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Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made? Steven Sashen answers this question and many more in Episode 12 of the Defining Success Podcast. If you’re passionate about running, definitely check out this interview.
Xero Shoes are a modern spin on the traditional barefoot running sandal – durable, stylish and affordable. Xero Shoes won the Groovie Award for Best Huaraches running Sandal and they appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank earlier this year.
Steven is not the owner of Xero Shoes, but currently works for his wife who is the owner of Xero Shoes. Steven loves working in a woman-owned company, particularly when that woman is his wife.
Steven was actually retired as a result of some wise investment decisions he made before the recession hit and could have been happy living in retirement, but the entrepreneurial bug hit and they were back it it with the creation of Xero Shoes.
Steven has been an expert at search engine optimization and used those skills to sell things online for quite a long time.
He began having an interest in running again after a thirty year break, but experienced some injuries while running. A friend then turned him on to barefoot running and the book, Born to Run, which he soon latched onto and shortly thereafter he created his new product.
He assumed that the running sandal would be a great product to test for his search engine optimization business and he figured that the companies who were on top of the search results were mostly there by accident and he thought he’d be able to dominate the market within three months . . . which he did.
Within in three months they realized that Xero Shoes became their full time job and within three months after that they had the former lead designers of Nike and Reebok trying to help them build their business.
The skills they had acquired in life fit perfectly for what they were doing and it all just worked out well.
Steven likes to learn how things work . . . by getting through what people are saying and what is actually true.
One thing that he’s amazed by is that these billion dollar shoe companies have been able to tell people that their shoes are better for people, when there are no studies done to support those findings yet the press and the media take these large companies word and disseminate information about the benefits of shoes when there is no factual evidence that supports that those shoes are better for people.
Steven has had many people who have told him how much using the Xero Shoes have helped to improve their health.
After Shark Tank Xero Shoes did three months worth of sales in one week and the overall sales have increased and some people have come on board to help Xero Shoes reach more customers. They had a three or four year development plan and they rolled that out in six months as a result of the Shark Tank.
Steven had some interesting things to say about his experience on Shark Tank, about how he felt, the experience and what came out of the experience. The most interesting thing was that they had planned extensively about what they were going to say and how they were going to react, but when the time actually came all that planning went out the window.
Kevin O’Leary offered 400,000 for 50% of the company which was unacceptable to them and they were offering 8% of the company and their valuation was devaluing their company by close to a million dollars.
Steven says that he has about 2,000 positive reviews of his Xero Shoes and that he literally gets a new one almost every day. One example that Steven likes to share comes from an 85 year old man who tried walking around barefoot and that within a week he stopped using his walker.
There is a lot of uncertainties in business and a lot of problems come up for businesses. Sometimes it’s the fault of the business owner for getting overextended, yet other times it can be just the circumstances of the situation. For Steven his biggest problem is hiring people on and managing growth has been a problem for him, but he’s managing it. Legal fees have also been a huge expense for Xero Shoes and sometimes you can never plan for the expenses that will lay out in front of you.
Steven seems to think entrepreneurs are born. Everybody has people who will tell them what they want to hear. It’s up to you to determine whether or not you have a viable business.
Steven goes through the same emotions as everyone else. He realizes that his successful friends aren’t necessarily happy, but they do realize that they don’t have to worry about how much things cost. Humans like to imagine the future and are really bad at predicting and how bad we are at predicting it. Don’t imagine living in an imagined future. Live in the present.
He’s living in the present and does have goals that he’s trying to accomplish. One of the things he’s trying to do is change the industry and although he has goals he’s not attached to getting those goals. If it happens he’s happy, if not he’s happy as well.
Engaging Discussion Questions:
- Are entrepreneurs born or made?
- What do you think about barefoot running?
Links to Great Stuff:
- Xero Shoes – “Xero Shoes® are a modern spin on the traditional barefoot running sandal — durable, stylish and affordable — and so light and low-profile it’s like you’re not wearing anything. Yet, you get a strong layer of protection, your feet and legs work the way nature intended, your posture can naturally realign, and you awaken your senses and stimulate your brain as you Feel The World™.”
- Born to Run – “Isolated by Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and often-injured runner Christopher
McDougall sets out to discover their secrets. In the process, he takes his
readers from science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks
across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultra-runners are pushing
their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to a climactic race in the Copper
Canyons that pits America’s best ultra-runners against the tribe. McDougall’s
incredible story will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you
realize that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.”
- Welborn Media –
- “Figure out where the money is flowing and get in front of it.”
- “Try to figure out the fastest, easiest, cheapest way to see if you have your head up your butt.”
- “If you’re going to go into a business, go into one where it changes lives.”
- “There is not thought that you need in order to start a business other than . . . Why not?”
- “That’s when all the neurons fired in the right order and it happened.”
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