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…in life and business. You guys may or may not know who this is, you might think you know and you might be right. Well his name is Wally Voelker. he is my dad also known as Papa V. He got that nickname at the Denver event he was there with me when I spoke at The Rocky Mountain Resellers Conference and at the TAS breakthrough live event met a lot of you there.
Everyone was calling him Papa V so really excited to have him on. We are going to be talking all about just what I feel he was really great at teaching me and then also some of the twists and turns in his journey and what taught him and brought him to where he is today and also all those lessons that he was able to transfer over to me. I think you are going to enjoy this because you are going to see that you can even scale an egg route business. Pretty crazy on how he did that stuff so I’m going to stop talking now so you can enjoy this interview that I did recently with the one and only Papa V, my dad. Enjoy the interview.
[00:01:23] SV: Alright everyone welcome the man that I talked about a little bit earlier he is known as Wally Voelker, he is known as Papa V and he is known also as my dad so dad welcome to The Amazing Seller Podcast what's up.
WV: Thank you son, not much, not much just hanging out.
SV: You are just hanging out in the basement so we got Papa V here visiting and he’s in the basement right now so he’s down there and I’m upstairs that way there we don’t conflict our signals but we’ll see how this goes. I invited Papa V on here to go back in time a little bit we can dig into some of the lessons learned through my life and I wanted to dig into a lot of the things that you’ve done dad through the process because you’ve got quite a life…
[00:02:16] WV: Yeah we don’t have enough time for that.
[00:02:18] SV: Yeah I know we don’t but we are going to condense this. A lot of people were able to meet you in Denver when you were out there and a lot of people just said, “Man it was really great to meet your dad and I love your story on episode 125 when you talk a little bit about your dad but it would be really cool to hear the entire story.” That’s what I want to do here, I want to dig in a little bit to your growing up and what made you into the hard worker that you are and then how I picked up on those lessons going through those. You want to do that?
[00:02:51] WV: Yeah let's do it. Let's4 give it to the world.
[00:02:55] SV: It was funny, yesterday I came out of my office and I said to my father, I said “Hey you want to do an episode on the podcast tomorrow?” and he looked at me like a deer in headlights and he was, “Yeah, okay.” And I said, “It's just going to be you and me talking it's no big deal it's just going to be maybe ten or fifteen thousand people listening but it's no big deal.” You’ve never been much of a public speaker or have you dad?
[00:03:18] WV: No, not really, no I just voice my opinion to whoever is in front of me.
[00:03:24] SV: Exactly, alright so let's just back a little bit, talk a little bit about your growing up. I mean you grew up with how many brothers and sisters, it was nine?
[00:03:37] WV: Well we had seven brothers and two sisters and the five actually that grew up with me because two were still born and they were twins I never knew them.
[00:03:53] SV: Okay right and I remember that story. How many brothers, can I figure how many uncles that I have?
[00:04:00] WV: Right now?
[00:04:03] SV: Not right now, how many did we have?
[00:04:05] WV: I had seven that I grew up with including myself.
[00:04:08] SV: Exactly and then your father basically was running a farm and obviously you kids worked hard so what was your life like as let’s say like a ten, eleven, twelve year old? What were doing in the mornings and after school and stuff?
[00:04:28] WV: To start with at six years old I had my first job which was to bring wood for the wood stove and I had to do that every day and then as time went on we moved to a new school which had a cafeteria and I wanted to buy my lunch like everybody else. We had to pack a brown bag, and by the way I had to bring my brown bag home so I could use it the next day but anyway I said to my dad, “Can I have a quarter a week so that I can just buy my lunch one day a week?” That’s all I wanted. He said, “No sorry but I can't afford it right now.”
[00:05:19] SV: Quarter a day?
[00:05:20] WV: Yeah quarter a day. I said, “Okay.” I didn’t argue with my father back then so time went on and I come home from school one day and dad says to me, “Come with me I’ve got something for you,” and I said to myself, “Uh oh what’s he got now for me to do?” He took out in an old hen house we had and he had bought me a hundred old hen chickens for ten cents apiece and a bag of land mash for $3.25. He says, “There is your allowance, what you have to do is get on your bicycle go to the nearest town get some customers and sell eggs.”
[00:06:07] SV: How old were you at this point?
[00:06:08] WV: I was eleven years old and I was a little apprehensive about it and I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen and I didn’t want to go and greet meet people and ask them if they wanted to buy eggs. Still I said, “Well got to give it a whirl otherwise he is going to doubt me,” and so I said, “Okay I’ll give it a shot.” I got on my bicycle, went down to my nearest school town which had probably back then maybe a thousand people and I started going door to door. I got myself about five customers that wanted one or two dozen of eggs a day or a week and I said, “Man that’s going pretty good.” I figured that’s probably all that I would probably have I didn’t know how many I was going to get how many eggs.
To make the long story short I got about three four a day I would get about twenty dozen a week and I had to average down I was selling them for fifty cents a dozen. I made a box on the back of my bike I loaded all the eggs in there I had about ten dozen I would take down and I would do this once a week. It was mostly Saturdays because I was off from school and on Sunday if I couldn’t get there on a Saturday because of bad weather or whatever. Anyway I was doing okay, I was making quite a lot of money but time I went on and the old hens were getting older and I needed to get more chickens or younger ones. We ordered a hundred straight run chicks from Montgomery Wards.
[00:08:04] WV: Yeah and they came in the mail and they had a big crate they delivered them to the front door and they had all holes punched on the side, they had all these chickens peeping away and straight run means you get roosters and chicks. You don’t know what the partition, usually it runs fifty percent but sometimes its forty sixty, sometimes its sixty forty just depends. Anyway my father had a brooder and we brought it in the house and we had it next to our refrigerator, stood about as high as the refrigerator and about as big as the refrigerator. It had to have floors on it and each floor we had probably twenty five chickens and we’d keep them there in the kitchen for six weeks and then we’d take them out to what we call a brooder house which I had made in the meantime and they had a little heat lamp to keep them warm because it was in the winter time. Anyway they grew and that’s the start of my chicken farm.
[00:09:15] SV: How old were you there?
[00:09:18] WV: There I was probably twelve, thirteen, fourteen probably thirteen because I had to work about two years and they started really peter out. They were getting to lay the eggs and so anyway I was about probably thirteen. I paid for them myself I had enough money to pay for them myself, buy them, starting mash they’d call it. That was four bucks a bag so I mean there was an expense.
[00:09:51] SV: It was an investment right?
[00:09:52] WV: It was an investment and my eyeballs got big because I saw money. I said, “Well I’m going to have a hundred, fifty chicks actually.” I asked my dad, “Can I buy another hundred?” I did I bought another hundred and before long by the time, to make the long story short by the time I was twenty one years old I had twelve hundred chickens. I built two chicken coops and I had three commercial routes I had a brand new van that I bought and I called myself Wally Spackle Berries. I was doing pretty good.
[00:10:35] SV: What's pretty good I mean I know the story because obviously I’ve heard it a few times but what were you bringing in?
[00:10:42] WV: I was bringing in about $200 a week.
[00:10:46] SV: And this is back when?
[00:10:47] WV: This is in 1961-62.
[00:10:52] SV: That’s pretty good money back then right?
[00:10:54] WV: Yeah people working at general electric were making probably $60 a week and they were working their machines and…
[00:11:03] SV: You were living large?
[00:11:05] WV: Yeah I was doing well, I was doing well. I opened a bank account, savings account and started my investing there.
[00:11:18] SV: Yeah that’s awesome. I love that story too because you took something that your father said, “Well I want some lunch money,” but you are, “If you want it you’ve got to earn it,” and got you your start. You found a way to scale that business and you see potential then you started to scale that business. I got to always go back to everything that I’ve ever done and learning through the processes that you’ve got to start and you scale and you scaled the chicken business from a couple hundred chicks to twelve hundred.
[00:11:52] WV: Right but I didn’t only have chickens. In the summertime I also had a truck garden which I added to my egg route. Like I said I had three commercial routes and I also had house to house routes, you know, non-commercial and I’d bring sweet corn, tomatoes, cantaloupes, cucumbers.
[00:12:13] SV: Right I mean if there is one thing that I remember even just growing up and we’ll dig in to how you transitioned after that and stuff, but the one thing that I can always remember I guess is that you were never not working. There was never a time that you were not hustling to make ends meet or to allow us to be able to eat, and we talk about this funny now is like be able to eat once in awhile at McDonald’s. For us growing up that was a big deal and you can get anything on the menu kind of thing. Nowadays it's common place and just watching you through us you had jobs that came and went but then you were always out there finding additional ways to make that extra income. It meant you had to put in more hours because there wasn’t the internet and stuff like that but there was definitely ways out there for people to make money.
People that are just starting right now in this business and in the Amazon space I get people all the time, “I don’t have enough money to start.” Well I always go back to the people that I interviewed that said, “I started with a hundred bucks and I bought something off of Craigslist and I doubled my money and then I started to invest that money back into that business.” It's going into your chicken. It's like you found something that worked and then you reinvested that money to scale. Again that’s just stuff that I’ve learned throughout watching you and seeing you just growing that there was always that work ethic there that I think is instilled into me. Going back to every Sunday you and I split wood I mean we split wood to heat our house. I seen the value of that growing up and a lot of that stuff isn’t instilled in the kids and I think there is no real education out there that can really teach you that’s it's just hard work and seeing it first hand. Let's move into now, okay now you are doing pretty well at doing that now you get drafted.
[00:14:15] WV: Yeah the army drafted me and I didn’t want to go to the army because Vietnam was going pretty heavy at the time. My father and my brothers were saying, “Hey you really don’t want to go into the army. If you can get to the navy it would be better.” I hightailed it down to the navy recruiter and I said to him I said, “I just got a draft notice in the mail today. What can you do about it?” and he said, “Well it looks like you were here yesterday,” so he backdated it and I joined the navy.
[00:14:56] SV: And how old were you there?
[00:14:57] WV: I was twenty two.
[00:14:59] SV: You were twenty two and just to because people don’t know the story and not to go through the nitty gritty but you were the last son on the farm still helping your father.
[00:15:08] WV: Yeah when I got deferred for a few years because of that but because Vietnam was demanding people they…
[00:15:16] SV: I didn’t know that part of the story.
[00:15:18] WV: They overlooked it. I was deferred a couple because I was my father’s only working son on the farm.
[00:15:24] SV: Right and again you leaving your father you felt guilty but in the same breath you felt relieved correct?
[00:15:30] WV: Yeah you are right because I figured I was going to be there till I died or until he did and it was just I felt trapped.
[00:15:40] SV: Then you went to the navy, lets graduate to there real quick. You went into the navy and my experience with I guess my knowledge and different lessons that I learned from all your stories, and just to let people know my father loves talking about the navy stories and I love listening them but after hearing them ten times you can tell them exactly. Dad loves to talk about his navy stories and he is proud of them I mean I would be too. He went to a lot of different countries and was part of your background and I think it built your character and stuff but the one thing that I always hear and I think it's awesome and I think just proves your hustle is you were on the ship making money outside of the navy.
[00:16:31] WV: Yep.
[00:16:31] SV: We’ve got to talk about that because…
WV: I had a lot of free time and I couldn’t just sit around I had to do something so I bought a sewing machine and I started sewing patches on when people made ranks, four bucks and a quarter stuff like that at first and then I got known throughout the ship for a while and then I had more business I knew I had to turn it away actually, I had too much. But I was content with that and I also had a large locker that was in my space that was empty most of the time so I decided I'd buy a bunch of snacks like vienna sausages, things that didn’t spoil and I stocked it up. I stocked it up for the Vienna sausages, crackers and cheese, you know some M&M’s, things like that.
I filled it right to the top so when we left for sea people wouldn’t have to go down five six decks because that was an aircraft carrier and buy snacks from the store. I had them there and I would buy them for twenty five cents and sell them for fifty. I doubled my money and then when they were gone I’d buy cigarettes for a dollar a carton while I was out in sea and then when I was in port I wouldn’t sell any at sea. I’d only sell them when I got back in port where I’d sell for two dollars.
[00:18:03] SV: Right, you double your money.
[00:18:07] WV: The PX was selling for two dollars and forty cents.
[00:18:11] SV: You’d be a better deal, so basically you would fill the locker before you left, you’d sell it all you get to port, you restock with stuff you can then sell back on home soil.
[00:18:24] WV: While I was at sea I would fill it up with cigarettes and then when I got back to port I’d sell the cigarettes and then when I went out again deployed again I would load it up with my giddons because we called them giddons and I’d be ready to sell again.
[00:18:42] SV: Then because you had some money here and I don’t know if I should be saying this live but we are going to say it anyway. This is a great story, then what you would do is you would take some of that money and people would hit you up. They’d be like, “Hey we don’t get paid for two weeks or month whenever you guys got paid can you float me fifty bucks?” And then you’d float them fifty bucks and then you would wait in the line as they would get paid and you would collect your interest.
[00:19:07] WV: Well most of the time it was five dollars for seven or eight and then most of the time they’d borrow ten dollars maybe fifteen but the going rate was five and I had a little book I kept my last name being Voelker I was last in line to be paid so everybody in front of me got paid first. I went in front of the line where they’d come out holding out because we got paid cash and everybody had the cash in their hands, “Hey buddy you owe me fourteen bucks or you owe me twenty one.”
[00:19:40] SV: People in the higher ranks didn’t care that you were doing that stuff?
[00:19:44] WV: No they were doing it too. I even lent to some of the officers, I did. They knew where to come.
[00:19:52] SV: They knew where to go to get the goods.
[00:19:54] WV: Oh yeah the officers see I had to trust them a little more because they got paid differently and I only do it if I knew, if I didn’t know them I wouldn’t do it.
[00:20:09] SV: Again let's recap on that, again me hearing these stories growing up guys that are listening and women that are listening to this, this is what I’m hearing. I’m hearing these stories I’m hearing about the chicken story, I’m hearing about the navy story and I’m seeing that my father is out there and he is hustling. He is finding ways to supplement his income and to make more so he can have more for his family and to be able to stock it away for a rainy day and all that stuff. That’s the stuff that I remember hearing it’s just been ingrained in my head that there is always a way. People that are on the side of the road that are looking for a handout, I get it. Some people are out on hard times I get it me personally I'd have too much pride and I would find a way whether it's working for someone to rake their lawn which I’ve done as a kid by the way I’ve mowed lawns for five bucks.
I’ve done all that, snow shovel, plants, clean someone’s car, whatever it was I was doing it again because I’ve seen you doing it and I seen that’s the way that you did it. You didn’t just ask for a handout and if you did ask for a handout there was always, “If you give me that I will do this.” There is always a trade in there. Again I mean just people listening if you are thinking to yourself, “Well right now is not the time because I don’t have the money to get started,” to me it’s an excuse and I don’t want to be rude or blunt on that but I’m going to be because I think there’s always a way. You just have to get out there and figure out the way that you are going to be able to do it and get started. There is my little rant there. But let’s move into now you are in the navy and obviously you meet mom, my mother and then you decided to get out of the navy and not sign again because you didn’t want to have that travelling life. Is that correct?
[00:22:01] WV: Well yes that’s true, it wasn’t me so much it was your mother but
[00:22:06] SV: She had the upper hand in that case?
[00:22:09] WV: I can understand yeah I agree a little bit I don’t want to be away from my family either. I’d be out to sea and she’d be at home alone with you guys.
[00:22:20] SV: And now looking back I hear you a lot of times and we have this in a situation right now Alexis your granddaughter, my daughter she is getting married to someone in the navy. I know that you have beliefs and so does his I think his parents have beliefs that, “You should stick out for that twenty years because you could get that pension.” Even knowing what you know now and the life that you created for me now you still say that you would want someone to stay in for twenty years. Is that still the case, do you believe that or has your mind changed?
[00:22:53] WV: No I believe it if you are a single person and if you’ve got a wife that wants to travel with you if you are in the army for instance you will get a lot of land based stuff they take you with them but in the navy you got to deploy for now it's nine months I think. It was nine months when I was in there but I dropped it to six months and then I guess back to nine. The only reason why I say stay on there for twenty years after twenty years you get a pension and it’s a pretty good one. I got a nephew who retired as chief and he’s got a nice pension and you get hospitalization as well.
[00:23:38] SV: Right but here is my thing and you know me, I’m not about trying to work for something that I might not ever receive. If I’m going to lose that time I’m going to lose that time with my family, my loved ones. What if I die at nineteen years? I hate to say that but I’d rather work for now, I’d rather hustle now and look for it now. I know Cameron who is going to be my son-in-law, I understand family is very important to him and so is it to Alexis. So for those two I think they’ve to make their decision, that’s first off. The second thing is I know that he is a smart guy, he is actually going to be more of an engineer. He is going to have head hunters looking for him so he is not going to have a problem finding work.
[00:24:22] WV: I agree with that.
[00:24:22] SV: You know what I mean. Anyway that’s a little side discussion for people that we just had here live which we didn’t have enough time to talk about.
[00:24:30] WV: To stay in the military is basically to me I’m not prejudiced or anything but it’s for a person that really don’t want to work. If they are happy with their forty hour week or…
[00:24:44] SV: I was going to say they want to get a paycheck.
[00:24:46] WV: They want to get a paycheck and they know their job…
[00:24:50] SV: I think it’s each its own I really do. Let’s move into the General Electric day and we are not going to go through all of the other stuff because you’ve done a bunch of other stuff in between but you went to General Electric which was a really good company around here. It was booming and if you got in GE you were in, you got in and then you could work there for ten eleven years and then you locked in as a pension and all of that stuff and that’s really where you were heading with that particular job. You actually got in, you actually took a cut of pay to go there because you thought that you were going to be able to make that a career and get all the benefits and all that stuff but then they started laying people off. Why don’t you talk a little bit about how you were again working at General Electric but then you were doing this little side business with the guy in installing aluminum windows?
[00:25:39] WV: Yeah I met a guy there who had connections with a window and door factory and he had worked there before he worked General Electric and he knew the owners there. They didn’t sell to everybody but he said they would sell to him. So we started a small window and door business where we were advertising near time clocks and GE I’d make a hand drawn, because we didn’t have a computer, a hand drawn advertisement and hang it up there and put a phone number. If you wanted windows and doors aluminum windows, storm windows and storm doors, that’s all. then we just wanted to do a little [inaudible – 26:22] from three to dark.
[00:26:28] SV: Basically you were just there to make some extra money on the side.
[00:26:31] WV: Make some extra money doing that so we did that until I got laid off. I had a little Datsun pickup truck…
[00:26:39] SV: I remember that. It was red you made the roof for it at General Electric by the way the scrap yard. Don’t worry dad no one is going to come after you now.
[00:26:50] WV: I know. I bought it by the pound, cut it all out with the sizes I wanted, took it over to the scrap yard, turned it in and I bought it. I said, “I could buy this.” They said, “Okay, how much?” I said, “Eight cents a pound.” I think it was about eight bucks, something like that for the racks. I had it already assembled. I just assembled it on my truck, folded it together, had holes drilled in it, it was all ready to go.
[00:27:17] SV: Yeah you had a work truck now.
[00:27:19] WV: I had a work truck and ladders.
[00:27:21] SV: And I remember too you had the stickers that you bought in the, you still can get them they are just a square block letters that you buy in a hardware store and it said M&W and it was windows and it was aluminum sales.
[00:27:35] WV: M&W Aluminum Sales.
[00:27:37] SV: That was the first version of that company. For people to understand here my father is working a forty hour week not hard at General Electric that truly were not working hard you were trying to find things to do because your foreman was saying, “Hey whoa slow down we only need to get two hundred of these done you just did two hundred in the first hour calm down, slow down,” then you’d have to go get lost for a while.
[00:28:04] WV: Yeah we’d cut air on our saws.
[00:28:09] SV: Basically from there on the side you were still doing something I think you were saying too before you always liked the second shift because you could then work your, you could get out at eleven o’clock, sleep, and then get up, work, and then you could go to work.
[00:28:27] WV: That was when I worked second shift I wasn’t in the aluminum business then. It took me a few years to get days and when I was working second shift I didn’t like that I was working at the hardware store in the morning wallpapering for them.
[00:28:43] SV: Okay I remember that too.
[00:28:47] WV: I did that up until I had to go to work.
[00:28:50] SV: I don’t remember you ever working one job. You always had something going on on the side and I think that even goes back to my grandfather, your father. He was eighty years old still splitting wood or seventy eight years old or whatever still splitting wood and selling wood for a hundred and fifty bucks delivered or something like that. I still remember him doing the same thing he instilled that into you and you instilled that into me and here we are. Let’s talk a little bit about the business. The business that you and him started but then you both got laid off just to lead people quickly so we can get to the meet of it. You and him started out then full time doing more than just aluminum windows. You were doing replacement windows, doors, any really type of thing that had to do with windows and doors and all that stuff.
I was even helping you, I believe mom was even helping you at a couple of different locations because you got a couple of big jobs always help unpack the windows and then bring them to the ladder so then you guys can put them up and all that stuff. I was getting paid a little bit of money. I thought that was great but again I was working a six, seven hour a day for you back then. But then from there, you kind of said to me one time, I was working just out of high school, I was eighteen just about nineteen maybe at that time and you said to me, you said, “We are at this point we want to scale but the only way we can scale is if we're not doing all the work because you and him were doing all the work. You asked if I would be willing to come aboard and I'd asked you for a job earlier and then you turned me down because you said you didn't want to hire me until I'd worked for another company or other people to see how it was to work for other people.
[00:30:35] WV: That's right. You'd always ask yourself that question.
[00:30:39] SV: No, no that's true. Going back though to myself I worked since I was fourteen, fifteen years old washing dishes and working at the ice cream shop and then working at the hamburger place. I was always doing my own thing and just to let people I bought my own car with the help of my father. My father had a credit card at the time. It was three thousand credit and I asked if I can get a car and I can pay him back and he offered to give me that card, the money on that card, as long as I'd made the payments and I did that. I think I paid it off in four years. I was paying back like…
[00:31:16] WV: Plus you were paying for your own insurance.
[00:31:19] SV: That's the other thing too. You were very, very strict on that. You weren't going to put me on your policy, you were only going to allow me to have a car if had my own insurance which I did. I walked into and I still go to that same agency because I still live in the same town which I'm going to be moving to South Carolina by the time this thing airs maybe. Middle of June, I'm not sure when this will air. I still go by the same agency that I walked into as a sixteen year kid asking for my own insurance. I paid for it cash but again that was a valuable lesson and you didn't want it because you didn't want me to be on your insurance just in case I hurt someone. Even though, realistically we can go back and say well they could have sued you anyway because I was your kid
[00:32:00] WV: it was a lesson.
[00:32:01] SV: It was a lesson. Yeah, it was. It did teach me. Anyway going back to the conversation that you and I had you were like I will hire you, I'll pay you what you're making at the cable company that you're working for and I had been working there for eight or nine months and I loved that company. It just didn't pay well. Really to start you weren't paying me that well but you were paying me to learn. This is the way I looked at it. It's to learn the trade and then from there hopefully I can take that and my big vision at that time was “wow I can get into this company and I can help him build it with this partner and eventually, eventually I could own it.” That was the big dream for me as a nineteen year old kid. It was a goal.
[00:32:41] WV: That was your why.
[00:32:41] SV: That was my why at the time. My why was to be able to have something that could help me have a really good job so I could say I have a good job because back then I wasn't going to college. All my friends were going to college getting these supposedly getting these great jobs I didn't have that but I wanted to be able to say I'm part owner of this company. That was my big thing. That why had changed as soon as I had kids and all that stuff but it did teach me a lot about business. Just to fast forward for people. We started that, I helped you, we hired on a good friend of mine, Jim Krill who actually I still talk to on a regular basis where he was a long time friend and family friend and we hired him and then we basically built it into a pretty sizeable company. I think when you left you were over a million and a half, I think we were touching almost two million in revenue at that time.
We were looking to scale it then but man oh man was it messy. It was messy and I just heard your tone go down as soon as I said messy.
[00:32:41] WV: Yeah. Right. It wasn't that good.
[00:33:52] SV: Just to let people know and I'll let you expound on that a little bit but it really did come down to partnerships. Right.
[00:34:01] WV: Yeah. Exactly. You got to be careful picking a partner. That's one thing. Partnerships can be good if you can trust each other, got to trust each other. Don't judge who's working more for the end of business, you can't do that either.
[00:34:24] SV: You got to know that person really well.
[00:34:27] WV: You got to treat each other as an employee. That's what you got to do.
[00:34:30] SV: That's a big nugget right there. You got to treat like it's a business.
[00:34:35] WV: It's a business. You can't just take money that comes into business and use it for your personal use without paying bills. That was one of the biggest problems I had with the partner.
[00:34:48] SV: That was one of the biggest things that I seen too but I seen other things. I seen other things like we actually had someone come in and you probably remember this. We had a guy come in. A consultant in business. We had him come in and it was funny because and just to kind of give people the high level view of this we had myself, my father, we had his partner, we had my buddy from high school, we had probably at that time probably six or seven other installers. We also had my father's partner's wife as the secretary. We also had their daughter as I don't even know what. They made a job that was like a helper of the secretary. I don't know.
It was a way for her to get paid. Again you guys you can hear how we started getting a little bit sour here because these are the things that happened and her husband then was hired which is a whole another crazy thing that happened there with finances and started dipping and not telling people about it and it just got really, really ugly, really messy. It could have been a very, very big business and the one thing that really stood out was and kind of going to that consultant is when your partner or yourself don't want to look at things in real like real time like as far as what's really happening and you don't want to expose that stuff because it's too painful because you don't want to admit that you are taking money from the company or you are not working as much as everyone else. You're never going to grow and that's really what I seen is that we brought this guy in that he was going to come in and he interviewed everybody.
He watched what was happening in the workings throughout three, four days and then he come back into your office and you and him sat down and your partner wasn't that happy.
[00:36:36] WV: No. He didn't want to change. He wanted everything to go the way it was going which was downhill.
[00:36:42] SV: Well, he didn't want to have to pay for his own vacation.
[00:36:46] WV: No.
[00:36:47] SV: He didn't want to pay for his own gas.
[00:36:49] WV: No. that's right. Absolutely.
[00:36:53] SV: He didn't want to… A cash deal that comes in, he didn't want to split it up amongst the two. It's like when… It's general 101 business. It's like if you're paying for a product and you are selling it, well there's costs that go into getting that product sold. All the way down to the pencils that the secretary's using.
[00:37:14] WV: That's right. Absolutely.
[00:37:16] SV: I remember you really wanted to be able to treat everything as a business but the minute that you would you would have resistance and then it would just be a big blow up.
[00:37:27] WV: Oh yeah. That's right and I got tired of it. Basically I upped and left.
[00:37:36] SV: Kind of to let people know they know my story episode 125 is that I came to you and said, “Dad, I'm thinking about leaving. Lisa and I, my wife are thinking about starting a part time photography business and actually we had started already and we were already starting to get up and running and we were starting to have some success with that. I said I'm going to take a chance and leave and you were like by all means.
[00:37:57] WV: That was my cue.
[00:37:59] SV: That was your cue. You told me later that you were feeling kind of like you needed to stay for me.
[00:38:05] WV: I did. That was exactly right. I wanted to keep you on the payroll but seeing how you went beyond that, that was great.
[00:38:17] SV: Yeah. That was kind of where you can take a deep breath.
[00:38:20] WV: I loved that. I said, now I got the opportunity.
[00:38:25] SV: That was one of the best days of my life by the way. It's people walking into that office and basically say that I no longer had to work here because your partner didn't ever believe that I can do anything on my own. He was a doubter. He was a hater. He was someone that just didn't want other people to have success. I've talked about this to people on the podcasts and even privately like you are the average of the five people that you hang around with. We were hanging around with some poison there for a while. It was the best thing that ever happened to me and you too. Anyone that is sitting here thinking to themselves that they've already created their path, they've already created their destiny you can't think like that.
I am perfect proof of it. My father here sitting here talking about his stories as starting with the chicken business and then going into the navy and having another side business. Then doing GE and then going into another side business. There's always doors that can be open as long as you move forward and just learn and go through that process. There's just so much that you can do but I learned a ton from that and I wouldn't trade that time in that business watching you and him because it taught about partnerships, it taught me about how to not run a business. Not on your part. I thought every time that… You always say this, when they would go away for a month or so on a vacation you would start running everything on that end of it and things would start to get back on track.
[00:39:54] WV: Everything got back on track, we were making money, we were working good and then…
[00:40:00] SV: Employees are happy, everybody was happy.
[00:40:01] WV: Yeah. Everybody was happy.
[00:40:04] SV: Again I wouldn't change any of that because it taught me lot of lessons about business. You and I, people that don't know like my father and I worked together actually installing things for probably the first year, year and a half because you taught me all this stuff and it's not easy working with someone like your father that you are a lot alike. We both think that we can do things a little bit differently and you still do that to me and I still do it to you. It's like one of those things you have your way and you and I joke about it now. We're kind of like, “I got it. I've done this before.”
[00:40:40] WV: Gotta laugh.
[00:40:42] SV: It's true, it's true. It's all good but you really taught me a trade that honestly to this day I could tomorrow go out there and make a living in that if I needed to. It's there. That's someone that you can't teach in college, you can't teach unless you actually do it. I think also you taught me about just dealing with people and how that, you have to be good to people, whether it's in business or outside of business because you are only going to get what worth you put in. I totally believe that and I think that it was a huge lesson. Let me ask you this. Looking back, is there anything that you would change in your life that if you could go back and kind of do a little time machine travel?
[00:41:28] WV: The only thing that I would change is I guess I was happy with the window and door business. I'd pick a different partner. I wouldn't have done that. If I had a partner I had no partner. Probably I had no partner would be the best way and maybe hire a salesman instead of depending on a partner because you got to be careful there. It's just things go downhill quick.
[00:41:58] SV: Yeah. Again. Anybody that's listening that's thinking about partnerships so that in partnerships is there any advice that you would give them?
[00:42:08] WV: Yeah. You got to know them and know that partner and you got to trust them and you just got to know them. You can't just go in there blind. You got to treat each other like an employee, like I said earlier.
[00:42:22] SV: Yeah. Absolutely.
[00:42:26] WV: You both have to have a specific job. You can't think that your partner is doing more than you are or you're doing far more than they are. You both have to have your own jobs to do and you got to do them. That's it basically.
[00:42:42] SV: Yeah and I agree. People with partnerships is like if you're going to do it definitely have clear roles as to what you're doing and you need to know that that person's open to grow. That's the one thing I think with your partner was not open to grow, they just wanted to buy something for hundred and sell it for two in thinking that that was always going to work.
[00:43:066] WV: Not always going to work.
[00:43:07] SV: As you scale and you have more mouths to feed, things change.
[00:43:11] WV: You got to get more money and it comes from some place.
[00:43:14] SV: It's got to come from some place. I think about it now that if I knew what I know now and we were in business and our business was right now we were still in that business and we had all the resources we have with social media, I would be so excited to be the head of that department. You know what I have been doing the last nine years online and you are always like saying to yourself like this is great. Look at you. Look at what you're doing. I could have taken this information and applied it to that business and we could have blew up.
[00:43:50] WV: I know it. Absolutely. I guess that's one thing that I do regret, is not having the business solely by myself, of being the sole proprietor and then as grew up you came into to the business and we probably still would have been there.
[00:44:06] SV: Oh yes, I think we probably would and that’s why I think because of that situation it led me to want to get out and it wanted you to get out and that we transitioned in a different way. We pivoted because we did that. So I think it’s part of the plan, it’s part of the plan. But like I said if we were still there, I think we could have had a profitable business, we could have had assets, we could have sold and exited that business for probably seven, eight figures. You know what I mean, I really do believe that. But hey, we learned a ton through that process. We’re both happy right now.
[00:44:47] WV: We’re happy now.
[00:44:49] SV: That’s all that matters. And to me it’s about the freedom, it’s about the lifestyle. It’s about having you here with me now. You’re in the basement, but you know we’re sitting here talking. We’re travelling together a little bit. You came to Denver with me, you’re going to Miami with me. We’re moving closer so we can be together longer. To me it’s all about being present now and as I get older I’m starting to see that more and I know you do as well.
[00:45:10] WV: Absolutely.
[00:45:11] SV: Alright so let’s wrap this up. I guess what I wanted to cover here real quick and tell you publicly, you know, what you’ve taught me and what my takeaways are was that hard work pays off. Work ethic and consistency is huge and I think that that’s skill anyone can have is work ethic and consistency. You agree?
[00:45:30] WV: I agree, 100%. I always did.
[00:45:32] SV: I think the other think like I’d already said being good to people. I think everyone wins. The other thing that you taught me is how to be a good father and be a great person to my kids and to be in their lives and those morals. You were allowing me to be free to go out and do what I wanted but you also allowed me to make those mistakes to learn from within reason. There were certain situations you would be like, “Here’s what you got to think about if you go down that line.” Then it would make me think and then I would not want me to do that. The one thing you told me too was, and this is in the partying days when I was a younger kid 17,18 years old, you were like, “Listen that’s fine you want to go out there you can do that but just understand this. If you’re at a party and one person has drugs and you get busted, guess what? You’re busted too.”
You instilled those types of things and I instill those into my kids you know what I mean. I got to say, it definitely makes a huge difference and I can see that even with other people which I won’t bring up that are in our family, not in my side but other sides. There’s other things that you can see that it’s constantly being traded down, passed down because that’s what they know. It’s so important to number one have a mentor, whether it’s a parent, whether it’s a friend, whether it’s someone you hire, whether it’s a coach whatever it is to be able to have that person that can help you and lead you down the right path. Again, want to say thank you and one little quick story dad. I don’t think I shared this with you but you know this already. My father growing up, when I was in middle school and high school, and again this is stuff that you don’t really appreciate then but you appreciate now. I can see things that I do now are because of what you did. My father made breakfast for me every morning. I’ll never forget it. I’d sit at the table and you’d have the breakfast ready. Sometimes you’d have the lid on like a top of a pan…
[00:47:39] WV: That was all the time because you were late.
[00:47:42] SV: Yeah. Because. I was always late. You mean I didn’t get up in the morning?
[00:47:45] WV: You don't like to.
[00:47:46] SV: Was that the time you came in with wash cloths and you‘d slap me in the face with wash cloths?
[00:47:50] WV: Probably. A number of times.
[00:47:53] SV: That’s all I remember right? It's just “Scott, Scott, come on, come on.” I’d be like, “Alright I’m up.” I’d close my eyes and roll over. Now I got to say my son Scotty, he’s right up. I just touch him twice and he’s up. So he doesn’t take after me in that respect. Except for now I’m an early bird. I get up at 6 o’clock every single day so it’s no big deal but it was for school, I didn’t want to get up for school. I didn’t like school I just don't enjoy that. Anyway you always had the breakfast ready for me and I didn’t appreciate it then I appreciate it now. I always remember too you reading the newspaper across the way in your work uniform. You had your shirt there for the business you’d sit there you’d read the paper. We’d have a little bit of conversation but then I’d be off to school and go. But that was the start of my day every single day. And I’ll never forget that.
That was just great. Now moving forward I’ve since done that for all of my kids except [Cailin?] that was a little bit different. My wife usually gets her at least her breakfast most mornings. But when Alexis was young and Scotty, they would come to the table and I would always be cooking them breakfast. A funny story I did that to Alexis, I don’t know if I told you this dad but I made her blueberries one morning in oatmeal. She had to be only like ten or 11 years old. She gets done all eating it and her lips were totally blue, she didn’t want to go to school. She was like, “I’m never eating blueberries again. Ever.”
[00:49:15] WV: Well, I eat blueberries and oatmeal every morning and one morning recently I’ll just shared this little story… I’m eating my cereal in front of my computer. All of a sudden I look a at my keyboard and it’s covered with blood, I thought. I said I’m bleeding somewhere so I checked my lips, I checked my arm, my leg, my upper body. Then I take a tissue and start wiping it up and it was purple. I must have bitten down on a blueberry and it squirted out of my mouth all over my keyboard. I did not see it.
[00:49:56] SV: Oh that’s funny. So you panicked for a minute?
[00:49:58] WV:I panicked. I panicked I thought I was bleeding to death somewhere. It looked like blood laying there. I didn’t know where it came from.
[00:50:06] SV: Oh that’s funny, that’s funny. But yes that was the blueberry story for Alexis. So yes I’ve done that for them. I don’t think they’ll ever forget it. They will probably I think appreciate it as they get older and then when they have their own kids because those are things that as you’re a kid you don’t really realize how fortunate you are.
[00:50:29] WV: We all are a reflection of our parents.
[00:50:31] SV: Yes absolutely. Or a mentor. I know people that maybe they didn’t have their family growing up. They had a grandparent or maybe it was someone that took care of them. There’s a lot of people that I know that came from rough backgrounds that have had that one person in their life that they just know was their guidance. Anyone listening too, just understand that whatever you’re doing in life or if it’s business, anything when you’re helping someone else or leading by example you’re making an impact. Again this podcast to me is all about that. I know this podcast wasn’t really tactical or wasn’t strategy. In the same breath I think it’s good to understand that you can learn from your experiences and if you look back and trace back your own steps maybe some of the things that you failed at but some of the things you succeeded at. Look at those and dissect them and see where those things happened and why they happened and what was the driving force behind it. I think that you can reflect on that and it could also open your eyes to other opportunities.
[00:51:37] WV: Also make a note too that I didn’t succeed at every the business I tried. I had a few failures along the way.
[00:51:47] SV: The one that comes to mind is using an infomercial for repairing vinyl seats. Do you remember that one?
[00:51:52] WV: Oh yes. I remember that one. I forgot about that. I forgot about that one. I invested $250 in this vinyl kit that came in the mail or a big suitcase that had all kinds of vinyl.
[00:52:07] SV: I still have the suitcase I think with other stuff in it.
[00:52:11] WV: Probably but that didn’t work out. I did one job and I said naah.
[00:52:18] SV: I don’t even think you charged the guy after you did the job.
[00:52:20] WV: I didn’t me didn’t. It looked worse after I got done that after before. I said, I can’t do this. Oh well, I’ll just put it away.
[00:52:31] SV: Yeah, you put it in the shed and you just left it there.
[00:52:33] WV: Maybe I can use the box to do something else.
[00:52:35] SV: That was funny.
[00:52:38] WV: That’s right, vinyl repairs.
[00:52:40] SV: There you go people, listen to that. Papa V tried something and it didn’t work. Imagine that. But it didn’t stop. He went out and did something else and…
[00:52:51] WV: I also cut wood and I worked all day cutting $15 worth of wood and delivering it. I look back at it and say man I didn’t make a lot of money. At one time I went to a house and I had a lot of wood there and they said, “I can’t give you 15 I’ll give you $7.” And I said, “Oh boy I said, what I’m I going to do here.” But I didn’t want to take it home, I didn’t stack it, I just put it in his garage. I kind of got out of that business too. It was a lot of work. I cut wood for myself.
[00:53:31] SV: It was a lot of work. Just to end on one more story was the time, you know what I’m going with. It was the one where you actually brought a whole bunch of tin back.
[00:53:47] WV: Oh yes. It was one of these storage sheds and I thought it was aluminum because it looked, I had a lot of aluminum back then. Your mother and I we spent all day cracking it up and breaking it. We put it in our truck and hiding it down and got the kids in the truck and I said we’re going to go down to the recycling place and sell it. We we’re going to probably have $40-50 worth aluminum here. So we get down there and get it on a scale and the guy comes out with his magnet and it goes clink. I said, “Oh no it’s steel.” So I think I got two dollars and 80 cents or something like that. Of course we had big visions of going to McDonald's that night.
[00:54:31] SV: I think we we’re going to get sneakers too.
[00:54:32] WV: And sneakers, we we’re going to get sneakers too.
[00:54:35]SV: We had the money to spent.
[00:54:37] WV: Oh had it spent. Then we had to settle for… we still went to McDonalds.
[00:54:41] SV: I think we still went to McDonalds we just didn’t get the shoes.
[00:54:43] WV: I didn’t want to disappoint you.
[00:54:44] SV: I don’t think we got the shoes. Then to end on that funny story to make it even funnier, then Jimmy and I, we seen what you were doing and I we didn’t know you didn’t get a lot of money because you didn’t tell us but we seen you taking metal and bringing it back so we had this one hill that had a whole bunch of old mufflers and a bunch of old steel things. We took our bikes and we wrapped rope around these different parts and we dragged them all to the front yard. And you got home from work and you said, “What the heck are you doing?” We said, “Well we’re going to bring metal back to play like you did the other day.” You said, “No. You got to bring that stuff all back. It’s not worth anything. If you want to find something you need a magnet and if it sticks then it’s not good. If it doesn’t stick you’re good.” We went back and we gave up on that thing. So that was my failure as well.
[00:55:29] WV: Yes you had big vision.
[00:55:29] SV: Big visions? I mean we were towing these mufflers down the block with sparks flying off the mufflers.
[00:55:35] WV: I know, I remember.
[00:55:36] SV: You had a pile full of crap when you got home from work.
[00:55:39] WV: Yah I know, all over my lawn.
[00:55:42] SV: Alright guys we can sit here and talk for hours about the failures and the funny things we did.
[00:55:47] WV: I could do that.
[00:55:49] SV: But I just wanted to share this with you guys. Get my dad on here to have him talk a little bit through his stories to show you guys if you can even scale an egg route. And all of the different things that you can do whether you’re starting this business or any business and understanding that it does take hard work and hustle. So dad I want to thank you for taking time to come on the show and I wanted to say here thanks for being an awesome dad and I love you.
[00:56:17] WV: You’re welcome and I love you too.
[00:56:19] SV: Okay so there you have it. A pretty good interview with my dad. There were some things there that I didn’t even know that I learnt from that interview. So pretty cool stuff. I hope that you enjoyed that. I hope that you can see that you have to get out there. You have to hustle. There’s never going to be a clear cut path but you do have to go out there and take some form of action. If you don’t have the resources right now there’s no excuse to not at least just get started and I think you can see that from his story and some of the things that he’s taught me as well. So again I want to thank my dad for coming out. I know he was a little standoffish.
Didn’t really know if he wanted to go out there and do it because he’s not really much of a public speaker. I don’t know where I really get that from because I don’t think my mother was either. I’m not really sure where that came from but he will get talking if you get talking to him at an event. If you do meet him at one of the events that I’m at definitely go up and say hello to him. I know he had some cocktails and some lunch with a few of the TAS listeners when we were in Denver. He’s not, I guess, not approachable I don’t think he wants to be up on a stage. So I’m not really sure where that came from. But anyway, hopefully you got value from that and you can just see that hard work does pay off and work ethic and all of that fun stuff. If you guys are thinking to yourself I’m not really sure if I want to do this.
That’s fine but at least understand that it’s going to take hard work in whatever you do and you can make the choice. You can make the choice to decide what you want to do in your life. So that’s going to wrap up this episode. If you want to download the transcripts or the show notes or any of that stuff that we talked about inside of the episode here, head over to theamazingseller.com/209. Once again that’s theamazingseller.com/209 and you can grab all those over there. If I find any goofy stuff to put up there I’ll do that there as well. There’s a couple of things I can think of that I’m going to try to locate and hopefully we can find them there. There might be even a video there of me and a good friend of mine doing a little WWF impersonation there. I might go and find that and plug that in on this episode. So if you want to have a good laugh you might want to check out the show notes to this one. theamazingseller.com/209.
Alright guys that’s it. That’s going to wrap it up. Remember I’m here for you and I believe in you and I’m rooting for you. But you have to you have to, come on say it with me say it loud say it proud, “Take action.” Have an awesome amazing day and I’ll see you right back here on the next episode.
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