“Hey, Dad, want to be on my podcast?” 

My Dad has never been on a podcast, but he HAS been an entrepreneur for over 25+ years!

 

I always learn something insightful whenever we talk, and so when he was in town, I convinced him to come on The Not For Lazy Marketers Podcast and drop some truth bombs! 

 

After starting 4 wildly successful businesses, he has A LOT of fascinating insights on business and entrepreneurial life.

 

We go deep into…

  • What he wished he would have known when he started. 
  • How to build a business that fits your skills and desired lifestyle 
  • The mindset he attributes to his consistent success as an entrepreneur. 
  • How he learned what to do and what not to do in his own business. 
  • Oh, and PLENTY of embarrassing stories from when I was a kid. 

 

This is a fun episode and a rare glimpse at what it really means to be an entrepreneur. 

 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received from a parent figure or mentor? DM me at @EmilyHirsh I’d love to know!

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READ THE EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Intro: One of our company’s values is speed is queen. And I instill that in our team and I have talked about it on the podcast.  It used to be something that I used to feel like I had to tone down. I don’t want to scare people with how fast I move or, or freak employees out. But then I realized this is our superpower. Because we execute so insanely.

 

 You are listening to the, not for lazy marketers podcast,  episode number 388. 

 

Emily: Hello my friends, welcome back to the podcast. I have a super fun treat for you guys today. For  those of you guys who have been long time followers, I think you’ll really appreciate this. My dad is in  town and I asked, ‘Hey dad, do you wanna be on my podcast? And he said, ‘sure, what do I have to  do?’

So I am bringing on my dad, Dave, and he’s an entrepreneur who obviously raised me and knows a lot  about me. I thought it’d be fun to do a quick interview with him and have him give some of his best  advice from his experience as an entrepreneur. And maybe also share some secrets about me as a kid, I don’t know.

 

So welcome dad to the podcast.

 

Dad: Thank you very much. This is my first podcast. 

 

Emily: He was asking, are we gonna be on video too?

 

So I am so excited. All right. Let’s dive in first.

So you’ve been an  entrepreneur ever since I can remember. I remember a little bit when you had a job, but all my life growing  up, you were an entrepreneur. I always say I got the entrepreneur gene from my dad. So tell  everybody just a little bit about you and your business that you have right now. 

 

Dad: It started when I was about 10 years old and I started going up and down this street with a lawnmower  knocking on people’s doors for them to hire me to mow their lawn. 

 

Emily: Yeah, we have that in common.

 

Dad: Currently I run two construction companies. One, we do new construction in Northern California  and the other one, we focus on water damage, mold damage, fire damage and clean up. 

 

Emily: Yep. So when I was really little, my dad had a job. You worked for shell oil.

 

Dad: That’s correct.

 

Emily: And that  was your corporate job. And I don’t even think I know the answer to this, but what made you go  start your own business and leave that job officially?

 

Dad: Uh, really, it was an opportunity. I had completed 10 years with shell oil and in my last year I was  employee of the year. And at the same time they were trying to downsize and they offered me three weeks every year. So I had 30 weeks of basically paid time. 

 

Emily: Wow

 

Dad: And I used that time to start my first business after college which was a Remediation company. Construction. Yeah. Yeah. 

 

Emily: All right. And so I remember a little bit of your job growing up, but then mostly I  remember going to work with you at your office and watching you as an entrepreneur. But I really  believe it’s like we’re born this way.

Right?

Like we didn’t just watch our parents do this and then  become entrepreneurs. Like we didn’t know another way 

I just was driven and I think that’s the big thing, being driven to try and do better. And you know, just  strive for more than what you know, what you have just continue to reach out and if you want something, you have to go out and get it and you have to make it happen. 

 

Emily: Yeah. All right. So let’s start with some advice for people around being an entrepreneur. You’ve  obviously been one way longer than me. So what would you say? 

 

My dad has  prepared 0% for this podcast interview. So my off the cuff questions for himare going to be very raw  and transparent. What would you say is like your top one or two pieces of advice for entrepreneurs?  Like what mistakes have you learned from that? Now, looking back, you’re like, this is what I would’ve  told myself when I was 27 or an early entrepreneur that you’ve  learned. 

 

Dad: Well, there’s a lot to that. The first thing I would say is it’s okay to take a risk, especially when  you’re younger. I felt like I was a huge risk taker. In fact, I know you can take a risk and  you have to work hard. It’s not an easy thing, nothing in life is easy. And especially starting a business, you have  to work very hard, stay focused. I just believe hard work pays off.

When you talk  about mistakes, one of the biggest things when I look back, I wish I didn’t do, especially when I was  raising a family, I wish I didn’t worry so much. I don’t know if you can help that or not, but, you  know, lots of nights of just thinking about the next day, and what I have to do? Is the  business gonna be there? I’ve been in business for a long time. I don’t  stress as much anymore just because I’ve kind of been around and I don’t worry when the  business gets slow. There’s ups and downs, just continue, stay focused.

That’s my advice.

I’ve started four major businesses and all of them have been successful and I just attribute it to just staying focused and working hard. 

 

Emily: Yeah. Yeah. I totally agree. So you sold two, right. Sold two  businesses, and then you have two right now. Right? So any advice there on that, because that’s a whole  different thing. I’ve never sold a business, that’s a whole different experience, but like growing a business to  sell it and then starting a new one. And just any lessons that you learned over that experience.

 

Dad: You know, some of this is just, I don’t, I believe in luck. After  college, because I had other small businesses, but the first major business after college, the business  continued to grow every year; it doubled in size for four years. And at some point I think I talked to  one of my suppliers and said, you know, if someone offered me a certain price, I would take it.

Two  weeks later, three businessmen showed up, knocking on my door saying, ‘Hey, we heard you want to sell  your business.’ And they offered me a price that I couldn’t refuse. And I sold it. I was really lucky  because I did all of it myself. I didn’t have an attorney. We wrote up the documents, I signed  everything like I knew what I was doing and I probably didn’t. I’m lucky that they didn’t take  advantage of me, but I sold it. And so that was my first business. And after that, I  had to stay out of construction. So I got into, believe it or not, the web business. And, that was really  fun and exciting. But, it was not as rewarding as construction. So after about five years, my  non-compete ended and I started another construction company. 

 

Emily: Yeah, yeah. That’s so funny, you were in like web development, I remember that a lot as you  go into your office and, and remember being around that, but you’re not an office guy at all. Like you are  outside active all the time using your hands. 

 

Dad: I’m a working CEO. That’s what’s nice about my position. I can do whatever I want during  the day, but I like to go out in the field. I don’t mind picking up a hammer, so to speak, and getting  dirty, but then the next day I’m dressed up and I’m meeting potential clients or vendors or suppliers.  

I really enjoy working with all of my staff and vendors that I work with. I think that looking back on it I would say whatever you do, whatever you start, you really have  to enjoy it. If you don’t, what is all this for?

 

You have to enjoy it. 

 

Emily: So you’ve built four successful companies you provided for us growing up, you’ve been super successful.  What would you say is the reason why entrepreneurs are successful and some aren’t  cuz obviously some do work hard and then something happens and it doesn’t work out. I know you do  believe in some luck there, but I know you’ve  witnessed people who haven’t had successful businesses. What do you think is one of the biggest  things that causes that differentiation in success? And I have an answer I can add after I  hear yours, but what would you say to that? 

 

Dad: Well, I learned early on when I was in shell, I actually read a book called The Eighth and I really  enjoyed that book. It talked about why businesses start and why businesses fail and how many,  what percentage of businesses fail, which I think 80% fail in the first year. And then another 80% that  survive, fail in the second year.

 Why is that, you know, I think people lose focus. In some cases,  I’ve worked with hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of franchisees when I was with Shell Oil  company. And I noticed a lot of it was, they were set in their ways. They weren’t open to course  correct and open to new ideas. If something you’re doing doesn’t work, stop it and do  something else. And don’t be afraid to take that risk to do it.

If it’s not working, don’t sail off the cliff. That’s what I still say even today, if somebody has an  idea, even if it’s one of my laborers, it’s the best idea wins. And it’s great when we have a set of tasks that we’re doing and someone says, Hey, we should do this, I instantly go,  we’re doing this. So we  do that instead. There’s no pride, it’s whatever works  and, and you just use whatever tools you have. I am a big, uh, fan of listening to other ideas. In grade school, it was copying and, today it’s being an entrepreneur. 

 

Emily: I love that. See, we did not plan for this. And I’m here with similarities in the way that I lead  my team too, where I’m constantly looking for ideas from the team on the front lines who have that  Intel. And it’s not about me coming in and saying, ‘hey guys, this is exactly what we’re gonna do. And I’m  always right.’ It’s about me coming in, and creating this space for that collaboration. But to answer  that, I love how you said focus. You don’t know this because I don’t think you listen to my podcast, but I  talk all the time about focus and, and in marketing terms, it’s one funnel, one offer, one business until  you at least get to a million dollars is what I teach. I spend a lot of time and my team spends a  lot of time convincing business owners to not have three things they’re trying to do at one time and only  do all those. 

Okay. But my other answer to this, I think is grit. It’s the difference between people who succeed and  don’t succeed. An idea is one thing then there’s the execution and the follow through. That’s  the other thing. And like you said, at the beginning this is not easy. If anybody signed up to be an  entrepreneur because they wanted the easy way out, like, yes, so much freedom comes with it. And so many positives, but it is not easy. And people who try to sell you on that, aren’t giving you the entire  truth. And I think that’s something you have that I have is we don’t give up. Like we will not give up.  If it becomes obvious it’s a bad idea, then, we won’t keep going on with the bad idea, but we’ll  still get to the end 

As a kid, I think that’s one thing that you and mom like instilled in me, you can have anything you  want, but you have to go get it and you have to work for it. And that’s how I’ve achieved what I have so  far. I attribute a lot of my success to that. So I think there’s a lot of people who, as soon as something  gets hard or they have to invest money in it, or they have to make a hard decision, or it feels like it’s hard they want to quit. They do, or they slow down and they wonder why they haven’t made progress in  three months. I see that a lot with business owners and in marketing. 

 

Dad: So when I was with Shell Oil company, I was very, very fortunate to see a lot of franchisees going in  and out of basically gas stations of these independent owners. I saw how successful businesses work and how not successful businesses struggle. And, many of them failed. I would say it’s paying  attention to details. One thing I learned early on about marketing is that everything you do is marketing. It’s how you dress, how you send an email. It’s not just your  advertising and whatever business you’re in, if you’re into merchandising and just the  cleanliness and how your employees are is a reflection of you. So everything in your life is  marketing. And, those that do it well, really understand that.

 

Emily: I love that. So good. All right.

Let’s pivot a little bit and talk about me as a kid. I get asked all the  time, ‘what made you who you are?’ I mean, you know how I am, and maybe there’s some  stories that would be fun to share, but I am extremely disciplined, and I would love for you  to share just like, what was it like being my dad growing up with that drive? 

 

Dad: Well, it was, it was really fun. You were always driven. You would never be  afraid to say what it is you wanted at an early age. Going out there dragging me along to your  lemonade stands. Always trying to work. It was always business related, creating dinner, a meal, having me go to the store and buying the food that you’re gonna sell  me that next day. It was fun being your dad, all great memories. And I will  also start with going backwards. I’ve never listened to your podcast and I actually don’t really know what  you do and that’s okay. I know you’re good at it

 

Emily: What do you think I do every day

 

Dad: When people ask me, such as  friends back home, I shake my head. I’m like, I  don’t know. It’s marketing of some kind. She helps people. She helps other businesses. She’s doing really good though. She’s really doing good. But that’s about it. I think it has  something to do with Facebook, but I’m not a big fan of Facebook. 

 

Emily: Oh my gosh. That’s so funny.

 

Dad: Did I get it?

 

Emily: I do marketing Facebook ads. Yes, you got it. You’re pretty  close. So I wanna talk about when I was a kid, what would I, I know the answer, but I want  you to tell the stories of, what would I say when you would take me to  school? And I got to be like, maybe seven. Did I wanna be in school? 

 

Dad: No school was a waste of time. You used to tell me on the way to school, you don’t want to go here  because everybody’s goofing around and you were so serious about school and it was a big waste of time.  You actually wanted to go to college. Yeah, and I remember in junior high, you said: ‘why can’t I just skip  junior high and go to dad?

I said, ‘you know what, you’re a little young for that’

 

Emily: I dragged you to junior college 

Dad: oh, that’s right.

Emily: And got us signed up for an  appointment because I wanted to skip high school altogether and go straight to college. Because I thought  that was the most efficient way to go. So I was not a normal kid and I have talked about  this slightly on the podcast before.

When I was younger, I would always be like, ‘what you want to do that, that’s such a waste of time’ 

‘let’s go wash cars and make money or do this productive thing’

 

And it wasn’t always money, remember I used to run and track my food. I was driven wherever I put my mind. It could have been:

I have to take care of her pets this week. And so I’d make like a whole schedule and all these things

 

or it would be making money

or it would be health

or I’d be waking up at 6:00 AM before going to fourth grade and doing workouts on the TV

 

Dad: A lot of it though was centered around taking an idea, it could be simple and then turn out a way to make it a business. And I think some of that may have stemmed from, do you remember you savings system that we set up, and I don’t know where I got it from where you had to take a  percentage of what you made and you had to put it in a long term savings, short-term savings 

 

Emily: And, and you made me pay tax 

Dad: Taxes on. We had a tax

Emily: Mom vetoed that idea

 

Dad: No, I know. But you had it at first and like we had a tax jar, which I charged tax. And  then we were able to use that for family money. Yeah. The taxing had to go away though. My mom  wouldn’t didn’t 

Emily: We didn’t go for that. That’s so funny. Yeah. And so do you feel like you were really purposeful  with me growing up, trying to push the, ‘you can have anything you want and you have to work for it  and you have to work hard’ Did you do things that were like that or do you think it came  from, I honestly don’t know. But do you think it came from me watching you and mom be that way?  Or did you guys purposefully decide like we’re gonna instill this in our kids? 

 

Dad: No, I, I think it was more about just our family dynamics, we were always working.  I’d  work all day. We’d, I’d come home and we would start a project outside. We could be landscaping, building a wall. Whatever it is that we’re doing whether we were fixing up the house, you  know. When we moved to Tahoe, we built the house. but there was always a huge list of things, activities  like what’s next, what’s next. And, I think you, you kind of absorbed both of your parents were very  active and always looking for, opportunity. And, to this day I look for opportunities. I have  people that come by and say, ‘Hey, what do you think of this?’ I’m like, let’s do it. I’ll do it with you. 

 

Emily: Yeah.  

Dad: Most of the time they say, no, I’m too nervous. I can’t do it.

 

Emily: Let’s pause on that. Because you’ve said that twice where you’re like, let’s do it right now. So you  operate and move very fast, right? When you make a decision, how fast do you execute it? 

Dad: I think, I don’t think  it through. I mean, I just have this gut feeling. That’s the right thing to do. And I think for me,  this is more personable. I feel like my whole life I’ve always seen the path and I don’t second guess  myself, I have made mistakes. I’m not going sit here and lie, but I think I’ve had more success by just  making the decision in the now that we’re doing this and if it doesn’t work. Okay, fine. I mean, if you want to  know something that didn’t work. Talk to me, talk to me about oil well. Well, yeah, don’t do it. I bought oil well. 

 

Emily: Well, yeah, I remember that was like a family joke for like two years. And when you find, let’s say, you find a problem, how fast do you move to change it, to execute its  solution? 

 

Dad: I’ll do it instantly. Yeah. If there’s a problem. I mean, I can’t stand it. I will find out what’s the  problem and, and come up with as many ideas. Here, these are the solutions, we could do it right  now. Yeah. I don’t think you can wait on things, especially if it has to do with  your revenue, your reputation. Yep. Bottom line you gotta make a decision. 

 

Emily: Yeah. So one of our core company values is speed is queen. And I instill that in our team and I have talked  about it on the podcast. Like it used to be something that I used to almost be like I have to tone  this down. I don’t want to scare people with how fast I move or freak employees out. But then  I realize, like, this is our superpower because we execute so insanely quickly. And when there’s a  problem, we fix it. When we find something, we could do better. It’s like, we’re doing it tomorrow.  And so clearly that I got from my dad and my mom’s like that too. I think that it’s such a key because a lot of people take, I mean, it drives me crazy. It’s like they decide something and  two weeks later there’s been no progress. And I just do not understand. 

 

Dad: Right. I like to think about it as like a ship. The business you’re running is a ship, it’s a big ship and you need to course correct. It takes a long time to turn that ship, but run  your business as nimble as possible. Even if you’re growing and big, don’t be afraid to run it. Like smaller  businesses are nimble. They can, yeah. They’ll shift a couple times in a day. If they need to, like, yeah,  let’s do this. It doesn’t work. Um, and no matter what size my business is, I always shift, you know, as  quick as I can. 

Emily: Yeah. And not being afraid, combining that with not being afraid to mess up, what’s the worst that’s gonna happen. You make a mistake, you learn from it. You go to the next thing  and you just keep going. And I think so many people get paralyzed in that fear of making a mistake  or they have to do it perfectly. Or what if it’s the wrong choice? And that really does paralyze your growth  overall

Dad: Yeah. I agree. That’s good. 

 

Emily: All right. So a few more questions. I wanna know what was like the hardest thing about parenting me. 

Dad: You were so damn cute. I couldn’t say no. When you were much younger

Emily:  Yeah. You never got me in trouble. 

Dad: No, I know that was probably a mistake.The hardest thing you were  very driven and if you had a belief, I kind of knew we you’d get your way eventually because you  would prove us wrong that no, this is, this is the best thing for me, or this is the best thing to do. So I  think your drive was, uh, challenging sometimes. Yeah. Yeah. It was, it was great. And it was hard  sometimes. 

Emily: Yeah. I can remember in my head hearing you and mom constantly saying, Emily, you just cannot accept  the answer is no when we say, no, you just do not stop until you get your way. Whether that was like  a sleepover with a friend or whatever, I wanted sign up for a class. Like it didn’t matter. I just was  relentless until you guys gave 

Dad: You continue to come back with convincing arguments until, I mean, how can you say no when you’ve come up with every scenario possible and this is why it’s important. We have to do this. 

 

Emily: I have three younger brothers also, I’m the oldest of four. So anything you wanna share  on like the dynamics of me as the oldest and the boys and, and how that was. 

 

Dad: Well, you were too smart for your britches and, uh, I will say you used to pick on your brothers a lot, a  lot and you’d sit back and stir the pot and watch all the problems happening, the fighting going on. And  you, I think you kind of liked that part of it. 

Emily: Yeah. I’m sure I did. I’m sure I got entertainment out of that. Okay. Looking back, Im curious as a parent now, what’s one thing you would do differently in your parenting. 

Dad: Hmm. That’s really hard to ask me that on the fly.

 

Emily: I know I’m the queen of that, on the fly. 

 

Dad: Yeah. I wish I really took more time to enjoy it. I envy, you know, your family  dynamic. I know you really enjoy your kids. I worked really hard. I put in a lot of hours. Yeah. I still  enjoyed time with, all four of the kids, but I wish I had more time because it goes by  fast. Everyone says, time goes by fast. Life goes by fast and it, and it does. Yeah, I would love to  relive some of that because that, to me it is the best time of my life raising the family. And even though I  worked hard at shell for all those years, those were the years I was raising kids. And, I  wish I had some of those days over

 Dad: Okay. Have two more questions. So I dropped out of college and that was not what you and mom,  especially mom, I would say more so my mom than my dad, what you guys wanted for me. So share what was that like before you knew that I was going to be able to create a successful  business? I know you believed in me, but you guys wanted the best for me. And you thought college  was the right route out. What was that like,  what was going through your head then? Did you think I was gonna totally fail 

 

Dad: No, you didn’t. I never doubted you would be successful. In fact, when you told us, or  you told me first that you weren’t, I think the initial reaction as any parent is, ‘no, you have to go to  school, everyone goes to college.’ It was in the same conversation  that I realized that college today and, and being successful today is totally different than it was in the  past. And I look at a lot of people that are successful, but do not have college degrees. And in my industry in construction, you know, your local plumber probably makes more than your doctor. You can have a wonderful life running a business and you didn’t go to college andou don’t have  all that college debt. So I don’t think it’s a prerequisite to being successful. And so I didn’t really  push you hard at all. 

 

Emily: Mom was a lot more

Dad: She pushed you very hard, but I was very supportive. I think after our first conversation

 

Emily: Did I change your mind at all by watching my journey? This kind of ties into my  last question. You always used to say to me, ‘Emily, you have to play the game before you can break the rules.’ Meaning you have to get a job, you have to go check those boxes and then  you can go start your own business and do it that way, because that’s what you did. And that’s what you  thought was the right path. But I obviously was like, no, and for me, my business was starting to  already take off when I decided to leave college. And I felt, well, I’m not staying in this just for myself at this point. It’s not for me. And it’s costing me money. Did watching my  journey change your mind at all about  what’s possible? 

Dad:Not as much as you, you might think. I still look at my three sons who, you know, they haven’t  finished college, but two of them are still in. As far as what I think about a college degree, it teaches you  how to think. Even though you may not do what your degree is in, it’s still accomplishing. And so I  look at my time in, I majored in economics, but a lot of the classes I took taught me how to problem  solve, how to be successful. I think that that is a lesson that’s very difficult to  learn outside of college and just going straight to work because it’s, whatever you’re presented with, those  are what you are challenged with. And this kind of gives you a more diverse experience. Having said that again, I still  don’t think it’s necessary. If you can go, without debt, don’t go into debt, go to a junior  college and then somewhere else or something. But, I still think for a lot of people it  teaches you life skills. Again it’s not as necessary as it was back when I was a kid. 

 

Emily: Absolutely. And I think my insane drive and discipline is the only reason why I’m able to go get all that  experience without the traditional path. I think like for my brothers, for a few of them, it’s the right  path for them to go to college because they wouldn’t start their business the same way that I did and  throw themselves out there. 

 

Dad: But then you have your oldest brother, his name is Brady. He started in college and he said, ‘Idon’t, I  don’t want to do this’

Emily: Poor mom. She had high hopes. We were all gonna, 

Dad: You guys are a total disappointment. Your next brother, he’s still hanging in there. And your  youngest brother is finishing his first year and who knows? I hope someone’s gonna graduate from college

Emily: It’s actually crazy because he would’ve thought all four of us would’ve, if you look back 20 years ago or something and none of us have yet, but we’re all doing well. We just have different paths 

Dad: No matter what your path it’s okay. You know there’s not a prerequisite. So if you don’t, you  don’t um, I’m more interested in my kids being happy and healthy and successful like you.  

 

Emily: All right. Well thank you so much for this impromptu interview. Is there anything, any last words of  advice you wanna share?

 

Dad: Well, I am very proud of you and I don’t think I tell you that enough, you make me smile. When I  think about you. When I get to tell my friends what you do or what I don’t know about what you do, I’m  still very proud, guessing, regardless of the answer, they can tell that I’m very proud and I’m always  smiling. 

 

Emily: Well, I would not be here without my dad and his drive and example growing up. So thank you for being  on the podcast. I think you’ll listen to this one. I’ll send it to you. All right. Send it to you. You’ll tune in and become a subscriber.

 

Emily Thanks so much everybody. I’ll talk to you on Thursday.

 

Thanks for listening to The Not For Lazy Marketers Podcast. If you loved this episode and want deeper  support with your marketing, head over to helpmystrategy.com to see how Hirsh Marketing can help  take your marketing to the next level, no matter where you’re at today. We help our clients scale faster  than ever, find hidden leaks in their funnel, experiment with new creative marketing strategies, and help  their business explode and be more profitable than they ever dreamed possible. Head over to  helpmystrategy.com and see if you qualify for a free strategy audit with Team Hirsh.

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