Show Notes

In today’s episode we interview the founder of the Entrepreneur Summit event coming this June 18th and 19th to Frisco, Texas. We talk about:

  • What is the Entrepreneur Summit and who can benefit from it
  • Who is speaking at the event
  • How the event has changed through the years
  • The power of networking opportunities

Use code GUEST for 20% off, and grab your tickets at


Christian: [00:00:16] Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to another episode. Today we actually have something a little bit different for you. We have Erin Smith in the house. She is a serial entrepreneur, business strategist, speaker, bestselling author, founder of The Starters Club and Entrepreneur Summit. Welcome, Erin.


Erin: [00:00:33] Thank you. Thank you so much for having me.


Christian: [00:00:37] Yes. Absolutely.


Aaron: [00:00:38] All right. So I wanted to ask. This is the first question because I heard it on a Tim Ferriss podcast, and I also use this strategy whenever I was speaking before, and it helps people kind of resonate with you. So like as an example, there was a girl who loved the smell of skunks. So tell us something unique. I'm kind of putting her on the spot here. Tell us something unique to remember you by as just kind of a little icebreaker that maybe you haven't told anyone else.


Erin: [00:01:05] Oh. That's the hard one of something I haven't told anyone else because I don't know. Ah. This is a hard one. A lot of people know this, but I'm a tried and true farm girl from Wisconsin. I actually know how to deliver calves with binder twine. How's that?


Aaron: [00:01:26] Yeah. I will admit that I don't what binder twine is.


Erin: [00:01:30] It's something that you put around bales of hay. So it binds the bales of hay. So like you can take that off, and I can tie something and then tie it on the calf's legs and pull them out.


Aaron: [00:01:40] Wow. Okay.


Christian: [00:01:41] I think that qualifies for something very interesting.


Erin: [00:01:43] Cool party trick. If you have a cow giving birth, I can take care of that for you.


Aaron: [00:01:51] Growing businesses and then pulling cows out. Awesome. So just as a background for everybody else, we met Erin or at least I met Erin at a talk that- I think you were going to speak or you had brought somebody to speak for one of your meetups. So Christian and I had just started a company, and you had a meetup in- I don't know where it was at because we were new to the Dallas area, but went to go speak there. Or what was his name? Or the Toastmasters.


Christian: [00:02:17] Frank?


Aaron: [00:02:18] Yes. Frank Gustafson. He went there to go speak, and then we ran into Erin. Ended up following her. We found you I think on like- It was either Blab or like Periscope or something like that. Way back when.


Erin: [00:02:29] The wild days. Yep.


Aaron: [00:02:30] Yes. And I just started following you there and really followed the Starters Club, and then now you have this new event that's been going around for three years now?


Erin: [00:02:43] Yes. This is our third year.


Aaron: [00:02:44] Awesome. So for those people who have never been to the event or don't know what the Entrepreneur Summit is, can you give us like a background for that?


Erin: [00:02:55] Yeah, absolutely. So the event you went to was part of a meetup that I co-ran with someone named Melanie Neal, and so what happened was Melanie Neal had started this meetup group. She had a really cool event with I believe it was Rick Hopper. I hope that's his name, but from ReadeREST. He was a Shark Tanker, and then it just kind of fizzled out, and I was starting The Starters Club. I had a podcast, and so I really wanted this to keep going. So from her I learned how to bring speakers into- We did it over at Improving. We did happy hours, and then fast forward a couple of years. I loved events. I had gone to events. Events just changed my business and my life, and so I saw this need in Dallas. There was- The startup scene was covered. There's a lot of incubators. There's a lot of people starting, but what about that next level? How do you go from- You've got some momentum, but how do you take it there? And it was just this perfect storm of let me try to bring in some speakers that no one else usually sees. Let me try to do this. Let me see what I can do. I pulled off the first one in three months. Swore I'd never do it again. It was so exhausting. It was so tiring. I felt like I just was- It was hor- I mean, it wasn't horrible from a perspective. I learned more than I've ever probably learned about business in those three months, but that first event there was this girl who her mom had brought her. She was very young, and she asked these questions, and she started meeting some of the speakers. And I saw this whole thing happen, and I was like dang it. This is exactly why I did this. I wanted to connect people that usually aren't connecting in this community. I wanted to- And even from outside the community, and I wanted, you know, great information from the stage. And hence another year, and then we brought in Robert Herjavec from Shark Tank, which was amazing. And now we're in our third year and officially moving into a two-day event.


Christian: [00:04:43] Awesome. I think that was going to be my next question. How has the event evolved throughout the years from when you started to what you're doing right now? And I guess that's one of the things. It has moved to multiple day.


Erin: [00:04:52] Yeah, it moved to multiple day. We're still keeping true to our first format which is the main stage event. So if you just come, you can buy a one-day ticket, and you can come on the 19th which is where everybody's going to be in one room. Last year what we did was we ventured into- We did workshops. So you could have the one day, and then you could purchase workshops which we ended up attracting a lot of people from out of town which was great. So that's why this year we officially moved into the two-day. Another format that's changed was first year was just we had panels and speakers. So it was just kind of being talked at the whole time. Last year it was very last minute decision with Robert Herjavec. He was going to do a keynote, but then I had gone to this event by Inc. Magazine, and I had gone as an influencer. So I got access to this really kind of private conversation. It was a really small room of the woman who started New Belgium Brewing Company, and it was the coolest thing to be part of this conversation. I was just like mesmerized by the whole thing. So many great bits of information. She went after that interview and went onstage to do a presentation. Very similar information. Like it wasn't like she was telling new story. Very similar, but it was just such a different feel. Like it just was so different. So last year, very last minute, I reached out to Robert, and I said can we do a fireside chat instead? And it was amazing. Like just you know, he talked about how sometimes he's still scared of, you know, just knowing that he's got 200+ employees on his shoulders. Like you'd think what do you have to worry about? But it was just so cool and some of the advice he gave, and we had opportunity for Q&A. And so this year we've expanded that. Now we have three CEOs throughout the day because I think for so many business owners, I always think of that meme that we see where you've got the diamond miner, and you see the one who is like so close but he's giving up.


Christian: [00:06:50] Almost there. Mm-hm.


Erin: [00:06:51] And I think for so many of us, we have to just be in that room to see those people who have, you know, the 9 figure plus businesses, and we just have to realize we're almost there too. Like it's just sometimes that one, you know, that one push, that one change, that one thing, and that's what keeps us going and really gets us to that next level. I feel like so many of us, it's not bad businesses that fail. I think people give up just a little too soon.


Aaron: [00:07:14] So this- Like you said, startup community's kind of taken. This summit is for people within like your two-three or?


Erin: [00:07:24] Yeah, yeah. Business owners, we say is like right in that 1 to 10 employee range. So you've got some people. You've got some work. You're going. Yeah, two to three years is a good timeframe too. Like you're starting to grow, and you know, like on our first day, we're talking about things like culture. Like how do you build a culture? How do you hire and actually keep talent? How do you get out your own way? We're talking tech. So a lot of things like you're ready for that next level, and it's what are the best moves to make, how to get out of analysis paralysis with all this stuff coming at us right now. I think it's cra- You know so many buzzwords. How do you know what should be on your agenda? What should be, you know, for you moving forward and just have a clear-cut idea of what next.


Aaron: [00:08:07] I know, I was going to say, I know a couple of the speaker lineups, and you're going to be one of them, but what's the topic you're going to be speaking about?


Erin: [00:08:13] I'm going to be covering Facebook ads on day one and covering specifically- A lot of people are freaked out about how the costs are rising on Facebook ads, but really talk about how to keep that low, how to still, you know. I think it's still one of the most cost-effective ways with the right business, with the right marketing to advertise. So how to take advantage of that, and then on day two I'll be talking about three pillars of every marketing campaign because I get brought in a lot to generate leads. But there's just so many pieces missing within the business to really- The lead can only do so much if you can't capitalize on it.


Aaron: [00:08:50] I was going to say we've had similar experience where people have gotten like maybe hundreds of leads. However, they closed like maybe 10 percent of them because the person answering the phone's either like two or three days late or, you know, they don't call them at all. They try to text them, and so completely can relate to that.


Erin: [00:09:08] Yeah.


Aaron: [00:09:11] So who are some of the other speakers that are going to be- Like the headliners or like, you know, the people- Because you mentioned that they're CEOs. Are they all from the Dallas area?


Erin: [00:09:20] Yes, all the CEOs will be from the Dallas area. So we've got Jeff Sinelli of Which Wich. Which, it's a weird- But I've heard him speak and his story. I couldn't. I'm so excited to have him here. So he's got a great story of how he built. He was Genghis Grill. Was his company, and he sold that. And he had a whole bunch of nightclubs before that, and Which Wich was- If you read the story, it seems like it was a very smooth process. It was not. So his incredible story of, you know, stumbling. Calvin Carter of Bottle Rocket. He started in a Starbucks and hiring contractors off of Craigslist, and now he's got over 200 employees. And then Lea Ellermeier will be there, and she is with REPLICATE Tooth. It's not the sexiest company, but she actually has been a part of five startups. She sold one to 3M, and she's really going to talk about the emotional side of entrepreneurship and just getting through that and getting over that because it's a side we don't talk about much. You know, if you're struggling or if you're- Like if you're going home and things are hard, you can't talk about that, right? You know, your spouse doesn't want to hear that you're struggling because that's only going to cause more stress. So it's just- She's got- She and I have talked. I can't wait. She's actually publishing a book and will be at our VIP happy hour signing that book. As far as other speakers, I'm really excited too. We've got a whole panel of Mark Cuban companies that he's invested in from Shark Tank. So companies you recognize. The Ice Shaker, BeatBox Beverages, which got a million dollars.


Aaron: [00:10:54] Oh. The Ice Shaker. That's one of the Gronkowski guy, right?


Erin: [00:10:53] Yep, yep. He'll be there.


Aaron: [00:10:55] We ran into him at Social Media Marketing World or at least I did.


Christian: [00:10:58] Yeah, you did.


Aaron: [00:10:58] I was like hey, I think I know you. Let's take a picture.


Erin: [00:11:02] Yeah, he's going to be there. The Bee Free Honee will be there. It's like a sweetener that they made with apple. DUDE Products.


Aaron: [00:11:12] Oh yes.


Erin: [00:11:14] The DUDE Wipes. Sean's coming down from there. We've got like- There's going to be six companies that he's invested in that you recognize. So here's what's cool about that is where companies typically have an 80 percent failure rate, Mark makes them go through this- Like he has certain systems that he makes them go through. They have to have certain finances in place. They have to do certain things that once he invests in them, his companies have like a 90 percent success rate.


Aaron: [00:11:37] Wow.


Christian: [00:11:38] That's crazy.


Erin: [00:11:38] So that's where I'm like let's- I want to know what they're doing. I want to know what changes in a business when you get somebody like that to- You know, obviously, you get an influx of money, but there's way more to it than that to make that work. So we're going to be talking about that.


Aaron: [00:11:50] I was going to say, the culture, the people, like all of that. It doesn't matter necessarily about the finances. So.


Erin: [00:11:56] Right.


Aaron: [00:11:56] Ninety. Wow.


Erin: [00:11:57] Yeah. So that'll be one of our panels. We've got another panel about how to do business with corporations, what they're looking for, how to stand out, even if you are a small business, how to get in the door. WeWork, Ericsson, and a company called 2112. He's out of New York. That's all he does is business with enterprise-type companies. So a lot of tidbits out of that. Carrie Wilkerson. You may know her as the Barefoot Executive. She has a bestselling book called "The Barefoot Executive," but she's been building tribes now. She was in internet marketing before internet marketing was really a thing, and she is amazing. I have a podcast with her that I'm releasing, and I mean- And that's just day one. This is all just day one of the content, and there's even a few more. But it's going to be good.


Aaron: [00:12:42] Okay. What is going to be on day two then? I'm just curious now.


Erin: [00:12:47] So this is the main stage event. So that will be- It sounds funky, but this is just day two, technically the main stage events. So that's just one day. The first day if you come on the 18th and buy the two-day ticket, those are breakout sessions. So we have a marketing breakout session. We've got a technology breakout session, personal development and leadership because I feel like a lot of times we know what we're supposed to do as business owners. It's just a matter of actually doing it is the hard part, and then business fundamentals. So we're covering- Like we have a whole chatbot workshop, how to think through your first chatbot, how to get it out, some tools you could use to build that, why you might want to do a chatbot, why you'd want to consider it. That's like a two hour workshop we're doing. That's in the marketing section. Sales, culture, all of that is in the business fundamentals. Personal development, how to get out of your own way, how to be a leader, and then technology, we're going to be covering things like blockchain, IoT, design, and not from a sense of the really techie conversations, but do you need to be paying attention to these? I think there's just a lot of buzzwords out there where it's like okay, should I care about a blockchain with the how this-


Aaron: [00:13:58] I was getting ready to say blockchain, blockchain.


Erin: [00:13:59] Yeah, like should I become a blockchain expert? Is that my next, you know, claim to fame? But it's like what is this? Do you need to know- Do you need to care about this? Because I think for so many of us, like just either say yes, I do or clear it off your mind for the next year or two, you know, if it doesn't make sense for you. So we're going to be covering topics like that.


Christian: [00:14:18] Next year I think it should be Entrepreneur Blockchain Summit. I think you would get a huge surplus of people, eh, it has blockchain it. So we better go there.


Erin: [00:14:28] Yeah.


Christian: [00:14:28] Yeah, it's kind of funny. I was going to say, you know, for people who've never been into any type of conference or anything like that, I think something that we haven't talked about is networking.


Erin: [00:14:38] Yes.


Christian: [00:14:39] I think we went for our very first conference just last year or this year, and that took us by storm. Like we did not expect that one of the main things that we were going to get out of this conference was the networking with people, the people that you're going to meet, the hands that you're going to shake, the business cards that you're going to exchange, and the potential business partnerships or potential even customers that, you know, you might get from this conference. Can you talk to us a little bit about the networking?


Erin: [00:15:05] Yeah. So the networking is really huge for me, and you know, there's a lot of free events out there, and this is purposely why it's not a free event. I want people who are serious about their business because when you meet those people, and like you said, you can either connect with them. Let's grow a business together. Like let's talk. Maybe you can meet somebody a little bit ahead of you. You got a mentorship opportunity, or I still hear people that, you know, have lunch with them who attended the event or whatever. And they'll be like oh, yeah, I met so-and-so. We're doing a business deal, and that stuff to me is exactly why you go to events. You can hole up and do online all day long, but you really won't make those connections until you're in person. And this is one of the most important things to us. It's a high-quality room. It's business owners. It's not a lot of people talking about maybe I should someday, maybe I will, you know, in 10 years. It's people who are there in the trenches with you, and there's nothing better than being surrounded with people like that because you really realize A) you're not alone, and B) just business opportunities.


Aaron: [00:16:11] Right. I was going to say just learning- I guess one thing for us is that we've focused on the businesses that were like from the 1 to 5 million or so, but we've always like- What would it look like to work with like a Chick-Fil-A or Southwest or, you know, something like that, and I think that that breakout session that you have is like exactly what, you know- How do you unveil or what's behind the curtain to understand that, and just like rubbing shoulders with those people. I mean, that may be the answer there. Just to be around them. To be in front of them. So.


Erin: [00:16:40] Exactly.


Christian: [00:16:40] All right. So Entrepreneur Summit is June 18th and 19th in Frisco, Texas.


Erin: [00:16:48] Frisco, Texas at the Convention Center.


Christian: [00:16:49] The convention center. Okay. So they have about what? 15 days to buy tickets?


Erin: [00:16:55] Yes, 15 days. We're getting there.


Aaron: [00:16:56] Is there a price increase at some point?


Erin: [00:16:59] There's a price increase on June 12th. That's our last price increase. So you going to want to grab them before June 12th. Use the code GUEST. G-U-E-S-T. It gets you 20 percent off any ticket of your choice. So you can throw that on there for a discount code.


Christian: [00:17:11] Awesome.


Aaron: [00:17:11] I have one more question for you before we go, which is- And you kind of talked about this a little bit, but it's like whenever people come from wherever, what do you want them to be saying or getting? Like what's the thing that's most fulfilling to you whenever you hear somebody saying something about the event? Or you know, is it that business deal, or is it like, you know, that hey, I'm going to change the way I do my business? So you know, what would that be?


Erin: [00:17:37] You know, I was going through my- I always say I want three things, inspiration, great connections, and content, like a clear direction, but I think one of the things I get most excited about- I was going through testimonial reels, and just people saying I wish I would have known this to avoid mistakes. I wish I would have known this to, you know. Let's be honest. Most of us that are running businesses, we're not technically what you'd call a business person, right? We have a passion. We have something. We saw an opportunity. We move forward with it, and there was nothing that really prepared us for everything that could happen in business. So to hear those like it just, you know, it gave them more confidence. It just made them realize how to avoid certain mistakes. Little things like that I think are the biggest. I love hearing those takeaways from people.


Aaron: [00:18:22] Awesome. I know that if anything that one workshop for at least us is going to be amazing to meet those kind of people. So how can more people find out- Obviously, we want them to buy some tickets. So if you're listening, you should go use that promo code to get your discount, but how can people find out more about you? Because I know you have a lot of things going on besides just the Entrepreneur Summit.


Erin: [00:18:44] Yeah. So first of all, Entrepreneur Summit, Go there to grab your tickets., and then is where you can find me, and I'm all over social @thestartersclub.


Aaron: [00:18:57] Awesome. Thank you again for coming on the show. We're going to put the code and her website and everything you need to know about Erin in the show notes, and if you guys have any questions, just reach out to her on social. We tried to get her cell phone number and blast it over the air, but she wouldn't give it to us. So. But this was awesome, and if you guys enjoyed this kind of interview style, this is not normal for us. I think we've done like three, but if you're interested and you like this type of format, we will try to throw in one a month or something like that. So all right. We will talk to you guys next week. Thanks, Erin.


Christian: [00:19:31] Thank you.


Erin: [00:19:31] Thank you.

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