Solopreneur Doorway

Issue 4

Read time: 5 minutes

Great to see you! Keep up your amazing momentum.

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How Dustin Riechmann built a tri biz portfolio
Contact Dustin:

Dustin Riechmann has an incredible knack for solving problems.

His unique skill to ‘figure it out’ gives him an internal microscope to see the problem and a kaleidoscope to explore solutions.

Today, Dustin plays a leadership role in 3 business models.

I interviewed Dustin in July and he boldly reminded me anything (almost) is possible if you focus, persevere and maintain the “I can figure this out” attitude.

His unique, solopreneur insight and coaching prowess are borne from his exceptional real world success in the online space.

He is personable, empathetic and dedicated to the ‘learn and share’ approach.

He personifies today’s ‘fix it’ solopreneur archetype and he’s a dynamite role model.

Meet Dustin Riechmann and enjoy the interview.

Erik: “Dustin, you operate three distinct businesses. The first is Engaged Marriage. What was the catalyst to start?”

Dustin: “It was intended to be a creative outlet and an outgrowth of marriage ministry that my wife and I were already doing.  This was in the heyday of blogging and I thought, “there’s got to be a way to share this with other couples our age.”

Erik: “Did you think how you might develop a strategy that would help other couples on what many might consider a rather personal topic?”

Dustin: “Yes. In the in-person events we found we were very comfortable being transparent about money and intimacy and things that that many other couples weren’t comfortable <discussing>.

The <model> was geared toward bringing in a guest expert on a very specific kind of niche topic. Diving deep with them. And then we would sell that into what eventually became a membership site, which was a library of those types of resources.”

In the early 1990’s, every big brand wanted to ride the ‘better health’ wave.

Pepsi set their eyes on leveraging their global market share to introduce a new product to the health conscious consumer.

Guess which product they launched?

  1. A health bar
  2. A health beverage
  3. A healthy ice cream snack

Yep. They went with a clear, health drink with an UNoriginal name.

Crystal Pepsi.(2)

It tanked.

The top 3 reasons for the Crystal Pepsi disaster:(3)

  1. Disconnect with buyers (Pepsi is a dark beverage and buyers did not trust the clear option)
  2. Wrong market (Pepsi drinkers are not always ‘health conscious’)
  3. Wrong taste (the beverage had a citrus taste that did not fit the Pepsi drinker profile)

What can you takeaway from the Pepsi disaster and apply to your solo biz?

Your Key Takeaways:

  1. Double Down on Your Popular Content in a New Format — ex. newsletter to podcast, podcast to newsletter. Don’t stretch too far or your run the risk of losing customers on the journey.
  2. Research Your Market — will your audience understand the new product as a natural extension?
  3. Names Matter — the word ‘crystal’ works with jewelry and vases (not quite as much for companies who make millions with a darker beverage).
  4. Use Caution with New Trends — you can navigate your solo biz strategy faster and easier when you go vertical rather than horizontal.
  5. Bail Early (Pepsi was smart to jump out quickly) — don’t throw good money after a bad idea.
Cool Tools for your Solo Biz

Here’s what I’m using and viewing these days to write and improve Solopreneur Doorway.

I have no affiliate links or business ties to these folks.

Canva logo


As if we can do anything these days without it, right?

Beehiiv logoBeehiiv.

I looked at 5 different newsletter platforms.

Beehiiv gets an A on bells and whistles; yet, it gets a C- on customer support.

You have to send an email and then wait a few days for a response. Not efficient.

They need to offer live help 24/7; yet, their YouTube instruction videos are SOLID!

I pay $49.00 per month for a ton of data, insight, distribution options and ideas.

Inside tip:

Collaborate with a sharp, creative and professional web designer.

👉 Melissa McDermott is exceptional with website & blogpost design.

I’d be lost down a 499 ft. rabbit hole of code and WordPress questions were it not for Melissa and her amazing contributions.

👉 You can discover Melissa here:

Here are a few of the newsletters, blog writers and podcasts I admire and read.

Brian O’Connor writes a stellar newsletter on strategy.

👉 Explore Brian’s sharp, helpful content at Outlier Growth:

Ben Goodey interviews SEO sages and wizards on his ‘How the Fxck SEO Podcast’

I listen to it for inspiration and SEO strategy.

👉 You can discover Ben and the SEO pros here:

Worried your solo biz brand & website are pieces of wet toast in a puddle by the side of the road?

Check out this incredible post by Kimberly D. Houston.

👉 Kimberly wrote a masterpiece post on how to take your website and brand from ‘yuck’ to ‘YES!’:

On July 19, Business Insider published its list of big companies that issued a mandate for all employees to return to work.

It’s an impressive group, including: (1) 

  • Apple
  • Disney
  • Amazon
  • Citigroup
  • BlackRock

I’ve worked for small companies and global conglomerates. I bet you have, too.

I had amazing days with sharp colleagues who made me laugh and helped me learn. On other days, I couldn’t wait to leave an awful meeting and find peace in a library or small coffee shop in SOHO.

I miss the office days with fun colleagues.

And I thrive in the solopreneur space. I know you do, too.

As these global firms post their ‘come back or else’ thesis on the door, employees once more turn to the solopreneur model.

Inside my Strategy Lab, I’m working on this question.

“What makes a top-tier solopreneur?”

Is it:

  • DNA?
  • Upbringing?
  • Idolizing Jobs, Bezos, Blakely and ‘he who shall not be mentioned’?

There are myriad traits a solopreneur must possess.

  • Confidence
  • Persistence
  • Flexibility

In my experience, the solopreneurs who rise above the masses have one common trait.

They have an insatiable thirst to ‘figure it out.’

They see a problem and they have to get to the root cause.

Tech, copywriting, graphics, SaaS, SEO. It doesn’t matter. In every industry there is a solopreneur who has to learn something to improve something else.

The successful ones figure out an answer to 1 BIG problem and then use that solution to monetize their hard work.

When I consult solopreneurs, I tackle their strategy and help them find the 1 BIG problem folks will pay them to solve.

That’s the science.

Solopreneurs also need the soft skills.

I put the ‘figure it out’ trait at the top of the list.

If you wake up each day and get juiced about, ‘how will you fix it?’ you have the inside track.

Leverage it. Love it.

Dustin Riechmann, cont…

Erik: “Walk us through how you go from consulting on healthy relationships to getting into the retail business of snacks. Where did the idea for FireCreek Snacks come from and how did you get yourself involved in that business?” 

Dustin: “Yeah, great question. There was a stair step in between the two. Engaged Marriage brought me online. There’s a two-year window between 2015 and 2017 that we developed a plan and I started taking on consulting clients, marketing and consulting.

One of those marketing clients was a local butcher shop. I was helping him market his brick-and-mortar locations.

One day he said, ‘Hey, I have this product that I’ve developed. It sells in my stores, but I don’t know how to do how to sell online.’

And I said, ‘As a matter of fact, I do.’

I came on board as a partner in that in 2018, built a Shopify store that eventually turned into traveling to trade shows and learning how to sell in the big box.

Engaged Marriage led me to digital marketing. Digital marketing led me to this partnership with Fire Creek Snacks.”

Erik: “You have to wear a variety of different hats. Did you start looking at virtual assistants? Did you start involving other advisors?” 

Dustin: “My bent is to overextend, overwork and hustle through things. When I left the engineering role, I actually felt like I had all the free time in the world, even though I was still doing marketing consulting and I had Engaged Marriage.

I had a customer from Engaged Marriage who was looking for some work.

Right around that time, probably 2017, 2018, she came on board and she still works with me. She <tackles> all my customer service for Engaged Marriage and all the customer service for Fire Creek; in addition, she handles specific tasks for my current coaching business. She’s been a key player for a long time”

Erik: “Now we get to an interesting position where you’ve got years of experience as a thinker, problem solver, coach, & consultant. Help us understand where did Simple Success Coaching start and was there a bigger problem that you wanted to solve with that third business?”

Dustin: “I thought, ‘How can I market Fire Creek from this office that I’m sitting in now?’

And that’s when I pitched and got on my first podcast. Three years ago I was on my very first podcast – The Side Hustle show. I really enjoyed it.

I built these amazing relationships with people. It was during a time when we couldn't meet in person and I was zooming all the time and just learning, learning this whole world.

<In> 2021, I people <started> contacting me asking, 'How are you getting on these shows?'"

I started doing one on one coaching. That was the birth of what I’m now calling Simple Success Coaching. 

Covid pushed me to do podcast guesting because I couldn’t travel, which then led me into this entire new world that is 90% of what actually focus on today.”

Erik: “What’s your gut take on the podcast industry? Growing, stabilizing, or do you see something changing that folks should <notice>?”

Dustin: “That’s a great question. I think we got past that sort of ‘everyone’s jumping in and doing it, and now we’re back into normalcy.’

I’ve heard a lot of chatter about YouTube. They’re going to be launching a whole podcast platform and YouTube is the second largest website in the world. So I think if they’re investing in it still and they see it as a part of the future. I think it will be.

I don’t want to be Joe Rogan.  I’m not looking to get sponsored by Spotify and do things at a corporate level. For podcasting, I think there’s still tons of room and growth and reasons to do podcasting.”

Erik: “What would you instruct a new solopreneur to do in the first 15 to 30 days as they put together a blueprint of how they might apply their expertise?” 

Dustin: “Define their expertise. It’s often going to be something people are already asking you about. Product market fit is key with this whole <business>.

People would love to go sit in a closet and figure out who their target market is and what service they’re going to provide and what the pricing is and all.

The only way to actually do that is through trial and error and experimentation and conversation.

And even if you charge only a tiny bit, it doesn’t count until they give you a credit card.

Once they actually pay you, then you’ve got you’ve got a product market fit. You know, at least emerging.”

Erik: “I think there’ll be many people in the future, Dustin, that are going to benefit from your focus on relationships. I can’t thank you enough for opening up today and sharing with us your story. It’s been riveting, educational and very exciting, and I look forward to seeing what the next ten years develop for you.”

Dustin: “Yeah, me too. I appreciate it very much.”

🔎✔️ That’s a wrap for this issue.

🚪🚶Stay curious and keep opening doors.

Who Should I Interview Next?

I’m always on the lookout for dynamic solopreneurs who want to share their story.

Drop me a note at if you have an ideal interview candidate.

If you are starting your solopreneur biz or ready to improve your current strategy there are two steps you can take.

  1. Visit for resources and strategy ideas
  2. Coordinate a 90-minute strategy session: We can start your biz on the right path or tackle the root cause of problems you want to fix today.

Book a Session with Erik

Note: Coaching sessions are with Erik and offered through Thinkaday, Inc.

Let’s connect on LinkedIn.

Solopreneur Doorway is a Thinkaday, Inc. publication.

© 2023 ThinkaDay, Inc. All rights reserved.

, and ThinkaDay are trademarks of ThinkaDay, Inc.


  1. Shana Lebowitz, Marguerite Ward, Emily Canal, Rebecca Knight & Alexandra York, Here’s a List of Major Companies Requiring Employees to Return to the Office, Business Insider, July 19, 2023, accessed August 16, 2023,

  2. 8 Failed Brand Extensions in the Brand Stretch Graveyard, the brand gym, accessed August 16, 2023,

  3.  Ibid.