Kendal's Podcast

Ep. 6 – Think & Win Like An Entrepreneur


Hey, this is Kendal Netmaker live from the studio, and today we are going to be talking about the entrepreneur within today, we’re gonna focus on getting into the mindset of why an entrepreneur succeeds, especially the super successful ones that you see online, on Facebook, on Instagram, on LinkedIn, and so on. What sets them apart from everybody else and how can we use what they know and apply it to our lives so that we can also see exceptional results coming from ourselves. To demonstrate this, I’m gonna be sharing it to you some personal examples of what we’ve done in our business, and also some of our clients, some of our coaching clients, and so on. And we’re gonna combine a lot of the most successful outcomes and how you can apply them in your business, your organization, your personal life, and so on. And I want to, I really want to emphasize something.

There is something that really allows entrepreneurs to succeed. You see, if you were to put yourself in an organization, and let’s pretend you have some team members, you have staff members and so on, and they also have managers, they have VPs, they have c-level executives and so on. And that ladder just keeps going higher and higher and higher. The difference between an entrepreneur and someone who works in that field is that an entrepreneur is able to make decisions on the spot, on the go. In reality, they’re actually able to execute much faster than most people on their ideas. They’re able to try more experiments, they’re able to risk failure more often than most people. They’re able to focus more because they have less, less noise around them. They’re able to focus on the ideas that are in the back of their mind so that they can push forward and execute more on more ideas.

And the more outcomes that they produce, the more they’re able to find what works for them and they focus and execute on what works for them nonstop every single day. I believe there’s three key distinctive factors that separate an entrepreneur than most people out there in the workplace. Number one is mindset Entrepreneurs, they just think differently. They have a different mindset in how they approach problems, how they approach conflict. They actually embrace obstacles differently than other people out there. Number two, they focus on what they’re good at their skillset, they focus on their core strengths, and they apply them to their businesses. They apply them to their organization, and they’re able to delegate what they’re not so good at. And number three is they’re able to execute much faster with speed, with grit than most other people out there. Those three things, I believe, are the three most important factors of why entrepreneurs think and win differently than most people.

The very first business I ever started, and that really taught me the most lessons out of everything that I’ve started and produced since that time. It was way back in 2010. In 2010, I was a full-time student at the University of Saskatchewan and Saskatoon. And I used to think with my current mindset at that time, I thought that I was gonna become a phys ed teacher. I was gonna become a teacher teaching sports and so on, all that kind of stuff, because I was an athlete back then. And so my mindset was so fixed on becoming a teacher and focusing on that. When I got into business, it was kind of by accident. I had seen a poster of a business planning competition, and I thought that I had a pretty cool idea to try and apply to this, but there was a few things that I didn’t realize that were to my disadvantage.

One, I had no idea how to write a business plan. Two, I had no idea what a business pitch was. And just to add to that, I was a education student, so automatically people assume that I was not in business or I could never start a business because of my background. So going into these business competitions, I was forced to just throw myself out there and learn as much as I possibly could. So I would hear about these competitions and I would go to their free workshops, free seminars, and I would immerse myself into learning about how do I write a business plan. And what I would also do is I would take people out for coffee, people who knew how to write a business plan or had an existing business already, and I would sit there with a notepad and notes, and I would take all these notes at a local Tim Horton’s because I couldn’t afford the Starbucks yet.

I was a very broke student at that time. So as I was studying to trade this business and hopefully make it big, I would go to all these workshops, these seminars. I would go on YouTube, I would watch Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank and so on. And in 2010, I launched my first company. It was called Moose Meat Apparel. It was a clothing company that I created out of a volleyball team that I was on. And long story short, the volleyball team that I was on, we became very popular because of our crazy name Moose Meet. We all had moose meet nicknames on the back of our jerseys. And every tournament that we’d go to playing through all these First Nations communities, people would, would give us moose cheers, moose calls, and so on in, in the audience and in the bleachers.

So we developed this fan base of people who eventually asked us, Hey, if you had moose meat shirts or moose meat apparel, I would totally buy that from you. It was at that moment I decided I was going to create moose meat apparel, start selling t-shirts and hoodies and so on. So I entered these competitions with the idea of creating this moose meat apparel brand. After submitting my business plan to all these competitions, I would have to come back and have to do this business pitch. And after my first competition, we were able to, to win some money. But here was the thing, I didn’t know how to do a business pitch at the same time. I was terrified. I was the shyest kid in my, my upbringing ever since I was in elementary to high school, even into my first couple years of university, I was terrified.

I didn’t know how to do public presentation. So I would have to psych myself out and reprogram myself to get in front of a classroom late at night, put my presentation on, and I would present my ideas in front of an empty classroom until I was able to build a confidence within myself to show up and do this at a live event. I showed up and I did this at the live event at the grand finale, after figuring out how to do a business plan, which I pieced together from the information that I was taught, combined with the business pitch, combined with telling a really impactful story, we’re able to persuade people, the judges, to give us money. And that’s how it got Moose meat apparel off the ground. So Moose meat apparel, eight months into it, something bad happened. You see, up until this point, I had no business partners.

I was going as fast as I could as an entrepreneur. I was, I was, had one foot on my education degree and I had one foot on trying to create this business. That was the problem right there. So if you ever want to create something, if you ever want to create a product, a service, create your own business, a different product launch and so on, you have to understand this. Try not to forget this. If you want something to be as impactful as possible, if you want something to succeed to your, your full imagination, you have to put all of your energy, all of your focus into that idea at that moment. What happens is, if you do not do this, you are going to find out the hard way. Like I did eight months into my Moose Meat business, I got a letter in the mail saying that I could not sell the word Moose meat on any of my products anymore because it infringed on a similar trademark out on the West Coast.

Just like that. I was overnight a success and I had to close it down. I closed it down in front of all of my Facebook fans, everyone online, and everyone thought I was a failure. I felt like I did not want to talk to anyone for several weeks. I, I went through this mini depression. I felt embarrassed. I felt ashamed. I felt like, why did I even do this in the first place? , all this negative self-talk was coming out. Fast forward a couple weeks after that, I changed the name after talking with one of my buddies on Facebook, and he said, , why don’t you just change the name? Call it Neechie gear or NeechieWear. Neechie is the slang form of our, our friend or my friend in our language. That’s where it comes from. So friend Gear, that’s what we would eventually call this brand.

We paired it with a social mission of helping kids that are ones like me who could not afford to take part in sports as as children. And we wanted to fund some of our profits into this, helping kids to take part in sports through our sales and profits from our Neechie gear products and so on. So as we did this, and I had this idea, I went back to those business planning competitions and I reentered this new idea of Neechie Gear. I submitted my business plan the day my son was born, April 3rd, 2011 in Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I was sitting there on the ledge with my old laptop that worked about 75% of the time, and my wife, Rachel, had just given a birth to our son. And I remember pressing enter on that business plan, and a few days later, I get the call that I had made the finale of several competitions now more than the original ones with Moose Meat Apparel.

So now I’m competing on bigger stages. And I showed up with a better pitch, with a better idea, with the combined with a purpose-driven mission. And I showed up and I was able to execute everything that I learned up into that point. And , what happened after that, we were able to win thousands of dollars in cash services to start this business, Neechie Gear. So now I have a newborn son. My wife is a full-time student at the University of Saskatchewan, trying to complete her Bachelor’s of Education as well, trying to become a teacher. And we’re trying to find out how do we make this all work. So as an entrepreneur, I’m thinking, what’s the fastest way to get this off the ground? , as entrepreneurs, that’s one of our strengths. We’re able to use our speed as fastly and quickly as we possibly can to get a product, to get a service out there.

So as I’m growing this business out of a one bedroom apartment, I’m running outta cash really quickly, which a lot of entrepreneurs go through. I’m trying to find out how do I pay for rent? How do I pay for Pampers? How do I pay for formula? How do I pay for all the basic necessities to keep our life this possible business afloat? In 2012, I made a decision after walking out of a welfare line with my wife and my son, this decision was I was gonna give it everything I had in my possible power within myself, in my action, in my mindset to give it everything I can to make this business work. I had support from my wife, I had support from my close family members, and I went all into this business. So in 2012, I go a hundred percent into it. I move all of our product into a little office in downtown Saskatoon, and I’m trying as best as I could to try to make things happen.

And during this process, I really want to emphasize this. In order to ignite the entrepreneur within, you have to understand some, there are some people that assume that when they get into a leadership role or if they’re starting a business, they can just hire people for this, hire people for that. And, , they assume that they might be able to create a successful business. Here’s the reality of it. When you’re just getting started, especially in that startup phase, you have to try and learn everything you possibly can about logistics, about or about, serving clients, about selling and so on. You have to try to learn every single process that you possibly can. ’cause if you don’t, if something fails along that line that you did not master in the beginning, it’s going to be hard for you to understand how to hire someone to stick that problem for yourself.

So I want to give you an example. in 2012, I made a decision also that I was going to create my, my company and jump into it a hundred percent. right before that decision, I had made a really bad investment that taught me a big lesson. And the lesson was, I said I was going to create the, the cheapest product possible and sell it at the highest price possible. In order to do that, I would have to start screen printing my own T-shirts, meaning I’d have to put the ink on there and harden it and basically play art class in my apartment. So I remember buying whatever with I had in my account. I invested in all the screen printing equipment and it showed up to my apartment. And remember I sent Rachel and, and my son to visit his grandmother on the reserve.

And that weekend I had set up everything in our apartment from the screens. I got the squeegees ready, I got the ink ready, I got the, the pressure washer ready to blast out the screen so that the design would show up on the screen from the black room, and I would have to put a, a garbage bag on the storage room. So I was able to produce the screen in the, in the first place, bring it out into the washroom, blast out the screen from the pressure washer, and I was able to take that screen, I put it onto the screen printing machine, I was able to put the T-shirt onto the board. I was able to get some ink, put it on the screen, put it down onto the board, squeegee as hard as I can, onto the T-shirt, bring it up, take the T-shirt out when it’s still wet, put it under the dryer, and then I would cure that on our apartment balcony.

So I had this full on factory going on in our apartment. I had to leave the windows open because there was so much smoke going out and people were wondering what I was up to. So that was crazy because I was so focused on getting my prices down, maximizing my profit margin. Here’s what I learned. I was good at storytelling and selling the product. I was good at creating some cool designs and putting them on some T-shirts. I was not so good at printing t-shirts, screen printing, , doing advanced website designs and so on. So all these different things I would eventually have to outsource to people. So once I learned that whole process, I was able to find the best possible screen printer in Saskatoon. We contracted them, we became really good friends, and they began printing all of our, our t-shirts, our hoodies, and so on.

So after learning that lesson, then we went on to do our own photography. I remember we had this old pixel camera get Rachel to, to do pictures of me from the neck down to my waist. So we would just get the Neechie gear, t-shirts and hoodies. We would put those onto our website, which I created on, on Shopify. And then I would create a Facebook page. I would let people know about our new designs that we would just get from our printer. And so much of this stuff we’re learning on the go. We’re trying, we’re trying, we’re executing, we’re making a lot of mistakes, but that, my friends, is where all the magic happens when you’re making mistakes, when you’re trying things for the first time. But what the best part of this is, you are going to be able to execute faster, and that means you’re gonna be able to find the best possible routes faster than the big people out there.

That is the beauty of igniting the entrepreneur within. One of the things I really enjoyed throughout this whole process was using the art of using what is right in front of you, as opposed to stressing of about how can I afford this? How can I, , save up for this, this and that? How can I use what’s in front of me right now to go and get a result that I’m looking for? So that came from growing up in poverty on my first Nations community in Sweetgrass, living on welfare. And from a young age, I remember watching my mom stretching out our welfare check, and she would budget that welfare check on a notepad and pen, and I would watch her sit there for several minutes, just jotting down all the things that we would need for that month, and she would budget down to the last dollar.

Now, in business, we have to do the same thing. We have to budget, , our payroll, the the supplies that we need every single month, the cost of goods, if we’re selling products, the cost of maintaining our websites, our our advertising, all that type of stuff. We have to monitor. By using what’s in front of us, we’re able to think outside the box. We’re able to be creative. And because you’re able to be more creative, you’re able to ignite the speed factor of being an entrepreneur. So in 2012, we took it from our one bedroom apartment to a little office. And in between that time, I’m going to all of these events, these trade shows, these, these pop-up events and so on. And I’m selling Neechie gear nonstop. I’m learning how to sell, I’m learning how to talk with people. And in between that time, I remember hiring my very first staff members and I’m able to figure out, okay, how do I staff this person here at this event and this event and so on?

How do I pay them? How do I run payroll? All this type of stuff I was learning for the first time. And then we took a big step in a positive direction. After moving it into the office, we’re able to win a little kiosk, rent free in a local mall in Saskatoon called the Center Mall. So we move into the center mall on a little kiosk, a little retail cart, and I’m able to start hiring full-time staff to manage this cart. We’re, we’re producing more product. I’m understanding how to create better packaged materials to create a retail cart that looks and stands out very well to people walking by so that when they walk by, they’re able to want to buy our stuff more than other retail carts out there. I was able to figure out how do I brand this more effectively? How do I stop people in between the malls and talk to them and educate them about our product or what we’re trying to get out to the marketplace?

How do I educate people to try to educate them through our social mission that we are trying to achieve at the same time? All these type of things we are doing, trial and error, doing lots of experiments. Again, another advantage to, in igniting again, another advantage to igniting the entrepreneur. Within, within three months into that cart, I made a decision that I was gonna open up my very first retail store in the same shopping center that we are in. So within steps away from our original cart, we opened up a 502 square foot retail location. And at the same time, I had to realize and use what was in front of me. I knew that I could not afford to hire people to do contracting work in there. So I remember I hired Rachel’s dad to come and build a change room for us. I hired people like myself and my family members to do some painting, to do some organizing, to set up the Ikea shelving, to set up the, the retail racks, to set up every single possibly thing that we could in that store to make it showroom ready and professional.

I remember I was staying up late at night painting the front of the store. People would come outta the movie theater and they would watch me painting that store and getting ready for what was to come next. So Canada Day 2012, we opened up that store and from there we able to keep the momentum going. I opened up another store. Now I’m doubling my staff. I open up a different location. I started wholesaling. I started doing custom orders. And before it, I’m going so fast, so hard, and there came a liability that I want to warn you about. You see, the speed part of igniting the entrepreneur within is an advantage, but it also can be a disadvantage. One of the disadvantages it did for myself was I was growing so fast, not realizing that I was the main source, the main battery behind the business, and without me, everything would’ve crumbled.

Now, entrepreneurs, we tend to go through this in different phases throughout our businesses, and the earlier you can recognize this and adapt to it, the better off your future of your business will be, or the future of your organization and so on. So I was like a hamster in the wheel, going as fast as I could, as fast as I could, only to realize that my health was suffering, my relationships were suffering, my family was suffering. I was on the road nonstop, and I was ready to fall off of that hamster in the wheel because I was getting burnt out. I was also having a hard time finding the most reliable staff members because, , if someone didn’t show up at this location at this city and so on, I physically would have to show up and run that store for the whole day.

And then I would have to return home. And that whole cycle would continue, would continue, would continue. So I want to stress this to you. If you find yourself in a similar situation where you’re going so fast and you can’t even breathe, you can’t even take care of yourself, it’s time to take a step back and try to figure out ways so that you can reprogram your business and shift things around so that it works in your favor. It works for your mental health, your physical wellbeing and so on. Your relationships to people around you. Because if you don’t do it sooner, they’re gonna suffer at the end when you’re growing your business for the long run. So while growing Neechie Gear, I made a decision that I was going to speak more and in order for me to speak more, I would have to make certain changes in my business model to accommodate more speaking engagements.

’cause I love to help people. I have to impact people. So I would have to close the few locations down. I would have to focus more online, wholesale, custom orders, distributing one to many as opposed to one-to-one. So as we grew, we were able to adjust and adapt to what we were looking for. So I can speak more. I was able to understand and realize that in order to grow a speaking business, which I didn’t know how to do at all, I would have to find people who are already successful in that field. I would ask them questions. I would hire coaches, I would hire consultants. I didn’t understand that I needed my own speaker website. So I’m, I went and I created I didn’t realize that I need better photography on my Facebook, my website. I didn’t realize that I needed to create my own profile photo and make it consistent on all of my social platforms videos.

I had no speaking videos. Who’s gonna hire a speaker if they can’t even watch them on video? So all these things I didn’t realize, and I would adapt and I would add them to all of my websites, all of my social media. I figured out how to do better storytelling. I would hire storytelling coaches, video coaches. When I wrote my book Driven to Succeed, I didn’t know how to do that as well.. All these type of things were coming as I was growing. And that my friend is one of the major powers of, of igniting the entrepreneur within Entrepreneurs think differently. They win differently. And because they’re able to focus on what’s in front of them and using their resources collectively, what’s in front of them, less noise around them, hyper focus, they’re able to create more experiments, they’re able to create more outcomes.

And when we are able to create more outcomes, you find what works for you. You find things that most people, it takes years for them to find out because they’re have to report to this person, this person, this person, this department, and entrepreneurs, they can go, go, go, go, go nonstop. That is the power of igniting the entrepreneur within speed, grit, creativity, using what’s in front of them, using their mindset, programming, their mindset so that every single day they’re able to wake up and execute on what it is that they’re going for, using what they’re good at, their gift. For myself, in that moment, back in 2012, I realized that I was good at storytelling. So I would tell the Neechie Gear story over and over again nonstop. That was my skillset. So I applied every single day, and little did I that I would ignite a speaking career for myself.

So now to this day, we’re in 2020 right now. I am now a full-time keynote speaker. I’m helping people. I’m writing books, I’m creating audio programs like this. I’m creating my online academy. I’m still selling Neechie gear, I’m making more products, and so on. You see, this is the power of being an entrepreneur, igniting that entrepreneur within whether in your personal life, your own business, your organization as a leadership role, as a c-level executive, and so on. Ladies and gentlemen, that is how entrepreneurs think and win differently than most people out there in the world. And here’s the best part of it all you can too. Keep moving forward!


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