Show Notes

Amplify Your Authority
Amplify Your Authority
Episode #91 How Solopreneurs Can Start and Grow Their Company of One with Joe Rando

How solopreneurs can start and grow their company of one.

Becoming a solopreneur is a dream come true for many who want independence, flexibility, and freedom from the 9-to-5 grind.

In this podcast, I dive into the world of solopreneurship with the visionary Joe Rando, the founder of Lifestarr.

Joe brings his extensive experience in technology and real estate to the forefront, sharing insights on how modern solopreneurs can thrive by leveraging technology and community.


In this podcast episode, we discussed:

  • Strategies for Solo Success: Discover how to turn ideas into operational businesses and tackle the hurdles of solo entrepreneurship head-on.
  • Idea Validation Techniques: Learn how to ensure that your business idea has the potential to succeed before fully pursuing it.
  • Marketing and Positioning: Get insider tips on carving out your niche in the market and positioning your brand for maximum impact.
  • Technology Leverage: Understand the critical role of technology in automating and scaling your business operations efficiently.
  • Resilience and Adaptability: Discover how to adapt and bounce back from setbacks.


From niche marketing to customer acquisition and maintaining a healthy work-life balance, his insights will equip you to succeed as a solopreneur. Solopreneurs can start and grow an online business.


Episode Key Takeaways

  • Niching Down Clarifies Messaging: Focusing on a specific segment makes it easier to communicate your value and attract the right customers.
  • Adjust Based on Feedback: Market feedback is essential for refining your business avatar and staying relevant to your audience’s evolving needs.
  • Embrace Technology: Utilizing the right tech tools can significantly enhance your productivity and capability as a solopreneur.


Quotes to Remember

“Balance work efforts to avoid feast or famine patterns,” Joe Rando
“Struggles in business call for perseverance,” Joe Rando


Action Step

Define Your Target Audience:
Joe Rando underscores the importance of niche marketing, particularly for solopreneurs. By defining a focused customer type and understanding their specific pain points through interviews, solopreneurs can tailor their products and services to meet direct needs.


About Joe Rando

Joe had started several businesses in technology and real estate. But he is very excited about LifeStarr and never stops talking about it. LifeStarr provides knowledge, tools, and community to create the one-person business that lets you live YOUR life, YOUR way.
Joe lives in Florence, Massachusetts, with his wife, Licia, a child therapist. He has four grown children who are all awesome (just ask him). He has a degree in physics from UMass and an MBA from UConn. His hobbies include drinking coffee. He sometimes jogs, skis, cycles, and plays the guitar between cups of coffee.


Contact Joe Rando


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Podcast Transcript

Marisa Shadrick [00:00:11]:
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Amplify Your Authority podcast. Today, I’m really excited to have a special guest with me. I have Joe Rando. And let me give you a quick snapshot of who he is. Joe has started several businesses in technology and real estate, but he’s very excited about his current business, which is Lifestarr. And if I can just tease it up a little bit, LifeStar provides knowledge, tools, and community to create the one person business that lets you live your life your way. I love that. Joe lives in Florence, Massachusetts with his wife.

Marisa Shadrick [00:00:50]:
He has 4 grown children. He has a degree in physics. Right? Physics. Smart guy. And some of his hobbies include drinking coffee and playing the guitar. Welcome, Joe. How are you?

Joe Rando [00:01:04]:
Doing well. How are you? Good to

Marisa Shadrick [00:01:06]:
see you. Doing well. Thank you. It’s so good to have you here and to talk about

Joe Rando [00:01:10]:
Thanks for having me.

Marisa Shadrick [00:01:11]:
Company of 1. I love that.

Joe Rando [00:01:13]:
It’s a thing. It’s a thing now.

Marisa Shadrick [00:01:16]:
It’s a thing. We were joking earlier how technology has changed so many things and some people have a love hate with technology. But the one good thing that technology has brought to us is the fact that we can work from anywhere, any place, from home, when the Internet is working. So that’s the one caveat. When the Internet is working, we can work from anywhere. So what do you think, Joe, in just, a little bit, if we can just paint a backdrop, what have you seen as far as these changes? Are a lot of people now more accustomed to the idea of working from home? Before, it was kinda taboo, like, what are you doing working from home? And you mean, is that just an excuse for not working at all? What do you see?

Joe Rando [00:02:02]:
Well, we’ve we’ve all seen it. I think it’s, you know, there was a 2019, you know, perhaps if you were a solopreneur, one person business, you made a great effort to look like you were somehow professional. You made an effort to make sure that it looked like you were working in an office, keep the kids quiet, the dog, you know, for making noise and and because of COVID and because of everybody working remotely, it’s all changed. I mean, now, I mean, the dog barks, oh, there’s my dog, you know, and nobody, you know, we had a meeting, an event earlier today, and, one of the people was there with her 1 year old daughter on her shoulder while, you know, having the and it’s just it it’s it’s I mean, there are some downsides. I understand there’s some isolation issues, but in a lot of ways, it’s really wonderful that we can actually just be who we are. And it’s about our skills and our abilities and what we bring to the table and not, you know, so much how we appear. And so I think it’s generally a positive shift, but the isolation has created some challenges, which is one of the things that I’m involved in trying to address.

Marisa Shadrick [00:03:09]:
Yeah. And it’s kind of endearing when I see someone presenting and then their kids, you know, feel comfortable enough to tug on the sleeve to ask a question, you know, they’re doing life just like we are. They become more human. We realize that they’re trying to create that work life balance. They’re trying to be there for their children. I don’t really see it as being unprofessional or a huge interruption. I find it kind of endearing that they’re learning, you know, and discovering how to balance all of that. So kudos to them for doing it.

Marisa Shadrick [00:03:39]:

Joe Rando [00:03:40]:
Do do you remember if it was, I don’t know, probably 5, 6, 7 years ago, or maybe it was right at the beginning of pandemic. I’m not sure, but there was, CNN was doing an interview with some economist guy and he was working out of the spare bedroom and his kids came wandering in in the middle of this this television live television interview. And the wife comes in and shushes them out. And this thing got played a 1000000 plus times because it was just such a funny thing. And now I don’t know that, you know, it would get any hits on YouTube.

Marisa Shadrick [00:04:12]:
I know it’s true. And I remember Jimmy Fallon doing a lot of episodes from home. And his kids were literally crawling on his head and pulling his hair and doing all this. And I’m just laughing because he never he he never flinched. He just kept talking. He didn’t even blink. He just let them do whatever they were doing behind him, and he kept delivering, you know, his monologue. It was hysterical.

Marisa Shadrick [00:04:38]:
I loved it. He’s a real pro. Yeah. I know. And we kind of had a little bit of a suggestion of this. Do you remember when there was that whole buzz of the great resignation too? Yeah. It’s like people were going, hey. Wait a minute.

Marisa Shadrick [00:04:53]:
I don’t know if I wanna go back to corporate. You know, they’re starting to think maybe I have some options. Have you noticed more and more people, maybe those that are displaced?

Joe Rando [00:05:02]:
Yes. And there are people setting up businesses to help those people transition from corporate to solopreneurship.

Marisa Shadrick [00:05:09]:
Oh, that’s so good. Right? Yep. I have some clients.

Joe Rando [00:05:12]:
Specific targets. Yeah.

Marisa Shadrick [00:05:14]:
Yeah. I have some clients that have come out of corporate too, and they just decided, you know what? I’ve got skills. I’ve got this knowledge. I’ve got this experience. I have a full education. I’m gonna just do this on my own, figure it out. So that’s great that we have more options than we did back in the day. So for someone, I mean, you have so much knowledge and wisdom.

Marisa Shadrick [00:05:35]:
So so feel free to segue into another direction if you want to as I ask the questions, but for those that are maybe thinking about being online and they find it very attractive to be able to work from home for some of the reasons we mentioned or maybe they want to, maybe they want to do a little bit of travel, maybe they wanna be a speaker, you know, but they’re trying to figure out how to monetize everything. How do they take their ideas, their expertise, their experience, the things that they were paid for, and how do they begin to turn that into an operational business? Any suggestions for them?

Joe Rando [00:06:13]:
Well, I always say that, you know, if you’re going solo, you’re doing it, I hope, for some reason other than that you’re trying to get as rich as you can get. Because if you wanna get as rich as possible, you don’t wanna give up employees because it’s really powerful scaling tool is is being able to hire people that work exclusively for you is how businesses oftentimes can scale. There are some people that have made multimillion dollar businesses as solopreneurs, not common. So some people have made it as rock stars and famous actors and gotten elected president, but it’s not the path that everybody’s gonna follow. So if you’re doing it solo, you’re doing it for some other reasons besides the money, and it’s important, I think, to start off by defining why you’re doing it that way. What are your goals for your business? What are they what do you want your business to do for you, that you’re not getting from corporate and that you wouldn’t be getting from being an entrepreneur and starting a business and going out raising venture capital and trying to scale it. And, you know, most of the time, the answers are something like I want enough freedom to spend time with my my my kids, my spouse, my I I wanna have time to pursue a passion that I have. A lot of people are saying they wanna be able to do the kinds of work they wanna do and not the stuff they don’t like, which they can’t do in a corporate job oftentimes.

Joe Rando [00:07:34]:
So, you know, but those are the kinds of things to kinda come to terms with first. And as you define the business, make sure that the business you’re defining is gonna serve those goals. And that’s why I always start with people.

Marisa Shadrick [00:07:46]:
So when you say goals, does that mean they need to maybe set revenue goals, but also goals as far as how many hours do they wanna work every week? What kind of business is it going to look like? What do they like? What do they don’t like? Because you suggested that. So that would eliminate some things that that may be options that they would not dive into. So Right. Do you think they need to, you know, separate financial goals with lifestyle goals and all of that?

Joe Rando [00:08:16]:
I think you I mean, I think you need to have obviously, you know, maybe you’re independently wealthy in which case the financial goals don’t matter. But it’s nice, you know, for most people to have, you know, financial goals. You know, I wanna be able to pay the bills. I wanna be able to retire, whatever it is. Put a number on it and, you know, you should have a plan to get there. But, you know, there’s things like, you know, let’s say you’re a public speak you’re a good public speaker and you’re thinking, well, I could monetize my ability to, you know, speak publicly. And then you say, well and the reason I wanna go solo is because I wanna be able to go to all my kids games. Mhmm.

Joe Rando [00:08:49]:
Well, if you’re speaking pub if you’re doing public speaking and people are expecting you to show up and do it live, that might not be a good match. You know? Yeah. You won’t you’re gonna miss a lot of games if you’re on the road. So those those are the kinds of things I’m talking about. I mean, the obvious ones are, you know, our revenue goals and and, you know, maybe how many hours a week you wanna work. But there’s other considerations that you wanna take into account because, you know, if you don’t, you might build a a business that’s successful in the context of a typical business, but you might not like running it or it might not serve what you what goal the goals that you had. So I always I always like to start there. Yeah.

Joe Rando [00:09:24]:
Because that really can define, you know, where you might wanna take your your one person business idea. And then the next thing that’s really important and and people don’t wanna do this and we I feel like a broken clock sometimes, but is to focus your offering to a relatively or maybe very narrow niche of the market. And everybody says, I don’t wanna give up the market. I can help all these people. Why would I wanna narrow it down? And the answer is because they will not hear you. If you’re talking to everybody, you’re talking to nobody. And so you need to if you can help this group of people, this, you know, large group of people, you need to figure out what small subset of that you can target so that when they see what you say about what you do, they go, that’s me. They’re talking to me.

Joe Rando [00:10:19]:
So I can help people, you know, I can’t, but I could you know, if I were somebody that could help people do a better job in public speaking, I could say that, but I don’t think any there’s a lot of people that help with public speaking. Why would I choose you? Right. And, you know, maybe you can do it with with social proof or maybe you get somebody famous that said you helped them, great, if you can do that. But for most of us, it’d be better for me to say, you know, I help, long term entrepreneurs who have struggled with getting up and speaking in public, you know, or better yet, you know, men that are have been long term, entrepreneurs that have struggled for public speaking and decided that that they wanna make a change in that after 50. So now, you know, they look at they look and they go, oh, well, that’s me and he’s kinda like me and so I I, you know, I feel this connection and maybe I’ll have some of those people actually respond to my offer. But if I just say, hey, I help you with public speaking, I don’t care if you’re a high school student or, you know, a retired nun, nobody’s gonna listen.

Marisa Shadrick [00:11:28]:

Joe Rando [00:11:29]:
Nobody’s nobody’s gonna hear it.

Marisa Shadrick [00:11:31]:
It’s true. And with copywriting and copywriting clients, I run into that as well. It becomes too general, too vanilla, and it’s not quite landing for those people that it could possibly be a good alignment for. They just don’t see themselves in that description they’ve given, or they’re thinking they’re making them think too much about whether or not it’s a good fit for them. We don’t wanna have them think too much. It’s like if somebody says, I help writers improve their writing. Well, what kind of writing is it? Is it copywriting? Is it nonfiction? Is it fiction? You know, poetry? What what type is it? And then you could even probably go further than that too. Because some people do it as a hobby.

Marisa Shadrick [00:12:14]:
Some people wanna monetize it. So you can even go deeper than that. No. I agree. I think it’s so important. And it’s it’s not easy, is it? It’s not easy because I think they feel that the market is gonna get so small. There’s not gonna be enough people, but when there’s a big planet. Right?

Joe Rando [00:12:30]:
Yeah. The thing I ask is, you know, would you rather have, you know, 10% of a small market or 0% of a huge market? Mhmm. Yeah. And that’s, I think, is choice. And the thing is you can always expand your offering. You know, it’s almost like, you know, when when the military goes in and tries to to to take over someplace, they, you know, they get a piece of territory. They own it, and then they try to expand the boundaries. And you can do that, you know, we call in, you know, at startups, they call it a beachhead.

Joe Rando [00:12:58]:
You know, where are you gonna start with your new product?

Marisa Shadrick [00:13:01]:

Joe Rando [00:13:01]:
that is not where you’re gonna stay, but you go in with this beachhead. I’m gonna land here. I’m going after this little small niche. And then as I get that under control and start to own that, I’ll go to the next one. I mean, I did that in our last company that I I started with a partner and we started out just doing kind of figuring out where to put new stores, you know, helping supplying technology for retailers and, shopping centers to figure out where to put new stores. But by the time we sold the company, we were helping companies with with marketing and merchandising and branding, you know, kind of analyzing whether all of their stores were up to stuff on their branding. And it was just this huge kind of application, but we started at this very narrow area and then spread out through the organizations over time. And that’s a good strategy.

Marisa Shadrick [00:13:50]:
Yeah. No. I love that. I think that’s important to do that. And I I know it’s difficult for people. They just have to kinda trust the process and really try to niche. And like you said, it doesn’t it’s not like it stays that way forever. Start there.

Marisa Shadrick [00:14:05]:
It simplifies everything. And your messaging, once you have that figured out, everything else is so much easier to create because you know exactly who you’re writing it for. So that takes a lot of the pressure off too.

Joe Rando [00:14:18]:
And you get that 3 and a half seconds when they get to your website, right, That they read your they read your h one, you know, your hero, and and if they don’t see see something that makes them wanna read more, they’re gone. And I I’ve watched people interact with websites, you know, studying their their behaviors, and it is incredible. That whole thing about us having a shorter attention span than goldfish, that I don’t think anymore it’s not it’s not hyperbole anymore. I think that’s true.

Marisa Shadrick [00:14:44]:
Yeah. That’s funny. I’ve heard that too. That’s funny. But even in the example that you gave, because people might think, well, how could you niche down with a public speaker? But when you think about it, pastors of churches are speakers, but they were never met maybe necessarily trained for public speaking. So there’s a whole niche, and especially if it’s a megachurch, I mean, you start providing programs for that. I mean, there are speakers everywhere, but you gotta find those pockets, like who you wanna help and where potentially the revenue could be. So and that brings me to the the validation for the revenue.

Marisa Shadrick [00:15:22]:
How do you take that idea and validate it and think there is a market for this. How would you go about that?

Joe Rando [00:15:29]:
That’s that’s that’s important. And I I, you know, my my thought is that you don’t wanna start with too many just kind of assumptions, right? And I mean, I’ve done it and, you know, sometimes I was right, sometimes I was wrong, but it’s really important to kinda take that somewhat scientific approach and and and test your assumptions. Right? So so what I liked the way I like to think about it is that you you define what I call a customer type. Right? So let’s go back to that example that I made up off the top of my head about the the public speaker. So let’s say that I said, you know, I’m thinking that maybe I can help public speakers that are men over 50, that are long term entrepreneurs, But also I could say, you know, I could help, c, you know, c suite people that are, you know, or people that that are aspiring to the c suite that need their to to up their their their speaking chops in order to kind of make that leap. And, you know, perhaps I could say not just that, but only in the retail industry. Yeah. Right? So so now I’m helping people that are, you know, vice presidents, executive vice presidents in the retail industry that wanna improve their speaking skills to get up to the next level.

Joe Rando [00:16:47]:
So I could come up with a few different things like this, what I call customer types, and then try to find some of those people, and talk to them and just try to understand, you know, how painful this is to them. You know, do they is speak public speaking a challenge? Is it a problem? Is it something that they feel is a pain point? And you go through maybe a few of these different customer types and try to understand which ones have the pain point the most and maybe understand what whether they’re willing to kinda spend some money to address it if it’s worth their while. And, you know, I I like to start by asking them just what are your pain points? What are your challenges? And if they say yours, great. If they don’t, then you ask about it afterwards. But you don’t wanna start off by going, gee, is public speaking a problem? Because they’ll the people are nice usually and they’ll say, oh, yeah. Yeah. Yep. Yep.

Joe Rando [00:17:33]:
No. And they’ll wanna make you feel good, but you really wanna understand what they’re thinking. And it might be that they feel like there’s no solution, so they don’t mention it. And that’s great because then you can say, I’ve got a solution for you. But Mhmm. Interview these people. And one thing that’s really important is if you’re having trouble finding them to interview them, you’re gonna have trouble finding them to sell them. So that’s like a little bit of a learning experience there as well.

Joe Rando [00:17:56]:
And so once you find a customer type that really seems promising, then you can dig in on that one. I like to then kinda take it to the next level which we, you know, people call personas. Some people I think call them, there’s another name.

Marisa Shadrick [00:18:11]:

Joe Rando [00:18:12]:
Avatar. Yes. Thank you. And, you know, kind of maybe there’s different ones, maybe there’s the, you know, I’ve settled on the people in the retail industry trying to make the transition up to C suite and there’s the, there’s the ones that are, you know, dealing with shyness And then there’s another one that are just dealing with, inability to kinda organize their their their ideas into into effective speech, you know, into effective speeches or talks. And, you know, maybe have some of these different cluster that you attack a little differently. Maybe you focus on only one of those too. So it’s, you know, it’s it’s really about that, you know, instead of a sledgehammer, try to use a chisel and it’ll be a lot easier to break that rock.

Marisa Shadrick [00:18:53]:
I like that. I like that. Yeah. And oftentimes, you know, the the research that you do and even talking to people, you know, I think is so important because you’re talking about not just the superficial, at least this is what I heard when you were talking about it, not just the superficial problem solution, but the internal struggle that’s going on because of it, and being able to communicate in a way that they feel like they’re seen and heard. I know it’s kind of cliche now we say that a lot, but I noticed even for myself when I see something that really resonates with what I’m feeling at the moment, I tend to comment or make some kind of if I see a post or something on social, it resonates and I totally identify with what they’re saying. And so I think that’s that’s where it could get a little difficult, but I think what you’re suggesting makes it a little easier. And it is chiseling. It is refining and improving.

Marisa Shadrick [00:19:51]:
Back in the day, they used to just say, well, who’s your avatar? And they’d have you create this, like, out of the air. You know, and they’d say it’s it’s probably like you, you know, 5 years ago. But is it, you know, it really is more than just filling in a a worksheet, you know, and saying this is my avatar. Would you agree with that?

Joe Rando [00:20:10]:
Absolutely. I mean, I don’t think you can just, I mean, you can, you can go out and you can just define these avatars or personas, but you better be ready to adjust.

Marisa Shadrick [00:20:21]:
And you

Joe Rando [00:20:22]:
know, when we got started doing Lifestyle and we were, you know, targeting solopreneurs and there’s a lot of different kinds of solopreneurs out there and we said, we don’t wanna we don’t wanna distinguish by industry because we don’t think that’s really the the play. It’s just too many, you know, and we didn’t wanna focus on industry because we felt like there could be a lot of cross pollination, but we created a couple. And by the time we were done, I think we ended up with 5 we ended up with 5 personas and one negative persona. Mhmm. Because one one kind of person that we we didn’t want. And Oh. You know, so so because but it it was it came it came about over time. And then as we, you know, as we started to get to know people in the in you know, and talking to them, and it really ended up kind of being, you know, bigger than I expected.

Joe Rando [00:21:13]:
I was thinking we’d have 2 or 3, but we we do have 5 different ones. Just a little much but it just makes sense because we we’re breaking our own rule in a set very deliberately breaking our own rule of focusing extremely by serving all solopreneurs, that are trying to build businesses to serve their life.

Marisa Shadrick [00:21:34]:

Joe Rando [00:21:35]:
So, it So That’s yeah. Go ahead.

Marisa Shadrick [00:21:39]:
As they’re as they’re doing this Now, you touched on it a little bit earlier, so let me go back to it. Differentiating yourself. Say, you know what you want to do, you know, the niche or the avatar or the type of person that you want to work with. How do you differentiate yourself from competitors? So what’s your take on that?

Joe Rando [00:22:05]:
Great question. So I I look at it in kinda 2 I think there’s a lot of ways you could look at this, but the way that I like to break it down is I call it market positioning. Right? So now you know who you’re trying to serve, but that may still be too broad. Right? And so then there’s kind of business based folk focal points and customer based focal points. And some of the business based ones are, you know, things like, you know, your values, you know, your your your values, like what what do you stand for? What do you believe in? This could be anything from kind of religious values or, you know, environmental you know, there’s just a lot of ways that you can kinda paint yourself as a as a certain believer in certain kinds of things. But there’s geography. You know, I’m I’m in in Western Massachusetts. So guess what? That’s where I’m gonna be be working.

Joe Rando [00:23:01]:
There’s different kinds of specialties. So, you know, you think about a photographer. Well, you’re a photographer, but, you know, but you focus only on doing events or you do only portraits. Mhmm. There’s special skills. So I could be a photographer that does, macro photography. Right? So I have a special skill, a certain kind of of, thing that I can do that most photographers aren’t really good at. I could focus on an industry.

Joe Rando [00:23:27]:
I could do something where I focus on a particular price, you know, point. So I could be, you know, you know, low I could have some reason that I can come in at a lower price when I’m doing something differently from the competition. Or I could be high priced, you know, I could be really, really high high value, you know, I give a lot more time to every customer, but I charge a higher price because of it and there’s, you know, that’s a good way to differentiate. I somebody wants the best, they’re willing to pay the price. Yeah. You know, again, kind of related to that quality. And there’s lots of potential other ones. And then there’s the customer based ones, you know, job titles, gender, life stage, you know, demographics, you know, age income, education levels, the customer’s goals, any special needs or challenges that the customer has.

Joe Rando [00:24:14]:
And kind of related to that values one or the other end, it could be the customer’s religion, spiritual, some kind of affiliation, that you’re targeting. So there’s lots of ways there to you can you can kind of take that that avatar, that persona, and then focus focus it even more to get their attention by doing certain things like this.

Marisa Shadrick [00:24:35]:
Will their origin story be part of that too? The reason why they’re doing it?

Joe Rando [00:24:41]:
Well, I think it it it certainly could be. I I think it’s better when it is. I mean, you know, the more your business reflects as a solopreneur, especially, the more your business reflects who you are, the more authentic it’s gonna be, feel to other people. And I think the more traction you will get.

Marisa Shadrick [00:25:02]:
I’m so glad you said that.

Joe Rando [00:25:04]:

Marisa Shadrick [00:25:04]:
And so because I always say that your work is an extension of who you are, you know, and it’s like it starts with you and then it extends outward. So but it’s true. And and you can be very authentic. You don’t have to, you know, be somebody else. You could just be you.

Joe Rando [00:25:19]:
So Yeah. Well, that’s that for me, that makes it a lot easier to just kind of do do everything because I

Marisa Shadrick [00:25:25]:

Joe Rando [00:25:25]:
Yes. But, you know, I mean, there are always exceptions. There are people

Marisa Shadrick [00:25:29]:

Joe Rando [00:25:30]:
That, you know, and I’m not saying that they’re frauds, but they might be doing something that, you know, doesn’t reflect their own reality of, someone maybe could help people that have gone through trauma, get, you know, back into the working world or be more effective at their job that didn’t actually suffer trauma. I mean, it’s Mhmm. It’s possible and it could be a very valuable service, but if somebody did recover from trauma and did that, it might resonate a little more, might feel a little more authentic to the to the potential customer.

Marisa Shadrick [00:26:02]:
Yeah. Well, let let’s talk a little bit. And I know you know about this topic a little bit about technology because oftentimes people love the idea of starting a business, but they hate technology. And so and now there’s so much more of it, and there’s AI and all these other things. I mean, what would you tell somebody that’s starting a company of 1 as far as technology if they’re, you know, entering in with a little bit of anxiety, the wondering, I don’t know all the ins and outs of technology. What should I look at? What should I not do? What would you recommend? I know it’s a broad topic and can’t cover all of it, but I think the starting point.

Joe Rando [00:26:41]:
Well, I mean, if you’re a typical business, you’re going to want customers. So a customer relationship management system is kind of a no brainer. Yeah. There are some, you know, really easy ones. There are some really sophisticated ones, and everything in between. And it really depends, you know, if you’re if you need 4 customers to support your business, you probably don’t wanna invest in a very sophisticated system, but you might wanna have something, maybe not nothing expensive, but, you know, but if you’re if you’re trying to get, you know, if you’re selling an online course or something, you might love to have 10,000 customers. In which case, you’d really want a somewhat more robust, customer relationship management. CRM is the term they usually use.

Marisa Shadrick [00:27:26]:

Joe Rando [00:27:27]:
So I think anybody that’s starting a business is gonna likely want to look there early on in order to kind of build out their their leads and and be able to, you know, close sales. You know, the Gwyneth said this a year ago, but you really wanna start looking at AI. And I don’t personally think that AI is the kind of thing that should take over for representing you in the world in the sense of using it to create all your content. Mhmm. But you can it can certainly help you to be more efficient at creating content. I mean, it’s just been astonishing for me. You know, just the idea of I wanna write a blog on something. And instead of having to think through all of the aspects that I should cover, I can go to chat gpt and ask it to kind of generate a blog on a particular topic and it’ll miss some things that I would have put in there and I’ll make a list first of what I wanna think I should talk about, but it’ll also come up with some that I missed.

Joe Rando [00:28:26]:
So when I do that, I now have a much more complete, blog, than I would have had otherwise covering the topic. I don’t let I don’t take its words, but I will take its, you know, its concepts, put them in my words. We have a, a guy that I work with George b Thomas and he’s trained his JATGP to the point where he’s got it talking like him. So he’s actually a little more efficient than I am because he’s got this thing putting out blogs and things in his in his, his style, which I think is really interesting. But it’s still the kind of thing you certainly don’t wanna copy and paste. You wanna be very careful about what comes out of Chat GP and goes into the world in your name. But it’s still, it’s a it’s definitely a technology. I mean, it’s great for naming things.

Joe Rando [00:29:17]:
I have struggled with coming up with names for products and things and it’s it’s really helpful. Lots of other places where it can be, you know, it’s a little bit like, you know, having somebody to just kinda bounce ideas off of. And, so I strongly recommend that because it can make you a lot more efficient. Some kind of organizational tools, there’s lots of them out there. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot that are really great for solopreneurs in terms of like task management, project management. Yeah. They’re good, but they they have design for it. That’s one of the things I actually Lifestyle is working on an app for that because, you know, there’s nothing that really targets solopreneurs.

Joe Rando [00:29:55]:
So that’s a very big one of the big pain points we see is is productivity. So we’re working on that. And, and I mean, this you know, there are obviously tons of other kinds of tools out there depending on what you’re doing. A lot of people love Canva for creating, you know, artwork that you can then use for social media posts and that kind of thing. There’s tools that allow you to schedule your social media posts in advance so that you can, you know, kinda sit down and crank out a week’s worth of social media posts and have them all ready to go lined up for a certain time each day. Yeah. But, you know, there’s there’s lots of stuff like that as well, But, yeah, we could spend the rest of the day talking about those things. But those are some of the basics in my opinion.

Marisa Shadrick [00:30:40]:
Yeah. They’re there to help us as long as we’re using them strategically. And there’s a reason, you know, if it’s if it’s going to do a function for us, how is that function going to help us with the goals that we’ve set? You know? Because but one thing for sure, I will say, technology is so much easier to use than it was back in the day. Right? It wasn’t that it was pretty clunky before, but even websites are so much easier now. Maybe I’m dating myself, but they they weren’t that intuitive. But now, it’s really much easier to use. And once you learn how to use a few, it’s almost like it has a language of its own that you can kind of adapt that to other tools. Would you agree that it’s a little easier?

Joe Rando [00:31:22]:
I definitely agree. I mean, there are certain paradigms, you know, if you start learning the paradigm and like, you know, for example, Microsoft has a certain paradigm with its tools, right? Mhmm. And if you then go and try to use Adobe tools, you’ll be like, I don’t have any idea what’s going on here. But once you learn the Adobe paradigm, you can use other Adobe tools pretty easily.

Marisa Shadrick [00:31:41]:

Joe Rando [00:31:42]:
And so they call it patterning. And, so as you develop software, you start trying to develop, you know, you wanna keep a pattern that people can get used to. So and and a lot of times there’s like certain patterns that people design to when they build new software. So as you learn more software tools, a lot of times it’ll help you with other ones that have used a similar pattern.

Marisa Shadrick [00:32:02]:
Yeah. Yeah. I didn’t know what the technical term was. Yeah. I call it a language, but for sure.

Joe Rando [00:32:07]:

Marisa Shadrick [00:32:07]:
I do wanna talk about Lifestarr, but before we get there, I just I always love to be very honest with the audience and give them some up, goes consistently up up up and with growth. I mean there’s ups and downs depending on what’s happening in the market and everything else and plateaus, and they might think, oh, what am I doing wrong? I’m just I’m in the wrong thing. This doesn’t happen to other people. They’re sitting by a beach working only 3 hours a week and here I am grinding. What am I doing wrong? Could you speak to that and kind of encourage our listeners? Because I for 1 have not found it to be the the easy. It’s work. It it is work. It is work.

Marisa Shadrick [00:32:56]:
I’m gonna say

Joe Rando [00:32:57]:
it’s work.

Marisa Shadrick [00:32:57]:
It’s work that I love, but it’s work.

Joe Rando [00:33:01]:
22 kind of general concepts I’d like to to cover there. The first is a pattern that we see all the time with solopreneurs. Right? Solopreneurs are usually doing a good chunk of it all. Maybe they have a contractor helping them with bookkeeping or or appointment setting or, you know, some other things, but there’s they’re doing a lot of the work. And one of the things that happens a lot is that they go out and they start, you know, looking for for opportunities and they they start, prospecting and they get some some some deals and they go, now it’s time to produce. So now they start working on the deals. Well guess what? Now they’re not prospecting anymore. So then they crank out the work and they collect the money and they would look out and they go, I got nothing in the pipeline.

Joe Rando [00:33:42]:
Now they go back to prospecting. So it’s a feast or famine pattern. So you need to watch out for that and, you know, they just, you know, there are ways to kind of avoid it by kind of balancing your efforts, but, it’s something that has to be done very consciously. So that’s one thing that we see a lot and that can feel frustrating for people. But then sometimes you just, you know, you start a business and we all have an idea of of, you know, how easy it’s gonna be. Right? Because, you know, I I I don’t know. I put this on on LinkedIn the other day, but I saw this wonderful it was, actually like a banner and it it the banner said, we do this not because it is easy, and then in small letters it says, but because we thought it would be easy. And this is this is the the entrepreneur’s mantra.

Joe Rando [00:34:32]:
We we always think it’s gonna be easier than it ends up being, and that’s goes for solopreneurs too. So when you get going, you’re gonna find out, guess what? You know, I thought I was gonna be making $10,000 a month by now and I’m making 3, and it just isn’t working. And so I have like a 3 question process that I like to go through as I do this and and and it looks like this. Does the question 1 is, does anybody currently love what I’m doing? Is there anybody that is just completely psyched about what I’m doing? If the answer to that is no, and you’ve been at it for a while, you probably have to rethink what you’re doing. But if the answer to that is yes, then the next question is, if I found enough of those people, would this be a viable business? And that really comes down to are the people that love it willing to pay enough for it to be profitable. You know what I’m saying? So if and the answer to that is no, well, again, you might wanna rethink something because, you you know, you can’t lose $10 on every deal and make it up in volume. So you you need to think about how can I get this business in such a form that if I get enough customers, it will be profitable? And then third one is, if if if people some people love what I’m doing and if I found enough of them, I’d be profitable, in terms of my operation, do I have a clue how to find the people that love it cost effectively? And, you know, if the answers to those are yes, then you keep going. Just you’ve got a business, you just haven’t you just haven’t got it, you know, gotten traction yet.

Joe Rando [00:36:03]:
Mhmm. If not, if it’s no to any of those, then you gotta move on. So so that’s, that’s that’s how I think about it. That’s how

Marisa Shadrick [00:36:11]:
I think about it. Ever experience a low in your business and how did you get out of it? How

Joe Rando [00:36:18]:
Never never had a low.

Marisa Shadrick [00:36:22]:
I’m just curious because I think I think this helps people understand that we are doing the mental work, the actual business work, the fulfillment, the prospecting and everything, but there’s a lot that we have to do mentally. I mean, I journal and everything to keep myself healthy mentally. What about you? Has it been a time where it was low? And how did you how did you get out of that?

Joe Rando [00:36:47]:
Well, I listened to Tubthumping by I can’t the name of the group. The one I get knocked down, but I get up again. Uh-huh. That is just

Marisa Shadrick [00:36:53]:
I mean, honestly, that song used to resonate

Joe Rando [00:36:53]:
in my head all the time because, yeah, I’ve had so many lows. I mean, I remember when I got into the real estate development business and we got a deal done very quickly. It was great and I tied up another deal, and pretty quickly put the pieces in place and got Kmart to wanna go into this, just get the shopping center off the ground and then they killed the deal and every other deal they had in the pipeline all at once And that was it was year after year was going by and I got nobody. And it was just to the point where I didn’t even wanna go into that city anymore

Marisa Shadrick [00:37:37]:
because it

Joe Rando [00:37:37]:
was just so embarrassing. No. Because you go in and getting permits and, you know, it’s kinda public. And and but, you know, I just I said, it’s worth it. It’s it’s it should it should work. It makes sense. It’s it’s a matter of time. And I just kept telling myself that, you know, my assumptions were correct.

Joe Rando [00:37:55]:
Yeah. And it was just that the world, the world hadn’t come around to it. Then I got the phone call one day that Home Depot wanted to to go there and boom. But yeah. I mean, it it really comes down to making sure that, you know, if your idea is solid, keep going if you can afford to. Yeah. And but, you know, I don’t know. I mean, I kind of I feel like honestly, I’m a little bit of a stubborn person.

Joe Rando [00:38:20]:
I don’t know when to quit sometimes and I probably should have quit something sooner than I did. It’s worked out well overall, but, but it does

Marisa Shadrick [00:38:30]:
Well, let’s flip that and let’s say that you’ve developed perseverance. Right? That stubbornness has turned into perseverance. That’s at least what I say.

Joe Rando [00:38:39]:
Yeah. I mean, but again, you know, sometimes, you know, you can persevere into a place where you where you probably shouldn’t have. But it’s, you know, the real the the reality is that if you are not somewhat patient, somewhat willing to stick with things when it feels hard, it might not be the right place for you. You know, it might, you solopreneurship, entrepreneurship might not be the right path for you because these overnight sensations that we see all the time, there’s 10 a lot of times 10 years of work behind that that night.

Marisa Shadrick [00:39:09]:
Yes. That’s true.

Joe Rando [00:39:10]:
You know, I mean, these guys at Airbnb, I mean, they started out getting people to rent out air mattresses in their living room to people that wanted to go to concerts or something in other other cities. I don’t remember what it was, but they had nothing for a long time. It was a it was nothing. And, you know, they stick with it. They keep thinking about it, figuring out what they’re doing right, what they’re doing wrong, and then it clicks. And it’s the same way with with, smaller businesses too. You know? You have

Marisa Shadrick [00:39:37]:
to adjust Even even actors and actresses too. You they get their break, and you find out that they had been doing all kinds of small parts for years and nothing Yeah. Nothing happened. So, so tell us a little bit about Lifestarr.

Joe Rando [00:39:50]:
Sure. Well, Lifestarr I’ll give you the the short version of the history. I had, my my last tech company was a piece of a product I wanted to buy that didn’t exist and I wanted it. So I built it. And then that’s got spun off. It was a a tool to figure out where to put retail, stores. It spun off into a separate company, that, grew into grew into a very successful enterprise software company that I sold in 2020. And the, I had a similar thing.

Joe Rando [00:40:25]:
I wanted to buy a task management system that would let me work with anybody, not just my team because I had a lot of people I was working with that didn’t work for me. And none of the tools out there worked well, so I started imagining what the tool would look like. And I, I I once I started imagining it, then I couldn’t stop. So, as we sold the business, I started building that tool And I said, well, who am I gonna market this to? And, I work with this woman, Carly Reese, she does marketing. She said, you know, solopreneurs don’t have teams, it’s a natural. And I said, you’re absolutely right. That’s great. Let’s do that.

Joe Rando [00:41:03]:
Where do we find them? And then we said, we started looking around and there was no place to find solopreneurs. Like there was no really good place. There were some, you know, Facebook groups and things, but no real place for solopreneurs. And I said, that doesn’t make any sense. There’s like 50 +1000000 of them if you include people that are doing it on the side. And so I said, you know what? The first thought was forget it, that’s not gonna work. But then I said, well, there’s 50 something 1000000 of them, let’s build a place for them. So Lifestyle is basically, yes, there’s the app in the works, but we built out community, we’ve got courses, we have events, we have an AI system trained up to answer questions from the perspective of solopreneurs, you know, not for subject matter experts or people who work for big companies.

Joe Rando [00:41:48]:
And so we’re just, you know, we’re building out all the kinds of things that people that are solopreneurs need to address their challenges. And those those challenges are mostly pretty short list. It’s lead gen and sales, right? How do I get customers and how do I find potential customers and how do I close them? It’s how do I operate more efficiently, be more productive. And then it’s loneliness, working alone is lonely. So we’re addressing those issues. For people that are getting started, sometimes, you know, people don’t really know how to get started. So we’re building out some, processes for people to, to start their business more effectively, avoid the common mistakes. But, yeah, office hours so you can call, you know, call in on our Zoom and kinda ask you questions and courses, etcetera.

Joe Rando [00:42:35]:
So it’s really kind of a whole we’re trying to build a whole ecosystem to help solopreneurs start and then effectively run and keep their businesses current.

Marisa Shadrick [00:42:43]:
Very cool. Is it a program that you go through or is it a membership? What it what is it?

Joe Rando [00:42:47]:
It’s it’s a membership. It’s a month well, there’s a free tier and then there’s 2 different paid tiers. 1 is for people that are just getting started and those for people that are established. Mhmm. But, it it’s it’s, like I said, it’s a it’s it’s a membership thing and, and you just, you have access to all the different tools, all the different events, all the different courses, office hours.

Marisa Shadrick [00:43:10]:
Very cool. That sounds amazing. So let me do, just a a quick questions just to find out about you. What’s your favorite color?

Joe Rando [00:43:20]:
My favorite color is blue.

Marisa Shadrick [00:43:21]:
Blue. You’re wearing a blue shirt too. What is your favorite food?

Joe Rando [00:43:27]:
Oh, yes. No. My favorite food. Oh, there’s so many. I think, you know, if I just have to pick up a really good true Italian pizza, like Oh. That you almost can never get except in Italy.

Marisa Shadrick [00:43:50]:
Very good. Last question. Do you have a favorite book or quote that has really resonated with you?

Joe Rando [00:43:57]:
Well, I’m gonna go with book just because it’s an older book that a lot of people probably don’t know about anymore, but it really changed my life, and has informed a lot of the ways that I kind of go in the world. It’s called the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. And it sounds like maybe one of those books to, you know, how to go out and manipulate your way into success, but it’s not. It’s about it’s about building character, about doing the right thing, about, you know, walking walking the walk, walking the talk or whatever, however they say it, you know. And, it’s just a it was a wonderful book. I first read it in my early thirties and, had a large impact on the way I think about how I how I operate in the world.

Marisa Shadrick [00:44:44]:
Wow. You get those classic books. Yeah. Those classic books. Was that was that Covey too?

Joe Rando [00:44:49]:
Stephen Covey. Yep.

Marisa Shadrick [00:44:51]:
Oh, didn’t he write the four disciplines of execution too, Or was that his son? Might have been his son.

Joe Rando [00:44:58]:
I don’t know.

Marisa Shadrick [00:44:58]:
I’ll have to look

Joe Rando [00:44:59]:
at it. I’m not sure.

Marisa Shadrick [00:44:59]:
Don’t quote me on that list.

Joe Rando [00:45:01]:
I won’t.

Marisa Shadrick [00:45:03]:
So, anyway, I know. Google it. Joe, thank you so much. This has been amazing. So generous with all your info and insights and experience. Thank you so much. Oh, thank you so much. Words any last words for our audience before we say goodbye?

Joe Rando [00:45:19]:
She well, I’m on LinkedIn. If you wanna connect, I’d love to connect with you on LinkedIn. And, and you know, as I said, we have a free tier. There’s a community on Facebook that you can join, if you can come to the to the website, Star has 2 r’s, lifestar with 2 r’ The other one’s the helicopter,

Marisa Shadrick [00:45:42]:
the the

Joe Rando [00:45:43]:
medical helicopter. So but, the, we’d love to have you join us there. Like I said, that’s free and, and a lot of great stuff happening. So

Marisa Shadrick [00:45:52]:
So I’ll be sure

Joe Rando [00:45:52]:
to get

Marisa Shadrick [00:45:53]:
those links in the show notes. We’ll put all those links there. And so that’s the best place for them to go to the website?

Joe Rando [00:46:00]:
I will go to the website or or, you know, you can you can search me out on, on LinkedIn, Joe Randell.

Marisa Shadrick [00:46:05]:

Joe Rando [00:46:07]:

Marisa Shadrick [00:46:07]:
Thank you so much, Joe. I really appreciate it. This has been amazing.

Joe Rando [00:46:11]:
Thank you, Marissa. Take care.

Marisa Shadrick [00:46:12]:
Alright. Bye bye.

Joe Rando [00:46:13]:
Bye bye.

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