[quote style=”boxed”]I’m hardly productive. The smartest thing I do is make my first hour all about writing. That way, if nothing else, at least I do SOMETHING every day.[/quote]
Charlie was a shy, smart, introverted kid. In college he decided he wanted to connect more with people so he dedicated himself to the study of psychology and self-improvement. That decision led to the most fulfilling period of growth in his life, leading to success in his romantic relationships, friendships, and career. Today he runs Charisma on Command. He helps his clients take their charisma to the next level and maintain their most charismatic presence in high-pressure situations.
Where did the idea for Charisma on Command come from?
Learning to be more charismatic was the most single most transformative decision of my life. It got me the girlfriend I wanted, helped me get ahead in work, and introduced me to a whole realm of self-improvement I didn’t know existed. I wanted to share that with other people. So I started writing what I’d learned on a blog, which led me to teach classes, which led to one-on-one client work, and now has led me to writing a book. The company was just the best vehicle for me to share what I am most passionate about.
What does your typical day look like?
I wake up at 10 or 11 and immediately sit down and write for an hour. Then I whip up some eggs and process email. Early afternoon I try to hit the gym and run any errands I need (no one is out at 2pm, perks of being an entrepreneur). I get home goof off for a while, and then sit down to continue writing or some other project. I get distracted by Facebook, YouTube, or the 4 friends I live with, and all of a sudden I’ve decided I need a break for the beach. After a half hour of sun, it’s dinner time. We go out together to eat a big all you can eat meal. Then I get home and immediately pass out i a food coma. When I wake up there is music blasting and the roommates are prepping to hit a bar. I head out around 11 and am usually back by 2am. Then I read and write til like 4am.
Rince, wash, repeat.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I write and I coach. Those are my main creative outlets. Writing helps me think more clearly and codify all the things I’ve learned implicitly through experience. Coaching allows me to transfer what I’ve learned to others and forces me to do it in the most effective, concise way possible.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
People quitting their corporate jobs. We were all fed this lie that the path to happiness is gainful employment at a prestigious company. I’m calling BS. Happiness is making progress on a project that is meaningful to you. That often means leaving behind the golden handcuffs of a fixed salary at a company that doesn’t light you up. I love hearing about people who left the well-trodden path to pursue something they really value.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m hardly productive. The smartest thing I do is make my first hour all about writing. That way, if nothing else, at least I do SOMETHING every day.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I’ve never had a truly terrible job. But every job I’ve ever had involved me working for someone else, doing stuff I didn’t really care about. They all left me wondering “Is this what I’m going to make of my life?” Those combined experiences pushed me to pursue entrepreneurship, something I would never have done if I was born rich.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Start failing earlier. Skip college, take CS courses and go into business with the money I would have blown on tuition. Even if I lost it all, I would have learned more than any business major could hope in 4 years of studying business theory.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Meet people. People are everything. In life and business. Get out there, go to conferences, spend the time and the money and connect with other people who are doing big things. If you aren’t actively exposing yourself to movers and shakers you’re putting yourself at a huge disadvantage.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Start with your customer. So many people (including us) start with their product. They formulate this great idea in their head, spend months building and perfecting it, then introduce their masterpiece to a customer when it’s all finished. And they hear crickets.
We did the same thing. Much more powerful is to go to customers and find out what they want that you can provide. This way marketing is build into product design and you know you can sell it when it’s produced. It takes the guess work out of business. Go read Running Lean if this sounds at all novel. It’ll change your business.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
My first business, selling parkour DVDs never made a profit. I overcame it by starting another business. Persistence is everything. Failure is a common, temporary state. I guess I learned not to beat myself up, focus on what I learned, and then keep moving forward.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Parkour DVDs for beginners. Seriously, the market is great. I just didn’t know how to market.
That said, focusing on the “business ideas” is the mark of an armchair entrepreneur. The truth is, no one knows what a good idea is. Pets.com sounded like a great idea. They went belly up real fast. Pet rocks sounded ridiculous. And some dude made millions off them.
Stop theorizing and start testing. You don’t need more ideas. You don’t need the right idea. You need to get out there and fail as fast as possible.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I had night terrors when I was a kid. I don’t remember, but apparently, I’d stand up in my bed and throw screaing tantrums while fast asleep.
What software and web services do you use?
Aweber for email. WordPress for the website. WPEngine for reliable hosting. SimpleGoods for the cart (really recommend them).
What do you love about them?
WPEngine keeps my site up. All the other hosts would crash when traffic hit. I pay a premium, but I know that they’ll keep me live. SimpleGoods is incredibly responsive and builds features based on the emails I send, so love them too.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
6 Pillars of Self-Esteem by Nathaniel Branden
I hate to say this, but I have never seen a group more outwardly successful and inwardly devastated than entrepreneurs. There is so much validation seeking going on. People concerned that Whatsapp sold for $19B as if that had anything to do with their own life or their own happiness.
To get away from the external validation and go back to internal signals, I HIGHLY recommend 6 Pillars of Self-Esteem. It’ll lead to true fulfillment and happiness in a way that a huge exit never could
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
The Buried Life – These guys made a list of what they wanted in life and then started doing it. So inspiring. Plus they help others along the way.
Russell Brand – Potentially the most articulate, charismatic man in the world. He’s hilarious and spontaneous and extremely thoughtful. I really admire him.
The Last Psychiatrist – An anonymous blogger that has changed the way I view advertisements, including everything I see on the news.
Charisma on Command on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Charisma-On-Command/726286237396246
Charisma on Command on Twitter: @CharismaOn
Charlie Houpert on LinkedIn: http://br.linkedin.com/pub/charlie-houpert/b/b04/392
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.