S Goliath Podcast – S1 – Episode 24 – Eric Coffie
In Episode 24 of David Vs Goliath Podcast Adam DeGraide interviews Eric Coffie from GOVCON GIANTS. Eric has a passion to help small businesses get large government contracts and enter a market that they may not even know is available to them. This is a highly informative and energetic episode.
Adam DeGraide: Hey, everyone. Really quick right before we get into today’s episode, David Vs Goliath has a new store on its website. We can get hats, mugs, t-shirts, hoodies. Pretty cool. Check it out, davidvsgoliathpodcast.com. Thanks for watching.
Coming up today on David Vs Goliath.
We bailed ourselves out. We get up every day, we went back to work, and we did it again.
Eric Coffie: If you do the activities, you watch the videos, you participate, it should take you to $5 million in revenue.
Adam DeGraide: Wow.
Eric Coffie: The government can’t do that.
Adam DeGraide: I know, it’s too big.
Speaker 3: Welcome to today’s episode of David Vs Goliath, a podcast dedicated to helping small businesses leverage technology to not only help them compete against their large competitors but win. Your host is currently the CEO of Anthem Business Software, a three-time Inc. 500 recipient and a serial entrepreneur with a passion to help small businesses everywhere find, serve and keep more customers profitably.
Please join me in welcoming your host, Adam DeGraide.
Adam DeGraide: Hey, everyone, it’s Adam DeGraide. It’s going to be a terrific edition of the David Vs Goliath Podcast. We have Eric Coffie from Govcon Giants. This gentleman has a passion to help small businesses break in to the funds available to them with government contracts. When I received this application through the davidvsgoliathpodcast.com website, I was totally blown away. And I said, “I’ve got to have Eric on.” Plus, he’s got his own podcast, it’s going to be a fantastic episode.
Today’s episode is brought to you by Anthem Software, where you can find, serve and keep more customers profitably with their all-in-one solution built specifically for small businesses of software, marketing, and consulting. Take the 122nd tour today at anthemsoftware.com. My book is still out, you can check it out. It’s The Adventures of Jackson: The Young Field Mouse on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Make sure you check that out.
And as you know, we have a brand new store. I mentioned that in the intro of this episode as well. It’s very, very exciting to have that. So go get yourself some swag, some DVG swag, and share the love with your friends and family and other people that you know who love and want to support small business everywhere.
You can visit us online at davidvsgoliathpodcast.com. There, you can apply to be on the podcast, like Eric did, and he’s going to be on the podcast today. You can also subscribe to receive our email newsletters. And you can also ask DVG a question all on the website.
Well, with that all out of the way, I can’t wait to get into this. This is an industry I’m learning a lot about myself right now. So Eric, welcome to the David Vs Goliath Podcast.
Eric Coffie: Thank you for having me. First of all, David Vs Goliath, how could I say no to that?
Adam DeGraide: Well, it’s so funny you say that. You and I have very similar passions, right? It’s to help small business take on the giant and win.
Eric Coffie: Yeah.
Adam DeGraide: And in your case, it’s to help small businesses take a bite out of the giant and get some of that government money that’s there.
Eric Coffie: That’s right.
Adam DeGraide: I’ve learned, I’ve gone on a crash course the last two weeks because my company that I’m running right now, Anthem Software, went to the A8. And we kind of did it totally blindly, like not knowing who would be there, how we could help. And I’ve learned so much just in the last couple of weeks on how the tiered structure is and what’s available for HUBZone and A8 and being a prime versus a subcontractor. And my listeners and watchers right now are saying, “What the heck is Adam even talking about?”
And so that being said, I’m going to turn it over to Eric. Eric, tell the viewers and the watchers a little bit about Govcon and about yourself because I know you got a podcast as well. You got a passion burning in you, I can sense it. So go for it.
Eric Coffie: No, man, thank you for having me. I’m the host of the Govcon Giants podcast. So, when you speak about David Vs Goliath, we are Govcon Giants. And our students that we teach, we train, we coach, we inspire, we motivate, we call them people that we’re making them into giants. So we actually have another podcast, it’s called Making A Giant where we’re actually turning single-person businesses, five-person businesses into mid-sized companies, right? Five hundred people, 200 people businesses. And so, we call that making of a giant.
And on my show, we interview current giants who were once formerly small businesses. And, Adam, the funny thing is, in this world that we operate in, we use the definition of small business very loosely, very loosely because anyone outside of this world would think someone doing $40 million a year is not a small business, right? They’d be like, “You guys are crazy.” Like there’s nothing small about a 500-person, billion-dollar company.
So when your listeners are hearing me and we interchange the word small businesses, just be mindful, it doesn’t mean small in terms of like your mom-and-pop bicycle shop. It’s small by the government’s definition, right? And so that’s a totally different thing.
Adam DeGraide: That’s right. It’s two to 500 employees basic or one to 500 employees. And at the end of the day, they come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve run small businesses that have been worth 133 million bucks. I’ve built small businesses that worth 60 million bucks. And there’s businesses out there that are worth 200 grand but they’re all valuable. And I think both of our missions, your mission and our mission, over here is to help them discover how they can grow and become giants.
It’s funny that you talk about giants, too. So, I’m starting a sub podcast, just a little teaser for my viewers and listeners as well. I’m doing a podcast called How Giants Fall. So I’m going to be covering businesses that were giant that are no longer here. And what we can learn from what they did right and what happened to their demise at the end. So it’s going to be more of a docu-series type of thing that I’m going to do once every two or three months. And I’m working on my first one right now, it should be out in about four weeks. Actually not four weeks, it’d be about eight weeks at this point with our schedule. But it’s exciting, man. So I love the content of what you’re doing, too.
Eric Coffie: I want to say something to that point, which you’re talking about, before you jump over, right? So, interesting enough, when you say that about the following giants, a lot of people have probably read Good to Great, which talks about good companies to great companies.
What I looked at was, if you go back, and there’s this Washington awards, top 100 contractors list for DOD government contractors, they put out every year, it’s a top 100 guys making money for the government. So if you look at the S&P 500’s list, right, from 20 years ago, most of the companies are gone, they don’t exist, right? So the only brands that are still around on the S&P’s 100 list, I think Microsoft was there back then. Intel might have been there but the rest of them are new faces. Okay.
But, Adam, if you look at the government’s top 100 DOD lists, they’re all the same people. That list never changes. They move around in order.
Adam DeGraide: Yeah, one goes down to five, five bumps up to three.
Eric Coffie: Right, five goes above the four, four goes to three. So what’s fascinating to me is how … And I don’t have the percentages because it just was like one of those things that I did but I could show you because I have that Excel spreadsheet that I like then and I go, “Okay, these have been the same people in this list.” Lockheed Martin, right, Boeing, Andersen Consulting. All these guys have been the same people getting government contracts.
And so for me, I saw that as an incredible opportunity for a newcomer to come into this marketplace, like adds real value and can really make a headwind because there are no one competing against these companies. No one.
Adam DeGraide: Yeah. And what I’ve also discovered, too, Eric, and so just for the listeners and the watchers, your company specializes in helping smaller companies get a piece of these contracts from what are called prime contractors is probably what I’m assuming.
So a prime contractor is like what you said, they’re the companies that go in, they get the big dollar commitment from the federal government or different entities within the federal government. And then they’re required by the regulations to spend a certain percentage of that budget on small businesses, HUBZones, A8 companies, different designations to share the love. And so you probably are part of not only helping them get that business or are you primarily going from a sub to a prime?
Eric Coffie: Sub to prime. I mean, we help them get that business but, really, the end game is to become primes. And the reason why is from all of the … And I’ve been doing this since 2007. From all of my years of doing this and all my experience in actually now being on YouTube for four years, have my podcast for three years. So I’ve spoke to thousands of small businesses, thousands, thousands, thousands. And I’ve also spoke to hundreds of government agencies, right, sub-agencies as well.
And what I found is that our government, because they don’t have the ability to go out and just buy like the best product or service based on like … Okay, Adam, most of your listeners and users, when they go shopping for something, they’re looking at the ratings, they’re looking at the reviews, right, when you go to a restaurant, right? That’s how you decide on, hey, if I’m in a new town, I’ve never eaten-
Adam DeGraide: What your friends are saying.
Eric Coffie: Huh? Right.
Adam DeGraide: What your friends are saying stuff like that, yeah.
Eric Coffie: Exactly. The government can’t do that.
Adam DeGraide: I know, it’s too big.
Eric Coffie: So the government does not have the ability to say, “You are the best product, the best service provider, we want you.” They don’t have that luxury.
Adam DeGraide: Hence, the fact that the top 100 is still the top 100 because-
Eric Coffie: Well, that’s the fact, the top 100 stay in the top 100, correct. Right, because they know how to play the game. So what happens is, because the government does not have that luxury to just go out and buy the best company, the best entity that’s out there, they only get to buy from the people who are in the pool that have solicited to them, that’s the pool which they can buy from, that creates a very limited pool of qualified companies that are able to service our United States government.
And so we’re not going to get into the politics of it all. But if you can imagine … That, for me, when I learned that, I said, “Well, there’s a lot of excellent companies out here that could be helping, right, with furthering our mission, whatever that mission is,” right, for an agency or subagency. And so there’s a lot of really good companies that because they’re not in that pool, they’re not being considered for opportunities. Really, I think it’s unfortunate.
And so what I try to do is to showcase through myself as an example, first and foremost, okay, I’m the test dummy so no one has to worry about making … I will spend my money, I lose my money, right, first before I tell anybody to do anything. And so I go through and say, “Look, hey, I show you what it looks like on the other side, what does it take to qualify.” And I debunk a lot of the myths because there’s a lot of myths floating around because when people say government, government come in a lot of things.
Adam, where do you live? Where do you live?
Adam DeGraide: I live in Florida in a little place …
Eric Coffie: Florida.
Adam DeGraide: … right outside of Orlando.
Eric Coffie: Okay, so you live in Florida, outside of Orlando. Okay, great. So you probably have a local municipality-
Adam DeGraide: I don’t want people to know my exact address, Eric, as you can imagine. They’d be-
Eric Coffie: I don’t want to. No, don’t tell me exactly your address. No, Adam, I don’t even-
Adam DeGraide: They’d be coming up on the boat to get me on the shore.
Eric Coffie: I agree with you. Trust me, I know the feeling. I know the feeling. So, again, you live in Orlando but Orlando is Orange County.
Adam DeGraide: That’s right.
Eric Coffie: Orange County is a municipality so they have their own government. Orlando is in the state of Florida, which has its own government body. So when you say the word government and then if you live in Kissimmee, that’s another municipality, right? So, all this still is government but when people just throw out the word government, government, government, they think it’s all the same and it’s not. It’s totally different.
Adam DeGraide: And what’s fascinating to me, man, because this is my fourth software company that I started building with Anthem Software. And it never before had I ever looked at this vertical as even being something that would be viable to me. So there’s thousands of small businesses that are listening to you and I or stumbling across this conversation. And they’re saying, “Gee, does that mean that my small business might have the ability to get either a subpiece or a prime piece of a contract with a bigger dollar amount if it’s presented properly?” The answer is yes.
I mean, I can’t believe how much I’ve learned. I’m not surprised, I guess. I’m really not surprised that there’s so many different layers and so many things that are set up that’s not necessarily not adhered to but no oversight on it in a lot of cases.
Eric Coffie: Sure.
Adam DeGraide: But there’s a ton of opportunity when there’s a ton of money and there’s a ton of money in government contracts. Now, were you in the industry beforehand before you started Govcon Giants or did you just discover it and say, “Oh, I’m going to figure this out and help people?”
Eric Coffie: No. So I was in the industry originally in 2007, when the economy tanked and everything crashed and what the hell, remember there was no bailouts, the real estate market crashed, there was the mortgage crisis, right?
Adam DeGraide: I lost quite a bit in real estate, my friend, quite a bit back then.
Eric Coffie: There you go, right?
Adam DeGraide: And it was like 4 or 5 million, something like that.
Eric Coffie: There you go, right? So we all got beat up pretty bad. And by the way, Adam, did you get bailed out?
Adam DeGraide: No, I didn’t.
Eric Coffie: Right? We didn’t get bailed out.
Adam DeGraide: Hold on, Eric, you want to know who bailed me out? This cat. This cat, right?
Eric Coffie: That’s right.
Adam DeGraide: We bailed ourselves out. We get up every day, we went back to work and we did it again.
Eric Coffie: Absolutely. Thank you, sir. That’s what we did. And I try to explain it to people, I go, “There were no bailouts back then. You ate crow.” I mean, that’s it, like there’s no bailouts. I mean, I thought this is capitalism, right?
Adam DeGraide: Instead of Roots Spirits, you went to LongHorn Steakhouse for a while. It was perfect.
Eric Coffie: Perfect. No problem. Applebee’s was my favorite place, man. Applebee’s-
Adam DeGraide: I went to Chili’s the other day. I still love it. I can’t help.
Eric Coffie: No, no, no, let tell me you. Yeah, I was the Applebee’s king, brother. I was the Applebee’s king back then, okay. It really was, like they said, your neighborhood bar. I mean, all of us, we could soak in our spoils of the losses that we’ve had and all the opportunities we could have done with all the money that went down the toilet. But nevertheless, I started back in that market during that time when everything went to hell. And I was introduced to a gentleman who had heard about the 8(a) program but didn’t know how to use it.
And so, his brother was recently awarded 8(a) and they didn’t know what to do with this stuff because there was no one teaching you how to maximize it, how to use it. And so I just dove in because I had more time than money, basically, so I just said, “Let me …” What else I had to do, right?
Adam DeGraide: Man, this is what I love about this show, Eric, because I talked to so many different types of folks that have, I call it like hesitancy is the death of an entrepreneur but action is the life of an entrepreneur. So when you saw this opportunity, you grabbed it and you just started to dive into it, sink your teeth into it.
Eric Coffie: Oh, I dive right in. Yeah.
Adam DeGraide: And I encourage my watchers and my listeners to check out the website. I was actually pretty impressed with what you’ve done. I watched several videos on your channel as well prior to the interview.
And I’ll tell you, man, what I love about your spirit is that it’s a can-do, let’s make it happen. Even though there’s roadblocks and stumbling blocks, we’re going to get around them together and you can have your piece of the cake and you can eat it, too. And I thought that was amazing.
So, we’re going to take a quick break here coming up right now. And then when we come back from the break, I want to dive in a little bit to your team, some of your courses that you set up for your students as well, too. So everyone, stay tuned. This is an important message from Anthem Software, our corporate sponsor. We’ll be right back.
Speaker 4: Anthem Business Software system is designed to specifically help small businesses just like yours find, serve and keep more customers profitably. We do this by providing you with the most powerful software automations and marketing services to help your business compete and win in this ever-changing digital world. Take a short video tour at anthemsoftware.com.
Adam DeGraide: And we’re back with Eric Coffie from Govcon Giants, who is making giants out of small businesses, taking them from 50 employees to 500 employees, sharing with them how they can get the piece of the government pie, so to speak.
Eric Coffie: Yeah. That’s right.
Adam DeGraide: And it’s great to have you on here. Now, you got a team. I was checking out your team.
Eric Coffie: Yeah, no, actually, we’ve been building a really solid team. I’m thankful. One of the things that happened to us last year was when COVID hit. And that actually was two years ago now because COVID was in 2020, right? Yeah, I think it was 2020. So it’s been two years. Wow, it’s been a long two years for all of us, I’m sure, right? Those last two years.
Adam DeGraide: I’m not even sure what you’re talking about at this point anymore.
Eric Coffie: I know, right? But-
Adam DeGraide: I am so moved on at this point in my life but I know, it’s crazy. Two years, man.
Eric Coffie: Two years, brother.
Adam DeGraide: Yeah, 14 days to slow the spread to two years.
Eric Coffie: Yeah, it’s been the same. During that time, a few of my students and I got together. And we saw the opportunity right away because, again, I interview other persons, people in government on my podcast. I bring on government experts. I bring on people that were former contracting officers, people that support industry, third-party service providers, all kind of folks that are supporting the space.
Well, when COVID hit, we kind of saw what was about to happen really quickly. And so I assembled a team of my top students together and I said, “Hey, let’s go chase after some of this work.” And we were able to pull out 18 million in contracts within a very short period of time. I think it was about two weeks, it took us.
Adam DeGraide: My gosh.
Eric Coffie: Because we were ahead of the curve and we saw what was happening with COVID. And interesting enough, Adam, we did not have the capital to be able to execute and deliver. But it was a great learning experience. And during that exercise, I realized, I said, “Okay, this is a hungry group, right? So I want to keep these guys around.” And so that’s my team today that supports all of our students in our courses, our programs, our coaching, all of that stuff. Those are the same team that I had that pulled off the $18 million in contracts within a few weeks.
So everyone, at that point, I knew had a taste of what it was like to hit it big. They had that spirit and they showed me that we could do it. And we were able to do that in a very short period of time. So that’s the team that I still have to this day now between our courses and our programs. I mean, everything that I’ve done, Adam, because I did set out the channel to really help people, all the monetization stuff came afterwards at the request of students, at the request of other people. They just ask for it, man. Like I didn’t say I’m going to start coaching. Someone says, “Eric, you don’t offer coaching?” I go, “No, what does that look like?” And they said, “Well, this is what I want from it.” I go, “Okay, well, we can do that,” right? And then someone asked me for the course.
Adam DeGraide: How many courses do you have now?
Eric Coffie: So we have 20 courses. It’s actually about 25 but 20 of them that are separate. The other five, we don’t sell separately. But what we do is what I found personally … I see a lot of people selling courses one-off. I just feel like it’s not complete, right, when you sell like a five-hour thing. And government, I don’t think, is complete. So we have what we call a bundle that puts it all together into what we call, it’s now our 3.0 version, which is all of our 20 plus courses put together into one comprehensive package which is called 3.0.
So it’s an annual subscription but we support that. So it’s not just on-demand learning. We actually support all of our students with weekly calls every Tuesday. So you could come in and, again, I was in real estate and people in mortgages. And when you’re in a group setting, right, it makes you like pumped up, it keeps you encouraged, you have a support system outside of just learning by looking at, right, videos and sound. So we meet every Tuesday.
Adam DeGraide: Now, when you meet, is it like a large Zoom call? Is it like a big-
Eric Coffie: Yeah, it’s a large Zoom call. Yup, it’s a large Zoom call, mostly about 40, 50 people, sometimes as much as 70 or 80. Whenever we have a happy hour, that’s when we hit our peaks, Adam. So for some reason, happy hour attracts a lot of people.
Adam DeGraide: People who like the adult beverages in education.
Eric Coffie: They love it.
Adam DeGraide: It was always my favorite times at conventions, too. Have a few drinks.
Eric Coffie: That’s what they like, right?
Adam DeGraide: Yeah, people’s wallets get a little bit lighter. I mean, they’re more willing to open them up. Their minds, in some cases, just opens up a little bit more.
Eric Coffie: I think also there are people that are more introverted that would not speak otherwise, right, and they won’t come out. And then on the last Tuesday, because they’re every Tuesday of the month, we bring in guest speakers as well to support our students. So we bring in guest experts from government, from contracts, from different topics every month to support them. So we support them.
Adam DeGraide: Well, you’re going to have to bring in a marketing expert.
Eric Coffie: Yeah, I think we have one on the schedule. I don’t know.
Adam DeGraide: Hey, just so you know, I am one. So you-
Eric Coffie: Well, listen, talk to Maria.
Adam DeGraide: Yeah, talk to Maria.
Eric Coffie: Talk to Maria. Talk to Maria.
Adam DeGraide: It’s interesting because, like I said, we went to that A8 convention and we’re trying to support them, and really realize that there are things that they need to do from a marketing perspective, automation perspective, technologically perspective.
Eric Coffie: Sure. Yeah.
Adam DeGraide: And they weren’t even aware of it, didn’t know other people that can help them. So it was really cool to get involved in that. Now, with your students that you currently have, so it’s an annual subscription or is it a monthly subscription?
Eric Coffie: Yeah, annual subscription.
Adam DeGraide: Okay, that’s great.
Eric Coffie: I mean, you could buy a lifetime version but most people buy the annual subscription.
Adam DeGraide: And then they get the fresh content that you put out all the time. Now, is there a different element of your business that not only provides the education but will actually jump in with the business?
Eric Coffie: Yes, we do that. Yeah. What happens is, we have students that have excelled, right? And they want like, “Hey, we already learned this stuff, like we know that we’ve got it.” So we have people … Or if someone wants a handholding, we’ll coach you and handhold you through the process. Okay. But then if you want to partner up, I mean, we will partner up with companies, right? So we’re doing that now.
Adam DeGraide: It seems to me like that would be the natural law flow, right? You got somebody who’s really-
Eric Coffie: Yes, correct. Right.
Adam DeGraide: That’s great because you can help them go from a sub to a prime.
Eric Coffie: Yeah. So I just launched a program in December. It’s called PAL, and it’s my inner circle program for students who are … So for example, I’ll just tell you, the way my tiers view them. So my course, for me, the way it’s at now, if you do the activities, you watch the videos, you participate. It should take you to $5 million in revenue.
Adam DeGraide: Wow.
Eric Coffie: We already had over a dozen students at 5 million in sale annually, not 5 million like growth, 5 million annually. Okay.
Adam DeGraide: Now, I did have a question in regards to that. So when you land a government piece of business, I would imagine they have to be slow payers.
Eric Coffie: No.
Adam DeGraide: They’re not.
Eric Coffie: Absolutely. I’m so happy you asked that question. Let’s go back to, remember I described you live in Orlando, you have Orange County, the state of Florida, then you got the federal government. I specifically teach federal government contracting. I don’t teach local. I don’t teach state.
Adam DeGraide: Okay.
Eric Coffie: We do bring in speakers occasionally that will teach you state and local contracts. The reason why I stick to federal government because one is when I was … And when you and I were in trouble back in ’07, ’08, the federal government is the only one that had the power to bail out anyone. And they chose not to.
Adam DeGraide: Yeah.
Eric Coffie: They elected not to. So guess what happened, Adam, if you had a state or local contract, you didn’t get paid. I didn’t say this in the beginning for lack of time but one of my closest friends went bankrupt because the city decided they couldn’t pay him. They didn’t have the funds. They weren’t going to sacrifice paying the contractor versus the firefighter versus, right, the people that support the city, police officers. Remember when the market crashed, there was no tax revenues coming in for the housing market. So they didn’t have money to support their budgets. They were the first ones to stop paying contractors.
Adam DeGraide: Wow.
Eric Coffie: And so going back to that, that’s why I got to the federal level because the federal is where all the money comes. They just print money. Right, do they not just print? They just print it.
Adam DeGraide: They have been printing quite a bit for quite some time.
Eric Coffie: Some time. So for me, the federal government, the process and the FAR, which is 90% of all agencies follow the FAR at the federal level, which is one set of rules. And so those particular agencies that follow the FAR guidelines, they are required to have the money in place before they award the contract. So you never have a problem with the payment.
Adam DeGraide: Got it.
Eric Coffie: Well, not say never because it’s the government. So you will not have a problem with payment, slow pay, because of not having the funding. You may have a problem because you didn’t submit your documents. You didn’t submit the paperwork. I’ve had an issue when the government was furloughed and they were out of office. But it had nothing to do with money. It’s because of the furlough, something like that, like a natural disaster.
Adam DeGraide: Yeah. So I guess my assumption was not necessarily correct, that it would be more of a slow-paced situation. You’re saying that’s not the case. Now, state-
Eric Coffie: At the federal level, federal level.
Adam DeGraide: Yeah, I hear you loud and clear. Now, when you’re getting your message out and you’re trying to reach students, potential people that can learn from your courses, when you’re marketing Govcon Giants, are you leveraging social media primarily? I mean, obviously, you’re doing a lot of conferences. You do a lot of speaking. You do [crosstalk].
Eric Coffie: No, primarily, everyone’s organic from YouTube.
Adam DeGraide: That’s what I was just going to say. So you basically have created your own feeder system.
Eric Coffie: Yeah, right. My YouTube and my podcast.
Adam DeGraide: And what is your podcast called again on YouTube?
Eric Coffie: Govcon Giants.
Adam DeGraide: Govcon Giants.
Eric Coffie: No. Yeah, Govcon Giants, Govcon Eric, Eric Coffie, whatever you type in. If you type in Eric and go like … I mean, you don’t have to finish it, YouTube’s going to finish it for you.
Adam DeGraide: Yeah, no, I know. I saw that.
Eric Coffie: I have several hundred videos, 800 videos on YouTube.
Adam DeGraide: That’s great.
Eric Coffie: In government contracting. So, I mean, we’ve got 22,000 subscribers. We get 40 to 50,000 views a month organically without advertisement.
Adam DeGraide: Are you on Rumble yet? Have you tried working on Rumble yet?
Eric Coffie: I have not tried working on Rumble, no. But I’ve seen Michael Moore is on Rumble.
Adam DeGraide: Yeah, it’s been amazing for David Vs Goliath. Rumble has been the best friend, yeah, because they want to help small businesses in America. So, they have been featuring my podcast on their homepage every single week now for the last five weeks. And I went from zero to now I’m almost at 5,000 subscribers and basically 1,000 a week. And, been a great platform. You might want to consider, if you don’t have an exclusive, taking some of your content and putting on Rumble as well, too, because there’s an audience there for you. No doubt in my mind.
Eric Coffie: I didn’t know that. Thank you. That’s great. I will-
Adam DeGraide: Yeah, I mean, there’s millions and millions of people that are on Rumble now that aren’t on YouTube anymore. And it is a haven for them to be able to go, “Do they like it because it’s an alternative?” And so I have my YouTube channel but since I put the videos on Rumble, my subscribership, my viewership, everything has been dramatic. And so, anyway, just something for you to take a look at.
Eric Coffie: No, I do not have an exclusive with YouTube. In fact, I don’t even like YouTube. Sorry, YouTube, but not sorry.
Adam DeGraide: He didn’t say that, YouTube.
Eric Coffie: No, I mean, the problem is, is that when people come to my channel, because everyone can’t afford my programs and I understand that. So that’s why I say, “Look, all the content is free.” I’ve got two books for sale. I’ve written two books.
Adam DeGraide: Yeah. I want my listeners and watchers to see him. Do you have him right there? Grab him. And I have a book too but it’s not business related. Look at that. What’s that? The Billion Dollar Playbook.
Eric Coffie: Yeah. And this one called Govcon Launch.
Adam DeGraide: Govcon Launch.
Eric Coffie: And this one, by the way, I mean, it takes you like all the steps, right, if you launch your business in the government sector. I mean, it literally is my story.
Adam DeGraide: I was so blown away, Eric, I got to say. It’s been like another whole section of my mind has opened over the last two weeks. It’s one of those things as an entrepreneur, like I’ve been very successful, knock on wood, been very blessed. And I’ve worked in different verticals and I’ve never even thought for a second to look over there. And when you look over there, you realize, “Wait a minute, there’s so much opportunity over there.”
Eric Coffie: There’s so much.
Adam DeGraide: So I’m digging into it. I’m digging into myself. Well, we’re going to take another break. But when we come back, I want to talk to you about two things. Number one, do you have any pet peeves? Number two, do you collect anything? And then number three, I want us to talk to people about courage, what it means to have courage to look in something unknown.
So, I’m Adam DeGraide. This is Eric Coffie. You’re listening and watching the David Vs Goliath Podcast. You learn so much just by tuning in here and you know it. I know it. It’s exciting. Stay tuned. We’ll be right back after this message.
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Adam DeGraide: And we’re back for the final segment with Eric. Eric, this has been a ton of fun. And I’m enjoying it. And I’m looking forward to spending and picking your brain some more after this too because I’m trying to find that space for us as well because I know there is space there, and really supporting others like yourself but in a different way, right? You’re educating people on how to position their businesses in that way. We want to help people look good, sound good, feel good, and automate things from a technological and marketing perspective. So it’s going to be a lot of fun.
Now, do you have any pet peeves at all?
Eric Coffie: Yes.
Adam DeGraide: I would like to hear about them.
Eric Coffie: People who complain.
Adam DeGraide: Complain about what? Anything?
Eric Coffie: Anything. I don’t like people complaining, man. I don’t like to hear. Something that I say all the time to people is-
Adam DeGraide: You must have been really frustrated the last two years because everyone complained about everything.
Eric Coffie: It’s interesting. I don’t because one of the things, Adam, and I’m sure you’ve experienced this, right, they say, as you become more successful, your circle gets smaller and your friends, right? You have different kinds of friends and things like that. So I really don’t surround myself with those kind of people because they pull me down. And that energy, for me, is I tell anyone.
And I can even give you a story. It just happened to me when I was on a trip. I just came back from vacation this past week. But it’s just that I say, “Look, don’t take me on the roller coaster with you.” That’s it. I said, I don’t want to go on that roller coaster of … Would you believe what happened to me today, Adam? This car almost sideswiped me and so I had to swerve out the thing. I came back in. And, man, I could have died today. And I said, “But nothing happened to you.” Like nothing. How about-
Adam DeGraide: But you don’t understand, man. It could have happened.
Eric Coffie: You don’t understand, man. Whoa, man. And I just say, “Look, please, I don’t want to go on a roller coaster with you.”
Adam DeGraide: It’s funny you say that because we have our own roller coaster run, right? It’s like the last thing [inaudible].
Eric Coffie: Yes. Oh my goodness. Are you kidding me? I mean, like …
Adam DeGraide: It’s so true.
Eric Coffie: This could have almost happened to any one of us, right? Like, wow, lightning struck the building next to me. It could have struck mine. I don’t know. I’m a glass half-full guy. So for me, that’s a big pet peeve of mine, just people-
Adam DeGraide: Me, too. It’s funny because a negative attitude has never yielded a positive result. And that is so true, by the way, because bad attitudes are contagious, good attitudes are contagious. And the reason why people listen to your training because I saw your face every time I watch your videos. And the reason why they tune in here is because they need an injection of positive in their life. There’s a ton of negative. We want to be the fuel that’s giving people wisdom, ideas, information. I call it three things, education, inspiration, and activation. And the last thing I need to hear about is the bad dinner you were served last night.
Eric Coffie: Bad dinner.
Adam DeGraide: Hey, let’s just be thankful we had dinner last night, right?
Eric Coffie: I mean, come on.
Adam DeGraide: Let’s just be thankful we had dinner last night. And it’s so true. Now, are you a collector of anything? Do you collect anything personally? Or do you have any hobbies or anything like that? Like, I’m a golfer.
Eric Coffie: Yeah.
Adam DeGraide: I collect guitars.
Eric Coffie: Do you really?
Adam DeGraide: Oh, yeah. I don’t think if you can see behind me.
Eric Coffie: No, it’s a little fuzzy. Like, I don’t collect anything. I’m trying to think. Maybe I collect books because I have a lot of books in my house. Maybe I collect books. I’ve read most of them. But I do enjoy books.
In terms of hobbies, I mean, I exercise. I mean, I live in Palm Beach. I mean, I walk to the ocean two, three times a week. And that’s good for me for my brain.
Adam DeGraide: Are you in Florida?
Eric Coffie: I’m in Florida. Yeah, man. I’m in Palm Beach.
Adam DeGraide: I didn’t pay attention to your actual location.
Eric Coffie: Oh, I’m sorry, man. I thought you were stalking me. You’re not stalking me, Adam, come on, brother.
Adam DeGraide: I showed up, the camera went on and we went for it.
Eric Coffie: Yeah, but no, honestly, lately, I’ve been getting a lot into crypto. You’re making another channel discussing the following companies. I’m actually launching another YouTube channel. Well, I’ve already launched it on crypto Web3 and NFT’s. What I see and what I’ve learned is that the blockchain solves a lot of issues that we have in government, right? And the people that are programming and writing to the blockchain are people who understand like ransomware hacking, right? They know those vulnerabilities. They don’t know about working for the government.
So if I could branch those two worlds together, I think that I could take like some of the best people and bring them into the government space because the government’s not really good at doing that.
Adam DeGraide: It’s funny. My last business, Eric, I built an EMR. So an electronic medical record system for collective practices. And I always thought to myself, if you really want to keep people’s patient data safe, why not build it on the blockchain or something similar to it, right?
Eric Coffie: Right.
Adam DeGraide: I mean, that’s the concept because I sometimes wonder if they really do want our medical information private.
Eric Coffie: No [crosstalk].
Adam DeGraide: Doesn’t look at anyone in private anymore.
Eric Coffie: So lately, that’s probably been the biggest thing that I’ve spent my time on. It’s just really understanding that and then going through that experience publicly like with my audience because after being on YouTube for four years, I realized that you don’t have to know all the answers.
Adam DeGraide: No.
Eric Coffie: And a lot of people want a space where we can talk about these things openly and not feel judged. And I’ve learned the value of building communities. And I really do believe that … Imagine, Adam, in that 8(a) conference, right, where, I don’t know, 40% of people knew me. Imagine going to a crypto conference, right, where 20% people knew you. And then also having that government contracting expertise behind me.
Adam DeGraide: Oh, yeah, it’s awesome. You should totally do that.
Eric Coffie: I think that I can really help blend the worlds and do some good with it because they don’t care about government things from what I’ve seen watching Congress, they look at crypto and all the stuff that’s like scams and negative and bad is their impression, probably.
Adam DeGraide: They just don’t understand it. They don’t.
Eric Coffie: Right. And so for me, that’s right. So that’s what I want to do. That’s what I’m bringing, yeah.
Adam DeGraide: Now, courage. I don’t know if you’ve ever watched any David Vs Goliath Podcast but I’d love to talk about it. David, the shepherd boy, had five smooth stones. Did you know that? He had five smooth stones before he went on to face Goliath. And then Saul offered him his armor. And David said, “I don’t need your armor, man. I’ve got the big guy on my team. I’ve got my five smooth stones.” And he walks out there to face that giant but it only took one smooth stone to slay Goliath, which I thought was a fascinating part of the story.
And so I teach people all the time that there’s five things in business. You’ve got plans and goals, the right people, the right tools, the process, and then courage that it takes to do that. And I believe courage was the stone that David used, Eric, to slay that giant and kill his own Goliath.
Now, starting Govcon Giants, I know you said it was kind of out of necessity but it still took courage, right?
Eric Coffie: Absolutely.
Adam DeGraide: And every day that you get up and you decide to now talking about blending crypto and this together, that’s going to take courage. So there’s a lot of men and women that are watching this podcast right now that are in that state right that pinnacle point where they’re like not totally satisfied with what they’re doing and they know that they’re called for something bigger and better. What was it in you that said, “I’m going to go for this?” Was it sheer necessity? Or is there something else in there? And then second question to that, Eric, what advice would you give to them to help them overcome their fears, their uncertainties, and their doubts?
Eric Coffie: So for me, it was not actually necessity. When I launched my YouTube channel and I started Govcon Giants, I actually was very well off. I overcame tremendous amount of obstacles and challenges. And really, I was at like my financial peak. I was doing really well. I had a successful business. I had just finished closing like 7 million in contracts. So, I mean, I had a great year.
Actually, my options were go to China for six months or live abroad for six months, right, or do something that I thought was bigger than myself and give back and help people and create the YouTube channel. So I actually created it as a way of giving back to folks because I knew the challenges that I face and I understood them. And I knew what people coming behind me would have to go through. And believe it or not, a lot of the organizations that are meant to support small businesses, they can’t necessarily publicly teach because they’re not incentivized to do so. They’re incentivized to get people to come into the offices so they can get credit for each individual person.
So, unfortunately, the government structure does not foster doing what I do, right? It doesn’t encourage it. It doesn’t support it. And that’s why they haven’t done it at this point. So for me, it was more of a, I would say, necessity not for me but a necessity for small businesses that are coming behind me.
Adam DeGraide: And the second part of that question was, you were successful, you had the courage … By the way, I don’t even care how successful people are. I’ve done this three times very successfully. Every time I open a new business, put that shingle up, and cover those people’s payroll that are with me, that takes courage.
Eric Coffie: No, no, no. Let tell you something about courage. Are you kidding me? Now, like you said, I put my money on the line for this, right? I can tell you some stories of courage but we actually have a wristband that says, “Master fear, conquer life.” And that’s the same that my friend has kept with us for a long time. If you can master fear, you can conquer life because at that point, right, then there’s nothing stopping you, right, from taking that next step.
For me, what I tell my students all the time is take the first step, go to the stop sign. That’s something that I use quite often because you can’t necessarily defeat fear, right? So you have to act in spite of fear. So I just tell them, go to the stop sign, go as far as you can see, take that first step, right? And then from there, you’ll be able to see what to do next.
And when I was picking myself up out of some really dark times, that’s what I did. I took the first step. And I think a lot of people listening to this, Adam, to be honest with you, if they’re sitting at a job and they’re like, “Well, I want to quit my job,” or “I want to start this business,” well, take the first step, right? Just open the LLC, sign up for a course, read a book because the way that you’re going to defeat fear and gain more courage is by learning, right?
And so I feel that the reason why they’re lacking courage is because there’s some areas where they don’t fully understand what they’re getting into. And so the more that you can fully understand it, whether it’s through experiences like being on a podcast, and listening to people like myself and yourself, or getting involved and going to an event because you could have gone to that 8(a) conference without having a business.
Adam DeGraide: Sure.
Eric Coffie: Right? You could have gone to the conference, you could be an employee and go to the conference, and then talk to people at that event, right, and see what their experience has been like. You might find someone that wants to be a mentor to you. So I think that, for me, the courage comes where people have to act and they have to actually at least go to the stop sign. And then at that point, and doing that, they’re going to see how much comes to them, how much the world conspires to help them. And it’s hard to believe it until you’ve done it.
Adam DeGraide: Yeah, it’s so true. I tell people this all the time. People want to help you.
Eric Coffie: People want to help you.
Adam DeGraide: There are so many people in your sphere right now that are successful, more successful than you. And if you ask for help, they absolutely want to help you. Go to the stop sign. Don’t let fear stop you. Let fear feeds you and I love that advice from Eric Coffie from Govcon Giants.
Now, Eric, have you enjoyed being on DVG?
Eric Coffie: Oh, man, this has been great. I love your energy. Like you said, your hair ought to stop the rip. I feel overdressed.
Adam DeGraide: Well, at least we both have great haircuts. There’s no doubt about that.
Eric Coffie: Yeah.
Adam DeGraide: I tell people-
Eric Coffie: No, but I can’t do what you do, man. I can’t do that.
Adam DeGraide: Eric, it’s so funny. I tell people-
Eric Coffie: You can do this, I can’t do that.
Adam DeGraide: That’s a good point. I said I tell people all the time, I’m losing my hair. Like it used to be down here and it just keeps going back. So for like 15 years now, Eric, I just keep spiking it up. Because if I’m going to lose it, I’m going out with a bang of glory.
And everyone, Eric Coffie, Adam DeGraide. You’ve been watching and listening to the David Vs Goliath Podcast, the greatest small business podcast in the world. And I say so myself. Thank you so much for tuning in. And we’ll see you next week. Have an awesome day.