secrets to scale

Secrets To Scale Podcast
012 - Ideas, Insights, And Investments With Natalie and Scott Paul

012 – Ideas, Insights, And Investments With Natalie and Scott Paul

Secrets To Scale is a marketing and entrepreneurship podcast that revolves around hearing the stories of successful entrepreneurs and uncovering their secrets to scaling their businesses. Music for every episode of this podcast was written and produced by Treycen Clausse.

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Tanner:

This week on the show, I have Scott Paul and his wife, Natalie Paul. Scott and Natalie are very successful entrepreneurs and angel investors. Scott is the founder and CEO of Wooly, which is a platform aimed at connecting businesses with their customers. Natalie is the co-founder of a capital investment firm called HyperActive Capital. Together they have over 40 investment businesses in their portfolio that they have invested in so far. They are just truly amazing people that truly care about giving back to the community here in Utah. I really hope that you love this interview as much as I did. Let’s just get right into it.

Welcome to the show guys. This is the first time we’ve had two guests on the show and I’m super excited to get to know both of you. Let’s just go ahead and start with Natalie. Go ahead and introduce yourself to the audience.

Natalie:

All right. Well, thank you Tanner for having my husband, Scott Paul and myself and your podcast today. My name’s Natalie Paul and I’m a co-founder and partner in Hyperactive Capital. To date it’s gotten, I’ve invested in 40 plus angel investments. I’m a mother, I have three wonderful daughters. I’m highly passionate about education and I’m an artist.

Tanner:

Awesome. What about you, Scott? Let us know who you are and what you do.

Scott:

I’m the reason that we call ourselves HyperActive Capital because I’ve got attention deficit disorder, hyperactive disorder. So yeah, life is like that for me. So I do is a little of everything it feels like, and I really don’t know how to define it, but yeah, running around trying to make something stick and grow, you know, watch, I like starting fires. I like watching companies grow from the idea to that next phase. And right I currently run a company called Wooley. It’s a kind of like a word of mouth marketing platform, if you will. But we’ll announce something in the next year. That would be a lot more easy for everybody to touch and try.

The entrepreneurial spirit was always alive.

Tanner:

Awesome. So you both have been super successful in startups and investing Scott. Can you let us know how your career got started and you can, can you kind of give us an idea of every business you’ve been involved with over the years?

Scott:

Your podcast is only an hour, so we can’t do that, but we have, we have the defining moment. Maybe it’s the moment where I think I went from working for other people to becoming an entrepreneur is probably the more appropriate you know, conversation here. So, you know, I’d done many things. Even now, when we were first married, I tried using the newly purchased EMAC, it was called. It was like, I had a DVD burner, which was pretty cool in 2002 or whatever it was. And so we, we tried doing like wedding photography, slide shows. We tried out a bunch of really random little things. I had always, we tried window washing, right when we got married, it’s called newlywed window watching. And so the entrepreneurial spirit was always alive.

But I worked for other people for the first, you know, probably eight years of our marriage. I sold wireless internet inside of like student apartment buildings. I had worked helped my dad open a climbing gym franchise. I gosh, like I did a handful of little things in between there, but it wasn’t until I got a job. Oh yeah. Here’s another one I tried before drones were a thing. We were flying helicopters around with video cameras attached to them, but not full RC helicopters. So it was it was a predecessor to drones and it was a nightmare. There’s nothing easy about that. Lots of broken cameras, lots of broken machines. They just didn’t have the stabilization and things that we see today on these $200 drums. We were putting $20,000 in there every time and crashing it.

So that was, that was probably my favorite job that didn’t make any money. It’s probably more like a nonprofit, but I luckily didn’t own that company. I got to learn on someone else’s dime, but when I was doing that, I got a job right after that job, I worked for Utah.com. That’s like the tourism website for the state. It was there that I was selling ads and stuff like that for the side to all the ski resorts and national parks and hotels. And as I was running around selling these ads, I would always see in the hotels, these brochure racks that people had for things to do. Can you imagine those, like you go in the hotel and there’s like pamphlets for all the activities you can do in the area? And the iPad just came out and it was April of 2010, and iPad’s a brand new thing. I’m like, man, people should put these iPads in the hotels and make them kind of like replace this whole brochure rack. And so that was my idea. And I was doing my MBA at the time as well at the university of Utah. And it was this moment where I’m like, I’m going to do this. I’m going to break off on my own. I’m going to make this, this network of it’s going to be a website and an app. And it’s going to serve up all the, all the cool things you can do in an area on this iPad. And people will be able to click through it. And the thing I needed to figure out was how to make the iPad safe and secure in the hotel lobby so it wouldn’t be stolen. And so on a whim, I tried to invent the way to do that and that was a piece of hardware that there’s a metal piece of hardware. And it was really just to help get my software into the hotel. But the irony of startup world and entrepreneurship is you really don’t know what’s going to hit until you start going, knocking on doors and trying it out and testing.

It was actually the hardware that became my first business and the first successful startup that I had, it was this iPad enclosures, we called it. I bought the URL and started selling the hardware instead of the software and things. And then that ended up everywhere. That ended up all over: point of sale, terminals, would use us some point of sale stations and like room conference, room management and trade shows for display. So Armor Active was the first company I had. And I think that’s a long-winded way of kind of showing you 10 years of trying things to finally getting something that hit.

Tanner:

Yeah, I think that’s awesome. And I think it’s often overlooked what really happens in the startup world. First, always starts with an idea and then once you kind of mess around with it a little bit, oftentimes you realize that the original idea you had, isn’t actually what you should be building your business around and you have to pivot, right?

Scott:

Exactly. You’ve gotta be open to that. I had locked down on that other idea. I would have ran out of money and most definitely failed. And you know, I would’ve kept swinging cause it’s in my blood, but you gotta be really sensitive to like what the market’s saying and the feedback you’re getting.

It’s a conglomerate and we want to pull from everything and take all that we’ve learned.

Tanner:

Yeah. I completely agree with you, Scott. Natalie how did your crew get started and how did you go from a school teacher to a venture capitalist?

Natalie:

Not a super common story, right? My career path has taken an interesting course. You know, before I met Scott, I was going to be a glaciologist. I wanted to study glaciers. I took off to Alaska and worked for a summer at glacier Bay and was gonna become a glacier tour guide. And that was gonna be my course. And then after that summer, I was pretty determined. I derive so much happiness from helping kids and finding their potential and I just always loved the education field. So I did my undergrad in elementary ed and taught for couple years, I then got my master’s degree with an ESL emphasis and really loved it.

Scott and I had an experience going to Costa Rica and doing a Spanish language program ourselves. We are second language learners and I love the experience and I want to replicate that in my own classrooms. So, I became an ESL teacher and the reason I’m even going into any detail here is it applies later as you know, so I taught school, got my master’s. By this point, we’d already had our first child. I started working for Western Governors University at the teacher’s college, did that for about three years. And Scott called me one day and he’s like, I just quit my job and I’m going to start my own business. And this is Armor Active, which he was just talking about, that hardware company or business that we started. And, you know, it was just the two of us for quite a while.

We took about $10,000 of savings and built this company, had about 30 plus employees by the time we sold in 2014 to MTI. But I mean, it was such a journey we went through. Following that what happened was 2014 is about where Hyperactive began. Our thesis has been the same today since then. Get seed funding for first time founders, mentoring, and meeting with people, hearing ideas and energy. It’s super exciting. And to not have to go through the whole pain of doing the company yourself. So it’s a very exciting space to be. And there’s a ton of energy and being an angel investor, it can be quite fun. I mean, there’s definitely the down and upside, but we kind of got into angel investing was after first exit with them Armor Active.

But I kind of bring in my education, it’s a strong past. Today, we invest in education in a tech space. I just, our life and our experiences, it’s a conglomerate and we want to pull from everything and take all that we’ve learned. You know, we definitely will pivot here and there and go in different directions. But yeah, going from school teacher to, to angel investor and partner Hyperactive Capital, it seemed really random to even be putting it on my LinkedIn page, at one point, having my kind of portfolio or past experience on there. But, you know, I was getting called up and being asked to advise for companies saying, Hey, we’re looking exactly for your experience. We need someone in education. So we need someone in, in the classroom. We need someone that’s been a second language learner themselves and has taught ESL. I went to China and taught ESL early, early on. And so I have a conglomerate of experience where I can now look at these different apps and these different companies with really you know, experience under my belt and understanding where they’re coming from. I still love education. So very passionate and loving that I can still apply it in angel investing.

Tanner:

Yeah. It seems like you’re really combining two of your passions, right? Entrepreneurship and education, because when an entrepreneur comes to you and they’re seeking advice and guidance and obviously financing as well, that you get to position yourself as that teacher and you get to guide them through the whole process. And at the same time, you get to see their idea and their business grow, which I think is amazing.

Natalie:

Yeah. It’s been good. I have to admit early on I kind of had this imposter syndrome, but as I talk to more people and get more comfortable. For a long time I would be on the back side, vetting our investments, you know, Scott will be the face and now I’m able to really get in there confidently. And it’s just been a wonderful experience. I’ve loved doing this with Scott and yeah, it’s a fun space to me.

Tanner:

Yeah, definitely sounds like an awesome place to be in. How did the two of you guys meet?

Natalie:

That’s a funny story. You know, I was in China teaching and Scott was he was a trail Walker for Anasazi in Arizona helping youth. And you know, he’d been doing that for six months. It’s a pretty amazing program if you haven’t heard about it. And I had gotten back. I’d been in China for about four months and my aunt was a neighbor of Scott’s family and she insisted we go on a blind date. And I don’t think either of us were really thrilled about it at the first. But she told me if nothing else, I promise you’ll be good friends. So I always tease Scott to this day. I’m like, Scott, if nothing else, we’ll always be good friends. So it’s just kind of a joke of ours.

But yeah, Scott was about to take off to Africa to help a nonprofit.And we had plans. I gotten my dream job of being a glacier tour guide with a helicopter company. And we really derailed each other’s plans. He was going to UVC now UVU and I was going to Utah State University. So we were about two hours away from each other. And we had this really cute you know, it was really sweet. We’re sending each other tangible mail, writing each other letters, email and phone cards and you’re calling each other. Yeah, we had a true blind date. So that worked out the rest is history.

Tanner:

Yeah, it was crazy. It seems like you guys are perfect for each other.

Natalie:

Yin and yang. Opposites do attract.

There’s got to be a better way.

Tanner:

Scott, can you give us a better idea of what Wooly is and how did you come up with the idea for it?

Scott:

I was at Disney, so I had a company that Disney bought in 2015. That was an agency hooking up influencers and brands and that was the main business. There was a lot of stories there, but Natalie and I and the family had to move out to LA and for a year and kind of help Disney build up their influencer program internally. And while I was out there, I really saw some like stuff. I just, I loved it. It was fun times, but I really saw some stuff I did not love at all. And the influencer marketing at that time, I don’t know if you’re familiar with it, just like paying people hundreds of thousands of dollars to make a post for a brand. And oftentimes we were buying – like this one was Subaru, we bought the influencers, the cars the day before they posted. And the whole program is called Meet An Owner. So it was just, to me, it felt like the most disingenuous thing that these people were putting their car on YouTube and Instagram that they had had for one day and saying, Hey, meet me as an owner and take advice from me.

It’s just the most disingenuous, inauthentic thing you could possibly have. And so I said, there’s gotta be a better way. And Wooly was kind of conceived at that very moment. I’m like, we can do better. And I met a CTO, a co-founder who was living in Arizona, and he wanted to start something with me. And so together, we started coding this idea and Wooly was basically a way for brands to find and meet their actual customers and use them to make content with that. Make content with their customers and not with paid advertisement and stuff like that. So that was that’s the basis of Wooly is use your customers, use authentic voices and make content with them, have them tell your story, don’t pay influencers. So that’s it in a nutshell.

Tanner:

Yeah, I think that’s really cool. And I completely agree with you that it’s super insensitive and doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense for their brand. I think it’s really cool that they can connect with their actual customers and their actual number one fans, that would more than likely be willing to do something like that for free.

We just wanted to make sure a portion of our wealth was building the next generation.

Tanner:

Natalie, can you give us an idea of how Hyperactive Capital was formed and can you also give us an idea of what businesses you do invest in and what businesses you don’t invest in?

Natalie:

So, Hyperactive started really, it was following our exit with Armor Active. About 2014 was when we started Hyperactive. Originally we started investing, some of the very first investments we did were former employees at Armor Active. It was a way of giving back. We had this family at Armor Active, just incredible individuals that helped us get through such tough times. And Scott was always very supportive of other people going off and doing their own thing. I mean, that’s how he got started. When he left the company, he was at to start up Armor Active. His boss, he actually brought the idea to him and said, we gotta do this. We gotta put these kiosks in every hotel, the iPad. I mean, this is going to transform this space. And he said, you know what, I’m not going to do it, but you should, you should go do it.

And that was literally the day, like, all right, I’m going to go do it. And he, you know, he exited that company and started Armor Active, and he loved- that was a mentor and just a great example of the greatest boss he had. And he loved that. And he took that with him. Several employees at Armor Active, we invested in them and in their ideas then it transformed from there. We definitely learned, we had a steep learning curve. A lot of the early investments are gone. Some of them are still hanging on. We’re pretty heavy in technology. Primarily we invest in Utah startups pretty strong in the Silicon slopes space, got started in e-commerce school called Tangible. And it’s wonderful. It’s fabulous for collaborating with others, finding mentors, really getting a start for your company.

Several from there we’ve invested in. We definitely like prendre micro schools that have Arizona. They’re not in Utah. We love, love their idea, their concept, the team really rooting for them, Gab Wireless. We identified with it as we have three daughters and two of them are teenagers. I think we all understand the impact of social media these days and wanting a solution. And we’re handing these highly sophisticated devices to kids without really, you know, the education and the self control to handle such a device. We love Gab Wireless, where it advertises as your first phone and the phones grow with you. There kids watch and it moves to the first cell phone where there’s no video or photos being sent by text. And then you can graduate into a higher level where you can do group texting and video. And anyways, we love the concept. So we’ve build the portfolio of 40 plus companies. And, you know, we don’t have a perfect formula. We don’t have set criteria. We do invest in first time founders primarily. And we’ll meet with 30 plus companies and invest in one. I don’t hear more questions on that. Scott, I don’t know if you want to add on the portfolio.

Scott:

Yeah, I think that it was built to, we just wanted to make sure a portion of our wealth was building the next generation. And so that was the only thing I could think of to do. And really it has no, it’s not an official thing. And what I realized is anyone can do it, right? I mean, today, anyone can angel invest. Anyone can take chances on companies. It’s very different than it was 10 years ago. Even there’s Angel List there’s companies where you can be a crowd like crowd funding, startups. So anybody has a desire. It’s not, you don’t have to exit a company or do anything. You just have an extra few thousand dollars and you can make that sum. So that was our attempt, you know, five, six years ago was to start Hyperactive and do that ourselves. And it’s just so much more lively than putting your money in the stock market. And I think it’s going to actually end up being more, a number of term will be better as well. So that’s the hope.

Tanner:

Yeah, I think most of the time the return is better, but I think the most important thing here is that you’re investing in the future of, you know, local startup’s founders that probably wouldn’t otherwise have a shot at getting any funding. And so I think ultimately you’re giving back to the community and you’re really helping shape the tech community or any other industries that you choose to invest in. And I think that’s awesome.

He’s a million times richer than most human beings, does he work a million times harder?

Tanner:

So you guys have started a lot of businesses. Are there any common obstacles that you faced while growing any of them or are they all different? Did you kind of notice any similarities?

Natalie:

I think Hyperactive put us through the ringer, being the first and it was hardware and we didn’t know what we were doing, but most startups are born that way. Right? We knew what we were putting ourselves through when we do it. But you know, I think I would speak more to the personal life. We had two daughters when we started Armor Active and we had three miscarriages during the time. We didn’t have childcare. We didn’t pay ourselves for two years and Scott and I are both heavily involved in the company so it caused a lot of strain and stress. There was, you know, I can’t even think of how long went going to bed at 2:00 AM. My dad who had just retired, actually came and started watching the kids for us, which is really hilarious. You know, he falls asleep on the couch and wake up, three-year-old, you know, hosing down the kitchen, like flooding it with the hose on full blast.

I mean, we had some really interesting, you know, just growing pains with that company. We learned to find a balance, the next two startups Scott did, I was not involved at all. So we found a balance with investing together as a way I could sit back. I really wanted to be with the kids. I really wanted to raise them. I didn’t want to have a full-time nanny or, you know, I just, I feel there’s a season for everything. And so for the time being there’s even a short time where I homeschooled our girls. Our oldest has dyslexia and ADHD in the family. And I’m like, if I’m so passionate about education and supporting these other companies, I want to be on the front lines of helping our girls too. So, you know, for a few years, I pretty much stayed home.

I did accounting and things on the back end, renewed the entities and all that fine details Scott hates and was home with the girls. So you know, the next several companies Scott has done on his own and just the Angel investing is where we work together. But that’s where we had to really sit down and go, what, what do we want, how do we bring balance to our lives? Because our directive was amazing, but a great team and great experience. It was so hard on us. It took years off our lives and we needed to obtain a balance. So it can speak to that first startup that we did together and then investing. Definitely it’s more part time. We’re not doing full time on the side. We can schedule it and make it work. But, Oh, we had so many cashflow issues, so many trials with that first company, but Scott can speak to the following ones.

Tanner:

Yeah. I think the first one is probably always the hardest, right? Because you don’t know what you’re doing, but I think that’s the beautiful thing of entrepreneurship is it’s just usually a small group of people get together and they decide they’re going to take on a problem and they are not usually qualified. They just figure it out. I love that about entrepreneurship then speaking of entrepreneurship in general for any aspiring entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs listening, what would you guys attribute your success to? Or do you have any advice for any of those people listening?

Scott:

Yeah, I would say like I had this conversation with our CEO, who’s been very successful several times and we were just trying to figure out like, talking about Jeff Besos and like, you know, he’s a million times richer than most human beings, not more right? And is he a million times smarter?  Does he work a million times harder? And in the question, we’re just talking about this. Like, it’s not that, you know, so what’s the factor, what’s the factor that has? And you don’t want to, yeah, this is, this could really be any successful company, and the only real factor there is that can make someone is, there’s just a luck, there’s a timing component.

And so, you know, yes, you want to learn, yes it helps to have school. There’s things that’ll help multiply your chances of success, which is hard work, school, but the biggest thing is just attempts, right? It’s just swinging. And that’s just luck. That’s just timing. So I was just saying the biggest thing is attributed to our success is just that we keep going and we keep doing it. We keep trying. And we, I had plenty of failures before this one hit and we don’t talk about it, but there was, I can tell you all the, well, I can show you photos of all the broken drones that I tried to make fly and start a business. I could show you all the wasted business cards that have come through that never became anything.

We, I was always attempting, but it’s just timing. So you gotta just keep swinging and you’ll connect. Takes money to connect. So it takes a lot of money to keep swinging. And so most people turn their labor hours into a company for money for a salary. And I guess the biggest thing I can say there is if you want to be an entrepreneur, you got to look at your day job as your seed capital, you got to look at every day, you’re going to work and say, I’m putting some of this away into a fund that allows me to go try buy a year of my life back. And so I hadn’t been doing, we didn’t make a lot of my other jobs, but I had put enough away that we could have lasted for a year without any money.

I knew I wanted to someday go out on my own and try a startup. And so that’s, that’s kind of what I tell everybody is go see your day job as your first venture capital, your first VC, your first angel investors. And you’re going to have to be disciplined to do that. You’re gonna have to work extra hard to like put away that cash and you’re gonna have to forgo some things. Like we never had any like cable or we didn’t have a lot of reoccurring expenses in the beginning of our marriage. So you’re going to have to get rid of Netflix and a few other things.

More than Netflix or anything, it’s just the time stock, right? That time that you’re sitting and bingeing, you could be out there learning. You could be on LinkedIn, like meeting entrepreneurs, be surprised how many reply if you just cold message them and ask a sincere question. There’s so much more you can be doing that’s interacting with the world around you, but you know, unless you’re going into media arts and you want to become a producer, Netflix isn’t going to really progress you at all towards your dreams of being a startup founder. So those are my two cents. Just get out there, get busy, get doing it save some money. So you can actually break away from your day job at some future date, if that’s your goal. A lot of people I tell them not to break away. Like you’re good. You’re a good worker. You’ve got a good thing going. And don’t, life is not that fun over here. A lot of marriages are lost. A lot of fortunes are lost. A lot of savings are gone and it doesn’t really amount to much for if you don’t have it. Doesn’t happen for everyone. So I don’t, I don’t know how you’d suggest people leave their day job, unless they’re really up for, you know a venture like Lord of the Rings, where they’re going to kind of go through some near-death experiences.

Tanner:

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. Of course. I mean, you gotta have just unmatched enthusiasm and perseverance and all that jazz. But I liked what you said about the day job thing, because I think a lot of people see their day job as hindering them to break free and grow their business or start it where whatever stage they’re in. But I love that you give that advice because I think that’s great advice to just save as much as you possibly can to get yourself that shot and actually growing something.

In fact, that’s what I did. I saved up enough that I go out and build my agency out for a year. And that was probably the smartest thing I ever could have done because when I left my day job, COVID hit a week later so I needed that more than anything. So that’s great advice Scott.

Scott:

It’s a real one and congrats to you for doing that the right way. You don’t want to have to take angel investment if you don’t have to. It’s pricey it. It not always the best thing to do. You want to bet on yourself first and eventually you have to take some money unless you’re gonna get a lot of it from family or something, but you don’t, if you can make the first check from yourself. That’s the best way to do it.

You can have authentic conversations with authentic people.

Tanner:

Yeah, I completely agree.

So both of you are very active on LinkedIn. What impact do you think that has had on your ability to scale or grow your businesses?

Scott:

Well, Natalie, you can go. She’s not that active actually, but she’s becoming more so and there’s some good experience, good things that have happened from it that she can probably share. Just amazing connections she’s made with just the few conversations she’s had.

Natalie:

It’s been a wonderful platform to connect with other people, founders, people that want to collaborate. A lot of really valuable conversations and friendships have started. It really is an incredible platform. And Scott, to his point earlier about there’s so much you can do, like if you have an idea and you want to get started and say, you don’t have the education or the background, go get the experience, have the conversations, jump on LinkedIn and start messaging people. You know, there’s so much to learn from each other and I’ve really enjoyed getting, you know, I really am not that active. I’m not active on any social media, but I am the most active on LinkedIn that speaks to how little I do social media. But LinkedIn is a professional platform that I see very useful and progressive in my career and meeting the objectives I want to make changes and to get some traction in certain areas.

Scott, if you want to add, he’s really active on LinkedIn. He’s got a post every day, if not multiple and hundreds of comments and thousands of views.

Tanner:

Oh yeah. Scott does very well. He’s a LinkedIn influencer. Right Scott?

Scott:

I hate that. Anyone knows me, knows I make fun of influencers. I’ll call myself a LinkedIn creator, but yes, I have influence. And I know that much because I can tell there’s influence at this point, just cause I’ve watched the effects that it’s had on me.

A company, or a startup, or a person, I’m able to drive a lot of attention to that thing, or that topic, or that conversation, that person in a company. And it’s really helpful. It’s been very beneficial for a lot of my startups that that’s an in a lot of my ideas that I want to get behind and, and it really shows a great place to cause conversation because you look at Instagram, you look at Twitter – Twitter’s a little better, but I mean, Instagram’s, you know, most of your comments are just emojis or fire flames or something weird. I just like, I can’t get into that, sorry. LinkedIn, you can have a real conversation, almost better than you get in real life because the people they’re thinking before they write. They’re kind of, it’s kind of turn based if you will, you get to put down your comment and then it’s becomes like multithreaded. But it’s not like Reddit where it’s a bunch of trolls and people you don’t know that can say whatever they want and turn it into an awful, like waste of, of just insults and arguing and stuff. It’s a very thoughtful and because it’s their business profile.

So LinkedIn is, I tell everyone I ever meet, go start doing something there. Where else has a network been created that’s for the purpose of doing business and is free to use and free to try? And even if you have like 200 followers, you can make content and quickly start getting a lot more views and an audience, then you have followers. And so it’s been how I’ve raised money. It’s been how I’ve found all of our hires. All of our customers have come from that. It seems like, if I really deep dive, it all kind of started there and now ever so more. I mean, now in COVID era, LinkedIn’s so much more useful because it is for me, it’s the water cooler. It’s where you go to just talk in the hallway and talk at once, because we don’t have offices that we’re going into as frequently as we used to. So LinkedIn is kind of the place where you can just kind of go in and have office chat.

Tanner:

Yeah. I mean, I love LinkedIn because you can have authentic conversations with authentic people.  That being said, not every person trying to outreach to is authentic at all. I mean, that’s a common problem with LinkedIn, right? What do you do to combat that? Like just the spammy messages.

Scott:

You know, Natalie doesn’t have nearly as many as I do, so she can kind of go through it and probably doesn’t see the spammy as side of it yet. But for someone like me, who’s really active and actually provokes commerce, like I actually ask questions or I invite people to DM me and stuff. It’s a better part of like a half hour a day, just going through an inbox and reporting people who are spamming and trying to sift through people who are really trying to have conversations who really trying to, you know, people I can actually help. So LinkedIn has some work to do. They need to definitely turn up the filter and the criteria to what it takes to have someone connect and throw messages at you. But you know for the benefits, anytime you create a community and people are, you know, filling that house full of people and it’s just full in that house, there’s going to be side effects of that, and you’re gonna catch COVID, you’re going to get spam. Right? You’re going to get sick. I like that it’s full of people and it’s an active community. I’ll take that on and deal with the side effects.

Tanner:

So what do you consider good outreach? What, just personalized outreach or do they need to just really put a lot of thought and time into what they’re saying or what they’re asking?

Scott:

Yeah, just, I mean, in the age of AI and the age of bots, you can buy to mass mail people and do funnels and whatever. Just be personal. Just, I am so good at it, I’ve actually thought about launching a show where I just go through my LinkedIn inbox and just talk about what works and what doesn’t, because it’s so cool. It’s so relieving to see good outreach. And I’ll even tell the people that, I know they’re spammers sometimes, but when they do a good job. They watch my content, they personalize it to me, you can tell that this one, somebody copied and pasted, or just insert a name here, type of thing. When they do that, I’ll at least tell them, Hey, thanks for the personalization. Not interested right now, but keep up the good work.

That’s all it takes is just being here, man. And I’m not, I don’t have such a large amount of contacts that I can siphon through a few human interactions and tell them yes or no. So, you know, taking the conversation further, I think that’s the main thing. I mostly don’t even do LinkedIn talk. If I like the person, I move them to asynchronous communication on Marco Polo or the new Volley app. I’m very big into getting into real, getting to know someone, seeing their face and having a conversation that happens at my time, or, you know, at any time, because the asynchronous just happens when it happens. You don’t have to send it to meeting up, or a Zoom, or get your calendar out. So that’s my preference on meeting people is doing it asynchronously. I’ll try to convert the real conversations out of my LinkedIn inbox into a Marco Polo conversation.

We have this dreamy vision.

Tanner:

Yeah, that’s cool. I really love that. So, Scott you are a bee keeper and an aspiring alpaca farmer, which I think is really awesome. And I’ve actually wanted to do both of these things. So it’s on the bucket list, but can you expand on that a little bit? Do you, are you both involved?

Scott:

Both of us now. Natalie can probably expand on that just as much as me she’s got that story on our farm aspirations.

Natalie:

Well, we’ve got about five acres and literally we’ve been here two years. Love it. Literally the day we moved in, we adopted three cats so we had mousers. The next day Scott came home with three goats. And we’re unpacking the boxes and it’s like, this is our dream let’s get started. We have currently have chickens, we have bees. Technically there is a beekeeper that does come help us with the bees because we are absolute novices with this ideal. We have this dreamy vision.

We’re working on providing proper fencing. We have a horse fence, but anyways, we have cats, dogs, bearded dragon, fish. We have a pond populated pretty well with some fish. We have, what am I missing Scott? Birds, I’m missing animals. My cat, I think we have four sheep.

Scott:

We have our dog,

Natalie:

We have a dog. We did adopt a unicorn. It’s a goat with one horn, it was recently attacked by dogs. So we’ve adopted. We’re like an animal refuge. And so we’ve taken all these animals. It has gotten to the point where it’s a little out of hand, people call us, Hey, so, and so has this animal. They need to find a new home for. We’re like bring it over. We’re working on the layout. We’re going to be rearranging where all the animals are, our free petting zoo should be open next spring or summer, but we just love animals. We think they’re super therapeutic, all started with our daughters.

We got our first style cockapoo. I mean, this dog would be an amazing therapy dog, just so comforting. They help with any anxiety. So that’s where it kind of snowballed from. We had this one dog for four years and then we moved here. We’ve just keep interacting more animals. So there’s no rhyme or reason. We love animals. We wanted the kids to be, we wanted them to work and there’s so many lessons they can learn from working with animals, empathy, and even tone of voice. So if they’re yelling one and a half minute, Hey, how are the animals responding? So anyways, that’s kind of the gist of how we ended up with a bunch of animals, but we do dream of having a more organized farm at some point.

Tanner:

Well, that’s awesome. I truly believe that you can never have too many animals as long as you have the space and the resources to take care of them.

Scott:

Yeah. And alpacas the one. I really want the alpaca just because I loved Ewoks as a kid. I used to watch these shows, about Ewoks, they’re like side stories to Star Wars. I don’t know. Maybe we’ll find out what they were, but they’re the funniest looking creatures and alpacas to me, they’re like Ewoks and it’s like the closest you can get to owning an Ewok or a you know, or a Gizmo that little, that little gremlin show. I used to idolize that ‘80s show and that little Gizmo animal. And so I’ve seen a few alpacas that look out of this out of this world. Funny and cute. I’m just gonna get alpacas until I get the fix that I have for my eighties my ‘80s character, or any of those characters.  

Tanner:

That’s awesome. I think alpacas are just so cool. I think they’re awesome.

Are you willing to trade this, or this, or this, for this?

Tanner:

So what would you say your guys’ secrets to scaling your businesses are?

Scott:

Well, I think there is a secret, so that’s the problem. I know your podcast is named that. I looked at the question beforehand and said, if I could figure out how to scale a business, I would I’d be scaling my business right now.

Tanner:

Right. Yeah and you know, it’s kind of the point, right? Because I’ll ask that in most interviews and it always stumps people. I think the point of the show is that there is no secret to growing a business. You’re just going to get little tidbits of helpful information here and there. Right?

Scott:

Yep. That’s right. I think that. I think about scale every day and that’s all I think about. I feel like I’ve been doing an experiment for four years in a science lab trying to invent a vaccine or something that I can go mass produce. And most of entrepreneurship, that’s all you’re doing. That’s why you take your first check. You’re actually not, if you’re not doing that, you’re doing what’s called a lifestyle business and that’s okay. That’s what most businesses are lifestyle businesses and they’re great. And they don’t require scale. They just require that you put food on the table and you use solve a problem or service a community with a, you know, a skateboard shop in the town or something like that. That’s fine. You can do those all day long and they’re actually bringing a ton of joy, but to scale a business, to like make sure that employees, lots of people, more than just yourself, possibly thousands of people. Most of your days are just going to be spent in a science lab, trying to figure out how to progress. How to get the vaccine, the cure, the, the medicine, the formula correctly, so that you can take it to the market and scale. And so for years at Wooly, I have just been testing and with vials and tubes and stuff like that. It looks kind of like Breaking Bad, seeing that’s all I feel like what we’re doing every day is mixing stuff to try to make the best crack we can, to take it to market. So there you go.

Natalie:

Can I expand on that? I just I feel like one thing that’s incredibly beneficial is just dispelling your own fears and surrounding yourself with positive thinkers and those that are very collaborative. Because I can think of so many times where you just hit a valley and you need someone in your corner to just boost you up and be able to talk to what, what are the fears? What are the challenges? How can we rally? And I just think that’s so critical. It’s just being able to have people you can discuss your future with, for the company and what are the challenges?

Tanner:

Yeah. I completely agree with you Natalie. I think we need to surround ourselves with people that lift us up, because if you don’t, then eventually you’re just going to believe what the naysayers say. And ultimately you’re just going to lose all your confidence. Lose all your traction and ultimately fail. Because after a while it gets so hard to just keep ignoring negative things about your business or even you as a person. So yeah, I can’t emphasize that enough surrounding yourself with positive thinkers is super important.

Well, this is has all been super amazing. Natalie and Scott, I really appreciate you joining me on this episode. Is there anything that I have not asked you that you think might benefit the audience?

Natalie:

One other thing I think I would add is, you know, at any point, wherever you’re at – really identify, what are your goals? What are your objectives here? And what is important to you? Don’t lose sight of what’s important to you. Are you willing to trade this, or this, or this, for this? You know, does it really come to a greater value? Evaluating your personal life, what are you willing to sacrifice so that you can maintain a balance and overall happiness.

Tanner:

That’s a great point, Natalie.

He believes that what he’s going to do is going to happen.

Scott:

I don’t have any great words of wisdom other than like, I have friends that I just watched and I’ve learned from them. So just get your list of people that you have seen, that lived the life you want to live, or have techniques that work and just drill them, ask them about it. Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out. I have two friends that I worked with years ago. They both sold their company to Snapchat and they’ve done extremely well. One travels around the world as a influencer, actually funny enough, called bucket-list family. I’ve kind of made fun of him over the years. Like, Oh my gosh, he went and did the influencer thing, but the other night, I’m with him for hours and learned a ton about his background and why he does the things he does and how he believes in himself.

He believes in himself so ultimately that like, just perfectly believes that what he’s going to do is going to happen. And it usually does, he creates, he bends reality to create the world he wants. And the other friend that I was with, his partner, is really smart about like meditating and just, he’s always studying his own mind, his own things and he’s just really introspective on how his brain works and how gonna hack that thing. And so I took some notes from both of them and I’m practicing a lot more meditation and it’s really simple stuff. It’s not like yoga crazy – you got to go have, you know, incense everywhere. Like you can do it anywhere, in your car.

Then from this other guy, I’m learning how to be convicted about what I’m about to go do, because I want to create the largest company that’s ever come out of Utah in the consumer tech space. I want to be a household name across the entire country, if not world. And to do that, I have to be almost, I have to be crazy and you have to be so convicted to a point of being crazy. I understand that, but I realized from him learning from him, I saw that crazy. I saw what it looks like and how you have to just, you keep telling yourself this story. I’m going to try and put some of those practices in place. And I realized that you got to go find those people around you and just find those best practices that you like, that work for you, that you wanna apply to your life and find those in other people. You’re not going to pay for them. Usually you don’t go and have to buy these things from a guru and pay their class online and learn from their click funnel crap. You just go find them, they’re right around you right now and they usually aren’t charging you anything. And go get a book or two. Those cost money, but go get a few books and read those. So that’s my tip. Yeah.

Tanner:

I think those are excellent points, you know, educating yourselves constantly. Just finding people that maybe know something more about a certain topic than you do and learning from them. And ultimately, I think the biggest thing that stands in the way of success for everyone is ourselves. I think that it’s a mind game in that sense. Of course, you still have to execute and to build a business right. But I think that’s what hinders most people.

Natalie:

And we’ve also been big advocates of just a healthy outlet. Like literally every time we get stuck or frustrated or we’re up against a wall, it feels like Scott and I, we go mountain biking and nothing really gets in that way in a way of that. So we put it on the calendar almost at the beginning of the week, whenever we’re going to mountain biking, we’ll get on the schedule. Or if one of us is really frustrated or kind of stuck in moments like, you know what, let’s just go biking. And it’s been so therapeutic and amazing for us just movement in general, is so helpful for your thought processes. So anyways, that’s been something that’s been incredibly helpful for us to do something we’ve really enjoy and having that outlet.

Tanner:

Yeah. Yeah. I think having an outlet, having a way to clear your mind is going to make a huge difference in all aspects of your life. Not even just business.

Well, thank you guys again for coming on the show. What’s a good way for anyone listening to get in contact with you?

Scott:

Just good old Linked in. And it will be Volley soon, volleyapp.com.  

Tanner:

Cool. All right, well I’ll definitely make sure to link up your guys’ LinkedIn profiles in the show notes. And thank you again.

Scott & Natalie:

All right. Thank you. Appreciate it.

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