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June 20, 2022

Don Woodring On The Power Of Mentorship To Grow Both Yourself And Your Business (#135)

Don Woodring On The Power Of Mentorship To Grow Both Yourself And Your Business (#135)

"Trust your instincts." - Don Woodring

Don is the luckiest guy in the world.  His mother was an alcoholic and drug addict and took him and his siblings to live in the Compton/Watts area where many bad things had transpired.  His father then brought them back to Pennsylvania where they were raised.  From those humble beginnings he then paid for his own college, and was selected by a Fortune 500 company as their top national recruit.

Due to the societal, familial and religious pressures, he married a woman and they had 2 beautiful boys.  He also experienced some severe medical issues including Muscular Dystrophy, Type 1 Diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, skin cancer, kidney transplant, pancreas transplant, sudden and complete loss of his hearing in his right ear and will be legally blind in a couple of years.  

He created a way to overcome those obstacles, however, the only “issue” that he truly struggled with was the fact that he was gay.  Today he speaks on these topics and is writing a book on the topic of overcoming obstacles and how to succeed in spite of them.

Regardless of those issues, he was still able to win 3 state championships, take 3rd in another, received a scholarship to study in Mexico and receive personal mentorship from some of the best business minds in the world, including CEOs and Co-Chairmen of Fortune 500 companies.  

He became a Country Manager at age 29 and the CEO of a public company at age 39.  He was only one of about 10 under the age of 40 at that time.  He truly feels that he is the luckiest man on the planet!

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Don Woodring - Founder & CEO - mentorship.CLUB | LinkedIn

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[00:00:00] Jeffrey Feldberg: Welcome to the Sell My Business Podcast. I'm your host Jeffrey Feldberg.

This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth and the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience.

Your liquidity event is the largest and most important financial transaction of your life.

But unfortunately, up to 90% of liquidity events fail. Think about all that time, money and effort wasted. Of the "successful" liquidity events, most business owners leave anywhere from 50% to over 100% of their deal value in the buyer's pocket and don't even know it.

I should know. I said no to a seven-figure offer and yes, to mastering the art and science of a liquidity event. Two years later, I said yes to a different buyer with a nine-figure offer.

Are you thinking about an exit or liquidity event?

If you believe that you either don't have the time or you'll prepare closer to your liquidity event, think again.

Don't become a statistic and make the fatal mistake of believing that the skills that built your business are the same ones for your liquidity event.

After all, how can you master something you've never done before?

Let the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience and our nine-step roadmap of preparation help you capture the maximum value for your liquidity event.

At the end of this episode, take a moment to hear from business owners, just like you, who went through the Deep Wealth Experience.

Don Woodring is the luckiest guy in the world. His mother was an alcoholic and drug addict and took him and his siblings to live in the Compton Watts area where many bad things had transpired. His father brought them back to Pennsylvania, where they were raised. From those humble beginnings, he then paid for his own college and was selected by a Fortune 500 company as their top at national recruit.

Due to the societal, familial, and religious pressures, Don married a woman and they had two beautiful boys. He also experienced some severe medical issues, including muscular dystrophy, TYpe-1 diabetes, heart attacks, stroke, skin cancer, kidney transplant, pancreas transplant, sudden and complete loss of hearing in his right ear, and will be legally blind in a couple of years.

Despite this Don created a way to overcome those obstacles. However, the only issue was that he struggled with the fact that he was gay. Today, he speaks on those topics and is writing a book on the topic of overcoming obstacles and how to succeed in spite of them.

Regardless of those issues, he was able to win three state championships, take third in another, received a scholarship to study in Mexico, and received personal mentorship from some of the best business minds in the world, including CEOs and Co-Chairmans of Fortune 500 companies.

Don became a country manager at age 29 and the CEO of a public company at age 39. He was one of only 10 under the age of 40 at that time. Don truly feels that he is a luckiest man on the planet.

Welcome to The Sell My Business Podcast. And as always, I have a terrific episode and guest lined up for you. I have a question for. Do you think you're self-made? Do you believe that you have all the answers? Do you have what it takes to get your company from where you are today to those big goals and dreams that you have for down the road?

And perhaps you do. But what if you could do it quicker, faster, better, and bigger. If you had the right kind of coaching, mentoring, connections, and people in your life. That's exactly what we're going to be talking about today with our guests. So Don, welcome to The Sell My Business Podcast. An absolute pleasure to have you with us and Don, there's always a story behind the story. What's your story? What got you from where you were to where you are today?

[00:04:09] Don Woodring: Well, I appreciate the question. I'm honestly the luckiest man in the world. Briefly, my mom was a drug addict and an alcoholic, and she took us four kids to live in South Central LA where Compton and Watts. And we've lived there for a while. And as you would suspect since my mom was a drug addict and an alcoholic a lot of bad things happen to us as kids.

So my father came out and he brought us back to Central Pennsylvania, which was a huge cultural shock. And then that's where we're essentially, we grew up. And then from that point on, I started to get involved in a ton of extracurricular activities, so I wouldn't have to be at my house.

And fortunately, I did very well I got a scholarship to study in Mexico. So I do speak Spanish fluently. And when I say fluently, I would negotiate our labor contracts in Spanish when I lived in Mexico City. And then I went to college, put myself through college, and then after a little bit, I got married to a woman and then had a couple kids.

And then along the way, I had a number of medical issues, but of all those obstacles I was still able to win three state championships, took third in another category. I was selected as the top national recruit for a Fortune 500 company. And I was so lucky because I was mentored by some of the best business minds in the world.

The CEO of DHL, the CEO of Colt Manufacturing. And now he's the chairman of Ruger a guy who founded a company that today is an $8 billion a year Fortune 500 company, the former Co-Chairman of Ernst and Young. So I really had outstanding mentorship. And then that led to the expedition of my career.

And so I think the importance of mentorship it was very critical for our somebodies career, but at the same time, the only one issue I could not overcome or I had the most difficulty overcoming was the fact that I was gay. So I didn't come out of the closet until I was 48 years old.

But I can honestly tell you whereas I am out gay man at that time. I probably would never have gotten that mentorship nor would I have certainly gotten the career progression that I had. So that's a little bit of the background.

[00:06:03] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow. Oh my goodness Don, where do I begin? What a story and I really appreciate your vulnerability putting yourself out there and just being so open in sharing with us. What didn't you go through? But despite that here you are. And the listeners are going to hear this wonderful and an incredible thing that you're doing out there despite all of that.

So I think for our listeners out there, if you think you've had some issues, just speak to Don and he'll tell you what it's like to have some issues on the whole range of things. And you can't see him because this is audio, but Don is happy and he's smiling. We've had a number of conversations and I just really appreciate that, Don so, thank you so much for sharing that and for just putting that out there and having the courage and the vulnerability to do that. From the business side, though, you talked about mentorship and how that changed your life and why don't we do a deep dive because that's really what you're doing right now.

And perhaps we should unveil the curtain and share with the listeners what you're now doing in terms of your latest venture. So what's going on with that, what's that all about?

[00:07:10] Don Woodring: So one day I was just sitting in my office thinking how lucky I was. I really think I'm the luckiest man in the world. And I was thinking about the mentorship I received, and that's only a partial list of the people that mentored me. On the board that we had at a company called SDI. We really had a org most of whom are members could have been on any board in the United States. When you're talking about the Co-chairman of Ernst and Young. And I reported to these people as well. So I reported all of those people that I just listed. One day I was thinking how fortunate I was to have gone from, let's say, Compton to the CEO of a public company at 39 and how much credit I gave, not only for the mentorship I received but the expedition of my career progression to those folks. So I designed a platform that the company is called Mentorship.Club. So it's a different TLD it's dot C L U B instead or anything like that. So Mentorship.Club. And it's a platform where if there's somebody who's an ambitious professional, particularly not true, nor which is where you focus.

If somebody is an entrepreneur or ambitious professional, they can get mentorship from really the best mentors in the world. And by the way, the first 250 mentors were really personal friends of mine. I'm just such a lucky guy because I just know so many people, but there are people like one of a hundred most powerful women in Mexico, one of the hundred most powerful people or people in the world, according to Forbes magazine one of the hundred best CEOs in the country, the former CEO of Logictech.

The former president of Suntory Beam globally Suntory Beam is the people who make Maker's Mark and all of those kinds of alcohol, highly notable alcohol brands. So for a small fee, you can get access, not only to one mentor but to multiple mentors. What I learned from Bruce Edwards, Bruce was a CEO of DHL. I learned so much from Bruce and Bruce and I started with the company within two weeks of each other, but at different levels obviously. But what I learned from Bruce, I would say Bruce and I really both grew up in the quality process.

So what I learned from Bruce with so much about that. And some of the basics that I needed to know, I've been just talking to him a couple of months ago, and I was talking to him about the first mentorship lesson I remembered from him. And he didn't even remember teaching it to me because I think that happens a lot a mentor will just in certain discussions, pass on things to their mentee who will absorb it.

And sometimes the mentor doesn't remember that was the lesson. But then when I worked for Ron Whitaker, who is the CEO of SDI before I was. Ron is one of the best turnaround CEOs in the country. So, what I learned from Ron was so different from Bruce. And then when I reported to Bill Berkley, who owns a company called WR Berkley, it was a public company, but he owns a huge percentage of that.

What I learned from Bill started a company that's an $8 billion Fortune 500 company today. So what I learned from Bill was more about risk-taking as it related to entrepreneurship and those kinds of things. And then Bob Merry, God rest his soul. He was a Co-chairman of Ernst and Young.

And what I learned from Bob so much about the financial side of the business, more than anything else. So when I took a look at how I benefited from a one-to-many relationship versus a one-to-one, I wanted to present that to other people to be able to take advantage of that. So that's why I created that business called Mentorship.Club.

[00:10:20] Jeffrey Feldberg: So let's talk about Mentorship.Club in just a moment, but Don, I've got to ask this question. Because it seems as though you were just blessed with having so many mentors along the way, how did you find your mentors? What did that look like? They're busy people. They're successful people yet somehow you found a way into their lives and you were forever the better for it.

[00:10:43] Don Woodring: Yeah. And that's an excellent question. And by the way, the definition of an excellent question is one for which I have the answer. So I thought about a lot of times, how was it that I was just so fortunate to have those relationships and part of it really was for example, when I started to work for a company called DCI, that was later acquired by Xcel Logistics, which was later acquired by DHL and then my first mentor, there was Bruce Edwards. And I was just very lucky because Bruce and I obviously he took an interest in me. So I think he saw me some potential. And I think because of that he really started to mentor me. But when I then worked for SDI, I worked for Ron Whitaker and that was just again, pretty lucky. Although I didn't work for Ron initially, I worked for somebody else, but when Ron came on board, he wanted to hire me and he was just a great guy.

And then later on when the Chairman of our board was Bill Berkley. And so then I reported to bill. So there's a piece of it that is luck. And I also believe, even though I hate to say this, cause I like to be a very humble guy, but I do believe what George Bush said, the harder you work, the luckier you are.

But regardless of that, I was just very fortunate. And then Bob Merry was Chairman of our audit committee and those kinds of things. And I'm not even including some people like Mitch Quain, who's an unbelievably great guy, but Mitch made all of his wealth and his fame on Wall Street starting to really focus on the industrial district.

[00:12:04] Jeffrey Feldberg: As you're ringing off these names and who they are and what they do, Don, I am reminded of my grandfather. God bless him no longer with us, but he said, Jeffrey, it's not who you are, but who, you know, and you're a walking testament to that. Your network that people that's really everything.

[00:12:23] Don Woodring: Yeah. I wouldn't say everything honestly, because you have to have some talent and some ability to get results to back that up. So the relationships are certainly very important to me. But for example, today, even if I needed a favor, the last person I would ever talk to is Bill Berkley, Ron Whitaker, Bruce Edwards, those kinds of people, because I just think you should do everything on your own.

I mean, That's why I put myself through college. I did all those things on my own, so I don't leverage. In fact, that's probably a weakness of mine. I refuse to leverage my network.

[00:12:54] Jeffrey Feldberg: Well, you know, I think there's two sides to a coin because it's always a little bit of moderation. And I could say, you know, what, if you're out there asking for favors or asking people to put themselves out with well, they may stop being in your network and they may not want to mentor you.

So I think it's really a fine balance, but when it comes to learning and paying it forward, that's completely different.

And that's really what you've been about. And thats one of your strengths. So Don walk us through this. I'm a busy business owner. I've now heard of this thing called Mentorship.Club. And I want to get the benefit of mentorship. How does it work? What's the first step?

[00:13:31] Don Woodring: Well, The first step I would suggest if somebody looked at the website and it gets familiar with the website and then if they choose to explore it, then they can understand what they're going to get from it. So for example, say somebody wants to start up a fashion industry, something a little outside of my realm, even though I have some experience.

So they sign up for Mentorship.Club. They can ask a question. They can ask up to 10 questions per month and they can ask a question. We use algorithms that help us match the mentee to the mentors were extraordinarily protective of our mentors, which is one of the ways that we get the best metrics in the world.

So we vet our mentees. You have to go through a pretty, fairly intense process to get inside the club, but then once you're inside the club you might ask a question to have starting up a fashion industry. So I need some help. And you ask a question, so you might get an answer from Stephanie von Watzdorf.

Stephanie who's really one of my best friends. She's worked for really a who's who of fashion industry she's written up in the wall street journal all the time. She started her own company called She used to work for Tory Burch, all those companies. So she's really an expert in fashion. You might get an answer from her and then you also might get an answer from Becky Cantrell.

Becky is one of the most well-known people in the retail side of fashion. And then you also might get an answer from Kathryn Petralia. Kathryn started a company called Which lends money to small owners. So, anybody who would ask that kind of a question, you get different answers from people with different perspectives, but nowhere in the world, do you have any kind of opportunity to get that kind of mentorship or that kind of answer responses to your question?

So that's one of the real values in the business.

[00:15:08] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow, Don, that sounds absolutely terrific. So if I'm understanding you, once I become a member, I can then go in. I'll ask my question and an algorithm. It sounds like the algorithm will take my question and it'll put it in front of people who have the relevant experience

[00:15:24] Don Woodring: Exactly.

[00:15:25] Jeffrey Feldberg: So the experts, the mentors will come along. They'll answer that question. Now is my question private between me and the mentor, or is it public for anyone in an area to see?

[00:15:36] Don Woodring: Oh, It's private. So it's between you and then the relevant mentors. So for example, Jerry Quinlan, who was a CEO of Logictech would not get that question because I've seen him dressing, not into fashion, just totally kidding, Jerry. So anyway, it would not go to somebody who doesn't have experience in that industry or in that category that you're looking for to raise money or whatever.

[00:15:59] Jeffrey Feldberg: And so what's nice about this, having a famous or successful mentor, that's one thing, and you certainly have those, but there may be certain questions or certain areas of expertise that even if you had that mentor, they may not be able to help you. So, As an example, maybe you have a fashion question and you'll get the fashion expert answering that question, but then maybe you have a business model question, nothing to do with fashion.

Now you'll bring in someone who's just the world's expert on business models and hit a grand slam when it came to that. So it really sounds like you're not tied into any one particular mentor. But you're tied into a community of mentors and you can ask your question and the worlds best will answer your question.

[00:16:40] Don Woodring: That's exactly correct.

[00:16:41] Jeffrey Feldberg: And Don, how long does it take from my question that gets posted to getting an answer?

[00:16:46] Don Woodring: Well, Typically what we have all sorts of fail-safe in the system. So if you ask a question and you don't get a response in three days, then what we do is we go out and prompt the mentors that we know who could answer that question to answer the question. So I would say at the most you would wait is maybe four days or five days at the very most.

And then we also have built-in safeguards. If a mentor is not participating within 30 days, we prompt that mentor then to also, to remember that he's part of the club on the mentorship side and he should answer some questions,

[00:17:18] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow. Terrific. So at least this way, the system's monitoring and is letting the people know who need to know to get some answers going out there. Don, you said something interesting. You said the first 250 mentors were from your personal connections, which is just incredible that you have that kind of a network.

[00:17:33] Don Woodring: Yeah. That's to correct answer.

[00:17:35] Jeffrey Feldberg: How did you continue to find mentors outside of your networking and how many mentors are you up to now?

[00:17:41] Don Woodring: Right now we only have 250 mentors, but so we keep track. We also always wanted to have a ratio of 1 mentor for 10 people. So that's the ratio we keep and the way I got all those connections, I don't know. Like a good friend of mine, he and I went out for the tennis team together at Penn state.

And today he runs a $3 billion a year business. So some of them just come from friends that I used to have. I have another buddy that I used to teach tennis to. He also played Penn state tennis, but he today runs a, I don't know how large they are. They're a private company, but certainly in the hundreds of millions of dollars at a minimum, but they are a biotech company.

So some of them are just from the personal connections I have. I'll give you two personal examples where the network has helped me, but I didn't try to force it. So a friend of mine, Michael, one day I was sitting in Newark Airport and I was sitting across the aisle from him.

So I just noticed him. He said, hello? He said, hello. And then the next morning we were both in the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center UPMC. And that's where the transplant people were. And he was sitting across from me again. So I said, Hey since we've had two things in common, we should get to know each other.

And he became a good friend of mine, but Michael, by the way, had four kidney transplants. And I only had one kidney and had one pancreas. We became friends. And then one day I was sitting, talking to them about another little business I have called And he said to me, what do you know, who you should really talk to is a friend of mine, David Kaufthal.

So I talked to David Kaufthal and David said to me you know who you should really talk to is my dad. His dad's name is Ilan Kaufthal. Well, Ilan was the chairman of Bear Stearns. So I had lunch with David and his dad. And then as we were talking the aforementioned, Mitch, Quain, somehow he asked me about some people and Mitch was on our board.

And so I mentioned Mitch's name. He said, Mitch Quain. He goes mentioned, I used to be partners at another firm. And then Ilan said to me well, you know, who you should really talk to was the former president of Univision. So, For example, right now, I'm just looking to sell

And so I called Javier and he gave me the name of the new chairman of Univision and also another gentleman who's another super high executive. So some of somebody is just by virtue of those kinds of things.

[00:19:50] Jeffrey Feldberg: Don you give a whole new meaning to six degrees of separation. I mean, Hearing your story, this is just incredible. So I know Don is still early days and you're getting the whole Mentorship.Club out there and getting the word on the street out there. Any success stories, or at least success stories that you're able to share with us?

[00:20:09] Don Woodring: Yeah, sure. Unfortunately, we started the company two months before COVID, but right around that time, we were invited to speak to a company called ACSN. And that was the network net global, but mostly North American network of the best universities in the country. We were asked to speak at that.

So obviously we went there and then not only that, but we advertise there and we weren't even really up and running yet. So after we went there, I happen to know a lot of people at Penn State. Cause I used to be very involved in Penn State. Before we even were up and running we got some significant interest from Penn State and, but then COVID hit and everything just stopped, which was horrible for us as a business. But to be honest with you just last year, at the end of last year, we sold to Penn State who's the largest alumni association in the world. So that was a great success story for us.

[00:20:56] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow. So we have a story within the story. You're selling a business and you're here on The Sell My Business Podcast. If I didn't ask it would not be what we do. So tell us a little bit about that? What was going on, how did the sale come about and any insights looking back on that?

[00:21:10] Don Woodring: The one insight I had is look, I've worked for large companies as well as small companies. And my personal point of view is you can make a company as large as you like, or as small as you like. For example, that's the same philosophy I took when I went to Penn State, first of all, it was the best university I could afford.

So I had to pay for it all myself. So that was one constraint. But the other was, I remember thinking it's easier to take a large organization, a large university, and make it smaller by getting to know your professors, but you can't take a small one and make it larger. Bureaucracy can do that. So if you want a small company and you include a lot of bureaucracy and you severely limit people's ability for authorization that can make you act like a bigger company, which is totally inefficient. So one of the things I realized, particularly with Penn State, who's not an organization like a company, is that the bureaucracy there is tremendous. So it probably took us about a full year of working very hard to get the people on, to take a look at the backend of the company, to get them in there, to look it as a mentee and all those things.

But then eventually they came around to it and agree to do it. Now I'm just waiting for a final report to be done, which is like the last step in the process.

[00:22:22] Jeffrey Feldberg: Terrific. It sounds like you did some things really well and nothing's ever perfect. So looking back on that, what would you have done perhaps differently or maybe not even do it all, knowing what you now know?

[00:22:32] Don Woodring: It's an excellent question because initially, our go-to strategy was B to C through digital marketing. So I hired a digital marketing person who did a horrible job. So we paid him in the five figures. And he converted my thought from focusing on LinkedIn to focusing on Google.

When we had done that, we got zero results from him, zero results from him. And then I thought look because I happen to know a lot of people. I'm just so fortunate. Maybe we'll take and change our go-to strategy to B to C. So to sell the business and organizations, because we had some success with Penn State.

And I was thinking, I know some people who run fairly large organizations, maybe we'll change that to a B to B, to C approach rather than just a B to C approach. And when we did that, we've had great success. So for example, we're in serious conversations with one of the largest supply chain companies in Canada.

We're in more than serious conversations with the third largest global employer in the world. So it's been pretty successful for us.

[00:23:30] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow. So terrific lessons that I learned. Let me ask you this, I'm a business owner and I'm saying, on the one hand, Don would love to have a liquidity event, like what you had just now, but at the same time, I also hearing you talk, it sounds as though mentoring would be the way to go for me, but you know what, I don't know if I have all that time or maybe I'm not going to ask the intelligent question is going to be a stupid question.

Quote, unquote, that can be embarrassing. What would you tell that business owner who's perhaps feeling a little bit intimidated? Oh my goodness. I'm going to be dealing with these really successful world-renowned business experts who are going to be looking at my question. Am I, do I have what it takes to even be asking the question?

[00:24:13] Don Woodring: Yeah. That's a great question because I put myself in that position all the time because you talk about fear of failure. And the imposter syndrome, there would be many times when we'd be at dinner or at a meeting where I'd be sitting next to a guy worth $5 billion, and a guy worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and all these people with this outstanding record.

And I would just think my God, I'm a kid who used to live in South Central LA, what am I doing here? I Would feel the same thing. I feel what if I ask a question that was such a stupid question, but I think what I found, and I think what your audience will find is that nobody will think your question's stupid.

Almost. Nobody will think your question's stupid. I just say, all of our mentors do this for free, which is why we keep the price so low. In fact, we're thinking about doing a price reduction as well right now. So I would say to your listeners if they really want a great deal, just to email me directly at don[dot]woodring[at]mentorship[dot]club because probably in the next week we're going to reduce our rates significantly.

So I want somebody to sign up now and then in a couple of days to have the price lower, but not only did I have fear of failure. And by asking those questions, all of our mentors are just such great people. No one will think your question is stupid. You have to remember that all of us at one time were in your exact same shoes.

So all of us know what it was like to be less experienced than what we are today. And we're just fortunate because of the mentors that we have. So for example, when somebody gets a question answered from me, they're not only getting my experience, but also Bruce and Ron's and Bill's and Bob's as well. And all of our mentors had mentors themselves.

But we all know what it was like to be in your position. So nobody will think of questions stupid. I can guarantee you that.

[00:25:55] Jeffrey Feldberg: Don. You're very gracious with that.

And let me ask you a follow-up question to that. You know, There's that saying, if you want to change your life, change the questions that you ask. So, our listeners who are hearing your narratives and okay. You know what, I'm not going to have this imposter syndrome. I'm not going to feel stupid for asking these questions.

You've got me over that Don. Thank you so much. I have so many questions. I don't even know where to turn. What kind of questions should I be asking? What should I do? Where do I look? So Don, as you look back, after all, you're the guy that put 250 world renowned mentors onto Mentorship.Club, all successful people.

When you look back over your life of having all these different mentors, how did you know what question to ask or what to look for in a question that really move the dial for you?

[00:26:42] Don Woodring: So, I'm just such a lucky guy when I was around 19 or 20 or 21 years old, when I was really pretty young. I remember being with some friends that some people use words that I didn't know what they meant. And so I would go back and I'd look up what the word man, and all those other things, but I might've missed the context.

So what I decided to do, if somebody, and I'm talking about an even with my mentors and somebody used, I remember one time Ron used the word. And I just asked them right then and there, Ron, I'm sorry, but I don't know and he explained it to me. He never thought I was stupid. It's just a matter of lack of knowledge.

And he loves to help people, all of our mentors loved to help people. So I think if you can overcome that level of pride and can overcome that level of insecurity about asking the question and you just ask the question. That's what it's all about because I can guarantee you, I asked some stupid questions at my mentors.

[00:27:37] Jeffrey Feldberg: Well, It's a terrific response. And for our listeners, I want you to think about this. At Deep Wealth, in the Deep Wealth Experience, we have the 9-step roadmap of preparation that really gets you all set to do two things. When you come out of the 90-day experience number one, you've created a very specific blueprint of how to increase the enterprise value in your business.

But number two, you have the certainty that you're not going to capture any deal. You're going to capture the best deal. And Don what I love about what you're doing for listeners in step number six of the 9-step roadmap, it's all about the advisory team. And in the Deep Wealth experience, you learn the kinds of questions to ask of your investment bankers, M and A lawyers, how to get the right mindset.

All of those things you're doing. But we're not at the liquidity event yet. And so for our listeners, when you go to Mentorship.Club and you become a member and you're now dealing with is world-renowned experts are very successful people in their area. Number one, you have an opportunity to network yourself.

You're going to get some insights from the trenches and not theory, we left the classroom and the books behind, although Don, I know you're writing a book and we'll circle back to that in just a moment, but you're asking people in the trenches who have been there, they've done this, they're successful at this, and you're going to learn the vernacular of how do I speak to people? What are the questions I should be asking, the information that they're giving me? And it's terrific training ahead of time to really prepare you to not only grow your company, but when it comes time for a liquidity event, and you're speaking to all these different advisors, you've gotten over the fear of asking questions, you've gotten over the fear of asking the quote, unquote stupid question. And in my books, the only stupid question is the one that you never asked. And at the same time, you're really learning how to network and to push the envelope and to learn and to grow. So I really liked Don what you're doing on the mentorship side for our listeners and the practice that they get to have in real-time for their business.

And Don let's circle back now to your book because I know you're writing a book what's going on with that. And where are things with the book?

[00:29:37] Don Woodring: Can I just make one commentary about what you just said, and then we'll get back to that, to the book. First of all, I think Jeff and the Deep Wealth process and program is so worthwhile because it's just dovetails off what just said, there are so many things that you just don't know because you've never done it before.

It's not that you're stupid. It's not that you're uneducated. It's none of those things. It's just, you haven't traveled down that path before. So I can tell you when we sold the public company, There were so many things I wasn't aware of. So for example the company was sued because it was a sale of the company in a going-private transaction.

Every time you do that process. And I had no idea of this, but every time you go through that process, you get sued by a certain number of shareholders and in fact, there's a word. I can't remember what the word is any longer, but there's even a word that they have for it. And it depends on the revenue that you have in the company.

Depends on the range of the fine you have to pay, not the fine, but it's essentially extortion payments. I mean, Those are my words, not the legal terms but and then there are so many other legal sides of things because running a public company is so much more difficult than running a private or a family-owned business.

And look, I've had experience in private companies, public companies, private equity companies, and family-owned businesses. I'm so lucky I've had experience across all of those ownership models, but I never had any hesitation in asking questions because I had never been down that process before the same thing that's, Jeff's talking about.

When you go through the sales process, identifying the value of your business is so critical because you don't want to deoptimize the value of your business. So I want a hundred percent support Jeff and what his company is doing. Cause it's just really a great program. So I just want to make that comment, Jeff.

[00:31:17] Jeffrey Feldberg: You have me blushing here, Don. Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate that, but let's get back to you and your books. So, what's going on with the book, share with us what this is about and where you are in terms of your progress with it?

[00:31:30] Don Woodring: For many years I'm talking like 30 years, I had people telling me I should write a book and I would be no. They didn't even understand my story because like I said, I didn't tell my story until a year ago. And even my best friends didn't know the depth of my story. So eventually I ended up talking to a guy named Mark Victor Hansen.

Mark was the co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul and Mark and I had about an hour-long conversation and he was talking to me about the book and he was really encouraging me to write the book. But when I talked to him about it, I said, when he asked me why I haven't written a book.

And I said because I don't want people to think I'm a liar because what I just highlighted for you, it's not even all of the highlights. And then when you go even deeper, it gets, in some cases worse, but in other cases, we had so much humor in my family. So I put together a 10-step process, 10 steps mentorship for people in business or people in medical or whoever really you need mentors in your lifetime.

But he did convince me to write it as an autobiography. So I'm in that process right now. I've got maybe 120 or 150 pages written. So it'll be done this year, clearly this year, but then the other books I've written or I'm writing right now the two that are coming close to finishing in the next couple of months.

 I was thinking about particularly given the environment we're in globally, how divisive the world is. So I went out to ask different people from across the globe life lessons that they have. So I've got everything from a gay man who lived in Iraq, who if he came out of the closet would be killed.

So never in a million years, would anybody say he's gay. But he had to balance all that with his love for his family and the whole cultural differences. Now, Halil just moved to Germany. And even when I talked to him today, I can see the difference in how open he is.

So he talks about the life lessons he had. I've got a woman who's 86 years old, who is also a drug addict and alcoholic who lost her kids, who her life lesson, which kind of shocked me. You know, in AA and NA, they talked to you about one day at a time, but her life lesson was five minutes at a time because sometimes she had to just go five minutes to save her life.

And she even practices that today. And then I have another guy who is in Columbia and sometimes he has to sell himself to get the tourism business that he needs, particularly during COVID. And then at the end of the book, I talk about for those people who are judging these people, what you don't understand is the guy who is selling himself in Colombia has to do that, to pay his mom's medical bills, and to pay for his family's food.

That's why he is forced to do that. The drug addict and alcoholic woman, she has saved 20 lives in the course of her lifetime. So before you judge these people, you've got to understand that perspective has something completely different to talk about those things. And then the last book that I'm just about ready to finish right now is about that 10-step process on how you overcome obstacles.

And the first one is you have to accept it. So for example, the toughest thing for me to accept was the fact that I was gay. And when I came out of the closet, it still took me another year to accept the fact that I was gay and there's nothing wrong with being gay. I'm just gay. It doesn't change who I am or anything like that.

And when you come out as a gay person, you have to get, or at least what I did, I had to get prepared to lose every relationship for everybody I told. And one of the things that shocked me of the 50 people I told. Initially only one said I always knew you were gay. And I thought it would be 49, but for other reasons, because I played sports and I was married, I had kids, all those other things too. But beyond that, there's things like, and they're like not to be a victim, which is one of the toughest things for a lot of people just accepting what you can't change and never being the victim.

And it's two, there's a total difference between being victimized and playing the victim and being a victim. So I'm writing a book about those things. So I'm almost done with that book as well.

[00:35:15] Jeffrey Feldberg: Well, Don in a time where diversity is now really front and center for most people and in the popular media your insights, your stories, and your own personal experience really is going to lend a lot of terrific wisdom for people to take away from. So thank you for sharing that and for paying that forward really from your own journey.

So, Don, let me ask you this. We're at the point in the episode where we're starting to wrap things up and I get to ask my favorite question and the question is this. I want you to think about the movie Back to the Future and in the movie, you have the famous DeLorean car that can take you to any point in time. And imagine now, Don it's tomorrow morning, you look outside your window and there it is. The DeLorean car it's sitting there. The door is open, is waiting for you to hop on in and Don. You get to go back to any point in your life. Don, as a child, a teenager, an adult, a young adult, whatever the case would be.

You get to tell your younger self, Hey, Don, do this or don't do that. Or here's some life wisdom. What would you tell yourself?

[00:36:21] Don Woodring: Well, I've thought about that in the past. Although not in the way you played it out ' cause one of the things I do is I look back at my life and I say, do I have any regrets? And I really essentially only have three big regrets, but the first one would be the most important one. So I would go back to when I was like 18, probably about 18 or 19 years old just when I was going to college and I would strongly encourage myself a couple of One is to follow my instincts. So I think if you have good instincts, follow your instincts.

And when I take a look at that first regret that led to my other two regrets. So I would have either moved to New York City or San Francisco or Los Angeles, a city that was very gay, friendly that would allow me to be who I was, because I can still be who I was, but not look, I'm not the kind of guy that wears a bow around his neck and Speedos, you know?

I can still pursue a business career, but not be afraid of who I was. So I would say that's the advice I would give myself to do that, to move to LA, Los Angeles, New York City, or San Francisco, and then just to trust your instincts.

[00:37:25] Jeffrey Feldberg: Terrific wisdom there. And I think a powerful takeaway for the audience really regardless of your preference for gender and going down that whole approach is make sure that you surround yourself in an environment that's supportive of you, whatever that may be. And have that support emotional and otherwise, that's going to be there for you and perhaps say, hey, the same old isn't good enough for me that same old.

I'm going to put that in the past and I'm going to have new future here. Being in an environment with people and otherwise that just really played to my strengths and helped her to support me. Don, I really appreciate that. We're going to put this in the show notes, Don. So it'll be point and click for everyone.

You were incredibly generous. A little earlier. You said for listeners of The Sell My Business Podcast if you'd like to get a special discount off the regular rates of the Mentorship.Club to email you. And again, we'll have it in the show notes, but for those that are listening, what's your email address, please?

[00:38:22] Don Woodring: It's just my name don[at]woodring[at]mentorship[dot] club.

[00:38:28] Jeffrey Feldberg: And we'll have the link to the website so that people can take a look at what's going on there. Don, as we look to wrap this up a heartfelt thank you for all of your time and the insights and the wisdom that you shared with us today on The Sell My Business Podcast. And as always, please stay healthy and safe.

[00:38:45] Don Woodring: Thank you so much, Jeffrey.

[00:38:47] Sharon S.: The Deep Wealth Experience was definitely a game-changer for me.

[00:38:50] Lyn M.: This course is one of the best investments you will ever make because you will get an ROI of a hundred times that. Anybody who doesn't go through it will lose millions.

[00:39:00] Kam H.: If you don't have time for this program, you'll never have time for a successful liquidity

[00:39:05] Sharon S.: It was the best value of any business course I've ever taken. The money was very well spent.

[00:39:11] Lyn M.: Compared to when we first began, today I feel better prepared, but in some respects, may be less prepared, not because of the course, but because the course brought to light so many things that I thought we were on top of that we need to fix.

[00:39:27] Kam H.: I 100% believe there's never a great time for a business owner to allocate extra hours into his or her week or day. So it's an investment that will yield results today. I thought I will reap the benefit of this program in three to five years down the road. But as soon as I stepped forward into the program, my mind changed immediately.

[00:39:49] Sharon S.: There was so much value in the experience that the time I invested paid back so much for the energy that was expended.

[00:39:59] Lyn M.: The Deep Wealth Experience compared to other programs is the top. What we learned is very practical. Sometimes you learn stuff that it's great to learn, but you never use it. The stuff we learned from Deep Wealth Experience, I believe it's going to benefit us a boatload.

[00:40:12] Kam H.: I've done an executive MBA. I've worked for billion-dollar companies before. I've worked for smaller companies before I started my business. I've been running my business successfully now for getting close to a decade. We're on a growth trajectory. Reflecting back on the Deep Wealth, I knew less than 10% what I know now, maybe close to 1% even.

[00:40:31] Sharon S.: Hands down the best program in which I've ever participated. And we've done a lot of different things over the years. We've been in other mastermind groups, gone to many seminars, workshops, conferences, retreats, read books. This was so different. I haven't had an experience that's anything close to this in all the years that we've been at this.

It's five-star, A-plus.

[00:40:58] Kam H.: I would highly recommend it to any super busy business owner out there.

Deep Wealth is an accurate name for it. This program leads to deeper wealth and happier wealth, not just deeper wealth. I don't think there's a dollar value that could be associated with such an experience and knowledge that could be applied today and forever.

[00:41:16] Jeffrey Feldberg: Are you leaving millions on the table?

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As we close out this episode, a heartfelt thank you for your time. And as always, please stay healthy and safe.

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Your liquidity event is the most important financial transaction of your life. You have one chance to get it right, and you better make it count. 

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