Ish Verduzco of IV3 Media: “Create a hit list of things you’ve done well”

Create a hit list of things you’ve done well. Whenever I’m in a very low moment, and I’m feeling self-conscious, I look at this list of things that have gone really, really well and things that I’ve accomplished, and it helps me gain confidence in myself. “Hey, you’ve done some amazing things. You will get […]

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Create a hit list of things you’ve done well. Whenever I’m in a very low moment, and I’m feeling self-conscious, I look at this list of things that have gone really, really well and things that I’ve accomplished, and it helps me gain confidence in myself. “Hey, you’ve done some amazing things. You will get through this because you’ve gotten through these other things.”


Being a founder, entrepreneur, or business owner can have many exciting and thrilling moments. But it is also punctuated with periods of doubt, slump, and anxiety. So how does one successfully and healthily ride the highs and lows of Entrepreneurship? In this series, called “How To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur” we are talking to successful entrepreneurs who can share stories from their experience. I had the pleasure of interviewing Ish Verduzco.

Ish is a leader in the tech industry, who currently serves as the Director of Growth and Marketing at a social media food startup called Crave It. He’s now on a mission to help 1 million people from underrepresented groups achieve their goals by 2025. Ish wrote How Successful People Get Ish Done and host a podcast called “The Get Ish Done” show.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I’m from a Latino family, the first to graduate from college, and I live in Los Angeles. I ended up writing a book because I relied on CliffsNotes and movies in high school and college. I didn’t really read books growing up.

Then, when I got into my 20s, I got into self-development and had a moment of reflection where I noticed a lot of my friends and family weren’t regularly reading and investing in their self-development, so I figured: “Why not write something for them?” There isn’t very much representation of Latino authors, and if I could do it right, hopefully, it would inspire an entire community of people to learn.

What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?

The “Aha Moment” around creating my company, IV3 Media, happened around the time I started writing the book “How Successful People Get Ish Done.” I realized that I wanted to have a bigger impact than just one-off social media and blog posts. I wanted everything to focus in one direction — helping 1 million people from underrepresented groups achieve their goals by 2025. As I was writing the book, I thought: “Why don’t I just start my own media company?” That way, I have an umbrella for my speaking engagements, the book, any future books, a documentary I plan to do soon, and my podcast.

In your opinion, were you a natural born entrepreneur or did you develop that aptitude later on? Can you explain what you mean?

I don’t think anybody’s a natural-born entrepreneur. Some of us are more social, and that helps. My mom was very entrepreneurial ever since I was a kid, so I think that had a huge impact on me. I remember when I was in elementary and middle school, we would sell shoes at the swap meet. I used to love bargaining with people.

Then in middle school, that transitioned into selling Hot Cheetos out of my backpack because the school didn’t sell them. I saw a gap in the market and found I could sell them for $4 a pop and make $3 on them. I would buy them from the ice cream man after school, then flip them the next day. Supply and demand! I had five bags of Hot Cheetos, so whoever pays the most gets them, and I just progressed from there.

If you’re around entrepreneurship, it influences you a lot. My mom has had a ton of businesses, too, so being able to see a strong woman build stuff from the ground up and not be afraid, that sets the model for what you can and can’t do.

Was there somebody in your life who inspired or helped you to start your journey with your business? Can you share a story with us?

I don’t know him, but I’d consider Tim Ferriss my life/business mentor who has no idea I exist. I study him and everything he does. I like how he operates at scale. He always appreciates and prioritizes his time, so those are two qualities that I’ve baked into my business. That’s why I focus on the book, social media, the blog, the podcast — all ways of reaching lots of people.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Not a lot of companies are focused on helping people from underrepresented groups achieve their goals. Philanthropy and just being a good person to others are the foundation of my company. I didn’t write a book to make money. I wrote a book to help people from a specific demographic.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Perspective — I work in tech, which lacks diversity, but I also grew up with a very humble Latinx background, and I went to college, which has a different group of people as well. I’m able to be a chameleon in different rooms, so I can add value and be myself at the same time without feeling like a fraud.

Grit — This is not my first company. When I was 19, I tried to start a company that created an app to help people share music on their phones with other friends. That failed. We couldn’t figure it out. I started an entertainment company, and that went well for a few years, but then it became too time-consuming, and the ROI wasn’t worth it.

Confidence — Confidence that things are going to work out no matter what, confidence in myself and the work that I do, confidence in my community.

Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. Can you share a story about advice you’ve received that you now wish you never followed?

I’d push back on this mindset of going to school, graduating, then getting a job, making good money, climbing the ladder, and working the rest of your life. Boomers taught us millennials to prioritize that security. People in Gen Z are living their lives completely differently.

I don’t know if I needed to go to college. I like my career and the work that I do, but sometimes I second-guess myself and think: “Could I have just done things differently if I started my company earlier and pursued it 100%?”

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them create a work culture in which employees thrive and do not “burn out” or get overwhelmed?

Build a diverse company from the ground up. Be aware of the people you’re interviewing and give them a fair shot. People, especially from the Black and Latino communities, constantly feel like we’re code-switching and wearing facades. We’re wearing masks, basically, and we don’t feel like we can be ourselves. We burn out more quickly because it takes a tremendous amount of energy just to perform our daily tasks that our other colleagues are doing effortlessly. The diverse companies that are doing it right are keeping their employees a lot longer because people from underrepresented backgrounds don’t feel like they have to be someone they’re not. They can just perform and do well.

What would you advise other business leaders to do in order to build trust, credibility, and Authority in their industry?

Not being selfish with your audience. In business, everybody wants to compete against one another, but it shouldn’t be a zero-sum game where if I win, you have to lose. If both of our audiences happen to be similar, and I’m not able to fulfill their needs, by sharing or highlighting my competitor or a thought leader in the industry, then I’m able to generate trust.

I’ve seen authors do it all the time. Just because you’re a self-development author doesn’t mean you’re the only self-development author, so sharing other people’s work, almost makes you even more trusted in the eyes of your audience. Obviously, if you’re the other author who gets that retweet or that share or that blog feature, then you’re going to love them even more and want to help them out the next time.

Can you help articulate why doing that is essential today?

It just keeps these microeconomies going. If it’s self-development, it ensures there are more people reading self-development books. If you run a marketing agency, it ensures that people are constantly looking for marketing consultants. There are only so many hours in the month or week or day. I’ve had clients ask me for work, and I don’t have the time to support them, so I hand them off to other friends who I know are great marketers. That’s $3,000 or $4,000 out of my pocket, but I wasn’t able to do the work anyway. I know that down the line, it will come back to me in some way.

What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?

A major mistake is not asking for feedback early on and just blindly shipping your products and services. Then, they’ve spent all this time and effort to get a product to market, and their target demographic is incorrect — they’re marketing to the wrong people — or they don’t like the product.

Just simply ask questions throughout the process. “What are your thoughts on this?” Very open-ended questions that can be done through social media or in one-on-one customer calls.

Ok fantastic. Thank you for those excellent insights, Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about How to Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur. The journey of an entrepreneur is never easy, and is filled with challenges, failures, setbacks, as well as joys, thrills and celebrations. This might be intuitive, but I think it will be very useful to specifically articulate it. Can you describe to our readers why no matter how successful you are as an entrepreneur, you will always have fairly dramatic highs and lows? Particularly, can you help explain why this is different from someone with a “regular job”?

All the pressure’s on you at the end of the day as an entrepreneur. There’s nobody else to turn to, whereas in a company, there’s a hierarchy. There’s always your manager, your manager’s manager. There’s a company that has your back on the finances and when you mess up. As an entrepreneur, it all comes back to you. That also means when you win big, that’s all you, too.

Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually high and excited as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.

My high was the day that my book published, last year in June. That was ten months of work, nonstop, every single day, probably 30 hours a week on top of my full-time job. It was so gratifying to see the product on Amazon, available for purchase. I printed it out and had it in my hand.

Then, I felt even better the following week, when I got DMs and text messages like: “This book changed my life.” “I haven’t read a book since I was 12 years old, and I’m actually excited to read your book because I resonate with your story.” That’s the ultimate high. I don’t think you can surpass that.

Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually low, and vulnerable as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.

The week after the book was published, I realized that there were some errors in it. I had to very quickly hire a second editor to do a deep scrub and re-publish the entire book, 42,000 words. I’m pretty sure I shaved off five years of my life, stressing out that week.

Based on your experience can you tell us what you did to bounce back?

Just act quickly. After hiring the editor, I put out a post on social media to say, “Thank you so much for the feedback. I realized there were some errors. I’m going to make the book available for free download in case you purchased it or in case you’re interested.” It was my way of saying “I’m sorry,” while allowing people to get a cleaner version of the book.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Five Things You Need To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur”? Please share a story or an example for each.

Have a solid support group, whether that’s your friends, family, significant other, someone not related to your business but who can be there when you’re low.

Stick with a workout routine. Something you can do every single day to keep you grounded and get the endorphins going.

Maintain close relationships with your customer base. When things go wrong, be able to openly say: “I’m sorry this went wrong. We’re working on it.” But do it in an authentic way, not putting some PR message out there that everybody will feel is fake.

Learn from other people’s errors. I study maybe five to 10 other entrepreneurs on a weekly basis, just from podcasts, their books, and their autobiographies, so I’m able to pick up on their errors and try to avoid them.

Create a hit list of things you’ve done well. Whenever I’m in a very low moment, and I’m feeling self-conscious, I look at this list of things that have gone really, really well and things that I’ve accomplished, and it helps me gain confidence in myself. “Hey, you’ve done some amazing things. You will get through this because you’ve gotten through these other things.”

We are living during challenging times and resilience is critical during times like these. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?

Resilience is the ability to continue moving forward, even when faced with adversity. Resilient people have grit, self-awareness, determination, perspective, and humility.

Humility is particularly important because a lot of the resilient people in my life and the people I’ve studied are very relatable. Even if they’ve achieved really, really awesome things and they’re faced with adversity, they’re able to be genuinely good people. They come down to Earth and are humble, and they have a good sense of perspective as a result.

Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Would you mind sharing a story?

My dad passed away when I was 12. Having that traumatic life experience happen so early on just taught me how short life really is and to appreciate every moment that I have. How this has actually translated into my work and everything that I do is living every day as if it’s my last. All the work that I do and the projects that I commit to, I try to be as resilient as possible in all of them. Even if things aren’t going well, I have a greater purpose for what I’m doing, and I know tomorrow isn’t granted, so I might as well give it my all.

In your opinion, do you tend to keep a positive attitude during difficult situations? What helps you to do so?

Yes, sometimes I can be too positive, honestly. What helps me put things into perspective is I’m never playing with life or death. I’m not a doctor. So anything I’m doing, if it looks like it’s not going to work out, I’m not going to die if it doesn’t go well. I’ll still have my health and my family, so just keeping myself grounded allows me to relax a little bit, and that usually helps me perform even better.

Can you help articulate why a leader’s positive attitude can have a positive impact both on their clients and their team? Please share a story or example if you can.

It’s been scientifically proven that words of affirmation — and when you’re positive with others — that emotion carries throughout different organizations and to different people. When you feel good, you perform well. That’s particularly powerful, especially for leaders when people are looking to them to pave the way forward for the team.

Ok. Super. We are nearly done. What is your favorite inspirational quote that motivates you to pursue greatness? Can you share a story about how it was relevant to you in your own life?

I’m a mentor to a lot of people at scale, and I think being able to have a positive outlook on life always serves as an anchor for them. I do notice that people reach out to me when they’re in distress, and they’ll present a problem, their business problem, and I’ll lay it out very clearly why things are going to go well if they do X, Y, and Z in a level-headed way. That tends to give them a little bit of a confidence boost to say things are going to go well and to keep trucking forward, versus breaking down and freaking out.

How can our readers further follow you online?

I’m on Twitter @IshVerduzco. People can also visit my personal website or check out the book’s website.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!

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