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Stephan Aarstol is the founder of Tower Paddle Boards and the No Middle Man Project. Founded in 2010 and funded by billionaire Mark Cuban, Tower Paddle Boards is one of the biggest success stories in Shark Tank history. With only $100K in lifetime sales at the time of the pitch, Mark Cuban invested just $150K, and since then Tower has done over $30M in sales. Tower was the #1 brand out of over 2 million 3rd party sellers signed up for the pilot Amazon Exclusives program. They also have branched into Tower Electric Bikes and Tower Beach Club.


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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [1:25] Jeremy introduces his guest, Stephan Aarstol.
  • [3:00] Before and after Tower’s Shark Tank appearance.
  • [7:40] Jeremy and Stephan talk about their paddle boarding experiences.
  • [9:30] What does it take to capitalize on an ecommerce idea like e-bikes?
  • [11:45] Stephan talks about Tower’s branding.
  • [14:30] How Mark Cuban reacted to the 5 Hour Workday & other ideas from Stephan.
  • [18:20] Stephan talks about the “No Middleman” platform.
  • [26:00] What advantages does a direct to consumer business model have?
  • [32:00] The benefits and challenges of featuring products on Amazon.
  • [36:45] Stephan talks about a Harvard Business School study on Tower.
  • [40:00] What do Stephan and his team do to drive traffic to their site?
  • [44:20] Who should check out No Middleman?
  • [47:20] Stephan’s impression from spending time at Harvard Business School.
  • [51:30] What led Stephan to include his book with Tower Paddle Boards?
  • [55:45] Stephan talks about the Five-Hour work day.
  • [1:02:15] Why a full 8 hour work day is not realistic.
  • [1:05:00] Stephan hopes up about a low moment in his career.
  • [1:08:00] A proud moment in business for Stephan.

In this episode…

As ecommerce giants like Amazon continue their path to increasing control of the marketplace, where does that leave customers? Can a direct to consumer platform wrestle the spotlight away from Amazon and others? On this episode of Inspired Insider, you’ll hear from entrepreneur and innovator Stephan Aarstol. In his conversation with Jeremy, Stephan opens up about his experience on Shark Tank, how he developed Tower’s branding, what it is like working with Mark Cuban, why he created No Middleman, and much more. You don’t want to miss a minute of this fascinating episode featuring Stephan’s story!

Can you imagine what it would be like to have your organization featured on a high profile show like Shark Tank? What would you do to make your product or service stand out from all the rest? Stephan Aarstol had the opportunity to feature his brand, Tower Paddle Boards, on one of the early seasons of Shark Tank. Benefiting from that experience, Tower Paddle Boards was able to secure funding and additional investment by Mark Cuban. They’ve since increased their profits and the reach of their brand by leaps and bounds. Make sure to check out the link to the Tower Paddle Boards site located in the resources section at the end of this post.

Did you know there is a lot of power in authenticity and constancy? It’s true! When you look at the landscape of today’s marketplace you can see that brands are making a massive shift to align with the values of Millennials, chief among those values is authenticity. Is your brand authentic? Is it trying to be something that it is not? As he built Tower Paddle Boards, Stephan Aarstol forced himself and his team to ask this question as they worked to expand the brand and feature new products. Would it make sense for a beach themed brand to put out pillowcases? No! Don’t try to be something you are not, embrace your esthetic, don’t run from it.

What would it take to even the playing field and bring more options to customers in today’s ecommerce marketplace? What if there was a platform like Amazon, but instead of Amazon’s best interests at heart, it had customers? Seeing a noticeable gap in the marketplace, Stephan Aarstol went to work creating a new direct to consumer platform called, No Middleman. Stephan and his team have created a searchable directory and online showroom for the worlds best direct to consumer products and brands. With today’s ecommerce landscape, there is no reason why intelligent consumers shouldn’t have a platform they can trust. Learn more about No Middleman by checking out their website, located in the resources section at the end of this post.

You’ve heard the adage, “Work smarter, not harder.” What if more businesses actually operated with that concept at the forefront? Would we see more organizations adjusting their business practices around the actual workload instead of a bygone system? Stephan Aarstol thinks so! In his conversation with Jeremy, Stephan talked about his “Five Hour Workday” model that he’s implemented throughout his organization. People thought Stephan was crazy for taking this radical step, but the truth is, it worked! Stephan’s organization embraced this concept and thrived as a result. Could it be time for your company to consider a Five Hour Workday?  

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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