062 - Some "Andelicious" Advice From Startup Coach Ande Lyons

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@andylyons
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Josh Tapp 0:00
What's up everybody? Josh Tapp here again, and welcome back to the lucky Titan podcast. So today we have Andy Lyons on the mic. Andy is the owner and CEO of startup life, she's raised over $8 million in capital for her own companies. And she's turned down over $14 million in funding as well. So Andy's here today to share with us some of her quote unquote Andy licious advice. I'm so excited to have her on today. So Andy, let's hop right in. Alright, Andy, so tell us one thing about yourself that most people don't know.
Ande Lyons 0:32
Sad is such a good question. And hello, listeners Andy Lyons here. One thing that people do not know about me is that I was a bartender at a country rock bar in Denver back in the day when happy hour started at 11pm at night.
Josh Tapp 0:47
Oh, yeah, that's that's a good time.
Ande Lyons 0:50
I was pouring up shots and I guess we just didn't care about drunk driving back in the day. But boy as a gal who was raised in the proper East Coast, Boston area, too. be out there in Denver hanging out with cowboys and country rockers and a scene that was beyond my wildest imagination. It was a great eye opener and I learned a lot, especially how to calculate quickly in my head.
Josh Tapp 1:17
Hey, that's what led you to the NBA. Right. Gotcha. Gotcha math skills up and ready to go. sickly, so Andy, I don't want to have a full backroom background of yourself, because I will do that in the intro as well. But I want you to kind of give us a little bit of about your the four companies that you started, you've been able to raise multiple millions and capital to be able to grow your own businesses work in the startup realm. And tell us a little bit about where you're at now.
Ande Lyons 1:45
where I'm at today with my business coaching newbie founders, who have been called to launch a business and have the ability but not the capability. Oh my gosh, it is a dream come true. And It came to me as I had an online business Josh and I was watching the advice being handed out day in and day out for launching a business. I'm like, that's not marketing. That might be a tactic, but that's another. No, no, no, no, that's not a value proposition. That's provable. What are you guys talking about? And we how are you going to fund that? What do you mean? The money is going to come out of nowhere? No. Yeah. So I just said, Okay, I have got to put my shingle out. And it did take me a few years to figure out what my shingle looks like and felt like but I quickly came to be in love with the founder, who is newbie and never done this before. Very nervous, and I love holding their hands. So I'm in parenting terms. I'm the zero to 24 months founder coach. And what I really love about how I coach is, I am an urgent care founder coach so that means people can get me on the phone. For 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes and share what's going on. Maybe it's a failed attempt at raising money or a client, you know, disappeared all of a sudden, or you need to fire somebody, oh, gosh, founders are the worst. Because
Josh Tapp 3:17
they're always their family members, or
Ande Lyons 3:19
just going out. I asked he don't know what I'm doing help. And so I love being there for them and, and during the phone call. While we're straightening out situations coming up with solutions. I'm also there to help dissolve the mental chokehold that easily forms around the neck of a founder, as they try to manage the high level of uncertainty and, and really, for most founders, this is their first time going in, they've got a lot at stake. They're worried about what people are thinking their family and friends are watching them like a train wreck about to happen. They need someone who's going to have the observer mentality. from having for businesses, I know what they're going through, I understand deep in my heart what they're going through. But I also help them step out and become an observer as well. Because when you bring that level of curiosity, instead of concern to your view of your business, you can find the solutions they are in you. I have pulled solutions out of folks held up the mirror and said, See, this is where you need to go. And because of my extensive experience, in you know, understanding the foundational business tools for a business I can guide them through, ensure that, yeah, it's okay to pivot, you're gonna maybe pivot three or four times because until you want you don't know really what your customers are going to want and need and how they're going to act.
Josh Tapp 4:48
That is gold. I need to build off of that because everybody starts their business saying, okay, here's my product. I'm just gonna go throw it in front of the audience, and of course, they're gonna love it right. I love it. But the reality is when you put it in front of them They're going to say, this is what I love. And this is what I hate, and you're going to have to pivot. And for us, I mean, we've already had to do that four times easily in our company.
Ande Lyons 5:08
Exactly. Or you'll do all the surveys, you'll do the beta, you'll run all these tests, and then you'll launch and they don't do anything they say they're gonna do, right.
So it's important to have a sense of humor.
Unknown Speaker 5:23
Yeah. Be able to laugh about it. Right. All right, while you're going through this. Yes.
Josh Tapp 5:28
And one of the reasons the biggest reasons I brought you on is because of your unique take on the startup world because you've you've started for companies raise millions of dollars yourself, but able to scale multiple companies. I mean, one of them you grew to 50 employees, he said, right.
Ande Lyons 5:43
That's right. I mean,
Josh Tapp 5:43
huge, huge business accomplishments. But you still you also have your your master's in Business Administration, right, the MBA,
Ande Lyons 5:50
right. And also prior to earning my MBA, I worked as an executive assistant for founders, so I got to have a front row seat. How they built their business. So there's my pre MBA exposure to understanding business models in general. But I did something after my MBA that I had no business doing. And I had to do some fancy footwork to do it, which is I became a commercial lender, I could have pulled into a commercial hire to become a commercial lender at a huge bank in Boston. I don't know how I talked them into that because I'm okay with risk. And banks are very risk adverse, but I wanted to learn Josh, how do they think, but more importantly, my left brain craved financial analysis on all types of industries from huge corporate jillion dollar companies to the local mom and pop shops. And I got to do that for three years before I became what I call unemployable. Yep. And so that was really important to me to understand the numbers and that's why I bring that level of expertise to my My clients?
Josh Tapp 7:01
Well, I really appreciate that you've you've really structured your life in a way to help people understand that because what's really interesting to me, there's kind of this, you know, education versus self education going on right now. It's like that polarity. I personally believe that they should be synonymous, you should be doing both. I'm personally pursuing an MBA right now I do it in the evening time. Why not? Right. But I'm also self taught, right? I mean, a lot of things you're not going to learn in school. But what school teaches you and this is what I really appreciate about what you've done, is it teaches you and helps you understand how to scale a company, and really, really how to take it from just a lifestyle business to a true corporate business. You can scale and grow, which a lot of the people we work with, and we work with a lot of seven figure earners, and none of them are some of them have gotten their bachelor's or they don't have education, any higher education at all, but they've hit that million dollar mark and they're saying, How come I can't scale? And it's a lot of things you've talked about, you know,
Ande Lyons 7:59
well And hello, the numbers are maybe 6%, we'll scale from 1 million to 12 million, right? And it said 12 million mark that you want to reach in order to get the right valuation to scale scale, which is VC money. That's when you know, if you're going to whether you're a medical device company or product company, you need to, or SAS business to scale big time, you're going to have to attract the big money to leverage up. Listen, MailChimp bootstrap the whole way, I'm so proud of them. But that's MailChimp. Not a company that's going to require inventory, you're going to need to bring in capital and you're going to want to get the best valuation as possible. And there are steps to that and many businesses fail between that one to 2,000,012 million scale, and it's not easy to do and that's why putting in the foundational systems and procedures with your startup from the beginning, so that you can Show your scalability is key.
Josh Tapp 9:03
Yeah. 100%? Well, and I do have to ask you, so most of our listeners on the show a lot of them sell information products or, you know, their marketing agency, they've done some sort of service based business. So I have to ask you, we're going to be talking a little bit about the financial aspect, right? So a lot of these people, I think it's that concept, should I bootstrap? Or should I seek funding? And how could I seek funding? So what's your advice to somebody, let's just say an infopreneur, who's looking to launch their own course or a mastermind or something? Where do you think they should get the funds from?
Ande Lyons 9:33
Wow, that is a different business model. So if your product base like that, and it's online, and it is a product that once you've built it, it's about marketing it so to reach more people and get the scaling. To me that's a bootstrap situation. I don't I can't imagine any investor looking At that point, oh, wow, I can really see where they're gonna go with this. And I'm going to get my money back, you know, three to 10 times. And that's what you have to think you have to think like the investor, why would anybody want to come on and invest money in you? And by the way, listeners, they're investing money in you 90% of the decision is emotional. And is the logic and details that you're providing them to make the decision? You know, raising money is a big deal, because now on top of, and I always laugh at this, people go, yes, I have my own business, I can have the freedom. I'm like, Are you kidding? You've got your employees. Now you've got your advisors, you've got your customers, you're reporting to everybody, you know, and when you bring investors on, it can be really challenging. And I say that because so many of my clients have brought on investors that are not in alignment. And that is a really important strategy is that you've got to make sure that you get the right investors for you. And your business, when you bring them on board, Josh, now they have a stake in your business. Now some people, some investors, like Hey, listen just shouldn't send me the press clippings. I want to hear the good news. Others want to get into the weeds of your business and you have to lead them and manage them. And that's a whole nother level of level
of stress.
Because you're gonna need to do quarterly reporting, if not monthly, and it's very difficult so to anybody who could actually bootstrap their way to success by leveraging and getting some kind of you maybe you can do a friend and family run fund so that you can get the marketing dollars in that you need. But Gosh, if you've got a credit card, throw it on that and pay it off as as you market your way to success for your info products. That's awesome. I love that.
Josh Tapp 12:02
Well. So I think one of the things that a lot of people run into is they have a hard time classifying. Am I actually a startup? Because I think what we were talking about, you know, these bootstrap bubble businesses really, I mean, I wouldn't really classify them as a startup, everybody's throwing that term around. So how do you differentiate that like, Hey, this is a tangible startup that we could seek investment in?
Ande Lyons 12:22
Well, for my monthly pitch event that I co host in Boston, we categorize this startup as they've launched, meaning they've got the website, they've got a beta product, at least out there, but they haven't raised what we call series A. So if they're in that family and friends fund, seed funding, ensure there's definitely angel investors who will come on board for seed funding, absolutely. But they haven't gotten to a yet and I'm telling you that can be anywhere from 12 months to five years. Because a lot of times you know, it's a longtail game No founder who is it's a life science business, okay? It's gonna be years before the FDA approves it, right? And it's they're gonna be in startup stage for quite some time. So there's that business model to a SaaS business or an app that can be done very quickly and be up and running very quickly. So start up is that stage where you are still figuring it out? You are not scaling yet. You're not really at the point where expansion is happening. You're still proving your value proposition you're still proving your product market fit, and you're bringing the talent on board, but is sustainable yet no. And so there's it's a it's a mushy word, and I get that I like you start up because it is somebody or a group of somebodies, who have taken an idea and they've implemented it and I like to say I am honoring you by saying a startup founder, because some people get hired to be the CEO or cmo and come on board to the CTO, they didn't come up with the idea. They're part of the implementation of the idea, but they didn't have the guts and the courage and the insanity. So launch the business, what's the matter with you stay on payroll. But so I like to honor them to, you know, by calling them the startup founder, because just takes a level of courage.
Josh Tapp 14:30
A major risk tolerance.
Unknown Speaker 14:32
Yeah, yes. Yes.
Josh Tapp 14:34
That's so fun. Well, I do want to ask you, so and this is kind of changing the conversation a little bit, but what you said kind of sparked this idea to me. So you've, as you've worked with a lot of different types of startup founders and everything you've talked about, on our pre interview, when you sit down with somebody, it's more about helping them you know, get comfortable in their own skin and become the best of them because like you said, only or 90% of What an investor invest in is you? Not? I mean, the 10% that well, as long as the numbers semi check out, let's go, you know,
Ande Lyons 15:07
exactly they invest in your ability to implement and execute, coupled with your deep passion, which is why when you're pitching to investors, you have to be showing them your North Star is this business is success that you love getting up every single day and diving in all the problems all the messiness, that's what you're there to do. And by sharing that, and you hear my voice getting off so excited about it, that's what you're bringing them in for. Yeah, but what was your question again, I'm so sorry. I get so caught up and excited about it. When you're working when I work with the founders, helping them understand that Believe me, imposter syndrome is there. I don't care. 20 years out, you're still gonna feel it. I have a TED talk to prove that for. imposter syndrome is syndrome is real. Even if You have scaled your business IPO did everything. Every founder feels that way. So I'm there to help the founder step more fully into being a founder, because let me tell you, a lot of founders that I work with have been an employee for the last so many years. And you have to shift out of that employee paradigm, where you're being rewarded and awarded based on different parameters than you are as a founder. Plus, it's helping you the founders step outside the business and working on it being an observer and also helping them understand that this is a process any there's so many mythologies out there, Josh about startup life, right? One of them is set, you know, if you build it, they'll come. Right? You know, I had this launched in 12 months, and we were a huge success. Oh, yeah. Now this is gonna take time and putting everything into the proper perspective. It's very very key and you know, when in my recent newsletter, I talked about something that I love to share with your audience because we're here we are. This is January 8 2020. And I really want founders to hear this, which is that it's important to reflect on the last 12 months but don't get caught up in what didn't work no matter how many times founders are told that failure is okay. Too many dwell on their failures. Does this sound right to anybody listening? What happened? That stops you acting decisively because of your missteps? I don't want to go that way. I blew it the last time so as you Grow and Glow through 2020 please commit to looking forward and when you experience a failure, sure, evaluate why something went wrong and consider how to avoid a similar mistake. But once you've done this lovely little moment of reflection, put the failure behind you and I, I've been there so I know that this is easier said than done, but seen on the failure is a waste of your precious beautiful limited time. You need to dedicate every ounce of your energy to what's next on your agenda?
Josh Tapp 18:11
Well, I really appreciate the way you articulate that because most people, I think we get caught up in this imposter syndrome and then feeling like, well, if I don't, If I don't win in 12 months, the recognition isn't going to be there. But the reality is, I mean, you can probably testify this when you build a company. The media is only going to see you once you've actually started. So it's going to look no matter where you're at, even if you've been doing for 20 years, it's going to look like you're an overnight success, no matter when you do
Ande Lyons 18:36
it. And she sat down 10 years ago became an overnight success, right.
Josh Tapp 18:42
It's you and I, you know, interviewing entrepreneurs all the time. It's so funny to see that because so many people get hung up on that, you know, am I am i doing this quick enough? You know, for me, I'm 25 years old, right? Mike?
Ande Lyons 18:56
Shoes older than you
Josh Tapp 18:59
well Good Now, when you're when you're 35 years old, I mean, I even still run to that sometimes. It's not happening fast enough. But then I have to look at the Grand perspective. Like you're saying, That's right. I'm, you know, I've got another 50 years to build this out. And if I'm really truly doing my cash, yeah, there we go.
Ande Lyons 19:18
There we go. And that's why you have to get up every day for the work for the purpose. You're never going to fail. No matter what you're doing. As a startup founder, there is no failure. There is only learning sure you might win financially, but you will absolutely win on every level of your life because the entrepreneurial adventure is the best personal development program out there. And, gosh, Josh, I so many people will ask me, what do you think is that a good idea? Dude, Gao, it's not about the guarantee here. It's about the possibility it's got possibility. Let's give it the best chance it has to live and survive and thrive.
Josh Tapp 19:59
Yeah. I love that. One of the things one of my mentors told me he's like, if if the first business you started isn't embarrassing to you, then you haven't done enough businesses. It's because I look back on one of the first ones, we started online and it was selling to college students. And for no market didn't make a single sale, I spent six months of my life building it out. But I've learned so much in doing that, like you're talking about,
Ande Lyons 20:23
well, and also you have to understand to as a founder, as much as you need to constantly be feeding and nurturing and taking care of your new business. The business also has to be serving you. And when I was in, I had with my.com. I was interviewed by Wired Magazine, and I was very clear because I had what a four and a two year old at home at the time, they interviewed me and I said this culture that I'm seeing in the.com world is unsustainable. Young men sleeping on couches, living this 24 seven will never work. You have to set your business up so that you have time for your life. Even though you know you're going to work long days, you've got to set up time for your life. It's not sustainable if you're in it 24 seven, and I know people talk about that 24 seven thing, Josh, but it's not healthy for founders. That's why founders are running into challenges.
Josh Tapp 21:18
And I think that's why the divorce rate gets so high, you know, I'm personally married, and I have to thank you. I have to dedicate time to my wife if I want to our relationship to grow. And quite honestly, I just I want to spend all my time with her. But, but regardless, I mean, having to, I mean, when you're when you're coming at it, as as a founder, you're saying I'm going to work 18 hour days, 20 hour days, I think that has become something because of the people like Steve Jobs, and Jeff Bezos, you know who that they had to do that to survive that era. But we really live in an era where you can create an extraordinary business in three or four hours a day. You know, you could do that after work. If you wanted to.
Ande Lyons 22:00
side hustles and by the way, listeners side hustles are 33% more successful than someone who leaves their job and launches their business just saying, well
Josh Tapp 22:08
see that's a statistic we need to write down.
Ande Lyons 22:12
That's right. Well, I also, if listeners are interested, Josh, I wrote an article called, it's on medium is called when you're when your loved one isn't an entrepreneur. And it talks about the important conversations you need to have with your beloved, and family members when you launch a business because what happens to founders is, if you're not part of the solution, get out of the way, right, right. And of course, I'm going to pay for this and invest in that and now you got to have those conversations ahead of time. This is where my time is going to be going. I love you and that this this pursuit is so important to me, how can I help you be on board and also, how much capital Are we going to invest because you have to have conversation with the spouse. They could be a third grade teacher, which means they have no interest, right? Anything entrepreneurial, and it frankly could be frightening them to death. And so you need to manage that. Because they the beauty of having someone who is into the businesses a they bring a lovely level of skepticism, which is so important. Yeah. And secondly, they love you no matter what happens, right? And no, it's not about you being a successful founder. They are already in it to win it with you. So it's lovely to have that for all the good and the bad that happens.
Josh Tapp 23:37
Well, Andy, you're making this a really hard episode to choose a title because there's so many good points in here. I'll just spend a lot of time picking out a good title for this one. But that is so fun. I love that we're gonna send everybody I'll actually if you can shoot me links to this. I'm gonna put my mouse to those articles as well. Andy before we sign off today, what is your one last parting piece of guidance before we we close off and then what's Where's one place somebody can connect with you?
Ande Lyons 24:04
Oh, thank you for asking. You know, I just want to remind everybody, Napoleon Hill has a great quote. And he says, Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit. And I have to tell you, thank you for launching this business of yours. You are going to be faced with a lot of adversity and a lot of failure and you're going to find so many amazing seeds of opportunity and benefit for you. As a person. And as a professional. You will always win.
Josh Tapp 24:42
That is so incredible. And there was one place people can connect with you and me.
Ande Lyons 24:47
Oh, geez, Josh, maybe my favorite social media bar Twitter at Andy Lyons. Perfect.
Oh, anywhere I've ever seen. where folks, I'd love to hear from you. And I'd love to hear about your startup story.
Josh Tapp 25:05
Well, and I do have to tell everybody, every single one of our listeners and he's a great person to be connected with because you're so good at uplifting people, you know, helping people feel like I mean, that that's something I took from this more than anything else from this interview with I need to start thanking people for starting their business because that's what I'm all about. I love helping people expand their passion or impact. And I start doing that. So thank you for that.
Ande Lyons 25:27
My flesh and I'm so honored you have me on your show. Thank you, Josh.
Josh Tapp 25:31
Thank you for coming on. The number one needle mover in my business is joint venture partnerships. Growing a following can be time consuming and frustrating. For that reason we created the tribe of Titans the world's first joint venture matching platform. Using this free platform you can find guests for a podcast YouTube channel or Facebook group, where you can promote your brand product or service in one simple place. You can create your free account as tribe dot the lucky titan.com once again, that's tribe dot the lucky Titan dot com
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