Erik Wilson: Serial Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Positivity Evangelist


From time to time we like to sit down with real entrepreneurs — people who live the type of advice we post every day — to learn more about their journey, from their triumphs to their struggles. Erik Wilson is a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist who has started many businesses, the most recent of which is Pozify, a mobile app that focuses on connecting users with the content they want and spreading positivity across the Web.


We sat down with Erik to ask him a bit about his entrepreneurial background and about his most recent venture, take a look below:


AI: How did you decide that you wanted to be an entrepreneur instead of pursuing a regular career path?


Erik: There were two main reasons:


  • I saw my dad get really screwed from his hard-earned retirement money (millions in stock options 1 year from vesting) when it came out that the CEO of the company was embroiled and convicted of the largest corporate scandal in US business history (Worldcom).  It was through absolutely no fault of his own, and I told myself soon after that that if I’m going to lose everything that I’ve worked for, it’s going to be because it’s my fault, not someone else’s with my destiny in their hands.
  • After I concluded the latter, I saw a need in a current industry and area that I was interested in and had some skills in. (a water feature/landscaping company)


AI: What was your first entrepreneurial venture? Did it succeed? What lessons did you learn from it?


Erik: It was called Natural Flow Water Gardens. I did custom ponds, waterfalls, themed gardens, & palm trees.  I wouldn’t call it a total success but I never lost money by any means.  It most likely would have continued to be successful. However, I made a choice a few years into it that I wanted to get bigger business experience to take into my next startup.  I learned a ton of lessons, but the two largest ones would be:


  • Get systems in place as soon as possible.  I love to create and I realized that the day to day operations is not my favorite thing to do.
  • I learned that at some point I was afraid of success.


AI: Did you have a mentor or advisor while you were going through this process? How did you find him/her?


Erik: To an extent yes, but not really. I joined networking groups, took advantage of SBDC tools, my current university’s local small business help, etc.  Everything else I just kind of made up as I went along, like my pricing structure and maintenance contracts.


AI: How did you go about building your team?


Erik: In this case I used a ton of outside resources, such as suppliers, distributors, trade jobs, word of mouth, and networking groups. I never really had a team per say, but I developed a go-to system of people when I needed the materials and such.


AI: Do you set out knowing you want to create a business and go from there, or do your business ideas come to you naturally?


Erik: Both. I have a lot of ideas and over the years of learning and working with other entrepreneurs and successful business people, I’ve learned to take ideas quickly and drill down deeper with them more quickly to see if they could be a viable business.  But some of the best businesses ever created started from just an idea someone had that was a solution to a problem that they found and realized many others had it too.


AI: A lot of would-be entrepreneurs have a tough time getting started because they don’t know where to start. How did you start the process of creating a business out of nothing?


Erik: Every day it gets easier to actually start a business, but potentially harder to succeed. Meaning, with the enormous amount of info available and access to it through the Internet, there are tremendous resources for free or cheap to help anyone who wants to be entrepreneur get started.  What that also means is that there is an enormous amount of info to help confuse you, make you second-guess yourself, and also leads to flooded marketplaces. The key is to do enough research that you feel confident that you can succeed and be sustainable and/or able to exit.


AI: How did you deal with knowledge gaps? Were you able to find team members to make up for these? Did you take classes in certain areas?


Erik: I personally have spent over 6 figures in entrepreneurial and business education.  I constantly invest in myself in an effort to keep disrupting and evolving who I am as a human being in this world and also who I am as an entrepreneur.  When knowledge gaps occur, which happens often when you take on many different things, I always try and find the right team members or mentors that can help guide me through the gaps.  Business coaching and personal development is a must if you are going to be an entrepreneur for life.  The moment I feel that I am the smartest person in any room, I’m doing something wrong or I’ve potentially let my ego get in the way.


AI: Can you speak a bit about your current venture(s) and what those projects mean to you? 


Erik: Currently, some of my most exciting ventures are Pozify, which is currently a social network app changing how people connect to others. It lets users feed themselves great, relevant, and high-rated content, and get real rewards for doing so.  For the 1st time ever, users can actually get paid to make their newsfeeds how they want using our Patent Pending Scoring system.


As far as other businesses that I am involved in, there’s one called LifeCube Inc.: an easy to deploy, military grade, self-sustaining instant shelter.  It can be set up in 10 minutes and be totally off the grid for at least 10 days with everything that you might need.  We’ve pioneered a new way of capturing and storing solar energy too, which has become a spinoff company to with unlimited applications.


One more that I will share with you are my passive real estate investments.  This isn’t a passion of mine currently per say, but it’s a weapon in my arsenal that I will always have in my portfolio and will continue to grow it depending on the deals that fit my needs.  Virtually every project or business that I take on now includes 3 components:

1) Can this make a significant, positive impact on a large scale?

2) Is there a charitable component to it?

3) Can it be setup to virtually passive income for me?


AI: What would you say are the top three characteristics a great entrepreneur should have?




1) Risk Taking and little fear to fail.

2) Self confidence

3) Self-starter/ action taker.


AI: Has your sense of mission changed at all from when you were starting out to the present, and if so how?


Erik: Without a doubt it has changed dramatically.  I started out with a sense of just doing honest work; doing something I truly enjoyed doing, and thinking about it as a way to live my life.  In the last couple of years, I’ve really shifted my focus on transformational thinking. Literally what ideas I have or can help propagate, that could truly change the world for better.  I’ve started thinking more in terms of each experience and what that brings not only to my life, but the lives of those around me.


Erik Wilson is a serial entrepreneur who is involved with many philanthropic endeavors and is continually devoted to making the world a more positive place. He is the founder and CEO of Pozify, a social networking app devoted to spreading positivity across the web.


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