Assholes, leverage and the way the world works

I got interviewed on the My First Million podcast last week and it changed my life. I gave a breakdown of my earnings, revenue profit and loss for my 5+ businesses. Listen here. The outreach from folks has been mind-blowing and a lot of exciting opportunities are coming my way – I’ll share more soon!

One quick word before we dive in:

Big news: I acquired an ownership stake in a property insurance brokerage. We’re starting with self storage and multifamily and gathering 15-20 operators in each space to get economies of scale before going to carriers to negotiate better insurance terms and premiums.

If you own self storage or multifamily real estate assets and want to save on insurance, please join us.

We’ve already gathered over $750 million worth of self storage and $550 million worth of multifamily. We’ll attack industrial, hotels, short term rentals, retail and other asset classes later this year. Click here to fill out a form and join us.

How you know you’ve made it:

You get to stop doing business with assholes.

No asshole clients. No asshole partners. No asshole investors.

In the early days, when you’re hungry, you have to do what you have to do.

Bend over backwards for customers. Deal with disrespectful partners. Take investments from folks who don’t have the same vision as you do and bend the terms to their liking. You have no leverage. You are the commodity. Others have what you need and you’re forced to play second fiddle.

As you build skill, experience and wealth this slowly shifts. We get the leverage.

And you can start firing the bad customers. Breaking up with the bad partners. And buying out the bad investors.

Not just anyone can do what you can do. So you can negotiate more for yourself. Others need us more than we need them. Firing one customer won’t brake us. We don’t depend on any one person or one decision maker who rules supreme over our business or our life.


This leverage means nothing if you don’t know how to use it. If you’re too insecure to recognize your value and begin training other people how to treat you.

Theres a concept. “Nick, wtf do you mean train other people how to treat me?”

It’s true. People treat you how you train them to treat you. They get away with whatever you allow them to get away with. They repeat whatever you allow.

If you allow customers to walk all over you, you’ll attract more customers who walk all over you. If you play the games when one of your investors beats you up at the finish line of a deal to take more ownership for themselves and do another deal with them, what do you think will happen? If an employee disrespects you in a meeting or doesn’t show up 3 days in a row but you need them so there are no repercussions what type of culture do you think you’ll build inside your business?

It’s your job as a business owner (and as a human) to set expectations on what it’s like to work with you.

Here is what you can expect from me and here is what I expect from you. There will be no mistreatment or games. If you play them, this won’t last.

Another tip:

Minimize the number of individuals who have the power to disrupt your life.

I have a friend who built a very successful real estate company on the back of a single, large, wealthy investor. One day the investor made a decision to stop investing in his company and everything stopped. No more deals. No more acquisitions. Disrupted everything.

I have another friend who has one big client who made up 75% of the revenue for her design agency. One day some executive at that company made a single decision that crushed her business. She was fine and laid off a few people and started rebuilding, but it was a disaster at the time.

Set yourself up so one person doesn’t hold the leverage over your business. If one investor backs out, you’re fine. If one customer leaves, you’re fine. If a partner wants to change up the terms and dick you over at the finish line, you lean on another partner.

This is when you can make the “no asshole rule.”

As soon as somebody proves that they are an asshole, you can fire them and move along. Your life won’t be disrupted. It is a good feeling and a way to live a stress-free life.

Everybody wants what you have to offer but there isn’t enough of you to go around. So you get to be very picky about the type of person and the type of opportunity you get involved with. Your leverage increases even more. You get even better at what you do and your skill develops.

And you work on better stuff. Making even more money. You cut out even more jerks. You get even better.

Then your leverage goes up again and you level-up once more. And again.

And the snowball continues to roll down the hill.

That’s all for now – talk soon.


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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.