April 20, 2022

Asking For Help with Robert Blacklidge


Robert Blacklidge, Domi Station’s Executive Director, is an educator, mentor, speaker, and ecosystem builder. He has over half a decade of experience implementing entrepreneurial programs such as hackathons, educational programming, and others in numerous communities.  Mr. Blacklidge also spends time volunteering with programs such as Global Entrepreneur week, 1 Million Cups, Startup Grind, and Techstars Startup Week & Weekend. Additionally, he serves as the Board Chair for the Tallahassee Technology Alliance and holds two Master's Degrees an MBA and an MS MIS.

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/uafm)

Transcript

Josh:

Hey, good day fellows. Welcome to uncensored advice for men on today's show. We're going to have a conversation with my friend, Robert, and we're going to talk about some cool stuff about his story, and also for you guys sometimes how to ask for help. Robert, welcome to the show.

Robert:

Thank you for having me.

Josh:

Now you're a fellow podcast host, right? You've built the syndicate network and you've done a bunch of cool stuff. Why don't you tell us about who you are and what you're working on?

Robert:

Sure. My name is Robert Blackledge as mentioned I'm actually a serial entrepreneur. I've had overtake companies at this point and for the last half a decade, I've really just been helping other people start and grow their companies. On the side I had this show called the startup salmon show where I interview entrepreneurs, founders just to get their stories out there. It kind of the war stories, the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. And, it really was a high side hobby for me. So there's about 20 ish episodes. I haven't had time to put anything out in the last year or two, but they're there. People listen to them around the world, which is cool to see with that. I really tried to find kind of itches of ways to bring additional resources, Dr. Preneurs and podcasting is a great way to get that information out, to share your story, to share what you're working on. One of the more expensive things, once you really start going with podcasting is the hosting. I found a way there's a platform called capita. They.fm phenomenal hosting platform. Well, they let you have multiple shows. I started a podcasting network so that I could reduce the cost of hosting for entrepreneurs while increasing their ability to distribute.

Josh:

Super cool. You've owned 10 companies and you've kind of seen the ups and downs of the startup world to become the startup. Santa's, how did you, what was the first one? Talk to us about maybe some ups and some downs that you've had personally in the startup world.

Robert:

I do count the candy business that I had selling on the bus when I was a kid like that was the first it's been forte into the entrepreneur world. From there. I had a landscaping business. So we load lawns. We painted mailboxes for people at teams of people going out and doing jobs. This was all before I turned 16. I turned 16, I got a job. For years I was happy, but like empty. Like I was missing something for a long time. I ended up serving in the military and doing multiple jobs, working in retail, but never really filling this gap that I had, or, or finding that purpose, I think is a better way of phrasing it. In 2015, got my undergrad, my graduate degree started three businesses and thought too. They were everything from web development to consulting and half a million dollar restaurant business. So I own two Blimpie's. We had 14 employees, we, two locations I was facilitating the market for the region are cleaning for the region. It was great until we ran into a disagreement with my business partner. I learned a lot in this kind of forte, a where you, you should never do 50. You should have a really solid operating agreement. I think a lot of entrepreneurs find that out pretty fast after a venture or two they'll kind of realize that, oh, I should have had really clear lines of communication and of what people are supposed to do and what happens if you're no longer want to be a part of what we're doing here. That's a really hard lesson to learn, but a very important one because I lost that business. I mean, like my business partner took 60 grand and paid off business debt and because it was business debt and because he was a 50% owner in the company, there wasn't a lot that I could do. The business was gone overnight, no cash in the bank business kind of rolled up in about a month, which is really disheartening if you and I have kids now. I can kind of relate, when people tell you that losing a business is like losing a child. I don't know if it's quite as bad as it was probably not as bad. I'll tell you that. At the same time, it is very devastating because you created this thing, you put your heart, your soul, your life into it. You, you devoted resources, time, energy, and probably significantly more than you would have, or have had to do for anything in your life to that point. I lost it all in an incident, it was gone that flash of Lincoln blanket, it was gone. The depression that I sunk into there was a deep, a deep, well that I've never luckily been back to, but definitely some of the most devastating, I think I even had of PTSD. Like I couldn't drive down the street that the shops were on. I was standing in my driveway, sunken like, felt like I was in the bottom of the pit. I was staring at this red Fiat 500 and I just had this desire to get away, to move out, to travel. I took this Fiat and I opened it up. I took the seats out of it. I've put a bed, a dresser, and some fans and I hit the road and I drove thousands of miles all the way into Canada. If you've ever driven a candidate of the roads are black asphalt, eight lanes wide mountain ranges. As far as you can see trees of spruce reaching for the sky. I think I drove 22 hours a day. I hit Canada and I ended up driving until the road turned to dirt and stopped at the base of this mountain. Now, mind you, I'm still feeling kind of empty. I have not found what I'm looking for. I wasn't going to let this mountain stop me from finding whatever it is I had gone on this journey to find. I grabbed my bag and I head up the mountain climbing trails that were almost vertical hand over hand to get up through them, pushing through overgrown bushes that were the secret garden, if you've ever seen that movie and out the other side. When the vistas broke, when, as they came out, the trees, the coast was made of black marble rocks. It was overcast. There was rebel screwing across the coastline, and I didn't feel any different. I was like, I came all this way. My only solace is that the environment looks like I feel on the inside. I spent a few minutes, but I didn't spend a lot of time there. I turned around and headed back up and over the mountain. When I Crested the mountain, the sun had been setting on the other side. The ocean was a lit the mountains around a blaze and in a moment of clarity. I think when you see something just truly beautiful, your mind kind of opens up, allows you to be introspective. I realized that in life I had been pursuing money and in money can be lost in an instant. It can be taken away from you. Sorry. I looked inside and I was curious about what I really cared about, what drove beat, what were my passions. This would be for passion, kind of got a negative connotation. Like what really drove me, what was my why? I, I realized that I really believed in education and entrepreneurship because education can empower you and entrepreneurship allows you to and sets you free to pursue your passion or your goals that you're trying to achieve. Since then, I've really been on this journey of educating and empowering others to pursue whatever their goals are.

Josh:

Oh, nice. As you're going through this journey, right, packed it up, remove the seats, put a bed in there driving 22 hours a day searching. Right. I think guys, there's the saying, not all that wander are lost. Right. I've gone through a similar thing, I've my daughter's nine and we lived in nine different homes. Right. We've moved a lot and I've chasing this thing called, like, what should I do with my life? For a guy, I've had a lot of jobs from firefighter, wrestle, alligators, paramedic, real estate, broker investor, all the gambit venture capital loss, it built, it, lost it, built it. I feel like my whole life I was searching. Like you were to hopefully one day, stand on a mountain top, open the trees and then get clarity that never happened to me in terms of externally, it happened internally. How did you find your fit in this world?

Robert:

Yeah, I think there's two real key things that I've learned over the years. One fall in love with the journey. The journey is so important. It really, the destination always changes, right? There's always the fluidity and where you're headed, where you're going. I think, especially in today's society with all of the different resources and ways that you can move that the journey is really where the magic happens. The small moments that add up to the bigger picture, the other side is, I think there's a real disservice that we've done. I think there was really something in talk about that kind of what our ancestors used to do, going out into the wilderness and learning from who you are and being in nature and just kind of fighting that and that inner soul is, I know you asked, like, what is that, how that find there and hope that kind of answers of that touches on.

Josh:

Do you think, so your walkabout was a, a Fiat in driving 22 hours a day. That was kind of your drive about right.

Robert:

Here's the, here's the thing though, too. Like I didn't, I was driving and like, it's, I think you just get into this zone when you're driving. Like it's so mundane, like, it can beautiful, but it's like the world's just worry past you. I didn't have that clarity until I had like been in nature for hours. Like it wasn't like I just jumped over the mountain. Like I grew old my way up and over through the, like, there was a journey in that moment of the mountain. I think giving in the Fiat took me to there, like it got me to that place, but the actual internal introspective moment took hours in nature of actually just being with myself.

Josh:

Yeah. For guys, for me, that is one of the hardest things in the world is to just be with me, be by myself, be quiet, being nature. I I'm an extrovert by nature. I love people. I'm always surrounded by people. I, I do sports with people, events with people. Like, is that something that was tough for you to be alone? Or is that more natural for you?

Robert:

But no. I'm an ambivert, mostly extra diverted, but I need times to recover, like you to be able to go back out and be engaged and at my peak performance, if you will, but this was, I think, because of the depression, right. Because of that loss, it drove me to the isolation where I would not have chosen that for myself.

Josh:

Yeah. I went, how did you what's after depression for you, right? You had a major loss, even, you said you experienced some form of like a PTSD where you couldn't see those businesses or drive down that road and you kind of, you excavate went on a walkabout. How did you, what was after that? What was, what was the journey back home? What did that look like?

Robert:

Yeah. I think the understanding of what drove me, the why I exist, not what I did, the what, didn't matter, why I was here, what was driving your, why? Why I care about things really helped to frame what I went on to do. I, it pushed me into education. I really found this gap between what universities were teaching and what employers needed. A couple of my businesses, I really, every business sense and was about educating and empowering others to pursue that goal. I've done it in a couple of different ways. I had a software development company where I would hire people right out of school and help them get work, experience doing it. That made me realize that universities really are nowhere near what employers actually need. Right? As a business owner, you need that employee to very quickly start generating revenue. I have this person and no fault of their own, they were educated. They had certifications, but they weren't able to generate revenue. In fact, they were costing me significant money cause they were making mistakes. As a small business owner, there's this balance of like, do I go and just get it done myself if I can't replace it, right. It costs me money to hire someone, payroll and do some stuff. We realized that, one there's double-sided to issue a small business owner really needs bang for their buck. The person coming out with that education didn't have the skills to give that to the small business owner when 98% of the GDD GDP is generated by small and medium businesses. That's a problem because they're the bulk of employers in our communities. I wanted to develop a platform that would do small scope projects for employers, kind of freelance before freelancing really got big. I was trying to help students get freelancing work teaching what freelancing was and partnering with companies to provide that work.

Robert: There's of red tape in there with, because a lot of the 10 99 laws weren't really solidified and how things would work. This is really before the whole freelancing market got solidified. When did you see it now as now? Almost like a what's the Upwork or the fiber kind of model before fiber was a fate. I'm moved on and kind of went into getting a second degree master's degree and kind of doing this kind of stuff. And then I moved back to Tampa. I forgotten a job at Tampa general and we came from Omar. So I'd been stationed at an office. Been there for several years, came down to Tampa and I was supposed to just sit by the pool and do schoolwork. Like it wasn't when it's supposed to do anything. If you're not familiar with 1 million cups is it's a weekly at 9:

00 AM, all across the country, people getting together, sharing their stories.

Robert:

I had been in an Omaha, which is close to Kansas city rural. It was birthed by the Kauffman foundation. I had been exposed to this and you can only sit by a pool so much. At least I can't like my inner like need for people is getting at me, sitting by the pool, doing schoolwork. I went to the entrepreneur collaborative center in Hillsborough county, which was walking distance from our apartment. I, this is, I really believe in serendipity and again, in deeper there, but the amount of bouncy balls that had to have happened for me to walk into that building alone, just to be there. I wasn't supposed to be in Tampa. I was supposed to have stayed in Oman, finished the degree, but I was like, oh my wife's down here sitting by the pool. I'm going to come join her. I'm going to be here, pack my stuff up, move down then that I was supposed to sit poolside and be doing schoolwork, but felt the need to get out and could walk to where everybody. That was the thing I was like, it's close enough to walk. I'll just go. And you know, that'd be fine. It'd be break up my day, walk in there. And there are two presenters, right? One of them is operation startup. This is a organization that one only talks at one minute to maybe once a year, if that, and help veteran entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. I was like, awesome. I'm a fat, I'm an entrepreneur. I want to get involved. I became an entrepreneur resident within a month of coming to a brand new city, a major city, like not a small one. I had put together an event called which was focused on helping veterans kind of get resources and work on their businesses over weekend period, I had met Jeff Vinik, who is the lunar that owner of the Tampa bay lightning. Really it just Infor traded the entire entrepreneur side of the city connecting these different disparate pieces. It was really exciting for me, right? Like, and this is when it comes to asking for help. Like I just asked it for as much help as I could. I'm trying to do, who do I need to talk to? How do I get to where I'm going? What, what is, what do you recommend that I do? And not all the advice is good. You kind of got to take the pieces that are valuable, important to you. That led me to this event called startup bus. If you're not familiar with start a bus, it's three days on a bus to get on this bus with the rant group of random strangers. If you have an idea, you pitch it to the group and then you form teams and not every idea gets worked on. These teams kind of form around key components. Somebody who can build it, somebody can make it look good and somebody who can sell it or hustler. And we had this really awesome team. The idea that I pitched was there's a skill gap. How do we align university curriculum to employer needs three days on a bus. We built a software MVP of what ended up becoming my company for the next few years, called course delight. We used machine learning, natural language processing to look at syllabuses, looking at employer, job posting and identify the gaps, which was really cool, very powerful. I ended up raising some funds that help create a runway. For a couple of years, I won a couple of pitch events and that led me all around the country. I was pitching in Silicon valley. I was pitching in Atlanta. I was pitching in new Orleans. Like it was incredible. This like high flying, like in front of thousands of people pitching your concept. Like it was awesome. I only got there because I just kept asking for help. Like what should I do? Where should I go? What should I be doing? Where can I go? How can I help? How can I get, what would you recommend? I do end up doing a couple of accelerators and we had gotten the company to a point where we really needed to get capital investment. We had letters of intent from universities. If you've ever sold to universities, that is no small feat to have multiple universities to give you letters of intent to implement your software. We had, we had, I forget what Blackboard calls it, but they have a program for companies to put, be put on there. We had secured a partnership with Blackboard, which is, I'm not trying to make that big. Like we fill out some forms and they approved our PR platform tool to go on their platform, which was huge. But I needed the enterprise version. We had been working on this MVP and to do what we had basically letters of intents for, and the partnerships we really needed to build a SAS product that could serve kind of large numbers of data. I mean, we had trillions of gigabytes of data at, it was ridiculous. We'd also secured a partnership with the company that search or basically collected job data globally down to the zip code. I had universities access to their syllabuses through Blackboard. I had job data down to the zip code with this partnership over here. I just needed the engine that could handle the scale of that. We had an investor promised to give us half or twice as much as were looking, but they w four, but they wanted us to move to west Palm. It was in Tampa at the time my kids were about to be born and I really didn't want to leave the state. I remember I'd pitched all around the state. I had the investors interested kind of everywhere else, but a lot of it, a lot of early stage investors wants you to move to wherever they're at. They can kind of help bring resources and leverage what you're doing. Just a couple of things hit the head and I was like, okay, we'll go to west. Palm will be there. They pulled the term sheet on us. Like talk about like huge upset of your life. You're like, I got, I've got investment in my company. We're going to go full steam with this. I've got, I'm going to get paid. Like part of the deal was I was going to get a paycheck. I was like, perfect. This is great. And they were messing around. They didn't do their due diligence before we moved down, they ended up wanting to change the deal around. I was like, fine, whatever. Just give me the term sheets. I'm going to go be a dad. They never came back with the change term sheets. I was like, whatever. For about eight months I was able to be a father, which was really cool because a lot of people don't get that early time with the children. Yeah. I think it's been paid out in droves for us. Our kids are just super cool at this point and are only getting cooler day every day. For me, that means I needed to find something else. Remember this all goes back to like, I had that moment of clarity. I was like, I really don't want like a corporate job. Like I don't think I can handle that after being an entrepreneur for years. What I can do and had been doing is like organizing startup events and startup weekends and hackathons. Like I, I ended up going the year after that I would have rode the startup busing, conducting the route and helping organize for the other routes and going office Depot's hackathon. I Tripoli's hackathon like really cool, like next level stuff got involved with startup week can like one year we brought Gary Vaynerchuk to Tampa, like that is super legit stuff. I'm like, I want to do that for a living. Like how do I do that? I ended up going to start off week and just again, asking for help, right. Going out to my network, Hey, I'm this is where I'm at. Like we, this is what happened. I'm just really trying to move into a position where I can do this full time to this support kind of stuff and help other entrepreneurs reach their goals. I had the opportunity to work as a contractor, as a director of education for catapult Lakeland. If you're not familiar with them, they're a 40,000 square foot commercial kitchen incubator and office coworking space located in downtown Lakeland, Florida, absolutely immaculate building phenomenal tools and resources for entrepreneurs. And I built out their programming. I built, I brought start a bride, 1 million cups and other and startup weekend to the community all first time. First time being there that wasn't reactivity and like literally brought national resources to this community. Like most people I was affected by the pandemic contract ended. They didn't renew it. It, co-working space, everything's shutting down. I had to find another way to continue to do this journey, right. Just to continue to get back again, reached out to my network, ask those questions. Like, what can I do? Where can I do this? How can I engage? I had, along that journey when I was doing around pitching my company, made some connections in Tallahassee. In fact, there was a job that I almost went to and I chose catapult over out of Tallahassee. I had learned about Domi station, which is where I'm at now, which is a co-working incubator located. It's really the only coworking incubator in Tallahassee and they were hiring. So I reached out, got plugged in. They brought me on as a director of entrepreneurship back in August of last year or year before last 2020. Yeah. August of 20 time, time flies, man. I was able to from Lakeland, remotely build out a really robust entrepreneur education program, six months long it's transferable for college credits like phenomenal program and is built around like all the things that I wish I had known or had to access to or hadn't resources for.

Josh:

All right. We're back. I had a little internet issue, but you're sharing that you were able to jump on with Domi and Domi station and you were able to build out programming virtually six months of program, all the stuff that you wish you would have learned as an entrepreneur. Now you're teaching this and it transfers to college credits like as you're building out this training program and these things for entrepreneurs, what are two things that you wish you would have known that you're now passing on to other entrepreneurs?

Robert:

Oh, golly. I don't think it's one or two things. There's a long list of things that we cover on. There's six topics that we cover and I'll touch on some key things in there, but pitching right. And it's really presenting. One of the key things that we do with the program is every class you introduce yourself. We tell them to use this time to test out new ways to introduce the company, whatever you're working on, they kind of that always be selling mindset. Like how do you articulate? What is the value you provide to your customer in a concise way quickly? There's something powerful about just doing that regularly. You get into this rhythm of being able to do it. You're at the bar and we've seen it, like we've had people who went, I mean, it would take them five minutes to tell you what they did kind of sorta. I mean, you wouldn't really even know at the end of it, you'd be like, oh, okay. Two, like in less than 30 seconds, you're like, oh, okay. That's cool. They were getting offers for purchase of their company, right? Like that's the kind of power of being able to be concise enough to get that first introduction. The power of it is like you get three seconds to get the five seconds to get the 15 seconds to get the three minutes and get the five minutes to get the 60. Like, it kind of builds on it. Like your people are always doing like a check, like, oh, do I still care? Do I still care? Yeah, I still care. I still care. Having that kind of built that muscle built up is powerful. We do sales and marketing. There is some really standard practices when it comes to marketing and sales, like funnels are a thing they're relatively straightforward, but not a lot of people who are not entrepreneurs. And that's who we deal with. This is their first venture, their first idea. They're not coming from sales. They're not coming from marketing there. I have a really cool cupcake that my grandma taught me how to make. And it tastes amazing. Like that skill set is what they're bringing, not the business alchemy. Teaching them the fact that like the customer stories, that thing customer personas matter, and you can build targeted campaigns around each one is incredibly powerful. For a lot of these businesses, we do legal, right? When is it time to buy an LLC? When is it time to do that? And then we do accounting. We spent a whole month on I county. And what do you need QuickBooks? Or do you need a bookkeeper? What kind of things do you need to worry about with taxes? What can you write off? We can't write off. And then we do idea validation. Like, how do this is actually something that you want to care? All of those are a month long. We do weekly classes on Tuesday, virtual, where we bring in subject matter experts. You can ask questions like that's the power of this is not the contents out there. You can find it everywhere, but there is just theory. If you can't apply it doesn't do you any good. You have to be able to apply it in your use case. Having that access to those individuals weekly, you have to have over 1400 mentors that we bring to bear. We have a bunch of subject matter experts. I hope that answers of things we touch on. Some of those nuggets in there, the last one I want to leave you with is a methodology that I, I teach our entrepreneurs called 10 squared. This is around the idea of validation companies do this, whether they're a hundred million or 1 million or $1, this concept will build you up the community around the concept that you're trying to do. Essentially it breaks down to go talk to a hundred people. Every 10, look at the questions you're asking them and look at the people that you're talking to the first 10 or 20, you're really just refining the questions. From there, you're trying to find the right group of people to be asking those questions to. That tool set of just taking every 10 and breaking them down becomes very powerful because the last two questions you asked are, can I follow up him? What's your email.

Josh:

Yeah.

Robert:

That the power of this is that as you grow this, you have a community of people that you can reach back out to. Right? The introduction is, Hey, I'm working on developing a school thing. I'd love to get your feedback back. You don't even have to do that. Hey, I'm doing some research on people's eating habits. Do you have a few minutes? I'm trying to study this so on so forth. The biggest things with the questions are, ask open-ended questions and let them tell you a story. I can give you an example of this. Do you care about what you eat Josh?

Josh:

Most of the time, unless I'm drinking too much.

Robert:

Yeah. Well, tell me about the last mill. You had.

Josh:

Sushi last night with the wifey date night.

Robert:

Yeah. So here's some really cool things. That first one you actually gave me more than what most people do. Right? Cause it was the yes or no question. You didn't just say yes or you didn't just say no. Right. You were like, yeah, kind of I do. There's a lot more that I can take from that story. Right. So coordinating to you didn't eat breakfast. You skip most of your breakfast is which means you're probably busy in the morning and you're trying to get out the door, but you do care about what you eat and you want something that is enjoyable and is good to do. Good to consume. Right? Like there is so much more in a story and that's the power of these questions. Like I say, 10 questions, 10 times, like the numbers don't matter. That's the methodology, go ask people questions that, get them to tell stories around the thing you're trying to create or solve that will tell you more about the industry, the problem points that people are having. Ask if you can follow up because once you have a hundred people and then you create a prototype, like, Hey, I really appreciate you helping me with those questions. I went and created this potential solution for it. I'd love to get you in as the founder, half off of what we're planning itself, price in the market, you get a pre-order and then you go use that money to build the damn thing.

Josh:

Yeah, yeah. That is, I love that methodology. We, we worked through that when we coach a client on our business side. Right. It is so important too, to ask advice from people that will potentially be your ideal client or partner. Right. Can I follow back up with you when we get, what advice you have? Hey, if I go fix what you told to fix, can I follow back up with you? Yeah. Cool. The power of a hundred people, let's just say a hundred people, a hundred bucks a month. That's 10 K a month. Right. In Florida, 10 K a month is pretty good to sustain. Maybe even a few team members as you guys are bootstrapped and growing. A super cool, I like how you built that out. Robert, as you're going through this process, you've been very open about your ideas. You've been very open about asking for help. There's a, a thing in the startup world, or even with guys, right? Like I don't want to be embarrassed. It's not ready yet. Right. Or I don't want someone to steal my idea or, I'm not ready to talk about this, sign an NDA or something like that in the world where us guys might have these concerns, especially in the startup world, like how do you approach that?

Robert:

There's a couple of things that you should consider. One. If you're telling them how to build the kitchen sink, you've gone too far. You really should be telling them that, Hey, kitchen, sink, suck. I'm trying to build a better kitchen sink. That something you're interested in or what advice you have on your experiences with kitchen sinks? Like you're not really giving away the secret magic recipe, right? Yeah. KFC at Coca-Cola they have a recipe under lock and key, right? Like it's hidden away and it's not patented. There's no protection. The protection is they don't tell people the actual order in the amount of the stuff, but Coca-Cola, didn't say, Hey, look, I don't have anything he said here, this is a great drink. Tell me what you think. Right? It's the level of depth that you want to be cautious of. The only caveat I give to that is if you're going and talking with large corporations, it's probably good to have that kind of safeguard in place. The drawback of NDAs and CIN agreements is that they're only as powerful as they were, or they're only as protective as deep as your pockets are. Does that make sense? You have to be able to defend that patent or defend that NDA in core of law. It's almost better just to pull, kind of keep that actual, like magic sauce, close to the chest and talk about what it is you're trying to achieve and how you're trying to get there and the different resources you need to do that or looking to do that. The other part of it is that it's not easy. Like this is the companies. They seem like they spur up overnight. I think my favorite analogy of this is, a ship engine when it started and they had all the engineers from that, they're looking at it. They eventually went and got this old guy who was the mechanic at the port, right. He comes in and he, and they asked him to fix the engineer, walks up, picks up a hammer and he hits it and the engine starts up. Right. They lock, he goes, and they were like, okay, how much is it? Is it's tank eight? Well, we're gonna need an itemized list of like what you did. Cause all you did was walk in here. You didn't really do anything. You gotta get us. No problem hammer $1, $9,999 knowing where to hit.

Josh:

Yeah.

Robert:

Right. That energy and effort expend nature, that it takes to pull all those pieces together, to be able to actually execute and turn over. That is, I think where most of the work is, if we do you don't give away the secrets, toss mud, and to most of it is from the work and the labor that it takes to actually get the thing off the ground. Not, not in the idea itself. Ideas are a dime a dozen.

Josh:

Yeah. As you're building this muscle and building entrepreneurs and focusing on your passion of education and entrepreneurship, one of the things that you said is very important for you is that guys learn how to ask for help. Why do you think that is so hard for us guys?

Robert:

I think we grew up in a society and we're just now maybe starting to kind of move beyond it. Fair. You didn't ask for help. You just got it done. I think that was how were raised. Like stop crying, pull up your straps and get the s**t done. Right?

Josh:

Like yeah.

Robert:

Pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Literally was from pulling people. Like they were like, pull your boots up by your bootstrap so that you can go wherever muck through this thing. Like it was legit from the like pulling strings on boots.

Josh:

Yeah. Asking for help was the sign of weakness. Right. What I found is when you're already too late and then you have to ask for help because it's too late, then you're desperate to me, desperate is weakness, right. People who come to me prior to an event happen and who goes now, there's different forms of desperate, but desperate because you didn't ask for help because you held out too long because you didn't reach out to the right resources, pay for the right resources. Like I think asking for help is a sign of strength is a sign of maturity is a sign of like wisdom, right? Like why not ask someone like you built 10 businesses. Like, why wouldn't I ask you for help? I wouldn't. I ask your input resources or direction. I think ego and pride gets in my way because I'm like, I know how I'm doing this or I'll figure it out. That costs me a lot of money. Cost me a lot of cost me relationships. I don't want to do that crap again. Robert like as your two things, as you're building out and as you're learning and growing yourself and helping other entrepreneurs learn and grow, where do you see yourself going in the future? Like, how do you're heading in the right direction? Because you talked about opening it into Vistage and finding yourself and where do you think you're heading?

Robert:

Yeah. So here's the raw truth. I think I'm already there. I'm doing the thing that I want to do. Like this is it. Like I just try to do more of it and a bigger and bigger amounts and more people like my measure, my success by the number of lives that I impact and the number of lives that those lives impact like that is a cool quandary too. Like, it's not like I can, like, I'm, I'm good. I'll be okay. Like I've got my little, like awkward to the world, laid out, like, and I'm able to, like, I charge $600 an hour for my time. Like, so I don't have to do a lot of work outside of like the core thing that I believe in to support that the other side of it too, is like, I just don't care about money anymore. Like, it doesn't like as long as we have what we need to do, what we're trying to do and live at Eaton, have some creature comfort. Like, that's kind of all that I need for me. I want my kids to be happy. As long as we kind of have that bar, I go every day and help people achieve something that they didn't think was possible to achieve. Like that is freaking cool.

Josh:

Yeah. Super cool. Robert, for dudes listening in who want to connect with the startup, Santa's maybe ask you some advice about what they're working on, or maybe how to recover after a, a failed business or failed this or that. What's a good place for people to connect with you and ask for help.

Robert:

You can find me on pretty much all socials. I mostly have my name. Robert Blackledge LinkedIn is one of the best ones I think, because it's easier for me to manage those relationships. I have over 10,000 connections on there anyways, finished value. And you connected with me on LinkedIn. Yeah. Feel free to reach out on any of the socials.

Josh:

Super cool. Another thing I want to say, man, I want to honor you and everybody else who have served in the military police, fire, frontline workers. Thank you for, thank you for your service. Thank you for, doing that for us and whatever other reasons you did it, man. I appreciate you stand and salute you, man. I appreciate you. Thank you. Yeah. Fellow dudes out there listening in as always reach out to our guests, say thanks for being on the show. Thanks for sharing your story. Thanks for sharing your advice for us. That's how we're going to learn and grow as dudes. If you need some help, reach out to our guests and ask for help. If you haven't found what you're looking for through our podcast shows, we've done over a hundred of these great guests. If you need some help and you don't know where to go head on over to uncensored advice for men, there's a contact button up at the top. You can fill that out, fill out a quick form and we'll connect you with maybe a past guest or maybe get you on the show. Next, we also have a little microphone in the bottom right corner. You can leave a voice message. If you want to ask your advice there or maybe share just a quick piece of advice, there's a little microphone bottom right corner. You could do that. And we try to share the reviews. We try to share input with our community because we want to learn and grow as men. Until then talk to you all on the next episode, peace guys.

Robert Blacklidge Profile Photo

Robert Blacklidge

Executive Director at Domi Station

Robert Blacklidge, Domi Station’s Executive Director, is an educator, mentor, speaker, and ecosystem builder. He has over half a decade of experience implementing entrepreneurial programs such as hackathons, educational programming, and others in numerous communities. Mr. Blacklidge also spends time volunteering with programs such as Global Entrepreneur week, 1 Million Cups, Startup Grind, and Techstars Startup Week & Weekend. Additionally, he serves as the Board Chair for the Tallahassee Technology Alliance and holds two Master's Degrees an MBA and an MS MIS.