We touch on so many topics in this episode, it's hard to list them all. We talk about what it is to know yourself well enough to get comfortable being bold and proud of our beliefs. How to be a leader, businessperson, parent, spiritual person, and fit it all together in a way that actually works. We talk about how to pass these these lessons on to or family and we talk extensively about what it is to focus our energy on what is most important and how we learn to say 'no'. And most interestingly, we talk about how something as simple as a $2 bill can change how you interact with everyone you meet.
[00:00:00] So we're all in. We are like, this is you're doing it wrong with Mark Henderson Leary. My name is Mark and I have a passion that you should feel in control of your life. And so I want to help entrepreneurial leaders feel more in control of their business.
[00:00:14] And today, I'm here with Matt Gilbert and I'm really, really excited to talk to Matt for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is it is it a passionate, smart guy, a passionate Christian, like a parent of kids from ages? And I get this right. Nine through thirty one. Yeah. All girls and five grandkids.
[00:00:36] I keep counting. There's five so far. The youngest one is almost two months. Correct, sir.
[00:00:43] And so I love that because you're an entrepreneur and in many iterations and you're a business adviser and your identity as I see it is very whole. Thank you. I've worked hard at that.
[00:01:00] How how does how does that how does.
[00:01:04] Let's go right to my favorite part. I love working with teams who are religious because they are so timid about being religious. Yeah. They want to hide it.
[00:01:15] And that said, be authentic, right. Yeah.
[00:01:20] I think if you're authentic that comes across, you know, you're not going to be all things to all people.
[00:01:27] And your people can find you if you're authentic and then you can build great relationships and advanceable and whatever you're trying to do.
[00:01:36] How have you I mean, you know, reading, talking to you and seeing how you present it and you write down your bio, it's right up front. Passionate Christian. You have no problem with that. How have you struggled with that as it was? I was always that way. How did you come to be comfortable with that?
[00:01:50] Oh, boy. Yeah. Put some more tape in.
[00:01:53] So we're down to the last one hundred and ninety seven hours on this, on this card.
[00:01:59] So it goes way back.
[00:02:01] I won't bore you, but my most of my life my mother has been a missionary abroad and so there has always been this. You use the word religious religious component to my world. Right. And as you become an adult and come into your own, you've got to figure out what that means for you personally. You can't just piggyback on your parents. Faith is my belief. And and it took me a long time to come around. I early on was was pretty successful in business and got caught up in in the world and all that being young and successful in business entails and kind of had my identity wrapped up in that and was having kids and a family. And really, you just said something about being whole. I was completely out of balance as a person at that point in my life. And so if you fast forward up to mid to late thirties and a lot of experiences and life being lived up to that point, I began to challenge myself in character, values and integrity and, you know, just kind of all the qualities of a person and then those translate over into business. And, you know, I didn't I found that sometimes, not always, but sometimes I had a business personality and I had a church personality and I had a dad personality and I had a husband personality switches like they weren't they weren't compatible, that they were metalized very compartmentalized.
[00:03:43] And and that wasn't one hundred percent me. But, you know, I just somewhere in my mid to late thirties, early forties, began to decide that I'm going to be who I am. I'm going to wear it with pride. I'm going to just be authentic.
[00:04:01] And if you don't like that, go find another friend, go find another boss, go find another place to work.
[00:04:05] You know, you can't necessarily find another dad, but, you know, last time did it, you know, so so the last ten years have just been me wearing my skin and letting the world just know that that's who I am. And if if you don't like it, go somewhere else or, you know, we just agree to disagree.
[00:04:26] So that's not the first time I've heard something like that. But what I've experienced and what I've heard people point out to me is that when is a homeostatic tendency in the world, which a lot of people means a lot different things to different people. So that's maybe a distracting term. But the point is that when you make a change and an individual makes a change, the rest of the world is going to subtly or not so subtly try to prevent that change. Absolutely. And so if you decide you're going to get up early, there's somebody who was like, I wanted to sleep. I just I want to stop watching TV. There's something I want to watch that show. You in your personal world, and so what was it like, I mean, we see so boldly and if you don't like it, you know, do something different. I'm assuming there were some pretty immediate consequences to that.
[00:05:12] Well, number one, it's an iterative process, right? I didn't wake up one day and decide to quit being the old person and start being the new person. Right.
[00:05:20] It's it's figuring out how to let go and change and, you know, and and reveal and things like that. I would say definitely my children and my spouse and my business partners and those who are absolutely the closest to me.
[00:05:38] I didn't come out and make an announcement. Right. I just went through this iterative process and it was the hardest for them to accept because they knew this guy for 30 years or 20 years or 40 years. And and now all of a sudden in the last six months, things are a little different.
[00:05:53] I was terrified you were going to say they all embraced it because that's the normal thing. I told my spouse is so, so supportive of me.
[00:05:59] Everybody's been so and that's not my life. Every time I try to do something hard to help myself be better, I feel like everyone's against me sometimes. So so it was it was people were not comfortable at first.
[00:06:11] Yeah. Well, I think the questions which was authentic and which wasn't right. Because it's different than what I what I know. OK, you know, every time my wife goes on a diet and starts eating salad, she accuses me of going straight to the blue bluebell and chocolate and sabotaging that, you know, and there's some of that and everything that we do.
[00:06:33] And so, you know, making the conscious choice to be bold with my faith and to be bold with my business activities and to be bold with my for instance, everybody in my life knows not to invite me to happy hour or something after work because I want to run home and be with my family.
[00:06:55] Ok, and, you know, making money is why I'm at business. I don't really mix that with a social aspect because I have my church community, my home community, my neighborhood and my family and my kids, my grandkids and all those are where I get those other things fulfilled. So when I'm at work, I want to work.
[00:07:13] You know, I don't want to hang out and go to happy hour. And, you know, that's just not me.
[00:07:18] If I have that kind of time, I want to go sit down and play Barbie or with a grandkid or ride a bike with somebody. And that's just, you know, I don't want to miss that anymore because you got a lot of kids to do.
[00:07:33] Well, they're not.
[00:07:34] Yeah, they're not all local, but yeah, it's yeah, I'm really pleased to be in that position and I feel blessed.
[00:07:42] That's that's that's incredible. So you said and this is everybody has some sort of story like this.
[00:07:51] We're kind of working backwards from, like the you're feeling pretty, pretty in integrity with yourself. And it seems like I'm sure there's areas you're trying to improve. And every morning you're like, I wish I was going to get up early or whatever that was working that back to some of the challenges. But you said something. I think you work with something out of balance or something to that effect, like it wasn't like this before. And entrepreneurs, I know so many of them have a great deal of out of balance. What was your credit balance?
[00:08:18] Well, I said that in relation to to being a young parent to twenty year old business person, that kind of thing. And, you know, I just I just felt like I grew up a certain way and I felt like proving myself in the business world and financial and all that kind of stuff was more important than a more mature. I knew that it is out of balance right now. You know, I'm always, of course, correcting. I stayed up until two thirty in the morning last night working on a project and returning emails and stuff like that. And that was because at about eight thirty I went and put my youngest kid to bed and eat dinner with my family. And, you know, I just wasn't able to I have this personal thing where I'm not going to go to bed until I fulfill all the promises I made throughout the day to do something that day. And sometimes somebody will say, hey, wait a minute, we want to play Yahtzee. And so you you know, you run through this mental checklist, well, I can't play Yahtzee. I promised so-and-so I'd get this in a process and do that. And I just don't have forty five minutes for you. And then you go, wait a minute, you're my world. Yes. I'll play Yahtzee and I'll put you to bed and we'll I'll take a bath and then I'll sneak upstairs and I'll work for three hours. And that was kind of what happened yesterday. So there's a little balance going on at all the time. And I'm growing a business like a lot of your listeners probably are. And and you can't do that in forty hours. You know, it takes 50 to 80 to 100 just depending on how things are going. And and, you know, I'm committed to. Doing that as well as I possibly can, and so sometimes you give up sleep, sometimes you give up a weekend or, you know, cut a vacation short. And in other times, you know, you've got the flexibility, you got the momentum to freak your family out and go, hey, let's take three extra days.
[00:10:19] You know, what would you do with my dad? Well, you know, that kind of thing.
[00:10:23] Well, that's a state of I mean, there's so much going on because in my mind, it's happened so often here. People start talking and I just all the gears start turning. But the concept of balance. So I heard somebody tell me many years ago that they didn't believe in balance and it was a light lightning strike moment for me, because up until that moment, I had sort of believed believed the common wisdom that you were seeking balance. Everyone was seeking balance. There's no such thing as balance. Balance is not real. There are seasons in life. There are recipes that that change based on what you need at any given part of your life. And that was so that's actually very Vaden from a couple of books. Take it, take the stairs. Another one is Procrastination on Purpose, both fantastic books. But when he talks about seasons, which might my description on that is that, you know, if you want to make a cake, there is there are ingredients, there's flour and there's sugar and butter and sugar tastes good.
[00:11:22] If I put more sugar in there and more and more sugar eventually. It's not a cake. It's not a cake. Right. And so do you need a cake or do you need a hard candy? And you have to decide because you don't want the flour and the eggs and other things in your heart candy. But you need the sugar and so understanding at any given time, which I think this is where this is maddeningly difficult at any given time. What the real hard question is, what are you making like? Are you baking a cake? Are you in college or are you trying to go all in on education and building a career for yourself? What does that career and that's totally out of balance in terms of many things. And then you've got a family. What are you trying to do? That's totally different set of balance. And so I'm thinking about how have you had to adjust the recipe?
[00:12:09] Yeah, it's a well, you mentioned right before you turn the power on here that this wasn't going to go where I thought. And you're right, if I slip and say, Karen, that's my wife, she's she's my better half and the person I like to visit with the most and and Karen and I've had this ongoing, never ending conversation intensely for about three years. And and that whole card candy thing, is it the whole balance or not balance thing? Is it what we've come to for ourselves and our family is we don't want to be average in any way in anything we do. And I think balance delivers average and mediocrity in every category. And if you want to be an overachiever and a performer and one thing where you've got to give up something else in order to devote the time and the energy and the infrastructure to being an overachiever. And then one thing. And so the question becomes for us as a family and certainly for business owners, as a as an entity, non-profits that I'm involved in, we have we wrestle with these same things. Right. What are we going to quit doing so that we can concentrate more efforts like a laser beam on the things that are really, really important to us? And then how do we get along in society? You know, like my nine year old still goes to school. So, you know, most of our vacations throughout the school year are on three day weekends. Well, that just trashes a ten day cruise, you know?
[00:13:54] Right. So, you know, all these things come into play.
[00:13:57] But we have decided as a as a as a as a husband and wife that, you know, we've got a lot of places in our history where we were mediocre.
[00:14:07] Oh. And and we just don't want that anymore. We would rather have few balls juggling in the air and be outstanding in those areas than to have a lot of balls juggling and be known as a good juggler but be mediocre and everything.
[00:14:24] So I love that. And I want to go as specific as you're comfortable, because it reminds me of actually the thing I wanted to brought up as well. There's sacrifice required to do that. Excellence requires sacrifice. Absolutely.
[00:14:36] Jj, what talks about like you think what you want to be me. Like you think it's cool going to bed at 8:00 every night. I go to bed every night. I get ten hours sleep minimum because I've got I'm beating myself up every single day and I can't recover. And so you have to give up something. You want to get something you want more. Yeah, that's a sacrifice. So when you're talking about excellence, what are the things you're starting to say no to?
[00:15:02] Some of the things that I'm starting to say yes to over the last handful of years, a number of years is, you know, back to the religion thing, our church family and our religious schedule and things like that have really become a priority. And so we can't do gymnastics on Wednesday night. You know, we can't go to the movie on Sunday night. And we could I mean, we could make an exception, but we have chosen not to write. And and those choices have consequences, you know, and and you have to hopefully in advance, you've understood most of the consequences and you come to grips with that. In order to do this or be this or achieve this, I'm willing to let those things go. And so you don't harbor any resentment or dread that that's happening. But for us, there's a to do list. And for every to do list, there's a what are we going to give up? What are we going to stop doing? What are we going slow down? How are we going to create the time and the resources in order to do those things? Excellent. And so, you know, this season in my life, from a family standpoint, it's every Thursday I have four daughters. We talked about daughter, son in law. Two boys live next door, OK? My mom lives across the street, a couple other kids on the other side of town every Thursday night at six o'clock. That's today, by the way.
[00:16:34] We wrap up now. We're half hours.
[00:16:38] We we have a family dinner. And, you know, it's not everybody can always show up.
[00:16:46] But we have had a couple of family meetings and said, you know, if you guys are willing to make this a priority, we really want to as the parents, I'm the patriarch. And so we're going to set the table and we're going to expect you to be there unless you call or text or whatever and say that you're not coming. There's a place set for you. There is enough food for you. If you want to bring a friend, bring a friend.
[00:17:09] But every Thursday night, we have this family dinner, and it's funny that the smallest children in the room are the ones that turned it into a thing, really, because they were so vocal to their parents. And one of them's my kid and I'm a parent. And it was like, this is the greatest thing I do all week. I look forward to Thursday dinner. I look forward to the conversation. I look forward to everybody, put their cell phone down. We sit around the table. We sometimes we play a game. You know, it's just ah, and that is pretty recent. That's two years old, but it's become a staple in our lives. So consequently, I don't travel on Thursday night if I am doing business. I can't think of the last time I traveled on Thursday night. I'm going to next week, but that is probably the first time in two years. Wow. And so how many people come to this and counting friends and everything? There's probably ten or twelve on average. There have been there and there have been smaller, but that's probably average.
[00:18:08] Ok, is it largely how much rotation is there?
[00:18:13] Almost none. I mean, all of us live across the street next door to each other. That's the core group. Right. And so so we're always there. And then somebody brings a friend or whatever, you know, some other kids are in town.
[00:18:27] Then it gets bigger. But the core group is probably, I don't know, just say ten people and and three elementary age kids that can be as loud and run around and jump and they get to see great grandma and they get to see grandpa and mom. And and that may be the only time that they get that time with those, you know, people in the family.
[00:18:50] So how does that? Because I love the community aspect of that for a million reasons. I we struggle to try to keep a healthy community in my world for a whole other set of reasons. That probably would be a whole other podcast or two.
[00:19:05] But how does that how does that how do you manage the maybe the compartmentalization is does that community extend into your business community? Are they totally separate? Is there overlap in the Venn diagram of a couple here and there? I mean, or is that is that family world is completely separate now?
[00:19:22] It's not separate at all. My wife and I were at a celebratory dinner. We scored a big closing with a client on Christmas Eve, actually, thanks to the team for all working to make that happen. Last week or 10 days ago, we had a big celebratory dinner and it was it was everybody that was involved and bring your spouse. So, you know, she was there. I've got one of my daughters that on and off as needed. I'll pull her in the projects for the company and whatnot. I have literally taken my nine year old and I love to do this and she loves to go. To business meetings and let her just be there and see what I do and and be a part of it, and sometimes it's a shock when I walk in with my little nine year old daughter for the very first time when I meet a business owner.
[00:20:13] But when I explain it, there's so much respect and he'll end up talking to her more than he talks to me. You know, it's just cool.
[00:20:20] Yeah. I was a specific topic I wanted to kind of go into is exactly that kind of thing. Is that because my daughter is the same way she's I was she was older before I could get her sort of really involved for I don't know if maybe it's just my head trash or my beliefs, but but finally, I know I know what is actually in retrospect. She was so busy in high school, even middle school, there wasn't any time from her. And so finally when Summers opened up and she was doing the last in fact, I even sort of I organized a little ride along right along trip. I had some entrepreneurial friends who are willing to spend some time with her. And I and I organized that she could spend a couple of hours or half a day with them. And that was really eye opening for her. And when she finally had the time and ability to ride along with me, it was such a privilege. It was awesome just to see her and see her engage. And it's like you said, people in the room start like, oh, this girl's got some perspective. You know, I want to hear what she's got to say. And so it was it was it was awesome to do that. So how do you manage the legacy and mentorship and connect all all the flows of information and perspective throughout the entire family?
[00:21:25] Uh, I don't know that I consciously manage it at all. It just is what it is. My wife rode with me all day yesterday. We had to run down a medical center in the morning. We eat lunch together. We ran a couple hours for her and it was a Wednesday, typical Wednesday for me. So the entire trip, by the way, we live an hour from the medical center. So, you know, it was a lot of highway time. The entire trip. I was the driving and on the speakerphone talking to people that work with me and business owners and accountants and lawyers and and some of them use foul language, you know, say the same thing.
[00:22:05] I was on the other end of that one time, and I was and I got I said some foul language. And the guy I was talking to is that, by the way, my my my eight year old daughter was like, oh, so yeah.
[00:22:14] So yesterday I started unconsciously, I think I started most conversations.
[00:22:20] Everybody knows if you know me for ten minutes, you know my wife and kids names. I just started every conversation by, Hey, Karen's listening. And for me that was a signal that, you know, she's not in the business. Don't get all riled up, don't start cutting me out, you know, just be cool. And I think it was at lunch or maybe on the drive home, she's like, how can you start all these phone calls with Karen's listening? And I'm like, well, number one, you're on speakerphone. And that's a courtesy to the other party. This is not this is right. This is a business call. And you're hearing the conversations that are very intimate business owner things.
[00:23:00] And and number two, I don't want them to embarrass themselves or me, you know, but just being guys is very real, very possible.
[00:23:11] And, you know, I'm not sure she bought it, but that was I didn't even realize I was doing it until she called me out on it.
[00:23:18] And so your question, I think, was how do you manage all these communications and how they flow over into different aspects of your life? And I really don't think I manage it at all. I you know, it seems like every where we go and every meal we're at, the texts are going off, the phones ringing. And it's a business issue. And and and I have to decide, am I going to get up and walk over in the corner and take this one or not? We all deal with that. Right. And and I have gotten to where, you know, if if the scenario lends itself to it, I just put on speakerphone and just let it let my wife and kids I don't do this with other people, but let my wife and kids into my business world see what I deal with, see where the stress comes from, see how kind of they paint me into a corner and I have to make a commitment to get something tonight out to them on email before I go to bed. And they can understand that a little more if if they're exposed to it a little a little bit as interesting, because I a couple of things in there.
[00:24:24] One is the habit side of that. It sounds like a lot of decisions that you that have given you that openness is just habit by now. You just you're just kind of how do I put this one on speaker or not? And if I can't, I do. And that's happened a thousand times since then.
[00:24:42] And so it's just a little trickle effect because I think with the picture you paint that what I see and take away from this is a pretty full, transparent, highly interconnected, healthy sounding, holistic. A lot of adjectives.
[00:24:58] Yeah, they are. Can I meet that guy, right? Yes, but at the same time, I God, I really think about it.
[00:25:04] It's like, well, there's some intention that there should be some intentionality. I bet at some point there was some intentionality. Did you just build habits and you're reaping the benefits of that or because this is not easy stuff? I don't think I don't think what you're doing is easy to be able to to to keep a connected family, keep your spiritual priorities high, be successful in business, have great communication with your kids. Those things are competing for each other in most people's lives. But it seems in balance for you. To what extent was that intentional? And do you go back and recalculate?
[00:25:36] Absolutely intentional. Like I said, mid thirties, early forties, figuring out how to go from the other end of the spectrum into where I'm at now. It wasn't rip the Band-Aid off today. We're different than we were yesterday. It was an iterative of it still is. I mean, we're still going through it. You know, I announce, hey, my daughter is listening or my wife's on the phone when somebody is on speakerphone because of the confidential nature of ninety five percent of my conversations and sometimes a client, Chad did it to me yesterday, said, hey, I don't want to talk about this in that scenario. Just call me back later. You know, when you're able to concentrate, you're by yourself. And so, you know, there's a kind of a measurement of can I pull this off with my nine year old hearing right now and can I trust the person on the other end of the line to respect the nine year old's here and listening. And, you know, I want her to know what it means to to that. Here's a good example. Probably not a good example. And give it to me anyway.
[00:26:49] My oldest, who's thirty one now, I believe when she was in elementary school, we had an environmental service company. And and that basically meant that we were handling hazardous waste all the time, all day. Really tricky stuff and highly regulated, yada, yada, yada. We sold that company to a company who merged with waste management thirty days after we sold them. And and my daughter was in like second or third grade or something. And so we start pointing out waste management, garbage trucks driving around going, hey, that's who we sold our company to. That's who I work for. Now here's my business card, you know? And so she goes to school. And on Career Day, you know, some people have doctors and lawyers and accountants and bankers and and I was introduced as the garbage man, you know.
[00:27:43] So because the perspective that I had given her is, you know, we sold out to people with garbage trucks.
[00:27:50] And so, you know, that was something that I still think about today. And and now I have my fourth daughter is young and in that space. And I just don't want her to have not too rosy of a picture of what this is like because business is hard. Oh, my gosh. You know, it's hard it's hard to be an employer. It's hard to be you know, the buck stops here, guy. It's hard to talk people into trusting you for the largest transaction of their life when they only recently met you. And so, you know, I don't want to make it look too easy. On the other hand, you know, one thing about having four daughters is I never wanted them to have to depend on anybody else. So a husband, a man or boyfriend or anything like that, go get your education, get your confidence, have skills and abilities to take care of yourself if you ever have to. If you choose to get married, you choose to have kids, whatever. Those are choices, but don't do them because you have to. And so just building in those young people, the fact that they really can do anything they want if they set their mind to it and they prioritize things right.
[00:29:05] And they have high level integrity and transparency and character along the way, they can they can do that. And that is what, um, certainly at this company, at this stage of my life, you know, that is what I'm trying to demonstrate and live out in front of them.
[00:29:27] I mean, what you said reminded me a little bit of I had lunch with a friend today, a startup CEO of a company that's creating some emerging technology with facial identification you would think would apply to security and that kind of thing, and highly accurate facial recognition for identifying people.
[00:29:51] They have used this to begin to revolutionize the event business for identifying. Especially VIP guests, and there's a whole it's amazing and fun and phenomenal to see what he's doing with this, but the reason I mention is he was telling me that he was speaking at the university where he studied and talking to them about entrepreneurship.
[00:30:15] And he's like, here's the deal with entrepreneurship. Don't do it. Don't do it. It's if it's way worse than you think. Now, for me, I wouldn't do anything else, even if self like, you know, like I you know, you shouldn't do it. I'm doing it because I can't do anything else. Isn't is point is to say that maybe that's you too, but maybe you should be doing it. But entrepreneurship and business like I don't underestimate, you know, it's like it's a it's a real deal and sometimes oh it's the hardest thing.
[00:30:46] You know, my my dad all grown up and his whole career as long as I've been alive anyway, it was in the FAA air traffic controller world, that kind of thing, that when when you start reading lists of the most stressful jobs, that's always in the top two or three of the most stressful job. Yeah, well, I grew up in the airport tower. I'm a pilot. My dad was in that world. I watched it happen. He never missed a paycheck. Right. I always knew when he was going to work. When he was off work, nobody called him, you know, all of these things. And being a business owner or an entrepreneur, especially in the lower middle market where you're small and you just you put the burdens on your own shoulders and you're either going to win or you're going to lose. And, you know, I've I've walked in and told my wife, hey, we need to mortgage our house to make payroll on Friday. How hard a conversation is that? You know, a wife her number one thing in my experience is she needs security right now. You tell her you're going to go mortgage your house. Well, here's what that that conveys is you didn't manage your business well enough that you got yourself into a point where you can't make payroll on Friday. Why should I give up my house betting that you're going to manage it well between here and there so I can get my house back? Absolutely. You know, I've had to do that. My brother, well, he's four years younger than I am. And when he was a teenager, he came to work for a company that my partner and I owned. Still have the same partner. Very proud of that. And, uh, and he was a teenager. Well, we sold that business to a public company. My brother went to work for the public company.
[00:32:25] Now I'm fifty one. He's forty seven. He's been retired for a little while and he's living in Germany. I'm still over here fighting the entrepreneurial business owner battle. He's getting a check for the rest of his life.
[00:32:38] Yeah. You know, so it's it's not easy. And yeah, a lot of people glamorize it. Right. Those moments are few and far between. You know, you've got to be it's not necessarily the strongest or the smartest when in business, it's really a game of attrition. And if you can just stay in the game longer than anybody else, you're going to be victorious, I think.
[00:33:04] Well, and there's a lot there, too. So I think of a lot of things that when you're the air traffic controller, you're it's one hundred percent on the entire time you're there and you clock out and it's ten percent off and the next several hours, there's no opportunity cost for your working time as an entrepreneur. Every single minute has the potential to be some success, some failure, like like you can't even quantify the potential.
[00:33:27] Like, if I use this next hour in the right way, this might be the next million, next ten million, whatever. And so the minute to minute adrenaline potential, you just it just doesn't turn off like going to bed at night.
[00:33:41] You're like, did I do it all, can I do it. I could stay up another hour. I could do that. One more thing. There's always more to do. And so it's it's a totally different, totally different way of thinking.
[00:33:51] Yeah. Most people don't understand this. I, I can't remember since I was a teenager mowing lawns through this morning, I can't ever remember taking a shower. That's my only time of peace or standing there just running hot water on my head where I wasn't mentally dealing with some difficult component of the business or the family, you know, and and, you know, not to knock postal workers or anybody like that, but I don't think they have that stress when they're not on the job because they're in a system. And, you know, there's it's compartmentalized and they're just playing a role.
[00:34:35] I can speak to that. Exactly. So I sold my business. I worked for the company. I sold it to four, not quite three years. And then I was trying to figure out what my next chapter was going to be. And so I was doing some sales and marketing related jobs and functions for friends of mine businesses for roughly two years of different places to different years.
[00:34:54] And I can tell you that when I had a narrow lane, like I had a sales job and there was like it was. I didn't have leadership responsibility at the executive team level. There was a limit to my influence, like I only had so many accounts I could call work on and like there wasn't anything to do after they were done. And so on any given day, I could think, well, this work will be here tomorrow. Maybe it's no big deal if I go home a little bit early today and, you know, and hang out with the kids and it was totally different. Now, after a while, the feeling of lack of influence in my destiny and being at it, having to feel the consequences of other people's decision, it was like, no, put me back in the fire, please.
[00:35:38] I needed that again. But it was real. It was absolutely real that, you know, if I'm going to go home at three thirty and by four o'clock I'm at home and my my thoughts were a million miles away from any calling, any sales, anything that was. And that's totally different.
[00:35:51] Yeah. I have two neighbors like everybody. Right. One on the right, one on the left. Fertilizer in the yard about I don't know, a few days ago. And the three of us just kind of converge in my driveway for a moment. One neighbor works for Exxon. Right. And the other neighbor works for a small entrepreneurial business.
[00:36:12] And the neighbor on my right had two paychecks bounce and the other one not show up. The guy at Exxon, you know, and he's worried about his house payment. He got ramen noodles for his kids and. Right. And the guy Dixon's looking like, you know, I can't even understand that I've never, ever thought about my paycheck not being cleared. You know, in fact, he probably didn't even see a paycheck, direct deposit. It's good money. And so, you know, it's just to be careful what you wish for, right? Because there's a there's a struggle and everything, you know.
[00:36:49] Yeah. I mean, the money you make as an entrepreneur as opposed to if you if you're an attorney and you make will just pick a random number because the variations of what an attorney can make are all over the map. Let's say you're making two hundred grand or even one hundred grand or whatever, that the math on one hundred thousand dollar career you you don't have it's not a hundred thousand dollars for the year that you were trying to figure out how to use. You've got the next 40 years of money you can count on. You could do the math on how to spend every dollar you'll probably make over the next 40 years. As an entrepreneur, you may make four hundred thousand in one year and you got like next year.
[00:37:23] Maybe I make a nothing like nothing.
[00:37:25] I've done that. I have done that. And then you start rationalizing. OK, well, let me think about my three year average. Right, because you've got to as an entrepreneur, nobody's there to pick you up. You've got to pick yourself back up. You've got to get your head straight. You're your own psychologist and put yourself in a position to go back out and fight tomorrow. Right. And and I've been there where I made nothing one year and huge numbers a year or two later. And I played that three year average game in my head the whole time.
[00:37:56] You see the money so differently, it's like, you know, this this one dollar.
[00:38:00] Hang on to this guy. Yeah.
[00:38:04] Yeah. Every now and then I get to teach.
[00:38:10] And I have been told by several people that I'm most passionate when I talk about the financial stewardship and the subject of, you know, managing things like that and bringing a biblical perspective to the conversation to to help us learn how to do those things well, how to steward. You know, you don't just steward money. You steward your resources, you steward your time, you steward you you know, everything in your life. And, um, and apparently I get really passionate around the financial thing because it has been a struggle for me since the day I can have my first memory. You know, just I wanted a better bicycle. My dad would say, you know, you earn half the money and I'll pay the other half. I mean, I just grew up that way. And and at some point, like you just said, where you had to go back to managing your own life and running your own schedule and being an entrepreneur, at some point it becomes part of your DNA. And and when you're in activities or in a situation where you don't get to feed that beast, yeah, it feels like something's missing. And and so that's why there's so many of us out there that are kind of nuts.
[00:39:32] Well, so let's talk to the financial stewardship, because I think I see I experience visionary leaders, which I tend to categorize myself as not not that my vision is so great, but I tend to behave like a visionary in terms of being a little impulsive and trying to get bigger, bigger and bigger bite to the future.
[00:39:49] Will you guys actively define that in your work to so you think about it?
[00:39:52] Yeah, for sure. And so that tends to be a little more impulsive. I tend to want to invest in quotes like. This is this is going to be the return on investment and this is it is we got to do this would be foolish not to. And that tends to be a recipe for spending and it tends to be a recipe for lower profits than expected. And sometimes it's negative profits in years. That should have been very profitable. And so I see that a lot. Did you learn experience or what was your what was your exposure? You get some money when you got the first real money, how did you handle it?
[00:40:24] So I had a kid and a wife and I was very young and I got a doubling of my income. I went to salary at twenty three thousand dollars a year. Oh, all right. And I thought, man, we have made it. We went and bought a house and qualified and all that stuff. And and I had a mentor at the time, guy who I missed deeply. And this was right when the Texas lottery started coming out and jokingly but it is stuck with me every Friday afternoon at lunch. He would go down to the stop and go or whatever it is to buy cigarettes and make an investment, OK?
[00:41:12] And and he would buy ten or twenty dollars worth of lottery tickets, you know, and and as the next 30 years have unveiled in front of me, I have watched so many investments that that I categorize like those lottery tickets that business owners and people and families and they justify wanting to spend what they want to spend on and do what they want to do under the guise of an investment.
[00:41:40] And, you know, and that just isn't stewardship. Right.
[00:41:45] That is and I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with it if you budget and the budget component of your income that you want to waste. I have a component of mine that I like to waste, and we always do it in different ways. But I don't look for a return.
[00:42:00] I don't look for any I call it entertainment like waste to me is pejorative. But, you know, entertainment, you know, you're not it's it's sort of should be in and of itself. You're right. So I'm not expecting to get money back on my entertainment expenses.
[00:42:14] Not at all. Not at all. We started something up. Gosh, this was twenty five or maybe even thirty years ago. Credit my wife for this, but we get two dollar bills every time we and so we have a couple of banks we deal with and they save all their two dollar bills and they give them to us when they get them. And so we originally any time our kids would ask for money or his birthday or something like that, we give them two dollar bills. And I didn't connect two and two until I started being out in the community and people would just light up and be just enthusiastic and tell me, oh, your kids came by my business today.
[00:42:56] And I'm like, Really? How do you know they're my kids are hanging on to dollar bills, you know? And so it got so bad that I gave graduation program. I give two thousand dollars in two to our bills and stuff like that to my kids. And they all have a big shoe box.
[00:43:11] We talk about branding all of the other guys as part of your brand for sure.
[00:43:14] Yeah. So everybody in our life for the last thirty years knows us.
[00:43:17] There's probably ten to dollar bills in my wallet right now. I tip with them and the whole nine yards. It's just very unique and memorable. Right. Um, and and at one point, you know, I had to think about the brand and the stewardship and the impact and the memorability and all that stuff. And and that's when my wife and I just decided that that's going to be our thing. And we tell people about it and they're like, cool, we're going to copy you. And they don't follow through and they can't get the news anyway because we got a corner on the market.
[00:43:48] But shorthand there are ziliak. You get some tools to do their Deuce's. If you talk to the kid, they're Deuce's.
[00:43:56] And so, you know, it's, uh, it turns stewardship into a little game. It turns it into something that has deeper meaning and lasting memories and things like that. And it helped us to, um, to to just to keep all the reasons of why why don't we have these tools in our wallet every time we go on a trip and we're flying or we go on a cruise or whatever, we'll take a thousand dollars and two dollar bills. So everybody we see, we can tip my gosh in two dollar bills. And it's like, why are we not a big wide? It's hard to carry, but it's really cool to get the reaction. And it starts an amazing conversation with the person you're handing it to. We got you know, and we just feel that we're able to make an impact and be in a conversation and be relevant. And all this thing starts from a simple little note piece of paper. So I don't know where I'm going with this. And I forgot your question.
[00:44:52] Well, but I don't. I have the question. But don't don't go.
[00:44:57] Don't distractors. Fascinating. This is really fast because I think here's my well, let's see what you got. You keep talking because I want to say I can't I can't talk and I get right it every morning. So once there's a there's a two. There's a six. Eight. Yeah, there's some two.
[00:45:12] There's a couple of in here too. Well, so this makes me think of little little things that make a big difference. Keystone habits or things that that's for you. Oh thank you. Thank you. Let's look at that. You're making money already. Absolutely. This is there's a lot of profundity here, like a two dollar bill, something that speaks to you, something that one of the things I when when I'm working with a company is this idea of simplification and simplification has a lot of ramifications. But one of the essence of it is this weird almost maybe homoeopathic effect when you take a complex idea the way a business starts or or why person started it or what we do or what value we add and we drive the thinking down to what the essence of it is like. We do complex real estate or what we are, and we do these various these various processes. And by the time we get this down to something simple, so simple, that it's like three to five words, three to five words that anybody has access to, like, you know, like not complex words. And that's not very unique multisyllabic words like, you know, we are building a legacy company, something like that. That or maybe even simpler than that, that if you look at if you read the words, there's nothing particularly remarkable like a two dollar bill. There's nothing particularly remarkable about it. It's a quarter.
[00:46:44] But when you when it's you, when you do it, it connects something deep.
[00:46:53] And it may be spiritual and like. So when when when you hand out a two dollar bill, somebody I mean, if I had it, did they ask me what you know, why do you why do you do that? Oh, my friend Matt gave it to me. Yeah.
[00:47:04] Well, no one nobody can see you waving the two dollar bill at me that I just gave you.
[00:47:07] So let's paint that picture a little bit.
[00:47:10] So but when you hand it out and somebody says, oh, why'd you give that to me? You're ready. I'm ready. Yeah. And there's so much power in that concept of distilling down something so deep and big. It's an iceberg down to something so simple that makes it accessible and easy. It's a it's a very easy to use doorway to open up a conversation.
[00:47:34] It cost me two dollars to break down every barrier with anybody I meet.
[00:47:40] And what's so amazing about that is, like you said, oh, we're going to do that. I'll bet you a lot of them try. And it doesn't work. It's not that.
[00:47:48] It's not their thing. Yeah, it's probably true. Probably true. I never really followed up on all the five hundred people that have said that to me. But, you know, we don't hide it. It's not our thing. We don't want to corner the market. It's I think it is so cool. I want you to go start doing it, you know, just. But you're not going to get what I get out of it because it's coming from a different place.
[00:48:08] Yeah. This is a symbol is a symbol. Just like a letter or a word is a symbol.
[00:48:13] And it means it means something different in something that's almost no is not almost it is totally intangible and it is beyond language. You can't communicate it through without.
[00:48:25] But your hand, your hand passing it over, you're the spirit, the intention, all those things, those only come through in those moments.
[00:48:31] Yeah. And most people feel special if you had them a to way more so than if you hand them a five or ten because you don't see them every day. They know that I'm parting with this. And if you know it means something to me and you know, there's that whole thing that just is is it just number one? I don't know how long ago. Twenty minutes ago we said my wife and I made the decision to be outstanding in as many areas of our life as we can. And and this is another way. When we tip or when we are generous, we do it. And it's such a memorable way. It connects back to us people. I mean, I've seen somebody for five years that served me three times at a Chinese food restaurant and champions. And then I bump into him at the gas station. And I'm the two dollar bill guy still to this day.
[00:49:29] Yes. And I don't know if I'm passionate about this point. And hopefully I can make it the two dollar bill. And I'm not sure that I can see the two dollar bill is a tangible manifestation of not the two dollars. It's a tangible manifestation of you.
[00:49:46] And they they they they remember you by referring to the two dollar bill, but they're thinking of you. And that's the connection. Yeah, I believe that that is this is what the the. Mislead for somebody who distills their business down to three words, just think they think they've distilled their business down to three words. They haven't. They've created a tiny little doorway that's openable and accessible to people that allows them to see them their real self.
[00:50:11] And you have that with this. And so I guess what I want you to take away from that is that there's not a thing to tell you and you should own that.
[00:50:22] You know, who else gets a huge joy out of it? And I want to make sure that I continue to give Karen credit. This started with her and her death. Who gets a huge joy out of that is Stephanie. Stephanie works at the bank and every two dollar bill that comes through, she grabs as fast as she can. So nobody else gets her hands on and she puts it aside and she can't wait until my wife comes in and she has a wad for her. Yeah. And it's just cool. I mean, just what it does in our lives is unique and it's special and it makes us it gives us an opportunity to have interactions with people that we might just pass on to, you know, as our two ships pass every day. Instead, we get to stop and have a moment.
[00:51:06] I love it. So it's yeah, there's a lot to take away from that.
[00:51:11] And to me, it just sends the message of it's worthwhile to look for simple ways and simple things to do to help us be to manifest, to interact, to contribute.
[00:51:31] And I think the challenge is to not dismiss that, dismiss the simple things like, oh, just two dollars. That was not this is the acidy is it the ability to communicate on a deeper level and really be authentic, you know, because you meet people all the time who have a gimmick and it's not authentic.
[00:51:53] This is not a gimmick for us. And my kids have picked it up and you know it. So that thread all the way through my kids and everything, I mean, that's just a family trait now and a conversation that we have about what is the deeper meaning and why do we do this. And what was your reaction when you gave it to that guy? Tell me the story. You know, I want to know. Yeah. And it's a legend. And Laura and I went. So my oldest daughter went to Baylor, right? She graduated from high school. We we took her up there and got her settled in. I left came back about a month later. She's got a big screen TV.
[00:52:31] She's got these huge GVC Soundsystem. She's bought couches and everything, bought a bed, all this stuff. And and I looked at her. I was like, you know, Rachel, where did you get all this stuff? And, you know, I didn't know you were taking money, you know, and a huge smile. Totally proud that I used one of the shoeboxes of tubes. You couldn't believe it at Sam's when I paid with two dollar bills. And yeah, at Sam's right. I didn't even know they took cash, but and it was just, you know, it was just a thing. And I don't know, we can move on.
[00:53:06] But no, no, this is this I think there's a lot here. So we're quirky.
[00:53:13] And, um, you know, that goes back to, you know, what I do in my business. Right.
[00:53:20] My my business partner, his name is Brett Brett. And I have we were first in business when I was a teenager. I'm fifty one now, so that's a long time. And, uh, a couple of months ago, we currently we have virtual cloud based setup for all of our associates and employees. And a couple of months ago, we started talking about we really need a physical office. We need a place for a few people to go and be mentored and have a conference room and start acting like everybody else.
[00:53:46] And, um, and that really bothered me and I couldn't put my head around it. I'm frugal. So there was a financial component. And I was like, no, that's not what's bothering me. You know, I've always invested in the right thing to make the business better. And and it hit me one day and I called Brett and I said, you know, here's the thing. I said, we started this company. We're only four years old. We started this company four years ago because we didn't like the existing business models and practices that existed in this space. And we felt like it was ripe for disruption and somebody to come in and have transparency and be authentic and have high level integrity and do things a different way. And by the way, you don't nobody even knows what my business is. Yet the the the industry average in our space is a twenty three percent success rate. So I want to let that stick for a minute. So so I'm looking at Brett. He's looking at me. And I said, look man, if we can't beat twenty three percent, we shouldn't be in business. Right.
[00:54:56] So I think there's opportunity. Of course, here in and and we put up on the wall the four kind of known established business models in our space, and we cherry picked all the really good parts about each of the one of those four, and we stuck them in our business model. And then we labored for quite a while about the parts that made us mad and were frustrating. And we thought we're disingenuous and self-serving to the to the people that we're operating. And and we put all those on a list and we said we're never going to be this. Right. And so we have these two polar positions to start our business with. We never even had a client yet. And we are going to do this. We're never going to do this. And we got it. We built processes around that and we kind of got it all settled and and it was time to go get a client. And I was like, wait a minute. You know, I don't I don't like the way they bill for their services. It just doesn't feel right. It feels like they're taking advantage. And, you know, certainly the vendor and the client, their interests aren't aligned financially. How are we going to take our new mousetrap and align our interests with our clients interests to make sure that we're always on point? Took another month or six weeks? I don't know. We figured that up. So we go out to get clients. A couple of things happen. One, I started telling the world about us and how proud and great. And we have this new mousetrap. And this is the largest transaction of anybody's life in most cases. Nobody wanted to go first. Right. And certainly are attorneys and their counselors were saying, you know, look, go with the old prove an established model. It may be a twenty three percent, which they didn't know. They don't advertise it, but at least you know what you're getting. Right. And so it took us a little while to get traction and find ourselves.
[00:56:43] And we did. And it was that very community, the legal community in the CPA community that said, well, you guys are different. This is awesome. We're going to and they just started flooding us with referrals and and we flourished. And as we flourished at each point along the way, I had to do a gut check and say, you know, why don't we start this business? Who are we going to be? Make sure we're not sliding over into looking like the thing that we chose to disrupt. And so fast forward long story, sorry, all the way to a couple of weeks ago. We're really getting serious about finding a office space, says, hey, you know, there's a glass building, second floor suite in the corner. And I'm like, I finally am able to articulate it. That's not unique. That is what everybody else has. That is what so if we're going to be different and we preach different, we preach what is different. Different is transparent. Different is honest. Different is, you know, high level integrity. Different is no tricky fees, all those things. Then I want our surroundings to be different. I want the setting to be memorable. I want our office to be the two dollar bill. Yeah. Yeah. You know, I don't and I can't do that. In the glass building in the corner, it looks like everybody else's office. And so because of that, I don't know if your listeners are in Houston, but because of that we're looking at very unique properties in the heights in the music industry, in the East Village area to find something that fits that two dollar bill emotional component for me, probably for when somebody comes to our space or when our associates and employees are there, it says, hey, never forget who we are. We're not them.
[00:58:34] I love that on so many levels. But to me, it is exactly like you said, the two dollar bill, meaning that there's not a gimmick, somebody else moving into that spot, whatever. It's a spot when you're there, there's a story to tell. There's a there's a story to be it's it's all part of the same consistent message. And that's the kind of thing that I think really, really matters. And it's the kind of thing you feel in my experience, even like this. I have a similar situation. I picked this space where we are. There was lots of reason to pick the space that I'm in. And every day I walk in here, I feel it. There's lots of reasons. It was not just an impulse that day. It was like this all came together. There was a reason for all this. And it changes how I act and how I behave. And everybody gets the message.
[00:59:17] Yeah, absolutely. And and, you know, that kind of leads to another thought.
[00:59:22] That is, um, as I get older, I've been, you know, my own boss in some form or fashion for thirty five years. And I I'm really aware now that I am continuing to narrow the things corporately that we say yes to. OK, and and really there's enough of the pie out there in the market that is perfectly aligned with our. Sweet spot capabilities in the mousetrap that we built, that there's no reason to take something that we could do A, B or C plus piece of work on is just to stay disciplined and and keep looking for that. Those opportunities where we can deliver an A plus piece of work. And and if you're disciplined to that, um, people begin to notice and they begin to hone the things that they refer you to and drag you into and things like that. And we're in our fourth year now. So people have heard me preach that for about four years around the community that we're in and out and over that for years I've been able to be iterative as we've added functionality or we've added personnel or we've added infrastructure to continue tightening what that is. And it just it it makes it so much more fun. You know, it's it's not as hard as most of my clients businesses seem to be because we're way more focused and and what we're doing, I don't know where I'm going with that.
[01:01:08] Well, what I'd love to hear is did make this as tangible as possible. Tell us about your business. Tell us about your target client in terms of how did you learn who was and who wasn't and and how? And now you're saying, like we're saying now, a little more of it. We're saying yes, a little more selectively. So make it real specific. Give me some example of a type of buyer who you're helping walk us through the buyer's journey.
[01:01:33] Well, I flip it over on to you. Why don't you tell them how we met?
[01:01:38] That's so sweet.
[01:01:40] Ok, that's a great, great point. So we met because you were you were you had met actually a mutual client. These are client of mine. Maybe they're not a client of yours at all. I guess so. It was because of a client. It was that many people involved. George George introduced us because you were working with George to try to help a company with their financial future and some things in that that space. And it seemed like they needed a little help getting shored up in terms of getting some structure and some execution as a leadership team. And and so I've been working with them for the last year and a half, I guess.
[01:02:17] Yeah. So so that's what you do. Right. And and we kind of recognize that they could benefit from that. We introduced him to you and that's how you and I met. And by the way, they think and I think you're doing a fantastic job. Thank you. So what do I do? My firm is primarily a lower middle market sell side and a brokerage house. What does that mean in English?
[01:02:46] Exactly like syllables.
[01:02:48] We've got to get rid of privately held businesses with revenue between five and 50 million are primarily who we serve and we work for the owners of those businesses. When they begin to get to the back end of their career. And they typically haven't planned well much, if any, how to get out of the company.
[01:03:13] Right. What the exit is, I'm going to hand it to my kids and bring in an outside management team and go retire. I'm going to sell it to a third party or what? We help them figure all that out. We help them position the company. We do some valuations and studies and determine areas where they could use some improvement.
[01:03:35] And at some point in that process, when those that will be selling to a third party need to go through the sales process, that's about eighty five percent of our revenue. It's about 50 percent of our work. And that's where we really stand out as being unique. Everybody in our space is very transactional. They just want to they just want to sell a company and move on. They don't want to help them get better. They don't want to help and get more for it.
[01:04:04] They don't want to do the you know, my experience, this is real estate. I mean, there are people who I mean, it's bad. I mean, business brokers that I've seen are clueless about how to run a business and real estate. There's thousands of real estate agents and some of them are just they have the license. They have no idea they're looking at as opposed to what the real estate agent I go to when I need to buy a property or rent it. This is a person who makes things happen, like they understand the market. And if the deal gets, you know, just any bumps in the road, they not only can advise me, they've got the solutions. And it's a real, real powerful expertise that shows up. So I get what you're saying in terms of like there's lots of people out there who just aren't adding value.
[01:04:44] Yeah, yeah. Business brokers is a term that's used in the lowest end of what we do and below intermediaries is kind of in our sweet spot. And investment bankers is at the high end of what we do. Those are the three terms people might know.
[01:04:56] That's great, because that to me it's like Mark marketing. Everybody has to do something with marketing, but few people can dissect that into PR and advertising and all and all in those terms. And I think people feel like they should know, like I thought like when it's a marketer, I thought I should know those terms and I do know many of them now. But in terms of selling a business, people probably think that they should know the terminology. But in reality, you just label out three tiers that I'm confident. Eighty percent of the people or more who listen, this would have no idea. There's a difference.
[01:05:23] They don't. And I could go on till you run out of tape about why you should be in one to the other and not get tricked into going in the wrong one. I know we don't want to turn this into that. But, you know, the the thing that makes us different, right? We're talking about being unique and being different. And what we do and how that transfer is is probably that unlike real estate, most of my peers coast to coast to have never operated a business. And yet they're trying to come in and advise a business how to get themselves in perfect shape, to be sold for the most amount of money. And they just they've never been there and done that the wrong half the time. The other half the time, you know, execution can't be what it is. And there's all that. So so what makes us unique is I said, look, you know, not only to have a different mousetrap, but it takes it it takes a different set of people in a different way of handling this this issue to be successful, to be more successful than the rest of you. And so one of those things is we went out and we created a division and a whole staff of people that are former CFOs and current CPAs. Full time work for us because the financial component of a business sale is paramount, right? We just closed a deal. The email went out today. Actually, if you haven't seen it, you'll see it tonight that Deloitte Touche had twenty three people on their team doing a quality of earnings analysis. Most intermediaries, business brokers and investment bankers in our space might have two people on their team battling twenty three on them on the buyer side.
[01:07:08] So, you know, it's that kind of disparity. So we went out and said, OK, this is going to make or break the deal. We're going to build the a solid team. As far as I know, we're the only people in the space, not in town, in the space in the country that that have done that for the lower middle market. Then we said, OK, it takes research. Analysts take data, analysts it takes you know, and you can hire some twenty three year old person, you know, with a PR degree and give them that title. We went and got MBAs with those credentials who also have about 20 years experience in the workplace, delivering on those credentials every day. And we staffed that part of the. And so when we come into a business owners life, we're able to surround them with the expertise that's required. You can't get all that in one body and you certainly can't get all that in one body of the person who sold you on the deal. But they've never operated a business. And so, you know, I'm usually the tip of the spear on proposals and selling and doing it. But I'm the weakest person in our company. We have amazing specialists that come in and support the scope of work that that that our company agreed to perform. And that takes three or four or five people in most cases to pull off. And and so we're unique because that's also expensive. Right. So, um, one of the reasons why we've been a cloud based business for the first four years of our existence is we wanted to invest in having the best people rather than having a nice office. Yeah. You know, and I see that it's common now.
[01:08:46] I mean, I see a lot of businesses who are making that choice and a lot of them think of it as a temporary thing. And then they're like four years later, like, why don't we why wouldn't why wouldn't we just keep this?
[01:08:55] Yeah, I just did a just did a video a couple of days ago about when you're choosing somebody to represent you, you don't chase the shiny things, don't go for the flashy brochures and the best website with the with the best videos on it. Go find out if they've done what they what you want them to do. Have they done it successfully? How many times do they do it in your space? Who's on my team? Are you going to walk away after you sell me and insert a bunch of interns to pull this off or you know, so all these are important questions. And I think they make us unique where the two dollar bill and our space and that goes to everything we do.
[01:09:30] And now that we're looking for office space, I just want to keep that, you know, that perspective that we bring a unique value proposition and that you're going to feel it and see that and everything that we do.
[01:09:45] So as you as you sort of flesh that out back to this idea of where you draw the line of yes and no, like your target customer, I'm assuming you had some people who you thought would be good customer clients. Would you call clients? We do clients. So you have clients like this will be great. And then down the line like that was not great. Oh, gosh. Yeah. So what was oh, how did you what did you learn about that and how did you start to get to get the discipline of.
[01:10:10] Yeah, I don't, I don't want to be specific here, but probably in our second year we kept getting short listed. You know, people would interview four or five firms and and we would make the top two. But and then they would go, well, show us how your transaction experience and we go. Well, we've been in business two years. Here they are. And and then they would go somebody who's been in business 30 years and has ten tons of transactions with us, even though it's not relevant. That's what they did. And so I jumped out and had some really Soul-Searching conversations with my partner, Brett, and I did the investment thing. I convinced Brett that we should take some engagements to be more active so that we could have more closings in our history. And they were really the royal engagements. They weren't unsuccessful, but they took about ten times the resources for about five percent of the revenue that and it just it was just bloody. And and the integrity part comes in where the team says, look, we all agreed we were going to do this. We're going to do it even though it hurts and it's ugly and we never want to do it again. And so when we get to the other side of those, it's like, man, where's that do not do list? We've got a couple of things to add to it. And part of that is, you know, if clients don't have certain infrastructure, data collection reporting things that they are going to have to justify in due diligence to a buyer that they're legit if they don't exist, you're probably going to have a really tough time getting that step, that process.
[01:11:57] I've heard that so many different times. People say something. I'm never going to do that again. It was a bad idea. I should have stuck to my my core focus. I should have my target market was crystal clear. And and everybody seems to, by default, refer to that as a regrettable time that they made mistakes in.
[01:12:15] I've never seen anybody ever able to skip that process. I am convinced that that is a necessary part of the process.
[01:12:24] For you to earn the right. You have to go through those challenges. You have to learn it. You have to scrap your way to being successful enough. You have to earn the right to fight tomorrow. And a lot of that is mortgaging the future. You're taking clients up. This is going to be tough, is going to be upside down on this. But then you've got the experience and then you do have those clients that you can talk to and you can speak in a whole different level of conviction about, no, we're not going to do that for you because I did that with somebody else. And I don't I don't play that game anymore. So I think that it's it's a necessary part. And maybe we should embrace that. And some of the I do encourage startups to do that.
[01:13:00] Yeah, you're spot on. So this is my fifth company, the the three of the first four, I guess, out of five. Four out of the five because this one counts, um, were started in my house, basically grew to hundreds of employees years later. Right. And we have gone through that. That's why I don't wanna start another company. It's just so exhausting. We have gone through that not only in each company, but kind of each hill that we climb, you know, each revenue hurdle that we pass or each headcount that we reach.
[01:13:41] You know, having 20 employees is one thing. You know, their spouses, you know their kids name. You all go to the picnic having two hundred employees. You don't even know who's driving around your company truck that you're responsible for.
[01:13:52] Right. You know, and what you can be on Undercover Boss, you know, you've got a company. Exactly. Yeah.
[01:13:59] And and so I think it is, at least for me, my experience you just said your experience and is that it's kind of a trial and error thing.
[01:14:10] A lot of it is in the startup area is is we need revenue. Right. And it's hard to say no to revenue of any kind. And then you start learning that there's really bad revenue out there that you'd never want, right? Yeah. And and that's when you start getting wise.
[01:14:27] And I don't think you get wise with any with any consistency before you make the mistake. I mean, a lot of people like take my advice. Don't do that. You know, sometimes I think you can do a little of that, but there's actually no substitute for the humility that comes from really taking it on the chin. And this is my current thinking on the bromide of I learn more from my mistakes and my successes because I've challenged that because I think the data shows is that you don't I think the data shows is that we learn more from good mentorship than we do for making stupid mistakes. But what I do think the stupid mistake does is it knocks us into a state of humility. So the next for the next period of our life, we're like, maybe, I don't know everything. Maybe I can change behaviors. Maybe maybe some of my bad habits aren't good, aren't serving me. And I can be and I can consume a lot more things to make me a better leader. And especially see that with young, you know, young start ups like, you know, they're they're never smarter. On the first day I meet them, the humility comes down the line and it's not like all the mistakes.
[01:15:33] I don't know, I just I just think that they get they get in their mindset, readjusted to listening better as opposed to just doing is what, the transformation.
[01:15:41] Yeah, yeah. You know, there's, um, I guess I can only speak for myself.
[01:15:48] There is a certain place in my soul where those low, painful moments live. And and when I sense an opportunity that's going to lead us there, when I sense we're walking through a.