Chad Soderholm – Co-Founder of Raglites

I make a “To-Day” list every day of the top five items I need to get accomplished that day. Some days I get more than five done and some days I only may get two done, but having a list keeps me focused on moving the needle everyday.

Chad Soderholm is an Idea Entrepreneur, highly-skilled producer, director, and creative professional that has applied his talents to helping brands emotionally connect with their customers. Chad is a graduate of Columbia College of Chicago with a degree in Film and Video production.

Chad founded Digital Aisle, a pioneering interactive shopper marketing agency where he created products, software and services to help engage consumers at the value point-of-purchase in 2006. He helped grow the company to $2.6 Million annually to become the leader in the interactive shopper marketing industry.

He now creative consults and pursues his various entrepreneurial endeavors including RagLite, the world’s first flexible, portable, roll-up LED light that can be used anywhere.

Where did the idea for RagLite come from?

Necessity is the mother of invention. RagLites came from a need of our own. About a year ago, my co-founder, Lori and I were producing a workout video for a client. We were filming in a gym with a 7-foot ceiling. The male model was about 6′ 5” and the shot was wide so it was very difficult to get a back rim light on the model. We joked and said, “all we need is a napkin-sized light that we could stick on the ceiling.” We both looked at each other and said, “Do they make that?” We scoured the Internet and did not find anything that would work. The RagLite was born.

What does your typical day look like?

At the moment, my focus has been on our Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. I have a daily meeting with my team to discuss the “State of the Union,” who’s working on what and any issues that need to be addressed. Then we try to tackle our list of items, mainly editing videos and producing marketing materials in between various meetings and conference calls with potential vendors and customers. We are starting to raise our next round of capital as well, so a lot of my time is spent working on the business plan and financial projections.

How do you bring ideas to life?

We tend to invent ideas that we would personally use. We also love ideas that make life better. First, we focus on creating a good idea before thinking about how it will make money. Money should never be the motivating factor. It’s important, but it should not compromise the quality or intention behind the idea. Second, we find a team of strategic partners that can fill in for our weaknesses. It’s our philosophy that if you are not good at sales, get someone who is and give them a enough incentive to join the team, whether that be financial or equity compensation. And finally, we get the resources we need to run as fast as we can and take the company to the next level.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

3D Printing. As inventors, it helps us create rapid prototypes from idea to manifestation in a matter of days.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I make a “To-Day” list every day of the top five items I need to get accomplished that day. Some days I get more than five done and some days I only may get two done, but having a list keeps me focused on moving the needle everyday.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

Every experience was a learning opportunity, but many of my jobs with bad bosses showed me that I wanted to be my own boss. As an entrepreneur, you create your own destiny where you have to take the good and the bad.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Make sure I get the right team in place as early in the process as possible. Often times a startup budget is limited, so you end up doing the work of 10 people. Hiring the proper people is often not possible. So many times you just find a warm body to help. This can hurt you more than help you.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Pray. Just kidding. Surround yourself with positive, supportive, “let’s get it done” kind of people. And more importantly, people who can actually “get it done”.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Getting a business operations person on board. That’s my biggest weakness, so it’s important to fill in those gaps with a competent person. This frees me up to work on the things I’m best at.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I owned a marketing company called Digital Aisle which was a leader in interactive shopper marketing for seven years. When the economy collapsed and went into the recession, our company got hurt. It was hard to recover. At some point we had to decide to move on to the next adventure. “The greatest teacher is your last mistake.” So from the lessons of Digital Aisle, we have a much better handle on what it take to be successful with RagLite.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I’m an idea entrepreneur so I have hundreds of ideas in the hopper. I’m always looking for partners who can help manifest an idea. If an interested reader wants to send me an email: [email protected]. I would be happy to discuss synergies.

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

I meditate everyday and I’m a big documentary junkie.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Mainly Adobe Creative Suite. As producers, it is our go-to tool when producing marketing materials.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It’s an amazing book to read when you need to get back on path and remember to be humble in the journey.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Alan Watts, a zen philosopher big in the 60’s. Listening to his philosophy helps keep me grounded and connected to my higher purpose. YouTube Alan Watts.


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