PLH 94 | Pitching Your Value

 

We dive so often into the product world and we get all caught up in our features and functions that we forget about pitching our value. After years of sitting in a cubicle, Pitch Queen Michelle Weinstein realized it wasn’t the life she envisioned for herself. Michelle went from being a real estate analyst to accounting to products, and learned about contracts, legalities, product manufacturing, food manufacturing, lawsuits, investment money, pitching to top investors in the country, and more. People buy people. If you’re pitching whatever you’re doing, they’re buying you because you’re solving this massive problem or inspiring a lot of people. Michelle recounts her trials and tribulations starting products, and shares some of the success factors that got her to where she is right now.

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Product Launch Hazzards is going to interview the Pitch Queen, Michelle Weinstein. I am so excited because you have some killer background. I love talking to women with killer backgrounds. You have some experience in mass market retail and all levels of selling products and services. It is interesting that you have been able to dive in and get so much accomplished. You’ve been in Costco and The Vitamin Shoppe. You’ve been on Shark Tank.

Yes, you just never saw me. That’s a different story.

You write it in your bio as you were brutally rejected so we’re definitely going to talk about that. You started a company called FITzee Foods, which is what got you into Shark Tank and all those places. We’re going to definitely talk about your trials and tribulations starting products. You have found your own teaching other people and helping motivate other people to pitch their value. That’s what I want to talk because we dive so often into the product world and we get all caught up in our features and functions, and we forget about our value. None of that matters. Tell me a little bit about how you got started because I read your bio, but I want people to hear your story.

I’ll give you the shortened version, so we can talk about all the other fun stuff. I have a degree in finance from the University of Arizona. I got a job at an accounting firm at Moss Adams right out of college. The cubicle life was not for me. After years of sitting in a cubicle, my parents telling me that I had the best job ever, I’m like, “I don’t know about this.” I was making $30,000 or $40,000. I had a 401(k). The 401(k) did come in to use. I had to borrow against it with FITzee Foods. That’s another story. I knew it wasn’t for me. I had a part-time job at Nordstrom in Downtown Seattle at the time. I love people. I love numbers. I was like, “I’ve got to get out of a cubicle.” I moved back to Arizona where I grew up and I got hired on the spot at a mortgage company. I’ll never forget it was with Ray Sanderson, whom I’m still friends and Lamar Townes.

Those two guys literally hired me on the spot and said, “You’re going to be awesome.” I said, “Okay.” I sat next to Lamar every single day learning about this mortgage business. I was like, “I can do math with my eyes closed. I have a nickname and my nickname is Spreadsheet.” I love Excel. I learned Excel at that job in the cubicle at Moss Adams. Thank you, Moss Adams, for making me great at spreadsheeting. I learned that talking to people and helping them get to the root cause of their problems, which back then was lower interest rates on their mortgages, was what I was good at. I was in the top 3% of the company within a couple of months and they offered me a job in California. I moved out here. That’s how I ended up in San Diego.

That’s where you are right now.

I live in San Diego. It’s beautiful. I go to Arizona every once in a while but I don’t even love it anymore. I used to think it was paradise but now this is paradise, 70 degrees, 80 degrees most of the time lately with global warming even though no one thinks that’s happening. It’s hot here. It never was 100 degrees here ten years ago.

PLH 94 | Pitching Your Value

Pitching Your Value: You need to find someone who’s at a higher level than you in whatever you’re doing.

 

Not in October or November.

It was 85 degrees. With that being said, my background of being an analyst, I reviewed the financial statements when they offered me a job as a branch manager out here in San Diego and I said, “There is no way this company is going to survive.” It’s not possible. I said, “I give it eighteen months of going bankrupt.” I fulfilled my year contract. I also got my real estate license on the side because I knew I was going to quit. I went in with a box on the last day. On the last day, they also had a box for me. I said, “I’m glad we’re on the same page.” I got fired and I quit all at once. That wasn’t the first job I got fired from. I was a cocktail waitress in college and was fired from that job too, but that’s probably for different reasons. I was a senior. Why not hire freshmen who are going to be here for four years?

How did you leap from being this real estate analyst to accounting to products?

I did not know what I was getting myself into. I ate a lot of burritos. If anyone’s been in San Diego, we have the best burrito shops. They were better than Arizona burrito shops. I ate a lot of burritos. I was about ten pounds heavier and I was looking for a personal chef in a package. I was looking for healthy meals to be made for me and nothing at the time existed. This was 2006, 2007-ish. I can’t even remember the years, that was ten years of my life that’s now on my past. I go back to teach lessons learned for each of you. With that being said, it was an interesting time because I did not know what I was getting myself into but with real estate and mortgages, I was bored. It was the same routine, the same thing. I wasn’t in love with it. I said, “There’s the opportunity. I can do it better. Let me try.” I talked to friends, family. I raised a little bit of money. I gave it a whirl. Ten years later, I end up having to close the company. Through those ten years, a lot happened. I call it my personal MBA program. It was an expensive MBA program. I don’t think anyone’s been to this program before. They’ve been through their own program but through my MBA program, I learned about contracts, legalities, product manufacturing, food manufacturing, lawsuits, up the yin-yang, investment money, pitching to top investors in the country. I did it all. There is no price you could pay for the experience that I received.

I’ve been working in this industry for 27 years. What I know is that you cannot learn it in school. You cannot learn it anywhere else. You can only learn it from the hard knocks of doing it and more so from doing it wrong.

I made a ton of mistakes. When I had to close the company, March 27, 2017, I’ll never forget that date, I was like, “I don’t know what I’m going to do.” I always had in the back of my mind that I’m going to do a podcast. One of my friends is John Lee Dumas. He has a successful podcast, Entrepreneur On Fire. I was a guest on there. Interviewing people and learning about their stories sounds fun. I love talking to people. I’m a good listener. What if I do that? I spent about a month trying to figure out the message I want to convey. I hear time and time again that you’re scared to do this. You’re scared to pitch this. You don’t know which buyer to talk to, how to find that buyer, what to say to them and what to pitch to them. What am I going to do if they tell me no? It’s the fear that’s rolling in your head. I created my podcast, Success Unfiltered, to help you overcome all of that.

I share with you my personal stories, but I also share with you and what I learned from this is none of us are alone. There are a ton of other entrepreneurs that are willing to share vulnerably the raw, unfiltered stories and how they overcame it to get to their success. Justin from Justin’s Peanut Butter talks about his Board of Advisers and how he had to go get a Board of Advisers in order to get around the funding that they needed. I’ve learned so many amazing stories. They have to listen to this Success Unfiltered and you’ll know what I’m talking about. I talk about the raw unfiltered stories. There are even some interviews I’ve done with people where I knew they weren’t telling me the truth or it wasn’t raw and real enough. They never go live because one thing I want you to learn is the stuff that’s not in Barnes & Nobles. They’re not teaching in MBA programs. You’re not going to hear a case study on it. This is the real in-life situation.

We learn our lessons from our experiences. That's what makes us stronger. It helps build confidence. Click To Tweet

Here’s my rule, it’s different when they’re consulting and advising. If they’re teaching you a course that is in a little box, it no longer works. If it works, they’d keep doing it because they skipped all the good stuff, all the important stuff. You say it’s real stuff and I love that.

It’s raw and it’s real. If I save you some time by not starting a business, then that helps you too because at least you won’t waste a lot of money.

Here’s another thing you would probably have a good perspective on. There aren’t a lot of groups either that you can join. If you join an inventor’s group or an Amazon seller’s group, they’re all holding back or they’re all at the same place or below where you are and you’re not getting those stories either.

It’s interesting you say this because here’s an example of what I did. There is a person, we’ll call him Larry. Larry has an amazing podcast and I knew there was something unique and different about Larry. I was like, “Who’s coaching Larry because I want to find it out?” Anyway, I figured it out. I found out. I got his phone number. I called them. The point of the story is you need to find someone who’s at a higher level than you in whatever you’re doing. If it’s me for my podcast, then I’m doing that. If it’s you and you want to get into Target, you should find a mentor that has already gotten into Target. If you want to get into a retail store and do a store within a store concept and pitch a CEO, I’ve done that. You always need to find people that are in alignment with you on your values and what you want in life. They’ve already done it and they’ve done it better than you. Who helped and supported them? Those are the people that will help. There’s no group because they’re trying to figure it out too.

I call that the Been There Done That Again and Again rule. It’s one of my hazard rules of hiring consultants marketing experts, whoever you might need to hire in the business. It is that idea that you want someone who has done and walked that road because otherwise, you’re going to step in all the hazards of whatever it is you might go into.

I’ll give you another example. There’s a company. Her food is super good. It’s delicious. I can’t remember the name, but we’ll call it Vegan R’ Us. It’s vegan meals. They deliver to your door. They are doing a lot of money and revenue. She said, “Michelle, we want to get into corporate. We want to get in the corporate catering. We were in Scripps. We did a lot of corporate accounts.” I said, “That was one red flag of a mistake that I made.” If you’re in the prepared food business, ears up. I said, “Where does 80% of your revenue come from right now?” She said, “Direct to consumer.” I said, “If you focus on that 80% and don’t worry about the corporate stuff, imagine what could happen. What if you got your packaging a little bit better and your shipping more online?” They could have made a few improvements I saw. They reached out because they knew I already did it and a bunch of other companies, who I was friends with, our competitors, the foreign business anymore tried it too. We’ve already failed for years. Let me save you time and money.

That’s a good point because what you’re talking about is that 80/20 rule. If you’ve got this 80% of your business coming from a single area or a single direction channel, whatever you want to that, in this case maybe direct to sales, if you start trying to tap in and trying to build the other ones, you’re distracting your business. When it’s in growth mode, it’s a failure formula.

PLH 94 | Pitching Your Value

Pitching Your Value: Every single issue stems from contracts. If you have a terrible contract in the beginning, you’re going to have problems at the end.

 

I was so distracted. We were doing direct to consumer. We did retail. We got into Costco with protein bars. I was trying to work a deal with The Vitamin Shoppe. I was all over the place trying to make it happen. That model doesn’t work that well, especially if you have a product. You’re spreading yourself too thin and your team too thin. My team was spread way too thin. The peanut butter, the thick good one, we were the oily one that was slithering all over the place. It was not good. I can see it but then I was like, “We need to diversify our revenue. We need to do that.” At the end of the day, we had to pick and choose. Do we want to do retail and online? It was the hardest decision. We were about $1 million in revenue. It’s hard to let go of something because you have a fixed overhead. For a lot of your product-based businesses, another thing I would think about is do you want to make your own product or do you want to outsource the manufacturing?

Not only were we a sales and marketing company, but we were also the manufacturers of the product. It adds another layer of complexity and challenges to the table. One of the things I would do differently is do you want to be a manufacturer as well for your product? For food, I get the challenge. It is hard. We did get an East Coast co-packer. If I look at the companies that did well, one of them in Chicago in particular. They started from the get-go having an outsourced manufacturing. Even when they got to scale and had a scale, you didn’t deal with one of the challenges we had. Your meal tastes like X when you make them? When your co-packer makes them, they taste different. It’s different when you grow big. If that’s in your growth plan and your business plan, it’s definitely something to think about in the beginning stages.

I don’t usually do food or fashion because food is so difficult as I know. I know and that’s why I don’t specialize in it. Fashion is too trendy. You have too many hits and misses. I don’t like the odds.

I have a lot of inventory sitting around. I didn’t have time for inventory sitting around. It went bad in about five days.

You had to get rid of it fast.

If you’re doing a food-based business, you want to think hard about your margins and what you’re going to start out and who’s going to make it because especially with us, we were dealing with fresh produce, the meats. You have food waste on the kitchen side and you had food waste on the retail side.

You should take on a challenge for your first product.

People buy people. Click To Tweet

I was like the Cirque du Soleil of entrepreneurs. I would do an all sorts of craziness upside down and sideways. Literally, the food business is like Cirque du Soleil for your eyes. You don’t know what you’re looking at any moment.

I love that you call it the Shark Tank crew. You get a lot of Shark Tankers on. I’ve worked with some who are my clients. I have some insights like you do. It’s not always a good deal. There are lots of stuff you don’t hear about. There are people like you who never make it to the to the screen.

It was still the best experience of my life. If you have a product-based business or some cool invention, I’d say go for it because the whole process is boot camp. If you’re in a military mindset, my guess is it’s going to be like boot camp for the military or if you’re like me, I love the Olympics. It’s like going to the Olympic trials and getting to at least run your race in the 100-yard dash for entrepreneurship. For me, to pitch in front of Daymond and Mark and Kevin and Robert and Barbara, that was the opportunity to go to the Olympics for an entrepreneur. Some of them get a gold medal silver or bronze and others of us, nothing ever happened. The experience is still there. We learned from our experiences. We learned our lessons from our experiences. That’s what makes us stronger.

It helps build confidence and literally everything after that was Costco and Vitamin Shoppe and Scripps doing all of these deals that I literally had no business getting, but I had the confidence to even ask for it. I had the confidence to pitch it. I applied in April or May. They taped in July and then you had to wait until October to see if it even aired. Imagine being in the unknown for about six months. You get good at entrepreneurship or if you have a product and everything else, you’re in the unknown every day. You never know what’s going to happen. In San Diego, one summer, the power went out. I lost all the food in our store. I lost all the food in the kitchen. I went to the kitchen one day, it looked like the Hurricane Katrina came in. A pipe burst in front of the kitchen. There was water everywhere. Every single day there was like, “What’s going to happen today?”

You’re sitting there waiting, going, “Do I scale up my entire business to be able to handle the influx of orders because I’m right here on Shark Tank or don’t I?” That to me is so risky.

You never know if you’re going to air. Not only is that you have to figure out if you’re going to have enough inventory, but what about your website crashing? I was at this thing one day. Tara, one of the girls, she had $1 million in sales the night her episode aired. They had put a banner ad on the website. They had to delay orders for a few months because to manufacture the product, it took about three months. There are all of these challenges that make it super exciting. It’s like being on a human roller coaster ride of business. You can learn a lot of lessons. What’s cool about my podcast is that every month I have a Shark Tank veteran. The Shark Tank veterans share the real raw stories of Shark Tank. If you want to get a glimpse of what goes on, there are some amazing episodes that you can go to Success Unfiltered on your podcasting app or go to my website, ThePitchQueen.com, go to Success Unfiltered. You can see every four-ish weeks, there is a Shark Tank vet. I also interview investors. Kevin Harrington was the first shark that I’ve interviewed. Daymond’s going to be next. Over the next few years, I’ll have each of them because it’s interesting to hear also their perspective. Some people have amazing deals and relationships with their investors, but there’s a ton of stuff that you never see.

I’ve interviewed Kevin Harrington a couple of times for Inc. articles and for The Time. We always had this big chat about how many don’t make it. There are so many that don’t make it. It’s for a whole ton of reasons that are valid but 90% of them have nothing to do with the product.

PLH 94 | Pitching Your Value

Pitching Your Value: Double-check your work. One mistake with a product-based business can ruin you.

 

It’s about a person. People buy people. If you’re pitching for whatever you’re doing, lately I’ve been working with a few songwriters, singers amazing voices. They’re pitching themselves to labels and managers. They’re buying you and you solving this massive problem or inspiring a lot of people. At the end of the day, they will bank their investment because for every ten companies, I don’t know how many go out of business. I’m sure that in nine departments, one makes it. I tried everything. I tried everything on Earth. Even one of the biggest investors, we still have a great relationship because he knows not every single investment is going to make it. These are accredited investors. They know what they’re doing. They know that they’re taking a gamble, first on you and then the timing of the product and the product and making sure all that goes far.

Most investors think the product is also harder. It’s a harder one to get investors to or even interested in doing product companies. There are a lot of reasons for that. Most of it is a channel problem right now because the channels are a mess. The retailers are a mess. There’s so much risk there that has nothing to do with you or your product being good. There’s a lot of that that hesitates them from the get-go. Are you going to ever do another product company again?

Not right now. I don’t have a great product. Literally after FITzee Foods, everything seems extremely calm and chill and easy. I was talking to one of the other Shark Tank gals. She has a super cool product. Her name is Cindy. She has the silicone pad and you put it underneath your glass, Tupperware and when you put it in the microwave, you can take it out without burning your hands. Talking to her on all of the things she’s got going on, she was doing customer service when we were out at dinner.

It never stops. It’s an overwhelming business and you are like, “It’s a little easier.”

I’m not the best inventor on the planet. She’s a good inventor. If there are any inventors out there that want a partner, then I would be open to that, to do a product-based business again. It has to be a good product. I was showing Alejandra, one of the Pitch Queen interns here. One of my favorite Shark Tank products that I bought for my whole family was the Drop Stop. It was that black foamy thing that you put in between your seat and your center console of your cars so your cell phone doesn’t drop every time and food. It saved a lot of lives and that’s a product that’s not going to go bad. Cars aren’t going extinct anytime soon. If the Drop Stop guys reached out to me, I would be super interested. Number one, I have to love your product. Number two, I have to think the whole world needs it and I do think all cars need to not have that gap in between the seat and the center console for safety and for food purposes and for dropping your cell phone. There are some parameters and I call those your boundaries. Who will you work with and who you will not? When investors are looking at you and your company or giving you money to do a record album, whatever it may be, they are thinking about that. What’s my ROI? How many people is this going to help? It’s important. If you ask me if I’m going to do a food product again, the answer is no.

I’m so glad you’re so honest about it. I love that about you.

I’m pretty blunt, honest and to the point.

Don't let fear get in your way because if you allow it to stop you in your tracks, that's 100% a failure. Click To Tweet

We always do this as we get towards the end, but before we do our all our positives, we hit all the hazards. I’d love to either have you recap some of the biggest risks and biggest hazards that you came across in running your business or perspective from the people you’ve interviewed. Give us a short list of one that you’ve seen are the biggest ones, the most common ones people fall into.

I haven’t talked about this one a ton but each person should know. If you’re doing an agreement, a contract, I would have two attorneys review your work and review your contracts because every single issue stems from these contracts. If you have a terrible contract in the beginning, you’re going to have problems at the end. I would have two attorneys review your contracts. The other thing, I would never have a three-way party agreement ever again on my life’s entire history while I live. I hope each of you never does that. Let me explain what that is. Our prepared meals were inside Scripps, which is a huge hospital and medical chain in San Diego. We are working with their employee wellness program. It’s a great program. They were subsidizing the meals for their employees. We got super creative, thought outside the box and partnered with a vending company. The vending company, us and the hospital were all on one agreement.

Who would have ever known that almost four years later they would come back to us and say, “The vending company is not responding. We believe they owe us $200,000 and because they’re not around and you signed the agreement, you’re liable for it.” I was like, “You have got to be kidding me.” That mistake did put us out of business because I said I will not go through another lawsuit. This is not of interest to me. My investors are not going to do that either. I am done. That was the icing on the cake that ended. One thing like that can break your business.

Another thing that can break your business is you need to have good quality control. I’m going to share those of one of my competitors. He’s a good friend. They also ship food all across the country. Imagine this mistake. It happened to us but not as large scale. Cindy had the same problem. I’ve heard this from multiple people now. The wrong shipping label date got put on all of your product boxes out the door, which means that when the UPS guy shows up and they go to scan, it doesn’t scan because it’s all dated wrong, which means that your products sit there until you get it right. The staff is gone. Everyone is gone for the day. You show up the next day. Nothing is correct. You also had all this food that never made it to customers. They did get it picked up, it just never went anywhere. By the time, they received the box of the food bag, I’m not sure on the details. Don’t quote me. Talk about a massive mistake that can literally put you out of business if you’re shipping almost a thousand boxes of meals with the wrong labels on it. This happened to me personally on a smaller scale. We lost the food product that was in that box. We lost the labor cost on that food. We had to reship the products that we paid double shipping. We had to remake the food and do the labor.

Appease a bunch of customers so you had a customer service time.

Your relationship with your fulfillment center if you have a fulfillment center for your product is crucial. Your relationship with your packaging company is crucial. I had another friend. You can learn from all my friends. The expiration dates on their products were wrong. Imagine a food product and then should be good for about six months and the date on all the packaging was wrong. This happened to me with our FITzee bars. For one of the flavors, the expiration date was wrong. I can go on and on but double check your work. People used to say, “You’re cynical.” One mistake with a product-based business, it can ruin you.

Let’s now allow forgiveness here. That’s what people don’t understand. You haven’t built brand value for a long period of time. You haven’t built that rapport with the consumer. They gave you a shot and then root it up in their minds.

PLH 94 | Pitching Your Value

Pitching Your Value: You have to set yourself up in order to win. Give it a try because you have nothing to lose, only something to gain and people to help.

 

You get one shot. That is true but there are ways that you can implement good quality control. We did not have great quality control. It’s one of the things that is almost like investing in attorneys. Invest in QC people because the amount of money you would have paid for two QC people will be cheaper than the amount of money you pay in a mistake. Some mistakes like what we experienced went out of business. That’s an expensive mistake. That was a few million dollars and over a little over $100,000 in personal credit card debt in my name in mistake. If I would have had two attorneys review that, would that have been less expensive? I know it’s hard in the beginning when you’re like, “We don’t have a lot of resources.” I would go back to the drawing board and figure it out because then if you don’t have the resources yet, it’s not worth it to even keep going.

Right here at Product Launch Hazzards, we believe and we talk about the right things in the right order with the right resources and that’s the way I do. What are some of those great things that you would recommend to someone now that you’ve had the hard experiences? What are some of the things that you would do again that are so valuable and so important that you felt this was a success factor to us getting where we got?

I did have good investors that did believe in me. That was helpful because we wouldn’t have accomplished anything if it wasn’t for them. My investors were great also that when I was pitching on Shark Tank, we did practice Shark Tank pitches. I do think your investors are important. One area that we did not have was an advisory board, a good one. It’s finding someone who is in the food space or a couple of people. I don’t have a food background. I have a finance and sales background. I could do all the selling all day long but when it came to the food department, I was like, “I hope this happens.”

I have a good friend who started a baby products company, diapers and wipes. The first time I met her and talked to her, I was all expecting to go, “There are so many mistakes here.” I was expecting that. When she told me the guy who is one of her advisers and the experience he had, I was like, “She’s in good hands. She has a shot at it.” That is so true. Advisers with great and deep experience in an industry are so important.

Investors in your exact industry. If I look at some of the most successful companies that I’ve interviewed, they had found a partner that had done what they were doing already before, be it in the beverage space, the healthcare or the beauty products space. The thing is when I started, there weren’t a whole lot of people doing this business. It was new. I did reach out to our competitors to try to partner up, but no one was interested in that game plan at the time. I would even get a couple attorneys on your advisory board. If you don’t have a lot of funds in the beginning or you’re not prepared financially, having a good attorney or two, you have to have two. That’s for sure, especially if you’re getting investments and you’re doing convertible notes or you’re doing equity investments, whatever it may be, having multiple attorneys help. Some of it was good. Some of it wasn’t.

Michelle, there is going to be all kinds of links to you at the Pitch Queen and how they can find you and to your podcast, which is brilliant. I personally listened to it and this is worth it. There are podcasts like what we do here, which are teaching lessons and then introducing you to interesting people who can take you further and deeper dive into it. Michelle is one of those people. You do need to know what you don’t know. She has got that in spades for you. Michelle, any last words, any last pieces of nuggets? You’ve given us tons of advices.

You all have a product-based business or you’re selling on Amazon. If you don’t try it, you’re never going to know. If you give it a try, there’s a 50/50 chance at least you know about it we’re going to go well or it didn’t work. Don’t let fear and “I don’t know” get in your way because if you allow it to get in your way and you stop in your tracks, that’s 100% a no or 100% a failure or 100% zero sales. What if you did something right and the opportunity turned out to be $1 million, $5 million, $10 million idea? A lot of us stop because, “What if they say no, they’re not going to respond to my email? Target’s never going to launch this product. I want to reach out to that fire, but I’ll wait until next week.” That’s my mission for each of you because I know what’s possible. I’ve done it. I stayed a little too long with my business. I’m not going to lie. I’m going to start a whole series about HowToCloseYourBusiness.com eventually because no one talks about that.

I want to go on with you with how to get out of your product because when you get out of your product, you’ll wait too long.

It’s the same thing. Timing is so key. It’s like real estate. Real estate market changes every seven to ten years. I did that in my past life, so does our businesses. Sometimes that’s how do you get out of your product or how do you change it to meet the demand of the marketplace. What’s difficult though is when you are in it, you can’t even see which is why it’s important to have a Board of Advisers, have a mastermind group, have a coach. I will have this coach for my birthday in March of 2019. I talked to him but you have to set yourself up in order to have this win. If you don’t try, you’re 100% a no so why not flip it, heads or tails and give it a try because you have nothing to lose? Only something to gain and people to help.

Thank you, Michelle. I’m so glad you joined us. I appreciate your time.

Thank you so much for having me.

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About the Authors

PLH 94 | Pitching Your ValueMy name is Michelle Weinsteinand I’m a time-tested entrepreneur and founder of The Pitch Queen. In my 20 years of sales experience, I’ve worked with multiple CEOs at billion dollar companies, landed contracts with national retailers like Costco and The Vitamin Shoppe, and pitched my way onto ABC’s Shark Tank.

I’ve sold everything from mortgages to Paleo Meatballs to million-dollar homes. My formula is a simple one: own your value and worth, share your gifts with the world, and create a foundation for success by establishing genuine and lasting business relationships.

My mission is helping mission-driven entrepreneurs sell high-value services to their clients without feeling sleazy, pushy, or desperate. I show my clients how to have empowered sales conversations, own their value and worth, and skyrocket their top-line revenue.

My journey started with a degree in Finance and a job as a Financial Analyst. I knew from the jump that the corporate gig wasn’t for me, and I started seeking alternatives to the cubicle life.

I got an additional part-time job at Nordstroms selling upscale women’s clothing, and I discovered a burgeoning passion for customer service. That sparked my love of the sales process, and it was a harbinger of big things to come.

Soon after, I followed my love for health and fitness and started teaching outdoor boot camps. I quickly learned that I could make nearly as much money doing my own thing as I could with the safe and secure corporate job. And that was all the reason I needed to take the big leap.

I quit my Financial Analyst job, took on a job as a loan officer, and started learning the mortgage business. Then the real estate business started calling, and my inner entrepreneur emerged in full force.

For the next few years, I was all about real estate and mortgages. But my entrepreneurial life started taking its toll on my health. I knew that skipping the gym and living on fast food & burrito shops wasn’t an option anymore, and I knew that I wasn’t alone in this. I saw a need in the market, and I set out to fill it. I thought, how could I make eating healthy, easy, simple & convenient?

I took the most radical leap yet: I started up a food company. Now, I had no experience in food manufacturing. But my passion for health and nutrition would not be stopped. And FITzee Foods was born.

What I lacked in experience I made up for in persistence. My persistence got me my own retail store, several contracts with local businesses, and a spot pitching in front of the ultimate panel of investors: the Sharks of Shark Tank.

Now, I didn’t get a deal. In fact, I was brutally rejected. But at the same time, that experience set me up for many big wins. I got contracts with both Costco and The Vitamin Shoppe. I snagged catering deals with several Major League Baseball teams, and partnered with coaches in the NFL, NBA, and NHL to provide nutritional support to their athletes.

FITzee Foods came to an end in March of 2017, and I was at a crossroads again. But just like the time before, what looked like failure was a stepping stone to a new adventure.

As I analyzed the demise of my company, I realized that every successful person has many stories of failure to tell. And it sparked a new idea for me. What if as entrepreneurs, we talked about the REAL stuff? Like the times we lost a major deal. The days that we couldn’t make payroll. The lawsuits we endured. And yet through it all, we never gave up.

My 20 years of experience in sales needed to be shared, as well as the experiences of others like me. Nobody’s path is free of failures and setbacks. But if you believe in yourself and stay in the game, magic will eventually happen.

That became my new message. And from there, The Pitch Queen was born.

As it turned out, my biggest failure lead me to my biggest WHY. Now, my passion is helping entrepreneurs and business owners who sell high value services or programs own their value, remember their worth, and embrace the selling process with confidence. I’m living proof that if you stay in the game, success is inevitable. And it’s a message that I share with passion every day.