Self-discipline. It’s not a habit but a way of life. Own yourself and your actions and be mindful of your goals.
Chandler Sterling is the founder and CEO of California Beard Company. He has a background in environmental geography, which led him to prioritizing sustainability for the business.
For over a year, California Beard Company has been committed to planting 1 tree for every product sold. Efforts like these are how he ensures the corporation provides some good back to the world.
Where did the idea for California Beard Company come from?
I became frustrated by the cosmetics industry after searching for a high-quality natural beard oil. Fed up with being unable to find a suitable beard oil, and being a DIYer at heart, I set out to create my own recipe that would meet my high standards.
The goal was to create something simple, only containing materials that came from the earth, that could mimic a product from the era before cosmetics were synthesized and contained potentially harmful chemicals.
The result of this experiment led to California Beard Company’s Original Beard Oil recipe. After months of serious use, I realized that this product needed to be shared with the world, and it’s been a wild ride ever since.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
There is never a typical day for me. However, it usually consists of looking over the tasks that need completing, communicating and sending emails, and research and strategizing. The best way to be productive is to maintain an ongoing list of tasks that need to be completed. Breaking the tasks into small measurable units makes completing a big project a lot easier.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring ideas to life by researching and understanding the product and market, then find the vendors needed to bring everything together. For example, I was invited to participate at a conference for Real Bearded Santas (that’s right, a real white beard!) in California. After talking with the santas about their beard’s needs, I went back, researched a new formula to meet their needs. Communication with your customers is key. Learning what they like can spark ideas to provide a product to meet their needs.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’m excited by the trend of sustainability and green initiatives coming from corporate America. I strive to be an ethical consumer, but run an ethical business. Seeing the efforts come from the big guys is very encouraging for fighting the long-term problems we humans face on Earth. I’ve always said that once the big businesses realize that going green can also affect the bottom line, we’re going to see more change happen. The dial is turning in the right direction!
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Self-discipline. It’s not a habit but a way of life. Own yourself and your actions and be mindful of your goals. Also, a commitment to time off. I close the business every weekend and try not to process anything until Monday. Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid, but having a balance is important, especially for productivity.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Start sooner so you can fail more, and thus learn more. Concentrate on building an email list over Facebook fans. Stay disciplined.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I live in Los Angeles but was born and raised in Wisconsin. It’s a completely fine and nice place to live, but nobody here agrees with me, because of the sub-zero temperatures in winter.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Read everything you can on your business. Consume blogs, books, and online forums. Go to real-life meetups to create connections. Analyze your business and constantly tweak it based on data analytics. You can trust your gut, but it’s easier to point your finger at data as the driver of decisions when it doesn’t work out.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I create evergreen content for the blog and also offer a free self-help guide as a download. The idea is to create value among readers. I want the business to be able to provide educational assistance so customers can understand how to properly use the products. The free guide is over 45 pages and is available for free – all we require is a name and email address. Obtaining the user’s email allows us to follow-up and remarket to them. Without this strategy we would have missed out some nice revenue.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Sometimes I work pop-up markets in Los Angeles to sell products to more bohemian customers. Sometimes these pop-up markets are very poorly run, poorly marketed, and poorly attended. Oh yeah, and we paid to be there! We’ve worked markets where we lost money, and generally, we overcome that by never working with them again. It takes a bit of trial and error to find out where we fit best, but consistent trying is what allowed to eventually succeed.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Start a blog about anything you’re passionate about. You don’t need to be an expert (document the learning process). Learn SEO and consistently create content. Eventually, you’ll have enough traffic to convert into cash.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I took out a small ad (in a niche publication) for less than $100 and already made back the investment. Any further revenue from the ad will be profit.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I use “Trello” to manage tasks. This way I can keep projects separated, and sub-lists of tasks as a road map to completion. It’s free to use and great for collaborating!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recommend reading the biography “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life” by Walter Issacson. Franklin lived an incredible life coming from humble roots. His life and entrepreneurial spirit are captured fantastically in this biography. I’m inspired every time I pick it up.
What is your favorite quote?
I love Benjamin Franklin. This guy had so much wisdom to share. It’s hard to choose a quote. I love his perspective on being industrious and how he valued being productive.
“Employ your time well, if you mean to get leisure.”
“Do you love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.”
“Industry and patience are the surest means of plenty”
- Be disciplined. Learn self control and time management. Lay out tasks for the day, knock them down, and be home in time for dinner.
- Create value for your customers through educational media such as blog posts or free PDF downloads. Capture their email in exchange so you can remarket to them later.
- Build an email list to keep in direct contact with potential customers.