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Hello everybody. Welcome once again to another fantastic episode of the business creators radio show. My name is Adam homie. I am your host and I am honored by your wise decision to tune in and invest in yourself today. Here at business creators radio. We help you win the game of business and marketing so you can thrive from gear intersection of your brilliance and your passion. Be sure to check out our firstname.lastname@example.org. We have fresh episodes regularly, at least once a week, sometimes twice a week. And we also have an archive of topics relevant to business creators just like you all to check us out on some of the syndication that works. We’re on a lot of them. Subscribe to the one that you prefer to get up to date content. So today we are going to have some fun. We’re going to explore some tales and we’re going to show you through an entrepreneur’s story how to reach your business dreams.
And I’m very excited by our guest today. This is somebody who I’ve actually wanted to have on the show for awhile and given his very, very busy activity. Uh, it was a little bit of a work to get him on the, we’re so happy we did and we’re so excited to bring him to you today. His name is Jerry Brazie. He is a serial entrepreneur who’s climbed his way to the top from literally nothing, even a place to sleep. Jerry’s come from being a homeless team, stealing food to eight now a multimillionaire with numerous companies, including real estate and thousands of employees. Jerry’s a successful businessman and family man, and want to give something back. He shares this story in advice, in the hope of inspiring others to reach their dreams regardless of their start in life. Gary, come on in. The weather’s fine. Perfect. Adam, how are you?
Fantastic. Fantastic. So normally what we do at the beginning of the business creators radio show is I’ll say the following, and our listeners know that I say this every time. I’ll say something like, I’ve just read off your official bio. It’s so impressive. I don’t know how I’m even qualified to be on the same. So as you, even though it’s my show, but let’s take a moment and let’s explore what brought you to the intersection of your brilliance and your passion. But what’s interesting about what we’re doing today is that’s actually where the story starts. Whereby learning more about your story, we discover that journey that’s brought you to your intersection of your brilliance and your passion, serving business creators in your own orbit. So let me ask a couple questions about this. First of all, you’ve told me that you grew up in a fairly poor scenario, uh, not a lot of food to eat and he had eight brothers and sisters. So tell us more about what that was like. So yeah, thank you. And I appreciate you having me on. I was number seven of nine kids and my mother had six kids by the time she was 22 years old. So my older six brothers and sisters are less than a year
apart on average. So you can imagine the strain and the pressure on her. And then seven years later they had me. And a, I have a little brother and little sister because they didn’t want me to be an only child. So, uh, grew up here in Portland, Oregon under that scenario, a pretty extreme poverty, a few, uh, if you will. So a lot of, uh, powdered milk and government cheese, uh, was in my, was in my past. And, uh, for me, uh, growing up that way, the one thing you had to do is you had to be self sufficient. And so when I get asked questions today about where I get the entrepreneurial spirit or where I get the ability to do what I do, uh, a lot of that comes back down to, you know, being when I was six years old, seven years old, I would take a bus from one side of Portland to the other, uh, because I knew how transportation works.
And when you’re a latch key kid, there’s really nobody watching you. And My mother worked fulltime, multiple jobs. My Dad was working all of the time and I had these older brothers and sisters that were, you know, 10 years older than me. Uh, so it was just me and my little brother out, uh, out causing trouble. But inherited that is an, is an independence and a while you can look at and go, my gosh, six, seven, eight years old and you’re crossing the city of Portland by yourself on a, on a regular basis seems extreme. The independence that I gained from it, I guess is probably has as much to do with, uh, with what I’ve been able to do as, as anything. It wasn’t easy. Uh, certainly it wasn’t a, uh, anything I would want anybody else to have to go through growing up. But at the same time, there’s, depending on how you look at it, there’s certainly rewards that come with it.
Absolutely. Now, growing up myself, um, I didn’t really have the poverty that you had candidly. It wasn’t like a money poverty. My parents were, I don’t want to say wealthy and I don’t want to say even really strongly middle class, but they weren’t really too disadvantaged in terms of what they were able to provide to us. That being said, uh, they grew up in circumstances that were much less than they were able to provide for me and my sisters. So some of the same feelings, some of the lessons and some of the same slant, we’re kind of passed down and there was a big, uh, conveyed sense of lack in the sense of there are certain things that people just don’t get in life unless you’re born lucky. And I don’t fault my parents for that. In fact, um, it’s just a matter that they didn’t know what they didn’t know and what’s been one of the joys of my life is, especially as an adult is gained to know my parents in a new way.
And seeing how they’ve evolved is Dave allowed things to happen for them that have enabled them to move up. So my point being there, cause it’s really never too late and it’s always a good time to discover some of these lessons that move us off if failures, any poverty I suffered at all was more a poverty of loneliness, I guess you could say. Um, I was really smart, so I was that kid in school and I, we grew up in a very rural area and there weren’t a lot of people around. And then all I wanted to do was get out of there. So when you told me about getting on the bus and being able to get around Portland, I’m thinking to myself, I wish there was a bus because I wanted nothing more to get out there and keep something of the world. I could not wait to go to college. So I think a lot of us come from a place of wonder, whether it’s a financial wants and emotional ones or, uh, some sort of, there’s something that other people have that they don’t. And regardless of whether it’s a first world problem or a third world problem or what have you, it does affect us. And when we motivated properly, it does drive us toward our success. So what got you, Jerry, from where you were and delivered you to where you are now?
Well, my perspective on that too is, is that I am, I never lose perspective of where I came from, but I never lose the perspective of what, where other people come from and what I have seen over my mini. I just turned 50 years old. And what I’ve seen in the years I’ve been in business, uh, through hundreds, like I said, and thousands of employees and multiple businesses, is that everybody has an excuse and what, and, and, and my, my trick, if you will, is that inherently I knew always to take responsibility for everything. So there’s a, there’s, as I grew up, we were always told, you know, that guy that, that, that sports a superstar at basketball star, that politician, he has a huge ego. And that was a negative thing. And I’ve learned, I got some really good advice about, uh, 15 years ago.
Uh, that really, that, that, that I really hung onto. And that is that it’s okay to have a big ego and be humble. And guess what, when you have a big ego, it can’t be hurt. And if you’re humble, you combine those two traits together, people will follow you. If you have a small ego, that’s the one that can be hurt, that’s the one that has to take a and get all of the acclaim. When something happens, that’s when you have employees working for you and you’re managing them. I never cared who got all of the praise. I just care that the work gets done. I always say as a manager, it’s our job to get people to do what we want them to do and let them think it’s their idea. And so in apparently as a kid I understood how to do that.
No one taught me that. I don’t know where that came from, but I understood that I didn’t need to get all of the praise to get what I wanted. And so I, I call it ego and I’m happy to, uh, to claim that and to wear that hat that I do have a big ego, but also I’m humble and I never lose perspective. So I, I’ve been around the world. I know what poor is and I would never use an excuse because I take, I take responsibility for everything. So nothing is anybody else’s fault except mine. And that includes, you know, the, the, the myriad of stories I saw, you know, I had four murders before I was 21 years old. I saw three suicides. You know, Ma, violence was a way of life for me growing up. But none of that violence on me, violence by me, none of those things factored into my success relative to excuse making.
I was able to get past all of that. Unlike many that come from where I come from because I didn’t make excuses. I took it all, I accepted it for what it is. I took responsibility for it. And as I progressed and I started my own business at 28 years old, that’s where it really started to click. All of these kinds of streets skills, if you will, that I had that served me so well clicked for me as I became a, an entrepreneur and started my own business. And that was at 28 years old. I’ll tell you, Adam, I had an epiphany. I was sitting in an office. I started working for this company when I was 2122 years old and I started as a driver and because I knew how to drive right? And I was digging ditches before that and I didn’t want to do that anymore.
So I went out and I, and I got a job driving and within about 10 months of driving, I, I notice that the dispatcher, and to think that a, that they were doing particularly as good a job as they could. And so I went to the owner of the company and I said to the owner, you’re paying that dispatch your $45,000 a year. Let me do that. I think I can do it better. Give me six months and pay me $10 an hour. If at the end of that six months I’m worth it. You pay me $45,000 a year. If not, I’ll go back to driving and no harm, no foul. I did that job for seven years. Seven years later, I’m sitting in my office, I’m 28 years old and a company approached me about starting a new company, so they sent me a pro forma.
Now I’m looking at a balance sheet and the P and l. Now I knew everything there was to know about logistics. You couldn’t touch me here in the city of Portland and new everything like the back of my hand. I could do five things at one time. I had people twice my age working for me. I could do no wrong, and all of a sudden I was faced with this P and l in this balance sheet in front of me and I had zero idea what I was looking at and right there I had an epiphany, which is I think a combination of all of that that I just said that came together at one time and it said, Jerry, if you don’t shut up and listen, you’re going to still be doing the exact same thing when you’re 50 as you are when you’re 25 when you’re 28 and I didn’t want to do that.
And so that was really my awakening, if you will, uh, for, uh, the independence and the entrepreneurs and to be an entrepreneur I think was, that was my wake up moment. I know right after that I couldn’t work for anybody ever again. I’ve worked for people up until that point. Uh, and going forward I couldn’t do that anymore. So really it was an epiphany I had when I was 28 that said, shut up and listen, pay attention. Find people that are smarter than you. I ditched all of my old friends and people that I hung out with and you know, because the subject was always sports, sports bar, hanging out at the sports bar, watching sports, playing sports, talking about sports. And so that was where we were all comfortable. And I ditched all of the friends that I had as a child and just said, I need to go find friends that make me uncomfortable and that I can learn from. And uh, 20 plus years later, I think, uh, it’s worked out very well for me.
You know, you have so many things with them, which you just said there that wanted to remind all of our listeners to make sure that you subscribe to business graders radio. So go back and listen to this one again, just if nothing else, to listen to everything that Jerry just shared about what he’s done as far as far as his journey from where he started to where he is today. And a couple of things jump out at me. First of all, you mentioned the importance of having a strong ego along with being humble and yeah, wet. And many times we’re taught as children that being egotistical is bad as you said. Uh, we’ve also been taught that greed is bad. And what’s interesting is I have a, an experiment that I run when I speak in front of audiences and I won’t get into what that experiment is.
But one of the questions that I’ve put on a survey that I have people take as part of the experiment is I asked them, is great, good. And there are three possible answers. Yes, no. And define greed. Those are the three answers. Yes, no. And define greed. So the last time I did this, I had a sample size of seven and six of the folks checked off nec is their answer. Define greed. Only one person said no. I found that very interesting cause I was expecting just an overwhelming no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. And I think what I, that trip I attribute that to is we are taught that we’re supposed to have certain correct respond to often are in contradiction of the nature that we’ve been given that actually excels our success when we harness it properly. So if you ask somebody confidentially is greet good, they’ll think about that and say, well define greed.
What do you mean by grade? But if I had asked each of those people in public, in front of an audience, I bet you all seven of them would have said, absolutely not. Greet as an apple thing. We should never be greedy. So coming to terms those things I think is pretty important. Uh, in terms of understanding, I mean we were given the ID, the ego and the superego for a reason. Go back and study those three terms and there’s a reason why human beings have a mix of emotions, a mix of reactions and how we can do things and say things. It could be either good or bad depending on the situation and once you have that flexibility based upon a strong moral foundation with empathy and humility, you can go really, really far. One other comment that I’ve gotten several times as people have said to me, you know how to me seem to have an answer for everything because I
very rarely admit that I’m wrong about anything. Like if I make a decision and I move forward with something and things don’t work out very well, or even if you know those occasional situations where I lose my head and just really screw up and say or do something stupid, I’m not going to lead with an abject groveling apology. I’ll express regret where necessary. I’ll make amends if necessary. But what I’m really focused on is what has just happened that’s going to make me more effective and hearing what the world, my brains and my passion to do good things for good people as I go along. And just hearing your story, Jerry, that is the impression I got is that your life has taught you lessons like that. And that’s part of what’s made you so successful. You know, I don’t know, and this is, this one’s pretty personal to me on my Jerry Bracey Instagram.
I talk about it probably way too much, which is that, uh, it seems like the only people telling us that we shouldn’t chase money and that we shouldn’t be rich and that we shouldn’t go after those things that we want are always the super rich people. And very rarely have I ever heard anybody. And again, I grew up in, in, in, in generate, in institutional generational poverty, I call it. That means that I know people whose grandparents who are poor and my parents were poor and they rapport and now their kids are poor. And in many cases they have grandkids. At my age and they’re poor. So you’re talking about institutional poverty, none of those people, all they talk about and all they want is to get more. All I wanted was to eat. How was I going to eat? I was going to have to work.
And so when I got my first job, I pay taxes as an 11 year old and a restaurant. Uh, believe it or not, I’ve never been at a work sense. And for me, my entire life, food and work went together. And so the more, the more work I did, the more food I would’ve been able to eat. And, and, and I use that example, uh, when I made 10 bucks, I wanted to make 12. And when I made $12, I wanted to make 15. And as I moved up and progressed in my career, I never saw anybody turn down arrays. I never saw anybody not take more money. It just happens. It just so happens that I learned how to make money out of a much bigger scale. So I’m all about 100% go out and get what you can get. Doesn’t mean you’re rob from people.
It doesn’t mean, I mean, I think that’s the greed that you’re talking about. Doesn’t mean that you get to cheat and steal, but as long as you’re doing it ethically and as long as you’re doing ethically, I won’t say as long as you’re doing it right, because everybody has their own opinion of what right is. As long as you’re doing ethically, I don’t see, in fact, I think people should be encouraged. In fact, I’ll say it even even stronger. I think that socially we, we frown on people who make money and that’s a big mistake because this is my point. And coming on your podcast and kind of what my, what my message is, is that you can make it regardless of what society tells you grow, regardless of what the world tells you, what politicians tell you, what the news tells you, what social media tells you, regardless of all that, you can make it.
There’s no secret guy back east that’s holding you down and keeping you from, from making it and getting your goals. I am the living embodiment of that and I want that message to be heard, not easy, 1618 hour days for 20 years. It’s very, very difficult to do, but it can be done. And I think greed, if we want to call it that, the want of more for me was paramount. It’s all I ever wanted was more because I wanted to crawl out from where I was and achieve something, not only for me, but I’ve changed the life of my children. I have three children, all three of them. I just graduated, my last son, you’re talking to somebody who has zero education, but none of my brothers graduated from high school. All my brothers and sisters were pregnant and married when they were teenagers. So that want of something to move out and above and beyond yourself can only happen by getting more. You want to call that greed. That’s great. That’s what I would call it too. And I think that’s healthy and I encourage that.
Yeah. And you know, you made, you made the point that it may feel to us that the only people telling us that we shouldn’t be wealthy are in fact the super wealthy and maybe this is a function of that and maybe it’s something else. What I’ve also noticed is going along to what we discussed earlier is there’s a stigma placed upon success, ambition moving forward. I’ll give you an example that gets to play it out all the time. We can play the game of, all right, so let’s say you want $1 million in the lottery, what would you do now? The socially correct answer is to make a list of all the people you’d give the money away to and all the charity you do and all the good and everything else, and by the time you’d be done, you wouldn’t be a millionaire anymore. You’d be probably minus money because you would have forgotten that part.
Do you have to give to the IRS or whatever your tax collections agency is and whatever country you’re living in. Now when I give the answer, I say, well, I’m actually not going to really give much of that money away. Really. I mean, I’ll do certain things like, uh, my parents still have a mortgage. I’ll pay it off my sisters. So I was a mortgage. I’ll pay it off. They have a car, I’ll pay it off. I’ll take care of my own stuff to, uh, these are the people who are my immediate family. I may spread a couple thousand around some of the closer relatives I’m going through. Remember the handful of true friends who, uh, and the way I’ll think about that is when times were down, who was there? Those are the ones where I’m going to have some generosity toward. Beyond that, I have some charities, uh, I would pay off all of my own debts immediately to loosen my cashflow so that all of the money that’s coming in is going to things that I can reinvest where then that service, uh, that, that’s a key piece of freedom right there.
And then beyond that, if anybody came to me looking for money, because suddenly you’re going to find a lot of new, uh, I might say, well, I’ll think about it, but if I see somebody come along, maybe a Jerry Brazy who has a brilliant idea, I’ll say, you know what? Um, I do have some money. You’re right. I did come into some money here. So what can we do to make money together? And where I’m going with that is I would be looking for ways to invest some of it so that we can create even greater returns for more people. Because I’m not looking for any charity or any outreach or any reinvestment I do to be a onetime thing. I’m looking for it to be a sustainable thing. So that million dollars I won the lottery generates tens of millions of dollars for many people over time. And you’re not going to get that by giving it away. So if the answer to the question is, no, I’m not going to give away all my money, you can call me greedy or stingy. If you ones, I’m thinking about tens of millions of dollars. I’m not thinking about that million dollars,
right? No, I the inheritance that though, in order for you to attain that, you then are going to have to get something, right? You’re going to improve yourself and I think that’s where a society frowns on it. Regardless of if you took it to $100 million like you said, and you gave away 20 we’ll add them. You’re still keeping 80 okay, well I’ll give away 40 well then you’re still keeping 60 and I just don’t, I don’t agree with the how much is enough mantra. I don’t want to tell you what to do. I want to tell you what I’ve done and this is what’s driven me and I think most people are driven for more success wise and however that manifests itself for you. By that I mean you don’t have to be a millionaire. For me, it was coming out of the neighborhood and graduating from high school.
Right. Graduating my children from high school. That’s w for me that would have been more than enough success. I could’ve been working an eight to five job, uh, graduated my three kids from high school and I absolutely would have been a success relative to where I came from. But I wanted more, I was willing to risk more and to get more. And so the question is who, what is enough? And for me and answering that question, I don’t care what other people think. And I think any entrepreneur that might be listening to this or somebody that wants to be an entrepreneur, you can not care what people think. So you can’t care the people that you’re rich and, and how they feel about your, what they think about you. It’s impossible I think to navigate the waters to success, caring what others think about you.
Right, right. I think, and I think that is very, very true. And I again have the less we think about what others who are not putting any food on the table so to speak, are saying the more likely we are to be successful. That is just my personal view of it. Others may agree and others may disagree. And what I’d like to move on to now is I know you have a lot of great Stouffer’s here and the business creators radio, so has audiences. We have entrepreneurs and small owners. We
also have some business and corporate leaders who look to take some of the same principles and apply it to how they get more brilliant and passionate out of their careers and help those who work for them achieve the same thing. So we’re going to talk a little bit about employees or talk a little bit about entrepreneurship, but let’s start with the employees. Now, Jerry, you’ve had thousands of employees yourself. And if somebody came to you and said, Hey Jerry, yeah, you know, I’ve been thinking about getting a new job, uh, or maybe they ask, uh, what do I need to do to get promoted? What did he do to take the next step in my career? Based on your work having had thousands employees, what would you say to those folks? I would say to anybody that is an employer or an employee, the, the, the number one thing that employee can do is say yes.
So you just always say, yes, I’ll go all the way back to when I was 16 years old, I was working at Mcdonald’s and again I’m that kid that it will take any job work as long as you can. And Mcdonald’s you only get 32 hours cause you couldn’t be a full time employee. So anytime an openshift came up they knew to call me and I would come in and do the shift and then when the friars need to be cleaned, which was like the worst job you can have at Mcdonald’s, my hand went up in the alley and I cleaned the priors an hour faster than the guy that did it before me. And they’re like, well the shake machine needs to be cleaned up, goes my hand, I’ll learn to do that pretty soon. I’m working in the middle of the night on Saturday and a minus 30 degree walk in cooler unloading the semi truck full of stuff for the next week.
And so you just say yes and then pretty soon Mcdonald’s couldn’t pay me enough. And so I moved onto my next job where I just said yes and my next job where I just said, yes, that is what gets noticed. So if you, the guy that just says yes, you go, well Jerry, they’re going to take advantage of me. And then there could be, you know, employers can take advantage of people who just say yes, but in the long run, your question that you’re asking me is how does an employee move up? You just, you just say yes. Additionally, don’t be the person that gets there at eight o’clock on the dot and that leaves at five. You know the person that sits at their desk and you’re getting all your stuff ready at five minutes tell and you’re watching the clock and the boss turns around and it’s five and you’re gone.
Don’t be that person. The person that they have to tell you to leave, right? They, I’m sorry, I, and I do it all the time. I have employees, I’m sorry we can’t have overtime on this particular piece of business. Guys, you got to go. Great. But they go, they go be grudgingly. They want to continue to work. So they’re in my mind and then I’m thinking to myself, okay, as soon as something else opens up, that guy’s a bit of an animal. He’s willing to do anything but boy got to hit him over the head to get him out the door at the end of the day. Find something else for him to do. That guy has value. So it’s the simple little things like saying yes, like getting there a few minutes early and like making them send you home at the end of your shift that will get you noticed.
Um, I, and I think that we think that, that, that the boss hates us and I’ll add to my third thing, the boss hates us. So the owner hates us or my manager hates us, hates me. You know, you hear this kind of, uh, thought process and commiseration that goes on between employees. And even if it’s true, you can’t believe it. Even if it’s true, you can’t let it affect you. You have to do your job plus everybody else’s if possible and not care in the long run. That will benefit you in the short run. You may get taken advantage of, like I said a minute ago, but in the long run you will come out ahead, might be at this job, it might be at the next job. That might be five years down the road, but I can almost promise you 100% that if you don’t buy into that, someone hates me, someone’s out to get me, uh, get together with the group at lunch and commiserate about how the managers out to screw everybody over.
If you can avoid that add in, getting to work a couple of minutes early and having them and having them have to send you home and then say yes to any extra work. You’re well, well on your way. I’ve had 30, 25 30 jobs. I got to go count some at some point. I don’t believe I’ve ever not been. I don’t believe I’ve ever not been promoted. Now I had all those jobs, not because I got fired because I just moved to somebody that would pay me more. So if I could make, I gained a ton of experience. Let’s say Mcdonald’s and then I moved to the next job because I think I went to Safeway from Mcdonald’s because that job paid me more. And from Safeway, I think I went out to working in a law logging and cause that job paid me more. So the point being as I gained experience, which is what I needed following that procedure that I just outlined, uh, my success measured by the amount of money that I was making continuously went up.
But what was really going up was my experience, the amount of experience I had. So that would be my three things. I think if I were to, uh, to talk to any group of employees that want to move up or get promoted or move, uh, you know, move, uh, make more money. Okay. I don’t want to start a burger wall with you, but uh, what I was in college, I worked at Wendy’s. Yes. I’ll tell you what, there was never froze. I’m like, that sucks you served to this day. And I say this all the time, I use it. I, they, they cannot, not enough people can go work at those fast food restaurants. I’m 50 years old. I worked there for nine months when I was 16 years old and I use, uh, things that they taught me at Mcdonald’s about how to do things economically, how to make things work efficiently.
I use skills that I saw put to work there in my business everyday today, all these years later. So the value I have arrived from paid $3 an hour or whatever I made, as has had infinitely more value to me over the following 30 years. Then you can imagine, you know, and it’s kind of kind of the same here. And I added a number of jobs in the corporate world before I became an entrepreneur. So when I go back to all those jobs going, when I really have any nostalgia for is what I worked at that Wendy’s for five years and
it’s for some of the similar reasons. And I was there because I had specific goals of what I wanted to do with my money. When I first started out, I was still in high school. So what I wanted to do is I wanted to buy fashionable clothes because I did not want to buy that stuff that my parents thought I should wear. And the, and the store they wanted to buy it from. Uh, to put that in perspective, they wanted me to buy this stuff from JC Penney and such. And what I really wanted to wear a Macy’s or, or you know, mid range stores like that and have this, uh, certain preppy look to me. And what I wanted to do, and I’m dating myself a little bit, is I wanted to go to the merry go round at the mall and add to my collection of bio sweat shirts.
So, uh, I had, so that was the initial, the initial impetus for me wanting to make money. Then it transformed into, I was in college and I wanted some money for Thursday night and Friday night and Saturday night and Sunday night and Monday night and Tuesday night and Wednesday night. Then it’s a transformed even further when I got my Camaro and I wanted to put a mat bitch and system in that thing. And I had friends who are on the auto sound competition circuit. In fact, a couple of guys that, that Wendy’s has low riders and they had systems in a minute. Every three months they were selling off all their stuff to get the latest state of the art. So I was picking up a competition level, subwoofers for 15 cents on the dollar that has 30 hours of use. Um, and uh, we’re basically brand new. So I built a competition level system for a fraction of actually going through retail outlets and buying all this stuff straight off.
But that’s what I wanted. I wanted people, when I was approaching and my Camaro, I wanted them to hear me coming down the road and an hour later I showed up. So these are the things I had. I had goals for that money and as a result, yes, yes. I’m the person that I will work the extra sips. Uh, yes, I’ll come in. I mean every once in awhile it just got to be too much and I had to say, sorry, not tonight, I have a date or something like that that most cases it was, yeah, I’ll do it. Um, yes, I want to be the person to put the stuff in the freezer and delivery truck comes in. Yes, I’ll do this fryer. Yes, I’ll do those frauds. The machines, yes, I’ll scrub the floors. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. The only thing I asked was the Nazi pigeonholed.
Like I didn’t always want to be the person who closed the grow area. I also wanted to do the line area and I want to the dining room area because I want him to have the range. So the main thing I campaigned for is don’t just stick me on the same closing position all the time. Give me a chance to excel with all of them and then make me an opener and then let me do all the opening positions as well. And without wearing out this entire interview on it. I learned certain efficiencies as well where I could take that book that was written by people who had probably never actually been in fight a Wendy’s that told us how we’re supposed to perform all the tasks and I could find a way to get the posts rush, uh, the postmarks function, all of the stuff you do after the dinner rush and the pre-close function, the stuff you do so that you’re ahead of the game before clothes.
I found a way to combine those into one 45 minutes sequence instead of the hour and 45 minutes of those books that it was supposed to do. Now you had these assistant manager trainees who bought that the book matter and they would lecture me about how he’s doing it all wrong. But I had the general manager who said, yeah, I’m saving an hour labor with Adam. I want him on all my closing shifts. So that meant I closed every Wednesday night because that was the night my man, the general manager had to close because he was required to work in closing shift. Once a week and speaking, my general manager, when I first encountered him, his name was Dennis. God rest his soul. He passed on a few years ago. I thought the guy was a smarmy corrupt, mean asshole basically. Uh, I found it very difficult to get along with him.
I didn’t understand him at all. Uh, but then I recognize something along the line is there’s a reason why I’m working for him. And I studied him some more. I took advantage of opportunities when I could sit beside them and have conversations with them and see a little bit about what he was doing and how he ran the store and understand some of the things that um, we’re pressing on his mind, some of the issues facing running the place. And they gave me two insights, number one, that, um, people are who they are and that doesn’t make them necessarily good or bad. And second that I, up until that point, it had a very black and white view of the world and Dennis was a very gray area guy and when I began to appreciate that it opened up the doors for me to understand people so much better.
I give him all the credit in the world for that. In fact, in the introduction of my book groundhog days in the bed and not a business strategy, he’s one of the two people I dedicate my book to and I specifically cite him for teaching me about something called consumer k, I n t s Ugi. And what that is is the Japanese art form where if you have like a bore, a boss or something that breaks, you glue it back together and then you cover the scenes where you glued it with some sort of precious metal like silver and gold. The idea is to show that the thing has been broken and to celebrate the beauty of it having been broken, having been put back together again and the strength and the value that comes from those cracks and the healing process that went into it.
And he literally taught me about consumer g because he had a consumer bolts sitting on his desk and one day after and why that bowl was sitting there. So again, you know, you take the lessons where he can find them and a lot of lessons we don’t appreciate until looking back later. This is stuff I didn’t really discover that had been truly valuable about my parttime college job until I was well on my way in my career when I found myself using some of those same principles from my part time job to move myself ahead in my career.
Right, right. And along those lines, I would add that, uh, just like the broken, uh, base, as you said, we’ve all heard this before, but I can tell you 100% that the mistakes that you make and what you learned from those mistakes in life are what contributes significantly to success coming from, you know, like I said, from somebody like me, I had to learn everything on the fly. So I’ve made every mistake that there is possible. The key to it is self reflection, making sure you’re being an introspection introspective and, and see that you made that mistake and then fix it and move forward. And many times I suppose that that’s going to end up looking like a much more beautiful vase to use your example. But I think that part is, uh, is absolutely critical.
Absolutely. Absolutely. And I, again, it’s, those were the most powerful lessons in my life. And don’t underestimate the ability of people to inspire you, um, that, that general manager, that store, uh, Dennis, he actually impacted my wife one more time that he wasn’t around to realize, uh, go back about six years ago to a 2013, I was still living in Pittsburgh and I had been planning for years to get out of there. I was gonna move, uh, it was probably going to be locked Vegas, although I was looking at a couple of other cities and it was right after independence day 2013. And I thought to myself, you know, I haven’t really spoken with Dennis for like 10 years, so I’m going to look him up just to see what he’s up to these days. And I googled him and what was the first thing that came up?
His obituary, he had been buried two weeks earlier and it occurred to me, holy crap, I am the same age now that he was when I worked for him. This stuff goes way too fast. And it was that, that, that very moment that I said, you know what, my lease is up here in October. After that I’m having to cross the country. That’s it. I’m done. We’re moving forward with his life. So just, uh, there are people along the way who may not be with you for your entire journey, but they can give you tolls and give you learnings that will move you to the next step. And sometimes they don’t even know they’ve done so and you may not have the opportunity to express appreciation. So you can only show that by doing the best you can for the world.
I think you absolutely need to find mentors. In my case, when I started my company, I joined a CEO group. I was invited to join this group and I joined it and at that time I was the the 30 year old, the 28 29 30 year old kid coming in that didn’t really know anything. And I was sitting there with all of these 50 year old CEOs that had owned their own businesses or had managed other businesses for 20 and 25 years. Flash forward now 20 years later and I’m now the one sitting dispensing advice to the younger guys that have come into the group. And most of those CEOs that are there that were there are now in their sixties and seventies and either have moved on or retired. So the, the, the lessons that you’ll learn from those guys are absolutely invaluable. And then the, I suppose the, the, the, the best part about it is paying that forward, if you will, to coin a phrase 20 years or 30 years later, which is what I’m trying to do here, is to just acknowledge those people and what they taught me and then also sell that on so that everybody knows or so that at least maybe somebody can hear what a, what is possible because for me, and you’ll find those people in the strangest places for me, when I was seven, when I was 13 years old, my older sister died and when I was 14, eight months later, I went blind in my right.
I got a virus in my right eye. So here I am, 14 years old, live in the life that I was in poverty, pissed off fighting every single day and my parents pick up and move to Montana. Well, I’m not going to Montana. I’m 14 years old. I’m staying home. And so my seventh grade teacher who I had just met that year, uh, allowed me to come stay at his house with him. And he had two young daughters that were five or six years younger than me, uh, and a wife. And the interesting thing about this guy, I lived with him for eight or nine months where eventually I became such a nightmare. They had to kick me out, rightfully so. But in that eight or nine months, what I saw was somebody who played catch with me, what? I saw, somebody who loved his kids and told them that all of the time.
I saw this example that I had never had before. Uh, and it stuck with me. Well, but what I like to say about him, uh, and Steve is his name and we go to La dodger. You were big la dodger fans and we’d go to games together. We reunited after 30 years and [inaudible] United because I had to tell him if somebody, if I have the kind of impact on someone’s life the way he did on mine, I would want them to, I would sure want to hear that. So I searched him out after 30 years to tell him that that’s what he did. And what he did was, I’m like a rock that skipped off the river, skipped off the water right. It doesn’t and what’s not a hockey stick. I didn’t change direction immediately and just go, go, uh, you know, 180 degrees, the opposite direction.
It was gradual and over time. And so that by the time I got to be 26 27 28 years old and the opportunities came to me, I was ready for them for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is the lessons that he had taught me when I was 14 years old. So I understand that my Steve fortunately still alive and I talked to him all of the time. But I think the example is in the lesson to learn there is find somebody that will teach you and then listen, be willing to hear the stories, be willing to listen to it. You may hear it 10 times over and over again because the older I get, I think the older we get, I think the more we like to tell our stories. But there’s a lot of value in that. And it’s smart because who wouldn’t, you might as well let us tell you how to avoid the pitfalls as opposed to having to go through the pitfalls yourself.
Yeah. And I think this is all very important and I hope that people who are looking to advance in careers can take some of this to heart. And I think it also applies to people who are entrepreneurial and their service providers where they render a human service, whether it’s a one to one or one to many, because in many cases it’s the same thing. So this I think is going to be a great chance to transition to the next topic you and to share with us is overall. Jerry, what do you think about the state of entrepreneurship today?
Uh, I think that, and I’m sad for it because I think that there’s a lot of opportunity to be had today with entrepreneurs and I think the entrepreneur just the term has been bastardized so badly, mostly coming out of Silicon Valley I think because, uh, the only, the only entrepreneurs that get any kind of publicity, social media, things of that nature are all these unicorn companies that don’t really exist. Uh, for, for most of us there, there are so very, very rare. But you have the 27 year old kid that’s a billionaire already cause he created the latest APP and all of the, all the kids then think and by kids I go, you know, 20s, thirties teens think that that’s what success is. When, when success is something completely different, it is survival of the fittest. It is caveman going out and running 150 miles and knocking that saber tooth tiger over the head and dragging it back.
That’s business and whoever gets to that tiger first and can outlast everybody is going to be more successful. And when we talk about it or describe it as two hours a day and it doesn’t take anything at all and you can earn it on the side and that it’s just not reasonable. It’s not. It’s not going to to work. And so the word entrepreneur, when I started, I didn’t even know what that word meant. I didn’t know what it meant to own a business that nobody talked about it like we do today. The problem is today, the way we talk about it is, is to, like I said, bastardize it to such an extent that it doesn’t really mean anything. People need to understand how hard it is to be an entrepreneur, but also what the payoff is. And here’s what I would say to anybody who’s 20 or 25 years old, 30 years old, that you think that there is no opportunity.
I would kill to be 25 years old today. I’d be a thousand times richer if I were 25 years old today because the state of people today, I believe based on all of the employees and all the experience I have is that ordinary is extraordinary. Today. So all you have to do is be ordinary to be extra ordinary. And if you’re, if you’re already extra ordinary and you’re going to be very special, you’re going to do well because the baseline has been so lowered that the advance or the opportunities are everywhere. If you’re willing to take advantage of them. And with the Internet and communication, uh, the way to access people to get your word out is so much easier than it was when I was a kid. That isn’t to say that being an entrepreneur and starting a business is easy. It’s not, it’s very difficult.
I’m saying that the things that I went through to do a of the 12 businesses that I’ve owned, the things that I had to go through and do, I would do completely differently today with very much less effort because of the, because of social media and the Internet. So the access is there, the opportunities are everywhere. But we get told all of the time about, you know, entrepreneurship and there’s no opportunities and everything’s been done and Amazon’s eating everybody’s lunch and Walmart, you can’t sell anything. And you know, every time you talk about these big companies and there’s nothing can be done. Meanwhile, there’s millions of us out here just like me that are just out here humping every single day, making every dollar that we can providing service to as many customers as possible.
Well, you bring up a couple points here. The first one is if I’ve had a handful of private consulting clients who’ve been with me for over 10 years and I’ve made the decision a long time ago that even though this is basically hands on work, do hands on work that I’m going to be doing myself, I’m not really going to be creating like duplicate Adams and building teams and suction all that for them, which is why there’s only three or four of them actually that uh, this will never be a one to many. It’ll never be a quote unquote leverage business. And on the other hand, have there pretty much welcome to stay as long as they want. And I hope that they stay for as long as they remain in business. I may evolve my business a little bit over time and I’m going to bring them along for the ride with some of the new discoveries.
So as I expand my business and I make it more leveraged and I do more one to many type things and more leveraged type things, I’m thinking of that in terms of what other businesses do I create. So, so that right there, it doesn’t always have to be one or the other. It can be an, and that’s the first item. Second item is that if you go back again to these handful of clients, these are folks that, uh, when I first encountered them, you know, they really didn’t have any aspirations of being the next Google. They didn’t want to, uh, be a catchphrase or anything like that. And I went through so many product specs and so many short term clients that convinced themselves that because they had $30 in a dream, that they were literally three months away from being the next Yahoo. And they, while they went and Yahoo pretty much. But these ones that have been here for so long, it’s some of that same thing and not in some cases they may not be necessarily the flashiest or the most meme worthy businesses out there, but they are consistent. They are growing and the time I’ve been with them, their trajectory is only gone up. They’ve expanded to render more services and more solutions to the audiences they have while growing their audiences. They’ve discovered new markets and add that to what they did.
Uh, no UNICORNS, no fake nonexistent products or anything like that. Just steady, consistent, well managed businesses with plans and with all these flashes in the pan that have come and gone. I work with people that they look back to and they say, wow, yeah I’ve heard of them way back 20 years ago. Amazing. They’re still around non non sexy businesses that probably started out with the, like you said, 30 bucks in a dream and one at a time added customers and that is, that’s what I mean. That’s what we all start out to do that. I had no sense. I had no concept. Here’s how stupid I am at him. When I started, I did $3 million my first year in business. I had no sense that the average business at that, at that time, 20 years ago was about $400,000 a year in revenue. I had no idea that was the case, right?
I so I did know what I didn’t know. I didn’t know what, what you weren’t supposed to do. Uh, I did $6 million my second year. I did $10 million my third year in $14 million. In my fourth year. I, all I did is went out and sold because I didn’t know any better. I didn’t know that you’re not supposed to grow that quickly, but you learn those lessons as you go and that’s where you just have to start. I had no, no preconceived notion that I was going to become a millionaire and own all the things that I do and I have all the things that I have. I had no idea that I was just trying to pay the bills and I didn’t want to work for anybody anymore. I wanted to work for myself and I was willing to do anything that it took to get there.
So the, you know, the, the, the, to add to that, I’m on Reddit a lot and, and I keep telling my producer, Billy, I gotta get off, read it because it just continues to frustrate me to no end. Because in those business sections, every second question is startup related and how do I get money for startup and what do I do for startup? And I have the same answer to all of those questions all the time. Startups are Unicorns, you know, that series a or B or c funding. It just doesn’t happen. People, for the majority of us, the majority of us, you go out, you start a business, I don’t know a single company and I know lots of businesses, uh, 40 or 50 business owners, I don’t know, a single one that got any series of funding. So what they did is they went out and got a customer and then they put money on their credit cards or they’ve got that customer to pay him early or they borrowed money from their parents or whatever it is, and they bootstrap that company together to where now 2030 years later, it’s multiples of millions in their living the dream after 20 and 30 years of 15 hour days and sweat and toil and risk, and that’s what business is.
It’s not going and getting a sand hill to give you the money so that you can go out and possibly do a startup. While that happens, it’s very rare and unfortunately the story gets told. The sexy story is, is what goes on in Silicon Valley. The real story is what happens here on the ground for you and me here in Portland and you, I’m sorry, I think you said you were in Vegas. Wherever each of us are, that’s where your business is. You just got to go get it. You just got to go out and do it.
Inside my book, Groundhog Day’s event, not a business strategy. There are two things I mentioned the first and did that I think apply to start off when people are looking for that first dollar and hang on the wall. The first is I challenge everybody to ask the question every day as often as possible, looking at this stuff they’re doing in their business. What would happen if we didn’t do this at all? And you’ll be surprised how many things you could probably just do without. You’ll be amazed how many things you’re already doing, where you’re missing opportunities that come from doing those so you can be doing them better, or you could be taking better advantage of the results of doing those things. The other piece, and it’s very similar to what you just said, Jerry, is if I have a startup, uh, the IC and they’re still talking about finding their way to revenue, I say, you want to find your way to revenue?
What, what is it you want to do? And they’ll say, well, I wanna make I wanna I wanna I’m just gonna make up really something really simple. I’m gonna say, uh, I want to build websites. I say, okay, so go get yourself a client and build their website. It’s that simple because now you are getting paid for that thing you want to do and you now have a customer to whom you owe a deliverable and a positive success results that will get you moving and all these lessons you think you’re going to learn from retreats and PowerPoint presentations and business plans and that animal and the analysis and all that yet gained pronounced the word without being obscene about it. Cause I think, I think that way about it actually is, um, is uh, you want to learn lessons about how to be better at web design. Go build some websites and you’ll learn from the good and the bad real quick.
That’s right. And that, that is 100%. I agree with you. Uh, you don’t go get the funding first. You go get the revenue first and then the revenue funds, whatever job you’re doing in the job you’re doing will either be good or bad and you’ll make more money or less money from that. It’s that when I did it 20 years ago, when I started my transportation company, we built a better mouse trap. And so we did two things. We built a better mouse trap and then we worked harder than everybody else. And that was, that was easy. And that was simple. And my competition did not want to compete with me because I would be at work answering emails, uh, 10 years ago at four o’clock in the morning. So what are you willing to do? You go get that customer and then what, what are you willing to do to, uh, to be successful with that customer?
And then the next one, I mean, it’s, there’s no shortcut. I think to your point, you can go to all of the seminars you want and I encourage no one to do any of those sorts of things. There are no girl get rich seminars. There’s no free seminar. There’s a free seminar doesn’t exist. It may be free to get through the door, but they’re going to try to get something out of you. Just stay away. All of that good old fashioned hard work. Go out and get the experience as I’ve talked about it will. It will pay off for you exponentially more than anything. You will learn sitting in a chair and I’ll add to that, go find somebody else who’s done it and just sit and ask questions. Just sit and listen. Listen to this podcast, listen to other podcasts, listen to people who have done it before and then believe and trust in what they say.
It’s going to be hard though because the easy way is so attractive. The of the five minutes from home every day and earn all of this extra passive income seems so attractive and I only got to pay $2,000 for the book that’s going to teach me how to make $10,000 a year. All of that. There’s a reason why there’s that. That cons exist. That’s it. That’s the definition of a con. You have to stay away from that. If it seems simple, you’re in the wrong area because it seems simple. You need to run. It’s difficult, but it’s in that difficulty that we find ourselves in that difficulty where all the benefit is. And that’s for me, that’s what it was. Every time I do something new where I, I started a new business or I bought one or I sold one or whatever it was, for me, it was that, that, that experience is what I found all of the value. Uh, you know, that exhilaration, it taking the risk. This is what being an entrepreneur is not sitting at home waiting for somebody to give you money.
You know, I, I’ve, uh, I’m honored by the friendship of a number of people who are honest to God, people who have made multiple, multiple, multiple millions through online marketing, through public speaking. And I’m going to tell you two things that their businesses have in common. And I know we have about two minutes where I needed to, um, give you a moment for that gift yet for our audience of, there’s two things they have in common, first of all. Whereas everybody else is talking about, oh, you need to build a team and have all of these contractors and sub levels and project managers and people in seven countries in the world. Uh, their businesses, they’re multimillion dollar annual revenue businesses usually consists of themselves, their spouse who is on the paperwork as an employee for purposes of transferring revenue, who also acts as their personal assistant.
And there’ll be one full time employee and there’ll be occasional contractors who come and go and ask their entire model. That’s one piece. The other piece is if you look at their stories of how they did it, they’ll tell you stories about how they would be flying on an airplane to go see one client and they would be prewriting the thank you letters and they would be literally writing letters and applying the postage stamps themselves to those envelopes that they would drop in the mail after they got off the airplane to reach out to prospects and previous customers. And that’s how they built their businesses. They didn’t hire a team or a person to do that. They did themselves. And if you ask them and if the outcome about that, they’ll say, oh yeah, I did it and I’ll do it again. That’s why you’re listening to me when it comes down to, I may not be the cat when it come out to, it may not be the smartest person. I may not be the most talented. There may be other people who do what I do a lot better than I do it, but how I’ll work all of them.
That’s right. And the key there is they probably worked long hours, long days building that business. Uh, and I know people also that make money online. I think my, and I don’t mean to sound derogatory about that. What I do mean to sound derogatory about is the people that are pitching them some sort of magic formula that just doesn’t exist. Because like you just explained, if you’re not putting your time in and the effort and work in double a, you know, while you’re on the airplane going to one customer taken care of another customer, you’re just not going to succeed.
Right. Okay. Jerry, I wish we could speak for three hours, but unfortunately even the business creators radio so has limits. So first of all, Jerry Brazy, thank you so much for being with us today. And you mentioned in the green room you have a little gift for us,
Adam. Yeah, I just want to direct everybody if I could to Gerry [inaudible] dot com that’s j, e r r y B r a, Z, I e.com/forward/business creators. And on there you can learn, like you said, it’s been an hour and we could probably go on for three hours. And really what I hope people take away from me and my message and they can go on our website and see about our podcast and read our blog posts about what my life has been alive is, has been like simply, I don’t want to brag necessarily, but I guess I have to in order for people to kind of see where they can, where people can come from and what you can achieve. And if I can inspire anybody, uh, or have a conversation with anybody, reach out to me. I’m happy to talk to anybody. If you need some advice, I’m happy to give that. If you just want to have a conversation, I’m very open. I’m not selling anything. I don’t have a book, I don’t have a seminar. I’m, I’m giving this away because this is my way of giving back is to try to help others and hopefully inspire a couple of kids just like me that are thinking about starting out, but don’t think it’s possible. That’s really what my message is and what I’m trying to come across with
Jerry bregy.com forward slash business creators. Make sure to take Jerry up on that. So thank you once again, Jerry Brady for being with us today. It’s been an honor and believe me in education,
Adam, I appreciate it. Thanks Bud.
For everybody listening, this datum homie host to the business creators radio. So please check out our previous in her upcoming email@example.com where we help you win at the game of business and marketing so you thrive from your intersection of your brilliance and your passion until the next day. So, ah, so exciting. And next time have a great day. Take care.