Becoming A Unicorn: The Entrepreneurial Goal
Josh Pies, serial entrepreneur and guy who has hit both good and hard times, never gives up. What has fueled his ability to bounce back and champion adversity is a clear understanding that learning from the example of others is the best way to move forward with confidence. That is the purpose of this podcast.
Napoleon Hill’s famous text ‘Think And Grow Rich” was purportedly a study of the richest men in business and how they operated. Hill’s famous work by example, as well as via the infamous concept of “The Mastermind”, supports the notion that learning from peers who have relevant experiences is precisely the right decision to help entrepreneurs overcome and achieve.
Thus, this podcast is dedicated to Examining the Journey of Entrepreneurship. Interviews of entrepreneurs – finding out their back story, how they discovered their business and how they overcame the challenges they faced, will help you – our viewers, friends and peers – move forward with confidence.
ABOUT BOOTSTRAPPED UNICORNS
Answer: Both terms, “Bootstrapping” or “Bootstrapped” and “Unicorn” are common words in the world of Entrepreneurs. Bootstrapping is the act of building something without help or high-value resources (i.e. “Daddy’s Money”). It’s a dirt on your face and under the nails, hard work, sweat equity rules type of term. Now, the word “Unicorn” indicates a business that is so unique that it is undeniable as the best in class or maybe even best ever. Now, there’s giants like Meta that are clearly tech Unicorns but there’s also unicorns in tight niches that are that very unique, undeniable powerhouse which may never make the world stage but be a giant for the entrepreneurs and those people who need him/her. Bootstrapped Unicorns are those businesses that took grit, ingenuity, and no undue favors from others (even if there was serendipity and the occasional “Lucky” moment.
Answer: Have you ever heard the question, “are you working in your business or on your business”? Many business owners – people who have ownership or equity positions in a business enterprise – are also laborers. In fact, many laborers strike out on their own because they can make more money on their own but then they encounter the new realities of overhead that they suddenly have to cover – Payroll, Rent, Utilities, Insurance, More Insurance, professional licenses, and more. They may aspire to be entrepreneurs of the purist ilk, but are more likely at the beginning of the journey to really being able to own the title. Entrepreneurs can be business owners but, in the opinion of this podcaster (Josh Pies), real entrepreneurs are people who are Opportunity Hunters and Gatherers. Entrepreneurs identify good decisions that will create wealth and they execute the decisions.
Answer: Well… that’s actually in large part what this podcast is about. Bootstrapped Unicorns explores the various pathways people have taken to arrive at an entrepreneurial life. I can tell you for certain that some people are wired for it – I am one such person – but those who are not particularly wired for entrepreneurship can choose the path and champion it just the same, if not better. This is one of those things that is definitely more perspiration than inspiration. In fact, many entrepreneurs make it huge with existing business models and well-established technologies and methods. Most entrepreneurs are NOT inventors. We are creative – we find ways to do things that are unique and innovative – but we are not likely to be the person who designs and invented a world-changing widget. We sure can find a way to profit from that widget though.
Answer: Unfortunately, if you honestly asked that question and did not take this site’s prompt, you may not be in a mindset that can be persuaded. So, if that was really your question then, YES, we are greedy and we all wring our hands like Mr Burns from the Simpsons… now go away.
To really answer the question, though, we know that entrepreneurs and the profit motive have been abused in the history of the world. That said, most businesses and the entrepreneurs behind them are keenly aware that the very bootstrapping they did is matched and exceeded by their greatest asset: Human Capital. People make up most of the value in businesses as a day-to-day reality. Now, automation, AI, and other innovation do challenge this notion in modern times but I predict that we humans will continue to add value and get compensated for it. And, in that reality, we also can be sure that entrepreneurs will hire and compensate these valuable humans well. If they don’t it will be at their eventual peril.
So, yes, profit is important. The only pathway to profit is through the valuable and honorable use of the labor fellow humans can provide.
I should note that I personally have employed hundreds of people in my time owning and operating businesses. Many families have been fed. Children have been clothed. I didn’t do it – good people who I had the privilege to hire did and it felt good to provide the space for them to work for me, grow with me, and thrive in their personal lives.
Answer: The requirements for being on The Bootstrapped Unicorns Podcast with Josh Pies are as follows:
- You must verifiably currently own a business or have owned a business. Gig work does not qualify but solopreneurs who have a thriving product, membership group, real estate empire, or the like do qualify and we want to meet you!
- You must have clarity about who you were before you owned the business and the pathway that lead you to the business.
- You must have at least 1 key story of overcoming obstacles in your business to share as a teachable moment for our audience.
- You must have a clear vision of what’s next and be willing to talk about what direction you’re growing.
Additionally, our process of vetting and distributing includes your participation. Coming on our show requires the following actions:
- You or your team must fill out the application.
- You agree to be recorded (video & audio) with our unfettered use of the contents of that recording experience.
- You agree to leverage your platform to share your episode (social media; streaming video; mailing lists; etc)
- You agree to a follow-up meeting with Josh Pies to discuss the show and mutual opportunities. (Entrepreneurs usually have ideas together!)
- And, lastly, you agree to fill out a referral form with three people who Josh should invite to be on the show.
Answer: Josh Pies is a serial entrepreneur, husband, and father. You’re here for the first part, but all of it is a package deal.
If you listen to the first few episodes you’ll get a flavor of my full story, but here’s the bullet list:
- At age 4 I started a manufacturing company and was $1600 cash positive annually.
- At age 8 I started a manufacturing partnership, we made money but learned some hard lessons.
- At age 10 I gave up the business drive and decided to go pro as a baseball player.
- At age 18 I got the letter of my dreams – a D1 college wanted me as starting catcher. Then my shoulder blew out. Game over.
- PIVOT TIME
- At age 18 I flunked out of engineering school
- At age 23 I graduated with degrees in Business Administration, Economics, and Philosophy as the first student at Nazareth College to be a triple major.
- Then I got my MBA in technology entrepreneurship. At the same time, I started a snowplowing business.
- The Snow Plowing business grew, and grew, and grew. Then… ’08 BUST!
- PIVOT TIME
- With a baby coming we needed stability – I got jobs at Home Depot, a night club as a bouncer, and as the GM of a Construction Co.
- Our hobby was a TV Show at church… and that was eventually a big hit. It turned into a career.
- C47 Films was founded on Father’s Day 2010 after a 4-year testing and trial period in amateur filmmaking; we offer custom, 1-off videos for clients and produce movies, documentaries, and TV shows.
- Piles of awards, huge experiences, fun, and myriad challenges occur… then a Pandemic occurs.
- It was March 20, 2020, when I got 3 calls canceling 80% of our booked revenue for the year… The next three days killed another 10%
- PIVOT TIME
- C47 begins to offer full-service retainer products and builds a large base of new clients
- Late Pandemic tragedy strikes often – 4 deaths in the family distract Josh and open the door for the business to contract.
- PIVOT TIME
- We’re here, right now in 2023, as C47 Films is reimagining our product offerings yet again. We still to 1-off videos, movies, TV shows, and documentaries but we consider those intermittent enough that it’s unstable to rely solely on those. I’m an entrepreneur so, we’re innovating and systematizing processes once again… The journey is amazing as much as it can be challenging.
So, I’m Josh. A Full Transparency type of guy. You’ll eventually hear about my times as a professor in colleges, that time I broke my hand in a bare-knuckle boxing match, and more… It may seem I’ve lived a few lifetimes in my mere 42 years. Stick around… this podcast adventure should be fun.