Lisa Lloyd is an innovation fanatic, a wicked-good problem solver, an insightful trainer and advisor, and a voracious learner. She is the President and CEO of the Lloyd Marketing Group, Inc., a company that specializes in driving growth through end-end innovation. Lloyd is a professional inventor and consultant with a proven track record of success in developing products and licensing.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I grew up in Tucson, AZ as an only child to a single mother. Honestly, it was a bit rough. My mom had a rock star career, something I am very proud of her for, but it did mean that she worked all the time, so I was left to work a lot out on my own. It made for some tough times as a kid and issues I had to overcome, but there was a hidden treasure. It taught me to be self-reliant and how to be a problem solver. Without those two traits, I would NOT have enjoyed the success I’ve had.
Interestingly, when I had my first invention, the French Twister, I was 23 and wanted to build a big company. I had no idea how difficult and unprepared I was for that. When I hit a wall and couldn’t grow beyond the small sales I had, I decided to “give up” and just license it to Scunci. What I didn’t realize at the time was that licensing was NOT giving up, it was the beginning of a very lucrative new business model that freed me up to just invent, patent, and license over and over again. That model suits me SO much more than working on just one company day in and day out. It allowed me to play in the sandbox I love most, creative problem solving and selling those solutions, and it changed my life!
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
Hindsight is always 20/20, but I wish that I would have trusted more people for help or at the very least, was part of a mastermind group with the right people when I was building my business. Remember, I was only 23 when I started and had no experience, but I was afraid to ask for help because I thought it would expose me as a fraud. I thought I needed to know it for myself or I had no business doing it in the first place. Now, at 52, I know that I am not a fraud, but not because I know everything now, that will never be the case! I know I am not a fraud because I know who I am and how much I care. Not knowing something doesn’t make me a fraud, it makes me a LEARNER, and for that reason, I am very proud and unafraid to ask for help and seek out the answers to grow personally and professionally. The only difference is my perspective.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
Well, my answer is a common one for inventors I’m sure. The worst advice I got was that the first thing I needed to do when I had my first invention, was to go get a patent. That couldn’t be further than the truth, that is ABSOLUTELY not the first step!
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
I will try to make a very long story, short. I decided to break my business model and get into manufacturing and distribution. While it landed me on Shark Tank and won me the opportunity to work with Daymond John and generated a lot of buzzes, I ultimately had to shut it down for a number of reasons, some based on the economy and out of my control, but some because I was way out of my sweet spot, inventing and licensing. Shutting down that business made me feel like a failure. I became severely depressed and blew up my personal life.
I walked away from inventing for a couple of years to catch my breath. In that time, I worked as an Entrepreneur in Residence for several startup accelerators and helping them was the beginning of helping myself. I was SO encouraged to be surrounded by others who knew the struggle of building a business and I was able to help them avoid the mistakes I made with all my experience as well. The magical moment that changed everything was when I was asked to speak at a large event for start-ups on “Failure”. I was crippled with fear and clung to the podium, something I am normally very comfortable doing, but standing up in front of a huge audience and sharing everything I failed at and what I learned was terrifying.
I finished up with “Failure is only an ending if you haven’t learned anything from it. If you make failure your friend, look deeply into its eyes and let it be your teacher, you will replace getting bitter with getting better and it merely becomes a stepping stone to your success”. I don’t even remember if I looked up from my notes for the entire talk, but I do remember this, when I was done, I looked up and received a standing ovation! I teared up and could barely speak to thank them.
I’m proud of all my learnings, and I realize now that I learn more from my failures than I do my success, and that makes it valuable to me and not something to be afraid of.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
First and foremost, it is that I am a voracious learner! So, with an ABL (always be learning) mentality I stay curious and constantly ask questions about why we do things the way we do. That combined with my deep drive to solve problems keeps me stimulated and creative. It is at the heart of that creativity and open mind that all my inspiration to innovate WOW solutions come from.
What is your morning routine?
I am NOT a morning person☺ I don’t set my alarm, haven’t for more than 10 years. I listen to my body and get up when I am ready. As an entrepreneur, I work a lot, often well into the evening, so I do my best to give my body the time it needs to rest. I wouldn’t say I am not much of a “routine” person either. You can count on me getting my green tea, a little something to eat, and check the news headlines. I do have 2-morning meditations that I subscribe to, The Daily OM and Today’s Gift from Hazelden, that show up in my inbox every day. I will read those and ponder them before I read any other emails to find my center and breathing before diving into the madness of a day.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
I don’t think it is really any one thing. It is a lot of little things that are all building on what I have learned works for me. Basically, I am optimizing everything I do for efficiency.
That said, one of the biggest things I made a decision to do last year was to get to the heart of what I do best and just do that. To stop taking on opportunities that task me in ways that I really don’t enjoy, leaving me wishing I was doing something else. I was always afraid that if I turned down business I would run out of money. But, really defining what mattered most to me and turning down anything that didn’t align with it opened my time and thinking to create a program that I am SO in love with, that it is all I will do for the rest of my life!
Like I mentioned earlier, I want to be mindful, meaningful, purposeful, and passionate. Building a program that makes me happy by following those benchmarks has positioned me to have more freedom while helping more people and making a wonderful living all at the same time!
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
Like most entrepreneurs, I have massive ADD. So, I’ve learned over the years how to be more organized as a necessity to grow professionally. One of my techniques for doing that is to have multiple small spiral notebooks for each of the ventures I am involved in. I make a conscious effort to only do one thing at a time. If something pops into my head that I think needs to be done, I add it to the corresponding notebook and decide if it needs to be done right away or if it can wait. If it is urgent, I will write down what I need to finish doing in the right notebook and start the new task. When I finish tasks, I go back to my lists and scan them for the next priority to get done.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
WOW, this is a hard one to answer, so many books have influenced me. I’m a voracious learner so I am always reading books to grow both personally and professionally! I guess one of my top favorite books that I’ve read for professional development is Competing Against Luck by Clayton Christensen. I love everything he’s written on innovation, but this one actually really helped me in other aspect of my career, it frame and articulate what I have done that made me successful as an investor. That might sound strange because you would think I know what made me successful, but it was mostly intuitive for me, so translating that for others to learn from was always a challenge.
Christensen’s explanation of Jobs To Be Done Theory and all the real-world examples of how he used it with large organizations to create winning innovations demonstrated all the steps that I had taken and finally gave me the language to articulate it for others to be able to replicate my success. That was really meaningful to me because I LOVE helping others learn how to be successful inventors that license!
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
Yes, a few. My oldest phrase is “No doesn’t mean “No”, just not that way!” ~ Lisa Lloyd
I don’t think this next one is technically a quote, but about a year ago I wrote on my whiteboard the words “Mindful, Meaningful, Purposeful & Passionate” and I use it as a measuring stick for every opportunity that I’m presented with, which is almost daily.
The more successful you are the more people ask you for something. I had to create a mantra, so to speak, to measure everything through knowing if it aligned with what I need and want before making decisions on opportunities.