After a brief hiatus, Bouncer Schiro is back as CEO of Stream Energy, a provider of energy, wireless, protective, and home services. The company, which was founded in 2005 and expanded into wireless in 2015, is a major disruptor in the energy and wireless market and can be found in 50 states across the country.
Schiro credits much of Stream’s success to its direct-selling structure, stating that when the company reaches new territories, “time and time again, [it has] proven that direct marketing is the best way to reach the maximum [number] of people in the shortest amount of time.”
Schiro took a moment to discuss his history with Stream, Stream’s contribution to the gig economy, and the challenges and future of the brand.
From Passionate Board Member to CEO
Schiro became interested in direct marketing in the 1980s after attending a seminar with A.L. Williams. He loved the idea of a warm market and the potential that it had for causing a business to explode. During this period, however, he was concentrating on his own business in manufacturing and construction and was busy raising his family.
Schiro noted that most pitches he received in direct marketing at the time were not the right product. He understood that the product being sold was just as important as the structure, and the business would not last if people could get it cheaper somewhere else. He ended up passing on all of the pitches he received during that time.
Schiro ended up selling his manufacturing company in 2003 and was in the process of starting another business when he got a phone call from a friend asking him to invest in an energy company. His initial response was to reject the offer until the caller made it clear that they would be using direct marketing to sell the service. This, at last, was the network marketing opportunity he was looking for. “I literally said, ‘How much money do you need?’” Schiro recalls of that first phone call.
When he found out what Stream was all about, Schiro became excited. He found that the company would represent what he calls “the purest micro-entrepreneur opportunities in the United States today.” Not only did he invest money but he rounded up friends and family to invest as well. His large investment earned him a spot on the board of directors.
His enthusiasm did not end there. Schiro spent most of his time learning more about network marketing and fell in love with the subject during that time. He was incredibly passionate about what Stream could achieve thanks to its structure. When the company needed a new CEO, Schiro was the obvious choice. His dedication and excitement about the industry and brand are contagious. “We can change people’s lives if we do it right” is his perspective on direct marketing. Schiro served as CEO from 2012 to 2015, during which Stream made great growth and reached many of its goals.
In 2015, however, Schiro found himself at a crossroads. His youngest child was a senior in high school and the strain of the long commute from Houston to Dallas made it difficult to spend the time he wanted with his family. Furthermore, he wanted to give another leader a chance to come up with fresh ideas. An outsider’s perspective, he thought, could help the company reach its goals.
Over the course of the next three years, Stream began, according to Schiro’s assessment, straying from its underlying principles and “starting to lose [its] culture.” When the company began to reassess and get back to the basics, the leaders approached Schiro about returning as CEO.
Although Schiro was making a great living working 30 hours a week at the time, he was happy to return to doing something he loved. His passion for the company and its potential to change lives made it an easy decision to return to the helm. “I am happier than I have ever been,” he says. In his past six months as CEO, he has returned Stream back to its core principles and refocused on what makes Stream successful: using warm leads to sell a service that no one does better.
The Gig Economy as the Future of Stream Energy and the Country
Schiro is quick to point out that Stream Energy’s biggest competitors are not only other energy and wireless companies but also other companies that offer what is sometimes referred to as a “side hustle” (Schiro prefers the term “Plan B”), such as Uber. Schiro discusses how Stream can maintain a competitive edge over these companies because of how easily Stream Independent Associates can hit their goals after putting in the initial work.
Side jobs, according to Schiro, allow you to “change your life and do whatever it takes to change your life.” Although the earning potential with Stream is higher than an Uber-like business, where people are paid by the hour, Schiro notes that the average person is only looking to add $200 to $500 to their monthly income. The appeal of Stream, then, is not necessarily that people will be making so much money, but that, eventually, they will need to work less and less while still making the same amount of money. To help new sellers meet their goals, the company is looking into incentives to help them in the beginning.
Schiro states that Stream does not view other smaller energy companies with direct marketing, such as Ambient and ACN, as competition. In fact, he admires these companies and takes advantage of opportunities to learn from them. Rather, he has set his sights on the incumbents, such as PG&E, that already hold 60 to 70 percent of the market. However, he is also aware of potential challenges, as Amazon and Google show interest in breaking into the energy and wireless market. He states that it is possible that they will become a problem in the next five years and will require Stream to calibrate at that time.
Schiro’s excitement for the future of Stream is palpable as he discusses how the company is changing lives with its commitment to doing business right. With Schiro at the helm, Stream is destined for growth.