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Richard Heruska: Now Could Be The Best Time to Start a Business - Or Side Business

Updated: Jul 19, 2020

This week’s guest is Rich Heruska. Rich was Allen’s very first guest speaker in 2017 for his USF entrepreneurship class, so it’s fitting Rich will be his first podcast guest. Rich is a 5x serial entrepreneur and recent Accelerator Director at one of the largest startup accelerators in the U.S.

Full Episode (YouTube):

0:15 - Rich describes his bumpy start to business going from being laid off, to working in a startup that failed, before him and his future business partner created a mortgage company with $3,000 on a credit card - during a recession.

2:45 - Rich shares the story of how his company Home Discovery grew to over 300 employees nationwide and then came crashing down during the housing market crash in 2007.

5:20 - He went on to be a co-founder in AirHeads - how do you transition a business in the entertainment industry to fit today's needs with COVID-19? Rich shares what he would do if he was to recreate his company, Airheads, today.

7:04 - Rich discusses how he and his wife created “My Social Spa” as a home-based business, a restaurant event business that focuses on creating a fun atmosphere for women to get together and create spa products

12:00 - COVID-19 advice: Become as lean as possible financially to allow you and your family to be prepared for whatever uncertainty lies ahead.

17:14 - One of Rich's favorite sayings: When people are greedy, be fearful. When people are fearful, be greedy. Look at what opportunities this market has created and jump on them now.

20:44 - Is now the time to create a side business? Absolutely. Many companies were started in recessions and there are still a lot of needs that can be met in the current marketplace with a good business plan. Don’t let the uncertainty of the economy keep you from creating something that you feel people would benefit from.

23:00 - Rich shares the story of someone he knows who made $60,000 a year flipping dollar store items online. The opportunities to create a profit are out there, you simply need to find a creative way to add value. ( is a great resource if you are interested in selling items online)

27:14 - Rich and Allen share their perspectives on how they think COVID-19 will impact entrepreneurship and the economy in the long-run

32:00 - Do you have to go all-in on your business and quit your job? Many think this is what true entrepreneurs do but Allen and Rich both discuss the benefits of starting your business while still in your current role so that you can get proof of concept and work out some of the initial kinks while you have a steady income at your current role.

37:14 - Rich’s biggest obstacle in entrepreneurship is his own mindset. Your mindset and how you think about the business is critical. As an entrepreneur you have to realize that you are going to have some losses. To avoid analysis paralysis you have to understand that you will make mistakes but that you need to just start regardless and learn from the failure.

40:44 - Utilize paid advertising to test your business idea at a low cost. Facebook and Instagram ads are relatively inexpensive allowing you to test key words and proof of concept before going all in on a business.

48:00 - Now is the time to act on your entrepreneurial idea. Grants, funding and other opportunities are still out there if you know where to look and are willing to put in the time.

52:37 - Give yourself an unfair advantage. Leverage your talents, knowledge or skill set to stand out among competition.

1:00:00 - Carl Lucchi, worked for and was a friend of the founder of AutoTrader, joins the live podcast and shares the creation story of AutoTrader, a Tampa Bay local company that became an industry leader and household name through solving a simple problem and finding a unique way to charge advertising to car companies.

1:07:00 - Carl also shares the Publix grocery price war story: Farm Stores, a local grocery store tried to beat out Publix in a price war and were on the edge of bankruptcy because of it. Mr Jenkins, the founder of Publix flew up to see the owner and wrote him a check for $50,000 so his store could stay in business.

Full Episode (YouTube):


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