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Brand Story of Mimran Founder

An interview with Reuben Swartz Founder Mimiran.


Where do you reside currently?


Austin, TX



Which industry do you work in


Software and consulting



What is your professional role?


I'm a software person by training and by temperament. I accidentally created the CRM system I wish that I'd had when I was (ironically enough) a sales and marketing consulting to the Fortune 500, struggling to use tools and tactics designed for my much larger clients. That's my official role, but what I get to do is help independent consultants who are awesome at serving clients, but a bit uncomfortable with the sales and marketing side of running their business, show the world how awesome they are, in a way that's authentic and energizing. (Naturally, storytelling is a big part of this.)



What is your top personal value?


I try to be helpful. We don't have a lot of time here, so let's do what we can to help each other. A couple of years ago, I had a customer in Austin for a few months. I helped her get set up and using the software, no big deal. She told me, "thank you for being so nice to me." I asked her, "what do you mean?" She said, "you've just been so kind and gone out of your way for me." I replied, "not really, this is just the way we should treat each other. If this seems strange to you, are there people who aren't treating you well?" Shortly after that, she cancelled her subscription to my software. Apparently, she had gone home after that meeting and realized that she was in an abusive marriage. Getting out of that was more important than starting her own business. She went to get a job so she would have stability. She called to tell me all this, and said it was our conversation that made her see her situation clearly. So perhaps my most helpful moment led to a customer leaving, and sometimes that's the best thing.



What do you do when you aren't working?


I like to hang out with my family, although now that my kids are teenagers, they often have better things to do. We got a puppy during COVID and while she is supposed to be the family dog, she is basically my companion. Good thing she is so sweet and cute and (usually) well-behaved. Other than that, I love playing my old, slow version of basketball, and, and listeners of the Sales for Nerds podcast would know, having a glass of wine.



What makes you unique?


A long time ago, I was in South Africa, visiting a friend, going on safari, etc. My friend and I were leaving a restaurant i Cape Town when Arnold Schwarzenegger and his friends walked in. I said hello and suggested he run for governor. He was very polite, when I'm sure he would rather have not been bothered. And of course, the idea had never occurred to him before I mentioned it, so you have me to thank/blame.



What do you love about what you do and how do you help others?


My mission is to help other people avoid the struggle with mistakes in sales and marketing that I spent years battling. No matter how tired I get, I remember that I was at least as tired, and hopelessly lost, and that there are lots of other people in that place, that I can help. Most of the advice, books, training, and tools on sales and marketing focuses on big companies, because that's where the big money is, or on get-rich-quick internet schemes, because, again, that's where the money is. But there are so many people doing awesome work who want to make a good living but not get-rich-quick, and there are more of us every day. It's a wonderful opportunity to help. Perhaps my favorite part of my job is pointing out that many of these independent consultants don't give themselves enough credit. Their magic, their secret sauce, is almost second nature, so they discount it, and I want them to know that it's important.



What is the number one goal you are trying to achieve in your professional life?


Helping others get more leverage from their talents, so they can help more people.



Can you define the word Entrepreneur?


It's easy to get caught up in buzzwords, and different people may have different senses of what these words mean, but for me, I think of an entrepreneur as someone who is on a mission to do things differently, though business, while a business owner, well, owns a business. Of course, you can have a lot of overlap in those categories.




What did you do before you became an entrepreneur or business owner?


I was a software developer.



What happened to inspire you to start a business or buy one?


Now's the time to lay out an amazing story, but the reality was that I was burnt out and wanted to start a business while I was young and free of responsibilities, because I figured if I didn't do it then, I never would.




How do you assess an idea, risk, or opportunity to ensure it is the right one for you?


If there was a perfect was to do this, venture capitalists would always make great returns, no one would get divorced, etc. Risk is, by definition, risky. I think it's helpful to consider how you'll feel doing the thing that presents the opportunity-- during the day when you're actively involved, at night when you go to sleep, and when you wake up in the morning to do it all again. Does it feel "right"? Does it feel worthwhile?



What is the number one skill a successful Entrepreneur or Business Owner needs to possess to be successful?


Again, if it were this simple, new businesses would have a much lower failure rate. ;-) However, I'd say the most important thing is giving a damn about the people you are trying to help. Care more about their problems than the particular solution you are pitching. People can tell when you care. And when you don't. And if you care about helping more than selling, you can adjust what you do be as helpful as possible.



When you started what mistake or failure taught you the most about running a business?


We helped turn around a flailing semiconductor division. The GM said is was the best money he'd ever spent. His assistant let me know that he had budgeted an additional 6 figures for us, and I should send him a proposal. I worked so hard on that proposal, suggesting expanding on our earlier work. He didn't agree to the proposal. All I had to do was ask him what he needed, and he would have told me that we had solved the original problem so well that focusing on that wasn't useful anymore. But I was so focused on what I thought we did, that I suggested doing more of it. Instead of just asking, the way I would ask a friend. The irony was that I was so uncomfortable with "selling", that I ended up trying to sell instead of treating the client like a friend, which would have been much more natural for me, and would have led to us helping even more.



What support did you have?


The big problem for me is that I didn't know how to ask for help. I struggled and pushed on my own. Being stubborn and believing in yourself is great, but everyone needs help. Accomplished mountaineers climbing Everest have guides. Steph Curry has coaches. Ask for help. It's not a failing, it's a sign that you actually care about your mission. One person I'd like to highlight as helpful is Jason Cohen, the founder of WPEngine (where I host my website), serial entrepreneur, blogger at https://blog.asmartbear.com, and guest #1 on my Sales for Nerds podcast. He's a very successful entrepreneur, a great storyteller, and someone who is happy to demystify the entrepreneurial journey. (Note, Jason and I spoke for a couple of hours on that podcast, until we ran out of wine. I split it into 2 episodes, and the sound quality is not that great, but I promise Jason's insights are worth it.)




How do you stay motivated to keep trying when there is a set back?


I remember how scared I was hoping for referrals to come in, or for clients to pay, so I could make payroll. I don't want you to have to deal with that, so whatever crap I'm dealing with, I remember that I have a mission and that it's important to keep going.



Share a success you are very proud of.


I've been blessed to have so many situations where solo consultants have started using Mimiran and told me something along the lines of "this is what I've been looking for-- you have clearly been in this situation and thought of how to deal with it. Thank you." And then they tell their friends. It's so satisfying after my years of struggling with sales and marketing. And of course so much of it goes back to stories-- the ones we tell our audience, and the ones we tell ourselves.

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John Rok
John Rok
Aug 25, 2022

hi

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