What Hope Looks Like with Eric Newman
Today I have the pleasure of sharing a conversation with my friend, Eric Newman. He shares with us his vision, a bigger vision than what some can really grasp hold of.
Over the last 12 years, he's developed a nonprofit and he recently became an author to What Hope Looks Like: Use Your Pain to Fuel Your Purpose. His book is a blueprint for you to develop a nonprofit without all the red tape and crazy encyclopedia and Leviticus terms, and actually say yes to the passion that God has given for you and you alone.
Be sure to buy his book, all of the links are listed below, and go and leave a review, not only for the book, but also for this podcast.
Eric D. Newman is a passionate entrepreneur, speaker, and visionary leader. In 2009, he founded Roc Solid, an organization that inspires hope for every child and family fighting pediatric cancer. Roc Solid partners with more than seventy children’s hospitals to deliver Ready Bags for families and has built more than one thousand play-sets for children throughout the country who need a safe place to play and a reason to smile. A husband, father, and pediatric cancer survivor himself, Eric understands the battle a family faces when their child is diagnosed. • Serial entrepreneur - the “What’s Never Been Done” guy • Nonprofit experience • Has studied leadership concepts for 12 years • Motivational speaker
Where to Find Eric:
Show Notes: What Hope Looks Like with Eric Newman
No, I talk about this a lot, but when new lens, new angle, that opportunity and I, I did where you all to hear from my friend, Eric, he is a trailblazer and that's what this podcast fit in. Faith is for founders, innovators, and trailblazers. And he has a vision, a bigger vision than what stuff can really grab hold up.
But for the last 12 years fell to non-profit and retook me became an author. What spoke like you, your pain, your purpose, and it is a blueprint. You develop a nonprofit with all the crazy encyclopedia. Sure and actually think yet to put the purpose and get it for you and you alone. And so I know you're going to not only run story, that he cares about kids back in and losing it all and sling and separate.
And so you have to come in there. So one line paper for this planning, you also need to follow Eric at the new day. Eastern side book. No, as a new author to my book, always having out there and he's a world
they're so cute. And so much work has gone into the burning process. So he'd go to buy his book, all of the links that are listed below and go and leave a review, not only for the book, but also for the top half. So we were about to enter into these fields. Wild let's further is that your brother is credible with gear today.
Welcome to the fit and faith podcast. It is an acronym representing founders, innovators, and trailblazers who are looking to live a life wholly fully, authentically, and truly fit a space for us to connect on the raw real stories of mind, body, and soul alignment of entrepreneurs and kingdom leaders. I'm your host, Tamra and dress.
And this podcast, isn't like the cookie cutter interview experience. I've been coined the entrepreneurial rabbi. And so we do go there. Unscript. No matter how far wide, deep, or high there is. My desire is to see people rise from the inside, out, into their greatest calling, by sharing their truest stories, talents and tips as a purpose activator and brand builder.
I believe our successes and failures are derived from who and whose we are not what we do, but strategy and vision are equally as important to the mission. So let's cut to the chase together and get fit in faith.
Hey, Hey, Hey, we, I live in an action with Eric Newman from rock solid foundation and the newest author to what hope looks like. And I am so excited for you guys to get to meet him today. Thanks for being here, Eric. Awesome. Thanks for having me. I love the energy just from the promo video. I love it. I, I needed some of this energy in my life.
You know, it's a Monday and Mondays can have those vibes sometimes. But I feel like if we consistently show up in, in the gift and calling that God has us, the energy continues to create momentum and not only our lives, but the lives of millions and many. And you have done that time and time again, over the course of your story.
And so I'm excited for people to hear that. Um, we've, we've sat at coffee shop together at this point. We've shared a stage together at this point. Um, you signed my copy of my book, but I've yet to sign my copy of my book for you. And so I know we're in a really fun season and it's cool that God connected us for such a time as this, uh, 100%.
And I am, I'm looking for the, I have the pen ready for you to sign my copy too. So it's, uh, the feeling is mutual, super exciting. Yeah, it really is. So I want to, I want to go back to the time where it wasn't so exciting, um, for those who have yet to hear and meet you and, and really, uh, get ingrained to your heartbeat and how you show up every single day.
Um, so we're going to kind of take you guys back to something somber, and then we'll reenergize you in the midst because we're still here breathing. So there's purpose in that. And so let's, let's chat. Yeah, man. Super. Um, so I guess from the question standpoint of what was summer, really the pain, um, that I have experienced is that my family I'm a childhood cancer survivor.
My life has been riddled with cancer. Um, I'm 32 years cancer free. I do, I keep tabs on my arm. They are hash marks and it's supposed to look like a jail house.
Yeah. It's supposed to, because really anytime that you go through some sort of pain in your life, it can either be your prison or it can be used as a platform to love and serve another human being. So as I was thinking about what best way to be. I remember kind of the pain that I've gone through. That's that's what I did come up with was just the hash marks on that.
Like I was in some sort of jail cell, so it's fun to tell people it does look like a prison tattoo, but really it's your stains, right? Like those are just wrinkle stains for me right now. This is 13 years. This is 13 years of trying to run a nonprofit. So, um, but I'm, uh, I'm a childhood cancer survivor and I've beaten the disease for 32 years.
I also lost two first cousins to this horrible disease. And I've always believed like, if I can beat cancer, there's anything in this world that I can do. And so I wanted to start businesses. So I've owned a couple of them, sold a couple of them. And then in 2008, I lost my construction company and was that pretty much ground zero went to Costa Rica for a little.
And that's where I combined it. Two parts of my life, my cancer journey and my construction knowledge. And we started rock solid foundation in early 2009, um, to build hope for kids fighting pediatric cancer. And to tell you the truth when I was in Costa Rica, um, I wrestled my family, threw away the word cancer.
We never talked about it. And in 2009 or eight, when I was in Costa Rica, I really thought I yelled at God. Like I was like, you made a mistake, you kept the wrong person. I'm a nobody. But in that moment, um, the word cancer came out, but then the word hope also came out. And so what does hope look like? And really it's rock solid foundation.
Um, 13 years we've been able to love and serve kids fighting cancer. One, uh, the biggest program is building place. That's true. All across the United States, we put place sets in their backyard because that's the first thing taken from a child with cancer. And then the other part is we distribute bags all across the U S for families.
Um, on the day that they're diagnosed, um, we allow the families to stay together with an overnight toiletry bag. So a lot more programming, but that's kind of a quick snapshot. And, you know, I think I wanna, I want to rewind that snapshot just a bit because when I first opened this book, um, the second part of the title of the subtitle says, use your pain to fuel your purpose and my intro story in this book, which was similar to our time in the coffee shop, where I got to know you a bit was that moment where that little, that little person came around the corner after you went to deliver that check.
So you're such a good storyteller. I want them to experience that a bit, share, share that moment. Sure. I'd just come back from Costa Rica. Uh, one of my buddies found out that I was a cancer survivor, so we raised some money for our local children's hospital. And during that time, um, I went to go present a check and one of those really big checks, right.
That can barely fit in the elevator. I haven't done that. It is it's amazing. The check was so big. It's funny. The graphic designer was like, couldn't afford the print. All I could afford was the check. So I wrote it in a Sharpie and the check was so big. I kind of had to fold it up to get in the elevator and it smeared all the ink all over the place.
But again, this is part, this is the part of, kind of my whole story. Uh, it's just trial and error. But so as I'm sitting there, it was a day that, um, a grocery store chain donated like one point, I think it was like 1.4 million. And my check was for 7,000, which is great, but they allowed the 1.4 million check to go with.
And I was pouting, right. That's when I threw the smeared check. Um, but so in my pouting, they didn't even have adult chairs for me. So it was like, I set one of the little kid, kid chairs and I'm waiting. And so then finally this kid comes around the corner. I hear it. I hear this gospel racquets like, well, what that noise is, is an IB pole.
And so a kid ran as fast as he could came around. The corner stopped right in front of me. So attached to him was the IV pole, but attached to the IV pole was the mama bear hanging onto the. And she asked me what I was doing there sitting awkwardly in front of, in an awkward kid chair. Um, but for the first time in my life, I told that mama bear the story that I'd been given about being a cancer survivor.
And from that, sorry, somebody again, we're in my warehouse and people are popping in and out. So, um, but Hey man, I told you to trial and error. So as I'm sitting there, this mama bear is talking to me and I proceeded to tell her about my cancer journey that I'd been given and Tamra for the first time in my life.
It didn't come out as pain. It came out as purpose. And I told her that I was a cancer survivor. I was 27 at the time. And when she said the words that changed everything for me, she said, do you, you give me and my husband hope that my son will be sitting in your seat one day in, in that moment, I didn't know exactly what I was supposed to.
But I knew exactly why I was supposed to do it. I was supposed to stand in the gap for parents. When they look at me, they see that there is future hope for their child. And I think that that, that changed everything for me, again, like what we're going to do. I don't know. We'll figure something out, but in that moment I heard that word hope.
And for the first time when I spoke about cancer and about the journey I've been on, it didn't come out as pain. It came out of. As you were sharing that I was thinking through the next time that you saw a little one come running out the door, right. Coming, running towards you. And it was, it was during that, that first build of, of that place that will you talk them through?
Where the idea came from, because I think a lot of times people have this desire to serve and they have this desire to do something bigger than themselves. And it had this desire to seek after even perfection. And, and we get stuck in that, that seek of pro perfection versus that seek of progression or that seek of purpose.
And, um, I think that's what you did the first time, right? Like I can do this construction company really well and I can have great success and it all comes crumbling and you lose your identity because there is not this title or this tag, or this sense of authority in what it is that you're doing, but we know individually you and I, that there is so much more to identity and purpose and progression, um, imperfect progression.
Uh, then, then I think maybe all of our listeners might know. So talk us through, how did you uncover purpose after that moment and how did it then establish this nonprofit of rocks? So I was, um, I believe if you wait for perfection, you'll never launch, right. And again, like, I think you have to have a plan, but waiting for perfection is one of the biggest tragedies of any entrepreneur, um, that we see a problem we need to just start, right.
Again, you need to have a plan and over time, I think you become better and better at implementing the plan. Um, but, and it's a framework, but for me, um, the idea of place sets came from swearing that I would never build another place. I was completely broke. I had that encounter with this mama bear, but I had no idea what to do.
So my buddy get advantage of me. I use a real estate agent and he knew that I could build things. Um, he was like, Hey, I have this place. Um, come build it for me. I'm like, man, I can build houses, pour concrete. I can do this. So I get there. What he didn't tell me, this is a place that had been left outside for about a year.
Um, he dumped all of the nuts and the bolts into one bucket and I get there it's the hottest day in July. Um, and so I bring my dad with me. Why? Because he was free labor. I couldn't afford to pay. Um, so we get there and I started, I'm like, there's no way I can all the markings on the place that were wrapped off.
It's like going to Ikea without having the instructions come to you, um, come with the purchase. So then it just does not. Right. And so that's, that's, I believe that God has a sense of humor. Um, and so as I'm starting to try to organize this project, I want to quit. I'm like, it's not worth it. This guy can't give me a thousand bucks and it wouldn't be worth it.
Yeah. I think he agreed to give me like 250 bucks. And so I'd already been there five hours. We hadn't touched anything. And my dad was like, you can't leave. I'm like, yes, I can. I'm an adult. Watch me quit. Like you can't, I'm an adult. You're my labor this time. My dad was like, look, look in the window. And I looked in the window and I saw the top of a little girl's eyes and a blonde bond right on the top of her head.
And he was like, I'll pay you more. He said, but you can't let that little girl down. So that was nine hours in. We finally started building this thing. It took about 19 hours. So we came back the next day and it was still hot. And it was at the end of the day I was, I was irritated and I looked at my dad and I put in the anchor and I was drilling the anchor, his last anchor.
I was like, I will never build another place until the day I die or I will never like, not even the day I die. Right. Like I'm done. But then this little girl bust out the back door, my new shoe sat there the entire time and watch me, she ate her lunch there. She watched busted out of the back door, hugged my leg, handed me check and said, thank you for letting me play.
I looked at my dad with tears in my eyes and I was like, I'm supposed to build place that's for kids fighting cancer. And my dad's like, are you kidding me right now? Like what? Like, and again, I was never really good at school. I put my parents through the ringer. I've always been an entrepreneur all the way since I think I said this at the conference, like selling blow pops in second grade, like I would go to Sam's club and then mark it up.
Right. I just wanted, I wanted the opportunity, but that little girl, but though it made me realize that no one taught that little girl how to play. No one did, but what she yearned for so much. Was wondering that place had to be built so she could play. And then I realized, I took my life experience and like entrepreneurs, we saw problems, people that run nonprofits, people do business, we solve problems.
And I'm like, kids that get diagnosed with cancer are always on the inside, looking out, how do we bring play to them? And how do we make sure not a single child loses out on the ability to play. Let's build them a place up right there in their backyard. What I got emotional with the first time, and then I got emotional.
The second time that you're sharing this story is the play piece is really important to me. And, and it's, it's super important to me through the word of joy, because I feel like it's stripped from society and so many realms of our being, uh, from a secular perspective. And, and we know that God, the father is a father of joy, just as much as he is a father of humor and play.
I imagined that it was less about the little kid in that moment that was running to you in both of those scenarios and that it was the reckless pursuit of God. That was actually coming to you in human flesh, through play through purpose, to literally come to you and ask the questions and come to you and play again.
Right. And expectancy as they sat there and waited at the window, looking just never losing their gaze. It's like the father, like he never loses his gaze and he's like, I have purpose for you. And it's going to take you really hot long days to figure it out. And it's going to take you imperfect plans to figure it out.
It's going to take you pouring out all the bolts into one place and it's going to be frustrating. And you're going to say, I will never, and he will say, but I. And Havey comes out to you and you're like, holy cow, this is it. This is the moment. And I'm still an emotional wreck from the event this past weekend, because I felt like that was that moment for me, where I realized, you know, I'm such a passionate person when it comes to blending faith and entrepreneurship, because the mission field is in the backyard.
Building place sets. The mission field is forever. That purpose is for that person, but until they realize that there's something bigger in that dream and that the kingdom is the bigger, the kingdom is the bigger. And so it's through play, enjoy that. We get to show up to life every day. And now you get to do it and you have done it for it's 13 years of rock.
So I missed it's 12 years. It is 12 years. I'm again, I don't, I try not to focus on the numbers because there was a time and like entrepreneurship, right? Like you got to fixate on the numbers will like, sometimes for me, it's like, I would fixate too much on the numbers and forget about the name. Right. So yes, it is 12 years.
Um, but it's not. And Tamra, you know this too. It's not always easy, but it is always worth it. And I think what qualifies you, what qualifies me is the burden, right? So that's the part of not the skillset. Yeah. So again, you can teach someone anything which you can't teach them to care. You can't teach someone Tamra what you were able to accomplish with the help of your community.
You can't teach that. That's that desire. That's that burden. Now hear me anything you can learn in. But it's the burden. It's that passion. It's the stuff that keeps you up at night and wakes you up in the morning that qualifies the leader that is able to turn their pain into passion. Entrepreneur, stay at home, mom, whatever you name it, whatever, whatever the title that you've been given at this very moment in time.
I think that it's there for anyone. We just need to act on it. And it is it's it's noticing and understanding those moments that God gives us. Then as the catalyst for what he's like, well done, my good and faithful servant. I don't need you to grow a national organization. I need you to be faithful and I need you to pray again.
It's my prayers, his promise. And I'm just like, I'm praying more than I've ever prayed in my entire life. And I'm seeing his promise come into fulfillment for 12 years and this amazing journey that he has me on. Even meeting you, writing a book, meeting all these amazing people there, my prayers, his promise.
So it take me to the point of COVID right. And, and so many businesses went under at that point. And so many promises probably seemed completely broken even through the lens of a Christian who was like, why would you do this to me? Because I know that there are a lot of faith driven entrepreneurs who lost a lot, but I also got to witness a lot of faith driven entrepreneurs who received a lot during that time.
And I, and I feel like you're one of those people. So talk us through that experience and what God did so that, um, I, that journey really, it was March 13th. Just like I can tell you the date. And it was in March of oh eight when I lost everything. Um, I do call it the curbside moment. Um, that again, in construction, I'd lost everything.
I'm on the curb with my hands in my head, like not knowing what to do. And I usually like, I can figure some sort of solution. Well in March 13th, 2020, um, got a couple of phone calls, the teams in the air, they were flying, um, and we had to bring them home. And that's the day. I think that the NBA shut down.
So on the ride home, got a phone call, probably two phone calls. Within 10 minutes, we had lost about 200,000 worth of funding. Um, because people were scared, they were rejecting their commitments, which again, Hey, listen, I get it. I understand. So that night I, um, couldn't sleep. So I fell asleep because out of sheer exhaustion, but I woke up about two 30 in the morning and then I hit my knees and started praying.
Um, and then my wife got up with me and hit my knee, hit her knees and started praying as well. And when I, when I got done praying, I didn't have the solution. I didn't have the answer, but I had the peace. And so I knew that with that, through the prayer, I was able to find the peace. And then I showed up the next day, um, and talked to my team and said, Hey, listen, cancer, hasn't stopped.
Neither will. And so we started creating scenarios and I came up with this say, and I'm like, if we in this situation right now by a push of a button, how do we deploy hope we cannot get to our kids right now, but cancer is still there. How do we provide play? So we created rock solid on demand by a push of a button.
We deploy hope throughout the United States. And so we were an aggregate building place. That's the last 12 years, um, corporate America would pay us or to get us to build place that's for them. And then we would then in return accomplish our mission, all that came to a screeching halt. So what we did is we said, okay, how do we fit rock solid on a palette that we can send to the families to do these projects themselves.
And that they, we teach their quarantine 10, the 10 people that they're surrounded with. We teach them to love and serve him to build these places. So we did, and that cracked the code from a, for us, there is a difference between growth, right? You can grow. But how do you go from growth to scale and not for scale sake, not for just wanting to run a large organization, because if you're just doing it just for that fact, in my, my opinion, again, everybody has their own opinions.
I wasn't doing it for scale sake. I was doing it and like, Hey, listen, these kids are passing away and I'm not able to provide play. That's what kept me up at night and what woke me up in the morning. And so the most that we had ever done in-person builds up to that point was about a hundred builds a year before 2020 last year alone.
During the pandemic, we did 400 rods. So we deployed hooked to 400 kids of where I would have usually had to say no. And then we did a hundred of the traditional builds. So last year in a pandemic, we did no, I'm sorry. 400 total. We did 300 and then a hundred. So in a pandemic we did 400 place sets. We did more than we had ever done before, but it's because we're married to our mission, not our model.
And I think what exposed, what the pandemic exposed. Was a lot of people married to their model and they had to go back and revisit their mission. And so for us, we're deeply ingrained and rooted into build hope, no matter what, no matter where for kids fighting cancer. Hmm. This is so good. It reminds me actually on, on day one, I was sharing at the ascendant assist con uh, conference that we get often attached to our expectations rather than too committed to the outcome of the expectations.
Right. And, and I think it's very similar. I love that Mary to our mission instead of our model. And oftentimes, and I feel you probably will have this experience too, as you go into the coaching realm, even more and more is that people come to you with this idea and they're attached to the model of how that idea is going to deploy.
And then God will wreck it all every single time based on circumstances, based on situations and based on his sense of humor, which we love so much. And so it's so important for us to really stick to the heart of the why and, and understand that it's so much more than how you do it, but why you do it, uh, that keeps you coming back to the, the progression, again, not the perfection, but the progression of the model, because it's going to change.
It has to change. Everything's changing around us. If we stay stagnant, the mission dies. And so I think that's probably where a lot of people didn't have that experience of ebb and flow. They were so stagnant and this is the only way we can survive. And therefore they drowned versus you were like, okay, there's still a mission to be, to be served.
How do we do this in a way that is serving them well and maybe even better. And now you have the better model. Well, I think too, so naturally right reaction. We react as human beings, but I think reaction leads to regret. I really do. And I've learned. The last 12 years because I've reacted a whole bunch.
Um, but I think when we can respond, I think is the way that, that we can really do in Mary and the mission, not the model is the easiest and the best way to keep me grounded in our mission and being able to respond accordingly to like, not what's best for our human, but what's best for him. Really incredible.
So I'm so excited for that growth and so excited for the book that then took root in that experience. When did you actually start writing? Um, about a year and a half ago. Um, so I'm a big time journaler again, like you see, you'll never see me without a journal. Um, and I write down a lot of stuff. So I went back and, um, edited my journals.
Um, I call it a red line audit. I do it every single year. Um, some probably about 15 journals a year right now. And every year in November, I go back and edit my journals and then I, um, I edit and then I circle like, where's God performed miracles, what prayers have come to fruition? What huge changes have I done?
So I circle it and then I type it out. And then I have a group of individuals that have been sending it to probably for the last five or six years, all of my, my hearts and desires and thoughts. And then they would always say, Hey man, have you ever thought about writing a book? Have you ever thought about writing a book?
And I'm like, yes, I just don't have time. So. I went back to 12 years of journaling and did that step made an outline type 14 chapters, and then I submitted it to my editor and then the hatchet project began, right? Like, so it took me about a year and a half and it was probably the hardest part for me was the editing side.
Um, I don't have much time in my day. So I woke up at 4:00 AM till six 30, almost every single day of the week. And that's when I did my editing. And then from there I had a phenomenal team behind him behind me helping promote and push this book and make it to come into. That is so incredible. Well, I haven't read the whole thing yet in transparency, but the beginning piece is so impactful.
And one of the things that I love so much, which actually reminds me, and I didn't really realize the parallel for those who are watching, you can see a Polaroid picture on the front. That's like, um, taped because it's been broken and ripped in half. It reminds me of the picture that you encourage people to put in.
Um, the thing that they open every single day, whether it's your planner, whether it's your Bible, whether whatever that book is that you're currently reading at your placeholder, talk us through what that is for you, what that picture looks like. And also explain to me a bit more about this ripped polar.
So I do. So I have, I have my wife photo right here. So in our team, we call it our wife photo in any, any event, any meeting that we go to, if I'm asking for a million dollars, right. I walk in with my journal and I put my photo right in front of me. And the reason that I put the photo out, that everyone that you work, if you work or join our team, you have to have one.
Um, because we have to make decisions based on that photo. Not based on me, not based on the P and L report. Right? So I, and I've said it a lot and I mean, we've been blessed, but, um, I'm willing to leverage the bank account for one child, focus on the one, what you wish you could do for the many and having that.
Why photo? I mean, I've slid back some money before, because it's not what's best for that beautiful little girl. That little girl's name is Abby. It's not what's best for her. Um, so we have that and the thing is too, what it does. It creates a conversation. So I'm in these meetings with CEOs and executives and like, they're talking to me, right.
And then you see them catching an eye on that. And then finally, it's almost like a push it out. It's like, see if they want to say anything for it. And then finally they're like in front of their whole team, they're like, what is that photo? I'm like, I'm glad you asked. Right? So it creates a talking point.
It creates an icebreaker, but we do it to make sure we're making the decisions based on them. And where the photo, the cover of the photo. If you look at 2000, it says 2000 or 1985 on one side was the year I was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 is the year that rock solid foundation was founded. So two portions of my life ripped and part came back together and you're right.
This is the symbolic symbol. Sorry. He wrote a book. I promise you read the book. I love it, but it is. It's like, you gotta start. You gotta know you got to start with why, because from that, why, again, I like to say it like identify the root, understand the. If you can get that part and you have it constantly in your face, it's already constantly in your head.
But sometimes in my head I allow the things that I shouldn't be like really focusing on that really does not help my shareholder. Right. A lot of me is inside of there. So keeping the photo right at the front is probably one of the most important things for a leader in my opinion to do is because I'm a visual person.
I like to tell stories. I think that I'm okay with it. I like to bring people along with me. Um, but I need to see it, touch it, feel it. And I think that's the best strategy. We all have a story it's in pieces of ourselves that we keep hidden from the world and worry chasing perfectionism instead of progression, chasing materialism, instead of worth
chasing the hourglass figure instead of health chasing accolades and American dreams, instead of wealth
chasing relationships, rather than. Chasing lies instead of the truth, we stand naked and afraid, unknown and covered in shame. But I refuse to let Pandora's box, let us stay stifled and lane destined to live a life of freedom, integrity and love unshackled. Beautiful worthy. No. From above
his promises are in the rainbow, past the storm or in it, we stand secure, not alone together, women. We didn't do it. Always becoming.
So a lot of entrepreneurs listen to this podcast, business owners, um, faith-driven business owners. And my curiosity, because I know when people have an idea, oftentimes, especially from coaching clients for myself, they come and they want to start a nonprofit because it's like the noble thing to do. And it feels like it would be great because they can get grant money and they can have sponsors.
And it's easy to have somebody write them a check because it's a write off and all of these things, but we know that there's a lot more to it than that. Um, however, you, have you been able to kind of create this ability that strips away the difficulties? Cause there's a lot of paperwork. There's a lot of the 5 0 1 C3 process.
The time to do that is even in a very invasive and expensive. How have you broken it down so that more people can do this and more people can do this prophet. So the way that we broke down specifically in the book is like, it took me about three years to really figure out and to put together the bylaws to form the board of directors.
A lot of the, the not fun stuff. Um, that's the stuff I call it, the dip that's where most people that want to start a business or a nonprofit, because rock solid foundation. I want you to hear me and you know this about me. Um, we run it, we run our solid foundation, like a fortune 500 company. The difference is my shareholders.
All right here. That's why I need to make as much money as possible. So we run rock solid foundation, like a fortune 500 company watching or listening, not watching. He's showing that picture that we just talked about. And there's a little person, her name is Abby Abby. And so you have to just know that, like to have a child as a shareholder, what does that mean?
And how does that work? And so this is where he's taking us into that. Oh, sorry. I see. I get to see your amazing I'm here for you, but it is it's, it's the fact of like, um, really breaking it down. It's a roadmap because I see a lot of, and I've helped a lot of people start their nonprofits and I've seen a lot of people quit in the dip.
And I think that's a huge, a huge sacker or not huge sacrifice tragedy for people that want to take their pain and turn it into their purpose. And so this book just creates a roadmap. I didn't like anything I saw on search engines, um, about how to start a nonprofit. And it took me about three years. And so writing this book, I'm like, well, what if there was a one-stop shop?
What if I think is one of the most powerful questions that any entrepreneur can ask, right? Because it has, what if has fear on it? And then it has the other side, which has potential. So you choose which side do you want to live on? And so what if there was a. That would allow someone to get to loving and serving their community a lot faster than what I did and their, I, they don't have to make the same mistakes about creating a logo that spelled that's called rock solid.
Right. Which is great ROC. But then when people Google, it it's should be ROC K like it's all these little pitfalls that I've found on how to really start the nonprofit. But then also what I have found too, is that, um, a lot of development, right. Fundraising is extremely challenging for nonprofits, even for us.
Now it's still like, it's that mentality. I'm a professional beggar and that's okay. I'm not asking for me, I'm asking for kids fighting cancer, but the easiest way that I think that, um, for your organization to become profitable, if you want to use the word profit, I think is extremely important to use in nonprofits.
Um, you need to make money, no money, no mission, no money, no mission. I'm going to say it again. No money, no mission. Is to make sure that you bring people into the community. You show people, you see it touch it, feel it is the best strategy that you can use, run it like a fortune 500 organization, but make sure you get the foundational parts of your organization that no one can see, make sure that you have it in concrete, not into sand.
And there's a lot. And I know I'm not doing this justice for the book, but it's a roadmap, um, all the way from how to get volunteers, how to raise your first funds, how to set up your board of directors, how not to lose yourself in your pain work. Right. Hard work is hard work, how not to lose yourself. Um, and at the end of it, I dealt with the founder's syndrome, pretty hardcore.
And so in the book, it talks about the founder syndrome too. Like you become less, they become more who's they, the community, the kids fighting cancer, our volunteers, our donors. So. So incredibly impactful. And I remember I started a nonprofit when I was in college called safe rides. I always say that I was the first Uber developer and, uh, and they had an state rides, had a mirror that we also mimic too.
So really they were, but in my university I was, and it, uh, felt nearly impossible. The only reason that it worked was because the people wanted it and needed it. Right. And so we think through that when we start any sort of business, but ultimately knowing that the nonprofit piece is people who either can't afford it or need it so desperately that they wouldn't even think to pay for it.
Right. Like when someone's going through cancer, the thing they're thinking about is medical bills, and they're thinking about surviving and they're thinking about just keeping that tiny human alive, especially as a child and so play. That's like not something that they're thinking through at all. I'm sure.
And so to have it come in, uh, as a gift to have it come in as a community development, as a family bonding experience, there's so many different ways that that can be built, especially with this on-demand experience that you have. I just think that there's the thinking outside of the box of why the nonprofits and why business in general, both work, but it's the inner workings that make it nearly impossible.
I think also making sure you have your values in line. Um, I know that I didn't do that for like two to three years. And one of the main things, again for rock solid when we hit that rough patch in 2020 and May 3rd or March 13th is I went back to the values, um, families first, theirs and ours. So there's meaning child's kids fighting cancer, but then ours is our staff and our.
And so again, I want, I want rock solid foundation to be ranked one of the best places to work in the United States. No non-profits ever held that standard before, but I think just because you work for a nonprofit doesn't mean that you should be broke, that you shouldn't make money. Um, I make money. I will never apologize to be able to afford, to take my daughter to dance, to pay for T-ball.
Right. So again, just because, and this is where my, my soapbox is, is like living for significance and success at the same time, it is possible. It is possible. And that was part of the passion behind writing. This book is like, you don't have to be broke. I'm not a poverty gospel guy. You know, I like my sparkling water.
I like my Starbucks. I'm a little bougie at times then it's okay. But my heart, my cus I know exactly who my customer is. And I think having your values in line, um, is one of the most important, because values Trump opinion all the time. And so people, as you start to grow this organization, as you start, as you start to just develop some traction behind your idea, either business or non-profit, you're going to have a lot of opinions coming in, but if you don't have your values rooted, then you're going to go anyway that the wind blows.
But if you have your values rooted, we'll know, I hear your opinion, but my values, Trump, your opinion, every single time I'm going to love and serve kids fighting cancer. I'm not called to help with the heart association right now. Not saying that one day I won't, but right now my values are no like families.
First kids fighting cancer first, and then the staff family, then my family. So it's making sure that you have the values too, I think is extremely important. But you skip over that because you want to get to the mission. You want to get to like the building of the place that, but sometimes you got to separate the hardware before you build the place set and the values or the hardware that takes a little bit of time to make sure you get it in line.
But the prep work. The prep work just makes the, the passion come to life a lot faster. So talk us through because as you're talking and you're talking about the profit, right. That piece of it, um, can always also sound, even though you're talking non-profit it sounds like you're talking about the church at the same time.
Then the church is in that mentality of like, Hey, you're a volunteer and you're a volunteer and you're a volunteer and you're a volunteer. And now you're exhausted in the church. You hate the church and you don't come back to the church because you were never actually seen or known or love for the value that you provided.
And it's not to say that they have to get paid, but I think that there is a critical part for the time investment that goes into these spaces and these places. And there's not that component of exchange for value. Talk us through like valuation and how you choose to pay your customers or not pay your customers, pay your employees yourself.
Um, when you were kind of delineating what you were making versus what you were paying out. Yep. So one of our customers, so rock-solid has forecast. It's the families first. It's the donors, it's the volunteers. And we just added our fourth pillar. Our staff is a customer and we treat ours. We treat everyone like a million dollar dinner.
And that's one of the things that I truly, truly, truly believe in. I've been secret shop by multimillionaires before, right. They drive a piece of junk Honda to our projects and they want to make sure that that we're treating everyone. Right. So again, this will tie into the church part. I promise you, or the evaluation.
That was a very good question. And I love these types of questions. So I'm trying to make sure I'm very specific. I love it. But first and foremost, I think a staff, if you're listening to this and you have a staff of one, or you have a staff of 15 looking at your staff as a customer, changed everything for me, because again, I treat people how you want to be treated, right?
We can go through scripture and talk about all that, but then the evaluation of when and how much to get paid. For example, rock-solid I worked for free for the organization for four years. Um, With having cancer. They told me that the likelihood of me having kids is slim to none. Um, so I promised my wife that, um, that my, my, if we ever had kids, right.
I thought it was on a long leash, but I promised my wife, if we ever have kids, their daddy will not be born into an unemployed household. Like daddy, daddy would work that he's going to help try to provide so little did I know that my wife had circled it and she was praying by faith that we would have kids.
Right. And again, I was praying for it, but I thought we were going to adopt. So I was working for free while she busts out and I'm cutting the grass and shows me a pregnancy test. Right. And I'm like, I go and buy every single sample of pregnancy tests. I didn't realize how many times. So I go and buy every single sample.
We come back alone when the whole like we're pregnant. So I go to my board of directors. I'm a board member, but I've never been chairman. I do believe in a total. Autonomy is not healthy for anybody. I need someone to help keep me in check. And that's why I've always been CEO and I've always had a chairman, not myself.
So I go ask to get paid. Um, I asked for $24,000 for the year and my board said, no, we couldn't afford it. So then I said, okay, backing down. Right. So I'm like, okay. I said, listen, we're just going to have to scale it back out. A couple of other job offers on the table. And then my wife and I went back and we prayed and lo and behold Tamra, there was a lady that was secret shopping me.
Um, and she was on the build site and she asked if I would like, like, if I would come to her house, I'm like, all right, whatever. That's weird. She invited my wife and I. So we both went, arrive at her compound in Virginia Beach. Like had no idea who this lady was. And then we're sitting there, we're having dinner and she slides me a check, a $5,000.
But it was made out to Eric Newman. And so in that moment, so here, me too, I'm about to lose my house and guess how much I owed on my house right around five grand. But I slid the check back because I told her, I said, the only reason you're writing this check is because of what I do for the foundation.
Not because of Eric Newman. I said, can you please make the check out to the organization, rock solid. So then what she does, she knew about the story of my board telling me, no, she said, how much did you ask for, for your salary? I said, 24,000. She said, young man, I've never had anyone slide me a check. She's like, I'm going to pay your salary for the first year $35,000.
It's an award made out to rock solid foundation. So the reason I'm telling you this, so how do you, we were probably rock solid foundation was doing about 130,000 a year. There's always gonna be a ton. So nonprofits have this thing, overhead myth. Right? And that's what it is. It's a myth. You need to pay attention to where your income is and each individual has a different threshold.
That's a good thing. Right? So again, um, but for rock solid foundation, we try to stick with the 80 20 rule. And so 80 cent dimmer. If you're getting a dollar 80 cents going to go to building a place that delivering already bag 20 cent will go to the overhead, if you will. But the overhead, depending on how you look at it, um, is fuel overhead or is a staffing overhead, right?
So each person has their different opinion on this. But I think from the staffing standpoint, you have to be able to lay your head down at night, knowing how much you need to take from the organization. And when I say take, um, I'm saying that very loosely, what's your take home if you will. Um, but I was losing my house.
I was losing a lot of, a lot of sleep at you name it. I was losing a lot, but people took notice of the grind. And so we just try to stick with the 80 20 rule. And I know that's a huge roundabout. Um, but when it comes to the church, um, I do believe that, um, people get burnt out and this is what I like to say just from our community.
And we have thousands of volunteers throughout the United States, but appreciation, thank you as a currency that you can give without ever running out, becoming bankrupt appreciation is a currency that you can give without ever running out of money. And I think we need to be experts at saying thank you.
Um, but true, authentic appreciation goes a very long way. And I know that was a long answer and I'm trying to make sure we keep it as a conversation, but that's another one of my soap boxes is like, it was, that was the biggest thing getting out of my, my head and my heart sometimes can be the furthest destination from each other.
Um, but once we did that, so I made 35,000 my first year, but then the organization went from a hundred thousand to 300,000 because I was able to focus 100%. Right. Right. And I think that's a massive piece to it. And as an entrepreneur, especially a startup entrepreneur, you feel that you feel that way, you feel that burden, you feel that distraction.
Um, it can feel like all only thing that you can pay attention to, even though there's so much more to the mission and you're still waking up for the why it doesn't delineate the purpose. Um, but I definitely have felt that, especially as I've brought more team members on and I value them with pay before I value myself, because I know what I'm capable of.
And I know that that burnout component right, is, is way less than where there's would be because it's not fully there, why they can't see where we're going. And so they're only there for the next season. They're only there for the next season that I can paint the picture of and they can actually taste and see and feel.
And I'm 5, 10, 20 years down the road. And they're like, yeah, no, that ain't, I don't know what you're. And so my wife does that to me all the time. She's like you talk in past tense. I'm like, well, she's like, has this happened? Or has it happened in your brain? Because I'm like, well, I had this conversation with Tamra and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
She's like, has it really happened? Or did it happen right here? And you're laughing because you know, like when you have the gift, the VIN, right. We have to be careful that where I think I painted this masterpiece, right. I just do a bunch of black ink on the wall, but in my head, it's this beautiful masterpiece.
And not everybody sees it the same way.
Yeah, it's a beautiful, messy ink blotted. A gift is a lot of masterpiece is exacerbate. We are the abstract art understanders right. Like we get it like, wow, that's amazing. And so I'm grateful for that. And I'm also really grateful for the symmetry and people like yourself that I am able to sit and have conversations with where I don't feel like I'm talking to a wall and I don't feel like a crazy person because you do get it.
And, you know, I know that there's this next step for you. As you're, you're sitting in this beautiful experience and watching what God has done over the course of the last few years and evolved the vision. Right. And, and knowing too that you have, you have messages. Months and years, and many, many journals.
And not just this book, there's more books to come. I remember when we were sitting there and you were like, do you mind if I write that down? And you told me this thing that I think is such a treasure, and I think more people need to do it is that you become an expert every quarter at the thing that you're interested.
And so talk us through that because I could share it, but I, it comes better from you. Sure. I think that as a leader, right? I think, honestly, it's very popular to talk about leaders are readers, right? They are. Which you also, you always have to be developing yourself, especially as an entrepreneur, especially as a business owner, just in general, I believe that you need to get better.
Um, it's my job to become better and then help everyone around me. Um, so what I found quickly on, like, I didn't go to college, um, I barely graduated high school and I probably didn't read my first book until I wanted to start a nonprofit, tell you the truth. Like, so, and I hated all those books that are so boring.
Like it was like, this is not keeping my attention for 17. You will.
I'm like, I can't remember where it is.
it is. So I'm trying to make sure that I stay on point. The, the idea of becoming an expert every quarter is because I have found myself in a constant state of being uncomfortable. Um, meaning like I'm quickly outgrowing the state of where I'm comfortable and that's a good thing for me. Um, I think it's one of the most dangerous places for me to be, is to become comfortable.
Now hear me. My wife is like, you got to learn how to ride the wave, right? I'm not saying that, but I'm talking about from an educational standpoint as Eric Newman, as a leader, as a CEO, as a founder, as a, just as a, as a man of God. And this is how I do my scriptural side too. But from an expert side, become an expert at something once a quarter.
Um, the first quarter that I ever tried it in was public speaking. Um, I read anything that I could get my hands on, listen to any podcasts in, in reference to public speaking. The next thing was, this is gonna chime a bunch of people, finances, financial buckets, P and L reports, budgets, all this stuff as it makes the hair on the back of my neck.
Stand up right now. But I needed enough to know how to hold my game in front of some CEOs that are very familiar with that type of stuff. Um, then I, then I chose one quarter how to articulate vision. The last one, I think when I was talking to you as self-awareness, that's the hardest one that I've ever done.
Um, self-awareness and I, uh, Rockefeller has a beautiful quote on this of self-awareness this, this old owl, and it talks about this old house perched up. He was a wise old owl. The more he saw, the more he kept his mouth shut and in self-awareness I think the more that I want to become, self-aware the more that I need to understand to keep my mouth shut, to listen with my toes, not with my, not with my ears.
If I listen with my toes, it takes a lot longer for Eric Newman to regurgitate and, and try to add my value into the conversation. Um, but I think pick that's something once a quarter, I don't have, I've never been diagnosed with add by like, I need some stuff to really focus in and once a quarter that's bite sized nuggets that as.
And as an entrepreneur that has a million ideas, I create also something called a parking lot. So when I have an idea and I want to become an expert at something, well, I can't do it right now because action, without aim is exhausting. I throw it over into my parking lot. Hmm. I love that so much. And I think actually when we were together, you might've just finished self-awareness because I think you were doing culture.
I am. So that's what I'm in now. I can't remember. So culture is what I'm really dissecting right now because culture is this like mystical thing. But I don't think in reality, it has to be that way because PE people like they loved culture is a hot topic. And you know, what's your culture, what's your, I love everything about culture, but not many people spend time on it because you can't see it.
The return on investment is hard to show, right? So simplicity, it's one of our values at rock solid respect, simplicity. How do we take something as complicated as culture and how do we make it to a guy like. That barely graduated high school can take it, understand it and implement it into a problem that I'm looking to solve because that's what entrepreneurs do.
That's what business leaders do. That's what people in general, we're geared to solve problems. So how do we make it simple enough that people can understand it? And that's why I try to do the expertise side, but I'm definitely not always in that. Well, it's really great because it does make you more of that whole person.
Right? I think experts eventually you're like, okay, that's enough from them. Let me move on to the next thing. And you're allowing yourself to evolve. It doesn't mean you never touched that idea again. Um, but it's, it's so great. I love the financial piece because it was less about you and more about who you are going to become, who you were going to be in contact with to say, okay, I need to have some standing from ground as I go into these difficult conversations.
Um, and I think that I look at the apostle Paul and that's where, that's where I looked at. I'm like, man, he was able to go into any type of, he could stand in front of the large leaders or the, or the people that were the drunkards in the pig pen. Right? Like, how am I, I have to be. For me, like I love and serve kids fighting cancer, but it's where I'm able to stand and show the love of Christ.
And so I have to be able to be an ex, not an expert, but to hold my ground in any situation that I have found that God has put me in. And I didn't mean to cut you off, but yeah. Oh, it's so good. It's so good. It's such a good reference. Yeah, yeah, yeah. They got it. Yeah. It's so true. And I think that's why I love like that concept of pioneer and why Anthony, who was speaking at the conference.
That's exactly what he does. Like his dad was a, he's a PK kid and we can get so stuck on the rules and regulations of business and the rules and regulations of non-profit. And we forget, it's going to circle all the way back to the beginning of our conversation. We forget about the play and if we're not willing to go and play with an idea for a quarter, play with an, a new book or a new author, even new religions, like I am Christian.
I love Jesus. I'm sold out, but when people are talking to me about energy or frequency or something, Why is everybody talking about this? What does that mean? Where is it dry from what is manifestation? So I went on this journey biblically to understand what these other cultures are unpacking. And why is it so intriguing?
Oh, ha it's man-made no, it's God made. It's not universe. It's God of the universe. And so it's, it takes that extra step of us and that extra desire to answer the questions. Right. We, you said it, I think, well, that, it's something about, what's the quote about ask better questions to get better answers. And I think that's what we lacked doing.
Yeah. I think to an, again, reminding myself, because I think, um, I think like, I think it's Solomon that said there's nothing new under the sun, right? There is nothing new, but the reality is what I think the job of a leader or an entrepreneur is not to create the. But to put rims on it, right? You don't need to recreate this thing.
You just need to spruce it up, take all the Uber. For example, take all the regulation, take all the rules off the table and get people from point a to point B, same thing with being a nonprofit. Like I am someone called me the Johnny Cash of nonprofit and I was actually dressed all black. I'm like, can you say that again?
I want you to record it. Like, but I think non-profit is an old business. I do. And I think it needs to be disturbed because there's so many regulations around regulations, not even regulations. There's these made up rules that people have put into place that aren't really a rule or a law in general. But that's a again, Tamra trying to honor you in my time.
Like this is my soap box, but, but I think man, as a leader, as someone listening to this podcast, like you don't have to reinvent the wheel because there is nothing new under the sun. Just put some rims on it and make it you because cover bands don't change the world. That's the one thing that I have found is they do not change the world.
If you want to play someone else's music. I am not designed to do that. I'm just not like I'm going to I'll know the music you're listening to, but I'm a beat a drum. I'm gonna figure it out. But like, I don't believe that cover bands. I don't believe that cover bands changed the world. And I feel like that God put me in this moment to not just change the world for change sake, but because I see a way to solve a problem that is uniquely been given to me through the eyes of the creator of this world that is allowing me to help articulate the vision that he's given me.
And I'm just going to pray and rely on his private. Come on you guys, Eric Newman, if we were standing in an arena right now, you would stand to your feet for that. Cause this has been envision it, take it. I'm going to wave my white hanky towards you right now. So incredible or snap my fingers depending on what arena we're in.
Um, but I really hope that people get this book. What hope looks like right by Eric Newman, use your pain to fuel your purpose. And to know that you can, I think is what I love the most about your story is that it's nothing prim and proper. It doesn't follow the rules, but it doesn't go outside the lines too much.
It's just this understanding of, of following where God says to go and being aware enough that when those moments, when those little girls little boys or little passions come running your way, that it's, God's reckless pursuit of who we are in order for us to recognize that. And, and I really believe that it's time for so many incredible faith-driven entrepreneurs to stand up and rise up and standing in my arena right now says Blair.
I love it. Thanks for being here. Live layer. We love you. Thank you, Eric again for this incredible time. Where should people connect with you? Uh, they can go to my Instagram at the Newman experience and also to buy the book head over to Amazon. And if you buy the book and tamarina how important it is, please, please, please leave a review, please, please, please.
And I always used to get aggravated and people that would say that now I understand. So yeah, go. You can go to the Newman experience on Instagram. That's the best up to the place to find me and then go to Amazon to purchase the book if you don't mind, but also leave the. And if I did, I definitely what I, I know how it works.
You guys have either, um, corporate experiences or a team build or team leading experiences that you need contact rock solid. And if you're looking for an incredible speaker who is not just a speaker, but a storyteller and an entertainer, um, you are definitely that. So I hope people reach out from a speaking perspective as well, because, um, I will make more stages for you for sure.
Uh, but I know that you're meant to do. I always thought that this is the most important state and I have taken that nugget Tamra is the most. So when I'm at coffee or if I'm speaking on a stage, like if I'm having this conversation with you, this is the stage that God has uniquely designed for me at this moment.
And you taught me that. So I do appreciate that. That's a huge nugget, huge nugget for the takeaway. I'm so glad friends. All right, you guys be blessed, stay fit and faith. And Eric, we will see you again.
Hey, y'all it's me again. I hope in today's episode, you sends an ignite to an Ember within you, something mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually moving that creates and sustains a fire within your journey. Before you go let solidify the flame. I'd love for you to take a step right now and declaring your takeaway by snapping a pick of the episode.
You tuned it to share your sparked moment and tag me at bitten faith underscore podcast, or me personally at Tamra dot and dress on instant. I hope that I can keep you accountable and also share you with the greater community of the Fitbit podcast listeners. We're totally in this together. Community over competition is the motto, right?
I'd also be incredibly grateful. If you took an extra second to leave a review on iTunes or your podcast listening app, I'd love to feature your thought in the next episode and give you and your passion project, a big shout out. You know, I'm a writer. So I love where. And wait to read what you have to say.