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March 21, 2022

Mike Malatesta On How Getting Selfish Got Me Unstuck (#109)

Mike Malatesta On How Getting Selfish Got Me Unstuck (#109)

"Do what's right and get help doing anything that you're not great at.” - Mike Malatesta
Mike Malatesta is a successful entrepreneur and business executive who founded, built, and sold one of the largest environmental service companies in the upper Midwe...


"Do what's right and get help doing anything that you're not great at.” - Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta is a successful entrepreneur and business executive who founded, built, and sold one of the largest environmental service companies in the upper Midwest. Mike currently heads up ERC Midwest, LLC. A holding company he formed with Rock Island Capital to purchase and grow companies specializing in recycling and disposal solutions for commercial and manufacturing clients.

ERC Midwest successfully capitalized on two environmental companies in 2018 and one in 2019 and is actively pursuing others. In 2018 Mike founded a podcast called how to happen. That explores the stories of successful people from all walks of life. He recently recorded his 135th episode. Mike is a servant leader with a proven talent for developing exciting vision and mission initiatives, building the teamwork, talents, and systems necessary to realize those initiatives, and executing with a team to deliver the desired result.

 

Please enjoy!

 

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SELECTED LINKS FOR THIS EPISODE

Mike Malatesta’s website mikemalatesta.com

Mike’s book Owner Shift: How Getting Selfish Got Me Unstuck

The Deep Wealth Experience

FREE Deep Wealth eBook on Why You Suck At Selling Your Business And What You Can Do About It (Today)

Book Your FREE Deep Wealth Strategy Call

 

Did you enjoy this episode of The Sell My Business Podcast? 

Please leave a review. Reviews help me reach new listeners, grow the show, and continue to create content that you'll enjoy.

Please click here to leave a review on The Sell My Business Podcast.

 

This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth. 

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. 

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 50% to over 100% of their deal value in the buyer's pocket and don't even know it.

Our founders said "no" to a 7-figure offer and "yes" to a 9-figure offer less than two years later. 

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? 

Are you leaving millions on the table? 

Learn how the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience and our 9-step roadmap helps you capture the maximum value for your liquidity event.  

Click here to book your free exploratory strategy session.

Enjoy the interview!

Deep Wealth LINKS FOR THIS EPISODE

The Deep Wealth Experience

FREE Deep Wealth eBook on Why You Suck At Selling Your Business And What You Can Do About It (Today)

Book Your FREE Deep Wealth Strategy Call

 

Did you enjoy this episode of The Sell My Business Podcast? 

Please leave a review. Reviews help me reach new listeners, grow the show, and continue to create content that you'll enjoy.

Please click here to leave a review on The Sell My Business Podcast.

 

This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth. 

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. 

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 50% to over 100% of their deal value in the buyer's pocket and don't even know it.

Our founders said "no" to a 7-figure offer and "yes" to a 9-figure offer less than two years later. 

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? 

Are you leaving millions on the table? 

Learn how the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience and our 9-step roadmap helps you capture the maximum value for your liquidity event.  

Click here to book your free exploratory strategy session.

Enjoy the interview!

Transcript

[00:00] Introduction 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. 

[00:01:44] Jeffrey Feldberg: Mike Malatesta is a successful entrepreneur and business executive who founded, built and sold one of the largest environmental service companies in the upper Midwest. Mike currently heads up ERC Midwest, LLC. A holding company he formed with Rock Island Capital to purchase and grow companies specializing in recycling and disposal solutions for commercial and manufacturing clients.

ERC Midwest successfully capitalized on two environmental companies in 2018 and one in 2019 and is actively pursuing others. In 2018 Mike founded a podcast called how to happen. That explores the stories of successful people from all walks of life. He recently recorded his 135th episode. Mike is a servant leader with a proven talent for developing exciting vision and mission initiatives, building the teamwork, talents, and systems necessary to realize those initiatives, and executing with a team to deliver the desired result.

Welcome to The Sell My Business Podcast. And wow, do I have a guest for you today? Author, podcaster, thought leader, business owner had a successful exit. All of that in one person. Can you believe it? Mike, welcome to The Sell My Business Podcast. So excited to have you here. And Mike, there's always a story behind the story. We would love to hear, what's your story? What got you from where you were to where you are today?

[00:03:15] Mike Malastesta: Well, Thanks for having me, Jeffrey. I've been looking forward to this for a long time since we first connected. So what got me where I am today really, I got fired from a job that I got out of college. I started driving a garbage truck when I was in college in the summertime between my junior and senior year.

And I'd always had a love of trucks from the time I was a very little young boy, I just loved them. And I thought, boy, if one day I could get to work with trucks that would be great. And I got this job driving a garbage truck, and I thought, first of all, I was thrilled to have that job. And I didn't know anything about waste at the time.

I was just thrilled to have a truck driving job. As I spent the summer doing that, I got really interested in the business and the owner of the company told me that he didn't have any opportunities for college-educated people. But some of the big companies might have management training programs or sales programs.

And so I took his advice and I got a job as a management trainee with one of the large waste companies at the time. And I was there for five years. In the first four years, I moved five times, I was just saying yes to everything and I was moving up and I was doing what I thought I was doing really good.

And then I thought maybe this is where I belong. Maybe someday I could be the CEO of this company. And instead of becoming the CEO, my boss called me on Thanksgiving day of 1992 and asked to come to see me that afternoon, which he did. And at that meeting, he fired me. So I went from thinking I was going to be on top of the world, Jeffrey to being completely embarrassed and ashamed and having no idea what I was going to do.

Like a lot of things that happen in life that turned out to be a blessing for me because it's what got me and my eventual partners started talking about going into business with one another. And the short story is six months later we started a business together in the waste industry and years after that, Jeffrey we sold the business to a publicly-traded strategic acquirer for a really nice outcome for everyone. I don't know that I'd ever would have been become CEO of that company, but it doesn't matter cause they took care of that for me. And they opened up this what turned out to be a great opportunity.

[00:05:22] Jeffrey Feldberg: Mike, thank you for sharing. Wow. You had really a very humble beginning. But took it as it was presented to you made the most of it. And for our listeners out there, I'd be curious what you can share with them, so when you got fired and at the time, it probably seemed like that was the worst possible thing that could happen.

But life often has its way. When we look back. We see now what we couldn't see at the time in terms of why it's really a gift or a blessing. And so when you got fired, how did that forever change your trajectory in regards to how you approach situations or how you think about things as they happen?

[00:06:00] Mike Malastesta: Well, I'll tell you my immediate reaction Jeffrey, in the moment was one, I said I was embarrassed, I was ashamed, more than anything I thought I need to get another job because. this is what you do, you have to provide, you have to have money. I had just been married at the time for a little over a year and had obligations.

And I thought okay. So I got fired. I don't like it, but I need to get another job. And so I did do that. And another blessing in disguise the fellow that I ended up working for was just such a horrible person. And just made my life miserable. I would drive to work and I had this pain in my gut like this is wrong. And one day about 30 days into that job, I came to work in the morning and he had thrown all the papers that I had in my file cabinet and stuff on the floor. And. I think okay. I didn't know how to respond to that. So I picked them all up and then as I was picking them all up and I didn't feel good about that either, because now I was feeling like a two-time loser, like in a period of 60 days, I had lost two jobs.

And you know, I wasn't smart enough at the time to see that, you know, to buy into this things happen for a reason, Jeffrey, I was distraught. I just felt like a complete loser. And I won't even say that I turned it around on my own. The fellow who eventually became my partner, he reached out to me and he said, hey if you want to start a business, I would like to be involved in it. And that just hit me way out of the blue, because I hadn't known this fellow very well. Why would he think that the two of us could do something together, but it also gave me confidence that I didn't have, it was like the first time in a couple of months where somebody said something to me that made me believe there was a possibility, there was something in me that could work.

I'd say now, looking back on things. I don't think it's healthy to take anything that you could perceive as negative to be personal. And that's what I was doing. I was, fired, quit, couldn't hack the job. I was taking it personally. And I just don't think that's healthy. Things happen.

Some of them are because of what you do. And some of them are not because of what you do, but it doesn't matter, they happen. What matters is, how do you respond to what happens to you? And I was very fortunate cause I don't know if I would have responded the same way had Butch not reached out to me, but I was very fortunate that he did. And changed that trajectory of my life forever.

[00:08:20] Jeffrey Feldberg: So Mike, you are a very modest fellow and for our listeners, what you need to know is back in 1993, you created Advanced Waste Services or AWS, but what you didn't mention to the listeners Mike was through acquisitions, 14 acquisitions actually, you expanded the company, you went over five states in terms of your growth.

You had over 150 team members that you're consistently ranked as one of the top companies. And just doing some incredible things out there, fastest-growing companies, top 100 largest, and the accolades go on and on, but let's go back to when you started AWS, what was really going through your mind at that point in time? Why did you start that business?

[00:09:03] Mike Malastesta: Well, the number one reason was because of Butch. And I'll tell you a story about why that became so important to me. I mentioned when I was a little kid, I just had a love for trucks from when I was little, when I was four years old, Jeffrey, I would sit on the curb outside of my parents' house.

And there was a construction company across the street and in the afternoons, I would sit on the curb and I would watch the guys bring their trucks and their equipment back to the yard. And I was just fascinated by the sounds and the smells and the men. I was impressed by the men. And I was impressed by the owner. He had this reserved parking spot and this kind of thing. And I had no idea what all of this was, but I do believe that on that curb, an entrepreneurial seed was planted in me.

And then up until the day that I got fired and up until the day that Butch came to me with that proposition that seed had just been dormant, just didn't have the fertilizer, didn't have the nutrients that it needed to flourish and Butch who, by the way, had been a farmer, all of his life and loved farming more than anything else turned out to be the guy that had what it took to fertilize or water or whatever that seed needed to germinate.

And we didn't have huge aspirations, so he germinated it. We did all the things you need to start a business, get the licensing, get the funding, all that stuff I learned how to do just because you had to. And then we were just looking to make a living at the beginning, Jeffrey. I don't want to say that we went into this thinking it was going to become what it became, but we did think that if we get into this and we give it everything, we can, the likelihood of us failing is probably low.

And who knows what the possibility is going to be. We had no idea. That's how we started. I call that the dream stage of the entrepreneurial journey. We were convinced that we would make this work as probably every entrepreneur is when they get in that dream stage. Fortunately, it did work enough at the beginning.

And then it took many years for us to figure out who are we really, what do we really want to become? Why are we doing this? You know, this whole purpose thing and all, we didn't have a purpose. Were trying to survive for a while. But slowly but surely we started to put all those pieces together and just by very good fortune have people join our organization who are phenomenal and had all kinds of skills and talents that we didn't have and that we needed to keep growing. I'd say for whatever reason, Jeffrey from we were able to attract people to what we were doing, even though we didn't have the core values and the missions to all this stuff that you see now, that attracts people to what you're doing.

We had some, I dunno, what some kind of energy that attracted great people to help us. And then the business slowly but surely over time, grew into something that was pretty significant.

[00:11:46] Jeffrey Feldberg: There's a lot there, Mike, to unpack, but one, we start with this because there's this saying, that goes something along the lines of, every person is the average of the five people that they spend the most time with. And so it sounds like back in the day you spent time with Butch and had you not had such a quality person in your life, AWS perhaps wouldn't have happened, perhaps you wouldn't be where you are today.

And I think it's a great example for the listeners of why is really important and that we take a step back. Take stock of who's in my life and who are these people? Are they adding positively to me? Are they taking away from me? Are they having me tap deep inside to get the most out of me?

Or are they a distraction? Are they frustrating me? And so you had that with Butch and I suspect, even though you didn't have a mission and a vision formally between the two of you with your passion, I can just see both of you evangelizing everyone that you spoke to. Because as you said in your own words, your energy and just your belief of taking this out to the world and getting people excited.

But I'd love to hear Mike as you think about the people in your life, was that something deliberate that you had done to have what I presume would just be top tier terrific people in your life, or how did that work out for you?

[00:13:06] Mike Malastesta: Well, I'm glad you brought that up cause I think that's attributed to Jim Rohn. You know, you are that the average of the five people and so for me, I believe in that, by the way, and now in my life, I have this sort of mantra that I use or matrix or whatever you might want to call It which is I only want to be around people who are winding up.

I don't want to be around people who are winding down because I'm winding up and I need people around me who have the energy of that winder uppers have. Now that's a newer thing for me, what I'll say, as I mentioned, we did happen to attract some really good people and that was another blessing in our journey, but here's where I messed that up.

I relied so much on the people that were around me for a long time, that my own learning was stunted. As I moved from the dream stage, what I call the dream stage to the grind stage I created a grind stage for me because I built these walls around my company and myself and I was so into the people that were inside of our organization and what we were doing, that I was really missing so much else out there.

So I think for me the transformation in my life came a couple of times one, the transformation from dream to grind. When I had those people around me, that I could really depend on me, you know, those people that we were attracting. And then later after Butch died, I had to realize that I had gotten everything I could from those people. We had worn each other out in terms of new ideas, new capabilities, and that kind of thing. So I had to find a way to get around new people and new ideas to elevate the impact that being around the five people would have on me. If that makes sense.

[00:14:48] Jeffrey Feldberg: It does. And you bring up a really good point with that Mike, because not just with the people in our lives, also the people in our business It's really something very difficult when you look around, particularly in a business, you start a business, the very early employees, the businesses built on their shoulders.

You're standing on their shoulders with what they do, and the business gets to a point where to take it to the next level it just requires a different skillset. It's not that the original employees, there's something wrong with them or they're bad people. It's the opposite of that, but they just don't have that skillset to take it to the next level.

And oftentimes we find ourselves bringing in new people and maybe the original people go elsewhere or they just don't make it in the company. But also the same thing in our lives. And I'll take that to even a sporting analogy. You want to play tennis, you hire a tennis coach. You're progressing maybe at one point you become better than the tennis coach.

And now it's time to change coaches, nothing wrong with that coach. So it sounds like in your journey, you got to the point where you needed new people who could help you dig even deeper to bring out the best in you and take it to the next level. So how did that work for you? What was that like?

[00:16:00] Mike Malastesta: Well, it's a good point. I tell people that I thought I was doing everything right, because what I was doing, the way I was leading, the way I was approaching things, I had this sort of idea about it. I was the selfless leader. I put everybody else first and I would do anything to help people.

And I didn't want people to do things I wouldn't do and all of those things. And that worked for me for a while, a long time actually. But then I started to resent why all of these things that I had asked for set up, you know, to operate the way they did, why they were operating that way. I'm expecting an answer to a question I've never asked.

And I mentioned when Butch passed away, that was about 10 years into the business Jeffrey. And I realized not at the time, but later that during the whole 10 years I treated the business, even though it had grown to maybe $10 or $12 million in sales like, it was a startup, like it was an infant like it needed me for all of its care and sustenance, you know and because of that, I wasn't asking of everyone, even though we had great people, I wasn't asking of everyone what they could really bring because I had it set up so that everything was brought through me. So when Butch died, I fell into what I call the broke stage of the entrepreneurial journey, where I was just dropped into this place I call the valley of uncertainty and I just was questioning everything about me. Why did things happen, whose fault it was, what was I doing wrong? Who could I blame? All of those kinds of things. It took me a long time to realize it Jeffrey, but the reality was where I was exactly, where I designed myself to be.

Like I said, I built a system that got me exactly where I was supposed to be, which it was in the bottom of that valley of uncertainty. And that was hard to accept, but once I could accept it, I could also accept the notion that if I was able to build something that was perfectly designed to get me here and that's not where I want to be, that I could surely design something different to get me where I want it to be. And that's where the real work started in terms of me. I was not doing my job as the entrepreneur, the leader, I thought I was because I was touching everything and I was so instrumental and I could be the hero and I could do all of those things, but all of that was taking energy away from me instead of building energy on me.

And I was just ignoring what I was supposed to be doing. I'm supposed to have a vision, as I mentioned. I mean, I'm supposed to be increasing the capabilities of the company. I'm supposed to be providing direction. I'm supposed to know what the future looks like, so that I can come back and articulate that to the team and not just articulate it, but also give them the opportunity to use their skill sets, to release them, to use their skillsets and their talents to help us get there.

And I just wasn't doing that for a really long time till I started to have these realizations and then got help

[00:18:46] Jeffrey Feldberg: mike, I love the introspection that you do as you've moved along your journey. And so firstly Butch passing away, I can only imagine how difficult that must have been for you as a business partner, mentor, friend, no longer there. And just the sense of loss and loneliness. And a lot of people perhaps would have used that as an excuse.

I did the best I could, Butch is no longer here, I guess that's it. And we'll just trott along and we go where we go and it's understandable, but you didn't let that stop you. And I like how you shifted your thinking and it's actually really a terrific segue into your book because you just released a book, Owner Shift: How Getting Selfish Got Me Unstuck.

So why don't you talk to us about selfishness? Because when we hear the word selfish, the social taboo with that is, hey, if you're selfish, you're not a good person. You got to stop doing that. You need to be selfless. Look after everyone else and put yourself last not first, but walk us through this whole selfish insight that you got and how that transformed your world.

[00:19:49] Mike Malastesta: By the way, that's a great description, a social taboo. I hadn't thought about that, but you're right. So as I mentioned, I had this notion that being a selfless leader is the right kind of leader you know, it's backed up in a lot of books about servant leadership and level five leadership.

 If you put the interests of the people first, then you'll be taken care of as the leader, but that wasn't happening for me. At least I didn't see that happening for me. I was in that valley. And I was just looking for someone to blame or someone to come, put their hand down, and lift me up out of there, Jeffrey. I realized that in order for me to be the best that I can be. And in order for this business to be the best that it can be. I got to get really clear on what I want. What's the future, what's the property that I want to own and call my future? And I hadn't done that for a really long time, probably since we wrote the business plan for the business and the business was so different than that plan, I just had not done any of that work.

And being selfless was actually keeping me from doing it Jeffrey because there was always something to do for someone else. And so when I heard this from Dan Sullivan, from Strategic Coach. I was listening to a CD of his back in the nineties.

He wasn't talking to me. He was just talking on a CD, but when I heard him say your future is your property, I thought to myself, you're right. I'm looking for someone else to create a future for me, based on my past. And what's happened to me up till now. And I'm not seeing how my future could be any different, but Dan is so right because I don't have to wait for someone or some things to make my future. I can make it what I want. It's imagined. I can decide what I want it to be and then work towards it and make it my property. Own it. And that got me started on this track because I needed to spend time figuring out what that was.

I needed to get comfortable with it. I needed to be able to articulate it. I needed to believe in it. I needed to do all those things before. And then I figured once I got that then I can go back to being selfless because if I'm selfish first, then I'm a better selfless leader is what was going on in my head.

And I think it's true because like I had mentioned earlier, then I could come back with this, you know, as clearly of a plan and a vision as possible for the business that gets people really excited 'cause I'm excited. And then, allow them the freedom to make it happen.

And just let me focus on the few things that I do better than anybody else instead of making this whole thing, as I had done for the first 10 years or so, making the whole thing really about me cause it wasn't about me. It was about us continuing to break through and increase our capabilities and become what we're able to become.

And I try to encourage all entrepreneurs that you're in this thing, it's hard. It seems to me, you have to have a go big approach to this, not a go small approach, but so many they get in, they had some success, you know, they're 5, 7, 10 years into the business and they're thinking I don't have a future that's bigger than this.

You do have a future that's bigger than this. But it's probably not going to be realized until you believe that it's there and until you get selfish about owning it and then making it happen.

[00:22:52] Jeffrey Feldberg: So Mike, a lot of interesting things there. And I don't want to assume this let me ask you this question. When you talk about owning your future. And I love that and how you're taking responsibility for that. It would be easy to construe that, okay I'm going to stop having other people do things for me and I'm just going to do everything myself, but I don't believe that's what you're saying.

What to me, it sounds like you're saying is I had this very specific vision of what I wanted for myself, of what my future looked like. I had such clarity around this that it allowed me to then direct other people of how to have that manifest or how to have that future happen. So it wasn't that you just said, I have to do it all myself.

I don't want to rely on other people anymore, but I'm going to leverage the power of delegation and the right kind of leadership, but with clarity and guidance, and insights for those people that together will achieve my vision. Am I on point with that?

[00:23:47] Mike Malastesta: Yeah, you're so right, Jeffrey. It was the exact opposite of I'm going to do everything for myself. In fact, I was going to do less than I had ever done before because I had this idea of what being selfless was. I also had this ego about not being embarrassed by things that I couldn't do.

So if something came up that I didn't know or couldn't do, I was going to work really hard to get that skill or that knowledge or whatever. And now I was like I don't really care because there's somebody out there that knows this and here's the three things or four things or two things, whatever it is that I do in this business that I can't hire. I can't find people who can do that. That's where I need to spend my time. And it was such a revelation to get my head around that because one, it really focused me on this property that I wanted to own, but even more importantly, I think it made it clear the types of structure and the types of people that I needed to design in this business in order for it to become a $30 million business than a $40 million business, and then, up from there. So yeah you're exactly right.

[00:24:50] Jeffrey Feldberg: And it's interesting because, in the nine-step roadmap of the Deep Wealth Experience, we look to really step number two, which is X-Factors. So X-Factors are things that insanely increase the value of your business. And where most business owners across the board, Mike, whether it's a business of 50 people or 5 people or 100 people or 10 people, most businesses don't run without the owner. And so if you're thinking of having a liquidity event, your future buyer perceives that as just a tremendous risk and we'll either walk away or we'll penalize the enterprise value so much that it's almost worth not doing the deal, but in your case, and this is a really important point for our listeners.

You said to really, you said to yourself, okay, I see the future. I have clarity around that. I'm going to be selfish as much as I can. I want to have other people do everything that they can do better than me. And if that means I'm working less than ever before. Terrific. The less, the better, but I'm really going to focus on what I do well, and that is such a key insight.

Most business owners, miss that because effectively the business is running without you. It's not that you're often some beach, although you probably could have been having a pina colada. But you're having the teamwork in the business. You're working on the business in the big picture side of things and visioning and planning things out.

And then perhaps a team would come in and look to execute that. So you're onto your next market disruption or insights. That's really terrific that you're able to do that. And let's circle back for just a moment because we didn't talk about it. So when you had your liquidity event with AWS and by the way to the outside world, you're an overnight success.

But your story, if I do the math is 22 years in the making of being an overnight success. When you look back to your liquidity event, what stood out for you? If you had to say, okay, I would do this again, but I wouldn't do that again. What would you be telling yourself?

[00:26:47] Mike Malastesta: Okay. Simple. So what would I do again? Two things, one for many years prior to the sale, we were preparing the business for a sale, but not to be sold, but to be sellable. So systems, processes, systems, and processes are always better than people. Cause the key to a business going on is to be able to slip a new person into something and not miss a beat or miss as few of beats as possible.

Not I rely completely on this person and if they ever left Oh my God, what would happen in this business? That's what a lot of business owners do. A lot of entrepreneurs do that. I wouldn't recommend it to. Financially, the business was run professionally. So, you know, Gap accounting, audits, and I know audits aren't for everybody, but we had audits for 10 years before we sold the business.

Why? Because audits and professional gap accounting, not running your whole life as the entrepreneur, through the business, for example, give buyers a lot of confidence what they're buying is solid. You know, they don't have to figure it out. So those are a couple of things on the positive side.

On the negative side, while I do think I had a really good outcome, Jeffrey I would never do it again, which I did without an investment banker's help. And that was the stubbornness in me, I think a little bit because I had gone through a private equity process six years earlier where we were looking to bring on a private equity partner.

And so we hired an investment bank and we did that. And ultimately, we decided not to do that, but I thought I learned enough from the investment banker that I could do this myself and I was not in a process. I was approached like I said, I thought I was well-prepared to go into it, but I think, and I believe that had I had an investment banker working with me, I probably would have had a little bit better of an outcome.

I see too many people. And I bought 20 businesses, myself, not one of the businesses that I bought was represented by anybody except maybe the accountant who did the business's taxes forever, or the lawyer who did the buy-sell way back in the day who have no real M&A experience.

And if you're not working with people who have M&A experience, when it comes to selling your business especially well to any buyer, but particularly to a sophisticated buyer. I think you're going to be on the wrong side of that. And I think you agree with me on that, but I think you're gonna be on the wrong side of that equation almost every time.

[00:29:16] Jeffrey Feldberg: Mike, you are preaching to the choir here at Deep Wealth. This is what really we're all about. And for our listeners though, a couple of interesting, very interesting things here. So firstly, Mike is able to look back and Mike, you haven't quite said it this way, but I get the impression that you can look back and not beat yourself up and say, hey, at the time I did the best I could with my belief in the information that I had.

And as business owners that's so crucial, particularly with the liquidity event, we can make a decision today. That is so right, but things change tomorrow and it looks so wrong and we have no control over that. We can't beat ourselves up over that, but also for listeners you're hearing a guy who bought 20 companies two zero 20 companies, he bought.

And at that time, he said well, you know, if I bought companies for myself, I can also sell it. I have that experience. But hindsight, he's now saying, hey, if I were going to do that again, wouldn't even think about that. And so for all you business owners out there, please stop what you're doing. Listen to this and have it just hammer home.

You really want to surround yourself with professionals and in step number seven of the nine-step roadmap. It's the advisory team of the investment bank or the M&A lawyer, and the list just goes on and on of what you want to do, because the rhetorical question for our audience, Mike, how do you master something you've never done before you simply can't the skills that built your business aren't the same ones to sell it then Mike, I think that's a terrific insight. Now after the liquidity event, you've just written a book, but you also started a podcast and you've also done a number of really interesting initiatives. But talk to us about the, How did Happen Podcasts. What's that all about?

[00:30:52] Mike Malastesta: Sure thanks. Yeah.

How’d that Happen, I started that in 2018 and it was just one of the goals that I had when I sold the business was to explore whatever creativity I might have outside of entrepreneurial creativity I started writing a blog and I was really interested in writing and it was a lot of work and I didn't think it was getting any attention really.

So I had started listening to podcasts around the same time, maybe a little earlier, and I just thought this is really cool. This is like a skill set that I think I have. And I think it would fulfill my curiosity. To be able to talk to really successful people. And on top of that, maybe it would impact other people as well.

And so over the years, I've done well over 200 episodes now, and I've really narrowed in on my focus and my mission for the podcast, which is to go really deep into stories of success and really dig out the clues of about how it happened. And my goal is besides my own curiosity and besides my own learning, which are significant goals for me in doing the podcast is to inspire, activate and maximize greatness in people who are listening.

Because I think there is more greatness inside of everyone. And If some of the people that I'm talking with and some of the conversations that I'm having give you some tips, some clues, some confidence to take a knock, to take a step you're reluctant to take, but you're able to take, I just think that's really powerful.

So that's what I try to accomplish with every episode.

[00:32:26] Jeffrey Feldberg: And for our listeners out there who may have been thinking for the past little while, it's really selfish to be selfish. You shouldn't be doing that. Let me ask you this, for those that are thinking that when Mike says I'm here to inspire, activate and maximize greatness, is that selfishness because that sure doesn't sound like selfishness to me, that sounds like, hey, I'm going to be selfish about knowing what I want, but I'm going to be generous in terms of the people around me to provide the support and the resources and the leadership that together, we can make the impossible into impossible.

And that's really what terrific leadership's all about. That's what being a business owner and an entrepreneur is all about. And it's maybe paradoxical and it's not mutually exclusive. You can be selfish while achieving greatness with those around you.

[00:33:11] Mike Malastesta: Great point.

[00:33:12] Jeffrey Feldberg: So that's absolutely terrific. And I know Mike offline, when we were talking, you have really a terrific vision of what you can do with business owners when you inspire them and you give them some of the insights and some of the tools, why don't you share that vision for our audience, because I think number one, it's inspiring.

And two is really the power of all of us business owners of what we can do together to truly make a difference.

[00:33:35] Mike Malastesta: Yeah. So once I sold the business, it multiplied my resources and not just from a financial standpoint, but from a time standpoint, from an attention standpoint, and from a financial standpoint and I started, really thinking about it. I'd been investing for probably a decade before that, but you know, I could do it in a more meaningful way after I sold the business.

So I started really getting involved in a lot of early-stage companies, entrepreneurs who were, maybe just starting out or they had a little bit of traction, but they needed help. And that led to me, investing in probably close to a hundred companies now. It's really crystallized my thinking Jeffrey, about what I'm here to do.

So whether it's the podcast or the investing or the advisory role that I can play or whatever, I want to have a hand in some way, some impact in helping a thousand entrepreneurs create businesses that are valued at $20 million or more. And then I want to encourage them each to work with 10 additional entrepreneurs to do the same thing and so you think about that, that's a huge number of entrepreneurs who one, they're out there, they need the help. They deserve the help and they just might change the world, you never know. And it's a huge value creation opportunity for everybody on their team and everybody really in the world.

So I feel like if I can come anywhere close to achieving that goal, it's the most meaningful thing that I could ever do with my, at least the business side of my life.

[00:35:12] Jeffrey Feldberg: Well, truly inspiring and really helps to set the standard for all of us of how it's not just about us, how we can pay it forward to help other people and really make a difference. So congratulations on dreaming this up and now you're in the process of implementing it. So Mike as we begin to wrap up the episode, I always love to ask my favorite question, read it about now at this point.

And the question is this, Mike, when you think of the movie Back to the Future. You have that magical DeLorean car and it can take you to any point in time. So I want you to imagine that you wake up tomorrow morning, you look outside the window and the DeLorean car is not only outside waiting for you with the door open, but you actually jump in and you can now go back to any point in your life.

Maybe Mike as a child or a teenager young adult. Whatever the case may be, Mike, what would you be telling your younger self in terms of, hey, do this or don't do that, or here's some life wisdom that I really want you to know?

[00:36:09] Mike Malastesta: I think based on my experiences, the best advice I could give myself is do what's right and get help doing anything that you're not great at. Cause I think both of those things, were challenges for me and they extended the learning curve in a way that what was unnecessary but I didn't know.

I didn't know any better.

[00:36:31] Jeffrey Feldberg: It's terrific advice and really consistent with what you're saying of, hey, be selfish, know what you want to ask for help to get you there. And you'll have more fun and get there a little bit quicker.

[00:36:41] Mike Malastesta: Yeah.

[00:36:42] Jeffrey Feldberg: So, Mike, I will put this in the show notes for our listeners. We'll definitely have a link to your podcast and to your your book.

If somebody would like to reach you online, what would be the best place?

[00:36:50] Mike Malastesta: I think the best place to go would be my website, Jeffrey, which is mikemalatesta.com.

[00:36:55] Jeffrey Feldberg: Terrific. So we'll have them in the show notes. It'll be point and click. Mike, as we wrap up this episode, thank you so much for taking part of your day and spending it with us on The Sell My Business Podcast. And as always, please stay healthy and safe.

[00:37:12] Mike Malastesta: Thank you. Thanks for having me. I love the work you're doing by the way. It's really phenomenal.

[00:37:17] Jeffrey Feldberg: Thank you so much, Mike, take care.

[00:37:19] Sharon S.: The Deep Wealth Experience was definitely a game-changer for me.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Jeffrey Feldberg: Are you leaving millions on the table?

Please visit www.deepwealth.com/success to learn more.

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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. 

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 50% to over 100% of their deal value in the buyer's pocket and don't even know it.

Our founders said "no" to a 7-figure offer and "yes" to a 9-figure offer less than two years later. 

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? 

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Enjoy the interview!