Who are you, and what do you do?
Hello, my name is Jack Haldrup and I am the founder and CEO of Dr. Squatch Soap Co.
What has been one insight or lesson that has been most helpful in your career?
Like most entrepreneurs, I ran into a lot of barriers when starting out. There was no guide book on how to start a subscription soap coming, and certainly, nothing that I learned in business school gave me a guide on how to accomplish what I was trying to do. Starting Dr. Squatch gave me the confidence and perseverance to know that I can solve any problem.
What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress.
Failure is part of the journey. I have made many mistakes, but you learn that what matters is not the mistakes itself, what matters is how you move forward.
The initial name for my company was Sasquatch Soap, but we ended up running into trademark problems. I initially did a very basic search on the name ‘Sasquatch Soap’ but didn’t find anything, so we built the company on that name. A year and a half later I got a letter from a third party about a company that was trademarking the name, and we were forced to rebrand. This seemed like a huge deal at the time. I thought that we had lost our identity and possibly our customers. In the end, we might have lost some customers, but the way we rebranded and adapted ended up being very positive in the long run. From this experience, I learned that brand is more important than the name.
Project forward ten years. How will your industry or field be fundamentally different then? What opportunities do you see?
We are in many very fast-growing areas including, e-commerce, natural products, and men’s grooming.
E-Commerce is continuing to grow very fast. In the next decade, I see e-commerce really starting to grow in the area of voice search (Amazon Alexa, Google Home, ect..). Voice search could serve as a huge opportunity for e-commerce companies due to the low competition as it stands right now.
What are some bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
I don’t think that people need to consider the context. It’s important to remember to take all advice with a grain of salt. Any advice can be good, but you need to ensure the advice you are following is applicable to where you are at in business and life. Focus on your own goals and make sure that the advice you are taking aligns with that.
A big push in e-commerce is dropshipping. Many people will say that it is a great way to make money, and it is. But it isn’t a great way to build long-term value or brand. If I were to follow this advice my company would not be where it is today.
In the last two years, what have you become better at saying no to?
I try hard to say no to new marketing opportunities in general. There are always people trying to offer us something, and tell us why an opportunity is going to change our business. I’ve been trying harder to focus on the big picture rather than the little tasks.
What is the one book you recommend most often and why?
How about two books? One for getting started and one for later on.
4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
This book was my biggest inspiration to get started with my business. From a practical standpoint, a lot of the points are outdated. But the mindset is still extremely applicable.
Once you are established I would recommend Scaling Up by Verne Harnish
In my mind, this is the business operations encyclopedia. There are also about 200 books that are recommended inside based on what your challenge is.
What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?
Starting out it is important to get exposure to new ideas and opportunities. I recommend optimizing for what you want to do, and where you want to go in life. Search for jobs and opportunities that give you skills in your areas of interest. If it is entrepreneurship this might mean searching for knowledge instead of money.
Makes sure that you stay true to who you are and what our goals are. There is an idea in college that when you graduate, success is determined by your paycheck. But this is not the case. Success is determined by your love for your occupation, and how good you are at it.
Mentors do not have to be lifelong, you need different ones based on where you are in life. You can take advice, but remember that you need to follow your own compass in order to find happiness.
What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?
I don’t have a favorite quote… but one that pops into my head is, “If you ain’t first you’re last.” -Ricky Bobby
But this definitely isn’t something that I live by.