He also happens to have more "keys" than DJ Khaled himself. These "keys" were earned from many failed start-up attempts in his personal journey to the top, almost leading Kim to a close call at homelessness with no money to his name.
But he didn't quit. Instead he kept going, re-strategizing his approach until he found his niche - helping others like himself, pursue their dreams.
By using his life's story, Leonard Kim had the power to inspire/empower others to continue their journeys in business. This starting his own personal brand, which created his "ticket" to the top. Being featured in magazines such as Fortune, Forbes, Entrepreneur , GQetc; Kim bases his success off the rise of prevailing start ups he's influenced with his wisdom.
Clark: Share your top "keys" for the hungry 'entrepreneur'.
Leonard: If you really look at things, being an entrepreneur is tough. Harder than it could ever be now than ever before. If you look at the past, the statistics proved that 95% of businesses failed within the first five years. This is when people poured thousands of dollars to start their companies, such as Laundromats, store fronts etc; But if you really look at this scenario, maybe about the 5% who did make it past the first five years, 3 of them were struggling just to pay rent and stay alive, 1 was doing a little bit better than the others, and the other 1 was doing exceptional. So when you look at these numbers, it really helps an entrepreneur see just how hard it is to take that entrepreneurial journey. And honestly, only one guy is making it big out of the 100 people who try.
The internet; I guess you can say has made things a lot easier, because it makes the barrier for entry that much smaller.
If you don't mind me asking, how much did hypefresh. put into its start up in the media business?
Clark: Around $40-45K, i'd say. My entire savings account.
Leonard: Wow, that's a lot of money. However, in the past - all $45K could buy was laundromat. Whereas now, you've created a digital empire, alongside a newfound publishing deal all on $45 K. If you tried doing that in past, that would be impossible to do on that budget. Especially with the costs of printing, shipping, advertising - all on that budget.
Clark: Wow, so my 'barrier of entry' was easier because of technology - in comparison to past publication businesses who didn't have the same advantage. I never looked at it from that angle.
Leonard: Oh yeah. But from the other end of the spectrum, I started my company on just a few grand (laughs) When you put that in comparison, there are so many people who can wing it nowadays. Maybe borrow equipment, put up some capitol, and have a better chance of making more of their businesses on less risk. Ultimately helping normal people achieve success easier.
But it's kind of bad because entrepreneurship right now is starting to become a fad. So people get involved who aren't "in it to win it." and see everyone else doing it, hop on board because they feel like it's the "right" thing to do. Especially when their not cut out for entrepreneurship. When the barrier of entry is that much lower, they quit the game after 3, 6, 9 or 12 months and say to themselves "F-This" to what they really want to do and end up back at the typical 9-5 job.
"Present Failure rates in comparison to the past are higher than they've ever been because entrepreneurship today is being treated like a 'fad'." - Leonard Kim
You're gonna have to sacrifice! Relationships, family, finances... If your gonna have the best possible odds to succeed as an entrepreneur, a person will have to get out into the world and build their personal brands first.
Clark: You mentioned a great key point touching on the trending "fad" of entrepreneurship. Do you believe that because of this craze, that it's harder for the "in-it-to-win-it" start ups seeking discovery?
Leonard: I don't think so at all. What state do you live in Clark?
Clark: I live in Pennsylvania.
Leonard: Okay. So I live in L.A. You would think that all the big players reside here. There not all here, but society makes it seem like they are. (Laughs)
Leonard: I've gone to a few investor start up events here in LA. Though i'm not an investor, I just go to see whats happening from an investors perspective. And here's the funny thing, I've experienced the hustle firsthand. They'll be like: "Hey im Mike, what do you do?" And i'll kindly reply "Oh, hey - i'm Leonard. I just happen to be here." And then they'll pitch me for like 20 mins on their business. I'm thinking to myself like "oh man, I gotta get myself out of this conversation." Not to be rude or anything, but it's overwhelming.
When you have so many people out there like that, it makes the world realize how the 'not true' entrepreneur is so easily distinguished from the 'actual' entrepreneur.
"People get into entrepreneurialism for the wrong reasons which leads to failure." - Leonard Kim
It's like swimming in a pond of like... 100 fish. Lets say 99 of them are Goldfish trying to trap you in a corner all doing the same thing. But the last fish is a Shark, not trapping you in a corner (like the Goldfish) and is making deals happen. The shark isn't at the start up convention (like the Goldfish, again), it's out there in the deep getting all the deals done.
So from an investor standpoint, they can distinguish a true entrepreneur a lot easier in comparison to the "small fish" or the "Wan-treprenur (wanna be entrepreneur)" because of the various characteristics that person carries. The fake entrepreneur are talking about their goals and dreams, and they're stuck in the dream phase and nothing ever happens.
Clark: Now with that being said, what are some mistakes you could advise the "serious entrepreneur" to avoid through your own personal experiences?
Here's his three major keys - Identify a problem, have a solution and know your target market. Pay close attention to the audio clip below.
Part two of this interview will be debuting on RESPECT - August 25th 2016 at 3:00 PM EST / 12:00 PM PST. Be sure to be on the lookout to hear and read Leonard Kim's closing tips on building your personal brand.