Episode 25 Transcript: 7 Successful Business Owners Share Their Best Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Brett Fellows What advice would you give someone wanting to pursue a career similar to yours? Or being an entrepreneur, if there’s one thing you could tell them? What would that be?

[01:37] Parker Smith, Owner, Affordable Large Properties

Parker Smith One thing I could tell them. I mean, I guess it takes a special character, I mean, a confidence in yourself and your abilities. You know, getting out of the comfort zone, you know, it was a leap of faith to leave a good job. I mean, I had family, like, you’re doing what? Why? You’re quitting? I’m not quitting, I’m doing something different. I mean, that old adage, if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life applies.

[02:07] Rob Autry, Founder, Meeting Street Insights

Rob Autry I’ve learned a long time ago, well, not a long time ago. I learned five years ago, the six years I’ve been in business, that delegation is the most important thing you can do. And so hiring smart people like yourself and hiring smart accountants and bookkeepers, HR companies, all these things have been tremendously helpful in keeping me focused on the business and growing the business and moving the business forward. Things that would have diverted most of my time, had I not invested in those resources.

Rob Autry It’s one of those things that as a business that when you start out, you’re bootstrapping it, you’re trying to keep things cheap. And the idea of hiring a bookkeeper, initially when it was just me, and maybe one or two clients coming in the door, actually doing work seemed like a waste of money. I wish I’d had done that from the very, very beginning.

[03:07] Jenny Whittle, Owner, College Planners of South Carolina

Jenny Whittle You can’t serve two masters. And I know that’s a religious scripture. However, I was schlepping my computer to Starbucks, and to families’ houses. And then just out of fear I sought and got a part-time job. So, I was trying to do both. And as soon as I gave up the notion of trying to work a part-time job and just focused all my energy and time on my business, my business just took off.

Jenny Whittle So I was keeping it stuck by, because I didn’t have the time, by not working it. And as soon as I just gave myself permission to figure it out. In fact, I sat down with my parents, and they said, they promised they wouldn’t let me lose my house. And so, I wasn’t ever near there, but it was just in the back of my mind. You know, I’m a mom, I have these kids. And so when I gave up the part-time job, and I probably should have done it five years sooner.

[04:10] Nikki Hinske, CPA, Co-Founder, Hinske & Clarey

Nikki Hinske Yeah, um, I think I just didn’t set my own terms early enough. Meaning I didn’t know my own value early enough. I have found over the course of the 20 plus years that I have been basically running this business, that the more, I hate to be negative, but the more problem clients I fired. And they truly had to be problems. Problem clients I fired, the more I raised my rates, the more I really valued my own time, the more money I have made, the more successful I’ve been.

Nikki Hinske And I was afraid of that for a really long time. I was fearful that if I raised my rates, that I would lose a bunch of clients and/or my clients would not tolerate it. And that has just been the exact opposite. It’s just absolutely not true. And I just think it has to do with really providing a really valuable service and really caring for the quality of the service.

Nikki Hinske Then you can charge what you feel that care is worth, and you’re really providing value for your clients. So it’s okay, and they know that. And as long as they know that they’re happy. Then they’re willing to pay you and happy to pay you for the services they receive.

[05:29] John Haas, Owner, Coastline Painting

John Haas If somebody is better at something than me, I can promise you I will never take it from them. I will let them do it. I’ve actually run into a little trouble that way, occasionally. I have too much trust, I don’t hide information. All my guys know what we bill, how much it is. They know everything. 

John Haas So I’ve had on occasion, someone leave and try to go into competition with me. And they knew everything about the company. So they could, they can mimic it and try to take it. It’s happened for short periods of time. They don’t understand what it takes. And so they will take a customer or two, I may lose a property or two. But they’ve almost always come back.

[06:10] Andre Berenzon, Owner, Park West Fitness

Andre Berenzon And you know, the process for me has always been trial and error, right? And figure out what works, figure out what’s more profitable. For that amount of time and that amount of space I have, what can bring the most profit? And also thinking about what can I bring the most value to my community? 

Andre Berenzon You know, at the end of the day, we are a business and we live for the profit, right, so the business can survive. But I also realized that once you think about the community and really what you’re putting out there, and how can you positively affect the people around you? The income itself naturally just starts to generate, you know. 

[06:49] Torrey Glass, Owner, 60 Bull Cafe

Torrey Glass I’m back to you got to put the right team around you. I mean, that’s everything. That’s everything. Because I’m a pretty smart guy, but guess what? I can’t be the smartest guy in the room in every subject, right? So put people around you who are, and then listen to them. I’m not smarter than them. I have an idea. Let me listen to that.

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