Networking, Entrepreneurship, Baby Bathwater | An Interview with Hollis Carter
In this episode of the Calvin Correli Audio Experience, Calvin talks with Hollis Carter about his entrepreneur mastermind group Baby Bathwater, the power of networking, and navigating the business challenges brought by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Hollis Carter is a serial entrepreneur and avid skier. He started his entrepreneurial journey in the early 2000s, founding multiple companies, including a SAAS company he built into a 7-figure virtual business in less than a year. In 2013, he became a founding investor in Utah’s Powder Mountain Ski Resort, where he now develops real estate and hosts events.
His experiences (and observations) led him to co-founding the Baby Bathwater Institute, a unique membership-based community comprised of some of the world’s leading minds and entrepreneurs, with a focus on cultivating natural, mutually beneficial relationships.
Calvin Correli (00:06):
Hey everybody, Calvin Correli, here with Hollis Carter. Hollis is a co-founder, I guess, of Baby Bathwater. Correct?
Hollis Carter (00:28):
Calvin Correli (00:29):
Good. Baby Bathwater is this entrepreneurial community that I just joined formally. I've been begging Hollis to let me in, basically, since January, since I was at your guys' event in Cabo, Mexico. And then pandemic hit, and you guys are in the events business and so, obviously, that got shut down just a smidgen. Just a little bit.
Hollis Carter (00:57):
Yeah. Just a little bit.
Calvin Correli (00:57):
And so, we're here ... You guys are onto something really, really unique with what you're doing with Baby Bathwater, so that's why I wanted to dive in a little bit deeper, get to know you a little bit better, and share you and your journey with my audience.
Hollis Carter (01:11):
Calvin Correli (01:12):
So, hey Hollis.
Hollis Carter (01:13):
Awesome, well thanks for having me. Yeah, it's been a hell of a few years and a few months, it feels like, over the last little bit.
Calvin Correli (01:25):
I know, right? Yeah. When this stuff came down, I did not see it lasting this long, right? Yeah, the shutdown travel-
Hollis Carter (01:36):
[crosstalk 00:01:36] doesn't last too much longer, yeah.
Calvin Correli (01:39):
Right, yeah. In March, they shut down travel from Europe, I have two kids over in Denmark. They were going to be here in April, that didn't happen. But I was like "Well July, summer holiday, obviously, they're going to be here." That didn't happen, right? Now we're like ... I know you guys had an event planned in October, right, that you moved to next year?
Hollis Carter (01:56):
Yeah, I mean our first one was actually in Italy in June. That was the first one we had to postpone. Which was interesting-
Calvin Correli (02:04):
Sign me up for that, by the way, next year. I know there's a waitlist [crosstalk 00:02:07]
Hollis Carter (02:07):
Yeah, we're going to move that one, I'll throw you on that waiting list when Nauncy's got a hot ticket. But what's funny is, we were kind of early on before people in the States were really believing that this whole thing was real. because our first even that was coming up after the Cabo one that you attended in January, was in Italy, where the whole thing kind of started, and then shut down and started happening. So we were dealing with that, and I'm like "Oh, we'll still be able to our next one, that was a few months later in Utah, and this one in ..." we thought we were postponing one, and before we knew it, it was one, then it was two, then it was three. And I felt like I spent two weeks sitting with our business partner, just around a table with our ops manager, and just being like "Okay, how do we handle this? What do we do?" We want to be showing that we're betting on the long-term, and not a lot of short-sightedness sort of happening with event companies like ...
Hollis Carter (03:03):
I remember sitting at the Boulderado restaurant here, at the bar with like five people who were laid over here, before they were going to Expo West. And they all had booths, they were members of Baby Bathwater. It was night before, half of them were already there, setting up their booths and all this, and they're going to need to know the whole thing was canceled. And we were in Austin when South By Southwest was going on, and then it got canceled very last minute. So we're feeling the pinch now, from how we handled it. But I know it'll be good in the long run, but what we basically decided to do, was postpone our Italy event, our Utah event, and our New Orleans event, because then we could put it in late 2021, when hopefully that's enough time for the world to work itself out.
Hollis Carter (03:49):
But the way our membership works, which is why I was a little slow to get back to you on some of this, was handling everybody who ... Event is included in their membership. So some people got really lucky, they came to the Cabo one, used their free ticket, and our policy that we did, is we actually just told everyone, there's no renewing billing, where if you had paid full for a membership for that year, or this year. So we ... Essentially this month, would be billing about $2.5 million membership that we're not doing, which sucks for the pocketbook for sure, but I actually have more confidence in the business moving forward, because the buy-in from the group, how we handled it ... Because a lot of these people are parts of many other groups that were pretty bullish with their refund policies, and how they handled it when ... COVID wasn't any single individuals fault, and they seemed to pass the blame down. And another highlight that came for us-
Calvin Correli (04:52):
And also, if you could survive at that, right, you can survive a lot of things.
Hollis Carter (04:56):
Yeah, totally. I mean, that was the ... We have a full time team, and office and deposits. And that was the other crazy pinch since the entrepreneurial to this, is in the insurance polices for all these events, there is a clear thing, obviously the insurance companies are smart, that these types of diseases do not qualify-
Calvin Correli (05:14):
Force majeure kind of thing.
Hollis Carter (05:15):
And they don't qualify for force majeure or anything.
Calvin Correli (05:17):
It's insane, right.
Hollis Carter (05:20):
We could have had enough funds to weather through, just with getting those deposits backs, so about a million dollars in deposits out as well. Luckily, our vendors, we had really good relationships with all of them, and realized we could all screw each other here a little bit, if we played the letter of all of our contracts. But instead, we said "Hey, give us another day, and we'll let you keep the full deposits, but we're not changing anything, and you're not saying that we canceled, and we're not saying you canceled." Because no one really was protected when we got down to it, so that was a months worth of going back and forth and figuring out how do we handle that. So money on the-
Calvin Correli (06:02):
Do you enjoy that kind of stuff?
Hollis Carter (06:06):
Yes and no. I actually really enjoy strategizing, especially like ... so me and my partner just being like hey, what's the worst case scenario, what's the best case scenario, doing all that. I can tell you, I did have one night of drinking and going a little crazy, when my top blew off with my partner. I'm like ... because this year, this is our seventh year in business, it was going to be the first year that all of our systems are in place, the team was humming. We had just paid ourselves a [crosstalk 00:06:34] salary, it never really was like ... there's more of making relationships than making a bunch of money. And it had finally kind of worked, and we were going to get bonuses this year, our significant others were pumped. And so-
Calvin Correli (06:46):
What was the sort of ... what did you have to face in your sub, what was your inner growth from this? What was your inner transformation?
Hollis Carter (06:53):
Yeah, I mean, going into that scenario room, sitting there and beating it up was, here's the way I think most people are going to handle it. And it's the way that your gut goes when something bad's happening, which is like protect all your cash, and resources, and kind of shut down. Where I actually got really excited, like hair standing up on the back of the neck, but I was sort of like "Okay, let's go the other way. Let's say we're in this for the long haul together, and we'll be the first ones to take a hit before you." It felt better, I think, emotionally and morally and all that, now, over having me to start a whole other business to fix the hole in the bucket. That part's super annoying for my time. Because I love all my little side hobbies of wellness and adventure activities, which are taking a hit as I grow a few other things. But you know, it was a crazy battle, and I was happy that me and my partner lived in the same town, and we could meet in person and do it. It gave me a lot of-
Calvin Correli (07:53):
You met in person? Oh my god.
Hollis Carter (07:55):
We actually kept our office open, [crosstalk 00:07:57] it was like ... we were doing ... We ordered cake at the office, and ordering food, do a little thing.
Calvin Correli (08:05):
I'm actually ... I'm doing some Mastermind dinners here, at my house, in person. And there are people who are like sure, fine. Like they've seen the data, they don't care. And then there are people that are like "No! Calvin!" [crosstalk 00:08:18]
Hollis Carter (08:17):
Yeah, yeah. We just actually hosted our first thing during the pandemic. It was a 30 person event at my house. And we followed the CDC guidelines the best we could, and did the whole thing to protect ourselves. And we didn't end up in a bad part of press, or something. We had wristbands, so that people didn't have to talk about it. So do our red wristband, it meant that you want full distance. They had their own bathroom set up. We had a yellow wristband, which is like "I'll give you an elbow bump." And then green was "I don't care about this thing."
Calvin Correli (08:50):
Nice. That's cool, I like that. What was the distribution?
Hollis Carter (08:57):
It was like 90% green.
Calvin Correli (08:58):
Oh yeah? Well.
Hollis Carter (09:00):
You have that entrepreneur risk-taking crowd. I think it lends itself there. We only had one red actually, it was more that they had a family member who they were more worried about in that situation.
Calvin Correli (09:11):
Got it. Poor red person, stuck in the backyard all alone.
Hollis Carter (09:16):
Yeah, but it was actually, the bands know how to talk about it, and feel like socially weird, they could just like ... no one even discussed it much, they just kind of give a glance at your wrist, and see how close they could get to you.
Calvin Correli (09:29):
I've heard a lot of people compliment you guys on how well you handled it. Like what you were talking about, just okay, so yeah we're just going to extend everybody, basically, through next year, right? And then ...
Hollis Carter (09:41):
Yeah so ... I think the indecision is me and Micheal, and our team, we love running this business, and the fact that it started to work profitably this year, or it was going to, was the most exciting thing ever. Because my background, and my partner's background, was very much in digital marketing. He has supplement business, I have info courses, we have publishing business, all those things. And I was going to tons of conferences, because I hated learning from books and courses, even though I sold books and courses. I'm a dyslexic, terrible student, but when I wanted to engage in business and do stuff, I went and hung out in the lobby at these places, and talked to people there. And that was my favorite part about being an entrepreneur, is meeting other entrepreneurs and talking to them.
Hollis Carter (10:29):
And so, to be able to do it ... if time is anything, so every other business I ever did, three years was about my maximum amount of time. I'm like a fire starter, I hate keeping the fire. But this one, I want to do it for 50 years. We've been having people who are like "I'd love take that over one day when you get older." Kind of thing, because they didn't-
Calvin Correli (10:49):
I love how that, when you find that thing that you're like "Hey, I just want to keep doing this." And it's a thing you do, it's the people that you're doing it with, right? There's always something new, there's opportunity to grow within that. That's so amazing, and it sounds like it's kind of ... it was something that just kind of sort of you fell into, right? From going the conferences and-
Hollis Carter (11:10):
Yeah, this was not something we wrote a detailed business plan on. Call it the revisionist vision. We just change ... We look at it every year, at what's next. Our origin story, I guess, is like me and Micheal both sold our businesses, moved to the same town, and said "What do you want to do next? We should work together." Because we basically just went to conferences together with separate businesses for a decade. We liked the same people, we didn't like the same people-
Calvin Correli (11:35):
What was your favorite conference?
Hollis Carter (11:39):
A good question. I mean, I kind of ... I almost love the really bad ones the best, because I always end up meeting the best people, because we didn't go to the conference. Like of my best things was going to this one conference is Vancouver that had marketed itself really well, back in the ... like 2007 or something. And people were just getting good at webinars, I had a course on webinars, a software product with it. And I was like "Oh, I'm going to clean house at this thing." And I went, and it was just a crazy, theatrical pitch-fest, where everyone who bought the ticket was part of their big shell game, and ambigitive [inaudible 00:12:17] something, and I kind of got a group of like 50 people, and we did a tour of Vancouver for three days, and talked business and life, went and ate amazing food.
Calvin Correli (12:27):
It's funny how, to bring people ... because there's that friction, there's something ... there has to be some sort of friction, right, that can spark these connections that you can talk about. I love what you said there. I think my favorite, there was one in Austria, in Vienna, Austria years ago, called Schnitzel-Conf. It was a one day conference. It's a lady named Amy Hoy, she's American. She got into information marketing and online courses, that kind of stuff, early on as well. And she did this one day conference, her boyfriend it Thomas. Like early web pioneer people. And they had Tobias Lütke from Shopify, he was one of the speakers. The guy, obviously, they went into IPO, and before they blew up. Gary Vaynerchuk saw the site and like it, and tweeted it out. It had a lot of buzz, it was like way early. I'm going to say like 2004, or something like that. [crosstalk 00:13:32]
Hollis Carter (13:32):
[crosstalk 00:13:32] like a underground. But that was where I met a lot of-
Calvin Correli (13:35):
Underground, like Yanik Silver's thing?
Hollis Carter (13:37):
Yeah, yeah, so I spoke with him a few times, and attended the-
Calvin Correli (13:40):
I was at that in DC, in ... what year has that been? I think it's like 2009. [crosstalk 00:13:45]
Hollis Carter (13:45):
I think 2009 was when I won the drinking contest. Going with people in the hospital, it was the last year they did it. But I had been well trained. And I was fresh out of college, and was like, thought I was[crosstalk 00:14:03] you know.
Calvin Correli (14:03):
Hollis Carter (14:05):
But he used to do a charity drinking contest in the last night, where people would sponsor each person, seeing how far they'd go, and they'd donate money to leukemia research. But that thing-
Calvin Correli (14:16):
Oh my god, that sounds like a terrible idea.
Hollis Carter (14:18):
It was. But [crosstalk 00:14:19]
Calvin Correli (14:19):
My brother was a ski bum and he told me these guys that were-
Calvin Correli (14:23):
Oh yeah. My brother was a ski bum in France for a season. And they had drinking contests as well, and one guy won, and then passed out, like literally died from ...
Hollis Carter (14:35):
Yeah, it made me feel like a super hero, because I was up ... like, continued to go out after it, and a couple people ended up going to the hospital and stuff, but you know. That was kind of my funny thing, is I was in college, and I was a raft guide, and did all these things. I didn't think I'd become an actual ... I almost had a friction against business people. I was always entrepreneurial, because I sucked at school, and I was bad at authority, and things like that. But I got injured, and got into the internet marketing things. I had a ... what was it, a nine week period where I couldn't walk, because I had a broken foot, and so did my best friend. From two completely two different things, within two days of each other. It was an odd coincidence. But we were googling how to make money on the internet, and ...
Calvin Correli (15:25):
Just because you have to make money somehow, or ...
Hollis Carter (15:28):
Yeah, we were just laid up, and both of our jobs involved physicality and stuff. And before we were both out of our casts, we had a pretty decent online business running, because we met this guy from a Craigslist ad, who had bought every make money online course known to man with his compensation from leaving the military. And we were driving two hours a day down to this double-wide trailer office in south Georgia. And he was like "Here's all the courses I got sold in the back of a room, let's just start implementing them."
Hollis Carter (16:01):
And before we knew it ... Like, my entry was managing a lot of E-mail lists of all the guru people who, people read their books and their courses. So my entrance into it was much more like "Oh, these guys, they're just figuring it too." They don't know anything more than just selling their old information, and things like that.
Calvin Correli (16:18):
That's been one of my main lessons, is being someone who grew up in Denmark, and then looked to ... Like America's been so dominating when it comes to culture in my entire life, right? And then you move over here, and you realize all these people are just regular dudes. I remember one of my friends ... I mean, obviously Breaking Bad and Bryan Cranston is not something I grew up with, but still ... He's like my uncle. He's not literally an uncle, but he's a friend of the family, and they go to ball games. All these people are just people, right? They're just regular people.
Hollis Carter (16:54):
Yeah, that's the weird part of my life. Lots of "famous" people or athletes and stuff, I have in my life. And I think it's because I don't watch culture, or TV. I don't watch any sports, or do any of these things. So I mean they are just regular people to me, I got involved in some of these more status-y networking things at one point, and people are all the time like "Do you know who you were just sitting with for the last hour?" And I'm like "A cool guy, Germain or whatever?" And they'd be like "That's this rapper." Or whatever. It's always been something where ... I think both my parents were psychologists, so I can just sit and talk, I'm truly actually interested in a lot of folks, where someone who might have a brand online, or be famous, they're used to being treated as weird people. [inaudible 00:17:46]
Calvin Correli (17:45):
Right right, it's not pleasant to be on the receiving end of that, right? Like you can't relate to someone who's [crosstalk 00:17:51] pedestal.
Hollis Carter (17:52):
Totally, no. That's actually a rule we had to develop Baby Bathwater. We've been good at having less people who are faces, because I realized there's a lot of events that are better for people who are only focused on being authors, and being a face. So we used to have a mix, in that when we were first starting, and weren't curating quite as well, people would be grabbing selfies with each other, and we'd be "Go delete that. That's not part of this event." And doing stuff like that. Just because we didn't want to create that environment so they'll feel comfortable in their own skin, and not like they're part of someone's little plan.
Calvin Correli (18:28):
Yeah, that's important. So yeah. So you would just sit down next to someone, and just have a real conversation, that seems like ...
Hollis Carter (18:37):
Yeah. I'm always pretty curious about people, and my parents would teach me how to ask questions, and do that kind of stuff, so.
Calvin Correli (18:47):
So you said you got into online courses, that and information business, that was in 2004 you said?
Hollis Carter (18:53):
Ish, yeah. Really, it kind of took off in, I would say, '06 and '07, was when we became successful. I had done multiple six figure, and seven figure launches in a week period, back when the internet was crazy. Because we gave away all our revenue for the year, I'm doing some internet marketing again, and I took about a seven year break. It's a lot harder now. I've really had it easy. Me and my partner roommate, who we started a software company we ended up selling and stuff.
Hollis Carter (19:26):
When we started this, we did the first ever course on video sales letters. And it was a complete accident. We were managing this guru guys' list, and we sent out an offer, and the list always did okay. But all of a sudden, we're getting these huge commission reports from this affiliate campaign we ran, and we cannot figure it out, because I tried to double check it, and I can't even figure out how to buy the product that we promoted. It was a live presentation that was filmed, it was almost 45 minutes, maybe even an hour. You had to watch the whole thing to hear him tell a URL at the end, to go buy the thing. I couldn't get [crosstalk 00:20:06] front of it.
Calvin Correli (20:06):
Wow, people did that.
Hollis Carter (20:08):
Our person who watched it all said it was great, and send it out, so we did it. But then commissions just kept rolling in, I'm like "Oh my gosh, what is this?" And it reminded me of some of these scammy conferences we saw, where they give you a great content piece, and then some really intense rush to the back of the room to buy this, kind of thing. So that's what happened, is people were forced to watch the whole thing, so the people who it didn't matter for didn't watch it. But the ones who it was hitting the nail on the head, they finished it, and they were sold when they got there.
Hollis Carter (20:36):
And so we asked the dude whose list [inaudible 00:20:39] "Can we look at this, and try to figure out why it worked, and make something?" So we grabbed four products from ClickBank, and took their sales letters and made keynote presentation versions of them, and made a script that hid the button until the very end of the video, and started sending those out. And we were getting 4x the long-form sales letter conversions on them. And we were like oh, this is a thing. That was kind of how we learned ... I mean, we were yelling, and went wild and crazy, just trying to figure it out.
Hollis Carter (21:08):
I think the launch of that course did close to $4 million in revenue. But we didn't really know how to run a business, so I think we lost $250 thousand on it, because we gave a way massive affiliate prizes. We had a zero questions asked refund policy on a $2,000 downloadable product. So it was a good learning period back then, when people could just blast some E-mails out, and make some sales. Traffic was easier. It was harder, then, to sell to an older market, because they were still scared of putting credit cards in on the internet and things like that. But it was a wild time for sure.
Calvin Correli (21:47):
So what are you doing now, for info business?
Hollis Carter (21:50):
Yeah, so it was kind of the same deal with Baby Bathwater, it sort of burst organically. We had, looking at the product across the window screen, but a guy who had this amazing CV, when that craze came out. And everyone's got a CBD product, and we did some research before we let anyone into Baby Bathwater who were selling those things. And we as a B corp, it was certified organic. He actually did spend like a million dollars with a legal firm getting the patents on it, and making sure it was a real product, and not just some isolate from China with a nice bottle on it.
Hollis Carter (22:24):
So he had a great product, and there was two or three people at one of the event, talking to him. And they all really wanted to tell their audience about this product. But he didn't know what an affiliate program was, or even really what sales letters, and some of the things that were needed for that function, to have them, for them to tell their audience. So we coached him, and nothing happened, because he was busy running his company, because his big deal is more so in the ingredient to larger companies that put it in. And so, just couldn't really wrap his head around it, so we created a private affiliate network just for the purpose of two people who had really large reach wanting to promote it. We said "We'll just take 10%, and we'll write the E-mails, sales letter, we'll do all the tracking." They sent it out, and it did really well for them.
Hollis Carter (23:11):
And so now we're just curating it, and basically we built a boutique sort of private affiliate network. We've got a handful of health and wellness products, and we're pairing those owners up on podcasts, getting review pages and blogs and things put together, so it's very performance based. There's a bunch of ways we can probably run it, to be more cash efficient for us, if this was our main business. But I don't want to screw up any of my relationships, because I still want to get back to full time on the thing we like, and this is all performance based. So we won't owe anyone anything, when we do something and it's a win because its performance, but no one can beat down on our door and be "Hey, I paid your retainer, you owe me X Y and Z."
Calvin Correli (23:56):
We talked a little bit about Body Meal, right? I'm looking around is there any ... find some ... you connected me with Brandon, so we're working with him on, but this is what it looks like, the thing that's on the market.
Hollis Carter (24:06):
Oh nice, I saw the [crosstalk 00:24:07], I like the packaging, yeah.
Calvin Correli (24:10):
Yeah, this is the one that's on the market in Denmark, that I'd bring into the country, and I got tired of that. I think I have the new design somewhere here. This is a printout of ... this is what we're to ...
Hollis Carter (24:25):
Oh cool. Yeah, I think I saw a mock-up of that you shared, it's a lot better, yeah.
Calvin Correli (24:30):
So pretty excited. I'm probably going to fly out and do a flavoring, the next time [crosstalk 00:24:38]
Hollis Carter (24:38):
Oh nice. Yeah, Brandon's great, he's helped a bunch of people in the group with their stuff. And honestly, it's putting us back into a hole, we're working on formulating something right now, because we're busy taking a performance cut, but we're seeing all the data, and doing all the stuff. And a guy who just joined the group as well, it's kind of opened up continuous thoughts, him and ... he was turned out to be this amazing ingredient person, he brought his tackle box, with all these different formulas he's made to a little shindig we did. And I had this one, and it's a more of a mirrortropic type ingredient. And I went wake surfing, and I was the most dialed, best run I've ever had. And I was like "What was that?" And he explained to me that caffeine got multiple particles in it, he's isolated the clean burning one. I had more confidence than I should've had. I was like ... I don't know what that is, but I think we can sell that to poker players and athletes and stuff like that. So we're doing the same thing.
Calvin Correli (25:35):
Nice, all right, that's cool. So it's fun, like life throws you these curve balls, right? And then it opens up a new thing. It can't hurt ... when this whole thing was going down, people were talking about, we're doing these stimulus checks, right? So giving people $1,200 a month, or for a couple months, and all that kind of stuff. Andrew Yang was talking about universal basic income, and I was like look, how about a personal UBI. Let's teach everyone how to make an extra $1,000 online. Even if you have a job, it's kind of nice to have a $1,000 a month side business, right? You can always turn up the dial on that thing, if you really need to.
Hollis Carter (26:19):
It's funny, I had a lot of conversations recently around that. Especially like ... I mean, I think there's the world that you and I live in, of this more entrepreneurial thing. Got an idea, start it, figure out whether it's the investors, or your own bootstraps to fund it and do it. But then there's this whole new world, sort of the gig economy and freelancers, which is also ... Sometimes used to be in a side hustle, that I think is turning more into it. Like I just had a call yesterday of a guy wanting to start a Baby Bathwater type group for freelancers. And another guy who's a consultant to Deloitte, [NAS 00:26:53] and all these big companies, about how to work with the gig economy freelancers. And he's sick of doing all this work for these corporations, and then they don't implement it. I think there'll be a massive silver lining out of all of it, because we're just used to our easygoing ways. Me and Micheal were joking, it's like Pleasantville out there right now. Everything was kind of going too smooth, we needed to shake it up a bit.
Calvin Correli (27:22):
I wish it was, wasn't it. So tell me about starting a group in a network, how many people are in the group now? Like 200 something?
Hollis Carter (27:28):
About 180 right now, and that's humans, total. But sometimes there's partners, and business partners. So it might be less than that in entities. So probably more like 156 of the actual business entities. But yeah, this has honestly just been the greatest thing ever, because I see how much value can come out, in different ways for people. I was explaining it to someone the other day, that you set up a bunch of opportunities and features and stuff for people, they're not all going to want all of them. But if you're dealing with smart people and you curate it, right, they're going to know how to get their value on an immense level. And it sometimes changes through the cycle, like Katy and Seth, and Jessie and a handful of people have been in since day one, and their journeys have changed quite a bit. We've always been able to be valuable to them, whether it's like they're going to do something personal, there's some people who can relate with them because they're in the same lands, or they're growing something new, or they're selling or they're whatever.
Hollis Carter (28:34):
I kind of want to be valuable ... Once people have reached a certain level of comfortability with risk and entrepreneurship, and are also, on the flip side personally, just good, genuine humans who are curious and are down to have their minds changed. But also down to share their advice, could be valuable all the way through that. But honestly starting it, our goal was like who are those amazing people that you would stay up all night talking too in the lobby of the conference, because you were sitting in there, watching some content, being like "I'm wasting my time when there's all these amazing people here, and I'm not connecting with them while I'm sitting here listening to something I can watch on YouTube."
Hollis Carter (29:09):
So we kind of set that up with our first event. Maybe 50 people, I think me and Micheal each put in 10 grand, and said "Let's just throw a party, and invite all the cool people we've met for the last 10 years of traveling around events." And I think 50 people showed up, and that was really sort of the start. It was more for us, we wanted to get ideas about what business we should start, and then they were like "That was awesome, would you do another event like that? We'd pay for it." And invested in a powder mountain ski resort in Utah, and became an owner there. And that gave us a really nice canvas to paint on. It's like yeah, I got this huge private ski resort, we can start doing some bigger events.
Calvin Correli (29:53):
It's where Summit is also, right?
Hollis Carter (29:55):
Yeah, so I just invested in that project. And I have a house up there, and sit pretty involved in that.
Calvin Correli (30:01):
So you do you have your own house, or is it like a time-share kind of thing?
Hollis Carter (30:05):
No, it's 40 of us who invested and bought the mountain, and all 40 of us got a piece of land. And about 20 have built homes, so I actually think I built the third home up there, and stuff. So I'm actually-
Calvin Correli (30:19):
So is that your personal thing? Personal home?
Hollis Carter (30:23):
Yeah. I'm actually going to try to flip it. I'd like to build one a year, turns out that's scratched a new itch in my entrepreneurial distractions. I love ... so it turns out most people hated ... going on a tangent, but most people hated the building process. It took forever, contractors. I think I got lucky with a great contractor, but I loved staying up at night on my iPad, working on sketch-up, and working on the plans, and building the whole thing. I'd like to build a house a year. I really, really like that.
Calvin Correli (30:55):
That's so cool. I love what you're saying, gathering the people that you love to stay up all night talking to. And you guys have done a phenomenal job of curating that, and gathering those people. So when you're pitching it, is it this is going to help your business, is it more like the belonging, the connection, like what is the [crosstalk 00:31:22]?
Hollis Carter (31:21):
That's a great question, and I think it's sort of a result of our lack of pitching it, and selling it. Where it's mostly been referrals, where someone else has usually queued it up. I know some that were reversed, making sure that it's not a stretch. I get applications and things online for it, where I can just tell it's not going to be the home run for them. Where it's more like oh, if I can get in here, and be connected to all these people, all of a sudden all my problems are going to go away. I really like the people who are like "If you took that money and set it on fire in my driveway, it wouldn't change my life, because my business is working, but I do know if I go in organically with a bunch of other smart people, and spend time together on a regular basis, and engage, and do this stuff, that there's an exponential thing, but I don't want to target it."
Hollis Carter (32:13):
So when people come in like "I want to come in and get better at digital marketing from your people." Or "I'm looking for an investor." Generally that's not a good bet. The best quote we had from someone is like "Treat it like an acid trip, because if you have an expectation, you're never going to get it, but if you don't know what's going to show up, then it could be better that way." But to the point of the pitch, the other day someone was asking me "What can I expect to get?" And this and that. And I was like "Well if you don't know what you're doing already, and have a functioning business, where you have a team, and if you meet someone and get a new idea, you can bolt something on and do it. But if you're running by yourself, growing something all on your own, most likely it's not the right fit."
Hollis Carter (32:59):
But I actually refer a lot of people to other groups, where now there's this nice little network. And that was always one of our goals, because I love ... I'm a part investor in Summit, and I've been involved in Mavericks and a bunch of the other groups out there, where there's like Mastermind talks. All these different ones are there. And sometimes like "Actually no, this would be a better one. And this would be a better one." Or whatever. I've noticed ... I just have a good gut feel when I'm on the phone with someone that came from our referral, that I'm just like this is a little bit more of a quirky crowd, who are down to be different. They don't want to follow anyone's plan per se, but they want to hear what other people are doing, and create their own version. Versus somebody who will really like linear courses. Like here's my seven steps to this, and things like that. Where we kind of like the more organic, creative entrepreneur doer, than the very linear type A kind of folks.
Calvin Correli (33:56):
Do you sometimes send really crappy people over to some network that you hate, just to fuck with them?
Hollis Carter (34:02):
No. I mean, I wish I had one that I truly hated, and I probably would. But yeah, the biggest thing is ... So, this is me and Micheal did these calls, I mean we've done close to 3000 interview calls each, over the last few years. And the good ones last like 90 minutes, and the bad ones last like five minutes. And then you can just sort of tell it. I'm a little softer than Micheal, but I've heard him all the time, be like "We should probably stop wasting each others time, this is not going to work." So it's just different. And it's definitely not a good or better type of thing. It's more of just I think there'll be more things like we have, that evolve over the next few years, as we expand it, and we have all these online communities. In person things have gotten different, and its just different niches of humans who have a different reason they bought.
Calvin Correli (34:55):
I want to make my own too, that's definitely one of my ambitions and dreams.
Hollis Carter (35:00):
Yeah, I think it still has powerful fuel. Going back to when we made the decision to give away the farm, and do the whole thing. I told people, the thing I love most, from our end of running the group, which I actually feel like the community actually has taken over, and what we do, we just listen and then drive when we hear a majority kind of decision. But as a business we own it. Less financial, more relationship stuff, like if everything got wiped away from our side businesses, and everything that's there, I feel like the relationship that we built up, we can restart with zero ideas, zero finance or anything, and keep going.
Hollis Carter (35:36):
Where we used to have a good network, but now I really know everyone intimately. Because with the number, if they want a phone call, I come on it. And usually I only hear from them in times of distress, so I've been there for these folks for this many years now, when they're usually down and out. Something's going on, and we're there as like entrepreneurial psychologists. We have no agency, or like "Here's the service we provide." It's more like "I heard you, let's try to connect you to these few people, see if they can help." Or here's what happened when I went through that. So it's like getting a PHD in entrepreneurial phycology over the last seven years. But also just building tons of really, really quality relationships. I think that's worth more than any balance sheet, yeah.
Calvin Correli (36:19):
Yeah. I mean, that's the whole game also, I mean we're not ... Why do we live, right? Why do we do everything that we do? I mean, it's to share love with other humans, that's what friends is, isn't it?
Hollis Carter (36:34):
Yeah. It's gotten me into so many cool things, there's so many conversations I wouldn't have, just through business correspondence. And like, even my father, he's come to most of the events. You may have met him at the thing in Cabo. He knew he needed to lose some weight, and do some different things. And just coming and being around people who actually take action on some of this stuff, and learn some cool health things. He's lost like 40 pounds, and he's tried some new things, and some new thoughts and ideas, and it's brought us [inaudible 00:37:05], so you know, it's pretty cool.
Calvin Correli (37:07):
It's amazing man. It'd be fun to see if my will show up to my events. What would you say, for me starting something? Like what ... How ...
Hollis Carter (37:17):
Yeah, I think centering on how to be different. Like we actually didn't focus on what we wanted to be, we focused on what we didn't want to be, for like three years. And there's all the things, and that's how we kind of came up with the name. It was all the bathwater we didn't like about going to events. Like I hated going to fluorescent lit, corporate conference rooms, I'd pay a bunch of money to go to. And like "You could have been more creative, and done this in a better environment." This is ... someone's sacrificing their family time, or time with their team or whatever to be at this. I wanted to focus on having good food, and all those things were like dressing. But the main things was curated on people.
Hollis Carter (37:58):
The amount of conferences that I sat at, and even Masterminds and stuff, where you're in a conversation with five people, and one person just keeps distracting from the conversation, and taking it. That time is so valuable, to be in a room with all those people, so we focused on making sure we didn't have that. [inaudible 00:38:18] the beginning, we probably removed six to seven people an event, and refund them and send them home if they were destroying conversations. Which was sort of tough, but my partner's way better at it than me. I can see it, but actually executing on it, he was better.
Calvin Correli (38:33):
How did you find out, like were you overhearing that? Or were [crosstalk 00:38:37] about it?
Hollis Carter (38:37):
Yeah, we got a really good feedback loop going on within the group. Generally, it was more like someone just constantly just pitching their thing. Less about ... we're like, you've got to be open minded to other peoples opinions and idea's like that, it's important. But if you're sitting, and people are helping each other, and having a real conversation, and someone's constantly getting back to the "Oh, I'm raising money for this." Or "My service does this." And it just takes away from how the whole thing works.
Hollis Carter (39:09):
Yeah, I mean, to your question, I think it's more about what you don't want it to be. And that gives ... you don't hear a lot of people, I don't think, driving that way. Micheal's always been good at that. Like let's build plan on the things we don't want to have happened. But everyone goes to the fun, woo woo stuff. And it's easy, and it feels good, like we're going to be creative, and everyone's going to have this thing going on, but what are the things you're going to make sure, for sure don't happen. I think those guidelines are important.
Hollis Carter (39:40):
And then, also don't get married to the idea. Our idea has evolved a ton of times, I guarantee it won't look like what it looks like now, 10 years from now. It'll be some kind of different. So being agile is huge. And a lot of the Masterminds that I had gone to in my early internet marketing career, they're very linear, where they clearly bought a course on how to run a Mastermind. And it just followed the steps, and like "Hey, we don't have to end this talk right now, this is going great." But like "Oh no, the buzzer rang, this is how it works." You know. So being agile has been huge. We've written a whole run of show, with plans of how it's going to go, and then we realized the real value is these people right now that are in this thing. We need to change the plan so that keeps going. So I think some of the more agile things, and looking at the preventative stuff that happens when you put people together that can take away from the value.
Hollis Carter (40:41):
Yeah, and also just making sure it's something fun that you want to do. I think that was one of the biggest lessons I learned early on, because I filled a big conference room of people that I was teaching some copyright or some internet marketing shit to. I remember being like "I don't really want to go and have drinks or dinner with most of the people in this room right now." It was like a ... I forget what it was, it was some professional network of some kind. Moving forward, you don't really love your customers that you're with, then it's going to be a drudge to get through it. And you're not going to come up with creative ideas, either, If it's not something that you want to do too
Calvin Correli (41:22):
So true. All right man, this is super interesting for me to hear a little bit more about your story, your background. Do you have links for people, do you want people to follow you?
Hollis Carter (41:36):
Yeah, I mean, Baby Bathwater.com is has all the stuff about the group, you can learn more there. It's usually about six months behind what's actually happening, but there. And then, I use Instagram, but it's more for like lifestyle stuff. Like I'm very into the adventure sports, and some of the crazy wellness stuff out there.
Calvin Correli (41:59):
What's the craziest wellness thing that you're doing these days?
Hollis Carter (42:04):
Well actually, when we get off this call, I'm going to the bio-hacking center. Which has been awesome, it's just a whole bunch of these bio-hacking toys I get to play with. So I'm going to do red light, and then I'll do cryo, and do the Vasper machine, and all these things. It's just sort of fun there. Every morning, I pretty much do sauna and cold bath, like the ice bathing thing. Which I just moved to a house with a lake in the mountains, which now is colder than I could ever get my ice bath, so it's very different, doing the full dive into the water, versus just crawling into a tub of ice.
Hollis Carter (42:39):
And I've really gotten lucky, I'm sore from head to toe right now, there's a place in town that was like a facility for training athletes that has tons of equipment, and different thing, and all these trainers. But COVID caused it to shut down, and this one trainer guide that my partner found, is running privates there. So I've been going two days a week with him, and getting trained by the same guy who trains the athletes for the football team here at the campus, and getting my ass kicked and it feels good. So yeah. It's all over the place. But the craziest thing, which in my mind wasn't wellness at the time, but turned out to be the best thing I ever did, I lived in the woods for 135 days, when I was 20. Taught me a lot, and it was great. It was actually kind of hard to come back to the world after that.
Calvin Correli (43:30):
Lived in the woods, like completely isolated?
Hollis Carter (43:32):
Essentially it's a small group of people that slowly whittled down. But it was a curriculum that was put together by this thing called NOLS, which is the National Outdoor Leadership School. I thought it was pretty cool, as a prerequisite to become an astronaut, you got to go through the program. And just taught leadership skills, but I also thought my life plan was to be a climbing and rafting guide, and do all those things, until I figured out that I'd rather just do those for fun. So it kind of worked out that way.
Calvin Correli (44:08):
Fun ... but like, living in the woods, hunting and shooting and killing and [crosstalk 00:44:16].
Hollis Carter (44:16):
No, I think we packed ... but we actually planned it, a big part was planning it. So they have a headquarters in Lander Wyoming, where they've got some teachers. You get a two week course, where you get your wilderness EMT, with all your medical training, and do a bunch of those things, and then you plan your route. The test is executing the route, and all the things you plan.
Calvin Correli (44:37):
So you're not in same spots. But 135 days is pretty long.
Hollis Carter (44:41):
Oh yeah, [crosstalk 00:44:41] my first 30 days were all above treeline, in the snow, doing mountaineering stuff in the Wind River range. And then I was on the river for a little under a month, and then in the canyons for a while, and then a backpacking section. And you have a place you had to meet, but I had set up horse packers where I had boxes of food. Like maybe half a book, and a replenishment of flour, and different things to make food and do that along the way. And I had the whole map laid out with meet the horses here, within a 24 hour window. So you had to plan your whole route. We went from the top of Wyoming, all the way through Utah, and then back to Colorado, and end it there. But that was awesome, I really loved that. That was a cool part of my life.
Calvin Correli (45:25):
Yeah, sounds fun. Well hey man, final thought that you want to leave people with?
Hollis Carter (45:32):
Yeah. I mean, the world's about to be different, so bet on the long run, don't get weird and shut down. I find myself in that window time here, right now all the time, when we used to be able to execute on anything. And it sort of felt like it worked, because there was so much going on, so much certainty that everything was going to be the way it was yesterday as it is today. But right now, it's not over, and it's different, even a couple days ago, I was like "Man I really hope that when April comes around, we're hosting this next event, and doing this thing, and I'm going to continue forward with hopes of the future." But I think the folks who go into that scarcity sort of mindset, and don't push through. They're going to have to rebuild even worse than those who stay the path of "Hey, we're going to be in this together for the long run." With their customers or business partners, whoever it is. And whether the storm, and come out stronger than before, yeah.
Calvin Correli (46:31):
Yeah, that's how it works. All right, thanks Hollis. What do you need help with, what can I do for you?
Hollis Carter (46:36):
I'm good right now, I'm just going to continue. We've got a whole plan of I try to just keep doing stuff virtually, until we get back to the real roots of things. But no, I'm good. I'm excited to support you as well, so please keep me posted as your supplement gets rolling here, and any ways we can help with that as well.
Calvin Correli (46:58):
All right man.
Hollis Carter (46:59):
All right, take care.
Calvin Correli (47:00):
Be well, see you soon.
Hollis Carter (47:02):
Calvin Correli (47:02):
What up YouTube, thank you so much for watching this video, if you enjoyed it, even if you frikken didn't, hit the subscribe button so you get more videos from me, and also hit the bell button so you get tick tick tick tick, notified whenever there is a new video from me. Thank you very much, I'll catch you next time.