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Side hustle, New Mexico and Breaking Bad accuracy: Brett talks with Eric Smith


So welcome, everyone Today I am

I always say this, but I'm overly excited because I have one of my longest, what do you say? tenured friends I don't know how to say that We've been friends since the fourth grade and then we were college roommates for five years now, five years, but we took a victory lap, I should, you know, make sure people know it didn't take us both five years to get to college, so, one of my best friends in the world and probably no one that I have more stories with, and have had more fun with, so his name is Eric Smith, lives in Austin, Texas with his much more well-known, popular, semi-famous wife, and we have him today to talk about some pretty cool stuff in terms of a side hustle

So, Eric, please introduce yourself – Yeah, great introduction, definitely oldest friend, thanks for mentioning that we went to school for five years, my mom's gonna be super proud about that, and yeah, my wife is cooler than me, so good – I think I nailed it! – Nailed it – I live in Austin, we haven't always lived in Texas, you know, as me and Brett both grew up in New Mexico, we, about two years ago, I was in a place where I wasn't getting really fulfilled for my 9 to 5, my day job wasn't doing it for me, and I just started thinking about things I could do to, you know, really I don't know if it was about making money, or about just giving me something else on my plate, and something creatively to d,o or something like that that led us to starting our subscription box business, which is called Nuevo, so our subscribers get unique food from the state of New Mexico every month, and it's been awesome, it's been an awesome journey to start a business from scratch, coming up with all the details, and the logo, and starting it all up, so that's kind of where we're at – So, we can see the box behind you, you see your Nuevo box with, you and I would understand this, right? The O is the Zia symbol, which is the state symbol of New Mexico, so there it is, that's the size of the box, that's the actual box that I and I think every member of my family gets every month, and it's full of different kind of New Mexican cuisine and that's the whole business, I mean, it's pretty fascinating – New Mexico is a really big geographic state and a really small population state, so what that means is, the culture, and the food culture especially, that starts in New Mexico is actually really hard to find outside of the state

Some of the food that we grew up on, you can never find And that was really the problem that we were coming to solve, I think every business has to somehow solve some problem for people, and so many people that move away from the state, don't have access to this food and we get to send them a little piece of home, or a little piece of a really unique and interesting food culture from the state of New Mexico – The first time you brought the idea up, and why it resonated with me so quickly is because, you know, what's the number one thing every person from New Mexico misses when they leave? The food, right? Like, you know, you talk about the mountains, and and the culture, and the landscapes, but the food It's like I can't get good green or red chili anywhere The tex-mex, I mean, authentic New Mexicans, we just shake our head at that stuff, it's not real, you know, good New Mexican food, which we have a blend of the native American culture, the Mexican culture, and the United States culture, all blended in and like you said, it's just so unique You mentioned the subscription economy, and the food box business, you guys aren't the only ones, I think you've even found a little community of people, so tell us a little bit more like just about the business side, and maybe what you guys have learned and stuff like that – Me and you had a conversation, and you said "you know, you need to be part of the subscription world", where you know, you work hard for customers, you market to them, you spend money on bringing people in, you don't want to just sell to them one time, you want to get them going every month and, you know, continuing making money off of, and, you know, giving revenue stream It also makes it a lot easier to plan your business

And so, that made a lot of sense, and then, you know, like any journey, I just started going online, trying to find information When it comes to a side-hustle, or a job that's not your 9 to 5, it's really hard sometimes to try to figure out how to do all this, you know I think that's the number one thing that stops people from making, you know, starting a business or doing, you know, fulfilling their ideas and so I don't know, just google searching and finding those resources helped us out a lot – But this is a side hustle, so you still have a full-time job, you mentioned not being fulfilled, I know you've moved to different fun, young, new startup company in the insurance world, but you still have a regular, you know, job, right? And then this is something that your family has had a lot, even your kids have been involved in having fun on the side – Starting this and kind of being in a place where I just need something to work on, and, you know, give me some more enrichment in my life, and then from that, over the last two years, a lot of things have come out of that, right? Like you said, I was able to move on to a different career, a different job, my wife decided that, you know, being involved in this really caught her the entrepreneur bug and she started a business, so a lot of really great things have come in this but yeah, I keep my 9 to 5 job, you know, the subscription box probably doesn't make us enough money for me to quit that job, but it makes us enough that we're able to really fulfill a lot of our dreams, and travel, and the things that we really want to do

So, I kind of like the side hustle side of it, it gives you the idea, you know, the security of a job and I really like my job now, like you said, and I'm really fulfilled by it, but it also gives you this creative outlet The only downside I would say is, your time is really stretched, you know, and so there's been a lot of weekends where we're making posts, we're making videos In the early days we packed every box, so we had, you know, just the kitchen cleared out in a assembly line put together, so there's a lot of time there, but I think that's it's time well spent because it's really fulfilling

– Yeah, and I love those stories, because your kids will remember them, you'll remember them, and early on, I always tell people you can do a lot of things on your own because you're running on adrenaline, but after a while you're gonna have to delegate, in order to do the things that are most important So if you guys, this is it's such a good parallel for so many other businesses, and one of my favorite sayings is "delegate your way to freedom", you know, if you hadn't found the vendor who was very happy to take on those responsibilities for you, because that's their business, then what I've seen of course at the Trembly Law Firm and working with so many business owners, is you can see people get burnt out, or it's not everything it's cracked up to be Entrepreneurship is hard at times, it's also really fun at times, and if you can't see yourself, you know, giving up some responsibility, like for example, if you were packing box all the time, who's going to go make more sales, and get more subscribers? That's something that I think every entrepreneur just has to learn at some point – That's another reason that the side hustle kind of gives you this ability to be like, hey, we'll make a little bit less on the front end, but we won't get burned out, we won't hate this, we'll still love it as as the thing that really we wanted to do, we'll still get all the benefit out of it So, we found a local vendor that would pack the boxes for us, they've been a great partner, they've been an awesome kind of group to get in with, they're another small business, they're in the state of New Mexico, so it fits our brand to continue helping small business, you know, New Mexican small businesses as well, so yeah, that was just, I mean, that's one of the things we look back and say "oh man, why did we take so long to think of that decision, that was a no-brainer"

– Yeah, I'm glad you said that because every entrepreneur I've ever talked to has a few of those things, like, why did I take so long? I have a laundry list of things that I wish I knew earlier, you know, that I know now But I'm glad you mentioned the small business, I think side hustle is a really, an interesting thing right now, because we're all locked in because of the Coronavirus, people are working from home a lot more, and now is an interesting time to start up a side hustle, but it's supposed to be passive income, not work 9 to 5, and then 5 to midnight, killing yourself, especially if there's not an end game And how do you guys market this, you know, you figure out the packing side and is it just like, you know, Facebook, social media, "Hey, do you know New Mexicans, see if they want food?" And has it been as easy as you thought, or maybe has it been, you know, harder than you originally thought? – As you know, we asked all our family and friends like, "please share this, help us" and everybody kind of sent it around, and Instagram, Facebook One of the things that really worked out for us in the early days, was we went to a small business conference, and someone talked to us about press releases and getting that free media, so we just went home and wrote up a press release, like we knew what we were doing, which we didn't, but we pretended, and sent out press releases to all the local media That blew up, that was the number one thing, there was nothing we could have done that would have got us that exposure We were on local news one night, it was on at 11 in New Mexico, we went to sleep, we woke up, we had like doubled our subscribers, I mean, it just went like that – Wow, that's awesome -What's working for us now is is email

We worked hard to grow thousands and thousands of email addresses, and so when we send an email out, we get orders I think that why it works is that it just kind of goes out of the clutter, social media is getting really cluttered I will tell you on marketing, uh, the thing that didn't work Here's the part that sucked for us: we were thinking, "we'll go to events, okay? We'll sell ourselves, we'll go to these events, we'll hand out free stuff, people will come" That worked like nothing, not one person wanted to talk to us

That was one where we spent a lot of money, flying around, going to events and we got nothing – Well, I mean, that's a good lesson, though, as they say: 50% of marketing works, if I only knew which 50%

There's a segment I want to do, okay? This is the first time, and we'll see how it goes, but I was looking at some logos recently, and we were getting one of those logo contests, right? So, what I wanted to do is pull these up and see what we can come up with, so let me, let me click here, and I don't have a name for this yet, so you got to help me name this -You need a jingle too, I mean, can't have a segment without a jingle You and I have never seen these before, right? I just clicked on it Double Doug Dare, like what, this First of all, I love his one o'clock shadow, right? – Yeah, his mustache game is looking good, for sure – Is this guy, this guy cannot be named Doug, though Like, there's no way this guy's a Doug – No, this is where you go find Dougs

You gotta go dare Dougs So, you gotta go, I mean, it takes a lot of work, but you go out, you find Dougs, and you dare them stuff – The thing that makes me trust him, though, is is his t-shirt under his jacket, like, not a polo, not a button-down, just the t-shirt, this guy's saying: "I can help you find Dougs, and I'm so comfortable with myself, I don't need to put on anything other than an undershirt" – Yeah, he's saying like "hey Doug" Would it change your mind if that was a v-neck shirt underneath the jacket, like a deep v? – I don't need mind-changing, I already like this guy, I already trust him, in fact, here's the funny thing about this logo: it looks like a real mouth superimposed onto a drawing of a person, I mean, I want

– It's a Snapchat filter, you can be Double Doug, if you just use this Snapchat filter? l Double Doug dare you to go to the next one – Alright, so, I'll take that, I'll take that Alright, let's see here

– Is that a Benjamin Button, what is that? Is that a child with a man's face? – This is a Crogmagnon baby, this is definitely not a modern baby – No nipples, no nipples Just an observation, a weird observation, but an observation I feel like T-Mack is the guy that, like, sells you stuff out of his, like, trunk You know this because we went to similar schools growing up but, like, you know there's always the kid that sold the caramel apple suckers? – Oh yeah

– That was you! That was you – That was me, what are you talking about? I was T-Mack in the back of my trunk I love this logo! I don't know

I'm gonna look up T-Mack So, Dr Dave's reptile safaris – Not a doctor

– Not a doctor If you're gonna at least trust that Dr Dave enough to pay admission and not hold on to your kids for dear life, like they're gonna get eaten, right? I kind of like Dr Dave, he's not a doctor, but I like him -What is he shrugging for, is he like "they're just reptiles, sorry They don't do anything, they just sit there" – The frog's tickling him

– That frog is a little too happy And is the snake high? – it's hot, it's hot out You see the sun? Is melting the snake He's supposed to be in water, so he's like "I want to squeeze Dr Dave but I don't have the energy" and Dave's like: "See, I am a doctor, because I can get away with this" – In all seriousness, I do like URLs on the logo because I now will probably google, I will probably put reptilesafaris

com in – This is free promotion, so – I hope there's not an alternate world where there are some other guys looking at our logos

– They're like, Dr Dave's like: "Nuevo there's not even a website on the box!" – "What is this guy doing? Where are the caricature drawings of his face? That's what we have to have!" – Listen, so Eric, we grew up in New Mexico, I have people ask me all the time, you know, they used to say "Oh, I've never met a New Mexican before" when I meet them Now they say, you know, "oh Breaking Bad" they bring up Breaking Bad, and I just, you and I don't think have talked about this, but I think you're going to be on the exact same page as me, people ask me: "oh, is it real? How realistic?" and I'm like: listen, I grew up with about, you know, four combos and ten skinny Petes, they were all in my classes with me, I mean, they really nailed it – I would say I grew up with some Tucos, but they didn't quite get all the way to senior year, so How accurate is it? You know what's crazy is that, they film all over Albuquerque, so you really, they do a great job of showing, kind of the vibe of Albuquerque but yeah, they get the words right, even, like everybody calls it 505, like, they get the tattoos, like they get a lot of things right, you realize that the makers of the show have spent some time, spend some time in the 505 – Absolutely, the townsso, they they mentioned Los Lunas, which is your hometown in Breaking Bad, and Better Call Saul, I don't know if you watch Better Call Saul, I usually don't like lawyer shows because they're so unrealistic it bugs me, but I love Better Call Saul

Listen, Eric, this has been fun, man What I want to do, though, is end with three rapid-fire questions, so Number one: what is your best piece of advice? Not for young entrepreneurs, but for new entrepreneurs, because you can be any age and get that bug, so, what do you have to say? – Yeah, it's pretty easy to answer this one, because it's actually advice that you gave me, so, it's just start, right? it's just to get going, there's gonna be a laundry list of things that you don't know how to do, or you don't know how you're gonna make it work, but if you never get going then you're never gonna get anything done So, just get out there, buy the URL that you wanna buy, research the business, do whatever you need to do to get started, so that'd be my advice, just to get started if you have an idea – That is unbelievably great advice that I gave, so congrats to you – You know what? Now that I'm remembering, actually, somebody else gave me that idea

– Ah, well, smart, smart man or woman whoever it was Alright, so, rapid-fire question number two: what is the worst business mistake you've made, that you think we can learn from? – I think it was just waitingI had so many people tell me, like, "you should try that out, you should do this" and I kind of got comfortable, I think

And I think comfort makes cowards of us, right? We don't want to lose that comfortability My mistake as just a person was just waiting too long, as a business mistake, I don't think that there's any business mistake that I regret Mistakes are actually really beneficial, you know If you don't learn something from mistakes, sure it's bad, but I haven't had a mistake that we've made that we haven't learned from yet – Absolutely

Alright, last question: Fill in the blank: "If I wasn't locked down because of the Coronavirus, I would be __________" – You know what? We would probably be getting ready for a summer vacation We had a lot of things we were going to do with the family, I would be out with the kiddos doing something fun, going to an amusement park or something Because that's been the hardest thing for us, these kids don't even understand what's going on, they just wonder why they can't have fun So yeah, I'd be spending time with the family – Awesome, so listen, tell us, you know, wrapping this all up, what's next for you guys in the business, and then tell us how can we find you, how do we find you guys? – Yeah, so, anywhere on social media we're Nuevo Food Box, you can find us at nuevofoodbox

com We respond to every comment, if you want to write something Next for us is really to work with business owners and companies that want to have business gifts, so, I know your company has used our services, that really is our next, our next place that we're trying to get into We actually recently just did our first non-New Mexican box, so graduates of Dartmouth got a box that didn't have New Mexico products, but it was the same level of quality that Nuevo Box had, with different food items

So, we're trying to just jump into that more custom, business gift world And that's kind of where we're at

– Listen, I didn't even know that, but that's really fun to hear, one of the fun things about business is you never know where it's going to take you, and it could look the same or it could change, it could morph, you try things and you grow, and you just never know, so, that only happens in the business world And dude, Eric, I want to thank you, man I had a blast, as you and I always do, and this was a lot of fun, dude, and I'm happy for you and your family, and all your success, and just making it happen – Thanks, buddy, same to you, appreciate it -Alright, we'll talk soon

Source: Youtube

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