November 7, 2023

Episode #104: TK Herman – Factor AE

TK Herman is a 52-year old husband, father and entrepreneur. He founded Aptera, a software development company, with his business partner in 2003 and sold it in 2021. Before the sale, he and his business partner took a product they created for architects & engineers and spun it into a new company — now that business (Factor) is used by 167 companies across the US and is growing at a rate of 25%+ per quarter. In 2021 TK also sold three Sky Zone indoor trampoline parks which he co-owned for 8 years. His latest venture is opening 10 indoor pickleball clubs across the Midwest under the Ace Pickleball Club brand.

What many people don’t know is that TK has been a pilot for 26 years (both instrument and multi-engine rated) and became a helicopter pilot three years ago. Obsessed with aviation is an understatement according to his wife.

TK discovered personal development and inner transformation work in 2014 and has invested in his own growth heavily while investing in the personal transformation of his employees and children. He’s currently working 1:1 with one of the top life coaches in the world and has been for two years.

In honor of the fellow business owners in your life that had an impact on youbecoming the person you are today, let’s celebrate them. Click this link to apply to be on our podcast to recognize those people:


hello this is coach Tim cancel and I’m your host for the self-made is a myth make a difference together show where

we’re talking with successful business owners about their journey of their building their successful business and

because we know that success in business is not something that we can do on our own we’re taking time to recognize the

folks who have helped us to excel today I’m happy to have a fellow business

owner from Indiana with us today my guest has been a pilot for over 25 years

and now flies both airplanes and helicopters he enjoys time with his

family as well as flying he says that uh flying is his meditation I love that

we’re going to ask him a little bit more about that here in a minute he is most proud of his Incredible family and

seeing how his amazing five kids have grown up it’s my pleasure to welcome TK

to the show today hello TK hey thanks so much for having me I really appreciate the invite looking forward to the

conversation awesome well hey let’s jump in I’ll have you introduce yourself tell us a little bit of your personal story

like where you live and about your family and some of your hobbies yeah for sure so again my name is TK

Herman I am a native of Indiana so born and raised in Fort Wayne Indiana I lived

here my whole life um I don’t feel like I have a super interesting story but I suppose there’s

been some twists and turns along the way that uh have afforded me some you know lessons and and things that I can share

from an entrepreneurial perspective so um I uh became an entrepreneur but I’m

51 I just turned 51 last month and uh I I started working for myself when I was probably 26

um so you know coming up on 25 26 years now and uh you know when I quit my job I

went to Ball State University to college um degrees in telecommunications and marketing got into the tech space and if

you go to my LinkedIn profile and read from the bottom up it tells a story um and you’ll see that I got fired from

the first two jobs that I had out of school and I deserved to be fired quite honestly

um but I knew when uh when I quit my job again there’s a long sort of circuitous route uh to get to where I am today and

Steve Jobs has a great commencement speech it’s very famous where he talks about how you can’t connect the dots

looking forward but you can connect them when you look backwards right and so I was making decisions along the way it

was always kind of moving in moving me forward you know forward isn’t a direct line forward might be a zigzag you know

like you’re attacking a sailboat a forward might be you know one step backwards so it can take it three steps forward sort of thing as well but I knew

when I made the decision to to work for myself again around the age of 25 or 26

that uh I think I distinctly remember having a conversation with somebody and saying that you know I don’t know what

I’m going to end up doing the rest of my life but I know that once I quit my job and I cross this line I could never go

back all right yeah I was I was I was just always wired that way I didn’t you know I grew up um in a family my parents

were both teachers when I was young my dad my dad got out of teaching uh when I was probably 10 or 11 years old but uh

neither of them are they’re they’re they both have master’s degrees but neither of them are entrepreneurs and uh and I

didn’t really grow up with any entrepreneurship in in our family if you will but I did have some friends uh

growing up whose parents were entrepreneurs and I always kind of admired them from a distance kind of

watched them from the distance and you know just always felt like that was kind of in my blood or in my in my genes and

really for the most part to me that means just being in control of my own destiny you know so if things are going

well then great for me and if things are going bad I’m taking the responsibility it’s all my shoulders and I like it that

way awesome tell us about your family yeah so uh married my best friend

um we’ve been married uh eight eight a little over eight years together nine years we have five kids we’re blended

family and our kids are ages 17 to 23. um on we’re down to one at home so our

youngest is 17 he’s a senior in high school and uh we’ve got uh three including him that live in four or him

and two others that live in Fort Wayne we have one that lives in Orlando Florida and one that lives in Phoenix

um Arizona and we were blessed with a grandchild our oldest daughter got

pregnant a few years back and so we have an almost three-year-old grandson who is just such a huge blessing to have around

our house they just live five minutes down the road and we’re able to see him quite a bit and it’s been interesting to

playing that grandparent role and kind of being able to reflect back you know on on my life as a parent and seeing

things differently you know as as we’ve watched you know Rocco be able to grow up over the last you know couple years

they’re fantastic so tell us a little bit more about the flying I I know we

talked about it last time we chatted but it’s a awesome story yeah you know um same with the

entrepreneurship side of things and no pilots in my family at all just something that I was the kid that uh

would would look up at the sky you know is it baseball practice when I was playing little league for example on a plane would fly over a helicopter would

fly over him look up in the sky and always was just drawn to that and and one day

um in my early 20s I just said you know what I’m gonna learn to fly an airplane and so went to the local you know flight

school and started taking lessons um it was so long ago now I wish I could

go back and sort of really dig into the mindset that was behind that but it was just something I wanted to do and did

that and uh it’s interesting because it really kicked off a a lifelong passion

and a lifelong progression of learning because you know when you get your license to fly they they the saying is

you gonna get a license to learn and that’s a hundred percent um and uh um I was able to then take

that that skills set and leveraging a business you know and and general

aviation having having access to general aviation and business is really a game changer uh for sure so

um uh you know again a single engine uh rated multi-injurum rated instrument rated

um and then I just got my helicopter rating about two years ago two and a half years ago and uh uh again that’s my

passion that’s my meditation for me being going up I I own a helicopter and

uh being able to to go up uh in the helicopter and and fly something fly a

machine that’s not really designed to fly uh is uh is something that’s just it’s

just a feeling that’s hard to describe you know and I I say too that like it was always a dream of mine to learn to

fly helicopters never ever ever thought I would do it um and uh so I look back now and I go

you know I never ever thought that I would learn to fly a helicopter no way in heck did I ever think I’d own one and

I live out in the country so I keep it at my house and there’s no freaking way that I ever thought I have a helicopter

at my house so it’s one of those things every time I go outside and I and I and I happen I just flew yesterday I might

go today um and uh it’s really like a pinch to me kind of moment that makes sense that’s

amazing I I love um I love the fact that you set a dream right and didn’t didn’t necessarily

believe that it was going to happen but by planting that seed it just reinforces the whole principle of the Law of

Attraction right that when we set dreams end up happening and I’ll tell you the

the helicopter thing was interesting because um you know here I am with the time I was about like 49 48

um and flying a helicopter is very different than flying an airplane and uh I will be honest with you there were a

couple of times during my lessons that I’m like I don’t need to be doing this

um this is definitely something that I could kill myself I believe I’m not if I’m not paying attention you know and

maybe this isn’t the thing for me but but like everything else it forced me to

push through that and force me to prove to myself that I could make that happen that I could do it

um and that’s I think the same kind of drive that’s just got me to where I am in my life today yeah um there’s a a popular phrase that says

everything that we want out of life is on the other side of our comfort zone and and we’ve got to be willing to step

out and to your point push through that that perturbation right that uncomfortableness that emotional you

know negative emotional reaction to the what did I just do to be able to get to the other side and achieve the things

that we want in life so congratulations yeah you know what Aviation really does for me is is I self-diagnosed myself

with add a long time ago I’ve always got multiple things going on and just all

kinds of things happening on a regular basis and Aviation to me is the one place I can go number one it’s you’re

escaping the bounds of Earth if you will right uh to make it sort of metaphorical but also it’s the one place that I have

to concentrate one of the things I enjoy the most is as I enjoy instrument flying

so flying in the clouds flying down you know flying an approach down to minimums where you have to be on your game and

there’s no you know second guessing and there’s no you know I can’t you know well if I get this half right I’m okay

and I I just I really thrive on that that kind of sort of solitude that sort

of focus and that pressure in a sense I I really enjoy that yeah yeah so um TK what’s a funny story that

your family likes to share about you that you’d be willing to share with us oh boy I’m sure there’s

quite a few of them I I think um oh gosh I’m trying to think of one

that that comes to mind um uh you know I’m somebody that uh I

can’t stand messes I’ll share this my wife would laugh with us if she’s hearing this so I can’t stand clutter

and I can’t stand messes unless it’s my own I don’t know I’m totally okay with that

if other people leave things around the house or leave a mess out or so forth you know so and so forth that it drives

me crazy and I’ll make comments about it and she just gives me this look like are you kidding me right but it’s my mess my

mess is okay it’s other people’s messages yours your mess is organized and you

know that it’s not a mess right yeah I try to use that line and it doesn’t actually work no I can’t imagine it

would so um PK you explained that you’ve basically always been an entrepreneur

and how you you got to that point but um tell us what’s uh I I know you have a

couple of businesses that you’re that you’re running now tell us a little bit about uh what’s on your plate today

yeah so uh we we exited my main business uh which was a company called aptera

software uh apterra was about 120 people we did uh large-scale Enterprise level

web development web apps mobile apps for for Global Brands uh a lot of uh uh work

for high profile companies and uh we had an opportunity in in mid 2021 to exit

that business that was not on the radar screen there’s a whole story around that uh decided to uh to to take that

opportunity and sell the business we had we had the business for 18 years so we’ve worked hard very hard growing the

business lots of lots of lessons along the way um and but as part of the the um the

negotiations uh we had behind the scenes we’d spent a few years and a couple million dollars developing a SAS product

that we had intended to Market there’s a really long story behind that this this product

um but part of our negotiation was we get to take the product with us and then uh and then pick five employees to go

with us as well so we spun that out into a separate business so we’ve got that going today I told my business partner I

don’t want to be president and CEO anymore and and he stepped up and he’s the CEO of that business and totally

capable of it so I’m playing more of an investor role where we funded it for the first year put a million dollars in to

fund it for the first year and see how things went uh they’re going really really well and so we we said okay if

they go well we’re going to raise money and so that’s the stage of the red right now so that’s really my focus now is is

just uh getting getting the meeting set with potential investors and looking to

raise that money which is something new to me I’ve never done that before uh so it’s a learning process and uh it’s fun

to see I also while we had aptera going um as a side thing I also co-owned uh

three in Sky Zone indoor trampoline parks uh and um I had this interesting

juxtaposition during covid because I had one business the software company that was growing very well or doing very well

and growing fast and then I had another business it was actually a really solid business business that was just

literally shut off overnight you know to no fault of our own and and just decimated

um and we actually also exited that business last year as well um but uh it was it was an interesting

time period because you know I think I’m in a way I I wouldn’t want to go through

it again but I had that I had the experience because um you know if I had only had our

software business I think my mindset would have been what’s the big deal you know but I could really really you know

empathize and and I really understood what a lot of businesses were going through you know first I mean right

right and you know right in my face so as an example from March of 20 through

November of 20. net of PPP and all of the government programs we took

advantage of all of it uh net of that we still burned through over 700 000 in cash just keeping the doors open and so

you know it was it was a very very interesting time we were fortunate that that things did pick back up in in the

beginning of 21. so we we were able to recover and then and then exit successfully from that business but the

the crazy part of the story was we had the three trampoline parks for sale um pre-covered we had a buyer lined up

to buy the parks and we were set to close middle of April of 20. and everything shut down in the middle of

March of 20. and so it’s also a good lesson don’t don’t count your chickens before they hatch for sure because again

in my mind I had the money spent we were going to pay the house off and it was like oh boy and the the the

the uh true part of the story is literally the the week everything shuts down is the week the excavator showed up

start digging our pool and and there is a time period for probably three or four weeks where I was like going I know this

is bad because I had no idea if our software company was going to be affected or not you know unfortunately it was not

um but uh it was an interesting time for sure I learned a ton I mean I learned more honestly in 20 in 20 and 21 and

those I’d say 18 to 24 months um between covid and all that went along

with that um and then selling our business and spinning a company out I think I learned

more on those you know 18 months than I did in 18 years you know of owning the business or 20 plus years of being an

entrepreneur yeah sounds like there might be a book in there you know it’s funny you say that it’s

actually really funny you say that because I did sign on with a company to write a book

um actually pre pre-exit from our from our software company and then put it on

hold because the whole sale the business came up and then started to resurrect it uh last spring and just didn’t feel like

the timing is right so it’s still kind of on hold right now um I have an idea of what I want it to be about

um but I just need to sit down and start start uh putting uh words screen yeah so

TK share a story of where someone pushed you or inspired you that you could do it even maybe though you thought you

couldn’t and the impact that that person had on you yeah the first thing that comes to mind

is um uh gosh many many years ago I ended up actually in Indianapolis and

um and went to um there’s a sales consultant down there a consultancy called Lucian Associates I’ll give him a

plug I don’t know if you know Paul or not yeah but uh so I got on their email list and uh

um this could have been Circa 2000 maybe nine or ten and um uh ended

up deciding hey I got I got a notification of like a free two-hour thing at their office and we we’d we’d

always struggled on the sales side of things in the beginning I was the salesperson but we it was that’s hard to

replicate you know relationships and that kind of stuff and so we struggled kind of building out you know the how do

you hire a salesperson on board and so forth so I went uh went down to this two-hour session I met Paul and um

afterwards I said hey I want to talk to you some more I’m interested in what you guys do so we go in his office office

and we sit down and and uh it’s so funny because I can I can picture this like it was yesterday I’m sitting in the chair

in his office and he’s sitting on the couch and um he starts asking me questions and I’m saying well you know we’re

really good at this we suck at this we really need to work on this you know we’re terrible at this we’re we’re okay

at this and he so we’re probably five minutes in the conversation and he goes I gotta stop you and I go okay and he

goes can you please stop saying we and say I and take some responsibility

he was right and and I I like that kind of in your face sort of you know uh

coaching if you will and so we ended up engaging with Paul and Paul’s Bay actually become a very good friend of mine you know over the years um he’s

super super good guy but uh and he helped our business quite a bit but you know it was not it was that plus there’s

there’s multiple other examples where where he’s just like you know punched me in the nose with with information or

some insight or whatnot that I really needed to have um and uh and it had a fundamental

impact you know on on not just me personally or our sales team but also on

the whole business because a lot of the stuff that we learned in there we started obviously implemented on the

sales side of things but you know in any business everybody’s a salesperson every single person in the organization is is

in sales and so we were able to take some of those lessons and then and let them sort of seep down into the rest of

the culture yeah fantastic yes it’s always uh good and bad right to have

that person who’s willing to to confront us and tell us what we need to hear even though we may not like hearing it yeah

you know I I think I truly believe in a business whether it’s a business or a family everything is topped out

everything is topped out you know and um and that gets harder as the business starts to grow for sure but you still

set the tone you know of how the business is going to be and if the person at the top is not willing to look

at themselves and like I mean like really look at themselves um and and ask the question okay

something something goes awry over here the only question you needed to ask is okay how did I create this situation how

did I cause this how did I cause this how did I cause this you know and if you’re willing to do that

um and realize that something you know that you’re doing in a way that you’re showing up is creating this environment

and then you go fix it and you yeah and when you fix it in you that trickles out to everybody else to me that’s that’s a

huge key to success yeah and it’s not always easy to do that but like to your

point life is a mirror right so anything that we don’t like that we see happening around us we have to do exactly what you

said right reflect on ourselves and say what am I doing to cause that but so much easier to to point the finger and

blame other people right then look back at ourselves and really do that deep analysis of how do I need to change to

get a better result so yeah you know for sure my wife is also an entrepreneur and uh and we’re we’re also very

um into if you will put quotes around that like personal development and personal growth and when we got we got married

and we have a very interesting and a great story because we went to high school together just we’re we’re married

separately different from people for a while then came back together and uh and it’s interesting because when when like

even back into college I think back in college you know I read like seven habits of highly affected people you

know I would listen to you know Tony Robbins or read a Tony Robbins book or whatever but uh so I always liked that

that like personal development stuff but didn’t do a whole lot with it and then when when Jill and I uh got married

um she had taken a personal development course a few years previous and I was intrigued by that and I’m like I want to

do a course so we ended up finding something actually in Indianapolis that uh was uh pivotal in my life I’ll

say it that way um I you know it was very intense it was 22 days over the course of four months

in person very experiential and never before my life had I ever looked at

myself as thoroughly as authentically as I did in that course and that sort of for me personally set off this this

desire to continue to grow continue to grow continue to grow and my wife both both my wife and I have both invested

heavily in in coaches you know personal coaches and relationship coaches but really what it you know comes down to is

US sort of working our own out if you will right and and rather than and and we

work that we work that stuff out and that creates a stronger bond between us it creates a happier life for us

individually and again it seeps down to our kids in a significant way

um and I think too that that seeps into again any kind of a business that you’d be in so I’ve I’ve always been very much

the kind of person that’s willing to put that effort in and hold that mirror up and look at myself and take

responsibility congratulations I mean that that is the key to why you’ve had

so many successes is is your willingness to you know to step back and self-reflect so again not everyone is is

willing to do that so you know big kudos to you for for being willing to expose yourself that way and and thank you for

sharing because folks who are listening uh can take that away and and you know spend some time and and money on their

own personal growth and development yeah I’d highly encourage it there’s so many uh so many options out there today I

mean everything from YouTube you know videos to following people on Instagram to courses to books um I don’t know if

it’s more if it’s more so that I pay attention to it now or it just seems there’s there seems to be a lot more of

it right um uh either one but either one is is a good thing for sure and back to the

business side like what am I doing now what’s interesting now is that I’ve put myself back in a position where

I feel like I’m low man on a totem pole it’s almost it’s almost I’m thinking as we’re talking here it’s almost like when

I when I decided to take helicopter lessons like I was a pretty accomplished pilot um you know flew all over the country

um and then I’ll send I put myself in a helicopter and I’m like I could kill myself right and so so now that we’ve

exited the business you know I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to learn about investing and different things

like that that I had no knowledge of uh whatsoever and you know I find that some

of the because you know we all have stories in our head you know and you know a couple of my stories are I’m not

smart enough I’m not good enough um I’m lazy I’m gonna post for those my four things and uh and I know that’s all

well just stories yeah but uh um it’s been interesting because I I

look at myself I find myself from time to time going okay I did it once or

twice depending on how you want to look at you know the businesses I’ve been in um can I do it again I don’t know if I can do it again yeah you know find that

fear creeping in and the truth is I know that I can I mean it’s just a matter of

taking one step forward one step forward one step forward so I feel like I’m heading in that direction and I’ve and

I’ve really tried to surround myself I’ve always been the kind of person that has is I try to put myself in rooms

where I’m the low man on the totem pole and I’m the one that’s asking all the questions and and I have done that now

I’m in a couple of different groups um called like investment groups business groups where uh so I go to

Nashville for example uh two days a month for this particular group that I’m in and I’m in this group with some

extremely successful people you know uh most people where I live would look at

the success that I’ve had and go well it’s amazing uh I’m nothing compared to what some of these people have

accomplished and what they’ve done and at a much earlier age than me um and uh and so it’s intimidating it’s

really intimidating putting yourself in that spot that’s how you grow yeah um and uh so I you know I put myself in

that position and and keep pushing for it every day I love it so TK what’s your biggest learning as a business owner

you know it’s so interesting I just had this conversation yesterday with a buddy of mine who’s an entrepreneur and one of

my favorite people to talk to and he uh he and I were talking and I I tell my kids this and he and I were talking

about too I honestly don’t think being successful in business is that difficult and when I say that I did I don’t mean

that it’s not hard work I don’t mean that it’s not risk-taking or long hours or tough decisions that’s all true I

just feel like it comes down to delivering a good experience and delivering a good experience on both

sides of the net delivering a good experience to your clients and your customers and delivering a good experience to your employees and I just

I just don’t think that’s all that difficult to do and it’s all centered around great communication you know so

for example in our line of work where we were doing custom software development projects you know uh um and this this

applies to Home Building to I mean you name the business it doesn’t matter I mean so stuff comes up when when

whenever you hire somebody to do something things come up you know whether you’re the person hiring them or

you’re the one being hired things come up and it it never ceases to amaze me of

uh how poor how frequently the communication is poor I’ll say it that way

um you know and our former director of sales coined the phrase and I love it he said you know bad news is not like fine

wine it does not get better with age it’s so true because we you know we we

weren’t perfect on all of our projects um you know we we slipped on budgets we slipped on time you know we made

mistakes uh but but we always owned it and we always corrected it and we always

made sure at the end of the day the customer was happy you know our our sort of directive and we started the business

I said there I said there’s two like core absolute rock solid core principles

that we need to abide by and one is every client should feel and will feel

like they’re our only client and every client will be a reference when we’re done you know I want our clients to feel

like like wait wait a second these guys have other customers I didn’t even know that that’s how that’s how that’s how

good of care we take you know or how good we take care of them and then the other part is it doesn’t matter what

happens in the project they will be a reference when we’re done so we could screw up royally on it and we’ve got to

figure out a way to make it right so that we can go back to them right and and and maybe their references yeah they

really effed up our project but here’s what they did to fix it and I would 100 use them again and I would recommend

them yes you know and that’s that’s really the kind of the core of what we built the business on I love it so we

know that business success doesn’t happen in isolation so tkfi asked you to pick three people in your business owner

Journey that you’re most grateful for being there to help your business growth who are those three people and how they

help you I don’t know so that’s that’s a tough one because we had a lot of employees and a lot of great people over the years so I don’t know that’d be fair

just to pick three people I mean I’ve honestly I had a great business partner uh still do in in fact in the company we

spun out um with uh with the two of us we’re very yin and yang

um and that’s one there’s a great book called Rocket Fuel um and Rocket Fuel is a book that talks

about you know really understanding your weaknesses and then hiring or partnering

with somebody that complements your weaknesses and uh you know that was not something that I consciously knew about

or thought about when when the two of us partnered up but that’s the way it ended up being um you know what what I’m what I’m good

at where my talents lie um you know are probably where his weaknesses would be and what he’s really

good at and where his talents are or where my weaknesses are and so we complimented each other very well we

were 50 50 partners for 18 years um you know we had a couple of shouting

matches maybe that’s about it over 18 years um you know got along well and we built

just an amazing amazing amazing team of people you know and then we we built a leadership team in our business and

really a culture in our business that was all about taking responsibility you know the I got all these like um

metaphors and and and you know sayings and phrases that I would say all the

time but you know one of the things was that um I would happily or we our culture we

have this culture where we’ll happily check in with somebody all day long you know but if I have to check up on you

now we have an issue and there’s a huge difference between those two things you know checking in is is hey you said

how’s it going can I help you what can I do to help you know checking up as you said you’re going to do this but under

the covers I don’t really trust that you’re going to do that so where do we stand and uh and so in our business you

know we never uh we just didn’t hire people that that had to be sort of babysat it was just expected that that

we were going to get the job done and that we would do whatever it took to get the job done you know and that does you

know sometimes that meant longer hours sometimes it meant you know you could take off early and go to a movie or go

play golf or do whatever you wanted to do we were super flexible in that we gave a lot of people responsibility certainly there are people along the way

that taught me lessons I mean most of the people that I that I worked closely with you know taught me a lot of lessons

there’s one one in particular that I can I can remember this is early early on this is maybe two years into

the company we had hired um this woman be a graphic designer for us and uh and

I remember sitting there and I’m like I don’t think she’s gonna cut it I just don’t she just doesn’t get it you know

and uh and I was I was having the conversations about okay I think we’re gonna get rid of her so I bring her into

my office and we have a conversation and in the conversation I just started asking her questions

um and I start realizing that it’s it’s not her that’s the issue it was me it

was the fact that I wasn’t giving her enough rope I wasn’t sure enough latitude you know to do her job and so I

made the decision in that moment not to fire her um that that I’m gonna change my Approach and uh and I did and she just

took off like a rocket ship I mean she was she was awesome um you know and I think as we as I get

more mature and I learned more about you know business that’s one of the key factors I think there’s three things you

know that are vitally critical for a business to be successful number one is

hire the the absolute smartest most talented motivated passionate kind you

know happy people that you can hire number one number two is point them in the direction that you want to go you

know more narrow you can make that you know the more rightful approach you can make that the better and then number

three and this is the linchpin and it’s the critical one but it’s also the one that’s the hardest to do for a lot of

people is get out of their way yeah you know because another phrase I used to

use all the time around the office was don’t let perfect ruin good and I don’t know I stole that from somewhere I don’t

even remember where now um but uh uh I love that phrase because there’s there are countless times where

I can think of examples where in our business you know there was something I

can think of one right now if I’m ahead it’s really inconsequential but but it it it it it drives the point home we

were going to do something at like an open house or something that we were doing and we had a little

committee and they came up with an idea uh it doesn’t matter what the idea was but I was sitting in the meeting and I’m

thinking in my head that is literally the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life but I wasn’t going to say

that right yeah but like this is this is just this is terrible it’s a terrible idea and and it was one of those things

where in that moment I’m like okay well if if we do it I personally wouldn’t do that I think it’s terrible idea but it’s

not going to like diminish the event we’re putting on yeah or whatever so let

them go ahead and do that so they did and it was a terrible idea and then and then the lesson I learned from that was

after the event we would have postmortem on the event and that topic came up and everyone that was involved in the

decision making process recognized that was a terrible idea and so I could have stepped in as the owner of the business

and said no we’re doing it my way but there’s no alert or there’s there’s a lot less learning sure you know that

that comes out of that than allowing them to make the mistake on their own and then and then course correct and see

that mistake they made you mentioned the the yin and yang earlier so I I find that a lot of

business partners and and couples that run the business together are tend to be

opposites and so subconsciously right we attract our opposite because we know

that that’s what’s needed to complete us but if we don’t recognize it it can also

be this right in terms of this person doesn’t think like me they see the world different than me I don’t understand but

then when we actually get it and we embrace it it’s like oh yeah like you

need to see the world that way also right to make Better Business decisions and family decisions well I think you’re

I think you’re you’re spot on there too because my wife and I just in how we live our lives are very different like I

live my life through my head of my logic and she is heart and emotion yeah you know and and that’s that’s honestly an

area you know in full disclosure that I’m that I I’m not the most empathic person she’s she’s all about empathy and

and uh and it’s a challenge from time to time because you know I learned early on that you can’t argue logic with emotion

right because my her emotion is just as real as my logic absolutely right and

it’s almost it’s almost a Akin to what we see in today’s political world right you’ve got one side that that I think

looks through things from a logical lens and one side that looks through things from emotional lens and and both of

those are correct there’s not one that’s wrong the problem is you can’t argue one against the other and so it’s you know

in my marriage it’s forced me uh to to have a lot more empathy and

understanding and go okay you know even though what’s what what she’s experiencing makes doesn’t make logical

sense to me I get it it’s real and it’s and it’s real for her if it’s real for her it’s real for me yes right and that

same thing holds true in a business for sure yeah I I uh my wife and I are opposites too and and there’s been times

where yeah she’ll just say to me Tim you just need to tell me what you need for

me and I’ll be like I just need a hug she’s like okay that doesn’t make any sense to me but I can do that right

right now it’s it’s clear she you know she’s got her her Clarity on what how

she can support me and and we move on yeah we use disc profile with our

clients and a lot of times that’s the conversation that we have with with married couple who are also running the

business together is help them understand that they’re opposite and that they see the world differently and

by by opening their mind to the other point of view and it’s actually a good thing for the business but but it can be

challenging right to overcome that I don’t get it right we don’t think the same way I I don’t understand the world

through your lens yeah I I think too you know whether it’s whether it’s a marriage or a Business Partnership you

know just having having the um the environment where you can speak

your truth you know and and be honest and because you know the the more that

again this is it’s it’s equally applicable in marriage and is in business but you know if you find

yourself stuffing those feelings down you know uh or those emotions down they they eventually turn to resentment and

resentment’s not a good thing in either a Business Partnership or a marriage yes uh and so being able to you know create

a safe space where you know you can express your feelings um on whatever the topic is is is

vitally important and it’s something that that you know in in our marriage we work on a daily basis

um you know we we both fall back into patterns that we’ve had in the past because that’s sort of the default

mechanism and we’ve done enough work now we can typically catch ourselves fairly quickly yeah um but uh but but it still happens and I

think you know and I and I’ve had to force myself in business also to get out

of my comfort zone and and say things like one of the best examples that I could give and this goes back to the

personal development side was um I was in the midst of this pretty intense course that we did about eight

years ago my wife and I did and I was sitting in a conference room and again mind you my old stories in my head where

I’m not smart enough not good enough I’m lazy I’m an imposter and uh and so I’m sitting in a meeting at our at our

company and there’s probably like I don’t know like 10 or 12 people in the conference room I have this meeting and

I just happen to be sitting at the head of the conference table for really no reason I just sat there and as this meeting is going on

um I’m I am I’m paying attention to the thoughts that are rolling through my head and I start realizing that I’m not

participating in the meeting the way that I want to participate in the meeting

and the reason is I’m afraid I’m afraid because there’s stuff they’re talking

about that I don’t actually understand it doesn’t make sense to me and so I want to raise my hang on I don’t

understand what do you mean by that what does that even mean right but I’m fearful because this is the

story I’m fearful because they’re going to look at me and go and again mind you I’m surrounded by super smart people

yeah they’re look at me and go dude you’re the president of the company I

didn’t even know the answer like how do you not know that and I’m like I don’t freaking know here I am this is the

insanity of it because we all have stories you know your story everyone just stories you’re somebody different than mine right yeah but but here I am

sitting in sitting in a building that I own at a company that I started

surrounded by people that I employ and I’m holding back yeah because of the stories that are going through

my head yeah you know and again I still struggle with that on a regular basis but I’ve I’ve gotten to the point where

I understand where those have come from I understand that there’s stories and I and I I force myself around those if

that makes sense yeah those self-limiting beliefs are are huge they’re powerful right and

um I’ve been on a a journey over the last 18 months in a mindset coaching program and and that’s the core of it

it’s you know if we if we can change our thoughts right if we can catch our thoughts our self-limiting beliefs and

we can change them then we they don’t hold us back but if we allow them to to

Captivate Us right and we believe them then your example is is what happens

right in terms of well it must be true so I’m not going to speak up yeah and and to I’m so I’m fascinated by the like

the psychology behind people now you know because I I look at everybody the

way that in my opinion and you can say God Universe whatever whatever you use but I would say I look at everybody the

way that I believe God created them and my definition of that is I believe everyone has a loving heart a joyful

soul and an abundant mind in my three things but but those three things the loving heart joyful Soul abundant mind

get crusted over and covered up with Gunk and dirt dust and mold and mud over

the years you know from things that happen in your life from an early early age on up and um and so it’s interesting

because when I look at people and I look at like maybe somebody that’s reacting in a way that in a meeting in a meeting

or they’re reacting to XYZ happen on a project and it just is out of the norm

but quotes around the norm who are Norm out of the norm it’s fascinating me to go okay well why are they acting that

way you know because at their Essence I know who they are you know and there’s a

reason that they’re reacting that way and then be able to kind of help help them navigate through that and there’s

there’s several examples over the years where where we’ve had situations come up you know and because at the end of the

day any business it doesn’t matter what the business is any business it’s always always about the people right always

about the people and not only internal inside of the Four Walls of the business but also external you know because we we

would always talk and and and tell our people that our number one goal is to

make the person on the other side of the transaction because it doesn’t matter if if we’re doing a ten thousand dollar project or a million dollar project for

somebody somebody is signing that deal on the other side and that per and our

job is to focus on making that person as successful as they possibly can be

because if we can focus on that one person and make them incredibly successful number one if if they’re

successful then their team successful if their team’s successful then it helps their department or their division

become successful and and it it kind of trickles up you know from there and then also us helping make that one person

successful then that might help them get a promotion that might help them get a new job at a different company or

whatever and then we’re creating sort of this this Army of Advent kits whether

it’s inside of a big company or they move and go elsewhere and that’s that’s proven time and time again we’ve had

somebody leave a business go to another company and now we have an immediate in there because we did a great job you

know taking care of them um the other thing I would say too is that you know we’ve always tried to look at people that walk in the door as

though they they have a t-shirt on that says I want to feel wanted needed and appreciated you know and um and uh we

tried to treat people that way because I I wanted I wanted our employees that

worked for us to just be happy in life yeah my belief also was is that if if we

could do everything in our power that we could do to to help them be the happiest

they could possibly be outside of work that bleeds over all day long into work

you know and they bring that that that uh that Vibe and that energy with them

um and so we would invest you know in and doing a lot of things that were not really directly work related but to

create you know a community and a culture you know within our company that was special that’s awesome

so TK it sounds like you’ve been blessed with some incredible people in fact earlier you said hey Tim it’s there’s

too many to even you know start to name them all so if they were all here uh on the the show today what would you want

to say to them in terms of the impact they’ve had on your journey yeah I will obviously a big thank you

you know because I mean nobody gets anywhere without you know solid people around them for sure

um and I’m not the smartest you know person I took the risk you know and and continue to invest continue to invest

and so forth but the business was really you know and our clients really taken care of because of them not not me you

know directly so I very much appreciate that I think you know um uh

again I I say this because I’ve been an employee in the past and and I’ve also had people that have sort of been like

mentor-ish type people to me even if they didn’t know it right um people I would look up to

and um I I never once really thought about

when I’m looking up to somebody else that they might be looking at me in the

same way it’s it’s like our kids like when we have kids for example the truth of the matter is you know we as a parent

I think when unfortunately there’s no instruction manual you have this mindset that it’s my job

to shape this child and and to and to grow this person into you know a

responsible human being a responsible adult but the truth of the matter is if you really break it down is the kids are

there to be reflection on you and to teach you lessons you know it could be less than a humility it could be a

lesson in you know just just letting something be and letting something unfold on its own whatever it is right

but but the same thing’s true there that I I’ve taken away I I believe I’ve taken

more away from the interactions and working with the great group of people that I’ve been able to work with then

then I probably have given them at least that’s how I feel I thought that makes sense and so I would want them all to

know that they’ve had a tremendous impact you know I mean in just a variety of ways over the years

awesome I I love the the analogy to to raising kids of you know that that we

learn and get just as much out of it I I know from my career of managing people

that that the most rewarding thing has been to see them you know the the team

grow and develop and become better versions of themselves and and know that in some small way you know I had I had a

part of that and but to your point also I grew and developed as a manager and it

became a better version of myself because of the experiences I was allowed to have with working with them so yeah

yeah one of the coolest things starting up is the person I mentioned earlier that I almost fired

um and and didn’t uh because I realized I wasn’t giving her enough rope so she’s now I don’t know exactly what her job

title is but she has a very very high profile job at Adobe uh we’re like to

the point where she’s on stage with the CEO you know at their at their conference she’s on stage you know in

the main stage at the Apple development conference um and so watching because I’m I’m

Facebook friends with her and watching her some of the videos that she posts like that it’s pretty cool right because

um I’m able to say you know there’s there’s something I’m sure there’s something she took away yeah you have my

interactions and it’s not just her we’ve had we’ve had multiple people go on to other careers uh and other roles that

are pretty impressive you know and you know my my whole purpose of getting out of the bed in the morning is I want to

have a lasting impact on people I come in contact with and so if there’s something that that somebody can take

away and and even you know 10 years later or 15 years later ago hey I learned that or I heard that or this

this had an impact on me that to me is really fulfilling like at a soul level uh you know for me and um and that’s

really what I strive to do is just just kind of show up that way and we again we operated the business that way that’s I

think created the culture and made it special you know if somebody walked in the door you know I didn’t pretend that

they’re gonna work for us for the rest of our life their lives I mean you know they’re I always say that there are three past people could take path one is

you’re gonna be here for the Long Haul which is in today’s world not not all the way

number two is math number two is you will outgrow the company so what you want to do

um is something that either a we don’t offer or B we offer it but there’s

already somebody in that role and they’re not going to leave right and so for in order for you to further your career you have to leave yeah and then

path number three is the company we’ll grow you um and that that happened every once in a while maybe once every couple years

but not not that frequently but I think and I think framing things that way and knowing that up front when somebody did

leave you know um uh we always we always hated to see people go you know there’s people that

left that were really really um uh big personalities you know that

contributed a lot to the business personality wise and then sort of energy and Vibe wise but they were leaving to

further their career so my belief was I was sad to see them go and almost in a way the Friendship kind of changes but

at the same time how can I be unhappy for that how can I be upset about that right yeah they’re moving forward so

yeah I love it well TK it has been an absolute pleasure speaking with you today thanks for for being on the show

yeah absolutely I really appreciate you inviting me and allowing me to share some of my story

to everyone who tuned in thanks for listening to self-made is a myth show with your host coach Tim cancel be sure

to help us spread this Movement by liking the show and talking about it on social media and to join our movement go

to all right folks that’s a wrap make sure to pay it forward and I’ll see you all next time

take care