Harry Clark is a highly-rated serial entrepreneur and keynote speaker. He’s overseen sales of major companies, founded two Inc. 500 companies, and travels the world speaking to entrepreneurs, family businesses, and executives.
However, Harry has also learned some of the toughest lessons in business the hard way. In his book, Mistakes Millionaires Make, he tells the stories of 30 entrepreneurs – including himself – who each made and then subsequently lost $10 to $200 million. He’s on a mission to help others learn from his mistakes and discover what they don’t teach you in business school before it’s too late.
Today, Harry joins the podcast to share how he became a serial entrepreneur despite not having started several companies in his teens and early twenties, the importance of mentorship and great management, and the many similarities between selling a company and preparing for retirement.
In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:
If you enjoyed this podcast, be sure to rate and review, and send us all your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org – it may become the topic of an upcoming episode!
[00:00:06] Andrew: Welcome, Harry, to another episode of Your Wealth & Beyond. I am super excited to have you on board today and I know my listeners as well. How are you today?
[00:00:15] Harry: I’m fantastic. The weather is finally superb here in Phoenix so that’s always exciting.
[00:00:22] Andrew: I think from, I’m almost 20 years here, and this has been the coldest, wettest winter that I can remember.
[00:00:30] Harry: Well, at least, we’re not in Nebraska and a lot of other places in the country, so.
[00:00:34] Andrew: I know. When we start moaning about it, all our friends back in the Midwest they’re literally hanging the phone up on us.
[00:00:40] Harry: Exactly.
[00:00:41] Andrew: But at least my fireplace got a lot of usage this year which was good and my selection of bourbons as well so I had some fun. So, welcome to the show. I know for you, listeners, we not only help the business owner but we help the individual in planning and building wealth and finding purpose. So, today we’re going to go through on a high level both what we can do as business owners to build wealth and learn from Harry on some of the things through successes and failures and with Harry with you interviewing a lot of different CEOs who’ve had the same on some of the mistakes that are made. So, I think from listeners if you’re not a business owner, we can still take a lot from today. Now, Harry, you’ve been a serial entrepreneur pretty much your entire life and I know that that’s something that most people don’t have that trait. What led you down that path as we jump into to learn a little bit more of your background?
[00:01:43] Harry: Yeah. Sure. It’s interesting. I never really thought that I’d be an entrepreneur. I started off the big eight consulting and joined a California-based financial advising firm and they made me a partnership offer and we couldn’t – and I was young and filled with piss and vinegar and we couldn’t come to an agreement so I just went off on my own and started my own business. So, it wasn’t my intent, but it worked out that way.
[00:02:20] Andrew: So, growing up in, and I think you grew up back East. Is that correct?
[00:02:23] Harry: Yeah. Well, back East and also Southern California.
[00:02:27] Andrew: Okay. So, you never had that burning desire from 10 and have started 17 businesses before I was 18? That was never really your path right then in growing up?
[00:02:39] Harry: It definitely was not. All I cared about is having colleagues. That’s having a team and colleagues. Whether it was my business or not, it really didn’t matter.
[00:02:52] Andrew: So, the first business that you started, you are young. You are in your 20s so it’s kind of like you run and you go and sometimes ignorance is bliss in that context. Is that correct?
[00:03:05] Harry: Oh, I mean, I have to admit I got lucky. Yeah, I was in my – oh, I don’t remember. I might have been 26 or so and went off on my own and started off as a software company for finance so my clients were municipalities in California mainly and really started off with trying the software was in development when I was presenting at the clients and it just all worked out really well over seven years. We grew it to be the largest in the US and sold it to a Fortune 100 company back in about 1996.
[00:03:56] Andrew: And seven years you were able to do that and it’s such a niche industry for a lot of listeners. A lot of them don’t even truly understand what municipal bonds are in the funding of it so it’s pretty incredible that a young late 20-year-old was able to find this niche business and then grow it that rapidly, but I assume that that wasn’t all just on your blood, sweat, and tears that you surrounded yourself with a good team, a good executive team, or a leadership team?
[00:04:24] Harry: Absolutely. That was vital for me and I have to say at first, I really was pretty much an idiot in terms of a leader and it wasn’t until about three or four years in and we were probably young, maybe 25 people but I basically was hiring smart people because I couldn’t hire experts, but if I hired smart people, they could learn the technical side and I remember doing a 360 interview and the feedback I got was, “Hey, you can keep being this kind of real assertive, domineering leader, but you’re thwarting the growth of the company,” and that was a wake-up call to me of, “Well, shoot, it would be stupid for me to continue behaving the way I was,” so I really fine-tuned my management style and it made all the difference.
[00:05:40] Andrew: And as you are now and we’ll get into this a little later on being a mentor yourself and a coach. While you were building the company, did you have anybody outside the realm of your executive team that you could count on to lead you or to hold you accountable as you were growing this company at such an early age?
[00:05:56] Harry: Yeah. Absolutely. And there were a few different levels. I was a member early on of YPO which is Young Presidents Organization. There is a group of about nine other CEOs that we’d share everything every month and I learned so much from them. It was unbelievable and then I also had about three other mentors of through the early years which made all the difference in the world.
[00:06:31] Andrew: I think about YPO all these years later you’re still in it, right? The value that you’ve learned from your contemporaries, from others that are maybe not in your industries, but have been in your shoes and it’s things you necessarily can’t talk to anybody in your executive team, sometimes your family, of course, friends so it’s invaluable that you’ve been utilizing that forum type situation for over 20, 30 years.
[00:06:59] Harry: Yes, 25 years now and it really has made all the difference in the world, both professionally, personally, even spiritually. And a real blessing for me is that now I’m in the position where I’m giving back and that’s been absolutely fantastic. Using the platform of the book, I have now spoken in 60 cities around the world and 16 different countries speaking to CEOs and senior executives and that’s really been an amazing experience.
[00:07:42] Andrew: And you think about and we’ll dig into the Mistakes Millionaires Make but you think about back when you were growing MuniFinancial and that early success you had, you probably never in a million years thought you’d have to write a book like that 25 plus years later. So, I guess that, I mean, would that be almost a Catch 22 that you had such early success with that company and then being able to sell it less than 10 years later for a high multiple? What do you think there that sometimes success comes too early and it gets you too cocky?
[00:08:15] Harry: Oh, gosh. I was so arrogant and naïve and that really ended up creating, well, it really ultimately caused me to lose $100 million personally.
[00:08:34] Andrew: Okay. Wait, hold on. Can you repeat that for the listeners?
[00:08:38] Harry: Yeah. No, I lost in 2004 and 2005 I lost $100 million personally.
[00:08:47] Andrew: So, I mean, you think about this book then. This book was almost written as an advice to your 35-year-old self if you could go back and think about. You always get, “Hey, what advice would I give my 30-year-old self? Well, hey, I wrote a book on it.”
[00:09:00] Harry: That is so true and that’s why for your listeners, it doesn’t matter if they’re an executive at a large corporation, family business or an entrepreneur or frankly an investor. There are certain things that we never learned in business school. I mean, it doesn’t matter if you went to Harvard or Princeton. There are certain things that were never covered and that’s basically the whole in business education that my book was meant to plug.
[00:09:36] Andrew: In the book, it does get into the details of what happened with TurnKey which was the second company that you created after MuniFinancial. I mean, when you sold out of MuniFinancial and you were obviously financially independent and could write your own ticket, what was your thinking of starting something else and putting all the risk back on you and starting to leverage? Was it for monetary? Was it for a purpose? Or was it a combination of all of that because you thought whatever you touched, maybe it’s going to always turn to gold.
[00:10:12] Harry: Yeah. Well, absolutely. So, the primary motivators, one is that I was young and I was on my 30, what have I’ve been?
[00:10:30] Andrew: Thirty-five-ish or so?
[00:10:32] Harry: Yeah. Like in my late 30s. So, I wasn’t emotionally in a position where I was ready to just totally throttle back and put it in neutral and be really intelligent about retirement. So, I was looking for a business opportunity where I could do good, do good things for the world, making the world a better place and also create wealth for me and importantly for other people. MuniFinancial we owned 100% of the company. TurnKey immediately I was sharing equity because, again, I wanted to distribute the wealth but I have to say an important point is that I want to underscore and this is true if you’re a senior executive and you’ve got a significant stock distribution that I wasn’t thoughtful and intelligent. I was naïve if you will that emotionally, ideally, I would’ve taken two years off and really dialed in my sense of purpose and understanding what the drivers of happiness are. You could say in the end, it was turning into a scorecard in terms of wealth.
[00:12:19] Andrew: And I think that’s pivotal advice for not just the business owners that look into to exit like you did and then what’s the next venture but that also can relate when we work with somebody who’s not a business owner but an executive or somebody who’s getting closer to retirement is that financially you’re well off or you’re in a position where you know you can retire but it’s that purpose is what’s my life going to look like and if I don’t focus on the emotional side of where I need to be, what my purpose is, what’s going to get me happy or keep me happy then it doesn’t matter, business owner or not. It’s going to be a path that’s going to bring some type of destruction, whether it’s a relationship within the family, whether it’s just a negativity that you bring to friends. So, listeners, that’s great advice. Wherever you are at your stage is really take a step back, read a little bit, and focus on what you want that idea life to look like when you sell.
[00:13:12] Harry: Andrew, there’s a really good book called The Number and it really gets into that. You think it’s about okay what the number is for retirement, but it’s really a book about, “Hey, get your head together and your heart because that’s where The Number start.
[00:13:34] Harry: Yeah. I think that is so accurate and so many people just do focus on just the numbers and you got to look at the bigger picture, which is sometimes or most of the time were the most important part. So, did you not have, you know, when you went through, I guess the failures of TurnKey and in the book, it goes through everything that happened and how you kind of taken not advantage of but the higher corporate raiders came in and really stuck it to you. Did you have a coach then or people that were guiding you and saying, “Hey, don’t do this,” or, “You’re taking on too much personal risk,” or, “You didn’t cover yourself?” Was anybody helping to pull you back from that or were you just gangbusters and not listening to anybody at that time?
[00:14:20] Harry: Yeah. You know, so I have an advisory board, but frankly, once we really started to get kind of where I was, I was in a high-risk problematic area, I didn’t have anybody on my team that had been there before so I wasn’t able, unfortunately, I wasn’t either getting counsel that was helpful or like you said maybe was just bouncing off my forehead but again, there were some key things that I had no idea about which hopefully, we get to cover in this program that if I would’ve known those things, I never would’ve made the decisions I made because I was arrogant and naïve and the naivety is kind of based on principles that we are taught in business school that really aren’t relevant in the situation I was in.
[00:15:39] Andrew: When you think about the high level of the book, the theme of Mistakes Millionaires Make is really creating the necessary steps to mitigate risk to protect your lifestyle for yourself and your family. The one lesson you learned from TurnKey to take away that I got from the book and again we won’t get into full details on it but this, again, whether business owner or not, it’s for you that part of what hurt you was not having the proper insurance or having your CFO not pay the insurance in regards to protecting from these black swan type of events which ultimately happened for you where if you had the proper insurance, correct me if I’m wrong, it would’ve taken a lot of stress and obviously, the financial loss a lot of that off your plate.
[00:16:26] Harry: Yeah. For some reason, our CFO eliminated the DNO directors and officers of insurance, which for the life of me, I have no idea why that happened and nobody in the senior team except CFO was aware of that. And, yes, had that been renewed, it would’ve definitely made a big difference.
[00:16:56] Andrew: And so, picking yourself off the ground after something like that where you had the tremendous success with MuniFinancial and then just the tremendous destruction of wealth due to TurnKey, I mean, how did you pick yourself up at that point and rebuilt?
[00:17:16] Harry: Well, it was incredibly challenging because one of the things that – so let me just cover, in business school, we’re taught that the worst case, if you get creamed, if you got wiped out, you just file personal bankruptcy and in three to six months you’re back on your feet and you’re sprinting again and that all makes sense. Well, the reality is and this is from me now it’s probably about 50 entrepreneurs, family businesses, investors and executives that made and lost $10 million to $200 million. What we found is if you have an abundance of wealth that instead of three to six months, it’s 5 to 12 years and it’s largely because it becomes a feeding frenzy for the attorney. So, this isn’t a three to six-month process to unwind it. It’s 5 to 5 plus years. So, for me, I mean, I ended up really because this huge financial loss ended up having significant personal life consequences. And so, I mean, I was being hit from all sides because basically there’s litigation. Just all this negative energy and literally, I just did a deep dive into yoga, meditation, spirituality, health, and just to keep my head on straight and to kind of cleanse myself of all of that negative energy.
[00:19:21] Andrew: Yeah. I mean, think about that could’ve went on a lot of different paths. You lose the business, you have the issues within the personal and, you know, it’s almost once you get through that point though it’s like I’m reborn and now it’s time with this clean slate to make and do and find that purpose and do good.
[00:19:40] Harry: Absolutely. Yes.
[00:19:43] Andrew: So, some of high level, what are some of the things as you interviewed these dozens of business owners like yourself that made it lost it, made it again, maybe lost it. What are some of the key takeaways that you learn throughout of why and what we can do to protect ourselves?
[00:20:04] Harry: Sure. Okay. Well, as I said, one key takeaway is that, hey, worst case, filing personal bankruptcy doesn’t help. Basically, that would be absolutely the last thing you would ever, ever think about. The second is that and this is based on a Harvard study but bears out in real life, 80% of all acquisitions fail. So, if you’re a senior executive, family business, entrepreneur, an investor even, it really doesn’t matter. If you’re going through growth through acquisition, you only have a 20% chance of getting it right and I always kind of underscore that. Another is that when you have a big payout, all of a sudden you have a lot of money, the importance of diversifying your assets. I found multiple cases where let’s say somebody sells their company, they get huge amount of stock options or your stock and they keep it and they don’t liquidate it in a logical manner and it ended up just really, really bad.
[00:21:45] Andrew: Yeah. I see that too not just with business owners that put all their eggs in one basket, but it’s also with employees that maybe work for a public company and have a lot of their retirement money, 401(k) money, invested in that company stock or they have RSUs that are restricted stock units or options that are vested that they don’t sell, and then when things take a turn not only may they lose their job but now they lost their job because that company has taken a hit on revenue and has to now lay people off. So, now their stock goes down as well because their net income and their growth potential goes down, so it’s a double whammy there. So, again, whether business owner or individual who’s climbing the corporate ladder important to diversify, diversifies and mitigate some of that risk. That’s what we preach to our business owner clients because the risk in the business is where you can make the most. I can’t make for our clients its 30% a year.
We know you go to work, you got a good business. You have the potential of making 20%, 30% a year and your money but you have to have that stability and that basis to fall back on in times of emergency or just to have another outlet, another diversification, another income stream. So, that’s important. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Some of the other things you talk about in the book is that when times are great, things are great, right? High-growth, we’re rocking and rolling, but then beyond that fact, what do you see with regards to businesses not having that emergency money to fall back on if something does happen?
[00:23:20] Harry: Yeah. So, and it’s not just businesses. It’s also in people’s personal lives. So, part of my subject matter expertise I study behavioral economics and there’s a tendency as human beings, so this is literally the way human beings act so it’s psychology blended with economic realities. So, let’s say if the stock market tanks, there’s a tendency to pick up the phone and say, “Andrew, liquidate. Sell my stock,” and statistically, historically, people lose about 30% of their wealth by responding in that manner. One best practice is to have about one year’s worth of living expenses in some liquid form, whether it’s cash in a safe or savings or somehow invested with you. And what that does it provides the psychological foundations so that you can resist picking up the phone and making really bad judgment calls. Because statistically, historically, if there’s a big crash, if you just waited out, in a year you’re back to where you were.
[00:25:11] Andrew: Right. Some or most of the leaders that you interviewed that had the trials and the tribulations, I mean, a lot of that was built on the great recession. So, things that are out of our control but then in times of crises which we saw and maybe we’ll never see this again in our lifetime then bad decisions are made, emotions are heated, and we’re making stupid decisions and the same thing can be said for somebody who’s just trying to build their financial or retirement plan is that if you don’t have somebody helping you stick to a plan, then market start losing and you start making dumb decisions. So, it is sticking to that plan, and I know one thing that I believe got you in some issue too was personal guarantees so guaranteeing. So, let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about personal guarantees.
[00:26:06] Harry: Now, this obviously doesn’t apply to executives, but it does apply to family businesses and entrepreneurs. If you the number one Achilles’ heel that consistently wipes out business owners is personal guarantees. And there’s a mentality that, “Oh, you know, there’s no way I can have my business without personal guarantees.” That’s just wrong. You may have to pay 0.5% more in interest or you can eliminate your personal guarantees. And again, I’ve spoken all around the world and I’ve heard people say, “Oh yeah, I have an uncle who told me never sign a personal guarantee and so for the last 20 years I’ve grown my business without ever signing a personal guarantee,” and I’ve heard that over and over again. So, I just want to say that and that’s how I lost my money is through – there is a bonding personal guarantee and a line of credit and financial guarantee.
[00:27:31] Andrew: Looking back, that was definitely something you could’ve avoided with the proper guidance or like you said, paying a little bit higher multiple.
[00:27:38] Harry: Absolutely.
[00:27:40] Andrew: So, when we think about some other the, well, in the book there was something though there are some creative ways and how you – some of the people you’ve interviewed where they actually to get out of the personal guarantees or protect the spouse whether it be prenups or I think actually even one individual get divorced for the sole purpose of separating those assets to protect it and then they got remarried. So, we’re not saying, listeners, to do that because love is more powerful, but it can be done.
[00:28:10] Harry: Well, also, so real quick vignette. If you have a personal guarantee with the bank let’s say, what I say and when I speak, I go through this but, literally, imagine having this conversation with your banker, “Hey, Joe, I really appreciated this relationship. You’ve been wonderful. You’ve been our bank for the last 10 years. Hey, I just want to let you know I read this book or heard the speaker and he underscored for me that my responsibility is first to my family and I need you to work with me to eliminate my personal guarantee. If we can’t do it fully now, I want to carve out my house, our house in the mountains, and the car. And I want to carve those out of the personal guarantee so that my wife so I can look at my wife in the eye and say, ‘Honey, we’re protected. No matter what happens we’re going to have our home and blah, blah, blah.’”
So, it’s ironic. I remember this time I went over that in this large audience in Philadelphia and there was a banker that walked up to me afterwards and said, “Harry, you are exactly right. Just this week I renewed a line of credit and I would’ve eliminated the personal guarantee but he didn’t ask so we just renewed it with the guarantee.” Holy smokes but that’s how it is. Anyway, I just can’t underscore enough that for each of your listeners out there that have personal guarantees, they should put it on their to-do list to figure out a strategy to get rid of them.
[00:30:18] Andrew: Excellent advice. I mean, I guess there’s maybe sometimes we have to have it but the majority it sounds like you could separate it out from having that there. So, when we think like you sold your business, you got into this other business. You are controlling the strings and obviously, it worked out until it didn’t. But one area where were we’ve seen it ourselves and you mentioned in the book is that when we have a big windfall. And again, we may be a little overconfident, but now we started investing in things that we may not truly understand. The angel investor, we like to call them sometimes the dumbest investor. So, what can we take away from that if, again, talking to somebody and again, you don’t have to be a business owner, you could have a nest egg that you want to invest out there but where do have to be careful of investing in businesses that we may not fully understand or getting in in that “friends and family” and a business that we’re not running?
[00:31:18] Harry: Yeah. Well, if you are dabbling in some kind of angel investing, the way I look at it, you should perhaps think of it more as a philanthropy and only invest money that would never make any difference in your lifestyle because statistically, well, just like if you look at just the statistics, 80% of businesses fail and that includes Fortune 500 companies. So, the difference is if you invest in a taco shop in the last three to five years, if you invest in a Fortune 500 company, they last on statistically now 40 years, and according to one of the latest McKinsey studies, 75% of all existing businesses today will disappear within 10 years because of disruption. So, like you said, investing in things that either you don’t control, you’re not involved in or as an angel investor, it’s highly risky and you really financially should assume that you’re going to lose it all. Then if you get a three times return, hey, great.
[00:32:54] Andrew: So, think of it as philanthropy which I like or gambling and we’re just going to afford to lose it and we move onward. So, in times that are tough which all businesses go through, you mentioned when you are going through that rough patch that you found yoga and spiritual and trying to shed some of that negativity. Coaching and speaking across the world, what are some of the things that you’ve seen that you can recommend some tips and strategies to help people that are going through a stressful time whether it’s business, it’s personal to get them back on their feet or get them grounded and even killed?
[00:33:34] Harry: Well, I mean, absolutely without question, taking care of your health because so many people they’re focused on everything else and they literally end up killing themselves or dying from not taking care of their mental and physical health. So, absolutely, you just whether it’s getting into a workout routine or walking, yoga, anything that maintains your health, not excessively drinking or abusing various substances, just really again understanding that if you don’t maintain your health, there’s a good chance you won’t make it through.
[00:34:33] Andrew: And then you mentioned in the book that kind of leads to this creating a list or a T chart of issues or problems that you can control and then separating that from those that you can’t control, and I know you’re a big believer in smart goals and following some structures. So, can you walk us through what that looks like so that we can prioritize or segment out what’s in our control, what’s out of our control, and how do we mentally focus on protecting or having a game plan to cover what we can?
[00:35:09] Harry: Sure. Yeah. So, when you’re going through a hard time there are, and let’s say you have two lawsuits that are filed against you. You really can’t control it. I mean you might be able to just settle but it’s not something to ruminate on every single day. It’ll drive you nuts with all the negative energy. And so, by really understanding and delineating the things that you have control over versus the things you don’t know, it really can help remove some of the noise and clutter in your head and in your heart.
By the way, another really important factor is, I mean, if somebody is kind of facing what might be a crisis really managing expenses, personal expenses, business expenses right away quickly, not waiting, so if you’ve got the extra Porsche or maybe the boat or whatever, another house, or downsizing your house, really again it’s another thing that I can’t underscore enough. It really makes all the difference in the world.
[00:36:55] Andrew: Yeah. We see it too on non-business owners and we will get the question a lot. Somebody comes in, “Hey, how am I doing against your other clients?” and we always say, “It doesn’t matter how many zeros that you have at the end of your net worth,” that person or that family may be a lot worse off than someone who’s got less zeros and it really comes down to what your income need is, what makes you happy what your expenses are, how leveraged you are, and for many people, they don’t have to have that much to be happy and to be plentiful in both working years and retirement years. So, it’s really separating out what makes you happy and really when times are bad is when things rise to the top and you really get at that point figure out what is the most meaningful for you and to you and that sometimes separates out what you’ve been doing, living that lavish lifestyle that really doesn’t bring the true happiness.
[00:37:51] Harry: Well, the latest study that I saw, there is no increase in happiness after $75,000 of annual household income. I mean, it’s pretty phenomenal. $75,000, I know people that make 10 million a year and there is no increase in happiness having 10 million a year than $75,000 in household income.
[00:38:00] Andrew: In fact, there could be more problems because you’ve got more situations, more houses, more things to deal with.
[00:38:32] Harry: Yes. Absolutely.
[00:38:35] Andrew: So, writing this book and teacher or coaching and speaking, what came first? Were you speaking and then wanted to kind of reiterate what happened to you and then as you worked with a lot of executives and then YPO you probably in those times learned before you wrote the book about what people did on some of the issues they faced? So, what came first, as you were starting to write the book a few years ago?
[00:39:02] Harry: Yeah. So, luckily, right out of grad school, I was trained as a consultant. So, after TurnKey blew up, basically, I immediately started consulting and one of the consultings I do ends up being at least a third coaching and two-thirds consulting. So, basically, all through that the dark times through today, I maintained consulting and coaching base. The book was actually my wife that said, “You know, you really need to write a book on this,” because it was so unbelievable and I literally got to the point where it’s like, “Wait a second. I’ve studied entrepreneurship for 20 years. I started with an MBA and I studied the best programs in the world, how did this happen to me? And that was kind of the gestalt of, “You know what? Why don’t I see if I can plug this hole?” and I interviewed 30. At the time in preparation of the book, I did reported interviews with 30 entrepreneurs of family businesses and investors and correlated the risk factors. The reason I did that is specifically because if I just told my story, the listeners would just say, “Oh well, you’re an idiot. I would never do that.”
[00:40:55] Harry: So, I really wanted to create a body of knowledge that was robust enough that people would say, “Okay. All right. Well, this is well researched and makes a lot of sense. It’s compelling.” And as a result, I can say I’ve had many cases even actually 10 days ago I was speaking in Cape Town, South Africa and I had two people come up and say, “Oh, I know somebody that sold their business after hearing your presentation.”
[00:41:40] Andrew: You got to take a cut off of that next time.
[00:41:42] Harry: Right. Yeah. There you go.
[00:41:44] Andrew: What I thought interesting too is throughout the book, I mean, there’s a couple people that are anonymous but like the fact that these successful CEOs, entrepreneurs, founders were open to talk to you and have you write about their both most of it, not successes, well their successes and then their failures, I thought that was pretty cool because a lot of times the ego gets in the way and you don’t want to be looked on as a failure. But for all of you that are in the book, the failure is what helps set you up for later on success and it seems to be the happiness too that surrounds it.
[00:42:25] Harry: Yeah. Absolutely. The openness is the power of YPO, mainly, and EO, I know you’re an EO member and that, you know, it creates this understanding that failure is if you don’t fail, you’re not learning, you’re not taking risks. You’re not innovating and that failure is just it’s tuition. It’s tuition for learning and growing. And so, we’re fortunately in the YPO and EO communities, we understand that and so we’re open about it.
[00:43:17] Andrew: So, on a question on all the way back to TurnKey, is that Vancouver company? Is that company still around that pretty much screwed you guys?
[00:43:26] Harry: I don’t like to wish ill on people but I’m so happy to announce that the bad guy, Sam Belzberg, he passed about a year ago, so the world is a better place as a result. When I’ve spoken in Canada, which that’s again it was based out of Vancouver, I had so many people say that he just rubbed. He was turned on by basically going in and putting people over the barrel and just screwing over businesses and individuals to make a little bit more money. I mean, he became a billionaire doing it.
[00:44:30] Andrew: Well, you know, that article from Forbes a while back on Goldman, but it sounds like he was the original great vampire squid that just kept on sucking the life out of people and businesses.
[00:44:40] Harry: Yes. Absolutely.
[00:44:42] Andrew: I wonder if you were able ever to visit Vancouver. It’s such a great city. Or did you just have such a bad taste in your mouth that you couldn’t even go enjoy it?
[00:00:00] Harry: No, I love it. I actually spoke to an EO chapter there recently and it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
[00:45:00] Andrew: I love it. It is. I wish it wasn’t so expensive but…
[00:45:03] Harry: I know.
[00:45:05] Andrew: So, we think of and kind of as we start concluding today, what are some of if you could just give one or two of the top advice that you can give to someone? I know we went through a lot today in the book and in the show notes you’ll have the ability to download the first chapter and then be able to buy the book but what are some of those one or two key takeaways that we, as a listener can take today and run with it and have some actionable items?
[00:45:31] Harry: Yeah. Well, obviously, we talked about personal guarantees, balancing optimism. So, if you’re in a position of actually making key decisions for your company, make sure that you have whether it’s your CFO or somebody that can balance optimism, again, being really careful with acquisitions, importantly, especially for family businesses, but really for all businesses building a culture of innovation and the best platform for that is the Adobe kickbox platform and it’s free so you can go on Adobe’s website. What I recommend, finding a millennial in your company and assigning them the task of becoming an expert at the Adobe kickbox innovation platform.
And you know probably two other things that if your business doesn’t have recurring revenue, figure out strategically how to shift it to create a recurring revenue model as opposed to one time where you’re just selling something, maybe servicing or whatever. And finally, I would say understand the importance of luck and I love asking. So, if something good happens, you say, “Oh wow. I’m amazing.” If something bad happens, it’s, “Oh, that’s bad luck.” The reality is that luck cuts both ways, good and bad. And if I can, there is a company, a Silicon Valley-based company that was to be sold for under $1 million and the only reason it didn’t sell is that the buyer backed out and this company is still around today led by the same two people. And you want to guess what the company is?
[00:47:46] Andrew: Would it be this great search engine called Google?
[00:47:50] Harry: Yes, absolutely. So, if you can imagine this company that’s worth about $1 trillion, they almost sold it for under $1 million and the only reason they didn’t is that the buyer backed out. Now, at the time you probably thought, “Oh, shoot, I wanted to pay off my minivan.” You defined it was bad luck at the time but, anyway, so just understand the importance of luck.
[00:48:19] Andrew: Incredible there. And then also as we talked about this exit strategy of really visualizing what that will look like on the emotional aspect of finding what your next career will be or those passions, those hobbies, what are you going to do when you don’t have the purpose of running the company and going there? That’s an important thing. It’s also important for somebody who’s just a worker, who’s an executive, and now they’ve had 20 people report to them and then one day they wake up and it’s like, “What do I do? Where do I go?”
[00:48:48] Harry: Absolutely. Purpose. It’s all about purpose. That’s how retirement planning starts.
[00:48:57] Andrew: That’s our tagline. You dream, we plan. So, good job there. Awesome. So, listeners, all the details will be in the show notes. Also, the book, The Number, will be in there. Were there any other books that you’ve read recently that you’d recommend that can help people in engaging out and having the success?
[00:49:15] Harry: That’s really I think The Number, no, that’s it.
[00:49:21] Andrew: Awesome. Well, this has been great. Hopefully, listeners, you learned a lot. Harry, you’ve been through a lot. You’ve been through it all, been through the good, the bad, and you’ve made yourself a triple career and you’re doing some really cool stuff and it sounds like too getting to travel the world and speak and probably being able to write off some of that too which is not a bad thing.
[00:49:43] Harry: You got it.
[00:49:44] Andrew: Awesome. All right, guys. Well, listen, tune in later this month for another action-packed episode or Your Wealth & Beyond. We appreciate the time and happy planning, everybody. We’ll talk real soon.
[00:49:57] Harry: Thanks, Andrew.