Kyle Ewing is the President and Founder of TerraSlate, the leading provider of waterproof and rip-proof printer paper. Founded in 2015, TerraSlate has grown into a multimillion-dollar company that does business in over 85 countries worldwide. Kyle became a full-time entrepreneur in 2014 after leaving the corporate world to build his first company, Guerrilla Tags ID Systems. Since then, he has collaborated with fellow entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to develop new systems, metrics, and growth strategies for emerging companies in the tech and renewable resources industries.
Kyle is a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization and Chair of the Board for Seven Ribbons Foundation. Before TerraSlate, Kyle founded Teslyne and MBA Adventure Tours and worked at companies including Brightstar and Sand Cherry Associates.
Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:
- Kyle Ewing discusses how he pivoted his career to become an entrepreneur
- Building and selling his first company
- Kyle shares the story of how TerraSlate came to be — and how he developed the product
- What mindset do entrepreneurs need to have when growing a startup?
- Lessons Kyle learned from his startup, Teslyne
- Kyle’s trick for overcoming rejection: hang up and dial
- Advice for entrepreneurs who want to sell a product
In this episode…
Many entrepreneurs have exceptional ideas, but what does it take to turn those ideas into reality?
For Kyle Ewing, it’s all about the execution and follow-through. After a couple of startups, Kyle successfully created a waterproof paper company — but it didn’t come without challenges. Kyle began the company in his basement, experimenting with different materials to test the paper’s durability. After many iterations, Kyle landed on the prototype that would eventually turn this basement startup into a multimillion-dollar company. Want to hear Kyle’s tips and tricks for entrepreneurs trying to grow a startup?
In this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Chad Franzen joins Kyle Ewing, the President and Founder of TerraSlate, to talk about the entrepreneurial journey. Kyle shares his startup mistakes, how he grew TerraSlate into a multimillion-dollar company, and his advice for other passionate entrepreneurs looking to sell their products. Stay tuned!
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Kyle Ewing on LinkedIn
- Email Kyle Ewing: [email protected]
- Entrepreneurs’ Organization
- EO Accelerator
Sponsor for this episode
At Rise25, we’re committed to helping you connect with your Dream 100 referral partners, clients, and strategic partners through our done-for-you podcast solution.
We’re a professional podcast production agency that makes creating a podcast effortless. Since 2009, our proven system has helped thousands of B2B businesses build strong relationships with referral partners, clients, and audiences without doing the hard work.
When you use our proven system, all you need is an idea and a voice. We handle the strategy, production, and distribution – you just need to show up and talk.
The Rise25 podcasting solution is designed to help you build a profitable podcast. This requires a specific strategy, and we’ve got that down pat. We focus on making sure you have a direct path to ROI, which is the most important component. Plus, our podcast production company takes any heavy lifting of production and distribution off your plate.
We make distribution easy.
We’ll distribute each episode across more than 11 unique channels, including iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. We’ll also create copy for each episode and promote your show across social media.
Co-founders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90x, Atari, Einstein Bagels, Mattel, Rx Bars, YPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk, and many more.
The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.
Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and to cultivating amazing relationships.
Rise25 Co-founders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.
About Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran
Dr. Jeremy Weisz is the Co-founder of Rise25. He has been involved in podcasting for 11 years and was a Senior Producer for one of the early business podcasts; he assisted in putting all of their systems in place and helped them add volume, feature, and edify various business leaders.
Dr. Weisz has also been running his podcast, Inspired Insider, since 2011. He has featured top entrepreneurs, founders, and CEOs of P90X, Atari, Einstein Bagels, Mattel, the Orlando Magic, and many more.
In addition to running Rise25, Dr. Weisz owns a nutritional supplement business and runs his chiropractic and massage facility, Chiropractical Solutions & Massage.
John Corcoran is a recovering attorney, an author, and was a former White House writer and speechwriter to the Governor of California. Throughout his career, John has worked in Hollywood, the heart of Silicon Valley, and has run his boutique law firm in the San Francisco Bay Area catering to small business owners and entrepreneurs.
John has been the host of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast since 2012. He has interviewed hundreds of CEOs, founders, authors, and entrepreneurs, from Peter Diamandis and Adam Grant to Gary Vaynerchuk and Marie Forleo.
John is also the Co-founder of Rise25, a company that connects B2B businesses with their ideal clients, referral partners, and strategic partners and generates ROI through their done-for-you podcast service.
Welcome to the Top Business Leaders Show powered by Rise25 Media, we feature top founders, executives, and business leaders from all over the world.
Chad Franzen 0:22
just give me a test one, two again, just in case.
Kyle Ewing 0:26
Test one two. Good morning. It’s great.
Chad Franzen 0:28
Great. Okay, here we go. 321 Chad Franzen here Co-host of the Top Business Leaders Show where we feature CEOs, entrepreneurs, and top leaders in the business world. This episode is brought to you by Rise25. We help B2B businesses reach their dream relationships and connect with more clients referrals and strategic partnerships and get ROI through done-for-you podcasts. If you have a B2B business and want to build great relationships, there’s no better way to profile people and companies that you admire on your podcast. To learn more, go to rise25.com or email us at [email protected] rise25media.com. Kyle Ewing started his career as a management consultant after graduating from the University of Denver with a BS BA and an MBA. His first venture into entrepreneurship was an outdoor lifestyle company that he made a successful exit from in 2014. He founded his current company TerraSlate in 2015, and has grown from his basement into a multimillion-dollar corporation that does business in over 85 countries around the world. Kyle, thanks so much for joining me. How are you?
Kyle Ewing 1:32
Glad to be here. Thanks for having me Chad.
Chad Franzen 1:34
Hey, so tell me about the start of your career when you were a management consultant. How did you enjoy that? And how did that kind of go at the beginning?
Kyle Ewing 1:43
I really liked being a management consultant, to be honest. It was only about half of what I had expected it to be. Before the job. You know, I had seen the movies with George Clooney and whatnot about management consulting, where they take private jets all the time, and they go in and fire everybody. That really wasn’t the case in either of those circumstances. But what I did get to do is work with a lot of very high-level people at global multinational companies. So I got a lot of exposure to how those people operate, what type of businesses they run, and the challenges that they face on a day-to-day basis.
Chad Franzen 2:17
When you got your MBA from the University of Denver, were you already working as kind of a management consultant? Or did that happen afterward?
Kyle Ewing 2:25
There was actually a case competition, and the winner got an internship with a consulting firm. And then if they if they liked you, they had the option to hire you on. So that’s how it happened. And I took the job with them. The company was called Sand Cherry Associates. And they immediately had me flying out to Philadelphia, in New York City from Denver every week to work on-site of the client’s offices.
Chad Franzen 2:50
Wow. So you won the case competition?
Kyle Ewing 2:53
I did. Yeah. Yeah. What’s what’s funny now is that it was modeled after The Apprentice. And so it was a local made for TV, the kind of a thing for graduate students, and one of my friends had strong-armed me into joining. We had been teammates on a whole bunch of things. And he said, You ought to do this one, too. And I said, you know, we’ve done so many of these this year. I’m thrilled, but I’m gonna let this one go. And he’s like, You ought to do it. And so when I said, Okay, fine. He said, That’s great, because I already submitted your resume and put your application in.
Chad Franzen 3:24
What kind of case was it?
Kyle Ewing 3:28
It was a case about building wind farms off the coast of Cape Cod, which actually just got built. So that was, I don’t know how many years ago now, but kind of still relevant now when I see the news updates about it.
Chad Franzen 3:42
Wow, very cool. So what were your goals when you were pursuing an MBA? Did you already did you always know that you wanted to be an entrepreneur? Or were you just figuring it out as you go?
Kyle Ewing 3:54
I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I didn’t know the exact path to it. And then about halfway through my undergraduate degree, I thought that I wanted to be an attorney. Both my parents are attorneys. And my my wife, who’s now my wife, Ashley, she’s also an attorney. And I thought it was going to follow that path. But what was funny is, they all told me don’t be an attorney, go to business school. And so I took that advice. After having lunch with the Chancellor of the DU, and having him confirmed the same thing. You don’t want to go to law school, there’s too many attorneys. go to business school. That’s what you like. You can be an entrepreneur if you want. And the reason for getting an MBA was really that DU offered a program that was very advantageous where you could effectively skip the first year of graduate school. If you had the grades and test scores. They would allow you to do that. So I took advantage of that program, and it really worked out well for me. I liked it a lot.
Chad Franzen 4:57
So you were working as a consultant. When did you finally decide to branch out on your own. And what kind of led to that?
Kyle Ewing 5:06
I had been traveling back and forth to the East Coast Monday to Friday or Sunday to Thursday every week. And I did that for about three years, and decided I wanted to be at home more. And so I took a job with a different company in the tech center, whose headquarters was actually in Chicago, but they had a satellite office here in Denver, and I worked there for a couple of years really liked it. But at one point, the company decided they were rolling up all the satellite offices back to their Chicago home base. And they made me a nice offer to move. But I politely declined and decided that that was, that was the step or the the piece that would kick me out the door of the business world, and I would become an entrepreneur. So I will say that I was too nervous to do it initially. And I applied for jobs at other consulting firms. Which then after I got a little bit of courage, didn’t take and became an entrepreneur. So 9/9/09 was my personal entrepreneurial Independence Day.
Chad Franzen 6:10
What was your congratulations, that’s, that’s exciting. Well, what was your first venture?
Kyle Ewing 6:17
My first venture was called Gorilla Tags ID Systems. And what we made, were a set of dog tags or a bracelet or something, you would lace it into your shoes. That way, if you and I went out hiking, or running, or kayaking and something were to happen to one of us, the other one could immediately find out who our emergency contacts were and who to call in case of an emergency. Excuse me their emergency contacts, they would know who to call and your medical allergies so that the first responders would know how to treat you. And it’s been too long since I’ve given that pitch.
Chad Franzen 6:48
Was that your own idea?
Kyle Ewing 6:52
No, it was not an original idea. What we did is we made a better version of something that was already on the market. And then I eventually sold the company. And I’m not allowed to say who to but it was to a competitor of ours in the same space.
Chad Franzen 7:09
In what ways did you see that company grow was it from from zero to full-fledged?
Kyle Ewing 7:16
It was Yeah, I was making the products. On my back porch, I had a condo by the DU. And I bought a grinding machine and much to the dismay of my neighbors, I was grinding these tags, by hand. And then I had this engraving machine that I would put them in once I once I shaped them. And it started to pick up and you know, we had to develop some new ways of getting the product to people, I wasn’t really able to hand-cut them all myself. But that was a good lesson in logistics and manufacturing. Out of necessity, like okay, we have to get these done and made an outdoor right away. There’s no possible way I can do this by myself in the next 24 hours. So learn how to source vendors basically.
Chad Franzen 8:02
So tell me about a time where maybe, you know, obviously you’re starting like like a lot of people start on their on their patio or whatever. Tell me about a time when you’re like, Okay, this is this is going strong, like I’m successful at this company.
Kyle Ewing 8:16
I think the day that I felt that way was when I got my first corporate order. So there was a company sponsoring three or 400 of their employees to do a 5k run-walk at Thanksgiving, and they wanted to buy a Gorilla Tag for each person. And so once we got that order, I sort of felt like and had the confidence to say we’ve made it we’re on the map now people know who we are, you know, we can deliver an order like that I’m not hand grinding them all. And the customers very happy and that’s really the key is you can if you can make one big customer happy you can reach out to all the other customers in their space or excuse me all their competitors in that space and say, you know, hey Chad, we did a great job for these guys. They did this this and that. We helped them solve that problem or we produce these products from we’d love to do the same thing for you. And that really is what got us moving forward with real velocity
Chad Franzen 9:15
When you were running that that business to this idea for TerraSlate was that kind of percolating in your mind at the time?
Kyle Ewing 9:23
You know, I actually hadn’t thought of TerraSlate until after I had sold Guerrilla Tags it was it was a product that I was creating, but only out of necessity for a different product so that TerraSlate what we make is waterproof paper. You basically can put it in any laser printer or copy machine click print and then paper comes out completely waterproof and rip-proof. You don’t have to laminate it afterwards. And I really developed the material because I wanted to sell backup copies of your passport. So during my undergraduate time at DU My friends all lost their passports, the night before they were supposed to fly home from studying abroad. And that became a big problem because they couldn’t get new passports at the Embassy without a way to prove their identification. And they needed a passport to get a passport. And so I helped them with that, but then realise that there’s got to be a better way to do this. Because a photocopy really isn’t that useful, because it’ll easily rip or wear, and then the Embassy may or may not take it. So I wanted to create a backup copy of your passport that you could take scuba diving, you could take it hiking in the rain forest, you could fold it up and unfold it a million times. And if you ever needed to use it, it would be there and be ready to perform for you.
Chad Franzen 10:42
So I pursued and received an MBA at DU, and not once did I take a class on how to make ultra-durable paper. How did you how did you just come up with these things? Even though you found that it was a necessity? How did you learn how to, you know make it?
Kyle Ewing 10:58
It’s a great question. Because you’re right, there isn’t a class of DU but I’ll keep on a math after talking to you about it. The way that you create a product when you don’t have an engineering degree, which I don’t, I don’t know anything about or didn’t at the time know anything about chemical engineering. And so what I did is I called the smartest person I knew and I said, Hey, this is what I’m trying to do, who do you know, that I should reach out to? And he put me in touch with somebody who put me in touch with another person. And eventually, I got to a chemical engineer who said, Okay, I might be able to do this. But it’s going to be expensive. And I can’t guarantee any results. And so that was kind of a situation where I said, Okay, let’s give it a shot and see what happens.
Chad Franzen 11:41
So you started in your basement after you you spoke to the person that you knew, tell me about kind of the early days, the early part of the process.
Kyle Ewing 11:50
Yeah, it took us about 10 iterations and a whole year to get the product, right, the first version we made was, was basically like a plastic sheet. But it wasn’t flexible, and it was incredibly brittle, you can you can break pieces off of it. So that obviously wouldn’t work because you can’t print that. And then the next iteration was flexible. But it melted in my printer, I had like a desktop printer, and it seized because the material just melted inside of it. And then after that we had one that was flexible and heat resistant, but then the toner wouldn’t stick to it. So then back to the drawing board, we have one that’s flexible, that’s heat resistant, that toner will stick to you. And then you know a couple more iterations down the line. And we had something that worked really, really well. So that’s kind of how it got developed. In manufacturing, there’s typically a minimum order quantity or a minimum production run. And so that first production run was 100,000 sheets, which is and I didn’t have an office. So I stored it in the basement of my house. And it was basically floor to ceiling in the entire basement. And I still thank my wife for that. Because we didn’t have use of that base in almost a year after I build it up.
Chad Franzen 13:05
What kind of mindset would you say an entrepreneur needs to have when you’re just starting off? And you know, you’re, you’re kind of running through different iterations. And maybe some things don’t always go right? What kind of a mindset do you do need to have?
Kyle Ewing 13:20
I think it’s it all comes down to execution and follow-through. I mean, I can’t stress that enough. The road is littered with good ideas. Everybody’s had one, you know, the but the truth is, an idea isn’t valuable until you execute on it. And once you have a product, it’s great, and it works, you’re really only halfway there. Because once you sold one to your mom, and to your friends, and they’ll buy it out of pity, you got to sell it to people that you don’t know. And that’s the hard part. And my best best piece of advice for entrepreneurs is get on the phone and start selling it call anybody you know, and say, Hey, Chad, I’d love to send you some of these products. I just created waterproof paper, I have no idea what you’re going to use it for. But stick it in your printer and let me know what you think. And then maybe you get a customer because he’ll say, hey, that works pretty well. I don’t know what to use it for. But I could say well, you know, it works really well for teachers because teachers laminate lots of materials, and they can skip the step and put it on the wall. It takes them a lot less time. And you say Oh, as a matter of fact, I actually know a teacher down here, and I get his or her number and I send them some samples. So work that cell phone, you know, I mean, we almost all have an unlimited cell phone plan these days. And that’s the cheapest way to get your product out there. You don’t need to spend money on ads. You don’t need anything fancy. You need a cell phone and one or two hours a day of straight cold calling.
Chad Franzen 14:43
And that’s what you did with TerraSlate?
Kyle Ewing 14:46
That’s exactly right. My first customer was an oil and gas guy. He he had actually bought three of these passports that I was making. And he said Hey Kyle, I like this paper. I bought it for my three girls traveling abroad. But how do you print it? And can I just buy the paper? And I said, Yeah, you can print it with any laser printer or stick it in the copy machine. And he said, okay, cool, I’d love to buy a case. And you know, I’m trying to get rid of this stuff at this point. So I said, that’s perfect, because it’s too for one Tuesday, and I’m going to get you two cases shipped out today. And the funny part was, I forgot to ask him what he was using it for. So two weeks later, when he called back to place another order. I said, you know, Hey, what did he use it for? If you don’t mind me asking him, he said, I’m actually an oil and gas guy. And we have our engineers out in the field. And they they drive trucks, here, there and everywhere. And we actually put a printer in the passenger seat, so that they can print out their materials in real-time and use them. And what’s nice about TerraSlate for them is that it doesn’t matter if they have bad weather that day. If they have greasy fingers, you know, they’re out there working hard. Like these are rough, tough guys. And regular paper just falls apart. So they love to TerraSlate for that application. I’m going to answer your question. He is pardon me? Yeah. From there. I said, Who else do you know, in the industry that I had to reach out to? And he was like, Oh, you got to call Dave over here. And you got to call Charles and Susan, they’re down there. And so I did. I said, Hey, I’m making this product. It’s working well, for this guy. Let me send you some samples and tell me what you think. And then they became customers as well.
Chad Franzen 16:25
I’m guessing that question, what are you using it for? That was probably one of the most important questions you’ve ever asked somebody?
Kyle Ewing 16:31
Absolutely. Absolutely. And at first, I was pretty fearful to ask because I was like, Well, what if he says, Well I don’t wanna buy anymore? I’m not telling you. And I don’t know why that fear was there. But looking back, it’s totally irrational. It’s, it’s a fair question, you have a new product, and I don’t know what he’s using it for. And I think the way a founder or an entrepreneur can pitch it is, you know, hey, I’m so glad you like the product. I’d love to learn more about how you use it, and why it works for you. And we’ll use your feedback to incorporate it for new iterations as we make them in the future. Or you could just tell them seriously, hey, I’m looking for new customers, you know, I got a lot of inventory here in my basement, my wife’s looking for me to get it out of the house, who should I reach out to and people are really kind when you’re forthright with them, they often want to help you. So take advantage of that when you can.
Chad Franzen 17:22
What were some of the biggest turning points that you kind of experienced as TerraSlate was growing?
Kyle Ewing 17:28
Getting a production-level printer, that was kind of the key next step, I was using this, like desktop laser printers about 100 bucks at Office Max. And I was pounding several 100 sheets through that a day and realise like this thing just isn’t fast enough. So I got a production-level printer, delivered also to my house. So at this point, I’m taking over the the main room in the house and the basement. And that really helped me keep up with the print demand. And then shortly thereafter, I realized I can’t be hand-cutting every sheet. With this, this deity paper trimmer or cutter I had on my desk. And so I took out a loan from Wells Fargo and bought a $20,000 cutting machine that would cut automatically for me. And those were two pretty big milestones, because they allowed me to go from hand-making it to a little bit of automation, and that basically quintupled my capacity overnight.
Chad Franzen 18:30
Was there any kind of like a mistake that turned out to be a good thing, like you’ve learned a lot from it? You can really remember, like, I learned a lesson from that.
Kyle Ewing 18:41
You know, I mean, so many examples, I almost don’t know where to start. But the key when you make a mistake is to remember that you learn something, and that was a pretty good opportunity to move forward. And the mistakes can be expensive, and they’re soul-crushing. I mean, I’ll be the first one to admit that. But the key is to say, Okay, now that I know that I’m never going to make that mistake again. And with that knowledge, what can I do to leverage this play going forward? But how can I double up so that I can not only cover the loss I just created for myself, but I’m also going to make more money on it. And so that was kind of my thought throughout is anytime there’s a mistake. Let’s learn from that. Let’s make sure that we don’t let that happen again in our process, and figure out how we can use it to make more money if at all possible.
Chad Franzen 19:31
Were there any other entrepreneurial endeavors besides the two that we’ve spoken about that maybe didn’t, you know, didn’t quite take off?
Kyle Ewing 19:38
Yeah, absolutely. I created a company called Teslyne. And this company, we had an app like Uber and like Lyft, but it was for electric cars only. So we drove all Tesla Model X’s and people could basically summon a car anytime day or night. We did a lot of trips from Denver to Vail and Denver to Aspen and all over Colorado. And it was a it was a cool company people really loved the service because we had, it was a premium service price not much higher than Uber and Lyft. The difficulty was that it wasn’t very profitable. And scale was infinitely expensive. The Tesla Model X is that we are buying, we’re like 119 or $120,000 a piece. And we kept meeting more cars. And then we basically needed 12 drivers per car to fill a week because you have 24 hours a day, and seven days a week, and then you got a couple backups. Otherwise, it’s me flying off to the garage at 4am, to go pick up a car to then drive to the airport to then drive to Aspen, and then all the way back and then try to do my real job. So that that company was was pretty fun and cool. But it was a heartache in so many ways. And eventually I decided to close it. And that was about $175,000 loss for me personally. So I took that as an expense expensive add-on to my MBA education.
Chad Franzen 21:07
What was the what was maybe one or two takeaways that you took from that, you know, sometimes those experiences while painful, like you just said, can be incredibly valuable. What were some lessons that maybe you learned?
Kyle Ewing 21:19
Right. The key lesson I learned was don’t start a business that has to operate 24 hours a day. Because when you’re starting out, the buck stops with you as the founder. So if you’re not going to be prepared to drive all those legs in the middle of the night, because your driver didn’t show up or canceled. Do something else. So don’t start something like that. And then don’t start something that costs a ton of money to scale. So versus TerraSlate where when I sell one sheet of paper, I can afford to make two more. But with one ride in Teslyne, I could basically cover the cost of the ride and a little tiny bit of overhead. But no money was going to the future car. So I was just having to come up with cash 120,000 bucks at a time. And that got exhausting pretty quickly. So start a business if you can, that you don’t have to operate 24 hours a day can have normal business hours. And it’s not hugely capital intensive.
Chad Franzen 22:19
When you think of yourself, do you think of yourself as a the head of a paper manufacturing company or as a serial entrepreneur? More likely?
Kyle Ewing 22:29
Yeah, it’s a great question. I guess that would depend on my audience. If I’m talking to somebody that’s a customer, I’m a paper guy, you know, through and through. But the truth is that I’m passionate about a lot of things. And I never grew up thinking like, Great, I’m going to start a really successful Paper Company in a digital world, you know, that just never crossed my mind. And I think serial entrepreneurs is the more accurate response. Because I’m happy to sell paper, I’m happy to sell consulting services, I’m happy to sell, you know, limousine rides, basically in electric cars. So I think a true entrepreneur is happy to sell whatever they have in front of them. And the passion is the project. It’s it’s not always that it’s the product. I mean, I love selling paper, it does a lot of cool things and saves a lot of people cool a lot of money and is good for the environment because of what we do you. But at the end of the day, could I switch gears and sell something else? Absolutely.
Chad Franzen 23:23
So sales is a huge part of entrepreneurship.
Kyle Ewing 23:27
I think so I think if you can sell you can start a business and be successful. And the key is, for me, getting on the phone and selling and what I had to do at the beginning was set a set the alarm on my phone, and from one o’clock to two o’clock every single day, I would get on the phone and dial and it didn’t make a difference. If I made $1 or 100,000 is like you will dial until the clock hits the next hour. And sometimes sometimes you’re on a roll and then you roll that into another hour. And sometimes it’s painful, you get a lot of people hanging up on you and saying awful things. And he said yep, understood, I totally get that. And but you got to dial till the end of the hour, because that was the discipline it took to get the ball rolling. And once I had a nice base of customers, they would start to reorder, which was really helpful.
Chad Franzen 24:18
When you when you’re when you’re calling and you’re confident you’re excited about your project. Maybe you’re a little nervous about your product. Maybe you’re a little nervous too. And you get rejection after rejection. What kind of a mindset do you need? Or how did you How do you overcome that?
Kyle Ewing 24:34
My trick is hang up and dial again. If I would let it hit me in the soul, it would be a little crushing. And then I would take take me a few minutes to recover. And I’d want to go walk the dog and get some fresh air and I come up with any excuse not to dial again. But the truth was, I just had to tell myself, this is a numbers game. I know that a certain percent of people will buy and so I just need to hang up and die. And as soon as the soonest I could do that was the sooner I could get rid of the memory of the last one that didn’t go well. So hang up, hang up the dial, hang up and dial. And and it truly works. I mean, I don’t know if that would be what a professional like call center person would tell you. But that’s what really works for me.
Chad Franzen 25:17
So we’ve talked about a few very important elements in entrepreneurship. What are, you know, just as a kind of a final question, what’s kind of a final piece of advice you would have for somebody who has a good idea, you know, maybe a good job that they like, but they want to branch out on their own, but maybe are a little bit frightened. What’s like an overall piece of advice you’d have for them?
Kyle Ewing 25:37
My piece of advice to that person is to get your product in front of as many people as you can. And I kind of touched on that earlier. But here’s the key is it all founders will often say, have a great idea, but I can’t tell you about it. And I’m like, Okay, well, that’s as good as nothing, right? Because maybe you, everybody else has the same idea. But it’s the person that executes on it, that will make the money and will become successful. So don’t be afraid to tell people and the reason is, they’re not going to steal your idea, in all likelihood, because they’re not interested in that type of product, they are already working on projects of their own, they’ve got a million things to do, they’re not likely to rip off your idea. And I can’t stress that enough. Like anytime I create a new product, which is regularly, I tell everybody I know. And people are like, well, aren’t you worried somebody’s gonna steal that, and I’m like, it’s a very low likelihood that they’ll steal it. And be, you know, that’s A and B, I’m going to execute on this faster than they can. So bring it on, you know, with my first company grow tax ID systems, we were the tiny guy, you know, we were going up against people way bigger than us. But they actually helped us make a market because they their advertising told everybody that they needed this type of product. And then my advertising told them that our product was better. And it was and so competition can be a really good thing if you leverage it properly. And if you know how to think about it, so tell everybody about your idea. They’re not going to steal it. And they might buy one, and they might introduce you to somebody that makes a big difference in your business.
Chad Franzen 27:12
Who are some colleagues and mentors that you respect that have helped you along the way?
Kyle Ewing 27:18
You know the number one I would say is, and I don’t like to name drop, but but this is the best example I can think of for you is I met Sara Blakely at a conference in San Francisco. And she’s the founder of Spanx. And I was kind of chit-chatting with her. And she said, Kyle, you you really need to join this group called Entrepreneurs’ Organization. And I was like, Yeah, I’ve heard about that. But you know, it’s like 10 grand a year, after all everything. And I just don’t want to spend $10,000 for a fraternity, or by my friends, or you know, whatever you want to call, it didn’t sound good to me. And she was like, Okay, how about this, if you join EO are Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and you don’t get $10,000 of value, or more, I’ll buy your membership for you. And I was like, Okay, that’s pretty good. That’s a pretty good endorsement. And so I did join. And she was 100%. Right. And EO has some requirements to get in, you have to have a million dollars of sales every year, among a couple other things. So if you’re not there yet, see if you can join the EO Accelerator pro program, you get access to incredibly smart people, they help you for basically nothing. They’ll be your customers, they’ll be your biggest advocates. And and man, after joining that, like the connections that I made on a regular basis, are phenomenal. And you know, my personal Forum, which is a group of six of us, and that’s a subset of the Colorado Chapter. We meet once a month, we hold each other accountable for things. And then actually this Thursday, we’re going on a retreat, so it’ll just be the six of us go and we’re going to be talking about business we’re going to be solving each other’s problems Hey, I I’ve seen that type of thing before. Here’s what I did. Here’s actually the CEO of that company. I got a cell phone number let me put you in touch right away that way you get the white glove treatment. Those types of connections are invaluable so join a business group of some kind join EO join EO Accelerator or one that fits you.
Chad Franzen 29:15
We have been talking to Kyle Ewing the founder of TerraSlate. Kyle where can people find out more information about TerraSlate on about you?
Kyle Ewing 29:24
You can reach me my personal email is [email protected] I’m always happy to talk shop or give you feedback on on your project if you’re able to say what you’re working on of course, and the website is terraslate.com TerraSlate and if there’s a project I can help you with. I’d love to so feel free to reach out.
Chad Franzen 29:47
Okay, sounds great. Kyle. Hey, thanks so much for talking with me today. I really appreciate your time.
Kyle Ewing 29:52
Thanks for having me, Chad. Glad to be here.
Chad Franzen 29:53
Thank you. So long, everybody.
Thanks for listening to the Top Business Leaders Show. Powered by Rise25. Visit rise25.com to check out more episodes of the show and to learn more about how you can start your own podcast.