This is a full replay of my guest interview on The Fort podcast with my friend and mentor Chris Powers. We talk about life, being a good parent, managing loss, and impacting people. After the interview was released I had a ton of people reach out to me and tell me how valuable it was for them to listen to.
Chris and I go beyond business, but he was the first person to say to me that you can’t build a real estate private equity company that can last without charging fees. He showed that to be successful in a downturn, you need to be able to operate month to month without making deals. It’s been a long time now since we’ve had high deal volume, and we’re still able to keep the lights on, and that’s more than others can say.
People who aren’t charging enough have no game plan on how to succeed in scaling their employees. The amount of life-changing deals that you’ll find in your career in real estate can be counted on one hand, and you have two options: you can hope and pray that those deals will come and that you can work and land them, or you can find a way to build a company around doing normal deals. Everybody makes real estate sound complex, but amazing things happen just through time. Being active feels awesome, but the best strategy is to build something sustainable, capitalize on normal deals, and let time pass.
Chris and I chatted about how I recently started a business with my dad, he having lost his father eleven years ago. My dad’s influence on me has been immeasurable. He came from a traumatic childhood full of physical and emotional abuse, and I didn’t know about it until I was raised and out of the house. My dad was strong enough to break the cycle of abuse, as I was raised to be strong and confident in myself through him. It’s the biggest blessing that I’ve experienced in my life. My dad properly balanced discipline, mentorship, and teachings as a parent.
When I was 13 my dad sat me down at the dinner table, showed me how a P&L statement worked, and got me a gig mowing lawns on a commercial property. I had no real idea how business worked or what money was, all I knew was that it was 98 degrees outside and I was sweating. I cried within my first hour on the job and wanted to quit. My dad told me that we needed to finish the summer and that either I was mowing those lawns or he was.
After that miserable first day, I went home and sent out invoices for $180 of work that night, and all of a sudden I was hooked. I didn’t complain anymore, I wanted even more jobs. This was years before my friends would be making minimum wage in fast food, and I felt like a king. Within six months, I was paying a high school student to drive me to and from the job. It was a very radical thing that most parents would call crazy, but it made entrepreneurship not seem scary to me.
My dad was a VP of construction by trade, working for a successful developer. He eventually felt burned out and wanted to come work for me, but the time wasn’t quite right and I didn’t have the volume to hire him. A couple of years later, he called me and said that he had just quit his job, and I told him immediately that he was on our payroll starting today.
I’m so fortunate to be able to give back to my dad and work together with him again. He taught me about entrepreneurship, he raised me well, and I wouldn’t have had any success if he hadn’t sat down that day and taught me about the P&L.
Both of my parents shaped my resourceful and hard-working personality. I grew up on a 200-acre farm, and my dad didn’t have a lot but knew how to work with what he had. My mom’s side practiced extreme frugality no matter their wealth, practicing a real depression-era mindset. We didn’t go without, and I even thought we were comfortable. I didn’t realize there was a different side of the world full of privilege and familial wealth until I went to college and saw how other people had been raised, and I was still pinching pennies when I started my first company as a college student.
My dad and I started a brokerage to help people sell their businesses. I’ve realized lately that I have the chance to build an empire if I continue to work and take chances. I don’t want to look back at the network and resources I have right now and say that I did nothing with them. So I’ve built a machine that can spin up a company very quickly, meaning I can set up the LLC, a website, a CRM, and a bank account to get things rolling. I can go from concept to execution in 2 weeks, but they’ll all take years to develop. And then my superpower is that in just one tweet or email I can generate a ton of leads for my businesses. My current umbrella holds Bolt Storage, RE Cost Seg, a web development company, a pay-per-click marketing company, an SEO company, and a property insurance company.
It makes me really happy to see that my dad has found his thing. He’s insanely talented but didn’t get the same opportunity as I did growing up without the internet. The guy is a killer, he’s having a blast, and it’s a ton of fun. And if the business succeeds, he will have been the one to build it. He expressed how impressed he is with what I’ve built and told me how proud he is of me and how he can’t believe it. He worked so hard to get through for me to have a better life, and now he’s seeing the fruits of that labor. Wealth is a generational game, and his efforts helped me take a giant step forward.
It can be hard to display the struggle for my children in this kind of environment. Money helps things, but that doesn’t stop the struggles of life. I firmly believe that if you raise your kids with everything and don’t get them used to struggling that when life smacks them in the face they’re going to crumble unless they have practice. I want my kids to be able to practice making decisions when the stakes are low, and then they make bad decisions that are theirs to deal with. They won’t be getting bailed out. My kids are going to learn how to struggle with grace. Too many parents have all the means and resources at their hands and want to protect their kids from struggling, but not me.
My wife and I are wired differently, and that’s a good thing. She’s wired to support our kids unconditionally. I believe that my role as a dad is to be feared when I need to be feared, to give them the right discipline, and to teach them that they can’t just do whatever they want whenever they want. I give them tons of love and support too, but I still let them struggle.
At their core, everybody wants to know that they have what it takes and that they’re seen. The answer is that we all have what it takes, and I want my kids to know that. The world is designed to make us feel like we don’t have what it takes, and that knocks people down.
At the opposite end, when you find success it’s easy to look at yourself as a god, even though it can all go away in an instant. I have the opportunity to be a model of handling it well, but it’s hard to avoid the power trip. I know that I need to stay focused, but that still takes encouragement. There is a huge opportunity to be the guy who has everything and handles it well and model that type of behavior.
The holding company, and the various businesses under my umbrella, have been a really fun level of chaos. Bold SEO is one of our success stories, and my brother was our first client. When I tweeted about my brother’s results after using us, we had 140 leads come in within 240 hours. Our sales guy got 81 calls booked, and the company is getting $80K a month in recurring revenue now just three months into operations. It’s absolute chaos, and I love it. I honestly believe that in 10 years these are going to be some real $50M businesses.
Check Chris Power’s The Fort Podcast: https://shorturl.at/dkuxT
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Here are the links to my businesses: Business Brokerage – https://nickhuber.com/ Personal Brand – https://sweatystartup.com/ Self Storage – https://boltstorage.com/ Bold SEO – https://boldseo.com/ Insurance – https://titanrisk.com/ Recruiting – https://recruitjet.com/ Landing Page / Web Development – https://webrun.com/ Overseas Staffing – https://supportshepherd.com/ Debt and Equity – https://bluekeycapital.com/ Tax Credit – https://taxcredithunter.com/ Cost Segregation – https://recostseg.com/ Performance Marketing – https://adrhino.com/ Pest control – https://spidexx.com/