Young entrepreneur interview with Trevor Mauch by Paul Yevzikov.
Trevor Mauch interview:
PY: Hi everyone, special guest here today is Trevor Mauch, founder of Automize and Mach One Media, serial entrepreneur and founder of a few multimillion dollar businesses. Today he’s going to be speaking with us about how to discover your passions, keys to starting businesses without funds, and how to get over your fear and other motivational things that young entrepreneurs are going to benefit from.
So without further ado, Trevor… if you could say a few words and introduce yourself and give some background on your experience.
TM: Yeah absolutely. First of all Paul, thanks man for having me on, I really love sharing this stuff that I’ve experienced and learned and helping other entrepreneurs.
So the quick background, before we start, I want you to walk away with stuff you can apply, and really kind of have a couple mind shifts during this call, so I’m not gonna really talk a lot about myself. But my background is I come from the real estate world, I started off when I was really young, my parents were entrepreneurs, my first business was going out and buying a rental property. So that was my first thing.. after that I started an online marketing company, and kind of transitioned into an online publishing company, because we were finding people with a lot of grea content and information, and we wanted to share that with the world. And that led into our software company that we’re really growing today, which is AutomizeIt, and we’re working some awesome companies, INC 500 companies, a lot of companies that you’ve heard of. We’re helping them automate different parts of their business and marketing, like text message marketing, tele-seminars, webinars, things like that. It’s been a really really cool journey. The publishing company was kind of our first big win, first 18 months we made our first million dollars. And that was really what jump started me thinking “wow this entrepreneurship thing works!” And that leads up to where we are today, which is really helping entrepreneurs leverage their business, and lifestyle a lot better with systems, and I love sharing the insights I’ve had along the way.
PY: Oh, great! Trevor, how much cash did you put in that first or unit building that you purchase in college?
TM: Yes that’s a cool story and this is something that I really love. Even if you start a company or grow their company just get over that mindset shift of you have to have money to build a company or to make money. So for that first year of my own cash, [the property] was about a $174,000 and of my own cash I put just $600 and that’s all the money I put in!
PY: How much?
TM: 600 bucks!
TM: Yeah, that was all the money I have in my bank account! The rest I just got creative. Went back to the seller and the seller had his certain goals: he didn’t want the property, he wanted cash flow. And it work out really well for him just to carry a note. Then I went out found a private lender to lend me money for small down payment. So I was able to get in the real estate with only $600 bucks! And you can buy real estate with that kind of money. You can do the same thing and start your own company.
PY: So that’s kinda goes back to you saying that entrepreneurs shouldn’t look at funding as any kind of obstacle when it comes to pursuing their dreams or ideas right?
TM: Yes I think so. Just talking to with a lot of people because, I run a young entrepreneurs group here in my town, and we have an entrepreneur’s co-workspace here as well, really cool and fun. One of the things I see a lot of people I’m coming across, they’re making the funding part of it out to be a huge deal [when it’s not.]
As a great example…this is like a killer example: a totally local business where you see people got creative with funding their business. They have regular jobs, and this guy was selling his linen [or garment] business services for hotels or whatnot. And this guy bought this equipment, and then he went to the biggest account in town, which is our local hospital and said “what do I have to do to have your business?” He bought his equipment for 500 bucks. So he went to the hospital and said “what do I have to do to get your business?” (which is a huge account), it’s like $15,000 – $20,000 dollar a month account! To make the long story short, the hospital ended up going with this guy and the hospital funded the whole growth of his business!
So he said “okay, I can’t do all of this capacity right now but if you fund $25,000 to get into a facility and to buy our equipment that can service your what you need, then will accept this bid.” So he had his customers fund his business!
And we’ve done the same thing with two of my different businesses.
There’s a publishing company, same thing, we saw what people wanted, and we went out there and pre-sold one of our training programs before it was ever created! We made sure that people wanted it, made sure it’s really quality, and we pre-sold to our customers, and our customers funded that startup. And same thing with our software company. We funded that company with our revenues from the publishing company, and same thing we went out there before we were finished. We pre-sold memberships in it and that help us get some cash to start that goal. So yeah definitely don’t look at funding as an obstacle because there’s a lot of different ways to get funding, especially from your customers, and sites like Kickstarter. You probably heard a website kickstarter, right Paul?
PY: No, I haven’t heard something like that.
TM: Yeah, you should check it out, its kickstarter.com. And if you go there basically anybody can go there and post their project, their business or products whatever their looking at launching. And they raise funds for their business by getting people to “pre-buy” whatever it is. So, I was last week and uhmm there’s this one [business], that was some kind an iPod speaker and so they had a prototype…they sold a prototype and said “that’s what you’re gonna get,” and they had a goal they wanted to raise, I think that one is about $50,000 bucks. And they raised their $50 grand in about 14 days after they started, just from people seeing this idea and jumping pre-buying one of the things from it!! And that’s just a killer model.
PY: Wow, this is pretty crazy. I just jumped on the website and I see a guy here, he has a cook book that he needs $48,000 for, and it’s almost fully funded with a month left to go with this campaign! So it works!
TM: And that’s the thing! I mean you don’t even have to have “widget”, you don’t have to have a physical product. If you’re a consultant – an entrepreneur going into a consulting business, that could be [sold] for the stock or whatever it is. There’s a lot of different groups, and creative ways to fund your business. But one of the best ways, we’ve done it 3 different times, is to get your customers to fund your business.
PY: For young aspiring business people that are listening to you right now, and they would wanna know what suggestions do you have for them discovering their passions or their talent? A lot of people just don’t know what they’re good at, or how to figure out what to get involved in? Could you give any insight on that?
TM: Yes, totally. Here’s my process on this. I think everybody goes through their little own “mind games” when they’re starting their own company, and for me I’ve thought of this question a billion times, and over the last two years I came to this realization: that a lot of people say you should start your company based around your passion, and this company should be your passion. And what you love doing is should be what the company does. I’m gonna agree with that…
I meant, I agree that you can start a company where what you’re doing everyday is what you love. [For example] if you love rock climbing and that’s your passion, then you should try to start some kind of rock climbing company… BUT the big problem that people run into — is their passions don’t align with something that they think they can make a business out of.
And that was totally the case with me. I mean I love golf, I love mountain biking, and hiking, but I know that I’m not gonna be a professional mountain biker, professional golfer and I’m not good enough of a golfer even if you tell me how to golf.
So what I’ve done, and this is the advice I give people: if you can find a company, or an idea… (something that improves people lives of course), and something that gives a lot of value to the market, and whether that specific initial idea or business IS your passion or not, it doesn’t matter. Create a business so it’s awesome, so that you can live your lifestyle, BUT use that business, use the branding that business creates, use the profit and reach that business creates, to help you do what you love to do.
So for me, with our publishing company and software company… I don’t love software, I don’t love it, I’m not passionate when I talk about it, but I really do love what we do for people. We help people work less, so that they can spend more time loving life, and we take those processes back in to our company, and money we generate from that to have more fun on my own life and do the things that I love to do.
So, that’s my business advice, you know. Of course go for something if you have a passion, and try to create a business out of it, but don’t stop there [if it doesn’t work]. If you can’t create a business out of what you love, but if you see an opportunity in the local market, the local business marketing world, create a business there, and then funnel those profits and that time into doing the stuff you love to do. More than anything for me, business is just a way to give me freedom and unlock my passion so that I can do more of the stuff I love.
PY: Hmm, can you talk a bit about your “bucket list” when you’re speaking about your passion?
TM: Yeah, totally. So, Paul found my personal blog and on my About Page…that’s the stuff from my “bucket list”. Probably about a year and a half ago, like back in December, here I am going through the New Year… I’m thinking “I’ve done a lot of cool stuff… in my business we’re making money…but I wasn’t achieving or doing the stuff that I love in life!!”
So I just decided at that point to write on piece of paper: I wrote down everything I want to do in my life before I die. And that was all like adventure stuff, where I want to travel in my life, stuff I want to experience, people I want to help.
And just as an example from the stuff, I’ve been lucky to check off the bucket list last year… I wanted to start a scholarship for the students in college I went to and we did that last year. So every year we fund two scholarships a year for students in entrepreneurs programs in college, which is awesome. Another one is skydiving, I’m terrified of heights but for some reason on my, this was December of 2010 that I wrote on this bucket list that I wanted to “skydive over a tropical ocean.”
And at that time I didn’t know what tropical ocean, I’m freaked out at heights… probably more than anything I thought that was just cool to put on the bucket list to share with a buddy. But then no kidding at all, I wrote that in December! The first week of January I got an email from a buddy that I didn’t hear for a while. And he said hey, I just wanted to ask you if you’re up to this business Mastermind in Orlando, with a lot of great people that are flying in. Like Bryan Ellis is one of my contacts who just sold the company for $168 Million or whatever it was, and Scott Gerber sold his global company to Google for $80 Million, bunch of others. Scott Gerber of Young Entrepreneur’s Council, and Scott Becker sold his company too for $8 million… great, great mastermind… but then I get this email that says “we’re gonna be skydiving in Orlando” and if I didn’t actually put it down on my bucket list and never would have said yes.
And February 2011…just two months after I put “sky diving over a tropical ocean” on my bucket list… I was sky diving over the ocean in Orlando, Forida!
And I think that’s just kinda what the bucket list means for me.. it’s just writing down and doing NOW the things you love to do in life. And just putting that intention out there, and everything just comes back and actually it happens.
PY: Oh, absolutely. Before we wrap up today can you maybe say a few words on like overcoming the fear that young people may have, when they’re starting out or considering making the plunge into doing work for themselves.
TM: Yeah, totally. I love this topic because like I said I started young entrepreneur group here in town. And there’s really young guys during college, guys just getting out of high school, and older entrepreneurs as well… everybody kinda has that fear.
But the big fear that I had, which is a totally false fear when I was getting started, like with that property that I bought when I was 21… You always think you’re too young to be doing something. And you think that people are not going to take you seriously. And nowadays we have role models like Mark Zuckerburg who’s a billionaire at 25 or 26, that’s just totally takes the age of objection out of it for me. So if you’re fear is that people won’t take you seriously, that you’re not old enough to be doing the things like that, just look at some of the epic things that young people around the world are doing. Zuckerburg totally change the way people network, not just online but everywhere. You have a lot of other young people just totally doing life changing things, like the Summit Series guys, they’re all 25, 26 years old…totally epic stuff.
So I’ll kind of sum it up with just one tip on fear…
I kinda learn this through Tim Ferris..whenever I come across something, where I’m like “man I’m afraid of what’s gonna happen,” First I think of “what is the worst case scenario in the situation.” What is the absolute worst thing that could happen if you go and start your company, if you quit your job, out of college and going start your company and you fail? What is the worst thing that can happen?
I’m working with a buddy of mine who’s looking at doing that right now, who’s quitting his job that’s makes $70,000 a year and leaves it to start his own company. And we walk through this whole exercise, and in the end, usually what you find is the worst case scenario is not as bad as you thought it was.
The worst case scenario, you just got your first job and you wanna start your own company now. Usually the worst thing that probably can happen [if you fail] is that you start your own company, you drive it into the ground after 6 months, maybe going into credit card debt a couple thousands or something like that. You have to move out your apartment, move back to your parents for a couple months, and then, that’s just we’re you where before.
You can still go get the job you had before. Maybe not the same place, but you can still go and get the job that’s gonna pay a really good wage. You can still get all the things you’re doing before you made that decision to start your company. Only difference is, now is now you have a lot more experience, you’re more wise and yeah..
So look at the worst case scenario, really look and think “What is the absolute worst case scenario?” It’s not as bad as you think.
We’re still young right now, we got so much time to do cool things in our life, I think if we wait too long to make that first decision of going out after the things you wanna do in life. And you’re really gonna have a big regret.
So one last thing is… I always try to think today when I’m 80 years old, looking back at my life, am I gonna be proud that I did or didn’t make this decision. And that’s just gonna put things in perspective for me.
PY: Oh absolutely, Trevor thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it.
TM: Yeah definitely. Thank you Paul and yeah I love sharing my insight and hopefully everybody got a lot of it. And hopefully our paths will cross again!