Creating A Movement with Steven Sashen [Podcast 220]

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GTF 220 | Creating A Movement


If one of the Shark’s on Shark Tank, like Kevin O’Leary offered your start up $400,000 to help invest in it, what would you say?
Today, you’re going to discover how a no opened the door to freedom, growth, and creating a movement, movement.
My guest for this episode, Steven Sashen. Listen in as Steven discusses his journey from feet to business, as you uncover critical strategies for success.
Steven Sashen and his wife, Lena Phoenix, co-founded the footwear company Xero Shoes, which has helped hundreds of thousands of people Live Life Feet First with happy, healthy, and strong feet.
You’ll hear the true story of why Steven and Lena turned down a $400,000-offer from Kevin O’Leary on the Shark Tank.

Listen to the podcast here:

Creating A Movement with Steven Sashen [Podcast 220]

Have you ever been in a place where you were like, “I want to build my business? I have heard the idea. I need to have a big vision. I need to have a big impact. I need to go out there and create a movement.” What if I told you that some of the traditional paths to success might be leading you to failure? What if I told you that some of the traditional methods of building a business, if you’re following those, also might be leading you down the wrong road? We’ve got a unique expert, Steven Sashen. He’s a serial entrepreneur. He’s never had a job. He’s a former professional stand-up comic. He’s an award-winning screenwriter. He’s a competitive sprinter backed at 55 years old. He claims he’s the fastest at 55 in his unique category in the world. He and his wife have created a footwear company. You’re probably familiar with the footwear. Is it a highly competitive market or very little competition? Think about that.

Highly competitive, you’ve got the big brands of Reebok and Under Armour and Nike and a whole lot more. They’ve created a company called Xero Shoes and they’ve created The MOVEMENT Movement, which is helping hundreds of thousands of people live light feet first with happy, healthy, strong feet in addictively comfortable footwear. Steven appeared on Shark Tank. One of the fastest growing, most popular TV shows for business owners, entrepreneurs and entertainment for that matter, where they turned down a $400,000 offer from Kevin O’Leary. Would you have the audacity to turn down Kevin O’Leary handing you a check for $400,000 to help your company scale to the next level? We’re going to get some insight from Steven on why he did that, his path for building MOVEMENT.

Steven, welcome to the show. How are you?

I’m wonderful. Thank you for that intro.

You’re welcome. We want to give a shout out to our buddy, Steve Olsher, who got us connected. We got a chance to meet in his New Media Summit, which is also one of the fastest growing companies to help people who want to get on more podcasts, get more media exposure and so much more.

Be careful what you asked for. I went to the New Media Summit thinking, “I’d love to hook up with some people like you, Dan, who could help us expand our MOVEMENT Movement and share what we’re doing.” I wanted you to see if I can get us more podcasts because I’ve had a lot of fun doing that. At the end of it, 54 people said, “I want you on my podcast.” I was like, “That’s awesome, that’s a lot of time.” I highly recommend the event and again, be careful what you wish for.

Let’s give a little context here. You’ve had many businesses over the years. You and I got a chance to talk about that at the summit. Why MOVEMENT Movement with Xero Shoes?

It’s simple and I guess the best way I can say it is by flashing back to a panel discussion I was on at the American College of Sports Medicine. There were guys from Brooks and guys from Adidas who were on the panel with me and a researcher from Harvard named Irene Davis. She’s a doctor there. She asked the panel, “In the ‘60s, we were running in thin-soled running shoes. We were playing basketball in Chuck Taylor’s where they were just thin-soled rubber shoes and we weren’t getting the kind of injuries or the number of injuries we’re getting now. What problem were you trying to solve and why didn’t it obviously work?” The guys from Brooks and Adidas had no answer for that. The simple thing goes like this. Your feet are designed to bend, flex, move and feel and if you don’t let them work naturally, it messes up the rest of your body. We’ve been living under this cocoon of misinformation and propaganda from big shoe companies saying, “What you need is motion control, you need arch support, you need padding, you need cushioning, you need to elevate your heel.”

Every part of that design is fundamentally flawed and we keep buying it. It amazes me when a shoe company comes out and says, “Here’s our magic new foam that’s going to help cushion you for the rest of your life. It’s going to be amazing.” They never say, “Our apologies for that crap that we’ve been selling you up until now. By the way, here’s the proof about how this one’s better.” They never have any of that and they claim, “It’s because doing those studies is very difficult.” No, it’s not. It’s simple and more importantly, if you, Nike, could prove that your shoe was better than say something from Adidas, that’s worth billions of dollars. You’re telling me you’re not doing it because the study is hard to do. It’s because almost every performance shoe that you see is based on the same fundamental design for which there’s no evidence that it’s helpful. There’s no evidence that it reduces injury or improves performance or is even ultimately comfortable because they’re not designed to let your foot move naturally or even shaped the way your foot is shaped.

Your brain needs to know what's happening at the other end of your body to be able to work your entire body properly. – Steven Sashen Click To Tweet

Let’s speak to the elephant in the room. There might be a reader going, “How would I even know?” Like the old saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know until you know what you don’t know.” When someone gets in, say a properly fitted comfortable shoe, what types of things do they notice compared to what they have been wearing in the past?

Let’s start with a simple question. Let’s say you’ve been on your feet all day. You come home at the end of the day, do your feet feel better than they did in the morning? If the answer is no, then you’ve been wearing the wrong shoes. Have you ever accidentally gone to bed still wearing your shoes because you forgot you were wearing them? If the answer is no, you’ve been wearing the wrong shoes. If you look down at your shoe right now, if you’re wearing shoes and just check, kick your foot out of the shoe and compare the shape of the toe box of the shoe to the shape of your foot. Unless your foot is strangely pointy because you’ve been binding them, then the shoe isn’t even in the shape of your foot. What up with that is one way of putting it. What happens when people put on a pair of Xero Shoes, their eyes light up and they go, “It doesn’t feel like I’m even wearing anything because they’re super lightweight.”

The second thing is they usually say and these are things that people say verbatim. It’s like, “My toes can spread and relax,” because they’re wide enough so that your toes can spread and relax. They start walking around and our soles are made so they’re thin enough so that you can stimulate those nerves in the bottom of your foot. By the way, you have more nerves in the sole of your foot than anywhere but your fingertips and your lips. There’s a reason for that and so when you let your body work naturally by feeling things, people just get excited. They have that combination of protection plus ground feedback that tells your brain, you’re doing the right thing. Your brain needs to know what’s happening at the other end of your body to be able to work your entire body properly.

Steven, I want to dive in. This is going to be a little bit of a selfish question. I do think of myself directly with this but as adults, we’re nothing more than just grown kids.

Even that is sometimes optimistic, but I’ll go with you on that one.

If people are having feet problems when they’re adults, what about the kids? Do we wait to get people fitted until their adulthood? Do we get kids fitted starting early so that they can allow their feet to grow the right way, to breathe the right way, to be in comfort the right way where they have that protection and that feedback?

You answered your own question but I will echo that for the fun of it. I had a podiatric physician say to me that if we could get kids wearing your shoes in twenty years, we wouldn’t have the foot problems we’re currently treating adults for. They just wouldn’t exist because they’d be using their feet naturally all along instead of binding them up in what we affectionately refer to as foot coffins. I say that to be a little glib but also think of it this way. If you break your arm, you put your arm in a cast. When it comes out six weeks later, is it stronger? No. It’s weaker and it’s atrophied. The same thing with your feet, if you don’t let them move and bend and flex, they get weaker. This is not rocket science. Using something can make it stronger, not using it makes it weaker. This leads eventually as to what happened to people like my dad. When he was 80 years old, he couldn’t use his feet. He tripped on a tiny little ledge in a store, fell down, broke his hip and was dead two weeks later.

GTF 220 | Creating A Movement

Have you ever accidentally gone to bed still wearing your shoes because you forgot you were wearing them? If the answer is no, then you’ve been wearing the wrong shoes.


I’m not saying that if you wear shoes, you’re going to die or your shoes are going to kill you. I sometimes half-jokingly say, I wish they did because it would be like the cigarette industry. There would be a massive uproar but instead, we spend a bunch of money on useless things. If we could keep kids using their feet naturally for as long as possible, that’s ideal. I’ll give you a business story. We’re coming out with kid shoes and not toddler shoes but from second, third grade up. In the fall of 2019 is what we’re projecting. The reason that it is taking us that long is that making kid’s shoes costs basically the same amount as making adult shoes, but you can’t sell them for the same amount. We’re a bootstrapped company, every dollar we don’t make this year is $4 we can’t make next year. We’ve had to grow to the point where we have enough disposable cash to do something that we know is the right thing to do that we’ve wanted to do for years but literally couldn’t afford to until now.

Speaking of building a business and growing a business, shifting the topic a little bit away from feet, but to business. You’ve built your company, our show is about breakthroughs and growth and creating freedom for entrepreneurs in the market. What are one to three critical needle mover strategies like the big ones, the big gold coins not silver ones, not bronze? What would be one to three strategies you put in place in your business in the last couple of months that moved the dial for you?

The biggest things that we do are the things that are true from the day you start until the day you stop and that’s getting involved in the conversation. Find out people who are already talking about what you do basically and be involved in the conversation. I didn’t say sell. I said get involved in the conversation. Be part of it, offer something of value. Give as much away as you possibly can. It is a selling technique, but that’s not the whole reason we’re doing it. If you’re not providing value, then why are you doing what you’re doing? There are a lot of other businesses that are not about providing value. I’m not going to get into that that’s fine. I’m not wired for that. For me, if I’m not doing something that genuine, it’s based on the truth, it’s not going to get me out of bed in the morning. All those arbitrage play businesses, they eventually fall apart and you have to start another one. We’re trying to create something that’s going to last for generations and that’s a whole different game. That’s thing one.

Thing two, treat people as well as you want to be treated. What’s it like when you call your phone company and ask them to fix a problem or your credit card company? It is not hard to treat people well and when you do it, the value for that is immeasurable. You can’t give everybody everything they want all the time. We had a customer, he had a problem with a product and we said, “We’re happy to exchange it. If you send yours back, we’ll send you a new pair or if you buy a new pair, we’ll send them out right away. As soon as we get yours back, we’ll give you the money back.” He said, “That’s not acceptable.” I said, “Those are your only options. I don’t know what else you want.” That’s what every major company in the world does, we do it too and eventually, it was nice. We had this conversation going back and forth. It was going nowhere and he eventually said, “I researched your company and your products online and people love you. My fault, I’ll send it back and you send me a new pair.”

That’s thing two is to provide real valuable customer service as well. It’s not hard to be nice. Number three, listen to your customers. Find a way to engage with them so that they can tell you what they do and possibly, more importantly, don’t like and that will guide your business. Every business decision we have made that has grown our business has come from listening to what people tell us about what they want next, what they want different, what they need to have changed and whenever we can. If it makes sense within the context of what we do, we will do that. When someone says, “I need a high-heeled minimalist shoe,” that’s an oxymoron. There’s no such thing. We can’t do that but when they say, “I love your sandals but I need a shoe.” That’s the first time we went, “Let’s start making shoes,” and now that’s 60% of our business.

What would you say has been your biggest struggle or biggest mistake or failure up to this point and what did you learn from it that maybe our audience can learn from it too?

The biggest struggle has been cash. We’ve been growing at 80% to 100% a year from 2014 through the end of 2017. We don’t have our numbers for 2018 yet or I would give you that number as well. When you’re growing that fast and you’re a bootstrap company, finding cash is always the delimiting factor. We’ve run out of inventory every year for the last few years. What we’ve learned, I don’t know how to say it that way, but I am ridiculously lucky that I’m in this business with my wife who is a brilliant woman who spends the majority of her time raising money. We finally got to a point where it’s not that we’ve stopped, but we got to $2.318 million loans from JP Morgan Chase and that was a big help and they want to help us more. We’re still pushing the envelope with them and trying to get them to do things they don’t want to do, but that’s by far the biggest struggle.

If you're not providing value, then why are you doing what you're doing? – Steven Sashen Click To Tweet

The one after that is simply managing the growth. I got an email from someone complaining, “You need to fix your supply chain. You’ve been out of the size ten and a half in the thing that I want for three months.” There’s no way around that, between the combination of how long it takes to make something, the minimums for that when we’re trying to launch a new model or phase something out or the fact that we got more demand than we expected. That’s what happens and it’s the same thing on the employee side. We had a couple of times in a few years where our inbox had over 1,000 emails because things went so well and we didn’t expect that and that’s challenging. I wish I could say I’ve learned something about that, but there’s no way to know if you’re behind that eight ball until the eight ball shows up and rolls you over.

Isn’t that the truth? Sometimes it’s that old thing, you don’t major in minor things. What I love about what you shared is being involved in the conversation, treat people like you want to be treated. In other words, be nice and listen to your customers. As you’re reading this right now, although that’s simple guidance that Steven is sharing with you, the simple wisdom many times is far more important in all kinds of the crazy tactical things that are being projected to you in the marketplace.

If you provide people with value and you treat them well, that will come back to you in spades. If you shortcut any of that, it’s a problem. We had a customer who came in and bought products from us who said, “I’ve been buying stuff from your competitor, but I’ve been calling and emailing them and they’re not responding. I don’t want to deal with them anymore.”

I’m going through this right now. I’ve got a piece of fitness equipment that I had gotten and the screen broke. I’m simply trying to get it either replaced or fixed or get somebody to come out. I’m a pretty good buyer of stuff and it’s been four weeks.

Here’s the thing, let’s assume for the fun of it that that’s only happening because they have been overwhelmed as well. They can’t necessarily come out and fix something, but they could still treat you well enough that you understand what’s going on. You’re okay to work with them until it gets resolved because you know they care and that’s what we try to communicate. We can’t make everyone happy, but at least we want them to know that we care. There are times where the bigger you get, the more problematic that becomes because there are some people who would rather complain, bitch and moan than have their problem solved. It’s our favorite thing when someone says, “I’m going to post on social media that I don’t like you.” We go, “Can you send us a link so we can comment back?”

Being proactive and getting involved in the conversation, it’s a simple principle and it is principle-based. It is psychology-based and that’s far more important than the tactics, the strategy, the technology and all of it. We talked about some of the simple wisdom in your three steps: get involved in the conversation, treat people nice and listen to customers. It’s much simpler than we’ve been led to believe and competition is there. You decided to go into a marketplace that is full of big players.

My wife says it best. She is with the number of shoes and shoe companies out there. There is no reason whatsoever to start another one unless you’re changing people’s lives and that’s what we do.

GTF 220 | Creating A Movement

If you provide people with value and you treat them well, that will come back to you in spades.


Speaking of changing people’s live, there’s another player that came into the shoe market. I wouldn’t call it a direct competitor because you are shifted on creating a movement. This Big Baller Brand, I’d love to get your insight and take on the Big Baller Brand as it launched into the scene of the public eye through some very vocal PR from the founder. Speak to what your insights have been in watching them launch.

It’s not just them. I met a guy who’s from Bain Capital, one of the top investment banks in the world. He did an interesting keynote speech at an event that I was at. He said, “It used to be that building a business to $100 million was the hard part but once you got there, you could get to $500 million easily. Now, it’s the other way around.” Thanks to social media and the currency of outrage. It’s easy to get enough attention to get to $100 million, but if you don’t have a real company, it’s a flash in the pan. Maybe you made some money, maybe you didn’t make some money. It depends on how you manage that on the way up. It’s not a real company if you’re getting there riding the wave of that tsunami of awareness that you can create by being outrageous on social media and so good luck to them. I don’t think they’re there.

Speaking of they’re there, yours is all about MOVEMENT Movement.

We’re trying to make natural movement the healthy choice the way natural food is. It is the obvious healthy choice. People aren’t aware of it because we’ve been having a whole other conversation where big companies are saying, “Here’s the latest new whatever thing that we do,” without apologizing for the last 48 things they did that didn’t work.

As you’re reading this right now, what could you do to position yourself in a marketplace to create a movement that’s bigger than just exchanging products and service and money or value? What could you do to create a movement? What could you do to shift the conversation, get engaged in the conversation in your industry to take it to that next level? Steven, what would be your insights on the value of creating a movement in a business model and what do you see as missing in most companies?

When you have the ability to be part of something bigger than you, it adds more value than being you and what’s missing for many companies is having that bigger vision. There’s a flip side to this. What started in a way with Toms Shoes is the whole social entrepreneurship thing where people have a business. They say they have the business because they’re trying to support this socially responsible endeavor. I think there’s a problem with that too because typically the companies that are doing that, they’re selling overpriced products to rich guilty people. I don’t think that’s sustainable either. There are times where the business does evolve organically out of trying to support some mission or something, where there is a smart tie-in that makes sense that is sustainable.

A lot of these, it’s just that people want you to have a social conscience and as long as you can seemingly demonstrate that it’s currently valuable. We have a significant philanthropic arm to what we’re doing, but what we do is our mission. For us, I don’t care if we become one of 50 companies that decided to jump on the bandwagon and be part of The MOVEMENT Movement and natural movement. It would ultimately be great because the more awareness there is, the more that’s going to raise the tide that we can all float on. There are always ways of differentiating yourself from even a multibillion-dollar player where you can do well. Competition is a good thing and having people on board the bigger mission is a good thing. That’s not why we’re doing it. We’re doing it because it’s the right thing. It happens to be a good thing too.

It is not hard to treat people well. When you do it, the value for that is immeasurable. – Steven Sashen Click To Tweet

If someone is resonating with this message of MOVEMENT and going, “I’d like to learn more about living life feet first with a happy, healthy, strong feet in addictively comfortable footwear,” where can people go to get more info on your different products, services, resources and such?

You may be shocked to discover that we have a website. I don’t know if you’ve heard of these things. They’re amazing. You can go to If you accidentally go to, it redirects to us. You can find us on social media as well either on Instagram, @XeroShoes or Facebook, @XeroShoes on your favorite social media channel.

If you want to go deeper and learn more about having addictively comfortable footwear with happy, healthy, strong feet, go check out Steven, what is something that most people don’t know about you?

I’m an open book. I have way too short of a wire between my brain and my face, so I say whatever is in my head. Here’s one for the fun of it. I used to make a living walking on broken glass in my bare feet. I was a street performer way back when. I thought about writing a book called Everything I Learned About Marketing, I learned by Walking on Broken Glass in New York City or something like that. The reason why, as a street performer, what you do, you make people stop for no reason, stay around and watch what you do for no reason and then give you money for no reason. The only way you can do that is by doing some basic marketing things, catching their attention, giving them something of value, asking for the sale. There are a whole lot of very simple marketing principles that people are overlooking or missing time and time again. You can’t afford not to do those right when you’re a street performer.

There are a lot of lessons there. You mentioned you’re married. Your wife is great at raising money.

I want to back up into my last street performance thing, pay attention to the competition. I had a guy who when I first got to the street, I had a small act and he suggested I write a bigger act. I created a bigger act and he said, “Why don’t you set up right next to me?” I set up next to him. I would start my act and then he would steal my crowd by doing his. Within a week I could steal his crowds and then he threatened to and tried to kill me. You need to take your competition seriously. I learned that one on the street too.

Beware of the naked man who offers you the shirt on his back as a street performer.

GTF 220 | Creating A Movement

If we’re upset with the other person, we know it’s really typically because of something that’s going on with us and not because of them.


Here’s my other biggest lesson from street performing. I’m trying to think of how this works. You need to know how to close a sale. The story that comes to mind when I think this is one time I did a show. This absolutely stunning woman walks up to me and said, “I don’t have any money to give you, can I kiss you instead?” I said, “Yeah.” She plants one on me and I did not think to say, “Anything after that.” I didn’t know how to close that deal. All those things I look back and I go, “I was a moron.”

You’ve got to learn how to button up those sales and get the enrollment and get the sale.

Maybe there’s an upsell involved is all I’m saying.

Speaking of upsells and closing the deal, how long have you been married?

Fifteen years.

You and your wife work together. If you are going to turn to your wife, Steven, and say thank you for how she’s shown up for you, to allow you to be who you are, this leader, this innovator and this disruptor, this creative visionary, this artist in many ways. What would you thank your wife for right now?

You have it all wrong. First of all, the only thing she has done is tolerate me and be willing to let me do the things that I do and more importantly be willing to tell me no over and over. The way I describe our business relationship is I build a car and she makes sure there’s gas in it. Sometimes she has to say, “That tire’s flat or we can’t fill up with diesel, this needs premium gas,” or whatever it is. I thank her constantly. This wouldn’t have happened without her and she says the same thing of me. We are accidentally a good complementary team. I say we are a woman-owned company. She is the woman and I am the owned. I also say that she’s my trophy wife because without her, we wouldn’t have all these trophies like fastest growing business in wherever. I’ve watched her become this exceptional businessperson and I’m the same marketing douche that I always was, which isn’t true. We’ve both grown tremendously from doing this, but there’s nothing for me to thank her for other than being who she is. I’m forever indebted, grateful, impressed and amazed. I tell her that on a regular basis because it’s often obviously true, how could I not?

There are a lot of good ideas that seem like bad ideas; and there are a lot of bad ideas that seem like good ideas. – Steven Sashen Click To Tweet

Thank you for opening the book to some of your personal life.

I’ll say one other thing then about personal life. We haven’t had a real argument in at least four and a half years. I’m tracking back to the last one I can think of. She sometimes says, “I don’t have time,” which is sometimes true, but the bigger thing is that there are a couple of things we do. If we’re upset with the other person, we know it’s typically because of something that’s going on with us and not because of them. We don’t take it personally. We had a situation, where it was just a tense situation and she was upset with me. The way she saw the way I was behaving was the opposite of the way I saw it and I saw her behaving in a way she saw it the opposite. About ten minutes later, I said to her, “We’re never going to resolve who was right about their perception. What do we need to do instead to get past this?” Two minutes later it was done. That only comes from understanding things like, “I’m only upset because of something that I think should happen that didn’t happen the way I wanted.” It’s not because of you but because of my expectations, my unspoken agreements. I don’t have to be right. We’re trying to build a business, who cares who’s right?

You get not only business wisdom and advice, breakthroughs, transformations for your growth and freedom but you also can get advice for being a better partner, spouse and a whole lot more. Steven, what would be the action steps that you’d want our audience to take from our time together now?

It depends on where they are in the evolution of their business. If you haven’t started something, go find actual people that are potential customers and start talking to them. That’s a piece of advice I give to anyone. If you haven’t had a long conversation with a customer in a while, pick up the phone and talk to one that likes you and one that hates you and just listen. Not only listen for what they say but listen for what’s underneath what they say. I was involved in a situation like this where it was another business and they were talking to a customer and this customer loved them. You could not say the nicer things about them. I seem to be the only one in the room who heard that what this customer loved about their product was that it allowed her to avoid a heavily existential discomfort with her life. They were all like, “She loves us. We need to talk about all the things people love.”

This is a woman who’s covering up terror and feeling out of control and not knowing what she’s doing and feeling ineffectual in the world. This is giving her a false sense of control and security. You need to talk about that and they didn’t even hear it. Listening to what they’re saying and then from what’s underneath what they’re saying will tell you a lot about what’s going on. That’s a biggie. If you haven’t started a business, find a stranger who will take actual money out of their pocket as if you still take money out of your pocket. Prove that there’s a there there. I don’t care if you think your product is great, who gives a crap on what you think? Let someone else tell you by demonstrating that with the action called paying you until people have done that where there are a lot of good ideas and there are a lot of bad ideas that seem like good ideas. Let the market tell you what’s true.

I want to encourage you, if you’ve enjoyed what Steven has shared with you, if you’d like to go deeper on MOVEMENT Movement, if you’d like to live life feet first with happy, healthy, strong feet and addictively comfortable footwear or know someone who would want to, go check out What’s something, Steven, I should have asked you that we didn’t get to?

I never have an answer for that. I’m stumped. I think it’s something that I wanted to ask you.

Why did you turn down Kevin O’Leary’s $400,000?

I’m bummed that we did, but not for the reason that you’re going to think. It was a bad offer. He wanted half the company and it was not a good offer. What I’m bummed is that we didn’t find a place where we could meet because I liked Kevin. People think that he’s all bombastic and full of himself. We read all the autobiographies of all the sharks before we were on the show and I loved his. This is a man who is generous to a fault and loyal like you’ve never seen. If you can find a way to be involved with him, a lot of his histrionics are to see if you can get over the transom and if you’re worth his time, effort and attention. In business, things can go wacky and you want to make sure that you’re in the foxhole with the right person and if you get thrown off by him and being insulting, forget it. I love the idea that we could have found a way to work with him. It just wasn’t the right fit.

What do you think would have had to happen for it to be the right fit?

Here’s something that I don’t know if it’s true or not. It’s in my memory, but that doesn’t mean it’s true. At one point, Kevin, when he made us this offer, he was going to give us $400,000 for half the company. Lena said to him, “Are you bringing anything to this offer other than money?” He said, “I’m a smart businessman. I’ve got a big Rolodex.” Lena doesn’t remember her saying this, but I remember her saying, “So, nothing?” We needed more than money. We needed people who understood this industry. Consumer products, in general, is a weird space and footwear, in particular, is a very unusual space. If you don’t know footwear and apparel, you don’t have a lot to offer. If you’re not a smart internet marketer since we are primarily an internet business, you don’t have a lot to offer. We needed the right partner in that regard and he just wasn’t at that time.

There’s so much wisdom there in what you shared. I encourage you as you’re reading right now to come back to this segment here. Number one, why did he say no to Kevin O’Leary? He knew what his company was worth. Steven knew what a good offer would or could be versus what it would not be. As you go to the market, do you even know what a good offer is? Not only to your customers but when you get one back. There are some discernments there then on top of that. What are the other assets? It’s not just about money, but what are some of the other supporting assets that create value, that you can go create for your clients and/or your potential partner, your potential stakeholders in your business can bring to you? That maybe you’ve been shortsighted in the past until hearing Steven talk about it that now, you’ve got a whole new level of awareness to transform your company. If you’ve been sparked by what Steven has shared with you, check out Get a pair. Get a few. Give them as gifts. Try them. Test them. You won’t be disappointed. There are a lot of nuggets, insights and wisdom. If you never want to miss an episode go to Thanks for being with us. Seize the day. Make it a great week. We’ll see you next time on


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About Steven Sashen

GTF 220 | Creating A MovementSteven Sashen is a serial entrepreneur who has never had a job, a former professional stand up comic and award-winning screenwriter, and a competitive sprinter — one of the fastest men over 55 in the country (maybe the fastest 55+ Jew in the world!). He and his wife, Lena Phoenix, co-founded the footwear company Xero Shoes, creating “a MOVEMENT movement” which has helped hundreds of thousands of people Live Life Feet First with happy, healthy, strong feet in addictively comfortable footwear. Steven and Lena also appeared on Shark Tank, where they turned down a $400,000 offer from Kevin O’Leary.

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