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Nick Huber – Next Growth Phase – Ep.184

My guest today is Nick Huber, founder of now over a dozen companies beyond Bolt Storage, his self-storage business he’s perhaps most well-known for. Check out our first episode together, episode 68, for more about Bolt Storage.

Episode Description

My guest today is Nick Huber, founder of now over a dozen companies beyond Bolt Storage, his self-storage business he’s perhaps most well-known for. Check out our first episode together, episode 68, for more about Bolt Storage. Nick has used his growing Twitter following as a top-of-funnel for all these companies, all of which serve each other in a pretty unique entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Nick and I talk about how his role as a leader has grown in scope as his business empire has expanded, why delegation and recruiting talented people has become his primary responsibility, momentum in business, and what he’s learned studying great entrepreneurs.

Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn.

Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at

Clips From This Episode

How Nick Approaches Buying Companies

Delegation 101

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Oberle Risk Strategies– Oberle is the leading specialty insurance brokerage catering to search funds and the broader ETA community, providing complimentary due diligence assessments of the target company’s commercial insurance and employee benefits programs. Over the past decade, August Felker and his team have engaged with hundreds of searchers to provide due diligence and ultimately place the most competitive insurance program at closing. Given August’s experience as a searcher himself, he and his team understand all that goes into buying a business and pride themselves on making the insurance portion of closing seamless and hassle-free.

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(00:00:00) Intro

(00:04:37) Checking in with Nick

(00:11:47) Thinking bigger

(00:14:44) Nick’s approach to buying companies

(00:16:12) How Nick’s role has changed

(00:18:01) How to find talent

(00:24:56) Evaluating decisions and managing stress

(00:35:51) Is there a certain industry or business you’re going to laser-focus on?

(00:38:14) People Nick admires

(00:42:48) How to tell the story of a new company

(00:45:36) Delegation

(00:50:57) Are there any beliefs you’ve changed your mind on?

Alex Bridgeman: So, you’ve talked about a kind of master plan you’ve been thinking about for combining your Twitter following with the various businesses you’ve been running. I’d love to just start there and hear an update from what you’ve been thinking about and working on.

Nick Huber: Yeah, it’s been a big couple of years for me. I think my mind was opened to the power of Twitter first. It really opened twice. First, it opened in 2020 when I learned that I can meet people with cash who want to invest in self storage. And everybody knows that story. I think I told that story last time I was on here with you. But just how I got on, started tweeting about my deals. People saw that I was in the game. They got to look into my mind of how I was thinking about real estate. And fast forward six months later, and we were buying our first property with investor capital that all came through folks that I had met on Twitter. And it wasn’t like I was blatantly advertising, hey, invest with me or running ads. It was folks DMing me, we were hopping on Zoom calls or getting coffee, and then they would become investors and kind of want to get involved in what we were doing. The real estate private equity company grew. 2021 was a huge year. Here we are halfway through 2023. 2021 was a year where we went from six employees to 45 employees. We bought $50 million worth of storage. We raised $25 million of investor capital. And all that on the back of about 30,000 Twitter followers that I had in 2021. 2022 was a slower year for real estate. Rates rose all year. 2023 and here we are and real estate has come to a screeching halt. I mean, we’re not buying any deals. We are still managing our portfolio. We still have 45 employees. But here we thought we would be buying a ton of storage this year. We thought we’d buy a ton of storage last year. To put it in perspective, we bought $50 million worth of self storage in 2021. We bought $38 million of storage last year in 2022. Almost all of that was in the first half of the year. And in 2023, so far, we’ve closed on one deal for $1.2 million, and here we are in June halfway through. So luckily, Chris Powers, a mentor of mine, and several others, Moses, they got me smart about putting in the correct deal structure and the deal fees so that I can feed my team and we can continue to pay our amazing people to work even if we’re not transacting. So, I feel very, very lucky that we’re sitting here and we have 1.5 million of management fees coming in and our overhead is 1.3 million. So, I’m not getting wealthy off of my management company, but I can pay the bills, which is an amazing thing. But then a second- So that was the first kind of okay, Twitter has blown up my brain here. I built a real estate private equity company. This is a clear path to wealth. We started to raise money on the internet, through people we’ve met on the internet. The second one was the story with Support Shepherd. Marshall came to me, he was the owner of a company that recruits and hires, it’s a recruiting company for Filipino and Latin American talent. He came to me in early 2021. I had maybe 50,000 followers. And he said, hey, Nick, first of all, you need to hire one of our employees, it’s going to change your life and your business. Second of all, I want you to- if it goes well and you like these people, we can set up a revenue share referral program where you can help me grow my business and you can make really good money. So, I went on through Shepherd. They set up a couple of interviews. And they brought me three candidates to work for my real estate company. It was going to be customer service, data entry, things like that. All three of them blew my mind. I hired all three of them. I think I’m the only person to do that yet with Shepherd. Long story short, a couple months later, him and I made a deal. I was getting a revenue share of promoting Shepard on Twitter. And you’ve seen the meme now of me talking about $5 an hour. I’ve ran it about 20 times already and the woke mob totally explodes that tweet, millions of impressions every single time. And this meme on Twitter has kind of grown that company substantially. When Marshall came to me for the very first time, they were doing $30, 40,000 a month of revenue, maybe $50,000 a month of revenue in early 2021. They were about a year old. Fast forward a year later to April the next year, and the company had grown seven times, seven times larger. The team had quadrupled, and it’s becoming a big business. At this point, I go to Marshall, I say hey, Marshall, I know the revenue share is amazing, but I really want to own part of this company. Like I want to be bought in, I want to have equity in it, and I want to keep growing it, and I want to go forward to the future. Long story short, we made a deal where I was a minority shareholder, 15%, one five percent. And so that took place in 2023, April 2023 is when we made that deal. And here we are in June of 2024 and the company is substantially larger, doing over, I think this month it did 150 placements so far, and a team of 170 people over in the Philippines. It’s a company that I would value at 25 plus million dollars. One company, and yes, they have an amazing service. And yes, 51% of the customers are return. But I had a big part of it by helping promote it on Twitter. My mind blew up – hey, look at all this value that we were able to create because we have a really good operator in Marshall and his team and we have me and a good marketing plan on Twitter and social media. So then, from there on, I’ve kind of reshaped what I want to do long term on Twitter and kind of what I see as possible. The cost segregation firm that I started with Mitchell, I was in a similar situation where I had a guy that I was recommending to do cost segs for a small revenue cut. And I went to him and said, hey, I want to own part of this company. And unlike Marshall, he kind of said, he said, no, I don’t really necessarily want to grow that much bigger. It’s been a blessing. We’re still very good friends to this day. But he said, no, you should go on your way. We should part ways, and you should go do what you want to do. Me, Mitchell, and a couple others partnered on RE Cost Seg, which is an engineering firm for real estate. And we registered that domain on May 1st of 2022, so a little over a year ago, 26 employees, well over $150,000 a month of revenue, and a massive company in the making. And real estate transaction volume is in the tanks right now, and we’re still doing 30, 40 grand a month of revenue or a week of revenue. So that’s the second business. And then kind of you’ve seen me over the last six months start a search engine optimization company, Bold SEO, an American recruiting company called Recruit Jet, a performance marketing company that we’re going to launch next week called Ad Rhino. The list goes on with just companies that kind of they’re all synergistic in that I am customers, all my companies are customers of all my other companies. And my following which are entrepreneurs and business owners and real estate investors need all these things as well. So, my goal is to kind of build a holding company that combines all these businesses. That was my goal six months ago, and kind of we can- I’m going to let you- I’m going to stop me here. But now kind of the last month, I’ve kind of really shaped my goal to think even bigger than that. But yeah, that’s where six months ago my goal was, hey, I’m going to do this with ten companies or so, I want to have a holding company with ten or so businesses inside of it and go from there.

Alex Bridgeman: When you say think bigger, do you mean thinking on bigger, like larger opportunities, or bigger as in quantity of opportunities that you have and are going to focus on?

Nick Huber: Yeah, I think I’m just realizing that I’m in a very extremely unique situation in that I kind of have a competitive advantage in certain businesses. I can raise money. I can raise a lot of money. I can recruit top talent, both in the United States through my Twitter network of people who are killer operators that want to be a part of what I’m building and also through Shepherd with Latin American and Filipino talent. And then also, I have an unlimited supply of customers. So you put those three things together, capital, talent, and customers, and you’re in a beautiful spot to build massive businesses. So yeah, those companies started growing, and the startups are going well. But they’re all startups from scratch. I’m picking operators. I’m partnering with folks who are doing the work, using my distribution to grow these companies and attract and build the teams. But I kind of have a little bit of a bigger plan now of hey, I have all these irons in the fire now. I’m working with, just personally, just me, I’m working with a team of probably 25 to 30 people now. I got five people that work just for my holding company, and then the individual operators in these businesses, and I’m getting a look into their brains and seeing how do they work, are they good operators. And as we build these businesses, agencies, these tougher businesses, these lower risk businesses, these sway startups, as we build them from zero to one, I’m going to kind of build a shortlist of folks who really know how to operate companies. And then comes in the brokerage and the ultimate vision which is kind of a private equity holding company, a family office of my own where we are utilizing the business brokerage, which I launched as well as one of these companies with my father two months ago. I finally convinced him, he was a construction manager for developer, more like a VP of construction for a developer for 35 years, convinced him to leave his job and come to work with me to build a business brokerage. And we’re already getting a lot of companies that want to sell and a lot of buyers who want to buy companies. The ultimate vision is to start to transact businesses and use my podcast and my Twitter to kind of sell businesses in a whole new way with an insane reach but also to buy companies, to buy a couple companies a year to utilize my network of operators and my distribution to buy bigger businesses and roll them into my holding company.

Alex Bridgeman: I recorded a podcast with Sieva Kozinsky, and one thing he talked about was he’s found out that he’s actually a better buyer than a builder. He spent a lot of time founding companies and realized slowly that he really enjoys buying companies that already exist, already have customers, have product market fit. As you explore buying companies, do you feel like you have a similar skill set identification where maybe you’re realizing you’re better at one versus the other?

Nick Huber: So the answer is I’m learning. Sieva is a good friend of mine and an incredible operator, him and Xavier, what they’re building and doing is spectacular. But I think that, I don’t know, I think I know how to start companies, I know how to go from zero to one, I know how to get them to five or ten million a year of revenue, take them to that next level, I don’t know, I think it’s a different skill set. I’m learning it now, I’m trying it, it’s going okay at this point. But it’s definitely more risky. It’s definitely more risky to go out and raise capital. It’s definitely more risky to buy something that exists. It’s definitely more risky to layer in bank debt, outside investors, or my own cash in something that exists, buy it, and make it bigger. I’m confident. I’m going to try for sure. I’m excited to learn these things. But I thought the next clear step for me in a low risk way, because to be honest, I’ve just been so blessed over the last three years and watched my net worth and influence explode, the last thing I wanted to do was go out and raise a fund and buy a couple businesses and risk blowing all that up. So, it made more sense for me to start these companies from the ground up. But now that I’m getting more confident running bigger businesses and building bigger teams, I absolutely think that in the future, I’ll be primarily a business buyer.

Alex Bridgeman: What do you think your role is? If you wrote a job description for yourself and compared it to the one you wrote, theoretically wrote two years ago, what’s the difference?

Nick Huber: I’m a talent wrangler, period. I mean, I’m putting people in places and I’m enabling them to do and succeed. I’m enabling them to do great things. That’s it. Okay, yes, I’m consulting on processes. Yes, we’re building the same system in every business with the CRMs and the marketing flow and the payment processing, and all the different pieces that we’re putting in all these agencies that are the same. But I’m really just getting out of the way of people who are doing these things. But anytime they have a problem, I’m just making their lives easier. So yeah, I have a CMO, Head of Marketing at my holding company. I have an operations person in my holding company. And then I have about four admins, web developers, people who are helping in the background. And we’re running my podcast, we’re running my media, we’re running my newsletters, we’re running the top of funnel to amplify all these businesses. And we’re also, okay, hey, we’re going to launch Ad Rhino, and we want to launch it, I bought the domain, we want to have our first customer within a month. So we’re going in, we’re building the landing pages, we’re building the website through Web Run, then we’re engaging Bold SEO to get our backlinks and get all that going. Then we’re engaging performance marketing team and Ad Rhino itself to go ahead and start to build out all the funnels and conversions and data around getting customers that are on our website. Then it’s payment processing, it’s CRMs, it’s the Slack, it’s the Calendly links, it’s the sales teams, it’s building all the ways that the business works together. And then I turn it on. And I mention it in a newsletter, or I mention it on Twitter, and the customers start to flow in. And from there, it’s just building the teams to execute.

Alex Bridgeman: What do you look for in finding talented people who can run businesses for you or take things over? And in what ways, what funnels to have those people enter your life, whether through Twitter or personal network, what have you, which method or funnel feels the most effective?

Nick Huber: It’s just a giant flywheel. You mentioned the My First Million podcast where I got on and I spoke about how I’m doing this and how I’m thinking about partnering with operators to build companies. That first My First Million podcast, it was their third most downloaded of the year, it got a lot of press on Twitter, we took it over for a day, that podcast changed my life. People realized, oh my god, Nick’s not just a troll on Twitter. He’s building massive companies on the back of- I had no idea that’s happening. A, we’re getting other people after it now. The other creators are trying to do the same thing now, take ownership in businesses. I think that’s an amazing movement. I want to see a lot more of that. But also people in the weeds saying, oh, my God, I know how to operate a company, but distribution is my problem. I can’t- I don’t know how to find customers, or I’ve been thinking too big, or I went and raised venture capital, or I did all these things that maybe just the stars didn’t align for it to work out. They send me a message and say, hey, Nick, I am really, really good at building teams and I’m a performance marketer by trade. Let’s start a company. Or, hey, Nick, I’m a world class recruiter, and I ran a team of 20 people. That guy came to me and we launched Recruit Jet. It’s like- But you asked specifically how do I know whether those people have it or not, the answer is that I don’t. There’s people who are really good at interviewing. There’s people who know how to sit down with an employee and put them through personality tests and four rounds of interviews and save themselves a lot of headache. I’ll get there. I do have a goal to become better and do those things. Michael Girdley is a good example of somebody who’s really, I consider him really, really good at pre interview or pre hire, knowing if somebody’s going to work. But he’s on a bigger scale than me. He’s building way bigger companies. He’s further along in his career. I don’t know how to do that. My goal is hire really quick, get in, and put them in the thick of it right away. Hey, we’re launching a company together. For the first six months, I have the opportunity to get you out of this company easily. It’s a chance if you can’t perform, I’m going to get you out of here. But if you can perform, we’re going to get rich together. Let’s go. And we’ll start, we’ll start, we’ll start, and I’m working with enough folks who are absolute killers that I know pretty quickly whether these new people have it or not, and I can adjust.

Alex Bridgeman: What tells you if someone doesn’t have it? There’s probably some obvious ones. But maybe there’s probably a lot of subtle signs that someone’s not going to be a good fit that maybe take longer to identify.

Nick Huber: Yeah, most people don’t have it. That’s an unfortunate fact, is that operating companies and dealing with people and solving problems and making good decisions all day long is really hard. And that’s why most people in this world are paycheck to paycheck, overweight, unhappy in their relationships, and just generally not thriving at life. Life is really hard. Life is really hard, and building companies adds another layer of complexity on top of how hard life already is. I’m not perfect at it. Nobody’s perfect at it. But I think it’s decision making if I had to point to one thing, like the ability to make decisions. And the only way to make good decisions is by practicing making decisions. So the people who have had practice making decisions, maybe they’ve been really resourceful in their life, they weren’t sheltered by their parents. The problem, like today, I’m going to go on a little rant here, if that’s okay with you, but like the culture today is, hey, we have a kid. And let’s just say we’re upper class, middle class, whatever, we have a baby. We want to put that baby in a bubble so that it’s going to have no pain and no suffering. We don’t want to see that baby cry. We don’t want to see that kid suffer. And what happens is the parents, from three year old to 18 years old, are making decisions for their kids. Period. That’s a huge problem today. These parents are making decisions for their kids. I went to Cornell in Ithaca, upper level of a dorm, 20 kids on the floor, I had the next door neighbor, good friend of mine, he would call his parents to help him make every single decision. His parents were running his schedule, when he should study. We were going to a party in college town, it was cold out and he’s like, “Hey, Mom, could you check the bus schedule for me? I don’t know, it’s really cold out. I don’t know exactly how we’re going to get to this party.” These are kids that have been sheltered from making decisions. Because it’s easy, like you’re a parent, you don’t want to make your kid make a bad decision, so you’re going to just make it for them so that they don’t have any problems. Well, then they go into the real world, and they have absolutely no idea how to function. So, you got to find people who are resourceful and have a lot of practice making decisions, and they got to start low stakes. The decisions for any employee is going to start low stakes and as they prove themselves and can make better and better decisions, then you’re enabling them and giving them more and more responsibility and tasks. I kind of consider my management style is very much the have you heard the monkey on the back parable? I talk about it all the time. It’s an employee walks into my office with a problem or a decision to make, and they ain’t going to get any help from me. That’s for sure. Like they come in and that problem is a monkey. It’s sitting on their back. And as soon as they tell me what the problem is, that monkey jumps on my desk. It’s sitting right here on my desk and all sudden it’s my problem. And my job is to get that monkey back on their back and send them out of my office with their own problem and a solution for their problem. But it goes against all instincts as an entrepreneur because when you’re in a business and you’re in the thick of it, and it’s stressful, there’s money in the line, and there’s potential downside, your natural tendency is to tell them, hey, get out of my way, I’ll solve this for you. Like, you have a problem here, I’ll solve it. When in reality, you need to say, okay, how would you think about this? So, my management style is every time I get a question asked, it’s like, okay, what do you think? What do you think? How are you thinking about this? And I start to get a look into their mind. Two things happen. One, they get better at making decisions. And two, I get to look into their mind, and I get a feel for how competent they are. And I think the number one, I don’t really have a problem with work ethic in any of the people that I select. I’m pretty good at screening for work ethic just in history and how things are going, but it’s the decision making and kind of when they come to me with problems and questions, I’m asking them questions, and I can tell pretty quickly if the way they’re thinking about things just is not connecting.

Alex Bridgeman: It strikes me that as your group of companies and media has grown and more and more, your role is focused on just finding great talent and putting them in the right place, it strikes me that the consequences of your decisions are going up and that the downside and upside are both higher now that your company or group of companies and enterprises is larger. How do you evaluate whether overtime you’re making better decisions?

Nick Huber: Yeah, I don’t. I think entrepreneurship is really a funny thing because in any business, `when it’s starting up, there’s 300 decisions to make in the first year that are minor, everywhere from sort of critical, how much somebody’s going to make, to very critical, what services are we going to offer. You’re making millions of decisions along the way. And I know that of those 300 decisions, I’m going to make 100 of them wrong. 100 decisions out of the 300 are going to be incorrect decisions. I’m mispricing something, I’m making a poor hire, we got the wrong person taking the sales calls, we got an unconverting landing page. And my job is to make the core key decision right. Of those 300, there’s five decisions that can make or break the company and I’ve got to get all five of those right. And when I’m sitting back, and I’m not emotionally attached, I’m not emotionally involved, and I’m not super stressed. My operators get really stressed inside these companies because it’s crazy, customers are coming in. It’s literally building an airplane from you’re starting to take off and you’re building it as you’re taking off. So, my operators get really stressed. And I can tell that they’re stressed. But me, I get to kind of sit back and make logical decisions with the NorthStar of saying, okay, hey, these things here, they matter, they’re stressful, but they don’t ultimately matter. If we get our service offering and our core hires correct, this company is going to be fine.

Alex Bridgeman: How do you feel like you’ve handled stress? Over time, you mentioned being more calm while these decisions are being made. Is there anything you’ve done that’s helped reduce your stress level or at least manage it better over time?

Nick Huber: I think, so first of all, I’m not always managing it well. I can’t sit here and say that I’m running or investing and owning part of eight companies, and I’ve convinced ten people to make major life decisions to follow me and that I can provide for them and that I’ve got to hold up my end of the bargain. I think stress comes from like unmet expectations. Period. If I’m stressed about one of my operators, it’s because they expect something out of me and I’m not delivering or the business is not delivering. That’s where it gets stressful. A customer expects something out of me and we can’t deliver. So, A, I manage expectations by being brutally blunt about worst case scenario with all these people that are making big life decisions to come follow me. I have people leaving $300,000 year jobs to come start a company with me. And it’s an agency and it’s a startup and it’s going to be hard and there’s going to be six months of no fun. And the way you’re- when you’re building these businesses, the first two months can be really fun and exciting because you’re getting your first customer, your website’s coming along quick, you’re making a couple key hires, and it feels amazing, but months two to six in every single company, even the best businesses, RE Cost Seg, a phenomenal business, months two to six were extremely stressful. We were selling more work than we could deliver. We were rebuilding how we’re going to engineer these buildings. Very, very, very stressful for all involved. So even the ones that are going to win and they’re going to work, months two to six can be really brutal. And that stress is just part of it unfortunately. There’s no way around it. So, when I get on Twitter and act like it’s all amazing and I’m out on the golf course or doing whatever, people need to understand that there’s plenty of self doubt and anxiety in all the things that are natural about taking risks. I’m putting myself out there. I mean, when I’m doing all these things and trying to build an empire and taking all these risks and starting these companies and putting all my thoughts in a newsletter to 90,000 people every week, like, all those things are stressful. So, it’s just I think dealing with stress is a muscle as well, like some people can do it, and some people can’t. And I think the people with practice are better at it. Stress is relative. Like, there’s some people who will get a flat tire on the way home from work, and it’ll ruin their week. Like, that’s the most stressful thing. They are on the side of the road, they’re having an anxiety attack, and it’ll ruin their whole week because they’re so amped up and so sad. And then there’s people who run companies or who deal with serious stress, and they’ll have a flat tire on the way home from work and they’ll forget to tell their spouse sitting at the dinner table that night, just because it’s a non issue for me. If I get a flat tire or if I get in a fender bender or if some really crazy thing happens to me that might really stress out somebody else, it could happen to me, and I’m going to shake that off fairly quickly because stress is pretty relative and I’ve been through some very, very seriously stressful moments in my life. And I also just think stress and uncomfort are very correlated to how successful you’re trying to become. Like, if you’re trying to do amazing things, and you’re trying to influence a lot of people, then it’s pretty natural that the stakes are going to keep going up. The better you get at something, the higher level you get, the more people depend on you, the more stressful it is. I mean, can you imagine, people don’t understand because we just watch it on TV, but like LeBron James is the ultimate example. Like LeBron James, you talk about uncomfort, he is going into a stadium every single night with 20,000 people in person looking at his every move. They’re watching him. I don’t care who else is on that court, they’re watching LeBron James. Then you have millions of people watching it on TV. Then you have the playoffs when he’s expected to win, and his whole team is going to pass him the ball. And if he can score, they’re going to win. And if he can’t, they’re going to lose. That’s what LeBron James’ life is. And it’s at the highest stage. And it was multiple levels of stress getting up there. In sixth grade when he was sort of a phenom, but he was playing in front of a couple hundred people in Ohio, he wasn’t very stressed out and then by the time he’s a freshman in high school, when he’s getting some national coverage, he started packing gyms and scoring 30 night in front of high school teams, like then the stress went up a little bit. He started a business that started to grow. Then you get on the level of, okay, I’m the best senior, I’m going to go number one over all in the NBA draft, I’m going to be the person on the floor as an 18 year old kid who everybody’s looking at, just keeps getting more and more stressful. So, I’ve kind of accepted that if I’m going to accomplish my goals, uncomfort and stress is going to be a major, major part of that. So, if I can’t deal with it, I better just back off.

Alex Bridgeman: Yeah. I love something you said earlier about the most successful people you know are just really good at thriving in uncomfortable situations and that discomfort and that stress. Is there anyone that you admire who does that really well? And is there anything from their work or their life and habits that you’ve tried to apply?

Nick Huber: I think often about what would be the most stressful situation that you could possibly be in as a human being. And I’m not a political person. I don’t care about politics much. But I think a presidential debate, if you were about to go out and do a presidential debate, the feeling an hour before that, when you’re about to walk out on that stage and do that debate, would probably be the most uncomfortable feeling that I can really put myself in. I don’t know about you, Alex. But like that’s- you’re about to go out in front of 20, 30, 40 million people who tune in and watch a presidential debate, and odds are you’re going to say something and make a fool of yourself. And you just got to keep that at bay basically and hold it all together. That’d be freaking crazy. So yeah, politicians, the way they handle stress in public situations is pretty inspiring.

Alex Bridgeman: Did you do speech and debate in high school?

Nick Huber: I didn’t. I had to go up in front of an entrepreneurship class my senior year and pitch a 30 second short pitch of a business idea and almost had a panic attack in the room. So it’s just something you got to get used to, something you got to get used to. But no, I didn’t. But I think so many successful people, Patrick Campbell, some friends of mine have done speech and debate, and I think it’s just an extremely valuable skill.

Alex Bridgeman: Yeah, it’s amazing. I did it in high school. And I remember kind of midway through speech and debate my senior year is when public speaking clicked. I was like, okay, this is not as bad as it used to be. Like I remember in middle school, like you give a presentation on your science project and you’re holding up your poster in front of the class and your hands are sweaty, trying to hold it up. And somewhere along the line, senior year of high school, that flipped and it felt way more comfortable, way more composed. I don’t know exactly what that was. But do you feel like you’ve had a point somewhere along the line where a certain event or stressful moment like giving a speech suddenly became easier? Or maybe it was like hiring somebody or managing a team? Can you point to any moment where that stress level flipped?

Nick Huber: Yeah. Before I did any public stuff, any public podcast, I’d have some really uncomfortable conversations that come along with entrepreneurship and hiring people and firing people who don’t perform well. I think some of the things that I learned the most from are having to let go employees, especially friends of mine because I’ve always been a huge fan of hiring family and friends, and I still do to this day. I hire family and friends. I just do. It’s one of my things. But yeah, when you hire family and friends, there comes times where you got to fire family and friends, and that can be absolutely brutal. But no, I don’t know if there was a moment that absolutely clicked because this whole three year journey, I started tweeting for the first time three years ago or a little bit more, it’s all been such a whirlwind and coming at me so quick that I’m nervous for my first podcast interview where I’m interviewing somebody who’s basically a no name, to then I’m getting interviewed by somebody who’s basically a no name, I’m nervous for that. And then all of a sudden, I got somebody who’s a C level entrepreneur celebrity that I got to interview, and I’m nervous for that. And the next thing I know, it’s just like, all of a sudden, I’m in Miami doing a live show with Pomp in front of 17,000 people watching it live. And it’s like that’s really nerve wracking too. So like, I haven’t really got to the point where I’m not nervous for it. I think I’ll always be a little bit nervous for it.

Alex Bridgeman: Do you feel like you want to always be nervous, like that’s an indicator to you personally that you’re pushing and challenging yourself is continuing to stay nervous, even as stakes go up or hopefully as you’re pushing stakes up?

Nick Huber: Yeah, yeah. I do think often about like, okay, when is enough enough here. But I’m not there yet. I’ll worry about that when I hit some of these middle goals that I have for the next couple of years. But yeah, as the stakes go up, staying uncomfortable is something I feel accomplished when I do something uncomfortable.

Alex Bridgeman: Yeah. Earlier you talked about a private equity firm or family office of some kind as your goal or new kind of big goal to accomplish. Now that you have so many experiences with self storage, a software business, estimating, you mentioned a pest control business, there’s lots of different industries that you’re now getting exposure to or seeing how they work. Is there any one or two in particular that you might want to focus on more as you look for larger opportunities or greater opportunities?

Nick Huber: I don’t know. I don’t think I’ll focus on one business. I told myself from 2020 to 2022 that all I was going to do was self storage because storage was good and real estate was good. And I was like, damn, this is the best business I’ve ever- like real estate private equity. And when you ask me later what I think is the best business of all time, I still think it’s real estate private equity. But I don’t think that I’m going to be a sole, focusing on a sole industry. I think I can- So many people, and maybe this is my own insecurity and kind of my ego, but so many people when I did my first thing outside of storage, my first small business promotion on Twitter, they’re like, focus is the key. And as soon as you get unfocused, that’s when millionaires lose their millions. And that’s when it falls apart. And that’s when you can no longer be a good father. And that’s when you can no longer have hobbies. And that’s when you can no longer stay healthy and have a balanced life. So I kind of flipped a switched in my head and another part of this is that I preach it all the time, so I’m kind of preaching to myself about having balance and being able to do it all. But a flip switched in my head a couple years ago. I’m like, you know what, I’m going to prove all these people wrong. I’m going to prove them all wrong. Like I can. I can be healthy. I can have a lot of friends. I can go out drinking a couple of nights a week even though Twitter thinks it’s going to kill me. I can go play golf when I want to play golf, and I can build 10 or 20 great businesses. I’m going to show all of you. So that’s my kind of mindset is that, hey, I can do all this stuff. And people who think that focus is critical, like I agree, like focus is amazing. And it’s different strokes for different folks. But I’m going to show you that I don’t need to work 80 hours a week to build massive, massive, massive wealth. And I think that’s my goal. I don’t know if I’ll accomplish it or not, or if I’m going to come back on here in a year telling you a horror story of how I just couldn’t handle the pressure anymore and shut it all down, but I’m having fun so far.

Alex Bridgeman: You mentioned other mentors who are maybe a few years down the line from you careerwise, Girdley and Chris Powers being two of them. I’d be curious, as you look at more, as your business grows and you continue to look upward at different potential folks to emulate, from the folks you’ve talked to who are larger, what sorts of things are they doing on a daily basis or weekly basis that you want to eventually be doing? Or maybe the flip side, what are you doing today they’re not doing?

Nick Huber: I don’t know that I have a great answer to that one either. I think it’s a unique situation because like cash, having cash in the bank makes entrepreneurship so much easier. Nobody talks about that. That’s a pretty silly answer your question, but once you have assets that are making you 500,000, a million dollars a month, that takes the pressure off you to then go out and do business in a whole new way. And I’m not at that level. I want to be at that level. But it’s not as stressful to start an agency business with two hires when you have $3 or 4 million in your checking account. So like you can find a way to de-risk entrepreneurship, and you can feel better about delegation. I think one of the hardest things about delegating and like giving tasks to other people, one of the hardest things about it is that there’s risk in that they’re not going to do it well, there’s risk in that the company is going to fail, there’s risk in that they’re not going to treat the customers right, there’s risk that they don’t treat your business like you treat it. But if you don’t necessarily have to have this one thing win to keep feeding your family, it takes the pressure off. Business is so much easier when you have cash. So like now that I have a little bit of cash and not as much cash as some of the folks that you just mentioned by name, but like enough cash to where I can start up as many agencies as I want, I’m not going to burn through the cash that I have in my checking account because they’re low capital investment businesses. But I don’t know if that answers your question or not. I think a lot of the discontent and unhappiness that people feel as well is by comparing themselves to more people. And like my evolution over the past three years has been hey, I joined the cheapest country club in Athens in 2019, and when I got to the club, I felt a little out of place because the guys had brand new F150s and they’re making 300 grand a year, and I’d never made that money ever. Fast forward a year and I had joined the second country club in town and it’s the nicest club in town and I stroked a check to get in and I meet bankers there, mortgage bankers and insurance guys that are making a million a year and playing golf all week. I’m like, holy shit, how can I get to their level? Then you fast forward a year later, and I’m hanging out with real estate guys that are flying around private jets and investors that are stroking $5 million checks to buy companies like it’s nothing to them, and they’re bringing in millions of dollars a month in profit. You start to compare yourself to these people as you keep climbing up the ladder. And so, I don’t know, it’s unique. I’m just trying not to compare myself because then I just feel like I need to puff up my chest and show everybody who I am, which I don’t know if it creates healthy thoughts for me. But as far as what they’re doing tactically, if that was your question, I think they’re just leveraging their network and their capital and their time. They’re so good at how they spend their time, their capital, and their network. You’re spending all three of those things when you’re doing anything, when you’re asking for favors when you’re making hires. Twitter’s my network, my cash in my bank account is my capital, and then I only have 24 hours in a day just like everybody else. So, I got to really think about what I can spend my time doing that’s the most valuable. And right now for me, it’s convincing other people to come along on my mission. I’ve always been really charismatic. And I can convince, I can sell people on my ideas and my visions. And that’s what I spend almost all my time doing now. And I think that’s also what Chris Powers and Girdley and Moses and a lot of these folks who I really look up to, it’s all they do. And you take a look at the next level up like the folks who founded these massive companies back in the day like the Warren Buffetts and even the private equity group holders like Mitt Romney and those guys who have built massive companies and what Brent Beshore is doing now, a lot of people that we know, they’re doing the same thing. They spend all day convincing human beings to do things that can benefit both parties, me and them, because you can’t make anybody do anything. You can’t make them do anything. You have to make somebody want to do it. And I got to make people want to come onto my team and build companies with me.

Alex Bridgeman: What have you learned about telling that story to somebody? So, you have this company idea you want to start, you found someone you think would be good at it. What have you learned about telling that story?

Nick Huber: Again, I’m just kind of, I’m operating with a massive competitive advantage. I’ll tell you a little story just right after the My First Million, what are we, we’re three months or four months ago when I went on My First Million for the first time. Right after, a guy sent me a DM. And he said, Nick, I’m the best in the world at building systems for businesses. I want to start a systems business with you. I want you to be my partner, you be the distribution and let’s start a systems business. And it’s like, the guy’s name’s Simon. And I said, Simon, okay, let’s have a call. We got on face to face. I was like, tell me what you know how to do. And he’s like, well, I can build landing pages, when people fill out forms, they fill out a half a form. So we go, we get it in customer IO. And we’re hitting them with email so that they come back and fill out the full form. And when they fill out the form, it goes right into the CRM, and once they are in the CRM, we can hit them with all these different channels of communication to convince them to buy from us. And once they buy from us, I can automate the payment process, I can automate the contract through all these different things. And I can automate communication inside the entire company. And my mind started to blow up. I was like, holy cow, alright, so if we’re going to offer this to customers, what would we do? And he started talking about all the different things that customers need. And I was like, man, this guy is really good. But I have no idea how I’m going to package and sell this as an agency. So, I just said, come to work with me. Just come to work with me. You understand the power of my reach. You are super valuable. Come to work at my holding company. Give me one year, I’ll just- I said what are you making right now per month in your small business, he told me it was four grand. I said, okay, I’ll pay you 6500. Come to work with me right now, give me one year, and let’s work on my companies, show me what you can really do. And then the world will be our oyster. And we’ll go by companies, we’ll start companies, we will do whatever we want to do together. And he came on. And now he works with me. And he’s been with me for two months. And total, total, total gamechanger. The guy is a 10xer. So it’s like I’m at a competitive advantage because those people don’t come after most people. I always talk about like the unicorns and how, as a business owner, you post a job posting, you’re expecting a unicorn to come in. Like, I want somebody who cares about my business like I do, who’s super competent, who’s going to work as hard as I do, and that does not exist for most people. Like you cannot find those people. You have to build a normal business that can survive with normal people and grow and make money with normal people running it. I’m in a situation through my influence and through Twitter where unbelievable people really do understand the scale of what we’re building and understand the opportunity that comes with my Twitter account and my newsletter, and they’re willing to come on board and trust me and trust the vision without me having to shell out three, four, five hundred grand a year to get some of the talent.

Alex Bridgeman: What have you learned about the incentives behind delegating?

Nick Huber: Delegation, if you get good at it, and you exercise that muscle, and you’re not just going to read about it and listen to podcasts and study books, and you’re going to actually go to the gym and lift the weight to make delegation better, it’ll make you realize that you can accomplish anything that you want to accomplish, especially with the internet and technology now. You can literally do anything, because instead of me working on problems, my people and my team members are working on problems. And when that happens for the very first time and that you wake up one morning and your business made money while you were sleeping or while you were golfing or while you’re on the beach, your whole worldview around what’s possible amplifies. If you’re really good at your job, and there’s a lot of people listening to this that haven’t yet made the leap in entrepreneurship, and it’s not for everybody, frankly, let’s be real. You can make a ton of money being really good at your job at a company. You can make a lot of money. If you can make other people really good at their job, there’s no limit to the amount of money that you can make, even if you work at a company. Somebody who works for me and they’re really good at their job, they can earn X amount of money, which can be a massive amount of money if they’re really good at something. But if they can make other people really good at that one thing as well, there’s no limit to the amount of money that they can make if they’re in the right business with the right owner because a lot of owners don’t think big. I think one of the huge complaints of people who are good delegators and who really do want to help grow companies, they’re working for a business owner, they just won’t, they won’t feed them, they don’t want to feed them, they don’t want to change anything. Sit in your seat and do your job. Like we don’t need to grow. We don’t need to do all this spectacular stuff. I don’t need you to delegate, build a team, and build our company bigger. We just want to have these same 20 employees doing the same 2 million a year. We just want to keep doing this for as long as it’ll last and forget about it. That’s not the company you want to be working for if you’re a good delegator. But if you work for a good boss, a good manager who’s going to empower you to build and build and build and build and build until there’s nothing left to build and you can leverage your time by showing other people how to do their job well, you can make bank.

Alex Bridgeman: Yeah, it’s not just a matter of identifying really talented people, but building an environment that they want to stay in and they want to build in. And that seems to me to be just as hard.

Nick Huber: It’s really hard. It’s really hard. Because a lot of times, you don’t need people who are builders. Like that’s why I love the motivational interview so well. It’s like, hey, you’re interviewing somebody, you’re trying to figure out- they’re coming into your company, and you’re trying to figure out if it’s going to be a good fit, one of my questions is always like, alright, let’s fast forward a couple years from now, you come into my office, and you freaking love your job. You love it. Tell me what you love about it. Everything’s going great. What are you doing? How big is your team? How much money are you making? It’s a pretty big question. Sometimes some people- I’m hiring a manager who I want to help grow a team and build my companies, and they’ll be like, I don’t have any direct reports because they stress me out. I’m making $70,000 a year. That’d be a dream goal for me. And I have really good work life balance. That’s great. That’s awesome for 80% of roles in a company, maybe even 90. You need that person. But not for the growth position who’s trying to build companies. Or on the other hand, if I need somebody to answer phones, and like, look, almost all business is really not fun when you’re in the trenches doing the actual freakin’ work. So if I’m hiring somebody to answer phones all day, there’s going to be angry customers, and they’re going to be dealing with tenants, and some of them are going to be mean, and whatever, and they say, oh, I want to be managing a team of 30 people, and I want to be making $400,000 a year, and I want to be doing all these things, I’m like, okay, this is not a good fit, I need somebody to sit in this chair and do their job.

Alex Bridgeman: Yeah, it’s different, different roles for different stages of a company’s growth cycle, like it doesn’t make sense to hire a chief revenue officer day one, but maybe a couple years down the line, larger revenue, it does.

Nick Huber: And like the good and bad businesses rings true. Like there are bad businesses. There are businesses that are not easy to scale. And there are really good businesses that are- that potential is there. So working for a company that’s in one of those good sectors is pretty critical.

Alex Bridgeman: Yeah, within holding companies, a lot of folks talk about the benefit of being able to move capital around to different companies and different opportunities. I’d imagine you can do the same with people, as someone wants to continue growing, you now have other opportunities coming up all the time that you can point them to.

Nick Huber: That’s what I’m looking forward to. Like, I’m not only going to have the capital and the distribution and the network, I’m going to have trusted operators. Me starting all these companies, like I know that some are going to be a pain in the ass, some are not going to work out. People are asking me like why would you ever start a recruiting company or web development company? Look, it’s not all about just that company. It’s the fact that when I launch one of these companies, I get to work with another team of three to five people. And I get to see who really, really has it. And when you have those people who really, really have it, and you’re seeing opportunities all day, yeah, you move the people around because operating a company is operating a company, I don’t care what industry you’re in. So I’m really excited to be five years down the road, have even more capital, have a better network, having even more distribution, but have a Rolodex of people who have been working with me and killing it for years that I can go buy businesses with, start businesses or just chase any kind of opportunity.

Alex Bridgeman: You mentioned your best business is still real estate private equity, which makes a ton of sense after our conversation. Would you have anything different for any beliefs you’ve switched your mind on?

Nick Huber: The thing that I’ve changed my mind on most recently was not really something on business. I had a personal event. In February, I was in the gym. After the workout, I pulled a paper towel out of a paper towel holder and the whole thing came off the wall and cut my foot open and it severed a tendon, it severed abductor tendon on top of my foot. And I had to- two days later, I had orthopedic surgery to put that tendon back together. It’s right next to a big nerve, the sciatic nerve maybe that runs all the way down to the big toe. So the recovery from that surgery was really pretty bad. The doctor comes in after the surgery, he’s like, hey, Nick, while you were sleeping, we gave you some oxy, oxycodone in your blood. And I want you to stay up on this because when you come out of this nerve block, which was up in my leg, when you come off the nerve block, the pain will be very, very bad, and you’re not going to be able to catch back up to it. And I was like, I’m not taking any pain meds and you’re wrong. Like that’s not true. So, tough guy me went home. And that night, about 3am, the nerve block wore off. And it was the most intense suffering I’ve ever been through, felt like a helicopter was going around that tendon, just tearing everything inside of me up over and over again. I was on the floor in my bathroom crying, sweating, puking. And at that moment, I had a whole new perspective for people who are addicted to opioids and how that can happen. Because you have some of these injuries, you have some of these things happen, and I didn’t know what real pain was until I had that moment. So, before that, I was- and you know me, I’m a cocky, confident person. I didn’t have much empathy for folks who got addicted to pain meds, and I was on pain meds for about a week and coming off the pain meds also just felt weird and a little bit of anxiety even though I wasn’t on a full dose for a week, and I just saw how quick it could happen. And now I have a new level of acceptance for those folks.

Alex Bridgeman: Yeah, no kidding. Well, thank you, Nick, for coming on the podcast again. I always enjoy our discussions together and getting to see you. I hope to see you at another event here pretty soon. Did you go to Capital Camp this past year?

Nick Huber: I missed Capital Camp and it didn’t work with my schedule this year either, but I’m not going to miss any more. So I’ll be next year if you’re going to be there.

Alex Bridgeman: Darn. I hope I’ll get to see at some point.

Nick Huber: Alex, really appreciate these interviews. You’re phenomenal at it and I love the media empire that you’re building and I’m excited for your next chapter, which I don’t know if you’ve shared publicly yet, but I’m pretty pumped for you. So, keep me posted on how I can help you, and as always, I really appreciate you having me on to kind of share some of my stuff.

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