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Sean Campbell

Cascade Insights

Sean Campbell

@0:00 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Hello everyone and welcome to the shades of entrepreneurship this is your host mr.

@0:15 - Sean Campbell

Gabriel Flores today I am here with Sean Campbell the CEO of Cascade insights Sean how are you doing good I'm you know me and Sean we're just chatting right now I'm not sure if you got you but for those that are watching on YouTube super cool backdrops right now with the Star Wars they actually come with a pill right off he said yeah for those for those watching on YouTube these are these are displayed so they basically off those like that all there you just snap them on so yeah oh yeah my son got him in me into a me into it because he has some Elden Ringlins in his wall and I thought oh I need something for my office Elden rings not appropriate for 53 year old guy but it's definitely appropriate for a 19 year old so they got they got something for everybody I want

But, you know, it's funny one host and then we'll cover where we want to talk about like one host said to me when he looked him up He's like what what do they do to get all those brands because the really unique thing about those guys is They have like every movie brand.

You ever heard of I don't know what they did to get those cut They've got everything from like Marvel and Star Wars and like every show, you know kind of thing and I don't know Those don't come cheap, but that's not my business model So I don't really know but that's you know what Sean's already got the next person probably to come on now Actually, let's let's get into this Sean give us the folks in fact a bit of a background We've kind of already been chatting, but who is Sean Campbell?

Give him a little background a little bit of your career journey Well first off I had no intention of owning a business and then I Have for 24 years, so that's odd.

I Was gonna go be a teacher and I think I still have been a teacher in many many many ways over the years and also lot of my hobbies are teaching and I've taught as an adjunct before

and I'm about to go back and teach as an adjunct now. And so it's definitely something that I've always done, but I had noticed art to own a business.

It's one of those things where it's always a little hard for me too, because I'll talk to somebody and they'll say, you didn't ask this question, but they'll say, what was your plans for Cascade?

it's like, for me, this was a very organic journey. wasn't ever writing down on a piece of paper, wanna be 50 people, wanna be 10 people, nothing against those, those are fine.

But I never did that. To me, it's been an act of serving and learning and educating myself and other people.

And so yeah, so that's the short version. So I started my first company in 1999, Ruben sold that one in 2006, then I've owned Cascade Ever since then.

I've also been through the have business partners, not have business partners thing. So that's been kind of interesting too along the way.

And yeah, that's basically kind of the journey. So starting. I've probably only had, I mean, if you count from what I got done with my master's degree, I probably only worked, you know, quote unquote, for somebody for about five years.

And then ever since then, I've just owned a business.

@3:11 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Oh, man. So we're going to, folks, we're going to peel all of these layers back throughout this episode with Shama.

First, let's start with the current endeavor. Give us a little, give us a little background. What is Cascade and what does it do and who does it support?

@3:26 - Sean Campbell

Well, Cascade Insights gets hired by its clients to either alleviate pain or create opportunity. what I mean by that is that we are a market research firm first.

We also provide a decent number of marketing services that are typically a follow on to the research. So like we identify something that needs to be invested in, and then we can help you do that from a marketing standpoint.

We air a little bit more to the strategic side than the tactical side on marketing, but that also makes some sense because we're a research first firm.

And if you're under some degree. of pain, usually that's because you either shift a poor product, you've got a bad sales process, you've got a bad marketing process, or your competitors got a better one, and that's the way you're looking at the problem, right?

And they're causing you pain. And then on the opportunity side, we get hired typically because somebody's trying to expand into a new market or they launched a new service.

mean, obviously working with the tech sector, there's a lot of discussion about AIs influence on pretty much anybody's offering that we work with.

So that's a good example there. And just even more pragmatic stuff, you know, you want to grow into a new country or branch into a new industry, or you've got M&A activity that you want to do some research on, right?

So those are all opportunity driven. But I will tell you that more often than not, it's pain. And I think the reason for that is that research is kind of an interesting place with most people, I think, especially business professionals, all we do is work with B2B companies.

know, if you feel like things are going swimmingly or mostly, Okay, you're not likely to put the breaks on and say what do I not know, whereas the minute you're under threat or things get difficult or you get stuck in the mud, that's when you're usually willing to say there's something I really don't understand about customers, the market, competitor, customers, you know, and I need somebody to come in and actually do a real study for me to help me understand that.

So it's kind of an interesting thing, like we're probably hired for the pain 75% of the time and the opportunity 25%, but it also makes sense to me because I think ultimately if things are going fairly well for you, it's harder to justify research because you could make it better, you could make it 2x better, but if they're going well, you might say that's good enough, but to sum it up, a lot of clients come to us in some version of pain or crisis and then on the other hand, it's great because we can give them a lot of insight and a lot of value that can get them out of that hole that they're in and give them a little live.

to get out of it.

@6:02 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Yeah, folks. I got to tell you the data data will never it'll it'll it'll always give you it'll never give you what you want, but always give you what you need kind of thing.

It's very directional and it's important to trend it always like constantly trending your data. I think to your to your point, Sean, I think once you kind of get in the lead, you kind of forget about it.

@6:22 - Sean Campbell

You're like, I ever were coasting. We're good. The lead dogs hardly ever hire us for research. It's funny. It we at one point, we don't really mean this to be super clear, but it's kind of true.

We used to say we just worked for losers. Now what we've turned that around into that I actually bothered a trademark because I just thought it was fun and I never wanted to lose the phrase is we say we deliver bad news to good people.

Oh, good people because you try to fix it. You're not just looking inward. You want to. understand what's wrong.

You probably are wired like that. imagine you probably make other decent decisions in life to probably a sign of a degree of empathy and non-self-centeredness.

But at the same time, the weird thing about what we do is that if I just come in and essentially just confirm the assumptions you have, it's valuable up to a point, but it's not as valuable as if so we're not actively trying to go find bad news.

But in a way, when you add up all the dynamics, companies come to us to some extent when they're under a little bit of pain, self-inflicted or externally inflicted.

feel a lack of comfort about what they know about what's going on. And then they come to us. If all we do is say, yeah, the thing you thought about three months ago, that's the issue.

That's helpful, but it's not nearly as helpful as somebody coming in and saying, you never even know. knew this was happening.

And fortunately, one of the nice things about research is because it is an unbiased view, and you do talk to customers and prospects without you in the room, you almost all the time surface something like that.

It's a really rare case where I could think of, you know, it was really just confirmation that we provided.

Almost every time there's something where the client goes, huh, you know, and then we have the second part of the problem, which is that, you know, that bad news requires work, which we're not necessarily always there to help with, right?

You know, I mean, we do provide some marketing services help, but we're not, you know, a management consulting firm.

You know, if we point out that there's something wrong with the way your sales motion is structured, you know, we're not going to go bring in an army of sales consultants to fix that necessarily, right, and sit there day to day, or maybe your issue is product development, right?

don't write a bunch of code and build applications inherently around here. So we're not going to be your solution to that.

So it's kind of, interesting, you know, because I think ultimately what our clients are signing up for is an exercise program, right?

And that requires a certain amount of institutional fortitude to do that. On the other hand, the lack of doing that, well, it's like everybody that just signs up for the gym for two days on January 1st, right?

You know, you're just back in the same place next year. So I think ultimately, that's the biggest value out of what we do is that organizations are just better off in a very, very concrete way, you know, three months, six months, nine months down the line.

@9:36 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

You know, folks, let me give you an example of, you know, Sean, this is really, really actually good information because I'm going through a process right now when we're trying to build a health care program.

that is important. And so how we utilize data as UNOS, right, the United Network of Organ Sharing, they actually have a database.

So if you're trying to build a transplant program, You know, so we'll tell you, hey, if you're, if you're expecting to do X amount of transplants annually, you should expect to have this many employees, this many providers, this many APPs, and that's because of the data because it's showing you, hey, if you want good quality outcomes, this is kind of where the matrix are saying.

this is exactly what kind of Sean saying. like, hey, this is where the data is telling you you're going to need to support.

If you're trying to scale your business, you're going to need to learn like operationally what you're going to need to bring in, but still also understanding the finances, like being able to be profitable, right?

Creating revenues, one thing, but actually being profitable as you continue to scale is going to be very important. And you certainly don't want to over scale where you're no longer profitable.

And so hiring someone, you know, like Sean to kind of come in and identify those areas of need is super important.

Because again, there's, there's things I know, I don't know, but there's a lot of things I don't know, I don't know.

And that's what data really unveils, which is very interesting, you know, it just, it tends to kind of unveil little potholes that you didn't know that was, that were there in that business.

Now, Sean, let's, let's kind of take a step back. You, you mentioned you've been an entrepreneur for like 25 years or 20, I'm the audiologist, right?

@11:13 - Sean Campbell

What was that? Almost 25. I'm looking forward to year 25, but I can't quite claim it yet.

@11:18 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

So what was that? What was that first entrepreneurial endeavor?

@11:23 - Sean Campbell

Well, the company was called to release solutions and that company is now, that name's been taken up by somebody else ever since that company was sold.

But three-loop solutions did something that was called technology evangelism when that was more common phrase and that was coined by Guy Kawasaki, used to work for Apple.

And to this day, if you watch Apple market, if you think of that phrase and you think of Apple, you're probably on a good path of understanding what technology evangelism is, right?

It's one part marketing, it's one part technology, it's one part understanding your customers. And that's something that they they've roughly represented pretty much throughout their whole history, I think, in some ways.

And so that's what that company did. came in and we were basically the folks who would really try to understand the technology in depth and then we would turn around and try to evangelize it through either training and education or marketing.

And we did a lot of work for Microsoft and Intel. The downside was those were really our only two clients.

Our initial step into entrepreneurship, we stepped right into the pothole that pretty much everybody does, which is that you get a couple really big accounts and you start to sell your soul to those.

And before you know it, your business itself has almost been warped a little bit by those accounts. And while they're great and they're giving you all this revenue, you always live in fear that at some point, one of those large accounts is just going to disappear.

It's maybe through no fault of your own, there's just a change in leadership and you get a message that says we're limiting the number of

With right, you know, and as a small company, you're never going to be the bender that they keep necessarily at the top of that list because There's going to be somebody with more spend than you and so that was interesting and I learned a lot though.

I mean the biggest Benefit of that business beyond just owning one and all the things that happen to your brain when you own a business because I I think there's something just one departure on this.

I think there's some things in life That it's not that someone else is lesser for not having experienced them They've gone through their own life events and things like that You can only talk about what you've been through right, but for me Owning a business just lights up parts of your brain that you just don't get Illuminated if you're an employee like I just there's things that just happen to you.

There's there's problems you have to face that just are typical And So there's definitely a lot of benefit from that But the other thing was I was working with Microsoft as our first account when Microsoft

oft had 97% market share of computing devices. the reason I emphasize that is we will never see that again.

I mean, even to this day, if somebody even crosses 50%, the DOJ just jumps in and says, on a minute, right?

And I'm not here to say whether that's right or wrong. That's a subject for a different show or a different interview.

But they had 97%. And that meant that working with them in that era was a real education on what somebody with that much market dominance and that much play and, frankly, that much money could do to evangelize, market, sell, grow, those kinds of things.

And it's almost like I got kind of an extra graduate degree in that. And I didn't really know it was happening until it was kind of over, You're just living in it.

And that was a great part of the experience. And Microsoft's still an account to this day in our second company.

I've always enjoyed working with them. Some people have their own. Gives and gets about working with Microsoft and I've always thought they're just a lot of fun to work with but part of partly I think because I feel like they gave me a world-class education of sorts even as their vendor You know 20 years ago, and that was basically what the first company did and we grew up to about 25 people and then eventually as Many people sometimes go through you know, I had two business partners at the time one of them exited and And then me and the other business partner.

Well, you know as part of the triad we probably saw eye-to-eye the least And we looked at each other and said, you think it probably makes sense to just split the business in half So we split it in half and then I kept it going for another couple years or so Decided that I kind of didn't really want to be in that business Specifically and I wanted to think about what I wanted to do my kids were younger at the time like really young so I ended up selling What was my half of the business had been standing on its own for a couple years So that was a whole other experience because if you sell a business

So I think there's things you just, you can't model in any other way, right? You know, walking into a room full of people and saying, so we're sold.

Uh, that's, that's kind of a singular experience to figure out what you want to say to everybody in the room, right?

And how you intend to protect them and think about their future as part of whatever transaction goes on. And then after that, I started cascade, but I'll stop there.

But that was basically company number.

@16:28 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

No, that's phenomenal because I think that's a great overview of like one, all the different things you've done, but also all the experience that entrepreneur is, or entrepreneur is, is because, like, for example, you are kind of working with other people's lives, right?

livelihoods of others are kind of in the owners' hands and ensuring that they are continuing to be successful outside of their, their career is important to a lot of these founders.

So I'm really glad you actually highlighted that piece now.

@16:58 - Sean Campbell

What? Let's look. even go even further, what kind of made you decide to take the entrepreneurial leap? mentioned you only worked for somebody maybe the entire life five years.

Was it just something always in you? Well, again, it was kind of organic. I always wanted to be a teacher, and so I was thinking about getting a PhD and going to a school in Iowa, and I was finishing my master's degree, and I was also teaching there.

was teaching like public speaking and interpersonal calm while I was getting my master's degree, and I was thinking about it, and I at the time just thought I'm going to be pretty poor.

I've met this cute girl, sounds maybe a little old school. thought like I want to provide for future family, but that's how I felt about it, and I wasn't sure what to do.

So I went off and I got a job teaching computers, which also dates me because that's literally what you used to say in the late 90s.

I'm going to go teach computers. And that's what you said. It sounds so odd every time. If I say it now, right, teach the cloud, like that doesn't sound right, you know, so I'm going to teach computers.

And this is an era when literally mice were new, you know, so I'm teaching classes where like literally somebody puts the mice mouse on the floor and tries to use it as a pedal.

I mean, all kinds of weird stuff like that would happen. And that was a great experience, but I was still teaching.

And then that led to a different job where I was teaching networking and databases and kind of kept moving down this technology stack.

was always kind of a little bit geeky, had a computer, you know, that I'd kind of built play games on, you know, so all this kind of lined up.

And anyway, I ended up in a job in Oregon when we moved out here, still teaching and teaching networking and databases and now some programming technologies.

And two other guys in the business that worked with me, we decided we wanted to become independent trainers. So we started a business that was the first one, three solutions where we were training and

And we were doing this technology of angels and work, and as time moved on, we basically just kept doing more and more of the technology of angels and work, and then we weren't doing the training quite as much, basically hardly at all toward the end.

And that's how it kind of slid, which has really been a bit of my journey all the way along, right?

know, I tried to just organically follow what's in front of me and make what appears to be minimal risks or hopefully was minimal risks, and at the same time just try to maximize what opportunities in front of me.

And if that sounds like I'm not pro-business plan, I wouldn't go quite that far, but I do think there's something about being able to react to what's in front of you that's sometimes under value, right?

know, because you'll talk to people and they'll be like, here's my business plan and I wrote all this up and, you know, I got my legal pad out, I'm going to spend time this weekend thinking about my plan, sometimes you just have to do, if that makes sense, right?

But sometimes the best education is doing. And I think we sometimes get this analysis, paralysis, a small business owner.

And just listen to your customers, listen to what's going on, a little bit. And that's what I've always done.

But maybe that's a little bit because of how I'm wired, too. I don't know how to necessarily solve a problem without going into educational mode for myself.

That's just the way I am. so that really works for me. And that's been the journey so far.

@20:37 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

One of the things you mentioned is you just got to do. And one of the things you've said is one of your first clients was Microsoft.

How does one individual housing entrepreneur build a brand to the point, one of your first clients is Microsoft? How did you build your brand to continue to grow the way it is today?

also how do

@21:00 - Sean Campbell

Clients like you do Well, I mean the first Microsoft was because we were working with Microsoft I mean we were doing some tech evangelism work in the organization.

We were part of when all three of us left and They let us continue that relationship There was a little bit of contractual negotiation involved in that For that to transpire, but they they allowed us to do that and that's how we got our first account So in essence, it was doing good enough work that our previous employer didn't want to say to Microsoft You can't work with these guys because that would leave negative impression in that way that they were constraining us but and that's that's how it first started and Honestly, I I haven't necessarily thought about it as building a big brand.

I've thought about it more as trying to do increasingly good work and And at the same time tell the world about that work, which I think is a little different than brand, right?

It's brand's important, but in B2B, I think it's less so sometimes, know, it matters that maybe they've heard of you or whatever, but you know, as a small firm, how likely is that really, right?

When you first bump into a large account that they've heard of you. And I think what matters more is that you show that you have a really strong success, you know, history, know, successful history of working with companies like them.

I mean, for me, marketing's been less about branding, I would say, then remaining narrow and focused. Not so narrow that I've only got two accounts like I did the first time around, but narrow enough that I can really clearly communicate to people that, hey, if you work with us in your B2B technology company, you can see a roster of another 100 or 150 companies that are a lot like you.

Now, that means also that I can't necessarily go work for, let's say, a pharmaceutical company, but I'm okay with that because I think right.

Well, I'll put it this way. think generalists are a little dangerous, I think, and I think they're dangerous because you're just getting kind of low wattage recycled ideas that would apply to lots of people, which inherently means it's a generalization, right?

So I've always been focused on a particular sector and a particular set of client problems, and I think that served as well.

And, you know, a weird way, what does that sound like? of sounds a bit like a professor, right? You know, professors don't teach every course in the university, they tend to find a discipline that they want to pay attention to, right?

And they grow their reputation by successful class after successful class in their area of, you know, the discipline that they want to focus on.

So, I don't know, it's kind of weird, but that's what, and even owning a research firm now kind of I find it ironic, because again, what does a professor do a lot of?

Well, they do research. So it just takes me back to the fact that I keep trying to orbit back to this job.

that I that I don't really quite have like I'm not actually a professor at a university like full-time but in a weird way a lot of my experiences keep driving me back toward it in terms of you know what I do with the business and how I react to it and you know where I put my focus on those kinds of things.

@24:19 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur?

@24:24 - Sean Campbell

Learning. It's easy. There are so many problems you get to solve as a business owner. It's an endless series of problems and if that sounds like there's a little twinge of negativity I mean not really.

There are days where you wish it would kind of stop you know but if you're optimizing what you're doing and you're trying to think of how you can serve people better you kind of never get to stop solving things and learning and figuring out how to get around a corner or get around a challenge and at least the way I tackle it you never really stop teaching.

Because you always have new employees to teach, you've got clients to maybe teach because they don't necessarily understand, you know, what they need to know.

And that's, that's what I enjoy the most out of it. You know, I don't do it for building a kingdom.

I don't. I mean, I love it when we grow and it's a sign that we've done a good job.

But I don't, I don't do it for that. I really don't. I mean, I literally do not have a plan anywhere in my hands, virtual or otherwise.

That says cascade will be X number of people and Y number of years. I just don't. And to be honest, it's somewhat unsettling sometimes when I tell people that like even even employees, right?

Well, should we have a plan? And I'm like, well, yeah, we could do that. But like, why don't we actually just do really good work.

And tell the world about it. the reason I keep saying both is that I do think there's a risk when you're an entrepreneur that you just do.

Like that's all you do. Because I think we've all met people over our lives where they. They've got this really nice business, but Calamity strikes, the market gets tight, they lose a couple of critical customers, right?

And now they don't have a business anymore. So I do think you have to tell the world what you're doing, and you have to be focused about it, and you have to have good marketing and good sales practices.

But, you know, don't know, that's kind of how I look at it overall.

@26:21 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

And I like the way you kind of define that is, you know, branding, the way you make branding is one way, you can do branding another way, but at the end of the day, it's about providing value and good quality service or product, whatever it is that you're in.

It's all about the value, right? making sure, like you mentioned, Sean, it's making sure that a client or a customer is willing to come back either word or mouth without having to put forth the money to put the brand together.

Because at the end of the day, that is your brand, your quality, the value you bring, that's the brand, and then you just actually have to amplify that as Sean's mentioning.

Hey, here's the cool. all the work I've done, I'm just going to amplify it. Now, you also mentioned challenges, right?

What would you say have been some of the biggest challenges for you building becoming, being an entrepreneur, and you have you ever had any moments of self-doubt?

@27:17 - Sean Campbell

Well, sure you have. Everybody has. I mean, owning a business is the easiest route to imposter syndrome on the planet.

@27:26 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Man, isn't it?

@27:28 - Sean Campbell

It's the easiest route to it, because at some point, if you're not psychotic multiple times, you will be staring at the ceiling and going, I am ill-equipped to make that decision, but yet I'm the one that needs to make it, because there ain't anybody else in this chair, right?

So I think, yeah, there's lots of things. I would say definitely one of the unique challenges I've been through.

is that I've had to basically take over a business's sole owner twice now after a business partner or two business partners have exited the business.

And that's, that's an interesting experience. know, there's so much you have to go through. know, clients will ask you tons of questions.

Somewhat unfairly, I might add, know, sometimes. mean, to be honest, you know, well, what does this mean? know, it's like, well, I don't know, there was, you know, 12 other people here just because somebody left doesn't necessarily mean it's all going to go fall apart, right?

Frankly, in a lot of cases, the people doing the work are the people that are still here, right? You know, in that sense.

Another challenge is just inwardly, right? You know, you've gone from maybe a multiple parent household, whereas in, you know, all multiple parent households, the children, know, i.e.

the employees, you know, part of the connection there, you know, will have a parent that they like to talk to you more.

And all of a sudden, they'll, left with one parent and that style may not necessarily fit at that point.

So, how does that work? You know, how do you navigate that? Because you don't want to try to become the person who left, that's not authentic and you won't be able to carry that on for a long time anyway.

Nor do you probably really want to necessarily if you kind of fail yourself in that situation, right? So, there's that kind of situation.

And you've also just got appropriate ways, trying to say, well, what does this mean for So, you have to up kind of owning it myself both times.

And I think it's great. I also enjoyed, at least in the seasons when things were going well, I enjoyed it.

joined having business partners. So it's interesting to have done both. I have this weird thing in my life where I get to do a lot of things twice, but I don't seem to get to do them three times.

I don't know why. I mean, maybe that'll change. Maybe I'll have a third business after this one. But I taught in university one time, and now I'm going to go back and do it again this fall.

I've owned two businesses. I have two laboratories. I have two cats. live in two places in the country. I have two kids.

did not have two wives. I'm very happily married my first wife.

@30:28 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

I don't want to have a second wife.

@30:30 - Sean Campbell

Before you ask, is everyone so well if I bothered to bring the services?

@30:33 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Well, what about the second one? No, that didn't happen.

@30:38 - Sean Campbell

And I'll say this. I don't know what else can be a replacement for having to go through something a second time.

I just don't know what is on the planet, right? We can try to project ourselves into the future. We can try to be empathetic.

We can try to think about what it might be like. But really, going through it. twice, pardon the pun, is singular, right?

It's like, it just is, like, you just, by going through the second time, you will just have a different reaction to it.

I, on a slightly personal note, and this isn't like Oprah Winfrey all of sudden or something, but apologies anybody who likes Oprah Winfrey is a show.

But like, my parents were even divorced twice from each other. Like, I, this isn't like a psychological thing for me now, I'm a full grown adult, but like, you know, they were divorced when I was in fifth grade, they got remarried, and then they divorced each other again.

I've even had that happen, right? I used to joke, I should be on Oprah on one of those shows where it's like, kids who parents have buried in divorce twice, You know, some rare statistical anomaly, right?

And I'm not making light of it, by the way, to anybody who's got divorced and kids, it's a hard thing to go through.

just, you know, I, I would hope most people would find a way forward, right? After x number of years of love, you're struggling with it.

I also completely understand it's a hard thing to go through. um, every one of those times, I've had the opportunity to just go hook.

How am I going to do it differently this time right like the second business I said I'm not going to let my ego be wrapped like a little you know candy cane around this thing I'm going to find my identity in my faith.

And for the record I'm a Christian right I'm going to find my identity in my faith I'm going to let the leader of the universe basically determine whether this business exceeds or fails and I'm going work really hard.

But I'm not going to just wear that because owning a business is an ego creation and deflation factor anybody who owns one would tell you that they are no matter what you try to do and you have to get a handle on that right I also think I'm.

Probably a little less intense in my second business I'm not saying I came from the set of the pranos in my first business but maybe there was a little bit bad I don't know.

Like I mean it's the X Chicago in and me right I don't know but it but I'm mellower in the second business there's things that I'm more patient with that I'll take my time with.

But just to, you know, watching your parents go through divorce a second time, you're like, gosh, they're just human, I guess.

I can't really pick a side here. Seems like there's been some challenges, right? You know, else are you going to conclude at that point?

You know what I mean? And you're just going to love them. In spite of their, whatever their failings may or may not be, right?

Even if those failings impacted you, you're like, okay, these are just flawed people just like I am, right? Second kid, same thing, right?

You know, you all of a sudden go, huh, I'm glad I've least messed up with one. Now I can figure what to do with the second one, right?

Second dog, same thing. Most second dogs are trained differently than the first dog, right? Because you're like, whoa, I can't believe I did that.

All that wrong with my dog now that I know, you know, what's going on. Living in two parts of the country, same thing again, right?

know, you live in one part of the country your whole life. That's great. Doesn't mean you're a lesser person, but I think anyone who's ever traveled, especially any significant distance or lived somewhere else, what's the first thing they say?

Oh, I grew right because you were just exposed to things that you wouldn't have necessarily been exposed to and You had to decide whether you were going to accept those as your own or not so I didn't mean to go quite as long in this, but I think I think that's that's one of the things that made me who I am today is just this like duality thing where I seem to go through things twice and I don't you know I think it's a blessing in a way because if I hadn't gone through certain things twice I probably would have had a very different memory and relationship to the thing I went through first whether that was business ownership a kid, know take your pack and I think that's that's been that's been a great blessing to be able to go through things a couple times That's all I'd say on that Yeah, I think you brought up a really good point.

@34:50 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

I always encourage people to do this too is traveling Really does provide a really large experience and exposure to

different cultures, and ethnicities, and foods, and thoughts, and ideas, and it really helps you grow. If you go into another country, if you just go visit another country for a week, you will come back and you will have grown.

It's very interesting.

@35:14 - Sean Campbell

Yeah, one thing on that, people will sometimes ask me, maybe I'm teaching a class or something, what's your one piece of advice?

Which always feels a little contrived because it's like, my whole life, I'm 53, and I've only got one piece of advice, mean, like, you'd hope I'd have more than that, you know, in the can at that point, but some wisdom at least.

I always summarize it to one thing, read stuff you disagree with. Which is a high version of kind of what you're getting at, like, you need to be exposed to things you disagree with, and the truth is, it doesn't happen that much in America anymore.

I hate to say it. I mean, it doesn't. I don't know what happens anywhere, right? You know, we're, we're very locked into, even if we constrain ourselves to just be.

business people, we're very constrained to what we think we know and we very rarely actually engage with something that we really actually disagree with long enough to read it to completeness, which is why I say read stuff you disagree with, read an entire book you disagree with, just watch a five minute YouTube channel.

But if that's where you need to start to build your muscle, that's fine too, guess. read something you disagree with all the way to the end and it really good goodness test for how willing you are to do that is like when you're consuming information through the day, like again, let's just keep it at business ownership.

How often do you look for the contrary opinion? If you've got a favorite business book that you quote all the time, how often have you actually looked at the negative reviews or looked at actually a book that maybe espouses a different way of doing business ownership or the approach to it?

And honestly next to being a teacher, educator in terms of how I'm wired, that's probably the other thing that's been really key to, I always have a hard time saying key to my success, I gotta be honest, is I, cause I don't know if you get the grade on that, till you graduate, like the entire, which maybe sounds odd, but I just don't like the phrase, the key to my success, right, because, well, I feel like that's a life award.

It's not necessarily a lifetime of key to It's cheapened it to be like, you know, my success over the last six months, says the guy at the networking event who says he started for businesses, none of which have actually employed anyone, right?

You know, like, we've all met that guy. And so he's quick to tell you his keys to his success.

So anyway, I think that to me, that's one of the keys to my success, right, is that I've just always been willing to turn to the thing that's contrary.

And if it sounds like this impacts my personal, I'll give you a good example, it's like the US presidential elections, let's just say they have been watched with a great degree of interest over the last few cycles.

That sounds vague enough to leave it completely unclear who or what I voted for, that was intentional. But I looked at the last election and I said, you know, I'd like to just learn more about the office of the president.

You know, so you know what I'm going to do, I'm going go read a biography of every single US president, which I did.

I'll tell you that some presidents were pretty dull, some presidents were amazingly interesting. Herbert Hoover is oddly crazy interesting.

The guy that normally is the butt of a joke. And there's also stuff you read in there. like, wow, I can't believe we actually believed that as a country.

Did we actually enact a law that did that? Oh my God, that's crazy, right? And so you run into things you would disagree with.

people of the time would have thought was a super smart idea, right? And that maybe little story is a pretty good example of how I just kind of walk through life, right?

I don't always have the time to go read, you know, I don't know each biography was probably on average 600 pages, so you know 40 plus presidents.

That's a lot of reading But but it was great and I would go through it again I'm kind of on the fence about what I'm gonna do next just as a random thing I'm thinking now about reading a fiction book from every country in the world So just to kind of do that route.

I don't know. I I got it I got a busy calendar this summer. got a kid that's graduating and a bunch of other stuff going on So I don't know if that's gonna start right away or not, but Yeah, I just think that's the that's the best route to Kind of expanding your brain.

@39:44 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Just read stuff you disagree with Yeah, I really like that And you know encouragement to kind of read things you disagree with because I think that it's very true Versus, you know the current route we're on where Just kind of

banning books right now. It kind of seems like not the best route, but hey, I get it. Some people don't like certain content, but I do think there is something to learn from getting a different perspective on individuals, because that's, I think that's where you get advice as well from a speaking of advice would love Sean, what advice, you know, you give aspiring, you've done, you've been doing this for almost, you know, over two decades now.

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs that are thinking about, you know, jumping, jumping into the water?

@40:35 - Sean Campbell

I would say, have a support network that isn't people in your business. That's one thing. And that support network should definitely include your spouse.

But it shouldn't only be your spouse because sometimes you can put a little too much burden spouse. I think in your spouse.

I don't necessarily think I did. I mean you could put her on the show and see what she thinks.

But think, you know, be fine. I mean we work together, right? And she's worked in the business handling like finance and HR for a number of years over both businesses.

But I think that's one thing you need. You need to support network outside of it because, you know, it's a little lonely to own a business.

It is. I mean, there's a great scene in saving private Ryan that I quote all the time to anybody who's going to start a business.

And this doesn't give away the whole movie, although I don't know who hasn't seen that movie at this point or hasn't at least heard the basic plot at this point.

There's a scene where Tom Hanks is walking, you know, through the bookage in Normandy. one of the soldiers is complaining about this mission to save private Ryan.

And it kind of goes roughly very quickly, something like this. Like, why should we sacrifice our lives for this one another guy like multiple of us might be killed to save one guy?

seems crazy right so it's that kind of conversation and another guy complains and cevaches and they go back and forth and eventually go to tom hanks character and tom hanks says something to the of well see i don't i don't complain down to you because that's not the way this works right and there's more to the scene than that and it's well worth watching it's a great scene any entrepreneur should see also has a lot to do with what tom hanks says he will say to his boss and that scene but yeah you don't get to complain down who wants to hear the boss complaining some bosses do right whoa pity me you know whatever so you got to find a support network and you also my argument would be you should you should invest yourself in faith now for me i'm a christian that's where i'm going to put my hope i don't know how i could have gone through certain things if i didn't have a hope that was external to me

I, it's business ownership is hard, you know, there's going to be moments where you're going to worry about the future of the business or the direction of it or a challenging employee conversation, you know, all those kinds of things.

I also would say, and this might be odd to say, be, be okay with knowing that you'll run out of money.

And that's not meant to be negative, by the way, it's not. Like, it's just that when you own, when you have a job, we all delude ourselves into the fact that we'll always have the job or a job.

What happens when you have a business business is that you also have this other thing called your backlog or the amount of work before you or the production backlog, which is somewhat unique to owning a business, right?

Because we kind of assume we're an employee, well, I don't know what I'll be doing in this job in November, but I assume I will be doing something in November, right?

it's now April. And this ownership gives you a very. Start chalk line of exactly when the amount of work you have to work on ends and you can draw line between that in What's in your bank account and predict forward as to what point you will be out of money?

And I think everyone I've ever talked to If they've been in business for about a year, they go wow, that's actually true Just the knowledge of that number has kind of changed my whole view of even just work in a way, right?

So that's one thing and the very last thing I'd probably say just on the top is And this is paraphrasing a line from a bolder book called the e-myth revisited But I think about it often especially if you're a new entrepreneur and the guy said You have to work on the business as much as you work in the business And I could tell you that's not always true, you know, I have a very very good friend that struggles with this owns a business You

This meeting is being recorded. That is a place where a lot of new business owners get trapped. Right? Is that they just do and do and do and do and do but they never work on the business.

Right? And you do have to keep both in mind. I think. And there's obviously more stuff that I've thought about over the years, but those are the top of mind.

@45:33 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Thanks. No, I think that's a very, very good point. You know, working on the business and not just working in the business.

know, do you continue to see yourself scale and how are you going to make it? that sales funnel look like?

Where is that, you know, thinking about your customer transaction with the cost of it? Now, speaking of customer, Sean, what is your, what, you know, folks listening at home, maybe they're interested in your service.

What does the typical customer look like for your team and how can they get in contact?

@46:00 - Sean Campbell

with you. Well, for us, if you're a B2B technology company, that's who we like to work with. So, and if you do, and you, if you're our B2B technology company and you're looking for market research or marketing services, just check out

@46:16 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Perfect. Yes, again, folks, that is a organ company. In fact, they actually won the one of the best, top 100 best organ companies here.

so Sean, I'm sorry share your nose, but Shades of Entrepreneurs here in Portland, Oregon myself. So we record here locally.

I always love bringing in local entrepreneurs to really showcase what they're doing. Now, as any of the last words you would like to give to the the folks listening to him.

@46:44 - Sean Campbell

I gave away one of the biggest ones earlier, you know, reached up, you disagree with, maybe I'll just say, come to Oregon in the summer.

Don't come the other nine months of the year. Come in the summer. We are having a. We're just about to get into the best part of it.

Right now, right? bring this on May 16th. As anybody's lived here long enough nose. We've got four months of sunshine which is which no one believes this unless you live here.

But we get you know pretty soon we get about four months of sunshine. You know maybe it's all the way to July 1st it comes but we get that it goes all the way through the end of September and then we get nine months of rain.

@47:19 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

But that's why I ask overheads you might want to start sneaking out of here folks.

@47:23 - Sean Campbell

John thank you again so much and again folks this information will be on the newsletter so you can subscribe to the newsletter at

@47:31 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

You can also follow us on the social media on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and TikTok at the Shades of E.

Additionally this episode will be viewable on YouTube so if you search at the Shades of E that will be available and again Sean's information will be on the newsletter the week before the episode airs the week the episode airs and the week after the episode airs and there'll be additional reels that will continue to come out on the social media platforms really hide and cascade insights.

Sean thank you again. So much for joining the show. really do appreciate it. Really excited to continue to see your team grow.

to connect with you. know you've been here in the Oregon area, so maybe we'll connect offline and see if we do have some client-thower interested in some of your services as we do have a business accelerator program.

So we have a lot of entrepreneurs that do come through that program that are looking to scale their business.

Again, folks, thank you again and have a great night. 

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