February 1, 2023

Episode #66: Kelly Hipskind – Sun FundED

Kelly Hipskind was born in Wabash, Indiana. As the son of a basketball coach, he spent time in a handful of different cities growing up (Indianapolis, DC/Maryland, Portage, Hobart and Greensburg). He has 22+ years experience creating, investing in, building and scaling teams and services from scratch to a regional or national footprint. These businesses have been in the education technology, renewable energy, sports entertainment, and art industries. He also has experience in executive and managerial roles responsible for $30M – $500M per annum.

Mr. Hipskind has been married for 13 years to his loving wife Carla, whom he credits as his number one investor in all of his endeavors and also his better half. They are blessed with four wonderful children. He attends Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, in Carmel Indiana, and credits Jesus Christ as the main reason for all of his peace, joy and favor personally and professionally.

Currently: – Mr. Hipskind is an Entrepreneur in Residence @ Sun FundED, a company he Co-Founded in 2018 that serves exclusively schools with exclusively solar power. www.sunfunded.com – Mr. Hipskind is also open to engaging with others in an advisory or board capacity looking to strategically grow an idea or business.


hello this is coach Tim campsall and I’m your host for self-made as a myth make a difference together show where we’re talking with successful business owners and hearing about their journey to building their business and because we know that success is not something that we do in isolation we’re taking out some time to recognize and appreciate the folks who have helped us along our journey today I’m excited to have a fellow business owner from Indiana with us today my guest at one point sold everything and moved his wife and two kids into RV living I’m going to want to learn a little bit more about that uh he loves any kind of fishing whether that be out of a creek a river a pond uh a lake an ocean and check this out he uh landed a six foot seven inch bull shark at one point in time so I’m going to ask him about that too and he is most proud of his trust in Jesus so that is awesome I want to hear about that a little bit more it is my pleasure to welcome Kelly to the show today hello Kelly hey Tim well that was quite an introduction and uh between our back and forth and everything you’ve done your homework so it’s it’s uh it’s a pleasure to be here I’m excited to Jump Right In and talk about business and life with you and and anyone that’s listening fantastic well let’s start with having you introduce yourself tell us a little bit of your personal story like where you were born where you live your hobbies and definitely you’ve got to tell us about that shark okay um yeah so personally I don’t know how how deep you want me to go but I was born here in Indiana in Wabash Indiana and for those folks that aren’t from the state or maybe even Indiana that don’t know Wabash claims to be the first electrically lit city in the world quite a claim yes I think what they did was they put a couple flood lamps on top of the courthouse and it was a small City but hey we don’t need to go into the detail um I didn’t live there long that’s why my parents were high school sweethearts and uh and grew up there but uh I’m I’m the military brat uh version of a coach’s son in the state of Indiana so um you know for anybody that knows anything about Indiana basketball it’s it’s next to next uh to to uh to the big guy upstairs and sometimes in parallel it’s a bit of a religion here um but you know mostly bounced around Indiana and Indianapolis uh for a short stint um and uh Portage and Hobart in Northwest Indiana so claim to downtown Chicago more of of kind of my my big city downtown and then went to high school actually moved in high school to Greensburg Indiana all great places picked up really great lessons learned and all on all great places and all those places and uh for a short stint when I was in pre-k I lived in D.C Maryland area the Mason-Dixon line for all you East Coasters and um for any basketball junkies out there it was a leap of faith my dad took so I’ve kind of inherited some of that honestly but he uh he worked for a school was assistant basketball coach at the Matha which before AAU basketball was kind of the the place for basketball probably in the U.S Morgan was arguably the greatest High School coach of all time and he had the Good Fortune of being assistant coach with Mike Bray who went on to Duke and is now the University of Notre Dame basketball coach so um lived out there for a little bit but mostly grew up uh in the gym and you know have two sisters uh one got her PhD in African-American history and she’s a professor up in Minnesota and at a small private school up there and then my other sister was a guidance counselor and uh now as a homemaker with four little kids and um their family lives in Peoria Illinois I live in and reside in Carmel Indiana suburb of Indianapolis for those who don’t know and um love it here and my wife and I have been married this month 13 years congratulations thank you thank you uh I I owe her a big gift every year it’s quite a quite an Endeavor living with an entrepreneur so

um she always says Kelly you go out and play entrepreneur and CEO and I’m raising for future CEOs so my wife Carla is amazing um she always says that you know I always say that she’s my number one investor and yeah and um in in all aspects and partner and friend and she’s great and she moved here with 100 in her pocket from Brazil South America oh wow and put herself through college and always said she was going to go to America and amazing success story on her own and and um and then my four children are Mika 11 Cecilia nine Agnes uh is six and Zeke is five so three girls and a little man he’s not a little man he’s a big man but that’s a little bit about me and and my uh my background and my family I’ve I’ve learned so I have a couple of Step boys as well three but my youngest um corrected me a little while ago that he’s no longer our little guy so yeah we gotta we have to be careful with the way we refer to there

all right so you’ve got to tell me about this um uh RV living and uh and the shark I’m happy to share some people are if whoever’s listening this is probably like that’s probably the thing that sticks is gonna stick in people’s mind the most why would you move into an RV with two kids you know I mean I could tell you some of the reactions from my family and friends when I said I’m selling everything you know I’m 30 let’s see at the time I would have been about 33 so in 34 and my kids were three and a half and you know three and three and one and a half wow and you know it’s it’s interesting Tim because and we’ll get into this later probably in the conversation but I had a transformation in my faith and that really catapulted me in my business Endeavors and um as a result led me into selling my business and once you go work for the company you sell your company too you see you see business on complete both sides of the spectrum you know building it from scratch growing it and then working for a large company and there’s pros and cons to all of that but the point of this this part of the story is is I knew that I it might not work out and it actually changed for reasons I didn’t I didn’t expect but either way I told my wife I said hey this doesn’t work out what if we just sold everything and moved and moved into an RV and for a year half a year and uh and just enjoyed time before our kids are in a bunch of events and in school yeah and you don’t really get that opportunity because most people wait till you retire all right hopefully you’re in good health and can do it at that time and um you know my wife said well I’m at home with the kids anyways if I don’t care eight months later I was exiting uh Herff Jones which was the company we could talk about a little bit but I was asking herp Jones and I I came home and I said how about that RV trip a month later the home was for sale bought an RV went to the Boat Sport and travel show and walked about 100 of them and figured out what was best for us and I can tell you it was a trip of a lifetime um you know because a lot of people would be like I don’t understand how you can go from City to city and I’ll be like well what’s the difference if you wake up on a Monday as a as a as a mom or a Wednesday and the kids go to play in the backyard or in the basement I could just choose what beach they’re going to be on that next day or what state park we’re going to be in you know I was visiting a friend we were passing through Alabama and um I was I was visiting a buddy from high school was one year behind me we played basketball together and his cousin happened to be passing through we intersect at the same time who was also in his grade and I know her went to the same High School and for breakfast we got up the next day we’re having fun the night before for breakfast my wife and I were debating do we want to go up and see um you know see a part of Alabama like the University of Alabama do we want to go into Mississippi and see where Elvis was born and we were debating this and they’re over there eating their hash browns and their eggs going are you guys

they’re like I don’t even understand this you know before they’re like I don’t know how you could do this we showed them our house yeah yeah and uh and then and then they’re looking at each other like can we do this with our kids no way the next morning they’re listening to us they’re like man that’s pretty cool yeah so I mean it was stuff like that that you just that’s awesome you got to visit friends and family we did an oyster roast in North Carolina with my cousins I call my Kinfolk you know where my grandmother was raised on my mom’s side yeah we just really had we were able to be present to people with turning off the technology and you know really just enjoy the Finer Things of life and that’s part and parcel why we took trip was just uh yeah stun plug and get away and I know that time and money and opportunity has you have to have good fortune for that to happen too not just you just can’t it doesn’t just wasn’t just given to me sure the opportunity but uh because we had the opportunity and the Good Fortune we uh we really wanted to be present to our children and enjoy each other so we did that for four to five months okay wondering no I’m I’m sure that uh just based on what you’ve shared so far there’s got to be a funny story in there that your family likes to tell about you is there one you’d be willing to share with us today sure about in the RV or just just in general yeah oh my oh my goodness all right well uh you know we gotta be careful everything’s on social media these days a lot of clients in higher ed they might be questioning me now you know as a Christian man serving Christian clients I have to think about this don’t worry this this video will go nowhere [Laughter] okay this um you know I’ll give you a little bit of personal personality and flavor of my youth which some of this I’ve had to take to the altar but you know I was always really good at uh pranks and uh my parents they always joke around because teachers and everybody I will I’m not bragging I got along with everybody I was a god-given gift of mine to get along with people and build teams Etc but you know sometimes I would use that superpower for for funny little thing funny little pranks and I text my sisters today saying Hey what if he what if they want to know something about me personally like what would you say my one sister said well do you remember that time you took me snipe hunting and I’m like what and then I had to think about it so I found an Encyclopedia Britannica back in the day right there’s this bird called a snipe and Rural towns maybe some other people heard of this you get your younger siblings or friends or relatives to be convinced that you can catch a snipe at night in a bag so I get pillowcases and I take my sister out and some of her friends and drop them off in the woods and leave for like 30 minutes so I mean my sister wanted me to tell wanted me to bring that up if I wanted to humanize a little bit and then a funny the story that they like to tell about me which I maybe I maybe I can say this now I don’t know if the superintendent officially knows that I’m involved but uh Greensburg where my dad was a head coach and uh and uh dean of students for a long time he was my head basketball coach um there was a senior prank my senior year that there wasn’t one for about 20 years and all of us got tired of it not happening and uh our we I kind of pulled maybe I pulled together a committee maybe I was involved uh you could maybe do some research or call around but let’s just say that um I’ll fast forward we wanted to make sure that we didn’t ruin the school if we could help it and nothing died those were our two requirements and um if we could help it and uh that’s funny and then we ended up um we ended up knowing where the cameras were oh my gosh the superintendent of being my first customer my first business if he hears this it doesn’t matter and that’s a basketball game but I go to so we ended up getting two 70 pound pigs um up over the roof and uh into the courtyard because I knew where there were no cameras and uh I’m making myself vulnerable here wow that is awesome and greased them up and um words trickulated over time I I was out literally not not long ago I was standing outside after church service in Greensburg let’s call it four or five months ago and the guy who was a facilities got the time not the number one guy came up to me said hey I’ve always wanted to talk about those pigs I got called in because their head maintenance guy was frustrated because he’s trying to grab these things and they’re squealing and he can’t get a hold of him because they’re greased

and I’ve always thought Kelly It’s the funniest thing and to know that you were kind of the ringleader of it I just think Dad didn’t know and it was so funny and because my dad would have at the time if I’d got caught curious and um and to shorten it up you know he said uh I’ve handled pigs so I knew how to grab them by the Hooves and get him out of there and I every time anybody brings that story up I not stop laughing to this day so I’m uh there’s probably other things I did I’ll put my more ornery moments maybe that I don’t normally share that is fantastic thank you so much for your vulnerability I love it so Kelly tell us how the business came about and you know at what time did you have the confidence that you could run your own business good question two good two different questions I guess um you know uh so the business I’m in now is Sun funded which will which we’ll jump into which is uh it’s it’s essentially what we call solar as a service where we uh kind of there’s a lot of moving pieces to it and you know maybe for those in layman terms that don’t know the solar side there’s different ways to finance solar and adopt solar and we exclusively serve schools and we bring in the capital and construction so schools don’t have to lay out any money or incur any debt and then it’s a true service agreement where we take care of everything going forward so that’s the business I’m in now but before I started my education technology business or the custom art business where I got involved with a a buddy and an artist and a friend and and joined as a partner and scaled it I I would say that what really got me probably believing I could do my own business was a combination of my parents both Educators and public education so believe it or not how to that is a pretty stable and conservative environment like Public public education wear off on an entrepreneur but um my dad was a risk taker like I said he you know kind of went out to math and faith and applied and they thought he was nuts and the job opened up and he got it um but my mom would always read the guidepost I don’t know if you know anything about the guidepost little magazine that tells essentially like short God stories and moments okay and she would always pour into me and convince me that I could do anything I put my mind to and if I had to honestly attribute it to to maybe one particular moment or thing I it probably would be my parents confidence and and love and Foundation poured into me to to have the belief system in myself yeah and I also think I had to have some god-given abilities because any sales contest was elementary junior high or High School I wouldn’t just win I’d wanna like beat the entire Athletic program combined so maybe there was a little bit of that too um and then my business now you know Tim I felt inspired to want to make a difference I know that sounds a little bit cliche and corny but um I’ve had a business where I’ve scaled and exited and you know made pretty good money at a young age and then I’ve had a business where I’ve lost money and failed um even though I’ve scaled it nationally to almost every state of the country which I can get into um so I’ve I’ve learned a lot of great lessons and I wanted to take my time talent and treasure and just I’ve seen how complex and political and financially challenged School business can be and I thought man if I could just if I could just in my little piece of the pie make a difference I’d love to to do good while doing well and um I just thought well let’s look at what opportunities there are I looked at a workout on a business and a tech opportunity and I didn’t want to do that again and somebody started talking about how there’s tax credits available for schools and schools have adopted solar east and west coast but it’s underserved and it’s it’s a hard business to crack and that made me think there’s an opportunity yeah learn about solar

so um tell us a little bit more about the name it’s uh it’s very unique and and there’s got to be a story behind it because it it makes a ton of sense when I you know when I hear it out loud so yeah yeah Sun funded so we were my my business partner Patrick and I were bantering back and forth uh let’s see we had we had we had gone we had gravitated from the living room in the garage literally to spending sometimes in the Carmel Library one of my only times in the library which is a very amazing building by the way it is it’s not like what everyone’s thinking when they hear that he was working out of a library yeah no you’ve got you gotta like collaborative entrepreneurial spaces and other things you know so um so it’s great and uh we’ve had some opportunities from some others that want us to get involved with City and town deals and everything else and we just kept gravitating back to my business partners founded a business and education which he got out after a few years and it scaled up to about it was Fleet Management Bus tracking synovia and it sold an upstream provider for about 50 million eventually and so he’s been involved in the tech the tech arm of that and as a founder and the more I started talking about my mission and vision for wanting to make a difference in schools again and he that really resonated with him and he wanted the same so we finally just said all right well if we’re going to focus on schools with solar what are some business options for names and we went through hundreds of names and you know there’s a lot of stuff with green and clean and all these other things and of course we have sun in ours yeah but if the money’s already there for a school and it’s exclusively education which is why the Ed is capitalized you know um that’s that’s just kind of how it morphed into and the Sun is forecasted to be around for for those of you to know in my data junkies the sun is forecasted to be around for billions of years three it’s free you know now the panels aren’t free you know somebody’s got to pay for them but you know with the sun being around for billions of more years and um and uh you know uh the money already being there for us for qualifies qualified schools you know and we only serve education that’s where Sun funded was born that’s awesome yeah wow so um let’s talk about somebody who inspired you or pushed you that you could do it even though maybe you thought that you couldn’t and the impact that person had on you um

in this business or in any business any business yeah I’ve had I’ve been blessed with so many amazing mentors and friends um man blessed um I could I could rattle off a bunch of names and different times that God’s put in my path um I always I I know this question is hard because people you know generally don’t want to just name one person so if something intentional right to kind of put you on the spot later on I’m going to ask you to share about other people so you’re not really only one person well you know I will say that there there’s there’s a there’s a pivotal time in the business and I don’t know if this is the exact framework of your of your question but in some of the stuff I knew we’d be talking about I did I did give this a little thought and there’s a gentleman by the name of Don Kent that came into my life and Don is a very uh private and behind the scenes type of operator so even the fact that I mentioned his name he might be embarrassed about and if Don’s listening uh you know I whether we haven’t talked a little while but I have tons of admiration for Don um when I was contemplating to sell a business that had started that that started to take off or to stay in it um he had done some uh some Venture work you know white white glove service where he would get involved as an operator so he’s managed thousands of people uh been involved in multiple transactions and he kind of came along to help at a time when he said I don’t even have to have any money and helped me helped basically advise me through a transaction that I otherwise would have been unequipped for and and maybe maybe not had the right people at the right time in an ideal moment and there was lots of prayer around that not just by myself but others around me so again I could go on and on the spiritual side and on the personal side but I think from a purely business perspective Don helped advise and coach and and negotiate the deal with me and um and uh on uh December 31st 2012. uh took my parents in a limo to church because they gave me 20 grand to start my business and they didn’t have hardly any that was they didn’t have a lot of money to their name because they’re teachers and that was a lot of money and um took them in a limo I was gonna take them out to eat and uh stop by Don’s house met his wife for the first time and and uh left him a little friendly New Year’s present and uh and uh Beyond his expectations and um and uh was forever grateful in the way that he impacted in some degree changed my life that’s awesome yeah and uh and then took care of my parents house and some other things and uh yeah I was really fortunate to have a person like Don Ken in my life and uh the blessings that came uh from from that relationship praise God that’s awesome yeah I I’ve been I’ve been delaying long enough I just need to hear about the shark so

um okay so I’m I’m on this I’m doing this art business and I’m in Gulf Shores Alabama with our first client first off art business what in the world Gulf Shores Alabama you send in a picture we converted to paint by number and then that’s the finished product that’s cool so my business development guy and I are talking about fishing and he says I love to fish I don’t fish enough but I’d love to go deep sea fishing I said I would love to go deep sea fishing I said I tell you what you get a deal done get some Revenue coming the door when we’re on a business trip together I’ll take you fishing he gets a first client Golf Course Alabama

we’re at this licensed partner where they do like you know wines maybe wine and canvas for those in Indy or others around the country where you go drink wine and paint a lot of these people wanted personalized art of their kids or of a dog or whatever so they did deals with the licensing deals with us and we’re at this Paint and Sip and I see that there’s a marina nearby and I ask about it so we go down to the marina and I said hey I wanna go catch a shark and uh they’re like okay and I’m like I don’t want just a charter Captain who tells me they’re gonna talk they’re gonna throw a line out and catch a shark I want a shark guy and she goes that’d be T-Roy [Laughter] and I said his name’s T-Roy like is that his like his full name is this is my guy so we end up we end up he she gets T-Roy on the phone she starts talking about it’s like saying something I said can I talk to him he gets on there and I said T-Roy goes yeah this T this is I’m not gonna do the accident he goes yeah that’s T-Roy and I said T-Roy I go I just want to Target shark and he goes I’m your guy meet me here at four o’clock we didn’t talk price I didn’t know what I was getting into this guy has a John Boat Tim have you ever been in an ocean in a Jon Boat uh-uh we’re in a Jon Boat and I mean it’s a skiff for a flat bottom for people that know the technicalities but we’re basically in a Jon Boat his equipment is like duct tape he’s got this hook he’s got this hook that’s like this and I mean you get on this boat and you’re you do I need a tetanus shot or do I need to get excited you know and Jesse and I sit down on this boat we go out and I said tea right what’s gonna happen if we catch a big shark and he says he’s fixing to get greased his eyes he’s about 150 pounds this guy’s 150 pounds soaking wet his eyes light up like this and I go good God I don’t know what that means but I am excited and we he throws out this line on the bottom he by the way he has two buckets with hand drilled holes in them of of bait cut up bait and and he throws it in there because he’s chumming the water and then he throws out this hundred pound line on the bottom dead fish and he throws a big one on the top of the water 50 pound test with this balloon type thing and uh and I said Terry what happens if that balloon goes down he goes just hold on balloon goes down he says hold on boys he starts jerking it like this and then the fish just starts going he says hold the pole hold the ball I said Jesse you got the deal you hold

you hold like hang on he starts the motor up and we’re going at full speed well it felt like full speed I mean we’re going from 20 30 mile an hour yeah and we’re catching up and we’re running side by side with this shark we can’t see I’ll fast forward the story we’re an hour and a half in and haven’t seen the shark Jesse and I are alternating back and forth because we’re 50 pound test and this thing is working us the dolphin cruises they’re keeping their distance 200 yards but everybody’s on the one side of the boat and they’re all watching us like these bunch of yahoos from Indiana just doing cigarettes out in the middle of the ocean it’s turned night time almost night time and we finally are starting to see this fish and it comes up and it comes under the boat and water magnifies things I thought this thing was 12 its head I said are we cutting the what are we are we cutting the line and he said nope hang on we finally get this fish in about two hours and 45 minutes three hours later oh my goodness weigh it it’s about 300 pounds I’m sorry we don’t weigh it we estimate the weight we measure it and estimate the weight at just under 300 pounds about 300 pounds it’s six foot seven inches wow and this thing was awesome and I’ve been bragging about it

when we caught it said T-Roy he’s been greased he goes he’s done been greased fishing episode and adventure and I’ve been in your home country of Canada up there roughing it and living off the Wild and I’ve done a bunch of other things you know this was the most wild and fun fishing Adventure I’ve ever been on that is awesome all right well let’s that let’s shift gears back to business what’s been your uh biggest learning as a business owner over the years two or three things um and I could go I got a list of I got a long list because I’ve done multiple Endeavors but um don’t get don’t get caught in your own Echo chamber um um you know I I and I would say that’s applicable to Corporate America to early stage Ventures to anything you know I think it’s really easy for either protection of an idea or position all the way to man it just feels right and I think going with your gut is critical but I think that often is typically more well informed than people fully appreciate for for seasoned professionals so I think seeking counsel and seeking advice to to learn in areas where you don’t know and I’m speaking from a guy now building products and businesses from scratch has really helped me save a lot of time and money I don’t want to say cut corners but I want to say maybe go around turn four faster right uh you know I mean come on but uh but um you know so I would say don’t get caught in your own Echo chamber so you know uh and then I would say uh be open and be open and vulnerable um I don’t mean this is a negative thing towards because I’m on the cusp of like what generation am I in right I can relate to the young trendy crowd wearing the Jordans I still have some relates to the old the older I’m getting more gray hairs too right kind of right in the middle yeah you know so I think that I think that it’s important to know a lot of folks a lot of folks when they’re thinking about you know um starting up something you know from starting up something from from scratch uh they they really talk about being vulnerable and a lot of people interpret that as this touchy feel good all-inclusive play and there’s an element of that that I think is great I think there’s a cultural shift to where that’s maybe more of a hot button necessary now than before right but I also think that you know you really have to think about that word vulnerability and transparency as a way to show yourself in a humble manner that gives other people the space and freedom to be good at who they are and let their skills shine I think a lot of times you hear people leave jobs what’s the percentage to him you know it as a business coach 70 of people hate their jobs right and I think the reason for that is is because people aren’t given the space or put in the right position to be successful yeah so I think I try to be a good a good blend of a servant leader and somebody who’s you know somebody who’s open myself and admits my mistakes first yeah and that lets other people build confidence and and kind of share their things and then you know just in general with early stage stuff or any people that cares about that or a corporation rolling out new products I think test it quickly you don’t need to have everything right yeah and you don’t need to worry about if they’re saying everything if there’s something’s wrong test it quickly and do it on a small scale but test it get it out into the market uh don’t go too far too fast but don’t do a paralysis by analysis there’s only so many surveys and yeah you’ve got to work it all the way through until you can figure it out and that takes iteration and trial and error absolutely yeah Kelly if there was this is where I’m coming back to my question from earlier if there were um if I asked you to pick three people in your business owner Journey that you’re most grateful for being there for you and helping with your growth the growth who are those three people and how they help you [Music] um

well I’m going to start I’m going to start in a place that you know I hope that if this isn’t maybe everybody’s exact same belief that they can at least respect and hear how it’s how it’s been received and important to me um because I have to share it if not I would be I would be going back on some things I’ve already been promised and promised back um but I believe that Jesus Christ has uh truly um truly made a difference in my professional journey I have countless examples that’s an hour too long full testimony if you your others ever care to hear it but I have plenty of examples where uh in full disclosure I was uh that was not the way I thought and operated and shared okay years ago uh I was down and out and pretty much bankrupt and I had a raw conversation with god I had gone through a church Retreat weekend I started to kind of come back into this faith uh but I wasn’t really fully didn’t really fully know exactly what it meant how it applied to business and other things and I had a conversation with god on whether I should go back into Corporate America and make a steady paid a steady paycheck with a secure job or if I should um kind of keep plowing through a business I was ready to to file bankruptcy on and uh man I could tell you multiple people he put my path a strong uh voice that I heard at least in my heart Dr White was the first one to really give me a chance Eugene White from Indianapolis public schools on a pilot and uh so he’d be in the mix and um I think it’s because of because of Jesus Christ I was able to stay the course and actually change into a different business yeah and sell that company successfully in a year and 14 months and uh you know become a become a you know a well-to-do person at 31 years of age and I would not have been able to to do that if it wasn’t for Jesus and a funny story I always told my parents 20 years before then I’ll never go into education

oh yeah and my greatest success this is how Jesus laughs after I gave my business up to Christ and let him lead me down the path he uh he took me into education and I sold my business to Herff Jones a 100 year old manufacturer of class rings and yearbooks I’m in 100 year old manufacturer in the education space is where I made my most money and had my greatest

so I gotta I gotta give credit where credit is due and I’ve got a thousand other examples of stories that are real they’re not just feel good um happy to share with others on the fence or maybe curious um and then you know I also would say that my parents I’ve already mentioned have been great influences you know I’ve learned a lot even through the struggles with both of my business partners Kevin dance West a great artist and a friend and we had some challenges and wars together both as college basketball teammates and as business partners and then my my partner in crime right now Patrick poor we’ve been through covid shutting schools down for a year and that’s when we just raised 1.5 million and said let’s serve suggest schools

and we’ve been through you know a challenge with a first client and not the client itself but a partner we brought in and in Michigan and then we’ve had inflation and costs Spike up 30 on construction side yeah and every one of those challenges my man and I have been through it with God and lots of friends and family my so I’d say those would probably be some people I give credit to and I I’ve got so many people I can go beyond that but yeah those would be some of the first people I would I would mention and thank Kelly I love your boldness in speaking about Christ and how he’s impacted your life so um clearly you are following a call that he gave you and I just want to applaud you for for uh following through on that and you know putting yourself out there and not being apologetic about who you are and why you are the way you are so congratulations man I I appreciate it you know I know I got to do my part but I I you know I give all that credit upstairs my friend and uh you know there’s some quotes out there you can read on LinkedIn and other places where it says you know the right time for the truth is is you just it’s the it’s the it’s just always at the right time like when you know you’re asked about the truth you got to share the truth and and when you when you’ve experienced it and seen it because you’ve been open and vulnerable I had to change a lot about my life a lot of people sometimes give Christians a bad rap too right because Christians sin and make mistake all the time that’s that’s it’s a continual Journey it’s not a I commit and then I’m perfect and I’ve had to go through a lot of suffering and struggle to get to this point and to be able to be confident to share it and I give all my praise and glory upstairs and I appreciate you acknowledging that too there’s definitely a difference between somebody who is humble right like yourself and giving the glory where it belongs and and those who aren’t humble right and and kind of pound their chests about their beliefs and so um I I I believe that folks are going to listen to this and they’re going to hear the right message because you’re delivering it in a in a christ-like way as opposed to some of the other ways messages weren’t delivered out there right yeah yeah you know and and since we’re on this topic I we don’t share we don’t we’ve strategically not wanted to push our business as like a faith-based business but internally we call it we’re building a Kingdom Business you know and and it’s not for everyone it’s not for every client it’s not for every school and it’s not for it’s not for every it’s not for every business partner out there but it for the right people at the right time in the right place it’ll it’ll be for them and you know what I also have to share is because God has put me in detention since I’m in the education space like I have even after some of these transformational activities I’ve been putting detention and I just get tired of going to detention it’s like if I’m gonna get my lumps I want to at least know I’m doing it the right way because when I don’t I just don’t amen

right it’s like the the pig story you knew doing that that there was a big probability of you getting in trouble but you know you made a calculated decision to do it anyway but anyway right

we were well researched and prepared you know so last question here Kelly um Jim Rohn he’s one of my favorite quotes is we become the average of the five people we spend the most time with so as you think about that quote what advice do you have for business owners or entrepreneurs who have this feeling that they’ve got to do it on their own and that they can’t ask for help and that it’s something bad if they if they don’t have it all together and can’t figure it out by themselves [Music] well

so you know as you can tell I’m enthusiastic about the things I care about and I like I like to share them in detail but uh you know I will say this Tim there’s there’s two for me there’s two parts of that two sides of that uh coin yeah but I think you know to summarize it I would say first off if you’re an entrepreneur even if you’re not alone there’s going to be times where you feel alone

and therefore you’re not alone

I love it I am not trying to be a philosopher that is not my god-given skill set okay but but I mean you know it is it is it is so true like in this business I’ve done it in every business and honestly I think that’s why you finally get to the point where you know how to get past the points where most people quit a year or two or three in right I’m not gonna share all of our Dirty Laundry yet because we’re still going through it but we’ve had clients know we’ve almost been down and out a few times at Sun fun and um you know over the years and um and uh I think you know Grant uh Grant cordone or somebody the real estate Guru or somebody shared a quote where like the only people who fail you know are the ones that quit you know and because inevitably you can run out of money or you can have a thing not work out but if you let that identify who you are if your identity is wrapped up in being that entrepreneur which by the way mine used to be that’s one of many things in my transformation that’s been worked on but if your identity is wrapped up in in in your business or businesses or your other whatever your vices are you will never be totally fulfilled you’ll never be totally happy and frankly you’ll never be really successful at work even if you become a multi-millionaire let’s say I would I would say that you know uh any advice I could give then to kind of on this one side of the coin wrapping all that up is to say that you’re 100 not alone for men what I applaud about women they seem to be a lot more open and empathetic generally I’m not just I don’t want to stereotype I’m saying you can look up data right if I had a cool drop down now that would help me but in the in the in all the calf and I go to the these different men’s groups and formation groups I’ve been through and led through my my faith and it’s always true when men open up and go through it they receive the Lord or they receive the message and advice about whatever it is about their marriage or from another man not even just on the spiritual sense so I think that you know you as an entrepreneur need to know I’m telling you 100 from multiple times over and every time I go through a new early stage Venture from idea to growth it is always the same there’s times where you feel alone there’s times where you’re carrying the risk and the payroll and all of these other things and you are not alone and it’s never as bad as you think it is and when you really make it it’s never as great as you think it is you know and so you really need to make sure that you surround yourself with really great good people that can pour into you and uplift you and also that aren’t just like you and that’s what I would say the flip side of the coin is one of the things I identified early on was a lot of people when I started out were my buddies we in my past life before I shed some of my past we like to go out and socialize on the weekends or we like to go out trying to be diplomatic here Tim you know we’d like to go out and socialize on the weekends or we’d like to go out you know and play golf or seek pleasure fish all the time whatever the things are and it wasn’t until I realized that I could be friends with them and there’s a time and place for that but I was always right in the mix if not the ringleader and I stopped going out and I locked myself Thursday Friday Saturday I’m working on a business plan for two months and I started not just networking to network I started seeking out people been there and done that that were better than me that had proven it and I started getting people high I could name much high profile people that if I name some of them probably most people on here would recognize at least from Indiana and they would meet with me because I asked and I would keep asking and I would just learn like a sponge and absorb and it challenged me and it pushed me and it encouraged me to think differently and to operate differently and to grow differently and I think those two things have definitely been a part of of the foundation or one of my main pillars on the business side and grow my business Acumen that’s helped me to see challenges and risks sooner and you know overcome adversity faster that’s great there I love what you’re saying because there’s there’s this fear I I believe in business owners to not ask up right meaning hey that person’s Pro must be too busy or too successful or too whatever to to give me a few minutes and um until most people don’t even ask but everyone that I’ve had on the show that has has talked about a topic like that has said a resounding every time I’ve asked they’ve said yes they’ve carved out time for me oh yeah I think it goes back to the Pay It Forward idea right because they all remember a time when somebody did it for them and they’re going to do it for the person that asked them I mean unbelievable like I remember meeting Jeff belscus I don’t know if you know that name he used to run the Holmen company in Speedway and Indy 11 and I don’t want to put him too much out there but I’m sitting behind him at the Pacers game and I didn’t even know who he and Mark miles were at the time how embarrassing is that and I leaned between Jeff and his wife and I said they’re they’re playing the Heat in the playoffs I said good God look at Ray Allen’s calf muscles it’s like those things have their own ZIP code because they were like this big and they turned around and looked at me I’ll fast forward 10 minutes into a conversation I get his number I call them and say would you like to have a coffee or an adult beverage he says sure we’re halfway we’re halfway in he goes so what do you I know you’re an entrepreneur what are you building what do you need I said nothing you graduated from Indiana State and we I thought you look like Vince Gill I [ __ ] and your wife thought it was funny and you laughed and now we’re here and I went to Indiana State he’s like you’re not asking me for money I’m like no I just you’re a neat guy and we have connectivity on some certain levels and uh and that’s actually how I got a car out onto the speedway was because of him so you know it’s one of those it’s one of those great stories where I struck up a friendship happened to meet him in person some had reached out to cold and you know formed a friendship and have stayed in touch to this day and that’s amazing now it’s just asking for well help or questions or connections and you know it’s just been blessed yeah and the worst thing that can happen is someone says oh no sorry I’m busy who cares then right well yeah but that’s not who’s in your path right it’s the old it’s the old adage or depending on what you believe you know shake the dust off your sandals and move on to the next city Amigo you know hey man Kelly it sounds like you’ve been blessed with some incredible people who have helped you along in your journey if they were all on the show here today what would you want to say to them hmm

for anybody watching this that I haven’t mentioned I would say that through the through the good times and the bad through the fire the trials and tribulations if you were put in my life uh you have no idea what an impact you’ve had on on me and probably countless other people whether directly or indirectly I love you for it I thank you for it uh God bless you for it and uh you know no matter where we are in our relationship or or what has transpired I hope that you’ve picked up something from him and through me and uh it’s helped you to be a little bit better at whatever it is you’re doing and a little stronger and fight in the good fight you know as we as we seek eternity so I would just say thank you and I love you awesome Kelly it’s been a pleasure speaking with you today thank you so much for being on the show Tim my pleasure love what you’re doing yeah thank you I appreciate it yeah everyone who’s tuned in thanks for listening to the self-made is a myth show with your host coach Tim cancel be sure to help us spread the movement by liking the show and uh sharing it on your social media and to join our movement go to be mad together.com all right folks that’s a wrap make sure to pay it forward and I’ll see you all next time take care