David VS Goliath Podcast – S1 – Episode 30 – All Stars Part 2
In Part 2 of the 1st Quarter All Stars, Adam DeGraide interviews 6 amazing USA entrepreneurs and get’s fantastic tips and advice from each and every one of them. America Loves Small Business and you will love this recap episode with these business leaders. Don’t miss this all star edition of the David Vs Goliath Podcast.
Speaker 1: Coming up today on David vs Goliath.
Jacqueline Mack: Be clear on what, and the how becomes easy.
Eric Coffie: The government can’t do that.
Adam DeGraide: I know that’s too big.
Eric Branner: It was that math and that kind of algorithmic approach to business operations that most creatives never think of.
Eugene Tinker: That was good.
Adam DeGraide: And he became a client. There’s nobody else that’s bringing sexy back but you, my man. Did you Donald Trump these people? Did you Donald Trump…
Krystle Joy DeG…: You’re fired.
Speaker 1: Welcome to today’s episode of David vs Goliath, a podcast dedicated to helping small business leverage technology to not only help them compete against their large competitors, but win. Your host is currently the CEO of Anthem Business Software, a free time Inc. 500 recipient and a serial entrepreneur with a passion to help small businesses everywhere find, serve, and keep more customers profitably. Please join me in welcoming your host, Adam DeGraide.
Adam DeGraide: Hey everyone. It’s Adam DeGraide with another fantastic edition of the David vs Goliath Podcast. This week is part two of our first quarter All Stars of 2022. We’ve been adding thousands of subscribers to this podcast every single month, and we don’t want you to miss out. So we’re going to recap the last six episodes that we’ve actually recorded, so you can go back, little snippets of the interviews to see if you like them. Go back, watch the full ones. You can get an idea in a flavor for each one of them. I love doing this. This is so much fun.
Today’s episode is brought to you by Anthem Software, where you can find, serve, and keep more customers profitably with their all in one platform of software, marketing and consulting built specifically for small businesses to help you find serve, and keep more customers profitably. Take the 120 second tour at anthemsoftware.com. Be sure to be visit us online at davidvsgoliathpodcast.com. There, you can subscribe to receive our newsletter and apply to be on the show. Many of the interviews we’ve had in the first quarter of 2022 have come specifically from people saying, “I’d like to be featured.” So don’t be shy. If you got a great story and a great business and you want people to hear about it, apply the David vs Goliath Podcast website.
You can also shop some merch there if you want. And you can also ask us a question all on the website, be sure to go and do it. Check out my book on Barnes and Noble and Amazon. It’s a children’s book, teaches kids bravery, gratitude, and listening, very, very important. It’s called The Adventures of Jackson, The Young Field Mouse. It’s a great story. I’ve been telling my kids for quite some time.
I’ve also been sharing some things coming out in our music, my music that I’ve been working on. I actually have a couple of projects I’ve been working on, but the one that’s been completely recorded, including acoustic piano and strings, is now being mixed and mastered and will be available shortly. I would say within the next month and a half to two months or so of you watching this podcast. So I’m going to give you a little snippet, just a little teaser before we get into the recaps in part two. Here’s 60 seconds of another track coming out on the album from Adam DeGraide’s album, my album called “The Calm”. Enjoy.
Hope you enjoyed that piece of music. I’ve had so much fun creating it and making it. Well, with no further ado, it is time to get into the interviews right now on The Hits, Part Two, on David vs Goliath Podcast. First up is a very special guest. I jokingly referred to her as the fairy godmother, her ideas and her advice were so great in this episode, she’s a life coach and it’s Jacqueline Mack from Live Your Best Life. And Make It Happen, Mack is what she used to call all herself many, many years ago. This is a great interview. It’s fun, feel wisdom, humor, and a lot of great advice. Jacqueline, take it away.
I’m so grateful to have you on the podcast. I’d love for you to give the watchers and the listeners a little bit of the evolution of where you started in business to how you ended up here, because it’s never a straight line. There’s usually a great story behind it. So let’s get right to it.
Jacqueline Mack: Absolutely. Thanks, Adam. Yes. Same thing here. I think energy is contagious. We always say you’re either a taker or a giver.
Adam DeGraide: That’s right.
Jacqueline Mack: Glass is half full, half empty, or what glass? So my story’s pretty cool because I’ve always lived my life with no regrets. So, did the traditional route of college, jumped right into my first job right college, was lucky, brought me down to Orlando, actually in Celebration, Florida and worked in corporate health and wellness in the medical field. So, great, thought it was my dream job. Even at the early age of 20 something, thought it was my dream job and this is where I was going to be forever. But I knew deep down, this was just a stepping stone, I was meant for something more.
And I think that’s where we get taught so much here, and yet we don’t drop into here, which is our purpose, our soul, what God divinely designed us as. Because technically, Adam, we’re just cells in a soul. We’re just energy. And it’s our job to just live out our purpose. This is why I’m on a mission and on a passion on this whole trajectory to help others live out their dreams, whether it is climbing that corporate ladder, whether it’s starting a new business, whether it’s stopping what they signed up for, living out other people’s expectations when their dream or their song is dying inside. It doesn’t matter if you’re 30 years old or 60 years old, having that awakening is critical to just live your life, which is what we’re here to do. It’s live not just exist.
Adam DeGraide: Being a trainer, as you remember, thousands of insurance agents at the time, we would all get back together after you get off the road and we debriefed together. And we all came to the same conclusion that it was in a lot of ways, very rewarding, but in some ways incredibly frustrating because when you realize that there’s a certain percentage of clients that you work with, that you want their success more than they want their success, there’s nothing you could do at that point. You can’t help them anymore because it has to be in them. I remember a meeting where Tim was there, there was five… I actually held a meeting very similar to this, and the business will remain anonymous. They were sitting around and there was five owners in the business and it was a family business, Jackie.
And so it got to the point where we were talking about revenue growth. And I looked at him. I said, “Now, which one of you is in charge of revenue growth?” And they all looked at each other and I said, “Oh, I see what’s going on here. This is the five federal heads of insanity. Because if all of you are in charge, none of you are in charge.” And helping them identify that was important. The old saying always goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” And that really is true when it comes to consulting. Now, are you working primarily with eight type personalities or do you have work with entrepreneurs of different types of personalities? I think that would be interesting. It doesn’t matter to you?
Jacqueline Mack: No. It matters, but it doesn’t matter. Busy, successful C-level executive, entrepreneur, not sure, most of my clientele nowadays, honestly, they already have hit some success and they either hate what they’re doing, they want to fall back in love with it, or they’re too busy or they’re super successful and feel guilty for wanting more. Those are usually the types that are gravitated towards me, because there’s a lot to be said and done there in ways that the doing and the busyness and the hustling and the grinding and they honestly have to build up new boundaries to break down business boundaries to level up exponentially to impact whoever they’re serving, but also to exponentially grow their profits and their resources to grow a bigger business.
And they also need to tap into intention. Intention and our attention is where our energy’s going to go. And that’s where we’re going to grow. And this is why I love challenges. People bring me the juiciest, most dumbfounding, can’t get over it, type of challenges. That’s where I thrive, because I am a recovering perfectionist. I am a recovering control freak, and I am a type A personality alpha. And yet I don’t have to take that on, but I get to help them see things in different ways and take off the blinders, because the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. Embrace the change.
And change is going to happen. That’s what’s guaranteed in life. You’re either going to change and grow, or you’re going to not die. And that’s the whole thing of living vs existing, waiting till someday or when I make X amount.
I don’t care how much a business is made or how successful they think they are. It’s not until they decide where do they really want to be? What do they really desire? And desire is different than want and need. Even though sometimes I could say, “Adam what do you want?” And you’d be like, “Blah, blah, blah, blah.” And I can say, “Adam, no, what do you desire?” And then you’re like, “Oh, great.” That puts a heavier weight on the word, because we really want to focus on when you desire, you can have it like this. You really can. It’s already done. And it’s not woo woo metaphysics, even though there’s a lot more science supporting that, but it’s very practical science based information that we’re learning more and more about, but you got to be clear on it first. Be clear on what, and the how becomes easy.
Adam DeGraide: Jacqueline, thank you so much for joining us on DVG. We had such a great time. Well, I’ve been learning a lot about the government contract business and what that means and how the government sets up large contracts to be filtered to what they call subcontractors. And then they also designate a certain percentage of those budgets for those contractors to spend with other contractors, like the A8, HUBZone, Veteran Owned, Women Owned, Minority Owned Businesses. It’s a great program. And I learned from one of the best in the industry called Eric Coffie from Govcon Giants. He has his own podcast, he has his own brand, he’s written books and it was a great interview. Enjoy, here’s Eric Coffie.
Yeah. And what I’ve also discovered too, Eric… And so just for the listeners and the watchers, your company specializes in helping smaller companies get a piece of these contracts from what are called prime contractors, is probably what I’m assuming. So a prime contractor is like what he said, they’re the companies that go in, they get the big dollar commitment from the federal government or different entities within the federal government. And then they’re required by the regulations to spend a certain percentage of that budget on small businesses, HUBZones, A8 companies, different designations to share the love. And so you probably are part of not only helping them get that business, or are you primarily them going from a sub to a prime?
Eric Coffie: Sub to prime. We help them get that business, but really, the end game is to become primes. I’ve been doing this since 2007. From all of my years of doing this and all of my experience and actually now being on YouTube for four years, having my podcast for three years. So I’ve spoke to thousands of small businesses, thousands, thousands, thousands. And I’ve also spoke to hundreds of government agencies, sub agencies as well. And what I’ve found is that our government, because they don’t have the ability to go out and just buy the best product or service based on, “Okay, Adam, most of your listeners and users, when they go shopping for something, they’re looking at the ratings, they’re looking at the reviews. When you go to restaurants, that’s how you decide on, “Hey, if I’m in a new town.”-
Adam DeGraide: What your friends are saying.
Eric Coffie: Another thing is… Huh?
Adam DeGraide: What your friends are saying, stuff like that. Yeah.
Eric Coffie: Exactly. The government can’t do that.
Adam DeGraide: No, it’s too big.
Eric Coffie: So the government does not have the ability to say, “You are the best product, the best service provider. We want you.” They don’t have that luxury.
Adam DeGraide: Hence the fact that the top 100 is still the top 100, because-
Eric Coffie: Well, that’s the fact the top 100 stay the top 100, correct. Right. Because they know how to play the game. And so what happens is, because the government does not have that luxury to just go out and buy the best company, the best entity that’s out there, they only get to buy from the people who are in the pool that have solicited to them, that’s the pool at which they can by from. That creates a very limited pool of qualified companies that are able to service our United States government.
And so we’re not going to get into the politics of it all. But if you can imagine, that, for me, when I learned that, I said, “Well, there’s a lot of excellent companies out here that could be helping with furthering our mission, whatever that mission is, for an agency or sub agency.” And so there’s a lot of really good companies that because they’re not in that pool, they’re not being considered for opportunities. And really, I think it’s unfortunate. And so what I try to do is to showcase through myself as an example, first and foremost. I’m the test dummy, so no one has to worry about making… I spend my money, I lose my money first before I tell anybody to do anything. And so I go through it and say, “Look, Hey, I show you what it looks like on the other side, what does it take to qualify.” And I debunk a lot of the myths.
Adam DeGraide: Now, do you have any pet peeves at all?
Eric Coffie: Yes.
Adam DeGraide: We’d like to hear that.
Eric Coffie: People who complain.
Adam DeGraide: Complain about what? Anything?
Eric Coffie: Anything. I don’t like people complaining, man. I don’t like to hear… Something that I say all the time to people-
Adam DeGraide: Well, you must have been really frustrated the last two years because everyone complained about everything.
Eric Coffie: It’s interesting. I don’t, because one of the things, Adam, and I’m sure you’ll experience this, they say, “As you become more successful, your circle gets smaller and you have different kind of friends and things like that.” So I really don’t surround myself with those kind of people, because they pull me down. And that energy for me is… And I can even give you a story. It just happened to me when I was on a trip. I just came back from vacation this past week. But it’s just that I say, “Look, don’t take me on the roller coaster with you.” I don’t want to go on that roller coaster of, “Would you believe what happened to me today, Adam? This car almost side swipe me, and so I had to swerve out the thing, I came back in and man, I could have died today.” And I said, “But nothing happened to you. Nothing.” How about-
Adam DeGraide: “But you don’t understand, man. It could’ve happened.”
Eric Coffie: “You don’t understand, man. Whoa, man.” And I just say, “Look, please, I don’t want to go on a roller coaster with you.”
Adam DeGraide: It’s funny you say that because every one of us, we have our own roller coaster run, right? It’s the last thing-
Eric Coffie: Yes. Oh my goodness. Are you kidding me? I mean-
Adam DeGraide: It’s so true.
Eric Coffie: Every day is a could have almost, this could have almost happened to any one of us. You could have… Lightning struck the building next to me. It could have struck my… I don’t know. I’m a half glass, half full guy. So for me, that’s a big pet peeve of mine. Just people-
Adam DeGraide: Me too. It’s funny because a negative attitude has never yielded a positive result. And that is so true by the way, because bad attitudes are contagious, good attitudes are contagious. And the reason why people listen to your training, because I saw your face every time I watch your videos. And the reason why they tune in here is because they need an injection of positive in their life. There’s a ton of negative. We want to be the fuel that’s giving people wisdom, ideas, information. I call it three things, education, inspiration, and activation. And the last thing I need to hear about is the bad dinner you were served last night.
Eric Coffie: Bad dinner.
Adam DeGraide: Let’s just be thankful we had dinner last night. Let’s just be thankful we had dinner last night.
And we’re going to take a break right now from our corporate sponsor, Anthem Software. We’ll be right back.
Speaker 8: Anthem Business Software system is designed to specifically help small businesses, just like yours, find, serve, and keep more customers profitably. We do this by providing you with the most powerful software automations and marketing services to help your business compete and win in this ever changing digital world. Take a short video tour at anthemsoftware.com. (Singing)
Adam DeGraide: And we’re back on the DVG podcast. You’re listening to the Hits, Part Two, of the All Stars of the first quarter of 2022. This next interview was one of my favorite interviews with a gentleman named Eric Branner. Eric Branner is a classical guitarist. He owns a music school and he also owns an amazing software startup called Fons.com. This interview was so much fun, had the most views of any other episode we’ve had so far this season in 2022. So check it out. Here’s Eric Branner.
Eric Branner: I guess around five and a half years ago, six years ago, I was just really hungry for something different. That feeling of feeling like I’ve been doing this for a long time. I was successful at it, I was raising my family, but I was really ready to just inject something else into my existence. And I was thinking, “Okay, MBA time, law school time.” And then I just had this opportunity to work with somebody who was a very well known person in Silicon Valley, who I’d known through the Seattle scene for a very long time, who basically gave me this opportunity to do a tech startup.
It never crossed my mind, but he is like, “Hey, you’re running a very successful business and what if we automate what you do?” Because I know my wife, Allison, was running my music school. And it took her 12, 15 hours a week to do a great job. We were a real white glove, local institution. And we had really compelling, awesome customers that we need to take care of. And so, anyway, next thing now I’m in this room full of engineers, designers, UX, UI people, basically to study the work that I did to basically automate my music school. And very quickly, they realized, because I thought that I knew it all. They’re like, “Everything you’re doing is so inefficient. Whatever this model is that you’ve done, we’re going to gut it.” And it was a battle.
And I’m really glad we did have that battle because it was that math and that algorithmic approach to business operations that most creatives never think of. They said, “You need to go interview 500 more people. This is…” And so I set off and made a bunch of relationships, not just looking at music schools, but looking at personal trainers, gyms, because they’re so motivated, academic tutors, anybody that trades time for money, we started looking into these. They’re relationships. They’re relationship based business where there’s trust, it’s recurring, it’s developed over time. And so that was the basis for Fons, is to create this platform that built a really healthy, beautiful professional relationship that was automated and took the at friction out.
Adam DeGraide: There’s a dramatic need for simplifying and automating these processes in businesses’ lives. And a lot of people don’t think about it, but you did. And I got to tell you, kudos to you, man, because I love the name of what Fons means, too. You put here on the sheet, it says “It means fountain or wellspring in Latin.” And as soon as I said that, I said, “Oh, I got to interview this guy because not only is he a sharp entrepreneur, he’s obviously a decent musician.” Do you have any music by the way? I’d love for you to send me some of your classical performances.
Eric Branner: Oh sure. Absolutely.
Adam DeGraide: Yeah. Because you know what we do, actually? Before I continue, we’re going to play a quick 32nd clip of that right now. Here’s Eric’s song. We’ll be right back.
Eric, thank you for being a part of the DVG podcast. We really truly enjoyed every minute of it. Well, following Eric was a very interesting individual named Eugene Tinker. We had so much fun, Eugene and I, in this episode. We laughed. I actually titled the episode, Send The Shoe. Here’s Eugene, enjoy.
Tell the listeners a little bit about how it was probably chaotic in the beginning. And at what point did you start to have the ability to build a team where you could actually strategize and have plans and goals together?
Eugene Tinker: I guess I could tell you one thing I do, because I mentor companies. I probably got six companies I’m mentoring right now. And one of the biggest thing that I tell them to do is build a vision board. You build a vision board. A vision board to me is a business plan, because the only person that can see that vision is you. So what I started doing was, I in turn, when I started a business, I said, “I got to have employees.” And so when I said I had to have employees, I didn’t have the money to buy employees. What I did was, I went out and got interns and I made those interns look like I had employees. So when I walked in the room, I walked in the room with three interns. But all of them had on shirts and everything like me. But I was the CEO and everything.
So when those interns that I was training, I basically said, “Hey, look, we going to do this work. And this work, if you have any issues, I need you to walk to the bathroom, pick up your cell phone and give me a call. But don’t let the customer know that you don’t know the answer to what they’re asking you. You go to the bathroom and give me a call. And then I give you the answer and you walk back in and you give them the answer that they’re looking for, or you make that phone call and have those earbuds in to basically say, ‘Hey, this is what the answer is.'” But I always stayed on standby just to make the company look bigger, because what happened was a lot of times, those companies will say, “How can I give you a contract when it’s just you?”
Adam DeGraide: Yeah. And it’s definitely a good question. And I think that’s a really interesting strategy because perception, as we know, definitely becomes reality. And so if you walked in with just yourself… I guess you could have alter egos. You could have, “I’m Eugene and then on the weekends I’m Stanley.” Or whatever, but at the end of the day, having those interns there gave you that… And even become long term employees.
Eugene Tinker: Correct. So what I did was, I trained those interns and got those interns certified. And those interns actually went off to Iraq and made six figure salaries. So basically, they worked for me for a while and they became employees after I started to generate… My first contract was $80,000.
Adam DeGraide: That’s great.
Eugene Tinker: So I got that contract about 11:59. I’ll never forget, September the 30th at 11:59. So the government has to give out all this money by September the 30th. That’s when they end, we got our budget completely cleaned out by September the third. So at 11:59 PM, my phone started ringing. I pick up the phone, they said, “Hey, I got a direct award for you to do some work at Maxwell Air Force Base. Can you do it?” I said, “Yeah, I can do it.” And so, those interns that was there… We had to do a access database. So those guys had their first employment through me. And what I was doing was, I was paying them and training them at the same time.
Adam DeGraide: Yeah, that’s great.
Eugene Tinker: And so it made me come up with a strategy that, “Hey, we can basically be able to get interns because we can’t afford some of these individuals that’s coming in with this experience. I could train these interns at a lower cost, be able to give the government what they need, and we’ll be able to save money and actually be able to build a company.” So what we do, we’ll bring in one senior level person and then that senior level person will have those junior levels and we’ll train them. And one of the interns I have right now came in making $12 an hour and now he’s my chief of technology officer in the company.
Adam DeGraide: Everyone listening, persistence is critical. You know what I did, one day on a sales call? I was a radio sales guy and I literally could not get my foot in the door. So I took my shoe off and I wrote a note and I put it inside, and I FedExed it. The guy got my shoe the next day with a note sticking out of it. And it says, “Now that I have one foot in the door, can I get the other one in?”
Eugene Tinker: That was good.
Adam DeGraide: And he became a client. And he was a client all the years I was a radio rep. You know what it is, guys? It’s not like an arrogance that Eugene is talking about or that I’m talking about. It’s just that we know we can help people and that we deserve the job. We deserve the chance. And so when you have that belief and that confidence, it makes all the difference. And we have to take another break from one of our other sponsors here on the David vs Goliath podcast. We’ll be right back.
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Adam DeGraide: And welcome back to the final segment of the Part Two of the All Star first quarter 2022, it’s been so much fun. Eugene, it was great having you. Thank you for joining us. Hoping people enjoyed Eugene. I had a blast with him. But onto Kurt Kempton, what an amazing episode. As a matter of fact, I thought Kurt was actually going to cry at one point during this episode. He’s so grateful. He’s filled with so much passion, so much enthusiasm for his business. There’s so many great lessons in this one. I learned a ton, and I think you will as well. Here’s a little bit of that interview with Kurt Kempton, enjoy.
Kurt Kempton: In the window cleaning world, there’s an association called the International Window Cleaning Association, IWCA. And I realized… Actually it was Clate Mask. I was at a focus group. It was actually being run by, at the time, I believe it was Scott Martino that was running that meeting, so they were co-founders. But he was trying to figure out product stuff, and Clate walks into the room and he goes, “Hey, guys. I’m excited to hear you guys are doing this thing today, but I got a quick question before you get started. Tell me about company culture.” And so they’re going around the room and basically I’m in the room with a bunch of really high-end, people so to speak. There’s real estate agents, there’s a person running a chiropractic office, there’s a dental office manager there, basically just people who weren’t running window clean companies. How about that?
So I’m sitting at this table, he goes around the table and he is like, “What do you guys do for company culture?” The first person was like, “Yeah, we give everybody one day off a week. We just work Monday through Thursday. And we let him spend Friday, Saturday, Sunday with their families.” And I remember at the time I had a helper, so I remember thinking, “Wow, that’s pretty cool.” But the next person was like, “We actually rent a cabin up in the woods for two weeks a year. And we just let all the families come up and use this cabin and do this thing.” And I’m like, “Oh wow.” And now I’m starting to feel like one of these things doesn’t belong in the room. And I’m starting to scratch my head thinking, “What am I going to say?” I’m trying to think of like a story I could tell or some sort.
Adam DeGraide: “Hey, I give my guys fresh, clean towels to rinse off the windows.” Is that-
Kurt Kempton: That’s about where I was at.
Adam DeGraide: But, I have it engraved with their name.
Kurt Kempton: Yeah. If I could embellish the truth, maybe. But that was the thing, as it’s coming around to me, it gets to the part where the next person up is like, “Hey, we send everyone to Disneyland with their families for a week.” And what I’m hearing is, in my own mind, the way I’m process it is, “We have a rocket ship and we send people to Mars and we do this…” This is so out of the realm of possibility for me, that I feel completely like an idiot. So when it gets to me and I wish that the world would open up and just suck me inside and I don’t have to answer this question, my hands are sweating and I feel so stupid. And I just looked at Clate and I didn’t know what else to say. I said, “Well, my business, it’s not sexy, like all these other businesses.” And I said, “But.” And he cut me off, and he’s just like, “Excuse…” Everything just got quiet. The whole room got quiet. Clate’s looking across the table and-
Adam DeGraide: You said the wrong thing.
Kurt Kempton: I said the wrong… And I didn’t know what I had said. I was like, “Whatever I said, how can I get it back in my mouth?”
Adam DeGraide: Yeah, exactly.
Kurt Kempton: Because this is… And I was already nervous, but now I’ve got the CEO of Infusionsoft, puts his hands down on the conference table, does the whole chest resting in the shoulder blade thing. He’s staring across the table at me, it feels like his nose is about to touch mine. I know there’s a whole table between us, but I’m so embarrassed and nervous. He looks at everyone else at the table, and this was so embarrassing. He looks at everyone and he’s like, “I’ve got this.” And I’m like, “What does he have? What did I say? Did I say something?”
He looks at me and he takes one hand off the table and he points it right at me, he says, “Shame on you. Shame on you if you don’t think your business is sexy. Who are you waiting to make your business sexy? Are you waiting for maybe your employees? Maybe your employees will step up and make your business sexy for you. Or maybe your customers. Are you waiting for your customers to make your business…” And I could feel the tears starting to well up in my eye, I was so nervous, embarrassed. I felt like this is the worst thing that could possibly happen to me. But what he said after that, it just changed everything for me. He said, “If you can’t make your business sexy, because that’s your right as an entrepreneur, then you need to go do something else.”
Adam DeGraide: Yeah, no doubt.
Kurt Kempton: “Because this is your job.”
Adam DeGraide: That’s right. And it’s funny. I got to take a break here pretty soon. But what I love about that story is you are the only one that can bring sexy back in your business. There’s nobody else that’s bringing sexy back, but you, my man. And so he’s got the chest.
Kurt Kempton: That’s right.
Adam DeGraide: I love that man. And he’s profound by the way, because he can’t love your business more than you can. And for the watchers and listeners, this is a profound moment. Do you love your business more than anybody else? Because if you don’t, nobody else will.
And Kurt, thank you so much for being a part of the podcast. Well, last but not least, on so far of this year in 2022, we had my favorite guest of the year, by far my favorite, my wife, Krystle Joy DeGraide. I call this interview a little sugar on top. And I said, “Hey, did you Donald Trump these people?” This interview was filled with a lot of intimate moments and really great advice as to how to get your business set up from the beginning to be able to exit properly at the end. She’s been my CFO for my last couple of businesses and she’s our CFO of our foundation. She’s the mother of my children. It’s just an amazing interview. And I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Here’s a few sections of it. Enjoy, Krystle Joy DeGraide. Enjoy it.
Krystle Joy DeG…: I wanted to move down to LA, because who want to live the LA lifestyle? And we had a different office down there in Alhambra. And so I went and I started working there where it was only two other women that worked there. Actually, there were three at the time, and I started noticing things. And things weren’t actually working the way that they were working at our larger office. And so, a lot of things happened and I had to put on some big girl pants and fill a role that I didn’t even know existed as manager and caring for our family business, as an owner, even though I wasn’t one, still our family. So I ended up having to clean out the whole office of our employees and start-
Adam DeGraide: Did you Donald Trump these people? Did you Donald Trump-
Krystle Joy DeG…: You’re fired. No. It wasn’t something that I wanted to do, but they literally laid it out there, so there was other options. It was employment situations that can’t happen. But there was one girl that stuck with me. And to this day, she’s still with the agency. I love her dearly. And she’s a manager now. She might even be partner, who knows. But she is doing great and I’m grateful that she walked alongside me the whole time.
Adam DeGraide: That’s awesome. That’s awesome.
Krystle Joy DeG…: Yeah. After that, I just started running that office and trying out new things and succeeding, which was awesome.
Adam DeGraide: Now, when you had to clean house, as you say, and Donald Trump these people, thinking back in these moments, you were still relatively young, you had probably not been fired yourself ever. I would imagine you decided your life’s path, which you’ve never told me you’ve gotten fired, unless there’s something I don’t know. But when you sat down and had that first difficult conversation, were you a little nervous about it?
Krystle Joy DeG…: Oh my goodness. I was shaking. I actually had the flu. I was at home when I got the call from my brother up in our office in Victorville and he said, “We have a situation. I need you to go to the office and I need you to be there because we’re firing an employee. So you need to be there when we fire them and you have to make sure that they don’t take anything, and I basically be security.” And I’m five foot four, a hundred pounds. So I’m just like, “Okay.” And I’m shaking and I’m sick and I have no energy. So that was probably the scariest thing.
Adam DeGraide: I can imagine, and them asking, “Now, listen, you got to make sure they don’t take it.” You’re thinking to yourself, “Okay, I’ll do the best I can, block the door.”
Krystle Joy DeG…: When we started Krystle Clear, my knowledge of you having sold, at that point, two other businesses? Knowing that was the end in mind, that’s how I started everything. So any type of analytic report that I could create, any tracking of any numbers that I could keep up with from the very beginning, because I knew if I waited a year, two years, three years and tried to go backwards, what a headache that would’ve been. So I started every report I could possibly imagine. Not every report did we ever ended up needing, but we used them in our business to make decisions and to move forward, which was very helpful. And plus I had the information at my fingertips when I needed it, which I needed it all the time. So it was helpful knowing what the end was when we first started, but it was a learning journey too.
So Krystle Clear, astonished I wasn’t involved in the financial side of it. So I had to learn the financial side of it with Krystle Clear. That’s not something to scare people. I think that the most beneficial knowledge that I’ve gathered over the years is from jumping in and figuring it out. And I don’t necessarily always do it on my own. I’ll call CPA, I’ll ask for help. I’ll read. I love to read. Anything that can help me learn something new, I’ll do. But the only way you’re actually going to learn it is if you just jump into it and figure it out.
Adam DeGraide: Yeah. And it’s amazing because when we started that business, we had a formula that we’ve used in my two previous businesses that were able to come forward. And as a CEO, it was always a challenge to get that data, that really critical data and that planning point. It’s almost like if you don’t know where you’re going, it’s very difficult to figure out how you’re going to get there. And so with Krystle Clear, we literally set up, when I gave the presentation to potential investors at the time, we knew how many clients we’re to get year one, year two, year three, year four. We estimated what our retention rate would be. We estimated what our revenues would be. We estimated what we would sell the business for in the beginning. And the crazy thing about that is from that very first thing that you and I worked on at Krystle Clear, not only did we hit the numbers, we were within $50,000 of the multiple millions of dollars we thought we would end up netting at the end to the tee. And that is amazing.
I promoted a lot of other people’s music over the years, but I haven’t really promoted my own. And so, Krystle encouraged me. She’s like, “Why don’t you make an album and do it?” And I said, “You know what? I’m going to do it.” And so I started working on some pieces on the piano and also acoustic guitar. And I’ve recorded 10 songs. And my cousin Dave LaChance is arranged a string quartet that we’re going to see perform the music and record it this Friday, coming up at the time of this recording in Naples. So what I wanted to do right now is I’m going to show a rough version of this song. I’m going to play the entire song, but I’m going to do it to the montage of our engagement photos and our wedding photos so people can hear the beautiful music. This is a song called You And I, it’s going to be coming out on my album very soon. Enjoy this video.
And that rounded out the All Stars, the final six episodes we’ve had so far this year in the first quarter of David vs Goliath. And next week we have a brand new episode coming out. You don’t want to miss it. It’s going to be a ton of fun. I hope everyone is enjoying what we’re doing over here. We’re having a blast and I hope you’re enjoying it. Remember, this is the place you get education, inspiration, and most importantly, activation in your business. Everyone, have an awesome day. We’ll see you next week.