Andrea Herrera | [Pivot Series] 95% Revenue Decline Due to COVID-19 and Pivoting to a New Business in 30 Days

Andrea Herrera is the Founder and President of Amazing Edibles Catering, an award winning catering company in the Chicago area. She has built an amazing team and her personal mission is to foster connection to create community. Through her company, Andrea has served over a million meals in Chicago over the past 25 years.

Andrea recently formed a new business called Boxperience which solves the challenges of connecting top clients in a world where lunches and dinners are no longer an option. She is also very involved in Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), a global organization of 15,000 members by serving on the Global Leadership Committee. She has served as the President of the Chicago chapter of EO, Chair of the Accelerator Program to mentor emerging entrepreneurs, and Chair of a global conference on entrepreneurial leadership in 2016.

In this episode of the Smart Business Revolution podcast, Andrea Herrera, Founder and President of Amazing Edibles Catering and Boxperience, joins podcast host John Corcoran to talk about how she pivoted her catering business during a time of crisis. Andrea also shares her experience being a member and leader in Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), starting a personalized gift business, and the lead generation techniques she uses to grow her new business.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • How Andrea Herrera’s catering business was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • How the idea for Boxperience came about and how Andrea found clients for her new business venture
  • What’s included in the Boxperience boxes and why it’s a good idea to send personalized gifts to people
  • Andrea‘s experience with the 2008 economic crisis and how working with Oprah Winfrey helped grow her business
  • Andrea talks about the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), joining the EO Accelerator program, and the benefits that come with being part of the organization
  • How Andrea rose through the ranks of EO and how being a member has helped her during the current COVID-19 pandemic
  • The lead generation strategies Andrea uses to get clients for Boxperience
  • The people Andrea acknowledges for her achievements
  • Where to learn more about Andrea Herrera and her businesses

Resources Mentioned:

Sponsor: Rise25

Today’s episode is sponsored by Rise25 Media, where our mission is to connect you with your best referral partners, clients, and strategic partners. We do this through our done for you business podcast solution and content marketing. 

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If you do it right, a podcast is like a “Swiss Army Knife” – it is a tool that accomplishes many things at once. It can and will lead to great ROI, great clients, referrals, strategic partnerships, and more. It is networking and business development; and it is personal and professional development which doubles as content marketing

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:10  

Welcome to the Revolution, the Smart business Revolution podcast where we ask today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution. John Corcoran.

 

John Corcoran  0:40  

All right. Welcome everyone. John Corcoran here, the host of the Smart business Revolution podcast. And as you know, I talk every week with interesting CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs of companies and organizations like YPO, EO, Activision Blizzard, Lendingtree, OpenTable. Many different members of EO have been guests on the show, including today’s guests, which we’ll get to in a moment. I’m also the Co-founder of Rise25 where we help to connect b2b business owners to their ideal prospects. 

But first, before I get to today’s guests, I want to give a big thank you to our client Fran Biderman Gross of Advantages. You can check out her podcast ‘Drive Profit With Purpose’, and she has interviewed Jack Daly and Mike 

mccalla wits, Tommy Mello and a bunch of other interesting guests, and she introduced us to our guests today, who is Andrea Herrera. Andrea Herrera is the founder and president of Amazing Edibles Catering, an award winning catering company in the Chicago area. And she’s built an amazing team there and our mission is to foster connection to create community and they’ve served over a million meals in Chicago for the past 25 years. But of course, we’re recording this in the beginning of July of 2020. And starting in about March or April of this year, the coronavirus pandemic hit and so she quickly realized that their company was going to be pretty much decimated by this, at least in the short term. And so she had to pivot very quickly. So this interview is going to really be talking about how she went about doing that and forming a new business which is called Boxperience, which solves the challenges of connecting with top clients in a world where lunches and dinners are no longer an option. So we’re going to talk about what is involved in that. She’s also been very involved in EO (Entrepreneurs’ Organization), which is a global organization of 15,000 members serving on the Global Leadership Committee. She’s also served as the president of the Chicago chapter of EO, Chair of the Accelerator Program and in a number of different roles as well. 

 

But first, before we get into this interview, this episode is brought to you by Rise25 Media and through Rise25 we help b2b businesses to get clients referrals and strategic partnerships with done for you podcasts and content marketing. And if you’re listening to this marathon, you know, should I do a podcast? Well, I say yeah, you certainly should because it will help you to connect with amazing people, and we really specialize in helping b2b businesses with a high client lifetime value. So if that’s you, give us a call or shoot us an email, at [email protected], check out some videos on how it works. So Andrea is super excited to have you on here and to talk about your story. And let’s just start where we’re at right now, because this is July of 2020. And tell us what it was like, in March or April, as you had this slow moving train. And you realize that this business you’ve built over 25 years was kind of going off the rails? What were the indicators like and what was it like for you experiencing that? And at what point did you realize, you know, I’m gonna have to completely reinvent myself, at least in the short term.

 

Andrea Herrera  3:50  

Sure. Thanks for asking. And thank you for having me. So I’ve had Amazing Edibles for 25 years, and we’ve gone through 2008 and we went through 911 And when the Coronavirus first came up, a few people started canceling orders and I kind of held my breath a little bit. And on March 11, which was a Wednesday, we had a ton of people calling cancel for the next couple of weeks. And so by Thursday afternoon, March 12, about 70% of our future work for the next month had cancelled. So I went home that night, and thought about it and realized that I had to act quickly and decisively. I survived the last couple huge catastrophic hits that small companies took in those time periods. Um, but I knew I waited too long last time, um, I was expecting a big drop in revenue and payroll is one of our biggest expenses. So I laid off 85% of our staff on Friday, March 13. Um, and then kind of held my breath and went forward and about two weeks later Everything else started canceling and the Coronavirus number started getting larger. And I started looking around for what else I could do. We did family meal service. We did first responder meals, we kept in touch with our clients and our clients ordered family meals and we did about 10,001st responder meals in those first two months. But by early April, I was on a call on a Saturday night with a bunch of women and we all kind of talked about where we’re at and I was the person who was down 95% in sales. And I

 

John Corcoran  5:37  

knew you were a multi million dollar business by this point. I was

 

Andrea Herrera  5:39  

multi million dollars and it disappeared and q1 January February March is traditionally a slow time of year for us April everything starts hitting so we were halfway through March which was an OK month but ready for we do a half our work with universities for orientations and graduations and wedding season and just Everything was going to start popping. And it just all started disappearing as schools closed all of our spring events canceled. So I was on the phone with a bunch of people. And there was a really great statement which was asked for help. Like, you don’t have to do this alone. You’re part of Do you belong to these entrepreneurial communities ask for help. So Sunday morning, Easter Sunday, I sent a note and I said, I have a 5000 square foot kitchen. I have culinary talents. I have connections to industry into universities and not for profits. Give me 15 minutes of your time today with some ideas about what I can do. I sent this to about 30 people and was really grateful to get lots of messages and calls back with ideas and on how I should perhaps pivot. spend a lot of time on the phone that day. And one of the people I was with said you need a new business by May 1. amazing animals may have to hibernate, it doesn’t have to go away forever, but in all likelihood The amount of catering work that’s going to exist generally we don’t do events for less than 25 or 30 people, mostly 50 to 500 people, which almost everywhere has been illegal the last four months. Um, and so, mid March, mid April, I figured out my new company I had to have opened by May 1, which was back experience I chose

 

John Corcoran  7:22  

Where did that idea come from? It was in a combination different field its own say, here’s what you should do.

 

Andrea Herrera  7:27  

Um, you know, I was talking with a friend who works for a big corporation as a salesperson and he was going nuts because he usually flies around the world year round and flies around the country two or three weeks out of the month seeing clients and he couldn’t go to lunch with them. He couldn’t take them to dinner, he couldn’t take them to a ballgame and couldn’t connect with them. And my thing is connection. So I tried to figure out how I could take the experience of connecting with people with bread breaking experiences that I do through catering and move it to my clients or to new clients to share experiences with their clients? So it started coming together. I spoke with Fran Biderman Gross of Advantages. And she really helped me kind of formulate a brand. I had another friend who helped me put together my sales manual. Um, and I dug in and my staff that I kept did Amazing Edibles worked on the Amazing Edible side of the business because we have a small word about 10% of our revenue right now, um, of what it should be, which is not enough. But I figured if I could do 10% there if I could do 50 grand in catering and 50 grand and experience every month, I could breathe. So we are now five weeks in and we made our first month sales goal, which is good.

 

John Corcoran  8:43  

Um, and how did you find you reach out to all your existing client base and just tell all of them,

 

Andrea Herrera  8:49  

um, I did some of that. But my existing client base not for profits and universities really weren’t going to be buying these so you actually

 

John Corcoran  8:58  

actually a pivot to a new Kind of buy a new kind of buyer then

 

Andrea Herrera  9:01  

yeah, I needed a 1% business. I wanted a business that I was going to send to people whose industries were particularly resilient in this time period because I need them to spend money, right? Like, and this is kind of an extra.

 

John Corcoran  9:16  

And this is to tell them what you get, because this is really cool. You get a box that has the name of the recipient on it, right?

 

Andrea Herrera 9:23  

Let me show you.

 

John Corcoran  9:24  

Okay, that’s even better. She has, I’ll narrate for those who are listening. She’s walking over to go grab the box. But what I really like about this particular solution is you get a box with the name of the recipient on it. All right, here we go. No

 

Andrea Herrera  9:42  

call to action. It’s great. With a call to action. Let’s connect. The back has a name or something personalized, cool. And inside the box you get some amazing beverage wine or cocktail, some mixer, some chocolate truffles, and then monogram personalized mugs. So this would Have a JC on it. So as you open it up, your name would be on the box to make the box a keepsake. Your name would be on the mugs which would feel like a gift not an advertising promotional item. Yep. And inside we do an audio or video card that says let’s connect, because that’s our call to action. And you open it up and there is your handsome face, saying, hey, Andrea, I’m so sorry. We can’t get together for our Friday lunch this week. How about we each pour a Kentucky mule meet on zoom at one and catch up. And you know what they do? Because this is going to their house and it feels like a present. It is not a box of oranges, which is lovely. But the fruit of the Month Club doesn’t cut it for a client that spends 100 grand or a million dollars a year with you. Right? And an iPad seems like a bribe. Yeah, it’s a little too much. Yeah, we’re going to kind of share a fun experience. And the people it’s working for are calling their clients which is great because the sales person, right now in this time period, nobody wants to hear from a salesperson. Right? But getting some fun, delightful gift. feels kind of fun. So we’re working with Wealth Advisors and insurance agencies, CEOs of companies. We’re working with some executives, I’m sorry, some advancement officers for universities who are courting big donations. So it’s anyone that you really want to get some quality time with. I’m in a novel way.

 

John Corcoran  11:30  

That’s a cool idea. And I know you’re a fan of John Ruhlin. And the work he does he’s author of the book gift ology.

 

Andrea Herrera  11:35  

I love John Ruhlin. I read his book and have seen him speak a few times. So as I was building this, I actually have spoken with him. And I was at a seminar earlier this spring, and he is very big on having an artifact to leave behind. Yeah, but I spoke with him about adding the food and drink component. And it’s to me it’s more than a gift box. It’s not just a generic present, because it’s so personalized. And it’s very hard to send wine around the country. If anyone’s tried to send alcohol as a gift. It’s very challenging. So we have boxes with wine with hard liquor and then without, we have a coffee box. Like if you wanted to meet your client for coffee that has coffee syrup at a French press that you put the family name on that sort of thing, something with wine and a cheese board and cheese and partay. So just kind of replicating different experiences of

 

John Corcoran  12:28  

Dinner, Drinks or going out and the thing you were kind of hinting at, and I’ll encourage anyone listening to this, go back and check out my interview with john A while back on my podcast. But he’s not a big fan of just sending food or consumable to people. Why is that?

 

Andrea Herrera  12:47  

That is because you want this to be

 

Why do I not have my props close? You don’t need to have them whereby you want your initials on this. Your Gonna hold on to this and keep it. A bottle of booze is one thing. It’s lovely. a pound cake is lovely, but it disappears. Yeah. So sensing something with your name on it, you’re going to keep it. If I send something with box variance on it, you’re gonna be like, I’m holding that when my guests are over. Yeah. So the idea is you do something personalized for a gift that someone is going to hold on to and remember, because then every time they pull these this crate out and see their name on it, even if it’s only got their kids matchbooks, Matchbox cars in it or garden tools in the garage, they’re going to think about you. Yeah, I still

 

John Corcoran  13:36  

have in my kitchen in our knife block. Beautiful Cutco knife that says the Corcoran family on it, which came from attending a conference. But John advised the conference on that strategy of sending out the knife beforehand. So yeah,

 

Andrea Herrera  13:53  

yeah, yeah, it’s super effective. So the hope is that the cheese board that has your family name on it is going to Sit in your kitchen just like that knife,

 

John Corcoran  14:02  

right? Um, and I should mention mastermind talks with Jason Gaynor does the One Who did that? I want to compare. Take me back. So you know, in 2008, you had our last big major financial crisis. How was that different for you? And you said that, you know, that time you think you didn’t react quick enough.

 

Andrea Herrera  14:24  

Um, so when 911 happened, I really wasn’t ready at all. It probably took me six months to react when 2008 happened. I was in the process of joining you and getting involved in the entrepreneurs organization, which was super pivotal for me. And I was buying a new space. I’ve gotten to a point in my company where I needed to grow it or give it up. It was in between space. So I bought a 5000 square foot space and built out a commercial kitchen, which took lots of time and lots of money and a lot of brain cells, um, and energy, and so got this space And a week after we closed, the market crashed, and I had tripled my overhead. My expected overhead by buying this space and had just planned to triple my revenue because it seemed like a good idea. I didn’t really do a whole business plan thing about that. I just figured I would sell more because I couldn’t think of a place that might have been a bit naive, um, because then the market crashed and corporate stopped ordering. Um, I was doing a fair amount of work with universities that stayed. But I had an employee who was working at Harpo productions, which is Oprah Winfrey’s company, and they were looking for a new caterer. And I was in this space and they’re like, Do you want to come do a tasting and I was like, Yes, and then I got terrified. So we prepared for kinds of chicken and steak and shrimp and pasta and potatoes and grilled vegetables and roasted veggies. balls in three different salads and I mean, two tables full of food,

 

John Corcoran  16:05  

um, and you bring them down to Harpo productions. Oprah Winfrey is

 

Andrea Herrera  16:10  

set up like two tables full of food.

 

John Corcoran  16:12  

And are you at this point? Are you thinking that Oprah is gonna walk in? Are you just thinking of someone else?

 

Andrea Herrera  16:17  

I wasn’t sure who would be there? Okay, okay, I was a nervous wreck, because I felt like a lot was riding on it, which it was, and it is this

 

John Corcoran  16:26  

When was it? Isn’t it in the depths of the crisis? Or?

 

Andrea Herrera  16:30  

No, this would have been probably summer Spring, Summer 2009. So maybe six

 

John Corcoran  16:34  

months after the crisis, okay. Still not a great circumstance. Oh,

 

Andrea Herrera  16:38  

I mean, market. The economy. Yeah, it was bad in 2009. So yeah, we were still there and we needed work. Um, and I went there and met with the person who ran their catering internally. Oprah pop through, she did not hang out but she did taste their grilled vegetables and loved them. And was that like, when you When she pops when Oprah popped through, it was pretty cool. Like, yeah, she’s bigger than life. I mean, in Chicago, she is truly an icon. I mean, she’s truly an icon. And yes, I grew up watching her. And so it was pretty unbelievable and magical being there. Yeah.

 

John Corcoran  17:17  

You wonder sometimes if she’s larger than life because of her fame, or if it’s something having to do with the personality that if she didn’t have the fame, she would still have, you know, the temperature in the room would change when she enters the room.

 

Andrea Herrera  17:33  

I think she’s one of those people that has that charisma, that curiosity about people that just opens up rooms that makes people open up to her, I think a great way to utilize it and capitalize on it. Um, but about a week later, they said they wanted to give us a try. And so we started doing dinners and free range everything and Tuesday was Spanish food and Thursday was Italian and Monday was This is at what were the different events that they were hosting. So they were, um, we did dinner for the staff between shows, so that about 100 people that worked at five different buildings because they had the magazine, they had a website, they had, were producing her shows. So they would all come to one building for dinner every night. Got it, okay, dinner, it’s a couple nights a week. And it was great. It was 10 minutes from our office. And regular, consistent work to be consistent work at a time when the world was not very regular and consistent, right? You bounded, um, and it for me, changed my perspective of how we saw ourselves. I was this little caterer doing little things and all of a sudden we were good enough for Oprah Winfrey, and it opened tremendous numbers of doors. At that same time as we started doing that I got involved in eo and all of a sudden I was doing help a reporter out and I was on CNN Money and MSNBC and then they’re showing that we’re catering for Oprah Winfrey on MSNBC and all of a sudden moradores that work with Oprah was help changed our companies,

 

John Corcoran  19:05  

whether you have other interactions with Oprah and what was it like being around her other times? You know,

 

Andrea Herrera  19:11  

she wasn’t usually there when we were setting up dinner. She had other things to do, but we occasionally did small dinners in her office when she had guests and stuff. She was always very gracious. Um, she didn’t really like to hang out with me or anything, but we got to be in her presence. And, and yeah, it felt pretty cool, huh?

 

John Corcoran  19:32  

Tell us about joining eo accelerators is around the same time you join the accelerator what the accelerator is.

 

Andrea Herrera  19:39  

Sure. So, entrepreneurs organization, we have about 15,000 members globally. And the same time I was buying this space, I was about 12 years into my company and realized that I had done kind of everything that was in my head, and at that point, felt kind of competitive with other caterers. Like you didn’t want to tell him your secrets, so you didn’t hang out with other caterers, you didn’t connect with other people. And I was invited to this breakfast and it was at a fancy club in the am building. And it was all these young guys in suits. And I’m like, What am I doing here? This is not my crowd. But they are saying my tune. And it was all about learning and growing yourself as a leader and as a business person to make your company better. So I signed up, I was in their accelerator program, which was for companies between 250 and $750,000 in revenue, and the plan was to help accelerate your growth up over a million within three years. I jumped in, drank the Kool Aid. And in about 18 months, I graduated and hit my million in revenue. And it felt really exciting. And I did course corrections. I didn’t totally change my company, but it helped me figure out how to hire better people, how to deal with my finances better, how to cut my expenses 1% here and here and here, which all of a sudden added up to real money. So it became a new place for me to grow and learn. And I became very involved in leadership in iOS. So I eventually took over learning events for our chapter, we have monthly learning and social events. And then there’s something called a forum where you get together with eight to 10 members in non competing businesses once a month for a four hour meeting, and you talk about your challenges, and you talk about your opportunities, and what we call the 5% that you don’t share with the rest of the world. Like maybe you just made a million dollar bonus. And you can’t really go into the office and tell everybody because they’ll put out their hands looking for theirs. Or maybe you can’t make payroll this week. And you don’t necessarily want to go home and tell your spouse because he will wonder how are we going to pay our rent and what’s going to happen? And you know, you’re going to figure it out, but you haven’t quite figured it out yet. And so it’s a safe space to kind of share these experiences because as entrepreneurs most of us do not have unique experience. We’ve all gone through awesome times and challenging times, but all of a sudden sit with eight people who have another perspective on it. And our experience sharing not telling you what to do is really powerful. So I jumped in and got leadership on the board, spent five years doing local leadership and ended up president of the chapter, which again felt really, really special. It’s a chapter with 150 members with businesses from a million to $50 million in revenue. And I was a smaller business, and I was a woman iOS only 15 to 20% women today. Um, and so it felt really good that they were acknowledging that the kind of leadership that I brought to the table was also important and relevant. I wasn’t necessarily the one up at the whiteboard, designing strategy. But I’m really about connection and developing our people and bringing people together in community. So I had an amazing year. I then moved on into our regional leadership and hosted a regional conference for 400 members from around the world that was based on leadership. And the last five years I’ve been in a global position, working on helping get more women and young members involved in leadership in our organization because we know that diversity is really important. So we need to bring in more women, more minorities, more younger members, so that we all have a broader and more viable experience. And on July 1, I’m super excited to announce I was appointed the champion for meta vo. So we have about 2000 women members in our organization. And so we are proud to be part of this organization. But women do have some different experiences than male entrepreneurs. So we have some opportunities to get together and share those experiences and I got to save her office champagne bottle and a lot. And we’ll be having hosting. I’ll be hosting a conference on women’s leadership in Bali. In wow

 

Andrea Herrera  24:02  

June of next year was good for this August. So not this year

 

John Corcoran  24:06  

next year 2020 to 2021. Okay, hope it happens. Hope. Hopefully it doesn’t have to get postponed. Oh,

 

Andrea Herrera  24:11  

yeah. So it was amazing.

 

John Corcoran  24:14  

Yeah, I was talking to a friend this weekend who follows the pharmaceutical industry very closely. And he says that there’ll be a vaccine in the fourth quarter of 2020. He’s fairly certain about that, which he previously said, First Quarter 2021. So it was pretty good. I’ll just second what you said about you accelerating. I’ve been in the accelerator for about two years now. And San Francisco and you’re right is an amazing tool for making course corrections. I look back at where we were two years ago. And we were trying to build like four businesses at once distinctly different from each other, really, like distilling down and focusing things. So I’ll just second that. I want to ask, though, how has the network in particular affected your forum without Of course sacrificing or jeopardizing any form of confidentiality, but how has the The group helped you during this difficult time or the broader network of people around how has it helped you through this pivot?

 

Andrea Herrera  25:09  

So I would say the first thing it did 10 years ago was it helped me look up and outward as opposed to down at my desk, right? Like, I can work hard, I can work super, super hard. But you can only get so much done if you’re looking down and rolling at 100 miles an hour. So giving yourself the grace and the time to kind of look up and say what’s out there when it’s amazing. And it’s blue skies, or when there’s kind of star stormy turbulent skies. So I would say the first thing he gave me was it encouraged me to dream and to see bigger things and see opportunities. You know, that I decided to start a company in a month like I gave myself 37 days to start a company that was crazy. Like it was crazy, but nobody thought it was crazy. They were like, awesome. Go ahead. What do you need? How can we help? So one friend said let me help you with branding and someone else is helping me with sales and other people are saying, oh, let me share your information with this one you should talk to and so. Um, yo has supported me in this change in kind of understanding that I’m going through it. I’ve also been involved in leadership and I’m still trying to support other members that are going through challenging times. And I think it’s important for us like not everybody. Not everybody’s sales are up 1,000% because they’re selling PP right now. Yeah, um, and so to say, Yep, I’m here and I’m working hard and I’m trying to figure it out. And I have support to do this. And if I have a really hard day, there are people that I can talk to, I can be on my Saturday night, eight o’clock zoom call with my gals from around the world and everyone can share what’s going on. Or I can be our chapter, local chapters had a town hall every Thursday from two to three for needs and leads and sharing experiences. I’ve had people to Call and check on me. Um, but again, I’ve had people help me launch this company. So it’s been invaluable. I don’t know that I could do it without this group’s support.

 

John Corcoran  27:11  

Yeah. So as things come back to what you said your company your catering company is in hibernation, I think was the word Yes. Um, how do you decide on where to put your emphasis if people start making catering

 

Andrea Herrera  27:27  

purchases really hard right now? It’s really hard. I’m working harder than I have in a long time. I spent like four months traveling last year and it was awesome. I had a spectacular year I was in like I was in France. I was a robot and I was in Colombia. I did for

 

John Corcoran  27:40  

pleasure or for pleasure or pod project.

 

Andrea Herrera  27:43  

A lot of ego and a lot of pleasure.

 

A little work, you know, in France, I checked out some food I might want to serve on

 

John Corcoran  27:53  

accounts for sure.

 

Andrea Herrera  27:56  

Mostly, I was really living the entrepreneurial dream. Yeah, that’s cool. Um, and this year I am working harder than I probably have in the last 10 years. I’m in startup mode. Like I have a 25 year old company. I’m in startup mode again and trying to figure out business cards and who are my clients and where are they and how do I connect with them? I’m sorry, I just lost track of where oh just

 

John Corcoran  28:19  

is just asking about where to put your emphasis on the catering company or box parents.

 

Andrea Herrera  28:23  

So I have one. So I think both of these companies can coexist. I have a 5000 square foot space, we are doing some catering but not quite enough. Well, not nearly enough. But there’s room right now for both to coexist in this space. I have four staff people that are here that are working Amazing Edibles. I’m still doing a couple hours of Amazing Edibles, work reaching out to foundations to try to get work with them. Talking to legacy clients, dealing with liquor licenses, renewals, etc. But I’m spending probably 70% of my time on experience and trying to get clients and trying to And trying to schmooze and figure out lead generation and figure out who my target is and reconfigure. So I think the reality is I will probably have two businesses into the next year. And maybe that’s,

 

John Corcoran  29:13  

maybe that’s a great thing too. I’ve always admired, you know, businesses where they’re diversified against downturns, where they have businesses that thrive in up markets and businesses that thrive and down markets. I

 

Andrea Herrera  29:24  

thought that’s a great way to diversify. Honestly, this pandemic is really bad for Amazing Edibles, like really, really bad. It’s kind of good for experience. I think this box can be a connection box for people all the time as a door opener as a way to connect with your clients. But when you really can’t go visit them in person, it’s an even more valuable product. Right so that it’s bad for this company and good for this company. is a little bit where the box is also I can do an off hours catering, someone wants out party on Thursday, you got to cook a good Wednesday and Thursday and deliver it so I think they can coexist. And I think I’m gonna figure it out. Yeah. I think one to your point earlier, you said you had four companies and now you’ve kind of narrowed it down to two ish.

 

John Corcoran 30:11  

Yeah, no, that’s a one now.

 

Andrea Herrera  30:13  

Oh, God. Okay, but with different branches of it. Yeah. Yeah. If you know, I don’t think it’s sustainable long term. I think I will have to build out teams again. But yeah, right.

 

John Corcoran  30:23  

It’ll work. Right. Right. You know, the other thing I was gonna ask you, and I think I asked a version of this to John Ruhlin when I had him on but when your business is fundamentally, you know, helping people to get clients using a lead generation strategy, then does that mean that your, your hands are tied? You kind of have to use that, you know, but in the case of John Ruhlin, you know, he mailed people like a sauna, like mailed someone a sauna, another person, Cameron, Harold, he filled his hotel room with all these expensive suits. So I just thought, you know, man, that’s got to be very expensive. Of course, the counter argument was well. Actually, the alternative is more expensive. And that’s why it does it. So for you, then are you finding yourself that you’re having to ship out these boxes to everyone? Is that the strategy you’re using in order to get clients? Or? Or do you? Or you know, for example, like Google, you know, they’re known for doing everything digital, but they actually one of the biggest direct mail companies out there cuz they send postcards, ironically in the mail to businesses in order to get digital marketing clients. So what’s your approach?

 

Andrea Herrera  31:28  

So I sent about 50 boxes out to influencers, just to kind of get the idea around. And so you may have seen some box opening videos, because they’re fun and delightful, and they people and it’s really cool and fun. And I wanted to get feedback from people. I’m actually doing it kind of old fashioned with emails and connections on LinkedIn and sending pictures and asking questions. Are you having trouble connecting with your clients, and if you are, and I’m targeting industries, and reaching out and having conversations. Um, this to me if I can find a company that has 10 salespeople, and they each have 10 top clients, like what a great thing to touch them, or they’re in a bunch of industries, you know, and insurance and they’re selling to these kind of clients, I think they’re not going to send this to the same client every month, but they may hit is this industry this month in this industry next month? So I don’t think it has to be boxes, it was boxes for influencers. I sent them to some people you probably know, like Jack Daly and John Spence. And

 

who else did I send to David Rundle and Bernie brown and

 

people that I thought might be into connection and might be into appreciating clients. So I did do some of that. But really, the people who are buying them are just people who are having a hard time getting in touch with their clients and say this could work. It’s about the price of an expensive lunch out. And so if you’re taking clients out for lunch, this is kind of instead of that it’s not really an advertising piece. It’s more travel and entertainment budget.

 

John Corcoran  33:14  

Right, right. Yeah. Well, that’s great. I’m really, really interested. Great story. Thank you for sharing your experience here and kind of how you’ve learned from it. I want to wrap things up with the question I always ask which is, let’s pretend we’re at an awards banquet, much like the Oscars or the Emmys and you are receiving an award for lifetime achievement for everything you’ve done up until this point. And in addition to family, friends, who else do you acknowledge in your remarks?

 

Andrea Herrera  33:38  

Sure. Um, I would acknowledge Warren Rustand who you may have heard about, he’s a big deal in the eo community. He is the Dean of our leadership academy and is a mentor to me and has really changed my life and added depth and encouragement and opportunity. And a little tough love on occasion to help me grow, I would think so, again between forum mates like sunny Bologna and Kevin hundl. And people in the women of EO like Winnie Hart and Caddy Draghi and Laura Webb and Gosh, Fran Biderman Gross and Susan Linder, and people that helped me open doors and helped me see kind of my own potential and helped me to serve. And I’m going to say my son Jake, because even though you said besides family and friends, he inspires me. Um, I look at him and I see joy and goodness and makes me want to do more and be better.

 

John Corcoran  34:52  

That’s great. That’s great. Well, Andrea, thank you so much and tell everyone where they can go to learn more about you and experience Amazing Edibles, and connect with you.

 

Andrea Herrera  35:01  

You can find us at boxeprience.net for our experiences and if you want to cater an event in Chicago or want me to fly somewhere else and cater your event, you can find us at cateramazing.com. And I am so grateful for being on your podcast today. Thank you so much for inviting me.

 

John Corcoran 35:19  

Absolutely. Thanks, Andreа. Take care.

 

Outro  35:22  

Thank you for listening to the Smart business Revolution podcast with John Corcoran. Find out more at smartbusinessrevolution.com and while you’re there, sign up for our email list and join the Revolution. And be listening for the next episode of the Smart Business Revolution podcast.