How I leveled up as an entrepreneur (and what I regret)

A few business thoughts before we dive into the meet and potatoes:

Thought #1:

Most successful people have no idea what they’re doing.

They’re simply figuring it out as they go along. The sooner you realize this the sooner you’ll be able to become successful!

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Thought #2:

A sure-fire way to get really far in life (and make a lot of money):

Be easy to work with.

Rock solid, respectful, reasonable, consistent and dependable.

People do business with people they like.

I’ve changed as a businessman over the years, for the better.

I started scrappy.

I was extremely resourceful and very frugal. Frugal to an extreme to where I wouldn’t invest in quality tools, equipment, etc.

Any slippage within the company was anxiety producing so we stayed too lean and I did a ton of work myself. I didn’t fully understand that an employee doing a job 80% as well as I could do it meant I could scale my efforts through hiring and get 100x or 1000x as much done with a team as I could do myself.

It wasn’t really a choice, my old student storage company was a hard business and a brutal business model. We didn’t have much profit to go around and we literally couldn’t afford to do things how I do them now.

My method of extreme frugality and scrappiness was the only way to make the business work.

I didn’t know any better and just thought all business was like that.

I look back on a lot of the decisions I made and cringe. A lot of the shortcuts. Not hiring a person here or there because I thought I was “better off doing it myself to save the $15 per hour.”

I’ve changed now, for the better:

First of all, I’m in a better business.

A real estate private equity firm is a way better business than a student moving and storage company. We can charge good money for our services and we can afford to attract and keep great people.

I’m better at spotting businesses where I can compete on speed and quality but not price. Remember, you can’t win at all three and most companies choose to be the cheapest and not the best or the fastest.

I’ve learned that you don’t need every customer to build a great business. You don’t need to make a deal with the cheap guy who cares only about cost and will beat you down on price till the end of time.

You can build a business without him and go find a customer who is willing to pay a fair price for a very very good service.

I’m less frugal and trust my gut more when it comes to investments and spending money to make things happen.

I can make things happen much quicker at 80% as good as if I would have done it myself. But I can have hundreds of employees working at the same time while I am not required to do any one function in the business for it to continue thriving.

I spend 90% of my time chasing down talent and hiring folks who can come in and do what they do best for me.

And I can scale myself much quicker and more efficiently. The business can grow beyond me rather fast.

I’m still frugal, but if I spend $5k on a premium domain or waste $10k in a failed experiment I don’t think twice.

I’m better at picking good businesses and executing a repeatable playbook and plan.

Building a team fast is expensive. You have to hire ahead of revenue at times and accept the slippage and inefficiency that comes with growth.

I have money in my bank account now and frankly it is much easier to do business with 7 figures in the account vs 4 figures or less.

Not that it is easy, but it is much much easier when you’re comfortable investing and spending money to make money.

I spend almost all of my time recruiting and attracting top talent and then giving them the tools to do their jobs well.

My employees have employees, which didn’t really happen until year 5 of my first business. I can feel the evolution taking place quicker now.

Moving further towards an investor and less a technician.

I’m better at making decisions and I can make them quicker and more efficiently with incomplete information. Business, after all, is nothing but one decision after another.

The only way to get better at making decisions is a ton of practice, and I’ve sure as hell got my reps in over the years. And the feedback has been exceptionally valuable.

As an entrepreneur when you make a poor decisions and it costs you money you have nobody to blame but yourself. Not your employees. Not your customers. Not the economy.

It’s on you.

I’ve gotten feedback on thousands of decisions. I’ve learned what works when dealing with people. I’ve learned my weaknesses when I need to get a second opinion.

I’ve learned that the cheapest vendor isn’t always the best. In fact – it is rarely the best.

I no longer use the cheapest laborers, cheapest vehicle wraps, cheapest screen printer on the cheapest shirts…

This is how I leveled up as an entrepreneur.

I no longer step over dollars to pick up pennies. I’m not afraid to invest in things like SEOweb developmentrecruiting services, quality equipment, quality people and other things that really accelerate a business in the early days.

I move fast and get things done and spend money to make them happen and build a team.

Can you relate to all of this? How have you evolved as an entrepreneur over the years?

Onward and upward,


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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.