Customer Profile: Lance Cardoza’s journey from the powerslam to the power of networking

January 30, 2012

Ever wonder how other FreshBooks customers run a business and do what they love? Customer portraits connect you with your fellow FreshBooks peers to share guidance and inspiration.

Today, Lance Cardoza is the president and CEO of Business Street Media Group, a public relations and consulting company connecting businesses in central California. Lance and his company put together events such as 40 under 40 and Heroes In HealthCare. But just a few years ago, he was working in the professional wrestling industry. Learn how Lance went from the ring to the boardroom by diving into entrepreneurship and staying focused on his vision:

How did you come to own Business Street?

I was working in professional wrestling. I was into photography and the video end of it. I really enjoyed the media aspect. Well, full circle, I had a family and I went into commercial printing. Then I ended up buying Business Street and taking it to where it is today.

Business Street began as a magazine, but it had a terrible launch date: Sept. 11, 2001. You didn’t own the company at that point, but you were working with the proprietor. In your recollection, did the start date hurt the business?

Yes, in the first while. When the owner first printed it, he was devastated. He knew no one would be interested in something new, a business publication. We all felt it. The whole country was turned upside down. The first year was challenging, especially looking for advertisers. In the second year it started to pick up. He was one of my commercial printing clients, so I encouraged him to grow. I thought it was a great idea; it just needed some tweaking. It needed the mission statement to go from a paragraph to two simple words: “creating connections.”

You bought Business Street in 2004 and now it’s a website and public relations consultancy – not bad, considering when it started. What advice do you have for others faced with a difficult launch?

Don’t focus on the mainstream media. They get caught up in the bad news. Focus on what you’re doing with your clients and your product. Why are people interested or not interested? What are we not doing to make it work? What are we doing that is working?

What surprised you about working for yourself?

I thought being your own boss meant not having to answer to anybody. That’s not true. You answer to everybody. Learning that humbles you.

What do you like most about it?

It’s the excitement to create. It all falls on your shoulders to get things started… I figure any event can be done in 13 weeks. You need 13 weeks to promote it, run it, and organize it. If we get teams of people put in place, we’ll be fine.

Who inspires you?

I look to successful people who have learned how to use the media but not abuse the media. I would look at Donald Trump and Vince McMahon at WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). Another big one would be Michael Gerber, who wrote the book The E-Myth. He was tackling the fact that 95 percent of businesses fail in the first year. Why did they fail? Because they lacked systems. He wrote about putting systems in place to grow the business.

What would you like to see happen with your business?

I would like to see Business Street Media Group on the news side become a national company.

What advice do you have for small business owners just starting out?

Buy The E-Myth. I think everybody should read it before starting a business. What small business owners do when they begin is they’re working in the business, not on the business. In the end all they’ve done is create a job. They start businesses because they want to break away from the job, and they want to create. A lot of people don’t realize they fall into that trap.

Are you still in the professional wrestling industry?

I’m still a promoter today. I have an independent league, Lucha Xtreme… And I own a training center where we train professional wrestlers to go up to the big companies.

about the author

FreshBooks is the #1 accounting software in the cloud designed to make billing painless for small businesses and their teams. Today, over 10 million small businesses use FreshBooks to effortlessly send professional looking invoices, organize expenses and track their billable time.