About 2017-10-23T19:43:38+00:00

About

Ed-s-h-o-n…how do your pronounce it?   It’s “SONEL”.

This page includes more in-depth information about the following:

  • My Professional Background

  • My Personal Background

  • My Health Challenges And Resources For Others That Might Have Some Of The Same Issues

  • Current Work

  • Key Learnings I Wish To Pass Along To Other Entrepreneurs

  • My Online Footprint And Where Else To Find Me

  • More About My Tagline, “All Or Nothing”

My Professional Background

I love starting and growing businesses. I don’t consider myself a good entrepreneur…fail at most things I do and make a lot of mistakes, but just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

My first was selling PC’s in college in the late 1980’s in Southern California; a technology guy that I worked for one summer would assemble them, and I would sell them.

Post college, I moved to the east coast and worked for a non-profit near Boston.  Amongst my regular duties, I also started a business for the non-profit brokering home sales to low income buyers.

But the Colorado Rockies is where I really wanted to live, so in 1995, I packed up and moved to get my MBA at the University of Denver.

During my studies, I worked on starting a business that used derivatives to help banks manage their small business loan portfolio.  That business never went anywhere, as the statistical models I used did not work well in the marketplace.

So I teamed up with 8-guys and we started an Internet social network, which went pretty well for a while. We sold it and I worked for the parent company for a year following that. That went fine until the parent company went under, along with the boatloads of stock we had.

I was then hired by investors/owners in two successive tech startups that never really went anywhere.  But they were great learning experiences for me, so no loss there, as far as I am concerned.

By now it was 2007 and I wanted to shift away from tech startups and into consumer products, especially food.  So I was hired by an investor to build a company selling weight loss products. We used uncommonly used methods to growing a consumer brand that proved very successful in a short period of time. Our revenue went from startup to $50 million in 18-months.

That followed with another startup selling an educational DVD product using the same growth methods and it, too went very well. Our revenue went from startup to $25 million in 2-years.

And that followed working with another company selling supplements, using the same growth methods and it went very well. Our revenue went from startup to $100 million in 18-months.

But I have to tell you it was not just me behind these successes.  I was general manager and VP retail sales, general manager, and VP retail marketing and sales, respectively, so was part of a team executing on these successes.

Other activities in my professional career include co-founding a community non-profit, serving on the board of an industry trade group, and mentoring for several venture capital accelerator funds.

My Personal Background

I love and follow Jesus and consider myself a born-again, non-denominational, evangelical with a pentecostal orientation.

Jesus is my greatest source of strength and identity and what I value the most.  My path to become a better husband or entrepreneur or anything I do in life only comes from focusing on Him.

It is not an easy path and is deeply frustrating at times.  But there are times when it becomes infinitely satisfying and He reveals his mysteries to keep me wanting more.

I grew up in southern California, but my heart was always in the mountains, which is why I live in Colorado.

My younger years included national amateur-level competitions in several sports, including triathlons and biathlons (ski/shoot). I still stay active any way I can. During summer, find me cycling and hiking; during winter, skiing (XC, backcountry, alpine) and snowshoeing. Year round is weightlifting and some rock climbing thrown in.

In 2001 I met my incredible wife, Sue.  We share a love of dogs and the outdoors and run a business together.

In 2009, we moved to a rural area southwest of Denver.  We purchased our property and home as a foreclosure and have had quite a bit of work to clean it up.  That included remodeling the whole house, fixing the barns, removing large piles of junk left over from the previous owners, building trails and sitting benches, installing lots of fencing so we can walk with our dogs off-lead, and spending plenty of time with a chainsaw cleaning out dead slash around the property.

We have built out part of our home to be used for business, which includes a commercial licensed kitchen for creating food products and a large multi-purpose room for extra office space and light R&D and manufacturing.   Eventually, we hope to expand by building a separate building (another barn) on our property with additional office, light R&D and manufacturing space.

High quality, organic food is very important to us.  We grow some of our own food and may expand that to an indoor year-round commercial farm at some point. We purchase all of our meats from local ranchers that we know personally and whose operations we inspect.  We look for superb land management and humane animal treatment practices and only buy from those we approve.

My Health Challenges And Resources For Others That Might Have Some Of The Same Issues

I have genetic conditions that makes it hard for my body to deal with biotoxin exposures, digest food from celiac issues  and properly process certain vitamins.  This all went undiagnosed for more than 40 years, which lead to very compromised health.

Biotoxins include mold, primarily, but other bacteria as well.  Over-exposure to mold is not good for anyone, and more problematic for me.

Since 2005, I was on again and off again miserable while working and then in 2010, I had to take 2-years off from work to get myself back on track.  But that has not been the end of it.  I have still had ups and downs since then.

As our medical science has continued to advance, along with own extensive research, testing and just plain trial and error, I have dramatically improved.  For the most part, I can live a normal life now, although my diet is restricted.

Doctors (both conventional and naturepathic/alternative) have not done much to help me.  Most of it has come from my own research and directing my testing and treatment protocols.

Current Work

Since 2007, I have focused my approach to growing startups using a process that I came to call my “Growth Stack”.  This has and continues to be my preferred way to grow because in my experience, it requires the least amount of investment and the least amount of risk, and has the potential to provide much faster, more robust and sustainable growth. I teach it here in a free workshop open to anyone.

But in the past, executing on this approach has required a high 6 to low 7 figures in upfront investment. Still a small sum compared to the amount that other consumer product startups end up needing with more traditional growth strategies, but nonetheless, a good chuck of cash to raise from investors.

In 2014, I saw the advancements in the internet, e-commerce, marketing and technology and recognized that there could be a lean and agile framework for developing, launching and growing consumer product companies using my Growth Stack, but with much less need for significant upfront investment.

I also saw a need in the marketplace to teach others how to use my Growth Stack that is supported by my Lean & Agile Framework, and the incubator model emerged as the best vehicle to do that. Where my Growth Stack is my roadmap for how I develop, launch and grow consumer product companies, my Lean & Agile Framework is my operating manual with a large collection of content, methodologies, processes, tools, spreadsheets, diagrams, resource lists, research, data and software, organized to take me from idea to $50 million in annual sales.

Since then, I have fully applied and tested my Growth Stack and my supporting Lean & Agile Framework in my own company that I co-own with my wife, which has grown to a healthy 6-figure business with significant profitability and without investor funding.

At present, my time ebbs and flows between my own consumer product businesses, my startup incubator, advising, consulting and sometimes, full-time roles with companies.

Key Learnings I Wish To Pass Along To Other Entrepreneurs

First, take care of your health.  You may not be able to build a company, provide for yourself or your family, or realize your entrepreneurial dreams without good health.  Know what makes you tick and your genetic profile that predisposes you to issues. There is no moderation….it is all individual-specific. What is considered moderation for some people is bad for other people..  Learn what works for you.

Second, develop a support network, especially of people who see things differently than you.  For example, I am a dreamer, whereas my wife is more the realist.  We balance each other out: she keeps me from going too far into orbit, and I help her move forward and take risks that she should not ordinarily do on her own.

Third, know what you are passionate about.  This is enormously important.  Life is too short to do anything else.  What interests you such that when you wake up in the morning, you can’t wait to get started.  Yes, we all need to make money (or most of us), and often that in and of itself is a good short-term or medium-term goal to focus us. But long-term, you need to go deeper to find your purpose. I believe we all have one.

Fourth…When I ask people who are successful what is the one thing that they owe to their success, most say it comes down to this: try a lot of things, fail at most, but through all those failures, you find a few that succeed.  I have also found this to be the case in my professional career and personal life. So, what this means for every entrepreneur is as follows:

  1. Develop the mindset that you will fail at most things you try, but don’t let it get you down; just keep plowing forward.
  2. Make sure you set yourself up to learn from those failures so that you stand a good chance of engineering out the circumstances around that failure for future endeavors.
  3. Make sure those failures are small and manageable, which means to not take on such huge risks that the failure would create significant calamity in your life, both professionally and personally.
  4. Set up systems and processes that let you try a lot of things and fail at them quickly so you can learn towards your successes.

My Online Footprint And Where Else To Find Me

My website is my central repository for all my content. I repost content on various other networks. Please follow me on those networks that work best for you for receiving notifications from me.

  • Facebook: I repost my content here.
  • Twitter: I repost links to my content here.
  • Instagram: I repost links to my content and pics here
  • Youtube: Most of my videos are hosted here.
  • LinkedIn: I repost links to my content here.
  • Quora: I am a top viewed writer for several categories and respond to questions posted here.

More About My Tagline, “All Or Nothing”

You may be asking, what is up with my tagline, “ALL OR NOTHING”?

When starting a company or training for a race, it’s common accepted wisdom to give it your all. I am not talking about “all” in a quantitative sense – like hours you spend, miles you ride or resources you commit – although that is important. There is a deeper level of “all” that comes from knowing oneself and feeling the freedom to express oneself in all aspects of life.

God created me, and each one of us, with a unique set of talents and strengths that no one else has. Some of those were embedded from birth, while others developed and evolved based on the unique experiences of our individual lives. “All” to me means finding out what those talents and strengths are, in the context of how I enjoy using them, and using them without abandon.

In this way, I glorify God because as His creation, I am letting Him manifest Himself through my uniqueness. But the great thing, too, which I have learned in my walk with God, is that I end up having loads of fun and feeling deeply rewarded. What could be better than to please God and have fun at the same time?

But, there’s risk there too. I mean, practicing what I like to do, like starting and growing companies, which I think I am getting better at, brings in all sorts of personal, financial and career risks, doesn’t it? Of course it does! But, I have found that knowing oneself also means getting to know my creator who made me, and I’ve come to know that He’s there watching my back and covering me. So, while there is risk and I will make wrong decisions, experience hardships and fail, He’s there to pull me through. That brings a level of freedom that lets me really commit to “All”.