Alex Neist, Founder, Hostage Tape,
Alex Neist is founder of Hostage Tape
For those who don't know anything about you or your work, can you provide a bit of background?
My name is Alex Neist and I’m the founder and CEO of Hostage Tap. I’m responsible for steering the growth of the brand, marketing and expanding its market footprint throughout the U.S. and Canada.
I’m an ex-Arena Football League quarterback and played for teams like the Tri City Diesel, Tulsa Talons, Spokane Shock and the Bakersfield Blitz. I also was a coach for a variety of positions, including head coach, assistant coach, wide receiver, offensive, passing and quarterback.
After my football career was over, I set my eyes on new business ventures, including Hostage Tape. I saw a need for a tool to help people get a proper night’s sleep. Using my knowledge of sleep, obsession with health, wellness and entrepreneurship, Hostage Tape was founded.
Was any one person who was instrumental in helping you get from where you started out, to where you are now?
For Hostage Tape, I was inspired by “My First Million podcast.” I loved hearing Sam & Shaan bounce ideas off each other and just the general conversations. Listening to them felt like I was around “my boys” and it motivated me to take a leap and start my second company. But truly, the people who inspired me the most were my parents. My parents taught me that I could accomplish anything and build whatever I wanted if I just put in the work and was determined to do it. I am never afraid to take a leap and start over.
Is there a particular piece of advice you were given in the early days of your business journey that you still benefit from today?
1) My parents taught me I could accomplish anything I dreamed of as long as I worked hard enough. These words have such a strong value to my core beliefs and are something that I teach my kids every day.
2) Stoicism: I learned through my divorce and then getting back together with my wife, the idea of Stoicism. This taught me to remove emotion by not taking things personally and just staying calm and collected. You might have a storm going on inside, but on the outside, it is critical to present yourself to be calm, cool, and collected.
3) Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss also changed my life. The root of his message links back to emotional intelligence. It is essential to be able to harness and utilize emotional intelligence to guide you through any task on a daily or through any walk of life. Voss not only taught me how to sell, and negotiate, but he also taught me how to confront difficult conversations. This book is the foundation of the principles I teach my employees as we are all constantly dealing with people. People want to feel heard and understood and when selling or connecting to someone, this book has tips that are the backbone of successful communication.
4)Robert Cialdini is another author who has inspired me as he has written a handful of books on the foundations of selling, persuasion, and marketing. Cialdini is a psychologist, and he teaches the psychology behind marketing and human communication.
5) Jordan Belford is someone who doesn’t usually get credit, but there is brilliance behind his process of selling. His message and process have allowed me to teach his method and continuously inspire others.
What is the most important lesson you've learned about leadership in your business journey so far?
Giving your team the autonomy to do their role and making sure they have everything they need to succeed in that role.
What are the top three things you wish you'd known when you were just starting out?
The first 15k units we ordered were completely wrong. A small detail wasn't communicated in our manufacturing process which caused the product to feel very different than what people love today. We learned to communicate every detail of the manufacturing process and triple check everything on production and use continuous quality assurance on every production run. It taught me the importance of clarity in communication without assuming details.
How to use video in our FB ads sooner, it took us the first year to finally find what videos work best.
How to use landing pages better, this also took us the first year to understand what format works best for us…and not just sending traffic to a product page.
In your experience, what is the most effective way to build a strong network of mentors and advisors to guide you in your business endeavors?
Make something great that people want to be a part of. Successful people don't have a lot of time and they’re very selective with who they spend their time with.
Hostage Tape has found product market fit and is becoming known as the best product of its kind on the planet. As a result, high level investors, entrepreneurs, and influencers have come to me.
I also send a lot of product out to key people who I think resonate with us and have an audience in our demographic.
How do you determine when it's time to pivot, and what factors should you consider in making that decision?
This has always been a gut feeling for me. I only build things I'm deeply passionate about that are very personal to me. And I'm so determined and driven that I never give up. My first company I started lasted for 16 years and was then acquired.
How do you stay motivated and inspired during the business cycle of ups and downs?
I remind myself that every time things get tough, the universe is testing me. Its challenging me to see if I have what it takes, am I worthy enough to succeed to the next level. When stuff gets really hard that means you’re close to leveling up. Winners never quite, quitters never win.
Looking back, what one thing would you do differently if you could start your journey over again?
There’s a book I make everyone on my team read, “Never Split the Difference” by Chris Voss.
I would have read this book, if it existed, way sooner in my life.