Travis Luther | Overcoming a Tough Childhood and Building Million-Dollar Businesses

John Corcoran 11:56

what were some ways, you know, we you and I know each other through EO Entrepreneurs Organization, which a big component of that organization is, you know, focusing on self improvement. And I’d say that’s a common value for the entrepreneurs who join that as they, they want to improve themselves, they want to work on themselves in different ways, personally and professionally. But what are some ways other than you know, that you have really worked on intentionally up leveling your skills, increasing your understanding of finances, and, and business and things like that. Um, I’ll point out, one of them was even though you had to drop out of college, you actually ended up going going back and get sorry, dropping out of high school, getting going back getting your GED, and actually going back and graduating from college, I believe.

Travis Luther 12:53

Yeah, I did. And then after that, I went off to graduate school. And then after that, I ended up becoming a professor in entrepreneurship for about four years. So I had kind of a full circle of education. But, you know, going to college was a real powerful experience for me in the sense that I found the subject of sociology. And, you know, sociology looks at the structures that kind of come down on people and how they keep people in different stratified places, or keep them in poverty, or keep them rich, or give them opportunities or eliminate opportunities. And I would say that when I went back to college, in my undergrad, I took I took an intro to sociology class, just to get finished, right. And so when I took it, and I started to see myself in all these studies, and I started to see myself under the stresses of all these, all these, you know, all this social stratification, I started to understand why I ended up the way I did. That was a big eye opener for me. And And what’s funny is I just went to school because I was at a point where I kind of thought I was a loser, I kind of thought I didn’t have what it took to be an entrepreneur, because I had had so many failures up into that point that I thought maybe, maybe the naysayers who say, Travis you’re really bright, maybe you should just go to school and try and get a job like everyone else, I started to think that maybe they’re right. So that’s why I went back to school. But then once I got into that subject matter, I just like I realized that that I had so much power to learn on my own to even outside of school. You know, up until that point, I had read one book almost in my entire life, which I think was the Karate Kid. I thought I

John Corcoran 14:26

look. There’s a book version of it. There is a

Travis Luther 14:29

book version. And I thought I was stupid. And I thought I was a dumb learner. And what I come to realize, and what I keep telling my kids these days is it’s just I had never, I had never studied anything that I was personally interested in. And once I found some subjects that I was personally interested in, I just I became just hungry for education. So it was kind of that accidental turning point that almost defeatism, most of you will have conceding that yeah, maybe I don’t have what it takes to be an entrepreneur and maybe I should go back to college. That really kind of shifted the way that I was started to look at the world and look at the possibilities for myself. So

John Corcoran 15:04

interesting that it took going back to college inspire that love of learning outside of the classroom. That’s right. Yeah. So let’s, let’s jump backwards to 16. You have to leave the home, you have to get, you know, dropped out of school, you get housing, you take over your two younger siblings, and then you start a skateboard and Snowboard Shop and you open with a friend. And it didn’t go so well. So talk about that.

Travis Luther 15:34

Yeah, I think I think at that time I was, I was still working for the hotel. And I had met a guy right before that job who got a job at the hotel as well. And he was kind of in a similar situation. In fact, he had the storage shed that we were that we’re living in his parents were going through some stuff, but he was a little bit older than me. But he his mom really wanted him to go to college when she was younger. She bought him a whole bunch of savings bonds, I guess, which was kind of a kind of a thing back then. Yeah. And so he didn’t want to go to school, I think he had something like $6,000 of these savings bonds. And his mom told him, Well, if you don’t want to go to school, I’ll give them to you for something else, like starting a business, but I’m not just gonna give them to you to spend. And he told me that and I said, Well, let’s try and figure something out if you’ve got the money. And you know, I was a big skateboarder back then. And we both hung out at this coffee shop that had a space available for it upstairs. I’m sorry, retail space available upstairs. I said why don’t we just try and open like a skateboard shop or something? And, and so we kind of

John Corcoran 16:37

looked at is this, by the way still in your town of 13? People?

Travis Luther 16:40

No, no, by this time, we had moved to Pullman, Washington with 20,000 people. Okay, okay. Most of those people are college students. And that’s why we thought this was such a good idea. Yeah, so we rented the space, and we bought some new merchandise. We didn’t have very much stuff in there. And then it’s kind of funny, the store open and people kind of wander in and say, Oh, would you like to add this product or this product? And then give us these order sheets? And I’d say yeah, I’d love to order that stuff. But I don’t have any money. And they said, Oh, you can do it on terms. You know, you can order $5,000 worth of shirts and sweatshirts, and you can pay it back in 60 days. And I thought, Oh, this is great. And we can just get it and when we get the money for it, we’ll pay it back. And then some of the kids college kids wandered in and wanted to wanted to try and sell their stuff. And so we kind of we never intended to do consignment and then consignment big became a part of our business as well. So we had a lot of us skis and snowboards in there on consignment. But yeah, about six months into that I went in there one morning over the students Christmas break, which we closed over all of the college holidays because no one was in town. But yeah, I walked in and almost everything was gone. All the skis and snowboards were going on. And some of the clothing and so I drove right down to my partner’s house. And I said, Please tell me you’ve got art, you took our stuff out of the store. He said no. And it turned out that somebody had had punched a hole in the top of the wall climbed over and then taken everything out the back door. So it was tough. I didn’t I just didn’t know what to do. As the as the I put a note on the door, basically saying this is how to contact me. And as students returned from winter break those kids who had consignment things on there started calling me and I started explaining the situation and unfortunately, well, I don’t say unfortunately. But as you would expect, a number of them started to sue me. The clothing companies that had stuff in their own credit sued me for those invoices. And so yeah, by the time I was 17, I think my total bill was somewhere in the neighborhood of $14,000. I went to court, I didn’t tell the judge or anything but I was a minor. I just just took it. And then shortly after that I got a job at a grocery store. And about two weeks after that, they came and told me they got noticed withhold my wages.

John Corcoran 18:53

Please, did you have to file for bankruptcy?

Travis Luther 18:57

No. And to be honest with you, I would not even have known what that was. So I just didn’t even know. I didn’t even know I just I just continued to work. They continue to take the money out and they took the

John Corcoran 19:06

money out of the garnishment. And that’s the worst. I’m like former attorney here, right. I’m like, I’m like, Oh, I hope he declared bankruptcy here because like, It’s not his fault. And yet no insurance of course or anything like that. Yeah, man. So this is these are the only businesses you had. So you also during college, you had some cafes as well. So we’ll point you work at a hotel, work in a grocery store. The skate Ski and Snowboard Shop didn’t work out that well. When did you start some cafes?

Travis Luther 19:37

So the building that our skateboard and Snowboard Shop was in was a was a building called the Combine mall and the Combine mall had a few rate retail places in it but it was mostly a bakery and coffee shop called the combine. And it served all the students students would come down there and eat and study and they had concerts upstairs and so it was a real social hangout. out and pretty much like the go to place in town, the woman who owned it decided to leave and move to San Francisco to be with her children. And she didn’t want to sell it or anything, she just wanted to get out of town. So we were suddenly left with this void of No, no place to hang out no place to have bands, no place to have art shows. And so I went to that same guy. And by this time I had had, I had bought my own mobile home. And so I had something I thought I could borrow against. And I said, we should open up a coffee shop.

John Corcoran 20:28

Same guy, you had the skateboard shop?

Travis Luther 20:30

Okay, because I knew he still had $3,000 in those bonds left. But this was probably three, three or four years after that, so but we were still remained really good friends. And, and so he’s like, alright, let’s, let’s figure it out. So we figured it out. We got another partner, another friend of ours. Yeah. And we opened a place right across the street from that called Java llamas. We didn’t have real reasonable expectations about what three men could live off of, and a college town off of a little coffee shop. And I think pretty soon we realized that wasn’t enough for all of us. And so my partners eventually phased out and I took sole ownership of a coffee shop. And it was doing okay. And then one day a guy walked in, and he said, Hey, I own this drive thru place called Pony espresso a couple blocks away. I had known it had been around for many, many years. But he said, I want to leave town. I’m gonna go get into the frozen yogurt business. And this is back in the 90s when frozen yogurt was becoming a big,

John Corcoran 21:30

like, Oh, this is a never ending rocket. Yeah.

Travis Luther 21:34

Spy or something. He wanted to go open chains of that. So he he’s kind of made me an offer. He said, What would you pay for the business in the building? And how much could you pay a month and it was almost like he walked in. And I don’t remember what the figure was, I think it was like, Well, I said I can afford $400 a month and he said, Okay, deal, he handed me the keys. And so suddenly, I now had this dislocated, pretty large coffee shop down on Main Street. And then I had this drive thru place a couple couple blocks away. I thought things were really going to turn around. And even though the Java Lamas the main store was struggling a little bit, it was coming up. And I figured that having the second place might give me the cash flow, I needed to really, really thrive. Couple of weeks after that the city manager walked into my store downtown, and he said, Oh, great news, this this bill that we had up to to widen Main Street and the sidewalks and put all these bike things in his past. And so we’re gonna get to work on that. We’re shutting down Main Street, all your customers now have to come in through the alley. Now I was like, What are you talking about? And long story short, that killed me, I had no business at my main store, I now had this second store that, you know, I had dead on and was not very busy, I suddenly realized why the guy wanted to get out of town. And after I don’t know, three or four months of that I kind of threw my hands up, I called a woman who owned some other drive throughs, who had also told me at one point, she said, I’d love to have a place like yours, but I would never want to compete with you. I thought that was real nice of her. So I called her and I said, told her the situation, I basically turned over the keys to kind of get out of my debts at the time. And, you know, probably the place is still there, you know, 2020 30 years later, it’s still sitting there still operating. So that’s kind of cool. But,

John Corcoran 23:13

but that is the kiss of death for a place that requires on foot traffic. You know, when there’s some kind of construction like that there’s so many times I pass by retail place, and you see something else, like a sidewalk being rebuilt or something and just that you feel for that business owner? Yeah,

Travis Luther 23:28

yeah. Yeah, it was all of us down there. It was just I was kind of a young, inexperienced kid who didn’t have a bank account to get through it. So

John Corcoran 23:35

right. So you got a number of other businesses here in the valley, as well as Valley ads.

Travis Luther 23:41

So I, you know, I told you that story about moving, moving to Denver to go back to college, because I felt like I was a shitty, sorry, I was a poor entrepreneur. And maybe I should just go to college. And so I came here, I started school. And at night, I worked as a valet parking cars in a in our fancy Cherry Creek restaurant District, which is kind of where all our affluent people are. And I’m passing out these big valet tickets. And at some point, I get this idea, like, you know, I should put advertising on these tickets, and I can reach all these people with money. And so I talked to the owner of the valet company, I said, Hey, would you let me go try and sell advertising on these valet tickets? And he said, Yeah, you can try but it’s like, it’s never gonna work. And I said, Okay, if it’s never gonna work, would you mind if I also tried to get this deal with all the other valet companies in town too, so that I could give out more tickets? And I said, yeah, go do whatever you want.

John Corcoran 24:32

And it’s okay, if I retain 110 of the profits.

Travis Luther 24:34

Absolutely. I would. That’s my deal. I so I’ll tell you what, I’ll give you free tickets. Right? This is my free tickets. And I’ll pay you one penny per ticket to use them. And he said go for it. So it’ll be too expensive to print. It’ll never work. So I go and I make a deal with all the other valet companies in town. And then I just put together kind of like a flyer and I start mailing at, you know, luxury home builders, condos and car dealerships, and within two weeks, I had a deal with Mercedes Benz. And once that ticket started going out, other advertisers saw it was like, wow, this is a cool idea. And they would just reach out to me.

John Corcoran 25:11

And did you have like a promotion on the ticket? Like, on the back of it? I

Travis Luther 25:14

just I just said, you know, advertise here call myself.

John Corcoran 25:18

Not like 20% off your ass class, right? No,

Travis Luther 25:21

the front of the ticket would be like a lease deal. It would say like, Hey, Steve, you know, get an S Class 500 for 500 a month or so. Okay. Yeah. But yeah. So, you know, I tell the story that the year before I had moved there, I’d file a tax return for $9,000 for the entire year for working full time, basically minimum wage the entire year. And, and within, within two or three months of getting this idea, I was making commissions of at least $15,000 A piece, like just in my own pocket. So it was a huge shift for me. But what I realized with the valley ads company, as I started to understand all these lessons, I learned from what I perceived as these failures in the past, right, I started to understand, oh, I need to know what my cost of goods are, oh, I need to know what my, my customers are going to be. I need to know what my capacity is going to be. And I just it was, it was really interesting, because everything just started to come together. And so I got excited about doing that nationally. So I built a website. And then I got really interested in SEO and web design and marketing online for my valley ads company. And that was successful, too. I ended up doing deals all over the country. But I met a lawyer at that time, and started dating her Mike, who’s now my wife summer, but she saw that I had this knack for technology and for design. And she said, Hey, these lawyers are always asking for people to build them a website or do a brochure for them or to plug in a TV for a trial they have would you be interested in working with them? And I said, Yeah, sure, send me referrals, and I’ll talk to them. But within like six months, my referrals from her, far exceeded what I was even doing in the valley ads. And so I looked at the guy who was working for me. And I said, Let’s just make a fake company, we’ll call Law Father, because I love the Godfather movie. So we’ll call Law Father. And we’ll just say all we do is we just work technology for lawyers. He said, Okay, so I did that. And like I said, within six months, I was I had a bigger business than anything I’d had before. By this time, I had actually started a Ph. D. program. I had backed out of that, because I was too busy. I got all these employees in my in my basement. And, you know, that’s, that’s what I came to EO. And yeah, I

John Corcoran 27:38

mean, you have a just beat all the odds. I’m sure. I’m not the first person telling you that. But you know, to get into EO, I think the statistics are that less than 1% of businesses reached that level, but with your background, and upbringing. I mean, it’s truly remarkable what you’ve achieved. And that was that meaningful for you, when you you know, kind of hit these different milestones, like being able to, you know, join EO,

Travis Luther 28:08

for sure, yeah, the statistic is actually 4%. So only for the only 4% of all businesses started will eventually reach a million dollars in annual revenue. And so I was actually prospecting and I met a lawyer named David McLean. Maybe this would be going under my gratitude, because he remains a good friend now. I was trying to sell David McLean web services. And he was the first person to ever like, say, well, we’ll sit down Travis. And so I sat down with him. And I’m going over all this marketing stuff, and all the things we can do for him. And he just started to ask me questions about myself. And he asked me about my business. He asked how my business is going, he asked me, what would I do differently? Where can I use health? And I thought, God, this is interesting. A prospect that’s having such a deep conversation with me. And I saw a copy of Atlas Shrugged, sitting on the desk behind him. And at that time, that Atlas Shrugged movie had just come out, you know, I guess this was like, 10 12 years ago. And I said, Oh, I see like Atlas Shrugged. And maybe we could go check out that movie when it comes out. And he said, he said, Yeah, that’d be cool. Why don’t we also go get a cigar. He was a big cigar smoker. And I said, Alright, so we went and had a cigar. And he he said, I, you know, he was asking me more deeper stuff about my business challenges, anything that he said, I think, I know this organization that that you might really benefit from, or it’ll be interesting to you. And he gave me a ticket to a to what would become an EO Colorado event that was open to the public. I went there. And I just like, I just fell in love with the people. I was meeting with the speakers. I really felt like I had found a home it was pretty incredible. The caveat was I said, Okay, I want to join Well, you have to have a business. That’s million dollars more. And I didn’t and at that point, LOFAR there was only at $240,000 in revenue. So somebody told me Well, you know, they have an accelerator program for businesses from 250,000 to Do a million dollars. So if you can get to 250,000, you could join accelerator. So I begged and pleaded to whoever I needed to. And they agreed to actually let me in at $240,000. And it was awesome. I went through that accelerator program. And within three years I got in Law Father up to a million dollars. And then, you know, based, you talked a little bit about my pillow business, but based on things that I learned there, when I launched my pillow business that was actually able to get that to within 18 months, just from just from what I learned from you,

John Corcoran 30:33

amazing. That’s amazing. So we talked about that before the interview. So queen and pillow company was the name of it, and you started it because he had some back problems. And so you kind of went down this rabbit hole of seeing if there are other pill companies out there that that could help with the back problem. So talk a little bit about the origins of that.

Travis Luther 30:55

Yeah, I mean, like Law Father was a side project of Valley ads, Queen and pillow had kind of become a side project of Law Father, I was sitting at my desk a lot. And when I wasn’t sitting at my desk at Law Father, I was crawling around courtrooms and stalling cable and different audio video gear and just, you know, had a real tired body. And so by the time I was, you know, 37, I think I had had two back surgeries and was just really uncomfortable and miserable. I saw a bunch of ads on TV for pillows that claim to solve your neck pain. And so I asked myself, I wonder if there’s a pillow out there that can help with back pain. I couldn’t find anything. Not only can I not find anything, but I realized that when you shop for a pillow online, you know, the prices range from $5 to $500. And it was impossible to understand what the difference between any pillow was. So I reached out to a pillow manufacturer who just a commercial stuff I did like hotels and hospitals. And I said I kind of want to make some of my own pillows for myself, would you mind teaching me a little bit send me boxes of Phil and, and let me fool around with it. So they would they send me boxes of like, down down and feather polyester latex all sorts of stuff, I would stuffed it in these in these pickings, which is what all the pillow filled goes in, I’d send it back to them, they’d sew it up, clean it up, send me back a box of pillows. And I’d work on him and just him and I finally got a set of pillows I liked. But I thought Gosh, I wonder if other people are having the same problem of not understanding how to buy pillows period, whether it’s for your back your neck or anything else. So I got online, did a search of pillow searches and saw that there was something like 25 million different searches a month of the same various questions that I was asking about the pillow buying experience. And I would say much like Tony hash from Zappos, a lot of people told me, you know, starting an online pillow business isn’t going to be very successful, because nobody’s going to want to buy a pillow that they can’t actually touch or feel. And so part of my strategy was to, was to make an app that would give you recommendations of pillows based on answering 12 questions about your sleep. And if those pillows did not do what we said they would do, then we would keep replacing them until a set dead. So about 90% of the people who bought our pillows were were satisfied from from what they got from the answers from that app, and then the other 10%, we would just adjust them and sell them. So you can literally send us your pillow. And we would either take fill out or put filler and send it back to you. If that worked great. If not, you could send it back. And we would try it again.

John Corcoran 33:27

It’s kind of a scary proposition for especially a new business because, you know, it goes through your head like, Oh, what if we have nightmare customers who keep sending pillows back to us? That you experience that at all?

Travis Luther 33:39

We had a few nightmare customers who kept sending pillows back and they were the minority. And we learned a lot from them, you know? But no, most like I said that the recommendation system worked really well. We took information from sleep studies, as well as other reviews of pillows. And we actually looked at mostly one and two, three star reviews to try to figure out what we could do to correct problems in pillows that seemed to be consistent. And so that seemed to be a really good strategy was kind of solving problems before they became problems based on problems other pillow companies were having. Yeah,

John Corcoran 34:14

yeah. How did you get? What are the secrets behind getting to a million bucks and with a brand new product in a new industry you haven’t sold in before in 18 months? Looking back on it now what would you say? Were the reason you were able to get to such high revenues?

Travis Luther 34:31

Um, definitely Amazon for us, because we could we could enter and I was very hesitant to go into Amazon because our pillows are really pretty expensive. They range from 700 or I’m sorry, from $70 to $300. And at that time, I largely looked at Amazon as a place where you buy, you know, phone chargers and USB chargers and things like that. I didn’t really look at it as a place where you might have luxury or semi luxury goods. But what I realized is that, you know, I had Search Engine Optimization background or se Background from some of the marketing work that I was doing in the valley ads company and that had transferred over to my legal technology company were part of what we did is build websites for lawyers and search engine optimized them. And I came to understand that the Amazon environment was just basically like that, right? Like, if you could understand keywords and search history and the questions that people asked to search, you could start to retool all of your content and your graphics around those problems that were people were having, and then start to be really successful. So it was, it was almost like a natural extension from a lot of what I was doing already. And, and then they started offering paid ads. And so I was able, again, to take the knowledge I kind of had from the Google Ads environment, apply that to the Amazon environment and continue to be six, you know, a successful online seller, I was just gonna say, as you you know, as a business ages, then those repeat customers and referrals start to become really important. And so, you know, going back to, was it upsetting to have to redo it pillows for people a lot, you know, never was, it was always worth it, because those people were ecstatic, right. And so those were the people who maybe had three pillows adjusted, who would tell all of their friends, you gotta go with this company, they’re so great. And then so repeat customers and referrals started to become a big part of our business after that.

John Corcoran 36:16

So one of the things that seems to have happened repeatedly in your career as another secondary business, or a new business has come out of a previous business. But I know from my own personal experience, you know, having gone from practicing law to, you know, an event based business, with some online marketing business in between, and now helping b2b companies to start podcasts and content marketing that there’s always a tension between, you know, the time and energy and attention and resources you put into a new business versus the old business. And you can get into a lot of trouble. If you put too much into something before you’ve established product market fit, and it’s taken off. So what are some guidelines that you have, in retrospect, for others listening to this who may feel the same way they want to put more energy and time and attention into something else, compared to what they’re currently using?

Travis Luther 37:12

Well, a lot of my later success came from what I had to learn from my earlier failures. And the big thing that I learned is that your business will be way more successful, much faster if the focus of that business is solving problems. So when I started my earlier businesses, like, you know, my coffee shop and, and my skateboard shop and some other things that I did, that we hadn’t talked about, the truth is, is nobody had ever asked me to do those. And they weren’t really like solving a problem, right? They were passionate projects. And in the sense that I believed a lot of what people say about if you follow your passion, you never work a day in your life, blah, blah, blah. So I wanted to be involved with like social things, skateboarding things and music, things. But I was never solving a problem. I was just trying to follow my passions. After those failures, I started think I was a bad entrepreneur. But if you look at all of my businesses, since then, they’re all about solving problems. You know, how do you reach the educated? affluent, right? How do you put an ad? And you know, what’s the best way to sell a car lease on a Mercedes Benz we’ll put it put an offer right in the hands of somebody who’s parking one right or competitors. With with Law Father, you know, the problem was there was no companies dedicated to the needs of lawyers, the technology needs of lawyers. So if a lawyer had a problem, they had to reach out to Best Buy Well, Best Buy doesn’t know how to help you put something together for the courtroom, or you know, things like that. So as I got more targeted and more niche, you know, get rich in your niche, as they say, and solved really specific problems, my business success just kind of seemed to happen a lot easier and a lot faster. So with the pillow company, it was a matter of people are struggling to understand what kind of pillows to buy. You know, I give some talks at all these things, I’d say raise your hand, if you’re unhappy with your pillows, and you know, 80% of the people raise their hand and most everyone complains about their pillows all the time. So there’s a problem there. The problem is how do you teach people to make better pillow buying decisions for themselves? So they’re more comfortable, right and, and so there, I was never passionate about pillows. I was passionate about my back pain and solving that problem. I was never passionate about the law or technology. But but I no one else was serving them. That was a big problem that as we move on to try line, it’s a very similar story. I don’t have any.

John Corcoran 39:31

And that’s a natural outgrowth of Law Father. So you saw attorneys in the courtroom that were struggling to explain a complex timeline with many different things that happen along the way. And you saw a path forward with a solution so talk about trotline

Travis Luther 39:48

Yeah, so as part of the law other business like I said, We rent audio video equipment installed in courtrooms are partaking in there temporarily for trials. And, and we would also consult with attorneys on how How to make digital presentations and demonstrative. So we might do animations for them around the mechanism of injury or defect on a product or something like that to try and show the jury. But timelines were always central to that legal explanation or that process. And so we would do some graphic design timelines. If your listeners are familiar with like Photoshop or Illustrator, from time to time, we might make a graphic timeline, blow that up on a poster board and then put it up there. But the problem is, if you come into court Monday morning or Friday night, you have some new information or as the testimony is going on during the trial, you want to add stuff to that timeline, there’s no way to do it, you know, there’s no dynamic way to take the poster board, put a new, you know, event on it, and then put it back up there. And so I was thinking, gosh, there’s, there’s got to be a timeline tool out there that we can find for our lawyers. So we can have kind of a more on the fly, easier interactive timeline software, and I looked and looked and looked and there wasn’t anything. I did find something called time map. But it just looked terrible. And truth be told the sales rep never got back to me in time for this project I was working on. So let’s

John Corcoran 41:10

launch a business. Yeah, so Well, I want this low sales rep.

Travis Luther 41:13

No, really, I really, it’s funny, because after I saw, I’ve walked over to my little coding department, I say, Hey, guys, this is my idea for a quick timeline thing that we can give to our clients so that they can build some pretty simple timelines. By the time they were done with a little test version. And I had showed it to my wife who’s a lawyer. Then finally, I got a call back from their sales rep. This must have been four or five months later, he said, Oh, I see that you’ve reached out to us. And

John Corcoran 41:38

you’re like, I like this competition.

Travis Luther 41:42

That’s what I say. I mean, that’s really it. I said, Thank God for them. Because you know, for not there slow response and kind of ineptitude. Maybe I would not have grown as quickly or as fast as that. But so anyway, from you

John Corcoran 41:55

actually have on your life other website, you say? It $100 guarantee, if we don’t return your phone call within 24 hours, we’ll pay you $100. So speed of response is something that you clearly prioritizing businesses,

Travis Luther 42:10

yeah, because I think in legal and illegal and legal tech, and you notice, right, you just have these mammoth companies, you have Westlaw you have LexisNexis, you have find law, and they’re kind of the only game in town. And so if you’re a lawyer who comes up against a technical challenge in your software, your doc review software, something like that. It could be forever until someone responds to you, you know, and you just have to accept that. And part of my quick success in the early days of Law Father was people are like, Oh, you called me right back. Oh, you fix you added that new page of content the next day? Oh, you fixed my address. Right away. You know what I mean? Like, it just became obvious to me that if if we can promise people to be there for them, then we’re gonna get a lot of business just on that customer service alone. And that was that was pretty good intuition.

John Corcoran 42:58

Yeah. What are you most excited about as we I mindful of the clock, and we’ll wrap things up. But with TrialLine or any other business, what are you most excited about? As you look to the future to the new year?

Travis Luther 43:13

I’m most excited about SaaS becoming commonplace and legal, you know, TrialLine is a SaaS based interactive timeline tool. And 15 years ago, when I was selling websites and online marketing to attorneys, or just digital presentations, in general, I had to convince a lot of attorneys that they even needed a website or convince a lot of attorneys that they needed to digitize their exhibits, right, because it was kind of the old guard, you know, and I don’t disparage baby boomers, but it was mostly baby boomers. I think all entrepreneurs should be excited about the fact that, you know, millennials now are the fastest growing cohort of entrepreneurs, and that a lot of the things that you and I kind of worked hard to make commonplace in technology are already commonplace to new entrepreneurs. And so selling the technical divide is no longer a challenge. There’s not fear around having a web based application as part of your software suite. And so to me, that’s, that’s really exciting. Because because then that makes all the ideas a lot easier to code and test and set up. And I think it just makes it a lot less risky for new entrepreneurs to try something and you know, and deliver an MVP without having to hire a development shop and get really expensive on desktop applications.

John Corcoran 44:35

I’m curious, with your background, with your rough upbringing, your father now, how do you how have you approached fatherhood and raising your kids, you know, given the way that you were raised

Travis Luther 44:56

my number one thing And the experience I share with other parents who have been in similar situations and asked me sorry, take your time. I always remind my kids, I have a dream for them right? That I have a plan for them. It’s not about dictating their lives or like telling them what to do. I think it would have been very valuable to me and helped me get a lot further faster. If there was someone in my life who had a vision for me, right? Because I was just winging it the whole time having to do everything on my own. And so with my own kids, I’m constantly reminding them, that I have dreams for you, I have expectations for you. And that’s what’s different about my parents, and also whatever their dreams are like for my oldest son, for example, as a hell of a baseball player, and he wants to be in the MLB. And I don’t have a plan B for my kids dream, my younger son wants to be a professional mountain biker. And I don’t tell him to have a plan B about that either. And so everything we do around their dreams, is under the expectation that they will succeed at them. And rather than being a parent who’s going to tell you, well, that’s, that’s great honey, but you should also have a plan B or she’ll think about a backup. We just don’t have that in our family. Everything is about whatever your dream is. That’s what you’re gonna do. And that’s what we’re gonna support you. But I think it starts with making sure my kids know that I also have dreams for them. I have expectations for them. And I’m a partner with them in that growth.

John Corcoran 46:34

Thank you for that. My last question, I’m a big fan of gratitude, especially expressing gratitude to peers, contemporaries, mentors who’ve helped you along the way you mentioned, David McLean, I think you said was one that you’d want to shout out, who do you want to shout out? And thank for helping you along the way.

Travis Luther 46:52

Yeah, there’s another member of EO named Dave Bacon. And when I, this is not emotional now I’m just congested. Hello, I think Dave would like it if I was emotional. When I first when I first joined the accelerator program, this was like, almost 11 years ago. Now. Dave was a huge figurehead in the EO community like he was he’s just such a big personality and a great guy. And I always saw him from afar. And I became very like aspirational, to, to play at the level that these guys were playing it to be as successful as these guys were being. But I had a lot of fear. You know, and I certainly had a lot of, I would say, real self esteem issues. You know, I knew that my background was a lot different than other people. And I hate it. I actually hate it to say that I’d never graduated from high school. And I was very embarrassed about a lot of the things that had happened to me, which I have now come to see as you know, strengths and great catalysts to my success. But Dave, Dave bacon, did a mix form with me, and he never, he never even kind of never let me forget what my dreams were. And he became somebody who was willing to be friendly, and always make me feel comfortable and to introduce me to other people. And so rather than having this feeling that I wasn’t one of them, this guy really worked hard to make sure that I understood that I was and gave me a level of confidence to ask questions, I probably wouldn’t have asked to take chances I wouldn’t have take and just really be a part of the community and really believe I am an entrepreneur. And that was really powerful.

John Corcoran 48:24

That’s great. Travis, thank you so much for your time and for being so transparent, open and sharing your stories. Where can people go to check out learn more about you?

Travis Luther 48:36

I think probably just go to And from there you can see all my social networks, including LinkedIn, and my blog and different businesses that I’ve worked on and things that I’m working on now.

John Corcoran 48:48

And Law Father and TrialLine are the names of the other businesses. Travis, thank you so much.

Travis Luther 48:54

Yeah, thank you. I appreciate you having me on.

Outro 48:56

Thank you for listening to the Smart Business Revolution podcast with John Corcoran. Find out more at 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.