Seriously Catherine – Bet On Yourself with Derek DeMeo | Episode 4 – Palette
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Seriously Catherine – Bet On Yourself with Derek DeMeo | Episode 4

Accomplished business leader and CEO with extensive experience in the e-commerce sector, Derek DeMeo opens up to Catherine about smart business strategies, balancing work and family life, and how he risked it all because he knew he could. Derek shares how he gets his drive to thrive, finding the right business partners, how failure can push you closer to success, and even shares strategies for his e-commerce business to be so successful. This episode will give you the boost you need to get up and get things done!

You can find Derek on Instagram HERE.

Special Thanks to the Adelphi Hotel and Preparo for being our Launch Partners!

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*This Transcript is Autogenerated*

Derek DeMeo 0:00
Our company probably five to 7x during COVID Simply because we were set up to sell products online. The one thing that it did for me that was really positive is my mind was so quick. You know, I stopped watching the news after like a month. Oh my god, this is utter chaos like no more news in our house. But the one thing that it did for me that I think was almost Godsend was that I truthfully don’t remember COVID I really mean this when I say this to you because we were so busy that it was like head down building programs. And we had days where you’re doing $800,000 A day in sales.

Catherine Hover 0:45
Welcome to seriously Catherine a podcast about taking your business seriously, but not yourself. I love saying Derek DeMeo Derek DiMeo Derek DeMeo is an accomplished business leader and CEO who has extensive experience in the E commerce sector. What I love most about this episode is Derek shares with us how he took calculated risks to quit his full time job and start his ecommerce company. He also shared lots of tips on how to balance his business and his family life. If you are in need of a shot of adrenaline and motivation to kick your butt and gear. This is the episode for you. Okay, everybody, this week’s facepalm moment is on the go. We’re in the car on the way to meet someone in Clifton Park. So anyway, this week’s facepalm mom moment is sort of borrowed from my new friend on Instagram. Her name is Lena forestall. And she just shared this moment where she took her child to the wrong doctor for a doctor’s appointment. I think she got the time wrong too. And it triggered a memory of mine when I brought the wrong child to the doctor’s appointment. Okay, so luckily, I am a mom of three. So I had the right child with me. But I had literally left work early to go get Ruby from pre K to bring her to the doctor’s now, at this moment in time, I didn’t have childcare for Zia, who was who was my youngest, so she was always with me all the time anyway. So I wouldn’t take Ruby up checkout or school to bring her to the docks. When I get there. I’m checking in for Ruby and they’re like, Ruby doesn’t have a doctor’s appointment. And I’m like, what I got like a million text messages about this. I confirmed like this is definitely a thing. And they’re like, well, Betsy has a doctor’s appointment. I was like, Oh, perfect. I have sia here with me. Anyway, so we went in, the doctor saw Xia but regardless, I had literally gone out of my way to go get Ruby out of school and then I’d go bring her back to school I was a total disruption. I even had talked her up for this appointment in the event she needed to get shots, you know, like you tuck your kid off to like, just prepare them emotionally if they might have to get shots. That was awesome or nothing because this child didn’t even have a frigging doctor’s appointment. So there you have it. You are not alone Lena and if anyone else has ever had this happen to them, please share share your experience. You know, it’s really amazing when you can commiserate with other moms who are just we’re doing the best that we can. Alright guys, today I have something truly special for all of you listeners out there. Especially if you’re planning a getaway or a staycation in the heart of Saratoga Springs, New York. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the hidden gem of saratoga springs. The Delphi hotel not really hidden though, because it is right smack dab in the middle of town on Broadway. If you’re searching for an experience that combines history, luxury and modern charm the Adelphi hotel is a place to be it’s more like a resort if you ask me. I’ve had the opportunity to stay here and let me tell you it’s an absolute dream. Did you know that they also host events and weddings? Yes, they do at all. The Adelphi hotel is more than just a place to say it’s an experience in itself. Picture yourself in a room with stunning decor and plush bedding you will feel like royalty. If you’re able definitely book the Polaris rom because it has a Jacuzzi tub on the balcony. I mean what mom doesn’t need a staycation here with no kids and maybe even no husband, foodies. Listen up Morrissey’s lounge and Bistro. Their onsite restaurant offers a culinary journey that’s nothing short of exquisite. Have you had the best sushi in town yet? Well, this is where you get it. Get the rainbow roll. You’ll thank me later. So dear listeners, whether you’re planning a romantic getaway a girls weekend, or just a relaxing solo escape the Adelphi hotel is your perfect destination. When you’re here you’re not just a guest you’re part of the legacy of Saratoga Springs both in your state today, Polaris wait. I would like to talk to you about this is like I’m sure people to say like, oh, yeah, Derek’s ambitious and he’s Go, go go, you know, what is that? What do you think is inside of you that kind of forces that? You know, you’re motivated?

Derek DeMeo 5:10
That’s a good question. I mean, I think when I was younger, I had probably more bad habits than good habits. And I think when you change bad habits, whatever those bad habits are, that energy has to flow into something else. And so, you know, my first kind of job was corporate. I was working like Pitney Bowes in my early 20s, and hated it. And it wasn’t the company itself, it was more the corporate culture. And I think in that moment, I had realized, alright, corporate is not for me. But I really liked the startup world. But I was kind of at Ground Zero, I didn’t know what to do in the startup world or anything like that. And so as I started studying, kind of the markets as they are right now, I was seeing that ecommerce was growing exponentially. And this is roughly a decade ago. And bookstore business retail was declining, like 17% year over year statistical data, right. And so I found this startup company, in Manhattan, the name of the startup company was shirt on, and they were a multi channel ecommerce software company. And so I submitted my resume, I got no response. But I really liked this company. I was following them on YouTube. I thought the little core team was really creative. You know, I kind of felt like I knew them just watching all the videos. So I’m crafty. One day I get on. I go to their website, and they have a little chat. And I basically pretended that I was a customer, and that I was slightly upset. And I had already pre built what I wanted to say. So I said, I’d like to speak to the owner. I knew they were a small company. So I knew that I would get him on chat. Bla bla bla, woman, you Lena is talking to me. She was the head of marketing. Sure. Let me grab Jason. So hi, this is Jason, how can I help you? And then I just copy pasted my answer. It was a quick, quick, very quick blurb saying I don’t have a ton of experience in this field. I’m incredible at sales. I’ll work for free for 30 days, if you like what you see, let’s talk. And the guy was literally looking for a head of sales at the time. So he gave me a shot. And I remember I worked from home. And I think I closed 23 deals in 30 days. Wow. And then we went down to New York, it was the first time I closed 23 deals prior to meeting this guy in person. And I told him I don’t even want money, went down, met him in person. And he was like, you’re the head of sales. And so that worked out well, that got me in the door there. Obviously we built a team. Under me, we brought on over 1000 customers in the timeframe that I was with this company, I closed the deal with Alibaba, we were embedding our technology on the back end of Alibaba is platform. So the concept was that Catherine could go on Alibaba source a product. And simultaneously one click that to multiple channels. So it was a listing of bowknot. And Alibaba loved this because of the technology play. So I learned a ton, I got my doctorate in E commerce, I then realized the really good money. And the really good way to grow is to develop the brands. And so I took a huge leap of faith like you know, my wife, super supportive. And so I remember going home to her, we were about to have Wes, our first boy. And I said, I want to quit my job. And she goes, Well, what do you want to do? And I said, I want to start my own thing. I think that I know enough now. And I think I can replace my income in 90 days. And she goes, What’s the worst that can happen? You’re employable. And that was like all I needed to hear. I heard that for the first time. I think I believed it. You know what I mean? When I say that, you know, when you go start your own thing. It’s a little scary because I cut off a 200k your job? Yeah, like, that’s good income. And so I did it. And in like 60 days I replaced our income is off to the races and that I had started an agency called MDM magic digital media. And what I was doing was I was taking large scale manufacturers overseas all over the world, direct to Amazon, with their own brand. This is what they wanted, but they didn’t know how to do it is very lucrative, if you know how to do it. Yeah. So I remember the first company that we took when I say we did almost $20 million in GMV the first year. Wow. Which was, I mean, that guy that factory probably made $5 million. Yeah, yeah. I then realized, wow, the money is building the brands right. And so that’s a lot of fun, too. And that’s where we’re really good at. I want to say fast forward, probably Gosh, 2017 ish was when I met my business partner. We had launched our first brand together that exploded in some respects and then we just continued to launch brands. And then we got so big on Amazon that we were I think one point we were the 28th largest seller in the world, which is big,

Catherine Hover 9:58
but it’s like how are you meet how Did you? How are you meeting that your partner like, how did you meet your partner? Or was it just through networking? Or in the room with the guy? Yeah, no,

Derek DeMeo 10:07
it’s a great question. There was a local gentleman, they went to college together at RPI. And my business partner now contacted him and said, I gotta get an E commerce, like, retail is dying, purchase orders from all the box stores are declining. This my business partner, incredible guy, he has just impeccable foresight to be able to see where markets are going. And so at the time, when I was approached to do this, I was making really good income. And I almost I kept brushing it off. I turned down the first two meetings like this was just so you know, you get so busy, and you’re trying not to take on everything. So finally, my buddy came to me and he goes, you have to meet this guy. He wants to fly over from overseas. So we rented at the time zone had a restaurant out in Clifton Park, and nice hotel there, but they had this really nice boardroom, it was low key and chill. And we put them up there. We rented this boardroom, I think it was three days, the first hour when we were in this boardroom, I immediately knew that we were going to work together. It just was you know how you have that synergy? Yeah, I mean, it was just it was so, so connected instantly, that we sat there over the course of three days on a whiteboard. And we mapped out one product program, how to get to $100 million on it. And we hit 180 million on it before we

Catherine Hover 11:30
so Wow. And y’all are still so that’s like 2017

Derek DeMeo 11:33
That was 2017 Towards the end of 2016. Somewhere in that era.

Catherine Hover 11:38
Yeah. And now you’re just it’s like a, you know, a copy and paste, copy and paste with different products that you see in the market that you think are going to be? Yes,

Derek DeMeo 11:47
I mean, we would have we look at Evergreen products. So we’re not typically the company that’s gonna go try and capitalize on fidgets spinners when they’re wildly popular, we like products that are evergreen, meaning that product can sell indefinitely. And I think that we look at the market quite different. Now. You know, we like products that are subscribed and say. So like, I’m in beauty now with some business partners. And those business partners I met through a gaming investment, that gaming investment, that company went public, right, we were a seed round to that company. So that was like a really big opportunity as our first investment. You know, I met these folks through through Daymond, John’s company actually did some consulting for some of his brands. And they introduced me to a gentleman named Raz. Another three hour phone call and never met him on a plane to Panama. Right like panama, panama. Yeah. And I go out and meet him. And we sit down. And we look at everything that he’s doing in the gaming space. And I didn’t really, I didn’t really understand it. And

Catherine Hover 12:46
are you a gamer? Like when you have little growing up? Well, I

Derek DeMeo 12:48
mean, you know, like Mario Brothers, I

Catherine Hover 12:50
wasn’t like they were a gamer. Yeah, yeah. But he had this

Derek DeMeo 12:54
kind of technology playing the gaming side. And that was what was interesting to me. And so he’s showing it to me, I’m looking at it. I’m like, I still don’t grasp it. And he’s like, we can say this on air. He’s like, Do you smoke? So true. So we burned a joint, and I’m looking at this. And instantly I was like, oh my god, I just saw it. I saw the vision. So I came back, I talked to my business partner, we’re gonna check for a million dollars, like a week later. That company, I think it was under 18 months. We sold it to a much larger company. And then we took that company public on the Toronto Stock Exchange. We actually just rang the bell. I missed it. It was last week. Yeah.

Catherine Hover 13:33
For that school stuff with the kids.

Derek DeMeo 13:36
It was like such chaos. But I did get to bring it out to your target. Yeah, you did in New York. Yeah, that was another company we invested in. Yeah, that’s awesome. So kind of back to that story. So you know, we were building everything out. And then the pandemic hits, right. And most would think like, a lot of companies did suffer. And that was very tough.

Catherine Hover 13:54
I know. But like in that moment, and that moment, you’re like, This is awesome. I got it, good timing for you. I gotta in here commerce, like,

Derek DeMeo 14:05
here’s what I’m going to say to that. Own it, own it. I’m gonna own a part of that statement, our company probably five to 7x during COVID Simply because we were set up to sell products online. The one thing that it did for me that was really positive is my mind goes so quick. You know, I stopped watching the news after like a month. I’m like, Alright, this is utter chaos, like no more news in our house. But the one thing that it did for me that I think was almost Godsend was that I truthfully don’t remember COVID I really mean this one. I say this to you because we were so busy. That it was like head down building programs. And we had days where you’re doing $800,000 A day in sales in one day. Yeah, it’s just insanity. And so that I think for me because of how I’m programmed. I’m not going to do well sitting in a room with the news on watching Joe exotic at night. Right, like that’s not going to work out. Well. Yeah, right. Yeah. So that kept me really busy.

Catherine Hover 15:03
Yeah, yeah. I mean, and I think during that time, too, it’s like, you know, you had like opportunity to really spend time with your family. We did. Yeah. I mean, we had young kids, you had just bought the house and in Saratoga, we were in charge

Derek DeMeo 15:17
John Charlton, then. Yeah. Oh, wow. Before we moved, yeah. So it was a weird time. Yeah.

Catherine Hover 15:23
I mean, you have little kids like, I have little kids. So I mean, I think a lot of the things like so at that time, baby during COVID. K, we’re having to be delivered a baby during coma. Oh, my gosh, put them so you did you were you there? Because you remember, like they couldn’t sometimes some people couldn’t be like their husbands couldn’t be in the room with COVID. Yeah, she can

Derek DeMeo 15:43
be in the map be persuasive. There was no world that exists where I’m missing.

Catherine Hover 15:47
Right? Well, listen, if you’re good in sales and business, you’re good, good. I

Derek DeMeo 15:51
had a mask on. I remember having a mask on. And then towards middle of child labor with Rebecca who did great. No one had masks on after that. Come out, you know, and so yeah, wow.

Catherine Hover 16:03
Yeah. So at the time, during COVID, Mark was not working. He had just quit his job in January of 2020. And we were just we had, you know, we were gearing up to launch in Schenectady. And so that was a godsend for us is that like, we I had someone at home. So when COVID was happening, and I don’t I mean, again, I do remember what a scary time it was. But I don’t know, something inside of me was just like, lit up and on fire. Like this is our opportunity to demonstrate how important community is in collaboration and supporting each other. And I don’t know if I was just like pulling from Katrina days of like, how that the entire city of New Orleans came together.

Derek DeMeo 16:44
You were there alone, right?

Catherine Hover 16:45
You I was in we were in college, like an hour and a half away. But yeah, both of our parents lost, you know, they’re not lost their houses. But you know, it’s it’s a, they were in FEMA trailer, we were in FEMA trailers that Christmas. And then my in laws were in a FEMA trailer, still the following Easter, so it was just like a total shake up. And I mean, think about everyone, you know, like, and it’s hard for me to think about it right now. But it’s like, everyone, you know, does not have a home. Like there’s nowhere to go to even get the shelter. You know, it’s like, it was crazy. And in a lot of ways COVID was like that, you know, everyone was impacted at some capacity. But I was so grateful to have Mark was home and actually my in laws were had just moved up here, they gotten an apartment for you know, a year in January. So they were spending time so I was like, I was really capable and able to like, be all in the business. And, you know, we were essential we and I was like where essential where food? You know, I mean, I just did everything I could to just like, rally and yeah, you know, including dancing on on Tik Tok, and you were

Derek DeMeo 17:52
doing all the things. I think it takes that though I think it takes being if you want to build something special, truly special, something that has impact that gets big, right? I think it takes immediate and full focus on whatever that is that you’re trying to accomplish. And so you know, how I have the the VA business model that was, that was really what got me to where I am today, like no bullshit, because when we first started our first company, I was in a jail sized cubicle, right, like eating ramen noodles, building our company. And we were making money at this time, Catherine, but we couldn’t pull it out of the business because we were doing so much volume that we had to keep buying inventory, right. So you can’t really take a dividend until you grow a company. And so what I was finding was I was working 16 hours a day, literally, you can ask Rebecca. And it was not conducive to your mental health, to a marriage to relationships, anything. And so I’m like, There’s got to be an easier way to do this. And you know, this is we’re going back almost seven, eight years right now. Everybody’s talking about, you know, virtual assistants. And so I remember going on trying to figure out how to do this, right, like I would hire somebody from Upwork. And they would just go dark on me after like a month of training, like putting in so many hours to train them. Finally, when I found a good mixture of folks, I learned how to do this through like five failures of VAs like no bullshit, I failed five times. And I knew I had to figure it out. You want to know why I couldn’t afford to hire people at the salaries of what we do. You know, those those hires were 6080 $100,000 a year. Yeah, pending on what the skill set was. So when I grew that I realized I can do this in any business model. And so what I do today is you know, we have 19 Different companies, I build a company. Here’s the goal, I build a company, because I know how to build it to where it can grow. Once I build that company to where it can grow. I immediately divorced myself from that company. I bring in really smart people to run said company, and I leave because I get bored. Yeah, so I like building businesses and then I like just kind of being high level I’m an architect,

Catherine Hover 20:00
but you’re not selling them. Some we do some, you know? Yeah, just depends. We’re

Derek DeMeo 20:05
brand new. We’re entertain selling right now. So you know, I mean, we’re in talks with folks.

Catherine Hover 20:08
Yeah, yeah. So it’s just like you just always, yeah, you know, Elan and Deelen Well, I

Derek DeMeo 20:14
mean, we like to build stuff from scratch and the things that are really special will continue to grow. Sometimes you build a brand that brand might pique

Catherine Hover 20:21
Well, let’s talk about that. Like when do you know when it’s like listen, this is this thing. This is not working small business owners. I find our lot didn’t traditionally mom and pops are tied to the business and if something’s not working, it’s very hard to walk away. Now me people ask me this about like, I had to paint and sip in Latham and we had a five year lease started five years. Chain step. Yeah. No, it’s still going. Yeah, we have the Saratoga one on Henry Street. So so maybe this is advice from for myself like when do you walk away but like in in Latham? It was like the rent was more expanded. The bottom line just wasn’t what it was in Saratoga. So we walked away. And a lot of people are like, how could you you let people go? And I was like, you know, it’s a business. At the end of the day. It is a business, right? I can’t be bending over backwards making a business work that’s not working for me. Right. So great. It’s a fun business, and it’s making an impact and whatnot. But I gotta eat. Yeah, no, I have to stay married is that is the goal as well. Yeah.

Derek DeMeo 21:21
In like, for us, when we look at a brand you’re talking about, like, when do you think to sell it. So any brand that we go to sell is extremely healthy,

Catherine Hover 21:29
or, or, or not just to sell, but just to put a fork in it and be like, we’re done. This is not working like this is that’s never

Derek DeMeo 21:37
happened to us. Truthfully, that’s never happened to us only because we’re very meticulous about products that we sell. So we study the market, we look at the velocity we know before we even start to build products that we can succeed in that category. And so you know, we’ve done everything from like, oh, like our pillow program was a top seller on Amazon, you know, we were kicking the my pillow guy every day with a moustache. So

Catherine Hover 22:02
when you go to Amazon now and you gotta buy a pillow, chances are very high that it’s buying the pillow from, you know,

Derek DeMeo 22:08
not anymore, because we sold it to a company that was not great operators. But they paid a nice premium. They, they raised $3 billion. And their model was to go in and buy folks like myself. So they were buying these companies that were best sellers in every category, and they were paying monster premiums for them. This was when EBIT evaluations were 567 8x on product, which is like unheard of right now. And they had an ops problems. So they thought that they could buy a best seller on Amazon. And they just it would sit and just keep going doesn’t work like that. Because there’s 25, Derek’s coming after that top spot. So if you’re not good at ops, you’re not going to hold there. So I think that program kind of fizzled out. They had bought a couple pillows.

Catherine Hover 22:55
Do you have any? Like you probably know that you could get back into that business and scale it right. But do you have any desire you like Been there done that? We’re on to other things now?

Derek DeMeo 23:05
Yeah, we’re looking we are doing all the programs that we’re doing now. Our Subscribe and Save program. So example. You know, if you took beauty, concealer, eyeliner, you know nail polish. This is an item and in a category where folks, once they find a product they like they don’t even think about it. They click Subscribe and Save. They throttle when they’re receiving their products. So they might get it every 30 days every 60 days. You know, Amazon gives you that offer. We do that on Shopify as well. So you’re amassing a book of business. Here’s why that’s important. Right? Like, you have palate. So you have a multitude of members, those members, correct me if I’m wrong, they pay a monthly fee. Is that correct? Right. Yeah, MRR and AR that you can base valuations off of so how I look at this model is if I am mass 100,000, Subscribe and Save users, depending on like what your line is, and kind of what your profit margins are that that conceivably could be a 500 to $800 million valuation, depending on how you’re positioning that company. If you have technology, which we just brought on a fantastic AI developer. Oh my god, this guy’s incredible. I mean, we’re building things. It’s frightening what we’re building right now. But so that’s how I view the market now. Whereas if you’re just selling pillows, how often do you buy a pillow, right? Or an air mattress or a digital weight scale? These are commoditized you buy them once? Maybe a couple years later, you get another one? You can’t really put a sound EBIT evaluation on that. Let’s say you have a brand that makes $6 million a year that’s great. Don’t get me wrong. That’s your net profit on that. That brand theoretically, if there’s no Subscribe and Save, maybe you get a 4x Multiple on it, maybe

Catherine Hover 24:46
I mean, you can kind of see the evolution of your expertise or your entrepreneur journey is you’re getting more like you know, that list and like oh yeah, subscriptions Oh, recurring revenue. There we go. Like when you In the pillow business, it just wasn’t as lucrative. If it will, it was very lucrative, but it was, you know what I’m saying. So it gets all comparative, it was a relative. But I

Derek DeMeo 25:07
think when you’re looking to position kind of like what we were just talking about when you want to build something special and big and unique, I think you need to look at where is this in five years are we simply a company that just sells this particular product, and our customer might buy it maybe once every four years, for example, where if you’re building beauty brands, or any brand that’s got Subscribe and Save. I think that the delta of that, if you’re looking from a valuation standpoint, it’s it’s apples and oranges. You know, I mean, if you have technology that folks have not seen, that’s what we’re building right now, around the E commerce space. We’re building technology, basically, where you could drop products in a black box, and it will scan everything out, it will do everything, every component that you can think of creating the listing, creating the copy, creating the imagery, creating the brand story, creating the brand itself, anything that you want to talk about in that respect. That’s kind of how we view this market moving forward.

Catherine Hover 26:04
Wow. Yeah. And then that’s listed in all the not just Amazon, anywhere

Derek DeMeo 26:08
you want to be, I think today, I learned this from a very successful guy. It’s not really omni channel anymore. It’s every channel. To build a real brand, you have to be every everywhere you have to be what’s called unavoidable. Like if I go so I really if I go search for a product online, and I use whatever keyword it is, if I sell in that category, and you don’t see me two to three times in your search, I’m doing something wrong. That’s the standard that we hold it to right now. So unavoidable is what wins right now. quality content, killer video, UGC, like we were talking about there, user generated content, user generated content converts extremely well. And it was the example I gave you, I walk in. I got the phone flip this way. Hey, Catherine’s podcast? Both? Yeah. Because it’s real, it’s authentic. People look at that. And they’re not scrolling away from that, because it’s not a sponsored ad. You don’t get that vibe from it. There

Catherine Hover 27:02
always be more consumers than there are creators, right? So which one are you right? I consider myself a creator. But like, so when I’m when I’m on Instagram, and I’m just like, I, I do scroll past the the user generated stuff, because it’s like, I know what I’m, I know that they’re, they are selling me something, you know. So it’s just like, Yeah, and what’s your purpose? I, I’d love to see what people are doing. But it’s also like, it’s just gonna keep on evolving, right? And unfortunately, the consumers are not evolving as fast. I feel like something like, you know, what, for example, like, my mom doesn’t, she doesn’t know when she’s, you know, watching something. And then it’s just like, oh, and then um, then I’m seeing all of all of these ads, you know, and it’s like, right, because you were your phone’s listening to you. And you’re clicking on things and you’re watching things like it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s consuming you right age demographic, though, too. Right. But I mean, well, okay, so are you do your kids have social media and tablets and all this stuff? Ruby, my five year old is like, dying for a watch. Like, they have tablets, but they don’t have social media. They don’t have social media, but even like, I don’t know, their brains, or I can just see that there.

Derek DeMeo 28:14
I think like the tablet time, and the screen time for children, I think is probably one of the worst things that you could have for them and listen, like we’re guilty of it. But me and Becca limited. So, you know, in the summer, we were letting the boys have anywhere from like a half hour to an hour a day. Now that it’s school time, and we prep them for this like we wanted to make sure we got stuck. Yeah, you don’t like lose. They have no tablet during the week. They watch a 20 minute show at night. That’s their bedtime show. That’s all the screen time they’re getting right now. That’s all they need. Yeah, yeah, but I’ve Ava Ava is 12 now, she’s in eighth grade. Oh my God, I feel so old when I say that. She’s 12. She’s 12. She’s an eighth grade. And she’s not a teenager yet, though. Hold on to those years, but all of her friends have tick tock. And when she was you know, saying that kind of tick tock. I said when you’re 13 Because that’s what the TOS says. So I kind of like pull that card like Oh, yes. 13 Yeah, so yeah. But Wes, our six year old came home yesterday and he goes dad, I think I need tick tock and I go well, how do you know tick tock is What are you talking about? And there was another six year old girl in his class, who said that she has tick tock so I can only assume that that six year old somehow can get into the one of the parents tablets or phones. And it’s like consuming Tik Tok content, which is frightening, obvious. Yeah. And so I explained to him that there’s no world that exists where you can tick tock, buddy. Yeah, yeah. Or

Catherine Hover 29:39
the other thing that I think I’ve heard lately is like the Snapchat, which makes me so nervous. I can’t see you can’t see what she’s seeing. Yeah, yeah. I

Derek DeMeo 29:50
mean, here’s the reality right or what she’s sending. Agreed, but here’s the reality. If you I think are too harsh with it. What happens Right. Like I feel like kids kind of revolt a little bit right when they become of age. So

Catherine Hover 30:05
it’s why I didn’t have a drinking problem in college, because I’ve been thinking since I was 13. And so just the culture. So what

Derek DeMeo 30:13
I’ve done with Ava over the course of like the last three years, this might sound crazy to viewers, but it works. I have taught her what social media is designed to do. So what I mean by that is found the perfect way to do this. So we would scroll tic tock or IG together, right. And what it would do purposely is I would quickly I would click on a beauty ad, and then I would leave that period, and then I would scroll. And now IG is conditioned to know that I want to see something like that. But what I was showing her wasn’t about the ads, I was showing her what the ad is designed to do and make you feel, right, we all know this, like ads are designed to play on an emotion. And oftentimes in beauty, that’s not a great emotion. Because a lot of times in beauty, what a lot of brands do, is they don’t they show really unfavorable before and they’re trying to make someone feel a certain type of way. And so I wanted her to understand that I wanted her to know, okay, I see what they’re doing. It’s just like how you said, when you’re scrolling, you don’t stop it? Because you know what that is? Right? Yeah, I feel like if I can arm her with that information, she doesn’t need to feel bad about herself if she sees things or is being targeted. And I think that that’s kind of the danger of social media. Social media is a dangerous place. If you don’t truly know what it is. Yeah, you have to know what it is. You have to know what it’s doing. Right.

Catherine Hover 31:35
Right. Yeah. So I saw you just went on a run with with Ava she was the first like was a 5k or something. Awesome. She

Derek DeMeo 31:44
did great. Yeah, great. Yeah.

Catherine Hover 31:45
So I remember when I saw I didn’t run in high school or anything. I didn’t do anything active that party in high school and college No, no, I do would have been trouble. I like to have a lot of I even even to the point when I open paint and sip like prior to opening paint sip and I was like trying to figure out what I wanted to do with myself. Like I can remember talking to a mom about this. And she’s like, Katie, what do you want to do? Like what do you like? What do you think you’re good? At? Yeah, I’m Katie back home. Yeah. Yeah, sure. Sure. That’s next level. Well, when when Katie Willis shows up, then you know you’re in trouble like Katie Willis was I was Katie. Was that on Friday? Yeah, well, I just growing up, I was you know, Katy Willis as my middle name. And that’s my maiden name. And I was just wild. I like to party. And but when I moved to Saratoga, and I opened paint and sip, there was like this one time I went to speak to somebody about something and, and maybe there’s just like, my personal like, blood that I have with me, but I just, I look young. And then my name is Katie. I’m like, I gotta I gotta go by Katherine and like, more professional and, you know, take myself more seriously, and then people will take myself more seriously. So there has been an evolution of my my,

Derek DeMeo 32:56
like an actor. What actors do? It’s like your actor name. Oh, yeah. You are Katie, for the majority of your life. Now. You’re Catherine. Yeah. Was that hard to transition to? Well, I’m interviewing you. Yeah.

Catherine Hover 33:06
Well, it was it was when I was changing when I was getting married. So I would just like when I changed my last name, I just went back to my real name shift, full name Catherine hoever. Sounds I just think I do think sounds more professional and mature then Katie Willis. And if you knew me as Katie Willis, you would frickin agree. You wouldn’t be like, Yeah, okay. She was not gonna amount to anything. But like, I did, really, I remember telling my mom and this conversation, like, I just like to show people good time. She’s like, well, there’s a way to monetize that, you know, so think about what that would look like. And I’m like, Well, I think I should own a bar. I think that I should start a bar, you know, no, no, that’s not what we’re going for. That’s

Derek DeMeo 33:47
like what we talked about earlier, kind of channeling that energy into something productive. You know, like, I partied a lot when I was younger. And then one day, I realized, if I continue to party like this, there’s no world that exists where I reached the goals that I want, I just intuitively knew it. You know, I intuitively knew it. And so I knew I had to kind of filter that energy into something different, something creative, right? Like, I believe me, and you are but we’re both creatives write, I am a creative at the end of the day, because my job in my company is to build the concepts of the brand. Like I really am fascinated with human psychology, like how to create something that gets your interests that I might be able to either help you with and or sell you a service that helps you product stuff like that. Yeah, I think he’s transitioning that mindset into Yeah,

Catherine Hover 34:36
how’s it well, I also think you gotta be ready for it. Right? Like there wasn’t I mean, if if the if the conversation with my mom about starting a paint and sip happened when I was 23, I would be like, I am no, like, I was just like such a heart. And just like such a pain, and you know, it was like, I opened it when I was 25. I was like, ready I was ready to like prove to myself that I could actually get my shit together and do something.

Derek DeMeo 35:04
And I was not ready at 25 I did not have my shit together at 20 Do you?

Catherine Hover 35:08
Do you have this sense of like, it’s because there’s another thing that I am becoming more aware of is just like this sense of urgency like, I got to do this. Now I got to do it right now I got to do it as quickly as possible, put it into the world. And then and then on to the next thing. It’s like this, this sense of just like we don’t tomorrow’s not promised, right?

Derek DeMeo 35:27
We how young you feel invincible. Right? You know that feeling when you’re young? I did. I felt invincible when I was younger. What I mean by that is just, you don’t like death was never a thought process around that. And now that I’m 41 I have limited time. That’s how I view this right? I’ve limited time here. What do I want to accomplish in that limited time. And the way that I party didn’t have an area in that limited time anymore. And so now it’s more. I want to build cool businesses, I want to invest in cool companies, I want time with my children, I want to travel more. And then working towards those goals, setting those goals and then working towards them. A lot of people like me, and you could spit ball all these goals we have. But if we take no action to work towards them, none of it. You know this? None of it comes to fruition.

Catherine Hover 36:12
Yeah, yeah. So and so how do you hold yourself accountable? You because You do you work out you eat? Right? You’re most

Derek DeMeo 36:19
of the time? How do I hold myself accountable. So I write everything down, that I want to do, like whether it’s a goal or an area of my life that I want to change. And I think that the power and as you have to tell somebody, if you don’t tell anybody, there is no accountability. So if I said to you, for example, this is a business that I’m starting. And by this date, this is my goal. And I want to have this many end users, let’s revisit together in three months, and three months goes by, and you’re willing to hold me accountable. And we sit down. And I’m like, I secured the domain. And you’re like, that’s it? Well, I got the domain, but I got busy, like, so I’m going to give you a lot of excuses of why I didn’t get to where I was. Yeah, I think it’s important because if I respect you, right, the person that I’m telling this to, I want to do this for a number of reasons. But I also I don’t want to be viewed in a certain way. But I want to actually accomplish my goal. So I think that there’s accountability when you tell folks, yeah,

Catherine Hover 37:19
yeah, a lot of people you have those people in your life that are

Derek DeMeo 37:23
great people in my life. Yeah, like great mentors in my life. My business partners, my mentor, he’s the best mentor ever had. I’m one of my best friends.

Catherine Hover 37:30
Yeah. And he’ll call you out on your bullshit. So he’s not like bone smoke up your he,

Derek DeMeo 37:35
I wouldn’t say more of a call out I would say I learned I learned from him just by simply watching him. But he’s helped me in so many areas of my life, personal professional, anything I can think of, you know, he’s just a very, he’s a good egg.

Catherine Hover 37:49
That’s awesome. So yeah, it’s all about the people you’re surrounding yourself with and

Derek DeMeo 37:52
saying things like the top, the five people you hang out with the most. You know, there’s, I think that it’s the five or six people in your group, you’re generally a reflection of that

Catherine Hover 38:03
you’re the average, you’re the average. And sometimes you bring it down the average. Alright guys, I’m so excited to tell you about a groundbreaking solution for entrepreneurs and professionals which we use a palette called Paro. It’s this amazing virtual assistant relief service. poro isn’t just another VA like you’ve probably been served on social media. It’s a game changer a revolution in the world of virtual assistants. Their platform has redefined the way we work and get things done and who doesn’t need some help to gain some time back in their life. Picture a world where you can focus on what your best use of time is in your business or personal life without the overwhelm of tasks piling up. That is exactly what pero is all about. Whether you need administrative support, data entry research or any other tasks you find yourself doing over and over and over again. Paro offers a team of skilled virtual assistants who are top notch and incredibly efficient. They’ve got you covered what sets Paro apart is their commitment to your success. They’re your partner in achieving your goals, they take the time to understand your needs and tailor their assistance to help you thrive. We literally could not do palette without them. So if you’re looking to supercharge your productivity and reclaim your time, Paro is the solution for you. They’re not just a virtual assistant service, they are your partner in your journey to success. So what’s one tip that you would tell your younger self? Yeah, that’s

Derek DeMeo 39:37
one tip I would tell my younger self. And this is this encompasses everything. So it’s not just business. Fear is not real. Fear is not real. Meaning we give fear too much emphasis. If you looked at your fears over the course of time, I would say 99.9% of them never actually happen. They’re in your head. They live in your head. And I think that fear is one of the main things why People never go do what they want to do in life. Yeah, fear is not real. That’s the one

Catherine Hover 40:04
so so I am like a big person on like the fear of regret like that’s a real thing for me and that is such a driver like I just I do not want to be on my deathbed thinking I didn’t do XYZ ever

Derek DeMeo 40:16
one after that one thing and then you regret Yeah, and then you just feel like shit. No, yeah to like Shia and you’re dying and you’re dying and you feel like shit.

Catherine Hover 40:24
Well, listen, this is like this is a guy had this like, sort of like thought this about a month ago I had this whole horrible health scare was in the hospital and like, the, the aftermath of that was like, I was like, I felt pretty proud of like what I’ve done up into this point, and not like I’m like ready to call it quits. But I was

Derek DeMeo 40:43
just like, cool, though. You were there? Yeah, like I like I accomplished multiple

Catherine Hover 40:47
people told me like, they don’t understand how that didn’t die because people die of this thing. And I lost a lot of blood. And I was just like, so it was like a cluster in my head. And thank God, I have people around me that are like my friend that’s like, psychiatrist. I’m like, I called him up. And I’m like, is this I don’t know what’s going on. But I am not well, you know, and he’s like, Listen, you almost died. And that’s like, this is gonna happen. But the ultimate determination that I made was just like, what else do I have to do? If you feel so accomplished? And you feel like okay, I’ve been I’ve done all the things and I’m my kids are happy and surrounded by awesome people who will love them is like, what else do I have to do? Sort of like thought also? So it’s been it’s been a shake up, but like, definitely the fear of regret has gotten me there. So awesome. Well, thanks for being here. Yeah, we haven’t come back anytime. Thank you for listening to this podcast. And if you want to connect with me slide into my DMs on Instagram. My handle is Katherine hoever.

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