The Boss Show

Workplace wisdom with heart and humor

May 22, 2016

The Startup Challenge, Part 2

Dreaming about leaving the rat race and starting your own business? To support your noble albeit quixotic quest, The Boss Show airs Part 2 of an ongoing series tracking the growth of a particular small business, with all its joys and frustrations.  Business owners Michelle Burklund and Rick Cesare join Jim and Steve. (Part 1 aired on Feb. 21, 2016).

View Transcript

Speaker 1: It’s a Northwest Lifestyle Weekend on KOMO News. Now, a show for anyone who is, or has a boss, this is The Boss Show with Jim Hessler and Steve Motenko.


Jim Hessler: I am Jim Hessler, and I’m the business guy. I’m the founder of Path Forward Leadership Development, and the co-author, along with my co-host, of the book “Land on Your Feet, Not on Your Face”. Welcome to The Boss Show, the show for anyone who is or has a boss. I’m just going to keep talking, you don’t get to talk today.


Steve Motenko: I’m Steve Motenko. I’m the psychology guy, and it’s just like Jim to exert his dominance over me, by talking through the entire show, because he’s the business guy.


Jim Hessler: That’s right.


Steve Motenko: I on the other hand …


Jim Hessler: I like to win.


Steve Motenko: Yes, as we’ll talk about in the show that you’ll hear next week, part one of conscious capitalism, first time we’ve ever teased a future show, I think in the first segment. Where was I? I’m the psychology guy, and so I have compassion for Jim.


Jim Hessler: You’re a coach, la, la, la, la, la.


Steve Motenko: Yeah, right, Seattle area, blah, blah, blah, leadership development.


Jim Hessler: Yeah, blah, blah, blah.


Steve Motenko: What we hope to offer you today, as in all our shows, is a little bit of workplace wisdom with heart and humor.


Jim Hessler: I like it. I like it. In today’s program, we’ll be catching up … Oh, she’s back, Michelle Burklund, is someone we talked to several months ago.


Steve Motenko: Oh my God, her again?


Jim Hessler: … About her start-up business. We wanted to track with a person, an entrepreneur who is starting a business, because so many people want to do it. We’re going to track with her, and she’s back to give us a progress report.


Steve Motenko: Is she a multi-billionaire yet?


Jim Hessler: I don’t know, we’ll find out. Stay tuned. She’s also here with her business partner, Rick Cesare to talk about where they are in their process. First Steve, do you eat while you work?


Steve Motenko: Yes.


Jim Hessler: I know you do, because I’m still pissed … This is the first time I’m going to share this with you.


Steve Motenko: Uh-oh.


Jim Hessler: We had a …


Steve Motenko: Airing the dirty laundry.


Jim Hessler: We had a conference call with some folks on Skype about a month ago, and you were sitting there eating while we were on the Skype call.


Steve Motenko: Which conference call was that?


Jim Hessler: It was not the most recent one. It was with our certified facilitators. It was the prior one, you were banging around with a metal spoon and a glass bowl, eating some granola or something. It really bothered me. I just want you to know, don’t do that again.


Steve Motenko: One of the cardinal rules about offering feedback is you don’t do it in public, in front of thousands of listeners. Fine, I am hereby humbled.


Jim Hessler: There was a New York Times magazine article called, Failure to Lunch, I love that, very clever. [crosstalk 02:32] Sixty-two percent of business professionals say they typically eat lunch at their desks. Wow. Do you do that?


Steve Motenko: I don’t work at a desk.


Jim Hessler: That’s true.


Steve Motenko: I eat lunch at the arm of the chair, or whatever. Yeah, I work through lunch almost always, pretty much always unless I’m meeting with somebody over lunch. I see taking time to eat lunch, as wasted time. I don’t support that …


Jim Hessler: That’s why people do it. I just want to say, take a lunch. The downside to taking lunch with others, is that you eat more. You eat significantly more when you eat with others, than you do when you eat by yourself, which is weird. I think it’s yet another symptom of people being overworked and over stressed, that they can’t take a time away for a lunch. Sixty-two percent of people eating lunch at their desk.


Steve Motenko: I agree with you. I don’t promote my habit. I just tend to be a bit of a workaholic, as you know, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone else. I’m willing to cop to it. I also wonder if eating more is about, when you eat with someone else, you’re usually eating in a restaurant, and they serve large portions, whereas when you eat by yourself, you’re taking food out of the refrigerator, or whatever.


Jim Hessler: It could be that, however, there are ninety-six percent more vending machines in the United States than there were twenty years ago. How much good food have you seen in a vending machine?


Steve Motenko: I do not eat out of vending machines, especially if my wife is listening.


Jim Hessler: Yes. Speaking of good food, and all things healthy, we’re bringing back Dr. Michelle Burklund after the break. She’s a physician, and starting a business, that we want to find out how she’s doing. It is all about health and well being. She’s in a good field.


Steve Motenko: Your excoriating me for eating lunch while I’m in meetings is actually tied into the topic of the show.


Jim Hessler: It’s the theme of today’s show is Jim shaming Steve.


Steve Motenko: Michelle is going to do that too?


Jim Hessler: I hope so. I hope so. I coached her on that beforehand.


Steve Motenko: We’ll find out when we come back. Meanwhile, if you want to contact us, you can reach us on Facebook, and on Twitter. You can also go to the Boss Show website, and contact us there, and download all our shows.


Jim Hessler: You’ve got it. You’re listening to the Boss Show.


Speaker 1: It’s a Northwest Lifestyle Weekend on KOMO News. The Boss Show continues.


Steve Motenko: Welcome back to the Boss Show. I’m Steve Motenko, I’m the psychology guy.


Jim Hessler: I’m Jim Hessler, I’m the business guy. Today we have, in studio, two of our friends. Dr. Michelle Burklund is not only an internationally known naturpathic physician, but she’s also an MBA, which is very impressive. She’s a social media guru, a passionate entrepreneur, a wellness editor for national magazines, founder of a popular women’s health blog, creator of Branding RX, and  motivating speaker who believes that marketing is a beautiful way to teach the public, and spread a powerful message.


Steve Motenko: And leader of the free-world.


Jim Hessler: And leader of the free-world. She also tap dances, and does belly dancing on the side. Also with us today, is Rick Cesare. Am I pronouncing that right?


Rick Cesare: That’s correct.


Jim Hessler: Is it a Z sound, or a suh?


Rick Cesare: Cesare.


Jim Hessler: Cesare. Okay. He’s a celebrity entrepreneur, a marketing genius, author of the book, Buy Now, CEO of a successful marketing agency, and an inspiring educator who believes you can change the world, and make money. Rick is supporting Michelle, and is a partner with Michelle in the growth of her business.


  Just to reset the stage, let’s remind our listeners what we talked about last time. Only seven percent of new business ventures last three years. There’s a very high failure rate. Six hundred thousand, roughly six hundred thousand new businesses open in the United States every year, almost that same amount shut the doors. Despite all of that, fifty-seven percent of people say they’d rather have their own business.


  Michelle, remind us of what your business is, and why you wanted to start it.


Michelle : We’re creating an online branding and marketing course for professionals, but it also has a holistic element. It teaches nutrition and self-improvement skills, along with the business and branding to keep in alignment.


Jim Hessler: This is for physicians who want to start a practice?


Michelle : Or lawyers, or yoga teachers.


Jim Hessler: I think last time you were here, it was a little bit more focused on the medical community. It sounds like maybe that’s something that’s shifted a little bit for you since last time we talked.


Michelle : Our focus was more on holistic professionals in general, and we’re kind of expanding that market a little bit, but still with the same holistic element.


Jim Hessler: Okay.


Steve Motenko: The holistic piece is about self-care for the professional who is starting a business.


Michelle : Yes.


Jim Hessler: Also branding.


Michelle : Branding in a holistic way, being in alignment. The message is indirectly geared towards holistic professionals. They’re going to be attracted to it more, but it’s open.


Jim Hessler: I’m not getting it. Is that a problem? Rick, help me out here.


Rick Cesare: It’s simply …


Jim Hessler: I hate to put you on the spot, but part of this is being crystal clear with your message.


Steve Motenko: Your elevator pitch.


Rick Cesare: Yeah, exactly. Elevator pitch, building your personal brand, or the brand for your business, to help you grow your business, or whatever you’re doing personally, marketing personally.


Jim Hessler: Okay, so it’s kind of providing consultancy and tools in someone who wants to build their own personal brand, and the brand of their business.


Michelle : Exactly. Step by step, from building the brand, to marketing the brand.


Jim Hessler: Okay, all right. Tell me where you are in the process now. How’s the business doing? What’s going on, and what’s working, what’s not working, all that stuff. Our listeners want to know.


Michelle : I’ve been developing the modules, and I’m roughly around module three of writing it. There’s a lot of collaboration and video production that needs to be done with it too. We have a deadline of August to finish the modules and the videos, which is a close deadline.


Jim Hessler: The modules is what you’ll actually be selling?


Michelle : Exactly, and the videos. It will be eight modules and ten videos per module.


Steve Motenko: A module is something that happens. It’s the user experience online. They go online, they engage with a module, which involves, I assume, videos, and what? Reflection questions and exercises?


Michelle : Exactly. Exercises, resources, instructions, all of that working the whole way through.


Jim Hessler: Rick, what’s been your role in supporting Michelle?


Rick Cesare: It’s been really interesting for me. I have a background in marketing, but more traditional marketing. When Michelle and I came with this idea, and we discussed it, I saw a great opportunity to learn new online, new digital marketing, which was really exciting for me, but working with information that we both had some expertise in, and now we could teach other people how to do that.


Jim Hessler: Okay, you’re not an employee of the firm, you’re a partner basically.


Rick Cesare: That’s correct. Michelle and I are both partners.


Jim Hessler: You’re looking for a win-win here, because as you help her, you’re helping yourself, and your own business as well.


Rick Cesare: Exactly, exactly.


Jim Hessler: When we come back from the break, we want to talk more about this driving force again. I think this is the essence of our conversation with you, is what makes us want to do this when we get up in the morning. How does it feel? I want to talk to you about how this feels to you when we get back, as well. Steve, what kind of questions do you have when we come back from the break?


Steve Motenko: I’ll construct them during the break.


Jim Hessler: That’s a good idea.


Steve Motenko: You’re listening to the Boss Show.


Speaker 1: Now back to Jim Hessler and Steve Motenko. This is the Boss Show on KOMO News.


Steve Motenko: Hey, thanks for joining us again. It’s the Boss Show. I’m Steve Motenko, I’m the psychology guy.


Jim Hessler: I’m Jim Hessler, the business guy. One of the things that many people have is a dream of having their own business. We’ve got some folks in the studio today, Michelle Burklund, and Rick Cesare, to talk to us about that dream.


  Michelle, in terms of that whole balance of having independence and freedom, and getting to follow your own dream and your own path, versus the security maybe of a full time job, how’s that balance feeling to you right now? Do you wish you had a paycheck coming in? Is there some anxiety, or is this feeling like the wonderful, fun journey that you hoped it would be?


Michelle : I think it’s a combination effect. It’s definitely a lot of freedom, but it’s definitely a lot more work too, than a standard nine to five.


Steve Motenko: How many hours are you putting in on an average week?


Michelle : From the time I get up, to the time I go to bed during the weekdays. I’ve been trying to do half days on the weekends lately.


Steve Motenko: Seriously, we’re talking seventy, eighty hours a week?


Michelle : Oh, at least, yeah.


Steve Motenko: Oh my.


Jim Hessler: Rick, is this something that people should expect if they want to start their own business?


Rick Cesare: Yeah, I think it’s something that’s overlooked when people start their own business. They hear a lot about the good things, making your own hours, one of the reasons you go into business to make more money. Sometimes you really underestimate how much work goes into it. I think the benefit to that is, that it’s usually something why everyone says, “Work on something you’re passionate about.” Then if you’re passionate about the things …


Jim Hessler: It doesn’t feel like work.


Rick Cesare: Exactly. Michelle and I are both passionate about marketing. Even though we’re putting in those long hours, it’s work, but it doesn’t feel like work.


Jim Hessler: I’ve had a hard time adjusting in many respects, to not having to put in as many hours as I used to. I would have to say that you will probably come to some point where you will have to say, “Wow, I no longer need to work this many hours, but I don’t know what to do with myself.”


Steve Motenko: Why have I not gotten to that point? Although no, I don’t put in seventy to eighty by any means.


Jim Hessler: I think it’s an important point, because this has happened to me kind of in several cycles through my business career. You get through a really difficult period where you’re having to work a lot of hours, and then you arrive at a point where maybe you can back off, but you’re so habituated to putting in the hours that you don’t know what to do with your life. I had to reacquaint myself with my family at one point, earlier in my career, and learn to have dinner, actually sit down and have a normal dinner.


Steve Motenko: Let it be said, that you were a VP of a fortune 150 company at age thirty-six.


Jim Hessler: That’s right. I had young children and it was tough.


Rick Cesare: It’s funny you say that, because one of the reasons you start your own business so theoretically you can spend more time with your family, and it ends up working out the opposite some times.


Jim Hessler: It does. Michelle, are you feeling that lack of balance in your life, or does it not feel that way yet?


Michelle : I’ve been aware … I’m okay with that lack of balance right now. I feel like I’ve gotten so many job offers lately that are tempting in a weird way. It’s like security and less hours, but I would never do that.


Jim Hessler: Job offers unrelated to the business you’re growing.


Michelle : Exactly. It’s not my passion. [crosstalk 13:34]


Steve Motenko: It’s like the universe tempting you. Michelle …


Michelle : It is, it’s a test.


Steve Motenko: Michelle, you don’t have to work so many hours.


Jim Hessler: When I started Path Forward, fifteen years ago, I made a very, very deliberate decision that this was going to be my career, throughout the end of my career. I said, “This is it. I’m in this with …” I called it my both feet decision. I always say, if somebody is in the business with one foot, they’ll lose it. You can’t be in this entrepreneurial start-up phase with one foot out of it.


Michelle : I agree. That’s kind of our motto is, no plan B.


Steve Motenko: Exactly.


Jim Hessler: Betting the farm is another good way to say that.


Steve Motenko: Before you decide for sure to start your own business, and leave the rat race, listen to more with Michelle Burklund and Rick Cesare when we come back. You’re listening to the Boss Show.


Speaker 1: KOMO News, the Boss Show is back on a Northwest Lifestyle Weekend. Here’s Jim Hessler and Steve Motenko.


Jim Hessler: I’m Jim Hessler. I’m the business guy.


Steve Motenko: I’m Steve Motenko. I’m the psychology guy. We experiment with different inflections.


Jim Hessler: Yeah, I like to be a little different each time.


Steve Motenko: I appreciate your iconoclasm.


Jim Hessler: How about that listener line that you wanted to tell the folks about?


Steve Motenko: That listener line. We really love to hear from you. It’s not just something we say, we really do. The more we hear from you, the happier we are in our work. One way to contact us is our listener comment line, 206-973-7377. Of course, let us know whether you want us to use your comment on air, and/or your name on air, we’re happy to do without your name, we almost always do. You can also contact us via e-mail at, We should have made it,


Jim Hessler: Can we tawk, T-A-W-K, would have been great.


Steve Motenko: Yeah, but it’s not, it’s talk to us, just in case you’re confused.


Jim Hessler: We have in studio, Michelle Burklund and Rick Cesare. They are starting up a business. Tell me the name of the business. I don’t think we had officially heard the name last time you were here.


Michelle : Brand Imagined.


Jim Hessler: Brand Imagined. Let’s talk about what’s working, what’s not working. Give us a little sense for maybe some things that are working really well, maybe some things that are concerns for you, or maybe some speed bumps you’ve run into.


Michelle : I think what’s working is being in the office together, and being able to collaborate, and get things done faster, rather than working from afar and sending e-mails. I also think that that kind of can detract the time too, and get involved in other projects and other things.


Jim Hessler: How well did you guys know each other before you started working as business partners?


Michelle : Not too well.


Rick Cesare: Yeah, not very well. I think on the positive side, that’s one of the things that I’m experiencing is the working relationship between Michelle and I. Sometimes with partners, you don’t know how that’s going to go. Everyone’s had bad partnership stories.


Steve Motenko: It could make or break a business.


Rick Cesare: This one’s working out really, really well so far. On the challenging side, we’re in a phase of the business where we’re developing the business right now. That means it’s all money that’s going out, and there isn’t any income coming in, which is the toughest part in most businesses. Things don’t happen as fast as we’d like them to happen sometimes. We’d love to be finished and have this course done, and be selling it. Really just the optical of getting everything done, that needs to get done, in a timely fashion.


Jim Hessler: You mentioned a deadline of August. Is that an internal deadline, or an external deadline? In other words, you set it, or it’s set by some other external factor.


Michelle : We set it. I like to look at it as both internal and external. [crosstalk 17:17]


Rick Cesare: We put something up to the public already, where it will be launched on a certain date.


Steve Motenko: That made it external.


Rick Cesare: Exactly. We kind of set that external goal for us to meet as well.


Jim Hessler: The start-up business idea is very romanticized. We have a lot of people look at it as, somebody sits in a room, this huge light bulb goes off. They have this great idea, and five years later they’re millionaires. In reality, it’s kind of a grind, isn’t it, really?


Michelle : Yeah, it is. If you’re passionate, you love it. You love every moment of it. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, because I love what I’m doing. I love that I can just take off and go somewhere if I want to. Even if I have to work, it’s fun work the whole time.


Steve Motenko: You can’t take off and go very far if you’re working seventy to eighty hours a week though.


Michelle : Right, or I just work far [crosstalk 18:11]


Rick Cesare: Yeah, you go somewhere and you work.


Steve Motenko: She goes to interesting and exotic places and sits in the hotel and works on her computer.


Michelle : It kind of feels like that right now.


Jim Hessler: In some of the research I did about start-ups prior to your previous appearance, one of the things that was clear was the partnership idea was very, very important, to have the right partners, and feel good about those partners. Also, that it typically takes longer to get your business going than most people realize. That was a very common experience for entrepreneurs.


  Also, just a quick aside, I’ve seen so many people enter in to 50/50 partnerships, and then end up being really sorry that they did. I don’t necessarily ask what the financial model is, but I’ve seen people enter into 50/50 partnerships because they’re such good friends, and then at some point down in the future, that partnership comes under duress, and the fact that they each own fifty percent of the business gets to be a problem. I won’t ask if you’ve avoided that, but don’t enter into a 50/50 partnership. That’s my recommendation. I’ve seen it go sideways so many times.


Rick Cesare: That’s where experience comes in, is really the ability to know that these things can happen, and plan for that in advance before it does happen.


Jim Hessler: We’ll talk more about that when we get back. You’re listening to the Boss Show.


Speaker 1: It’s a Northwest Lifestyle Weekend on KOMO News. The Boss Show continues.


Steve Motenko: Welcome back to the boss show. I’m Steve Motenko. I’m the psychology guy.


Jim Hessler: You just did a little jig over there while you were saying that.


Steve Motenko: No, I want to get my energy up. I don’t want listeners to hear me say [in slow, bored voice], “Welcome back to the Boss Show.”


Jim Hessler: I’m Jim Hessler. I’m the business guy. We have Michelle Burklund and Rick Cesare in studio, talking about their start-up business called Brand Imagined. This has been going on for awhile already. How long since the very first day that you officially were invested in this business? It’s been a year, two years, six months?


Rick Cesare: I think Michelle had this idea first, because she had, I think you talked about her previous course, Branding RX. We met, and started talking, and so to answer your question, probably about six months it’s been going on, where we said, hey this would be a good idea, let’s do something that is bigger than what you’re currently doing, and reaches more people, but really leverages the same type of content that she’s been very familiar with, and has done a good job with.


Steve Motenko: By the way, Jim, I don’t know if you mentioned at the top of the show, or if you didn’t hear the top of the show, we have invited Michelle and Rick back on a regular basis, as a kind of ongoing series to show what it looks like to develop a start-up.


Jim Hessler: Yeah, thank you. This is a learning process, and these two folks have offered themselves up very kindly so we can all learn from their experiences.


Steve Motenko: And this is the second in that series.


Jim Hessler: This is the second time that we’ve had Michelle in, and Rick is in for the first time. We hope to see you again soon, and keep tabs. Six months in, keeping in mind that this was built on a previous idea, and this new iteration is kind of building on that. What have you learned so far that you might want to pass on as wisdom to other people who might be thinking about starting their own business?


Michelle : It always takes a little longer than you expect.


Steve Motenko: Kind of like everything else in life.


Michelle : Exactly, exactly.


Jim Hessler: Be prepared emotionally, physically, and financially for that reality. I would say that that’s probably true about ninety-five percent of the time, that it probably takes longer than people think it’s going to. That’s number one. What else have you learned?


Michelle : I have to allocate my time better too. If I have other side projects, or other writing, being more efficient with those, because those can take on, and then I have to put other work to the side, so having a balance between everything.


Jim Hessler: Really good point. You are your own boss. You have to be a good boss to yourself. You have to be organized in a way that maybe you didn’t have to be if you were working for somebody else.


Michelle : Definitely.


Steve Motenko: It’s kind of the nature of self-employment. Everything that we think makes up a good boss, applies then to how you treat yourself, how you manage yourself.


Michelle : Yeah, yeah.


Jim Hessler: You have to have a high accountability relationship with yourself. You have to be able to get to the end of the day and say, I did good work today, or I could have done better. I have that conversation pretty much at the end of every day.


Steve Motenko: Rick, how about you, lessons learned?


Rick Cesare: Lessons learned, I think, are some learned the hard way from previous business experiences, and we were talking about it in a previous segment. That’s really the preparation work of starting with a business plan, addressing not just the things that could go right, but more importantly the things that could go wrong. If you do those things early in the business development cycle, it puts you way ahead of the game.


Steve Motenko: It’s about taking a strategic approach from the get go. If you get in that habit, then hopefully that habit will carry you through the development of the business.


Rick Cesare: Exactly.


Jim Hessler: If you don’t have a strategic mindset. If you don’t have good personal organizational skills, it’s going to be hard for you to run your own business, it’s going to be hard for you to start up your own business.


Steve Motenko: You’d better be lucky.


Jim Hessler: Yeah, right, well said, or have partners who can kind of balance that out for you. We look forward to having you again.


Steve Motenko: Is there a website yet available to public?


Michelle : There is,


Steve Motenko: Brandimagined, with a D at the end.


Michelle : E-D, yeah.


Steve Motenko: You’ll come back and visit us in a couple of months.


Michelle : Yes, definitely.


Jim Hessler: Great. We’ll look forward to keeping track of your business, and learning with you. Thanks for being on the show. You’re listening to the Boss Show.


Speaker 1: Now back to Jim Hessler and Steve Motenko. This is the Boss Show on KOMO News.


Steve Motenko: Welcome back to the Boss Show. I’m Steve Motenko. I’m the psychology guy.


Jim Hessler: I’m Jim Hessler. I’m the business guy. You’ve been listening to us, if you’ve been listening to us have a conversation with two folks from a new business, a new start-up business. We certainly don’t want to do anything to discourage anybody from starting their own business, but we do want you to be realistic about it. It is the great American dream, and many of us statistically, more than half of us, hold that dream somewhere in our heads that someday we’ll be able to work for ourselves.


Steve Motenko: As Jim said at the top of the show, more than ninety percent of new businesses fail, so be aware.


Jim Hessler: Yes, within the first three years. It’s a high stakes game, and you’d better be ready for it. Like I said, physically, emotionally, financially, you really need to be ready for this journey. It’s not for the faint of heart. Steve and I can both vouch for that. I wouldn’t have it any other way, but boy it has not been easy.


Steve Motenko: Neither would I, and I concur. The Boss Show is produced by Boss Media Productions. Our sound engineer is Kevin [Doddrell 25:01].


Jim Hessler: If you missed any of the show, you can get it, in it’s entirety, online at the Boss Show online. That’s also where you can go to subscribe to the podcast, or to contact us for any reason at all.


Steve Motenko: Hey, thanks for listening.


Jim Hessler: Don’t forget, rule number six.


Steve Motenko: Rule number six.





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