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Sweat Equity

July 16, 2021 |  

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Nick Huber was a track star at Cornell when he fielded a call from a parent that would change his life. A fellow student needed to store their stuff over the summer, and Huber was offered money to pick up his classmate’s stuff and keep it until the fall. Huber realized that other students who lived out-of-state might need a similar service, and Storage Squad was born.

Along with his partner Dan Hagberg, Huber built Storage Squad to 30 locations and more than $2 million in annual sales when he decided to sell for “low seven figures” while avoiding an earn-out. Huber’s story should serve as an inspiration for anyone who wants to bootstrap a service business. This interview is jam-packed with knowledge bombs, including:

• How Huber streamlined his business by asking employees to do less.
• What to look for in a business partner.
• Why paying employees like owners is a mistake.
• The definition of an escrow.
• Why D1 athletics is the perfect analogy for entrepreneurship.
• How to find a new business idea (hint: look for an industry that still uses a fax machine).

Show Notes & Links

(02:31) John Warrillow: “Somehow I found you, and I’m like, “This guy’s interesting, because Sweaty Startup.” I’m all about not the tech Silicon Valley stuff but the real deal. I think you had like 5,000 followers, so I followed you. And then I looked again and you have like 12,000, and then 20,000, 30,000. You’re at 100 and something thousand followers now in the space of what, a year?”

(03:25) Nick Huber: “Well, I say TikTok is where the kids hang out, Instagram is where the good-looking people hang out, and Twitter is where the good thinking people hang out.”

(04:31) Nick Huber: “2011, junior year, Cornell. I had two summer leases for apartments… I needed to sign a lease for the next year, had one from the year before, trying to find a sublet for both because I was not going to be an Ithaca. I posted my apartment on Craigslist for rent, nobody wanted to rent it because everybody was doing the same thing.”

(05:32) Nick Huber: “Went to my now business partner, Dan Hagberg,… And he got more excited than I was and we ran around in our cars together, 50-50 partners from right there forward. And luckily, he had a house with a basement that we filled up with stuff. Fast forward, I guess it was about a six-day blur, eight or 10 grand in cash sitting on our bed and we had ourselves a little business.”

(08:01) Nick Huber: “So we made a goal, we wanted to get 250 customers in the next year while we were still in school as seniors. We convinced a friend at Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa all to run branches of our business and bought a couple of cargo vans on Craigslist for $1,500 a piece and went big in our mind, which was uncomfortable. And the rest is history, I guess.”

(09:52) Nick Huber: “We tried a couple of very complex payment structures and we’ve learned really quickly that not everybody thinks like an entrepreneur and it’s best to just pay somebody a good wage to do the work.”

(15:13) Nick Huber: “2014, we went from 1.5 million in sales to 2.2, and the stress was cut by 80%, and our profitability tripled… Putting those systems in place and getting specialists inside of our business who could focus on what they were supposed to be good at, it allowed us to scale. And that was the turning point for Storage Squad to go from something that Nick and Dan had to be a part of, Nick and Dan had to own, Nick and Dan… if Nick and Dan went away, then nothing happened, to, okay. If Nick and Dan are focusing on hiring and managing and putting these systems in place, they’re not supposed to have a job in the inner workings of the company, and that’s how it can grow.” (Read: Eight Key Drivers of Company Value: Hub & Spoke)

(16:51) Nick Huber: “It wasn’t necessarily small, but it was prestigious schools where there was a lot of international students and out-of-state students. Like Florida and Georgia and Texas 80% of their students are from that state, whereas Cornell, Penn State, Michigan, Northeastern, Harvard, those schools, 70% of the students couldn’t even drive home, they had to fly home, so they store their stuff with us.”

(24:25) Nick Huber: “If you want to succeed in entrepreneurship, look for a business that, A, has a lot of profit, and B, has a fax machine, and compete with them.”

(39:22) Nick Huber: “Yeah. They did a press release on their website, so it’s Zippy Shell. It’s a company that does pod, pick-up and delivery. They drop off a pod at your house and move. It’s a really innovative company.”

(47:22) John Warrillow: “Yeah. For folks listening, if people ever want to learn about that tipping basket concept effectively, there can be a certain number of claims, a certain amount of claims against the escrow. And once the basket tips over, you hit a certain threshold, basically the entire amount is accessible by the acquirer.”

(53:28) Nick Huber: “I love teaching, I love doing this stuff with you, I love my podcast, The Sweaty Startup, I love sharing ideas. And I think if money was everything to me, that would be important, but I really like cycling and playing golf, and hanging out with friends, and I have two young kids.”

(54:23) Nick Huber: “They’re all service businesses, none of them are fun, none of them are sexy. So if you’re looking for a get-rich-quick scheme, go somewhere else, but go to SweatyStartup.com/Businesses-I-Love. And that’s a list of businesses that Nick Huber loves.”

About Our Guest

Nick Huber is just an average guy from Leopold, Indiana and his mission is to help people do common things uncommonly well.

Nick started the Sweaty Startup in December of 2018 because he believes the Shark Tank and Tech Crunch culture is ruining the real spirit of low-risk entrepreneurship. In college, Nick connected with many other entrepreneurs, and of the 20 or so people pursuing tech and “new idea” startups, not a one succeeded. They all went and got real jobs.

Nick is living proof that you don’t need a new idea and you don’t need to change the world to buck the 9-5 and design the life you want.

Nick founded Storage Squad (now Bolt Storage) with business partner Dan Hagberg in 2011 as an undergrad in college. The company has grown to 34 major colleges in 9 states and services over 10,000 customers each year. They successfully scaled one of the most logistically challenging services on the planet in the most expensive cities in America.

 

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Transcript

Disclaimer: Transcripts may contain a few typos. With most episodes lasting 60+ minutes, it can be difficult to catch some minor errors.

John Warrillow:

What’s your biggest question when it comes to selling your company? When I ask that question of other entrepreneurs, I hear things like, “How do I avoid an earn-out? When’s the best time to sell? How do I create a bidding war?” These questions along with many others inspired me to write the book, The Art of Selling Your Business. It’s a field guide for punching above your weight when it comes to selling your business. I’ve taken all the best practices from the 300 plus interviews I’ve done for this show, and distilled them down into an action plan for you. You can get it along with some gifts for my listeners when you go to BuiltToSell.com/Selling.

Have you ever asked yourself why your employees just don’t seem to get it? Despite all of your coaching and cajoling, they still just can’t act independently. They don’t have intuition. They can’t think for themselves. It’s a frustration a lot of entrepreneurs feel. And when you feel it, remember that your employees are just that, they’re employees. You’re an entrepreneur, you thrive on not knowing what’s around the bend. They likely thrive on a little more structure. And my next guest, Nick Huber, found that out the hard way.

He built a company called Storage Squad, and he was asking his drivers in the early days to do just about everything, pick up boxes, schedule appointments, collect money, everything associated with the job. What he found was that asking too much of his employees ultimately led to chaos. Here to tell you the entire story is Nick Huber.

Nick Huber, welcome to Built to Sell Radio.

Nick Huber:

John, a big fan of your work, and glad to be here.

John Warrillow:

Dude, it is crazy to have you on because I watched your Twitter following go up in real time. I don’t know how we got connected, I think you might’ve tweeted me. Somehow I found you, and I’m like, “This guy’s interesting, because Sweaty Startup.” I’m all about not the tech Silicon Valley stuff but the real deal. I think you had like 5,000 followers, so I followed you. And then I looked again and you have like 12,000, and then 20,000, 30,000. You’re at 100 and something thousand followers now in the space of what, a year?

Nick Huber:

Twitter has supercharged my career. And yeah, I picked it up last April, so a little over a year, 130,000 followers now.

John Warrillow:

You were doing something right.

Nick Huber:

I’ll say that I did not see the advantages as far as raising money for our real estate private equity company, getting the message out about Sweaty Startup, growing the podcast and the communities along with that. So it’s been really rewarding.

John Warrillow:

Yeah, imagine. If someone’s listening to this saying, “Social media, I just don’t get it. The kids are into it, but it’s not me.” What are they missing?

Nick Huber:

Well, I say TikTok is where the kids hang out, Instagram is where the good-looking people hang out, and Twitter is where the good thinking people hang out. There’s a lot of smart people on Twitter. The beautiful thing is, it’s like a free country club where people who are doing business, interested in getting smarter, successful members of the business community are there hanging out and helping each other and learning. So you get instant feedback on your ideas. I came into Twitter with an open mind about sharing everything about business entrepreneurship that I know, and a surprising thing happened, is that a lot of people reached out and we built relationships.

And also, I get a lot smarter when smart people can critique what you say in real time.

John Warrillow:

Yeah. And challenge your thinking in real time. Yeah. No, for sure. So let’s go back and hear the story of Storage Squad. So I think it starts at third year, Cornell, if I’ve got it chronology right. Walk you us through that.

Nick Huber:

That’s right. 2011, junior year, Cornell. I had a two-summer leases for apartments because it overlapped, I needed to sign a lease for the next year, had one for the year before, trying to find a sublet for both because I was not going to be an Ithaca. I posted my apartment on Craigslist for rent, nobody wanted to rent it because everybody was doing the same thing. One parent reached out to me and said, “Nick, we used a summer storage company in Ithaca last year, it was a really terrible experience. Can I store my son’s stuff in your room?” And I said, “Well, maybe that’s a chance for me to make a couple of hundred bucks. Sure.” And they’re like, “Oh, by the way, you need to come and pick it up because he lives in the dorms. You’ve got to come and get it.”

So I made a deal with the person, 150 bucks. I went and picked it up, drenched wet with sweat about two hours later. And then I realized once it was in my room that I could not rent it out at all and I needed to do that with a lot more people. So I made flyers, ran around campus, wrote sidewalk chalk on the ground, went to the meetings of the frats, sororities and email lists I could get my hand on. And a couple days later, my entire room was full of stuff. I locked the door over the summer. The room next to me, the guy was leaving, I filled that room. My room next year, I filled that room, ran out of space.

People kept calling. Went to my now business partner, Dan Hagberg, good friend of mine. Co-captains on the track team at Cornell. And he got more excited than I was and we ran around in our cars together, 50-50 partners from right there forward. And luckily, he had a house with a basement that we filled up with stuff. Fast forward, I guess it was about a six-day blur, eight or 10 grand in cash sitting on our bed and we had ourselves a little business.

John Warrillow:

I love it. Hey, as an aside, do you think you could teach entrepreneurship?

Nick Huber:

I would love it. I mean, that’s what I do. I’m more passionate about that than I am business itself.

John Warrillow:

I get that. But I was more asking, Cornell is a prestigious Ivy League school and I see Babson and they all these very, very well-known schools offering entrepreneurship. Indiana’s another example. Can you teach it at school?

Nick Huber:

Maybe I’m a cynic, but no, I don’t think you can. I think it takes a certain type of person that has the resourcefulness and that thrives in chaotic environments. And I was one of those people that, I loved making rash decisions quickly with incomplete information and then looking back and seeing what happened later and that uncertainty.

John Warrillow:

I’ve heard the equivalent of war time, the fog of war where you’ve got decision-making and incomplete information, is the definition of entrepreneurship.

Nick Huber:

And it’s not taught In schools. The way that we’re learning in schools, and I’ll go off on a little tangent, but the way that people are trained to learn in schools from the age of five years old is follow the rules. Look, if you need an answer to a question, flip the page back and find it and look it up. So when they get to a situation where there are no answers and they have to figure out the answers on themselves, it cripples them. It’s tough.

John Warrillow:

But you and Dan figured some stuff out. And in the early days, it sounds like, right up from the bootstraps, but how did it go from that to 30 locations and a serious entity?

Nick Huber:

Yeah, but we had a problem because, A, we were excited about our business, but B, we had serious opportunity cost because we were about to get Ivy League degrees. Our friends were going to get $100,000, $150,000 a year jobs and start off on awesome career paths that the Ivy League affords you. So I go to my dad and say, “Dad, I’m going to move boxes around and I’m not going to go get a real job.” And he’s like, “Son, are you crazy? I sent you to the Ivy League to move boxes around?” And he said, “Okay, well, if you’re going to do this, you’ve got to get serious about this and take some risks and get out of your comfort zone.”

So we made a goal, we wanted to get 250 customers in the next year while we were still in school as seniors. We convinced a friend at Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa all to run branches of our business and bought a couple of cargo vans on Craigslist for $1,500 a piece and went big in our mind, which was uncomfortable. And the rest is history, I guess.

John Warrillow:

What was your dad’s reaction? You alluded to the fact that, “I was hoping you’d go to Wall Street here, buddy. That’s why I paid the 75 grand a year to send you to this school.” What was his reaction beyond just shock? What was that conversation like?

Nick Huber:

Well, I’ve always been a guy that tries crazy things and gets… I’m an excitable person, I think that’s my main asset, is I get excited about other things that other people would be like, “Oh really, that was fun?” And during finals week, when everybody else was partying and having fun and experiencing junior year of college after classes, I was the one staying up till 2:00 AM running up and down spiral staircases and loading boxes. I would say that he was definitely like, “Oh, I’m not sure how this is going to work, but I got to support my son.”

John Warrillow:

Did you borrow any money from him?

Nick Huber:

It was a cashflow heavy business because we got paid once a year in May right after pickups. So year two, year three, year four, we did have to scrounge around family and friend money to get the 30, 40 grand to pay for our warehouse deposits and things like that and pay it back with interest. So nothing was a free borrow, but we did get really resourceful on how we got ahold of money and some of it was from my dad.

John Warrillow:

Yeah. Yeah. That’s awesome. That’s awesome. So you get some folks that you know at different universities, different colleges to start effectively… Were they franchises, or?

Nick Huber:

No, they were our employees. We tried a couple of very complex payment structures and we’ve learned really quickly that not everybody thinks like an entrepreneur and it’s best to just pay somebody a good wage to do the work. So, yeah, 20 to 25 bucks an hour, we had them track their hours and had all in-house employees throughout the whole company, that’s how we always were. And it was what made us unique from a lot of our competitors that were just software services to link moving companies with customers and things like that.

John Warrillow:

What did you see, if you look back on that 10 year, between third year and ultimately selling it, were there one or two decisions, I’m thinking strategic decisions, inflection points to use the cliché term, that you look back on and say, “Yep, that was the decision that made the difference for us”?

Nick Huber:

Yeah, 2013. 2012 was a growth year, that’s when we did $300,000 in revenue, it was a big surprise and we’re like, “Okay, this has some legs.” 2013 was even bigger, I think three quarters of a million in revenue, but it was the most stressful year of our lives. We didn’t have the right employees, we were answering the phones, we were short staff. We stayed up basically for three weeks straight sleeping for hours at a time in grody warehouses just grinding to get the business going. And at that same time, our operations were falling apart and me and Danny were complaining to each other about how hard it was to find employees and how the employees we did find were terrible at their jobs and we can’t believe these Ivy League kids that we’re hiring don’t know how to do this stuff.

We can’t believe it. It’s terrible. And we sat down after the season. The good thing about the seasonal business is that we had some time to reflect and get better every year. We sat down and said, “Look, this is on us as a business owner. These other companies can do it, they can grow. We have to take ownership over our hiring. What are we doing wrong? It’s our fault. Next time I complain to you Dan about how crappy my employees at my location that I’m overseeing, you look at me and say, ‘Nick, this is your fault as a manager. This is you. It’s on you.'” So we took extreme ownership over our hiring and said, “Okay, these kids aren’t idiots, they’re doing the best they can. It’s our training, it’s our systems. It’s our models.”

So the real inflection point was when we simplified their job down to where they had five key things that they needed to do, and I’m going in the weeds now. But we had a little tablet that they ran around, an LTE tablet. That’s what their schedule was on. Our crew members had these little tablets. On the back of that tablet, there was a list of 28 things to do. It was, drive the truck, load the truck, label the items, take photos of the items, invoice the items, do the customer service, make their schedule that night, drive it back to the warehouse, unload at the warehouse, put the stuff in the right places in the warehouse, make sure everything’s labeled again, do the shipping.”

And as a business owner, that is a terrible way to motivate or set employees up for success. So we said, “Okay, what can we take off of their plate?” We finally reached a little bit of scale too. It’s kind of a chicken and egg problem. Without some scale, you can’t take some things off their plates, but we said, “All right, let’s have one person do customer service on the phone from one location. Let’s have one person do all the billing.” Instead of our drivers running around trying to tell how big the boxes are, get the pricing of the items, let’s have one employee on a computer look at photos of every single order and make the invoices. Let’s have one employee on one computer do the scheduling for every single location.”

And so we just started slowly taking things off of our drivers plate until they had five things to do, drive the truck, label the boxes, photograph the boxes, and put them in the truck so that they didn’t fall down. That’s it.

John Warrillow:

Again, drive, label, photo.

Nick Huber:

Yep. And then put it back in the truck and get it safely back to the warehouse. If a customer asked them as much as a question about the pricing or how it would work, they pulled out a business card and handed it to them and said, “Call this number. I don’t know anything about that. I’m really sorry. My job is to show up here and be really nice to you and take these boxes safely back to our warehouse.”

John Warrillow:

I love it. There are some people listening to that though, and they’re saying, “Yeah, but Nick, you took all the creativity out of it. How did you possibly hire employees when you dumbed it down to such an extent that all of the creativity, the dynamism the agility associated with doing the job has been ripped out of these drivers’ hands and now they’ve just got these five things to do and they’re just like robots doing the five-

Nick Huber:

I feel very strongly about this. And I think it’s a common misconception that employees want autonomy. I think employees want a structure that allows them to thrive. They want happy customers. They want to be able to get the job done and make the boss happy, the customer happy, everybody happy. But if they’re constantly needing to make decisions, and they don’t even know all the answers, and those decisions might lead to more stress and falling behind on schedule and having upset customers, that’s not an environment they like. I like that because I can make good decisions.

We talked about chaos. As a business owner, I thrive in chaos. I can make those decisions well. I know how to use common sense and I know my business like nobody else does. I can’t expect a college student who comes to work for me part time for two weeks to treat my business like I do and know how to answer those questions. So once we got over that, “Yeah, I want to be able to decisions, I want to have autonomy on the job, I want to have all these unique things.” A, these employees didn’t want to be paid like entrepreneurs as a percentage of profits, and B, they didn’t want to have to make decisions like the boss made. They wanted to be able to get their job done successfully.

John Warrillow:

What impact did going from 28 things to five things have on your 2014 year?

Nick Huber:

2014, we went from 1.5 million in sales to 2.2, and the stress was cut by 80%, and our profitability tripled. So you tell me. It was phenomenal. Putting those systems in place and getting specialists inside of our business who could focus on what they were supposed to be good at, it allowed us to scale. And that was the turning point for Storage Squad to go from something that Nick and Dan had to be a part of, Nick and Dan had to own, if Nick and Dan went away, then nothing happened, to, okay. If Nick and Dan are focusing on hiring and managing and putting these systems in place, they’re not supposed to have a job in the inner workings of the company, and that’s how it can grow.

John Warrillow:

Got it. How profitable was it? So two million and change on the top line. What would you put to the bottom line in a good year?

Nick Huber:

So this is what opened our world up to opportunities because yeah, 50 grand in profit the first year, 150 grand in profit the second year with a ton of stress, another 150 grand a year in profit 2013, then it just bumped right up to 250 grand, and then 400 grand, and then 400 grand, and then 400 grand. So we did bump up into some scale issues where we tried to go to a lot of new universities in 2017, ’18, ’19, figure out a model. It just didn’t work everywhere, and staying small was going to be okay. We needed to find the private schools in the expensive cities and that’s where our bread and butter was of doing pickup and delivery of student storage.

We tried to go to UGA in the south and some of the bigger schools, it just didn’t quite work.

John Warrillow:

What was it about the small schools that made the model work?

Nick Huber:

It wasn’t necessarily small, but it was prestigious schools where there was a lot of international students and out-of-state students. Like Florida and Georgia and Texas 80% of their students are from that state, whereas Cornell, Penn state, Michigan, Northeastern, Harvard, those schools, 70% of the students couldn’t even drive home, they had to fly home, so they store their stuff with us.

John Warrillow:

Got it. And at what point did you arrive at that insight? It sounds like it took you a little iteration to figure that out.

Nick Huber:

Yeah. The data doesn’t come until it slaps you in the face and tells you what’s profitable and what’s not because you have to try to figure it out. And we took a lot of shots and we went to some schools that didn’t work and we went to some schools that did, but we weren’t too proud of a managerial decision to not change our mind. We had strong opinions, loosely held, is what we used to say. We have opinions on how this business is supposed to work, but if we hang on to those and get emotionally attached to those, it’s a problem because things change.

John Warrillow:

The 400 grand you’re making, does that include a salary for you or did you and Dan just basically split the profit and that was basically your salary.

Nick Huber:

Yeah, that includes the owners’ compensation. So I think the business at its peak, 2017 was our best year ever until 2020, it was about 2.5 million in sales, 100 grand to me and Dan each on a salary, and then an extra 350 or so in extra profit.

John Warrillow:

Your Twitter handle is SweatyStartup, and what little I know about you, I know you’re up by the bootstraps kind of guy who has tremendous pride in that resourcefulness and that grit and that bootstraps mentality. How did having two, 300 grand sitting in your bank account every year affect your attitude and your grittiness and your willingness to do the hard work?

Nick Huber:

I’m a middle-class guy who had humble background and I worked my butt off growing up and our parents didn’t hand us stuff, my business partner is the same way. Our frugality didn’t leave us, and that was a really important driver as we shifted over into real estate in 2017, is when we built our first big real estate investment. We decided that we needed to find a way to put that capital to work. We were bumping up against scale in our business. We were like, “Okay. There’s only so many more schools we can go to. A service business is only so valuable, especially a service business that’s in a niche like this with a lot of risks, a lot of students driving around box trucks in cities with cyclists, a lot of warehouses that we have to get scrappy to rent every year during a real estate boom where it was getting double the price every year.”

So a lot of things about our business were really stressful, and we didn’t have lives February, March, April, May preparing for the busy season, we’re on the road a lot. It just wasn’t a conducive business to having a family, which is why we ultimately sold it, but it put cash and capital in our accounts and allowed us to accelerate our career. Our plan all along was to invest that cash into assets that could grow and were a little bit more scalable than our service business. Entrepreneurship is all about momentum. When we were in college, we had no network, we had no capital, we had no ability to borrow money, and we knew nothing about business.

This business taught us about business, taught us about management, taught us an unbelievable amount looking back now what we were learning about operations and logistics and remote management, that is way more valuable than the money we made, but that did put capital into our accounts that allowed us to get in the real estate game and do bigger and better things. So if we would’ve just tried to become real estate investors as 22-year-olds with nothing, obviously that wouldn’t have worked. This business allowed that for us.

John Warrillow:

Yeah. I’ve said this before in the show, and it’s a bit pejorative, so I hesitate using it your case, but it’s almost like your training wheels business. It allows you to get up and running and feel it. Fantastic.

Nick Huber:

Yeah. And it was seasonal too, so we had to step back every summer and every winter and say, “Okay, how can we revolutionize the business to make it better this year? Whereas a lot of businesses, they don’t get a break. They don’t get to come up for air. On the other hand, hiring 300 part-time employees for a busy season when you only have six full-time employees is a real challenge. So we learned the ropes in a logistically nightmarish business, looking back.

John Warrillow:

Yeah. I want to get into real estate as well, but before doing that, I’d love to ask you about being an athlete. We talked off air about some of the stuff you do in cycling. You were a track athlete in university. What’s the question? I guess I’m curious to know how being a high level D1 athlete has impacted your thinking about entrepreneurship?

Nick Huber:

Well, we go back to how most people are just taught in school how to look up the answer in two pages back, and in an entrepreneurship you don’t have that option. And the only place where it’s an even playing field and you got nobody to answer for your actions but yourself is sports. So sports taught me how to fail, it taught me that failure was okay. It taught me that putting yourself out there and trying something is not the end of the world. You got to have fallback plans all over the place, and just following directions, you were never going to get ahead in sports, so you had to grind and be scrappy and resourceful, and that all those things transferred very, very well to our business and what we did.

John Warrillow:

Got it. So you got this great little, and I say little, I don’t mean it negatively, but you’ve got this business that sort of plateaus, if you will, at $400,000 in profit, so it’s a great business, and you’re pumping that money into real estate. What kind of real estate were you thinking, residential? Commercial? Warehouses? How did you land on the decision you took to get into self storage?

Nick Huber:

Yeah, we needed a business that required some operational chops and grittiness, because a lot of real estate is passive, you buy a property, you collect rent. There’s no real way to build a competitive advantage with the marketing and blocking and tackling of running a really good business. So we looked at, okay, same thing we did when we started our service business is, how are the competitors doing this? What are the competitors doing? And how good are they? When we looked at student storage, we saw them running around and clipboards, you had to sign up for your appointments three days in advance.

We said, “Okay, we can do a lot better than this.” But with self-storage, they were still running handwritten ledgers, they were not answering the phone after five o’clock. They were making people drive across town to sign a physical contract to rent storage. They didn’t have gates, they didn’t have keypads, they didn’t have automatic anything to rent a unit really easy. And we said, “Okay, the competition is pretty weak here. Let’s look more into this business.” So we got really serious about studying it, studying all the metrics, studying revenue management, supply and demand, and we decided that that’s a good area for us to compete and for us to invest some of our capital.

John Warrillow:

I love it. Someone once told me, and I can’t remember who said it, so please tell me if you know, but it’s like, you should look for an industry where they still use fax machines. Was that your line?

Nick Huber:

If you want to succeed in entrepreneurship, look for a business that, A, has a lot of profit, and B, has a fax machine, and compete with them.

John Warrillow:

I think that’s awesome. I just love that. I think it was you who I got that from, but I think that’s such a brilliant quote because so many folks today are looking at Silicon Valley and wondering what’s the next tech startup? And how are they going to get funded? And if the next accelerator is going to take their idea.

Nick Huber:

Yeah. Is your goal to raise money or to make money? That’s the question. If your goal is to raise money, you have to think about who your competition is. It’s like trying to go to the NBA and competing with LeBron James, you have Stanford grads, you have venture capital firms, you have folks who have done this before, who have had an exit, and they’re all trying to go after these big, new ideas with huge rewards, billions of dollars of rewards. But nobody’s focusing on these little, real life problems that aren’t new, they’re not innovative, you don’t have a big grand new idea.

And when you tell your friends or your grandma at your family reunion, “Hey grandma, I’m starting this business.” “Oh, what’s your business idea.” And you don’t have a sexy answer to that, in my opinion, if anybody even cares what your business idea is, then it’s probably not worth pursuing because the odds are so darn low. So yeah, we were entrepreneurs who were acting like water, just trying to find the path of least resistance to what we considered success, which wasn’t Forbes 30 Under 30 or a multi-billion-dollar exit, or raising big venture capital funds.

It was, “Hey, how can we build the life we want through entrepreneurship? What can we do that gives us the best odds of doing that.” And it turns out it was just a little opportunity that was right in front of everybody’s face, right on our college campus.

John Warrillow:

So you still taking some of that cash and you invest it in self-storage units with the view that you can operationalize these in a much more… you can leverage technology and make them more professionally run and make it more of an experience, and that’s the business that you currently own. Is that right?

Nick Huber:

That’s right. So we built our first self-storage facility from the ground up in 2016, invested a lot of our own capital, about $500,000, raised another $500,000 from outside investors. We structured a real estate deal. Looking back, we didn’t have any idea what we were doing compared to now. But once we got that thing built and the doors opened, we thrived, our operational strategy worked. The competition was weak, we filled up our self-storage facility. We bought another one in 2018, we bought four more in 2019, we bought six in 2020, and now we have 24 self-storage facilities that we own and operate, and just closed on a $13 million self-storage portfolio last month.

So we’re growing fast, over half a million square feet under management.

John Warrillow:

Fantastic. So what triggered your decision to sell Storage Squad?

Nick Huber:

I think part of the struggle that a lot of business owners have, and we would have had if we didn’t have self-storage is, “Okay, what do I do with my life after I sell this company? Do I have another business I want to start? Do I want to go get a normal job?” Because most exits aren’t life-changing money, and ours wasn’t either, low seven figures, pay out our employee bonuses, pay taxes, split it between my partner and I. It was not money that meant we never worked again. But A, you need, what are you going to do with that money? And B, what are you going to do with your time? And what’s the best opportunity?

And we finally had a very clear vision. We had bought those self-storage facilities, they were performing really well, we had access to outside investors through Twitter and some other means, and we just had a very clear vision of, “Okay, we can build a real estate private equity company that buys half million square feet of self-storage every single year and grow serious generational wealth that way.” So it’s a better opportunity.

John Warrillow:

Let’s just be clear for our listeners who may have lost the thread a little bit, Storage Squad was a service business that offered the store contents of your apartment from one season of school to the next, which is a unique problem that students have, especially those that are coming from out of state, that’s Storage Squad. And you built that up to a couple million in revenue, $400,000 property. Then parallel to that, you started invested in real estate and you’d chose storage facilities. So I just want to make sure people listening will get that those are two different businesses, two different business models.

Nick Huber:

Totally different companies that my partner and I divided and conquered at the moment where in 2016, when we bought that facility and I went over to the self-storage side and he focused on the student storage side up through the acquisition in January of this year.

John Warrillow:

Got it. Got it. And so why not let that run in perpetuity? So Dan’s running Storage Squad, you’re on the real estate stuff, why not just let that ride itself out? What triggered Dan to say, “You know what, we really should probably get out of this thing?”

Nick Huber:

Yeah. I think the opportunity cost of Dan’s time shifted once more to a really big opportunity over in real estate. And also it’s really hard to live a decent quality of life when every May you’re staffing up 200 full-time employees. So, yeah, we could’ve hired out his role, the risk was still there, the students were still driving the box trucks in the downtown cities, and we just had a very clear need for more capital as well. If we get an influx of capital from selling this company, we have a very clear way that we can multiply that capital in real estate.

John Warrillow:

You strike me as a super type A, aggressive guy, did you ever say like, “I don’t really need Dan here. Why don’t I just sell him Storage Squad and I’ll go do the other stuff”?

Nick Huber:

Well, he had a lot of cash too and he could help us get more loans, and he had a lot of access to partners. And what we decided since the beginning is we can accomplish more as a team than we could just one off. I might be able to go buy some storage, but it wouldn’t ever be as big as what it could be if we both put our focus on it.

John Warrillow:

Straight to me about the partnership because a lot of college partnerships, it all sounds great in third-year over a couple of beers and then it doesn’t feel as good after life becomes more serious. How have you managed to stay together? What is the glue that keeps you guys together?

Nick Huber:

Honestly, I did not do it the right way. I walked into the room, we shook hands, we got excited, and we split the company 50/50. I got lucky. I got lucky that Dan was a different personality than me and an extremely competent person, and also really trustworthy. And every single partnership, if a partnership falters it’s because one of two things, it’s because of dishonesty, or the moral compass is don’t align, or it’s because of competence, if somebody is not bringing to the table what they could and should. Those are the only two ways that a partnership starts to fail. And I got very lucky that he had a great moral compass and I could trust him, and also he’s extremely competent and we complimented each other really well.

So I was the aggressor, the growth, growth, growth, to take all the risks, Dan was the guy in the background saying, “Okay, Nick, blaze this trail, but we got some problems that we got to fix and we got to do X, Y, and Z. And we got to put the pieces in place to build the company.” He’s an operational mastermind. I’m a salesman, I can hire, I can recruit, I can bring on investors, I can grow the vision. Dan is the master executer, frankly.

John Warrillow:

Got it, got it. The sort of the Steve Jobs versus oh, his name’s just left my mind.

Nick Huber:

Wozniak.

John Warrillow:

No. I was thinking of the current CEO of Apple. God, I can’t remember his name.

Nick Huber:

Tim Cook?

John Warrillow:

Tim Cook. Thank you. That was apparently what the combination between Steve Jobs, the visionary, the creative product guy, and Tim Cook was just letting the trains run on time. That’s more of a folklore.

Nick Huber:

I think people should do a lot more due diligence and things before they get a partner, but on the other hand, me and Dan were best friends for three years, co-captains on the teams, and we had a lot of business discussions, I knew how he thought, and I knew that I could trust him with a bank account and something of value. So we worked out-

John Warrillow:

Who was the faster runner?

Nick Huber:

Different events. Dan won seven Ivy League Championships and the hurdles. And I won an All-American and the decathlon. So we just did different things.

John Warrillow:

I just saw the competitive juices, just spark in your eyes, you’re like, “He’s faster. Well, it depends what the event is.”

Nick Huber:

Dan’s the guy you want on your team, any game you play, you want him on your team. I’m lucky that he was on my team and still is on my team.

John Warrillow:

Got it, got it. Let’s talk about the sale of Storage Squad itself. So you decide the quality of life sucks, there’s better opportunities, you can deploy the capital elsewhere. What was next? How did you market the business for sale?

Nick Huber:

We interviewed a couple of business brokers and said, “Hey, we might want to sell this company. We got a clear use for our capital, what would you do to sell it? Was the question we asked the broker. And we knew the answer to that. The answer to that is find a company that does something similar to what we do and get really resourceful about, get in meetings and trying to talk to the owners and trying to figure out if an acquisition was on the table, or find a company that was in the storage business, but needed to reach customers earlier in the life cycle. Think of like a self-storage company like U-Haul.

They bought one of our competitors because everybody rents trucks their whole lives. Every time they move, they rent trucks, but how can we get ahold of the college kids and get in the college kid’s mind because, hey, Nick and Dan at Storage Squad, we serve 10,000 students every single year, but then go out and get jobs and move 10 times in the next five years. So it was a clear strategy of those companies that we would need to try to find to sell it to. And the brokers that we interviewed just didn’t seem to think that that was the best way, “Oh, we need to find an owner operator. Oh, maybe you need to explore a franchise model. Oh, you’re way too small for private equity.”

And after a little bit of running around, we’re like, “Hey, let’s just pound the phones for a week, try to build some relationships. We know it might not happen now, but let’s call these competitors that are doing the pod drop-off pickup and delivery. Let’s call the big moving companies in our towns. Let’s call these businesses that have some synergies around what we’re doing.” And this was around early 2019, hit the phones, called them all up, had a couple of interested parties, sent some financials to them. And it click it’s right, not much, not much happened. But some good conversations started happening. Good conversations started happening.

And we got in the room and we got calls with CEOs of some companies that were growing fast at some pretty big resources. Fast forward to 2020, when the pandemic hit, our business virtually evaporated in thin air when they sent all the colleges home in February or in March. Before May, we didn’t have any of our employees yet, we didn’t have any warehouse space we thought, we were totally done. We were actually in talks with one of those companies, “Hey, if you guys have a good year this year, this is the multiple we could give you.” We got an offer in late 2019, it wasn’t quite enough, it was about two times EBITDA at the time. So yeah, a little under a million dollars to buy our business, we were like, “We’re going to hold off. We’re going to wait.”

The pandemic hits, our team comes out of nowhere, we scrapped, we go and get contracts to do a lot of packing, a lot of moving, and Storage Squad has its best year ever rising from the dead, from virtually doing no business at about half of our markets.

John Warrillow:

Help me understand that, Nick, because the pandemic happens, schools are closed, why does your business shut down? I would have thought that would have triggered the need to store stuff.

Nick Huber:

Because we weren’t ready basically. We were preparing for a May launch like always. Our marketing plan wasn’t even going online, we didn’t have our pickup and delivery schedules, we didn’t have our warehouses lease yet. We were doing all those things, getting it in place for May and boom, over the course of about 72 hours, it went from Harvard to all of our schools, students go home. And they packed up and left, and they put their stuff in self-storage, they hired moving companies, did whatever they needed to do. But a couple of schools were on spring break. A couple of schools were on spring break and they said, “You guys aren’t allowed to come back.” And their stuff was in their dorms.

All these kids had their stuff all over inside these dorms. And in Ithaca, one of the major schools in Ithaca, they sent their kids home for spring break. And so we put our sales hat on, me, Dan and Chris, our main guy, we put our sales hats on and we got in the room with every single college that we could because we knew they had a big problem, that storage was at the back of their minds. They were worried that they were going to get laid off. Many of them actually ended up getting laid off. So it was a really sad deal. They were trying to figure out solutions for their students.

So we shipped 10,000 cardboard boxes to Ithaca without a contract, without a deal, just so that we would have a solution when they might need us, took the risk, it paid off. We got a big deal in Ithaca to do a ton of pickup and delivery contract work right then that week. And then in Washington, DC, and other one of the major schools there, their kids were home on spring break, we ended up spending a month there with 30 men packing and loading the dorms over FaceTime while the students were at… So we had never done this work before, we had to talk up what we could do even though we didn’t necessarily have the resources. And we pulled off really an amazing thing that I’m very proud of to this day.

John Warrillow:

Wow. Just give us a sense of how that impacted your financials. So you came off a year where you were four or 500 grand in profit, couple million on the top line. What did 2020 look like by the end, the calendar year?

Nick Huber:

2020, everything worked out because we did work in three schools, so we didn’t have to get our other 10 warehouses everything down from the 3% that we pay in credit card fees from each individual students, the school’s cut us a check. So that 3% on the top line when you’re talking millions of dollars is big money. So better, best year ever, double, even triple what our EBITDA was the year before. So that was a big win for us. And obviously, the company that we were in talks with about potentially acquiring us, the market started heating back up for mergers and acquisitions. Their plan was to go public, it made sense for them to make a quick acquisition, and we made a deal and sold shortly after.

John Warrillow:

So this was the company that had originally offered you 2X EBITDA?

Nick Huber:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).They bought us for one X EBITDA the year after, but it was a unique year.

John Warrillow:

Got it. Got it. Got it. And just to be clear, I’ve got so many questions around this. So are you able to say who the acquirer is?

Nick Huber:

Yeah. They did a press release on their website, so it’s Zippy Shell. It’s a company that does pod, pick-up and delivery. They drop off a pod at your house and move. It’s a really innovative company. They bought 1-800-PACK-RAT. Their company is doing phenomenal growing really well. Their management is awesome, and if synergy worked for them to pick up some customers early on in the life cycle, like I said.

John Warrillow:

I love it. I love it. So 2019, you’re having the year you’ve had in the last couple of years, they offer you two times EBITDA. Did you have a sense of what you wanted to get for the business? Like two was a little light you thought, were you hoping for three, or what was in your mind what you were hoping to get?

Nick Huber:

We just saw that there was some opportunity still on the table. We really dove in, got them together, a lot of due diligence materials on our expenses. We had just spent a lot on some software packages that they were unable to really pull out off of our bottom line. We had made some investments in some new markets, we had just gotten a contract at Emory in Atlanta. We saw holding on one more year, we thought 2020 would have been our best year ever had it been a normal year because we were going to do marketing the right way, a couple expenses weren’t going to be on the books that year, and we were lean. And we needed one more year to maximize the value is what we thought.

John Warrillow:

Got it, got it. And so the pandemic happens and you guys scramble and pull together an amazing year. What was their reaction, because as you clearly pointed out, it was exceptional year, it wasn’t your standard business model. So it sounds like, am I right in saying they discounted that to some extent this is a one-off, we’re not going to have a pandemic every year.

Nick Huber:

Definitely. It increased the risk for them. We had no customers at several of our big markets that year. We had a really good year at some markets, a couple of contracts were up for renewal, and at this point, self-storage was exploding. So we knew we wanted out and we knew we needed to give them good value. We knew we needed to give them a good business that was going to be a great investment for them. So it wasn’t like we were trying to heckle them for every last dollar, we get a price we were comfortable with. They saw a lot of upside and long-term value, and it was actually a pretty quick deal.

We came to terms, our real estate attorney handled it. And from the time we signed the line to the time we were closed was 45 days. And it wasn’t a stressful 45 days.

John Warrillow:

Tell me the first time they raised the specter of an acquisition, again, after 2020 or after the initial shock of 2020, when did they come back and how did you re-engaged them in the conversation? Did they reach out to you? Did you reach out to them?

Nick Huber:

We started the whole sales process over again, of us hitting the phones and talking to a lot of the same relationships. And we had a lot of companies looking at us, and it just made sense to go with them, but it wasn’t like this was the only conversation that was happening. We were exploring all options to get a deal done because we needed to focus on self-storage.

John Warrillow:

I know you’re a good negotiator because you’re in the real estate business, how much negotiation did you do over the price?

Nick Huber:

We needed our main employee to be on board. We had a really good ops manager that had been with us for four years and we knew that if he didn’t stay with this business, we could not sell it. So we ended up making him a proposal for a certain percentage of the sale price, and he came back and asked for a little bit more and we said, yes. And he got a pretty big chunk of the sale price because he needed to be really committed to coming in, losing Dan, who was basically his right-hand man through the operations of the entire business, and he needed to be all in. Actually, before we went under contract, they offered him a package and started deals with him to talk to him about it, make sure he’s on board with it, make sure he stay, make sure he’s going to stay for a year.

And he finally got a package that he said, “I’m all in.” I think maybe we went back and forth once, they offered X, we countered with Y, and then we met in the middle and got the deal done.

John Warrillow:

Got it. So the employee you’re referring to, this key linchpin employee was named Chris?

Nick Huber:

Mark.

John Warrillow:

Oh, forgive me. I was trying to get the name. Got it. So when you say the acquirer made him an offer, so they went to him and say, “Look, if you stay, this would be your salary. This would be the performance based incentives, etc”?

Nick Huber:

All before closing, because they needed to have that secured because if Mark didn’t like that package and Mark said, “Oh, I’m just going to stay with Nick and Dan and go do storage and quit as soon as you buy this business,” the business was going to be a lot less valuable and not really be able to operate. So they made Mark the offer, he gets the money. And that was a critical term of the deal. I would say there was a couple of terms that were really negotiable. One was an escrow deposit for some stuff that was still in storage because if any of that’s damaged or packaged wrong, and there’s claims, you have some risks there. And the second one was making sure Mark was on board.

John Warrillow:

Got it. So the acquirer said, “Look, here’s your salary, Mark. Here’s the performance-based incentives, will you stay?” At what point did you have to… It sounds like in addition to the acquirer kicking in some cash for Mark, it sounds like you had to as well. So at what point in the process did you share some equity with Mark?

Nick Huber:

Right at the beginning of the entire process, we knew we could not do this behind his back. We knew that. He had done too much for us five years of helping us build the thing. And he had a certain percentage of like phantom equity. If we sold, he got a certain percentage of phantom equity. We had that a one page little contract that we drew up in case we ever sold that he would get some upside, and we ended up doubling that to get the deal done, to make him feel really good about that. So yeah, the very beginning we said, “Hey, Mark, we’ve got to sell this thing. We have other opportunities, they’re growing, the risk of this business is growing. We want to sell it, what do we need to do to make you feel good about that?” And we made a deal with him first almost.

John Warrillow:

Got it. Got it. That’s interesting. Can you describe for the listeners, I know you described why you need us, there was an escrow element, or a hold back of some sort. Can you just describe in layman’s terms what an escrow is for folks who may be hearing that for the first time?

Nick Huber:

Yeah. An escrow was, we took a certain percentage of the purchase price, and at closing, Nick and Dan get cash for… We had no earn-out. They actually wanted Dan to stay on for a year and to pay him a salary and have an earn-out. And they could have paid us more money, but Dan was very much needed to build our operations company in self-storage. So we actually took a discount on price to make it a clean deal. But the escrow was a deposit that went in an account. Let’s say it’s $100,000 that this is going to sit in this account for six months or in this case one year, this is going to sit in this account for one year, and if XYZ happen or don’t happen, you get the money back.

And if some risky expenses come up, we lose a contract, in this case, it was just some, a lot of stuff was in storage that we had done the packing inside the room, so there’s a risk element to it, if we deliver all this stuff and there’s not a bunch of insurance claims and liability, then the escrow is released and you get the rest of your money.

John Warrillow:

Got it. And there’s two types of escrows. One is, oh gosh, I can’t remember the technical term, but one there’s a tipping basket, and the other is just a straight, I can’t remember, there’s industry lingo. Do you happen to recall which of the two you have?

Nick Huber:

It was a maturity, I think something to do with as soon as it matures, the cash goes. I’m not exactly sure the names of them, nope.

John Warrillow:

Yeah. For folks listening, if people ever want to learn about that tipping basket concept effectively, there can be a certain number of claims, a certain amount of claims against the escrow. And once the basket tips over, you hit a certain threshold, basically the entire amount is accessible by the acquirer.

Nick Huber:

I think that is the case. I think if we had X expense related to that basically the liability, then we didn’t get our escrow back. So it would probably was a tipping basket. So knowing what you know, we didn’t get a lot of consulting. We had a pretty good real estate attorney to do the deal for us. How did we do? What do you think? You do this stuff for a living now.

John Warrillow:

Look, I think it’s a great story because it really reinforces one of the things we talk a lot about, which is if you’re all pushing, no pull, you’ll end up regretting selling your company. Push meaning, if you’re frustrated with your employees, you’re frustrated with school administrators, those are all push factors. But in your case, there was a huge magnet, like a massive opportunity that you wanted to go chase, you had a huge pull factor. So whether you got two times EBITDA or 2.2 times normalized EBITDA, it was irrelevant to you because you had this incredible pull factor that you wanted to go do.

And so to me, that’s the definition of an amazing exit. You’ve got a really clever thing you want to go do next. And so I think you did great. Could you have squeezed out another few dollars if Dan was willing to stay on for the earn-out or there were some… probably, but that wasn’t what you were keen on. So it sounds like a great exit.

Nick Huber:

And we’re happy with how this year’s shaken out in self-storage and keeping in touch with the folks who bought Storage Squad, they had a good year too. So I think it was a win-win.

John Warrillow:

That’s great. If you could rewind back the clock and go back to late 2018, early 2019, when you were starting to have those conversations with potential acquirers, all the way through today, what might you do differently, hindsight being 2020, if you had the negotiation to do all over again, is there one or two moves you might make differently?

Nick Huber:

I think we made a couple of management mistakes in 2017, 2018, that hurt our EBITDA a little bit. We made some investments since… I think a mistake that some people make, and you can correct me, but the investments that you make in your business are not always investments that pay you back the return that you should be getting for those investments. You buy a brand new truck, for example when you could buy a used truck, or you build out a big software package when you could use an off-the-shelf package, or just it’s easy to keep throwing money into a business, throw money into a business, throw money into a business, throw money into a business, and in reality, you’re going to get one or two times profit when you sell that thing. So you’re never going to get those dollars back.

John Warrillow:

Yeah. And did you go through the process of, I think, accountants and M&A advisors refer to it as normalization or adjusting your EBITDA to try to account for some of those expenditures, did you guys hire an accountant or an outside advisor to do that normalization process?

Nick Huber:

Our CPA did a little bit of it, we did a lot of it in the spreadsheets. And the acquirer, the purchaser did a ton of quality of earnings. They had a company come in and do quality of earnings, where they wanted to see bank statements, they wanted to see all of our deposits. And luckily for the past 10 years, we had never accepted cash, we only accepted online payment, not even checks. So it was very easy to track our revenue and prove our revenue. And then the expenses, we did need to do some work to prove that, “Hey, the health insurance for Nick or the management fees for that self-storage facility, these things can be pulled out.”

John Warrillow:

Got it. And so typically I would ask, did you buy yourself a trophy? I think I know the answer to this question already, but was there any celebration, any way you marked the sale that you bought anything?

Nick Huber:

I think our life was moving so fast and I was gaining Twitter followers and influence and we had a lot of big deals under contract and we had just closed a couple of big self-storage deals. It was a sense of relief, but me and Dan were not together when we closed. I was in Upstate New York and I was signing some papers and had my mother-in-law notarize them, and I was exhausted from doing a really long drive with my family. And Dan was in Georgia, had a meeting with a banker on Zoom or something like that related to a self-storage deal. So when it happened, it was like a huge weight off the shoulder.

But I’ll say that it wasn’t just a moment where we walk out of a room and we’re like, “We just sold our business, we got to have a big party.” It was like, “Okay, well, we have a big self-storage facility closing in a week and a half that we have to grind for right now.”

John Warrillow:

Chap, chap, chap. Do you think you’ll ever allow yourself to just relax a little?

Nick Huber:

I think so. I’m getting better and better at delegating. I think A, it’s because our first business was so hard. The pickup and delivery student storage business is so hard. You have to have college students who don’t care, inbox trucks with the right equipment, at the right place, at the right time, and you can only be in one city and it all happens at once. So once you get into a business like self-storage where you get a steady three calls an hour, and people visit their unit once a month, and if the door opens, and the spring is working, and the gate opens, they’re really happy and it’s clean.

So, this business is something that we can scale, and we could set this thing up to work 30 hours a week and buy storage and grow and succeed. And we’ve never had the desire to be billionaires. I love teaching, I love doing this stuff with you, I love my podcast, The Sweaty Startup, I love sharing ideas. And I think if money was everything to me, that would be important, but I really like cycling and playing golf, and hanging out with friends, and I have two young kids. So I think I have a little bit more balanced than most entrepreneurs, not perfect by any means, still working on it, but balance is something that is phenomenally important to me.

John Warrillow:

Fantastic. I appreciate you mentioning the podcasts. Let’s connect people up with the best place to find you, so point people where you want them to go. Twitter, I’m assuming it would be one place.

Nick Huber:

Yeah. I think I have a blog and I’m working on redoing it right now, but it’s called Sweaty Startup. And I have a list that if you’re going to start and look at my website, it’s a list of about 300 businesses that I think are ripe for disruption. They’re all service businesses, none of them are fun, none of them are sexy. So if you’re looking for a get-rich-quick scheme, go somewhere else, but go to SweatyStartup.com/Businesses-I-Love. And that’s a list of businesses that Nick Huber loves. And the top 15 of them or so, I have a little write outs on, I’ve done some interviews with people who have started them, and some writes about just the blocking and tackling of running a business.

But service businesses are just phenomenal opportunities. And yeah, you’re not going to become a billionaire, and yeah, you’re not going to get your face on the front of the magazine, but you will change your life, and it can happen without being spectacularly smart. I had the worst SAT scores in the whole Ivy League, and here I am.

John Warrillow:

Nick, thanks for doing this.

Nick Huber:

I really appreciate you having me, John. Big fan of your work.

John Warrillow:

Hey, if you like today’s episode, you’re going to love my new book, The Art of Selling Your Business. The book was inspired by the cohort of my guests over the years, who’ve been able to negotiate an exit far better than the benchmark in their industry. Sometimes it’s two or three times more than I would have expected. I was curious to understand the tactics and strategies of these entrepreneurs and what they do differently from average performers. The result is a playbook for punching above your weight when it comes to selling your business. To learn more, go to BuiltToSell.com/Selling, where we put together a collection of gifts for listeners who order the book. Just go to BuiltToSell.com/Selling.

Built To Sell Radio is produced by Haley Parkhill. Our audio and video engineer is Denis Labattaglia. If you like what you’ve just heard, subscribe to get a new episode delivered to your inbox each week, just go to BuiltToSell.com.

Outro:

Thanks for listening to Built to Sell Radio with John Warrillow. For complete show notes with links to additional resources, visit BuiltToSell.com/Blog. John is the founder of The Value Builder System™. To find out how to improve the value of your business by 71%, visit ValueBuilderSystem.com. John is also the author of Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You, and The Automatic Customer: Creating a Subscription Business in Any Industry. Connect with John at Facebook.com/BuiltToSell, or on Twitter @JohnWarrillow, W-A-R-R-I-L-L-O-W. Thanks for listening.

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