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Interviews

Interview with Dani Miller and Mackinzie Dae

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Where did the idea for your company or organization come from? *

Dani: In May 2018, I was completely blindsided, as was every other employee that worked at the same small public relations firm as I, when on a Wednesday, just after close of business, the owner called us all into his office and proceeded to clean house without very much explanation. Shocked and upset and fired for the first time ever, I did the only thing I knew, gather all of my resources and open my own firm. That’s how The Epoch Advisory began. The dictionary definition of the noun “epoch” pronounced “epic” is “the beginning of a distinctive period in the history of anything.” We’re a creative boutique agency championing a personal approach to public relations in the Hollywood scene. We want to make a difference and we strive to change the world for the better with every client we work with and any project we take on.

Mackinzie: I enlisted in the United States Marine Corp in 2008 and I served for five years. Afterwards, I went to business school and kept finding myself working in or around art creating digital content. Nu Dae was born while I was a trainer at Equinox with the mission of helping my clients realize that every day is a new day to do something different. This message translated when I was developing the mission for Nu Dae Productions in that every day affords us the beautiful ability to create something out of nothing and as a result, on the backend, we aim to give creators an ability to tell their stories authentically, honestly, and openly.

What gave you the idea to have your companies merger? *

Mackinzie: The first time I ever heard Dani speak was in the beginning of the summer when she was interviewed on iHeartRadio. She was so passionate about everything she said and I was really inspired by all of the things she stood for. She gave me the push I needed at the time I needed it to keep working hard at what I love. It just so happened that I was already in talks with The Dolan Twins with regards to producing their directorial debut and they had come to me with Cub Sport’s song and story. I wanted Dani on my side so I asked her to be apart of my team.

Dani: After Mackinzie and I joined forces, it was clear that we were a match made in heaven. It’s one thing to think that you and your team are doing a good job, but it’s another thing when others notice and attest to the good job you’re doing. For example, when location hosts and your crew are impressed and compliment you and your partners teamwork. It certainly wipes away any doubts you may have had about working together. I think it was in the middle of this project, when we realized that we were capable of anything and we decided to merge Epoch and Nu Dae.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive? *

Dani: Our typical day begins with Mackinzie waking up to about 15 emails and calendar invites and missed calls from me even though it’s before 9:30am and sadly, there’s really no other reason except for the fact that I’m a total psycho… I wish I was kidding. No, but really we make a lot of lists. And we try to delegate tasks to one another when we know the other is more capable of getting a faster desirable end result. Mackinzie doesn’t mind being that “bad” guy so when someone I need an answer from isn’t answering, I’ll have him step in and reach out. It’s really all about knowing and owning what we are each good at and asking for help when we need it. I think it’s important to be confident in asking for help.

Mackinzie: Haha, we are working on boundaries… All jokes aside, we are most productive when we have deadlines. My Marine background has led me to have a very regimented way of going about things. It’s all a work in process though. Everyone works well in different ways and we are still figuring out how to work most productively, but it’s evident through our work product that we are on the right track. Keeping communication lines open and free are one of the most important things in our business because being on the same page is what makes us so good at what we do.


How do you bring ideas to life? *

Mackinzie: We have a mission. And that mission is to produce work that conveys our client’s messages in memorable, moving, unique ways. Ways that makes us proud. I want to say that the ideas don’t just come to us, but really, they do. I say that in the humblest way possible… This project really opened my eyes to realize just how well Dani and I work together. At this point, I can truthfully say that all of the projects on our calendar are not only exciting because I’m confident in our abilities to get what needs to be done, done, but now I’m also confident that we can accomplish anything and we can do anything easily.

Dani: We think strategically. And we think creatively. I’m constantly attempting to connect all the dots, in way shape or form. I think we are really lucky to come from such diverse backgrounds because it allows us to see the same project from so many different angles and offer solutions that really reflect our collective experience. It’s really interesting to me because, at the heart of it all, Mackinzie and I are problem solvers and the beginning of any good business idea is the solution to a problem. Therefore, I think that our solutions are the backbone of what brings our and our clients’ ideas to fruition.


What’s one trend that excites you? *

Dani: I’m not one to really jump on trends… I like to think I’m ahead of the game, but you can be the judge of that, haha. I would like “long-term relationships” to become a trend and I’d love to see simply “be nice”, become a trend. Relationships are everything. I don’t mean to be so simple, but it really is so simple: being nice helps your relationships. With our company, one of my goals is to establish an open dialogue where mutual trust is key. If mutual trust and mutual honesty don’t exist than relationships don’t exist. And if relationships, don’t exist than you’re all alone.

Mackinzie: While my answer to this question is more calculated than Dani’s theory, I want to make sure to mention how important her message is: relationships are everything and you’re only as good as your team. For me, I’m interested to see what happens when this social media bubble pops. It’s similar to the housing bubble we experienced in 2008 in more than one way. It’s a situation, just like 2008, in which assets appear to be based on implausible or inconsistent views about the future. It’s comforting to see the Dolan Twins move into the production space as directors stepping out of the social media realm. This is a great protection for when this bubble bursts. And I’m proud that we got the opportunity to be a part of that.


What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur? *

Dani: Mackinzie and I are both very hands-on. I think that because we are ultimately small by design and perfectionists to a fault, we’re than able to 110% fully immerse ourselves in all of our work that we produce. Our clients and collaborators receive complete hands-on focus and get our full attention no matter the project, no matter the budget, and no matter the size.

Mackinzie: I think Dani hit the nail on the head with her answer, but I’ll just dive a little deeper. We always have a backup plan. I think this is one of the best habits we have and without fail, it makes certain that we never fail. Everything goes according to plan because of this very fact. That’s part of our secret sauce, for sure.

What advice would you give your younger self? *

Dani: Just go with it. Move on. If you don’t think about, it won’t bother you. Be nice. Be nice to yourself. Be nice to others. Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be nice. Always.

I don’t run with wolves, I sit with them. Thanks @projectwildsong, I love Moo!!!!!

A post shared by Dani Miller (@killadmilla) on

Mackinzie: Today is yesterday’s tomorrow. Did I do the things I said I would start tomorrow? Or am I procrastinating the future? How many different versions of me exist in one dae? My morning self is not my midnight self. My midnight self, controls my morning self, and the future of today. Todae i… I’ll decide about tomorrow.


Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on. *

Dani: You’re only in control of two things: how you feel and how you react. Nothing else is up to you.

Mackinzie: Monday’s are exciting. Dani and I love Mondays. You can like Monday’s too, if you change your state, you’ll change your mind.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do? *

Dani: One thing I actively attempt to do is get as many people and as many brands as I can to collaborate on any given project. I’m able to do this because I’ve been carefully and cautiously building my network since I was 16 years old. I recommend that every entrepreneur read “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi and start making an excel list of your network and their contact information. If you think about someone in your network, reach out to them even if it isn’t for a reason and just simply because you were thinking of them. This is one way I keep my relationships fresh and it has the added bonus of never looking like your using someone when you ask them for something. It shows that you value your relationship.

Mackinzie: As an entrepreneur and frankly, as a human, you have to realize that you can always learn. There are always things that you don’t know, and things are constantly changing. Never stop learning and never stop perfecting your craft. Dani has a rigorous educational background and I still watch her trying to soak up any knowledge about the things she doesn’t know or understand. Ignorance is never cool. Having the knowledge to form your opinions and back them up is. You can never know too much.


What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? *

Dani: One strategy that has helped me grow my business is by partnering with Mackinzie, someone that I can trust. This trust stems from our ability to communicate, our mutual respect for one another and our deep-rooted loyalty. Without communication, there is no relationship. Without mutual respect, there is no worth. Without trust, there would be no future for our business. 

Mackinzie: It’s reported that only 1% of people are successful at doing something that they try to do. Do you know why that percentage is devastatingly low? It’s because everyone is too afraid to even try to do the thing they want to do so they never start, or they don’t ever try because they’re afraid that they’ll fail. One strategy that has helped our business to grow is that we aren’t afraid to fail because failure isn’t an option. If there is one thing that I will say over and over again, is that success is no accident. It’s a combination of hard work, perseverance, determination, dedication, a little bit of sacrifice, a love for what you’re doing and love for the people you’re doing it with.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it? *

Mackinzie: Everyone fails. Dani and I both have. Sometimes we fail each other, but we quickly recognize the failure and learn from it and then work to find peace through re-establishing our equilibrium in our work product. Peace isn’t a state – it’s a choice, and you have to remake that choice every single day. It’s possible to get a sense of stability, a habit of peace, but it’s life an egg that’s balanced, spinning on its point: lose your momentum and then you’ve lost your equilibrium too.

Dani: If you just start something and you try to do accomplish it, and you just keep trying and you don’t take no for an answer, nothing can stop you. While I’ve learned from my failures, I wouldn’t classify them as failures; but instead, I’d classify them as lessons. This way, I can file them in a folder in my brain free of negativity, and welcome growth. In the past, I struggled discarding negativity. By becoming self-aware of it and shifting my perception, I’ve been able to get a better hold on it. One thing I’ve been trying to do is to replace my “I’m sorry”s with “thank you”’s. So instead of saying “sorry I’m late”, I’ll say “thanks for waiting for me”. It’s not only shifted the way that I feel, but it’s improved my relationships with others who now get to receive my gratitude as opposed to my negativity.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers? *

Dani: What excites you? And I mean, something that really gets you going. I’ll give you an example:  In 2015, I was super into the music festival world. I went to all the festivals. I carefully curated my outfits for each festival and each party. I wasn’t making any money doing this, but everyone seemed to like my style and I was invited to everything. I needed income and fast, but I wanted to have fun and still be relevant in the music festival scene. That’s how I founded the Locals Only Club, a members-only music and arts community with a boutique that offered festival-styled clothing fitting to the events that we offered to our members. I sent out invites and event information to all of my subscribers. And it worked. I realized that I wanted to use Locals Only Club to connect the fashionable and trendy festival go-ers with hard-to-find unique styles that reflected their true personality. I was able to turn something I loved doing, which started out as giving ensemble suggestions to friends, into a business. When I was over the festival scene, so was Locals Only Club and I closed its doors in 2017. Take something you’re passionate about and figure out a novel approach to making it into a business. Always start by trying to come up with a solution to a problem.


What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why? *

Dani: The best $100 I recently spent was at Ban.do. One thing I am certain of, is that I am a product of my environment. Therefore, getting a planner from Ban.do that says encouraging cute phrases and buying a bunch of jelly roll pens to write with and having file folders that say “You’re gold baby, solid gold” make me feel good in my working environment. Not to mention, they leave a good impression.

Mackinzie: I, too, benefitted from her Ban.do purchase. And she’s right. Her silly little office supplies give everyone a smile and a vote of confidence, me included. I especially enjoy the notebook she gave me with the message “Be Nice” in huge letters on its cover.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it? *

Dani: We use our google drive for everything. It’s our life line. I love trying new programs, but sometimes taking the time to go through all of them can be unproductive. To be honest, our google drive has everything we need to conduct our business successfully.

Mackinzie: Dani is a huge fan of systems and procedures, so I follow her lead on this one. If she says we’re using a new program, we’re using a new program. Typically, she’s right on point.

KEY TAKEAWAYS 

Dani and Mackinzie, always excited by Mondays, complement one another in every way possible and are clearly putting in effort to work as seamlessly as they can. Their passion for changing the world for the better by aligning with projects that actually make a different is magic in the making. Their collaborations are highly curated in an effort to stay true to each of their business’s original roots prior to their merger. They aim to help make a difference in the lives of young people as well as share their mission to fight bullying and stand up for the normalization of the conversation surrounding the importance of mental health. Big hearts meet strong work ethic. Beyond the glitz and glamour of an industry known for churning and burning, Dani and Mackinzie make it clear that when there is a passionate team of two self-aware individuals working on your side, anything is possible.

 

 

Anthony Delgado (born February 6, 1986) is an American software developer and internet entrepreneur widely known as a professional hacker in the developer community. Anthony Delgado has won numerous hackathons sponsored by Fortune 500 tech companies like Google, IBM, Intel, Facebook and Microsoft and hosted by organizations including Rutgers University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the AT&T Developer Summit in New York City.

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Entrepreneurship

Derek Hurtado – Building a Vacation Rental Business

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Recently, I sat down with Derek Hurtado for an interview. Derek is a social media influencer and owns a vacation rental company. We talked about his business model, how it works, and much more.

  • Hey Derek, what is the basic rundown of the Airbnb Business Model?

Derek: Our model tends to differ from the conventional by providing both a higher ROI and better quality tenants. To build out a luxury brand of vacation rentals, location is key! Our first step involves researching popular markets both on a city level and a zip code level. This allows us to use data from our research to best predict profitable properties. Once we have narrowed in on our location, we investigate which available properties will perform to our standards. We create an analysis of our predicted revenue and compare that to the overall expenses. Did I mention we don’t buy our properties? We are looking for 12-month rental properties where we sign a lease and usually pay a month or two upfront to appease the landlord. After that, we begin furnishing, decorating and stocking the unit to be staged for guests! Then we are ready to go live! As guests arrive and cycle through our property, we have cleaning and guest correspondence semi-automated. This removes the need to ever be on the location of properties and reduces our admin duties to only 10 hours a week!

  • Where did you discover the business model, and how did you start?

Derek: Vacation rentals have been around for decades! It is only recently that technology has been booming in this industry. This has allowed a big increase in creating monthly cash flow. As we grow our businesses and long term investments.. cash flow becomes ever more necessary. My business partner had millions of dollars in equity on real estate projects, yet that equity doesn’t pay the bills. This business model initially allows a consistent cash flow for those working on long term projects which is our exact case. As we get into bigger markets like resorts and commercial real resale projects, AirBnB allows us to get our bills paid and cash flow to spend each month!

  • What is the ideal rental?

Derek: The biggest fear of new Airbnb hosts are the nightmare guests. About 90% of bad guests can be avoided by the ideal rental and its setup. We look specifically for higher-end rentals that allow us to bring in high-income business guests or families. When you are dealing with higher income guests, they tend to be more respectful and tidy. Even offering a printer in the property will attract business guests. Those are the guests we are trying to build long term relationships with.

  • You own a social media agency, Pivotal Point. How have you leveraged social media to grow your rental business?

Derek: A great benefit of building your brand online is to create new connections. Although Airbnb is a completely different industry, human networking and connections are important no matter what space. Being able to leverage my brand, I have made deals and setup potential investors for scaling the rental business. Applying branding strategies to the properties will promote community and clarity on who we serve. Which are high-income business owners and their families.

  • What is an ideal rental location?

Derek: Recently most people are afraid to jump in with all these regulations and potential laws banning properties. Truth is that there are only a few cities that are strict on their policies. Just search on Airbnb for a location you are interested in and you can see 1000s of results that show up. Any place that has high traffic for travelers is ideal.

  • What are your plans with your business?

Derek: We are going to rapidly scale our AirBnB unit numbers to the 100s soon. As well as build out our new management agency that will take care of the property owner’s units that are suffering. We will take on management for a small fee and improve their revenue, sparing them the time!

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Entrepreneurship

Learn To Sit Back And Observe, Not Everything Needs A Reaction With Mitch London

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What’s your backstory?

I’m Mitch London and I am Wilderness Expert and a Lover of Jesus. I help men gain clarity in their purpose, grow in their leadership and walk in their God given Identity by slaying the giants of self-doubt, limiting belief systems and removing false ideas about their identity.

 I excelled in just about every area in life. Had a great marriage, wonderful kids, ascended to the top in just about every career I had……but it was empty. I was chasing a “task” and calling it a purpose. It wasn’t until I focused in on my Identity that things really opened up. My business quadrupled, marriage has never been better. I’m living life in a way that best suits me.

 After years in the corporate world and feeling the pull of Entrepreneurship I successfully built a location independent 6 figure marketing agency. Giving me the option to live life with purpose and intentionality. As a Sales and Marketing Innovator, I have over 15 years’ experience in Sales & Marketing as well as 10+ years in a coaching/mentor capacity.

 I have taken my love for the outdoors and knowledge of entrepreneurship, business and leadership and combined them to create a platform for men to breakthrough self-doubt, limiting beliefs and to finally face the giants on their path to success and truly excel in life, family and business.

 

What made you decide to choose this career path?

I have always had a passion for the outdoors and the transformative power of being in the wilderness. I have seen so many men struggling to find their purpose and calling in life but the day to day noise is too overwhelming and deafening to be able to quiet the mind enough to seek direction. Knowing that I can help guide and encourage men to find their calling and purpose in life drives me. It creates a ripple effect in the family and community. 

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that? 

Yes, thinking that “swag” is helping to build your business. And the promotional materials are needed even before you have a business developed. Promoting something that doesn’t really exist yet is just a waste of money…lol Ordering t-shirts and stickers makes you feel like a real business until you realize that’s the only thing your customers have to purchase from you.

 

What do you think makes your company/personal brand stand out?

The combination of breakthrough and mindset coaching that take place in the wilderness is a unique offering. By not only encouraging men but placing them in a location to make that transformation has been an incredible combination.

 

What’s a quote that you live by? 

“Man is not looking for pleasure. He is looking for meaning. When he can’t find meaning he drugs himself with pleasure.” – Viktor Frankl

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Interviews

Here’s How Companies Can Eliminate Dead Stock with Print on Demand Vs the Traditional Route

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It is no secret that many companies have at one point in running business dealt with a dead stock problem. You have goods stored that are no longer being bought. When you have dead stock, the business will most likely suffer a reduced cash flow that might have gone into more meaningful use. Dead stock also uses up precious storage space and other expenses that tag along. 

Not all companies, however, have had to deal with a dead stock problem. 

Teelaunch, a print on demand fulfillment company is making it possible for its customers to completely do away with dead stock. As such, the company is saving clients up to 30 percent, money they would have previously had to spend on expenses related to bulk production, transportation and storage. The following article discusses the print on demand model and how it can help companies eliminate a dead stock problem.

How To Avoid Dead Stock With Print on Demand.

The most important benefit of print on demand is the elimination of product storage costs, inventory, and raw material. While the inventory of finished goods was considered an asset in the traditional production method, it is not the case with print on demand. The latter has changed the status quo and now inventory is simply referred to as dead investment, waste, or in the fairest description possible, unnecessarily incurring additional costs.

With print on demand, a company is able to create products quickly and put them up for sale in a very short time. You just need to have the design ready, and as a matter of fact, you can use one design for several products. Once you have adopted print on demand there will be nothing like holding an inventory. As such, the business enjoys low investment and even lower risk. 

Design, Test, Sell, and Grow

Though critics have attempted to downplay print on demand by claiming that it is not as profitable as the traditional route, the former boasts of some unparalleled advantages. 

Firstly, print on demand adds value to finished products due to its increased efficiency.  

Secondly, the fact that you are not holding any inventory physically, it will be easier to add or remove products, test new ideas, and pivot business strategies. 

Thirdly, testing a design or a product like print on demand companies do allows them to avoid making costly mistakes. 

For instance, in the traditional method, a company would produce hundreds or thousands of products on a specific design, only to find out that they made a mistake in the process and now the products cannot go to the market. 

With the print on demand model, however, such mistakes are almost unheard of. Once the first product is done, if it is not up to the client’s specifications, edits can be done on the spot thereby avoiding a massive loss or stored products without a buyer. 

The print on demand model also allows the business to grow in terms of innovation. The reason behind this is that with customers always coming up with unique ideas for the products they want, the business can only steer in the right direction in terms of keeping up to date with the latest industry trends.

Eliminate The Traditional Guesswork

In the traditional bulk production model, companies had to invest lots of money in inventory management. There was always the need to accurately predict demand for a product, which in most cases ended up creating a dead stock problem for producers. 

Companies that still invest in forecasting demand are no better than any other establishment applying pure guesswork in business. Forecasting involves too many variables that make the process all the more unsure and unreliable. Print on demand is a surer and less risky production method. Companies that choose print on demand over the traditional route don’t have to go through the trouble of projecting the future. 

Conclusion

The key to avoiding dead stock in any business lies in first identifying the cause of ‘death’, and then monitoring and preventing future dead stock. The only sure way of hitting these two birds with one stone is to change from the traditional route to a print on demand model. 

 

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