Founder Chat - How to Build a Business that Supports Your Life Plan

Josh and Scott discus how KickoffLabs got started, why we bootstrapped it, how we prioritized our personal and business lives, and what keeps us motivated 8 years in.

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How to Build a Business that Supports Your Life Plan.

Flip the script! Design a business with a revenue stream that supports your life and not a life that supports a business.

Bootstrap for freedom

No one gives you 20 million in funding without some sort of strings and expectations attached.

Understand your personal priorities

If it's important for you to spend time with your family then make sure your business is setup to support that as a founding principle.

Turn practicality into a strength

Eliminate debt. Save money in advance. Set goals and have a fallback plan, but don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

Make money talk

If someone says they need a feature and are willing to pay for it's development... then others might too.

Keep your partner in the Loop

Consider your partner as an investor in your business that needs to be kept abreast of how things are going. Be open.

Your time isn't free

It may look like your business is making money... but can it afford to pay you what you're worth?

Full Transcript

Josh: All right. I'm going to call today's episode a founder cast, because with me is my co founder Scott Watermasik. In this episode we wanted to walk through some of the reasons behind KickoffLabs, from our perspective and specifically Scott's perspective, how it fits into his life, how we got started, how we going about that process. And so, hey, thanks for taking the time today Scott, and writing out all of these detailed notes about the business.

Josh:Let's just dive right in today. So we started KickoffLabs. You wrote in this note in March of 2011 but leading up to that, what was your reasoning? I mean, I know why I started wanting to start the business, but I'm curious to hear your perspective of like what made you interested in starting your own business?

Scott: Yeah, I mean I guess it was, you know, so we had both previously worked together at a company and kind of like two years into that. I mean, I was arguably the first or second, I guess, employee besides the founder, founders, at the time. And I started becoming, you know, I think like everyone during the day, infatuated with the whole 37 signals base camp, you know, kind of scratch your own itch, build the thing you love, type business. But at the time, the company I worked at, I got essentially hired to build something. I was doing an opensource anyway. And so it made sense to keep working there. You know, I really enjoyed the product I was building, the team and got to build a team. But I always just had this kind of desire to, you know, do things on my own, to do it my own way.

I always just had this kind of desire to do things on my own and to do it my own way.

Scott: Kind of that, like I said, that 37 signals, you know, kind of style. Skipping ahead, seven years or so, we were there. Like any business, businesses change and it just no longer was, you know, it was no longer ... We were no longer doing the things exactly the way we wanted to do it. And I remember back at the time, I think my daughter, she's like twelve now, was three. And she wanted to start like a bakery and she wanted to be a dancer. And you already were hearing like family members say, oh, those are nice ideas but you need to do something more practical.

I kind of felt like I was taking the more practical route and I wasn't kind of putting myself out there.

Scott: And I kind of felt like I was taking the more practical route and I wasn't kind of putting myself out there. You know, being a developer is kind of easier to kind of jump into something like this. Because you know, at the end of the day, if the business wasn't successful, it's still a really good market for developers. So it wasn't a huge risk and it just seemed like it was time to get started.

Josh: And so what are the, like you listed here, I didn't want to skip over this, so you listed here some of the other reasons that you wanted to start your own business and one of them was about commuting.

Scott: Well, I mean, I hate commuting. I don't know why. I think it partly is around, I live in New Jersey, you know, the traffic capitol I think of the world at times. And I always hated the idea of commuting. When I first started getting into development, I loved the idea of freelancing, although I never once did freelancing. That's kind of the path I thought I would take at some point, would be just kind of the work as like a hired gun and to work on projects that I chose and I found interesting.

Scott: But I think spending those seven years working at Telligent, working with you and working with a bunch of other people remote, I kind of came away at the idea that you could build a business. You know, you didn't just have to be a hired gun for some other company, and you can kind of have the best of both worlds where you could work on a team, work on a product you cared about, an environment you cared about, but you weren't, you know, like I said, just like a hired gun per se.

Josh: Yeah. And the other thing you touched on was the change at the company you worked at, that it wasn't a bad place, but after seven years it was time to go. You know, obviously I worked at the same place. I got hired on much later than you did at the company. But it was fascinating to watch that change and a big part of that change, and I'm not going to fully get into my story, but a big part of that change was taking funding at that company. And we just saw so many things change after. I think it was basically accepted two rounds of $10 million each of funding or one round with two different tracks of the funding and the different people that brought in, the different mentality to the business that brought in.

Josh: It just changed things. And it's not a bad thing. I mean, the company, there's lots of ways to run a business in a way that was congruent with how I felt at the time. It doesn't sound like it was congruent with what you wanted, which is my long way of getting, was one of the motivations for you starting your own business, the ownership stake or feeling like you were building something of value that you owned?

No one gives you $20 million and just says, you know, keep going about things the way you're doing. You know, there's always comes with some type of strings attached to it.

Scott: I don't think I got that part. You know, at the time when we did it. I mean we have our notes, where you talk later on about, you know, once a business makes money it's worth something and you got to factor that in. I don't think it was 100% that. I mean it was the change in the company, right? No one gives you $20 million and just says, you know, keep going about things the way you're doing. You know, there's always comes with some type of strings attached to it. So the business certainly changed. I think some of the things that really, you know, frustrated me or it didn't make sense to me from afar. Now, that I've owned the business for eight years, I can see some of where things were coming from, some of the ideas and the way you have to work with customers and the things you do for customers.

Scott: I've always felt very customer centric, but I don't think I really got it 100% until it was me. And it was interacting with the customers where the customer, you know, somebody who's angry about something. And we had that story a couple of weeks ago where someone said, I want to speak with someone else, you know, I'm not happy with how you've explained this. And I was like, you really can't go much further. I was like, I a cofounder and I wrote the feature that you might disagree with it, but I built it so there's really no place else to go.

Scott: So I don't know. So I don't think I really got the whole ownership and wanting to own something. I don't think that was a driving force. I just really think I wanted to get back to building something that I enjoyed more. You know, because the more people, we started at Telligent and said I was employee number anywhere from two to four, right? There was the founders and there's one other person hired, you know, near me. You know, when I left, it was over a hundred people. So you just have a lot of different people pulling in different directions and when you get to start something brand new, you get to make right or wrong and you get to make all the decisions and that kind of stuff.

Josh: Yeah, absolutely. So I remember we had a bunch of ideas and I remember writing all of them down. What led you to come to the decision we should build the product that became KickoffLabs?

Scott: I think one part dumb luck. I think the other part, and I think we've talked about on other podcasts stuff over the years, has been, we looked at KickoffLabs as ... I think when we started, we were more focused on idea validation. I think I had read Rob Walling had a book Start Small Stay Small or something like that. And Tim Ferris had written The Four Hour Work Week, which you know, most of it probably isn't super actionable. But the thing that both of those books talked about testing ideas with Google ads and if you can drive traffic and if people will give you their email addresses, it might be a good idea and as a way of kind of easily validating, you know, can you at least reach a market? It might not be a good business, but can you reach a market that's big enough that you could potentially make a business out of it?

Okay, we have all these ideas. What if we could do something that would help you validate those ideas? And at the end of the day, if we are wrong about KickoffLabs at least we had a tool that we could use to validate a different idea.

Scott: And I think that's what we really started with saying, okay, we have all these ideas. What if we could do something that would help you validate those ideas? And at the end of the day, if we are wrong about KickoffLabs and if we're wrong about the business and how useful the product will be, all those things, none of that kind of worked out. At least we had a tool that we could use. I think it was 20 ideas and we each bring 10 to the table or something like that.

Josh: It was several pages of like a paragraph and idea each. I don't know whether it was 20 or 30 but it was something along those lines.

Scott: Yeah. So even if we spent a couple of months and built something and it wasn't useful to the world at large, it would be potentially useful for us to help us validate one of those other ideas and to see if we could reach, you know, a market that was bigger than what we were shooting for at the time.

Josh: And so that process started in March of 2011. And when did we have something that customers could pass for? You remember the date and I didn't-

Scott: June 24th. It was the first time when you could sign up and you could pay us money and thank God for those people who gave us a chance early on. I keep telling myself, someday I'm going to go back into get repository and fire up what we shipped on June 24th and see if it still works, if I can still install it. You know, it was certainly much rougher than what we have today. And even then, it changed quite a bit, right between what we thought we were going to build in March and what we ended up doing, even by June 24th, we pretty quickly came to the realization that the days of 5 cents or 2 cents per click and a Google ad just didn't exist anymore. You know, even back in 2011, Google didn't want you saying you were, come sign up for company x, y, z. And there being like a form on the other end that was just like, you know, just ask for email address and provide it, nothing else.

Scott: You know, it was just, kind of like an idea that something might be there. Google really wasn't on board with collecting, blatantly collecting emails like that. And the cost, it just wasn't a good idea anymore. Like I said, the 5 and 10 cent clicks just didn't really exist. And so we pretty quickly changed into the idea of doing this kind of viral component behind kind of just sign ups, just signups for businesses. You know, at the time, I don't even think, I think it was a couple of years in, right before we started talking about contest and leaderboards and that kind of stuff. I think at first it was just all about how many referrals could you get? And we did direct and indirect and stuff like that for referrals.

If a business had people telling other people about it, that was another indicator that it could be really successful.

Josh: Yeah, it was really taking ... I mean, looking back on it, it's easy to see now, but I think at the time, we were kind of taking steps into, well, if it's harder to validate your business with 5 cent ads and clicks, then you need to make it easier to grow your business with word of mouth. And then I think something that was explained to me in one of the recent episodes we did about how to validate your business on $20 a day. What he said was, the thing about the referrals wasn't just that it was growing the business, but it was telling him for each of the businesses that they're testing out and validating, if a business had people telling other people about it, that was another indicator that it could be really successful. And so, you know, it was sort of ... I think we kind of, you might say we lucked into it, because we certainly didn't do enough customer research to discover that.

We really focused on listening to customers, especially early ones that were willing to take a chance on us with real money.

Josh: But the thing that we did do early on, I remember, was we made sure a point to talk to all of the people who are paying us money and ask about what they needed, what they were really trying to do. Because I remember I did my best to schedule calls with all of the first thousand people that paid us money or actually had started an account and did anything with the account at the time. I was just willing to talk to anybody who bothered to put in their time and create a free account and start building something with it. And I remember if somebody was paying us, we said, you know, they're paying us, we're just going to do whatever it is that they need at the time, a little bit blindly and a little bit ... But we were really focused on listening to customers, the early customers especially.

Scott: Yeah, I mean that was one of the, you know, I don't even know if it's an idea or concept or whatever. I mean, it certainly shouldn't be a concept, but one of the things we did very early on in our business that a lot of businesses weren't doing at the time or early businesses weren't doing at the time and probably still are doing today, is we ... When we said we are ready to go, we had, pre that June 24th timeline, I think we had like a two week Beta where just some of our friends and former coworkers and stuff signed up and tried it out. But when we went live at June 24th, you could really ... You had to put a credit card in to do, I don't want to say anything meaningful because we really had a very limited feature set at the time.

Scott: But for the time to do something meaningful, you really had to put a credit card in. And that really helped us differentiate between, you know, the noise, what was potentially noise. And what was actually real things with someone that said, hey, I already like your product enough to pay you. You know, at the time we had pretty ridiculous price points. Was it 10, 15 and 25 or something like that? If a person wants to pay you $10 and $15, I would love it if you did x, y, and z. And it made it really much easier if two or three of those people said the same thing, to jump on and say, okay, these are the features. This is probably where we should start prioritizing our time. And I think all of our best features from that point on really came from customers saying ...

Maybe there's something to running this as a full scale contest versus just lead capture.

Scott: I mean it was customers that came to us and said, we're trying to run a contest. And we heard that a couple times, I think, before we said, you know, maybe there's something to running this as a full scale contest versus just lead capture. Right? I think some of our early headlines were we'd capture and a free landing page design and all sorts of silly stuff or whatever. But it was really our customers asking for specific things that really got us to our kind of core feature set.

Josh: Yeah. I mean there's an advantage to doing all like in depth customer research. But I cringe when I hear people taking feature suggestions before they've charged or you know, feature addition suggestions or enhancements before they've charged any money. Because to me, it was critical when you to ask these people who were paying us and give their voice a little bit more amplification, if like you said, two or three people that are paying us, it made a lot more sense to take their ideas seriously compared to the people who weren't paying us. Who would say things like, well, if you had this, I'd pay for your service. Well, if you had this, and if I feel like we would have wasted time chasing a lot of those requests, but we focused on the requests from people who already saw value and said, we would get more value if you had this.

Josh: And I think that provides, and I still think it's true today, people who are paying us more money and when they ask for something and say, well, you know, what do you need? How does that provide more value? And digging into what they're asking. And you'll often hear, yeah, I would pay you, you know, $100 more or I would pay you to do this one time for us like this fee for it. And it makes it a lot easier to prioritize features rather than just blindly asking what do people need? It's just all sorts of different ways to do customer research. And I think it's one of the more powerful ones, is seeing what people are willing to pay for.

Scott: So I've got to go with like, what we were talking about before, where you said, you know, I think it was another Rob Walling term, was like our distinct advantage or whatever. I mean, we were highly technical people and so that really worked with what we could do. Like we could build things relatively quickly and cost-effectively versus a bunch of research and running out. We weren't ... We didn't have to pay someone else to build it for us.

Scott: We've certainly built things and then taken them away. And so it just played more into what we were good at, at the time. We just weren't very good at that kind of customer development side of it. We've got better. You've certainly got much better at it over the years. And so I think we can go at things slightly differently today, eight years in than when we did it back then, but in those first early ones, the thing that we were very good at was building and we leveraged that to ... I think we leveraged it to the best of our ability.

Josh: Yeah, absolutely. So I want to go back to the months following June 24th, 2011, when we started charging. And you know, you had quit a well paying good paying job with benefits at the time to go about this. And so what is your journey? What did your journey look like after that? From your perspective? What did it look like in the first few months to a year afterwards?

I remember my wife all the time, you know, and very inquisitively, like how's the business going? What's it doing? Are people paying you?

Scott: It's funny, now that I think back, even though we pre talked about this, I remember my wife all the time, you know, and very inquisitively, like how's the business going? What's it doing? Are people paying you? Because I went, right? I mean, we went together. Because we both own 50% of the business but nine months, right? Before we took any money out, I think we both put in 4,000 dollars. I don't know how we came up with that number but that was like our starting point. Right? We self funded with $8,000. I think we said we would come back to the idea of putting more in if it was necessary. Although I don't think either one of us, you know, I don't know if that really would have happened, if we really burned through that money and went negative on it, how willing we would have been. And our spouses, at the time, probably wouldn't have been willing to keep funding it.

But nine months in, I think we started paying ourselves, it was like a thousand or $1,100 per month.

Scott: But I do think we went nine months or so without paying anything in. We could see that we were slowly building a little bit of money up in the bank minus our time, which is, you know, something you really have to be cognizant of. You know, it looks like the business is making money early on, but it's really not. When you have two cofounders who were making, you know, decent salaries before are making absolutely nothing. And then the business make some money and you have to pay taxes on that money, which is, you know, always good too, where you're not taking money out. But technically the business is making money and being a LLC, you know, it's technically it's your money, so all that boring stuff. But nine months in, I think we started paying ourselves, it was like a thousand or $1,100 or whatever.

Scott: And then over the next five years it went up a little bit here, a little bit there, every once in awhile a nice bump. I do remember, multiple times, over, especially that first five years, just thinking to myself, we have a really nice side business, right? It's great. We have a business that sort of runs itself. If we wanted to check out and we could make $1,500 a month on the side and we could start something else or 2,500 hours or 3000, whatever it is. And I just remember at the time just thinking that, you know, that was the future of KickoffLabs was, it was a good idea. It just wasn't great as far as the market or our ability to market it and how much we enjoyed doing those things. But slowly and surely we kind of kept at it. We had, I remember, SiftSocial, was there a second product we tried to start?

Josh: Yeah, I was going to bring that up. I mean, at the time before we really started replacing our pay with kickoff labs, we were building, you know, it seemed like KickoffLabs was building and earning a little bit more money, but I think we were hungry. And we said, let's start this development and one of the other product ideas when we started building SiftSocial, which in the end, was a good idea not to continue building it, but I'll let you tell that.

One of the things we struggled with early on, and still every business struggles with today, is just word of mouth and just getting yourself out in front of people, marketing and selling yourself and supporting that business.

Scott: Well I mean, the business, that business itself, had a flow in that it just relied too much on Twitter and Facebook and some others for data, which you know, as Twitter changed over the years, I think a lot of people got burned. And thankfully we saw that early enough on, but we kept coming back to ... One of the things we struggled with early on, and still every business struggles with today, is just word of mouth and just getting yourself out in front of people, marketing and selling yourself and supporting that business. And we kept coming back to it. It's hard enough to do this with one business, right? At the end, wow would we do it with two, right? It's hard to keep up with writing a blog post every week or every month or however often we do it.

Scott: Even these podcasts, right? This podcast took what, three weeks to schedule? Because of life and vacations and stuff like that, you know, finding time just in our two schedules and do it. Let alone trying to do one for KickoffLabs and then maybe having to do one for another business here or there. I think I'm off tangent a little bit but it did look like for a while it was just going to be a good side business. And then we started to play with some other ideas. Things we thought were smarter to build. I remember we did like the idea of SiftSocial because we looked at it and said that's $100 a month product.

Scott: I think at the time we were charging, you know, we still weren't charging nearly enough for the product. We fixed some of that. You know, over the years, we charged a little bit more. We added features we thought were worth charging more for and experimented with a bunch of different things. But I do remember that was one of the things we kind of, our early take a take away was, we need something that we can charge more for. We don't need as many customers to pay for two cofounders and all the other kinds of stuff that goes along with it.

Josh: So you say in a note, it took close to five years to earn what you were making as a full time employee before, but there were other benefits to running KickoffLabs to you over that stretch that made it worthwhile. And so what are those kinds of benefits?

(The benefits of a bootstrapped business include...) complete control of my schedule and getting to be involved with my children and everything they do.

Scott: I mean complete control of like my schedule. Again, getting to be involved, you know, with my children and everything they do. Almost, it's not almost, but definitely as much as I want to do it, right? I can be there for getting on and off the bus and drop offs and lots and lots and lots of dance classes and all sorts of stuff like that. But always having control of the schedule. I think the thing, and this gets back into one of your early questions about kind of ownership. And a part I didn't get with the business was that, you know, all along building it, even if it was just like a $5,000 a month business, it's still that revenue stream. It was something that we could sell if we wanted to in the future.

Scott: Something we could tip back away from and it would still keep running as a ... I always joke every once in a while that we could not do anything in the business and I still think it would carry on for a couple of years of just doing just support. Neither one of us want to do that. So if you're listening to this and you're a customer, we are fully in invested in continuing to build it and grow it.

Scott: But it really was, it's something tangible. It is a living, breathing thing per se, you know, that has value to it. And that's certainly something I didn't comprehend. You know, early on when I first started it, it took a couple of years, like I said, till it was making a couple thousand dollars a month when I was like, it could be a side business or it could be something we could flip to have revenue to jumpstart something else or to just get out of the business entirely if life took us in a different direction.

Josh: I mean, I agree with everything you're saying. I mean it's amazing what I take for granted now when I talk to people that have, you know, I would say traditional full time jobs. I mean just, you know, if you go through a personal struggle in life or you go through like a time period that's challenging for one reason or another. I mean there's not an HR department to go and request, you know, hey, I need to take time off and not work. But then also, I mean, I went through some difficult personal times getting separated, divorced, whatever you want to call it, a couple of years ago. And the advantage to the business to me was ... I mean, I remember you just saying, you know, just take the summer off.

I remember you just saying to take the summer off.

Josh: I remember you just telling me that and I didn't end up taking the summer fully off, but I remember because ... And I think if I was working in a company and I needed like mental downtime, I would have struggled to request it. And it would've been more of a fully on, fully off thing, when the reality is I needed something to distract myself like I needed to ...

Josh: Even if I couldn't mentally focus much, I needed to log in and do support tickets, you know, just something where I could do and I could play in the business where I had the mental capacity to play and not do things that were too stressful for me. But I was able to do that for a period of a few months to the point where I could start sleeping again. And that's a huge benefit and that the revenue didn't go down over that time. If anything, it was proof I didn't actually need to work in the business for a while. But like you said, I think things just were set up in a way that we had that freedom at that point to be able to take breaks like that. If it was needed. The next-

My youngest now is four and I drive her to preschool or daycare, like every day.

Scott: I've always said or not always, the last couple of years, I said I could do whatever I need to do to help my family, right? To put food on the table and a roof over their head or whatever. So that involved me working at some business, nine to five. And if that's what I had to do, that's what I'd have to do. Certainly people go through much worse than, especially for what I do for a living, right? Just getting to build things, you know, on a computer. Just moving bits from here to there and kind of getting paid for it. But outside of that, I think I would really struggle having to have some nine to five routine. I drive, my youngest now is four. And I drive her to preschool or daycare, like every day.

Scott: And if I get stuck behind a school bus and it's only four miles, it's like the end of the world. I really don't know what to do with myself. I'm only driving, like I said, eight minutes away or whatever, but it feels like it takes forever. And then God forbid I get stuck behind a bus, it feels like such a horrible experience and people still do drive. Before we moved, we moved a couple of years ago, my wife was driving 60 miles each way. I would just struggle so hard to kind of not have that, you know, that control anymore, you know?

Josh: Yeah. That's it. It's a huge benefit, that control and that freedom of time. Also, I mean, when we've hired people in the past and just remember like if once you get to this stage of your business, it's a selling point. I mean, there's startups that can hire people and say a selling point is the potential to be a unicorn and strike it rich. But the reality is that's kind of rare. Whereas, in a bootstrap business or you know, a more sustainable business ... I don't know if that's the right word. I think people still struggle with these definitions. But in a business like this, and I think what we've been, you know, we modeled by with like 37 signals, is that it becomes a huge benefit to tell people like, hey, if your kids have a soccer game, you should go to that soccer game. I mean, the business is here to support our lives and lives of people that work for us. Not the other way around.

Josh: I see one of the notes you have under bonuses. And the bonus section was for people that are thinking about going down this journey, I define some of this as like things we were, either lucky or privileged to have, but what are some of the things that made it easier for you to start a business? You already talked about being a developer and feeling like, well, if it failed, I'm still a developer. So there's always being able to go back and get a different job. But what are some of the other things that made it easy for you to decide to start a business?

I did start making small plans such as eliminating as much debt as I could a few years before.

Scott: Yeah. I don't even want to call it advantages. Right? Because it's ... I don't know, I don't want to get into too much of who's advantage for this and that or whatever. But I looked at it as I did plan for, like I said, kind of two years into the Telligent experience. Right? So that would have been 2005 ish. 2006 ish. I did start making small plans, I think towards being able to do something like that in the future. And that was, you know, eliminating as much debt as I could minus a mortgage. So that certainly was an advantage, but it's something that wasn't necessarily given to me. But I did plan ahead of time. Also, I had one child at the time, so I do feel like I had to be a bit more careful with how I went out and did it.

Scott: I think I said in the notes and I talked about this before, but having a spouse to provide benefits was a huge deal for me. I really don't think I would have taken the leap if I didn't have benefits, especially having a child. I do think this is why, at times, it feels appealing to start a business when you're 21, 22 and you're not thinking about things like that. When you get into your thirties and you have children and stuff, you know, I do think you do consider those things much more, even though there are ways around there. Or you can buy, pay for your own benefits and whether or not you should have to pay for benefits and stuff is certainly a topic for another type of podcast on health care or whatever.

Scott: But for me, I needed that. I wanted to have it. I wouldn't have felt comfortable not having it. So having a wife that worked, or a spouse that worked and had those benefits and was already using her benefits certainly made it easier. Having a little bit of a nest egg. Like I said, we both put in money to the business so it didn't necessarily start negative. I had a mortgage, but we had paid off our cars and didn't have credit cards and had got out of student debt and all those other kind of boring adult things. It certainly made it easier. I do think at times too, it helps.

Scott: I know other people that still have those things and it does help keep them focused a bit more where they know they have to come in and this business has to start making money in six months because the debt is piling up. For me, I don't know if that would've been enough of a motivating factor. I liked having the idea of, you know, I did kind of a clean slate. I was giving up ... What's the term for a potential earned revenue or whatever? But I wasn't negatively, you know, you know, depleting, a whole bunch of stuff from there.

Doing what we did required a bit more planning.

Josh: Yeah. From my point of view, on my side, I mean, the $4,000 we put into the business was part of it. But since we weren't paying ourselves, that wasn't going back to us. And I think what I'm hearing you say is that these aren't necessarily bonuses, but things that are advantages, but things that you planned on. And I think if you're, and I don't want to say an older entrepreneur, but you're not in your twenties, I think doing what we did required a bit more planning. And we, it turns out when we started talking to each other about, about the business, we both had similar thoughts for a couple of years. And had both been saving and paying off debt and making sure that we were in a position to do this.

Josh: So to say like, oh, it just took $4,000 to put in the business is a little misleading because I think, at least in my case, I'd saved enough money. So, you know, I'd figured out and done the math of like, okay, what's the minimum I need to contribute to my family so that we can continue to pay the mortgage? And what's the runway that I can afford to save up for? And say if I made no money for, you know, x number of months and I tried to space it out to as close to a year as I could, and say, I'll give myself a year at this minimum runway. So the business, even though it wasn't paying us, it was still on a runway, at least from my perspective of, I've got a year to start replacing this revenue that I've got because I've saved up enough to pay for this for a year.

Josh: But after that, if we hadn't started pulling in some money, you know, we would've had to start freelancing or taking on like side jobs or something like that to extend the runway. Thankfully, we didn't get to that point but what I was trying to get at is, I think you and I both, we're very practical about it. It wasn't like, Hey, let's go start a business and next week we started a business. I mean, I think we both had been thinking the same thing for years and I think anybody can do what we did. There was no magic sauce or secret to the way that we went about leaving good jobs and in both our cases having a wife and kids. And there was no secret to it other than it took a couple of years of planning to do.

Scott: Yeah. I mean, just in case she does listen to it someday, I do have to shout out to my wife. She is definitely a saver. You know, it's a good mix. Right? She always thinks we don't save enough. And I always think we don't make enough. And so, you know, the mix of those two together certainly helped, put not just me but put us, both you and I, and my wife and I, in a right position to try something like this. And then she ... I think it's worked out for all parties, but certainly, yeah. Yeah, certainly getting it, having those things in order was a huge ... Helped me out, personally, quite a bit.

Josh: Yeah. And that's what I would say if somebody asks for one bit of advice or how did you do this at that age of having a family, it was just, the biggest part of it was just planning in advance, is just realizing that it does take away, having a family, your ability to make spur of the moment, oh I'll go to ... I'll find cheaper rent and I'll live on ramen and without medical benefits for a year. It just becomes harder to do that when you have a family. But it's all possible with a little bit of planning and saving if you know that's your goal. So I didn't have a great note of what to end on, but my views to end on is, so what keeps you excited about doing this?

Scott: I think the ... One part is just to have control of your schedule, right? That you can go away, you can work on the things that you want to work on. You know, as the business grows, there's always things that you have to do that you might not love. But you have to do them for part of the business. But I think the other part there that really excites me is there's always things where we're like, you know, what's the best way of saying it? There's always the next thing to do, right? Where we're like, all right, here's where the market's going, or customers are going and there's never ... And we've always said at the end of each year, each quarter, and we're talking about the financials, and how things are going. We've never got to a point where we're like, I don't know what the next thing to do is.

(What's exciting is..) We have this long list of things that we believe will help the business. It's just a matter of to keep executing on it.

Scott: Like, I still feel like, you know, eight years in, I know exactly what the next ... Actually, I know the next four or five things. And chances are by the time I get to those four or five things, there will be another four or five things and two of them or three of those things won't matter anymore. Something would have changed. But I still think the part that excites me most is that the business is still going. I still get to do the things I want to do. And at the end of the day, there's still light at the end of the tunnel. There's still where I'm like, we're not there, we're not out of ideas, we're we've kind of reached a revenue plateau or a customer plateau and there's just nothing else that we can do to potentially grow the market. We have this long, detailed list of things that we believe will help the business. And it's still there and it's still within our reach. It's just a matter of to keep executing on it.

Josh: Yeah, I think I feel the same way. It's that there's always an interesting new challenge and there's always something to learn. I mean, I'll get excited about certain things and I'm like, oh, it's just my choice to dive into it. I mean, nobody said like, oh, the best way to grow a business this year is to start a podcast. You know, we're making a bet with the podcast saying that we believe that if we invest in it, we can get it to build an audience and have another way of reaching an audience. And educating them and telling a story and that that'll be beneficial to the business. But for me, it's opportunities like that to say, Oh, you know, it'd be fun to learn how to, what's involved in getting a podcast produced and out there. And so I get a chance to learn that through doing the business. And there's always things like that I can apply back to the business and I can learn and bring it back to the business, that makes it exciting for me.

Scott: It's fun, still being in control, eight plus years later.

Josh: Yeah, absolutely. All right, well, on the note about freedom and time, my children are going to run back into the house and into my office probably any minute now. And I will have to take them to camp shortly after that, so we're going to have to cut this off now. Anything else you wanted to add?

Scott: That's it for today. Hopefully we can get to a better, more consistent schedule.

Josh: Yeah, absolutely. Have a good one.

Scott: You too. Bye.

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