Member Spotlight: Erik Darmstetter

What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Sales! You are selling employees, vendors, banks, customers, your spouse or family and yourself. All of the others can be handled by CPAs, COOs or people better than you are.

How do you generate new ideas?
I spend over 150 hours a year learning at the top business growth conferences, technology shows, stimulus from inventors, and then travel and listen people that are smarter than I am.

Name one business failure and what have you learned from it?
I built an interactive division to a company that filled a need nobody asked for or wanted. It failed fast and crazy expensive versus now I know its ok to fail just Fail Fast and Fail Cheap!

What is your greatest business fear, and how do you manage it?
No cash. I created my own strategy in regards to billing and paying bills. I realized in previous companies how much time, money and salaried efforts were put into things that do not make money. So now we spend only 2 days a month on anything related to billing. On the 1st, we bill our clients. On the 15th we pay our vendors. The payments to vendors are all on credit cards (we never pay interest) and the credit card closing date is on the 14th. So this allows all of our payables to automatically have 45-60 days of free float for cash flow and not cost us a cent. Actually, we make money doing this with the rewards and cash back.

How do you define success?
It is a feeling of freedom. Freedom to do what you want, when you want, how you want and listen to whom you want to. Freedom to fire rude clients (I have fired over 8 clients) fire employees that do not live up to your core values and freedom to LIVE, LOVE, and LEARN.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
My companies purpose as in mine is to Inspire others. A moment would be when a client, intern, employee or other told me that because of me, their life changed for the better and they will never be the same because of it.

What is one thing that no one knows about you?
I used to stretch David Lee Roth’s leather pants prior to each show in the 80’s. I had to walk around it them for hours, it was a miserable job but paid my bills. And no, David nor anyone else ever knew it was me.

Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
I recently took a private tour of Google. It was highly inspirational and has to be the one I admire most!

What is your favorite EO memory?
Hanging out with Jason Alexander, Rob Simons, Gal Shweiki and Moises Woldenberg at the Playboy Mansion

In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.


Erik Darmstetter
CEO & Founder
Sales by 5
85 N.E. Loop 410, Suite 218
San Antonio, TX 78216



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