194. What my middle-class father taught me that set me up for generational wealth

In today’s episode, Nick talks about the impact his father had on his life and career. Nick comes from a middle-class family; they didn’t struggle for money, but they also didn’t own investment properties or have much saved up. But because of the lessons his father taught him, Nick was set up to create generational wealth. He is not self-made, but boosted by his father’s wisdom and advice.

Any time Nick would ask his father advice or a question, he wouldn’t just tell him what to do. His father would ask him 3-4 questions that would get Nick’s mind thinking, then say “well, it sounds like you have the answer already”. This frustrated Nick so much, but it taught him two major lessons that he’s kept with him ever since.

First, it taught him that no matter how high up someone is in leadership or how much power they hold, no one knows the answers to everything. In leadership, there’s rarely a definite right or wrong answer, but rather figuring it out along the way. In school, we’re all taught there’s a right answer to everything, to ask the teacher or read in the book to find the answer. But what most people find out much later in life is that in leadership and decision making it’s all about figuring out the best option and the best way to do something.

You can’t just learn the right way to do everything, but you can learn how to make better decisions. Nick’s father taught him just that. He taught him how to think differently about decisions, to ask himself questions and frame his mind to come up with the best outcome possible. This resourcefulness gives anyone the confidence it takes to start a business. You can be in any sticky situation in business, and have the resourcefulness to make the best decision for your company.

The second thing Nick’s did was teach him about business at a young age. When Nick was 13, the company his father worked for lost their lawn man and needed a new one. His father took this opportunity to teach Nick all about business. He sat him down and got him to come up with a price estimate for mowing all the lawns they owned, come up with a bid and pitch it to the owner. It didn’t go well on the first day as Nick didn’t know how to properly mow the lawn and he was miserable. His dad saw him and comforted him, telling him to stick it out for 2 weeks until he got his first paycheck, and not to quit.

He sat Nick down and had him come up with a profit/loss statement to see how much money he needed to make. He had Nick lease the family lawn mower, pay his mom for gas to get to and from the properties, just to see what it was like to run and operate a business. They called several lawn care companies to get estimates and Nick realized he was massively undercharging, so he came up with a higher price and the owner accepted it. Through high school he ended up running a pretty successful lawn care business and hired an older student to drive him to houses and weed eat, making the time much more profitable.

All of this gave Nick a different perspective on life. He looked at businesses in a different lens, learning how they ran, what they payed employees, how they made profit, and how to approach business differently. This culminated when Nick saw a storage company at his college with a lot of business and was able to calculate how much profit they made in a year. He realized they did a lot of their work inefficiently and barely marketed themselves, so he and his partner decided to launch their own student storage company that eventually grew and grew into the successful Storage Squad. His business was started because of his father, and it’s successful because of the lessons he learned from his father.

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About Me

I started the Sweaty Startup in December of 2018 because I believe the Shark Tank and Tech Crunch culture is ruining the real spirit of low-risk entrepreneurship.