Only $5,000 + high school diploma = multi-millions selling to Fortune 500/1,000 companies? | Michael Schmidlen
With Only $5,000 and his high school diploma he grew a thriving technology business selling to Fortune 500 and 1,000 companies from the comfort of his home
Most Popular to Share on Google+ and LinkedIN:
"Biggest Mistake - Shortly after I left GE I started my first company with 2 business partners. I was forced out after 3 years in what amounted to a hostile takeover. We'd gone from nothing to almost $7 million in sales per year. I was the president. I trusted people I shouldn't have even though I knew better. The path of least resistance cost me probably millions of dollars."
#1 Path to Profits
"I'd have hired both a personal and business coach much sooner. It's a little embarrassing that I only hired them just last year."
"It took me a long time to hire my first business coach. Fortunately, I started outsourcing a long time ago out of necessity because I didn't want to hire employees."
Redefining Long-Term in a Transactional Business
"I’ve managed to establish long-term mutually beneficial business relationships with my key customers even though my business is transactional in nature. This has made my job so much easier. I'm still doing business with the same core group of customers from the early 80s."
Quirk of US, Israeli, Arab Business
"It's against US law for companies to boycott Israeli made products but it still happens. Arab countries, despite their outward communicated desire to NOT support Israel, still buy Israeli products because it saves them money."
Why Listen to Michael:
In this episode Michael reveals and shares…
- How he started with only $5,000 and his high school diploma and grew a thriving technology business selling to Fortune 1,000 companies
- His biggest mistake that got him ousted from a company he co-founded costing him millions of dollars and what he learned
- His #1 path to profits…
- How he’s still doing business with his customers from the early 1980’s despite being in a transactional industry!
- The irony of Arabs buying from Israeli companies and a quirk of US companies skirting the law
Michael E. Schmidlen is a serial solo entrepreneur who has successfully run his multimillion dollar, home-based business for over 20 years.
Michael is currently working on finishing his first book, "THE Underwear Entrepreneur" The Definitive Guide To Working From Home, where he shares his many business experiences and unique stories.
The book is designed to be a blueprint for other small business owners, would-be entrepreneurs and start-ups to beat the overwhelming odds to create a successful, thriving small business model.
He is also currently publishing 2 new business-themed magazines: CRUSHING IT Magazine (just launched 05-14) and UNDERWEAR ENTREPRENEUR Magazine (launching 4Q ’14), in addition to running his business.
He was once told by an Indonesian shaman that he was an Asian king in a past life.
He started his current company 21 years ago with seed money of only $5,000.
He's a high school graduate with only about a semester of college and has managed to build a thriving business.
He worked for General Electric from the time he was 19 to the time he was 28 years old.
This was the only job he'd ever had. He was scared but decided to leave it anyway to start his own entrepreneurial venture.
He likes to reinvent himself on a cycle of about every 10 years. He's been through the good times and bad times in his business and managed to survive all of them.
Some Shareables from Michael in this episode…
Favorite part of the entrepreneur's journey
"Favorite part of the entrepreneur's journey -- freedom and flexibility being my own boss has afforded me. I am a competitive guy who likes to win. I've managed to establish long-term mutually beneficial business relationships with my key customers even though my business is transactional in nature. This has made my job so much easier. I'm still doing business with the same core group of customers from the early 80s."
Weirdest thing during business journey
"My business was global so I operated in countries that had less than standard American business practices. I was partnered with an Israeli technology company to sell voice compression multiplexers into the Arab world. It's against US law for companies to boycott Israeli made products but it still happens. Arab countries, despite their outward communicated desire to NOT support Israel, still buy Israeli products because it saves them money."
"Counterintuitive -- leaving my only job at GE after 9 years was scary. Then I started my first company about 6 months before my oldest daughter was born. These were scary times but looking back but we just did what we had to do. We didn't think a whole lot about it and just flew by the seat of our pants."
Overcoming conventional wisdom
"I'm not a believer that everybody's cut out for the entrepreneurial life. 2 core values I found in being an entrepreneur: 1. there's no shame in admitting you don't know something as long as you're resourceful enough to go find the answers. 2. don't ever hesitate to ask for help. Don't be too proud or too foolish to think you can wing everything."
On passive income
"Passive income -- I've had a traditional business selling physical products for over 21 years. In 2014, I started building passive income opportunities. I'm publishing 2 digital magazines, Crushing It Magazine and Underwear Entrepreneur Magazine. The book Underwear Entrepreneur will be an extended business card and help me launch the corresponding Underwear Entrepreneur membership website."
To learn more about Michael:
Early Adopter - Social Media
"Fortunately I was an early adopter of social media but only because it was pointed out to me by somebody I respected. I was fairly early into LinkedIn signing up in 2008."
LinkedIN has come into its own ever since it went public and become a huge juggernaut that is still growing. They're well over 300 million members and their pace of growth is accelerating.
In his inaugural issue of Crushing It Magazine, Michael got these article contributors:
- Dan Ariely
- Jack Canfield
- Jeffrey Hayzlett
- Dr. Robert Cialdini
- Chad Hymas
- Kevin Harrington (of TV’s Shark Tank Show)
- Sam Richter
- Dr. Jeff Spencer
- Robin S. Sharma
- Chris Widener
- Rob ‘Waldo’ Waldman
News Media Mike has been featured in:
- 2008 Inc. Magazines Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America. Ranked # 4,492
- 2009 Inc. Magazines Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America. Ranked # 3,291
- ColoradoBiz Magazine
- Named as one of Colorado Biz Magazine’s "Top 25 Most Powerful Sales People” in January 2011 Issue
- Profiled on "Heartbeat of America”, hosted by William Shatner. My show, which was taped on January 29th 2009 in Burbank, CA,
aired on 5-21-09 @ 9:30 AM EDT on American Life Network.
- 2007 CoBiz Magazine Top 250 Private Companies list, ranked # 204 in our first listing.
- 2008 CoBiz Magazine Top 250 Private Companies list, ranked # 184.
- 2009 CoBiz Magazine Top 250 Private Companies list, ranked # 232
- 2008 RAD Data Communications, Inc. North American Partner of the Year