Learn how the 22-year-old Oklahoma native Matt Watson started VinSolutions out his home and later sold it for $147,000,000 to AutoTrader. In this far-ranging interview, Clay and Matt discuss how to start a business out of your home, working with family, firing people, why Stackify’s office is built out of Lego parts, why college doesn’t help most coders and more.
The variables in life that make it feel bad:
Wins Of The Week!!!
Chupp – Arrival 3D – texted me last night that he is up 35% from last year at this point. Then he texted me at 3:00 am when he got up for work
The 3 variables that all clients have that have success:
Robert – Lakeshore Plumbing – #1 on Google organic for “OKC plumbing” – 3600 average monthly searches!!!
Marshall – American Document Shredding – 23.4% Growth from July 2017 to July 2018!
Thrivers, welcome back to the Thrivetime Show on your radio and podcast download on today’s show we are interviewing a man who started his first software business VinSolutions at just the age of 22, and who successfully sold the business in 2011 for $147 million dollars. Could you imagine what it would feel like to deposit a check for $147 million dollars at your local bank?
In fact, the Federal Reserve all guarantees your deposits up to $250,000, so Matt Watson would have to deposit his money at 588 different banks if he wanted to make sure in the event of a bank failure that his money would be safe.
Insert Audio – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcGYZUMnHQg
Before achieving massive success as an entrepreneur, Matt Watson was born into an entrepreneurial family where he worked with his family in flea markets.
Find Matt’s podcast – The Startup Hustle – on itunes
See more about Stackify and their office culture at the following link:
Oh yes, thrive nation. Welcome back to another exciting edition of the thrive time show on your radio and podcast download. Now, chuck, on today’s show, we have a Cornucopia of of great things we did today. We have a multitude, a plethora of papers. We have a plethora of topics to get into today. The first topic, Chop. This is going to be an exciting topic for somebody out there. It’s how to make $147,000,000. So that’s the first. That will be the first topic we’re going to make sure we take teach today is you’re going to listen in to that one. How to make $147,000,000 and a clay. What? Why, why, why, why is it just specific number? Well, um, what happened was, is there’s a thriver out there, a great guy, great listener, a great member of the thrive nation by the name of Matt Watson. And Matt reached out to us and said, hey, I’d like to be on the podcast to share some things that I learned while up building my business.
And I think Jonathan Kelly communicated with them via email. We have thousands of people emailing us all the time wanting to be on the show as guests or they want to be show sponsors and you know, it just starts with an email to [email protected]. And so Jonathan Kelly is, you know, going back and forth via email. And usually that usually goes like this. So we’ll reach out and say, I’d like to be a guest. We’d say, great, what’s the name of Your Business? And they usually don’t have a business yet. They usually do have some questions, which is fine. Or they have a company that’s maybe doing $300,000 a year of sales or you know, something like that. Well, this guy responds and says, uh, yeah, I was, I sold the company to auto trader for a hundred and $47,000,000. And so when you hear that immediately, you think to yourself,
hello, and then, and then you start to, you start to think to yourself like a chip. Well, you know, when you have a chip, you know what happens when you have, when you, when you have $147,000,000 or whatever you want to happen next. They say, see abroad to get that booty down a smack. Nobody knows what to do when you have $147,000,000. We wanted to break it down. So we’re going to ask him about how he started the company. Uh, through my exhaustive research I did this weekend. I understand his first employee was his father. There you go. He started the business at the age of 22. What was the name of the business? It’s called vin solutions. Now, want to give all the listeners enough time to look them up before we bring them on the show. We’re gonna. Bring him on the show here in just a little bit, but before we bring him on as a guest, want to make sure that you checkout vin solutions and then type in type and Matt Watson Sales Company for $147,000,000 and you can find information to prove this is real. Uh, and it’s just an exciting story. He now lives in Kansas and I, I couldn’t be more excited so I don’t get it confused with that. Vin solutions in New York City. That’s vinny solutions. That’s a totally different company. So look up to.
I can help you and I sit. Just sit off. My good friend from high school named snakes, snakes.
The problem was executed swimming.
That’s what we do.
Solutions, right? So totally different. Totally different company. I know a guy. Alright. I’m like, that’s what Vinnie’s solutions tagline would be is I know a guy, I know some guys now, the second thing we’ve got to get into today is wins of the week because we have clients out there who are diligently executing the proven systems that we’re teaching and they’re making more money this week than they were making last year. At the same time. You know what time it is? Oh, it’s time for. Alright, we have Paul Hood in the show that I went to our show sponsors. Paul Hood here today. He’s dancing pencil with Paul polman. Is Start with you because it hood CPA. He’s got a lot of great things going. Going on there. Had CPS. Do you have a win of the week either with one of your clients or with your personal life or your business or when you want to share before we try to one up you with clients wins. We’re here, clay. I’ve got one that’s both a win for a client and a win for me. So if you’ve heard of a company called Gen scripts, gen scripts, gin scripts. It’s a great company, a local company. They’re spreading all over the place and I don’t know how they do it, but they can take your prescription and whatever you’re paying through insurance. It’s cheaper for them not going through insurance. I, it’s,
Whoa, Whoa, whoa. Magic. Repeat it. Repeat it again because I just heard
Lou. Okay. Paul, what’s your. Okay, here’s an example, a specific example. I take a certain cholesterol medicine. It costs me about 20 bucks a month and that’s after my insurance pays for it. I go to gym script, so it was a client of mine. He’s a great guy and it’s $20 a year. Oh whoa. Is it legal? It’s legal from what? I don’t care. I’m getting that. I’m saving the money. Yes. It’s very legal, but anyway. No, seriously. Is it legal? Do we know if it’s legal? Absolutely. Yeah. They’re doing a great job and they’re expanding to. My win is getting my prescription for one twelfth of what I normally would pay for it. Nice wind is they are continually expanding. We just met with him again last week and I believe they’re getting ready to open up their fifth location in this area. So great company. They’re doing outstanding things. Chip
on my recent and Paul was talking, I didn’t speak, but my mind was talking and this is what it said.
Surely you can’t be serious. I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.
Okay, so chuck, what is it? Client win of the week, a client that you want to brag on, someone that you’re actually working with. Give us a little bit of a storyteller because the listeners out there, they’re going, yeah, they had a big win, but where do they start? Walk us through a couple of your client wins, right? I got one. Uh, a guy named Lenny Smith with a rival 3d. He does three d scanning and three d printing mainly focuses on industrial scanning sites. So he will go out, uh, you know, he has an off. He has a location in La, one in Austin. Went up in Boston and Oklahoma City spread out over the country. Wow. And he’ll go out to your pipe field, your, you’re manufacturing your pipe, they call them pipes that will go out there and he’ll scan the entire thing and turn it into a three d cad file for you.
So he does stuff like that. And the guy is just being so diligent. He’s grown his company, he’s managing his team better than he ever has. He’s, he’s been texting me whenever he told a challenge. I’m sorry, getting up earlier. I real quick, did you say a three d cad? Three d cad, cad, cad. What other kind of fish do they provide in the three d format? God, bad boss. So, um, he’s honestly just been working on, on getting up earlier and trying to work on the business before all the fires start because he’s doing it. They’re spread out all over the country from New York from all the way to la. And so he is getting up. He’s texted me at 3:00 AM, say a funny story about 3:00 AM, 3:00 AM. Um, I’ve been working with clients for a long time, long time, working with clients for over a decade now.
And I want to tell you something that I’ve discovered, there’s three variables to all of my clients who have had success and I thought about it a lot because had a client today asking me, they said, hey, I’ve been working with you for a long time and I’m growing, you know, 20 slash 25 percent right now. Can I ask you [inaudible]? I said, I want to know the feedback. What are the three things or five things? What are there? What are the things that all your great clients do and what are the things that all your bad clients do? And I’m like, that’s a great question. So these are my answers for him. And I thought that might be good for the listeners here. A one. All of my successful clients ever, and I’d say 98 percent of the people I’ve met who are successful, 99 maybe they all wake up and plan their day at least one hour before they see their first human.
Now there are a few people like Dr z that plant at night. Some people do in the morning, but they actually are. They have their meditation time, they have their daily planning time. Every single client I’ve ever had that has ever had massive success. Does that bill? The second thing that all my successful clients do, all my successful clients hit deadlines. It’s really cool working with people like that because they’ll say, hey, I don’t have the time. So it can be giving you a healthy example. Paul and I are working on the book. I’ll look under the hood, which you can now buy on Amazon. Uh, Paul’s book a look under the hood. It is a teaching you how a practical steps for accounting. You can get the book on Amazon Right now, look under the hood. And Paul had a lot going on. I think Paul is going down to Austin to meet with somebody.
He was traveling to Arizona and he said to me, he says, Hey, I can’t get that done like this week, but I can it done in like five weeks. So we put on the agenda, remember that Paul would put on the agenda and you confidently let me know I cannot get that done in one week, but I can get it done in five. Yup. The clients that struggle are the ones that say they’re going to get it done and then they, then they don’t. So it’s being aware of how long things take and then honoring your commitments. Right? And the third variable of all successful clients I’ve seen is there all stoic except for when they’re intentionally not stoic. So stoic means that you embrace, you actually learn to, um, handle a stress. It’s Christians called the serenity prayer, but it’s where when something bad happens, it does not bother you at all emotionally.
So like in this example today, one of my businesses, we got a letter that came in via email. I’ll email it, came in and said, hey, I’m, I’m trying to reach you about this issue. All caps. Pretty Long. John was dealing with the day big email, going on and on and on about how much they’ve tried to reach us. Just really emotional, crazy, intense, all caps, keyboard warrior. Well, this is the first time I’ve ever heard of the situation, so I called the guy on the way here about a way to the show tonight. You don’t have to. Chip called him and I said, hey, this is crazy what? He’s the one who sent me the email and I said, hey, I understand that you had some frustration. Absolutely I did. He was wanting to fight. So I do my system every time. Yep. Blast belief.
Listen, answer, satisfy trust. Blessed. I let people blast me, but I take it in. So if you’re emitting anger, I just let it happen. So let me, I believe what you’re saying to be true. Can I listen and kind of hear what happened from your perspective? Well, I sent you that email like, well, I’d like to hear from you. He tells me the situation I answer. I said, so, um, it looks like you’re saying to me you were charged twice on your credit card and you didn’t authorize that you want to be charged. Once said, yeah, it’s okay. Well, how much is the amount? The amount of question, it’s about thousand dollars. He’s, it’s about thousand dollars. You overcharged me for this particular business. And I said, okay, would it be okay if I put $1,100 on there for you? And he said, what? I said, yeah, I mean I just wanna let you know that the spirit of the thing, I feel bad that your card was charged twice and we’ll knock it out.
He goes, Huh? Like almost in disbelief as he was expecting a fight and it satisfies that, uh, does that feel like that’d be a good fit for you? Is that, does that seem right? Does that seem okay? I mean, if you were me, what would you want me to do? I mean, how, how do you want me to handle it? If you were me, what would you do? And then he hit us through a little sprinkle of little little what? Monday morning quarterbacking. He says, well, one, I would not overcharge people Dah. Well that’s awesome to say, you know, but if you have a church with a thousand members or a business with thousands of customers, it’s going to happen sometimes. And that’s said trust. Here’s the deal, I just want you to know that like I’m handling situation, our call’s recorded for quality assurance. What I just said to use recorded or are we, we got to get trust here.
You feel good, I feel good. Or we funded, you know, and he’s like, yeah, sorry for my ton. But if I had called that guy and God is intense with him as he was being with me, it would have gotten to go into nuclear quickly when nuclear winter. So Landy, I just want to say great job. Maybe one more thing. Yeah. He’s up 35 percent. Thirty five percent July over of 18. Over July 17. Now think about that up 35 percent. Now you might say clay, is that normal yet? Our average client grows at about a 30 percent, right? We were doing the math this year and looking at it in the American GDP is three percent. The gross domestic product growth is three percent. And we have clients like, like a platinum pest that really skews the average because they have, they have 4,000. I’m not kidding, they’re up 400 percent, 400, 11 percent.
Yeah. And the writing thousands of new customers. So those guys really, really mess up the average, but they’ve also been a client for almost two years and they just now started beating billion dollar companies in the search engine results. So now they’re getting that exponential growth. Absolutely. I mean they’re getting like, what, 10 reviews a week. I mean, they’re crazy. They’re there. There are search engine contents rock and they write their own content. They’re awesome. I’m using them. So, uh, now Robert with your, you’re using them for a pest control guy. Do a great job. Yeah. Now Robert, one of our coaches, he’s working with lake shore plumbing and these guys now just hit number one in Google for the term. Oh k, see plumbing, just yes, that’s massive, right to awesome. And a big win is that we teach people on this show how to create content for their website.
And apparently Robert was telling us this client at lakeshore created a ton of the content himself. So that’s amazing. He found the time to do it and then we have one more win of the week. We have American document shredding that this guy is up 23 point four percent American document shredding as a result of diligently executing the proven path as taught to him by his coach. Mr Marshall Morris. So big. Shout out to American document shredding lake shore plumbing and arrival 3d. Now thrive nation. If you’re out there and you say, Gosh, I want to be proactive about my accounting, I am just tired of being so reactive. I’ve got to move beyond just getting by with my accounting. I encourage you to check out America’s most proactive accountant, CPAS.com. That’s Hood C,p a.com. Check them out today. Get ready to enter the thrive time. Show on Talk Radio, 1170. All right. Thrive nation. Welcome back to the conversation. It’s the thrive time
show on your radio and podcast download. My name is Clay Clark. I have five kids. I took Algebra three times to three times a. At last count we have nine cats and we have over 40 chickens and I say that because I’m a real human and I don’t have everything in life figured out. I’m not perfect at it. There’s a lot of things I don’t do well, but the one thing that I really, really dominate that growing a business is very easy for me and I found the hard thing for me was growing a life that I liked growing a business was easy for me. It’s so easy to sell things. I’m not afraid to make cold calls. I don’t. I love rejection. I like to get my rejection early in the morning. I like to get rejected. I love cold calls. I’m a sick freak.
I love cold calls. No, no exaggeration. Some of my friends back when I was building dj connection, they own businesses and I would have bring them by my office and for fun. We would cold call each other’s leads just for fun. I like cold calling. Let’s get crazy. I like writing books. Um, I don’t like movies really. I don’t like vacation, but I love cold calls. Oh Gosh. He loved roller coasters. I know I don’t. I, I love. I love pro formas. I love performance. I love a performance. I love accounting. I love accounting. You Love Accounting? I do. I really do. Why? Because it’s so accurate and truthful. I love things more than most people. I love things. Hang this. No, I do because. Oh, because the thing is what? The thing is like, I get a piece of pinion wood and it is a piece of pinion wood until it’s smooth, but people a lot of times aren’t what you think they are.
Right? So as I began to hire people, my biggest challenge as I grew dj connection was learning to manage people. Then my next challenge is learning to manage myself. What do you mean by yourself? It was my ability to go to build a schedule that allowed my wife and I’d have enough time to spend with each other and our kids because it’s not, you’re not successful if you just make money. Life is about the [inaudible]. There’s faith, there’s family, there’s finances, there’s fitness, there’s friendship and fun. Faith, family, finances, faith, family, finances, fitness. There’s friendship and there’s fun f six, and so what you wanna do is you want to make a bunch of money soon, amy. Then what you want to do is to quote the late great philosopher, forrest gump. Then you’ve got one less thing to think about. Seriously from the movie. That’s where there’s.
There’s, there’s a scene in the movie worked out his captain. Dan calls them and lets them know that they, they’re rich. Lieutenant Dan who tended it. Dan You got calls them and lets him know he’s rich. And his response was forrest gumps character played by Tom Hanks. His response was, well, was one less thing to think about. It’s pretty good thing to not think about. And so that’s Kinda how I live now. You know, I don’t think about. So I want to get you to that level. And so on today’s show we’re going to have a guest on today who’s going to teach you how he made $147,000,000 that starting a company with the company. He started at the age of 22 and he grew that thing for years. His first employee was his dad and then he sold it to auto trader for $147,000,000. Matt Watson will be on the show, but before we do that, we had the wins of the week.
Who did. Now Chubb we got to do is we’ve got to answer a question that was emailed in from a member of the thrive nation. And by the way, if you want to have your questions answered on the show, all you gotta do is be a thrive time show subscriber. It’s $19 a month and there’s only 2,500 have you allowed in the world? Why? Because that’s all the people that I could possibly accommodate at our yearly workshops. So at our, at our workshops, I never want to have more than 200 people per, uh, per conference. And that’s why we’re capping it at 2,500. So you sign up for $19 a month and Bam, you can email your questions to [email protected]. Chuck, what’s the question? We had a guy email and he said, I was hoping you might give your opinion on marketing in a field like mine.
We are a really niche market. We do railroads, signal contracting. We work for companies like Norfolk southern and several short line railroads. However, we don’t have much marketing at all, if any. And you talk about how important it is. Is it really important for people in such a niche market with a limited number of potential customers to spend money on marketing? How would you attack a marketing campaign when there is such a specific audience you would have to reach? Okay. Um, I’m going to give you two case studies. The first case study will be delivered by Paul Hood because this is what Paul Hood actually does with Hood Cpas Dot Com. The second case study is a company called Trinity Chemical. Now, just for clarity, I did not introduce this idea to Paul Hood. This was his idea. I helped him with a lot of his marketing, but I did not give him this idea.
This was his idea. Okay. Trinity Chemical. I have had no experience coaching them, but he coached me. The founder of Trinity Chemical, Terry Fisher coached me, so he hauled a hazardous chemicals with railroad cars and he still does today. They own thousands upon thousands of cars and there’s actually, if you just google search, thrive time show Terry Fisher, you can hear the interview with Terry Fisher, but Terry would call up huge companies like Conoco Phillips and say, Hey, do you need railroad cars to ship your stuff from a to b? Great, we’ll do it for you. But he started just he and a dude in a 10 or a 12 by 12. He said at the conference he was on the podcast, I think you said it’s a 12 by 12 office in by 10. Ten by 10. Just two guys worked in the room. No, they didn’t have any cars either.
They didn’t have any cars, so they would call these big companies and they didn’t have a lot of leads. There wasn’t a ton of leads, but they did marketing. Okay, so here’s what this is the marketing they had to do and you have to do one. You have to have a world class website. In today’s world, you just have to. It can’t look bad because people judge you and if you go to tc, I x rail.com, Ray [inaudible] dot com, and I’ll pull it up. Your pulse. You can see on the big screen, this is his website behind you on the big screen there, t cix rail.com. That’s, that’s Trinity Chemicals. Real, real, real, real railroad leasing. They lease railroad cars. Now they own thousands of cars, but the website has to be awesome. Step to your business cards have to look awesome. What step three? Step three, chip, you got to make sure that your call scripts sound good.
You only got one shot, so you’d better make sure you have an intelligent outbound phone script. I mean, it’s got to be solid. Step Four. You got to record those calls. You gotta use clarity, voice.com to record those calls because you don’t have a million at bats. I mean you’ve got like maybe 300 at bats. I mean, if you’re a terry fisherman, you’ll only have maybe a thousand at bats in the world. I mean, how many Conoco Phillips are there? I mean, you got to really write other marketing. You got to make sure you have a one sheet which is, explains to someone succinctly what you do, write anything that people see or touch. You needed to be awesome. You’re on hold. Music has to be awesome. Why? Because you’re gonna put them on hold. Your invoices have to look professional, your employees uniforms and their dress code has to look great. Everything about you has to just. I don’t mean to be gross about this, but if you are going to urinate, you had better be emitting excellence into that urinal. You have to piss excellence because you literally have to be excellent. And if you don’t, if you only have a few at bats, I mean you can’t afford to have bad market. You’ve got to look great. Now Paul, um, before we go to the break, can you tell the listeners how you’ve grown hood CPAS through acquisitions? Kind of walk us through that a little bit.
Absolutely. Clay, you know, like you say, I had a very limited market, still do as far as accounting practices, quality practices, uh, that I could purchase. And uh, what I did is I just had to go where they were. Um, you know, like your, your question, you’re listening to the email question and you know, certainly there’s a magazines, there’s a trade magazines. Maybe there’s like for CPAS, there’s continuing education. I would show up and, and almost every continuing education class I could and I just sit, assign out there, hey, we’re looking at buying,all these things are forms of marketing. And we went to my first day on the show when we come back from the break we’re going to do is I’m going to have Paul who explained to you even more in more detail how he’s been able to grow hood Cpas by buying other accounting practices. And Oh, by the way, and Tulsa, there’s only, you know, three or 400 accounting practices out there. So you can’t, you have to have great marketing even though you have a smaller opportunity. Stages the thrive time. Show on your radio.
Ready to enter the thrive time. Show on talk radio. 11 70.
All right, thrive nation. Welcome back to the thrive time show on your radio and podcast download. Now on today’s show we’re interviewing Matt Watson who both built and then sold vin solutions to auto trader for $147,000,000, which is, which in my opinion, gives them $147 million reasons for our listeners to one, listen allison, because he’s achieved the American dream. And oh by the way, he started the company at the age of 22, the ripe old age 22. His first employee was his father. So you want to learn about how to deal with family, how to manage family. He can talk about it. He go, what about starting a company at the age of 22 without capital. He could talk about it. What about acquiring? When you’re 22 and people are wondering how old you are, he could talk about it. What about the pain, the emotional pain of selling a company that you built?
I’ve done that and each time that I’ve done that, it felt like wow, when we as a family, when we moved to Minnesota, I uh, remember waving goodbye at my friends who I had known since I was like 1230 or up until the age of 12 or 13. Yeah. And I felt awful and I never ever got over that. Like I, as soon as I turned 18, I moved back. I never liked. I never got over that. When I sold DJ connection.com, it was so painful for me that I never go back over there. I literally don’t ever go to the website. I never go there. I don’t talk to anybody there because I don’t want because the way they’ve changed it, Jason’s done a great job, but the way they’ve changed the company Dj Connection Dot Com is they’ve made a bunch of tweaks that better suit the company for his needs.
Like he’s customized it for himself. So imagine you’re like a six foot five guy during a car. You adjust the seat to fit you. Now if your wife hops in the car and she’s five foot three and you can you tell me that you can’t fit, it’s uncomfortable because it’s been custom a custom tailored for somebody else. That’s what it feels like to sell a company. Yeah. In this guy sold a company for $15, million dollars changing your baby. Right? So I mean he’s got a lot of great things that he. A lot of what a great wisdom he’s going to bring on today’s show. But Chuck, we were at. We were answering a question from a thriver yes, and I’d like for you to read the question one more time for anybody just tuning in and then I want Paul to break down why you really do still need to do marketing even if you have a limited number of customers.
A question is, I was hoping you might give your opinion on marketing and a field like mine. We are in a really niche market. We do railroad signal contracting. We work for companies like Norfolk southern and several short line railroads. However, we don’t have much marketing at all, if any, and you talk about how important it is, is that really important for people such a in such a niche market with a limited number of potential customers to spend money on marketing? How would you attack a marketing campaign when there is such a specific audience you would have to reach? Okay, well, first off, marketing is according to Seth Godin puts on the show notes. Seth Goden says, marketing is simply a contest for people’s attention. I believe the actual quote is marketing is a contest for people’s attention, so that’s what that is marketing, so marketing is you want to just get in front of your ideal and likely buyers in a way that gets their attention.
That’s so I’ll put on the notes there. Chip one, it has to get their attention to. It has to be memorable, memorable, memorable. Third, third, third. It has to convey the message that’s favorable as to convey a favorable message. So get their attention. Right. Okay. Too though it has to. It has to be memorable. That’s so. That’s why I always wore a blue suit, white shirt and a red tie as a Dj because nobody else ever did. So they’re like, is that the guy who dresses like a politician, but he’s a Dj and it would get stuck in your head because no matter where you ran into me, I always dressed the same and then the message was favorable because it, it branded me like, hey, this guy’s ready to do business. We can trust this guy and it got people’s attention because when you’re at a bridal show, and I’m the only dj dressed up, got their attention.
So it did all those things. So for you, um, Mr, listener, you really, really want to make sure that you get your website. It has to be awesome. Your business cards have to be awesome. Your call scripting has to be great. Your call recording needs to be great because you don’t have enough at bats. You can’t go over 400 or one for 10. You have very few options, right? You’re on hold. Music has to be great. Your invoices, they must look great. Your employees must dress well. Chop. I want to give you a few more things. We need a video on the website. We need an about us video on the website, so your ideal and likely buyers conflict. They know you and trust you on the outside of the website. Next, you need reviews. You got to have google reviews. I mean if you’re a company where you’re dealing with some big clients, we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars and people don’t want to make a bad decision, so you’ve got to get google reviews.
The next you need to get google are or need to get youtube video reviews, so you need to get reviews on video. You got to do it. You have to. You just, you have to do it next. Your office has to look great. The decor of your office as to convey confidence, but again, I understand that you have a limited number of customers. That’s why I would encourage you to check out trinity chemical and see how they built one of the largest rail car leasing company. They lease railroad cars, right? Based right here out of Tulsa, Terry Fisher, my mentor and friend started that company, Great Guy, Terry Fisher and his partner Rick Fenimore, I believe his last name, but those guys started trinity and they had a limited number of customers, but yet they still had to spend a lot of time and energy in their marketing, on their marketing. Now we have Paul Hood on the show, which is neat because Paul Hood is a show sponsor. He believes in the program. He believes in the listeners, um, but he also is a business owner. Humans, hoods, CPAS and Paul. You’ve grown your practice by a one doing a good job for clients. And then two because you have enough cash flow to do it as a result of doing a good job for clients. You buy other accounting practices. Why do you still have to market even though there’s not a ton of accounting practices that are available to purchase?
Well, I think clay, I think marketing is even more important. Situations like that because the reality is, is what marketing is to me anyways, CPAS is the way. As soon as I’m planting seeds and you never know when that seed is going to, you know, is going to come up out of the ground. And so what I do is I try to be where they’re at. I try to get in front of them like you say, I a metal business card. It is the coolest business card you’ll ever see and they do not throw that card away. And when I meet somebody, a CPA, you know, they may not be ready to sell right now.
Can I drop a business card real quick? Second here. The battlecard sounds like when it’s dropped. Here we go. That’s what the car. When you drop the car, drop the mic and give one more time. Here we go. That’s what it sounds like when you drop your business card. Right.
And they will bend over and pick it up because they will not throw that away. And you know, back in the day, for a long time I was. The firms I was buying is because the proprietor one to leave now clay, because of all the marketing we’re doing, I have firms coming to me wanting to me to buy them out, but then they’ll still work and still perform because they want to be a part of what we’re doing and it’s just planting seeds. Clay,
just one thing about this kind of business to business marketing is you got to remember you’re setting this. Marketing is kind of like I explained to my clients, has a bear trap. You’re setting out these bear traps from whenever you reach out to these people, they are then going to do their due diligence and look up who you are and when they look for you, you need to already have your stuff in place so that marketing that you’re building isn’t just to show in front of consumers. It’s for whenever they find you after you’ve called them. Does that make sense? I’ll 100 percent I 100 percent agree with that, and again, this show is all about helping you to create time freedom and financial freedom. So the more leads you have, the more selective you can be. You won’t have to say yes to idiot clients because you have so many opportunities.
You can say no to idiot clients. And so a one, a company that reached out to us to advertise on our show, that was not an idiot client, but if the person is a great person, great. A great, great, great group of guys. Great team is a company called onyx imaging. That’s Oh, Nyx imaging.com. And these guys right now, they believe so much in youth listeners, they’re going to give you a free copier printer if you sign up for them to to, to deliver that your office and printer supplies to your business. So again, if you want to save both time and money on your office and printer supplies, go to onyx imaging.com o n y x imaging.com. They’re going to give you a free copier and printer and there’s no contract, there’s no contract, no imaging.com. Stay tuned. You are now entering the Dojo of Mojo and the thrive time
show the Dojo of Mojo. A lot of people want it.
No. What is the Dojo of Mojo where it’s where the broker. That is true. Can I, can I share it with you? Check out the Dojo of Mojo. Please do. I’m up the listeners out there. I want you to take a couple of photos on today’s show, their chops, and then put it on the show notes so you can kind of take a, we get out of the studio to. You can take some photos and we’ll put it up on the show notes. But like in my office right now where I’m recording in the man cave here behind the wall at Camp Clark and chicken palace. Uh, there’s a picture of Steve Jobs eyes, Steve jobs face. It’s really cut tight. Chip. You know why I got a picture of Steve Jobs and edited that tights, right? Right, right behind you to the right. Do you know why I did that? Intense. He’s staring at you.
He’s watching because he’s. Because he is great. Yes. And Seth Goden is great in Dr. z over there. He’s great. The Muhammad Ali was great. Every body on my wall is great. You don’t know what’s greater. Dr Z dressed up as braveheart. That’s true on that because that’s his favorite movie. It’s awesome. And uh, that’s Kinda how I view him in my life. He can grow his hair out like that. He’s very much the William Wallace of my life. He’s a great guy. So all I would say is I’ve surrounded myself with great things. There’s nothing in this room that doesn’t motivate me. Everything in the room is a motivator in here and I spent a lot of time in here. So there’s no rumors or gossip or issues. It’s just, it’s. And I only, I only invite people over over here that I liked, so they’re not like we all came over here.
We are watching the giants versus the browns. Biggest game of the season, the biggest game of the season for nobody that dozens of people around the world. We’re all watching at the same time as we were watching it with dozens. If there’s, there’s many people in my house watching it as there were. I think attending the game maybe doesn’t fit. So anyway, all I’m saying is that like I really liked that atmosphere, so I invited everybody. I mean, West Carter is a great guy. Paul’s Great. Everybody was great. So it will be. The whole thing was great. So then the question, the question I would have for you, Mr. listeners, windows life become not great. You know, like if my house was great, my wife’s great, my decor in my house is great, chickens are great. Uh, but cats are great. The kids are great. I love my kids, love my wife.
Look, when does it knock you? Great job. Have you ever thought about that? Like when does life not get great? Yeah, for a lot of people, that’s when you introduce all of these outside variables and especially when they’re not under your control. So let’s get into the variables before we interviewed Mr Matt Watson about how he built a $147,000,000 business. Here are the variables that will make your life not great faith. Introduce a conflicting faith into your life on a daily basis and you will get pissed. What do you mean? I mean, when you own a business and you hire people that totally view the world differently than you, and you sit there and argue with them passively, aggressively every day, usually it’s them arguing with you like it. Like in my office I put up an American flag and the office and there’s the Israeli flag. Now Paul, what does the Israeli flag mean? There’s two different things. There. Is the Israeli flag mean to people it could mean this or that. In your mind when you see an Israeli flag, what are the two sides to that story thing?
Well to me for the Israeli flag is the beginning is it’s, you know, we’re Christ came from, it’s a Israel, it’s the Jewish people and it’s a positive thing. Yeah. It’s God’s chosen people. Yeah. And I would assume maybe on the other side is the people that don’t quite agree with us. Maybe they don’t think they belong there and you know, the Jewish people have been fighting wars for their own existence since, since the time. So if you view the Jewish people as God’s people. I
am not Jewish by the way. I’m German, but if you view the Bible as a literal book, you would really like that flag, but I put it up so that it intentionally would piss off people that don’t believe exactly like I do on purpose. Like I put it up on purpose. I put it up on purpose. I intentionally put it up to be a warning flag. Did anybody who doesn’t agree like I agree, so that’s faith. So I. I’m very intentional about not being around people. Don’t share my faith or at least respect my faith. If you want to argue, if you have a different faith than me, that’s fine, but don’t argue with me about it. The second right is family. No matter how much money you have, if you’re around negative members of your family, you’re not going to be happy. I don’t care what beach you’re on, if you don’t like the people, you won’t like the beach either, but what would happy family.
It didn’t matter where you are. You could go to like Quik trip. There’s one member of my family that we go to quick trip together. That’s what we do. Or The crappiest Mexican restaurant we can find, so whenever we’re in Houston or different cities, it’s like, hey, let’s go get some Mexican and then let’s go to costco. That’s usually what we do. Hey, let’s go to Costco. Let’s get some Mexican. Um, and then let’s go back to costco and we just walk around. He’s 20 years older than I am and we have a great time and we never go anywhere. We don’t have to be in a fabulous hotel. We just go to costco and we go to a Mexican restaurant. Is that a way to get away from other negative people? Yeah, that’s the midst of booth. So whenever we have thanksgiving, I’ll say, hey, do we need some butter?
And he’s like, yeah, we do think we’re on a brown gravy and the woman of the house will go, I don’t think we need gas area. He’s like, okay, what else do we need? We need sugar. Do we need wheat? Do we need. What do we need to tweet? Oh, you’ll always need ice. And we’d start asking rem streets were like, we need to. We need to. Oh, it’s, yeah. Is there anything we need? Batteries, are we out of batteries, Aa batteries, what can we get? And we just have a great time. So faith, family, finances, man, when you’re out of money, that sucks. We have no money. Oh, that’s a big worry for people. You know, the vast majority of Americans have less than $400 saved. Paul Paul, you know that according to Forbes, you know that you’re an accountant. I mean going to crazy.
The average American has less than $400 saved. You know when they call you, when I say the average, the mean the average. I don’t care if you’re a doctor or if you’re a plumber, regardless of income or industry, you see it, you’re a CPA. So all I’m saying out there as again, we’ll put it on the show notes, but over half of Americans are not doing well financially, right? Then 70 percent, we’re going to talk about finances here. Seventy percent of employees, according to Gallup, hate their jobs. So if you hire people that hate their jobs, your life gets bad. Faith, family, finances, fitness. Here’s the deal. If you love eating sweets and you don’t love working out, your insulin levels will increase over time and bottom line, it causes weight gain. So if you’re into fitness, Whoa, whoa, in your mouth, not fitness. I might get that on the second show here.
Here’s the deal is that here’s the deal as if you eat wheat or you eat sweets and you drink a lot alcohol, you’ll gain weight because that’s just what happens. So you get out, you know you get unhappy when you’re out of whack in that area, right? Your faith, your family, your finance, your fitness, your friendships. When you’re around a bunch of knuckleheads. You know Tim Ferris wrote in his book the four hour work week. Jim Rone said the same thing. A proverbs has said the same thing, but I’ll read the quotes to you. So this is Tim Ferriss and he says, you are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with. He says, you are the average of the five people you most associate with. That is Tim Ferriss. You are the average of the five people you most associate with or he posted on one of his books.
Um, it’s um, a four hour work week it says, but you are the average of the five people you associate with most. So do not underestimate the effects of your pessimistic unambitious or disorganized friends. If someone isn’t making you stronger, they’re making you weaker. Proverbs talks about wise counsel. This is why I am such a polarizing person because I know how it works and people will ask me but not want to know the answer. So proverbs 15, 22 says, plans fail for lack of wise counsel, but with many advisors, they succeed. Proverbs is telling you to hire a coach. You know Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, says the number one advice he has his hire a coach. I mean, you gotta have wise counsel. It’s not the plan. Is that the plan? The planet, I mean Oxi fresh. The plan is to get the most google reviews and we have 137,000 reviews.
That’s the plan. Is that a problem with our plan that people previously didn’t get reviews, so through coaching and training, John and Matt and the team up there at oxy fresh and Denver, they’ve mentored, they’ve taught the franchisees how to do it, and now they do it. It’s crazy, but, but it. It’s not the plan. It’s teaching people how to do the plan, make the plan happen. You’re gonna have to look for a new plan every day. You just got to hold the team accountable. And accountability is a so again, if you want your life to be very successful, just ask yourself, today is my family weird? Because it’s hard to have a lot of success in business if you’re pissed off at your family all the time. It’s also hard to have a lot of success with your family when you’re out of money. It’s also hard to enjoy time with your family and all your money if you’re dead.
So faith, family, finances, fitness, friendship, fun, fun. What do you mean fun? Chill, fun. Chuck, did we have. I mean, do we have fun while watching? Do we make. Do we make a mistake? It did we have fun while watching the giants versus the Brown we did was screwed up a little bit of fun. Sneak in there. Did we not bet on things that don’t matter? We did. Next penalty. Are they going to punt? Is What A. Yeah. Anything you can think of. So we had fun. You didn’t. But we’re adults. We’re adults. I thought you had to be serious all the time to have to be, to be successful, be serious most of the time. No, seriously do you thought about that? Yeah. And you don’t. You can have fun. And, and the thing is you can’t have too much fun. So you need to schedule it like clay’s always talking about schedule your f six goals and they’ll happen.
My rule is getting the endzone than dance. Don’t dance before you get an enzyme. That’s right. So again, these are just concepts that will help. I think if you’re listening right now, you’re being honest, you’re probably drifting in one of those six areas or more and every morning you just need to ask yourself in what area might kind of drifting and then you recalibrate. And I can be honest with listeners, so usually I’m, I’m on five of five of those six f’s everyday, but every once in a while I get off and it’s primary. The third or fourth day I have one day where I fall short of my goal in a certain area and then I reassess. And so if you’re out there and you say, gosh, I’d like to listen to a guy who’s really succeeding financially though maybe he’s not the best in every area of life, maybe he is. Well, you’re going to want to listen to our next guest here. We’re bringing on Matt Watson, who sold his company for $147,000,000. Matt Watson, he sold his company to auto trader. His company’s called Vin solutions. Stay tuned. Our interview with $147,000,000 man up next.
We’re now entering the Dojo of Mojo and the thrive time. Show
the all right,
thrive nation. Welcome back to the thrive time show on your radio and podcast. Download a chip. I think a lot of our listeners, sometimes they say, why should I listen to the show? Well, I have 147 million reasons to listen to today’s show. Today’s on today’s show. We’re interviewing Matt Watson. Matt, who met. Why? Why are you sending the flyer? Watson, why are you saying it that this man started vin solutions if I’m correct, that the age of 22 before selling the company to auto trader for $147,000,000. Met Watson. How are you sir? Hey, how’s it going? Well, I’m excited to have you on the show today and I want to make sure I’m not getting any of the facts wrong there. Uh, did you actually sell the company for $147? Million dollars? Yeah. Give or take a little bit. Were you a huge Kevin Mitchell fan or how did you arrive on the number one?
One 47. Did you like the number? 40 seven. Is that a big thing? Well, normally these deals have some form of earn out and all that stuff. So, uh, based on the earn out and all that, that’s just where the number of landed. I think it could have been up to 1:50. Okay. Okay, was it wasn’t sure if that was an ode to Kevin Mitchell’s best baseball season for the giants where he hit 47 home runs. I wasn’t sure if that was, it seemed like a weird way to come up with the valuation of a company. So I’ll choose to believe you. Okay. So we’re talking about today is I hit a lot of questions, I just got a ton of questions after researching you and so I’m gonna hit you with some tough questions right off the bat here. So when you started this company, Vin Solutions, you’re 22 years old, how did you do that?
I mean, where were you doing that? How did you do it? Did you, ought we officing out of your parents’ house? Were you in a basement where you began? How’d you start that company? Well, so before that I was doing a little bit of basically a side project. Uh, I was a software developer, I had a full time job, but I was doing a side project for a car dealer and the way it actually started is, um, the, the guy who was actually my co founder was looking for developers, so I was the random technical co founder, um, and went to this dealership that I have any friends with and I was just, they were looking for developer and they refer, refer them to me and said, hey, you should like this Matt Guy. And um, that was it. I just sat down with a guy and he told me the problem he was trying to solve what he was trying to do and you know, I always say I’m just a guy, look looking for something to do.
And um, told them I thought I could help. Now how did you become a developer? Was that formal schooling? Did you hit your head on the toilet seat one day and next thing you know, Bam, you have a knowledge of coding. How did you become good enough at coding that somebody would actually reach out to you? Well, so I started doing a little bit of programming when I was in middle school to play games for me online when I was in school, like old text based Modem Games. Yep. I remember those. Yes sir. So you used to play those online and it was more like scripting and like developers do these day. They go online, they find some, they copy it and then figure out how to bring it together. But um, I went to college, uh, Dabrye, which is a tech school, if you’re not familiar with, they have few, few campuses around the country.
But um, yeah, I went to the variety, learn to do computer programming but mostly self taught more than anything. I, I stopped going to school about halfway through and I got my first job when you go to school to get a job. Right. So I figured that it was okay. And um, yeah, I wouldn’t just started working away. Now Malcolm Gladwell, who’s not on today’s show, but we did interview a, he is a peer Seth Godin recently. And those, I love Malcolm Gladwell. I love Seth Goden, their observations about success. And because I interview a lot of guys like yourself who have earned hundreds of millions of dollars, I think that this concept that Malcolm gladwell teaches, the 10,000 hour rule really applies to you because it seems like you had invested 10,000 hours coding and learning how to program before you even started this company. I mean, because you said middle school, you were doing some coding and programming, right?
I mean, I mean, did you start? How old were you when you started programming and coding? Um, I think that would have been about ninth, ninth grade. I was like probably 13, 14 years old. Yeah. So see you probably before the age of 22 and are just spent thousands of hours. So let’s say that tomorrow you get a wild hair and you say, you know what, I wanted to, I want to buy different. Let’s say that you and your wife talk about it tonight and you see, you know what, we should take $147,000,000. And by Dabrye, how would you have changed the schooling? Or would you have changed anything about the programming they taught you in school?
Well, I, you know, even Dabrye was more of a four year degree type deal where you get a normal bachelor’s degree. It wasn’t a like tech certificate kind of thing. Um, but I think programming in general does not require a college degree. I mean it, it really requires hands on experience and the big thing that we’re missing in this country is more of like looking at it more like an apprenticeship. And the problem that I have as an employer is if I hire somebody right out of college, I invest all this time to train them, do all this sort of stuff to make them viable. I’ve got it. Recruiters calling them every day trying to steal them away from me. Like, so what, what value is it in motivation as a, to me, as the employer to train somebody that an it recruiter is trying to steal from me, that that’s the problem we have. That’s part of it.
Well, what I’m going to do real quick, because I’m going to grab a book out of my bathroom. You’ve got the book in my bathroom, it’s mastery in the bathroom. I, I refer to it as the throne room were really all the great things happen. I have five kids. You have three kids, three kids. That’s right. So typically what I’ll do is if I ever do something that irritates my wife, which I do every 30 days just to kind of add some spice to our marriage, I will go down to the throne room and really read a book and there’s the reasonable. The book I’m reading right now, it’s called mastery by Robert Greene, and I read this book all the time and I think you could have written this next portion of his book. The Robert Greene was talking about the life of Mozart or Paul Graham. I’m sure you’re familiar with Paul Graham and Airbnb and reddit and dropbox and the things that Paul’s helped to build, but he talks about.
He says, there are no shortcuts to bypass the apprenticeship phase. It is the nature of the human brain to require such lengthy exposure to a field which allows for complex skills to become deeply embedded and free. The mind up for real creative activity, that very desire to find shortcuts makes you imminently unsuited for any kind of mastery. There is no possible reversal to this process. So it seems like you’re saying that if you could go back and maybe change how they do things, you would be like, hey, for the next four years we’re doing hands on all the time. Is that what you’re saying? I mean he just hands on. Yeah,
absolutely. Yeah, that’s what we need more hands on. More projects. Yes, absolutely.
So you started this thing at age 22 where you officing out of an office or where were you physically located when you were building vin solutions?
Well, so at that time I had a full time job, but basically my business, my startup, my side hustle was done out of my house and my first employee was my dad and he literally worked out of my basement on the couch. So did you hire your dad? Did you pay your dad? Is Your Dad working equity? Yeah. Well, so actually he had another job and he got laid off and the company did some downsizing and he’d, he was working in their it department as a tech support kind of stuff, so I hired him. I said, hey, well come work for us. I’ve got a lot of customers now and I can’t keep up with answering their questions once you start doing that so I can get back to writing more code.
That’s, that’s exactly how I hired my father. My Dad got laid off and I had the desire to be a millionaire before I’m 30 and to hire my dad, I think I was like 26 at the time, maybe 25. And I was like, well dad, you want to come work here? It’s kind of weird. Higher and your dad. I mean, you kind of weird. I mean it. Yeah, it works. They’re really, really. Yeah, he still works there. It’s like 14 years later. Well, this is kind of the thing I wanted to ask you and if, if, if, uh, if I ask you something you feel like it’s out of bounds, I mean, feel free to just, you know, hit the hang up. That’ll be my subtle cue that I know that question. You can just rebuke me. But when you manage your, you manage anybody, it can be challenging. Yes. But when you manage your father, um, it can be very tough because if you go in to check on your dad, let’s say, and I’m sure your dad’s never done this, I’m just saying if you go to check on your dad to make sure something’s getting done and you walk in and you hear him doing this,
Would you see those kinds of things going on when things should be getting done and he is your father and your dad. Why are you talking into a box fan saying, luke, I am your father, dad, you go get that wooden spoon. I mean, but seriously, like there’s that weird. It’s tough managing people. How did you and your dad navigate some of those weird situations where on the org chart you’re in charge and he’s your dad?
You know, it really was never a problem. We worked really well together. I’d ask them like, Hey, this is what we need to do, and he just do it.
Oh, come on, that’s not fair. But now I had a couple sisters that worked for me and that was a. can I say it should have sean here? Absolutely not. What we do on this podcast is you can say whatever you want, but because it is broadcast and multiple radio markets and there’s hundreds of thousands of people all edited out a little bit. So when you hear this, you might hear like a relational work. So anyway, so yeah. Now when you’re. So when you’re managing like let’s say your sisters and not specifically which one or anything, but when you say, Hey, I need to get this done by Monday, let’s say, and then Monday comes and it’s not done. How did you handle that? Like what, what did you do? Did you get into the whole passive aggressive move? Did you do the whole, like not invite them over to family dinners thing? Did you, were you, were you a thrower? Did you break things
threatened to spank him and I ground them.
So you with your sisters, what would you say? My Dad
sleep was never a problem. I would just say, what can I do to help? Like if you haven’t got this done yet,
your dad is that five percent of the American workforce that just gets her done with the sisters, the sisters. How did you deal with it?
Oh man, it was just never ending. Just problems, problems, problems and um, you know, I, I tried to have other deal with them more so than me so I could try and stay out of it. But yeah, I’ve, I’ve had to fire a couple of siblings in businesses before so it’s no fun.
And if you’re out there and you’ve never done that, you should join the client Matt team where we fire family members because we don’t want our businesses to fail. Weird, but we don’t feel bad because it’s just cause and effect, right and wrong or left to right. Right. Did you feel bad about it or did you, are you over it now? Is this a tough thing? You still mad about it?
You know, one of my friends, one of their favorite saying when they fire somebody, if they’re just trying to free up their future, and that’s how I felt with my sisters. I’m like, this is not your future. It’s something else. You need to go find it.
Freeing up your future. Okay. So now vin solutions, you’re 22, you start this thing. Um, when did it get profitable? How long did it take you to get profitable? You profitable? And like six weeks. Six years. How long did it take you to actually get profitable? Probably seven years. Okay. Thrivers, I want you to write that down because he just said chuck, did you hear what he just said? Yeah. He said about two months. Nope. He said, oh, seven gears real quick. We had a gentleman from North Chicago that tried to call in while we were on the phone here on the interview with Matt, and so I guess our call screener wasn’t able to get them on the show, but he had it. He did have a hot take there here, Terry. So seven years will be profitable. Yeah. TOOK ESPN over 10 years to be profitable. Took Fedex over 10 years to become profitable. Took Walt Disney 10 years to become profitable. Thomas Edison, 10,000 failed experiments as team did. That’s a theme. Facebook last three point six, $3, million dollars after the first two years in business. Amazon, I think they went seven years not making a profit. Why did it take you so long to become profitable?
Well, so that company, we also never raised any capital, so we never really lost any money, but we also never made any money and it was really. We were just trying to right on that fine edge because we were growing so fast, like every year we would double, which when you have 100 employees and then you go to 200, all of a sudden that is really hard. Um, and so we were just trying to manage the growth the best we could and um, you know, all the way through. I kind of paid myself a minimum salary and was just constantly, we just reinvested all the money in the company. Um, and you know, at the end of the day, but you know, you get to a point where you’re like, man, I have this company that’s worth like $100,000,000 but I don’t have anything. Right. Um, because, you know, we were just investing in all back in.
But do you businesses a game? I think,
I don’t know if I’d call it a game. I just, I like to solve problems. I just like to do stuff.
Thrive nation. When we return, Matt Watson’s going to tell us how he took vin solutions and made it profitable, but not before we tell you about our next show. Sponsor and that would be who jumped Williams,
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three, two, one. Here come the business ninjas.
Thrive nation. I have a question for you today with the question that
I’d like you to answer this question and you can keep it between you and me. Maybe you keep it just between you and you, but what would you do if you had $147,000,000 as a specific number? Let’s say you had $147 million dollars, what would you do? I mean, this sincerely. Hopefully that somebody really thinks about this. I’m your. I would do what I’m doing right now. So I would be doing right now. I wouldn’t change. It was what I’m saying. Money’s just a magnifier. Right? And it took me a long time to understand that. And once I did, that’s what I really found my satisfaction and happiness with life was when I found what I love to do and I found a way to do it as a career. And uh, Eric Chop, I think as a business coach, I think you understand what I’m talking about.
Yeah, absolutely. It. Does it ever blow your mind that we, our job consists of hosting one of the top 10 podcasts in the world that we get to have great guests on the show. We get to meet really cool people all the time to help people out of terrible situations that they’re in with their businesses that are failing, are growing, and you get to see that growth, um, and their happiness in their life take off. I’m going to got a chance today to meet with the founders of [inaudible] fitness and these guys started a business out of a house, $150,000 house in Bartlesville and now they have three locations. It’s a multimillion dollar brand. I got a chance to meet with the wipies today with tip top canine. I met with span seven of their locations today. Seven. Yeah, Kyle. Awesome. Is that. I mean, that’s real stuff and we get a chance to work with the, the, uh, the hastings family, the tyler and Rachel. Awesome. Out of a New Orleans with their company, Dell Rick Research, which, oh, by the way is now making $100,000 a month profit. I mean, I, I just, I never gets old. I love it. And the more we do it, the more I love it. And today’s guest, Matt Watson, this guy
built a company called vin solutions. His first employee was his father and he sold the company for $147,000,000. What an awesome success story. But then because he really is passionate about teaching people how to become successful as an entrepreneur, he really is passionate about entrepreneurship. He decided to take an hour out of his time to come on our podcast to educate the listeners. So I’d encourage you to grab a pen and a pad and take some notes as you get a chance to have a hear, a rare and exclusive interview with Matt Watson, the founder of Vin Solutions, which he later sold for $147,000,000. Well, who did he sell to? He sold it to auto trader. So then he further new back to our interview with Matt Watson.
You and I know we only know each other through this podcast, but eventually are you in Kansas that where you working at Kansas? I’m going to eventually. I’m going to come to your office and ruin your day and do a podcast from your office one of these days because I love. I feel the kinship watching all this stuff. I could find about you. Like I think for both of us we start companies. We like solving problems, but it’s like we just like doing it, you know what I mean? I don’t, I don’t, you don’t strike me as the kind of guy that would like to sit on a beach and just sit. Margarita is now. I mean, you just seem like a guy that wants to just solve problems, right? Or Am I misreading you?
Yeah, I mean I do like to go to the Philippines and drink mango shakes. Really? Um, but yeah, I do like to work. And by the way, if you ever come here and we have a podcast studio and we hosted a podcast
really? Okay. So what is the name of your podcast? So our listeners who aren’t familiar with your podcast can maybe learn or find it?
Yeah, I, um, I have a cohost named Matt also in our podcast is called the startup hustle,
the startup hustle, Matt and Matt on the Startup Hustle, thrive nation. Check it out. So vin solutions, you’re growing this company seven years now. You’re 29 or 29 and uh, uh, you are a beautiful man by the way, that the age of 29. Just a beautiful man and you, when did, you did probably exfoliating a lot is how you look so youthful. So how, how did you get, when did you get to a place where you think, okay, I should probably look at selling this. Did somebody approach you? I mean, how old were you when somebody approached you about selling the company?
Well I was 28, 29 years old. I was 29 when that transaction occurred. So we were, we went out looking to raise capital so we had never raised capital. We originally wanted to raise capital in 2008, 2009, which you can imagine was a terrible time to do it. It was a bad, bad, bad timing that time. Yet we sold the company in 2011 just after all of that mess and we couldn’t raise capital, you know, like they always say you can’t get bank loans, you can’t, you can’t get any of it until we didn’t need it. So I mean, we got to the point right before we sold the company where we were making, I want to say it was close to a million dollars a month in profit. Um, but until then, nobody wanted to give us any money.
Right. So when, when someone
approached you to sell the company, when did you, where were you when you decided to sell it? I mean, we’re, you know what I mean? Do you remember like the specific time, the place where you again, hitting your head on the toilet seat and you thought, okay, let’s do it. I mean, or were you. Well we went through the big process so we had a farm out in San Francisco that was shopping us around to different private equity groups and bcs and strategic, uh, acquire. So we were flying around the country, meeting with people all the time, um, that we’re interested in investing or acquiring us for a few months. So it was, it was a long drawn out process.
How long did the process take you?
Uh, I would say six to nine months.
Okay. And then when you decided to sell it, I mean because this is the thing, when you, I’ve sold companies, you’ve sold the company or you’ve sold the company. My take on selling a company is, it’s like selling. It almost feels like you’re moving away from your best friends or you’re selling a kid or your dog died. You know, it’s, it’s Kinda thing where it’s like I’m a Judeo Christian. A lot of Christians, you know, it’s like when you lose somebody, if you’re a Christian, you feel like the person you lost, you know, went to heaven, let’s say, you know, so you miss them, but you also were kind of excited for them. That’s kind of weird emotion. I think selling a business can be tough. Was it tough for you or are you excited about it or how’d you feel when you sold the business?
Well, like you said, people always ask me what it’s like to like sell your baby. And to me I always say like, it wasn’t my baby anymore. Like she had grown up. She got knocked up in high school, now she went off to college and she has all these problems and like it wasn’t a baby anymore. Right. And honestly, I was just ready to do something else.
So I guess the best question is, what did it feel like to sell the container Korous, old man that you had done?
I mean, it felt, I mean, it felt great and a lot of ways it was very anticlimactic. I mean the, the ride of it was much more fun than getting off the ride.
So when you sell the business, you know, my partner Dr Zellner who could not be on today’s show, but if we have you on again, um, he’s, he and I are partners and all the different businesses and we worked on a lot of different things together and he’s a great guy. But DR Z dot, I’m part owner of Regent Bank. It’s a bank. There’s one out in Oklahoma City and one in Tulsa and there’s, you know, Springfield, Missouri. He’s got the auto auction. I’ve got a chain of men’s grooming lounges. Uh, I’m involved in. We have one of the larger marketing companies in Oklahoma. There’s a lot of businesses we do. He has an optometry clinic. There’s just a lot of stuff. And uh, uh, you know, at the bank right now, you can insure your money. The Federal Reserve, the listeners out there who aren’t familiar, you can ensure your deposits up to $250,000 because the Federal Reserve makes that possible. A lot of our listeners know this because I’ve listened to the show a lot, but it’s not federal and there is no reserve, but the point is we believe that the debits and credits are backed up up to $250,000, which would mean
that you would have to deposit your money at 588 different banks. So I would like to ask you this question. When you get a check for 147 million or they or you get a deposit,
what did you do it?
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Thrive nation. Welcome back to our special thrive time show podcast and interview today with Matt Watson
who actually built and installed vin solutions to auto trader for reported $147,000,000. And the question I would have for you, Mr Thriver, Mrs. Driver, if you did have $147,000,000, if you got $147,000,000, what would you do with it? And my prayer and my hope for you is that you wouldn’t do anything differently than you’re already doing. You could just have the money, would help magnify what you’re already doing. So as an example, um, I would hope that you don’t hate everyday of your life right now. And if you had a hundred and 47, all of a sudden you’d like your life. I would hope that you not, you’re not doing a career that you hate right now. And if you had more money, all of a sudden you’d immediately quit your job. My hope is that you would find your calling or the Latin word for that is a vocation.
I’m hoping, I hope you would find your vocation. Therefore, wouldn’t it be great if you could find a vocation that you love so much that you never longed to go on vacation? The kind of occasion where if you were on the trip, you eventually would want to come back and get back to what you’re doing because you like it so much. Wouldn’t it be cool if you actually loved your job? Well, today’s guest, I’m at Watson, really loves what he does and really loved what he did and he had an opportunity he had. He had an opportunity to sell a company for a hundred and $47,000,000 called vin solutions, which he sold to auto trader. And right after selling it, he went right back to work and started another company now called stackify, which helps monitor websites that have a lot of custom code and programming on it. So again, this, this, this guest that you can learn so much from this interview today with Matt Watson and as we get back into the interview and this particular portion of the interview I had just finished, I just finished asking Matt Watson what he did with $147,000,000 as soon as he got it. As soon as the check cleared, as soon as the money was transferred, what did he do? Literally with $147,000,000.
Did you go dig a hole? I’ll put it down there. A bunch of coffee cans. What’d you do? I mean, did you, did you, did you buy something, a big business right away. Did you save it somewhere? What did you do with that initial
one? 40 seven.
So I had several business partners, so I owned part of it. I all that. But um, I immediately invested most all of it and the stock market. Okay.
So you, you knew what you’re going to do with it?
Yeah. And then over time I’ve invested it in other startups and my own companies and in different things. So like you guys, I have entrepreneurial add so I own a few different companies and do different things.
So you have the money, you cross it off the list, you got the money, you’re, you’re 29 at the time you sold the company that you’re 29 when you sold the death, right? So you’re 29, you sold a business for over $100,000,000. You had partners. So You keep whatever percentage is yours, you and your wife. Uh, how many kids did you have at this point? Uh, one one. So I think a lot of listeners would ask, why are you doing your next venture? I mean, I want to, I want you to talk about stackify and what this is, but why so many people view work as like a terrible task. The word vocation means your calling. You know, so many people would rather go on vacation than to do their vocation. They, they, they, they want to get done with their work as soon as possible because they hate it. You know, 70 percent of people, according to Gallup, hate their jobs. According to Forbes, nine out of 10 small business owners are failing and they don’t like it. So why, why did you decide to start another venture after you’d already won the prize?
Well, I think, I think I have two different answers for that, but I think personally I think I’m just a glutton for punishment. I have no idea. That’s a really good question. I should really be on the beach drinking those mango shakes.
You’re a sucker for pain to quotes. There you are.
I know. I asked the vc guy that was working for us, you know, like he’s like, Oh yeah, I’ve worked with people that sell multiple companies. I’m like, why would anybody do this again? And he’s like, you can always buy a bigger jet, Matt,
so you, because you. And I think we share a lot of, of, of values. I think we’re, maybe, I’m a little different is I, I have, I have five kids and uh, I’ve kind of achieved all my goals, you know, so I do this podcast because it’s kind of a Cathartic thing, you know, we have thousands of people that email into an [email protected] and we answered their questions and it just keeps growing and you know, and I’m into that. And so like with advertisers, you know, I’m very selective about who we allow to advertise. I don’t travel anymore, I don’t like traveling. I freaks me out, I get motion sickness and I also have like a anxiety when people move my stuff, you know. So I’ve kind of, I’m 37, I’ve hit my goals and I’m Kinda just, you know, we’re franchising and elephant in the room.
The OXI, the Oxi fresh business that I’ve worked with, with, with my partner Jonathan Barnett is doing great. I mean all the things that are up and they’re working and so I’m kinda like really spending less time on the business stuff and more time on like life optimization. How do you balance that? I mean, do you spend like how does your calendar look now? I mean, are you, do you work? Because I don’t, you start a business, you’re probably working when you started vin solutions, you’re probably working 80 hours a week, right? I mean maybe 90. Yeah. So how does your calendar looking out?
It’s busy. I mean I started another business this year, um, and uh, between it and my business stack if I am very busy. Yeah, it’s, my calendar is pretty full every single day.
How busy do you want it to be? Like, how many hours a week do you want to work in that calendar?
I enjoy working. I mean if I had nothing to do at night, I’d rather work than watch TV. Like I don’t know, I have like some kind of sickness. I like to work.
Yeah, I see this is the, this is my challenge I have with the five kids. It’s like I love my kids and so I’ve, I’ve, I’ve, I make myself turn off work at a certain time. Everyday me it says I just love it and it’s, I’m good at it and the more I do it the better I get. And so it’s Kinda that addictive cycle. It’s almost like if you’re in the nfl you get hurt a lot, you get hit, you get bruises, but you like playing. So these guys will play, you know, just don’t beat themselves up. What is confidence loop too, right? Like you get more confidence and more confidence the better you get. So I want to ask you, what are your or your, your, your boundaries like you and your wife have agreed on as far as like days of week you can work or hours or do you have certain rules? Like you know like Matt, you can’t work till 4:00 AM every day or is there like a, you’re done working at five. Do you have a certain time of the day you start or just walk us through your daily routine?
I usually don’t work from like 5:00 PM til 8:00 PM after the kids go to bed sometimes I’ll work. A lot of times I’ll work, but yeah, like in the evening when the kids are up and around and all that stuff, I don’t work and I don’t work that much on the weekend. I try not to.
Okay. So now you’re building stack of VI and you’re involved in multiple ventures, but I want to focus on stackify for a moment. Um, could you tell us about what stackify is and what problems it solves in the market place?
Yeah, so in short, we do application performance monitoring. So what that really means is, um, let’s say you’re trying to order pizza tonight and you’re using pizza. It’s website. If for whatever reason pizza huts website doesn’t work, he gets an error, it’s slow, you move on, you go to domino’s, Papa John’s somewhere else, right? Well, pizza hut needs to know when that happens. They need to know when their APP is slow, why it’s slow, who it’s affecting all of those things. Um, so we basically help other software developers and know when their applications aren’t working and exactly why they’re not working. We’re super data nerds. Basically wear like a black box on an airplane.
Have you thought about, have you already emailed or thought about emailing or getting in touch with a healthcare.gov?
No. There’s actually a case study they used. One of our competitors help solve all their problems.
All right. Thrive nation. If you have problems with your Ford Automobile,
I would encourage you not to reach out to stackify that don’t a website problem, right? Go to RC auto specialists. That’s RC auto specialist.com. They have over 80 years of combined experience. They’re conveniently located right here in broken Arrow, Oklahoma and Tulsa, Oklahoma. That’s our see auto
specialists.com. Check it out today
and now back to the business coach radio show devoted to making America boom again. It’s the thrive time business coach radio show.
No complaining, no excuses. Oh, the breakthrough. It’s a choice of dollars, dreams, and other things. You without a doubt
nation. His name is Matt Watson. Again, his name is Matt Watson. He started in sold vin solutions to auto trader for $147 million dollars. Now, as newest venture is called stackify, it. It helps, um, customized websites and companies that do custom programming and web. It’s basically for a very complex website, not a basic marketing wordpress based website, but a more complex website. They help you find the problems with it and fix it. It’s called stackify. And so we’re hot. We’re hopping right back in to the interview where I’m asking him about stackify and the future of where he sees that company growing in the next few years.
Guest on, she’ll be on the show here. Her name is Lisa Kay Solomon. She actually wrote a book about how to properly design things that would actually work, but she used the case study of healthcare dot Gov to explain the importance of testing of website and you know, the feedback loops in the QC of it. And uh, so I think what you’re doing is a valuable service. What if I’m out there listening right now and I want to check out stackify what’s the best, who’s your ideal and likely buyer and maybe what do you want me to see? What’s the best way to learn more about it?
Yeah, you can just go to [inaudible] dot com. Our customers are really just software development teams, you know, not somebody who has like a wordpress website, but somebody who has real like software that they make custom made software. Uh, and our customers are all over the world. We have customers in about 60 countries.
And uh, what is somebody pay you for your service? I mean, is it a, is it $6? Seven dollars, a 1999? Is it thousands?
Sure, yeah, it’s rather inexpensive. We charge up to $50 a month per server. So if you’ve got five servers or you know, a basic app, you know, two or 300 bucks a month or something, it’s very affordable.
Now we have Paul Hood on the show. Now Paul Hood is a, a show sponsor. His company’s hoods, CPAS DOT com. He’s arguably the largest accounting practice. They have a location in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Tulsa, Oklahoma at Claremore, and they’re always expanding. And so Paul’s on the show quite a bit. And Paul, I wanted to give you an opportunity to ask Matt a hard hitting question or, or throw him a softball here.
Well, Hey Matt, this is Paul Hood. How are you buddy? Good. Hey, I just wanted to say I’m, I’m excited to talk to you because clay’s been bragging on you like crazy all week and clay is my business coach as well and I think he’s been doing that because uh, unlike you and clay, I actually finished the four year degree of in, in a college and it kind of gave me a handicap. So I started slow. I also started my own business at 22. Have not sold it for 147 million yet. But it’s for sale if somebody wants to buy. Yeah, maybe even half that I’d probably tell you. Hey. Well, what I want to know, man, is two things. One, did you build your company with the intention to sell? Was that your intention when you started day one? And then also, um, how would you, in today’s world you have people winning lotteries or whatever and being broke five years later, what do you think in your background attributed to your, your ability at 27, 29 years old to be able to get that windfall of money and just not be an idiot?
Okay. So question number one is, did you build the company with the idea of selling it in mind?
Yeah. So I know definitely not my first company. We got to the point where the last couple of years we knew we wanted to really kind of pump it up and grow as fast as we could, hoping to sell it. Um, I don’t think we purposely did anything and nutty in preparation of that. Like we didn’t fire a bunch of people and do a bunch of weird stuff or anything like that. But we, we knew that there were some, several strategic companies that would acquire us and they all came to the table when we were ready. So that worked out. And
Paul, the second question, can you restate the second? Yeah, I was just wondering it at 29 years old. It’s not only is it rare that you were able to help build a business that was that valuable, but what’s really rare is when you cashed out to be able to be prudent with that money. We deal with a lot of people and we help them in today’s world and be financially successful, not just work with them on their tax return and the financial failure rate in this country is obscene. And uh, you know, there’s very few 27, 29 year old men or people that could, could, you know, get that windfall and actually be smart with it. What do you think is in your background, what would you attribute your ability to handle that kind of money at that such a young age?
Well, I mean, in some sense I’ve, I’ve done fine other senses. I’ve invested a lot of it own company and other startups. So we’ll see how all those investment, uh, pan out. Right? But, um, I haven’t blown a lot of the money. I didn’t like start giving the mine. All my friends and family are in that kind of stuff. Um, but I just, I guess I came from, from nothing. I was actually born in a trailer park in Oklahoma City. I believe you guys are in Oklahoma. Yep. And yeah, I was born in Presbyterian hospital in Oklahoma City. Um, but yeah, I don’t, I just mid western kind of person just kind of down to earth and pretty prudent about, about all those things and
you know, I had to just try to make smart decisions. So you weren’t walking around with 10 carat diamond earrings in your ears and making it rain. I just decided to record your own music video or anything like that. Why don’t you become a rapper? Might have, you could have really transitioned from coding into rapping. You know, I, that’s my side hustle. I’m trying, I’m working on it. Okay. So now what is your vision for stackify and your life overall? Now? I mean, where do you see your life going? You’re 37 now. You now are the same age. I’ve got five kids. You’ve got three. Uh, you know, when you’re 37, we’re kind of halfway there, you know, we’re kind of like halfway there. I think that that to me has been my, uh, my dad died of als two years ago, um, had a lot of people in my life close to me that passed, you know, you realize how I’m sure you’ve lost somebody you’re close to as well, you know, and it’s like you realize how precious every day is. What’s, what’s your vision for the next 37 years
just to have fun, man. I’m just, enjoy what I do. I mean we’re, we’re having having a blast right now, like stacked, vice growing. Great. We’re growing. Actually just landed I think are our new largest customer today. Um, you know, we’ve had our ups and downs. I’m not going to lie like not every day is paradise run here. We’ve, we’re six years into this and there’s been a lot of tough days along the way, but right now things are going good. So. And I, I started another business a few months ago. It’s going good families going good. So, you know, it was just trying to enjoy life and have fun.
How many humans work for you or with you? Like how many people are on your team at stackify?
Yeah. So stackify we have about 25 employees here. Uh, and then I own a company in the Philippines and uh, I have 65 employees there. What does that company do? Um, we do offshore development. So we help like my companies do software development and, and other other companies.
So with that many employees, this is what I see. And you tell me if you, if you think I’m incorrect here, but when I built my first company Dj Connection Dot com, before I sold it, you know, we had like, we were doing 80 weddings every weekend. Dj Connection Dot com, so 84,000 events. So that’s a lot of vans, a lot of guys, a lot of equipment, lot of employees, a lot of need for an org chart. But I didn’t know how to build one. And then when I did build it, I had a hard time getting people to actually follow it. What happened was, is I got to 25 employees, it became very, very hard for me to seem like a to get anything done and I almost became this reactor, just this reactive person and now that I understand how to organize my day and my team, I honestly could grow to hundreds of people we have at our men’s grooming lounge chain. There’s about 90 employees there, you know, between our three stores. And then we’ve got our, the thrive offices, there’s about 45 of us than there. So I mean there’s, but now managing a team, it doesn’t seem very hard to me, but it used to seem almost impossible. Can you help the listeners out there and kind of help us to walk us through how you organize your team and your day. How are you organizing both your team and your day?
Well, I think it’s, I think it’s all about hiring people around you that you can trust and delegate stuff to. You know, I’m a software developer by trade and, and probably by preference and over the last 15 years plus that’s all I’ve ever done. Um, even at stackify I was, you know, the founder and CEO and software developer, but over the last 18 months I had to force myself to stop writing code. It’s not the most valuable thing I can do. There are other things I can do around here that are way more valuable than writing code. Um, and so it’s, you know, these days I feel like I run around and I’m the cheerleader and problem solver, you know, just trying to keep everybody motivated and in delegating stuff, making sure all the customers happy. Even more importantly, making sure all of our employees are happy. Um,
so walk us through your, let’s say that you have an employee that has happy. By the way, if you’re out there listening, this is, this is probably 95 percent of my team. They do their job, they do a great job and I praise them for doing it. They do a great job. I praise them for doing it. I try to praise and promote, that’s my whole day, praise and promote. But you get about five percent of people. Let’s say, Matt, I’m sure for you it’s probably one percent of people, but you get somebody who knows what to do, right, but they don’t get it done and they give you one of the following three reasons for not getting it done. They say, I forgot, or there was a miscommunication, or there’s an emotional reason nation on tomorrow’s show. Matt Watson teaches us how to hire and manage people effectively as always. Three, two, one.