004 – Serving the Global Market with Case Lane
In this episode, I chat with Case Lane, founder of Ready Entrepreneur, thriller writer, and self-described observer to the future. Case shares some tips on how to start a business and how to keep an eye out for new opportunities in a global market.
[00:00:59] Mission and vision
[00:02:55] “I could do that”
[00:05:25] Start small
[00:08:05] What resonates
[00:10:36] The ultimate goal
[00:12:52] Not an exact science
[00:17:08] A global market
[00:26:32] The opportunities
[00:23:07] Keep going
The Ready Entrepreneur Podcast
Life Dream: 7 Universal Moves to Get the Life You Want Through Entrepreneurship
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change (Steven Covey)
The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)
Smart Passive Income (Pat Flynn)
Note: Some of the resources above may be affiliate links, meaning I’d get a commission if you use that link to make a purchase (at no cost to you).
Welcome to LIFT, a podcast for you – the entrepreneur, the leader, the creative – who leads change with heart. If you don’t have it all together, you’re in the right place. I’m your host, Sharlene Sobrepeña.
In today’s episode, I chat with Case Lane, a global traveler, business consultant, author, and coach to aspiring entrepreneurs. We talk about what holds people back from starting a business, how to get started, and the importance of staying consistent with your work. My biggest takeaway is that being a good observer is a trait of a good entrepreneur. If you can observe yourself and your surroundings, you’re able to discern the needs of people and create a business you’ll likely stick with. Let’s get to it!
Sharlene: I like to start off every interview with some deep questions. What is your mission with your work and what is your vision for the world?
Case: Oh, okay. Those two questions go hand-in-hand for me. So, my business is Ready Entrepreneur. And the idea is to help what I call serious global thinkers achieve lifestyle freedom through entrepreneurship. And there are so many people who want to start a business and just don’t start it. But I feel like now, at this point in history, if you’re one of those people with business ideas in your head, you’ve really got to do it. You’ve got to jump on it because everything is changing so dramatically. The economy is changing, the politics, everything around us. And as a business person, you could have greater control, I feel, of your environment if you are running your own business and doing what you really love to do, and providing that kind of value for everybody in the marketplace. So, if you’re one of those people thinking, ‘Maybe I want to start a business’, then this is the time to do it and I really emphasize leveraging the fact that now you have an entire big global marketplace and you have a lot in common with people on the opposite side of the world. You may not even think so, but we’re becoming so much more cross-cultural and you have technology resources. And the combination of the two is just absolutely vital to the way the world is changing and if you’re somebody who’s actually leveraging both, you’re going to be part of just that whole process. It’s going to keep happening no matter what. I know there’s a lot of unresting concern, but globalization and technology are here to stay and they’re just going to keep moving forward, no matter what people think. So, if you want to have your own business and take advantage of those resources, you’re going to be right there and have a lot greater control, I think, of the way things are moving because you’re a part of it instead of just sort of a bystander.
Sharlene: Should everyone start a business and what holds people back from starting one?
Case: In terms of everybody deciding, I always say, do you have business ideas in your head? So, if you’re that person who’s always saying, ‘Wow I could do that’ or ‘That’s interesting’, or ‘I’d like to start that business’, even if it’s just you’re walking in the mall and you think, ‘Oh I had that idea’ or ‘I had something similar’ – if you’re that person, then you’re the one who should start a business. So, it’s not for everyone because there are obviously people who never think like that. They just sort of take everything as it comes and go along, and so on. But there are some people that you might even have them in your own life who you show them something and they’re like, ‘Oh, I could do that better’. So, those are the ones you say, well let’s get on this path and start that business. So, I think that that’s the general idea, is that you’re already part way there. And what I always like to say is – so your follow-up question is what holds people back. That’s where I start. I go with the first part, you have a business idea in your head and you want to be an entrepreneur. And then I focus on confidence, time and money because I feel those are the three things that hold people back. People, that’s one of the first things they say is, ‘Oh, I can’t do that’ or ‘It’s not really for me’, or ‘It’s too difficult’. And I try and eliminate those obstacles that people have in the back of their minds by showing how you can get it done. And the same with time and money. I think most people who say they don’t have time actually do have the time but they’re spending it on other things that they think are important. And at the same time, they’re saying, ‘Oh I really want to start a business but I really need to binge-watch ten shows on Netflix’. It’s like, wait a second. So, there is time. And there’s also money. I think that’s another thing people think. ‘Oh, it’s going to cost millions’ and you start small. I talk about having incremental process. Even just the idea of beginning to map out what your business looks like and how you can build it, that doesn’t cost you any money. And that puts you much further ahead than you were maybe the day or two before when you were saying you just wanted to do it, but you’re not going to be able to. So, I try and focus on those things. And I sort of have this idea around Ready Entrepreneur gets you sort of stood up as an entrepreneur so that you can go forward and actually get the business moving after you get the mindsets ready as well.
Sharlene: So, what does starting small look like?
Case: The very basic thing is to have a vision of what you want, so you have that – it’s that Stephen Covey, “Begin with the end in mind,” but then, going right back to the beginning and do your research. So, you have a general idea of what you’d like to do for your business. You start researching how you can get it done. Read as much as possible. Listen to others who’ve done it. There are so many free resources now, with all the videos on YouTube and so on. If it’s something that you’re interested in that’s very specific, like a physical product business where you have to maybe learn how something is made, then you would do that as well. And then I even say, think about if money is not an obstacle, time is not an obstacle, what does it look like step-by-step, activity-by-activity to actually create that business? What would you do today to get that business moving? What would you do tomorrow? Let’s say you want to start a store. Okay, how are you going to research for locations? How are you going to get product delivered? What’s your supply chain? So, it’s basically actually you have to be that person. You have to think like an entrepreneur, think like a CEO, be that person who is ‘Okay, if I need to do this right now how am I going to do it’ – and actually just start doing it. So, I would suggest the best thing to do is to get started. It’s such a – I would say, it’s getting over that first hill is to actually just start with some piece of the business and move forward with it, even if it’s just spending 15 minutes a day researching online during your lunch break around the things that you’re interested in for the business. That’s so much more than you were doing the day before and it’s absolutely critical because you will find that your mindset starts to change the more you do it and the more you think about it. And you start to think more like that business person who sees things out there in the world and you’re able to adapt them to your reality which is now being formulated by all of this knowledge and information that you’re putting in your brain all the time because you’re trying to absorb this material. And again, it doesn’t cost a penny. It’s going to take some time. You have to find that time in your day to do it. But you can get started without spending any money and it’s going to give you confidence because you’re going to become smarter and smarter about the thing that it is that you really want to do. So, I really suggest – get started is always the key, just to do even one little piece of what you think you want to do, that’s where you move forward.
Sharlene: How about for those who really don’t know where to start. Do you have any resources you can recommend like, say, podcasts or books or…?
Case: Yeah. I kind of go back and forth on this because it’s so dependent on the type of person you are and what your interests are. So, I would go with, thinking about the business ideas you have – and maybe, okay, let’s say you don’t have any business ideas. You just know you want your own business. So, what you start looking at then is you need something, somewhere to start. And you know you can always change it. Look at your interests. Look at your hobbies. Look at your education, your knowledge. Where are there gaps in the marketplace? And even if you’re not finding gaps, what are other people talking about? What are people saying that they wish that they had or they wish that some company or some product or service was done differently? And which one of those things that you’ve heard about actually resonates with you. And you’re like, ‘Yeah, I agree with that. Maybe there’s a better way to do it.’ So, you start looking at all the different things that interest you because one of the things that really, I would say, hurts people in the long run is if they start with something where they’re just trying to make money and then they realize they don’t like it. And so, when people talk about how businesses fail or people get discouraged or it’s a horrible thing or so on, it could be because they started with a product or service they’re not even interested in in the first place. And so, if you don’t really have that enthusiasm, if you just sign up for “How to make a million dollars in five minutes,” and then you find out you don’t even like the whole idea, you’re not going to be able to sustain it. And then you’re going to become even more discouraged because you think it’s you. You think, ‘Oh, I really can’t do this entrepreneurship thing,’ when in fact, it was just the idea that you picked. So, go with something you really are interested in so that you stick with it and it sustains you. And it’s even better if you’re already doing it, if it’s related to a hobby or an interest that you’re already involved in and you find something that you can do that supports that particular interest, that’s great. That’s even much better. But even if it’s not, just as long as it’s something that interests you and you know it’s going to keep your interest – so, even if you don’t do this one specific thing you started out thinking you’re going to do, but it’s within the same industry, you can leverage the experience to do the second idea that’s in your head, or the third or the fourth one, and not be afraid to sort of drop an idea and move on to the next one.
Sharlene: How do you stay resilient? I know there are times when even though you’re working on something that really interests you, it’s inevitable that you’re going to just kind of fall into this pit. I fell into the pit personally. How do you deal with that?
Case: Yeah. That is a tough one because you do, especially if you were working alone, nobody else was doing it with you. You go out every day and spend time on your business, and let’s say things aren’t working out very well or things are moving very slowly and you’re thinking, this is a real drag. But I always say, you go back to why you’re doing it. So, I talk about achieving lifestyle freedom. So that’s the big thing for me, it’s this idea around managing your own time for your own goals, your own objectives, so you’re not tied to somebody else’s vision. You are tied only to your own and you can manage that, and having that opportunity not to have to sort of follow other people but to be the leader, in a sense, of a particular enterprise. If that’s the bigger goal, then you keep working on it because if you just think about why did you want to do that in the first place? Is it because the last time you wanted to go to a family wedding, you couldn’t do it because of work? Or the last time that a child was sick, you couldn’t leave early, you couldn’t get there on time because somebody said you had to do something. So, if you’re thinking, ‘Okay, there is a reason why I wanted to get away from this other people’s control and control my own life, my own lifestyle,’ that is one thing to keep in mind every time you think about, ‘Wow this is dragging me down.’ Another thing I did, I just started this year. I don’t know if you’ve heard of The Miracle Morning, it’s a book by Hal Elrod. Really interesting guy, I mean he tells the story much better than I possibly can, but it’s the guy who’s died twice. He talks about how he was in a head-on collision and was dead at the scene and he also had a battle with cancer and so on. He’s a very positive, uplifting guy. But he created this morning routine around things that you’ve heard about before – so, exercising, reading, journaling, visualizing, affirmations. And he just put it all together into one morning routine and talks about how you get up early and you set your day based on doing all these different things. There are six of them. I only do four. I don’t do all six. One of the things is the journaling. It’s the writing every day. And I’m not a diary keeper. I’m not a “Dear Diary” keeper. So, what I do with that writing is basically be honest with myself and say, okay yeah, this is not a great week because I spent a couple hundred dollars on promotions and the book didn’t sell very many copies or something like that. That’s where I lay out what I think the issue is and why I’m going to keep going. So, basically if I’m in that kind of mood, when I take that ten minutes in the morning to write, that’s what I’ll write about. And I’ll reset my mind. It’s like, okay, I know that that’s happened, that that particular activity that I did didn’t work. Why didn’t I think it worked? What am I going to do differently next time? And what’s the ultimate goal here? And so, you reset your mind. Every single day, you are telling yourself and again, you don’t have to do it as journaling. You can do it through affirmations. You can tell it out loud. You can do it when you’re exercising, what have you. But you’re basically resetting your mind every morning, if necessary, to be where you want to be. And you write down – you can get up and think, okay, I can’t remember why I want to do this, spend ten minutes writing about why you wanted to do it. And that’s what brings you back constantly to your ultimate goal. So, that’s the practice that I implemented at some point this year when I read that book. And that’s worked for me. And like I said, I don’t even follow it to the letter, but again, I take the parts that work for me and then I put those into place.
Sharlene: That’s cool, yeah. I read that book I think last year. It was a good one.
Sharlene: You mentioned underserved markets earlier. How can you find underserved markets if you don’t live in that country? Can you use Twitter somehow? What are the methods that you can recommend?
Case: Yeah. Let’s say you have a product or a service and you want to just understand if you should be marketing at some other place where you think that they don’t have that. There’s a couple of ways. I would say that you are looking at their online services, I guess, so to speak. It’s not really going to be an exact science. Let’s say if it’s a country where you understand the language and you can just look at what their media is covering, then you can keep up-to-date that way. If you travel, you can see it; if you’re traveling and you can see what’s going on. Otherwise, I think the best thing to do is always just to put your work out there. If you have videos you want to put up on YouTube, if you have blogs that you’re writing about what you’re offering, people will find you because they are online looking. So, people know themselves that they’re underserved because they go online and search. If you put in “how to” in Google and you see all of the thousands of how-to questions that Google has, you have a sense of what people are asking. And so, you put that information out there into the world through whatever one of the platforms you like to use, people will find you. And you’ll start to see them coming to you because that’s what they are looking for. So, instead of worrying about whether or not there’s a market, put it out there and find out. Put out one video up on a YouTube channel and see what happens. But it’s always about getting started, getting your message out there, getting your product or service out there because if you’re not even out there, it doesn’t really matter how much knowledge you have about the market because you can keep saying forever that people really want something that maybe you’ll create one day. But you’re way better off if you create it first and it’s available.
Sharlene: So, what are some mistakes that entrepreneurs make when they decide to take their businesses global?
Case: I think one thing is sort of being influenced by their own biases. I think what people don’t realize is there’s a lot of – I’ll probably put this – there’s a lot of preconceived ideas out there about people in different countries, different groups and so on. So, what happens is sometimes – and people have what they’ll claim is a global business, but then you’ll hear in a speech that they make, where they’ll make a joke about a particular nationality or something like that. Which means that they’re not really paying attention to the fact that they are a global business. And you are global if you are online, and you’re delivering a product that anybody in the world can access online. So, they tend to sort of take themselves out of a market by not being open to the fact that they should be treating everybody the same, sort of on a level playing field. So, I think if you’re going to see your business as global, which you should do if you’re setting up a website and putting it online, you should see your business as global right from the beginning. And so, you should realize whatever biases, preconceived ideas that you have in your head about other people, just drop all those and focus on the service or the product that you’re delivering and the reason why you’re delivering it, and the gap that you’re filling, and the marketplace demand. Because the reason you created that product or service, the reason people want it or need it is going to be the same everywhere. Your customers are all coming to you for that information, from anywhere in the world, for whatever reason. So, you don’t need to think that the person is this type of person or that type of person. You have to look at what need or desire you’re fulfilling and then deliver to the global customer that way. So, I think it’s very important to just think about the potential market for your product or service is based solely on the need that you’re fulfilling or the want, or the gap in the marketplace that you’re fulfilling. And then when you actually, if you do have a physical product or even a digital product, it’s always very important as well to just be aware that it is a global market that you’re delivering to. So, you don’t want to put anything in that you think will be offensive and if you’re not sure, then that’s when you take it out. Especially again, for some people they would say, ‘Well, I don’t care about the rest of the world. It doesn’t matter’. So, that’s fine. Then, don’t worry about it. But other people will think, ‘Okay this potentially can be something that’s worldwide,’ then you really just, if you think that there is something offensive, that might be offensive to other people and you want to be global, then you should take out whatever you think is going to be offensive. But if you don’t want to be global anyway or some people say they want to be global but they don’t want to sort of diminish their personality or whatever, something like that; that’s fine too. But then you have to recognize where the backlash might come from. So, you just have to be prepared for that as well.
Sharlene: You mentioned biases. What are some common ones?
Case: I think it’s just general stereotypes that people have about different cultures and so on. And I think the problem is, is that we at least from a North American perspective, we don’t really understand the rest of the world. We don’t travel as much as we should. We don’t cover the news of the rest of the world. So, when we think of a poor country for example, we just assume everybody’s poor. That’s not like that. I don’t think there’s any country in the world where everybody is poor. There’s always rich people and there’s probably, especially nowadays, a growing middle class. And that growing middle class and upper middle class is much more economically aligned with the middle class in North America and everywhere else. So, I think we have this idea in our heads about the poor people or the struggling countries, or this and that where it’s all driven by our very, very limited knowledge. And instead of sort of seeing that every country’s moving forward, every country’s developing, every country’s growing and within that are literally millions upon millions of people who are rising up to an economic level that’s becoming more and more – it’s higher and higher every year.
Sharlene: Where do you see the opportunities, for example, the types of businesses people can start or services, emerging markets, underserved markets? You mentioned the middle class, maybe countries where the middle class are growing?
Case: Yeah. So, people are desperate for information. We call this “The Information Age” and everybody’s more desperate for information than they’ve ever been because it’s not presented in a way that makes it easily accessible. So, there’s plenty of information. Anybody who’s googled around, like even going on a trip and you want to be able to compare hotel prices or something. You end going to ten different sites to try and get a general idea of the type of place you want. So, that’s a general example. Take that to the next level of people who are trying to learn how to start a business or how to teach online or even how to do things in their community like raising animals or painting a house, or living in a temporary accommodation. Whatever the issue is, there are people who want to have very laid out and clear solutions to their problems. And that’s not being delivered yet on the scale that’s needed for all those people who are asking those questions. Again, just the how-to’s on Google, you’ll come across hundreds and hundreds of videos about something and yet people are still asking the same question because not one of them is delivering the information in a way that they can really understand it. So, that is the opportunity that’s out there for everybody who has some level of knowledge that is better than the next person. Or I would even say better, but can be presented better. You know Pat Flynn’s origin story, where he started with this architecture exam. He said there was always books and courses and everything on how to take this exam but not presented in a way that obviously resonated with people. When he put his out there, that ended up becoming his business. So, you can look at all these products and services that are out there in the world and there are some that are just not organized in a way that people want to see them and different people look at everything differently as well. We were talking about a book like The Miracle Morning. There are tens of thousands of self-help books and people all look at them differently and implement them differently. And then there’s a new one next week, and a new one the week after that. So, there’s plenty of opportunity to just take what you know because what you know based on your education, your work experience, your knowledge and so on, that is more than some other group of people or audience or so on. That’s more than they have, so they’re looking for that information. They’re looking for it to be presented in a way that they can really utilize it, or they’re looking for product that fits better for their world the way that they want to do things. And so, basically, you have that opportunity out there to just pick within all those possibilities. Take your approach, but your approach out there into the world and you’ll find that audience as looking for that particular way of doing things, that specific way.
Sharlene: Do you have thoughts about emerging markets? You mentioned the growing middle class.
Case: Yeah. And I think it’s even more so for them because in countries where services and products are either not readily available or they are, but they’re very, very expensive. They’re people who have money to spend, but they can’t quite get what they’re looking for because of the way their country’s economically structured. So, that’s an opportunity. Now, I want to put a caution. Again, if you’re dealing with both physical and digital products across borders and you have to think about, especially for physical of course, if you want to export products to another country, you do have to think about a few of these issues if the country is so differently economically structured that it becomes hard for you to actually deliver a product there because you obviously want to get paid on your end as well. So, that’s a separate issue. But I think in general, just in general, people want to see things presented to them in a way that they understand, that makes more sense, that delivers in a way that resonates with them. And so, that’s where the opportunity lies across the board with all countries, with all people, because again you focus on the need that you are fulfilling and that gap in the marketplace that is out there.
Sharlene: I think I want to end this with one last question. How can we position our business for success in the global marketplace? Do you have a couple of tips?
Case: Well, the first thing is the actual product or service itself. So, focus first on making sure that you do a great job with creating whatever that product or service is that you want to deliver to the world. You want to be that entrepreneur who’s providing value. So, you look around, you see the gaps, you see the issues and so on. You’re like, ‘Okay, I have an idea that can provide value here to the world,’ but you want to spend some time making sure that that’s the thing. And again, I don’t want people to be discouraged by that. You don’t have to spend years and years doing research and development or something like that. It’s actually more important to get the idea out there. So, get it out there as best as you can. Be prepared to tweak it. Be prepared to change it, pivot it, what-have-you. But it would still be always focused on the fact that you want to deliver value. And the other thing I would say is: focus, as well. There’s a lot of different ideas and you are successful when you pick one and move forward with it. And it might not even be just one thing but it’s one sort of concept. Like Amazon.com, which started as a bookstore, and now is 27 different things in terms of all the different services and so on. But the overall idea is still the same. So, you want to make sure that you can run with something that allows you to stay focused and you constantly build on the information and the knowledge and the experience and the learnings that you get from your business. So, if you’re staying focused within the same area, the same industry, and even if the first business or the second business doesn’t really work, but you learn and so you become more successful because you’re becoming more confident and you’re becoming more of an expert on your piece of the world within this particular industry, and then you can take that and just continue to build on it and hopefully that then at some point, even if it’s the tenth iteration of your idea, that could be the one that is the big business. But you’ve built it because you stayed focused on the same sort of general concept. And then just keep your head up. The difference between those who are successful and those who aren’t is giving up. If you don’t give up, then you’re going to get there, or you’re going to die trying and nobody can say anything else. So, it’s really basically sticking with it. You’re successful if you keep going. And even if you feel like, you’re running out of money or you tried so hard, you’re working 20 hours a day… just keep going. And at some point, it’s going to fall into place because if you keep in the back of your mind, again, why you’re doing it, what your ultimate goal is, what you’re trying to achieve, the value you want to deliver, all of that’s going to fuel you on and help you to really want to keep moving forward. So, don’t give up in that sense. You won’t get to success if you give up, so don’t give up. Just keep moving forward. Keep doing it. Keep pursuing it and eventually, I’m pretty sure it falls into place because that’s what you end up seeing in the world around you, is obviously all the successful are the ones who didn’t give up, right? So, you have to stick with them.
Sharlene: Very true. So, thank you Case. Thank you so much for joining us. And where can we find you online and do you want to share any projects that you’re working on?
Case: Yeah, sure. You can find me at readyentrepreneur.com. That’s the main website for all of you serious global thinkers who want to achieve lifestyle freedom through entrepreneurship. The book that I have on that is called Life Dream: Seven Universal Moves to Get the Life You Want Through Entrepreneurship. So, you can take a look at that as well. And I also have The Ready Entrepreneur Podcast, so you can catch up on some of the tips and strategies. The next project is – so, I write fiction as well. I’ve been focused on fiction writing lately, so I’ll have releases. And if you sign up on my website for my newsletter, you’ll get information about the future book releases. And then with Ready Entrepreneur, I just continue to look for tips and strategies, and ideas to help you get where you want to go in terms of becoming an entrepreneur in the global high-tech world.
Sharlene: Cool. Thank you so much, Case.
Case: All right, thank you.
Thank you for sharing your time with me and listening to LIFT. If this episode resonated with you, I’d appreciate it if you would take a moment to leave a review. That way, more people can discover this resource, and together, we can accelerate good change in the world. Thanks so much. Until next time.