Scrappy and Sappy - Tales of Misadventure, Episode 1

Tales of Misadventure Podcast: Show Notes


  • JANUARY 20, 2023 


Are you being scrappy with your small business or manufacturing venture? How about your marketing efforts? On the premiere episode, Nicole chats with e-commerce legend, Curt Anderson about his own entrepreneurial journey, his love of dogs, the importance of having an open mind with your marketing strategy, and how failing to maintain two business locations led to his biggest success so far. Curt also shares his advice on lessening the pain of making business mistakes and discusses the power of marketing on LinkedIn for B2B businesses. 


Julie Basello-Holt: Hey there. Thanks for joining us for Tales of Misadventure, a podcast all about business blunders. On this podcast, Nicole Donnelly, founder of DMG Digital talks to entrepreneurs and learns how they turn their lemons into lemonade. DMG Digital is a full service marketing agency focused on helping manufacturers attract new buyers through digital self serve.

Julie Basello-Holt: Nicole Donnelly is a fourth generation entrepreneur, a girl mom, and an avid traveler. Now let's head into a Tale of Misadventure with your host, Nicole 

Nicole Donnelly: Donnelly. Hello, good morning and welcome to Tales of Misadventure, where we talk about entrepreneurial blunders, mishaps mistakes, and learn how entrepreneurs turn their lemons into lemonade.

Nicole Donnelly: And I am so excited and delighted and ecstatic to have my really dear friend and business associate Kurt Anderson on the show today. Kurt is a legend in e-commerce. He started an e-commerce floral company. Way back in the nineties before Google even existed, he had the vision to see that the way people were gonna be purchasing was gonna be changing.

Nicole Donnelly: And he jumped on that bandwagon and never looked back. And eventually his business made it to the top 1000 e-commerce companies, three years running. He eventually sold that business to his business partner and now is the founder of B2B Tail, which is an e-commerce SEO consulting company for manufacturers and Kurt.

Nicole Donnelly: I'm so excited to have you on the show today. How are you this morning, 

Curt Anderson: Nicole? Good morning. What an absolute honor and privilege it is to be with you. I'm just, I'm like overwhelmed right now, so just this is gonna be great. I'm just honored and what a privilege. Thank you. 

Nicole Donnelly: You're welcome. This is such an exciting moment for me because you are my very first podcast guest.

Nicole Donnelly: This is a very terrifying and exciting step forward, and you like having you as my first guest is a, a warm cup of hot chocolate with the warm blanket. I, I feel like there's no one better than I could be doing this with, so. 

Curt Anderson: Well, thank you. Right back at you. 

Nicole Donnelly: Yes. So, okay. So my first question for you is, you know, the, on this show we really wanna sh focus a lot on entrepreneurship and it is such a, an exciting, challenging, but also difficult

Nicole Donnelly: pathway. And so we wanna talk a lot about failures and missteps and, and all of that. But first I wanna like learn a little bit more about your background. Did you always want to be an entrepreneur when you were a little boy? Did you, did you want to, did you dream of owning a business one day? What was, what was it like when you were a little boy?

Nicole Donnelly: Is that something you always wanted or what was your dream? , 

Curt Anderson: Great question. I remember. So I'm, so unfortunately, Nicole, I dunno if you realize, and this might be a little spoiler alert here, like, I'm, I'm not a young guy anymore, you know, so, so , I was young a long, long time ago, and like, the word entrepreneur wasn't like a super popular word.

Curt Anderson: And I remember my, my dad had a, a business and my, his secretary asked me one time, was like, you know, hey, you know, when you get older, you know, what do you wanna be? And I'm like, I wanna be an entrepreneur. And she was, what is that? So Uhhuh, you know, I always knew that I just had like a, a heart and a hunger trying to understand business.

Curt Anderson: I was like, just fascinating. I'm a big history buff and so just was obsessed with like, you know, the JP Morgans and Henry Ford and just, you know, the early icons that, you know, a lot of the capitalists that built America, if you will. And so, yes, I've always been a business guy at. 

Nicole Donnelly: Very good.

Nicole Donnelly: Well, tell me who is your, like your, your of those icons that you just mentioned, who's your favorite? Who do you love the most? Who do you really look up to the most? 

Curt Anderson: Boy, that's a, that's a loaded, that's a great question. I mean, there's so many, you know, look at generations and I almost feel like, you know, you have like late you know, 19th century, like late 18 hundreds.

Curt Anderson: And then, you know, of course, like with the tech revolution, you have like, you know Steve Jobs and you know, bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. You know, I love, I like Rockefeller. I know, you know, like, oh, he was a fascinating, fascinating character. I'm a huge, huge Henry Ford fan, you know, didn't agree with that.

Curt Anderson: You know, some of, you know, he, he got a little goofy, you know, but Rockefeller was a guy deep in faith. He would teach Sunday school every single Sunday. Mm-hmm. , and, you know, just just a brilliant, brilliant guy. You know, I felt, you know had good standards, morals, if you will. Maybe some people have written books or wouldn't agree with that, but he built a dynamic, you know, powerhouse and just found it fa and he started at like 22 years old and it was just, he's a, it's a fascinating, he's a fascinating character.

Nicole Donnelly: Mm. You know, I'm gonna have to read about him. I love that. I think there's a lot of ways that you can choose to run your business. You know, you can choose to run your business using, you know, with a lot of integrity, if you will, and you can choose not to. And I think that's, that's really cool that you really looked up to him in that way and that you wanna build and create a business in that, in that same vein.

Nicole Donnelly: So, very cool. So my next question for you, Kurt, is what is something surprising that most people wouldn't know about? 

Curt Anderson: Something surprising that people don't know about me. What, you know? I have a dog. I'm a big dog lover. I don't know, maybe a lot of people know that, but I'm a huge, huge dog fanatic, and so that's I'm, I'm a big dog guy.

Curt Anderson: How's that for an answer? I don't know. Some people. Big dog. Okay, 

Nicole Donnelly: so what is your dog's name? 

Curt Anderson: Theodore named after Theodore Roosevelt, and we call him Theo. And so he's my, he's my buddy. And so, and I'm just, I'm a dog fanatic when I'm out, you know, love the neighborhood dogs and anywhere I go, so I'm just, I'm a big dog lover.

Curt Anderson: How's that? 

Nicole Donnelly: Very cool. Theodore Roosevelt. That's a great name. What a great Man, he was a great president, wasn't he? He was. He was pretty incredible. Yes, he was. Very cool. Well, let's talk, let's, let's go into it. I wanna learn about when, you know, some, you've, you've, man, you've been an entrepreneur now for how many years?

Nicole Donnelly: Like over 30 years and some 30. Yeah. 30. 30. And you've, how many businesses have you owned? , 

Curt Anderson: how many, how many, how many businesses have succeeded. Might be a better question. . . I know your, your your topic is your topic. And I know why I'm your first guest, cuz you're like, well, who do I know that failed the most?

Curt Anderson: And so like, Hey, I'm gonna reach out to my Benny, Kurt. So I had, I had, if you looked at like every little like sole proprietor and everything that I've, you know there have been a lot, you know, so I'm, you know, a lot of people love that label of serial entrepreneur. I'm the total complete opposite.

Curt Anderson: I'm not a fan of that word or phrase. Interesting. Okay. I I've just, you know, I've tried a thousand things. I, you know what, since we're on the history thing, you know, going back, I, you know, like Thomas Edison was famous for saying, what, 10, you know, I, I figured out 10,000 ways not to do a light. , right.

Curt Anderson: Well, man, I'm like way past Thomas Edison. I've figured out tens of thousands of ways how not to do it. I just, I just haven't created the light bulb yet, Nicole. So, 

Nicole Donnelly: Oh, but you gotta give yourself some credit. You built a hugely successful business. Hugely. Yeah. So, yeah. So, 

Curt Anderson: you know, it takes you know, it takes.

Curt Anderson: Tenacity. I think I'll use, just speaking for myself, a lot of stupidity. Just relentlessness, just, you know, not knowing any better. And so just, you know, just keep , you know, you get knocked down, you get knocked down, you get knocked down, and you just, you know, keep plowing forward. So I've, I've had numerous.

Curt Anderson: Little tiny businesses that didn't quite make it or survived, or maybe they blended into, you know, something else. And so yeah, so I had a, a wholesale floral business and that evolved into an e-commerce business. And, and that finally, I finally found something that did okay. 

Nicole Donnelly: Yeah, but I, you know, I think that's one of the things that I've really seen in you that I think is really remarkable is you get knocked down.

Nicole Donnelly: You get knocked down, but you have this tenacity to just keep on getting up, keep on getting up every time. And why do you think that is? What is it that has, why do you have that drive in you that when you get knocked down, you just, what is it? , 

Curt Anderson: you know, I don't know. I know like different people are, you know, we were talking about Joe Rogan and you made me think of like, you know, Mike Tyson has a famous quote, and I know there's a, a famous football coach before your time.

Curt Anderson: His name was Woody Hayes. They had both had similar quotes and it said something along the lines of like, everybody has a plan until you get it punched in the mouth. , right? Everybody has a plan until you get punched in the mouth. And so, you know you know, when you're in business, and I, and I'm sure it's just in life, you know, you're an amazing mother, wife great family person, you know, and unfortunately, even like in our family or our best intentions we're, you know, things that you give back to the community, sometimes, you know, something get, hits you in the face, right?

Curt Anderson: You're like, I didn't see that coming. Mm-hmm. . And so business' life, it's no different than anything else. And so, you know, but when you're running a business, it does, it's a lot. challenging. I've had the honor and privilege I've gotten to know like your team, your employees. Mm-hmm. , I think. Mm-hmm. , you know, my admiration for your leadership is just off the charts.

Curt Anderson: I just love the culture and what you're building, but you know how challenging it is to really nurture folks to try to bring out the best in them to you know, and I think the big word is, and, and entrepreneurship is uni. You know, a theme that you and I have been talking about a lot this week is the word.

Curt Anderson: right? You put out a great, amazing post. Your father, you're a a fourth generation entrepreneur, so you come from a long lineage. And so you've all, you know, is you've seen great entrepreneurs in that tenacity and you get knocked down and what it takes. And I think in my case, it was just like, I just didn't know any better.

Curt Anderson: Nicole . Did do so, but uh, I didn't believe, I think that's a great word. Mm-hmm. , you put out a great post about your father recently on LinkedIn. It was just a very heartfelt and such an inspiring as a girl dead. Like you literally brought me to tears and it was just such a wonderful beautiful post. But it, it was just about believing in yourself and when you believe in, like, the solution you're providing, the service that you're providing and like, you know, unite.

Curt Anderson: We ta we collaborate and work on a lot of clients together, like, and I. You know, you and I are our, our, what do I wanna say? Like, our culture, our values align because like, we're just trying to just, we're really truly dedicated to, to helping our clients do and be better. 

Nicole Donnelly: Yes. And I think that, like for me is, that's what drives me every day to do what I do, is just being able to have an impact.

Nicole Donnelly: Mm-hmm. , you know, I, I think as entrepreneurs, you know, to, to go and, and take the risk and start your own business, you, you have to be doing it for something greater than just, you know, I wanna make. You know, or money. There's really like every entrepreneur that I've ever known is doing it because they really want to create something bigger than themselves and they really wanna help and have an impact.

Nicole Donnelly: And I think that's what's always inspired me about the. The people in my family that have owned businesses before me, my dad, my grandfather, my great-grandfather, they just really wanted to have an impact. They wanted to make a difference in the lives, not only of their clients, but also their team, you know, their employees.

Nicole Donnelly: And I saw that firsthand. I saw, you know, the difference that, that what my dad built, made in the lives of the people. Worked for him. You know, the joy that it brought to them to be able to have a livelihood, to have something that brought them purpose and meaning. You know, I think that was a huge something that was, I loved watching and seeing and you know, with my grandfather, he owned a hotel right across from Disneyland that I actually worked.

Nicole Donnelly: It was my first job outta high school. Loved that job. It was so fun. I got to meet people from all over the. and I just loved seeing the joy in people's faces when they would walk in knowing that they were gonna be on this like trip of a lifetime. And knowing that my grandfather created that experience for like, he's a part of creating that like, right.

Nicole Donnelly: That's inspiring to me. That's exciting. So that's what I love about what we're doing every day is we're really trying to help manufacturers and clients really. Make their customers lives better and easier and help them succeed. And it's, it's super exciting. So, 

Curt Anderson: so let's look, I can't let this go. We, let's go real quick.

Curt Anderson: Your grandfather's hotel, so a great word that kind of ties in with the theme of our conversation. What was the name of your grandfather's hotel, by the 

Nicole Donnelly: way? Oh yes. His hotel was the Saga Inn and Yes. That and that was what it was when I worked, wor worked though the saga in, and he had this, I will tell you, he had the, the, what do you call it?

Nicole Donnelly: The mascot of the logo? I don't know. Yeah. It was a, it was actually a knight in shining armor sitting on a, on a horse. Yeah. And my grandfather had his fascination with like any like German history, cuz he that's, that was his ancestry. Yeah. So he had, he had, remember when I was a kid, I'd go to his house.

Nicole Donnelly: He had this beautiful house in Orange County, orange Park Acres, California. Okay. Beautiful. It was a Spanish, you know, beautiful house with Courtyard Pool. He was a big tennis guy. So like going to grandpa's house as a kid was like, it was literally, it was like going to Disneyland. It was awesome. We. We'd swim in the pool, we'd play tennis.

Nicole Donnelly: We'd, anyway, so the, he had a cool house, so you walk in the door of his house and he had this awesome, like full-blown like knight and shining armor, just like right there in the foyer. And I just like, I remember as a kid just thinking, this is cool. You know, like he, you know, you see that with a lot of entrepreneurs.

Nicole Donnelly: They're just larger than. And they just have these big, audacious dreams and it just, it makes the world go round. It's so fun. It's so cool. 

Curt Anderson: Well, I think the name is perfect cuz you know as you know, like, you know, we've been talking about this heavy, you know, the word saga and when you can create that business.

Curt Anderson: Yeah. You know, like in, you know sgo cliche, but you know, like the famous Simon Sinek, you know, Ted talk about, you know, knowing your. and it's just, it is just so true. And the more that you're dedicated to your why and your understanding of what you do and why you do it and how you help people, you know, so like your grandfather, I mean, like, it wasn't, you know, ah, it's a roof and like somewhere for people to, you know, to sleep for the night.

Curt Anderson: No. Like he, he was providing lifetime memories. People saved up for years, probably like saved their nickels and quarters and, you know, back in the day to like go to Disney. people coming in from all over the country, literally all over the world to have this amazing chance of a lifetime experience. And so, you know, to your grandfather, you know, like hey, I need a, somebody needs to clean the bedroom and, you know, we need a maid service, or we need this, or some of the headaches with the customers.

Curt Anderson: But look at the, the dreams that were fulfilled and just a lifetime of memories that were provided for with this. A simple facility. It's not a facility. It was a dream. He's a dream maker. You know, I love. Yeah. And you know, just, you know, and so the thing is, I don't care, you know, what you do for a living, you know, you could, you know, you can, when you turn that into your why I had my floral business, you know, a hundred years ago, and people like, you know floral business, what's up with that?

Curt Anderson: And I'm like, you know what, for, it's such an honor When you think about like the products I sold, I was invited to. Hundreds, probably thousands of individuals. Their weddings, it was always a celebration. There was a child that was born, there was a loved one that was lost, and it could have been a tragic situation.

Curt Anderson: It could have been grandma, it could have been, you know, another tragic situation. But there was an emotion with every single product that we sold. It was either a wedding, a birth, a birthday, love. Romance, Valentine's, you know, and I'm like, it is such a privilege for me to be invited by providing these products to these lifetime.

Curt Anderson: Wonderful. Whether it was romantic or family member. You know, so that was our why. Like, we are participating and somebody celebration happier, sad, but we've gotta do our best to be there. So, I mean, I think when you understand your why, it just, man, you can just really, you're, you're unstoppable. 

Nicole Donnelly: Yeah, I think, oh, I love that.

Nicole Donnelly: It's so true. And I think as entrepreneurs, that's so important for you to always keep in the forefront is having that larger Why? Because when you do get knocked down Yes. That's what's gonna pull you back up again. Yeah. You know, if you don't have like this greater purpose that you're trying to build, be part of, then you're, it's gonna be so easy for you to quit.

Nicole Donnelly: But I think like that's what really is what gets you up again and again. And when you get knocked down. , you get knocked down a lot when you own a business. Like it is like a daily occurrence, you know? Yeah, yeah. It's a rollercoaster. Yeah, it is Absolutely a rollercoaster. Yeah. And I know you can talk about that, so I would love to hear Kurt like tell us, I wanna hear a story.

Nicole Donnelly: I want you to tell us a story. Mm-hmm. about a real life story, about a day in the life of Kurt. What was one of the biggest. Blunders in your storied history that you could tell us, walk us down that path. Tell us, let's story time with Kurt Anderson. Open up the book and walk us down like what went wrong and, and tell us what happened.

Curt Anderson: Man, I, it could be a long list, but I know we, we've gotta be mindful of time, Nicole, so I'll, I'll, I'll, I'll throw this one at you. So, 1990 five, I had a wholesale business. I was young, ambitious. I was in my twenties and so I was with this business I was trying to open up. Other locations. Okay. And so I'd opened up a second location and, and it was about an hour and a half from where I live.

Curt Anderson: And so, you know, it was going, it was going well for a while, and, you know, the, the excitement, the adrenaline, the honeymoon, well then all of a sudden, like I'm going back and forth between two locations and like, you know, in the beginning, like our sales exploded. I'm like, this is great. And then all of a sudden, like eight, 10 months into it, sales were starting to level off, but but I kind of like, I didn't quite double, but I vastly increased my expenses.

Curt Anderson: I'm like just running crazy, trying to manage two facilities. And so now, ev over time what I had done is I created two, two bad situations, . So like I lost. , you know, I lost sight of like my foundation, my home base, and then my, my new thing with like the honeymoon was wearing off. And so I had, at that time I had a different business partner.

Curt Anderson: I know we're gonna maybe talk about partners, so I just, amazing. I've been very blessed throughout my career. I know this doesn't happen common. I've had like probably I think seven business partners in my, in over my career. And I've just been blessed with every single, you know, they were great. And this gentleman in particular, we had this other location and, and.

Curt Anderson: Dude, we need to have a, a hard conversation. I don't think we're making it. And we're like, okay, well what if we close in a few months from now? And then we're like, well, you know, maybe we should close in a few weeks. But at the end of that conversation, we closed that day. Oh my gosh. We had a, we had a van.

Curt Anderson: We called one of our employees. We got another van. Like we literally packed up that day. I have a picture of myself and, and, and my partner in front of the facility and like, we are ecstatic because like I got this burden off my back. Right? Yeah. So I got the second location off my back. . But when I got done, I'm, I, I'm like, okay, well that was my, that was my growth plan.

Curt Anderson: That was my, and I got punched in the face. Mm-hmm. . So what, what's I, what I don't have plan B. And I'm sitting there and I'm like, oh my gosh, what am I gonna do? And I'm running out of options and, and 1995, I don't know, you're probably tiny. You're little girl. These little discs were coming out for America online to get people around the country on the.

Curt Anderson: Mm-hmm. . And so I'm like, I'm outta sheer, sheer desperation. I'm like, I'm running out of options. My accountant you know this story, my accountant said I was the biggest disaster. I was the biggest train wreck we'd ever met. . And I put the business online outta sheer, like, I don't know what else to do. and fast forward many years later, it, it worked out, but by close by, by the failure of that second location and closing it, and out of lack of options where all my energy was going into those two locations, had I maintained those two locations or if I would've closed the other one and ma kept and maintained, you know, whatever.

Curt Anderson: I might not have ever gone online or jumped into e-commerce. So that failure opened the door for e-commerce for me. 

Nicole Donnelly: I love that. You know what I love about it? It, I think it highlights a couple, couple things. One, resourcefulness. , I think as entrepreneurs, like resourcefulness is a huge superpower. And in that story, what I heard is you had constraints, right?

Nicole Donnelly: Like you couldn't keep the second business or location, you couldn't keep the second location open because you're, you're basically, you were losing more money than you were making, right? And so faced with that constraint, you had to get creative. You had to say, okay, well how am I gonna make this work in the situation?

Nicole Donnelly: And that. That is like resourcefulness to a T and I think as, as entrepreneurs, resourcefulness I think is underrated. Like it is what makes you successful to be able to pivot when you need to pivot quickly. Like the fact that you made that decision like so quickly and moved on. It is a remarkable testament to like, what a great entrepreneur that you ha that you are.

Nicole Donnelly: What a great entrepreneur that you are because you were, you have to be able to make those quick calls sometimes and you can't sit on it and you have to be able to make those. Decisions. Yeah, and I think as, as entrepreneurs, decision making is a huge, huge part of your every day. And I feel it like you get decision fatigue all the time.

Nicole Donnelly: Decision, you know, all the time. My gosh. And like the other day, my daughter, she's in this phase right now where all she wants to do is ask questions 24 7. I, I mean, I, I, I have like, I can't believe that the other day she just goes down the list and from one mom, what is juvie? Where do adults go when they break the law?

Nicole Donnelly: You know, like, I couldn't believe the question she's asking me. And after a while, I, you know, as an entrepreneur, we just have such decision fatigue. I was like, I can't answer any more questions. . I was like, mommy needs a question break. Okay. 

Curt Anderson: question break. I love it. Question fatigue and question break. You just taught me two new terms today.

Nicole Donnelly: Exactly. Yeah. But I think like what that shows, shows entrepreneurs is resourcefulness. You have to be able to look at the pro, cuz there is no business that has no constraints. Every business has constraints, right? Every business you have to figure out how to deal with. Not, not a lot in some, some capacity.

Nicole Donnelly: And so you have to be able to get scrap. You gotta get scrappy and figure out how you're gonna make it work. So I love that story. That's so cool. And look what happened from it, man. You grew this like multimillion dollar business from that one decision. Imagine if you wouldn't have done that. That's pretty cool.

Nicole Donnelly: Absolutely. Yeah. I remember that. America online and you remember those little , you've got mail. I wasn't, I'm not, I'm not that young. I, I remember America. 

Curt Anderson: Do you remember those? Okay, good. Yeah. You were like 

Nicole Donnelly: kindergarten. Yeah, I was, let's see, 1995. I was 14 years old. I was a freshman in college. Wow. Freshman in college.

Curt Anderson: Excuse me, . I was like, man, you're smart. was teasing. 

Nicole Donnelly: I was a freshman in high school. You're an advanced class. So anyway. Very cool. Well, you know, you mentioned partnership, so I'd love to talk about that a little bit because I think partnership is kind of a mixed bag. I mean, you, you hear that like, what is it something like 70% of business partnerships fail?

Nicole Donnelly: Mm-hmm. And there's a lot of like really terrible. Stories out there of partnerships that have just gone south and, you know, you talk to entrepreneurs that are like trying to extricate themselves from partnerships and it's always bad and ugly. And so I think, like, I would love to hear from you, like what are some of the, you've been blessed with such great partnerships, but like, I'm sure it wasn't all Roses.

Nicole Donnelly: Well, 

Curt Anderson: and I don't know if they would, if they would agree,

Curt Anderson: I'm not positive we found those folks. If, you know, and again, when I, you know, it was, and everybody was like in a different capacity you know, there was a gentleman was very passive, you know, just kind of a small investor. Like, I, I had like a 1990, you know, like 30 some years ago. I was just fresh outta college.

Curt Anderson: Uhhuh, , you know, other people were more involved, other people I worked with. So I. , my assessment now is there are so many blessings with a potential partnership when you find the right partner and, and you and I did a webinar this week with our dear mutual friend Dan Bigger, and Dan was talking about like how he treats networking.

Curt Anderson: It's almost like dating, you know, and so I hate to give like that romantic analogy, but a partnership in my, a humble opinion or experience is really as hard, if not. than marriage. I mean, it's really mm-hmm. I've been blessed, fortunate. I've been, I've been married 25 years next year, and so, you know you know, it's, , you have to comp, you know, like compromise, sacrifice swallow pride.

Curt Anderson: It takes a lot of humility. It takes a lot of camaraderie. It takes teamwork. It we talked about the saga. It has to be, you need to believe in the saga. And one thing you know, you've. On your team now is one of a, a old teammate of mine, Leanne, and I don't know if she would remember this, but you know, a phrase that I would try to say frequently was like, I don't care who's right, as long as we're right as a team, you know, so like, you know, how can you swallow that pride or you know, your feelings get hurt, somebody has a different opinion, or somebody doesn't see eye to eye or you disagree on things, but you know, if you can be fighting for the common cause, the greater good.

Curt Anderson: And you know, like we talked about, like what's best for the customer. And I found like when you have like a rock solid mission statement, you know, we could say, okay, well you guys wait, you wanna do that idea, that suggestion? Does that fit our mission? Does that fit our strategic plan? You know, and so I found when you have that laser focus, People that you can trust and you create that com, that camaraderie.

Curt Anderson: And last thing I'll share my wife and I went to a wedding. I dunno if I've ever told you this story. My wife and I went to a wedding before Covid. It was a relative of mine. Beautiful. It was down your way. It was in Virginia. It was in the mountains of Virginia. It was absolutely. Beautiful wedding and the minister got up and he did the you know, was performing the ceremony and he said something that hit me like a lightning bolt and I will never forget it.

Curt Anderson: I actually, I put out like a big blog post about it and he said, the key to a successful marriage is you out sacrifice your mate. Mm. And that hit. , I'll tell you like a ton of bricks. And I was like, because I've, you always hear compromise, compromise. Well, I'll do this, you do that, I'll do the dishwasher, you cook, you know, like whatev, you know, whatever.

Curt Anderson: It's always a compromise. He said, if you just unconditionally out sacrifice your mate. If you just commit to out sacrificing your mate, you're gonna have a thriving marriage. And I took that. I'm like, man, if you brought that mentality, that mindset to business, You know, to the point where like, you know, you know, you're not giving up your values or you're not giving up, you know?

Curt Anderson: Yeah. Your idea, you know, like, you know, without taking it to an extreme where you're compromising your own personal, you know, values and what have you. But boy, if you out sacrifice others, what a, what a great mission that is. And so I think if anybody out there is talking about a partnership, think about if, if does, is, does, is this other person as committed to out sacrificing each other, that's a great partnership.

Nicole Donnelly: Ah, that's such a cool. Man, I'm gonna steal your phrase. Drop the mic. Drop the mic.

Nicole Donnelly: this mic. I, I, I, this is my first time using a mic, by the 

Curt Anderson: way. So is a beautiful mic, by the way. By the way, Nicole, I dunno if I told you that I have, I have severe Mike Envy right now because mine, it's like the 1999, you know Getty . Yeah. I'm scrappy as you know. You got like this beautiful, like you're showing off your Lamborghini right now, right?

Nicole Donnelly: Well, you wanna know what's funny about this mic? This mic has been sitting in my closet for probably over two years. I bought this mic for a client project. No joke. I bought this mic for a client project and literally sent it to my client cuz they were gonna be doing this webinar series. And I was like, let's make it super professional.

Nicole Donnelly: I'm gonna send you this mic. And so I sent it to them and it's been sitting in my closet. I've never used it now until now. So now I'm taking it out of hibernation. Nice. We're doing this. So, but man, Kurt, that is such an incredible. Story and I will just have to say, you know, you and I have had the wonderful, wonderful, it's just been a wonderful experience getting to work with you over the past year, and I can tell you from like all the times that we've worked together, you absolutely exemplify and live that.

Nicole Donnelly: Mantra to, to out sacrifice your, your partner. I, I see that all the time from the first time I met you, . You were just incredibly generous with me to the what point where like, I got off the first phone call that we ever had, and I literally had never met or known anyone who was just so incredibly generous in, in the way that you were by like offering to have me come on your LinkedIn live show.

Nicole Donnelly: And so I, I can, I can Tell you that, that what you just shared is something that I know you live and breathe every day because I've experienced it for myself. And it, I think that's really such great advice for anybody who's looking to go into partnership. It's almost like you're a glutton for punishment, Kurt, you know, because partnership is not an easy like, to, to, to, like you, you do, you have to compromise and sacrifice.

Nicole Donnelly: Whereas if you just go solo, it's. You know, you have a lot more control and power, I guess. Yeah. Over the decision making, but there's also a lot of benefits to having a partner aside from the, the downsides. But anyway. Well that is awesome. So, okay, so I just could keep asking you questions all day long.

Nicole Donnelly: This is so much fun. Okay, so we only have a few more minutes and I wanna shift gears a little bit and talk about marketing cuz you and I are. Big marketers, we love helping businesses attract more buyers. You love to say, you know, one of your favorite phrases is, stop being the best kept secret and niche down till it hurts, you know, and I'm super passionate about digital self-serve, helping customers.

Nicole Donnelly: get out there and create an amazing experience online for their customers. And you know, these manufacturers out there, they, you know, a lot of 'em need a lot of help there so that they can compete against the big Goliath. So I know that's something that drives both of us, but tell me a little bit about like, marketing.

Nicole Donnelly: How have you, you've, you've, you've had a lot of businesses. How have you marketed your business in the past and what's worked and what hasn't? 

Curt Anderson: Boy, that's a great question. So, you know, in a theme, you know, Like the theme with your program, you know, kind of going back in time whether, you know, wouldn't necessarily call 'em failures, but back in you know, in the two thousands when I was, I had Leanne who's on your team now, and e-commerce business, you know, I had a mantra then of when something new came out, I never wanted the competition to beat me at something new that I, that I was intentionally.

Curt Anderson: And so when YouTube came out in 2006, like we literally immediately started posting videos and you can go on YouTube right now and you'll find like these old, you know, like these videos from 2006. So what, you know, however many years ago that is right now, you know, almost 17 years ago and we were posting videos.

Curt Anderson: And like those videos today have literally, Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of views of what we did in 2006. There's this new social media thing, and I don't, I don't even know if we were using social media as a term back then, but there's this new website that came out and I was an Ink mag. I'm an Ink magazine junkie.

Curt Anderson: Mm-hmm. had the honor of privilege. I interviewed the editor-in-chief of Ink Magazine this past year. Wow. And I would read that religiously. And so I, I always felt compelled to stay on top of like, what's the new and latest greatest, this new website was coming out and it was this thing like we, you would.

Curt Anderson: he would type 140 characters to type about like life and what you're doing. And I'm like, that website is never gonna fly at all. And it was Twitter and I was like, I, I like, I'm on the record saying like I never felt. I'm like, that is a total, like I'm, Hey, look at me, I'm at a coffee shop. But we would not.

Curt Anderson: You know, like, so the thing is like when Pinterest came out, so like when, anytime a new platform came out, I especially, you know, you know, I'm scrappy, which means I'm super cheap. They were, they're all free. Yeah. So like when LinkedIn came out, you know, like every time a new platform came out, I wanted to embrace, I wanna at least try it.

Curt Anderson: Cause I didn't wanna be beat. I'm not saying I was good at it. I, as a matter of fact, I, I could tell you, you know, you know, I tried to creating my own little social media site that was a total colossal, you know, dud failure in itself. But the thing is, you know, and I don't know as if I'm as good as that today you know, you know, a few things that, that, you know, you're encouraging me to get on and I've pushed back on.

Curt Anderson: But, you know, I think I encourage my, my point with this diatribe is for marketing. Have an open mind, man. Just do yourself a favor. Have an open mind, and if you start feeling overwhelmed where there's just too much, boy, pick one. and go all in. You know, my, I, and I'm gonna say this on your podcast, the greatest blessing business-wise this year was you, was Nicole Donnelley, hands down Baron Without, I don't know if I have a close second, but it was just such a blessing, you know, in, in, if it weren't for LinkedIn, I don't have a relationship with you.

Curt Anderson: You're interviewing my buddy, my partner in crime, my co-host, Damon Patoka. I wouldn't have a relationship with Damon. I've been to his house multiple times. I've hung out with him and his wife. You and I've met in person. You know, without LinkedIn we wouldn't have these relationships. I, if whoever's out there listening, man, I just implore you, invite, you, beg you, grab a, grab a platform and just give it your, all that.

Curt Anderson: That's my piece of advice right there, 

Nicole Donnelly: man. Kurt, you're getting me all clamped over here. You know how sappy I could be. I, it doesn't take much to make me cry, that's for sure. 

Curt Anderson: Sappy and scrappy, right?

Curt Anderson: That's our, that might be our tagline. Sappy and scrappy. I love it. What I'm, I'm over 50, so like I get like, like all of a sudden you, when guys get over 50 all of a sudden, like they're really sappy too. So I'm sappy half the time. So we're both sappy. I'm scrappy. So. Well, 

Nicole Donnelly: it probably like, it's because you're a girl dad.

Nicole Donnelly: My husband is a girl dad to two girls, and I'm telling you, he never like, He's like the most reserved, you know, introverted guy and you know, he like his girls can get him to cry at the drop of a 

Curt Anderson: hat over. Oh yeah. I'd never like my twenties and thirties I was like a rack and now all of a sudden fifties, I'm like, I'll see a commercial that like, oh my God, look at that commercial.

Curt Anderson: You know, I'm just, 

Nicole Donnelly: I'm, oh man. Yeah. But that's such great advice about going all in on one platform and I think that's you. Marketing can be really comp. It's, it's become more and more complicated over time. Oh. It's just, there's so many more channels that you have to follow and keep up on. And it, as, as people who are, you know, experts in the not ex, you know, but we're in this industry, not, you know, we're, we're, you know, but there's just so much to keep on, on top of.

Nicole Donnelly: And I think for small businesses who are trying to be scrappy, you're absolutely right. If you try to spread yourself too thin and try to tackle too many of these platforms and channels at once, you're just setting yourself. To, to, to, to be mediocre, frankly. But if you can really just like focus in, like you said, on one platform, really understand it really well, and, and just go all in on it, you're absolutely right.

Nicole Donnelly: You can, that's where you're gonna start getting traction. And then once you get really, you know, once you have some experience and you're starting to get some results and you know, business and customers do that channel, then you can branch out. and try the other channels. So I think you're, you're, you're right on there.

Nicole Donnelly: I think that's really, really great advice. Okay. So, you know, our podcast is all about misadventures and business and making mistakes and blunders. But you know, I think one of the questions I have for you, Kurt, is what can we do to make the pain of those mistakes less? What can we do to, so that we're setting ourselves to maybe not make these huge catastrophic mistakes?

Nicole Donnelly: What can be, what, what kind of preventative measure? can entrepreneurs do, try to make, because we're gonna all make mistakes, right? We have to accept it, embrace it, right? So what can entrepreneurs do? What's your advice on what they can do to kind of like keep those blunders from being like truly disastrous?

Curt Anderson: Phenomenal question, Nicole. My, I, I, I, I have two, two suggestions. So, number one, another tagline I used to say back in my e-commerce days when I had my business was, what are we doing today? that six months from now we're gonna be laughing. Like, what inefficiency are we doing today that like, si like you, you know, you know, those situations we're like, oh my God, Kurt, can you believe when I met you, you were doing this?

Curt Anderson: You know, and like, you know, how do you get past those? Okay. If you can be open-minded and embrace change, number one, I, I just, boy, just be open-minded, you know? . I shared a story with you. You know, when I, when the words came outta my mouth, this is how I've always done it. I knew like I was in trouble, right?

Curt Anderson: So I've, I encourage, invite, welcome people. Have that open mind, and think about what are you doing today that's just so horribly inefficient that you're gonna make fun of it six months from now. But how, boy, boy, not six years from now, make that change as fast as possible, right? The second piece of advice is, man, get a village.

Curt Anderson: It takes a village to raise your business. You are not alone. As entrepreneurs, we feel, you know, we're, it's lonely. You feel like you're in a silo. If your significant other is you know, in corporate or civil servant or whatever, a lot of people don't understand what it, what. you're going through as an entrepreneur.

Curt Anderson: Reach out to your small business development center, the spdc. If you're in manufacturing, Nicole, you and I do a ton of work with the meps Manufacturing extension partnerships. Mm-hmm. , get on LinkedIn and, and boy, join a community, get involved, get your support system. And we'll, I could close out with this your, one of your favorite words.

Curt Anderson: As a matter of fact, our LinkedIn live show today is about empathy. You love that word, empathy Boy, have the humil. To ask because people have the empathy to help, have the humility to ask. There are tons of people that have the empathy to help you. You're not alone and just be, just march forward. 

Nicole Donnelly: That is such great advice.

Nicole Donnelly: I love that. Don't be afraid to ask for help, because you're right. We do wanna help. And you're right, we need a community. And I will say that like me getting active on LinkedIn earlier this, this last year, absolutely, I was able to find my tribe of people. And it is, hands down, made such a huge difference in my business.

Nicole Donnelly: Having that support of the people around you is inspiring, it's motivating, it helps you rise higher. And then when you can rise higher because you have the support of those people around, around you, what's that phrase that you always. raises all ships. What's 

Curt Anderson: up, right? Yeah. Rising tides raising all 

Nicole Donnelly: ships, rising tides 

Curt Anderson: raise all ships.

Curt Anderson: Yes. You just think, Nicole, just look at, look at how it's changed your life. Mm-hmm. , look at, we went to a conference together, an industrial marketing conference in Cleveland, and look at the people that we met, that we associated with ju like. Mind blowing, right? Mm-hmm. , you and I did a huge project together in Texas, G just the energy, the camaraderie, and what, how that's gonna change that business.

Curt Anderson: You've gone to New Jersey to meet, you know, Julie and John Bino and just, you know, look at these relationships that you've built and, and, you know, one of your contractors, Amy, you know, people that you, you've met Leanne in person, but just look what, and had you not had the courage. to raise your hand and to get on LinkedIn.

Curt Anderson: None of those, none of those events would've occurred. None of those relationships, none of those business opportunities. And a lot of people are like, oh, that's great. You know, boy, you met these people or You did this, or what? You know, social, no. Like your driving business on top of amazing relationships.

Curt Anderson: So, I mean, look at how this changed your life by just raising your hand and getting un LinkedIn. 

Nicole Donnelly: Absolutely. I'm I, man, I, I, I just can't say enough about that. And you have to do it scared As entrepreneurs, the fear is never gonna go away. You're always gonna be afraid of something . Right. You know, you are, there's uncertainty.

Nicole Donnelly: It's never goes away. And I think it's entrepreneurs. You have to embrace it. You have to embrace the uncertainty. You have to get comfortable with the fact that you're gonna be making decisions scared and you just have to go for it anyway. Cuz there's never gonna be a point. It's gonna be me doing this podcast.

Nicole Donnelly: I, this morning I got up for this podcast and I was like, what the heck am I doing? I have no idea how to do this . Right? But I, and I, I just was like, you know what? I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna do it scared, and it's, it's all gonna work out and I'm gonna have a great time and I'm gonna meet, I'm gonna, I've learned so much from this conversation that I can take to my.

Nicole Donnelly: And that is what I wanna do. I wanna be able to learn, grow so that I can help take that information to my clients and just do a better job serving the people that I come in contact every day. So, Kurt. This has been such an awesome first episode. Oh my gosh. I would just love to do this all day long.

Nicole Donnelly: Let's just like, why don't we quit our day jobs and we can just be like the next Joe Rogan. . 

Curt Anderson: Yeah. Or like Kelly and who's Kelly Wood now? Uh, The day, the talk. Oh yeah. Like Regis 

Nicole Donnelly: and Kathy Lee, Kelly and Reg, whoever she's 

Curt Anderson: brought Kelly and whoever Kelly was with, and, you know, So get our own little talk show.

Curt Anderson: But, you know, to close out, I love what you just said and our dear friend Alison de Ford, always, she always, she's one of the funniest human beings I've ever met. She says, not fearless, but how do you fear less? Oh, you know, she always puts fear less and, you know, and I'm, I'm gonna go here, like, you know, you and I are, are big, deep in faith.

Curt Anderson: And so like, you know, just and having that belief in your. Is just, you know, that's gonna help all, all of us conquer these challenges, these fears, these, you know, stress and, and we're not here for a long time, but we can certainly be here for a good time, Nicole. So have fun while you're at it. And so thank you for the opportunity to be here with you today.

Curt Anderson: I'll tell you, you are such a blessing to me. I. Speechless. Just you are. One best thing that happened to me this year business-wise personally, was you and I crossing paths and I just, I worship you, adore you, admire you, respect you, and just thank you for everything. 

Nicole Donnelly: Oh, thank you. Right back at you, Kurt Anderson right back.

Nicole Donnelly: Teamwork makes the dream work. Teamwork makes the dream work. Teamwork makes the dream work. Thank you for being my very first guest and being such a huge cheerleader. I'm so grateful. And yeah. Thanks so much. I hope we get to do this again sometime. This was fun. 

Curt Anderson: Absolute best success with your podcast, Nicole.

Curt Anderson: Thank you, . 

Nicole Donnelly: All right, thanks for listening. Tales of 

Julie Basello-Holt: Misadventure is produced, edited, and moderated by Julie Bello with Basello Media. Music by Marcus Way. Special thanks to our amazing guests and the entire DMG digital team. Visit us at to get access to all our podcast interviews and other helpful resources.

Julie Basello-Holt: And if you'd like to get updates on the latest and greatest, please sign up for our email newsletter. We'll see you next time for another episode of Tales of Misadventure. Until then, keep falling forward.


  • Connect with Curt Anderson on LinkedIn at 

  • Find the Small Business Development Center nearest you by visiting s-development-centers-sbdc 
  • Join the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Linkedin group, 
  • Connect with Nicole on LinkedIn at 


Curt Anderson is a legend in e-commerce. He had the vision to see how e-commerce would change the way people buy way back in the 90's before Google became a household name. Out of pure resourcefulness, he moved his floral supply company, aloral, online and never looked back. Eventually landing on the list for top e-commerce retailers three years running. 

Today, Curt and his team at B2Btail consult with manufacturing businesses through federally funded Manufacturing Extension Programs or MEP's to help them improve their web presence through SEO, web design, and e-commerce strategies. 

Curt is a proud girl dad, and baseball fanatic who has been to every MLB stadium multiple times over.