#002 Gum Balls, Donald Trump, and Business with Brad Layland

 

TRANSCRIPT:

Jay Owen:
Hi. Welcome to Building a Business that Lasts. My name is Jay Owen, and I’m your host on a quest toward stories, tips and ideas that will help you grow a business without being stressed out, worn out and ready to quit.

Each week, I’ll interview other business over owners who have successfully grown businesses of all types for many years. It’s my hope that these conversations will help you build a business that lasts.

So one of my favorite ways to learn is through audio books, and I use audible.com for that. So what I’d like to do is give away a three-month membership to audible.com. I’m going to do that every single month to somebody that’s on our email list. So if you’re not on our email list already, go to buildingabusinessthatlasts.com. Plug in your email address. I promise I won’t spam you. We’ll send you one email a week announcing the new podcasts as they come out, give you some information on links about those podcasts and enter you in a chance to win that three-month membership to audible.com. So head over to our website, buildingabusinessthatlasts.com. Plug in your email address, and we will get you entered for that context. Good luck.

On this episode, I interview Brad Layland. Brad has a bachelors in communication studies and a masters in theology from Fuller Seminary. He is the CEO of a company called The Focus Group who helps large non-profits with capital campaigns, and he also is the owner of Endless Summer Realty and does all kinds of different real estate and development investment and work, so Brad has a lot of different things going on. He is one of those just really interesting entrepreneurs who has learned to build a business that lasts and worked it in a way that kind of is in line with his faith and family and things that are important to him in life. We talk about everything on this episode from a gumball business to how Donald Trump and the Apprentice kind of gave him some ideas about the real estate business, so I found this interview really interesting to me. It was a lot of fun because my 12-year-old was actually sitting in the room and got to listen along as well. I hope that this interview is as helpful to you as it was to me. So here’s my interview with Brad.

Brad, thanks for being here today.

Brad:   
Yeah. It’s fun. Thanks for asking me, Jay.

Jay Owen:   
Awesome. So I’d love to hear from you a little bit of insight. I know we got kind of a couple different tracks because you’re involved in a lot of different things, kind of how you got started. Maybe we’ll start with the real estate and then kind of shift to the focus group … How you got started in those things from a business standpoint and how you ended up running them, kind of being the owner, the one that has to make the final decisions.

Brad: 
Sure, it’s really all about gumballs. I started my career being an entrepreneur in starting a gumball business in college, and so my step father was in vending, and so he suggested to me that I go down the vending route. And so when I was a freshmen at the University of Florida, I went into the Reitz Union, and I met with the Reitz Union business manager, and I was an 18-year-old, and I had a picture of gumball machines, and I said, “Can I put these in the student center.”

And he just thought I was a cute, young kid, and so he said, “Sure. As long as you get the big corporation on campus at UF to give you an exception.” And so I called the big vending company, and they also said, “Hey. Sure. We’ll give an exception to our exclusive contract.” And let me put my gumball machines on campus, and so during college, I put 100 gumball machines around North Florida, 100 locations, and it’s called Sweetness Venting.

What was interesting about that business is I learned the power of passive income in the sense of I put the gumball machines out there. I would then fill them up with candy, and then I would come back once or twice a month and take the money and put more candy in. And so, during college, I realized, and I came to the conclusion that I made … I basically made about 7 cents a minute all the time, and so it was a really fun transaction.

Now, that’s not really a lot of money, but it taught me the principles of business that I then have used all my life, and so it’s always about gumball machines and thinking back to that [inaudible 00:04:07]. I did that business for about 15 years, and it was … That business was still going on when I started my real estate company, but suddenly I realized that real estate was a way better opportunity, and so I, through a random series of fun events, I quickly refocused on real estate and sold the gumball machine business.

Jay Owen:  
That is interesting and amazing. I never knew that about you, so that’s always just awesome to hear stories like that.

I started really young, but mine aren’t nearly as fun as that, so really kind of a cool story. And 15 years. I think that’s one of the things that I’m wanting to focus on with this podcast is telling stories around ideas that have lasted the test of time, and I think you already hit on one huge thing which is the idea of passive income or even recurring revenue, for that matter. Things that just keep coming as well.

Brad: 
I had this one gumball machine … The gumball machines cost about a hundred dollars each, and I had this one gumball machine that when I was a freshman in college, I ordered the gumball machines using … I didn’t have any money, so I used one of those college credit cards that they give you that has a 30% interest rate, and I charged the first eight gumball machines on this college credit card.

They were delivered to my dorm, and then I didn’t have a car on campus, and so I … Well I did, but it was way off campus, and so I wheeled my gumball machines about a half a mile from my dorm to the Reitz Union, through campus. Then I placed them there, and I had … One of those machines was about a hundred dollars, and that machine, I sold Chiclets in it. Did about $100 in sales every month for 15 years, and it was still on location when I sold the business.

And so when you think about the return on investment, the candy costs next to nothing. I paid a small percentage to the University of Florida. It was amazing, and it was just this one machine that just kept … There’s no electricity. People just kept putting more and more quarters in, so it was an incredible reoccurring revenue, great passive income, but here’s the thing. You can’t scale it.

And so business has to be scalable. Like yes, I could have a thousand gumball machines, but that might generate $5,000 a month of income, which is wonderful, but not enough to support my family, and so the principles of the gumball machines are scalable, but the actual … The reason I sold it is because $500 a month profit in college was amazing, right? In the early ’90s getting $500 a month extra was a huge deal.

But then, when I got older and I started having kids, $500 a month wasn’t as much, and suddenly I realized real estate, the transaction was way better.

Jay Owen: 
So when you got into real estate originally, there’s a lot of different avenues to go into that whether somebody’s just selling homes on their own or they become a broker, or there’s all these different things that you can do, so how did you get to the point where you are now where you run an organization that also helps empower other people to kind of run their own small little businesses to some extent underneath the umbrella of Endless Summer Realty. How did you get to that point?

Brad: 
Well it’s all about President Trump, oddly. What really was happening … It was the first season of the Apprentice, and Donald Trump was interviewing and doing the your fired for the first crew of 10 people, and people were bidding and fighting for the chance to get a job, to work for Donald Trump and make $250,000 for their first year of income.

And during that series, I was living here in St. Augustine, and I was working part-time for Young Life. I’ve always worked or been associated with Young Life. It’s a great ministry. It’s where I met Christ in high school.

So I was working part-time for Young Life, and I had my gumball machine business, and I had been always intrigued by real estate. Suddenly, I heard that one of my neighbors had given away her ocean front condo to Hope College, and so … Hope College is a great school in Michigan outside of Grand Rapids, and so I called up Hope College, and I said, “I hear someone just donated their condo to you.” And they said, “Yeah, would you like to buy it?” I said, “I would. What does it cost?” And they said, “We’ll sell it to for appraised value.” Which was fair.

That was a fair price. Someone had given it to them. I then bought it for appraised value, and then renovated it and subdivided it ’cause it used to be two condos, and through that hard work and that transaction, I made more than the person on the Apprentice made after both winning it and having to work for a year, and my wife says to me, “Wow, Brad, this is better than winning the Apprentice.”

And it was hard work, but the idea was that real estate was a vehicle that allowed me to make a higher price point, and it kind of used all my gifts.

So one of the things that was neat about that transaction is it involved fund raising which I’ve always been involved in is that the fundraising was someone donated the condo, and I knew that the college in Michigan wouldn’t want it, and so I knew that they just wanted to cash out, and I wanted to provide a fair offer which was appraised value, but I definitely leveraged my fundraising world with my real estate world, had this incredible transaction, and then I hired a real estate agent to sell it for me, and I watched him do it, and I thought, “Wow. I not only could be making money buying and selling properties, but this real estate transaction …” It’s hard work being a realtor. There’s a lot of details, but I’m so intrigued by it all. So, that’s when I started getting my real estate license. It’s a little bit more complicated than that, but that’s the basic story.

Jay Owen: 
So what’s really interesting about this conversation … First of all, I didn’t expect it to go to gumballs or Trump at any point.

Brad:   
Well, it is a podcast, so I’m trying to create stories that keep people’s attentions.

Jay Owen:    
That took me a little off guard, and I really thought you were totally joking at first, but the way that it ties in is actually really amazing.

Well, what’s interesting about you, I think, over some of the other people I’ve interviewed is there’s this book called E Myth that I really like, and in it, he talks about people tend to be either a technician, a manager or an entrepreneur, or they’re a little bit of each, but they usually they fall into one of those buckets. And you’re kind of like that quintessential entrepreneur like starting with the gumball machine. One idea leads to another idea, leads to another idea, and so now you have four businesses, I guess. Is that right?

Brad:
Yes. Four.

Jay Owen:    
Kind of running. And the two kind of primary ones … I don’t know if that’s a fair [crosstalk 00:10:29]

Brad:   
Yeah.

Jay Owen:     
Endless Summer Realty and the Focus Group.

Brad:    
Well the third one that’s primary too is the real estate holding company which is kind of like what I did on that first property I bought from Hope College. Now I have a company that manages and holds that, and it’s really just for tax purposes and to protect my liable, and so I would do it all in my personal name, but if I do that, then it puts my family at risk, so I have a company that buys and sells real estate, holds real estate, rents real estate, and that’s my third company, and that one actually [inaudible 00:10:57] very profitable. That one, long term generates a lot of income, but on a year to year basis, I don’t depend on it for my income to support my family. I support my family through my work at the Focus Group, and then the real estate business is a great way for me to support ministries and give money away.

Jay Owen:     
So there’s so many things I want to hit on as it relates to that, but one of them is … The first one is that I think some business owners get to the point, and I’ve certainly been in this place, where I feel the one business I’m trying to run is so overwhelming that I can barely do anything else in life at all, and all of a sudden, I’m listening to you, and you’re talking about not one business, not two, but four, and how have you gotten to that point where you’re able to go, “Okay, I’ve got this going and this going and this going and this going,” and able to kind of run it all and still be a good dad and still be a good husband. How do you kind of look at all of that when you’re dealing with life?

Brad:    
Well I’d actually say it has to do with discipline, and so I have three disciplines that I live out of on a daily basis. It’s actually four, but you’ll laugh at the fourth one. The basic three things that I do each day is spending time with Jesus, having my devotional reading. I read through the Bible every year, New Testament twice, the Old Testament once. Spend time in prayer. So, that’s my first discipline.

My second discipline is exercise. I run four or five marathons a year. I lift weights twice a week. I have specific goals around exercise, and so I work out six days a week.

And then my third disciple is I return every email from the day before every morning. So, my inbox is never getting backed up, so it’s just a disciple to return every email in the morning. That’s my third one.

My fourth disciple is odd. It’s shower, and the reason I put that in there as a discipline is that it’s sort of completing everything. I try not to get out of the house. So, on a perfect day, I’ve done those four disciplines.

Now, that allows me then to be focused on whatever I need to focus on. The fact that I have three different companies or four companies, that’s really an unfortunate reality to the tax code in our country. Around here, we call it [inaudible 00:13:20] World, and there happens to be different tax ID numbers for the different parts of my life, but it’s really one thing. I have this wonderful team of realtors who … There’s 60 realtors who sell real estate all over the county and are wonderful people, and I get to care for them. And then I have 20 or so people who are part of the focus group, and we’re helping these wonderful ministries and non-profits raise money, both large groups that have $200 million budgets and small little organizations that have $50,000 budgets, so I have 20 people that do, and then I have these properties that I get to own and renovate and improve and rent, and it’s just one thing. That’s just my life. They’re not three separate things. They’re just three separate tax ID numbers.

And then the fun thing is they all roll up in my mind. Like I have one CFO, and Laurie is amazing, and I couldn’t imagine functioning without her. And I have one person that walks alongside of me as my assistant in all of my worlds, and then I have leaders of the individual organizations. I always need to seem to hire more, but I’m constantly trying to put people in power to manage their part of the companies, and so hiring people is a high priority, and putting the right people on the team is incredible and takes a lot of time, but my disciplines is what gives me focus.

When I go out and run 20 miles, or tomorrow I’ll run eight miles. That’s what I’m scheduled to do. I have all this wonderful time to think and process, and then I come back, and I’m able to download that. Whereas, if I’m not spending time with Jesus and I’m not running, I’m not getting the alone time I need to be able to lead the things that I’m called to lead.

So there you go. I’m just trying to make to … Some I feel like I’m better at it than others.

Jay Owen:    
That’s awesome and really helpful. I was actually listening to a podcast by a guy named Tim Ferris, and he was talking about people’s morning routines and how important it was that people had kind of the specific steps which is really interesting to me now that you kind of refocused on that, and said here are the disciplines, the habits, that you’ve created over time that kind of enrich your life, and as a result, allow you to enrich other people’s lives.

Brad:  
And then I have all these filters and systems. So it’s all about my family and like spending time with my kids and my wife. Like, they are the … They’re the goal. They’re what I live for, and everything else is secondary, and so my priority is them, so I have to put filters on things like how many nights away a month I am gone, coming home, driving them to school, and so everybody on my team is helping me with those filters because I let them know what they are, and so part of my life is like my assistant who helps me with my travels. She knows to say no to people when they try to get me to go places around the countries. She’s protecting my time as well, and she appreciates my relationship with my family, so it really helps.

Jay Owen:     
Yeah, I think that’s huge, and she emailed me prior to the interview and said, “Hey just confirming Brad’s appointment tomorrow. Are there any questions he could take a look at?” It was neat to kind of see that because I saw that prior to this interview of your assistant taking care of you and taking care of the process which was helpful to me too just being here today to know that your appointment was confirmed and ready to go. I’m actually in the process now of hiring kind of an assistant or an office admin as well, and I think I probably waited a little too long it, but I’m excited to have that opportunity on our team.

One of the things you talked about, and I know it’s really important to you, is both your faith and your family, and one of the ideas, or kind of subtitles of this podcast for me is Building a Business that Lasts Without Sacrificing Family, and I got to go to a conference recently, and Lou Holtz was speaking, and he was really interesting because one of the things he kind of was very proud of was that he’s been married for 53 years, and he said from the stage, “I just totally reject the idea that in order to be successful you have to sacrifice your family.”

And so what I’m curious about for you is, you talked about this for a little bit, but I think people try and make work and life this like balance scale, and I don’t really believe in that. I think it’s all just one life, but how you have helped put kind of boundaries in place or what you kind of said filters. How have you developed those over the years, especially as your kids … You went from no kids to one kid … Your family grows, and then they grow in age, and so all those things start to change, so how have you adapted over the years to protect your marriage and protect your children?

Brad:   
When I was younger, we had rules. Wendy and I had like core family values, and that worked really well when we didn’t have kids. But as we got older … Like Wendy and I had a no night away policy in the beginning of our marriage, and for the first probably 10 years of our marriage, we didn’t spend a single night away. She was a singer-songwriter and traveled and did music, and I would always go with her, and she would always come with me, and we just were committed.

But we started having kids, and then I started doing things that were more national and even global a little bit. I couldn’t. And so, we had to abandon some of those things. That created the need for more filters, but the single best thing that I’ve done in the last couple years was reading the book by Michael Hyatt. It’s about building your life plan. The book is called Living Forward, and Michael Hyatt wrote it. I heard about it through listening to a podcast by Dave Ramsey. Dave Ramsey had him on, and then he talked about the book.

The premise of the book is to create a life plan, and you figure out your life accounts, the things that are priorities to you, and then you assess where you’re at and where you want to be. And so, read the book about maybe 18 months ago. I think I listened to it. Then I bought it for my iPad. Then I bought it physically.

Jay Owen:          
That’s when you know it’s good.

Brad:        
Right. And then it has this process you go through. And so on June 1st, my birthday a year ago, about 14 months ago, I did the work. Like you spend a day away and you follow the steps and you look at each area of your life and you say, “Where am I now? What’s my current reality? Where do I want to be? And what are the steps I’m going to take to get there?”

And so, and then you also have to rate your life. Is this area drifting or are you succeeding? Like how’s it going? And so I did the whole process. Tons of work, but so good to say, “This is honestly where I’m at.” I implemented that June 1st, my birthday of last year, and then spent the year doing the things that I had scheduled to do for myself.

Life, for example, for my children, life account would be children, and for my children life account, I was very aware of the fact that they all appreciate the one-on-one time. I have four kids, and they love going on trips with me, and so I started this taking each of them individually on a quarterly trip. I started taking them out each individually for breakfast or picking them up from school once a month, and so I started trying to implement things that would change the trajectory. It’s not that I wasn’t in a good place with my kids, but tomorrow I’m bringing my youngest daughter with me on a trip to New York for Saturday and Sunday, and she is so excited about it. I’m excited about it, and it’s fine, but it comes out of my life plan, and so that life plan actually spoke to every area of my life, major areas, and then had goals, and there’s been so many things that have happened because I spent the time to reflect on my life. I was happy with where I was a year and a half ago when I started this process, but that book was amazing.

I probably bought the book … I probably bought 50 copies of the book since I read it, and I’ve given them to so many people.

Jay Owen:  
That’s when you know it’s a really good book. I am definitely going to buy that. And interestingly you mentioned that you kind of found out about Michael Hyatt or heard Micheal Hyatt through Dave Ramsey, and at the beginning of this part of the conversation, I mentioned Lou Holtz, who I actually heard at [inaudible 00:21:29] leadership event which Dave Ramsey runs.

So it’s interesting to kind of see where that route goes back, and a lot of similar values there across all those people as far as how they run, not just their business, but life as a whole.

One of the things I always talk about with other business owners is through the years you’ve been around long enough and been through enough stuff that you’ve had road blocks and bumps along the way and things that didn’t go the way that you had planned, and I’m curious to know how you kind of prepare for the unexpected, and then how you deal with it once it gets there.

Brad:   
Well the best way is to ask this question of yourself. A friend of mine, one of my mentors, said, “When things were tough when you were growing up, when things were bad, how did your parents deal with it? What did they do?” And so the greatest way to answer that is to say, “When things were rough in my growing up world, what did my dad do?” And what my dad did was work harder and not ask for help, and that’s not really helpful. But that’s my default is when things are bad, I default into just work harder, and that’s not healthy.

And so through mentors, like my friend I’m talking about, and going to counseling, I’m aware of the fact that when things are bad, I tend to just work harder, but what I’m learning to do is to ask for help, and so when a really bad day about a year ago, one of our employees, in a very inappropriate way, from one of my companies, left and created a big hole. Real surprised. A lot of premeditated stuff. It was really unhealthy on his part, but it actually left a huge hole of we had all these contracts we had to fulfill, and it was really hard. And I did … In some areas, I asked for him, and I did a really good job, and then some ways I traveled on planes way too much, picking up the pieces. If I had to do it over again, I would’ve actually just walked away from some of the work rather than taking red eyes every week.

So, I’m in the process of learning, but my first thing is I’m trying to be self aware of what my default, and then that allows me to try to not do that.

Both that and the life plan that you were talking about a minute ago, remind me of one of the other guys I got to hear a couple of weeks ago, was John Maxwell, and he was talking a lot about intentional growth and this idea that like you’re not just going to grow just by sitting still. You have to be intentional about it, and like the life plan is a great example of that where you said, “Okay. I’ve read this book. This is interesting. I’m going to do something about now.” And put this plan in place.

Jay Owen:    
And then the mentor’s part … You mentioned mentors and counseling. That’s something that’s come up in pretty much every interview so far, and I think it’s kind of a cornerstone that’s able to last the test of time in business is that they have other people who have walked the walk before that they can lean on, and I’m curious for you, how you kind of came across some of those relationships in your life and how they’ve impacted decisions and business growth that you’ve had or even how you run your family.

Brad:   
Okay, so I didn’t actually mean … I didn’t seek out mentors. I think God just sort of put people in my life, and I’m grateful for that. So, when I was in high school, the summer before my freshmen year, my best friend said to me, “Hey, next year we’re going to be cool.” I looked at him, and I said, “How?” And then he said, “We’re go to Young Life.” And so the day before my freshman year in high school, he arranged to have a Young Life leader pick us up, and we went out and played video games. This was the mid ’80s. It was so great. He picked us up in his Jeep. We played video games. I got to meet this 20-something year old guy who just wanted to be my friend, and he became my friend and introduced me to Christ and is still my friend to this day.

I didn’t seek out mentors. Like God just put people in my life, and I’ve been so better for it. And so the other man that said how do your parents deal with crisis, he was my boss in Young Life, and he just invested in me in a way that wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair in the sense of it’s amazing. It wasn’t fair on him what he had to take on with me, but so much more than supervision.

I just feel like I’ve always had people in life that have invested in me. My best friend’s dad just has cared for me my whole life, and my father was great until he passed away, and my step father has invested in me, so I feel really blessed. I didn’t grow up with a lot of money necessarily, but I grew up with a lot of incredible resources of people that just invested in me.

In seminary, I wrote a paper on my three dads and how I had my dad, my step father, and the dad of my best friend who each had different things that they offered me, and they all mentored me in different ways, and I loved being mentors, but I can’t say that like I read a book and then got a mentor. It was more like God looked at me and said, “He needs help.” And sent people. 

Jay Owen: 
That’s been my experience too. It’s not necessarily been like I’m going to go find an organization and find a mentor to latch on to, but there’s been plenty of people in my life that have kind of just helped me get through it in times where I didn’t know which way was up.

I remember when I was starting … I had been in business for quite a few years, but I had just gotten married. I was making basically no money. It was almost a hobby more than a business, and I went to work with my uncle. I got my insurance license, was going to go into the insurance business. He was looking for an exit plan. I was going to be his exit plan long term, and I’d grow into the role, he’d grow out of the role, it was a perfect situation, and that was the time where I realized I had married the right woman when I came home one day, and I said, “I kind of hate the insurance business.” I love my uncle, and it’s been amazing education and mentorship, but I hate the insurance business. And she said, “Well just do what you love, and we’ll make it work.”

And that was a neat … That was the time where I said, I’m going to make Design Extensions my full-time … We’re just going to do this until it either works or it doesn’t work.

But uncle, even since then, he’s been the constant mentor of me. I’m like, “Hey, how do you do this. I’m dealing with this. How do you handle it?” Because I think there are certain things in life that they don’t teach in a textbook. They don’t teach in a schoolroom. You just have to either experience them or see somebody else experience it or listen, and I think that’s been like a constant theme with every business owner that I’ve talked to so far. It’s always … Like you said, not necessarily somebody that they sought out, but somebody that was put in their life.

We’ve only got a few minutes left, so I just kind of want to wrap up a little bit. Two last things. One, one of the things that I really love and respect about you is that you do not shy away from the reality that you do all things for the kingdom of God, and I’m curious for you how that has kind of looked and worked in the business world for you because some people can be offended by that or not like it. How have you dealt with those conversations in a way that’s helpful and not hurtful, or have you even had experiences? Has it been mostly positive, or have you had road blocks where people don’t like that you’re as comfortable as you are with the fact that you love Jesus?

Brad:       
It’s interesting. I feel called two things. It’s to use my gifts to glorify God by helping people raise money so they can build the kingdom of God, so that’s the Focus Group, and then my secondary thing is to help people have good jobs so they can use their gifts and support their family.

And so the focus group is both jobs and fundraising, and the real estate business is really jobs for people, and so there is ministry there like helping a person buy a house, but it’s not … There’s like yesterday I was in, or Wednesday. I don’t know what today is.

Jay Owen:  
Today’s Friday.

Brad:       
Friday, so two days ago, I was in LA working with the Union Rescue Mission. We were helping them raise $60 million to deal with skid row. They work with homeless men, women and children. No one else … It’s an epidemic. There’s 2,000 people on the streets every night in skid row. There are nine bathrooms. Nine bathrooms for 2,000 people, little kids. It’s horrible. It’s a problem, so we’re helping them raise $60 million. I’m stoked. They’re going to take 300 of those people and put them into housing and help them both meet Jesus and get their lives put back together. I’m so excited about that.

There’s a spiritual component to that clearly, but it’s funny, talking about housing, but in the real estate company, it’s I have these wonderful, so 100 people, 60 agents plus everybody else that goes along with that, and there’s no raising money to build the kingdom of God, but it’s these hundred people who are all caring for others.

We have core values that are very Christian at their core, but I don’t use the word Jesus in any of our core values because we’re not a Christian real estate firm. We’re a real estate firm that has values that relate to the values of someone who is a Christian. So putting others needs first would be one of our values. Caring for people over our paycheck would be one of our values. And that’s great. It’s the only way that we’ve grown.

Our company has gone from, in eight years, from just having nobody and it just being me, to adding the first person, to now being the number one real estate company in the county, and it’s only been through our core values, and so when we have staff meetings and I might share a devotional, I’m not requiring people to pray. I’m not requiring people to believe something, but I am saying, “Look at this attribute of Jesus and how he was forgiving, and how have you been forgiving lately, and what’s life like when you hold grudges?”

And so, I can take the values of my faith and apply it into my business, and I believe that’s why we’ve grown so much, and so I find the real estate business to be a fabulous place to not do business, but to live out my faith and to care for people.

I’ve never actually been confronted. There’s never been anybody that’s told me I did anything inappropriate. But obviously I don’t make people believe anything, and I hire people who aren’t … who have different beliefs from me, but I don’t hire people that … I had an interview a couple weeks ago, and the guy is dropping the F-bomb and cussing during the interview. Well, you can drop the F-bomb and be a Christian. I’m not judging him about what he believes about God, but that just doesn’t sit well for our company, so I didn’t not hire him because of what he believes or doesn’t believe. I just didn’t hire him because he didn’t have good judgment when he’s in an interview.

Jay Owen:   
That’s a good way to phrase it.

Brad:       
But I also do a two-step interview process where I’m protecting culture, and so there’s an interview with one of our team members where they understand the business, and if they can subscribe to our corporate values and who they are, and then they move to a second interview with me which is an interview about culture, and I totally took this from [inaudible 00:32:53] Leadership. I’ve been reading the book, and it’s a Dave Ramsey … Except Dave Ramsey does like 17 interviews.

Jay Owen:  
He does. He always says like, however many interviews you’re going to do, multiple it times four. That’s his methodology.

Brad:     
He got me to go to two.

Jay Owen:      
Well yeah, I get that.

I think one of the things that I love about that is I think a lot of people who are believers feel like to kind of be involved in the kingdom, they somehow need to be physically in ministry as a vocation, they need to work for a church, and that couldn’t be any further from the truth because there’s so many places where people need to use their gifts, talents and abilities for God in all kinds of different arenas. Like we need people who are followers of Jesus in all types of industries, and I think I really love that.

And the second was, it’s been kind of a recurring theme that’s interesting with the business owners is I find that people who have lasted the test of time tend to not just know what they do really well, but they know who they are and why they do what they do, and that kind of relates back to the core values which are really important to us too as a company is this idea that these are the cornerstones of decisions, to some extent. Things kind of go back to that list of core values, and if it doesn’t line up with that, something’s not right, and it gives people a barometer to kind of weigh things by and measure them on.

Brad:      
But the biggest core value I have, it’s a default one, is that Wendy and I talk about is we just don’t make decisions based on money, so that’s not the factor.

So, when we get invited to a wedding, we don’t say, “We can’t afford to go.” It’s not about money. It’s about the people, and so … Now money speaks into it, but if you take money off the table, and then you answer the question, you wind up with the answer, and then you just need to figure out how to make it happen.

Jay Owen:  
I love that.

Brad:       
There you go.

Jay Owen: 
Last thing we’ll wrap up with because we’re running out of time is we already talked the Michael Hyatt book, Living Forward, which I’m definitely going to check out. But, for your own personal growth, outside of just the technical aspects of fundraising or real estate, how do you, as a leader, continue your own growth. Obviously, one of them is being in the Bible every day, obviously, but next to that, what’s the next kind of things that you do? Is it books or podcasts or audio books or people that you …. conferences you go to? What is it that kind of keeps you growing?

Brad:       
The truth is it’s my marathon running ’cause I’m a … If you take a Myers-Briggs, I’m an introvert-extrovert. I’m right on the line. The way I live my life, you’d think I’m an off the chart extrovert, but I’m really not. I need alone time, and the running gives me time and space to process and then the discipline of training for marathons.

So like last year, when I had that hard deal happen with one of my employees, I went from running four marathons to running seven marathons, because in order to continue to produce, I needed to have more space to process, and so that meant more running, and it’s counter-intuitive that more running would equal more productivity, but the discipline involved in running allows me to have more discipline in my life.

I am a very disciplined person, but it’s possibly because I’m obsessive-compulsive, and so maybe God’s just using Christ’s power is made perfect in my weakness, and so I’m possibly there.

So I really do … The answer that comes to mind when you ask the question is I run. When I run, yes, I listen to audio books, and yes, I listen to podcasts. My favorite podcast right now would be tied, like the Presidential Podcast is amazing, and then the one by the guy who wrote Blink-

Jay Owen:    
Malcolm Gladwell.

Brad:       
Malcolm Gladwell’s new podcast is awesome.

But all those things happen because I’ve created the space to run, and then it’s like, “Oh, listen to an hour podcast. I have to run eight miles, and so listen to a book.”

Jay Owen: 
Well that is awesome. Brad, I really appreciate your time. That was a really super interesting interview. At least it was for me. Hopefully it is for other folks out there.

Brad:       
Well, you should name it like Trump, Gumballs and Real Estate Investing.

Jay Owen:    
Something like that, exactly. And I know your time is valuable, and you got a lot of things going on, and I just really appreciate you taking the time to do this, and I hope it’s helpful for folks that get to listen to it.

Brad:  
Yeah, and thank you, and you can read more about our company by going to the FocusGroup.com, TFGRP.com, or EndlessSummerRealty.com or my personal blog site which is just BradLayland.com.

Jay Owen:  
And I actually read that, so I will do that today. Thanks Brad. Thank you so much.

Brad:     
Thank you.

Jay Owen:      
I hope this interview with Brad has been as interesting and helpful for you as it was for me. If you are curious about what Brad’s involved with business-wise, you can check him out online at EndlessSummerRealty.com, or his other business, The Focus Group. You can find them online at TFGRP.com.

Once again, thanks to Brad for his time today. It was really awesome to be able to connect with him and learn a little bit more about how he has grown business that have lasted.

I hope this episode has given you some ideas or inspiration that will help you grow your business. If you found it helpful and you know somebody else who might benefit from it as well, I would greatly appreciate it if you would take the time to share this with them, maybe on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or even shoot an email over to a friend with a link to this podcast in it.

And if you haven’t already, make sure you sign up for our email list at BuildingABusinessThatLasts.com.

 

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