76 episodes

As we hear The Startup Story of some of the most successful companies in the world our focus is singular…
To give you the belief and courage to Start Your Story.
Every successful startup began with a single decision. It’s not about the dream, it’s not about the vision, it’s about having the courage to take that very first step -- to start.
How did UBER grow to $50 billion? How did Spanx become massively successful without one dime of venture capital? The stories are out there. But The Startup Story goes even deeper. What exactly did they do to go from idea to launch? What was that first step and how did they decide to take it?
Each week, hear from the courageous founders behind some of the most successful brands in the world as they share their Startup Story. We’ll unpack the early beginnings, and uncover those first steps that ultimately led them to where they are today.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur who’s in the thick of it and not making much progress, or feeling stuck in the fear of failure, not sure if you have what it takes, this podcast was created for you.

The Startup Story James McKinney

    • Entrepreneurship
    • 5.0, 213 Ratings

As we hear The Startup Story of some of the most successful companies in the world our focus is singular…
To give you the belief and courage to Start Your Story.
Every successful startup began with a single decision. It’s not about the dream, it’s not about the vision, it’s about having the courage to take that very first step -- to start.
How did UBER grow to $50 billion? How did Spanx become massively successful without one dime of venture capital? The stories are out there. But The Startup Story goes even deeper. What exactly did they do to go from idea to launch? What was that first step and how did they decide to take it?
Each week, hear from the courageous founders behind some of the most successful brands in the world as they share their Startup Story. We’ll unpack the early beginnings, and uncover those first steps that ultimately led them to where they are today.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur who’s in the thick of it and not making much progress, or feeling stuck in the fear of failure, not sure if you have what it takes, this podcast was created for you.

    Recap: Startup Story LIVE

    Recap: Startup Story LIVE

    About this episode

    Startup Story LIVE was a livestream event, and it wrapped, and it was a fantastic success. This week on the podcast, I am providing a recap of the event. Initially, the event was supposed to be an in-person conference in Dallas. And then, COVID-19 happened. We had to pivot to that event entirely into an online virtual summit. The event surpassed my wildest dreams and expectations.


    During the two-day virtual summit, entrepreneurs and founders showed up to speak, listen, and learn from each other. Entrepreneurs support entrepreneurs, and Startup Story Live was an accurate representation of that. Today, I will share the highlights, some of the challenges I had to overcome to hold the event, and lessons learned along the way.


    In this episode, you'll hear


    Some of the interesting statistics and results of Startup Story Live: like we streamed to 77 different countries and how Entrepreneur Magazine came on as the presenting sponsor
    The tactics and strategies shared during the event by speakers, entrepreneurs, and founders.
    Sean Cannell of Think Media shared about the power of video content in today’s marketplace and how YouTube is the 2nd most used search engine on the planet.
    Christina Stembel’s session spoke to the power of quick decisions and avoiding paralysis by analysis.
    Why you don’t need VC funding to build a business…you require grit, resilience, and an ability to execute well.
    Jason McCann of Vari (formerly, VariDesk) talked about how critical it is for brands and entrepreneurs to be innovating and not resting on the various levels of success they achieve.
    Luke Fox spoke about the power of traction and gaining micro-wins.
    If you missed the livestream event, I share how you can still access all of the founder sessions.


    Resources from this episode

    The Startup Story Inner Circle: https://www.thestartupstory.co/vip
    The Startup Story on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/thestartupstory
    The Startup Story is now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/jamesmckinney
    The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory


    Share the podcast

    The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help.


    First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.


    Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you!


    Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us.


    With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you!


    EPISODE CREDITS

    If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment.


    He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world.


    Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory

    • 29 min
    Michael Coles, founder of Great American Cookie Company

    Michael Coles, founder of Great American Cookie Company

    About this episode

    This week's featured founder is Michael Coles, founder of The Great American Cookie Company. Michael will share his journey through family hardship and financial ruin, his bankruptcy, and a motorcycle crash that almost destroyed his life. He then takes us through how he started a cookie business, one which would go on to be one of the most successful cookie brands in the country.


    Due to the Coronavirus, Michael and I recorded this episode remotely, but I felt like I was sitting right there with him as he walked me through all the various challenges he had to overcome to get to where he is today. We are all fortunate to learn from someone that has (for decades) continued to step up to adversity and push against it. This is Michael Coles’ startup story.


    In this episode, you'll hear


    How at the age of 10, his family lost their home and watched his dad recover from bankruptcy.
    His first venture was raking leaves. He shared how this experience taught him about monopolies and franchising.
    He shared fondly about his first mentor, Irving Settler, who owned a department store where Michael worked.
    Why and how, in his Senior year, he moved to Massachusetts to live with his brother and focus on school.
    After high school, Michael got a job as a sales representative for a clothing company instead of going the traditional route of college.
    Grappling with the desire to start his own business, he decided to start a retail company that eventually went bankrupt. He went back to work as a sales rep for a clothing manufacturer. And ultimately, he would go on to launch a clothing company of his own.
    A trip to the mall to buy snacks for clients introduced Michael to the concept of 'single-food' stores. He immediately bought ingredients to make cookies, and a scale, so he could try to figure out the cost ratio.
    How a call to a friend to buy out his share of the clothing company would lead to the start of the Great American Cookie Company.
    Due to lack of oven mitts, their opening day ended with a fire and no cookies to hand out to customers.
    Six weeks after starting the cookie company, a motorcycle accident nearly took Michael's life. Michael shared his journey openly and how his rehabilitation led him to set three world records for coast-to-coast bike rides.
    Michael credits his experience with manufacturing and sales to his success. He leaves listeners and entrepreneurs with some sound advice.


    Resources from this episode

    Time to Get Tough! How Cookies, Coffee, and a Crash Led to Success in Business and Life



    Michael Coles on LinkedIn



    Great American Cookie Company



    The Startup Story Inner Circle: https://www.thestartupstory.co/vip
    The Startup Story on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/thestartupstory
    The Startup Story is now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/jamesmckinney
    The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory


    Share the podcast

    The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help.


    First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.


    Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you!


    Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us.


    With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you!


    EPISODE CREDITS

    If you like this podcast and are thinking of creati

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Jaime Schmidt, founder of Schmidt’s Naturals

    Jaime Schmidt, founder of Schmidt’s Naturals

    About this episode

    Jaime Schmidt started Schmidt’s Naturals after attending a local recreational class on how to make shampoo. From that class, she grew Schmidt’s Naturals to the point that Unilever bought Schmidt’s Naturals just seven years from when she started.


    Since Jaime’s sale of Schmidt’s Naturals to Unilever, she continues to represent the brand as an ambassador. However, she is now working on two new ventures, her book, Supermaker, is set to be released in the Fall. And she is also the co-founder of Color, an inclusive funding for early-stage consumer brands venture capital company. Both are centered around elevating the entrepreneurial story for makers and underrepresented founders.


    I am so excited for you to hear this episode of The Startup Story podcast because I love Jaime’s story, and I think you will too. Her story paints a complete picture of how incredible entrepreneurship can genuinely be. This is Jaime Schmidt’s startup story.


    In this episode, you'll hear:


    How entrepreneurship seemed to come naturally to Jaime, from having the best lemonade stand on the block to providing neighbors laminated ‘save the date’ cards weeks in advance of a lemonade sale.
    Her business-savvy expanded to babysitting during her preteen years. Her parents’ encouragement to save half of her earnings enabled Jaime to buy her first car.
    How growing up, attending college was expected as the next step, so even though Jaime had no clear path in mind, she attended Michigan State University.
    She chose a business degree with a focus in Human Resources because she did enjoy working with people.
    Her first employer paid for continuing education, which enabled her to get a Masters Degree in Sociology.
    Unfulfilled by Human Resources, Jaime took time off to figure out what she wanted to do with her life and her career.
    About the fateful Google search, which led Jaime to a shampoo making class, the class inspired her creative side and competitive side.
    After creating her shampoos and products, she eventually began to sell at Farmers Markets and used customer feedback to perfect them.
    Jaime describes her business journey and how she was able to enter the retail market as a result of being in Farmers Markets.
    The growth of her company: manufacturing in her kitchen, to eventually moving to a larger manufacturing space to create products for large retailers.
    Why she thinks inserting some of your own story into your brand is necessary; and what she says she would do differently.
    What she is doing now: including the release of her book, Supermaker, and the work she is doing with the Color.


    “I have never been the type to look too far ahead. I just took every single day at a time and decided that I would NEVER say no to anything.” – Jaime Schmidt, Schmidt’s Naturals


    Resources from this episode

    Schmidt’s Naturals - https://schmidts.com/
    Jaime on Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/JaimeSchmidt/
    Schmidt’s Naturals on Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/schmidtsnaturals/


    Jaime’s book, Supermaker: Crafting Business On Your Own Terms, is scheduled to be released on September 8th. If you register for Startup Story LIVE at http://startupstorylive.com you will receive a very special offer for her book!


    Color Capital - https://color.capital/


    The Startup Story LIVE - Virtual Conference: http://startupstorylive.com
    The Startup Story on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/thestartupstory
    The Startup Story is now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/jamesmckinney
    The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory


    Share the podcast

    The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help.


    First, the most powerful way you can support this podc

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Luke Fox, founder of WhiteFox Defense Technologies

    Luke Fox, founder of WhiteFox Defense Technologies

    About this episode

    WhiteFox Defense Technologies is a drone mitigation technology company founded by Luke Fox. He was building an organization to manufacture drones in an affordable way for research and humanitarian efforts. In doing so, he started to see that drones were being sought out by people and organizations that had incredibly sketchy purposes for the use of drones.


    From those observations, he developed a device that is no larger than a brick. This device is capable of identifying drones, assessing their threat, and then engaging them. The device will immediately force the drone to land, it can crash it, or it can send it back. I've seen the technology in person, and it is unbelievable!


    Luke is a global leader in drone airspace security and pioneer of the safe integration of drones into society, WhiteFox products securely manage drones in sensitive airspace worldwide. While the technology Luke and his team have produced is impressive, it is Luke's personal story of triumph that is far more impressive. This is Luke Fox's startup story.


    In this episode, you'll hear


    About Luke's upbringing surrounded by siblings with both mental and physical disabilities. His responsibility and purpose were to help, which taught him to think of others first.
    How his tendency to hide away and 'tinker' with things helped him discover his knack for technology.
    His home responsibilities, entering foster care, and how it led him to fall so far behind that, he dropped out of high school.
    Getting his GED, entering Community College at age 16, and receiving his first A, proved to him that he was intelligent enough to rebuild his life.
    His drive to help people had him wanting to enter law enforcement, though his aptitude for technology had him thinking about combining the two.
    His first organization, a non-profit, used technology to help fight against human trafficking.
    Wanting to use the new drone technology for better law enforcement surveillance, humanitarian aid, and research led him to develop a more affordable drone; and start Drones for Change.
    Drones for Change shifted into WhiteFox Defense Technologies as he sought to develop his universal drone controller. He hoped to give law enforcement tighter control over the air space with counter-drone technology.
    At the time counter-drone technology was illegal, so Luke had to work to get Congress to pass laws to create a market for his technology
    How his difficult upbringing has helped him strive for the success of his company as he wants it to be. He won't compromise for something lesser.


    "No matter where you come from, the traumas you've endured and the mistakes that you have made do not have to define you or defeat you. It is because of those experiences that you are capable of seeing the world in a way that nobody else can." Luke Fox, WhiteFox Defense Technologies


    Resources from this episode

    WhiteFox Defense Technologies: https://www.whitefoxdefense.com/
    Luke on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lukerfox/
    Luke on Twitter: https://twitter.com/lukerfox?lang=en
    The Startup Story LIVE - Virtual Conference: http://startupstorylive.com
    The Startup Story on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/thestartupstory
    The Startup Story is now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/jamesmckinney
    The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory


    Share the podcast

    The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help.


    First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.


    Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupsto

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Minnie Ingersoll, partner at TenOneTen Ventures

    Minnie Ingersoll, partner at TenOneTen Ventures

    About this episode

    TenOneTen Ventures is an early-stage venture fund. The firm personifies entrepreneurial expertise within the technology space. Their mission is to back entrepreneurs who inspire them, then do whatever it takes to help them get the job done. Minnie Ingersoll is co-founder of Shift and partner at TenOneTen Ventures. This week she joins us to share her entrepreneurial origin story, as well as some of the work OneTenOne Ventures, is doing to help other entrepreneurs.


    Minnie's story is a fascinating one. Throughout her story, you will hear just how correctly wired she is to help early-stage startups. Her journey displays the power of understanding your strengths and going all-in on them. Of course, we have to start at the beginning. And for Minnie, the start was not one where you would have predicted it would lead her to where she is today. This is Minnie Ingersoll's startup story.


    In this episode, you'll hear


    Minnie's upbringing, growing up in a home of academics but knowing she wanted to do and be more.
    About her desire from a young age to attend Stanford.
    How she graduated with a computer science degree as the.COM bust was happening.
    Her move to Manhattan after graduation and working for the startup, LivePerson, as a product manager.
    How her desire to understand all aspects of business lead her to Harvard Business School.
    With an MBA in hand, but still drawn to startups, Minnie decided to move back to Silicon Valley.
    A 'We're hiring' screenshot from her mother led her to apply for and land a job at Google.
    Minnie shares some behind-the-scenes stories about how Google develops its products.
    Minnie's entrepreneurial spirit eventually led her to leave Google and start her own company.
    Feeling her skillset is best for the early days of startups, and wanting something different with three young children, she turned her attention to venture funds to finance startups and founded TenOneTenVentures.
    The challenges faced by women in venture funding, as well as some opportunities presented to them.
    When looking for investments, Minnie looks for a balance between expertise and passion.


    “There are many flavors of entrepreneurship. You are uniquely equipped, and you need to lean into that uniqueness.” Minnie Ingersoll


    Resources from this episode

    TenOneTen Ventures: https://tenoneten.net/
    Minnie Ingersoll on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mingersoll/
    LA Venture Podcast: https://podcast.tenoneten.net/
    The Startup Story LIVE - Virtual Conference: http://startupstorylive.com
    The Startup Story on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/thestartupstory
    The Startup Story is now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/jamesmckinney
    The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory


    Share the podcast

    The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help.


    First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.


    Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you!


    Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us.


    With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you!


    EPISODE CREDITS

    If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment.


    He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers,

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Dave Bolotsky, founder of Uncommon Goods

    Dave Bolotsky, founder of Uncommon Goods

    About this episode

    Uncommon Goods is an online marketplace that connects makers and their creations with shoppers looking for genuinely unique goods. It's the online marketplace place to go to when looking for a one-of-a-kind gift for that special someone in your life (hint: like moms, Mother's Day is right around the corner!).


    In addition to the incredible items sold directly from the makers, Uncommon Goods key sales strategy is to leverage catalog mailers. My kids love looking through the Uncommon Goods catalog! In today's episode, you'll hear from the company's founder, Dave Bolotsky, on why he decided to use a catalog mailer for marketing his e-commerce company.


    Dave joins me to share his entrepreneurial origin story. He journeys us through the birth of the internet and e-commerce, to the .com bubble, and the events of 9/11. This is Dave Bolotsky’s startup story.


    In this episode, you'll hear.


    Dave details his early entrepreneurial tendencies, first as a young child creating mini-catalogs for baseball cards, and later as a teen when he started a lawn-mowing service.
    Dave shares how he had aspirations to start a record label upon graduating high school and his eventual disconnection from this dream
    His career as a financial analyst first in retail and later working at Goldman Sachs for twelve years
    His discovery of the internet in 1995 and how he began to write out internet retailing while at Goldman Sachs and his ultimate decision to leave Goldman Sachs in 1999 to pursue e-commerce
    Dave's e-commerce idea and how close it is to the Uncommon Goods we know today
    Some of the early steps taken to launch in the early days of the internet.
    How Dave navigated through the .com bubble burst
    How and why he decided to create a mailer to promote the products he was selling online.
    Dave launched his business in a very challenging season of our economy and globally, during the 9/11 era. He describes what it was like working and leading his company during that time.
    Dave shares when he knew he had a sustainable business.
    Where he sees Uncommon Goods in five years and beyond


    “Whatever decision you make, you need to stop driving while staring in the rearview mirror.” -Dave Bolotsky


    Resources from this episode

    Uncommon Goods: https://www.uncommongoods.com/
    Uncommon Goods on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/uncommongoods/
    Dave Bolotsky on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dave-bolotsky-3b6256/
    The Startup Story LIVE - Virtual Conference: http://startupstorylive.com
    The Startup Story on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/thestartupstory
    The Startup Story is now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/jamesmckinney
    The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory


    Share the podcast

    The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help.


    First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.


    Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to share your favorite Startup Story episodes with your friends and on social media. Tag or mention @thestartupstory.co so we can give you a virtual high five and a thank you!


    Lastly, share the podcast on LinkedIn. The Startup Story podcast is for entrepreneurs. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing on LinkedIn so other entrepreneurs can discover us.


    With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you!


    EPISODE CREDITS

    If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment.


    He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers

    • 1 hr 4 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
213 Ratings

213 Ratings

Bailee Alexis ,

Discovered treasure

I can’t believe I came across one of the most valuable podcasts for anyone in the business world. Sooo goooood!!!

Clarisse Gomez ,

Awesome Podcast!!!

James, host of The Startup Story podcast, highlight all aspects of business, education and more in this can’t miss podcast! The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!

Ismael (Surplus) ,

Great podcast

I am Ismael Diaby founder of a Food recovery startup in the DFW. We are the middleman between food waste producers and those who need it the most. We pickup surplus food from hotels, restaurants and cafeterias and deliver that food to the closest shelters.
I came across this podcast on LinkedIn and I am hooked since from the host’s questions to the founder stories, the value is more than apparent. If you are like me and get pumped by listening to other founders stories, this is the place!

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