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Serial Entrepreneur EP98 with Paul Hutchinson

[00:00:00] You’re listening to Startup Club. Yeah, we’re like Startup Club Radio. We are on Clubhouse. We’re actually a live show. If you’re catching this replay, he might not know this, but we do this every Friday, two o’clock Eastern, and today we’re going from zero to Billions. And talking with Paul Hutchinson, a very, a fascinating entrepreneur.

So you’ll, you’ll not, you’ll want to really stick around here. And Paul, Paul is actually in the audience here. I’m gonna invite him to come up on, on stage and, uh, lemme tell you about Startup Club. Startup Club has almost a million members, and if you’re not a member of Startup Club, I highly encourage you to go to the Clubhouse app and click on the Startup Club House.

When you come to one of our shows, you can click on the house there and you can join the club. We have such incredible speakers coming on the club. Uh, [00:01:00] and today is no exception. Paul Hutchinson is a serial entrepreneur. He, uh, has helped, uh, found, co-founded a, uh, multi-billion dollar real estate fund, and he has an absolute fascinating story.

And we’re gonna get to you, Paul, in just a minute here. But I just wanted to sort of kick it off, you know, introduce the show. We are the Serial Entrepreneur Secrets revealed. We have Mimi on stage right now. Um, how are you? How are you doing, Mimi? We have our co-moderator, Michele Van Tilk, who’s jumping around the app.

Here we go. Make you a moderator, Mimi. I’ll make you a moderator and, uh, and I’m calling C Campbell and you’re listening to Serial Entrepreneurs Secrets Field. And this show is all about trying to crack the code of what serial entrepreneurs do over and over again to start scale, exit, repeat. And again, Paul Hutchinson today, he’s, he started over 15 [00:02:00] companies.

I, I think he even has my record beat when it comes to starting companies, . So pretty excited to, uh, to have him on today. So if you think this is an interesting topic to you, please, uh, share the room. Uh, right on the bottom left-hand corner, you’ll see the quotes and the right beside that, the second to the left is a button noise.

I’m gonna click on that myself. Share on Clubhouse. It’s going to be an incredible show because I think we’re going to make progress on that topic of cracking the code, of figuring it out what Paul Hutchinson has done over and over again to start scale, exit, repeat. Now, lemme tell you this, we’ve never done this before.

We’re doing a two-part series. This show is gonna be all about, uh, learning lessons learned from Paul. and next week we’re gonna be learning more about his philanthropic efforts and what he’s done to, [00:03:00] to fight modern, um, to end modern slavery and human trafficking. And he actually won, uh, 2022 Medal of Freedom Award for, for this particular area.

And, and he’s been featured by a number of news agencies and also, uh, will be featured in a, um, up and coming movies. We’ll just say that. We’ll leave it at that, but, but Paul, uh,

just got a phone call. Uh, Paul, welcome to the show. Uh, I wanted to kick it off with questions, just like how did you get started? And we want the questions and the answers to be quick cuz we do wanna bring everybody from the audience who wants to ask a question. We wanna bring you on stage. But Paul, how did you get started as an entrepreneur?

Like how did this whole career. Path. Just start early on. You bet. Well, uh, thanks for having me on your show. Um, good to, uh, reconnect with you. Uh, early on, I, I wanted to be an entre. I wanted to be a business owner when I [00:04:00] was young, but my dad told me I wasn’t any good at kissing butt and that’s how he, um, climbed up the corporate ladder, so to speak, over time.

And, and I never, I never even knew that, uh, that being an entrepreneur, I didn’t have to kiss everybody’s butt. I could just figure out how to discipline myself. And so I decided I wanna be a doctor. Um, Had to change my major. I got in a major car accident, severed the tendons in my hand, and they didn’t know if I’d be able to be a, a surgeon.

I wanted to be a pediatric cardiologist. And they said, well, you can be a regular doctor. And I said, I don’t wanna be a regular anything. I, if I’m gonna be a garbage man, I’m gonna own the dump. That’s just how I, how I think. And so I, I changed my major to business and finance and um, and had a few mentors, uh, in-person mentors and some ones on audio books and whatnot.

And, and we can go into detail about those. But started my first company when I was 21 years old. Um, it was a small call center that I had in my apartment [00:05:00] and, um, had a, had one. Bedrooms in my apartment. We put up some little, little dividers and put a couple crappy desks that I paid $10 at the thrift store for and, uh, and put some guys in there on the phones.

And I built that up to a few hundred employees, sold that when I was 29 years old for over $20 million. And that’s where things started. A bunch of, uh, failures on the way, a bunch of successes on the way, but we can go into details on all of those.

That’s amazing. So Paul, you know, so you had these ideas, like, what, can you, like, take it from the beginning on a few of ’em? You know, we’re, we’re looking for advice. The members are looking for advice. You have what you feel is a great idea. Like how do you. To the next stage. How did you move it to the next stage?

Well, I’ll, I’ll tell you that with, uh, with some that ended up [00:06:00] being failures and some that, that were, that were pretty well. So, um, as I was building up, uh, my call center in the beginning, I had, uh, two employees in my, uh, apartment. And then I moved it into having about 20 employees at a, at a small, uh, little basement, uh, office that I found for pretty cheap.

And, and a guy came in with, was one of my employees there. And he came in with this great idea that, uh, that we could use our marketing system to sell some things for, uh, company he had called business incentives. And bottom line, Anything that you are, uh, you’re wanting to move forward, you’ve got to, you’ve got to understand that the rubber meets the road when you can actually sell your product.

If you can’t figure out how to get that in the hands of the customers, you could have the best plat product on the planet. And, and that’s, it’s not going to make you any money. And so by me putting together a sales team in, in that case, way back in the [00:07:00] day, it was a, a call center. Um, we were able to take new products as they came in.

And what I would do to protect myself is I would, I would have a system where I had a few of my sales guys that were straight commission. These guys would eat what they kill. They were, they were hard workers. They were good closers. And my.

Hundred percent of the money that I negotiated on a, on a contract deal, I would pay them a hundred percent of them, of, of that, that commission in exchange for them helping me put together a system that was duplicatable. So I had two or three of these hardcore closers that knew what they were doing, and I’d bring in a new project and those guys would earn all of the money that I brought in on that project.

The in exchange, I would get to record everything that they were doing and they would figure out the right, uh, the right closing ratios. They would figure out the scripts that were gonna work, all of that stuff. They would figure [00:08:00] out in exchange for them earning all of the profits. Now, once I have that all put together, then I could hire a $10 an hour employee with earning 5% commission on the same.

and make 50 bucks an hour per employee that I had in the seat because I had a system that worked. And so the, the old, the old adage nail it, then scale. It was how we made it happen. I nailed it with, with one or two employees where I paid them the lion share or all of the commissions. But then once I nailed it, then I could scale it and put 50 or a hundred employees on that same project knowing that I was making $50 an hour per button seat.

Well, I love the, this idea of repeatable, right? So once you perfect the system, once you perfect the sales system, right? And I see Peter, you’re there in the audience and you’ve got a, a big tech company, you run there. Um, but once we, you know, if you can perfect that sales system, [00:09:00] just simply scale it and, and the, and the, it’s the repeatability and, and, um, we often, as startups, we do things, uh, you know, off the cuff, you know, ad hoc.

Uh, not really thinking about systems, but it are, it, it sounds like it plays a very big role in the ability to succeed here because you need to be able to take something and duplicate it over and over again. Absolutely. I, I would say that creating a system that’s duplicatable is the most important. If, if you, if you want a business that owns you, then yeah, you don’t have to figure out a system that’s duplicatable and, and can scale.

But if you want a business that you own, that’s something that can feed you when you’re sleeping. That can earn money when you’re on vacation. If you want something like that, you’ve got to figure out a system that’s duplicatable. Otherwise you’re gonna have a business that own. And that’s one, uh, one thing I [00:10:00] learned early on from, uh, I actually met, uh, Robert Kiosaki many, many years ago, uh, back when he had only sold seven books.

Not seven titles, not seven, what it was seven books. And, and he was speaking at a, at a small conference that I was at. And, and I had a mentor that introduced me to him. And, and he talked about, um, in one of his books, I can’t remember which one, where he talks about, uh, whether you’re hauling buckets or building pipelines.

And we went through this whole detail of how, as you’re building a business, you need to make sure that you’re building pipelines, not just trading time for money for things. Well, I mean, you’ve said so much in a very, uh, short amount of time, but I kind of wanna back it up a little bit. I love your concept.

about proving that you can actually sell the service or the item, [00:11:00] whatever it is off the bat. Like, I think that is really, really smart. You know, a lot of us, uh, get hyper-focused just on the product, right? And we spin our wheels and we spend lots of times, and then, oh my gosh, we’re just like so upset.

It’s a year down the road and we still haven’t figured out how to sell this, you know, let’s just say widget. So I think that is a really, you know, some really, um, good advice that you say you f you find a couple good salespeople. You give them everything. I, I’m with you on that. Like, you give them everything while you figure out how and if you can sell it.

That’s really quite brilliant and I bet that saved you a lot of heartache and kind of, let’s just say the end, you kind of get to the point real quickly. Well, and, and, and think of it like a teeter-totter. Um, the guy who’s taken the risk needs to be making the lion share the money. If I’m [00:12:00] paying somebody a, uh, a base salary, that’s pretty hefty and uh, then, then his commissions aren’t as high as the guy who’s willing to take the risk himself and take the high commissions and a low base or zero base.

And so, and I, I’ll tell that to my guys when they first come on. I’ll say, look, you’ve got a couple choices here. You know, if you are looking for security, if you’re looking for something base, if you’re looking for me to take the risk on you, by having a guaranteed base, a guaranteed salary. Then I’m just telling you right now, your, your commissions on the, on the high end, it’s, it’s gonna be limited.

But if you believe in yourself, if you believe that you can really kick button and do what you’re saying that you can do, then I suggest we do this other option where I don’t take as much risk. We limit your, your base or take it to zero, and you work on straight commission. If you believe in yourself that much, then you’ll take this deal and that will tell you a lot [00:13:00] about somebody when they’re coming in and they’re talking a big game and saying that they’re worth all this extra money.

Great. Prove it. You know, I’ll pay you that and more. I’ll pay you 10 times what you think you’re worth if you can actually bring the results to the table. And so again, it’s that that teeter-totter who’s taking the risk? The guy who’s taking the risk needs to be taken. And then once I have a system and I am taking the risk, then I can hire a bunch of guys that are $10 an hour guys and whatever.

Cuz I’ve got a system, I took that risk, now I can duplicate it over and over again and make the big money. So I’m interested, you know, cuz the second point, as you just said, that really stands out for me is the system. So I know, uh, like that sounds easy, but it’s not always easy. Are you talking about a system that’s like CRM and automated emails and leads?

Like, can you just like, you know, give a few examples of absolutely. You know, we’re not gonna go from zero [00:14:00] to four, you know, billions overnight. But what, what would be like a baseline system? . You bet. And, and let me, let me explain it this way. Um, you know, my, my, my biggest company bridge investment group that I’m the co-founder of is now 43 billion in assets under management.

I retired in 2017 and Right. I’m still, uh, still an owner, still a founder, and still have checks from ’em. But right before I retired, you know, we had the time, almost 4,000 employees and, um, we had 70 employees just in accounting at the time. And I remember I had a, had a young man that came in that just got started at the company.

His name was Andrew, and he came in to my office and his job that day was to have the partners sign off on the expense reports. And, uh, and I’m signing off and my expense report is, you know, at the time I was, I was. Whining and dine in all the investors. So I had front row seats at the NBA games, and I had, uh, you know, flights to Dubai and all these just, uh, you know, [00:15:00] amazing hotels and, and uh, and restaurants, et cetera.

And he asked me, he said, he said, Mr. Hutchinson, do you mind me asking? He said, how did you get your job? And I looked, I realized he, he, he didn’t know the history of the company. I said, well, what do you mean? He goes, well, you’ve, you’ve got, you’ve got the best job in the whole company. All you do is fly around the world and go to lunch with rich guys.

How, how did you get that job? And, and I, I decide to mess with him a little bit, but in this answer is the answer to your question. I said, well, I said, I used to do what you do. He goes, really? You were in accounting? I said, yeah, I had a, I had a, an Excel spreadsheet that was like 70 megabytes that kept track of all the asset valuations of each one of the investors and all of the things that we were doing.

I said, I said, and then we hired a firm. To come and do our audits. And the guy that was doing the audits, his named Adam, now Adam is now Andrew’s boss at this time. And so I said, so Adam was doing our audits, and he, he looked at everything that I had [00:16:00] created in this system and he said, Paul, he said all of the numbers are right, but there’s, oh, there he is.

Okay. Yeah, he can hear you now. Okay. Sorry about that. He, he said all the numbers are right. But there’s a hell of a lot easier ways of doing it than what you’re doing. So I, I got replaced by Al Adam, and he goes, really? You did, you know, basically what happened is I created a system and then I replaced myself with people that were smarter than me, better than me, to fine tune that system.

But I was involved in everything in the beginning, in building the company. And, and so we systematized the, the way of keeping track of each one of the valuations. And then I, then I told Adam, or, or Andrew, this young kid, I said, so then I did what, what, what Jonathan does. He goes, really, you were underwriting assets and you’re keeping track of all of the properties that we were buying?

I said, yeah. I said, every day I had a huge stack of papers on my desk and I had a, went home with a headache and I said, the only thing that I was any good at was going to Rich, going to lunch [00:17:00] with rich people. So that’s where they put me and he goes, wow. He says, how many people were here when you started?

I said, just me and John . And so, you know, the, the. Is that each step of the way, even though we had thousands of employees at that time, each step of the way I had to as a young entrepreneur and not having the money to hire the right guys in the beginning, I had to figure it out and I got good at it and created a system.

I wrote down exactly what I was doing so it could be taught, so it could be duplicated. And then we hired guys that were even better than us to, to manage that and to take it to a whole new level. But, but each thing that you’re doing, if you are not writing down how you are managing it, if you’re not writing down the details of that and so that you can duplicate it to somebody else, then you’re wasting your time.

Yeah, it’s, it’s interesting. I dunno if you’ve ever read the book, the E-Myth, you know, it’s all about systems and scaling systems and [00:18:00] not necessarily relying on people. But the reverse of that is, uh, when you do try to scale your company, , uh, you do need to rely on people around you. And in fact, the vast majority, something, 99.5% of companies in the United States fail to scale.

They’re like small businesses that just for whatever reason, choose not to fail. It’s such a hard thing to do, but I think the, the biggest challenge in regards to scaling is the entrepreneur themselves. They’re the ones who hold it back because they don’t get themselves out of the way. What you talked about here was this concept of giving, you know, letting it go.

And now I, and can you talk a little bit more about that? This whole idea of trusting others to do key functions in your organization so that you can scale and focus on other. . Absolutely. That was actually one of the hardest things for me. I’m a [00:19:00] somewhat of a control freak, and I know that when I got it done, I did it right.

I was, I was, I was very focused on making sure that I got it done and I got it done right. Well, the, uh, the key to my success was in hiring people and surrounding myself with, with new partners that were way smarter than me. In each one of these areas, the thing that I brought to the table was the vision.

I could see where we were going. I ha I could make it rain, but it would turn into mud when it hit the ground, because I didn’t put the systems in place or the, the Vioxx or whatever. So I thought, okay, I need somebody who can cross every t and dot every I. And so I brought on the, my co-founder was, was John Pennington and he mm-hmm.

and, um, um, but, but. Not being, um, afraid to bring people into your world that are [00:20:00] significantly better than you at each one of these roles is, was definitely my key to success. And, and, and being able to let go of it. I mean, if you’re, if you’re such a control freak with your, uh, with your business that you have to maintain control on every single thing that you’re doing, then you’re gonna stay small.

You’re gonna have to be the guy that wakes up at two in the morning and, uh, and handles deals that are going on or situations or whatever. And so that’s, that’s, if you want a business that you own, you’ve got to be able to let go of that control and trust that people. , it’s also important that you trust but verify when somebody comes in and says, Hey, this is my background, this is what I’ve done.

Great. I I love you. I believe you, but I, I need, I need referrals. I need to see that you’ve actually done what you say that you’ve done. And, um, because, uh, you want to hire slow and fire quickly, uh, you not, you need to take your time [00:21:00] in, in making sure that the people that you’re bringing into your team are guys that, uh, you really want to be there.

Otherwise you’re gonna waste a lot of time and a lot of money. Yeah. It’s interesting cuz my, my wife and I own a school as well and she just works 12 hours a day on this thing, Paul, and it’s a passion of hers, but she’s so controlling that she doesn’t let things go. And, you know, I’ve learned over the years in, in my companies, in order to succeed, we had to let things go.

We had to, I call it delegate responsibilities, not tasks. , when you’re early on at a startup very, very early on, you want to control every aspect of it, and you want to delegate those tasks, tasks. You wanna wean the baby, essentially. And then over time you wanna begin to scale. Then you’ve gotta hire the right people who are different than you, who have the right personality profiles for the position that you’re gonna hire them for, and delegate [00:22:00] responsibilities and not tasks and wonderful things happen.

And now, but the second to that, which I like you said, is trust. You said trust, but verify. You know, that’s probably where, an area where I’ve, I’ve made mistakes running an incubator here with 10 companies, um, where I haven’t ac you know, I’ve delegated the responsibility of the ev of even the entire companies, but haven’t necessarily trusted and verified.

And, and we’ve gotten ourself into a, a little bit of trouble here and there, but I, I like that point. It’s all about, uh, trusting others, identifying people who can compliment you well, And then scaling the company and wonderful things do happen. It’s actually pretty amazing. And I know we’ve got a couple people on stage and, uh, some questions for you Paul, are gonna come up here.

So we’re gonna jump down to aco. And remember, every time you come on stage aco, I always say, am I pronouncing it correctly, your name? But, uh, aco, do you have a question for, uh, for. Uh, thank you, Colleen. Yes, once [00:23:00] again, you pronounce it correctly. Paul, thank you for being here. I, uh, was just amazed how generous you can be for doing this on Clubhouse and sharing all these nuggets with us.

Um, there is something that is very important to me, uh, in my real life. Oh, uh, just to present myself, I’m a C P A from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I work with entrepreneurs, uh, helping them with their accounting advisors and taxes. Um, one thing that is, uh, important to me is mentorship, uh, from people like you.

Some of them I’ve never met. Again, like you, when I’m hearing you, I’m just taking notes, like if I was talking to a mentor, and I just wanna thank you for that. When you talk about being [00:24:00] vulnerable, um, as a person, that’s part of my personality where I need to hold onto things. Uh, it’s hard for me to let go, but once I start doing that, it’s, I’m seeing magic.

Um, so I just want to say thank you for you to mentioning that. And another thing is, for me, taking risk is not part of my dna, but once I start being uncomfortable and taking risks, Coupled with being vulnerable and letting go of certain things, I’m seeing differences. So, yeah, that’s, uh, just, uh, what I have to say.

Thank you again for being here.

Thank you. Thank you for sharing. And yes, that’s, uh, being vulnerable is a key and, uh, and understanding that you might not [00:25:00] have, um, uh, all of the answers, but there are people that do that. You can surround yourself, whoever you can reach out to a mentor. Um, you know, in the beginning, a lot of my mentors were not ones that I.

I knew personally. I don’t know if that makes sense, but, um, you know, somebody asked me, um, recently, they, they knew that I, I had some, some relationships with guys like Tony Robbins and others and, and have spent some time with them, and they said, wow, wow. I would, what I would give to spend, um, half an hour with Tony.

I mean, I’d, I’d, I’d do whatever. I, and I, I said this, I said, what do you think that Tony would tell you one-on-one that he’s not already telling you from stage? So that he’s not already telling you on his, his tape programs or his books. He’s putting his best stuff out there now. Yes, he could, he could answer one-on-one questions with you, but there’s so much valuable knowledge that you can [00:26:00] get from these superstars by reading their books, by listening to their tapes and, and going to their conferences, because that’s where some of the best stuff is that they’re presenting to you and the rest of the world.

So Paul thinking, talking about being vulnerable here, yesterday we did a show on Clubhouse and it was all about coping with startup failure. Um, can you share with us one of those failures that you had and what lessons you learned from that? I, I had a lot of failures. , you and me. You and me. I learned more from those, and some of them I realized later on.

Crap. I never did learn my lesson. If you don’t learn your lesson from your failures, i g. You’re gonna fail again in that same area because it, it’s, uh, I, I don’t know, maybe God in the universe puts that failure in front of you for you to learn a lesson. And if you didn’t learn it, then it might come again in another company.

And one of my biggest ones that unfortunately hit me over [00:27:00] and over again until I learned it, was in trusting too much, too early in what people say and not verifying, like we talked about earlier, that they can actually do what they say they can do. You know, somebody will come in and they’ll have some great words and some great personality and whatever, but if I didn’t do any background, check on ’em, if I didn’t find out the other people that they had scammed or the other companies that they had had, uh, Totally failed at, and I’ll just bring them in, placed on total blind faith.

That’s something that has cost me a lot, uh, many, many times. And giving somebody the keys to the front door and the back door, uh, just because they ask for ’em, um, is something that you need to, you need to be super careful on as well. I’ll give you a few examples. Um, early on I was, uh, I was building my marketing company.

I had, uh, I. The two or three employees that were working [00:28:00] out of my apartment, um, with the little, little desk and the, and the dividers in my second bedroom of the apartment. And I finally was able to earn enough money where I could afford and justify having, uh, a little space, uh, this basement, uh, type office.

And, and we hired, hired a bunch of people. I had about 20 employees and I had one guy come in, his name was Dave. And, uh, Dave came in and he had this great idea. He said, but hey Paul, you know, we should, we should be selling this other, uh, other thing, not, not the stuff that I already knew how to sell. It was a totally different product.

And, uh, and he said, we’ll start a whole new company. He said, we’ll make you the president. My young 22 year old self thought, oh yeah, I’ll be the president of your company. That. Credibility and power, right? No. Well, he was my partner in it, and we set up a whole new bank account, and this guy ran up our, we, we got some credit in the company and based on my good credit, ended up running up the credit, um, and, [00:29:00] and making promises to people.

And he was like taking limousines and doing an exchange for products that the company was selling on all this crap. And I’m like, and all of a sudden I was like $70,000 that I owed to get out of this hole that had been dug. And I had to close down that entire operation and move back into my apartment, taking two or three employees with me because I couldn’t afford to continue.

We were on a trajectory to do really well with the company I was doing good with, but believing people too soon and giving them, like I say, the keys to the front door and the back door and, and not trusting, uh, not, not verifying, trusting too early. was something that cost me a lot of money. Um, and other things that cost me a lot was jumping into areas that, thinking that because I was successful in one industry, I was automatically gonna be successful in others.

Uh, one perfect example, I decided to, to, to buy some, some [00:30:00] jewelry. I thought, well, you know, hey, I’ve got some money here. I’m gonna buy some diamonds. I’m gonna, you know, put some money into this. Not realizing that even if you’re buying that jewelry at quote wholesale prices, these, there’s a massive markup yourself.

You have. Get out of this stuff. Again, selling that five karat diamond for the same $20,000 that you just spent on it, chances are, you know, if it’s, if it’s not a perfect cut or whatever else, you’re, you’re only gonna get 15 or 12 or whatever. And so, you know, me thinking that I was super smart because I had ran certain companies, didn’t always translate into companies that had nothing to do with the industry that I had been successful in.

Well, if one per one person on the stage knows about jewelry, it’s Peter, Peter is joining us here on stage. And, uh, Peter, I asked you to come up on stage. I, I know we, we’ve worked together on, on a, on a tech company. And, uh, you [00:31:00] know, I, if you have a question or a thought that you’d wanna share with the, uh, with Paul here or the crowd, let us know.

I do actually, Paul, thanks for inviting me. Hey Paul, really enjoying re really enjoying listening to you and unfortunately I just, I don’t get enough. I, I don’t get the opportunity to join very often on, on, um, this channel just because of the time of day and where I’m located. However, I’m really glad I joined today and as I said, really enjoying listening to you.

I got a quick question for you because I, I agree with you, right? It’s, you need to, you know, anybody can walk in and put whatever they want on a resume. I, you know, even LinkedIn, right? Like, it’s everybody’s getting their buddies to leave, you know, uh, review about them. But, you know, I, I’ve actually ran and recently ran into this where, you know, no matter who we hire, we’re always, you know, asking for references and trying to talk to the previous [00:32:00] employers, but it’s always the employee that is feeding us that information because half the time we can’t get.

To the right people or get the right people to call us back at an organization. And I ran into a situation where, you know, they had just given us, you know, references and you know, the person, you know, who we were talking to was basically one of their friends at the organization. Like, how do you validate.

You know, even, even once you go out there and try to get information or is there another way of going about it? I, um, I’ve adopted the principal of dating before I get married. Yeah. I, uh, in fact, I brought on a, a marketing guy a month ago on one of my, one of my other companies that, that, um, that talked to Big Talk and, and I said, great, I believe you and you know, your, your your [00:33:00] references check out.

Here’s what we’re gonna do. Um, We’re gonna, we’re gonna, I’m not gonna sign a long-term contract right now. I’m really not. I’m gonna see cuz there’s more than just your performance. It’s, it’s, it’s our, it’s how we work together. It’s how we communicate a lot of other things that may or may not come up over the next month or two.

So I’m going to do a month to month right now. Uh, if, if you can really provide what you say you can provide, if, if things will go the way that you say then fantastic. 38 days from now, we’re gonna have a review, but it’s a lot easier than figuring out how to get rid of somebody and then pay workman’s comp and all this other crap.

So I’m gonna say, look, I’m just gonna, I’m gonna, I’m gonna do a one month contract with you and then maybe a, and then maybe extend it to a three and then maybe a six month. But I’m, I’m going to do a little bit of dating before we tie the knot. . Okay. I like the approach. I actually like, uh, I dunno if you’ve heard of top grading, Paul or Peter, you may have heard of that.

Yeah. [00:34:00] Top grading for sure. Within the, uh, within the contract itself, within the LOI or, or the initial offer letter, you actually lay out the next 90 day goals. And you’re very specific and you’re saying, okay, so if it’s a salesperson, you’re gonna make a hundred contacts, you’re gonna do the

And they actually sign that right on the, on their, uh, on the initial offer letter. And I find that by, by being very specific and measurable with respect to a new recruit, you can actually get, you can actually scare them away. You can actually, like, they’ll actually pull back and say, oh, I don’t know. You know, but, but again, these goals are, are, are goals that are set by you with their help.

Like they know they’ve sort of laid those out. But once people have to put pen to paper, they tend to be a little bit scared to, uh, to do so unless they really can deliver the results. . Well, and the truth is, if, uh, if taking some of these approaches scares them away upfront, you saved yourself a few months worth of, of salary of somebody that wasn’t gonna work out anyway.

So, [00:35:00] you know, if, if they’re as confident in themselves as they are saying that they are, then, then they can prove it. And, and that’s okay. And then after you’ve dated a little bit, then great, we’ll, we’ll, uh, we’ll sign a long-term contract with you. In fact, you know, I, I like, as we’re building companies, I like doing what I call golden handcuffs to my really good, uh, employees or my, my people that I wanna keep long-term.

I say fantastic. Here’s what I wanna do. I wanna give you a piece of what we’re building here. Um, however, this is over a five year term or over a 10 year term, I’m gonna give you, um, you know, 5% of the company. Um, and if we sell the company in the next year, boom, you’re already locked in at 5%. However, um, if you, if things don’t work out between you and I.

If, uh, you end up quitting or things, uh, you know, we have to let you go in the next year or whatever else, then there’s an earn in wherein that 5% over the next five years, that first year, at the end of the year, you get, you’re, you’re, [00:36:00] uh, you’re vested at 1% and then another 1% after the second year, et cetera.

And then they feel like they’re really a part of the team. Um, but it’s something that you can do that to keep them hyper-focused and keep your good guys on long term. Yeah. And so you, you think, um, ownership is key for motivation for employees? Not all of them. You have to understand that there are some employees that are super.

With just a consistent paycheck. Don’t be given out ownership to everybody. There’s a lot of guys that don’t think like the ones here on this, this call, there’s a lot of guys that just wanna be a part of, of what’s going on and just come every day and be a part of the energy. Every single person is different.

Some people will come for the recognition. I guarantee that, that, uh, that recognition is going to satisfy more of your employees than ownership. And so, but there are some, there are some that are, that would end up breaking away and being [00:37:00] entrepreneurs on their own or whatever that think like you do as an entrepreneur.

Those guys are gonna need a little piece of the pie. But the majority of them, you give them the, the consistency, the stability, and the recognition that they need, and they’ll be on your team as long as it takes. Yeah. I, I’ve, I’ve done research on that and it’s actually one of the number one reasons why people leave.

And it’s fascinating to me because it doesn’t cost you anything to recognize. To recognize, uh, the people in your organization. We have a, a value statement in our company called Recognize Greatness, cuz you know, more often than not we’re recognizing people for birthdays, tenure or exiting the company.

And instead we should be recognizing those achievements, achievements that they make. And it costs absolute nothing. I mean, literally nothing. But it’s so important to the motivation of employees. Absolutely. Yeah. Alright. We have so [00:38:00] Bon on the stage. So Bon thank you for joining us on stage. Uh, did you have a question for Paul?

Hello everyone? No, Colleen, I don’t have any question. I just want to introduce myself to everyone. Okay. Well thank you. Thank you Saban. And, uh, we appreciate you coming on stage. But, uh, We’ll move on to the next question. I have one for you. Another one for you, Paul. So we’ve talked about ownership, we’ve talked about scaling repeatable systems.

I want to ask you a question about timing. You’ve sold, you’ve, it’s, you say you’ve, on your, um, bio it says 15 companies. That’s the first thing you have on the website, uh, Paul Hutchinson, that you were able to create 15 companies, and that’s really amazing. Uh, can you talk a little bit about timing with respect to the sale of those [00:39:00] companies?

And if you’ve got it right or got it wrong? I mean, right now, obviously today was an interesting day with Silicon Valley Bank, you know, announcing they’re shutting down and, uh, we run e-commerce companies here in our incubator, and it’s just we’re seeing no love from the banks or potential buyers, whereas only a year and a half ago, there were a lineup of buyers ready to buy

Uh, I’m just curious, what if you have some thoughts on timing? Yeah, well, I’ve, I’ve hit it right on the numbers and I’ve hit it really wrong on, on a few as well. Um, you know, the, the old song by, uh, by Kenny Rogers, um, the Gambler know when to hold him and know when to fold him, know when to walk away, and know when to run

You know, I, I’ve always said that if, um, , uh, first of all, if the reason you got involved with, uh, with a company doesn’t exist today, and all things that were the metrics that helped you make the decision to move forward, if those things have changed or those things weren’t what you thought they were [00:40:00] then, uh, then being willing to preserve your energy and focus it in something that is going to work is important.

So many people hold onto their baby way longer than they should when, uh, when it really should have been taken out with the garbage and, and moved on with something new. Um, I, I will say that, uh, with, um, with Bridge, um, our timing was impeccable because of the fact that we hired the right guys that could read what I couldn’t read.

Um, We, we hired a guy by the name of Don Hartman back in 2004. No, 2006. We hired Don in 2006. His, his resume was one of the most imp impressive piece of paper I’d ever seen. He ran the financial institutions research division for City Group in Asia. He raised 14 billion to bail out the Asian debt crisis in the late nineties.

He had the credibility that we needed to help us have the look and feel [00:41:00] necessary to go after the bigger institutions. We had. We had, uh, loans out. Our first company was Bridge Loan Capital. We were doing short term bridge loans, and we had loans out on about a hundred million dollars worth of property at the time.

And, and we had audited financials. We know we could go after Morgan Stanley and have him write a hundred million check, but we didn’t know how to get there. And so we hired him to help us have that look and feel. And, uh, a few months later, he came into my office, this is December of oh six, and he said, Paul, we’re in trouble.

and I said, we are the, the company, the bridge. He goes, no, we are the whole country. He said, probably the whole world. He said, we’re looking at a multi-trillion dollar problem and if you don’t change, you’re gonna be upside down with everybody in your space. And, and I said, what do you mean change? He said, we’re looking at a financial crisis.

He had all these third order polynomial equations that were way over my head. And this was really a one in a billion chance that that guy was [00:42:00] our employee turning into our partner at that company. He, uh, he was 10 years before he had worked with Citigroup. He was in Asia and called the Asian Debt Crisis nine months before it happened.

His job for. For his whole career was in analyzing banking cycles and credit crisises and helping Citi get into the right country and the right asset class at the right time. So, so we decided to listen to him. This was late 2006, a year and a half before the 2008 crisis. And, um, and we changed our strategy based on, now this cost me a lot of money.

We, we were, we were high on the hog and doing well. The reality is, if we had continued, we would’ve lost our investors’ money hardcore across the board, and we would’ve been done. But because we. , we got rid of any of our land assets or any of the things that we were too heavy in, got in a strong cash position and, and it, and it ended up being like that movie Braveheart, [00:43:00] you know, that time where the, the, the horses are all coming and, and they had all set everything up.

So they got their spears down. He’s like, okay, hold, hold, hold. And then they bring ’em up at the right time. We see all of a sudden, boom, Lehman’s crashes, everything is crashing. And Don’s like, hold, hold, hold now. And boom, we lifted it and boom, we. The top performing real estate fund of our size in the country ended up with a 48% i r r.

It was massive. We ended up, when the rest of the market lost 30 and 50%, we didn’t lose any of our investors principle and paid out a double digit return. Actually, that year in 2008 was a 9% return, but the next year, a 48, we ended up being the top performing real estate fund in the country within our asset class, et cetera, for the next five years straight because we listened to somebody who was a lot smarter than me who could see all the writing on the wall.

So timing is, was everything for us. And then, you know, the, the international community. [00:44:00] Saw what we did, and we started bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars a time into a fund that the first year took me a whole year to raise a couple million dollars. And so that was a key in, uh, in, in getting in the right place.

And then, um, being willing to carefully look at all the numbers. We, again, we had to sit down with Don, and this was in 2012. Fast forward, we were billions under management at the time. And, um, and he said, guys, another thing that we’ve been aware of our entire life is that baby boomer age, he said, we’ve got an aging population that everybody knows is coming.

He said, but p what people don’t understand is how severely lacking an infrastructure the country is to be able to handle it. And we looked at all of these numbers based on what the, the, the senior housing market, et cetera. And so we built a senior housing leg. To our structure and a senior housing investment fund that ended up being billions of [00:45:00] dollars under management there because we had our timing right.

But here the thing was, we talked about it in 2012, but we didn’t start the fund until two thou until years later. Because he said the beginning in 2016, every single year for the next 40 years, the percentage of the US population that will be over 65 years old and leaving the workforce will increase every year for the next 40 years.

So again, being willing to, to bring on key partners or really looking at the numbers was a huge key to, to our success in building the fund. I like what you’re doing there. You’re sort of like thinking about demographic changes and a potential wave, and you’re positioning before. . You know, it’s, it’s hard when, when, you know, a hundred companies are jumping in the space.

You’re already too late. But you’ve al you were thinking about it in advance. Can you talk a little bit about today’s, I, I [00:46:00] might be pushing it with this one. Okay. Paul. But , can you talk a little bit about today’s environments? You’ve got ai, you’ve got, you know, there’s throws in the audience who’ve not even started their first business yet.

Yeah, yeah. Can you talk a little bit about, you know, where you see, where you see things going? I mean, I mean, I just like got really nervous today to see that Silicon Valley Bank was going under and that was like the number one bank supporting tech companies in startups. Yeah. But, um, Well, I’ll, what are your thought thoughts about today’s environment?

Yeah, I’ll answer it this way. I, I, um, you know, I’ve been retired for years. Um, I focus on philanthropy work. However, I’m still in touch with some of, some key, key, uh, uh, people throughout the world. In fact, just this last weekend I was in Madrid, Spain. I was the keynote speaker, uh, speaking on philanthropy to a family office event.

And for, for those who don’t understand what that means, a family office is somebody who has tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of [00:47:00] dollars. In, uh, in net worth for their family. And they hire an entire family office, a team of attorneys and others to help manage their, their wealth. Well, these family office conferences are usually the family members.

It’s the, it’s the, it’s the billionaire families that are there, and the speakers are people that will help them understand everything from generational wealth transfer to the trends of the day, et cetera. And in this conference, there was, there was no less than three separate speakers talking about AI and, and how it is so much more advanced than anybody can imagine.

Uh, we were going through, um, the, the chat G D P and how that’s affecting things and, and, and yes, that is something you need to be hyper aware of and be able to use that in your, in your strategies moving forward. Um, I will say this, I’m, uh, I’m not a fan of what I see. [00:48:00] Internationally in the financial markets.

I think, I think there’s a good chance that we could be looking at a financial crisis that will make the covid crisis, will make the 2008 real estate crisis pale by comparison. And I don’t wanna be a doom and gloom, but, but, uh, but there’s when, when you’re in an environment where, where there’s been trillions and trillions of dollars that have been dumped into the system, the only way that I can explain it is this.

I, I used to play Monopoly with my, with my sisters when we were kids. And, um, we had this, this great idea because it took so long for us to get enough money to buy all the hotels we wanted, we had this great idea that we would all start with a whole bunch more money than we were supposed to. We. Give each other a whole bunch more money to start the game.

And then when we bought anything, instead of putting the money into the bank, we would put the money in the middle of the board. And every time that we, if anybody landed on free parking, you would get all the money in the middle of the [00:49:00] board. It was like winning the lottery. And then about 15 minutes playing the game.

Pretty much everybody had won the lottery at least once and we are all wealthy and the bank was broke. Now what happened at this point was hyperinflation. My, I would own Boardwalk. My sister would buy Park Place for $250, whatever. I would offer her $7,000 for the property. She just paid a couple hundred dollars for one move before now, why could I offer her seven?

Because there was so much money in the game that that’s the only thing that would capture her attention. Cuz she had a whole bunch of cash as. That’s what happens when you have unprecedented money printing that’s trying to keep us out of, of going into a depression. Well, inevitably it’s going to end up having a har house of cards that’s gonna fall.

And that’s, that’s something to be concerned about as well. And to be, be cautious of, make sure you don’t have all of your cash sitting in the bank. Make sure that you don’t have all of your cash sitting into one asset [00:50:00] class. Make sure that you’re aware that there could be some challenges with the, the valuation of your currency and, and in the, in the stability of your bank, et cetera, as you’re moving forward.

Now, those are just things from a, from a safety standpoint, I don’t live life in fear, but it’s, those are some numbers you need to pay careful attention to as you’re, as you’re moving forward beyond that. Yes. Um, hoping that things don’t fall apart at the seams. Um, AI is something that you need to be, uh, very.

um, involved with, in bringing it into your company and, and be able to use some of those, those, uh, those resources to be able to get yourself on the cutting edge. Okay. The actual rules of monopoly, and that’s what pet peeve of mine is, that when you land on free parking, you don’t, you don’t put all the taxed money, , you know that $75 tax, it all goes in the middle, and even that component of it can cause inflation and monopoly.

And they actually, the [00:51:00] rules say that you don’t actually do that. You know, it’s Exactly, you have to learn to value cash. It’s, it’s an interesting thing and it’s been a pet peeve of mine when I play Monopoly and people want to use those house rules, , that being said, the, the whole inflation and the, and the trillions of dollars spending in, in a lot of that money is going to big corporations and, you know, defense contract, whatever it is, and startups are paying the price because an SBA loan right now is like nine, 10%.

We’re doing two loans. We’re closing next week here in the incubator. and one’s at 7.75 and one’s at 8.25. We were doing loans at 3% a year and a half ago. Yeah. Uh, so that’s changed the equation for startups. You have a much higher, uh, cost of capital and when you’re starting out, not everybody has the money, you know, to get their their business off the ground, they have to borrow for inventory, or if it’s a real estate business, you need to borrow for the real estate or if it’s, [00:52:00] um, another type of business, you need to, you need to borrow that money.

And unfortunately, right now the interest rates are just, they’re three times higher than they were a year and a half ago. And I think that’s causing an issue with small businesses, with startups. And hopefully we can, uh, we can get over that and, and, and survive through this, this winter or whatever we’re gonna call this.

Well, and, and you know, I had this conversation with my son recently. He said, dad, he said, okay, so let’s just assume that, uh, that we’re gonna see inflation or potentially even hyperinflation. Let’s, let’s assume that some of these things are gonna happen. How do you survive? How do you deal with that? And my answer was, was very simple.

I said, here’s the deal. If you have. A product or service that’s going to be in demand in good times and in bad times. And you can have that product or service, something that could be ratcheted up in terms of the [00:53:00] price point. If inflation does go through the roof, then you’ve got, you’ve gotta win. You’ve got, you’ve got a machine that’s printing money that will keep up with inflation if that happens.

And so look at your company and say, okay, is this, am I in an asset class? Am I in, am I, am I selling something that if things go bad that people are still, I mean, for example, I threw a bunch of money into, uh, uh, a vodka company. Um, and uh, they’re there. It’s called Pure p u r, pure Vodka out of, out of Canada.

They’re kicking butt up there trying to come into the US market. Guess why? Well, because when crap hits a fan, people are, they might be giving up their cable tv, they might be giving up their Rolls Royce. They might be, but they’re not getting give up their alcohol . You know, it’s sad to say, but there are certain things that are somewhat market agnostic.

That’s what we did within Bridge. In the beginning when Don said, look, we’re looking at a, at a crisis in 2008. This, he didn’t know. It was 2008. This was 2000. Late 2006 when he said it, he said, the [00:54:00] crisis is coming. He said, he said, when you’re looking at real estate asset classes, he said, when things get bad, You’re gonna have a massive drop in the price of your high-end luxury homes and your condos and things like that.

He said, but B class, multi-family, large apartment complexes that are a dollar a square foot, a thousand dollars a month for a decent one or two bedroom apartment, he said, he said, those kind of places during good markets, if you’re well managed, you’re 97% occupied. During down markets, a well-managed property is maybe 92% occupied.

And as long as you don’t have a refinancing bullets that’s going to hit you in a down market, as long as you’re not forced to sell in that down market by any, then you can pay out a pretty good return with a 92% occupied property. And so make sure that you’re not stupidly leveraged and, and other things like that, that are going to eat you alive if interest rate, or make sure you don’t have a, a loan that is tied to something that’s gonna increase in your interest rates, et cetera.

[00:55:00] So be looking at your business and saying, okay, if things go well, How am I gonna do, and if the market changes on me, is this something that people are still going to buy? And am I able to work with the, the, the price point of what I’m selling in a way that can still earn the income that I need to survive as a business owner?

Wow. Paul, such great advice. Uh, really appreciate that. I know we’re almost out of time now, and we did a great job not talking about your Phil philanthropic efforts and , what you’ve done with the US government and, and how you’ve helped children, uh, free children. And I, I was hoping, you know, we’re gonna, we’re gonna, um, do a show next Friday, two o’clock Eastern on that topic.

It is truly one of, one of the, the, uh, a great success story and something that, uh, when I first heard it, I was absolutely [00:56:00] amazed and, and I think that, The more people who hear that story, the more you inspire o others to step up. Uh, especially those who have succeeded in business or have the ability to help out.

But can you just give us a flavor of your life post 2017 after you retired and. And what you were doing there. Absolutely, absolutely. So I’ve, I’ve, uh, I was recruited almost 10 years ago. Uh, I have some special set of skills from a previous life that makes me somewhat safe and a dangerous place and, and, uh, to help on some child rescue missions.

In fact, uh, the movie coming out soon called The Sound of Freedom, Eduardo Stege plays me the billion dollar fund manager that quits his job to go help rescue children. I have, that’s, that’s of one of the largest child rescue missions in history, 127 children in Columbia in one day. And the thing that changed my life forever.

[00:57:00] Colin was when I’m sitting on this chair and these traffickers bring in all of these children and they bring in this 11 year old virgin scared to death with, with two other girls and one little boy that was with her that were all, um, you know, ones that they had that, that were virgins at the time, so scared.

And she was looking at me with this fear in her eyes, and you could see the, the tear stains coming down her ma makeup face because she was crying half an hour before. And I thought, oh my God, is this really happening? Does this really happen? And I realized this the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world, and good people didn’t even know that it was going on.

And I looked in this little girl’s eyes and I still was undercover. I couldn’t blow my cover. And I made a commitment right then and. That I would dedicate my life to eradicating this evil from the earth. And since that time, have led or been a part of over 70 undercover rescue missions in 15 countries, and I have [00:58:00] hundreds of stories of those rescue missions.

Not all of them are dark. There’s some beautiful stories of the rescue and rehabilitation and reuniting of these children with their families that were truly inspirational. I, um, you know, I can touch on the times where I got arrested for real in, in Mexico by the local cops that were working with the, the traffickers.

A bunch of stuff like that. Um, we can even go into detail about how, um, how we. Uh, I believe there’s, there’s more than just logic and protocol that helped us define these children. And, uh, and some of those, those, those miracles that happened on each one of these rescue missions, um, the 34 children that we rescued in Haiti, that we had some high level celebrities that saw that rescue so that they could take it out to their audience and, and help create a movement, uh, which was super powerful.

So my last ones were last year. I’ve been undercover completely off social media for the [00:59:00] last decade, but I’ve decided that bringing these stories to light is going to rescue more children than me going undercover every other week or every other month in helping to identify the children and bring ’em out of health.

So that’s a, that’s. A quick touch on some of the things that we’ll be talking about next Friday and how doing philanthropy and making a powerful, positive impact in the lives of others is what I believe was the catalyst in helping each one of my companies succeed. And I can point to exact times where massive amounts of money came into the fund that were directly tied to the times that I put my life in danger to go help rescue these children.

So whatever it is, whether it’s saving the trees, saving the wells, uh, saving the homeless, feeding the kids, whatever it is, finding something that you’re passionate about, getting behind it, making a decision that a big percentage of your time and [01:00:00] money will go towards making that impact in the world will have a tremendous impact on your success as a business owner.

Wow. I get it credible and I can see that you’ve taken your entrepreneurial. Strategies and applied them for your philanthropic efforts. So that’s very interesting to see how it all connects. And I’m, I’m looking forward to that next Friday. I think, you know, Mimi, Michele, we should probably let Clubhouse know, um, before you come, uh, before Paul comes on next Friday, uh, about him coming on, I think it’s gonna be an incredible event and really a great opportunity to learn about what you went through and, and how we as entrepreneurs and all of us can find ways to help out as well.

Would love that. Send me the link to it early and I’ll put it out on some social media streams as well and, and promote the room because, uh, it’ll be some very inspirational [01:01:00] stories of, of how we can all make a difference in the world. Well, thanks again, Paul. I don’t know if Michele, you have any last thoughts?

We’re up the, at the end of the show, but, uh, I just learned a lot today. It was great. To go to our website, it’s right up here. It’s Penn, and sign up for our email list. Um, we send out email news alerts for really cool speakers like Paul that we just heard, and other information as well as tons and tons of invaluable data.

We have over a couple hundred blog posts as well as, um, recordings and podcasts. So Paul really can’t thank you enough and, you know, we’re really looking forward to hearing you next week. I think it’s, you know, a subject, like you said, that a lot of people are not really, um, you know, [01:02:00] Cognizant of the impact in the, in the massive amount that’s going on.

And I, I’m just gonna quantify it as human trafficking cuz it is a serious problem. And I think Paul, you’re uniquely positioned, you know, to tell us all what we can do to help. And I think there are things that we all can do to help combat this problem. So thank you again and we will see everyone next week, same place, same time.

That’s Friday at 2:00 PM Eastern Time here on Startup Club. Thank you so much and everybody be safe. Have a wonderful weekend.


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