My July appearance on Seattle’s MY INDEPENDENCE REPORT
Hosted by longtime Seattle radio host, Kevin McDonald
This one was LIVE, not pre-recorded – first seen on the FB Live on the My Independence Report channel, then that recorded version posted on Podbean for your listening pleasure.
Find both links below!
The show starts with Kevin’s inspirational message and then he introduces me as a Serial Entrepreneur – and asks me what exactly that is – I tell him, I actually have no idea – It’s just something I do – keep moving forward, and keep trying to help people! Kevin says that is a perfect message for his show, and the conversation is off to a great start!
Looking at me, he asks how the heck I got into hair extensions – the core business of Private Label – and we laugh as I tell him people often look at me funny when I tell them I am in the hair business! (I obviously don’t wear the hair!). I tell him how it all started over lunch with my now business partner, on learning how much his girlfriend spent on hair, which since I am a product guy led me to research and the realization that there was a lot of opportunity there – which ultimately led not only to that success but to succeed in all the related avenues we have gone down since.
Kevin jokes that he was “kinda hoping” I could help him with some hair extensions but he wonders if it’s too late, I joke “we do have a wig we could put on ya!” I tell him that I have found the perfect wig to be Garth from Wayne’s World for Halloween this year – so it is possible!
He asks if there are wigs for older people and I tell him they definitely exist, but that we focus on a little bit of a younger demographic at Private Label!
Kevin then tells the audience about some of the national and international media that has interviewed me and that Private Label has been featured in, commenting on how I don’t look old enough to have done so much – and asks me about my background.
I tell him that I was terrible in school, that all my teachers loved me and said I was the nicest, politest kid, but at the same time I couldn’t take a test, my grades were terrible. I found out later I likely have learning disabilities but I have learned to work through them. I tell Kevin how I went to a prestigious high school where people came from well-funded families. My family was pretty broke, there were a lot of people worse off than us, but we were broke, even though we got by. I was always an entrepreneur – from early lemonade stands to my first business endeavors as an adult, but it took about ten years for me to get that confidence to realize I had what it takes to start a business. I tell him how I moved to Atlanta when I was 21 – and shared with him that I always make a point to talk about how hard it was because it makes me feel bad that with Instagram these days, everyone looks famous, everyone looks rich. And I am very careful about that, because I don’t want the younger generation to look at that and think entrepreneurship is just sitting on a beach with a laptop making all this money.
We get into how the mindset of an entrepreneur is absolutely different than the corporate mindset. I talk about how you have to be good at handling risks, among other things, and that not everyone has the personality of an entrepreneur. I tell him in my opinion, you almost have to be a little “off” somewhere! It’s just not a normal life!
He asks if my problems at school arose out of boredom, I told him, no it’s actually that I didn’t know how to learn. I never even read a book in high school. I couldn’t read a book from start to finish – which didn’t help my grades! I tell him that it’s likely undiagnosed ADD or ADHD – but high school was a long time ago, nearly 30 years ago now.
While talking about those years we got into something that doesn’t often come up when I do podcast interviews – at fourteen, 30 years ago, I was diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer – I was one of the youngest diagnosed in the United States. I tell him that as a result, I have some holes in my back that look like bullet holes, and how in younger days I used to tell people, “well, you know, I grew up in DC, got shot a couple of times…” But in all seriousness, I tell him, if it wasn’t for my mom randomly reading something in a dermatologist’s office and thinking, “Hey this looks like something on Michael’s back” I would not be here today.
I talk about a good friend who died last year from it, and that scared me a lot, so I went to the doctor and got some testing done and was told I have cancer on my face. My reaction was – what timing, I have too much going on right now! I tell him how every day I am so thankful for the doctors and the technology that got me through it.
Being a podcaster, he says, he’s love to hear a little more about my podcast. I tell him I started my first podcast in 2010 – it was called Foodpreneur interviewing all these food entrepreneurs because I was one of them at that time. If I was still doing that, it would be huge by now! I tell him about how we started Hair Biz Radio podcast in 2014 – first just audio – then audio and video -and now we record it in Atlanta and it’s really high-end. I tell Kevin I think podcasts like this – like his and like mine, are just such a great platform where we can learn from each other. Kevin tells me he has checked out the show and gives my awesome co-host and her great work a shoutout! He tells me he enjoyed listening to the show even though he is not a hair guy. Kevin then shares with me his history – past and present – on broadcast radio! He invites me to come on his Sunday afternoon radio show.
When he asks me how many brands I have now, he is surprised when my answer is “I have no idea!” cause we have so many. Probably close to ten, I tell him, but explain that they are all related – beauty and the technology side that supports it. It’s all focused on beauty and it all comes together to serve our clients better.
Kevin then asks me about the experience of being approached every day by entrepreneurs with ideas – and I explain how I’ve learned to say no. Sometimes I am more than happy to reply or take someone to lunch – but I am very careful about who I work with and who I have around me at this point. It’s funny, it’s interesting – you have to be really careful about being distracted by what I call the Shiny Object Syndrome.
Kevin asks me what kept me going as an entrepreneur, what it was about me that made me not quit. I tell him I think it’s watching my mom worry when we were young – I wanted to take that away. It was my goal to be successful so that when it did come time to retire my mom could do what she wanted to do and go where she wanted to go. And it was like that, for a while, until she passed away about a year and a half ago.
I tell him that my mother was actually the inspiration for my book. Now the inspiration is also to change people’s lives, to help them find success. From there we go into more detail about my new book, Fearless Beauty, which came out in April. Find out more about it at: https://www.amazon.ca/Fearless-Beauty-Hair-Business-Blueprint/dp/1544520077/
From there Kevin and I talk about Private Label and our super successful move to brick and mortar showrooms – we’ve opened several of them now with more coming (including one opening in Vegas for distribution reasons.) I explain that though a lot of people are going away from brick and mortar, there are also several very successful hybrid brands with a combination of store and online that are going to their key markets to use their online data to see where their customers are.
I tell Kevin about the personal youtube channel I created – and how I expanded it when I got positive feedback about how much people were learning from it. From the book to the youtube channel, I try to break down the truth of entrepreneurship. I give some advice a lot of entrepreneurs may not like – you won’t always succeed on your first business – in fact, the numbers say you probably won’t, But you’ll learn, and that will be a stepping stone to what you do next. I talk about how building client relationships and sales is very much like human nature, like a guy building a relationship with a girl.
I talk about my incredible staff members, the fantastic team I have put together, and then we have some conversation about staffing and some of the problems that arise as an entrepreneur – and how it’s something you have to learn, just part of the business. One of the toughest parts of growing a business is finding the right people. We are a very hardworking team – and we love what we do – so someone who isn’t a hard worker will annoy the people who work really hard – so someone like that won’t last long on our team. I talk about how important it is to take care of your staff and let you in on our bonus pool and how sweet it is!
Kevin says it sounds like I somehow inherently know all of this – and I point out with a laugh it is definitely not inherently known! We have made mistakes, and we have learned from them – and that is how a young company grows.
I talk about my goals in my personal life and in my business life that I am working on now – listen to learn about why I’m improving everything in my life by 1 percent.
I talk about my plans for my next book – which will be for the intermediate to advanced entrepreneur and when Kevin says he looks forward to reading my book, I tell him I’ve got one with his name on it.
One thing that really struck me is that Kevin said that what I’m doing is special, that it changes lives. I tell him I am proud to tell people that when I started my bank account was negative and my credit score was low – I was so stressed about my financials and about paying my mortgage. I talk about in my book how I had to borrow money from my grandmother, and how very humbling that was. I want people to understand that you can struggle and that you might have to go back to do something you didn’t want to do, to get organized, before you can move forward, you can do it.
Kevin brings us into the last segment talking about how important it is to work together, I talk about different things that we do to help our customers and demographics we work with and how we have given away over 100,000 in products and services to help Black entrepreneurs get into the beauty industry.
We end by talking about how it’s never all about the money. If you’re doing all this only for the money, if you make it about you and about being selfish, find another reason that you’re working so hard. It’s not all about the money.
What they said :
“Mikey Moran is a serial entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Private Label Extensions, a hair extension and technology company helping entrepreneurs launch and manage their brands, ranked number 278 of the Inc. 5000 and the number one fastest-growing beauty business in the country by Cosmetic Business. Mikey has been featured on ABC, Fox, CBS, and CNBC, and in Forbes and Entrepreneur, among others. He is also the co-host of the podcast Hair Biz Radio and the founder of the influencer platform Beauty Clout and the author of the new book Fearless Beauty. Mikey had only a single advantage when he started his hair and beauty business: his idea was different from anything he’d seen in the industry. Seven years later, Mikey has expanded his original idea into ten different brands, five retail locations, and one partnership with global e-commerce giant Shopify. Now Mikey wants to share what he’s learned so burgeoning entrepreneurs have a bigger advantage than he had. In Fearless Beauty, Mikey provides you with a roadmap to achieve success easier, faster, and more efficiently than you ever thought possible. He shows you how to think like an entrepreneur by introducing you to practical theories that should guide every decision, then presents a step-by-step plan for taking action and getting started. You’ll learn core marketing techniques that yield the biggest impact, how to select the best web platform for your business, and why consistency—or a lack of it—can make or break you. No matter your industry or where you are in the process of becoming an entrepreneur, you’ll gain insightful strategies for maximizing returns and enjoying every step in the journey of your business.”
Listen at: https://hairbiz.tips/MyIndependenceReport
Or Watch the original Facebook Live video at :