Transcript: But, you know, like most entrepreneurs, I’m probably a workaholic on some levels and that’s good and bad, but yeah. So, whenever a vacuum opens in my life, I think, “Oh, let’s start another company.” (laughs)
David Brower: Good for you. Good for you.
Francesca Kuglen: Yeah, well …
David Brower: There’s no dust that, uh, what’s the saying? There’s no dust that lands under your feet, I guess.
Francesca Kuglen: Yes, exactly.
David Brower: So, you started several successful companies from scratch, without venture capital, and marketed some things through major retailers, licensing products to huge companies. So, a lot of things that people sitting at home are going, “You know, I got this idea.” And you’ve been there, done that.
Francesca Kuglen: Yes. And you know what’s funny? In a 20 minute podcast, and even when I say … When I look back on the last 30 years, for example, um, in, like, 11 words, I could make years of pain and grit and tears and blood, um, sound so easy. Like, “Oh, yes. I did that.” But, what any entrepreneur listening has to know is that that’s the typical world that we live in, which is you can’t go into depth about all the agony, but there has not been one step- Okay, there’s been a few steps that weren’t agony, but the majority of those steps have been trial and miss, error, no matter how educated you are, no matter how many times you’ve been to the rodeo, you still make mistakes. The world is changing around you, so decisions that I used to make, or that anybody listening used to make, suddenly, a year down the road, it might be the wrong decisions and it’s baffling, but that is what the world of entrepreneurship is like.
David Brower: It’s not unlike technology, I would think, in so much as it just changes so rapidly.
Francesca Kuglen: Yes and it, um … That’s- I think that’s where the line comes from ‘do what you love’. Now, I- That is a very different line from ‘find your passion and it will financially support you’. Okay, that I don’t believe in. I believe that if you can make them the same, that’s awesome, but the reality is, sometimes, um, sometimes you … You won’t be able to … Sometimes, to have a successful company, you’re gonna have to work your butt off. You are gonna have to work so hard, so I tell people, “At least love your business, because when all else fails and you can’t pay the bills and your spouse or girlfriend or boyfriend is looking at you like you’re a complete lunatic and why are you doing this to yourself, you’ve gotta have something that gets you out of bed that motivates you.” So, sometimes that’s different than ‘find your passion’.
I mean, if I, if I wanted to just do my passion, I think I’d be laying on a couch, you know, binge watching and eating chocolate. Like, that would be- Or, maybe in a hammock somewhere. Okay, that would be my passion.
David Brower: Right.
Francesca Kuglen: But, so far, I haven’t found that will pay me to do that. It’s shocking, really, that that’s the truth.
David Brower: Couldn’t agree with you more. If you- And I’ve always felt that way. I was in radio for a very long time and now I’m an entrepreneur running my own voiceover business and, uh, and all the way through, it’s been … I’ve never taken a job for money. I’ve taken a job because it looks like fun and I can accomplish something and then the money follows, you know? So, everything has been- I’ve been very blessed in that- In doing this voiceover gig for- Full time for eight years out of my house. Um, I’m having the time of my life and my goal is to never have a real job ever again because that’s how I feel about the job I have.
Francesca Kuglen: Well, it’s, it’s so funny that you say that because there’s this great saying as well. You don’t sound like this is your angst, but that entrepreneurs- “You’ll know you’re an entrepreneur if you’re willing to work 80 hours for nothing instead of working 40 hours for a paycheck for someone else” and, um, and in my family, we- There’s a lot of- There’s six children in my family. I’m the oldest. And there’s- I- Let’s see, I think five of us are entrepreneurs and, um- Or, maybe four of us are entrepreneurs and two have entrepreneurial spirit, but my sister and I were just talking this last weekend about- She was telling me this great story about a woman who, um, was sick of her job in corporate America and she- One of her kids was getting braces and the orthodontist mentioned that he could- He needed, um, to find a new company that would manufacture the, um, what are those metal thi- The retainers.
So, she investigated it, bought machinery, started it up at her house, and made more money making retainers out of her garage, seriously, before she moved into an office space, than she had ever made in her corporate job and I thought there you go.
David Brower: Oh, my god.
Francesca Kuglen: So, so-
David Brower: That’s awesome.
Francesca Kuglen: -you doing radio is- And doing what you love and the voiceover, that’s … That’s amazing and then you create a job around it and suddenly you look and find everybody that wants voiceover. It’s kind of a neat thing that happens with entrepreneurs.
David Brower: It absolutely is. It’s- A long time ago- In fact, we were talking about, I used to live in Chico, California and the reason I came to Colorado was I got recruited to do a dot com job and, uh-
Francesca Kuglen: Oh!
David Brower: -and I was- I’m going, “You know, I always have had this entrepreneurial spirit.” I didn’t have a family. I had a few bucks set aside, so I took a leap of faith and moved to Colorado and never looked back. I mean, it’s like sometimes you just gotta go, “Let’s go.”
Francesca Kuglen: Yes. And, and conversely, I’m also the- Always the voice of reason. Although- See, this is what’s interesting. I, I agree 110% with that because I also think that part of what stimulates success is fear. No, I’m kidding.
David Brower: No, it does. Absolutely, I agree. Yeah.
Francesca Kuglen: When you’ve got it all on the line, when you have no back door, no trust fund, nobody’s gonna bail you out, there’s is no white knight coming on a horse, you have to get really clever really fast. You have to learn to prioritize your time, which is something that entrepreneurs are not genuinely good at.
David Brower: Right.
Francesca Kuglen: Um, because everything, when you’re an entrepreneur, comes at you in the same philo- You know, velocity than anything else, so it’s like, “Oh, do the email or write this report that could make me a million dollars.” But, somehow they seem like they have the same weight, which I know sounds crazy, but believe me, there’s entrepreneurs out there nodding their heads going, “God, I know what that feels like.”
David Brower: (laughs)
Francesca Kuglen: Um, and, and so, it’- And so, one of the things that happens when you’re under that kind of stress and you have- You’ve burned all the bridges, is that you have to make it work. You have kids you’ve gotta feed. You’ve got whatever. Um, something that you have to do and it- I honestly believe that it kicks your brain into certain creative levels that are interesting. Now, that’s different than the stress that shuts you down. There’s a- There’s this fine line between stress and entrepreneur angst. But, anyway, go ahead. (laughs)
David Brower: No, I couldn’t agree more. The- I think- One of the things I’ve found, and my wife pointed out to me actually because she’s the best mirror of me that I know, and when I … I got fired from my corporate job and so my last day on the job, um, I called her when I got fired over a cup of coffee. That was pretty special.
Francesca Kuglen: Oh.
David Brower: And I walked out and I said, “Well, we should pray about this” and we did and the very next day, I started- I took a leap of faith and started my voiceover gig and that was May 1st, 2008 and ever since then, fear has certainly been a driving force and the angst has been there and the, the, um, what is it? The idea that I know I can fail somewhere along the line and, and then one day, the little light switch kicked on and I was just in full gear entrepr- You know, entrepreneurship, going after it. And my wife said, “I don’t know what you did, man, but you faced your fears and you are just rocking it right now.”
Francesca Kuglen: Well- And that, David, is an entire podcast about fear.
David Brower: Right.
Francesca Kuglen: Um, you’re- Because I, I personally believe, after walking this walk, knowing hundreds, possibly thousands, of entrepreneurs, um, across the world now, that fear is the unspoken … It’s the unspoken gorilla that’s, like, sitting on our shoulder at any given time. To the outside world, we look like we’ve pulled it together.
David Brower: Right.
Francesca Kuglen: Um, but the reality is, the fear can be debilitating and it’ll manifest in things like procrastination, um, exhaustion- And I don’t mean exhaustion because you’ve worked 20 hours in a row.
David Brower: Right, right.
Francesca Kuglen: I mean, I mean, like, all of the sudden you’ll, you’ll have to do something that’s really important to the growth of your company or yourself and you’ll find yourself wanting to get up and go and get coffee or wander around or suddenly it’s time to clean your drawers. God forbid, you cannot do that project with a messy office. You know what I mean?
David Brower: Exactly.
Francesca Kuglen: And that is when it manifests in a dangerous way because that’s when- What you’re explaining is, when you face up to that fear, when you finally figure out the way that you’re gonna turn and challenge it back, it dies. It goes down. There’s ample, um, neuroscience behind that. Um, it’s almost as if there’s a part of our brain that sense we’re about to go into danger, so it’s picking up- And it doesn’t know if that danger is the IRS is after you or, or there’s a tiger coming at you or a person with a knife. It just sense that you’re- That you’ve- That your fear is getting, you know, engaged.
David Brower: Yeah.
Francesca Kuglen: And its job is to protect you. That’s how you’ve survived. So, it will start doing things that have worked in the past. So, one of the things I tell entrepreneurs constantly is forget- I want you to replace what people say to you all the time, which is, you know, if you keep falling into the same hole or you keep making the same mistake, people say to you, “Gee, why can’t you just pick yourself up, you know, bootstrap it. Blah, blah, blah.” And the bottom line is, because the truth of your brain, is that 96% of your gray matter is working on all levels to protect you. That’s what it’s done. That’s what it’s evolved to do and it loves familiarity, so when you keep falling into the same hole, I want people to stop beating themselves up because probably it’s because your brain is very f- It likes that familiar thing, even if it’s uncomfortable and it would rather go there than push past a barrier.
But, what’s amazing about the brain is once you, once you figure out how to get over, under, or around the wall that’s keeping you back, of fear, you’ll find exactly what you did. It dissolves and suddenly, literally miraculous things begin to happen.
David Brower: Oh, my gosh. Absolutely right and it’s- I mean, fear is a major component of everything in every life, I think. I don’t care if it’s, you know, going bowling with your grandson. I mean, there’s some- There’s fear in everything that you need to overcome at some level, right?
Francesca Kuglen: Yes, absolutely. And I, I also- I know we’re- I know- I think we might be get- You’re gonna tell me when we’re down to the wire?
David Brower: Oh, yeah. We’re fine. We’re fine.
Francesca Kuglen: Okay. What I was gonna say, also, about, about fear, and this is that fine line because I love neuroscience. Um, if I had to do it all over again, I think I’d be either an economist or a neuro surgeon because I just frickin’ love the way the brain works.
David Brower: Nice.
Francesca Kuglen: But, one of the things that I’ve always found fascinating because I’m in a creative business is that fear, um, shuts down your frontal lobes. That’s the first place because when your body is under tremendous stress and fear, again, it goes into the mode of, “Okay. Survival at all means.” So, it doesn’t need your creative centers. It needs your blood pumping. It needs adrenaline flowing. It needs … It needs your liver to change. It needs all of those things. So, what it does is it begins to- And when I say ‘shut down’, it doesn’t mean that you can’t access it. It just means that it kind of goes on mute. You’ll find that you’re not able to do any creative problem solving. You’re not really able to think creatively and you, you think another cup of coffee is gonna do it, but more times than not, it’s actually stress shutting down your creative centers so that the rest of you can just live through whatever the crisis is.
So, one of the first things- And it goes back to mental health. It also goes back to when you talked about prayer. I’m a, I’m a big fan of prayer. A big, big fan of prayer and, um, and- But, what happens is, when you are able to figure out what will diffuse your fear, your creative centers will come back and that’s precisely what entrepreneurs need when they have to look at a myriad of solutions. There’s 400,000 things- Different ways they could and they have to be able to choose correctly and you need your creative faculties to do that.
David Brower: Boy, no kidding. I’ll share one line with you. I used to bowl a lot many, many years ago and I bowled professionally, but it was just in regional tournaments and stuff. It wasn’t major. And so, I got this new bowling ball and I hired this coach and, and I kept- I couldn’t quite get my ball out towards the alley far enough to get into the strike zone, you know?
Francesca Kuglen: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
David Brower: And so, he said, “David, trust is a must or your game is a bust.”
Francesca Kuglen: (laughs) Oh, I’ve never heard that before.
David Brower: Isn’t that awesome?
Francesca Kuglen: Trust is a must or your game is a bust.
David Brower: And so, I interject ‘life’ instead of ‘game’. I interject ‘my business’ instead of ‘game’, right. And so, I went on the next day and won my first pro tournament.
Francesca Kuglen: Really?
David Brower: Isn’t that crazy?
Francesca Kuglen: Wow. Wow.
David Brower: So, trust is a must or your game is a bust.
Francesca Kuglen: Wow.
David Brower: (laughs)
Francesca Kuglen: One of the- One of your first podcasts was about gratitude.
David Brower: Right.
Francesca Kuglen: And I think that- I think that as time goes on and there’s, you know, there’s more- We study the bi- The biochem of our brains better, um, or more, more efficiently, I think we’re gonna find that gratitude and trust have probably the same effect on the brain, which is that it, it um … I’m not gonna say it lulls it. That’s not what I mean. It’s not like it lulls it into this place. It’s that it calms it and our brains are this incredible supercomputer that’s at our, um, fingertips, if we can only let it work and access.
And then, it’s interesting because, for me, there’s always the other component, which is spiritual. Some people in your audience will roll their eyes. Some people will gag. Some people will go, “Oh, yeah. I know that.” But, I always say, um, there’s this great book by Julia Cameron and she says, you know, “You can go your whole life without using math or believing in God. Absolutely, you can live your entire life without those two things, but your life’s gonna be a heck of a lot harder if you do. If you, if you just want to use a little bit of a math and possibly a little bit of belief, it’s gonna take you so much farther.” And, um, and so I believe that- You know, I’m one of those people that- I’m one of those rocking leftist liberals that believes that science and spirit can live at the same time in somebody’s heart and brain. (laughs)
David Brower: No question about it. I couldn’t believe- Agree more. In fact, our, our pastor several years ago did a sermon on that exact thing, of how-
Francesca Kuglen: Really?
David Brower: -science and, uh, Christianity can live together. It was fascinating. I wish I, I wish I had a copy of it because it was- I had never heard it before. It was really good.
Francesca Kuglen: That- I- Yeah, it’s one of my core beliefs and I- There’s something else I always tell entrepreneurs, which is, “So, if you don’t believe you’re spiritual, if you feel that you are at the last end of your rope and you are about to give up, Annie Lamott, who’s a write, wonderful writer, um, in the Bay Area as a matter of fact, but she, she wrote in one of her books a long time ago that ‘Help me’ is a complete prayer.
David Brower: (laughs)
Francesca Kuglen: ‘Help me’ is all you need to say. You don’t always need to have it a certain way. It doesn’t have to be flowery. You just have to call out there ‘help me’ and give it a little bit of trust and gratitude and amazing mountains are gonna start moving.
David Brower: Could not agree more. Oh, my god. In fact, I even have a- You’ll be impressed. I even have a gratitude tattoo.
Francesca Kuglen: Do you?
David Brower: Yeah. (laughs) I do. When my son was going to Afghanistan, he and I went up and got tattoos together and of course he got this huge Marine thing on his back and, uh, I got a cross with a drape hanging over it and the, uh, ‘gratitude’ underneath it.
Francesca Kuglen: Wow.
David Brower: Yeah. (laughs)
Francesca Kuglen: So, is it okay to ask what part of your anatomy the tattoo is on?
David Brower: My left ar- Left upper arm. Mm-hmm (affirmative). Right below my shoulder. Yeah.
Francesca Kuglen: Oh, awesome. That’s- That is really great and please tell me that your son came back from Afghanistan and is-
David Brower: He did.
Francesca Kuglen: Oh, good. Good.
David Brower: Yeah, he graduated from college. He’s happily married, has a great job, and just had his, his first son, uh, a month ago, so we’re going to see him this weekend. So …
Francesca Kuglen: Oh, my good lord. Happy … Happy grandfather.
David Brower: I know, right? You know, we’ve talked to everything about your- But about your business and I’ve been really having fun with this. (laughs)
Francesca Kuglen: Oh, I’m sorry. So, let me go back. So, I’m sorry. Ask me- I can tell you about my business or is there something specific-