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Rebuilding Your Pyramid | Built to Sell News

Have you ever considered how your company’s results determine your level on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? Maslow argued that humans are driven by a five-level pyramid of needs, starting with basic survival needs and progressing toward self-actualization.

This week we dropped an interview with Anastasia Koroleva, who had a nine-figure exit but struggled with life after her sale because her need for belonging, esteem, and self-actualization was tied to her business.

Anastasia pointed out that most owners get a lot of self-esteem and a sense of belonging from their business. For example, Michael Lieberman, who we featured last week, built a software application that helped brake manufacturers catalog their engineering designs. Although small, the business was profitable and Michael was able to draw a regular salary, so the company easily fulfilled his physiological and safety needs.

Michael became a regular fixture at brake industry events, which also gave him a sense of belonging. People recognized him at these events and complimented him for the product he had built, so he got some of his self-esteem from the fact that he was the founder of a company people in his industry seemed to like. By our count, Michael got all the way to the top of Maslow’s pyramid on the back of a nine-employee company.

The point is, you don’t have to start the next Tesla or Microsoft to be in a position where a lot of what makes you happy, satisfied, and proud is tied up in your business.

Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise that selling your business can be a psychologically destabilizing event. Anastasia makes the case that when a founder sells, they get the benefits of time and money, but they must proactively seek out ways to rebuild a new pyramid.

Anastasia’s episode provides a comprehensive list of things to consider before you sell to ease your transition to life after an exit. She talks about avoiding money mistakes post-exit, achieving closure before you sell, Investors vs. Creators, the angel investing trap, talking to your kids about money, and a lot more.

Quote of the Week

“They built a very successful Maslow pyramid for themselves. So when we sell the business, the whole thing is destroyed.”

– Anastasia Koroleva on why founders often get depressed after selling

Clip of the Week

In this clip, Anastasia Koroleva describes how founders can rebuild a fulfilling life after selling their business.


  • Radio FM, an AM/FM streaming app, is being acquired by Auddia Inc., which develops proprietary AI technology for enhancing the listening experience of AM/FM radio and podcasts. The agreement involves a $13 million payment at closing and an additional $2 million incentive subject to performance after six months. Radio FM’s 2023 revenue was $2.3 million with $1.4 million in operating cash flow, and approximately 4.6 million monthly active free-tier users. 
  • Scott Springfield Manufacturing, a Canadian producer of air handling units based in Calgary has been acquired by Modine, a company that specializes in thermal management technologies, for approximately US$190 million. Scott Springfield Manufacturing’s revenue in 2023 was around $100 million, meaning Modine paid around 1.9 times revenue for the company.

  • Twill, a mental health app with reported revenue of $13.8 million in 2023, has been acquired by DarioHealth, a company focused on digital wellness. The deal includes a $10 million cash payment and $20 million worth of DarioHealth stock.

Watch the full interview with Anastasia.

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