Cameron Herold is a top business consultant, best-selling author, and speaker. He’s the mastermind behind hundreds of companies’ exponential growth and he’s touched thousands of businesses indirectly through his work.
At age 21, he had 14 employees. By 35, he’d helped build his first two 100 Million Dollar companies. By the age of 42, Cameron had engineered 1-800-GOT-JUNK?’s spectacular growth from $2 Million to $106 Million in revenue in just six years.
His companies landed over 5,200 media placements in those same six years, including coverage on Oprah.
Not simply a theory guy, Cameron teaches what he knows from experience and is passionate about sharing his experience with today’s most dynamic business leaders.
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Nicole Holland 0:00
Cameron Harold, it is such a pleasure to have you with us and fascinating founders. How are you doing today,
Cameron Herold 0:04
Nicole, thanks for having me.
Nicole Holland 0:06
My pleasure. So I would love to start. I mean, you've You are a legend, you have done so many incredible things. I'm wondering where it began. So when you were young, as far back as you can remember, I'm curious what you wanted to be when you grew up. And then I'm also curious what you actually did when you started working?
Cameron Herold 0:27
Yeah, it's funny. I actually did a TEDx talk that's been put on the main Ted website, but 10 years ago about raising kids as entrepreneurs, and it talks about how I was raised as an entrepreneur. I was raised and groomed to be an entrepreneur, my father raised the three of us my brother and sister and I all to be entrepreneurial. And to this day, all three of us own our own companies. We all were running our own companies when we were 2021 years old. So that's all I've ever really done is now I had a couple of gigs where I was second in command, but in very, very entrepreneurial companies that I almost felt like I was known for but we all have been entrepreneurs. So my entrepreneurial journey if I think back to it, we we had the entrepreneurial traits. I think that entrepreneurs have some of that DNA to be an entrepreneur and I definitely have the entrepreneurial DNA. I'm bipolar I'm on the spectrum. I shouldn't say I'm on spectrum portraits, I have a attention deficit disorder I've just calculated which I flip my numbers, and I'm bipolar. So I've got trades that describe a lot of entrepreneurs. But I was also groomed with these skills that entrepreneurs need, how to think on your feet, how to problem solve, how to feel comfortable speaking to groups, how to problem solve, how to spot opportunities, how to hustle, how to handle rejection, how to sell my dad greenness, and all these things. So we had, you know, I had a lot of little business ventures that he would encourage us to do, and some would last a day, some would last a week, someone lost all summer. But there was all these encouraging to do that and to hustle and be entrepreneurial. And this was in an era where that wasn't cool. You know, entrepreneurship has only been cool since 98 or 99, when the first.com era started to open up, but really prior to That it was it was vilified. We were profit centric ingredient capitalists. So it hasn't been that long that that being an entrepreneur was cool. So I was being groomed in a stage or in a day when he had also given me the confidence that it was okay to want money. It was okay to make money. So, I think my first entrepreneurial venture that I remember I was seven years old. I was living in a small city of Winnipeg, Canada, and I was sitting in my bedroom and I had the door closed. I had the phone, the phone with a long extension cord on the phone under my door, and I was phoning dry cleaners. I had the Yellow Pages open in front of me and I had my red or my blue ballpoint pen and I was phoning dry cleaners. I was asking them how much they would pay me for coat hangers. And that was back in the day when they would pay you two cents to recycle a coat hanger. If you brought them back in they would pay you and then they would reuse them, which is weird that they don't do that to this day. I don't know what where they come from, why they don't recycle but so I was phoning them. My mom opened my bedroom door and she asked me what I was doing. And I told her and the guy that I was talking to we were negotiating, and I said, Well, how about three and a half cents? Because he wanted to pay me three and I wanted four. And I said, How about three and a half? And he laughed, and he said, How old are you? I said, I'm seven. And he said, Well, why would you think that I pay you three and a half cents? And I said, because you can give me seven cents for two instead of six cents for two. And he's like, kid, I'll give you three and a half cents. So I learned how to handle objections and how to negotiate and how to problem solve and how to hustle. And then my mom looked at me and she said, but where are you going to get the coat hangers, and I proudly and and shyly and embarrassingly opened my bedroom closet door, and there were hundreds of coat hangers in there. I've been going door to door in the neighborhood, collecting coat hangers from people and did that so that I would have a product to then be able to sell it just seemed natural because when I was in the in this the store I saw them where they said coat hangers, two cents. So I thought well, there's the opportunity and then Where can I get them? People have got them. And if if I can ask for more money than I might get more because it's my dad always taught me if it's worth having, it's worth asking for. So you just those little lessons that stuck, right and I could give you 18 off the top little businesses like that, that I had before I was 1718 years old, you know, and then I had my first real business with I had 12 full time employees when I was 2020 years old, I started the house painting business.
Nicole Holland 4:23
So when let's go back to that then so house painting business, you didn't just all of a sudden have those employees. Can you walk us through briefly like, what two you'd already been practicing this like gift that you had to understand these concepts that most people struggle with? And you're able to turn ideas into profit very simply and easily. So when you realize, okay, I want to start a house painting business. Can you just give us a quick like timeline of how that looked?
Cameron Herold 4:52
Yeah, so I ended up getting a franchise of a company called college pro painters, which was giving franchises to university students to run House Painting businesses during the summer. But remember, you know, during my my teens and even earlier years I was taught how to be a good leader how to speak. I was winning public speaking competitions. I was doing door to door sales. I was running all these little business ventures. I was the top cub. I was the top scout. I was on the leadership team of our sports group at the school. I was on the student council I was, you know, coaching a ski team. I was doing all these ventures when I was still pretty young. So when I applied for this franchise, they looked at my list of things that I'd already done. They're like, Wow, you've been leading people forever and you've been selling already and you understand hustle, you're tenacious, and you set goals so that's why I got the franchise was I was groomed to have all those traits. Because I actually had a couple of friends who I ended up seeing their names on the list of people that were being interviewed for. I was like, Whoa, I got to get this instead of them. And so that's probably why I got it, you know, then they trained us on how to run a business and I was so scared that I I would screw up that I just did everything that I was told to once you know, it's probably the only time in my life I've ever followed the rules but they gave me the franchise manual of all the things to do. I was so scared of screwing up that I just did everything if it said yellow key chains, I had yellow key chains if it said knock four times I knocked four, you know, like I did everything by the book. And sure enough, it works. So I realized that there was shortcuts there were systems and if you follow those in business, they would work and you know, some of those systems I still use to this very day. In fact, I even hired Kimball, Musk, Ellen's brother, back in 1993, to be a franchisee for me and taught him systems on how to grow companies. It's one of the reasons he and nimble or Ilan raised their first round of funding in January of 95. For zip two, they talked about college pro painters in Allen's book as being the reason they were given funding. Because Kimball knew how to run a business and it was just the cheat sheets that we followed. So that's kind of my I guess the starting point of our story is is
Nicole Holland 6:59
amazing. And then you didn't stick with that forever. So what happened? How did you decide to move on from that? And, yeah, walk us up to like where you are today, if you will. I know that's a lot.
Cameron Herold 7:14
Yeah, I was with college pro painters as a franchisee for three summers and then I left there and I went full time at the head office coaching franchisees. I ended up coaching 120 entrepreneurs. By the time I was 28 years old. I coached franchisees in Ontario and then also I opened Washington and Oregon for college pro painters, and, you know, did millions of dollars in house painting in four months for college Pro. When I opened Washington in Oregon, I hired 220 employees in four months. So I understood how to scale a company quickly how to do it in a different marketplace. left there in October of 94. I actually applied for a vice president role and they gave it to the founders brother so I called nepotism and I quit the next day, I'd been the highest rated General Manager and in The program and so I quit, they gave it somebody else and got involved with a friend of mine or a friend of my dad's who was starting an auto body chain. And I came on as a small partner in the business and we I was franchising that side of the business for them and we built out. I added about 54 franchises in a few years of auto body chains. We built up what is called Boyd auto body in Canada, and it's called Gerber auto collision in the US. I really hated auto body. I didn't like anything about it. I liked franchising in the business of business and doing some acquisitions and the branding and marketing and sales, but I really didn't like the industry. And they were getting ready to take the company public. So I sold my shares. They took the company public, I left and was hired as president of a private currency company. So a small business similar to what Bitcoin is doing today. We did it 20 years ago, and we had 30,000 businesses buying and selling using our electronic currency instead of the US dollar. So we had Starwood Hotels, Avis rent a car budget, rent a car Hard Rock Cafe, Bose stereo all using our digital currency. We sold that company to a US public company. And I left there and I was hired as the second command the CEO for a small business out of Vancouver, Canada. I came in as the 14th employee for one 800 got junk. And I built them from 12 locations up to 330 from 2 million to 106 million am I left with 3100 employees system wide. I left there that was 13 years ago that I left there and I started coaching entrepreneurs and CEOs all over the world. And I've been coaching I've done paid speaking events now in 26 countries on six sorry 26 countries and six continents. I've coached real businesses with real employees and yeah, that's what I've been doing written five books, etc.
Nicole Holland 9:41
Amazing. So do you miss the Do you miss the being inside of a company structure your own kind of thing or not at all?
Unknown Speaker 9:51
I have. I've
Cameron Herold 9:52
got a company today that I own where I've got employees and suppliers and bankers and accountants and marketing teams and you know, moving parts in events, so You know, smaller than what I've been used to running, but you know, it's there. It's got all the pieces that you know, you have to be involved in doing. So I get to play but no, I don't miss I don't miss the operational day to day have a big team and meetings and stuff. I've done that as well. I've had that brand, I've had the press about me and kind of like to travel. You know, I took 10 weeks vacation last year where I didn't work for 10 full weeks. And I take a lot of time off to go to events that I want to and live where I want to So no, I really. And that was a lesson my dad actually taught us at a very young age that being an entrepreneur, you control the time you control your time, and it was more for me about how do I actually have the time to do what I want to do when I want to do it where I want to do it versus how much money that I want to make. And then at the same time I ended up making the money to
Nicole Holland 10:47
beautiful So focusing on what you want and what you need comes. Exactly. That's great. And I know that you're having such an amazing, like powerful impact on the CEOs that you that you serve through clo Alliance. And can you talk about how that how you started building that business,
Cameron Herold 11:07
I was really listening to my customers were a lot of the CEOs that I was coaching, you know, my coaching clients tend to have 50 to 500 employees. And so they're running real businesses with real moving parts. And a lot of them had a second in command. And they wanted me to coach their CEO or their VP operations or the President on how to grow the company. And I started listening to them, and they they all had similar issues and problems. So we just organized a small group and got 10 of them together and made sure they all met each other and got to know each other. And by doing that, they wanted to continue on meeting. So that's just became the impetus of it. We've just signed 18 new members over the last nine weeks, we've got our next events, the end of February, we'll probably have about 40 people at that another 40 of the one in April. So we just keep kind of cycling people through but we do five events per year and they picked three of the five events to go to So the goal is 100 members at the end of the year will then add a sixth event, they'll pick three events of the six, which kind of scale it up that way.
Nicole Holland 12:07
Amazing. What do you think the folks that are going? Why do you think they stay in? What do you think they're getting out of it the most
Cameron Herold 12:15
they stay because it's their tribe, right? When they show up at an entrepreneurial event, they realize they don't fit in. They're not entrepreneurs. They don't think like entrepreneurs, they don't have the DNA that entrepreneurs do. They want to sit down and talk about interviewing for two hours, whereas an entrepreneurs covered seven issues by that point at the 50,000 foot level, they really want to talk about budgeting and open up their budgets and look at their budgets and discuss the budgets and look at them from four different angles and discuss best practices and which books to read. And again, by that point, entrepreneurs are talking about seven things so they it's just a different group and a different mix, and they feel heard, where they feel like wow, I'm not the only one working for a crazy person. You know, most entrepreneurs are a little crazy. The CEOs realize they're not the only ones working for crazy person that they feel like a part of a tribe now as well. And then they can also turn to their see and go, Oh, by the way, I actually love you now that I realize you're just like everybody else's No. So there's a there's a power and a value in that
Nicole Holland 13:12
I especially appreciate that so that my team who's going to be producing this podcast can can get a feel for. So what what's kind of on the radar for you in the future? What do you do you have ideas for next steps and what you would like to explore and
Cameron Herold 13:30
Yeah, well, the focus, the focus is growing the CEO Alliance for sure, that's first and foremost, I have another two books that I'm working on, that will come out. I've got five books, but two more they'll come out over the next three to four years. One about the highs and lows of CEOs why most CEOs are bipolar and why they ride a roller coaster ride and how to ride that ride. And then the second one is on the role of the CEO and the CEO really how to leverage the role of that second command and that two in the box kind of idea, and then, but the one I'm really excited about is September of 2021 When my, my second child goes away to university, I'm going global. My plan is to start living in different parts of the world. And do you know three weeks in Barcelona three weeks in or three months in Barcelona, three months in Amsterdam, two months in Buenos Aires, etc. and just start living globally. And you know, kind of embracing the have laptop will travel and have built a business that allows me to have the free time and the flexibility and then come back to my five or six events per year and go to the mastermind groups that I like to but really, live globally.
Nicole Holland 14:29
I love that I think it's so important that we think about these things, right? Because I think as entrepreneurs or just humans in general who get into something and into a mode and they kind of get into that doing space, and riding the roller coaster and trying to manage the things and sometimes we forget what really matters to us. I just think it's so great that you're you're doing that and you had your reasons for not doing that. I'm imagining like having children, as you said that you're Your son's going to go off to uni. So it's like okay, well, here's a an opportunity then for me to do something that's more fulfilling in the lifestyle that I have. I don't know if that makes any sense. But I think it's like I've been talking with people a lot because I've decided last year I decided I wanted to sell my house I wanted to travel throughout North America, cuz I have two cats. I wanted to go by road and stay in places like four to six weeks stuff like that, throughout North America. And recently, so within the last couple of months, I discovered you know, what might be fun just getting an RV. So I'm in the process now of selling my house and looking at these these modern mobile homes and looking at going off the grid and things like that. And people when they hear this, they think, Wow, that's so brave, or Wow, that's so how can you do that? And it's like, I don't personally I don't feel like it's brave at all. I feel like it's personally for me, just finally like saying, I'm uncovering myself from all of the responsibilities that are self imposed and that I have believed I have been believing that have to be have to have me involved with them. Because the truth is I can do whatever I want and make it work.
Cameron Herold 16:14
We also only get one life like why wouldn't we? You know, there's so many people don't ever take their head up and look around and go, where do I want to go? So they just end up older and dead. And they've had some life but they haven't decided to design and live it I think we get to, we're in just an amazing time right now to be able to work globally with laptops and and Wi Fi and internet access and digital. It's like amazing that this didn't really we didn't have this opportunity. 20 years ago, this is very new. So but outside of that it's not that hard to even pack up and move to a different city. And I'm amazed that people that don't do that. It's like well, if you're not happy living in Iowa, what the hell are you doing living there, like move to San Diego or move to Austin or move to Hawaii, like no one's holding you there.
Nicole Holland 16:57
And well, I think that our listeners are on the same page here. But in case there's some some listeners who are maybe thinking, well, I've got this and I've got that, and I've got my, you know, my staff and what can you give us some? Before we wrap up because I'm aware of the time, I want to wrap up and I want to have you leave us with some mindset, hacks or processes are thoughts that people need to, you know, might want to consider about how they're keeping themselves tethered to the post.
Cameron Herold 17:29
Yeah, well, one of my books I think is great for our listener is the Miracle Morning for entrepreneurs. I co authored the Miracle Morning for entrepreneurs with how Elrod and in that one of the things I talked about is the vivid vision concept, the concept of rolling the camera ahead three years, and designing what your company looks like acts like it feels like or describing what your life your personal life looks like, acts like and feels like three years from now so that you can reverse engineer every sentence of that. So that's the first step is just kind of beginning with the end of mind and being able to then work backwards. But the second part is this I was talking to a friend about this the other day and it will isn't it expensive to live internationally and like you've got all like Airbnb ease and your travel costs and food and like a weight regardless of where I live, I have food. If I'm in Amsterdam or I'm in Vancouver, or I'm in Scottsdale, I have food and the rent I'm paying or the mortgage I'm paying and the interest I'm paying and the utilities I'm paying, all of that becomes like an Airbnb or a bed and breakfast or a long term rental place anywhere and more often than not, it's cheaper living all over the world than it is in some of these North American cities. And then I get rid of my car insurance and my car lease in my car gas and that becomes like walking everywhere like you do wherever bicycle or Irby or Uber or whatever. So life is pretty much the same or cheaper globally, and then all the stuff that's here, I don't really need all this stuff, like a lot of the stuff is like cutlery and dishes and shed Well, that's wherever I am anyway. And then it's like a few pieces of art and the reality is I might actually take a couple of people That I like with me and I'll put them up everywhere. And then the rest of it I'll throw into storage for when I get old and decide to come back to North America and have a place but outside of that I've got friends everywhere. And I really like exploring You know, a lot of people don't Well, I, I really do. And I've got friends, I'm lucky that I've been able to build a network of friends globally. And
I keep in touch with friends and I also have a sense of adventure
and want to go explore. So
Nicole Holland 19:24
fun. So in addition to Russia, you have the Miracle Morning. for entrepreneurs, you have the vivid vision you have PR, can you like go through all the with that?
Cameron Herold 19:37
Yeah, so my first
book was called double double. The second book was meeting suck. My third book was vivid vision, my third or fourth was called free PR. And the fifth was the Miracle Morning for entrepreneurs.
Nicole Holland 19:49
Amazing. So we'll have all of that in the show notes so folks can check those out. And where can people go to learn more about you and to get in touch if they go to this?
Cameron Herold 19:58
CameronHerold.com is probably the best place for them to go. And then also, if they love listening to podcasts, listen to the Second In Command podcast because I only interview the CEOs for companies. In fact, today I just interviewed for our Valentine's Day guest. The only time I've interviewed a non CEO and I interviewed a woman who's an expert on the spousal relationships of CEOs. So it's the being an expert of the spouse side of the CEO the relationship whether it's a male or female CEO, but the second man podcast is a great way for them to explore me as well.