Dave Kerpen | How to Manage Multiple Businesses at Once

Dave Kerpen  4:50  

I’m a huge baseball fan. And she knew I would love the idea, I’m sure but it was definitely her idea. And she had been married before she had had a traditional New York wedding and spent a ton of money. Her parents’ money that led to a divorce. So she didn’t want to spend the money again. And we didn’t have it anyway, even if her parents weren’t about to pay for another one. But she knew that I wanted a huge wedding, I wanted to be able to invite everyone I ever knew. I’m sort of a larger than life type person. That’s why I love social media, I did some reality TV, the whole, you know, I’m always like, wanting to do things pretty big. So she knew that. And we figured we both had a sales and marketing background and had had relationships with some brands. And so I think she just started the idea. And we, we knew right away, like, wow, this idea, but then you still have to kind of sell it in. So we pitched the book and cyclones, the minor league affiliate of the Mets. And he said to us, he goes, you know, this is the craziest idea I think I’ve ever heard. But I think there’s something about you guys, I think you can pull this thing off. And we said, Sure we counted, we did. 

John Corcoran  5:57  

So that’s impressive. So I know that you are a big people person and I need to as well, I love you know, meeting new people hearing their stories. And you credit people with your ability to run multiple businesses and be successful. So let’s let’s dive into that a little bit deeper, especially since that is the topic of your most recent book. So does that come naturally to you? Or is this a skill that you developed over time? Did you have some, some big learning points along the way? How did you know, what’s the secret sauce behind getting, you know, other business partners, other team members to help you on this journey of building up the businesses that you have?

Dave Kerpen  6:42  

Yeah, so I think some things come naturally. And some things come less naturally. For instance, I’m, I’m blessed by being at the complete end of the extraversion scale on I don’t think you’ll find a bigger extrovert than I, which is actually very socially. It’s rewarded in this world. And I and I, and I feel for introverts out there, it’s harder to be introverted, and build a business, build a brand, all that stuff, just, it’s just harder. Some things I’m not naturally good at, like listening. So I’ve done a ton of work on myself and I write a lot about listening. I think listening is a skill that we all think we’re pretty good at. But we’re really not; we mostly suck at listening. And most of us listen, to reply instead of listening to understand and, and there’s a huge difference. And so when we listen to understand, when we actually get really good at that, and get good at some of the skills that I’ve learned in EO like mirroring, and validating and experience sharing, versus listening to reply and give advice. That’s the sort of worst thing that we can do. When we get good at the listening, and the mirroring and the validating, we can influence almost anyone to do what we want, because they are we listened to them and they’re there, they found somebody that’s actually listening to them, which most people don’t do. So when we do it well, people will respond, people do respond, and they’ll end up you know, running through running through a wall for you, because they care about you, because you’ve demonstrated that you care enough about them to actually listen and hear them. And go ahead. No, I’m just gonna add one more skill that has been developed over time is gratitude. So I Another thing I read a lot about is really authentic gratitude and gratitude and acts of kindness as a, as a mood enhancer. And so when, when I’m not in a good frame of mind, I channel gratitude and acts of kindness in order to get to the place where I can then be influential in a positive way to my teams and customers and the world. And it’s just this amazing, amazing hack. When we are grateful we put ourselves it’s great gratitude is ultimately it’s a weird thing to say. But gratitude and acts of kindness are actually very, very selfish, arguably, because of the amazing mindset that they put us in which allow us to be productive and successful. So I’m a very, very big fan of those skills and have worked very hard to develop. 

John Corcoran  9:06  

Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. One of the topics you write about in the book is connecting with people. So talk a little bit about that. Some of your strategies for connecting with clients, referral partners, changing partners, influencers, people that you want to connect with.

Dave Kerpen  9:21  

Yeah, I think it’s about finding shared things in common. And, and, and the thing is, we’re all different, but we’re all much, much more similar than we are different. And so when we can find a win, we can find real points of commonality with someone that goes a very, very long way towards establishing connection, and then asking better questions. So most of us meet somebody, and we ask, you know, where are you from? What’s the weather like there?

Unknown Speaker  9:55  

You know,

Dave Kerpen  9:57  

What’s Coca Cola Today? Like when we ask questions like, what are you most excited about right now in your life? What are you most excited about right now in your career in your business? Or what charities Do you care the most about? And why? What would you be doing right now, if you had, you know, a billion dollars? You know, like, when we ask these deeper, more interesting questions, we actually open up, again, a chance for somebody to talk with somebody else on the other side, listening to things that are really meaningful, much more meaningful than what’s the weather like. And I think I can establish very strong connections very quickly. It doesn’t matter.

John Corcoran  10:39  

Those are great questions. Yeah. What about, um, you manage for you for businesses? Now? How do you? How do you manage four separate businesses?

Dave Kerpen  10:50  

Um, well, it’s really about finding great service. So the goal of any CEO, I learned this from Jim Collins through Verne Harnish, a couple of really great authors and mentors. There you go, burn burns, great friend, holding

John Corcoran  11:05  

it holds up the book. Yeah.

Dave Kerpen  11:07  

And I like an investor as well, I he’s wonderful at what he

John Corcoran  11:12  

you know, a guest on the show, by the way. Oh,

Dave Kerpen  11:16  

great to hear he’s, he’s, he’s a great interview. Yeah. So um, you know, what he’s taught me is the CEOs job is three things, a vision strategy, hiring the right people in the right seats, and making sure there’s enough money in the bank. I can do that for a lot of different companies. The key is not doing all the other stuff, what most will do is, is that then they try to run operations, or sales or marketing or this or that, no, that’s not my job, my job is to set the vision strategy. Make sure I got some great, great people that are leaders that can do all the rest of the shit part of my language, I guess you can say that when you’re fine. Yeah. And and, and make sure that each company has money in the bank at any given time to make payroll. As long as I’m doing those three things, I got to say, the EFF out of the way of my leaders on doing everything else. And it’s that key insight realization, it’s allowed me to build four businesses at the same time. And I might go 567, because I love it. And, and, and it’s really, I I talked to a ton of small business owners that have a really hard time getting out of the way of themselves and their businesses. And the key is just delegate, hire the people and get out of town because they do not need you hovering over them. It doesn’t do anyone any good.

John Corcoran  12:38  

Talk about remembering dot live, I’m imagining that is a new business that developed this year.

Dave Kerpen  12:46  

Yeah, it’s brand new business. It’s really, on the one hand and sad story. On the other hand, you know, one of my prouder, entrepreneurial visions, my mom passed away in March, I’m sorry, looking at the pandemic, and I couldn’t buy it because she was in Los Angeles. My brother was in Washington, DC and another brother was in another area of New York. And we couldn’t get together, of course, in person. And so we did a virtual memorial service, we had a zoom license, and so we set up a virtual memorial service for my mom. And it was a wonderful service, actually. And we built a little website, just because I know you do. Yeah. And we have a little website to pay to pay tribute to my mom. And it was obviously very, very difficult. But it was actually really meaningful, to be able to do a service and connect with my brothers and family and friends around the whole thing. And so afterwards, I thought, Oh, my god, there’s got to be a lot, a lot of other people that are gonna have gone through a similar problem to what I just went through. And we can help those people. And so I actually said to my apprentice at the time to connect one of my other businesses with the great, right young college student that I was, they were working with me. I said, you know, you want to start this business with me because I don’t have the bandwidth. But I have the idea. And I can do you know, the things that we already talked about for it? And he said, Yes. And we launched in April, right after a few weeks after my mom’s service. And we’ve already done about 150 memorial services for grieving families, which has been an amazing experience to help them. If you had asked me when I was a kid, if I thought I’d be a virtual funeral home when I yeah, I would have you know, if you’d asked me a year ago, I would have said, you know, you’re completely insane. But it’s just it became a thing. And then, like any entrepreneur, I thought, Well, how do I continue to sort of you ever had to scale and help others and we realized that it wasn’t just funerals that people were missing out on and we went into the wedding and Bar Mitzvah virtual business. And then I just got Are we just kind of the first corporate client? We’re having a big corporate retirement party. And I realized, oh, my goodness, it’s October, every company on the planet has a holiday party budget. But no, none of them are going to have their online traditional holiday party. And so we quickly developed the resources and scale to do office holiday parties. So now we’re going to do you know, a whole bunch of virtual office holiday parties. And so yeah, I just love being able to think of an idea and make it happen. And, and for me, the most meaningful part of this whole thing has been all the amazing feedback we’ve got from folks that we’ve been able to help during such a difficult time.

John Corcoran  15:42  

We were a little short on time here. So I want to wrap things up in a little bit. But I do want to ask about the other business that you mentioned, because that’s it’s a really interesting one, the apprentice business. So share, share with us a little bit about the vision behind that and how it works.

Dave Kerpen  15:56  

Yeah, so in other business, it really came out of just sort of, like, real real life, I guess, for my first two businesses likeable, and like, local, both social media businesses, I would hire college students and they would always do do work for me and, and then I would often hire them full time after they graduated. And I would be able to mold them and teach them and train them and then get some really, really great talent. Well, my last one I had, prior to starting this business, you know, he worked for me for two years. And then he came to me and said, Dave, I’ve done a lot of really valuable work for you. He co-authored a third edition of likeable social media and helped me with a million dollar real estate client, a lot of really valuable work. And he said, and I’ve learned so much from you. And he said, I feel like you’ve done this before with other college students for my nine year. We have a model here, I think we should build a business. And I said, You know what, you are totally right. And so Rob went from being my college student assistant to being my business partner on apprentice. And the idea is, we connect entrepreneurs and leaders with college students. We’ve got, you know, really unbelievably talented college students, Harvard, brown, Columbia, Cornell, and really, really talented students in one of four categories. We have marketing apprentices, we have business development apprentices, we have finance and analytics apprentices. And then we have project management apprentices. So these are folks that, you know, you’re getting for a very, very small fraction of the rate that you would get if you were to hire a full time employee, to get somebody very, very bright and skilled that can help you move the needle in your business. So it’s probably the business that I’m most excited about. Because I, I just think they’re, you know, there’s a huge, huge group of college students that needs real life experience and mentorship. And there

John Corcoran  17:41  

was never

Dave Kerpen  17:42  

entrepreneurs that don’t want to spend $100,000 on a super high talented employee, but need the help. And so we’re connecting.

John Corcoran  17:49  

Yeah, I mean, you know, for me, I mean, for me, it was a White House internship that started my entire career. But if I think back on it, it was an opportunity like that, that you know, that you can trace back really everything to the last question. So the first one is, you know, you’re really well connected guy know a lot of people active with yo New York, who are a few of your, let’s say, peers, maybe in EO or others who are doing similar, you know, in your industry, similar type of work, who you look at and who you admire, who you admire the work that they’re doing. You know, just you mentioned gratitude earlier. So this is a great way for you to express a little bit of that gratitude.

Dave Kerpen  18:30  

Sure. Well, I’ll give some shoutouts to my EO board and forum. A good buddy of mine, Addy Malhotra, you know, started a business that he had an Indian sweets business and he expanded during the pandemic to do food delivery of Indian meals all throughout the New York area. I love Love, love what he did there. Um, Joseph summer has a promotional product business and there’s a lot of those out there. But he is so smart and driven, he’s been able to build a really, really nice brand out of it. And Ben Rosner is a great friend and a great entrepreneur who helps affluent clients with their home technology, and home innovation. And he’s been able to do some amazing things, both for me and for his clients. So those are just a few of the dozens and dozens of it. I have great respect for

John Corcoran  19:34  

great gratitude there. Alright, so wrapping things up, that I know you have to go, let’s pretend we’re at an awards banquet, much like the Oscars or the Emmys. you’re receiving an award for lifetime achievement for everything you’ve done up until this point, but we all know who do you then who are the mentors who were the friends or the coaches who are the business partners are the mentees that you would acknowledge in your remarks?

Dave Kerpen  19:52  

Right, so if I had a two minute speech, I would spend 60 seconds easily. Two minutes with my wife. She Really is my business partner, my muse, my, my partner at all things. I mean, she, you know, a lot of people are people who say that or whatever. But you know, I’m not sure what to say when I meet with her on a weekly basis to discuss our businesses and she gives me the best insights. She runs likable, our biggest most successful business, you know, herself as the CEO. She’s just incredibly um, you know, we obviously co parent together 5050 on parenting and she’s a really, really special, incredible person. I’m very, very grateful if we have a running joke when I get drunk. I sort of say that I married up to like three levels and four levels or five levels depending on how drunk I am. But the very, very, very lucky in partnering with Carrie and being going through this journey with her, then I would spend a few more seconds as they played me off after talking rambling about Carrie, I would talk about Jim McCann, the founder and chairman of 100, flowers.com. He’s been a terrific mentor from when he started by sponsoring my wedding to just a tremendous amount that I’ve learned from him over the years. I probably talked about Vern harnish, the founder of EEO, and who’s become a great friend and mentor and investor for us. And I probably talked about it on my forum as well. You know, I’ve been with my entrepreneurs organization forum for the last 11 years. And when I joined eo, I joined because we had just done our first million in business. And I had no idea how to build a business. What I didn’t know was that joining yo would be transformational, not only in my businesses, but in my life. So you know, started a bunch of businesses since then, and made many millions but that much more important. I’ve written a New York Times bestselling book, and I’ve lost 60 pounds and I’ve run a marathon and I’ve become a much much better father and husband and human being and I give my EO forum mates and the organization quite a bit of credit in helping me along my way.

John Corcoran  22:08  

That’s excellent. All right, Dave, you’ve got a lot of different online presence. But where do you want to point people to go learn more about you?

Dave Kerpen  22:15  

Anywhere the word likeable finds me my name finds me I’m on every social network. Follow me on tik tok. But seriously all the all the big ones LinkedIn and all that stuff. And you know, my books are available everywhere, and I have free office hours. I coach people every Thursday afternoon. And so you can go to scheduledave.com and and chat with me and get some feedback from me on anything you want to talk about as well. Anytime.

John Corcoran  22:42  

Very generous of you. All right, Dave. Thanks so much.

Dave Kerpen  22:44  

Thanks for having me.

Outro  22:45  

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.