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Thinking Like a Consumer – Return on Podcast Ep. 14 with Tyler Ornstein

Thinking Like a Consumer - Return on Podcast Ep. 14 with Tyler Ornstein

The following is a transcript of Episode 14 of Return on Podcast, the show where we help e-commerce sellers improve their ROI in business and in life. For more episodes, subscribe to our YouTube channel or listen on Podbean, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify.

[00:00:00] Tyler Jefcoat:
Welcome to Return on Podcast, where we talk about the experiences, obsessions, and habits of the most successful e-commerce entrepreneurs. I’m your host, Tyler Jefcoat. And I want to welcome you to this episode of ROP. Today, I wanna talk about building brands. If you go to a good conference about e-commerce or brand building, here’s what they’re gonna tell you: search for a problem in your life and then develop products to solve that problem. Like for instance, today in the state of Georgia, it’s gonna be 102 degrees Fahrenheit. To be clear, that’s terrible. And so being big, pasty, and bald, there are lots of potential solutions out there that might make me more comfortable when it’s hot or when I’m sweaty, right.

Hat or air conditioning, steam cooler, whatever it is. And so, my point in saying this is that the more personal, the more pertinent, the more important the problem is that you were trying to solve, the more power you have to develop a brand story that is compelling to a really big audience. And so I wanna talk today to a friend of mine, Tyler Ornstein. You heard it right. Another Tyler. It’s all Tylers, it’s Tyler all day long here today. Ornstein, welcome to the show.

[00:01:19] Tyler Ornstein:
Tyler fest, whoo!

[00:01:21] Tyler Jefcoat:
This is gonna get weird. I mean, there’s so much Tyler here. It’s gonna be, it’s gonna be challenging to keep this thing on the rails and maybe we just need to go off and that’s okay.

[00:01:30] Tyler Ornstein:
Yeah. I woke up this morning and I was like, I’m gonna have another conversation with another Tyler. I’m too excited. And then I was like, I was really tired and I wasn’t like, you know, I was kinda like, mm, you know what I really need? Oh, oh no, Tyler’s Coffees. That’s, so Tyler’s Coffees with Tyler Jefcoat and Tyler Ornstein. It’s triple T right there.

[00:01:53] Tyler Jefcoat:
All sorts of Tyler. It is. And so, you know, so Tyler, so you’ve introduced it well. You’re the founder/CEO of Tyler’s Coffee, a really, really good growing coffee brand. You’re an author. You have your own podcast. I read one of your recent op-eds in a national magazine. So you’re, doing things, homie, and I love it. And I guess like, so here’s the way our conversation tends to go on this show is I wanna hear about your story, ’cause it’s such an amazing story.

I wanna hear some of your thoughts on how to build businesses, and then, eh, we may graft in a little investing. We’ll see. But here’s my understanding. Tell me if I’m wrong here. Your dad invented something kind of, to my point at the top of the show, your dad invented something that solves a real problem, a real health problem, and not just a real health problem, but like a personal issue that your family was going through.

And then I just feel like what I’ve learned from you is you add a lot of hustle. Some want to, some get it done, to that innovation, and poof, Tyler’s Coffee is now a thriving brand. I mean, like, gimme a bit more of that story. And what did I miss there in kind of this, like how in the world you got into this business?

[00:02:52] Tyler Ornstein:
Well, I think what’s really key factor in all of business is, and I use this every time I speak on podcasts or in public, or, you know, just to random strangers and anyone that comes up to me and says, you know, what do I need to do to be successful? And I say, it’s so simple. Like, I love to boil, you know, a full entire book down to one word.

Because if you can, I guess what I’m trying to say is you, if you can centralize your energy on one word, then obviously it has a lot of implications. The one word that I tell everyone, and I mean this by the bottom of my heart and more than anything in this world, you’re not gonna be successful if you don’t have this, and that word is help, H-E-L-P. If you don’t have a product or service that doesn’t help the customer or doesn’t help the environment or industry or whatever you want to call it, the space that you’re trying to sell, you’re never going to sell. You’re never going to have, you might sell onesies and twosies and it might be like a one off thing, but if you don’t have like a true belief beyond the word help and how you can help, you know, companies out and make solutions to problems, good luck to you, bud.

[00:04:24] Tyler Jefcoat:
Yeah. It’s so true. So it’s so interesting how, at the end of the day I think one of the very first episodes we ever did on my podcast, it was defining business as solving a problem in such a way that you get to capture a little bit of value because you’ve done such a great job solving that problem. And I think you phrased it even more simply: help. If I’m not making my customer’s life better in some meaningful way, right, what am I doing here? Right?

[00:04:48] Tyler Ornstein:
Absolutely. So you know, I guess I can just give you like the 30,000 foot overview. So my father, he and I bonded over coffee, and essentially him and I saw eye to eye on coffee. Not on a lot of things. Not a lot of things, but coffee, we agreed on. And one day he just had really bad stomach pain. So we went to the doctor and, and the doctor said, well, you have a stomach related modality. I’m sorry, you can’t drink coffee anymore. And being a inventor slash biochemist said, no, that’s not true.

I can figure out a way to make coffee non acidic. And I didn’t even know any of this. Right? So I was 13 at the time, and he started working with electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and they came up with the idea that if you don’t bloom the tannin, the lipids, and the miric acids in the coffee, then you’ll yield essentially a neutral pH. Now not to get into the weeds here, but saying that and doing that is a completely different thing because you’re dealing with God and God doesn’t have perfection in the sense that every bean is not identical.

So we have a computer process that actually measures the humidity, and pretty much a lot of proprietary information, but long story short, we don’t bloom the tannic and lipid acids. Now, in not blooming the tannic and lipid acids, we’re able to get a neutral pH.

So in 2004, my father came to me and said, what’s the second largest commodity out in the world. And I said, I have no idea. So I went to Google. First was petroleum. But second was coffee. And I was like, well, it’s coffee. And he was like, how would you like to own a coffee business? And I was like, what? Like, what now?

I did do popcorn sales when I was in Boy Scouts, and I was the number one popcorn salesman because I changed my language. So I stood in front of a grocery store, just like every other Boy Scout, and people would come up to me. And would you like some popcorn? Would you like some popcorn? Would you like some popcorn? No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Okay. Why do people say no? Well, it’s very simple. It’s the easiest way to be protected.

If I say yes, I’m taking a risk, right? I’m taking a monetary risk. I’m taking technically, is the flavor good? You know, is it healthy for me? Is it – so there’s a lot of, if again, we’re gonna use a T-chart. If you use a T-chart, no means no. Yes, there’s a lot of implications in yes. Right? So I kept thinking to myself, I was like, okay, I’m not going to get my prize, which was a red Huffy bike. If I don’t do this, if I don’t make sales. So I said, okay, wait a minute, Tyler. This is when I was like 11, 10? Said, why don’t I change my language? So what I did is I took the nos, and I turned them not to a yes, but to a question. I had about 4, 5, 6 SKUs, I put little sample, and I said, hi, excuse me, which popcorn do you like?

Do you like the caramel or do you like the cheddar? And I gave the customer an option and they looked at me like, ” I guess I like the caramel.” Well, here’s a sample. Go on, go into your store, do your thing. You know, go shopping. Come back and see me if you really like it. I was the number one salesman.

[00:08:53] Tyler Jefcoat:
And by the way, just to break in there really quickly, what I love is that I feel like you’re, it’s the art and science of removing anxiety, friction, because you’re right. The default is always gonna be no, but if we can find, if we can understand on some like visceral level, what is the customer going through? And then, you know, kind of help them experience it. Now, if our product sucks, it’s not gonna matter. But if our, but if the caramel is really good, like if people tend to enjoy the caramel, right? If they taste it, you’ve eliminated three or four of those potential, eh, risk that they’re gonna just be defaulted to say no. So forgive me, continue the story.

[00:09:27] Tyler Ornstein:
Right. So, no, it’s fine. So what I realize is it’s, you gotta get the product out there. You gotta get the product from people’s hands. So fast forward to 14. I’m on my bicycle that I won in my popcorn contest. I have a backpack, and I have these two ounce perk packs. And they’re, at the time we thought, oh, well, because it saves the, the flavor and it’s fresh and everything, and long story short, was bad idea and should have never done it. But we learned from our mistakes. Right.

[00:09:59] Tyler Jefcoat:
So forgive me. I dunno what that is. You’re selling like little packs of coffee. Is that what you meant? A couple years later?

[00:10:04] Tyler Ornstein:
So this is a 12-ounce bag that we’ve had for the last eight years and tried and true. People love it. But we had these two ounce perk packs. And I don’t, I don’t have any, I’ve been looking everywhere. I looked in my old office. I don’t have any, I can’t show ’em. Anyway, it’d be cool.

So all I did was I’d just drop off a perk pack, and I would get a name and number from random strangers. And that’s if they answered the door, right? So you have this like, how many, how many doors do you have to knock? And remember, this is ’04 when the internet was beyond its infancy. It was like, just, just, just, just, just coming out of its – you know, we still had yellow books, or yellow pages.

So anyway, that’s not the point. The point is I wanted to get a case study. Right? So all I wanted was name and number. And at next week I would do all my follow up, and I’d call. And I’ll never forget, this really sweet lady, and I call her and I say, hey, I dropped off a sample of a coffee, did you like it?

And she goes, you know what? I actually tried it. I like it a lot. Where do I get it? And I was like, well, you get it from me. And she’s like, okay, well, how much is it? And I was like a dollar, ’cause I really didn’t know where to price myself. I mean, my dad didn’t, he brought packs of coffee to me. I don’t know what – you know, so I was a hundred percent profit right now, right? And she’s like, okay, well bring me $10 worth of coffee. And it was like a light bulb moment. It was like, it was like, oh my God, if you are gonna spend your hard earned money on me, how many other people are going to do the same?

And that was kind of an epiphany, and I’m very, very, very, very, very happy that I’m able to offer the world’s first and only USDA organic acid free coffee.

[00:12:09] Tyler Jefcoat:
That’s such a great story, man. I love it. And so just to the application side of this a little bit, I’m just curious. ‘Cause it sounds like in some ways like you just have this wiring to go get it and you’re like, oh wow, this is a really cool thing, and I love what my dad did. Like do you have any advice for brand owners out there that are trying to figure out how to take, what might be like a personal journey in develop into a product that might be more of a sustainable brand?

I mean, has there been – maybe a different way to ask this is what has made you so successful in kind of applying – because it’s one thing to have a cool story. It’s even one thing to have an IP related product. It’s a completely different thing to actually muscle through and build a real business out of it.

I mean, what, how would you advise startups that are really trying to figure out how to truly differentiate by understanding what their customer really cares about and kind of go into market with it?

[00:12:54] Tyler Ornstein:
I think what the most biggest factor in that question would be, why should I buy this? You have to understand, like you’re separating someone from their money, right?

Money, to us business people, to us successful business people, to us people that have made a lot of money, we look at it as a vehicle or as a tool or as stored energy to buy goods and services or buy our problems. Right. But that mindset is the one percenters’. Let’s be honest.

99% of people that have money, they cherish it. They worship it. They look at it. They goggle over it because it’s so hard to come by because they don’t, haven’t figured out how to create renewable success. So you gotta have that mindset when you’re selling your products, goods, or service.

And a lot of people that I’ve seen try to succeed in business, they treat it as like, well, I understand how to figure it out, so why don’t they? And I’m the opposite. I’m like, no, you worked a whole entire, you know, hour of your blood, sweat, and tears because you wanted to purchase my coffee. So I have to make my product look better, feel better, and act better than anything else in the marketplace. ‘Cause we’re not cheap, right? We’re $20 a bag, and the inflation value is outta control. But.

We’re obviously holding that price. We’re not increasing our pricing, but back in the day, we were extremely expensive for most people. And it was because we offered a really high quality, very, very, very pristine product. So you really gotta know your market space, and if you’re not going to – the other, so I’m kind of sidetracking here.

The other thing that’s really important for entrepreneurs and startup people or whatnot is don’t put yourself in the business. Remove yourself from the business and look from the outside in. Like, for example, when I look at this, I say, okay, that’s pure. It’s clean. It looks organic. I like the packaging.

This package right here has been around for eight and a half years. I’m now seeing all the coffee companies go with white, blue, and green. Like it used to be super dark colors and, I wanted to stand out. So I take that as a huge compliment. Okay. You guys are copying me. I take that as a huge compliment. But does that kind of answer your question? Like stand out, be different?

[00:16:04] Tyler Jefcoat:
Yeah. Well, I mean, you mentioned something I think is really important there. I think it can be easy to assume, the one fallacy that we can make is entrepreneurs is making the mistake of assuming that our customers need to understand what we understand.

And I think what I heard you say, I’d love to even hear more of your thoughts on it, is that no, no, no, no, actually the opportunity is to identify something that requires some education. It actually requires me to truly be the proactive one to remove your anxiety so that you’re willing to pay the premium for my product.

And I think, so what I heard from you, and the mindset that I heard which is so important, is taking ownership of the responsibility to systematically lower the anxiety, the barriers to purchase for your customers. It’s not their job. It’s your job. Like they’re not gonna buy your product. It’s not their job to buy your product. It’s your job to sell it to them.

And I think that a lot of people, when they start businesses are like, well, hell I get it. I know it’s great. What do you mean you don’t get it, you idiot? Well, guess what? That guy doesn’t ever sell anything. And so like, I believe that really presents an opportunity in the market.

And I’m assuming that’s probably been a big part of your success is taking full ownership of grabbing the bull by the horns and creating a customer experience that’s completely not ignorable. You can’t ignore it because it’s so good. And I applaud you for that, Tyler.

[00:17:15] Tyler Ornstein:
Thank you. Thank you.

[00:17:17] Tyler Jefcoat:
So, so go ahead. Go ahead. You have a comment there. Oh, there it is. Cheers. Well there Tyler’s like, you know what? Tylers do great things. So it’s so you used the word mindset earlier and that’s actually one of the key themes of this podcast, Tyler, is adopting the kind of mindset that grabs us and gives us a real competitive advantage in this super competitive world.

Anything else about the mindset piece that you’re like, listen, you’re trying to build a seven-figure brand. You’re trying to get there. You gotta stop thinking this way and start thinking this way. Like what else pops in your head? Just, I didn’t even prep you this question. What do you think?

[00:17:46] Tyler Ornstein:
So let me, tell you very, very clearly, okay. This is, I’m a realist. And sometimes I have to crack some eggs to make omelets. You either have it or you don’t. You either want it, or you don’t. You either get up at 5:30 in the morning, or you don’t. You either work your ass off to make success, or you don’t. End of story. End of story.

[00:18:16] Tyler Jefcoat:
What I love about that though, is I think the, there’s so much of our EQ, you can develop habits, you can develop – any of us can improve. I have, I very much have a growth mindset, but I think if your core mindset – this is, I’m inverting what you said, and tell me if I’m saying it wrong, but if your core mindset is that I’m gonna have some kind of an easy path to becoming a millionaire, like I can just kind of sit back, and I don’t have to do the hustle, the market, capitalism is gonna prove you wrong. Because the other guy out there is working his ass off. And if you’re not willing to do the little things every day you know, don’t go start a business, ’cause it’ll be really hard. Is that kind of what you’re saying?

[00:18:51] Tyler Ornstein:
A hundred percent.

[00:18:52] Tyler Jefcoat:
Yeah. I love that.

[00:18:53] Tyler Ornstein:
Don’t start a side job so you can fail.

[00:18:57] Tyler Jefcoat:
And the other part of this is, to your point there, ’cause about doing a side hustle or side job, like I love the idea of flexing my grit muscle. Like, well, what I mean by this is I do something intentional every year that’s hard, that I know I’m gonna suck at initially, that I’m going to have to grind through some entry stages to be proficient enough to have fun with it.

And for me I do it, and sometimes I make money. Sometimes it’s a new business, and I’ll go invest in something and learn how to do it. Sometimes it’s actually just whatever, something dumb, like solving a Rubik’s cube or playing chess or something like that, where it’s like, this is actually gonna require me to exercise a different level of mindset than I currently do.

And I would just say, this is just kind of a personal anecdote here, I think that has really helped me be successful in the businesses that I’ve started is just being the, trying to be the kind of person that’s like, I just wanna challenge myself. I wanna try new things. I wanna surround myself with people like Tyler here who are gonna call me out.

I’ll be honest with you. I was interviewing a guy last week, Tyler, who on my intro call with him a month ago, five minutes into this intro call, called me out on something. He’s like, hey man. I just see something here that if you’re trying to surround yourself with people, like, then I’m gonna be that kind of person and tell you, you need to make a change here.

And I was like, all right, cool. And I actually did it because having people around you that’ll tell you what needs to be done is important. But anything else about that? Like entrepreneur mindset, anything about developing that muscle that helps you be successful in the stuff you’re running after.

[00:20:13] Tyler Ornstein:
Two things. One you brought up chess. There was an article in Inc. Magazine about six years ago that I read, and it interviewed, I think in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 billionaires and, it was a checklist. It was like, you know, how do you eat? How do you sleep? What is your hobbies? Blah, blah, blah.

Right? So on and so forth. Not a single one added up. Right. So when you took the, when you plotted the data on like an X, Y graph, nothing was on a linear line. So for one answer was commonality throughout the whole entire questionnaire. And that was, do you play chess? Every billionaire plays chess.

So if a billionaire plays chess, then you should play chess. I love chess. I think chess is probably one of the greatest games in the world. It teaches you strategy. It teaches you futurism. It teaches you mindset. It, you know, there’s a winner and a loser at every game, right. There’s never a tie. There’s never, you’re either in checkmate. That’s it, you know, you don’t –

[00:21:20] Tyler Jefcoat:
Well, you can have a draw, but that’s a good point. What your point is is that there is – what I love about chess also, and by the way, we’re gonna just kind of go into a geek moment here because you and I both enjoy chess. But it’s like the immediate feedback. I’m going out on a limb. If I go to the chess.com app, which I’m not gonna lie, I play a lot of chess on it. I enjoy it very much. And I play with, let’s say Tyler and I hook up online and we play game. There will be a concrete result from that game after whatever the timeframe of the game is.

And it’s gonna give me actual concrete feedback, it’s gonna say, oh, you know what? That strategic plan that you tried to implement wasn’t good enough. ‘Cause Tyler was better in this way. He, you know, wiped the board with you and checkmated you in 12 moves or whatever. And so I agree. I agree that it has in – by the way, the way I’m wired, Tyler, it’s funny.

Chess is like, The absolute perfect game for – I had never completed a full chess game until about a year ago, by the way. And I picked up the app ’cause I saw my brother-in-law playing it. And I was like, what? That looks amazing. And I have, and I realized because of the pandemic and Queen’s Gambit, like this is kind of a thing right now everyone’s getting into chess.

But if you’re not, I wanna say it actually is a really good, you know, if you’re like into Sodoku or some other like kind of mind kind of thing, right. I would say chess is a great way to take that logical thinking and combine it with like, I love to win, and I love playing games and it’s because it’s a thousand year old game. Like there’s so much depth to it that I’m, I would agree with you. It’s a very, you know, if you’re looking for something to get hooked on, guys, try chess. It’s a lot of fun.

[00:22:43] Tyler Ornstein:
Try chess. Yeah, absolutely. So number two. Okay. Number two. I cannot stress this enough. I have talked to people about this. I’ve had people tell me, oh, this, that, friend, blah, eh, and I go, you can cut that all out if you want. You are period, 100%, challenge me. You are who you surround yourself with. That’s it.

[00:23:09] Tyler Jefcoat:
No doubt.

[00:23:10] Tyler Ornstein:
If you’re gonna surround yourself with losers that don’t have time management, that like to get high, that want to just watch Netflix, that like to play video games, that see their job as annoying and frustrating, and that they have to clock in and clock out and punch in and punch out and do physical labor, you’re gonna do that. If you’re gonna hang around people that are successful entrepreneurs and want to go play golf, want to go ski, want to go fly planes, want to drive fast cars? Yeah, you’re gonna do that.

[00:23:50] Tyler Jefcoat:
Well, it’s really interesting. So I, and even because I, this is one of my favorite adages, that you’re kind of the average of the people you hang out with, call it the five people, 10 people, whatever, wherever you read, I would take it a step further because I found this to be true.

If you were to look at your, maybe let’s call it five closest friends, the people that if you could graph it out, you spend the most time with over the course of a month, I would almost be willing to bet that your annual income is pretty close to the average of those people that you spend time with. And so it’s not just – and it’s amazing by the way, I’m in a mastermind, super high level where I’m a participant.

I pay lots of money to be in this mastermind each month. Worth every penny because I’m getting healthier because these guys are fitter than I am. My relationship with my wife is getting better because these guys are intentional. My income is going up because these guys are great investors. And so I think just to, this is a good pivot into like what will make a difference in the lives of people listening to this podcast, Tyler.

And it is, you are what you eat, and you are who you hang out with. And I mean, if somebody – so let me ask you a question to maybe, if somebody looks at their network, they just heard what I said and heard what you said, and they’re like, damn it. I’m like, all of my friends play Fortnite and get high every night and watch Netflix for seven hours, and then they go back to sleep and rinse, repeat, do it again. What would be one or two concrete things that that person could do to potentially make a change in the next month that might have a meaningful impact on that network?

[00:25:11] Tyler Ornstein:
Block ’em all, and go find people in your network that you want to be with.

[00:25:15] Tyler Jefcoat:
I mean, by the way, it’s not that easy, but it is like, I think that’s, you’re gonna have to do something intentional, and it probably is gonna include what Tyler just said, which is, unfortunately you may have to do some gentle subtraction, right? In order to make the space to have some capacity, you know what I mean?

[00:25:29] Tyler Ornstein:
Well, one of the hardest things I ever did in my life was remove my love of my life. And when I say love of my life, I knew her for 10 years, but remove her from my life because she was not, she was not going to have me succeed. She did not have that mindset of success. I pushed her and pushed her and pushed her to a point where she had so much resentment for me.

She wasn’t even interested in succeeding because she wasn’t that person. She wasn’t that person. Now that I’m single and I’m in the dating world, you really and truly have about not three chances with me. You pretty much have about one, and maybe, maybe if you’re really cute, like super fucking hot, two. But if you blow me off after two chances…

[00:26:23] Tyler Jefcoat:
Well, I mean, listen, good luck by the way in the dating world. That’s, I could imagine that’s exciting, and also, like, I just wanna say this. Like, I have so much in my life that’s like up in the air because I own a complex business, and I have some other investments.

I empathize with your challenge, and I also just wanna say, wow, that makes me wanna pause here and just be grateful for how amazing my wife is. ‘Cause I didn’t, I don’t deserve her. But I think your point is, you know, making sure again that you’re intentional to surround yourselves with people – and by the way, I just wanna say the flip side of this, I’ve never met your ex and probably never will, but the reality is that situation was probably crushing for her, too. Right?

So the reality is like you reorienting your network around people who are feeding your energy may actually be a blessing to the other person too, because they might need to go find another network that’s more feeding their energy and it’s just not – in other words, it may be right, but different. It may be wrong, but different. It doesn’t matter. It’s –

[00:27:13] Tyler Ornstein:
Not to air my dirty laundry, but I’m a multimillionaire, own multiple businesses, very successful. Had narcissistic tendencies. I mean, I’m not gonna say that I’m not a spring chicken and this breakup and all that has really allowed me to reflect on my deficits. Also I started going to therapy for the first time in my life, and I think that that’s really important for mental health.

But that being said, I literally was floored and then realized that makes a lot more sense. And actually, wow. So she moved in with a plumber. Now I have nothing against plumbers. I have nothing against blue collar. I have nothing against constructions. I’m in the blue collar industry. But out of all the industries, electrician, carpenter, you know repairman, landscape, I mean, everything, out of everything you choose a plumber. I just. That sells me right there. It’s like, well, cheers to that.

[00:28:20] Tyler Jefcoat:
But by the way, I just wanna say this just in defense of any plumbers out there. One of the richest guys I ever had the privilege of knowing was the father of one of the girls that I was fortunate enough to date when I was in college.

And he was like worth like $30 million. He was a plumber on steroids ’cause he had built a business out of it. But to your point, listen, I wanna pivot and talk about our last section here because I think you’ve touched on so much. That’s so powerful in terms of cultivating a mindset.

By the way, if you are an adult and have have never had therapy, you probably should consider it. That’s another thing you mentioned. I just wanna like, mention that as a, that’s real life. It’s just been so helpful in my life also. So I think that’s really important.

Let’s talk about this. And we’ve mentioned so many, I wanna try to nail you down to one or two. If you have anything that pops to your top of your mind, people listen to this podcast and they’re looking for what’s that nugget, hack, practice, habit, this thing that I could actually try that is working for Tyler.

I mean, Tyler’s a multimillionaire entrepreneur who’s built a really successful brand. I believe wholeheartedly, James Clear, the book Atomic Habits says we don’t rise to the level of our goals as much as we fall to the level of our habits. My question is what are the practices in your life that are giving you an unreal return on investment that you’re thinking we maybe want to check out?

Tyler Ornstein: Okay. Pattern disruption is one of my favorite things to like, understand, learn, kind of research, all that fun stuff. Okay. So whenever I get on stage and whenever I speak my question to the audience is how do you become successful? And I open it up. I open the floor.

Have a plan. Okay. You know, have a credit line. Okay. Learn how to, you know, figure. Okay. Right. And then I say, great, thank you for all that feedback. Unfortunately, you’re all wrong. And the crowd kind of goes quiet and then confused. And then I say, there’s the one thing that every successful person, Bezos, Warren, Jobs, Elon, anyone you want to think that’s wickedly successful, the one commonality or thread is failure.

So you would never, ever think failure equals success, but if you fail at something and you learn, then you’ll be wildly successful. You fail and you repeat your failures, you are a loser and you’ll never be successful. I’m sorry to be blunt, but that’s the truth.

So I love to fail because it teaches me how to learn. Now, failing forward is the best practice. If you fail and then go, “I’m done, put a fork in me. Let’s go bankrupt and mortgage the, or sorry, and lien the house out. And, you know, let me go cry in a corner and woe is me, and I’ll never be successful,” then you’ve failed.

But if you fail forward and you go, oh, that was a mistake. Let’s not do that again. All right. Next. That’s how you become success and wildly successful. That’s how you really, really, really make the success that you’re looking for,

[00:31:37] Tyler Jefcoat:
I think that’s really good. So it’s just, angela Duckworth, by the way, if you’re looking to put that into a book, wrote a book called Grit a few years ago, and I think the practice of doing – and this is funny, we’re not gonna talk about chess this whole episode, but like doing something that puts you out there where you are going to get beat sometimes, where there are gonna be things that are gonna not work out, it’s, you’re gonna become known as not getting it a hundred percent. Right. And so you’re, you’re fighting this kind of American tendency.

I mean, we go to school here, Tyler, in America, and it’s all about getting an A and Mom will give me a gold star. And then all of a sudden we get – college is the same way. I gotta get a three point something to keep my scholarship, but then you actually get out into real life and it’s like, oh, the people who are the most successful have the courage to take the most risk. And the only reason they have the courage to take the most risk is that the first 17 attempts, they got nos, door slammed in their face.

They like, literally let their customers down. They just didn’t know what they were doing. Right. But they pushed through it and they learned by having grit. And so I think that’s what I, just to reframe again what you said there, that’s what I think I’m hearing. Anything else you say that’s like a core part of your success philosophy?

[00:32:42] Tyler Ornstein:
I mean, I love being the dumbest person in the room. That’s like one of my favorite sayings is if you really want to be successful and forward thinking and you know, out there be the dumbest in the room. I think Elon, when he walks into his board meetings with his, all his engineers, he doesn’t know at least 60% of what they’re talking about.

Maybe an overview. Right? So I can talk about thermodynamics and not sound stupid. I can talk about, you know, coffee and not sound stupid. I can talk about nuts and bolts and not sound stupid. I can talk about friction modifiers and not be stupid. But the absolute nitty gritty, nano level tech conversations of pi R squared, and you know, differentiation of weight over time, over density over, you know, that shit I can’t really comprehend and nor do I want to. So you always wanna hire your weaknesses, and that’s what I mean by being the dumbest in the room.

When I’m with my staff, I have a meeting at 11 o’clock with one of my offices, when I’m with my staff and they start talking to me and they go, well, we want to do this. We want to do that. This is what’s happening. This is what’s – I know that their job is to know everything about what they’re talking about, but my job is to understand what they’re saying and then give them an overview and say, okay, let’s go. And that’s what a really, really, really good entrepreneur slash business owner does is they, they oversee operations.

They say pivot, pivot, pivot. Everyone has a role in a business. You know, the CEO’s role is to keep the damn thing afloat. The employee’s role is to keep shoveling coal into the fire. But the CEO shoved coal in the fire, not keeping the boat afloat. Does that make sense?

[00:34:53] Tyler Jefcoat:
Yeah, it does. It definitely is a, a different role. Yeah, that’s really well said. By the way you speak to, I’m thinking about the ethos underneath that. And I think having the security in yourself to be able to sit in a boardroom and not need to be the smartest person in the room, I think that’s a gift and then it also forces ownership down to your team where they can’t depend on – ’cause I’ll be honest with you. I actually struggle with the opposite side of this sometimes where I, my personal type is, my instinct is to be a shot caller. And it has really taken years of discipline for me to be able to say, hey – and by the way, it doesn’t mean I’m the smartest guy in the room.

It just means I like to make choices. And actually putting the responsibility for those choices in the seat that has the most accessed information doesn’t mean that I don’t ever override a bad choice, but what ends up happening if you’re the CEO that makes every decision, I need it to be, I need the walls to be green, and I need the knob to be purple, and I wanna make sure that this button looks like this. If you do it that way, you’re removing ownership and therefore engagement from your team. And guess what? Eventually, your cowboy, make all the choices yourself is gonna run outta steam because you’re not gonna have the information that’s on the ground level.

And so I think the wisdom of what you said is just letting your team have that full ownership, you know. They can be the smartest. That’s okay.

[00:36:05] Tyler Ornstein:
Yeah, I agree. And another thing is there’s a saying, and it’s a very true saying, “the pen is mightier than the sword” in the sense that if I’m sitting there and I say, okay, this is a project that I want to do, and I want to put three bodies on. And how much time is that gonna cost? Okay. How much time is that gonna cost? I’m moving them away from another project where we could be making more money.

They could be, you know, doing it as good as possible, but I’m still not happy with the solution. So what I’m trying to say is my mouth costs me a lot of money. Every day, I wake up, I’m spending, I don’t know, somewhere in the neighborhood of like $6,000 just in payroll. So I have to be like, okay, $6,000 is gonna go out today. We need to make 12, minimum. We need to make 24 to really be happy. We need to make 25 to, you know, have Tyler have a nice life.

You know, and that’s kind of where I’m at, and I’m kind of, I’m kind of getting naked in front of all your people here and letting you guys know the real nitty and gritty, A, because it’s another Tyler and I respect that name, but B, I think it’s really important that you understand this. You can live, you Tyler, me Tyler, anyone else, you can live on a thousand dollars a day comfortably. Okay. Like if you’re burning more than a thousand dollars a day, you have a drug habit. We need to have a conversation.

So you can live on a thousand dollars a day comfortably. So my goal is to make a thousand dollars a day. So my goal is to make a thousand dollars a day, which means I have to bring in X for overhead and Y and da, da, right. Do all the calculations. But, do you get what I’m saying? Like every time I speak, it costs me money, but it also will make me money.

So you have a very, very, very common sense of what do you want to accomplish that you think is gonna be successful and, and your and I mean this in 100% a polite way, your minions, your employees, their job is to do – when people say, oh, I don’t want a yes man in my business, no, I want everyone in my business to be yes men, but I want them to have ownership of that yes. I want them to feel like they’re contributing to the better cause of the company.

So you let them do, “you do you, boo boo,” is one of my favorite conversations or is one of my favorite sayings to say, is “you do you, boo boo,” because I don’t want to micromanage you. I just want the task done. And I want it done on time and under budget.

[00:38:55] Tyler Jefcoat:
That’s well said. Yeah, it’s interesting. I mean, there’s so much we could talk about related to management style, but I want to close up there. So, I mean, this has been a great discussion, Tyler, ’cause we’ve talked about, you know, again, taking this family mission, turning into a compelling brand story. We’ve talked about how to cultivate a mindset where you can actually grow and own a business and not let it own you. Right. You don’t have to be the smartest guy in the room.

[00:39:18] You’re gonna need to try hard things. You’re gonna fail. You’re not always gonna get it. Right. Right. I think that mantra, I’m gonna take that away for sure as a nugget related to just developing grit and, you know, brother, I respect you. I mean, TylersCoffees.com is your website. If people wanna learn more about you and your products, is that, we should go to the website or?

[00:39:36] Tyler Ornstein:
Yeah, I mean, we’re – okay, so check this out. This says Sprouts, right. I wear this every day. I don’t take this off because this is our biggest account, and I am beyond honored that Sprouts has given us the opportunity to go on their shelves, all 400 of ’em. And we’re also with natural grocers. We’re talking to Kroger, we’re talking to Publix, we’re talking to Whole Foods. But every day I wake up and I go, this is exciting. You know, when you can say you’re with Sprouts, that’s a big, big achievement.

[00:40:14] Tyler Jefcoat:
That’s wonderful. So if you have a Sprouts in your neighborhood, go look for Tyler’s Coffees there. He would appreciate your support. He’s published a book. He’s got stuff all over the place. You’ll look up Tyler’s Coffees, you’re gonna find him. Tyler, this has been a great conversation, man. Thank you for joining me today.

[00:40:27] Tyler Ornstein:
No. Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it, Tyler.

[00:40:30] Tyler Jefcoat:
I love it. I love it. Well, and then for those of you guys who are, you know, 40 plus minutes into this pod, thank you. The Tylers of the world thank you for your attention and your time. It’s not trite, it’s meaningful. We hope you can grab at least a nugget or two out of this that makes an impact on your life. And again, I’m Tyler Jefcoat, Return on Podcast is the podcast.

[00:40:49] Tyler Ornstein:
I’m Tyler.

[00:40:50] Tyler Jefcoat:
That’s right, right. Tyler’s Coffee, Tyler Ornstein, Tyler Jefcoat, the Tyler trio. We actually tossed around the, you know, the three Stooges as being an alter ego today. We steered clear, but grateful for you guys joining us. Hope you have a wonderful week, and we will catch up with you next time. Let’s go kill it.

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