'll dive into brainstorming on how to execute those tactics how to use you know planning and tracking of milestones along the way to see if we're making progress towards our objectives you know on that journey. Now a normie will explain that due to the lack of the cash flow and the fact that hiring people cost money we cannot grow and in fact, the best bet is to work longer and harder and hunker down for the tough times ahead. By the way, there are times that we need to hunker down there are times we have to be cognizant of costs but there are so many times that there are opportunities that are bound those times in my experience can outweigh the tough times. To achieve goals it takes work, not luck. We don't find the big problems that you know that the news media tells us about or the politics du jour none of that is going to factor into us. It doesn't matter what the economy is doing there's always opportunities. it doesn't matter if China's in the doghouse or the EU does this or Brexit does that. There are always opportunities and they take work not luck and if we wait until the macroeconomics are all turning green and the news media says hey now's a good time to go forward and the politicians decide that we're no longer being oppressed and that they don't have to save us that day will never come. I mean well don't hold your breath it is simply not going to come. Okay, another paradigm to consider the Awesomers take a stand and we believe in ourselves. Normies will believe in circumstances. so Awesomers know that the power of the individual is very important. In fact, we must first get our own house in order before we can help those around us including our families right? After all, how can our family or our company which is kind of like an extended family rely on us if we're not taking care of ourselves? Over time Awesomers know that our individual sense of well-being is perhaps the most critical part of being able to cope with the challenges that are inevitable when building a business or simply living a life right? I want to highlight that word inevitable. Challenges are inevitable. they're coming. It's just how prepared are we and what do we do in the face of those challenges. That's all. Normies will explain that you know due to the economy being slow right now and you know this particular markets not as good as it used to be and there's so much competition here and it's not really a good time to be in business and also due to the polarization in politics you know we should really be careful in the stock market is super risky and by the way I heard the news last night and there's nothing but bad news on which means now's not the right time to do anything and I'm not sure when a good time will be right? That's the kind of an or me perspective that circumstances are in charge of our futures. Most often Awesomers will forsake the news cycle and focus you know on something more positive after all the old newsroom adage, if it bleeds it leads, is true today as it has been forever. The news media makes money off of turmoil so why are they going to show you anything else? They're not going to show you success stories and puppies except at the very end to leave a little palate cleanser at the end of their news episode which was largely you know scandal, tragedy you know problems and then they put a little palate cleanser at the end. Now normies have allowed society to instill this concept into them that they should stay informed and yet I can see it's responsible, that the media is responsible for instilling that very concept of staying informed right? So the media says you should be staying informed and they're the ones who keep you informed so talk about self-serving advice. Give me a break. I want to give you full disclosure I have not actively watched or consumed news since 2009 and I don't miss it honestly. And yes I'm my phone I'll sometimes see news articles or Apple news will pop up and i oh i'll even read some of those things particularly if it's business related or an interest of mine travel or otherwise but by and large I don't waste a minute of my time watching that nonsense. I don't have cable. I couldn't watch you know Nightly News if I tried and I don't miss it for a second now does that mean I'm not informed? I don't think so. I really don't think so I'm informed on all the things that I think are important to accomplishing my goals and and living my life. Now I do follow things that are specifically related to my field of expertise like China trade tensions that has a direct interest to me but I'm not panicked about it I know the way the news media will frame it and the way the politicians will frame it is that the sky is falling and I need to go you know pray at their altar and hope that they tell me what to do. I don't believe in that for a second. I'll figure out what to do I'll stay informed on you know these things as they develop and I'll react as I need to I have no problem with just kind of letting all those things play out and then we just make the best decisions we can as we go. Those are problems that are being solved in a dynamic live environment now because China is important to me and it's part of my businesses and the businesses rely on me I'm gonna stay informed on that particular topic again as an example and I've been trading with China since 2001 and I've been traveling there since about 2002. So I don't waste time on the politics I've watched cycles come and go you know I've watched Asia crash I've watched all kinds of things change an extraordinary progress in China so I'll stay at praise but I just roll with the punches I don't get whipped up into a lather about this tariff or that tariff or what this guy said or that guys I don't care I'll adapt and I'll carry on with my life and you should do now I believe in my own capabilities and I do not believe that circumstances are in control of my life if something drastically changes is up to me to adapt and to change as well that's the same goes for you Awesomers don't waste energy on things we cannot control Awesomers will often find themselves you know focused on that long-term because we believe in our own capabilities normies will fret about all kind two things over which they have zero control they burn an awful lot of stress calories even though they have no control it doesn't matter how much you stress about these things if you can't control it doesn't doesn't matter the old saying is you know fit if it makes you money or makes you happy put your time there and if it doesn't forget about it all right I'll do it do in New York a version of that forget about it there you go Awesomers don't care what any specific politician is doing and we don't care which particular country's making noise about this or that. We just don't get caught up in the noise. We ignore it believe in yourself. Don't fall victim to circumstance. Now abundance and scarcity these are two very different mindsets and I really want to encourage authors out there to know that abundance exists everywhere at all times even in a bear market there's opportunity. When housing bit the dust in 2008 there's carnage everywhere in that particular industry yet opportunity existed the start when the stock market dropped 50% around that same time period that didn't mean everybody should suddenly sell and bury their heads in the sand although that's what a lot of the normy reaction was start mark has fallen I better get out before it goes down a hundred percent right fair enough but over time like virtually all cycles markets rebounded normies has sold their stock during that time missed the rebound - not just the prior levels but to all new highs that applies by the way the housing it applies to the stock market and many other cases of that cyclical kind of change I know I might have said cyclically earlier but I'm changing good - cyclical now. Now there are plenty of Awesomers that were caught up in that financial nightmare and again that was something that not any of us individually can control but it's how we adapted that is what defines us as an Awesomers right? If you're an Awesomer that got caught up with the housing crisis or the stock market or whatever - that's life! You know we couldn't predict it. I know I definitely took a pretty significant haircut during that time and one that will never come back to me. It was a deal that I had sold and I'll probably talk more about it later but all I can do is adapt I can't control it. Scarcity is a tempting model of thinking versus abundance so many times the persistent fear of missing out, right also known as FOMO fear of missing out this is used in marketing constantly which reinforces that false sense of scarcity right. Buy now before Friday. Buy now before we're out of stock. Buy now before this offer expires. All of that is fake scarcity now normies will tell you that not everyone can win. In fact they will tell you that in order for them to be winners there has to be losers but that's not necessarily true. It's it's all just about the degree of the journey that you're on right? If you say hey I need to be the richest person on the planet, you got a tough road ahead of you right? You got some guys maybe they're out ahead of you already in terms of the scoreboard Zuckerberg now pulling away from the field or no no I think it's Bezos who's at the top, number-one richest guy and pulling away. Where Gates owned that list and went back and forth with Buffet for a number of years probably maybe decades. So if you're saying that's my goal I have to be the richest parts of the world there is some scarcity to being number one. There's after all only one of those but if you say I want to have enough wealth to live a nice lifestyle and live a lifestyle of freedom or you know however you define whatever your financial goals are there's plenty of opportunity for that. That's limitless, there's no end to that. So if you if you build something that has value you will always have something that is in demand. The conflict comes when people simply try to copy something someone else has done which delivers no value. Unless there are some noteworthy iteration on the product or service that you're kind of modeling after then no value is added therefore you're vulnerable to another copycat and that's the story of China. Well talk more about in future episodes how China's failing to take advantage of their scale because they simply want to copy instead of innovate. Now I will give you some other examples of where China is out innovating everybody else for example Wechat which is extraordinary both in terms of its innovation and technological development and probably a little scary in terms of Big Brother. But we'll talk about that more in depth so the point is China has both sides of that coin we're just going to copy stuff and make it as easy as we can a rip off other people's intellectual property. That's not good and that's it's sustainable forever. Then there's the other side of they're making cooler stuff than anybody else on the planet and that's where Awesomers live. There is so much abundance in this world we're not limited in our sense of joy happiness or love right? Can you imagine there being a limit? Sorry I reached the end of my joy for today you'll have to hit me again tomorrow and I'll feel some joy then right? Not a chance! Joy's unlimited, happiness unlimited, love unlimited, and we should not scale back our vision about other types of things financial or otherwise that are self-imposed limitations. Awesomers  embrace abundance normies will tell you again and again if you have something that means you took it from someone else and they're describing scam artists, they're describing con men but not describing Awesomers right? What Awesomers create in this abundance lifestyle is not something they took from somewhere else. It's something they created, added value and receive something in exchange for that value that's the Awesomer way.

Now earlier I talked to you about setting your own strategy and then thinking about how Parsimony.com, the ERP system can help you with the systems but now I want to share my vision for the Empowery e-commerce cooperative because I think it will help you address the scale part of your equation. Now, first of all, I want to explain that  Empowery is a non-profit, member-owned cooperative. Nonprofit member owned so each equity member has one share of voting stock no matter what size the company is so one share one vote no matter how big the company is.  So if you're a million dollar Empowery member or a 50 million dollar Empowery member you still get one vote. Now the magic of Empowery.com is all about the power of the group. Together the members can leverage their collective size and strengths to help to drive their financial goals and specifically drive better financial terms with vendors of all types. Now what I love most about Empowery is a team that is there every day working for members so every member has a tiny amount monthly that they pay to have access to this extraordinarily talented and experienced team to help them advance their business without question this is a reason why company should join empower immediately to get the power of that team it's almost like having your own corporate office you know where you can call the team and go hey do we have a deal on this or do we have access to something? That solves this problem. You've got a whole team at your fingertips for a tiny amount of money per month it's like cost sharing fractional sharing this team. Now even beyond this is the idea that there are discounts available at negotiated rates from Empowery with aligned vendors. There are even additional perks something we call the perk pack and there is even cashback that Empowery has bargained for each of its members that allow each and every member to earn an unlimited amount of cash back each year that could dwarf the monthly cost of their membership right? The fundamental part of about a member on co-op is that when you use the resources when you drive kind of your cost centers for things that you already need for your business whether it shipping 3PL package design. You know import/export help you know printing marketing help services etc et all these things are things business already needs if you can get a little bit of a discount upfront we call it a beat the street price and you get cash back on the back end plus a couple you know you know perks along the way why not and and in the experience that I've had co-op members who really utilize the services end up getting more back every year than they put in so it's almost like the it pays them to be a member now again the magic of the coop is when members use the products and services they can actually have money coming in that is beyond what their monthly cost is and at the end of year they get a big fat cashback cheque based on what their patronage was through the coop so just let that sink in for a second it's almost like members are paid to stay in the group because they split up all the accrued cash back based on their individual purchase volume so if you purchase you know million dollars from somebody and another guy purchases a hundred dollars from somebody the guy who buys the most gets the most cash back it's very simple and it's very logical and it's quite democratic for that matter now this is the first ever ecommerce cooperative as far as I can tell and it is something special I teamed up with some of the brightest minds in the coop field guys like Evan Hackle and Barth Jett oh and that the team ed Cara Melissa Simonson Spencer Hughes and so many others are working on this day in and day out. I highly encourage you to check it out today and Empowery.com that's Empowery.com.

Now Awesomers embrace revelry, normies often get tied up with regret and and kind of my point is what's the point of endless days of working without some fund now in fact we love to have fun when we're working William Penn once said time is what we want most but what we use worst pick that in for a minute time is what we want most but what we use worst summers will find ways to celebrate victories from time to time whether personal victories or company victories and then we'll get back to it right it's not like we hit one milestone and we take a victory lap and then we go retire you know we're serious when we need to be but having fun while you work and and focusing on some revelry from time to time is a really important part of being happy and feel feeling fulfilled the point is any of us can take the approach to business that it's more fun and it's more lighthearted if we choose to take that. When we wake up and it feels like hell on earth to go to your job or to do whatever it is we have to do that day that's a clear indicator something is not right. The key here is to isolate the issue or issues and in resolve them there's no reason to stay in a rut none whatsoever and I I've repeated this quote often often I love it the great Winston Churchill said when you're going through hell keep going right why stop and I just I can't say enough that the the concept of having fun and enjoying yourself is so much more important than than building up regrets just enjoy it normies will often spend time regretting decisions they could have made or should have made and normies will regret decisions that they even did make but the decision was not as cool as they thought so now they choose to regret it instead of just making a change in tweaking now change can be scary to anybody including Awesomers and normies alike but it's my experience that change is constant and unavoidable and therefore we should just get good at it and we should get to it right finding ways to enjoy the journey. It’s a sign of being on that Awesomer road for sure right? It does not mean that every waking moment is a pleasure to behold right all of us will find struggles in our business and personal life. It just means Awesomers remember to take stock from time to time and appreciate what we have and we try to engineer ways to increase the good and minimize they're not so good right just taking time to appreciate what we have instead of regretting what we don't have is is a good lead-in to our next topic remember that there's nobody I can ever imagine  who's laying on their deathbed and all their families gathered around and and they they kind of motion over for the you know push the the grandchild over and it's a little Timmy and you know the the grandmother doesn't look down a Timmy say to me what's my ranking on Google today right that's not important right at the end of the day these are important for our day-to-day business that's fine but in our life take some time and enjoy it revelry is important on your deathbed you don't care what your search position is you don't care what sales were yesterday you don't really care about that stuff it's okay to you know to appreciate what you've been able to build and it's so important to to focus on what you have versus what you don't have and that takes us exactly to the next paradigm. That we think is a big behavioral difference and this is all about focus Awesomers believe that we can have everything that we want to have and normies believe that you know what they don't have they should get and and so I want to say that you know we all can have whatever we want to have this is this is not a us versus them and normies believe that most. Everyone is going to have to accept the upper echelon of society and only you know us minions down here at the low level can only dream about that upper echelon of society but this concept is not about having material things, not specifically just material things. It's about having skills having experience having knowledge having freedom, having the time to spend with our kids our family our friends. That's something that Awesomers cherish, that's a big have Awesomers must have gratitude and take inventory of what we have on regular basis and appreciate it proactively appreciated I think in many ways Awesomers are are also wired to to find themselves depressed or you know not feeling super excited and the fastest way out of that is to appreciate what we have. Normies it or even mad about what they don't have and I remember somebody I don't remember who said this so i apologize if it's some famous person. But they said the formula for happiness is something like happiness equals what we have - what we wish we had right? So if we just stop wishing we had stuff that we don't have we're just be happy and and again I know that's breaking it down. It's not quite that simple but the more we focus on the the happiness and the the gratitude side of the equation on all the things we have including the intangibles I just mentioned the freedom, the knowledge, the experience, the skill which all of which can lead to emotional equity and nobody can take away that from you. You'll never lose that memory, that moment of joy doesn't go away. Let's appreciate those now through the journey of continuous improvement we can achieve and and accomplish things in the traditional

scorekeeping that society tells us is. That it is important like creating wealth and tangible assets right? You have to define for yourself what those objectives are I know plenty of Awesomers that are like hey I make you know you know $3,000 a month and I leave a freedom lifestyle. I have the perfect life I wouldn't change a thing and I'm living the dream and I know other Awesomers are like I'm building an empire I have to have a billion you know a net worth by X date. Both of those can be Awesomers but it's not purely a financial consideration. There is not Benchmark of finance that says your Awesomer not Awesomer, I want to be clear about that. So the key is that Awesomers do not take the granted the chant take for granted the chance to learn and Awesomers will appreciate what we have. Fundamentally again this is not about material things this is about the big picture of what we have our knowledge, our freedom, our energy, our intellectual ability to say we can do better and then make a plan and do better that's really important. So the the idea of makers and takers so Awesomers decide when they want something they're gonna just go engineer the outcome so they can achieve that objective right? So they say I want to have a little bit more freedom so that means I don't want to work a 40-hour job or I don't mind working the forty hours but I want to do that whatever time is, maybe it's 60 hours but I'm gonna do it on my terms. I'm gonna do three days you know a week times you know 20 hours and boom I got my 60 in and now I'm gonna relax the rest of the week. However you decide what you want to do just engineer the outcome that you want. We don't spend time trying to figure out how to get something that somebody else already has in other words taking it from them we may want to emulate something that we see but we're not going to go take something from somebody. We're gonna make our own destiny, we're gonna make our own future and normies will often find a way to take what they want without regard for consequences to others now. Fundamentally a maker is a creator right? Awesomers our creators. We can create anything. The key is that something new is generated from an idea and that something new adds value to the world it doesn't take away value from the world. So let me say again that Awesomers are there to create something that adds value. Awesomers want to develop something that will be new and innovative and unique and when it adds value to the world instead of taking away value from the world they know they've achieved something and they will reap the rewards that are based on that. Normies can sometimes get focused on what others will give them instead of what they can build for themselves and that behavior is based in scarcity that we talked about earlier now we're coming down to it. Awesomers fundamentally want to earn and normies often feel entitled. So Awesomers are willing to earn their way, period. You know hard stop, we're willing to earn our way. Awesomers are not waiting for external factors to deliver their dreams they're willing to work and even sacrifice when necessary but not forever to achieve long-term goals. Awesomers understand that although sacrifices can be an important part of the short-term requirement that long-term that may not be a life that you want to carve out. That it's just constantly built on sacrifice and I'll tell stories in the future no doubt where I sacrifice for long periods of time with little or no results to show for it it. Now normies will often again get caught up in new cycles like we talked about earlier wishing what they can have instead of focusing, acting and earning right? Wishing is not the same thing as making a plan right? What we want versus what we need are always different things. Normies want a lot of things and need very few. Awesomers are satisfied with whatever they have or should be and whatever we want to whatever we want in the future, we're going to build a way to earn it. Now I want to reiterate what I referred to earlier about politicians, it doesn't matter what they tell you. They're not going to give you anything worth having all the entitlements that they've helped build in this mentality around entitlements it's not helpful for anyone least of all the people who are getting the entitlements. It takes away their empowerment. It takes away that ability to to be creative and solve problems right? If you tell somebody hey I'm going to give you a hand up instead of a hand out and then you say well if you get that job at McDonald's I'm cutting you off welfare? How does that help them right the welfare concept itself is fine but not if it's a cycle that keeps you locked in politicians designed like that because they want to have a political base that they can count on. I don't care about politics right so let's not get caught up in it but let's just know that even the people that are taking advantage of entitlements and maybe they need those entitlements just to get by, it's not helping them long-term. Entrepreneurs want to focus on helping people including themselves and their families their companies earn and create not just stand back and put the hand out you know saying gimme gimme. Now it doesn't also matter what the talking heads on the news will tell you. They want you to be scared they don't want you to be empowered they want to get better ratings again telling you the sky is falling,  you know falling rather than the opportunity to create a better life and tune out their nightly nonsense. Awesomers earn everything that they create therefore they get to be proud of what they accumulate and achieve. There's all these people constantly talking about you know who needs to pay their fair share and you know why this you know 1% or this or that it's like. Stop comparing yourself to others. Stop falling into this trap of because that guy has something or that gal has something means I can't have it. All of that is just to pit people against one another and it's absolutely not helpful for anyone. Focus on what you can earn, an earning is kind of a product of work and a product of creative and processes and a product of innovation. That's what earning is, entitlement is you're just waiting for somebody to come up and go hey great job. Here's some money. I'll be back tomorrow to give you some more that's never going to work and it's never never sustainable.


Catalyst88 was developed to help entrepreneurs achieve their short and long-term goals in e-commerce markets by utilizing the power of shared entrepreneurial wisdom. Entrepreneurship is nothing if not lessons to be learned; learn from others, learn from us. I guarantee that we will learn from you. Visit catalyst88.com because your success is our success. You’re listening to the Awesomers podcast.

Steve: Okay my friends I know this has been going a long time but this is our very first episode and I want to make sure that we get it right. This summarizes again about the different paradigms that Awesomers find themselves in and trying to behave in these ways compared to normies that will behave in different ways. These are about differences and I love normies, normies are vital to be in this world. So don't scoff at them and don't judge them or feel like you're somehow superior to them. Just know that there are differences like I don't I don't care how somebody acts I just want to know how they're gonna act and behave and then I’ll interact with them in whatever way makes the most sense. I don't have any vested interest in you know feeling superior to one person or another. In fact, I don't. Most often Awesomers will have humility and they will you know have the modesty to understand that you know we're just all on this journey this big, marble floating through space together, just doing the best we can. But I do think that behavioral differences are critical to understand because they can have a direct influence on how you act and behave in your business and in your life. Again the common scenario if you pitch a brilliant Awesomers idea to normies you're gonna get a bunch of reasons why that's a terrible idea and I would just take those with a grain of salt. That's my point. Now before we close up I want to share one more business that I am promoting today and this is my mastermind. The Catalyst88 mastermind is a group of brilliant extraordinary entrepreneurs that are mostly focused on the Amazon cornerstone business of e-commerce. This means that they have found their way to selling products on Amazon nearly well I think mostly all are focused on their own brand of products so this is someone who is decided I'm gonna make not just my own online store I'm going to make my own brand and I'm gonna sell it. Most often starting with that Amazon Marketplace as a cornerstone. These overachiever brilliant people have really been able to put some things together that are so extraordinary and I'm honored to rub shoulders with them. They're really really smart now during the course of the Catalyst88 mastermind there are events that come up there are Facebook groups, there are live calls and other things that we hope adds value to each Catalyst88 member. We've done all kinds of things over time including introducing them to insurance resources legal resources tools, and you know service providers are advocates for e-commerce entrepreneurs. We talk about sales tax in the e-commerce world in an in-depth way we share insider access to you know different marketplace channels that we have at eBay and Wish, Amazon and others we share best practices we try to help solve each other's problems and really it's almost like a virtual Board of Advisors not only to get myself and many of my high-level resources, you get each other right? The members get each other and these members are truly subscribing to that Zig Zigler mentality that you can have everything in life you want if you help enough other people get what they want. That's really the foundation of catalyst 88. That if you start out by saying how can I help the other people in the room then everybody will win. Anybody who shows up to the room and starts out with you know what is everybody in this room gonna give to me they should have never got in the room, to be honest. Every member of catalyst 88 is vetted and we go through a very specific process to kind of talk through you know how the Catalyst88 membership works what they should expect, what they do expect and what we expect and then we see if there's a good fit. So you can go to Catalyst88.com you can check out some of the past events and we've done both formal mastermind meetings and what we call informal mastermind meetings which are just random gatherings all around the world Seattle, London, Roatan, China we've met in many many places and we just we just have a great time. These are people that I highly respect and that are really really great so go check out Catalyst88.com today and you could see what a high-level exclusive mastermind looks like and even if you're not ready to join I think it'll be instructive and helpful for you to see that you know the best and the brightest really should be all about pushing their envelope and investing in themselves and if you're ready for that check us out today.

Well, everybody, this has been a long show. I understand that as the first show I really wanted to give a broad overview of my philosophy about Awesomers I'll tell you a little bit about some of the behavioral paradigms that I believe in certainly as compared to normies. The show notes are available at awesomers.com/1. This is a very first episode and we truly believe in this mission to try to bring you to know knowledge and we're going to cover all kinds of topics. I'm gonna rant about things that are important to me. I'm gonna encourage you guys to join us for the talkback sessions or we may call them back talk sessions and and get your own agenda shared with the community as well and if you really believe in the stuff that we've talked about and you can see you know the road to being Awesomer then go ahead and subscribe, share it with your friends, encourage them to subscribe and you know we really will track those milestones. In six months if we have 6,000 subscribers we'll carry on and if we don't we'll well play that by ear and see what happens at that time but the key is we're committing to you 180 days of free content with obligation no pressure you can listen to it at your leisure, without anything in return. Again we're hoping that you'll share this and tell a friend we're hoping that you'll support our sponsors and we're hoping that we can count on you to you know leave a review and interact with the show. At the end of the day, we expect nothing. We just hope we can earn your trust. We hope that we can be an influence for positive things and not negative things and fundamentally we hope we can empower you to live the life that you want to live. I thank you, ladies and gentlemen. I appreciate every bit of time that you put into this I truly do love entrepreneurs. I know you can be Awesomer and if you're on that Awesomer road today I welcome you I embrace you and I'm here to help you. My name is Steve Simonson and I am at your service.

Thank you for joining us and we hope that you've enjoyed our program today. Now is a good time to take a moment to subscribe like and share this podcast. Heck, you can even leave a review if you want it.  Awesomers around you will appreciate your help. It's only with your participation and sharing that we'll be able to achieve our goals. Our success is literally in your hands. Thank you again for joining us. We are at your service. Find out more about me, Steve Simonson, our guest, team and all the other Awesomers involved at Awesomers.com. Thank you again.