BTU #63 - Todd Ehrlich: From SEALs to Founder of Kill Cliff

“I'll never forget my fiance and I at the time were going to visit some relatives, and I pulled over before we got the house and said, 'Hey I'm about to spend a bunch of money on an idea to start this drink called Kill Cliff  and I might not get anything out of it, but at least I can say that I tried and I did it.' And you told me, 'You're going to be great - you're going to do awesome. You'll make more money if we lose the money.' Having her support me at that moment in time was incredible, and so I moved forward with it."– Todd Ehrlich

Todd is the Founder of Kill Cliff, maker of the recovery drink with the same name. Kill Cliff has about 40 employees and makes continuous donations to the Navy SEAL Foundation. Todd also serves as the CEO at BAM Worldwide, the leading provider of cash management technology for small to medium transportation companies. He is also the Founder & Chairman of Triserv Appraisal Management Solutions, a real estate appraisal management company. Todd started out in the Navy, where he served as a SEAL for four years. After his transition from the military, he held a variety of positions at Kroll Associates, United Rentals, and Jacobs Private Equity.

The Top two reasons to listen to this episode are:

  1. Serial Entrepreneur - Todd has started multiple successful startups, each in different industries - the recovery drink, Kill Cliff, ranked as the 301st fastest growing company in the US, and the real estate appraisal company, Triserv and more. He talks about the passion of true entrepreneurs and it comes through in each of his stories and all of his advice
  2. Self knowledge - I really admire Todd’s ability to recognize his strengths and what he enjoys. His Navy SEAL background comes through as he talks about how his sweet spot is the 1st 1k days of a company - dropping in to develop a new idea, pivot in the uncertain circumstances as the idea grows, establishing the right people to keep the momentum going and then moving on to the next idea. Whether you’re interested in entrepreneurship or not, it’s a shot of adrenaline listening to the stories from his background.

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Show Notes

  • 2:09 - Todd's background
  • 2:45 - Todd's decision to leave the Navy SEALs for a civilian career
  • 5:02 - The point at which Todd decided to start Kill Cliff
  • 8:40 - Having started multiple companies, a look at whether or not Todd's other employment experiences were necessary in starting his company
  • 12:40 - Given that Todd's companies are so different, how passion is the most important element in creating a company
  • 15:40 - What Todd's day-to-day life looks like
  • 21:00 - How Todd keeps his focus on the 1st 1000 days of a company, rather than running a company indefinitely
  • 24:57 - Steps that a veteran can take TODAY to move towards starting their own company
  • 28:42 - Final words of wisdom