Tony Robbins once said, “The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty that you can comfortably live with.” However, none of us start out with a healthy relationship with risk. As humans we have fear around risk – a fear of failing, a fear of getting exposed, or a fear of finding yourself to be not good enough, you name it. But what exactly are we fearful about? Is that fear justified when you get down to the facts? Join in as Patrick Donohoe goes back to a segment of his interview with Todd Langford, where they get into the idea of risk, how to control it, how to influence it. As you listen through the segment, think about where you can take more calculated risks in your life, where you understand the stakes and what you stand to gain in the end.
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What Is Your Relationship With Risk? With Todd Langford
Our topic is risk. What is your relationship to risk like? Have you ever taken a risk and lost? Have you ever taken a risk and gained? Risk aligns well with the statement from Tony Robbins, that the quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty that you can comfortably live with. At the same time, we have fear around risk. Todd and I get into the idea of risk, how to control it, how to influence it. You’ll enjoy this segment of the conversation. There’s a lot of risk being taken right now, risk with personal savings, within investments, business and monetary policy of our government in a very interesting time where we’re making these pretty big bets. I look at things we can control and influence. Those things are typically outside of ourselves. At the same time, I believe that when we understand our relationship with risk at a deeper level, then we can direct this risk energy in the right areas, not to take away from the relevance of cryptocurrency or blockchain technology, but taking a risk betting everything, a future and personal savings.
I believe that there is no control there. Not even much influence unless you’re Elon Musk and can put a $100 million into Bitcoin. The purpose of me bringing this up is I believe that you can take this risk energy and channel it toward the things that create a meaningful life. The things that Tony Robbins alluded to the quality of life, improving the quality of life, the meaningfulness of life. How do you redirect the risk? I look at, ultimately, the most important things people strive to achieve. It usually revolves around relationships, family and profession. My question to you and what I want you to think about through this conversation with Todd and me is where can you take more calculated risks where you understand the stakes and you also understand the gains? The gains are a multiple of the risk that you put on the table. It’s that whole idea of asymmetric risk reward. What can you do in your relationships? Can you apologize? That’s risky. Can you ask somebody out? Can you ask someone to marry you? Can you be open with a friend? Can you speak your mind, speak your truth? It’s risky, but is the reward worth the risk?
What about your profession? What about your business? What risks can you take that you can help more people where you can take that next step, where you can leave the comfort of a job that you despise, but it pays well. Go and do something on your own or work with a group whose values and mission align better with who you are and what you are about? Risks are misunderstood. Risk is a good thing. If you think about it, you can make it so that risk has no loss. There’s always a lesson. Case in point, you ask somebody out and they say no, wrong person, which gets you closer to the right person. Asking somebody to marry you, they may say no. Either you can keep being persistent or you know that you need to move on. That’s a positive thing. It depends on what you focus on. Risk in business is always necessary to stay relevant, to stay agile and to always keep a pulse on the needs of your clients, your employer, so that you can continue to create even more value. Guys, thanks for supporting the show. I hope you enjoy this short segment with my dear friend, Todd Langford.
It’s the reason we can’t shut our minds down in whatever it is we’re doing. I’m not saying don’t bring in the experts to guide you, but there’s a responsibility on your part to take that a little bit further and say, “If this happens, how do I react to that? If things don’t map out exactly like this professional has said it’s going to go, it’s going to be on me to make the decision and make the adjustment. I’ve got to keep my mind open. I’ve got to be able to understand at some level what it is I’m being told and not take it hook line and sinker.” Unfortunately, we’re going to be the ones that are responsible for what the results are. If we shut our mind down, the only thing we can do, which is where the society has gotten at some level and it’s the blame game, it’s not my fault. It’s because somebody else told me this, or it’s because I read this or it’s because I did that. If somebody else’s information, you are ultimately responsible for it. You have to take the effort and time. Keep your mind turned on.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. When you experience fear, it ultimately comes from the nature of risk. There’s an unknown. In large part, the future is what’s unknown. There’s a part of us that thrives to establish certainty or safety. It’s one of those natural instincts. Invariably, what happens is when you place the control or influence of the future on somebody else, it creates an amplified amount of risk and subsequently, more fear, because it’s not you that has come to conclusion. It is somebody else that has come to the conclusion and you are ultimately leveraging them because you don’t have responsibility or skin in the game to the discovery of the assumption by which you’re acting on. The fear is not going to go away. It’s going to go up.
The thing about control, we’ve talked about that in the past. We want to push in that direction. I like your wording of influence. That’s probably a better word we’ll get into. We’re never completely in control. The idea is that the level of control that we can secure, that’s probably indirectly proportional to the amount of anxiety we have. That’s what the issue is. As soon as we start to give that control up willingly to somebody else, it’s got to raise our level of anxiety because we’re in a period of hope. Hope it comes out instead of being able to direct the course.
Going back to the simple example of an airline pilot, they don’t know what the environment is going to be like, but they have the instruments and the training. As the environment changes, they know what to do. Technology response to it just as much, if not more, than the pilot. This is the ability to influence. You can’t control the environment. Environment is going to be the environment. People are going to treat you a certain way. You’re going to wake up with energy one day. You’re going to wake up with not much energy one day. You’re going to wake up and something happens to government, laws, your employer and to the clients you have if you’re self-employed. There are all sorts of things that are going to happen that are outside of your control.
That’s where you establish a degree of certainty around influence so that when that environment changes, that is when you are able to respond. There’s a preparedness there. That’s what mitigates anxiety and fear. When it comes to the math side of things, mainly speaking to financial math, people these days are concerned about money and their future. What’s the environment that they’re making conclusions about what could go wrong in the future based on? How would you describe that environment?
Part of it is the unknown. That’s where a lot of that fear comes from. You hear people rattling stuff around about, “What happens if the dollar disappears? What happens if this or that?” Bad news, unfortunately, is exciting for a lot of people. People want to be the first ones to tell whatever different news it is in some form and add their bias to that, about how they think it’s going to happen to drive emotion. The bottom line is we all make decisions based on emotion if we make decisions based on our beliefs, not necessarily on the truth.
Relationship With Risk: We’re never completely in control but the level of control that we can secure is indirectly proportional to the amount of anxiety we have.
That becomes a discipline or a conscious effort that we have to separate our beliefs, the hype and our natural tendency to go to the fear, to step back and be able to say, “What is the truth? What is it that I have influence over? What can I change in this scenario to fix that?” It goes back to what you were saying about the pilots, it’s to have those tools in place, to have the knowledge. That’s one of the biggest tools we have, is using our brain. That’s one of the things that’s easiest to shut down and let somebody else fill that void or that difference, is turning your brain over to somebody else because they’re a professional.
When you get into a crunch, what do you do? You’ve given up your best tool, that’s your brain, to be able to think through what’s going on. Knowing that you have that tool is a key piece. There was the guy that I was listening to, Sean McDowell, Josh McDowell’s son. One of the things he talked about when he was teaching kids was the idea of knowing something versus knowing you know something. There’s a key, huge difference in those two. What he talked about was he had students that knew the answers, but they might fail a test and then he had students that gave a little bit more effort to the point that they knew that they knew the answer. The difference is, in knowing the answer and writing the wrong thing down because you can talk yourself out of it versus knowing you know the answer. In life, that’s a big piece. When we know we know what we know, we’re invincible because we can rely on our knowledge to get us through an anxious time instead of reverting to the fear and talking ourselves out of what the real answer might be.
The environment right now is interesting because, number one, there’s so much information, perspective and opinion out there. The degree of understanding when it comes to math and science is, in large part, instituted by a system that people don’t like. How many kids do you know that love going to school? If you don’t have a curiosity associated with learning, you’re going to be checking boxes and learning in order to pass a test as opposed to learning to have knowledge, which is more of the practical side of things. You have an interesting environment where life is pretty easy. Even someone in a less fortunate circumstance in the United States has likely access to healthcare, to shelter, to entertainment that kings of old didn’t have anything close to. Yet they’re still upset, frayed, unhappy, depressed, unsuccessful people.
The environment is evolving at a rapid pace where life is going to get easier. Transportation costs are going to come down. We already have entertainment in spades, but even more and better-quality entertainment. You’re also going to have energy costs and food costs come down. There are some revolutionary things on the horizon. The environment is changing to the point where science and mathematical truths have been discovered that has designed this environment for people that don’t necessarily understand the underlying trues and math associated with it. When you think about that, Todd, what do you think is going to be the result of human beings and their experience of life?
Being an entrepreneur involves risk. Our guest, Francis Greenburger, has always been comfortable with it, not the “throw the dice and hope for the best” type but the type he calls intelligent risks. Francis is the Founder and guiding force behind Time Equities, Inc. and has earned a reputation for outstanding integrity and an uncanny ability to foresee changing directions and create value in a variety of real estate markets. Today, he joins us to talk about entrepreneurship, taking and controlling risks, and the characteristics that go into being a good entrepreneur.
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Entrepreneurship: Taking Intelligent Risks with Francis Greenburger
Francis, I have a good question to start with. It’s around this topic and theme of entrepreneurship. You identify yourself in the subtitle of your book as an entrepreneur. What does that word mean to you?
I’ve thought about what the characteristics of an entrepreneur are. I would say one of the first characteristics are, did you have to be comfortable with risk? If you’re not comfortable with risk, you should use your talents in another context where you’re getting a steady paycheck or appropriate incentives. Being an entrepreneur involves risk. For some reason, I’ve always been comfortable with it. There’s what I call intelligent risk and then there’s throw the dice and hope for the best. I believe in intelligence risks which means if you’re very informed about what the challenges are, whatever it is that you’re undertaking and what the risk reward is, what is the opportunity? The reward, if you’re right, sufficiently reward you, given that there’s a chance that you might underperform your expectations or things might go wrong but you don’t expect. Those are some of the characteristics that go into a good entrepreneur.
The other thing that’s very important is to be creative because if you go out into the marketplace and you are trying to be a generic competitor, do what everybody else is doing in the same way, the only way that you can be effective there is on price. Mostly, entrepreneurs will not be successful at that because it requires quite a bit of scale. That’s a very hard way to succeed up against larger, more established players. The way the entrepreneur succeeds is by seeing things differently than other people or the other players in the market seeing a way out of the problem. Perhaps they can buy the asset of discount to what its stabilized value would be and find a way to bring solution to whatever the situation is or understand a market differently than other people. Tolerance of risk and creativity are two key ingredients.
It’s fascinating because it seems as if creativity and risk have a partnership if you will. Most people have a fear of risk, fear of something not happening the way that they presume, which is always the case. There’s a risk in everything. There are just different degrees. When risk presents itself, it seems like having the value and the understanding of creativity to navigate whatever challenge is thrown your way. Whatever obstacle exists almost allows you to have control over risk.
It’s funny you mentioned the fear of risk. My kids have one of those cups that has lettering on it. The expression said, “Imagine what you could accomplish if you weren’t afraid to fail,” which is another way of saying the same thing. What you’re saying is that creativity or understanding options and having ways to meet challenges is a way not to be intimidated by risks but see it as an opportunity.
What are some examples in your successful professional life where you have confronted risk and took it on and achieved success on the backend?
I would say the first thing is I look at markets differently than other people. Our real estate company not only invests nationally within thirteen states but we invest in five different countries within Europe. Years ago, I became aware that Holland was at the end of a very deep recession. A lot of real estate valuations have been hurt. The Dutch banks had stopped financing most commercial real estate at Holland, except if you had a ten-year lease with a credit tenant. In the center of Amsterdam, you could get financed. If you were in one of twenty suburban markets in Holland, you’re in trouble. Prices fell precipitously and occupancies fell. It was a very tough time. There were no local players who have the resources to step up.
We saw that opportunity and we began buying. In the beginning, we bought all the cash because we couldn’t get financing. It’s 3 or 4 years later, we own 40 office buildings and set up an office there. Fortunately for us, when we came in, it was in the later part of the cycle and things were covered, markets are doing very well and we’ve had outstanding results from our investment there. We’ve been able to entice a German bank to see things the way we saw them. In fact, we ended up getting very advantageous financing shortly after we acquired the sprockets. That’s an example of seeing things differently. In this case, bringing perspective that was outside of the Dutch perspective who was way down by their immediate experience by the conditions that they had to cope with.
Looking at that decision process means starting with the macro-economic approach where you saw economic depression. Toward the end of it, where did you see the opportunity that it would rebound? Was it in the company formation increases? Was it the technology that was coming out of Amsterdam? What were some of those micro things that you saw that led you to believe that investing in office space would be a good return on investment?
My approach was fewer data-driven or metric-driven than what you’re suggesting. The first thing I said to myself was Holland was one of the outstanding countries in Europe, always has been. They have a great deal of transparency which not all European do. They have very well-educated, very smart and in fact, quite entrepreneurial population. They have a lot of positives. To me, this was a place that I saw no reason why they shouldn’t be able to repair the cycle they were going to come back to have more normal or standard. The other thing is in the case with the properties that we bought, the first portfolio, we bought ten buildings and there were 70% occupied, but we were making about 9.5% return on the 70% occupants.
Taking Intelligent Risks: Tolerance of risk and creativity are two key ingredients of entrepreneurial success.
It was cash too not leverage, right?
Right, not leverage. My bet was a simple one. I didn’t think that things are going to get a lot worse than where we were or they might get a little worse but even if my return went from 9.5% to 8%, it wouldn’t be a tragedy. I felt whenever times got better, which I didn’t know whether that would be tomorrow or in a year or five years, I’m starting from a very high return base so I wasn’t worried. I felt I could weather any further erosion. I thought that we were a donator at that point. It was a pretty simple view. I thought we were entering at a good point. Things were profitable so we didn’t have to get better and we can still be happy, but my sense was this was a good place intuitively and was going to get better.
It’s the whole asymmetric risk analysis where you have tremendous upside but yet it’s not an equal amount of risks to the downside. It’s a limited amount of risk.
What happens is people often perceive that when you enter difficult times, that’s a risky thing to do. It’s the reverse. When you’re buying things inexpensively, things could get a little worse but they can also get a lot better. Whereas if you go in when things are very good, then you’re going to pay the top price. When you get to the top of the mountain, there’s only one way to go and that’s down. I’d rather start at the bottom.
There are so many sayings, when there’s blood in the streets is when you buy, even if it’s your own but usually it’s the opposite as far as the normal investor. The first time I went there, I had this appreciation of how entrepreneurial but also how driven and educated they were based on a lot of their history. They were the first engineers that figured out how to build a city that was underwater. That’s part of what makes up the future generation is technical and understanding. Parents have tremendous influence on the next generation and so forth. You had that generational work integrity behind what was going to be coming up in the future years to make a wise investment. That’s a great example of asymmetric risk ideas as well as looking at factors out there and seeing where there are opportunities.
I know you were in the publishing business. You took some tremendous risks there. Would you maybe tell us about some of those experiences?
We weren’t publishers, we were literary agents who represented writers and we sought publishers for their books. To some degree, what you’re investing in an author in the beginning is your time and your reputation. Economically beyond that, there isn’t a huge investment. If you’re not successful, you’ll have spent a lot of time working on something. You perhaps have tarnished your reputation if you put forth things either not worthwhile but you don’t have a great economic loss. When you’re an agent and you send a book to publishers, very often if they’re not interested, they go into long-winded explanations for why they’re not interested. In my view, frankly, I threw all those letters in the garbage because I don’t care if people didn’t agree with me. I was looking for a couple of people who did agree with me. There’s one publisher in the end. If 25 said no, it didn’t matter if the 26th said yes.
One of my first clients in the business was somebody who’s now famous but in those days was completely unknown, James Patterson. He sent me this manuscript. I hadn’t met him. He had read somewhere that I was a young age and looking at unsolicited manuscripts. I read this manuscript by him and I started sending it out to publishers. In fact, I sent it to 28 publishers. Every one of them rejected it. The 29th said if you rewrote it, they would consider publishing it. He did and they still rejected it. I then sent it to ten more publishers and by that time, I had run out of the publishers and I was sending it to different people at the same publishing house. Little Brown, they already rejected it. A lower-level editor there already rejected it but I sent it to a higher-level editor and he loved it.
He offered a generous advance for the first novel and went on to win an Edgar for best mystery of the year. His career was legendary. I only represented him for his first three books. That point he said to me, “I read about all your real estate transactions. I’ve got to figure out whether you’re an agent or you’re a in the real estate business.” I said, “I think I’ve done a pretty good job for you.” He said, “No, you’ve got to choose.” I said, “I’m going to be in the real estate business no matter what you say.” We parted company but he’s had an incredible career since then as we all know. That’s an example of having a point of view, feeling conviction with respect to it and then going and trying to get the market to agree with you.
It seems to me that you have a unique way in which you perceive opportunity. Taking the approach you did, putting your reputation on the line as you mentioned, going above and beyond and figuring out creative ways to reach different people at the publishing companies, it showed you that there was an understanding of what that opportunity was. You weren’t doing it to do it. You were doing it because you saw opportunity than most others didn’t see.
I have a conviction about my view of what he had written.
Taking Intelligent Risks: Every problem has a solution. The person who can find that solution is going to create value.
Did you have an affinity toward the mystery genre of writing before or did you read it and knew that there was some gold in there?
I can’t say that I was a mystery aficionado, I wasn’t. The name of the book was The Thomas Berryman Number and it was an assassination novel, espionage but murky. In those days, that would’ve been posting the JF Kennedy assassination, both John and Robert and Martin Luther King’s. Assassination was very much on people’s minds and it played into that and I thought it was well done. It was highly stylized in its language which differentiated it from a lot of other mysteries at the time. I believed in it.
What would you say is something that you see in entrepreneurs regarding the risk that they don’t see?
I work with a lot of people in my real estate company, a lot of very bright capable acquisition people who are in a sense entrepreneurs and often the process of underwriting real estate, take a view of it and then you’ve tried to figure out what you think is going to earn, projecting forward it over ten years. There are all kinds of assumptions that get into it. After a lot of experiences, they come to a set of assumptions and that’s what they present is their vision of that transaction. One of the things that I do is I push them and I say, “Let’s create sensitivities around some of the variables. What happens when you say the rents are going to be $18 and what happens if they’re $17 or $16? Do you think that the occupancy is going to be 92%? Show me what happens as occupancy slips down to 85%.” Creating all kinds of variances to the scenarios that people envisioned and to the assumptions that they put into any given situation is pushing beyond where a lot of entrepreneurs start out. They may be very sophisticated and experienced in reaching their view but then they don’t subject it to quantifying the what ifs. They talk about risks as a generality, but they don’t quantify and then look at the outcome. If X, Y, Z happens, that is at variance with their fluent view of the market.
Do you see the inability to do that as potentially creating a lot of risk in the marketplace right now?
Certainly, to the extent that when one is acquiring assets or competes against people who may be less knowledgeable, it’s important not to follow the market because it’s the market. You have to have a very clear view of what you’re going to do with the asset, how are you going to run it and how are you going to manage it? You have to be very disciplined in that because there are always competitors in the market who may be less informed or they may have other sources of capital. Sometimes if there’s a fund out there who has a use it or lose it situation, maybe they’ve raised $50 million and $100 million invested over two years, you have to return the money to the investors. As they get towards the end of their cycle, if they haven’t been able to invest it, suddenly their standards slip and they have motivations that somebody who’s more disciplined doesn’t. You’ve got to stick tight to your own view and not let the market drag you into dangerous territory. Even if there are other players that are transacting at different pricing. You can use the new one as being sensible and sustainable and having good risk reward associated with it.
What are you paying attention to right now as far as where opportunity could be? I know the universal perception of markets is always shifting but as much as there’s a risk, there’s always going to be opportunity as well. What are you paying attention to right now that you see as potential opportunity?
To some degree, we always trade wherever we see price disruption. As an example, the market for retail properties is disrupted. There’s a perception that eCommerce is going to be an overwhelming challenge and that retail properties are going to decline. As a result, the price of the properties has dropped and the cap rates have gone up significantly. We believe that the cap rates are very generous in that even if you underwrite into the equation, some downside is given eCommerce challenge or choppiness in the retail markets it’s very often that you can make a very good investments in retail. You have to understand and adapt it, understand the tenants and a million other considerations. That’s an example of disruption that we buy into.
Another area that we’re investing in at the moment is under-occupied office buildings. Right now, when an office building has weak occupancy for any number of reasons, it tends to trade at a vast discount from the state’s realized value. An office building that would have $150 valuation a foot. If it was the submarket occupancy, let’s say 85%. If its occupancy is 50%, the value of that asset might fall to $60 foot. They asked discount from what it would be worth if it was leased up. The cost of leasing up that asset could be $30, $40 a foot. You’d have wall and cost of a hundred. If it’s then going to be worth $150, that’s a very big reward in the real estate business. I don’t know exactly why office building sells it that heavy discount, clearly one that has significant vacancy is worth less that doesn’t. To us, it’s a mispriced factor. We buy those buildings and we fixed them up and then we become strong competitors in the market because we pay a lot less for our building than everybody else in the market. We can even rent them for a few bucks or less and the tenants are happy and we’re happy.
Do you see opportunities in shifting use of property? As you were speaking, I’m right in downtown Salt Lake and there is a shopping center here that was developed as part of the Olympics back in 2001. It had a competitor come in and take off the tenants and it became a ghost town. There was a fund that bought it a few years ago and turned it into this center for younger entrepreneurs. Since then, all of these different office buildings built around it. In there, there are mystery games like the games where you have to solve problems. I’m not sure if you’ve seen those before but they have arcades and hang out centers and restaurants. They shifted the use from pure retail into this center or hub for more tech-based companies and younger people. Do you see like use changing over the course of time and opportunities there?
Yes. As an example, there’s a property in West Palm. Before we owned it, it was a shopping center. The prior owner has given to us that it became somewhat of a ghost town and the prior owner converted it to B-minus office space, which is not ideal. Shopping center tends to be deep so the space is very dark. It doesn’t give a lot of window line for offices. It’s not perfect. They did some work and for a long time and when we saw it, we bought it because it was on a lot of land. It was on ten acres of land which in West Palms, it’s a big site. For a while, we kept the office building going but a lot of our tenants were government tenants. The government built their own buildings, they move people out. It wasn’t a market for this secondary office space. We made the decision to redevelop it. We’re now in construction. We’re making it into a 300-unit housing complex. We demolished the old building and now it’s going to be a housing complex that West Palm is very strong market. This’ll be an outstanding property when we get done with it. It’s life cycle. It started as a shopping center, it became an office building and now it’s going to be first-class housing. That happens frequently.
As you mentioned right at the beginning of it, that’s where it requires that creative mindset to see there’s always opportunity. It may not have been what it was once. It maybe something new based on how the environment is changing. That’s why I’ve been fascinated with researching ways in which I can interview you because the idea of risk is one of those things that prevents people from taking action. The creativity is also one of those things that I’m not sure if that’s something that you learn or establish. The idea of being creative allows you to see and create opportunities as opposed to it happening. This has been a fascinating conversation.
Risk Game: Self Portrait of an Entrepreneur
Another way to look at creativity and entrepreneurship is to think that every problem has a solution. The person who can find that solution is going to create value. Whether you’re buying a problem that somebody else has and find new way to solve that problem. If it’s a problem that you have because you already own it. It’s not like when there’s a problem, you should put your head in the sand and say, “OMG.” Most problems can be solved. Sometimes you have to be very imaginative. You have to be very creative. That’s the thing that makes risk less intimidating for me is a belief in solutions.
I love this saying that the problem is an unanswered question.This has been awesome. I appreciate you adding your insight based on your successful experience over the course of time. It sounds like you love what you do. You’re loving life and you’re continuing at it despite your success, after success. Congratulations.
Thank you so very much. I do like what I do. Every morning, I wake up and I’m excited to meet the day’s challenges and opportunities.
How can the audience learn more about you, your book and ways to keep in touch and see what you’re up to?
They can take one of my books online. It’s called Risk Game. At the back of the book, I have my email. If anybody has a question or anything they want to contact me about, I answer all my emails. I get up very early in the morning. From 4:00 or 5:00 until around 7:30, I am answering lots and lots of emails. That’s one way.
Francis, thank you so much. Hopefully we can connect in the future.
As the Founder and guiding force behind Time Equities, Inc., Francis Greenburger has earned a reputation for outstanding integrity and an uncanny ability to foresee changing directions and create value in a variety of real estate markets.
He is an active board member in and supporter of, various arts, education and community organizations, as well as the owner of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, Inc., a full-service literary agency based in Manhattan, which has represented noted authors such as Dan Brown, James Patterson, Nicholas Sparks, and Nelson DeMille.
An accomplished writer himself, Francis is also the bestselling author of Risk Game: Self-Portrait of an Entrepreneur. Francis is the founder & chairman of Art Omi (previously Omi International Arts Center) and The Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice. Francis lives with his wife, Isabelle and is a devoted father to his four children. He spends his free moments in search of the perfect backhand or skiing (carefully) down the slopes.
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Being a successful entrepreneur takes a lot of time, hard work, and dedication. Once you’ve got a taste of success, it’s hard to go back and make everything work. Brandon Bliss, CEO of Orbit Medical, tells more what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. Brandon talks about why it is crucial to take risks and execute your ideas to succeed in whatever business you’re doing. Furthermore, he shares some of the best books you can start reading that will help you gain wisdom to run your business. Learn more on what it takes to be successful as Brandon reveals how he got to where he is now.
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What It Takes To Be A Successful Entrepreneur with Brandon Bliss
Thank you for reading this episode. You are going to get a kick out of this. First, I wanted to say how thankful I am for the response that I’ve received based on the kickoff episode. Hearing from all of you has inspired me a great deal. I’ve heard transformation stories of those who had realizations and an impact based on, “Things I listened to on the show,” that changed their life. Opportunities for business, for investment and for changing the way they manage their finances, it’s been incredible to hear those. I start to incorporate some of the ideas that have come from these interactions.
Thank you so much. Keep them coming. Leave reviews on iTunes. That is helpful because it gets the word out. Email me. For now, use the Patrick@PatrickDonohoe.com. I’ll try my best to respond to you directly. As far as feedback is concerned, it’s what your experiences have been, what you have liked, what you would like to see more of. That simple feedback means a great deal to me. I’m going to change a few things because of it. First thing, I’m going to try to do some more feedback based on my opinion of the subject matter, as well as the guest and why I have this specific guest on and also some commentary around financial strategy. There are a lot of you who enjoyed the Financial Fridays that we did last season, although we did not do them every week. There was a lot of feedback in regards to the content there. Thank you for pointing that out. I’m humbled by all of you who are taking what has changed my life and those who I know as clients. It means the world to me to know that you have taken action on certain principles and certain strategies and taking them to heart and done something about it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Let me get to the guest. He’s the CEO of Orbit Medical. Brandon is someone I grew up with in Central Connecticut. I’ve known him since my childhood. I consider him one of my best friends. He has inspired me over the years. He is exemplary of this idea of our theme this season, which is entrepreneurship. Brandon has gone through a lot in his business career. It’s indicative of what happens through overcoming obstacles and facing challenges. Within business and entrepreneurship, you’re going to face the gamut, regardless of what industry it is. This is the medical industry. Specifically, medical supplies is a highly regulated industry. Oftentimes, you deal with things that are completely out of the blue.
Brandon and his passion and desire to achieve and also receive that sense of fulfillment that comes from achievement is going to be the perfect guest. We’ll probably tell some jokes and some childhood stories and probably memories that he doesn’t want to relive or maybe I don’t either. We had some great times growing up. We have kept in touch. He lives close to me now. It’s going to be awesome for you to see maybe a different side of me, but also talk to somebody that I have a great deal of respect for, that has inspired me probably more than he realizes. Let’s talk to my good friend who’s the CEO of Orbit Medical, Brandon Bliss.
For this episode, we’re talking about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. I always say I have special guests, but this guy is a special guest. Brandon is the CEO of Orbit Medical. Brandon and I grew up together in Central Connecticut. The reason why I wanted to have Brandon on the show is that I’ve had tremendous admiration for him for a long time, starting when I was young. Our friendship over the years has evolved in business, has provided an outlet for me to talk about my business, the challenges that I face and ideas. Brandon is a wealth of information. He has also experienced a lot of success in business and the challenges that most businesses face. We had a conversation about like, “I got to this level. How did you get to this level?”
Our parents were entrepreneurs. Our parents didn’t tell us to do this. Yet, we wound up in this situation. Us seeing each other grow up and the experiences that we had together growing up, and seeing where we’re at now are cool to reflect on. We’re going to do a little bit of that to begin, and then get into his business background and talk about what he has seen in the marketplace as far as successful entrepreneurs and what makes a successful entrepreneur. First off, I know you don’t do podcasts. I try to make it so we’re having one of our normal discussions.
I’m terrified, but I’m happy to get this one under my belt. Thanks for having me.
Thanks for coming on. Let’s start maybe along the lines of the discussion we had. Our parents weren’t entrepreneurial. We grew up in a normal, lower middle-class set of circumstances. We both chose different careers. You’re in the medical field of finance. Yet at the same time, we decided to do our own thing or at least wound up doing our own thing. As you look back, how have you pieced it together? What are some of the things that made you want to do that and why you’re doing what you’re doing now?
I’m not exactly sure why I’m wired the way I am, but it goes back even to childhood where my buddies were lifeguards, my buddies were flipping burgers and I was like, “I’m not doing that. I’m going to make way more money, open my own landscaping company, work half the time and outsource the work to my brothers or other buddies.” I’ve always not done well working for other people. I prefer to be in charge. I’m wired that way. I’ve always gravitated to that. Even out of college, I studied Finance at the University of Utah. I took a job in sales. One of my buddies recruited us. I had a lot of success. I quickly became one of the top salespeople. They started throwing equity at me so I wouldn’t leave. I got a taste of owning businesses as opposed to working for other people. Once you’d get a taste of that, it’s hard to go back. I would do everything I could to get additional equity and buy out people or take advantage of circumstances so that I had more upside. That’s what I’ve been doing. Along that whole way, I diversified as quickly as I can and started trying to get equity in other businesses and get the money working for me.
One thing that I connected, which is a similarity of us, is you are successful in football. You played football for a couple of years and looking at hockey. Sometimes the drive to excel and succeed and win translates into other areas of life. You’ve always had that characteristic. Business and excelling and succeeding come with its challenges and failures as well. It’s proportional in some cases. How has that tenacity and that drive that we experienced, maybe in sports, played into that?
Successful Entrepreneur: Once you’d get a taste of owning businesses as opposed to working for other people, it’s hard to go back.
It crosses over well. If you’re going to compete at the higher levels of any sport, you have to have an edge. You have to be super competitive and you want to win. You hate losing. If you can translate that, you bring that into your business, compete at that level and make your competitors nervous about going up against you. You keep your foot on the gas the whole time, innovating and finding better ways to compete. Usually, the outcomes are positive. You capture market share and you retain talent. Everybody wants to be with whoever’s winning. That has served me well here. I was much more successful in high school in sports than I ever was in college. I tried hard. The time you have to put in, the dedication, the hard days, the pain you feel, all that stuff will help you take the punches when you start businesses or you’re trying to get companies to the next level. Sports will set you up. There are many setbacks in sports. There are many injuries or disappointments or heavy hard losses that you’re going to experience in that business. You’re going to fail. You’re going to get punched. You’re going to have three snakes coming at you at once. You’ve got to maneuver through it and be tough and not give up. If you’re tough, you win sometimes.
With businesses, you’ve had more experiences here. When I see success in somebody, an entrepreneur or a business or an investor or someone who’s successful in general, you tend to have two camps. You tend to have those that have only experienced success. You have those that have experienced a proportional amount of hardship. What I’ve seen from that point going forward, the failures I tend to see are those that have experienced lots of success, get punched in the face and don’t know how to react. As you’ve looked at other businesses and as you’ve been involved with your own and employees in general, where have you seen that dynamic?
It reminds me of that E-Myth book where everybody wants to have some success but works for someone else, and thinks they can duplicate it and do it elsewhere. There are a few experiences in my life where I’ve seen people go down that path and crash and burn and I think about why that happened. It’s easy to read books and maybe watch other people do things. If that individual, that CEO, that founder can’t surround himself with the right people, if he can’t execute on the plan and get enough cashflow coming in to survive until he can figure out exactly how to compete, most of the time it doesn’t work. That’s why many businesses fail. The number of people that can execute on that are few and far between. There are a lot of people with big ideas and can work in a big organization and contribute and do well. To take risks and the punches and to go off and do it on your own and then execute, if you haven’t done it or you haven’t been part of someone that’s done it and you’re right there, it’s hard.
You look at these tech startups. I’m involved with some of them. I’ve put money into them. This is my tuition in this world. I’m not successful in investing. These are your subscription-based tech companies that are doing rounds of funding and trying to hit it big. Has that founder done it himself? Can he raise the capital? Can he execute? Can he hit the different milestones that they need to get the scale so that someone will acquire them? That’s hard. Most will never ever do it. I learned that the hard way. I learned that in the process of investing in them. It can be applied to all different businesses. People may even have passion, but if they cannot connect the dots, if they don’t have those dynamic chameleon-like social skills to be able to put it all together until the cashflow stabilizes, it doesn’t work.
From a people perspective,since we’re young, you couldn’t work for other people. That’s oftentimes the cause of people going out on their own. They can’t work for this person. They can’t work for that person. Talk about your experience with understanding people. An entrepreneur that goes out on his own, that can’t work with other people is another big red flag. Even though you can’t work for a boss per se, how have you seen the ability for successful entrepreneurs as it relates to the relationships and communication and having people that are part of their organization?
I was in bed watching The Profit, this CNBC show. You see this guy, Marcus, he goes into these businesses. He’s dealing with entrepreneurs that are most of the time rough around the edges. They have not been able to scale or execute or make any money. They’re in dire straits. He comes in and puts in his people and his processes. He’s got the psychology thing understood. He knows how to get people in the right lanes and get it going. It was awareness. Most entrepreneurs, a lot of them like me, Alpha male, Type-A-driven, athlete, they can only take businesses so far unless they get the right people around them and step back and stop controlling everything and become aware of where they’re good and where they’re not good and empower people to scale. Some guys or gals can become aware of that. Other ones, it’s a disaster because no one ever helps them. They don’t engage a coach. They don’t engage a mentor that will open their eyes to the next level of what has to happen to get to the next level.
I’ve had partners like this. I’ve had phenomenal sales guys that have equity in a business, that grew it, scaled it but it topped off. The ops weren’t where they needed to be. They ran out of money, the investors pulled and they could not get outside of themselves and get the people on the team to continue to the next level. It comes down to how coachable is that person and how grounded and how stable. Are they emotionally stable? If they’re not, if they’re erratic, if they’re irrational and they’re all over the place, people eventually don’t want to work with them.
I don’t knowif you’ve ever read Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday. That’s such a good book. He’s written a few books, but his two primary ones are Ego Is the Enemy and The Obstacle Is the Way. He’s an incredible writer. I went back and read a few parts of the Ego Is the Enemy. That’s one of the biggest dangers. When you succeed, it’s naturally ingrained in us. It’s like, “I succeeded. Look at me.” That’s one of the most dangerous periods of time too. When you reach that status, you don’t want to experience the other side of the spectrum. When you hit that status, that’s when you have a tremendous amount to lose because nobody likes the person that is masking failure. Even though you’ve achieved a level and in order to achieve the next level, you’re still going to experience failure. You’re still going to experience challenges. There’s going to be new. If you start to equate success with not failing first, it’s going to be a slippery slope.
This hasbeen my experience. My biggest failures have come from making a mistake where the organization is failing in certain aspects and masking it. It starts to hide certain things because people know. There’s this power of vulnerability, especially from a leadership perspective. If people know that you’re fallible, people know that you fail and that you’re okay with it and you realize that’s part of the equation, it makes them comfortable as well. What I’ve connected is that my failures often come from me doing things that I should not be doing. An entrepreneur or a business owner has certain attributes and characteristics and specific roles and responsibilities attached to that. If they start to deviate outside of that and do things they shouldn’t be doing, especially if they’re other people’s responsibilities, that is where the whole ecosystem starts to break down.
Ego Is the Enemy
This company I’m CEO of has 140 employees. I’ve grown up with this company. I was part of the original team in 2003 that started it. I’ve gone all the way until now in the same company. We’ve grown as leaders and failed over and over it again as we figure out how to make money. We lie to ourselves. We pretend we don’t have problems. We turf build. We create silo. We do all stupid things that hurt the business and prevent us from growing and doing what we need to do. Getting rid of that behavior or being vulnerable and admitting, “I wet the bed there. I totally messed up. This is the outcome. I want to share that with you as a team so that you don’t make the same mistake I did. Let me fall on the sword here,” people love that. If people are more willing to say, “I need help here. I’m not the right person for this position. I need to bring somebody in,” we can start moving forward. If I had learned these lessons several years ago, I’d be well-off. I’m not as well-off as I wish I was.
The point isthere’s no way you would have understood that unless you went through the experience to be aware of it.
I beat myself up. In hindsight, “I should have done this, this and this or I could have executed this turnaround quicker if I would have done this, this and this.” It’s unfair for others and for myself to beat yourself up over that. There’s a lot of could-haves and should-haves. I wish I learned the lessons quicker so I could be better and faster. A quote came to my mind. I like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. In my office, my favorite quote I have in a big frame wall says, “The wolf is always scratching.” He tells a story when he was young, they were in Hawaii. He was poor. They couldn’t meet their rent and the landlord was always coming in to knock on the door and ask for the rent. They were close to eviction all the time. He’s done well now, but he’s taken that same fear and used that as a weapon or as motivation in his life to never ever take his foot off the gas, to stay hungry. He says, “The wolf is always scratching.” That means somebody’s always trying to knock him off his horse. Someone’s always trying to beat him, be the next best actor, beat him in this role or that role. He’s like, “You have to stay on edge, hungry, competitive.” In my company, we use the word 212. You have to keep it at 212. That’s the boiling point of water. It’s that extra degree of intensity that allows you to be super competitive and hard to beat. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve got to keep that edge somehow.
This is from a principle standpoint. Everyone wants to be successful. It’s naturally ingrained in us. It’s not this one-time event. It’s something that happens over and over. Once a person gets to one point, they may achieve something but they’re still thirsty for the next achievement and the next one. The sooner you’re aware of that, the much easier the path is going to be. The point of me explaining that is entrepreneurs don’t have to mean to start a business. It doesn’t mean that you have to go out on your own. It doesn’t mean you have to build a team. It’s also important to understand that it’s desiring to be successful and knowing that it’s okay to be successful, but success isn’t the same for everyone. How, in your business, have you helped employees feel that sense of success? What I’ve discovered is everyone has specific talents and strengths. We’re all different. Every human being is different. As you discover those, as you become aware of those, especially as an employer, as you align the role and responsibility of employees to those strengths, that’s where you tend to have the most amount of happiness and success. My question to you would be, what are some of the ways in which you’ve discovered your own strengths and pinpointed those and focused your role and responsibility around that, but also for employees?
I’m not a TV guy. I try to read as many books as I can get my hands on. I notice you have a nice library. I read a ton of books. I try to get as much knowledge as I can from people that have already gone down this path and hear from their failures, their successes. I try to adopt some of those things. That’s one thing. I made the plunge and engaged with coaches and consultants, mentors. I have some mentors that don’t charge me anything but have been kind enough to take me under their wing and give me pointers. I try to meet frequently with them and have candid conversations with me in what my personality type is like and where my roadblocks are, what I can’t see exactly as clear as I need to.
I pay for a coach that gets into all my business and helps me understand and interviews my network and figures out, “This is what you think your problems are. This is what the people closest to you think your problems are, including your wife. You’re lying to yourself if you think this isn’t true.” That’s a hard pill to swallow, but you want to experience growth. That’s what you have to do. You have to be willing to work on yourself harder than you do at any job. Hopefully, in that process, you recognize what you were born to do, what are these natural strengths that you don’t have to work that hard at developing, and stay in that lane as much as you can. There are a lot of guys that have written a lot of books that are way smarter than me. I’ve read that over and over again, but it didn’t sink in until the coach is analyzing your personality profile and reviewing what your peers or your network are telling you.
You’re like, “I need to stay in this lane and I need to delegate. Even though I can do this person’s job better or do that same role better than they can, I have to discipline myself to step out and be okay with them doing it their way and stay out of their way.” As much as that’s hard for me because I want to coach them and tell them how to do it and follow up and repeat myself over and over again. It does no good. They have to do it themselves their way. If they are interested in your opinion, they’ll ask. Otherwise, you probably shouldn’t offer your counsel until they’re ready to listen. That’s what I’ve done. You’ve got to work on yourself, become aware of where you’re supposed to do, your strengths and then stay in that lane as much as possible and supplement the other parts with good people, attract the best people in each of these different marketing, sales, operations and finance and get them what they need and stay out of their way and support them.
Have you ever heard of John Boyd?He’s one of those early personal development business guys. He was a Vietnam War pilot. He had this business theory called OODA Loop. It’s a feedback loop. OODA is an acronym. It stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. The observation comes from the feedback. In war, what he would do is he’d observe all the feedback that’s coming at him, whether it’s instruments, whether it’s where the planes are. Orient himself as it relates to what’s going on in the environment, make a decision on what to do, act and keep on repeating it. The idea is most people hate feedback. They’re afraid of what they’re going to look like if the feedback isn’t good. At the same time, feedback is feedback. If you get that feedback, you’re able to orient yourself appropriately and then make a decision and act and continue to do that.
Oftentimes, we’re our own feedback. We lie to ourselves. We say things are better than they are. We say, “I’m good. They’re not. It’s their fault, not mine.” We don’t take responsibility. There are some human tendencies there. As it relates to employees and feedback, everyone does a job and they get results from that job. I have discovered that there is a way to help a person understand that there are strengths and good about them and that their level of happiness and success and fulfillment is when they’re doing what’s in that zone the majority of the time. The only way they can discover what those strengths are is by taking assessments. I’m not sure which ones you’ve done in the past. There are a million of them out there: Myers-Briggs, StrengthsFinder, Gallup. There are ways in which we can discover things about ourselves and look to the past and get the feedback. The sooner we can accept the feedback and the sooner we can accept that there are a lot of things that we could do but there are only a handful of things that we’re good at. Those good things will align with our happiness and success, the sooner you do that, even before you become an entrepreneur and do your own business, discovering that is going to give you what all the stuff that you’re looking for anyway.
In the end, it’s like, “Is it a pile of money that you want? Are you willing to sacrifice 30 years of unhappiness to get a pile of money so that you can be happy? Is it figuring out a way to be happy right now and be successful right now?” That’s one of the feedback I got from a listener was in relation to the definition of wealth. She was referring to Dave Ramsey. His programs and people are wealthy at the end of these programs. They didn’t go on vacation. They drove a five-year-old Camry for many years. They took the bus and sat next to smelly people. They vacation at the Holiday Inn. They sacrificed all the happiness to have wealth, which is a pile of money. I don’t think that’s wealth. Having a great experience, doing what you love and being happy in doing that is the true measure of a successful entrepreneur. It’s utopia-ish. That’s not realistic, but the reason we’re doing this season is that everyone has the drive to be successful, to achieve wealth, to achieve those levels. The sooner they can understand the principles behind it, the sooner they’re going to be able to take some action and get some results.
Figuring out that why like, “What it is you were born to do? Who are you supposed to become? What drives you to the deepest levels of happiness?” each individual person’s going to have to ask themselves those questions and seek those answers. I’m in the middle of my journey, so I don’t have much to say on that. I’m more aware now than I was even several months ago in thinking about those bigger deeper questions. I’ve got teenagers in my house. I’m turning 40. I have some years left and I want to accomplish some things. I want to be successful. I thought I wanted this pile of money, but I realize that a pile of money doesn’t do much. I’ve got money and it doesn’t give me the fulfillment that I thought it would. What is it that I want to do with the strengths and with the time I have? How do I give back? How do I create jobs and bless other people’s lives?
Successful Entrepreneur: You go to work on yourself, become aware of what you’re supposed to do and your strengths, and then stay in that lane as much as possible.
I’ve got mentors and coaches that have more years of experience, more financial independence than I do. I’m listening to their philosophies carefully and trying to decide what mine will be. It’s a cool journey. I enjoy the ride. It’s fun. Anybody that wants to start a business and go through it, even if it doesn’t work, it’s still an awesome experience. As long as you are responsible with that risk and you’re not putting your family’s life in jeopardy and you have a side hustle or side business that may grow into something bigger, then go for it. That’s great.
That’s part of the growth cycle.
You’re in America. It’s the best place in the world to do that. You might as well take advantage of where you were born and the opportunities and access to capital here and do something.
Let’s end with some of your favorite books that have inspired you, aside from my book. I’ve told the story before of a good friend introduce me to Rich Dad Poor Dad. That was you. You told me, “You need to read these two books.” It was Rich Dad Poor Dad and Millionaire Next Door. I read them both. I was like, “I like this one. This one sucks. I don’t want to drive some 1975 Chevy for the rest of my life.”
I was the opposite. Kiyosaki and his stuff, it was great. It helped shape my way of thinking. In a different life, I should have been an investment advisor or wealth manager. I enjoy personal finance and studying the strategies. I’m self-taught. That’s why Millionaire Next Door and Millionaire Mind hit me hard. I was like, “I could do that.” I grew up blue-collar. I didn’t have everything handed to me. I’m self-made. I connected a lot with the real millionaires in America and identified with that. I said, “I can live this way but be comfortable and make sure I’m investing and saving and building assets so that I can have fun, live life and be happy along the way, but also accumulate a bunch of wealth.” I do love that book.
At different phases of my career, different books have impacted me. When I first became CEO in 2011 or ’12 of this organization, we had gone through a tough situation. I was thrown into this massive adversity. I read the Zappos book, Tony Hsieh and his group, Delivering Happiness. I was creating a culture in a business. His culture was awesome. I tried to duplicate some of his things. That book had a big impact on me for a number of years. Ready, Fire, Aim is a sales book. It taught me how sales is the lifeblood of any business. If you’re going to get anything right, get sales flying through the door. Revenue buys you time to fix operations. I came from sales. I started in sales. I had a passion for sales. I was trying to teach myself how to be a CEO, which is a challenging transition. I’ve taken that to this company and to the other companies I’m involved with. I don’t care about all the other stuff until sales is like, “Don’t mess with their juju. Get them their comp plans. Get them in a good place where they’re bringing revenue in.” That book hit me at the right time.
Michael Masterson is the author. I told the story in the book where I worked with one of his companies. I told the story when I first met him and my experience in his office in South Florida. He’s an amazing business person. That’s a powerful book, Ready, Fire, Aim.
I read all the Tony Robbins books, all the Dave Ramsey books, including his last book, where he talks about the last step, “Once you pay your house off, this is how you build your legacy.” I enjoyed that book. Brian Tracy and his books are always good, the mindset books.
What do you consider are some of your driving business principles?A driving business principle could be courage. It could drive or tenacity. It could be customer first. As you’ve looked at the evolution of your business, what do you consider are some of those top principles?
Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat
At Orbit, this company I work for, we have what some people call a credo or your core values. Deciding that upfront is a huge part of it. The words that we have on ours tell you who we are and how we think. 212 is one of those little words on there. You have to be willing to work hard and sometimes long in the beginning. Later on, you can balance things correctly. You’re taking care of business at home so you can take care of business at work and be your best without distractions. That’s important. It’s coming together as a team and creating an environment of respect where you treat people how you want to be treated. In our company, we don’t use bad language. We’re conservative. We don’t yell at each other. We have crucial conversations, but we try to have a high level of respect so that they will pour their heart into the business. It’s a win-win for both the employee and for the management team and the company. That’s another one, continuously improving.
There’s this guy I studied for years. Jim Rohn is his name. He had ingrained in my head to work harder on yourself than you do at your job. We have continuous improvement. We want to continuously work on ourselves, knowing that there are better ways of doing everything we do. We haven’t discovered them yet. Every year, we find more and more nuggets that we should have found much sooner that would’ve allowed us to monetize our ideas so much quicker but we didn’t. It’s that culture of continuous improvement and getting people comfortable working on themselves and not sensitive about it or not willing to do it like, “That’s hard to do.” If you can create that culture, your business can evolve quickly. Those are a few that come to mind.
In the beginning, if you’re a startup, you’ve got to hustle. You’ve got to bootstrap. You’ve got to work extremely hard until you have enough contracts, enough cash coming in the door, and then you stabilize things. You work on efficiencies. Jim Collins books. Those are other books that had a big impact at a certain period in my life or How to Win Friends & Influence People. Those ones come to mind. They’re classics. You’ve got to read the Covey books. You’ll crank the efficiency. You’ll squeeze that wrench and become more efficient over time, but you got to hustle in the beginning.
The hustle comes first.The efficiency, there’s never an end to it.
The last thing that I feel important to say is the best leaders that I’ve been around have this arrogance about them. They also have this humility where they realize that they need to get people around them and they need to stay in their lane. I’ve learned that these last few years as we’ve failed in a lot of different areas. We tried things and fell on our face. It did not work. I go before my team and say, “It was an awesome, valiant effort but a bad decision. It’s my bad. My tail is between my legs. Let’s course correct and go a different way.” You’ve got to be okay with that. Some of my most successful partners in some of my businesses, you’ve got to learn from them, ask them questions, take their strengths and shorten your learning curve so that you can be more effective quicker. Instead of trying to learn it yourself and trial and error every single time, you’ve got to shorten that gap with better people around you. Get your network where it needs to be.
We’ve talked extensively about this over the last few years. There’s a turning point in business. When you look in others, you look more for their failures then you look for their actual wins, not from competition or, “You failed, therefore you’re not relevant.” It’s the lessons that can be learned through somebody going through failure that is profound. You taught me through some of the stuff that you did about certain insurance that you can get for these events that could protect you here would save me in a few different areas. I now look for where people fell short and what they did because of that and where they succeeded. You don’t know what you don’t know. Leveragecomes in many different forms. One of the best leverage, especially for entrepreneurs and business owners, is that you look where others have failed massively who came back. You don’t want to find the people that failed and gave up. You want to find the failure where they came back and why, what did they learn, what were those lessons.
They were humble enough to share those with you. That’s why these mastermind groups and these groups come together, you can learn from people that came back, beat the odds and now are sharing their story and helping other people. That’s where I’m at in my career. I’m trying to surround myself with these winners that can help me avoid some of the mistakes. At this size of my company, I’m trying to scale it to the next level. Utah is cool. There are a lot of good entrepreneurs here, a lot of people that take big risks. There’s learning. It’s energizing. It helps me keep my saw sharp and stay hungry and remember the wolf is always scratching. Any success I’ve had, it could go away quickly. I need to keep pushing and taking the punches, moving forward. Hopefully, at the end of the day, I’m happy and loving life and doing what I want to do.
You did a great job for your first show.
I’m grateful that it’s done and behind me. In the next one, I promise I will be more prepared and hopefully say something that’ll help your readers.
We’ll have you on again for a second one.
Thanks for having me.
Successful Entrepreneur: Surround yourself with winners that can help you avoid some of the mistakes.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for participating in this season. We’ve had some guests that are in different fields and different positions of life, talking about more of the philosophical points of entrepreneurship. This is a practical show. In the coming ones, we have some cool guests. Both of Milton Friedman’s sons will be on. Milton Friedman was the Founder of the Chicago School of Economics and wrote a lot of books in relation to freedom and capitalism that play right into the idea of entrepreneurship. This season is going to be awesome. I hope you can take what you’re reading and apply that, even if you’re out of business or working for somebody else. Apply some of those principles and taking action on that, whether that’s discovering more about you, whether that’s understanding the importance and dynamics of relationships, especially professional relationships. I hope you got some nuggets of wisdom. I can’t wait for what you have in store for the remaining episodes of our seasons. Thanks for your support. Brandon, thank you. We’ll see you in the next episode.
Brandon Bliss is President and CEO of Orbit Medical, a large home medical equipment company. He started with the company as an entry level sales representative and was made partner after only two years. He has been the President and CEO since 2011. Brandon has extensive experience in start-ups, business management, project management, employee development, recruiting, sales, and operations. In his current role, he works with every department of the company as they continue to expand and open new Orbit Medical offices across the country.
Brandon lives in Salt Lake City with his wife and their five children.
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There are a lot of misconceptions about being an entrepreneur. Most of the time, we tend to think that to succeed in it, one has to have that passion from which they turn into a career. Speaker and entrepreneur Jim Beach gives some practical advice and counters the biggest myth about entrepreneurs. He talks about the myth of being a risk-taker to that of the many stereotypical entrepreneur archetypes. Sharing how one can still become an entrepreneur even if the passion is still not there, he shows some unconventional ways that will even comfort us in our own journeys. Jim is a sought-after speaker on business, low-risk entrepreneurship, and personal development. He takes us to the story of how he redefines or refocuses passion, asking each one of us to just get off the sofa and start moving.
Listen to the podcast here:
Breaking Down The Biggest Myth About Entrepreneurs with Jim Beach
Jim, it’s awesome to have you on. Thanks for spending some time with me.
Thank you very much for having me. It’s my honor.
Jim, why don’t you give the audience a brief background in your career in the entrepreneur space?
School for Startups: The Breakthrough Course for Guaranteeing Small Business Success in 90 Days or Less
I was summarily dismissed from Coca-Cola at the age of 24. I thought I was going to be there forever and they decided otherwise. I was completely devastated. I was as corporate a man as you could be at that young age. I wanted a corporate career. One of the last things they told me at Coca-Cola was that I would be a great entrepreneur. I’d never heard the word and didn’t know what it was. I did that. I went out and started my first business when I was 25. I grew it to 700 employees. It was in the children’s education space. At 31, I started teaching at a university. I was a university professor with a small P, not a PhD guy, but the one who taught all the classes for ten years. During that time, I came up with some interesting philosophies on entrepreneurship that I hope we can talk about. I wrote a book about that called School for Startups, which was published by McGraw-Hill. It sold well. That turned into a radio show and here we are.
You’ve done it all sounds like. Are ready to hang up the boots? Call it a career?
I’m one of the people that would get bored in ten seconds. I don’t like golf.
That’s part of my argument is even if you do like golf, humanity, especially a human being, especially one that is experienced entrepreneurship and creation, your space understands that life doesn’t end at 60, 70, 80 or 90. It ends when it ends. Production, whether it’s business or mentorship or consulting creates that livelihood in people. Let’s get into some of the nature of your books and the business that you’re a part of. What you’ve experienced over the years in regards to what is the times of Coca-Cola until now. Everybody knows what the word entrepreneur is. Maybe from that and then until now what your experience has been seeing what is possible for those that have an entrepreneurial vision?
The thing I would like to focus in on are some of the myths that I have seen and the perception of some of those. The biggest myth about entrepreneurs is that they are risk-takers. You have to be this risky guy or maybe there are three things to entrepreneurship. You are creative somehow, you are somehow risk excited and you’re going to do something risky. Number three is that you have a passion for what you do. That’s become the definition of the entrepreneur. I’m a risk-taker who found a creative idea to start a new business that I’m passionate about. I believe I can make a lot of money with that business or something silly like that. I find that because of that we have lots of people sitting on the sofa who are not trying entrepreneurship because they’re afraid of one of those three things.
One of those three things is preventing them from becoming an entrepreneur. I find that all three of them are completely false. That entrepreneurs are not risk-taking people. As a matter of fact, I do every single thing I can think of to reduce risk before I start a business. If there is a risk, I don’t start the business. I start the less risky ones. The more entrepreneurs that I meet, the more people I interviewed, it’s the same with them. Risk is a bad thing. We’re not creative. 93% of new businesses are copies of existing businesses. That data comes from the London School of Economics. There are not that many new ideas. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you find what someone’s doing in Salt Lake City and copy and do it in Atlanta. There’s nothing wrong with that. Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Mountain Dew, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Mercedes, Honda and Toyota. There are lots of me-too companies. You don’t have to be original to go be an entrepreneur. Just find an idea and execute the daylights out of it.
Before we get to the third point, maybe in your mind, define what an entrepreneur is. At the fundamental level, I have a four-year-old. If you were talking to my four-year-old and explaining what an entrepreneur is, how would you describe it?
Someone who goes out and sells things to people. A four-year-old would understand that. I have stuff that people want to buy. That could be different stuff.
It comes down to how do you define selling? Selling is the exchange of money for something that’s more valuable than money. In the context of your other businesses, it’s improving. It’s creating more value than was currently there. If you seek ways to do that, that is the beginnings of that entrepreneurial ideas to improve whatever exists or to create something that doesn’t exist.
I don’t want you to wait for something that doesn’t exist because that creativity lightning bolt may wait until you’re 90 or maybe never come. Go start something now. There’s this idea of the Corridor Principle. As you go down the path of entrepreneurship, the life of entrepreneurship, there are doors along the hallway, this path that you’re on. You could never see into those doorways until you had gone down the path a little bit. Because of where you are, you don’t have a view that allows you to see the opportunities in those rooms. By becoming an entrepreneur now, doing something very me-too, not creative but running a good business will then give you the opportunity. It’s a beautiful analogy. What it says is that we should get off the sofa and start something now no matter what it is.
There are opportunities all around to be an entrepreneur in that definition. You’re right. There are some fundamental things that scare people about being an entrepreneur or it separates that persona from who a normal person is. If you define it in the context of whatever environment that you’re in, figuring out a way to be valuable to somebody else. Once you have that mindset, the opportunities are infinite.
I say that with my coaching and what I’m working on. I’m not trying to create 100 millionaires. I’m trying to create someone worth $3 million or someone who makes $300,000 a year. That’s my goal and that’s my definition of success. You don’t have to be lifestyles of the rich and famous, yachting, private jetting to be very successful and have enough for you and your family to survive on. That’s very realistic for everybody.
Let’s go through that. First thing is you dispel the idea that being an entrepreneur is risky. Then you got into this instead of doing the whole Peter Thiel, Zero to One, creating something out of nothing. An entrepreneur can be somebody that improves an existing business or an existing process in a role that they have. I know you were going to get into a third point or subsequent points. Would you mind picking up where you left off?
That would be passion. There’s this overwhelming belief that you have to be passionate about what you sell. I would counter that. I’ve sold purses. I’ve sold leather jackets. I’ve sold a lot of stuff that I don’t buy, that I would never buy. I must tell you, that doesn’t bother me at all. I would like to redefine or refocus passion. That passion for a product is called materialism. I am passionate about the lifestyle that I lead. I am passionate for the fact that I drove four carpools. I had zero commutes. I wore what I wanted to. I wasn’t responsible to anyone. I made as much money as I was willing to work to do to get that money. I am passionate about the entrepreneurship itself. That can be enough for a lot of people. The joy of having an Amazon re-seller business that you buy stuff in bulk and sell it on Amazon. I’ve seen how that simple, non-creative, non-risky business that no one should be passionate about can change people’s lives and change their perception of themselves.
I’m passionate about the opportunity that it presents. I believe God gave us a certain basket of skills when we were born, when our DNA was created. We’re good at this and not good at some other things and I’ll never be able to throw a baseball. Entrepreneurship uses those skills better than anything else could. I could still work as CEO and my creativity would not be utilized. I could still work at Coca-Cola and not use the skills necessary that are used by my entrepreneurship. That’s exciting to me. Overall, just being an entrepreneur is cool enough that I don’t have to love what I’m doing. I have enough fun selling purses that I’m willing to sell purses if I could make some money doing it.
Let’s breakdown then the stereotypical entrepreneur archetype. The entrepreneurial archetype is that person is beaming what you’re quoting as passion. Can you break down that one more time and talk about who would you consider an example of that passionate person and stereotypical definition? From what you’ve seen, a person does not necessarily have to be this overly A-type of personality to go out and find something that they’re either gifted at or interested in to pursue.
There are several different people that jump to mind. I would think of an entrepreneur who is obsessively passionate as someone like Bill Gates. Not necessarily in his first generation, but in his second generation as a philanthropist. He is obsessive with that. He’s following his passion there. His desire to solve malaria in Africa, he’s going about it at 100% wrong, but he has a tremendous passion for it. He’s also very interested in helping education. As a former professor, I’m not sure that he’s doing the right things there either. Nevertheless, his passion there is laser-focused. On the other hand, we have someone like Richard Branson who I think that of the 700 businesses that he owns, he’s probably passionate for three or four of them. The Virgin Galactic Airline, the outer space vehicle. Maybe still the airline, but I bet he’s pretty tired of the airline that hasn’t done any work there in ten years. He’s not interested in the thing that got them started the stores anymore. His passion is the love of the game. He’s enjoying the game. Whatever the business is, he’s going to have fun doing it and give it an interesting, sexy, unique twist. I don’t think he loves all of those businesses that he runs. He enjoys the, “Let’s come up with a new brand that exudes confidence. That’s cool and sexual. I get to jump out of a parachute or a hot air balloon wearing a parachute to promote it.” He’s enjoying promoting it more than me as the brand. He never goes back to those businesses on day three. He’s not there on day three.
He gets it all up and running and passes the baton.
Those are two very different views of entrepreneurial passion. All I’m suggesting is that if you wait to do what you’re passionate about, it may skip you altogether and you may lose the opportunity to go off and start a great consulting practice very similar to your last job. There’s nothing creative. They’re very similar to your last job. You steal some of the clients and you do the same work very well. That may not be your passion, but that may allow for you to do your passion in three or four years from now. What I’m passionate about is woodworking, but I suck at it. I’m bad at it. What I’ve learned is that I can enjoy my passion for what’s called the weekend and make more money so that I can go to a woodworking school more often.
You talked about natural gifts and natural abilities, that we’re all different. We all have different personalities, different strengths and different tendencies. From what you do as a consultant or a coach, is there a method to discover some of those interests? Maybe not passions but interest and figuring out a way to monetize that through business? Is that where you were saying with that comment?
I don’t think so. I have a hard time understanding those people; the people who at the age of 30 don’t know what they’re interested in or what they’re good at. That makes me wonder what is going on there. If an eight-year-old doesn’t know that, I understand. By the age of 30 or 40 or whatever you enter into the world of entrepreneurship, you should know, “I need a business partner, I need a cofounder because I’m not very good at speaking in front of people. This business is going to require a lot of speaking in front of people and so I should go get a cofounder.” I did that personally in my first business. I had a cofounder, Doug, whose sole responsibility was to talk and he was amazing at it.
Myth About Entrepreneurs: If you wait to do what you’re passionate about, it may skip you altogether and you may lose the opportunity.
He’s amazing at it and he probably liked it to an extent, you didn’t like it even though you may have been amazing at it. Isn’t that a feeling or a flag or a hint of what you should and shouldn’t do? I know you love working and there’s obviously hobbies that are out there but have you in your entrepreneurial experience seeing tons of businesses speaking, talking to a lot of people, is there a common connection fundamentally between what a person does as an entrepreneur and their level of interest?
Their level of interest in what?
Whatever they’re doing.
I don’t think so. I am working so that I can go to Disneyworld, so that I can take my family on nice vacations, so that I can go to woodworking school, so that we can live the standard that we all want to live. To me, that is the ultimate goal and I’m willing to focus in on that and say, “I’m willing to sell purses if I can get toward that ultimate goal.” For me, the passion is almost irrelevant. I am passionate about the lifestyle. My friends go to work, they commute and they get told what to do. Their destiny is in someone else’s hands. None of that is true for me and that’s what I’m passionate about.
I’m having a hard time distinguishing because I agree with you in that respect. For me, it’s one of those things where if you sell purses to be able to go to Disneyland, is something that will get you what you want? Long-term if you’re selling purses your entire life, is it possible to have a level of fulfillment that some entrepreneurs get? That’s where you go back to Richard Branson. He was probably passionate at one point in his life about his Virgin Records and the airline and the passion’s changed. As far as the future vision, I look at those that get on a highway and commute every morning and hate what they do. Then go home and try to disregard all that crap and be a good parent and a good husband or wife. I look at where we’re at as a society and because of how much commerce is going on in opportunities that exist, is it possible to find something that you like doing that you make money at? You were also able to provide some fulfilling lifestyle for your family? That’s where I’m disconnected.
That’s largely where the corridor principle comes in. There’s an important thing here. One idea that we haven’t talked about yet is that entrepreneurial things are created to be sold. Businesses are created to be sold. The first business that I was involved in childhood education was an amazing business, but we had thousands of kids every day that we were taking care of. The stress level was not enjoyable. I like my kids but that’s it. That’s where I draw the line. I got out of that business as quickly as within seven years, pretty much as quickly as I could when I was 32 years old, which allowed me to go off and do something that maybe I did enjoy more.
The experience gives me the credibility, the opportunity, the fundraising skills, hopefully, some cash in pocket to go off and say, “I had your business with 700 employees. I want to be a college professor and I can go do that because I have the credibility of having a 700-person business.” That allows me to do what I am passionate about, which is teaching and sharing and helping other people down the path. I’m willing to do to get off the sofa because that long-term will lead to my goal of eventually running a business that I love obsessively and fulfills my creativity and my risk and all of that. I want people to get off the sofa and say, “I’m going to go start something that I can put up with.” God knows where that’s going to lead.
That helps me a ton. I would add to that the getting off the sofa idea, some people were naturally lackadaisical, but we’re also naturally-driven. It’s an interesting dichotomy there. If you look at the discovery process, isn’t there normally some level of anxiety or friction or stress that tells us whether we’re doing something we want to do or not that eventually leads us to what you explained? Isn’t pain, friction and anxiety an environment part of the process?
You mean the pain and the anxiety of the horrible job that I had beforehand? The horrible life beforehand? I hope that motivates you to get off the sofa and start doing the research. One of my favorite stories is about my step-brother-in-law. His name is Joey and he had a job working on a shrimping boat, peeling shrimp, taking care of freshly caught shrimp. I can’t imagine anything worse. His goal was to have a restaurant bar of his own. Eventually, he was able to say to save $5,000. 99% of our risk universe would say you cannot open a bar or restaurant for $5,000. He did it. He didn’t even have enough money for kegs. He bought cases the first weekend. He sold those cases and made what’s called a profit. Eventually was able to buy half of Athens, Georgia, which is where the University of Georgia is. He owns half of the town and something 20 or 30 different bars and restaurants off of a $5,000 investment to get started.
Off of working on a shrimp boat doing something he didn’t like to do?
For him, the interest is he was willing to say, “My dream is to have a restaurant bar with all the brewing equipment and all of the brass and the beautiful fixtures. It’s going to have dark mahogany and the walls are going to have leather embed in them and stuff.” That’s his dream. What he ended up opening was in an abandoned barbershop. It still had the linoleum floor. It had the big rings on the floor where the chairs used to be, cinder block walls, exposed metal rafters and a bathroom that didn’t pass code. He spent $4,000 of the $5,000 getting the bathroom up to code. He then went to a flea market and got $200 worth of abandoned chairs that we would throw away on the side of the road and opened a bar. His standards were so low because the alternative of working on the shrimp boat was so bad that he said, “I’m willing to take the long view on this. To put my dream aside and to start something that’s feasible now.”
You can argue that it’s right on the side. It’s in the future and the path to get there requires that you have to put a lot of money in the bathroom before you get to the Mahogany and the brass and what his future vision was.
Myth About Entrepreneurs: Sometimes, bootstrapping is healthy – taking on a big responsibility and try to circumvent steps along the way.
Eventually, someone bought the piece of property across the street, put in $3 million into a restaurant. It failed. The lesson is, how many beers do you have to sell to repay a $5,000 investment? How many beers do you have to sell it to repay a $3 million investment? It’s a good lesson.
Sometimes bootstrapping is healthy and taking on a big responsibility and try to circumvent steps along the way, which that restaurant across the street did. That’s how you learn those painful lessons. They probably had to go backward and then learn the lessons that Joey was learning.
Joey also did something smart. He reduced the risk. His risk was $5,000. If he lost, he’d have to go back to the shrimp boat.
Being able to rebound from that versus bankruptcy on $3 million. That’s a longer lesson to learn than having to go back on the shrimp boat and get another $5,000 and invest it wisely the next time.
Joey got off the sofa.
When you’re in your book, School for Startups, is it targeted to the normal individual or who’s that person you are writing to when you wrote that book?
The guy sitting on the sofa who is trying to say it can be done. There are some stories in the book of some businesses that I started when I was teaching at the university. I bet my students on a semester by semester basis that I could start a business that semester, get a cashflow positive that semester, repay the startup capital that semester. They got to choose the country and the industry that I would start the business in. The first one was Pakistan and furniture. I had to start a Pakistani furniture company. After that, it was a Brazilian leather purse company. The year after that it was Argentinian painted leather for leather jackets. The book talks about some of those stories and talks about the rules that came out of those experiences. The major primary rule is don’t spend any money, bootstrap. I can go back and show you how all of the ideas that I had were not creative. The Pakistani chair idea, the furniture company, most people look at and go, that’s a very creative idea. I go, “I can tell you the flea market that I saw the idea that I copied from.” I saw the idea in Santa Barbara ten years before I started the business. When I had to start a Pakistani furniture company, I was like, “Santa Barbara ten years ago, I’m going to copy that idea. I’m going to do it for under $5,000.” Very little risk, zero creativity. I was not passionate about it, but it was a homerun success.
In the book, you addressed that principle of getting off the couch obviously, but also how individuals could be more entrepreneurial in their current environment whether it’s a full-time job or in school. Do you give direction there?
There are some examples. There a lot of characters in the book, real-life stories. One of my students, he was a junior and a senior who was making $100,000 a year on Best Buy arbitrage, going to Best Buy as they liquidated stuff. Buying $10,000 of stuff that Best Buy considered at the bottom of its life cycle. He would then sell on eBay and Amazon make $100,000 a year doing that. Those things are in there. The book is designed to be very motivational and say, “If this twenty-year-old can make $100,000, what’s your excuse?”
Have you seen it in maybe other circumstances where you have companies that motivate or incentivize for that entrepreneurial mindset? I know some tech or manufacturing where if you come up with some improvement to the intellectual property they already have, that you’ll be able to profit share off of that. Have you come across a lot of companies that have maybe not to that extent, but similar incentives to be able to provide improvements to efficiency or of that nature?
I don’t think you’re going to like my answer on this. The honest answer is I see that with every company until they have 50 employees. Then eventually that becomes something that’s written in the handbook that no one ever looks at. Back on my own business, when I was running a business and we were doing $12 million, $15 million a year in revenue and I hired my brother right out of MBA school. He came in and he was like, “You should try this. You should try this. You should do this.” I was like, “I had done it. I had seen it. The competitor did it. I don’t want to try it. I don’t like that.” I had an off the cuff response for every one of his bright ideas. Some of them we ended up trying, but a lot of them didn’t work. That part of the entrepreneurial story is getting comfortable with what you do and then not wanting to mess with it. That happens somewhere after $25 million in revenue or something like that. That eventually these incredibly creative entrepreneurial places that are designed with their baked DNA and we’re going to have a Friday creativity meeting every Friday with pizza and foosball. Eventually, that gets shut down by the venture capitalist. I don’t see it in the ten-year-old companies. I see companies that claim that they’re still doing it. When you dive deep, you very rarely see that. Maybe I’m a young curmudgeon.
I would say life, in general, is never this calculated path where if you do X, Y and Z, you’re going to get A. It’s one of those things where sometimes there are great ideas, sometimes there are crappy ideas. I was curious because I’ve seen at a smaller level as you were explaining I’ve also seen it at a very high level at Honeywell in particular. They have a program and it’s all calculated into the engineers. The guy that I was talking with was a graduate of MIT. He made $500,000 a year, three times what his salary was because of the processes that he created that allowed Honeywell to save a bunch of money. He did some level of profit sharing with them and had ownership in the IP. It’s the environment and it’s the principle. Even though that doesn’t exist, I still think there are opportunities for anyone to figure out ways in which they can improve, whether it’s a process, whether it’s a product, whether inside the company, outside the company. Your point is to open your mind to those opportunities that are all around you and figure out ways to create more value for people so that you’ll have more money.
It will be interesting to see where Honeywell is ten or fifteen years from now because in essence, Honeywell is a startup. They were a huge high flyer of the ’70s and ’80s and so many other companies that crashed and burned. They are now finding a new niche for themselves like Xerox. There’s no comparison between the business that Honeywell does today and what they did in the ’80s or the ’90s. It will be interesting to see if Honeywell still got those creativity DNA packets ten, fifteen years from now.
It’s hard enough at a high level when you have hundreds of employees, probably thousands of employees to orchestrate something like that is definitely difficult. I would assume that something good has come from those programs. You also have brothers-in-law that have sophisticated degrees that tell you, “You should do this with your toilet paper. Have recycled toilet paper instead of the thick stuff to save some money.” My point is I’m totally in-sync with you in regard to getting off the couch and doing something that provides a level of fulfillment and I would say failure sometimes and taking risk. People don’t like that because they have a probability of failing. If you think about it, re-contextualizing failure, it’s vital in the process because it’s part of the learning process. It’s part of growing. You don’t know something and suddenly accelerate your path to perfection. There are these friction points, these failures and these dips along the way. That’s a good thing because the more of those you have and the more resilient you are, the more you’re going to be able to create it. The more money that is going to have and so goes the process.
Somehow, I always forget to leave off my resume that during that time I had 700 employees, I also got $10 million in personal debt. The bank called and said, “We’re seizing all of your assets and you have 30 days to repay everything.” I forgot to tell that part of the story for some reason.
That probably didn’t keep you up at night at all. That’s the thing. If you have a freaking $10 million mistake, talk about the lessons that you learned along the way. In the moment you’re like, “Get me out of this.” In hindsight, I’m assuming that that was one of your most valuable times.
I learned a lot.
This has been an awesome conversation and you’ve been around the block a number of times you speak. Do you do personal consulting and coaching as well?
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No, I have another book that came out. It’s called Free Radio & Podcast Marketing In 30 Minutes. This is a series called in 30 minutes. It’s a series for people that the dummies books are too complicated. In 30 minutes, I teach you what you need to do to get on hundreds of radio and podcast interviews to sell hundreds of thousands of dollars of your product for free. I have that book out as well. You can read it on one airplane flight.
I would argue that that’s not below the level of a dummy. All the complicated stuff is at the level below the dummy because it takes a genius to take a lot of sophisticated information and simplify it so the average person can understand it and use it. Talk to us briefly about your role as the Executive Director of the International Entrepreneurship. What’s that role? What’s the purpose of that organization?
I’ll let you in on one of my little secrets here. That’s a great a loss leader as Walmart would say. That is a thing that I do from time to time. Sometimes it’s newsletter format, sometimes it’s videos where specific people get information about levels of entrepreneurship around the world. What countries are growing? What countries are retracting entrepreneurship? The main reason I do it is as a marketing tool for my speaking. In the last few years, I’ve done India probably ten times in Egypt, Dubai, Korea, Japan, Brazil, Argentina and Chile. I’m sure I’m leaving out some places. All of that happens because of the Business International Entrepreneurship, which is a marketing vessel for me. It’s a faux business designed to get me business in other areas.
That’s not a bad thing. The principles of entrepreneurship don’t have country boundaries.
They don’t so the rules apply. I’ve made a lot of money off of that though.
Awesome to have you on.
Thank you so much. It’s been fun.
It was great to meet you. Thanks again for the information.
Jim Beach’s against-the-grain approach to entrepreneurship is not your typical business advice. He argues that entrepreneurship isn’t about creativity, risk, and passion, and that any individual can become a successful business owner without any of those traits.
At the age of 25, Jim started the American Computer Experience and grew the company with no capital infusion to $12 million in annual revenue with over 700 employees. The company was the world’s largest technology training company for children, and enjoyed tie-ins with Microsoft, Intel, Lego, NASA, and many others.
After this business was sold, Jim taught at Georgia State University and was the top-ranked Business School professor 12 semesters in a row. His book, School for Startups: The Breakthrough Course for Guaranteeing Small Business Success in 90 Days or Less, is frequently atop Amazon’s best sellers lists, and is the basis for his radio show, School for Startups Radio.
Jim has become a sought-after speaker on business, low-risk entrepreneurship, and personal development.
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Patrick is the President and CEO and started Paradigm Life in 2007 after learning from his mentor Kim Butler about financial strategies outside of Wall Street.
With a background in economics and marketing, Patrick immediately realized the opportunity to teach investors, business owners, professionals and families on a large scale using modern digital media and communication technology. Since 2007 Paradigm Life has worked with thousands of individuals in all 50 states.
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Book Nailed it
A should-read for anyone looking to be smart with thier money, and smart enough not to just follow the herd.
Robert K. Cunningham
Very enlightening and actionable!!
If you want a real path to Economic Independance and not a theory this book is for you.
Wise if I read this years ago.
Great book, made me change my thinking on my investment situation.
Take back control of your money
The truth about money. You will be surprised with the information. WOW!
A must read
Outstanding book. Details information most people are not aware of in creating a sound financial programs.
...a critical financial strategy
I simply couldn't put this book down, I read it cover to cover in 1.5 days! #VeryEngagingRead
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Patrick Donohoe is the Founder and CEO of Paradigm Life and PL Wealth Advisors. Patrick and his team teach thousands how
to build wealth, create lifetime cash flow, and leave a meaningful legacy.
Patrick was recently honored by Investopedia as one of the Nation's Top 100 Most Financial Advisors. He is a highly sought
after presenter and speaker at financial-based events around the country and is the host of The Wealth Standard podcast.
Patrick grew up in West Hartford, Connecticut, and attended the University of Utah, where he received his bachelor's degree in economics.
He lives in Salt Lake city with his wife and three children.
WHAT'S INSIDE THE BOOK?
THE CHAPTER LIST:
1. ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN DREAM
2. THE PERPETUAL WEALTH STRATEGY™
3. QUESTION EVERYTHING
4. BREAK AWAY FROM WALL STREET
5. AVOIDING THE INVESTING AND LENDING TRAP
6. THINK FOR YOURSELF
7. A SOLID FOUNDATION
8. B ELIKE THE WEALTHY
9. MYTHS AND TRUTHS OF INSURANCE
10. SAVE, BORROW, INVEST, AND BUILD WEALTH
11. START, BUILD, AND PROSPER YOUR BUSINESS
12. YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE
13. MAKE THE SHIFT
14. TAKE BACK CONTROL