In this episode of Burning the Boats, Oscar interviews entrepreneur and special guest, Robert Blacklidge of Catapult Lakeland, a coworking space dedicated to launching Lakeland’s entrepreneurs. Robert, affectionately called the Startup Santa, works closely with entrepreneurs and military veterans to provide insights and mentorship as they face the many challenges of entrepreneurship.
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Show Value Bombs:
- Oscar and Robert talk about common challenges entrepreneurs face and identify important lessons throughout the journey.
- Robert shares his motto of persistent passion and intentional serendipity.
- Oscar and Robert discuss some practical “next steps” for entrepreneurs that are discouraged.
Today on The OMG! Show: Burning the Boats with special guest, Robert Blackledge.
:30 – Oscar Robert to share a brief introduction
- Robert shared that his journey as an entrepreneur began as a child selling candy on the bus.
- He began working as soon as he could join the workforce- including in retail- but felt empty and joined the military to try to fill an empty hole in pursuit of money.
- He then got a few degrees and a masters in entrepreneurial leadership, started three companies and bought two more by the time he was 30. To date, he’s owned 9 companies and works in Lakeland, FL to give back and help other entrepreneurs.
3:09 Oscar asks Robert to share about the shift from the hole trying to be filled with money to his mindset of giving value.
- Robert feels money sets value in this country and he now finds it sad to weigh somebody by what they do and not who they are as an individual.
- He also feels that the mindset of “who you are, what can I get out of you” is based on a contract and not a relationship.
- Robert rewinds to share he did horrific in school before entering the military and ended up doing HVAC in the service industry. After getting married and relocating, he realized his life was transaction based on how he could make an income so he joined the military to give back right after 9/11.
- Robert then shares a personal story of losing one of his first businesses, a restaurant, to a bad business partner.
10:01 Oscar asks Robert how he fell into the restaurant business.
- Robert shares how he stumbled across a great deal on a restaurant when he was getting his MBA from a man who wanted to retire.
- It was a franchise and another location became for sale so they bought that, too.
- He learned the business and trained employees with no restaurant experience. He shares the financial history of the business and the story of the business partner leaving and taking the money they had reserved.
14:32 Oscar observes that Robert was getting his MBA and decided to go into one of the riskiest markets as his first business and did well for the first two years.
- Robert agreed and shared that closing the business was based on things completely out of his control. The loss changed his life pivotally.
15:14 Oscar asks Robert about his next move and mentality for crisis management.
- Robert shares that he was incredibly depressed and a personal story of a road adventure he took ultimately leading him to a mountaintop experience in Canada where he realized he could pursue money and end up with nothing left OR passion and education which changed the course of his life.
- As a result he’s lost more businesses but gained more wisdom and friendships in the process.
19:40 – Oscar asks Robert if you can teach someone not to follow the money or if they need to go through their own journey to realize it for themselves.
- Robert says he helps people re-center their mindset. He feels for you to figure out what and why you’re doing something, there is a big difference in the way you approach the world.
- He takes people somewhere they think are beautiful and has them do mindful meditation and goes through the 5 “why”s to get to the core.
32:02 – Oscar underscores that pain is a great motivator and that Robert’s process is emotionally based. He asked Robert how he came up with it.
- Robert feels it is innate and shares that he can innately recognize people that have gone through it. He was sitting with people by a river and tried the “walkabout.”
25:10 – Oscar recaps Robert’s journey and asks him his tangible next step.
- Robert went home and knew if he wanted to make change, he needed to know how to do it. He was trying to get a job and went for a second masters where he learned how to code.
- Robert shared how he realized education was theory and not application. He moved to Tampa and heavily jumped into the entrepreneurial community.
- He shares about a business that took him on the road for awhile and what that did for his energy level. Robert then takes a break to spend time with his family. He was trying to figure out how his skills transferred to a job while wanting to get into entrepreneurial education.
- Robert took a job with Catapult Lakeland, that helps entrepreneurs in the incubation phase. He helped start One Million Cups in Lakeland. He also shares about StartUp Grind and TechStart Weekend.
36:33 – Oscar identifies a common theme among the entrepreneurs he knows and the importance of being around other entrepreneurs to recognize they are not alone.
- Robert agrees that is the value of what his community brings and shares about the exciting new coworking space that is being opened.
38:44 – Oscar identifies the recurring theme for Robert of “what’s next” and asks him his WHY.
- Robert shares his motto of “persistent passion and intentional serendipity.” Robert expands on his motto with life application examples. He encourages listeners that you can’t make an impact without embracing the ripples.