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00:00:00 This week on the startup life. So I’m not going to put all the blame on the storefronts, but I’m going to say, Dominic, I would’ve gone out punching like a motherfucker doing everything I can to fight these companies off. That’s what I would’ve done. Rather than rollover and go, well, I’ve always sold this way and this was the way that it doe it, and this is the way that we do it. And they put me out of business. I started a nation. So let’s take flight with Jerry Brazy, founder and CEO of [inaudible] LLC. The startup life begins now. This new crazy mother
00:00:55 [Inaudible] [inaudible].
00:01:11 Hey, start a nation. Do you enjoy the startup life? Now you can let the world know with gear from the show. Choose from the Labor yourself, make y’all look and making money. Tee Shirts to tell your story of your path of entrepreneurship. Click the link in the show notes to purchase. I started a nation, so I hope you receive some badge today. We got a big time guessing and bill and today we got Jerry Brazy. What’s going on, Jerry? Man, how are you doing Dominic? I’m doing. Yeah, I’m good, man. I’m living the dream. Living the dream.
00:01:38 Are you ready to pour some knowledge into startup nation today? Yes sir. Let’s do this. Let’s do it. All right. As always started nation. My name is Dominic Lawson. This is the startup life podcast and it is powered by the beans podcast network. So Jerry, first things first, man, let’s get this day started off right. Tell us your story about your path of entrepreneurship. [inaudible]
00:01:57 So my story is I grew up, I’m out here in Portland, Oregon and I am a child, seven of nine. And my parents had six kids by the time they were 22 years old, if you can believe that. Wow. My older six brothers and sisters are less than a year apart on average. And so then seven years later they had me. So there’s this big there’s this big gap between me and my older family. And then they didn’t want me to be an only child. So I have a little brother and little sister. And so we grew up very much, you know, powdered milk and, and and subsidized, you know, government cheese and, and and grew up really poor. And so because you grow up like that and the way that I grew up, you go to work really easy and you’re very independent.
00:02:43 It’s just kinda the nature of things. My Dad worked, my mother work and so we were on our own for most of our childhood. So by the time I’m getting into about 11 years old, you know, we’re spending a lot of time stealing food doing all of those things to kind of feed ourselves. You get really independent doing that. So I got my first job, simply goes, you know, I wanted to eat. I got my first job for when I was 11 years old, washing dishes at a local, at a local restaurant. I love, I actually pay taxes, if you can believe that on the tax rolls when I was 11 years old. Wow. Yeah. And so I went it’s a funny story about that is I remember I probably made $2 and 35 cents an hour, $2 and 15 cents an hour, whatever it was back then.
00:03:26 And I remember getting a check and the check was like $17 and I took it down to the local century station, local century store, cash the check and got all ones because that’s what I had seen rich people do on television is they had a wad of money. And so I took, I took that wad of money so that I could work through those ones right whenever I was buying anything. Since then I’ve had about 20 or 25 jobs and I always moved depending on what I always move to the next job based on how much they’d pay me. So I’d gain the experience, I go to work the next job because they were going to pay me a little bit more on a gain the experience and I’d go to work at the next job. And kind of that was the process until I was 21 years old and 21 years old.
00:04:07 I took a job driving and I tried to get out. I’d done some, some backbreaking work and I, you know, had just about every crappy job that you can have. And so I said, you know what, I’m going to go take a job that’s not quite as, as, as backbreaking, but I can make some pretty good money. So I took a job as a messenger when I was 21 years old and that I quickly learned to do that very, very well. And I noticed that the dispatcher, again, I’m 21 years old, what the hell do I know? I noticed the dispatcher didn’t do a very good job. So I went to the owner of the company nine months into working there and I said to the owner, I think I can do a better job than that dispatcher and I think I’ll be a better, a better asset for you.
00:04:46 What do you, I don’t know what you pay her, but I’m assuming it’s 45 or 50 grand. I’ll tell you what, you pay me $10 an hour for six months. If I do the job for you at the end of six months, then we’ll a then you pay me what you’re paying her. Now, Dominic, I knew how I would spend $10 an hour, right? I knew when I got $12 an hour, I was a rich man. If I could get overtime at $12 an hour on every job I ever had, you would, I’ve never go home. You know, I would just worry because I knew how every single penny was going to get spent. So in this case, she said, okay. And that relationship went on for almost eight years until I went, started my own when I was 28. And we grew that company from 30 employees to 110 employees and from doing about a million and a half dollars to doing five plus million dollars over that time.
00:05:36 And of course, at the end of this shit, and I’m working 12 hours a day for this $10 an hour, the pressure to dispatch hundreds of orders every day with paper, you know, with paper. And the, the, the, the, the, the urgency and expediency of all of those things. That job was a nightmare. But I was investing in myself. I knew what I was capable of. And then I also had inside of me to go, you know, to have the guts, I suppose, to go and talk to the owner and say, hey, here’s what I think, and if I fail, I just go back and, and keep driving. And, and I’m the type that, you know, the key to my success really. There’s many of them, but one of them in particular in this story tells that or shows that key is, I don’t give a fuck.
00:06:14 I don’t care what people think. Right? And so if, if it didn’t work, I’ll just go back to driving. And if I don’t go back to drive and I’ll go find another job that’ll pay me you know, more than the last one I had. That’s what I always tried to do. So I did that job for seven plus years. I got a ton of knowledge. And then the critical point in my life happened when I was 28 years old. And over my eight years of doing this job, I had cultivated this reputation as I had trained dispatchers. There’s really good at multitasking and following along with, you know, 30, 40, 50 drivers at a time. All in my head. It’s Kinda my, that’s Kinda my, my parlor trick that I’m able to do is I, I have this mind that can track all of these pieces at one time.
00:06:57 And so I had gained this reputation as I had trained people in the industry. And so a group out of Seattle called me up and and said, Jerry, we want you to be the front for a new company. We want to start a new company now to anybody listening to this and says they don’t know how to work in business and they don’t know what a startup is or what the startup life might be or any of that. I knew nothing. Zero plug by the way. Yes sir. You got it. So if you’re going to go through that startup life, I knew nothing. I didn’t know any, the first thing about business and, and, and here was the turning point in my life that’s put me on the path. I’m 50 years old now. I was 28 I was sitting in this office and they, I had had this initial conversation.
00:07:37 I was like, oh, that’s Kinda cool, but what’s starting, what’s starting your own business? I barely knew what an entrepreneur was, right? I didn’t have any context for business. And what starting your business was, because since I was 11 years old, I had been an employee. So I, I, you know, that’s just the life that I knew. And then when you come out for being poor, you’re fed this today, it’s much worse, I think because of social media than it was when I was a kid. But you’re fed this, you know, business is bad. You can’t ever make it. You’re always going to have to work for somebody. You know, when you come out of that poor community, that’s what you’re always told. So I had this kind of mentality that said, this is what I’m going to have to do. This is the way I’m going to work for my whole life.
00:08:17 And all of a sudden I had this, this offer come to me about not only having a piece of a new company, but fronting that new company and getting it off the ground and getting it running. So they sent me a prospectus and I remember again here I ran this big operation and I knew everything about business or everything about the operating size of the operating side of business. And they sent me this prospectus. And I remember sitting there going, I don’t know what I’m looking at. I have these pieces of paper in front of me. I have no idea what they mean. Gotcha. And that’s when I kind of sat back, I should say I just had a son. And so my first child was born again at 28 years old. And I kinda sat back and I said, you know what, if you don’t shut up and listen, you think you know so much.
00:08:58 But the reality is you have no idea what you’re staring at. There’s his whole other part of the world out there that if you don’t shut up and listen, you’re never going to get, you’re going to still be working for $45,000 a year, 20 years from now. Dispatching. And because I had seen it, you know, I had guys that were 50 60 70 years old that still worked for me. A driving that had been at it for 30 or 40 years, nothing the matter with that. It just wasn’t for me. Right. That, that, that wasn’t my, that wasn’t trajectory that I wanted to take. And, and again, going back to when I was 11 years old and always wanting to move forward and move up. So I, I, I sat back, I said that to myself and that epiphany that I had at 28 years old, that is the reason I’m sitting here today.
00:09:39 That’s really the catalyst that started me on my journey towards entrepreneurship and all of the businesses. And all of the work that I’ve done since comes from that. Just sit back and listen and that, and, and really from then on, I went and started the company and you know, we’re, we’re 20 years later, well, we, we went and started the company with this group. And the first year we did $3 million. So I did what I said I would do. They turned out they didn’t have enough money and I had to learn what all this enough money meant. I had to learn what cash flow meant. I had to learn how to read a financial statement. I had to learn how xx excel spreadsheets worked. I mean, I had zero idea on how any of this was done, but I, I had a work ethic, so I just jumped into it.
00:10:23 And by jumping into it, they didn’t have the money. They said they would. And they came in and they fired me one year to the day that, that I had started. So this time I said, all right, you know, now I have knowledge, now I have information, I understand I have some power. I’m not, I’m not, I’m not dependent upon them for the information. And so I turned right around and two weeks later started my own company. And that first year with my own company, we had, we opened the doors with 77 employees. So I went and took all my employees that I had moved. And then I went and got most of the customers that I had already moved. So this is twice in one year that I moved the customers and we did just shy of $4 million that first year. And we did $8 million second year and $12 million the third year. And we did a $14 million to the fourth year. So we were often running very quickly. And again along the way I was learning. I didn’t know going into it, I learned as I went. Gotcha. Gotcha. Thank you for sharing that. And to come to your talking about Asen boy, correct? Yeah. SCN Boy, that’s correct.
00:11:28 Okay. Just wanted to make sure appreciate you sharing that. And when I hear in that, in that story and that in it story, Jerry, thank you for sharing it by the way, is that you had the entrepreneur mindset at an early age. When you talk about, you know, going to the owner and being like, Hey, I can do this better, I can be a better asset for you in a different type of role, in a different type of space. That really speaks to the entrepreneurial mindset to me, startup nation. So want to ask a quick
00:11:54 Followup. Do you think, you know, cause you talk about growing up, you know, with challenges, government cheese and things of that nature being a seven child, things of that nature and very little money, stuff like that. Do you think, you know, growing up with those survival tactics that you learned growing up, made the entrepreneurial transition a lot easier for you? That’s a good question. I don’t know that it made it, I’m reluctant to say it made it easier because that somehow makes it for anybody listening that goes, well I don’t, I didn’t go through what he went through. So I can’t become an entrepreneur and I don’t want to make it, I don’t want to make it sound like that. Fair enough. So I will say though that I learned survival skills. I mean, when I say I was poor, you know, I saw three murders in three suicides by the time I was 21 years old.
00:12:42 Right? And fighting was a, was a way of life. Many times a broken nose that I sat, set myself and held shut. And I’m not crying here. I’m just, you know, the world that I came out of taught me some very good lessons for sure. And I was fortunate not to go do drugs. I was fortunate not to drink alcohol. I was fortunate not to develop a lot of the bad habits that many of my peers did. Coming out of. Again, I lived in the inner city in Portland, Oregon here, went to the largest public high school. So all of those issues that, that, that you can have coming where I come from in my case, I was able to avoid them for the most part. And so as I got to the startup age at 28 and I reached a level of maturity that I could then go back and access a lot of the, a lot of the lessons that I have learned that I had learned and I put them to put in place starting out in my company.
00:13:34 But I will say the most important part, I guess that goes back to the childhood is that I always equated food and money, money and food. Because until I was 11 my little brother and I regularly w, you know, we’d go to the local Safeway, we’d go to the local century, and stealing food was a way of life for us. We kind of figured out how to do that. I’m, I’m talking seven, eight, nine years old, right? We’re running the, the, you know, Sean, my little brothers, cute little kid, you know, you run him up front while I’m in the back doing what I’m doing and we both walk out the door together. We figured out how to do this at eight, nine, 10 years old. I don’t recommend this for anybody. But at, at, at 11 I was like, okay, I go get a job.
00:14:13 They’re going to pay me money and give me a meal. At the end of it now I had to work the eight hours for the meal. So I said, I get it now. So from a very early age, I always equated food and money. So I’ve never missed a day of work. I’m 50 years old. I’ve never missed a day of work. And I started when I was 11 and the reason why I’ve never missed a day of work because I’ve never been so sick that if I didn’t come to work, I wouldn’t be able to eat later. And I, and I, and that’s how I, how my mindset was. So when it came time to start my own business, there were no limits because everything I was doing was for the most basic need, which was to eat. And now obviously by the time I was 28 and starting these companies and, and, and into my thirties and my, my, you know, I was eating out in restaurants regularly and you know, the need for food. But that was, was, was, you know, in far in the past. But my mentality was always, you’re working for your food. How hard are you going to work if you don’t eat? If you don’t work hard today, you’re not going to eat tonight. And that discipline, I guess that I taught myself as a young person, absolutely benefited me greatly in the entrepreneur market
00:15:20 For sure. Thank you for sharing all of that and your transparency. I really appreciate that Jerry. So let me ask you this man, because you’re quite the accomplished entrepreneur who has owned and operated more than a dozen companies over the last 20 years. And with a combined more than a $450 million in sales and start up nation, that is nothing to scoff it. So Jerry, if you could, if you can think about that one thing that has led to such phenomenal success in your entrepreneurial career. The one thing that’s a tough one. Okay. I would say that because there’s two things you have, there’s just so many. The one thing, if I look at it,
00:15:58 I’ll answer that question operationally. The one thing I think I kind of philosophically gave you the answer on my epiphany. The one thing operationally is I had a, I started this company in 1999 so we just did our the transportation company. We just had our, our 20th anniversary here. Thank you. Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s if anybody knows anything about business, we’re making it for 20 years is a, is an accomplishment that we’re pretty proud of for sure. So we’re 20, 1999 and in 2001 a major competitor went out of business and that major competitor had so much work. They were a national competitor. And so they literally went out of business overnight, didn’t tell any customers, left everything, sit in big piles in their warehouses and they disappeared. So I being the person that I am with the personality that I, that I have start making phone calls and then when I couldn’t get my phone calls answered to who all of their customers were, I sent people hundreds of miles away.
00:16:59 I reached out to cab companies and small little towns. I sat there and for eight days I slept on the third day I took a 45 minute nap and I worked eight straight days and there’s 10 people outside of my studio right here that were here with me. And so most of my, most of my my management group, we’re on 20 hour shifts and they’d come back, they’d go home for four hours and come back. And so I would do all of the operations things at night and I would do all the administrative things during the day. And, and just that, because I just didn’t know any better. That’s the other thing I should say. I didn’t know any better that, that, that you can’t sleep or you can’t not sleep for eight days. And it was, it was miserable. I can tell you I, I, I tell the story the first couple of days are fairly easy.
00:17:44 The third day the top of your brain kind of goes numb and it gets really difficult. I’ve had to do it, I’ve had to go three or four days on multiple occasions, but this one was an eight day marathon. And the, your brain, the top of your brain starts to go a little bit numb actually. And then if you can get through that third day, for me, the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh day was relatively easy. By the end of the seventh, it started to get pretty ugly. And I don’t think my eighth day was very was very productive. Interesting story on that one. I go home at the end of my eighth day, I finally got some time to breathe. I’m gonna get a night’s sleep. My wife made me this great meal cause of course I had just been at work and I eat nothing but sandwiches and you know, whatever I can get.
00:18:21 And and on that eighth day I went home and I couldn’t sleep. So I ate this big meal and for whatever, you know, I was so jacked up and I was so loved. My body was so used to working that I just, I couldn’t sleep. So that, that, that period in terms of, of the success or the lack of success for my company, I went from, I hired 50 plus people in one month during that period. And I risked everything I had without any knowledge or without any approval from customers. So I didn’t know that I was going to get paid. I just said I need to take advantage of this opportunity. And so I would call these big banks and I would say, Hey, Mr banker, I have a driver that’s in this town that’s 500 miles away, ready to pick up from you or for you.
00:19:09 You don’t know who I am, but I’ll move that bag for you. Well, of course they were so hungry to have that thing moved to them, have that necessary prior to the way we handle checks today. So this is when all checks moved in the [inaudible] in this, you know, manually by, by couriers. And they’re like, you know, who are you? I said, no, this is who I am. I have somebody there and I’m ready to go. I had never done work outside of Portland for the most part. And so we’re talking about doing Oregon, Washington parts of Idaho, parts of northern California. And, and so I just said, I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity and I’m going to try to make the most of it. And really, I, I risked everything I put my company. And that was at that point, it was the only company I had had to that point. I put everything on the line to try and make this work. Well, here I am all of these years later. And that’s probably the key to my success operationally. And I’m sure if that was the question you were asking me, but that’s kind of the critical point in my company’s history.
00:20:05 No, you’re absolutely right. No, it’s totally fine because the thing is like, like you say, you kind of answered that philosophically, but the operational piece is very important. Shot a nation. One thing we love to do on the startup life is give tangible tools of success. And so given that operational one is very in line with what we’re trying to do at startup by, so I appreciate you sharing that. And startup nation, that’s that story about Jerry staying up for eight days is one of the many stories you are here on Jerry’s podcast, the Jerry Brazy podcast, him and his his one fro sips assistant, Billy Green had created a great podcast and you can get that on any of your major podcast platforms, including Spotify. So Jerry, I know on the podcast you always say, look, you’re not trying to sell anything, not trying to push your book or anything like that. You just want people to listen to the show. So explain to us startup nation, what’s your goal with the show, the Jerry Brazy podcast?
00:21:00 It is, yeah. And I appreciate you giving me this opportunity cause like you said, I it, this is tough for me to do. Believe it or not, and anybody that listens to my podcast will know that, that there’ll be surprised to hear that. That’s tough to do because as you can see, you ask me one question and I’ll do 25 minutes on it. So,
00:21:18 No, no, it edgier. You, you, I’ll ask one question. You’ve asked multiple questions that I’ve prepared for you, so it’s all good. Yeah.
00:21:24 Perfect. So that’s, you know, kind of my, I, I’m happy to talk about it. And it’s really over the last I look, I’ve spent the last 20 years building my companies and over the last, as I matured over the last four or five years I really got to, as I, as I retain some assets and as an example, I have a big car collection and, and so I would meet young guys because I’m at car shows or I have cars in the parking lot and they’d want to come up and look at it and they would ask me questions or I get asked a question in the, in the drive, in the, in the drive through, Hey, you know, what do you do for a living? And I always would say like at McDonald’s, I worked at McDonald’s when I was 16 years old.
00:22:02 It was the greatest job I have. I use skills I learned at McDonald’s today running my businesses. So McDonald’s was a great experience for me. So I would be, I would ask, get asked questions and I would tell the people in the drive through window, hey, I used to do what you’re doing. I used to work in the drive through. There’s, there’s, there’s opportunity here for everybody. And then I would talk to the guys in the parking lot and you know, they’re 24, 25 years old and they may, they don’t have any, any future in front of him. They had no direction. They don’t know what they’re doing, but they are, they’re drawn to the cars. And they would always ask me, what do you do for a living? And I think there’s, there, there’s this belief, ah, consciously or subconsciously that you know, my dad built the business and then I inherited it.
00:22:43 Or there’s some sort of fat cat lifestyle that people who are poor or don’t have as much kind of visualize or see. And then of course there’s the social media side that is constantly feeding that the man is out the fuck you and you can’t get anywhere and you’re on your own. And, you know, there’s some rich guy on the other side of the country that’s pulling strings that determine your outcome and your fate. And, and, and there’s reasons. Joey, you have bad habits. And so you can’t be successful because of those bad habits. You know, you might be an alcoholic or you might be drugs or you might be whatever it is, multiple divorces and kids and all of the excuses and reasons why we’re given, ah, particularly in the poor community that you can’t make it. And I think again, today it’s much worse.
00:23:28 And so three, four years ago I started to go, you know what? I think the way I can give back. I tried to give back to charity and I tried to do a Christmas thing with families, but the problem was I would go interview the families, which was which was a rule of mine. If I’m going to give you money, I want to, you know, adopt a family. I want kids to get something at Christmas. And I would go to, I went to four different families and three of the four the dad was sitting there playing video games. So I said, you know, I can’t, you should be having three jobs. What are you doing? You have kids to feed. So for me, that just wasn’t my path for, for giving back because I, you know, I want people that are willing to go out and earn it.
00:24:05 So then I backed up a little bit and I said, okay, I’m going to start counseling people. I’m gonna start talking to two young people in particular. And so I started doing that and then this podcasting came up and I thought, okay, maybe that’s a way to get this message out. And this is my point and the answer to your question. Sure. Dominic, I want everybody to hear me. [inaudible] What’s sorry? Of what for where you are and what’s possible. Because I literally, I have no education. When I bought a house when I was 21 years old, I didn’t know what an interest rate was. I didn’t know what a mortgage was. I certainly didn’t know what an entrepreneur was when I was 21 years old. I have no business acumen whatsoever. No assistance, no help. I didn’t have anybody pushing me and saying, you should be an entrepreneur.
00:24:51 I didn’t have any, a mentor telling me this is how to do it and this is none of that. I just had, I just had my brain and my balls and I went out there and a work ethic that’s second to none. And so if I can explain to people that it’s not an [inaudible] easy journey, it is a difficult journey. But if you want those things, if you, if you want to attain a certain level in life, and this could be, I mean for me it was if I could just graduate my kids from high school for me and where I come from, from the streets, right? You don’t graduate from high school. I mean I, I would say probably my freshman class to my senior class was probably 30% you know, this is inner city. You know how it is. It’s shit. It’s ugly.
00:25:36 And so when you’re told that and you hear that, I want the message to be, none of that will stop you from moving up and moving forward may not be my level of success. It may not be Bill Gates, his level of success, it might be just have kids and graduate them from high school and make a better life for them because I’ve seen poverty that’s four generations deep. I know kids that I went to school with that got pregnant as early teenagers and then their daughters got pregnant as early teenagers and then their granddaughter got pregnant early teenagers and they’re not much older than me and their great grandmothers. Right, right. So yeah, I know families that have been on government assistance for multiple generations. And for me coming where I come from, that was, that was my, that’s where I was going. I had a lifetime of digging ditches at when I was on the streets at 17 years old, living in a flop house with hookers and heroin addicts on a shared floor for $25 a week at 17 years old with no direction.
00:26:38 And I just got up and I went to work. And so I want this message if I can, based on my experience of what’s possible because I had zero advantages. I come from where so many people do and I just want [inaudible] people to know that if you’re willing to work and you’re willing to risk, you can move up and move up. Might be the next job. It might be get that right promotion. It might be get that raise, it might be go to a new job and have the, have the, the intestinal fortitude to move to that next job. Because you heard Jerry talk about on the podcast his, his, his journey and this unfailing faith in himself that he was going to succeed no matter what combined with the work ethic that then made him successful at every job. I don’t know that I’ve ever had a job I didn’t get promoted at because I just go into the job and I just go to work and whatever needs to be done.
00:27:31 I’ll do all of that and I’ll do all of your work and I’ll do all of the other people’s work and never complain. Well, the reality is when they need something failed, they come look for you. So that kind of experience of where I come from and, and what I went through, I’m hoping we’ll ring with, with somebody. I go and and, and I have a, a, a speech coming up in front of some some kids on probation, juveniles on probation, may men boys I should say, you know, 15, 16, 17, 18 years old. And, and again, had somebody, when I was 16 or 17 years old, come and told me kind of my message. I don’t think it would take in when I was 16 or 17 years old. But the point is to plant that seed so that when you’re 28 years old and an opportunity that comes across your desk that you might not otherwise look at, you might go back to 10 years ago when that guy came and talked to you about this and he had some things in common with you.
00:28:23 When he was your age. But again, he’s this old dude that just spouting on about hard work and the things you got to do to be successful. But Hey, you don’t know. Now I’m a little bit older, I’m a little bit more mature. Maybe that seed we’ll start to grow a little bit and, and it will bear a little bit of fruit, which for just one person. So that’s really what I’m trying to do is just tell people what’s possible. It doesn’t take some great big skill. It doesn’t take some, but, you know, amount of, of experience. Aye knew nothing. I didn’t know what a refi was on my mortgage. Literally. I, I mean when I say I knew nothing, I was a poor kid living on the streets at 17 years old that thought he was digging ditches for the rest of his life.
00:29:05 But I had a work ethic, number one and number two, I had a, an approach to work that you just can’t hurt my feelings and I’ll just do the work for everybody. So I never get caught up in politics or you know, all of the things. She’s working harder than I am, or I’m working harder than he is. You know, this is bullshit. I’m not getting paid to do the work that I’m doing. That sort of thing. So that’s really what the message is, is what’s it take to wear, what my journey’s banned and what’s it take to be successful. Gotcha. Thank you for sharing that. Now Jay, you know, really quickly, I want to ask you about one of your episodes, cause I thought it was kind of interesting, especially in today’s age with the job market and college degrees and stuff like that.
00:29:43 And that was all one-on-one. You share, there’s a problem with college from the CEO’s perspective, for kind of share a little bit about that. W if you would please. Yeah. The, the, the, the, the problem, what’s cool is that I’m a, I’m a big believer in that the government combined with the colleges, to me, a college is nothing but big business. That’s, that’s all colleges are. And if you look at the numbers you know, they’re, they’re, they’re on par with, with any of the other big businesses in the country. And so to me, in the early two thousands, the government got together with big [inaudible] with, with the big business of, of, of state colleges, public colleges, and they worked it out where the government then would back the loans. And so when the government does anything and it backs loans in this, in this situation, that means everybody can get the loan, whether or not you should get the loan.
00:30:34 And when that it happened, I think it was 2007, the flood gates opened and all of a sudden we have all of these kids that are going to these schools and saddling themselves with debt. And, and it’s more insidious than that. The government working together with these colleges changed the law so that in bankruptcy, the only thing that you can’t get rid of in bankruptcy is student debt. Right? So, so they specifically carved out for you that all other debt can go away if you can’t pay your bills except in bankruptcy, the money that the government’s underwriting can’t be, you can’t get rid of it. And in bankruptcy, so just from right there, it started an avalanche. And now, you know, credit card debt is at trillion dollars in the United States, which is not cheap. It’s an average of 21% interest rates and $1 trillion. The debt for student debt is one and a half trillion dollars.
00:31:30 So if you’re starting with, with from zero and you’re 22 years old and you’re saddled with $80,000 in debt, you and you have a liberal arts degree, your host, you’re, you’re screwed, right? That degree has next to no value in the real world. So sitting here, I’ve had 10,000 employees in my lifetime. Looking at what has value and what doesn’t. That liberal arts degree is, it’s useless. I’m, I hate to say that people work hard to get these things, but they have to have value. So in life, you have to look at things that have value. If you’re going to school, look at your school as where you’re going to come out on the other side, and what’s the value that you’re going to get out of it? What’s the investment? Because cool is an investment. And if you’re investing in air, right, you’re not going to get any return because air’s free.
00:32:17 We all breathe it, right? But if you’re investing in gold, there’s going to be a return on that gold because probably it’s going to go up over time. So you want to invest in things that are going to return to you. And again, the, you know, the, the liberal arts degrees that have no value in the real world, then you’re saddled with that debt and you’re working as a Barista at Starbucks, you’re going to have a tough time dealing with that as opposed to get your teaching degree. And then you get a job at 40, 50, 60, 70, $80,000 a year, whatever it is, and your debt might be 50 or 60 grand and it’s manageable. And that return on your investment of what you’re doing, going to school can be paid off in a relatively short amount of time. And then as you look across your career, it makes sense.
00:33:00 So my, my, my, my problem with college is two fold on the one side as I described. You know, I think that it is a cabal that the, the government and the, and the the colleges have got together to, to frankly take advantage of the people who I can’t afford [inaudible] the least to be taken advantage of. I mean, when you’re a poor kid at 18 years old and somebody says, you get to go to university, Oregon and be a doc but it’s gonna cost 30 grand a year, but I’m going to give you the money. There’s no, there’s no, ah, a perception of what that cash is, right? It’s, it’s nebulous. It’s out in the world. You don’t really, you can’t touch it. You don’t feel it. You can’t see it. You didn’t earn it. So it’s not real. And so you’ll take debt.
00:33:42 I mean, we see this all the time with payday lenders. And things of that nature that pay, you know, you’re paying 35% on your, on your to cashier a paycheck a couple of days early. Those practices are out there and rather than the payday lenders be the bad guys, which they, which, which, which they are, and they take advantage of the poor on the same side. I think that the government and the colleges have taken advantage of the poor and I’m speaking mostly to the poor now who want to go to college. So then the next question is how do you go to college, right? What Jerry, how’s anybody supposed to get ahead? There are five and a half. Anybody that listens to micro online. There’s five and a half million unfilled skilled trade jobs in the United States. And those jobs paid 45, 50 bucks an hour. That’s absolutely jobs that you can, you know, as plumbers and steamfitters and HVAC and electricity and [inaudible], all of the different trades that go into carpentry, whatever it is, those schools are cheap in many times.
00:34:33 You don’t need to go to school because the companies will hire you directly because there’s so many of these unfilled jobs and you can go get a job making three, four times what you would have made again, with some other degree that has no value and you’re off and running on in a career, or there’s so many credits that you can go earn. There’s so many different ways that you can get government funding to help you pay for your college while you’re also working, while you’re going to school, that you put that effort in for four years. You can come out with no debt. I have, I have a nephew of mine that did exactly that. Graduated from University of Tennessee right down there in your neck of the woods with no debt. So to say that it can’t be done, it can be, this goes back again to what I talk about the way the poor talked to when it comes relative to becoming rich or you being successful.
00:35:22 The same thing is true. You can’t do anything without college. You have to go to college and Oh, by the way, we’re going to give you all the money to go to college, but here’s the reality that we’re not going to tell you. And this is high school counselors all the way true. Here’s what no one’s going to tell you. We’re going to fuck you on the other side. So just to understand that at the end of four years, you’re going to come out so handicapped and so hamstrung that you’re going to have very little opportunity to make the decisions you want to make because there’s $100,000 worth of debt is going to be sitting on top of you like a stone. So I don’t think that it’s necessary. Number one, I have none. So again, I’m probably, you know, my opinion on this is, is fairly strong and, and admittedly for that reason so I don’t need any and I was able to do it.
00:36:06 Everything though today is so much more available to you that if there’s anything that you don’t understand, there’s a little something called Youtube. You Click on it and you don’t even have to read. Somebody will tell you how to do damn near anything. So the the reason or the excuse for why you would need to go say, understand how business works, you can have the best business books detailed to you and a cartoon on Youtube. I mean it’s, it’s amazing the amount, everything you ever need to know is available to you on the Internet. I don’t see what value there is in going to two college. Now there’s a side to it about experiences and things of that nature, which I won’t discount and my children are going to college. So I’m not saying don’t go to college. I’m just saying you gotta think about what you’re doing.
00:36:49 18 year olds, you’re old enough to make your own decisions. I’m not making excuses. You signed up for it. It’s yours. That dead does yours understand it. But if I can get to anybody to listen to me and, and I’m not the only one screaming and yelling about this. There’s a lot of other people that could have the same side sort of background with much bigger audiences than I do that are talking about it. But I’m giving you that practical advice from my life about why I don’t think college is necessary or specifically big colleges go to community college. My daughter goes to community colleges. It’s like $1,800 a semester. It’s stupid. All right. It is. Yeah, it, it’s cheap relative to go into a big school. So there are ways to get, and I’ve never hired somebody that that, that it never came down to two people in the thousands and thousands of people that I hired and it came down to two people. I was like, well where did he go to college? Right? Oh, he went to community college and he went to Oregon. Okay, I’m going to take the guy that went to the bad guys never happened. It’s the person [inaudible] I think, well provide me the best opportunity for me, for me to have success and for them to have success. And it had nothing to do with the school
00:37:52 For sure. And I’m glad you mentioned that because you’re absolutely right, like the model it’s, it’s changing as far as like success, you know, we were told in the, in the, as an older millennial, we were told in the, in the eighties and nineties that you had to go to college to be successful and get a job and stuff like that. But I think the business model of that has changed even when you mentioned about, you know, how college is kind of a business, if you will, it absolutely is because they understand that, you know, they’re going to get their money and stuff like that. But I think also there’s a changing doctrine, if you will, because even more and more like the googles and the tech companies are starting to understand that like the college degree isn’t as, as important as opposed the work ethic and the transferable skills and the skills that you can learn. And you mentioned Mike Rowe. It’s funny you mentioned about those, those skill labor jobs. It’s funny because many futures will tell you that like the, when we talk about automated jobs and tech taking over to the workforce and stuff like that, it’s those unskilled labor jobs that will be the last to be taken over by robots and automation. So I’m glad you pointed that out. I appreciate all of that you just shared.
00:39:01 Yeah, I think that that’s the, the end, the point there is, is well for me to bag on college because I just think that to your point is it’s too it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s emphasized way too much and again, it starts in the high school, right? Pushed out of the high school and into college. So absolutely. I’m, I want a bag on college. But the other side of that is to just let people know that there are options. There are lots of options and they are options. If you are the poorest of the poor in this country, I guarantee you, you can walk to a job site, you can talk to almost the first person you walk up to and start sweeping floors. And pretty soon they have you pull in wire through two by fours and two by sixes. And the next thing you know you’re going and taking a test.
00:39:44 And the next thing you know you’re an electrician within a few years and you’re working as an apprentice and you go from $15 an hour to $28 an hour to $50 an hour and it happens in three, four, five years and all of a sudden you’re 25 26 years old and you’re making more money than you’ve ever seen. That doesn’t sound very difficult to me. As long as you’re willing to put in the time and you know how to work, those options and opportunities are available to five and a half million people right now, asshole. You just got to want to go and do it. But this should be what we’re talking about, right? The, the, the government should be screaming and yelling about people fill in these, on these unfilled trade labor jobs. Not Get your ass in college.
00:40:23 For sure. For sure. And it’s funny you mentioned that because the, the parent company for the startup life is ours, LLC is the education consultant firms. So everything we do is revolved around teaching. And so we go into schools and we, I don’t know if you know this or not, but the Canada, the, the tagline or tag words that’s used in high schools now is getting our students college and career ready. But if I’m being honest with you, they’re really just focused on the college part, not the career part. So No, you’re, I absolutely know exactly what you’re talking about, but I appreciate you sharing your perspective on that for sure. Absolutely. So, oh, I want to ask you this right before we go to break, man, I believe all entrepreneurs are constant learners. They’re always engaged in professional development, reading books, listening to podcasts or whatever that looks like. What books are you read? What podcasts are you listening to? What Spurs Your Professional Development Journey as entrepreneur? So
00:41:15 I’ll go back to 28 years old, sitting in that office telling myself, you don’t know Shit Nan. I said, okay, now what do I do now? What’s, what’s, what’s my steps towards success? I don’t know. I don’t know what that is except I have this new business, I’m going to start up. Well, I better learn about business now. This is all pre-internet. And so I went out and [inaudible] again today you’d watch a video, but I would go out and I found fortune and Forbes and ink. Yeah, mainly those, those magazines. I would go to the library to get, you know, any books on business that I couldn’t, this is 30 years ago, so I’m Reading Jack Welch and Warren Buffet, any books. And even though the book I read, I had no idea what Jack Welch was doing at GE. And I barely understood what he talked about when he got rid of 10% of the worst performers.
00:42:01 And you know, all of that kind of was like, okay. And so I just absorbed it. If I didn’t understand it, I’d read it twice. But again, I just absorb it. And so really it’s as simple as fortune and Forbes. I learned a ton from an ink because ink concentrates on smaller businesses many times. And so probably for me it was magazines more than more than books. Although I’ve read, I’m a voracious reader, I don’t read fiction. So the other part of that might be that I only read nonfiction. So I’m reading autobiographies and stories about largely around business or business leaders or world leaders. And so that I get that historical references in that historical perspective. And so for me, seeing what they did David McCollough wrote a great book on building the Brooklyn Bridge. And if you read that book and you come away thinking you can’t do something because you know, the people are down in those case ons underneath the water circa 1871 and they’re there, they’re dying of the bands because they have no idea what the bends are.
00:43:03 And the people are lined up for miles to get the jobs to go work in these, you know, lit by gas and they’re just dying left and right. And you’re thinking to yourself, well, shit, if I can’t get out of bed in the morning and go to my, my startup or go to my job or go ask for a promotion or work a little bit harder or not bitch so much about my life, you need that. You need that perspective and you only have to look at history to get that perspective. And so for me, nothing specific, anything I can get my hands on, I shouldn’t say nothing specific. Forbes and Fortune magazine, I eat those up pretty much as soon as they show up and, and have forever. And that for me is kind of get my ear to the ground. Now podcast wise, nothing that I stick with probably consistently on the business side, the big ones like everybody does, you know, Joe Rogan in once of, of of that nature, but nothing specifically for for business except for the startup life. Of course.
00:43:57 I appreciate that. Jerry. That being said, we were going to go ahead and go to break. I like being on the startup life so far. Dude, man, I hope I’m not hogging too much of the time. No, you are totally fine, sir. I started mason, so I hope you gained great value from Jay’s content, but we gotta pay a few bills. Once again, my name is Dominique Lawson. This is the startup life podcast and it is powered by the binge podcast network.
00:45:11 Hey, business owner, the startup life reach is growing. When you like your business to grow with it, reach out to us to advertise on the startup life. You can reach firstname.lastname@example.org. I mean don’t get me wrong, like this is a great music to have brake on, but when this breaks out a lot better with the same music, but your business being advertised on it need more content from the startup life you saying you can now sign up for the startup life. All access pass on the bench podcast networks Patrion page. There is exclusive content written by yours truly video content where I share even more of my business philosophies and whatever crazy content I can think of out of that crazy head of mine and it only $5 a month. Yeah, $5 a month. This is more content for you started nation to really get ahead of your competition. So instead of upsizing that meal at your favorite fast food joint, you can now invest in yourself on your path to entrepreneurship. Click the link in the show notes to sign up. I started macing so less continued. So Jerry, I want to go back to something really quickly because you talked about learning from business leaders and reading Forbes and inc and stuff like that and entrepreneur magazine, things of that nature. I want to get your take on something,
00:46:24 You know, because you know, entrepreneurship is kinda become, this is kind of almost fan to a lot of people, right? Like, you know, they’re the wantrepreneurs, the Instagram preneurs and stuff like that where they talk about the, the accolades and the topical stuff, but they don’t really get down to the grit and the grind and the work ethic like you talk about. So I want to ask you this. In your opinion, what is the state of entrepreneurship and just American business in general as a whole? Good question. I A, and I feel strongly about this, the, the, the state of argument, you might as well, hey, I have an opinion about this one, but imagine that the state of entrepreneurship in, in the United States in particular, and, and maybe even the world because of the Internet, but let’s take the United States specifically. I’m sure there is this, it’s, it’s, and I think you used the word entrepreneur.
00:47:19 It’s, it’s, it’s abso or a wantrepreneur is absolutely true. If you’re going to start up a little Spotify store and try to resell a rain coats and, and you’re putting an hour into it today and you’re calling that a business and you’re an entrepreneur, that’s dumb. That’s not who you are. That’s not what being an entrepreneur is. It’s not even close. An entrepreneur is somebody that risks everything to get some return and works like they never can imagine having to work if you’re not doing that. There are no shortcuts. And I think that the problem has been that there are some, and they are very, very few. That’s why they’re called UNICORNS. None there. You know, 28 year old tech billionaires that created this album algorithm. I remember the, the WHATSAPP, the guy that that invented whatsapp for 19 billion to Facebook you know, was, was, was, and he got the sign his documents when he, when he closed on the, on the purchase in front of the welfare office that him and his mom had gone to, to pick up their checks and he’s selling it for $19 billion and he had just invented it a few years before.
00:48:23 Okay. Impressive. That’s great. Good for him. That’s not entrepreneurship. That’s not what the rest of us have to face. It’s like comparing yourself to a major league baseball player and you play softball on the weekends. Right. There’s no connection to the two. They’re there. They’re fundamentally a sport, but there are completely different sports. And so I think that those are the guys that get held up. Those are the guys that are getting interviewed. Those are the ones that people are trying to emulate. And they see the fancy cars and all of that. And they go, well, that’s what I want to do. And you have to understand that that is not entrepreneurship. That is Unicorn status, meaning it doesn’t exist. So there’s very few instances of it existing. The reality is I belong to a CEO Group of nine guys. We’ve been together for 20 years.
00:49:10 Every one of them dudes work their asses off all day long risk, everything on multiple occasions, survive, downturns, lived through recessions make money and the good times suffer in the bad times. It has to hurt. It has to be a sacrifice. And if you’re truly an entrepreneur in a business that’s, you’re trying to build legacy, it’s not easy. And that’s, that’s, that’s I think the story in life today, particularly as these generations are coming through war. Life is getting easier. And easier at the baseline. You have to understand that anything in life, if it’s easy, it’s wrong because nothing in life is easy. Life’s a bitch. It’s going to chew you up and spit you out, and so you have to earn everything you get. So you watch these guys online, these Instagram or youtube. Then they got, you know, the Lamborghini in the background and they’re 28 years old and they’re giving you all this advice.
00:50:03 I listened to these [inaudible] just for entertainment and I’ll tell you, Dominic and Philly will tell you, I’ll come in and go, Hey, I listened to this asshole today. He didn’t say anything other than use big words and he was able to deliver that message. But I’m telling you practically as somebody who’s done $450 million in 12 different businesses over 20 years, the advice most of these guys give is bullshit. It is, it is snake oil salesman trying to get clicks so that you’ll follow along so they can get advertising on their youtube. Now they may be successful, it may work for them, but you’re talking about five people out of 5 million, and the chances of you starting up your click funnel advertising website is slim to zero. Go get a job at McDonald’s. You’ll learn more working at McDonald’s that you can use practically experience later.
00:50:51 Then you’ll ever learn trying to do this for entrepreneur, entrepreneur, or whatever or whatever. How are return we’re going to use, right and build these, these, these so-called businesses. So the reality is we want an easy way out. That’s what I think. And as humans, we are subconsciously driven or are attracted to the easiest [inaudible]. It’s so easy to get conned, right? So, right, so easy to, to, to sell something that doesn’t exist or give you something that you don’t need. That’s why we buy those, you know ab makers and when we know better that, you know, doing, doing for abs in the morning with this machine that we bought online the night before is not going to help your ads, but it’s so attractive. And the dude doing it was so jacked that you’re like, oh shit, I got to give that a try. It seems so good, but it never is.
00:51:35 And then it goes, sits in the corner and nobody ever touches it again and it gathers dust and you’re like, Gosh Shit, that’s 50 bucks down the hall. That is what entrepreneurship is today in my estimation, in the grand scheme. So that would be what I would say the problem with entrepreneurship is on the big business side. I’ll answer this part really quick. On the big business side, I think that there is a protection mentality that big business has. And then the media comes in and they talk about how big businesses wiping everybody out. And I think about when I think about that and think about how you can’t compete. And while you know, again, in my days Walmart’s closing everybody and it’s ruining all of the main streets and that to some extent there’s truth to that. And Amazon’s ruined all the main streets. And to some extent there’s truth to that.
00:52:23 But I look at ace hardware. So anybody want to look up ace hardware. Ace hardware comes along and they’re like, hey, there’s open storefronts and these little neighborhoods, let’s form a co op of a bunch of people who own their own ace hardwares. We’re going to take it down from, if the big box stores are, are, are, have, you know, I don’t know, 400,000 skews. We’re going to sell the top 5,000 skews. And I think big box stores, it’s like 80% of everything they sell is within 5,000 skews. So we’re going to sell those 5,000 skews in a store that’s, you know, 20% less or 20 times less the footprint. And we’re going to drop it into a neighborhood inside of these open storefronts. And then the neighborhoods can come down and we’re going to sell them really what they want. And then if it’s something more rare that doesn’t get sold as often, they’re going to go and they’re going to buy it at home depot.
00:53:09 So those businesses, those ace hardwares are flourishing. The companies all got together so they have buying power and their local owners working in the neighborhood and there they came up with a better mousetrap. I won’t go to Home Depot. Why would you, when I can go get paint right down the at ace hardware. Now maybe I save 10 cents or 15 cents a gallon, but I’ve got to drive eight miles and I gotta deal with a parking lot that’s 600 acres big. Or I can pull into the front of an ace hardware and the guy I’ll come run in and out and say, Jerry, how you doing? What would you rather have? And so for me, there are opportunities, there are excuses that are made and big business and the media I think work together to really play up that there are no opportunities. And so this comes back to what I started with.
00:53:51 There are always opportunities, big businesses not going to put us out of business. They want to, they’d like to, but they’re not going to be able to no matter how hard they try. And this is again back to your question about my podcast. This is a lot. What I want people to hear, this is the story I want them to know is don’t listen to all that. Don’t listen. Don’t let those big businesses dictate what you’re going to do. Decide what you want to do and then do it better. That’s what I, that’s, that’s what I would say to do. And when it comes to big business not let them dictate decisions you’re making.
00:54:22 No, Jerry, it’s funny you mentioned that because just a few weeks ago, I recently just finished a Sam Walton’s made in America book and he’s saying, he’s saying exactly what you just said and, and you know, obviously he’s the founder, he was the founder of Walmart, stuff like that. But he said, look, I’m not here to put out small business. Like there’s always opportunities. He even said in the book how you would do it. And he talks about that model, that a, that you talked about with ace hardware. So I appreciate you sharing all of that for sure.
00:54:50 So from a, from a startup perspective, and here’s, here’s what I would add to that, just operationally again sure. Is when y when, when Walmart comes in, what, what happens is the entrenched business says this is the way we’ve done business and we’re going to stick to it and Walmart put us out of business. So Walmart brought in a better mouse trap and put our older mouse trap out of business. You can’t do that. You have to then change your mouse trap, right to be a better mouse trap than they have. So it will challenge you. It’ll be painful. Yes, it’s hard to do. You’d like the status quo that your father had and your grandfather had and your 40 year old storefront. But I’m telling everybody, if you don’t change, if you don’t change with the times, if you’re not constantly improving and working on your business, your business will disappear.
00:55:36 I come to work every morning assuming my businesses that is gone. At the end of the day, if I don’t make decisions and make changes and then I make changes and if I fuck it up and the change is wrong, the next day I make another change. I don’t cry about how shit I spent all this time and put weeks together into this project. The project took a shit. I made a mistake. What did I do wrong? Move forward and make another change. And if you’re not constantly improving, and this is practical advice, I know a lot of people, you know, you get this kind of advice from, from people without the practical knowledge. And so it becomes cliche at times, but it’s absolutely true that you have to be constantly innovating and you have to constantly be changing. And I would put forth that many of these businesses, not all theirs, it’s hard to compete on price with these guys.
00:56:20 So I’m not going to put all the blame on the storefronts, but I’m going to say, Aye, here’s where I was. Dominic, I want have gone out punching like a motherfucker doing everything I can to fight these companies off. That’s what I would’ve done. Rather than rollover and go, well, I’ve always sold this way and this was the way that it doe it and this is the way that we do it. And they put me out of business. And that’s just, you know, okay, that’s the way it works. You’re gone. Without even trying to innovate, without trying anything new. So you constantly have to be innovating
00:56:48 For sure. And I think to add to your point earlier, like that’s the nature of this game of entrepreneurship. If you’re not constantly innovating and things of that nature, no, the entrepreneurs say it, entrepreneurship says then you should go out of business and that’s what happens. So I appreciate you sharing that. For sure. So, you know, you mentioned earlier that, you know, you celebrated 20 years of your company being open. Right? And so I, I guess I just want to Kinda get some reflection from you. What does that make you feel? How do you feel when you hear you’ve been in business 20 years and you see the people that you’ve employed, the people that you’ve empowered over that time? And give me a little reflection about that time. We’re past one years. Yeah. You know, I’ve had
00:57:30 My management group has, I have people who I have worked for for 25 or worked with for 25 or 28 years that still work for me today. And probably if, if, if, as I reflect on the 20 years I look at two things. Number one, I’m still working with the same group of people that I’ve worked with since we were kids and that, and they’ve stayed with me through thick and thin. We’ve hammered away on this business a, some of this I’ve described today, they were right next to me through all of that. And so I kind of answered this question the same way I answered the question about my leadership skills is I kind of, I, you know, I, if you ask me, I don’t necessarily think there’s anything special about that. But at the same time when you have multiples of people who have stayed with you through thick and thin, both drivers and management and you’ve been together for 20, 25, almost 30 years in some cases.
00:58:25 To me as I reflect [inaudible] back on it, those people have put [inaudible] kids through college and put the kids through pub through private school you know, have, have, have improved their lives from where they are and bought houses and sold houses and moved up to bigger houses. And you know, as the business has grown, they’ve grown with it and their skill sets might have been drivers 25 years ago and now they’re managing these big operations, those things, that opportunity and many of them come from the same place that I have. And so we have that in common and being able to see those people grow the same way is probably for me. I look back on it. Yeah. The, the, the monetary side of it and all that is, is, is certainly, I don’t want to discount any of that, but it’s not the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about reflecting on the last 20 years.
00:59:08 It’s the group of people that I’ve worked with. And then also it’s the life that I’ve changed for my children. That’s, that’s, that’s also a big one for me because when you are in institutional poverty, a generational institutional poverty, I call it, it’s very hard to get out of. So it means my great grandparents and my grandparents and my parents, and you know, many of my brothers and sisters and nephews and nieces. Yeah. That institutional generational poverty, it’s very hard to break out of. And I have, I like to think that I’ve changed no matter what goes wrong, I have changed the future for my bloodline from, from, from my children forward going forward. And, and when you stop and think about that and yeah, I guess, you know, as I’ve gotten older, I never really thought about it when I was younger, but answering your question, I would answer it that way.
00:59:54 I’ve changed, I’ve changed the trajectory, if you will of my family after me, which to me is probably the greatest success story. Yeah. I could ever have wanted, because again, back to being poor, the expectation is that you’re going to be poor and your kids are going to be poor and there’s just this way that you have to live or let’s not say poor. Let’s see. They’re not going to be successful in whatever you want to do. So that would be my answer. I think just the people I’ve worked with and then my kids going forward.
01:00:24 For sure. For sure. And thank you machine. And that actually segues to my next question I wanted to ask you. When you talk about, you know, doing it for the money and stuff like that you have a quote on Instagram that I came across and I wanna I wanna share it with startup nation. It says people say don’t do it for the money and that’s bullshit. 15 years of seeing corp side is all the justification I need in quote. So Jerry, when we talk about your background early, talking about the challenges that you talked about in Portland, stuff like that. Do you think people who say that just come from a different vantage point than you do? Yeah, I think
01:00:56 Number one go blazers.
01:00:59 Gotcha. We’re going to get it. We’re going to get into that a little bit more in just a second, but go ahead. Okay. And so yeah, I think that
01:01:07 There’s too much, this is a, I think a little bit bigger question. If I can expand on this just a little bit, Dominic. I think that, I think that, what other reason if somebody, if you’re making $10 an hour and somebody offers you 20, do you turn it down because you don’t want to make more money? Nobody would do that. Right? The, the, the, the, the quote, the opinion is flawed. And I think that, oh, every single day for me is perspective. I never lose perspective. Like I said, food and money go hand in hand and I don’t forget what it’s like to [inaudible] eat government cheese and fucking powdered milk. Anybody who’s drank powdered milk, it’s terrible. Oh, it’s the worst thing in the world, right? So if you had powdered milk and had to go pick up those white boxes, I don’t, they don’t do it anymore, I don’t think.
01:01:54 But in my day you had to go to a big warehouse that the government ran and they gave you white boxes full of cheese and milk and milk in this case was a big box of five pounds up powder that you mixed into milk. You know, I never forget what that was like. And, and so in my head in the way that I wanted, I always moved forward. I always wanted more money. And what else would you possibly want to work towards? So they go to the mantra, money, buy happiness, nothing. It’ll buy happiness. If you’re a miserable person, you’re going to be miserable. If you make 20 grand a year and you’ll be miserable if you make 500 grand a year. So you’re absolutely right, that money can’t buy happiness. But for the majority of us, we all want to attain, we all want more, we all want to move on.
01:02:35 Okay [inaudible] and move on. We want to move out of where we are and get to that next level. That’s human nature is to want to grow. So most of those quotes, and you can go online and find them from the most influential people in the world talk this kind of bullshit. And I think that they’ve lost track of where if they came from anything like what I did, they’ve lost track of it. And if they haven’t lost track of it there, they have no perspective on what we’re trying to do. But again, y’all always notice how it’s the mega rich that are telling you don’t become rich, right? It’s, I don’t think it’s ever dudes like me that are telling you don’t become rich or, or, or the guys that I am that that are in my CEO group. Because what we’re trying to do is always figuring out a way to grow our business and make more money.
01:03:18 Because when we make more money, our families are better off. When we make more money, our employees are better off. Everybody’s better off when you’re making more money. But the, the, the game of business is to do it as well as you can. And then what you do with the money you make, then you get to go and, and, and do what you do with it. Meaning charity or whatever it is that you want to do and keep it, I don’t care. It’s up to you. You earned it. And so I’m all about nobody yet at 20 grand would turn down a hundred grand and nobody at a hundred grand would turn down a million. Because that is the, our nature is to constantly move up and move out. At least try, and again, we talked about that from an entrepreneurship earlier. The other thing I would add, so that’s what would be my answer directly.
01:03:58 My other thing that I would add to that is hand in hand with this is chase your passion. This is the other bullshit that people are always flinging around, you know, do what you love, chase your passion. And I’m telling you, that’s all that’s, that’s all bullshit. There’s, there’s, you have to, here’s what I say. You have to chase your opportunities and when an opportunity presents itself, you grab it. I had no idea. I took a job driving so I could listen to sports talk, not work as hard digging dishes as I was and make the same amount of money. So I took a job driving and I had no expectation that I was going to own a courier company or I was going to then ultimately own a big transportation company or that I would own gas stations and car washes it convenient stores, or I would own hundreds of thousands of square foot of real estate or develop lots develop subdivisions, buy and sell homes, remodel, flip the whole nine yards.
01:04:47 All of the things that I’ve done, I had no expectation for any of that. In fact, I don’t really like any of that. Right? It’s not my passion. It’s not what I’m passionate about. It’s not what I love, but it was opportunities for a poor kid coming off the streets to take advantage of, to then do all of the things that I’ve done in the way that we’ve talked about on this podcast so that you know this, follow your passion. Bullshit. I say work passionately so you can work on your passions. Yeah, go to work, work passionately, have success, and then on the weekends, go fly fish or whatever it that you love to do. You’re never going to make a living, generally speaking at what you’re passionate about. Some do. But again, I think they’re unicorns generally speaking. Gotcha. Gotcha. Thank you for sharing that.
01:05:27 So, you know, speaking of court side, I know you’re a big blazers fan and I know that by the time this episode probably airs, it’ll probably be in the thick of summer, so the NBA season will be over. So I want you to give me a prediction man. Can’t, can your blazers get past the golden state and if they can, what is it? What is it going to take? All right, I’ll try to, I’m a big sports fan for sure. I’m a big sports fan, so I will try to be objective here as much as I can and I will back away from the seats and, and, and, and my love of the blazers and I will say that they absolutely can beat golden state. Golden state has experienced that we cannot match. And so if there is an advantage on the golden state side, I think that it is their experience if there is because I don’t think the advantage on the skill side is entirely with golden state.
01:06:19 In fact, I think our bench is much stronger than golden standard way, the, the strongest bench in the league. And Denver probably had the second strongest bench in the League and those, you know, Denver’s out and we’re here. So I think we have advantages skill wise on the floor to counter to counter golden state, right? They’ve got the splash brothers and, and, and I think it ends there from a comparison perspective. So particularly with kd out. So if, if [inaudible] if our guys can do their job and our bench can outscore their bench, I think that this is here to be one, but if our guys succumb to that pressure and we’re just going to let curry standout front coming off of a pick and roll in drain 30 footers, we’re in trouble, right? Yeah. So that if their experience, if they can get over the experience hump, we have a chance because we have all of the skill, but experience is a big deal in anything.
01:07:10 That’s the point of this podcast. Experiences is a big deal in life and it certainly is a big deal and winning an NBA championships. Gotcha. But you’ll probably, if we get past golden state, you would probably hear my scream in in Memphis, Tennessee. Oh, I’m sure I will. I’m sure I will for sure. Yeah, definitely. I’m going to ask you the hardest question of this episode. Tell me about Kathy, your wife, and how important she’s been on your path entrepreneurship. Oh, I can’t [inaudible] let me tell you that th th there are tools that you get, and we talked about this earlier, there are tools that you have that based on experiences that I’m able to bring forth and put to [inaudible] work in building the businesses and learning and all of the, all of the adversity that comes with that. The flip side to that or the other side or in addition to that are equally as important is to have a strong support structure.
01:08:04 So be that friends, be that family or more specifically be that direct family, your kids and your wife or your husband as the case may be my wife, my life is I will meet you at seven and then my phone rings, Billy will tell you, sitting here, we’re going to start a podcast at five 30 and last night it was six 20. Cause I had my phone rang and a meeting that came up. Yep. No business always has to come first. And so my wife in that context understood that early on and understood that if I say I’m going to be at the restaurant at seven and I don’t get there till seven 45, it’s not because I’m [inaudible] fucking around or don’t want to get there. It’s just the nature of the business. [inaudible] She had, she, she accepted that and then worked within those same constraints.
01:08:50 Understanding that business comes first. So we might be on an airplane to Aruba and the phone rings and something catastrophic happens and we’ll just unpack the bags, turn around and go home. And she wouldn’t complain to lick. I mean that’s, that’s my life as an entrepreneur. And that’s the life as a a if you’re the wife of an entrepreneur, right? [inaudible] That her ability to do that and manage the house and, and, and never asked me to do anything. I don’t think she’s ever been sick that I know of, of a day. If she has, she calls her mother called my mother or something. So I just never had to worry about the things that were happening at the house. So I took care of my side. She took care of her side and both of those sides together. Then we’re [inaudible] instrumental in getting me where I am and, and I’ll add to that too, and this is the other part, w we talk about family time.
01:09:39 We talk about, you know, I want to have time with the family and I want to spend time with my kids and, and I can’t go do what you did Jerry. I can’t put the time in because I want to have time with my kids. That’s all an excuse. That’s all bullshit. Dominic, I’ve never missed an event for my children. So when I worked at eight straight days, my kids were really little playing tee ball. I left work, I went to tee ball, I spent tee ball with them. I sat there and got the ice cream cone afterwards, which was all they care about when they’re playing tee ball or his ice cream cone. Maybe we grab a quick sandwich and that’s my dinner on a, on a picnic table. And then the kids go home to bed and I turn around and go to work.
01:10:14 I’ve been home when they were little until they were teenagers every night before eight 30. And I would say goodnight to him. Now I turn around and go back to work or go out to my office and work. But I got home in time every night to say good or say goodnight to them. And then we go to movies and, and we do little things. I look at it family time in the context of my work as quality, not quantity. And I think quantity is the thing that we all go back to. And I think it’s a, I think it’s a lie we tell ourselves, because, let me run this down real quick. If you’re the average person and you say, well no, I can’t work an extra couple of hours because I had to go home, go spend time with my family. We’ve got something going on tonight. You guys all know you go to bed at eight o’clock, right?
01:10:58 You get home at five 36 o’clock, you spend an hour and a half with your kid. He goes to bed and then what do you do? You’re sitting on the couch watching television til 11 when you go to bed. That’s all time that you could be using to work. But you say, I can’t because I have to go home and spend the time. My kids, you need to look at that time. And I always look at things analytically and I looked at the time I spent with my kids and said we can make it as quality as possible because I can’t provide the quantity, which is just me in the house, sitting there watching television most of the time. So for me, I’ve been successful. All three of my kids are out of high school. One works for me, my 22 year old son and the other two are going to college and I’ve been able to do that.
01:11:38 Wow. Also working 15 to 18 hour days for the better part of 20 years. Gotcha. Thank you for sharing that. I appreciate that. Jerry. I believe entrepreneurs have a superpower that counter prepares to success. What’s yours and why? I think I’m superman. Okay. Yeah, I, I really, that’s that, that would be my superpower is I think I’m superman and I don’t mean that egotistically if I break down how I think I’m superman, I never, I’ll tell a quick story. I had eye surgery a few years ago. I’m blind in my right eye and went blind in my right eye. When I was 14, I caught a virus. My sister died, my oldest sister died when I was 13 a disease that killed her in seven months. And eight months later, I went blind in my right eye. So my 14th year was, was not the best year I ever had.
01:12:23 And the, the, the result of my, of me going blind is my, I moved over to the right side. It started to wander. And so a few years ago and I had surgery, laser surgery, and they saved the eyes. So it’s still in my head. But I went and I had to have surgery on the eye. Well, I scheduled a surgery on a Friday morning at six o’clock, the earliest they can do it. And I said to the doc, okay, doc, we’re going to take this eye out. You’re gonna cut the muscles on it. You’re going to put it back in, you’re going to sew it back up to straighten the eye out. I need to go to work. She said, no, you’re not going to go to work. I said, no, no, no. I know, and you have to ask this extra question. I said, I need to go to work.
01:12:57 Can I go to work? I know that the default answer is yes, you can’t go to work. I’m asking you if I can. And she said, well, do you work outside, you know, around dust and stuff? I said, no, I sit in an office, I can sit in the office as easy as I can sit at at, at home. And she said, you ain’t to be happy but you’re going to be miserable. But I don’t know why you can’t. And so my mindset was six o’clock in the morning and have the surgery. I was at work at nine o’clock that that day. Now my eye was patched up and I was fucking miserable. But the point being, I was at work and my whole mindset is just go to work. I don’t have to force myself to go to work. I don’t have my forced myself to work past the physical barriers that so many of us had.
01:13:36 Like I said, I’ve never been sick. I’ve never called in sick a day in my life. Those physical barriers. I’ve had 13 back surgeries. I’ve never missed a day of work because of the back surgery that I didn’t take off. So I would schedule it on a Friday afternoon and be back on Monday. So in that context, that’s my super power, is that my, my mind is not cluttered. It’s not held back by the physical restrictions that so many people exhibit. You’ll never hear me say, I’m tired. I slept three hours last night. You’ll never hear me say I’m tired. It’s not that I’m sitting here telling myself, don’t say you’re tired. It’s that I don’t know myself. Don’t say I don’t think I’m tired. I have no limitations. I don’t have any now am I driving myself into the grave? That’s always the argument.
01:14:20 You know, I stop and take time and sleep 10 hours a night and get, you know, on the weekends and, and try not to go to the gym for two hours every single day. So, yeah, it’s not like I’m not healthy, but I just don’t, I don’t let things slow me down a B, they work stress or be at home stress or be it physical stress or any of those things. I stay calm and I just work through it. So for me when I say I’m superman, that’s probably it. I never get excited. I don’t about anything I’m passionate about. I’m sitting here talking to you about business and I’m passionate about it, but I don’t get excited so I don’t yell and scream and, and you know, I’m a big, a big proponent to a of not watching reality television business shows because none of those are reality.
01:15:03 You know, the, the, the, the chef that screams and yells and throw shit at his employees and the bike maker that screams in kills about, you know, we’re fucking over budget and over time, not that shit never happens and who the fuck would work with anybody like that anyway. Right. I wouldn’t. And so there’s no value in it. But I think back to our earlier question about entrepreneurship, I think that that, that popular culture also shows entrepreneurship, that it’s that and it’s exactly the opposite. The worst it gets, the more you need to stay calm and the worse it gets as a leader, the more other people need to be able to see that your calm, even though it might be as ugly as it is. My mother always said to me, that’s a skill I had the most, is that I’m like a big rock that the waves crash against because no matter how much that fucking wave crashes against me and how big it is, that rock still standing there.
01:15:51 And I took that in that, that I, that that stuck with me and I took that and that’s probably my, my superpower if you will. Gotcha. Thank you for sharing it. And before I ask this last question, judge, I want to say thank you so much for coming on the startup life. You gave amazing value from sharing your philosophies on, on business life. Talked about the blazes a little bit and wanted to make sure I get that in there. But now I want to give the microphone over to you because there’s a person that startup nation that feels stuck in their business or they’re afraid to get started. Now normally I say give them some words of motivation, but I feel like with Jerry Brazy, I need to tell you to give him a little kick in the ass. So Jerry, if you would please, sir, give them a little kick in the ass and tell them them to keep moving forward.
01:16:32 Life [inaudible] is all about excuses. It absolutely is all about excuses and you can, you will, you have to understand human nature. And most of the exactly what you’re talking about. Most of that I see is caused because people are generally passive aggressive. And so you have to, if you’re stuck in your job, if you’re stuck in your life, if you’re stuck in a relationship, if you’re stuck in your business and you feel stuck, it’s your fault. And so everything, if I could say one thing to everybody, everything is your fault. We all make excuses. Again, culture today is that nothing is my fault. Everything is the man’s fault. Everything’s cause my teacher. Fuck me, everything’s cause the boss hates me. Everything is somebody else’s. My parents were shitty. I was a poor kid from the streets. Every excuse for bad behavior is somebody else’s fault.
01:17:22 And success starts when you take responsibility for everything. So in my case, if one of my drivers go out and rex one of my trucks, right? I look at it and go, that’s my fault. So when it’s your fault, you look at it much deeper and you go, what can I do different? Can I put a camera on the front of that truck? Can I put signage on that truck? So he sees that the overhangs, you know, 15 feet instead of 18 feet, what can I do? Can I raise the seats? Can I move them forward? What can I put more mirrors? What are all of the things that I can do to, to, to mitigate what happened with that accident from happening again? So, but that’s very hard to do because we as humans, you’ve got to understand who we are and what human nature is.
01:18:03 We do two things on this front. We love to bitch, right? We love to blame other people. And then we love to commiserate with other people who are blaming other people. And once you start doing that, you’re down a path that you, it’s hard to come back from. So I think if I were to give anybody one piece of advice, be it the person wanting to move up in their job or the entrepreneur that’s in a startup that’s frustrating the shit out of them. I would say this, take responsibility for everything and then act on that to make changes. So that doesn’t mean, it doesn’t mean that you’re yelling at Billy because Billy didn’t do for you what you wanted. It means that you figure out why Billy didn’t do what you wanted by taking responsibility for it and talking to him differently the next time, or instructing him or showing him or giving him different tools.
01:18:46 But that’s very difficult to do. In my experience. That is the differentiator between the cans and the cannots or the cans and the struggles. And just because you can doesn’t mean you’re going to be successful inherent in this game of life. And particularly in business is failure. And so you can’t let failure stop you. You’ve got to continue and move forward, learn from it, be be a introspective about it, figure out what you did wrong and then go forward. I’ve made seven figure mistakes on multiple occasions cause I was just too dumb. I didn’t know any better. And so I made seven figure mistakes. I didn’t lose an ounce of sleep. I got up the next morning, I put my fucking feet on the ground. I walked out of home and I went to work. And by going to work I said to myself, what did I do wrong?
01:19:31 Okay, I made this seven figure mistake. Don’t do that again. Fix it and try to turn them into a seven. Figure a [inaudible] seven figure successes. But I have multiple ones of those all my fault, all my responsibility. And yet on two of them, I had nothing to do with it. So you’ve got to take responsibility for everything you do that that’s a key to getting out. And don’t be shy of the failures. Yeah. Again, you’ve got to, you know, I say to, to the young guys, you got to hear a hundred nos and maybe 300 nos before you can ever even think about getting a yes. You gotta learn how to take a no and you’ve to not give a fuck. You gotta not care what people think. You gotta not care what people you know, they’re watching me and they’re going to do this, you know, like going to the gym and, and, and I can’t go to the gym cause I’m fatter than everybody else.
01:20:18 And everybody’s looking at me motherfuckers, nobody’s looking at you. Go to the chimp. Nobody cares, right? Everybody else has got their own God damn problems worrying about everybody else. There’s no value in that. So I guess combined, I would put all of that together and just learn from your failures. Make your mistakes. Don’t be scared of mistakes. This is how the game is played. And then take responsibility for everything regardless of whether or not you control it. Figure out a way that you impacted it. And I promise you, if you’re starting a McDonald’s and you want to move up, or you are an entrepreneur that’s got a business that’s just getting off ground, or you’re an experienced entrepreneur and you’ve hit a Rut and you don’t know why, take responsibility for everything. It’s, it’s my magic elixir. But that takes you know, takes a big ego.
01:21:03 Dominick, that’s the other thing for sure. Big, big Egos in business today, in, in, in culture gets gets gets, you know, looked down upon. But so I have a big ego, which just means that my feelings can’t be hurt. And then I’m humble on the other side. I remember where I come from and that’s a very powerful combination as opposed to a small ego. The Small Eagle can be hurt very easily. So I disagree. I think you want to have a big ego and be humble. And those two things combined are powerful tools, particularly when you add in that everything is your fault.
01:21:32 Gotcha. Thank you so much for sharing that empowered speech, man. I really appreciate it. And that’s going to conclude this session of the startup life. Jerry, thank you so much. Did you enjoy being on the show, my friend? Dude, it was a good time. I appreciate it. No worries, no worries. I started a nation. So here’s my final tape. There are different types of archetypes when it comes to entrepreneurs, right? And Jerry Brazier archetype is the no nonsense, straight to the point style that really gets things done. I really love his very candid, open and honest and very transparent approach to entrepreneurship. You know, he said many great things from not only just using your experience to kind of fuel your path to entrepreneurship, but also thought of Nice and just having the, just having the notion of just like, I’m just gonna make this thing work.
01:22:17 And I think that is very powerful when it comes to starting our businesses or even scaling our businesses as well. Jerry Brazy is somebody I would definitely like to have back on the show. If you want to let us know what you think about the show, have an idea for a show topic or like to advertise on our show. Please send us a message on the startup life podcast Facebook page and why you are there like and follow our page as well is a way for us to engage with the startup nation and really grow our community. The link is here in the show notes. Subscribe to the show as can be now be heard on apple podcasts, Google play, stitcher radio, Spotify, or whatever your favorite platform to get your podcast on. If you’re listening to all apple podcast and you find our content valuable, please give us a five star rating as it will help us climb the charts to help more people find our show. Also, don’t forget to sign for the startup life all access pass to get exclusive content. This is exclusively on the bench podcast networks patrion page and hey, if you have an idea, be about that life there. Start apply
01:23:54 Hey, start a nation looking for the extra content. Well, you know, I aim to please. Here you go.
01:23:58 One of the reasons I wrote this book, it was called [inaudible]. Most of the CEOs I work with send their college aged kids to me when they can’t figure out what they want to do. And I’ve had to determine a way I can take one hour and explain how a career works. And if you look at my book, I have all these hidden hand drawings in there that I use, and one of them is the family career tree because there’s four things in the impact. Your career, your parents, your peers, profit and passion.
01:24:21 That startup nation is Michael Allen Tate, author of the white shirt. So if you want to get that episode as soon as it’s available, go ahead and subscribe to the startup life podcast on any of your favorite podcast platforms. So that way when the episode with Michael is available, it’d be right there waiting for you. But until then, startup nation, get outta here. You got a company to grow.