Never Been Promoted | Unleash Your Entrepreneur

Justin Stephens: Relationships Over Riches: Building a Company That Puts People First

January 04, 2024 Thomas Helfrich Season 1 Episode 16
Justin Stephens: Relationships Over Riches: Building a Company That Puts People First
Never Been Promoted | Unleash Your Entrepreneur
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Never Been Promoted | Unleash Your Entrepreneur
Justin Stephens: Relationships Over Riches: Building a Company That Puts People First
Jan 04, 2024 Season 1 Episode 16
Thomas Helfrich

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Confronted with challenges, Justin Stephens experienced an unforeseen shift in his journey, guiding him towards a course marked by resilience and unwavering determination. His gripping tale of surmounting forced labor and familial business entanglements presents an unfiltered and relatable depiction of entrepreneurship. Through candidly narrating his struggles and successes, Justin's narrative becomes an inspiring source of hope for budding entrepreneurs in search of direction. The question remains: What specific moment played a crucial role in shaping his entrepreneurial mindset?

About Justin Stephens:
Justin Stephens is a husband, father of three, and the first founder of America's Holding Company. His mission is to create a system that accounts for the true value of time in our society.

In this episode, Thomas and Justin discuss how to:

  • Mastering the entrepreneurial mindset for sustainable success.
  • Prioritizing meaningful experiences and relationships in business growth.
  • Crafting a resilient and sustainable business model for long-term success.
  • Strategizing for long-term entrepreneurial success and fulfillment.
  • Building a strong and cohesive team for business growth.


 Key Takeaways:

  • Mastering the entrepreneurial mindset

By reshaping our mindset, we unlock the potential to pursue opportunities beyond conventional boundaries and create our own paths to entrepreneurial success.

  • Prioritizing meaningful experiences and relationships

According to Justin, fostering meaningful experiences and relationships often provides more lifelong satisfaction than professional achievements. He emphasizes the need for personal fulfillment over societal pressures to accumulate wealth. 

  • Crafting a resilient business model

By prioritizing sustainability over short-term gains, entrepreneurs are more likely to create businesses that flourish in the long term and bring genuine happiness.

“The most important entrepreneurial trait that an aspiring entrepreneur needs is unshakable belief in yourself. Everyone will leave you at some point in your life. Everyone. And being able to believe in yourself when they're gone is the hardest decision you will ever go through." —  Justin Stephens

CONNECT WITH JUSTIN STEPHENS:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/justindcstephens/
Website: https://justindcstephens.com/
X: https://twitter.com/jdcstephens
Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/justindcstephens?_rdc=1&_rdr
TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@jdcstephens
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jdcstephens/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/LifewithJustinStephens

CONNECT WITH THOMAS:
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Email:

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Confronted with challenges, Justin Stephens experienced an unforeseen shift in his journey, guiding him towards a course marked by resilience and unwavering determination. His gripping tale of surmounting forced labor and familial business entanglements presents an unfiltered and relatable depiction of entrepreneurship. Through candidly narrating his struggles and successes, Justin's narrative becomes an inspiring source of hope for budding entrepreneurs in search of direction. The question remains: What specific moment played a crucial role in shaping his entrepreneurial mindset?

About Justin Stephens:
Justin Stephens is a husband, father of three, and the first founder of America's Holding Company. His mission is to create a system that accounts for the true value of time in our society.

In this episode, Thomas and Justin discuss how to:

  • Mastering the entrepreneurial mindset for sustainable success.
  • Prioritizing meaningful experiences and relationships in business growth.
  • Crafting a resilient and sustainable business model for long-term success.
  • Strategizing for long-term entrepreneurial success and fulfillment.
  • Building a strong and cohesive team for business growth.


 Key Takeaways:

  • Mastering the entrepreneurial mindset

By reshaping our mindset, we unlock the potential to pursue opportunities beyond conventional boundaries and create our own paths to entrepreneurial success.

  • Prioritizing meaningful experiences and relationships

According to Justin, fostering meaningful experiences and relationships often provides more lifelong satisfaction than professional achievements. He emphasizes the need for personal fulfillment over societal pressures to accumulate wealth. 

  • Crafting a resilient business model

By prioritizing sustainability over short-term gains, entrepreneurs are more likely to create businesses that flourish in the long term and bring genuine happiness.

“The most important entrepreneurial trait that an aspiring entrepreneur needs is unshakable belief in yourself. Everyone will leave you at some point in your life. Everyone. And being able to believe in yourself when they're gone is the hardest decision you will ever go through." —  Justin Stephens

CONNECT WITH JUSTIN STEPHENS:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/justindcstephens/
Website: https://justindcstephens.com/
X: https://twitter.com/jdcstephens
Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/justindcstephens?_rdc=1&_rdr
TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@jdcstephens
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jdcstephens/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/LifewithJustinStephens

CONNECT WITH THOMAS:
X (Twitter)
Facebook
Website
Instagram
YouTube
LinkedIn
Email:

Support the Show.

Serious about LinkedIn Lead Generation? Stop Guessing what to do on LinkedIn and ignite revenue from relevance with Instantly Relevant Lead System

Speaker 2:

Welcome to the Never Been Promoted podcast with Thomas Helfrick. Get ready for a thrilling adventure as we uncover entrepreneurial journeys and life-changing business insights every week. And now your host, Thomas.

Speaker 1:

Welcome to another episode of Never Been Promoted. I am Thomas Helfrick, your host. I am trying to get entrepreneurs of the world who have just started or want to get going lessons from other entrepreneurs so they can be better at being an entrepreneur, be better at life, and I do this through interviewing and talking with other entrepreneurs. And today I'm joined by the entertaining Justin Stevens, who is the founder of America's holding company, but honestly, he defines himself more as the guy who wants to be the water boy on a Super Bowl team. Justin, thank you for joining today.

Speaker 3:

Now I'm as I am, honored to be here.

Speaker 1:

This is going to be a lot of fun. We'll see how you assess yourself after the interview. It's going to be a tough one today.

Speaker 3:

Life's hard.

Speaker 1:

They're for entrepreneurs. It is, and you have a great story because we've spoken, we met off, obviously offline, but first of all, introduce yourself high level, kind of like you where you are today, and we'll back into your dream chasing youth and how you became an entrepreneur, because there are probably a lot of people that are listening that will resonate with your journey. And so the floor is yours, justin. Please tell the audience a little bit about yourself.

Speaker 3:

All right. So I am a husband, I'm a father of three, which are the most important things I do on a day to day basis. I'm also the head of marketing and HR for a company called KyTech Automation. We are a robotic integration company. So when you walk down the aisles at the grocery store, all that food in boxes got there somehow it didn't grow in a box, so we automate all of that. That is what I do on a day to day basis. What I do with my time is I chase street. At the end of the day, we are each our own competitive advantage. I don't know if you're following everything that's happened with OpenAI in the last three days. It has been insane. The board of directors fired the CEO and then the entire company. 700 people signed resignation letters saying if you don't hire in-bat, we're all gone.

Speaker 1:

I had missed that. That tells you how buried I've been this week. I've checked out so clearly. It was a wrong time to do that, but oh well. So from the time you know it's, you know, november 2023, I'm assuming some of the distant futures going to listen to this and be like that was so old news.

Speaker 3:

Right.

Speaker 1:

No, please. What was this? You know that's a significant change for something we all use, right, and so please continue. Give me the topical thing relevance for the future and fidelity.

Speaker 3:

Exactly so. The board of directors made a decision. They said, nope, you're fired. And then everybody else left. The value in any asset is the people on that team. It is not any one person, it is all of them. And so when I talk about chasing my dreams, I'm talking about the true value of time, and I don't believe our society has accounted for it. So that's everything. I study is around time. How does business interact with time? I believe we live in two different worlds. We live in the real world. Where I'm in Boise, idaho, right now. You're wherever you happen to be.

Speaker 1:

I'm in your basement.

Speaker 3:

Oh my God. So we live in these two worlds, what we're connected through the virtual world, and they're very separate. Anything that happens on a computer is happening in the virtual world, which is thrown off the value of time. If you operate at a restaurant, at a construction company, at any business that operates in the real world exclusively, you are a distinct disadvantage from any company that operates online exclusively, and so that's one of the things I look at on my journey is how do these worlds interact? Right?

Speaker 1:

Well in COVID accelerated that.

Speaker 1:

That shoved that whole dynamic forward, uncomfortable for many people on many levels, right.

Speaker 1:

So and I think the lesson there on entrepreneurship is like well, going back to opening AI, first of all, your people and the value of that culture matters so much, and the time that people put in and why they put it in is not always behind the idea, it's often behind the person leading the idea, and I think you is a perspective you won't have as an entrepreneur.

Speaker 1:

If you're successful, you know enough to maybe even you know hire somebody, or even a contractor or team that you work with. It's okay to be a solopener, but the idea is understand that that culture you're creating, people are buying into you, and if you're only buying into their salary, you got the wrong person. I'd say it that way. I mean it was not buying the salary direct for the holidays and like no one wants to actually resign and quit, but they also don't want to work for whoever the board assumes should be in there to do it, and so to keep that in mind that you may be more loved than you think, it's so true, and I have loved watching the drama unfold with open AI because most people I was on mute, by the way.

Speaker 1:

You just fill my afternoon of what I have to go do. Now I feel that's post worthy. Oh my God, it has been crazy.

Speaker 3:

They've had three different CEOs in the last three days.

Speaker 1:

People they brought in that let's go to the houses of those other two or three that I'm going to be the open CSC oh, my God, we're going to. Let's go by the house and wait. And I got fired already. I should have all three of those CEOs Like I heard you got fired pretty quickly this week. Never been promoted is about that journey and that 24 hours. You really felt highs and yeah, All right, please, please, get, hey, wait, wait, wait, wait. You're going into a. I want to set a stage here. You're not just some guy that's decided to be an entrepreneur one day. We're talking forced labor before you were allowed to actually legally work. So can you go back a little bit and talk about your history, just just to touch, to understand your perspective and instead of the state for how you're thinking about entrepreneurship?

Speaker 3:

I'm not sure what happened. Last I heard was you said we're talking forced labor.

Speaker 1:

Oh well, for those listening, I'm going to say it again. I'm not sure this will get it. It's my internet connection is unstable on. We may have an issue here. Uh, you assume we may have a problem. Let's hope the cats aren't eating the internet. Okay, let me. Can you hear me? Okay now, yeah, I can. So if this gets unedited, sorry guys, enjoy that moment. The question I had was I want you to back up, I want you to go back to your roots, because it'll give a perspective of how you think as an entrepreneur, in particular the. What I said about forced labor is you wasn't like you was a choice before you were legally allowed to work your youth forced labor situation from your teenagers. Talk about your background just a bit to catch us up, to like how you got here.

Speaker 3:

I love it. So when I was I'll start, at 13 years old, before then my parents owned a plumbing company, electrical company and a remodeling and I was learning what they did. My dad went and bought a Sandler sales training branch at which teaches people how to sell, so he bought it to train the three companies he had. I ended up going through sales training two hours every Wednesday morning between eight and ninth grade, with a room full of business owner, full of sales professionals, full of people who are out in the world living like not learning in school, and that it's a very different experience when you're learning with someone who's trying to apply something versus learning with someone who's trying to do it. Does that?

Speaker 1:

resonate. It does, because it helps set at the stage of kind of like. It's not that you went out and hated corporate world, or else you came in probably wanting nothing more to do with family business and be like, oh my gosh, but the same motion of feeling, I think, applies, and so the takeaway I'm trying to give with the entrepreneurs if you've grown up in a entrepreneurial type family, or some of you've worked for themselves and you're in that business, the first thing you want to do is probably exit that business and go do your own thing. Talk about maybe, some of the challenges of starting your own thing, only knowing the one thing Tell me what you drew upon, and then we'll work through it, because that's the journey that I want people to understand is how did you bounce out? How did you get going?

Speaker 3:

Awesome. So I graduated college in 2009, went and started working full time in the family business as originally as admin that I was doing sales and prospecting, then coaching and consulting and training and I did that for 10 years. I worked in the family business and I loved it. I love coaching, I love training. It is one of the most impactful and rewarding things I believe you can do. But at the end of the day, it is a franchise and I was learning digital marketing and the franchise rules were based on geography, which does not play well with digital marketing. So we got a cease and desist letter and that's when I said I feel like I meant for more than playing within someone.

Speaker 1:

Sandler sent you a cease and desist because you were marketing outside of your territory. Yes, do their own franchisee and just call on them and say, hey, why don't you share those leads with the right people? Yes, interesting Guys, maybe not the greatest franchise you want to buy. I'm just going to throw that out there. Yeah, who knows?

Speaker 3:

Maybe they changed. Yeah, and this is my point in. The true value of time is you are the rule maker, sandler is the rule maker. They can make any rule they want. I'm the owner of time. I get to decide it by work within their rules, your time is valuable.

Speaker 1:

It's actually my first chapter in my book is about exactly that topic of time. I always try to find moments, like I said, through this thing, where in the book my first chapter is time is your invaluable asset, and lost time is never found again. I think Ben Franklin said that, and the idea is, if you're losing time feeling someone else's dream, playing by someone else's rules that you don't align to, you are in fact then wasting time. Now, if you're finding yourself massively successful, it's just annoying. Maybe just reevaluate it, but if you just don't feel like that's really fulfilling, you're wasting time and that time asset you can't get it back.

Speaker 3:

Exactly, and that's where one of the Sandler rules is you're either part of your plan or part of someone else's plan. I actually disagree with that. You are always part of your plan and you're always part of someone else's plan. It is literally impossible unless you yourself do not have a plan. But if you don't know where you're going to go tomorrow, of course you're terrified to lose your job.

Speaker 1:

Are you saying that hope is not a good strategy?

Speaker 3:

I'm saying hope is the only strategy.

Speaker 1:

Okay, I say, but I see how you bring it. So hope is well. What if your plan is to have no plan at all?

Speaker 3:

But then you go on that no plan plan but in fact itself is a plan.

Speaker 1:

But I think that is a plan. My plan is not to adhere, it's to feel, and I think that's a good thing. Now listen, it's harder to. It's harder to strategize and kind of have a direction if you're like that. But if you're just aimlessly wondering, unconsciously saying I'm taking a plan, I'm not taking a plan, I think that's what you're trying to avoid is either completely beyond someone else's time and not thinking independently, or being so amiss and passive and lost in the wilderness. You're also in the same spot. You just don't realize it, but a different way, I guess. But please continue.

Speaker 3:

Exactly. And so I look at in our company we use EOS, the entrepreneurial operating system. It's a coaching business process for how to run a business. Part of that talks about you have a visionary in the company and then you have an implement. The visionary says this is where we're going, guys. The implementer is in charge of making it happen.

Speaker 3:

I look at my life. I am the visionary of Justin's life. Regardless of what happens at work, with my in, with my wife, with interactions with random people, I will continue to live until I die. Like that's how life work. So I have a plan for me as a visionary of my life, and that's what I think everybody needs to have a plan. How do I envision myself at 75 years old? I think I hear a lot of people talk about saving for retirement, which is important, but at the end of the day, you're investing your time and your health today to collect money. That is the easiest resource in the world period to get a hold up and save it, on the off chance that in 30 years I can enjoy it.

Speaker 1:

That's not the new rich way of thinking, that's for sure. Exactly, I mean, you have to count for some. I don't think you're saying don't save, but you're saying but don't have your mentality of man. I'm going to work 30 years so I can enjoy my last 10 really well. Why don't you enjoy these 30 now? Now, how do you do that? So let's get into that a little bit. So how do you? What's your suggestion then, if it's balance, or is it in balance? So how do you enjoy the life that you have, with the idea that you also don't want to be living in a shanty down by the river at age 75, if you can't afford to even buy medication that you probably don't want to take?

Speaker 3:

The first thing I recommend to people is you have to have a very clear picture, because no one can control time. We are all time travelers together. I own my time, but we Thomas and Justin are sharing our time right now. Great yeah, so you own your own time. If you don't have a strategy for what your life will look like when you're 75, how can you make that life happen today? And so it's about having a picture. What is the outcome? Where do I want to be when I'm 70? Because I'll tell you, when I'm 75, I'm gonna care about the nights I spent sitting on the couch watching my kids play Lego. I'm gonna care about the nights we went to McCall and had a little vacation. I'm not gonna care about the sales calls. I'm not gonna care about the hot bath. That's all irrelevant. I'm hurt Part of what gets you where you want to be. So what I encourage people to do? First, envision what do you not have today that you need, and I think that's a question not enough people have.

Speaker 1:

And you're not talking about physical, or it's more of what don't you have. Is it memories, is it? Yep, so it's interesting. So the reason for the sales call or podcast or whatever it is, is for the intent of collecting a resource, which is usually money. Then you get some other ancillary things friendships, new relationships, those are kind of things that come along with it, and I think those things, things become important later in life and so that's the currency that people maybe devalue or chasing.

Speaker 1:

The current need of money Is that they're not valuing the long-term ancillary things that come along with your time, which is the interactions, the relationships and other things like this. So I think the takeaway is leverage your time enough to get the resources you need to really enjoy people in your life, the connections you make, and with an eye that you know, if I want to be 75 and healthy, then stop drinking, work out more right. For example and I'm, you know, I stopped drinking about three plus months ago, not because I'm an alcoholic, not because I went through some program, but just on a Friday I was like I'm kind of bored and done with this. Yeah, that simple and the idea that's really driving, which is something I found in my late forties. Here is I want to enjoy my last 10 years in life a little easier than I see my parents, other parents, and I think one of the big pieces for that is now to make the investment and stop drinking, cause I think that it's going to take away a lot of medications and a lot of other things down the road. Never smoke stuff like that.

Speaker 1:

But I, the idea is you, make that that's an investment in my time now. That actually is increasing my joyability of my time now. In addition, I know it's going to increase to a longer drawn out 10 years of life to enjoy with my grandchildren maybe, or my kids as adults. So I, you have to think of it that way and if you don't, you're fooling yourself. The little investments you make now you know. If you want to, if you don't want to die, let's say, with no one knowing who you are, then go volunteer at your local community church or something and really become the guy that was there every oh my God. That guy served, you know, lunch to the homeless every year. We remember him like go do things now that people remember you for and you know so I'll get off my pedestal.

Speaker 3:

No, I totally agree, and I think that's one of my personal opinion is, as a society, we use net worth as a scoreboard and we are trained as kids to go to school, get a job, go work, build your net worth so you can retire one day, right?

Speaker 1:

Well, exactly so you can have things, yeah, and you need them, and let's say you should just give it all up. But that's the focus, I think, of a lot of this is what you just said there. It's like you know, it's like man. You, I've been part of it. I think the corporate world and like what I realized.

Speaker 1:

You know I used to make over a half million year or whatever else, but I saw like you'll never actually get wealthy doing that and I'm spending so much time away and it's great money and joy, but you're still part of this kind of cog, this wheel, like you're still part of the machine and I make way less than I do now, but I'm 10 times happier, I'm a better person because of it. So if you're miserable and you know so, I'm with you on this, any of this journey that you take, and so I always try to answer these questions with it. Tell me about some things you wish you would have the one thing maybe you really wish you had known because I think you're doing stuff around holding maybe a minute or two of what the American Holding Company or your current kind of primary focus is right now but also what you wish you had known along your journey and maybe getting to this point of a newer venture.

Speaker 3:

So I've been on my entrepreneurial journey for five years. I founded, signed the Articles of Incorporation for America's Holding Company on March 28th 2022. So about a year and a half ago. What I wish I had known from the start was the best way to succeed at entrepreneurship is to give yourself a 10-year runway. All right, I like that. Figure out what do you want to do. It is not a race to accomplish it. Life is about the journey of life, like you never get to relive it. So why are we in such a hurry to get to the end game? So what I wish I knew is to set what is the end game look like for me. So if you think about sports football has the Super Bowl, soccer has the World Cup, like these are end games that every team is competing right In your life. What's your end game? What are you trying to accomplish? Because if it my opinion if it is tied to a financial metric or a financial number, you will never be happy.

Speaker 1:

Let me challenge one part of that, though. I mean, lots of people want to be wealthy, but I will tell you what I'd love to have is you do need some kind of resource coming in that's sustainable to have a lifestyle. I would rather have a lifestyle. And listen, you want as much as that as you can, but it's not the trade-off of missing everything, and so I think it's fair to say create something that you don't have to be a mega millionaire to be happy, successful. Actually, the data would show it's the opposite those who are content and have less things.

Speaker 1:

And Arthur Brooks, this guy we went to go see the other day.

Speaker 1:

He talks about the how to be healthy, or the science behind the happy ends, and it has to do with where you are in life. And he, what he showed was like most people aren't happy later in life because they've been chasing the wrong things, and so there's real data and science behind that. So I think you need some kind of sustainable level. But when your identity is tied to your work, when your identity is tied to the things you're doing, you're setting yourself up for a massive fall in your mid-40s 50s because you're like I'm not happy, I haven't accomplished certain things because I've bought things Right, and you'll need to make some shifts to be happier. So I think you do need a repeatable model that allows the freedom of time or the things that you truly value. As you see it, as you get older, as you start contemplating 75, death, things like this, you have to set these things up now, and I think what you're saying is don't just become homeless and stop working, but don't make that your life.

Speaker 3:

Exactly, it is about having a strategy and a plan. The most important question, so, as a business owner, the most important question for you to be able to answer is what is your business model? How do you, as a company, actually make money Not just money, but profit money? Right, because not everything you do will be profitable. Not everything you do is gonna be a good idea and it's gonna take time to figure out what that is. And, trust me, I have failed so many times on my journey and I promise you I'm not done failing because I'm not happy where I'm at.

Speaker 1:

Well, maybe dive into that. So maybe not the step on either. But what are the questions asked? Is the pivotal moments? I don't look at it as failure. I look at it as a plan of direction. You're like, oh, I don't think that was quite that bearing was quite cracked, and so you make sometimes you abandon the route completely right, but other times it's just more of. I need to tweak it this way. I should say it this way Talk about maybe your pivotal moments and throw in there I wish I wouldn't have done this Like so maybe it's that one leaning towards a yeah, that was a failure, but that could be about life too. So talk to me about a pivotal moment and maybe a regret in that cycle.

Speaker 3:

So one of the most pivotal things that happened on my entrepreneurial journey is in. It was December 2020. I met a gal by the name of Carlotta Thompson. She's a tax strategist, amazing person, great at tax strategy. Up until this point, I'd only ever focused on sales and marketing. So, matt her, she was trying to market her company and we started talking and I said you aren't ready for marketing, you don't have a sales system or a process at all, so let's work together, build it out. I told her I would do that for equity and she agreed to it and so we got started. We took her business from I think it was like 650 to 1.5 million plus somewhere in that. In 10 months we had to stop sale because production couldn't handle it. And what the pivotal moment for me was I did not have a contract written in place for it, and so 10 months later, things are going really well, they'll give you a bad valuation of what you'd get at that point.

Speaker 3:

Or just walk away, which my bad. I should have gotten paperwork. The most important documents in any organization period are the articles of incorporation or the operating and the bylaws or the operating agreement or whatever that that tells who actually has control. Through time, the owner can hire me as head of HR and empower me to make decisions, but the owner can always come in and say, yeah, I empowered you, but I didn't empower you that much. Does that make sense?

Speaker 1:

It does. I mean we're a C-Corp at Instantly Relevant. I could pretty much do whatever I need to because I'm the primary, I am the board, my co-founder. He can vote or not, it's insignificant. I'm going to say it that way. It's not mean, it's just that's how I have it set up, so I can make the decisions and move around. I know what you mean because part of it is at some point I'll probably have to form the board.

Speaker 1:

I don't want to. I don't want to anytime soon because in these early stages those are super important pieces to not have to go by committee to make. I get insight, I get advice from investors, people like that, but at the end of the day I can pay myself when I need to or not make the investment I need to or not. It's on me to just execute. But you're right, but I'll say it this way.

Speaker 1:

So let's flip the script. If you've promised someone equity and you've found success, you have to do you kind of pull that back. Those types of people I don't like to work with, let's say it that way. And they would have had a partner in you by giving you what they were excited to have and greed took over and to me I look like they missed a force multiplier, because if someone could take my business and almost triple it in 10 months, I would definitely want to bring them on because I want to say, hey, or awesome, let's get this right. Here's a four year trigger for you where we would continue to go. So you don't get anything for 12 months, but you have to earn it, and so the point being, that's the wrong way of thinking.

Speaker 1:

So, entrepreneurs, I think that's a greed piece. I think avoid that kind of behavior. It doesn't mean you can't come in and say, hey, listen, we should have a contract at a place, but let's go put something in that continues this growth, because we can continue to grow. You get the back reward for that. If we don't, then it's a lesser amount, but at least you're doing the right thing to keep someone who's aligned to you, because I think that's not the kind of behavior I would do. So that, to me, is not a person I would want to work with, and I'd be very adamant about not telling people I would not share work with.

Speaker 3:

So it's. I totally hear where you're coming from. I look at it as my fault. I could have pushed paperwork. I could have gotten everything ironed out earlier, but that's part of I would not change anything that's happened, because I would not be where I am today if she had it.

Speaker 1:

I've done no, I'll agree. No, listen, I love that you own your own part of it. The takeaway I was saying there's okay. First of all, guys, get your paperwork in order. Protect your cap table. Actually take the money and spend to hire an attorney to help you on your side. Never hire someone else's attorney that they've been recommended from an investor. Always hire your own independent attorney who has your interest in mind legally through their engagement letter. Secondly, though, don't be the other person. Find a right solution to make things right at the same time. So that was the takeaway with that. I love the unknown. So think about this.

Speaker 1:

I got let go of a my dream job, chief innovation officer of a billion dollar services company that was making me crazy money, made six straight bonuses and quarterly, and two weeks later they're like hey, we don't see the value more, you're out. And I looked back and said what part could I have owned to have made that better and not to get into that there? But that took a long time to realize that there was my input into it as well. I think I could have done more things and been more aggressive, but the truth is behind the scenes. In my head, I was enjoying the money and enjoying all those things. I really didn't. I was like you know, that's the pinnacle thing. You're like 39, 40 years old, right, like that's what I wanted. But seven months in I could feel myself going is this it? Is this all I'm gonna? I can, and I know I probably could have. I know in my mind I could have done things to make that a career place to stay. Yeah, but the truth is, inside me was like wanna do this and that's a hard. Look, think about that. You're making over a half million a year. The point being is I didn't do what I did. I didn't own my parts either, and I love the fact that you know you did with that. So good for you for owning it. Let me keep moving this guy, you and I.

Speaker 1:

We have 15 minutes left here and I think the part is you know and we'll talk about what you're doing. But you're describing so many good behaviors and ways of thinking and I think that if anything you can take away from today, from Justin, is his way of thinking of positivity in life. Justin, you don't look as old as I do, but you know you're 2009, so call you 30s and so young going up. You've got a mindset that most 50 year olds are trying to get right now, so I think you're gonna be wildly successful beyond where you are now just in life.

Speaker 1:

You know you did actually sponsor this episode, which is great. Usually I have to make fun of people for not and just kind of bait them, gaslight them into sponsoring a little bit. You were like, yeah, hell yeah, can you take a moment and just do a plug for one of your ventures that you can tell people why they should get a hold of you, and to take a minute or so to just talk about your and actually re-listen up, listen to what he's doing now. This is actually pretty cool.

Speaker 3:

So I believe that team you invest your time on is the most important team and decision you make on a daily basis, and everything I do centers around how can I build a bigger team, and it centers around collecting and redistributing the wealth of an organization through ownership. So I look at it a lot like a labor union. In a labor union, your employees participate and the company participate and you get something out of it. So America's Holding Company is designed. Individuals can sign up at $27 a month for our annual Christmas Ornament subscription program To get a cool bot, but the main thing you get is a picture frame and this picture frame goes on your tree and it is designed for you to put the most important thing that happened this year for you and your family and what's important to you. So every year in the future when you're putting up your Christmas tree, you can see that I've got these from years back where it's my daughter and us, that when we had their birth, and it shows memories. That's what life is about, and so I'm trying to build a team where it's let's focus on taking care of each other.

Speaker 3:

So I love paying tax because I love driving on road. I love not teaching my kids Right, but full transparency. I don't have a ton of patience for teaching. I love that I pay taxes and the government takes care of that. I love the police department, the fire department. All of these people are on our team, all of them and that's why I think we need a better way to divide the pod and say, hey, we're on this team and that's what America's holding companies about it is. It is my idea on how we, as a society, if we wanted to see the government comes up with tax law, but that's not the only like full transparency. This is a tax system where you literally get ownership in the company that you're paying the tax to, and so that's what I'm doing with America's holding up. It's found, financed and backed by the employees of Kitech Automation and it's our ESA. It's our employee stock ownership plan for our employees, but it's set up in a way where anyone in the US can be a part of it. I've got it.

Speaker 1:

It's like a like-minded community that also has a benefit of ownership. It's almost like a non-Web 3 decentralized organization. What is a DAO? It's like that, but not. But it's actually with more of like. Actually, you have an ESA when you do it, as opposed to some tokenization or something else, and the idea and the benefit is then community like mine is they learn from each other, they have resources available. I don't want to call it a marketplace, but trusted people to go interact with. I love it. So listen, how do they get all the on that part?

Speaker 3:

Go to americasholdingcompanycom and you can find all my social media links. At the end of the day, guys, the only reason you should spread is if you would like ownership in what I create with my time. Besides that, I would encourage you to follow me on social media. Learn from me for free. I document and share everything, because I believe education should be free, but you also get more out of what you invested. So this is an education system that you can invest in in order to get ownership out of it for you and your employee.

Speaker 1:

Love it. You ready to do some hot seat? Let's do it, baby. I'm very transparent with this. I am collecting data for future sponsorships. That's what I'm doing with this. But it's also interesting too, because I learned what other people like and, I think, other people. It's good to hear what a majority of what our other entrepreneurs leverage in their day to day. I jokingly say that, but the same number, the same person, gets mentioned all the time. I'm going to call them at some point, like hey, you might want to sponsor. All right, here we go. What is your favorite calendar scheduling technology?

Speaker 3:

So I use a software called Go High Level, which has a ton of different softwares integrated into it, and calendar scheduling is one of them.

Speaker 1:

That's great, so I'll assume that's on their CRM sign favorite CRM.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, they're using it for everything. Yeah, the name of the game, in my opinion, is simplification. And what tool can I solve the most problems with? Is the tool I want to use.

Speaker 1:

You're making a very good point here and I will take this as a takeaway for anyone. I hear all kinds of answers to this question, of course, but not one technology is going to do it all, but one can get you about 80% there, Unless you have a very niche need. Use that as much as possible. So easy. You know, integrations whatever you like. Go High Level, though. I think at this time in 2023 is a really nice choice if you have nothing, If you already have, and so we use it for landing pages and other pieces coming out, but we, personally, I don't even have a CRM. If anything, it's MailChimp right, it's nice. I think. The idea is that that CRM integration allows you a place to schedule, keep in contact and you can email people. You can do your newsletter through that, I assume. Right, All that stuff goes through there. What's your favorite business book?

Speaker 3:

So I've thought about this question a lot, because I love business books. It depends on what you're trying to accomplish. I think if you're an entrepreneur starting out, though, one of the most important books to read is Built to Sell by John Warthrope A Business Fable all about designing a business. Too many people, especially technicians, plumbers, contractors, people who are good at their craft start a business without an actual design behind it.

Speaker 1:

If you design your project, you need to start by designing your business and I think to take this note whatever you do, design before you start, everyone's got a plan until they're punched in the face. I think Mike Tyson said that or something like that. So you're going to get punched in the face. Just know your account for that and your plan that you're going. Oh, that didn't work and if you keep getting punched in the face, do something different. All right, in favor of personally like to follow on LinkedIn Up and Coming or just established, but who's a really good? Who do you like to interact with, besides Tom Selvark, of course?

Speaker 3:

Well, Tom's the best, but after Tom, I am a big fan of Cody Sanchez. Cody Sanchez was a hedge fund operator and became an influencer, started buying businesses and now she teaches people how to buy business. And if you are an entrepreneur and getting started, it is a huge mistake not to go. Look at what business can I buy versus where can I start.

Speaker 1:

Well, you make a great point. So I had someone on Not Too Long who's Really like one of the best franchise consultants. I think that's probably an undervalued word for him, but he knows that game and that's an option you can do sometimes, as you describe a Sandler and, looking back, there's no way I wanted a blueprint. So here's an idea of entrepreneurs If your mindset is zero to hero, like you know, I want to build my own thing. Don't go buy any blueprints because you're just not going to follow it. That would be a much better business buyer now Because if they have a system and it seems to be working, it's all legit. I would certainly look at that because I know the value of that now.

Speaker 1:

When I first started, I've been wasting my money. Now I'd be a much better franchise owner or business buyer because I'd be like cool, let that run a few operational tweaks. You know whatever it would be, but I would have messed it up. So just know that the mindset. If you're looking to create new because that's your urge, I want to be then go do that. Get punched in the face a few hundred times and then you'll realize, come back and buy and then come back and be like maybe I should just buy one of those. Right, I'll leave this at this. By the way, you don't have to worry about your logo and colors right away. Just don't spend tons of time and money doing that, because that's what everyone starts with, lots of people, all right?

Speaker 3:

What's your favorite bank? And so great question. I have a full life insurance policy that I use as my personal bank and I think if you do not have a full life insurance policy you're using as a bank, you do not understand the true value.

Speaker 1:

So I think I got this and you'll correct me because I was educating this recently you basically you're putting money in this and you can loan yourself money tax free, but you will only pay back, basically on your death, exactly.

Speaker 3:

Well, you should keep putting money in it. Exactly. And life insurance? Life insurance is the one industry that I believe gets the true value of time. They get a client to pay them for their entire life.

Speaker 1:

They do, but the whole life thing is interesting. So there are laws. I'm not a tax counter, tax attorney or IRS person, but I will tell you there are plenty of people who pay themselves from loans that they've given money to into a whole life. And so now, is that something you guys do as a service or is that something you just paid from a guy? You got a guy.

Speaker 3:

And it is so. I feel like you can monetize anything Like literally. You can monetize anything. You just have to build a plan and decide you want to. I believe in living my life transparently and I only want to monetize in these two ways, like the subscription or subscription. Besides that, it doesn't matter, because anything else complicates my life.

Speaker 1:

Well, agree, and as somebody who has zeroed a hero path and now has a book and a podcast and things, I could have started that two years ago. I just didn't realize I could. My idea was to monetize a YouTube channel that now makes like 48 cents a month. That's a bad plan. By the way, Trying to find sponsorships from corporate for a podcast, you're not going to be Joe Rogan. There's other methods. So think of you cannot look at what the you're going to have to rethink some things of what monetization means. Right, Because you can make money, but you can lose a lot too. So, anyway, anyway, what? Okay, I love these next two questions. You have two left here to go. What is your? What do you think is the most on most important entrepreneurial trait, that will, that is, an aspiring or budding entrepreneurial needs. What was the most important one?

Speaker 3:

Unshakeable belief in yourself. One will leave you at some point in your life everyone, and being able to believe in yourself when they're gone is the hardest decision you will ever go through, and no one prepares you for it, because no one thinks it's going to happen, but it always does and it's always at the worst time.

Speaker 1:

You you speak to and I write a book about. In the chapters I write about your spot on. Not only you're going to consciously let go of friends and at times you're going to even have to not that you're spouse or something, but mine's been amazing. But I know at times she questions it like, hey, when are you going to be able to pay yourself more, when you know you keep telling me it's going to happen. Why can't you tell me in your mind you're going to have to manage some of the closest people, even your kids, like daddy. Why doesn't your business make more money when we're kind of up and growing, right, even today? Are we poor, like we're not poor, but I can't, like you know, pay money? You got to capitalize, you got to cash. You know it's hard to explain those things because they don't care about that. And and in those of those so I know the friends I think people can get their head around that You'll find new ones. By the way, if you, if you do it right, you don't want to become isolated, but this is an important trait because the belief in yourself and the confidence you find alongside successes and failures, and as long as you're moving forward, the person and, like your spouse, your kids, you do need to manage that. You're not going to, you're going to have to let go of some things that they think and feel to get through it, only because they'll, on the other side of time, they'll have realized daddy knew what he was doing or mommy knew what they was doing. And even if you fail, you're still showing the right traits to your, to your loved ones of.

Speaker 1:

I was focused, I was, I was committed to make this work. So don't fool yourself. If you're half-assing it, if you know you're half-assing it, you're more than half-assing it, you're anyway. I don't agree with that Believe in yourself, but you truly have to and I'll leave this last part as this ties this you won't be able to truly believe yourself until you have no safety net. And so if you have side hustles, that's great and that's honestly that's a great place to be. If that makes you happy, keep your your kind of in your steady income W2 type job and you have a side hustle. But just know, until you completely depend on that, you will not have that pure entrepreneurial experience and you may not need it. But you won't be able to fully believe in yourself until you have no safety net and you got to go. No excuses, you got to figure it out. Yup, and having not, not having money, is not an excuse. You just got to figure out what to go sell today, and so have you ever been promoted.

Speaker 3:

Yes, I just got promoted, like two weeks ago, to head of HR.

Speaker 1:

So before yourself or did someone else promote you?

Speaker 3:

Nope, the owner of the company, and we were at one of our EOS meetings and we did a visioneering exercise and after it we were sharing what we saw and I just said, yeah, and in three years we helped and take care of all the employees tend to like a head of HR and everybody at the table looked at each other and we're like holy shit and then made me head of HR. So that was pretty cool.

Speaker 1:

Oh, you joined the club now though, sorry, sorry, he's been promoted. Justin, I've, I've, I've. You know, interactions and we, you know it, it, you know, I love your energy and I love how you're thinking about life. It's such a you know, honestly young age and you're well panning your ears, and I know, you know, I'm sure at home it's different. You know you're probably like shit show at home, but no kidding, but the, the, the positive, what you're doing is in your life and and, and I, and I feel that the, you know, the people around you are better for it.

Speaker 1:

I really thank you for the time you've put into this and I think anybody's listeners is going to feel better about how to think, because the minds, this comes to mindset, this comes down to kind of the traits you need. So I deeply thank you and I really mean it. Justin, thank you so much for coming on today. I want to leave you the floor for here, a minute, before we say goodbyes, of how should, once again, people get ahold of you and, if you have any kind of giveaways, offer specials, whatever. Just it's your floor for you know, a couple minutes here.

Speaker 3:

Awesome. So if anything I have said resonates with you, I would invite you to find me on your favorite social platform. I believe a business is nothing more than a box designed to collect and monetize time, so social media collect and sell your time through ads. I'm going to use their platform to deliver the same message across all platforms. So I'm trying to meet people where they are and show them and take them on this journey with me of creating change. If what I've said is resonated with you, I invite you to go to JustinDCStevenscom, and Stevens is with a PH S-T-E-P-H-E-N-Scom. That's my personal blog where I try. I wear these glasses. I've got video recording glasses I wear every day. I do daily journal entries and I post them on my blog and on the social media site. My goal is to let people see how I think, wait, wait. So tell me about your glasses. What do they do? So this is a see that.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that's awesome. Tell me about this. Do you sell these you?

Speaker 3:

should not have that. Eventually I will. This is my podcast studio, so anywhere I'm at. So we talked about time. Right, I'm leveraging my time with your audience. You've done all this work, so I'm here capitalizing.

Speaker 1:

Awesome. I love it. I want a pair. Tell me how to get them Right. You know what you want a pair I am on this one because I'm not. I'm not sharing that. I want that back because definitely send me a link off to the show. I want to know about these video recording glasses. That looks awesome. I have way, way more uses for those and I don't think nefarious people. Maybe that's where my mind went, but no, I do want to know that. Okay, I stayed by way. We're out of time here today, but, justin, thank you so much again, and anybody who's made it this point. I truly appreciate those.

Speaker 1:

Listening to the Never Been Promoted podcast. I want you to learn from other entrepreneurs. I want to help you become a better entrepreneur. I want you to unleash that entrepreneur, and I truly mean it. I have a high passion for this. Anybody who listens, if you can help another entrepreneur do it and if you'd like to come on the show, then just find us through social at neverbeenpromotedcom and I will happily put you on to help you tell your story too. Thanks for everyone listening to the Never Been Promoted podcast.

Speaker 2:

Thanks for listening to Never Been Promoted with Thomas Hellfrey. Make sure to check the show notes for our guest contact information and any relevant links. Connect with Thomas personally at neverbenpromotedcom.

Exploring Entrepreneurship and Business Insights
Time, Planning, and Enjoying Life
Entrepreneurial Insights and Regrets
Positive Mindset and Building a Team
Entrepreneurial Advice and Personal Growth