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How Tony Hawk Learned To Protect His Brand

If you know one skateboarder, it's Tony Hawk. That's not by accident: Tony Hawk is a branding genius. But he didn't start out that way. He began with a lot of branding slips and falls. In this episode, Tony explains how he learned to protect his brand—and how every entrepreneur can too.


Why This CEO Fired Himself

When Matt Bodnar became CEO of Fresh Technologies, he took over a failing company and saved it from disaster. That felt great. Then he hit a wall: He couldn’t seem to get this company to grow, or to fix its internal culture. He began suffering from self-doubt. He’d always wanted to be a CEO, and he initially seemed good at it, but now here he was… failing! After a lot of soul-searching, Matt came to an important realization: He needed to identify what he was good at, and then use those...


Her Company Was Growing, So Why Was It Failing?

Just Between Friends is a nationwide franchise that runs consignment events. About a decade ago, it experienced a crazy jolt: It sold more franchise units than it ever had... and that fast growth nearly bankrupted the company. Why? Because here’s the difficult truth about growing a business: Not all growth is equal. Sometimes, growth in one part of your business can harm another part of your business. So to fix the problem, Just Between Friends had to hit pause and consider some very...


Why Freshbooks Launched A Competitor To Itself

Mike McDerment saw the future, and it wasn’t bright. His accounting and invoicing company, Freshbooks, was doing well with customers -- but behind the scenes, its software code was a mess and it wasn’t able to innovate as quickly as it needed to. But fixing this problem was tricky. If he ordered his team to hit pause and fix the code, years could go by and Freshbooks would lose ground to its competitors. And if his team did manage to create a better Freshbooks in the process, customers...


She Raised Millions From Investors... Then Almost Lost It All

Raquel Tavares, founder and CEO of a ghee company called Fourth & Heart, had just finished raising a round of funding -- and then her team looked at the company's numbers and realized they were almost out of money. How did this happen? The answer is simple: The company wasn't properly tracking its inventory and cost of raw materials, and now it was in a terrible bind. What does an entrepreneur do in a situation like this? Raquel is here with an incredible answer: Not only can you survive a...


How MailChimp's CEO Became the Leader His Company Needed

As a company grows, its needs change -- and that means a leader must change as well. This is commonly accepted wisdom about leadership, but it's easier said than done. MailChimp's founder discovered that when his once-scrappy company reached about 300 employees, and, in an achingly awkward staff meeting, he discovered that he hadn't transformed into the leader those 300 people needed. What followed was a lot of soul-searching, and some very important company changes.


How to Survive When the Money Runs Out

It's perhaps the most terrifying situation an entrepreneur can face: Suddenly, the bank account is nearly empty. You can't pay your staff. You can barely keep the lights on. What now? This is what Saima Khan faced with her high-end cooking company Hampstead Kitchen. She charges a small fortune to cook intimate dinners for industry titans, celebrities, and even world leaders—but then a change in the tax law nearly wiped her out, and forced her to reconsider exactly what kind of business she...


What Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From The Bicycle

Entrepreneurs must embrace change, or risk becoming outdated. In this episode, we offer a cautionary tale from history: What happened when entrepreneurs of the late 1800s tried to resist a newfangled invention called the bicycle? This episode is a special rebroadcast of a podcast called Pessimists Archive, also hosted by Entrepreneur magazine editor in chief Jason Feifer. For more like it, search Pessimists Archive on any podcast platform or visit


Nobody Believed In His Vision. But He Knew Better.

Everyone who’s experienced setbacks, rejection, and frustration will ask themselves the same inevitable question: “What if the naysayers are right?” Mike Rothman did that. As he built his company Fatherly -- a media site for dads, which is a market everyone told him was nonexistent -- he was told “no” over and over again. But instead of quitting, he made strategic decisions that enabled him to discover the truth: His idea really was a good one. And soon, the people saying no started to say...


Califia Farms Had To Start Saying, "We're Out Of Product"

Califia Farms makes a popular line of plant-based milks, yogurts, and coffees—but they became too popular, too quick. In 2017, demand began significantly outstripping supply, and so the company had to do something it hated to do, but that was critical for its long-term health: It had to start telling retailers "no," while it fixed its entire production system.


When Your Staff Can't Agree On a Vision for the Company

Orchard Mile, an online shopping site, had a promising platform and a talented team. But they had two very different ideas about what the company should prioritize. How CEO Jennie Baik made tough decisions to bring them together.


Keep The Company Running During A Personal Crisis

It's a question almost every entrepreneur will at some point face: How do you keep a company stable while you're pulled into a personal crisis? For Chris Carter, founder of Approyo, that question came shortly after his startup launched -- when his daughter developed epilepsy. After working himself to exhaustion, Chris stepped back and retooled how his company operated and how he was treating himself. The result was a stronger company, a healthier founder, and a better balance for everyone.


Build An Audience Without Advertising

If you want to learn how to succeed without traditional advertising, ask someone in the "adult" industry. Why? Because most advertising channels—including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and more—are closed to them. That's what Polly Rodriguez learned when she founded Unbound, a company that makes and sells adult products. Most platforms won't take her money, so she had to get creative... and build her own community.


Saving A Damaged Brand (Remember

How do you give new life to an old company? Bring new vision to a place that lost its own? And how do you bring your team -- and your new audience! -- along for the change? Those are the challenges Neil Vogel faced when taking over the old internet giant and transforming it into a thriving company called Dotdash.


Selling The Product That Everyone Said Was Impossible

Selling perfume online seems impossible. After all, people need to be able to smell it, right? And when former Ralph Lauren executive Eric Korman launched his online perfume company PHLUR, he ran smack dab into that problem. Industry peers thought he was crazy. He hung in and devised a solution: an ingenious a mix of smart e-commerce strategy, science, photography, psychology, music, and storytelling. And with that, he made the impossible possible.


People Love Your Idea, But It Doesn't Make Money. Now What?

People may like to shop for cars online, but they still want to test drive them in real life before buying. So when the online car sales company Shift launched, it created a system its founders were sure would win customers over: They hired “car enthusiasts” -- guys just really passionate about cars -- to drive a car to a customer so they could test drive it together. The car enthusiasts were a hit; people loved them, and praised them online. But Shift wasn’t celebrating: As it turns out,...


How to Name Your Company — Or Fix A Bad Name

A company's name is one of (if not the) biggest early decisions a company founder will make -- and they often get it wrong. Google was first called BackRub, Best Buy was Sound of Music, eBay was AuctionWeb, and Policygenius was KnowItOwl. In this episode, Policygenius's founder walks us through the rigorous process she went through to scrap a confusing name and create one that led to success.


He Took A Lowbrow Product, And Made It Luxury

Sean Dowdell loved tattoos, but he hated tattoo parlors. They were dirty, uninviting, downmarket, unprofessional and often sexist. So when he set aside his music career to start his own tattoo parlor, he needed to find a way to make a traditionally lowbrow product appeal to a high-end, but still edgy, audience. A decade later, he’s now opening glitzy tattoo shops all over the world. Here’s how he pulled it off.


The Business Model Doesn't Work—So Change It!

What happens when your customers are willing to use your product, but they're not willing to pay for it? Answer: Your business model may be wrong. That's what Ilir Sela learned after launching Slice, a company that helps local pizzerias sell online. He found plenty of early customers, but they weren't paying their invoices. As he dug deeper, he realized the problem wasn't them -- it was him. And he began the long process of figuring out what (and how) people were willing to pay.


The Curse of the Problem Solver: You Can't Solve It All

Patrick Llewellyn discovered that his design company, 99designs, was only fulfilling some of his customers' needs. He wanted to fill more, so he created a spinoff brand called Swiftly. But in doing so, he created a major problem for himself: He was stretching his resources too thin, and confusing customers about which brand they should use. In the end, he discovered the Curse of the Problem Solvers: Sometimes, you have to let some problems go unsolved.