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Salt of the Earth

We talk with gritty, hilarious people who run successful small businesses.
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Now displaying: July, 2016
Jul 26, 2016

Marty Raney runs the Alaska Stone and Log Company in Wasilla, Alaska. He's also on Discovery's Homestead Rescue. His site is MartyRaney.com.

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Jul 19, 2016

Stephanie Rothstein Bruce is an inspiration to a lot of athletes because of her real stories of being a mom and a professional athlete. Some of those fans might not even know that she also has a successful organic energy bar business.

Stephanie formed Picky Bars with two other athletes: Jesse Thomas and Lauren Fleshman. In the beginning, the product was created specifically for Jesse, who was gluten intolerant and needed a bar to provide the right energy balance for a triathlete. After a year rolling together “balls of mashed up dates” with some other foods, Stephanie googled how to build that into a business. An industrial kitchen and a chance article in Runners World got them kickstarted, and now they are sold from REI, Trader Joe’s, as well as their unique subscription-based e-commerce store.

As another shot at the Olympic dream passes, Stephanie also talks about how she can represent Picky Bars as a pro athlete, knowing that her career as a runner is a short one. 

Thanks to Stephanie and our sponsor Mailchimp

Jul 10, 2016

Aaron Draplin runs the Draplin Design Co. in Portland, Oregon. His new book, Pretty Much Everything, is available at ddcbook.com.

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Jul 5, 2016

Dave Nevogt is on his “third or fourth” online business, he doesn’t really remember. And it is not as if the previous companies have failed, some of those ventures hit $2 million+ in annual revenue. But in David’s words, “a lot of online companies have short life spans”. So David’s e-commerce business and fledging SEO business were eventually made obsolete by Amazon and Google’s changing algorithm. Now on his third—or fourth—David thinks this one will last, but also knows that it really doesn’t matter.

David’s current company, Hubstaff, provides tracking software for remote teams. If you’ve got a remote team member Hubstaff will track the amount of time they worked, take random screenshots, and even measure a user’s “activity rate” to gauge how productive your workforce is. In addition, Hubstaff offers tools to help with payroll, invoicing, scheduling, and all other myriad needs of remote teams. Since being founded in 2012, Hubstaff is now doing well over $1M annual revenue.

Hubstaff decided early on to do something that very few small business do. They publish their metrics. That means that anyone can see how much money Hubstaff makes, how many users they have, and how many folks have cancelled that month. It’s definitely “a little scary”, says David, but it is part of the mission of being transparent. It helps engender trust, and get on podcasts. On the negative side, it can also inspire copy-cat businesses but David says it is all about execution.

David is an absolute zen master when it comes to productivity, digital marketing, and remote team management. In terms of tangible nuggets of advice, David is full of them in this episode. And for those who really want more, we can recommend his website.

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