Interview: Erin Smith founder of The Starters Club and The Entrepreneur Summit

June 4, 2018

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 www.ESummitEvents.com


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


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


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


Aaron: [00:00:38] Allright. So I wanted to ask. This is the first question because I heard it on aTim Ferriss podcast, and I also use this strategy whenever I was speakingbefore, 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 rememberyou by as just kind of a little icebreaker that maybe you haven't told anyoneelse.


Erin: [00:01:05] Oh.That's the hard one of something I haven't told anyone else because I don'tknow. Ah. This is a hard one. A lot of people know this, but I'm a tried andtrue farm girl from Wisconsin. I actually know how to deliver calves withbinder 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'ssomething that you put around bales of hay. So it binds the bales of hay. Solike you can take that off, and I can tie something and then tie it on thecalf's legs and pull them out.


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


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


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


Aaron: [00:01:51] Growingbusinesses and then pulling cows out. Awesome. So just as a background foreverybody else, we met Erin or at least I met Erin at a talk that- I think youwere going to speak or you had brought somebody to speak for one of yourmeetups. So Christian and I had just started a company, and you had a meetupin- I don't know where it was at because we were new to the Dallas area, butwent 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 upfollowing her. We found you I think on like- It was either Blab or likePeriscope or something like that. Way back when.


Erin: [00:02:29] Thewild 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 yearsnow?


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 theEntrepreneur 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 withsomeone named Melanie Neal, and so what happened was Melanie Neal had startedthis 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 itjust kind of fizzled out, and I was starting The Starters Club. I had apodcast, and so I really wanted this to keep going. So from her I learned howto bring speakers into- We did it over at Improving. We did happy hours, andthen 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'sa 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 thisperfect storm of let me try to bring in some speakers that no one else usuallysees. Let me try to do this. Let me see what I can do. I pulled off the firstone in three months. Swore I'd never do it again. It was so exhausting. It wasso tiring. I felt like I just was- It was hor- I mean, it wasn't horrible froma perspective. I learned more than I've ever probably learned about business inthose three months, but that first event there was this girl who her mom hadbrought her. She was very young, and she asked these questions, and she startedmeeting some of the speakers. And I saw this whole thing happen, and I was likedang it. This is exactly why I did this. I wanted to connect people thatusually aren't connecting in this community. I wanted to- And even from outsidethe community, and I wanted, you know, great information from the stage. Andhence 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 atwo-day event.


Christian: [00:04:43] Awesome.I think that was going to be my next question. How has the event evolvedthroughout the years from when you started to what you're doing right now? AndI 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 isthe main stage event. So if you just come, you can buy a one-day ticket, andyou 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 havethe one day, and then you could purchase workshops which we ended up attractinga lot of people from out of town which was great. So that's why this year weofficially moved into the two-day. Another format that's changed was first yearwas just we had panels and speakers. So it was just kind of being talked at thewhole time. Last year it was very last minute decision with Robert Herjavec. Hewas 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 privateconversation. It was a really small room of the woman who started New BelgiumBrewing 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 ofinformation. She went after that interview and went onstage to do apresentation. Very similar information. Like it wasn't like she was telling newstory. Very similar, but it was just such a different feel. Like it just was sodifferent. So last year, very last minute, I reached out to Robert, and I saidcan we do a fireside chat instead? And it was amazing. Like just you know, hetalked about how sometimes he's still scared of, you know, just knowing thathe's got 200+ employees on his shoulders. Like you'd think what do you have toworry about? But it was just so cool and some of the advice he gave, and we hadopportunity for Q&A. And so this year we've expanded that. Now we havethree CEOs throughout the day because I think for so many business owners, Ialways think of that meme that we see where you've got the diamond miner, andyou see the one who is like so close but he's giving up.


Christian: [00:06:50] Almostthere. Mm-hm.


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


Aaron: [00:07:14] Sothis- Like you said, startup community's kind of taken. This summit is forpeople 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. Soyou've got some people. You've got some work. You're going. Yeah, two to threeyears is a good timeframe too. Like you're starting to grow, and you know, likeon our first day, we're talking about things like culture. Like how do youbuild a culture? How do you hire and actually keep talent? How do you get outyour own way? We're talking tech. So a lot of things like you're ready for thatnext level, and it's what are the best moves to make, how to get out ofanalysis paralysis with all this stuff coming at us right now. I think it'scra- 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 ideaof what next.


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


Erin: [00:08:13] I'mgoing to be covering Facebook ads on day one and covering specifically- A lotof people are freaked out about how the costs are rising on Facebook ads, butreally talk about how to keep that low, how to still, you know. I think it'sstill one of the most cost-effective ways with the right business, with theright marketing to advertise. So how to take advantage of that, and then on daytwo I'll be talking about three pillars of every marketing campaign because Iget brought in a lot to generate leads. But there's just so many pieces missingwithin the business to really- The lead can only do so much if you can'tcapitalize on it.


Aaron: [00:08:50] Iwas going to say we've had similar experience where people have gotten likemaybe hundreds of leads. However, they closed like maybe 10 percent of thembecause 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 completelycan relate to that.


Erin: [00:09:08] Yeah.


Aaron: [00:09:11] Sowho are some of the other speakers that are going to be- Like the headliners orlike, you know, the people- Because you mentioned that they're CEOs. Are theyall 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 WhichWich. 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. Hewas Genghis Grill. Was his company, and he sold that. And he had a whole bunchof nightclubs before that, and Which Wich was- If you read the story, it seemslike it was a very smooth process. It was not. So his incredible story of, youknow, stumbling. Calvin Carter of Bottle Rocket. He started in a Starbucks andhiring contractors off of Craigslist, and now he's got over 200 employees. Andthen Lea Ellermeier will be there, and she is with REPLICATE Tooth. It's notthe sexiest company, but she actually has been a part of five startups. Shesold one to 3M, and she's really going to talk about the emotional side ofentrepreneurship and just getting through that and getting over that becauseit's a side we don't talk about much. You know, if you're struggling or ifyou're- Like if you're going home and things are hard, you can't talk aboutthat, right? You know, your spouse doesn't want to hear that you're strugglingbecause that's only going to cause more stress. So it's just- She's got- Sheand I have talked. I can't wait. She's actually publishing a book and will beat our VIP happy hour signing that book. As far as other speakers, I'm reallyexcited too. We've got a whole panel of Mark Cuban companies that he's investedin from Shark Tank. So companies you recognize. The Ice Shaker, BeatBoxBeverages, 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] Weran into him at Social Media Marketing World or at least I did.


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


Aaron: [00:10:58] Iwas 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 sweetenerthat they made with apple. DUDE Products.


Aaron: [00:11:12] Ohyes.


Erin: [00:11:14] TheDUDE Wipes. Sean's coming down from there. We've got like- There's going to besix companies that he's invested in that you recognize. So here's what's coolabout that is where companies typically have an 80 percent failure rate, Markmakes them go through this- Like he has certain systems that he makes them gothrough. They have to have certain finances in place. They have to do certainthings that once he invests in them, his companies have like a 90 percentsuccess rate.


Aaron: [00:11:37] Wow.


Christian: [00:11:38] That'scrazy.


Erin: [00:11:38] Sothat's where I'm like let's- I want to know what they're doing. I want to knowwhat 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 tomake that work. So we're going to be talking about that.


Aaron: [00:11:50] Iwas going to say, the culture, the people, like all of that. It doesn't matternecessarily 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 dobusiness with corporations, what they're looking for, how to stand out, even ifyou are a small business, how to get in the door. WeWork, Ericsson, and acompany called 2112. He's out of New York. That's all he does is business withenterprise-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 wasin internet marketing before internet marketing was really a thing, and she isamazing. I have a podcast with her that I'm releasing, and I mean- And that'sjust day one. This is all just day one of the content, and there's even a fewmore. 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] Sothis is the main stage event. So that will be- It sounds funky, but this isjust day two, technically the main stage events. So that's just one day. Thefirst day if you come on the 18th and buy the two-day ticket, those are breakoutsessions. So we have a marketing breakout session. We've got a technologybreakout session, personal development and leadership because I feel like a lotof times we know what we're supposed to do as business owners. It's just amatter 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 throughyour 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 likea two hour workshop we're doing. That's in the marketing section. Sales,culture, all of that is in the business fundamentals. Personal development, howto get out of your own way, how to be a leader, and then technology, we'regoing to be covering things like blockchain, IoT, design, and not from a senseof the really techie conversations, but do you need to be paying attention tothese? 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] Iwas 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 tofame? But it's like what is this? Do you need to know- Do you need to careabout this? Because I think for so many of us, like just either say yes, I door clear it off your mind for the next year or two, you know, if it doesn'tmake sense for you. So we're going to be covering topics like that.


Christian: [00:14:18] Nextyear I think it should be Entrepreneur Blockchain Summit. I think you would geta 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 beeninto any type of conference or anything like that, I think something that wehaven't talked about is networking.


Erin: [00:14:38] Yes.


Christian: [00:14:39] Ithink we went for our very first conference just last year or this year, andthat took us by storm. Like we did not expect that one of the main things thatwe were going to get out of this conference was the networking with people, thepeople that you're going to meet, the hands that you're going to shake, thebusiness cards that you're going to exchange, and the potential businesspartnerships or potential even customers that, you know, you might get fromthis 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 freeevents out there, and this is purposely why it's not a free event. I wantpeople 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 businesstogether. Like let's talk. Maybe you can meet somebody a little bit ahead ofyou. 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 likeoh, yeah, I met so-and-so. We're doing a business deal, and that stuff to me isexactly why you go to events. You can hole up and do online all day long, butyou really won't make those connections until you're in person. And this is oneof the most important things to us. It's a high-quality room. It's businessowners. It's not a lot of people talking about maybe I should someday, maybe Iwill, 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 becauseyou 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 focusedon the businesses that were like from the 1 to 5 million or so, but we'vealways like- What would it look like to work with like a Chick-Fil-A orSouthwest or, you know, something like that, and I think that that breakoutsession that you have is like exactly what, you know- How do you unveil orwhat's behind the curtain to understand that, and just like rubbing shoulderswith those people. I mean, that may be the answer there. Just to be aroundthem. To be in front of them. So.


Erin: [00:16:40] Exactly.


Christian: [00:16:40] Allright. 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] Theconvention 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] Isthere a price increase at some point?


Erin: [00:16:59] There'sa price increase on June 12th. That's our last price increase. So you going towant to grab them before June 12th. Use the code GUEST. G-U-E-S-T. It gets you20 percent off any ticket of your choice. So you can throw that on there for adiscount code.


Christian: [00:17:11] Awesome.


Aaron: [00:17:11] Ihave one more question for you before we go, which is- And you kind of talkedabout this a little bit, but it's like whenever people come from wherever, whatdo you want them to be saying or getting? Like what's the thing that's mostfulfilling 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'mgoing to change the way I do my business? So you know, what would that be?


Erin: [00:17:37] Youknow, 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 thethings I get most excited about- I was going through testimonial reels, andjust people saying I wish I would have known this to avoid mistakes. I wish Iwould have known this to, you know. Let's be honest. Most of us that arerunning 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 moveforward with it, and there was nothing that really prepared us for everythingthat could happen in business. So to hear those like it just, you know, it gavethem 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 takeawaysfrom people.


Aaron: [00:18:22] Awesome.I know that if anything that one workshop for at least us is going to beamazing 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 shouldgo use that promo code to get your discount, but how can people find out moreabout you? Because I know you have a lot of things going on besides just theEntrepreneur Summit.


Erin: [00:18:44] Yeah.So first of all, Entrepreneur Summit, esummitevents.com. Go there to grab yourtickets. esummitevents.com, and then thestartersclub.com is where you can findme, 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 herwebsite and everything you need to know about Erin in the show notes, and ifyou guys have any questions, just reach out to her on social. We tried to gether 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'reinterested and you like this type of format, we will try to throw in one amonth or something like that. So all right. We will talk to you guys next week.Thanks, Erin.


Christian: [00:19:31] Thankyou.


Erin: [00:19:31] Thankyou.

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