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Andy Drish is an entrepreneur, speaker and traveler. After dropping out of Corporate America, he built his company from scratch. He’s the owner of The Referral Squirrel, a marketing system real estate agents use to consistently generate referrals by sending their friends, family and past clients exclusive special offers at local businesses.
He has spoken to thousands of people all over the nation about personal branding, building a business and connecting with talented, like-minded people. He is passionate about helping others take action on their ideas and was selected to be part of the Young Entrepreneur Council, an elite group of the world’s leading young entrepreneurs.
When he’s not playing at work, you can find him wrestling with his puppy, traveling the globe or drinking cheap wine with his close friends.
MO: Was there a lot of planning involved in dropping out of Corporate America or did it all happen quite quickly?
Andy: Yes…lots and lots of planning. I went into Corporate America determined to learn as much as I could… and get out of it as quickly as possible. After two years, I negotiated my hours down to 24 per week so I could focus on building a business on the side. One year later (to the day) I put in my two weeks notice. Spending the three years in Corporate America taught me a lot, but it also allowed me to build a business on the side that was already generating revenue so quitting my job wasn’t such a huge leap of faith.
MO: What’s been the best part of starting your own company? And equally, what are the downsides?
Andy: The best part about owning a business is creating freedom for my team (and myself) to work and play from anywhere in the world. Our lives are no longer constrained by location. We can add value to our clients’ lives regardless of time or place. The downside is of this lifestyle is that, because of the lack of consistency, I sometimes find it hard to buckle down and really focus on something and I struggle to get into specific routines for work.
MO: You mentioned that you think that the American Dream is changing. Can you explain what you mean and why you think that this change is taking place?
Andy: In the past, the ‘American Dream’ was to have a good steady job, a big home in the suburbs, two kids, a dog and a white picket fence. I believe the new ‘American Dream’ is having the ability to work wherever and whenever you want to. The notion that ‘work’ only happens between 8-5 in a grey cubicle is complete nonsense. I believe our generation is much more interested in living a life that combines work and play as opposed to separating it.
MO: How is does your marketing strategy at Referral Squirrel differ from what other realtors are doing?
Andy: To get referrals in real estate, you must give people value. Traditionally, ‘value’ has always been content based. Since our society has been so inundated with content, it has become less valuable (unless it solves a very specific problem.) Instead of sending content-based marketing, our clients send exclusive special offers to local businesses so the ‘value’ is clear and tangible. Local businesses get free marketing. Our agents get to send their clients clear value. And their clients get special deals. It’s a win-win-win for everyone.
MO: You’re a self professed innovator and implementer. How do you stay inspired and how do you bring your ideas to life?
Andy: I believe entrepreneurship is the best tool for personal growth and creating immense value for the world. Few things on earth with give you the highs and lows of running a business. It’s my purpose and mission to use my gifts to deliver as much value to the world as possible. That is what keeps me constantly implementing ideas and coming up with new ones.
MO: You’re planning a move to Boulder soon. What made you decide on Boulder and what are most looking forward to?
Andy: Boulder is an amazing place full of energetic, talented people doing awesome things. It’s a small community with a thriving tech scene. Plus, it has all of the lifestyle elements I want… I can go snowboarding, hiking, mountain biking or a variety of other activities within a moments notice. It makes for a phenomenal quality of life.