Joe: Cool. Paul, a question I have is … This interview is not of me. My pet peeve is interviewers that talk too much. I try to say as little as I can.
Paul: No problem.
Joe: I’ve been running this small business since ’21 and when you run something long enough to start to think about what would it be like to run something else, and so I had an app business that I tried to get off the ground a number of years back and it was a big fat fail. The failure that comes to mind for me when we think about failures.
Joe: But I think that question that still is there for me is what is it like running other businesses because you can look at your own business and say, man, this is hard, and you can look across the way at other industries, other types of businesses, and it looks easier. Are they all the same, Paul?
Paul: That’s a great question. That’s a really good question. I think that everybody has the same insight that you do. I had it. God, there’s got to be something easier, especially in the business you’re in. That’s a fricking hard business, like marketing and advertising. Anyway, I would get into all the downsides of it. The upsides are great if you can find the right team around you and the right client, and that’s when lightning in a bottle happens, but that happens one in 100 times and the other 99 I call it kissing frogs.
Paul: So, throughout my career I often thought like you did, wouldn’t it be easier if. It’d be so much easier if. It’d be so much easier if. And honestly, business is the same different bucket. I said it earlier, every business is difficult. It’s got its own set of challenges, its own set of opportunities, its own set of headwinds. I’ve never been in a business that’s been easy and I’ve been in 16, 17 of them. None of them are easy. Some of them are easier than others, but they’re all under the characteristic of hard.
Paul: And I guess the universe has set it up to be that way because if it was easy everyone would do it, right?
Paul: Being an entrepreneur requires a resilience trait and thick-skinned trait, and a risk aptitude that the general population just doesn’t have. So, the one thing I will say that has been good about it is the variety, as opposed to showing up every day and baking the same donuts, what’s been cool for me as I’m starting to get to the age of looking at it and having hindsight is being involved in so many different types of businesses.
Paul: That’s just cool in and of itself, because you start to see patterns. You start to see patterns in people. You start to see patterns in geography, in business development strategies, and marketing. So, I think it’s actually healthy to be involved if you’re an entrepreneur in other things whether it’s an investor or an advisor or something, because it just gives you a much better insight into the business that you’re in because if you own and operate a business like you say since you’ve been 21 it starts to feel a little like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. You wake up and it’s the same different day, and same problem, same issues, and all that stuff.
Paul: And just having a perspective, even vested perspective, in other business environments, A, I think you have a value to offer to them as a shareholder, or as an advisor, that they don’t get every day that’s reciprocal because you don’t get to give it every day and you get from it as you give. So, I think it’s healthy, but jumping from one race car to another doesn’t make the race any easier. It just means that you have to understand the vehicle and how it will be manipulated in order for it to win.
Joe: I just appreciate that perspective, because you’ve got a couple years on me, that ability to say I’ve worked in 16, 17 businesses and they’re all hard. That’s cool to hear that because that’s the way it seems as I get older.
Paul: Yeah. One thing I will say, Joe, and not in a script, but I’ll offer it up as a thought to you or to anyone that’s watching this down the line. One of the things that I did early in my career that I think was exponential in terms of value is I joined an organization called YPO. It was 2004, so it was 17 years ago. I wouldn’t been 31, 32 years old, and that took my career path in an exponential trajectory because you sit with a group, now I’m not advocating everybody stop the press and go join YPO. For me, it’s the best organization in my mind that’s out there, but there’s tons of them out there. Tons of great ones out there, EEO, and Wallace McCain … What do they call it? The McKay Institute. President’s Club.
Paul: There’s tons of them that are out there and obviously you have to do your own research as to which one best fits you and where you’re at with your career stage, life stage, but when I joined YPO and I’m in a room of eight to ten people who really give a about me and my wellbeing and my family’s wellbeing, and they act like your board of directors, and everyone shares knowledge every single month.
Paul: So, there’s enough of these organizations out there that there’s room for everybody who’s an entrepreneur in them. And the biggest thing I’ll say about being an entrepreneur, even if you have partners, it’s insanely lonely. It’s a very perilous, lonely … It feels like the world is resting on your shoulders. Again, even if you have partners someone is always the lead boulder pusher, right? And if you stop pushing the boulder you feel like it’s going to roll back and crush you.
Paul: Having people around you that can make sense of your world there’s not been one move of consequence that I ave made in the last 17 years that I haven’t shared with my forum. Everything I do of consequence I do a presentation. They look at it. They go “That’s a stupid idea. Don’t do it,” or “That’s a great idea. Here’s how to make sure that you do it and you actually succeed when you do it.” So, getting involved in a group and then committing to the group and they committing to you.
Paul: Not for a two year period, because that magic happens over time, but finding a group like that that you belong in, and are like-minded individuals, and you have a genuine care for each other in your group that for me is one of the top takeaways in business.