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April 19, 2023

Serial Entrepreneur With 12 Liquidity Events Gregory Shepard Reveals How To Unleash Massive Succes (#222)

Serial Entrepreneur With 12 Liquidity Events Gregory Shepard Reveals How To Unleash Massive Succes (#222)
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Gregory Shepard is a 20-year startup veteran, angel investor, author,  and serial entrepreneur with 12 liquidity events under his belt in BioTech, TransTech, AdTech, and MarTech industries, two of which were sold as part of a $925M transactions that won 4 private equity awards for transactions between $250M and $1B. Greg has accomplished all this while existing with 7 neurodivergent conditions, including Autism and Dyslexia.

As a Forbes Book Author, Contributor, and Forbes Podcast Host, his work has been featured or quoted in Fortune, Entrepreneur, The New York Observer, The DEAL, and Thrive Global. Greg has appeared on TV, Radio, and over 100 popular Podcasts and has been featured as a TEDx and Keynote Speaker at multiple conferences and universities worldwide.

Greg is the co-founder of BOSS Capital Partners, the creator of BOSS (Business Operating Support System), an open-source methodology developed to empower entrepreneurs while increasing startup success rate, and the founder of BOSS Startup Science Academy. He has recently launched a new platform that includes a pre-accelerator, an academy, and a networking ecosystem to aid founders in their startup success.

Greg speaks regularly on several topics, including these and many more!

How I went from selling rattlesnakes to make money in my teens to selling to eBay for over $900M.

How having 7 Neurodivergent conditions, including autism and dyslexia, has actually amplified my success.

Using fearless optimism and steadfast determination, Greg uses Silicon Valley’s deal-making culture to spread his message of “Altruistic Capitalism” and inject capital into the hands of fearlessly ambitious, creative, and passionate underserved entrepreneurs looking to spark positive change in the world.

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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!


[00:00:00] Jeffrey Feldberg: Welcome to the Deep Wealth Podcast where you learn how to extract your business and personal Deep Wealth.

I'm your host Jeffrey Feldberg.

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

When it comes to your business deep wealth, your exit or liquidity event is the most important financial decision of your life.

But unfortunately, up to 90% of liquidity events fail. Think about all that time and your hard earned money wasted.

Of the quote unquote "successful" liquidity events, most business owners leave 50% to over 100% of the 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 the science of a liquidity event. Two years later, I said "yes" to a different buyer with a nine figure deal.

Are you thinking about an exit or liquidity event?

Don't become a statistic and make the fatal mistake of believing the skills that built your business are the same ones to sell it.

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

Let the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience and the 9-step roadmap of preparation help you capture the best deal instead of any deal.

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

Gregory Shepard is a 20-year startup veteran, angel investor, author, and serial entrepreneur with 12 liquidity events under his belt in BioTech, TransTech, AdTech, and MarTech industries, two of which were sold as part of a $925 million transaction that one, four private equity awards for transactions between [00:02:00] $250 million and $1 billion.

Gregory has accomplished all of this while existing with seven neurodivergent conditions, including autism and dyslexia. As a Forbes Book Author, Contributor, and Forbes Podcast Host his work has been featured or quoted in Fortune, Entrepreneur, The New York Observer, The DEAL, and Thrive Global.

Gregory has appeared on TV, radio, and over 100 popular podcasts and has been featured as a TEDx and keynote speaker at multiple conferences and universities worldwide.

Gregory is a co-founder of BOSS capital partners, the creator of BOSS Business Operating Support System an open-source methodology developed to empower entrepreneurs while increasing startup success rate, and the founder of BOSS Startup Science Academy.

He has recently launched a new platform that includes a pre-accelerator and academy and a networking ecosystem to aid founders in their startup success. Gregory speaks regularly on several topics, including these in many more:

How I went from selling rattlesnakes to making money in my teens, to selling to eBay for over $900 million.

How having seven neurodivergent conditions, including autism and dyslexia has actually amplified my success.

Thinking early and often about an exit strategy is essential for a startup success.

Why does every startup need to go through seven phases when building a business to sell?

How will entrepreneurs' our ability to scale businesses change the world?

And what is the problem with Silicon Valley thinking when it comes to raising capital for your business?

Using fearless optimism and steadfast determination Gregory uses Silicon Valley's deal-making culture to spread his message of altruistic capitalism and inject capital into the hands of fearlessly, ambitious, [00:04:00] creative, and passionate underserved entrepreneurs looking to spark positive change in the world.

Welcome to the Deep Wealth Podcast, and you heard it in the official introduction. How do I even come on the show and even talk after an introduction like that? But wow, do we have a guest for you today? We have a veteran from a startup site, an investor site, a thought leader, a serial entrepreneur with 12 liquidity events, a Forbes book author, an author.

You name it, he has done it. But he is one heck of an incredible guy, as you're gonna hear today. So Gregory, welcome to the Deep Wealth Podcast. It's really a pleasure and a delight to have you with us. And I am so curious, Gregory, there's always a story behind the story. What's your story? What got you to where you are today?

[00:04:44] Gregory Shepard: First off, Thank you. Thanks for having me. Also, I appreciate it and it's an honor. And I think can tell you that I have autism and dyslexia and synesthesia and savant. So growing up was really rough for me. And I had started businesses because I had no other choice growing up. We were American poor.

I always say poor, but it's like American poor. Cause there's a difference between, other countries in the United States or even North America for that matter. So, we lived in tents when I was growing up for a couple of years. It was rough

I started to figure out how to build businesses.

So I built and sold 12 different companies and sold two to eBay and then won the four private equity awards for that between $250 billion. And the story really was that after I sold to eBay I had to stick around as the chief strategy officer and chief technology officer following that whole situation, which was its own story.

And I went and worked as a chairman for Congressional candidates and I wanted to give back, so my whole thing was if I can go get women elected and people of color elected and people from different walks of life elected, maybe I could help with the white man syndrome that we have in the United everything.

And so especially growing up in an adopted foster [00:06:00] family where we had a lot of different ethnicities. And then I was able to, I almost got somebody elected. It was by one point in an area that was for the other party for 35 years. And I was able to meet Barack Obama a couple of times and have an audience with him, which was pretty amazing.

 Pretty really amazing, and I realized that 4% of people have the ability to get out from check, to check living, and 98% of 'em do it through a windfall.

Include inheritance and, you know, even lawsuits, lottery, a list of things, but 75% of that group do it by starting a business, but then 90% fail trying to do that.

So I decided I'm going to tackle this 90% problem. So I spent half a million dollars and I hired a team of five people and we spent five years investigating why, when, and how founders were failing. And that is the story underneath the story. That's the real story, is how do we take people that are marginalized and how do we put these people in a situation where they can solve problems that they are experiencing.

And by doing that, changing the broad direction of a lot of different nations.

[00:07:06] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow, Gregory, so much there to unpack and we will do that. But before we do that, I mean, after all, this is the Deep Wealth Podcast. Our wheelhouse here is all about liquidity events and 12 liquidity events. So each one of those liquidity events, we could have a whole series, not just an episode, Gregory, an entire series on those liquidity events that you did, all 12 of them, and then beyond with what you're doing on the investing side and your altruistic capitalism side.

But let me ask you this, as you look at your 12 liquidity events, And let's look at both sides of the coin because there's always things that we should do and things that we shouldn't do. So for our listeners today, and they're thinking about, okay, look, I'm gonna grow my business when the time is right.

I can't time the market, but I can time when I do go to market. And that's what we're all about here. Deep, Wealth or nine-step roadmap, the preparation, everything else. But if they had to do one thing right and not do [00:08:00] one thing at all, when it comes to a liquidity event, what would that be based on the 12 liquidity events that you've gone through?

[00:08:08] Gregory Shepard: Well, I can tell you this, is that one of the mistakes that entrepreneurs make? It's at the top of the list. I think it's number three at the top of the list when I was going through the data, was not planning for the liquidity event. When you start, investors always argue with me and they go, no, it's too early.

They shouldn't even be thinking about that. And I tell 'em, it is so absolutely wrong. It is. It makes me so angry when they do that because if you are a business and businesses buy, other companies either make or save money. And most of the time it's to make money. And the way they do that is that they have an existing list of customers that have an ICP and a persona stack that aligns with them.

If you're a new startup and you don't plan to match up with that ICP and persona stack, by the time you get there, you could be completely off and you're not gonna have liquidity vendors gonna be drastically discounted. This happened to me actually, where they looked at your revenue and they looked at dry speed.

Oh, these people, we're not gonna buy it. We'll pay you for the 50% that is in our wheelhouse, we're gonna cancel rest. But if I had known that the whole time, I wouldn't have gotten the 50% and I lost the liquidity event, right? Because of that. And then I went and fired all the 50% and rebuilt all of 'em to the stack that I had.

And then I ended up selling to eBay, which was the offer the first time. It took another five years or six years, or seven years or something. I can't even remember to get to restack that. But that is a critical thing, and the analogy I give to most people is I say, if you're building a product, you don't build a product without having a customer.

And the acquirer of your business is buying your product. So they are your customers. So why would you build a product without having a customer? Why would you build a company without having an acquirer in mind and pair them up? So that's the first thing that I like to point out to people that I think is critical that they, it's always forgotten. It's crazy to me how much this is [00:10:00] forgotten down to details, right? What companies have they bought? How much did they pay? What was the process like? What kinda ripples and did they already fill up their stack of acquisitions for this year? How many do they usually buy in a year? All of this stuff is all listed in Crunchbase and PitchBook and all these places.

You can learn about your acquirers and track them over time to make sure that your require when you start is still your require at the end. Cuz things could change, right? That would be the one thing I would say is like really important. I call it the North Star.

[00:10:30] Jeffrey Feldberg: Gregory, you call that the North Star. We call that step three future buyer in our nine-step roadmap. And for our listeners, I promise you Gregory and I did not speak about this ahead of time, and there's no check in the mail to Gregory for saying what he just said. Sometimes, Gregory, you're never a profit in your hometown.

And we're saying all these things. And to your point of knowing the buyer, doing your own due diligence, figuring out, hey, what are they buying? How much have they paid? Where are they on their list today, and how much more they have to go? In our nine-step roadmap.

[00:10:59] Gregory Shepard: You do your icp, right? So why wouldn't you do your ibp, your ideal buyer profile, your ideal buyer persona, the same thing?

[00:11:07] Jeffrey Feldberg: And that's exactly what we do. Some of the investment bankers get mad at us because our clients will do, get ready for this, Gregory. They will do a reverse RFP in the middle of a liquidity event. With the top buyers to really separate, if you will, let you know, let the cream rise to the top, and are they saying what they're saying?

Are they gonna do what they say? They're gonna do all that stuff. But to your point, find out who that buyer is and are they really a fit. Five offers the same numbers. One of those offers isn't gonna be for you, and one is because of the cultural fit for the buyer.

[00:11:37] Gregory Shepard: Oh yeah. And so lemme talk about that because I have a solution for that too. You probably also have cuz I think we're in line, but in all the transactions I've had, they've always gone through the same process. So what's the process? First I identify who the buyers are. Second, I partner with them. Third, I take a small round of funding with them, with the intent to buy later.

So there's a pre-structured deal in [00:12:00] that round.

That says, you know, things like whenever they want to buy it or between, that they have to do it within a certain number of years that they will, that I agree. And they agree to buy the company at a preexisting multiple.

And this fixes the scenario, so we know what we're chasing. The buyer knows what they're chasing. And as soon as it gets to that, that where the square pegs fit into the square hole scenario.

[00:12:24] Jeffrey Feldberg: Yes. Uhhuh.

[00:12:25] Gregory Shepard: And they always buy it. And this is the same for all of my investments, 14. So it always works.

The same process always works, and you shake out the ones that aren't interested in the process. The real, you know, the ones that are just sort of watching you to see what you're doing. You can get them out of the way.

[00:12:41] Jeffrey Feldberg: It's like we're gonna walk before we run or we're gonna date before we get married. You get a chance to kick the tires and see what Sarah, I love that. But not to go down too much o of a rabbit hole. Let me go back now to what you're saying earlier, Gregory. So for the 90% failure rate, and you came up with the top five reasons and you shared one of them just now, but what's going on with that?

What can we be doing? Because I, what I learned from failure in my early days of business failure is probably one of the best teachers. It tells you what not to do, which we need to know as much as what we should be doing. So if, you know, the top five reasons, what's reason number one that you can share with us?

[00:13:15] Gregory Shepard: Bad advice.

[00:13:16] Jeffrey Feldberg: Okay. Tell, talk to us about that.

[00:13:18] Gregory Shepard: Yeah. So, and number two is not understanding the life cycle. So, bad advice is it showed up in, you know, I've done, well at the time I, that I posted this when I started completing the book stuff, it had been, I mean, it's a few years ago, and so I've done like 1200 one-on-one interview.

[00:13:37] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow.

[00:13:37] Gregory Shepard: Now I've done I don't even know, maybe three or 4,000. And in those scenarios, the amount of times that bad decision, it showed up as bad decisions, but what was behind the decisions was actually bad advice. And this isn't all investors clearly, right? So if you're an investor and you're listening I'm not talking to you if you don't do this, but most of the investors, [00:14:00] cuz I get chewed out for that all the time, but most of the investors that are giving these founders bad advice because what the investors are, a lot of them, are, you know, some cat that graduated from some fancy school, got a job with investment, and they're dealing with the early stage of these portfolios, and then they have their partner, general partner or up the line or whatever.

They're not the lp, they're not the actual investor. A lot of the time. This counts for accelerators, funds, and so on and so forth. Sometimes you talk to an angel, but in most of these scenarios, even as an angel, there's very few investors that actually have experience as a founder.

And so when you run into these scenarios, you have investors telling you what they think from listening to founders, not from being a founder.

And there's a difference between learning how to ride a bicycle and riding a bicycle. So the bad advice comes most of the time from the investors.

They're telling them things that they've heard or they saw work or whatever, and the founder will say, oh they're the investor, they're the top of the food chain.

I'm gonna steer my business around. And they end up detaching things. And it creates a whole bunch of problems. And so the same thing with, so you have some investor who you know as a lawyer and made a bunch of money, and now they're an angel or somebody that just graduated from school representing a VC or whatever.

And this is really a big problem. They should not be giving people advice because of the way that they're seen in the eyes of the founder unless they actually know what they're talking about. That is huge problem. The other side of it is sometimes the mentors same thing. If you're a good mentor, I'm not talking to you, but they're the accelerators, et cetera or, they'll get mentors or they'll get advisors.

And in a lot of these scenarios, these people are, you know, giving free and using quotations, free advice. But they're really trying to get a customer, So there's a lawyer trying to get a customer, an accountant, trying to get a consultant, trying to get a customer, a product person, an engineering house, trying to get a customer, on and on.

So they will go in and they'll give these people advice. And again, this is my mentor that the group has assigned me [00:16:00] to. I'm listening to everything they say, and they'll get misled. If you're a founder, you have to really pay attention to what's in your gut, like where do you think this should go, and focus on that.

Now, all of that said, there's one caveat to that, and that is that if you're a founder and you're starting a company when you first start that company, it's your vision, and at high level, it's always your vision, right? to move the company forward, but at an incremental level, more of a micro level, the small things all come from the customers.

So as soon as you get an MVP, you listen to the customer on the details but not on the big picture, and you clear of anybody giving you advice and make sure you do your homework. If you get some one hit wonder. Which is really frequent. You get somebody that just happened to have an Exit, stumbled through it, and got an Exit, or the market was in their favor, you know, the waves were coming in and pushed them through.

You have gotta be careful because that person only has the experience that they have and that one experience, which may be different, especially in these days with the market being really tough. So the way I think about an Exit is I think that there are, there's a bull market and there's a bear market.

And when, like I said earlier when you're trying to sell a company, they buy 'em to either make or save money.

So if you're in a bull market, it's making money.

If you're in a bear market, it's saving money, your strategy changes to the market so that you're working with this current stream of wind that's already happening. So you go in it instead of trying to swim upstream like a salmon.

So that whole stack has to do with this bad advice. Where this bad advice seems to penetrate into the founders because of who it's coming from. Think about a kid at talking to their parent or a teacher.

So the people that are giving you advice need to be really cautious because you can destroy your own investments and people's lives.

And the people that are listening to the advice need to be very, they need to understand the person that's giving the advice much more than they do usually, and just not buy into it and say, oh, that's my person. Okay.

[00:17:52] Jeffrey Feldberg: Absolutely. Gregory, and you know, for our listeners, you've heard me talk about this before, Gregory, I'm going to just really over [00:18:00] exaggerate just to make the point, but you're so on base with what you're saying. In our roadmap, step six, your advisory team. Wish I had said the quote, didn't invent it, but it's when the team works, the dream works.

And so as an example, you're thinking of having a liquidity event and your sister's best friend's, cousins, uncle's friend happens to be a general lawyer that you're gonna bring on board because you got a terrific rate as opposed to going out and hiring an M&A lawyer. We can all see where this is going, but I take it where you're going with all this is if you're gonna be executing on advice that you're getting to really do your own diligence on that person to make sure that it's the right person at that right time for where your company is.

Would that be correct?

[00:18:45] Gregory Shepard: It has to do with, yeah, exactly. Timing is critical. Cause your business is ever-evolving. And understanding their specialties. One mentor is not the same. They can get you here but not there. They're specialists at certain timeframes. So think of it like if you're building a house, your plumber doesn't do the electrical.

And if you're gonna go have your taxes done, you go to somebody that does taxes. So don't be afraid to go to the people that understand the stuff that you're trying to deal with because a master is somebody that is not a master of all and you know, they have specialty things that might sticking in there but you know, there are specialty things that they do. So you go to the specialist that works on it. If you want a business model, you go to somebody that has done thousands of them and knows them really, really well. You want a product stack. You go to somebody that understands product. You don't use an investment banker or a mentor or something for everything.

Your go-to go-to-market person isn't gonna know how to help you to get to your MVP.

[00:19:40] Jeffrey Feldberg: Sure. And Gregory, I suppose this question is a little bit more on the art side than the science side. You've been getting advice from an individual that up to this point, it's worked well. How do you know though, when you've outgrown? So when the student has outgrown the teacher, would be some telltale signs?

Did that come out in your [00:20:00] research or your interviews?

[00:20:01] Gregory Shepard: Yeah, this is where it goes to number two, which is a lifecycle, so one of the most common problems, and so I created a lifecycle. Seven stages to the lifecycle of a founder. And the reason why I did that is because founders were basing their lifecycle on things that are they're not, there's no standardization, like they'll say, oh, it's my a round. Which a round right? Oh, it's my Siri seed round. This venture capital doesn't use Siri seed, right? They use C and early stage to a private equity or a later stage VC is they call it early stage. But a pre very beginning, like I have an idea stage all the way through to Siri seed where you're raising money or for your go-to market.

Those stages are different and you shouldn't associate your business with a stage in lifecycle just because of the round that is not right. The round is the round. And sometimes you get the amounts wrong and whatever, market changes and stuff like that. So understanding where you are in the life cycle and where you validate before and after the stage that you are in the life cycle is critical to success.

So this is where one of the big problems is with the advice and everything down the line. Because if we're not all speaking of standard language and we're trying to wrap where we are in this life cycle, this journey around things that are moving, depending on who you're talking to, you're bound to make some bad decisions.

The way you think of it is that your lifecycle, your business building a business like a GPS. And you have to know two things, where you are and where you're going. And we talked about Exit, where you're going. You also need to know where you are and you can tell where you are based on what stage in the life cycle you are.

If you're building a product, you're at the product stage, and you don't go straight to go to market after the product.

You can't do that because a lot of times there's minor iterations. So you go to your MVP and sometimes you tuck back around and you run that loop a few different times until you nail it before you actually go into growth.

You go from grow to market, you validate everything, and then you go into standardization to [00:22:00] create efficiencies and get rid of waste. Then you go into growth.

Because the data shows that a lot of companies, about 47% of them go out of business growing. They put themselves out of business under the hand of the investors telling them, throwing money at them, telling 'em to blow up, blow up, blow up.

Because those investors get two and 20 on their rounds. And so, or the bankers, so you see what I'm saying is that you have to understand where you are. You have to understand where you're going. You have to understand the point is that, If you're trying to cross the ocean and you're one degree off, you're gonna end up in a different continent.

So you constantly have to make adjustments to where you are in the structure, in the lifestyle structure, and then work with what's in that stage, mentors, investors, everything that's in that stage. And when you outgrow them, you'll know because you're moving to the next stage,

So you don't use a go-to-market person when you're in the beginning and you don't use a go-to-market person when you're in growth either. You use somebody that's a specialist in that stage.

[00:22:56] Jeffrey Feldberg: So it makes sense. You're really acclimatizing to where you are in your lifecycle. Love how you position that. And then with the other three of the top five, so you talked about bad advice, you talked about the lifecycle as a number two. Where do three, four, and five fall? What's going on there?

[00:23:12] Gregory Shepard: Oh yeah, so it roll. There's more, actually, the list is much more extensive. I put it in the book, but people only seem to want to talk about the top five, but and some of the other ones are also really detrimental. It just happens later on.

Another one of 'em that is really common is people moving from product into growth and skipping over, go to market.

So they basically will go straight from okay, we got product fit. Boom. Nailed the accelerator, spent a whole bunch of money on advertising. They raise money, dilute their cap table, get themselves into trouble, usually overvalued, which is what we've seen in the market. This whole problem that we're happening right now is due to overvaluation.

It's obvious because the banks are going outta business cuz they're not as worth as much as they've financed them.

And that is typical. So overvaluation is on the list. [00:24:00] It's a big one. It usually doesn't happen until year four in the stack over a five-year period of time. But it hits and it's just as much, it's even worse.

I would rather fail earlier than four years later. So that one is a big one. Overvaluation is, huge problem. And another one is the path to go to overvaluation, which is the path from skipping over go to market and going right into growth.

 If you go from your product into go to market, you go from go to market directly into growth and don't go through standardization and optimization in the process.

The problems that you missed become inflated by massive multiples, by exponentially when you go into growth. So if you've missed things, you can put yourself out of business because you didn't know things when you started to throw the throttle down, which makes all the problems that are unseen seen.

[00:24:47] Jeffrey Feldberg: Interesting with how you're going in there. But let me ask you this, Gregory because you mentioned this a little earlier and just now, and so first congratulations on the book and I know a lot has gone into the book and you're having a whole print and online and course and teaching and platform and everything else.

But talk to us what, so what's the book all about and what would you like us to know about that?

[00:25:10] Gregory Shepard: I think that the important thing is to understand that there's a difference between the art and the science. I focus on the science cuz I'm autistic, so I'm into like logic and data and things like that. So everything is about the science process. The art is coming up with the idea and the art is while you're in there learning and doing iterations, all that sort of stuff is the art part of it.

But the rest of it is a repeatable science. And when I studied this, I saw over and over founders failing for the same reasons over and over for the last 20 years. And nothing had changed. And my concept was maybe we just tell them about all the things they keep failing over that we know they fail over repeatedly.

And then at least if that's 50% as an example, at least we'd get rid of that 50%. And so overall, [00:26:00] raise the success rate. And that was my focus. So the whole point was to try to make sure that I was focused on those things. The book essentially takes all of the data that I learned, including the 30 years of experience.

I think there was a few hundred thousand papers. We read all the thousands of interviews, investors, founders, accelerators, everybody in early stage. And organizes it into the lifecycle. So when you read it, you're reading, okay, this is the first stage of life this second stage, what you should be doing, why people are failing during those stages of lifecycle, how to steer around it.

And the whole book goes from the beginning of lifecycle all the way to your Exit.

[00:26:37] Jeffrey Feldberg: Terrific. And I know you're talking offline with me and we'll put all this in the show notes, but you're gonna have a special presale for the book. Can you talk to us about that?

[00:26:46] Gregory Shepard: Yeah, I mean, the idea is that I'm trying to help people. You know, there's two types of founders, the founders that have done it before and succeeded and they have money, and then everybody else, which is the 99% of 'em, which are people that are trying to make money, don't have any money.

So the idea was, is to make it so that people could buy the book for $29, I think it's $29.95, and then I can give them access. There's a QR code in the book they scan and it opens up to the rest of the information that I couldn't fit into the book. Cause there was like a few thousand pages put in. It would've been like the Bible, so the publisher's like you can't have all this in here.

[00:27:23] Jeffrey Feldberg: In the show notes, we'll have the links. You can reach out to Gregory directly, get onto that list and get access to the information. And so, Gregory, let me ask you this. I know I'm all over the place, but there is a method to the. You've mentioned a number of times your challenges growing up, which made you the person who you are. And I wanna first congratulate you with us from being autistic to having a bit of a rough and tumble childhood. I'm being polite with that.

From the outsider looking in, it would be so easy to say, you know what, we get it. You've had the odds against you. And if you don't succeed, that's okay because of that. [00:28:00] But despite that, you've succeeded. So for our listeners out there who find themselves in situations where it is challenging, the odds are against them, they're the odd person out, what would you say to that listener?

[00:28:12] Gregory Shepard: So one of the things I do when I have speaking engagements, you know, when somebody hires me for a trade show or whatever, and I do a speaking engagement, and this is the most popular talk I do by far, is the concept of struggle. Struggle is healthy. Okay? At a cellular level, our body goes through autophagy. Autophagy is process where the good cells eat the bad cells and produce good cells. It only does that when the body's under struggle.

In the universe, it works that way in plants. It works that way. If you work out, you don't build bigger muscles or get in better shape without struggle. It requires it.

Struggle is a part of everybody's life, and if you fight. If you sit there and you say, oh, I've had these things against me and you know it's not fair and all this kind of stuff, or I'm stressed or whatever, you have to remember that struggle is making you more powerful just like it does everywhere else in the world, even down to the subatomic particle level.

So struggle is healthy and you need to embrace it instead of be fearful of it or try to get it to go away. It is what you need to be successful. And failure is part of that struggle like little incremental failures, not big ones, those help too. But the little incremental ones can be really helpful along the way.

It's like working out your brain and your brain gets stronger and your neuro pathways get bigger and you start to learn how to really take care of your brain, and then your brain can sort out everything you need it to. So my answer to people is listen, it's a struggle. Building a, new business is a bitch.

It's really hard. If Jobs was famous for saying you have to really love something to build a business because if you don't, you're crazy. Cuz it's just that hard. It's true. It is really hard. It's grueling, you've never done anything as hard as building a business. That's what separates the elite, and part of that is struggle, which is fundamentally important to [00:30:00] the whole thing. So if you're struggling right now, founder, congratulations, you're on your way.

[00:30:04] Jeffrey Feldberg: Had some refreshing words and wisdom. And for listeners, again, looking in the show notes, I encourage you to go to Gregory's website. You can hear and listen to the TEDx talk that he gave, thriving despite autism, dyslexia, processing disorders, and poverty. Wow, Gregory, what a combination. But I also love the visual that you give on the website where you look at a neurotypical brain and an autistic brain visually, which I've never seen before, and it just put everything into perspective for me to help me better understand what that's like. And so this may be an odd question with what some people would view as a challenge, some people may even call it a disability. Was that a competitive edge for you despite some of the challenges that they brought?

[00:30:46] Gregory Shepard: Absolutely. But this is the thing that's really your brain. This is what I learned. They're doing this research on my brain because, I've been successful and they're studying autism and synesthesia and sivan syndrome and all this kind of stuff. And what you find is that the brain also responds to struggle meaning in areas of my brain that light up when I think about certain things or see certain pictures are different than yours.

That's because my brain has made a decision that the area that you have isn't the right area for it to make the decision. Instead, it goes to a different part. So the brain is liquid and it evolves. That's what neuroplasticity is, It evolves and it becomes, so the more you think about something, the more you're training your brain to be more proficient in that.

If there's a trail and there's one person walking down, it's just a little single-track trail. But if it's a freeway, It's a big freeway. Things are faster on a freeway, so be careful what you teach yourself because those are, you're expanding your neuro pathways. And so when you see that picture, what you see is autism firing all over the place instead of just in certain places like everybody else.

And because of that, you're getting information from different parts of your brain that process and come up with answers differently. I used to think I have a defective brain. I was called a lot of names and beat up in school and stuff cuz I was in special ed. [00:32:00] And now I just think I just have a different operating system.

Neurotypical people and autistic people are people that are neuro diversion, just have different operating systems and it is an advantage. But here's the thing that I learned.

Everybody has those sup, we call 'em superpowers in the neurodivergent community, but everybody has those superpowers. Right now you're doing this podcast, it's obvious your interview is fantastic. The way you speak is fantastic. You're giving me lots of opportunities. That is a superpower that you have.

You have 'em. It's not just autistic people or people that are neuro diversions. Everybody has them. You have to find them, and then you have to expand those narrow pathways so that you can become better, and better at the things that you already have superpowers in.

[00:32:42] Jeffrey Feldberg: Yeah, what a terrific way of just explaining that and taking how really some people look at a topic with negativity towards it. Hey, actually not really. It's a superpower. We've just never recognized it at that, and here's how you can look at it. Speaking of superpowers, Gregory, let me ask you this. With your network of people, your experience, where you're going, what you've done, I would be remiss if I didn't ask you in our limited time together about artificial intelligence and AI.

It's been in the press lately, and by the time this episode comes out, everything that we know about AI will probably be obsolete because it'll already be at the next level doing some, who knows what incredible kinds of things. How do you see AI impacting business as we know it? And let's keep the timeframe short because the change is so quick.

So in the next maybe 12, 18, 24 months tops, how's life gonna change as we know it with AI?

[00:33:34] Gregory Shepard: The first thing is that there will be less misunderstandings and misinformation, yes, AI is gonna go out and verify things and give you answers. Like already with G P T Chat, you can go in, you can get answers. If I ask the question, I'm gonna get the same answer as somebody else.

So in politics, in business, all over the place, you're gonna start getting real information and the whole fake data, which is fake news, fake data, [00:34:00] all that stuff will start to go away because people will go, instead of Googling something which just shows you everything, it's gonna give you an AI that's would've done the research for you and give you the answers that you want.

It'll also get rid of the bubbles. So if you're in Facebook and everything is a certain way of believing or seeing things, it's gonna keep showing you the same thing and the same thing. Cause they want you to come back and they want you to be happy so they tell you what you want to hear.

G P T Chat and the rest of the AI tools will give you the truth.

And I think it's gonna help a lot with the division of the world and the division of the North America, you know, between the liberal parties and the more conservative parties. Because people begin the same data and the news will be wrong. Because the news is telling the story that they want that people want to hear.

So they keep turning it on. And fear is our natural state of mind. I mean if you look in the wild animals are fear. It's always fight to flight. So, you know, people love fear, it gets them going, so the news shows you fear. Well, that is maybe not the truth. So I think that's the most fundamental change you're gonna start seeing is people looking and learning the truth, even if the truth isn't convenient for them. Even If it's not real like their belief isn't real and this is the truth that they will get. Finally, get, it'll level things out. I think we went through a really bumpy period over the last 10 years.

[00:35:20] Jeffrey Feldberg: Yeah. Yeah. No, I mean, talk about resetting the clock. And again, this really isn't the scope or for the topic of this episode, but we could really have a deep dive on the AI algorithms on social media and how it's created this divide. Because if I'm, it doesn't matter, right wing, left wing, somewhere in between, up and down, whatever, that's all I get to see.

And so social media is really shaping my view of the world, and I'm not even knowing it. And it's taking me down the wrong rabbit hole instead of a balanced one. So, Amen to what you're saying of.

[00:35:52] Gregory Shepard: Like I was talking about those neuro pathways. Those neuropathways are getting bigger and bigger for people hearing the same, feeding, the same information that [00:36:00] endorses what they previously looked at and that entire neuro pathway could be wrong. That is dangerous for business, that is dangerous for everything.

I think AI is also gonna help with liquidity events. So this last hurdle that we have with all these companies being overvalued like Instacart, you know, going from 36 to 13 it was really worth 13 the whole time. AI is gonna be used to give people correct valuations and get rid of some of the greed that's associated with all the money that's made on raising cash. So we're gonna see a fundamental difference in the truth is where I summarize. And the truth in business and the truth in politics and the truth in many, many different thing.

[00:36:38] Jeffrey Feldberg: Talk about a game changer, and hopefully the powers that be won't interfere with that to their advantage and to our detriment. So it'll be interesting to see how that unfolds. And Gregory, let me ask you this. It might be either one of the easiest questions I ask or one of the hardest questions before we start wrapping up.

I mean, you have such diversity in knowledge and experience. And by the way, for the listeners, again, in the show notes, come to Gregory's website, you make it real. Gregory, I liked how you called it missions. And when you click on mission, I get your life story. You don't see that a lot today, and you make it very personal and it's as though I am getting to know you, even though we'd never spoken before.

But let me ask you this, with your life experience, business personal. Otherwise, you know, in every episode of the Deep, Wealth, Podcast, we like the listener to walk away with one actionable item. Many actionable items that you've shared today. But if a lister could only do one item coming outta this episode, and before they go to the next email, meeting, phone call, whatever that would be, What would you tell them to do from a business perspective?

That would be a game-changer for them. It could just be one thing. It could be small, it could be big. Your call on that.

[00:37:42] Gregory Shepard: I do two things. I roll outta bed, I sit on the end of the bed and I'm gonna be prepared for something really amazing to happen to me today. That's the first thing. The second thing to say is, at the end of today, what would this day look like for me to be successful, for me to feel like I was successful?

And I do [00:38:00] that on an annual basis, a monthly basis, a weekly basis, and a daily basis.

And I just have different lists. And these lists are like, this is what would be successful. So when I close out today, and I do a retrospective at the end of every day. And I look at the day, I say, this was a successful day.

Did it turn out the way I thought? It helps me change the things that I prioritize in a day.

[00:38:20] Jeffrey Feldberg: And if I could just another follow up before we go into wrap up. Can you give us an example just for the listeners to make it real for them of, you know, I said I wanted this to happen today, and I started noting this trend, so I just stopped that all together because of that. Anything that you could share with us?

[00:38:34] Gregory Shepard: I can tell you that it's, for me, they're divided into different categories. Just cause, as autistic people, we do like logic and everything is sort of math, almost mathematical or algorithmic, but including like the way I'm talking to you right now. But I can tell you that things like I'll tell you today, one of the things I had focused is talking to my community, right?

So I'm on a podcast right now. So this is a successful thing for me to do today because I'm talking to my community. I'm gonna be posting to my, I do a lot of posting to my community in social media. I do, I spend the first four hours of every day

Picking up things that I think would be useful for people.

And so that would be successful today, right? So I define success as something that is moving me forward, even if it's one step that is still success, not arriving somewhere, but moving forward.

[00:39:27] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow. For our listeners, as I like to say here, I don't say it often. That's not gold, that's platinum. What you just heard from Gregory in terms of how to really position your days, and let's face it, Gregory, your days become, your weeks become, your months, become your quarters, your years, your life, but all from a single day.

So it's amazing what you can do.

[00:39:46] Gregory Shepard: Something really quick that's a good analogy for this or, so I was running a marathon when I first started running a marathon, I couldn't even run to the end of the driveway and I ran the whole 26.2 miles. And [00:40:00] when you're running like that, you're looking straight down sometimes and it looks like you're moving really fast.

But if look out in the horizon, it doesn't look like you're moving at all. Your life is really looking straight down.

So it's really important to look over at the horizon for a minute, but it's really important to look at rights, what's right in front of you,

Or you run into somebody or step into a pit or life is going by a lot faster than you think, and that's how I run my life.

[00:40:24] Jeffrey Feldberg: What a terrific analogy. And thank you for sharing that. Gregory, again, I could just go down all these different rabbit holes and topics with your experience, your wisdom. That said, though, for better, for worse, we need to start wrapping up and I'm gonna ask you this one question. It's really a privilege and an honor for every guest. I get to ask this one question.

Let me set this up for you. It's a fun question. When you think of the movie Back to the Future, you have that magical DeLorean car that can take you to any point in time. So Gregory, here's the fun part. It's tomorrow morning. You look outside your window. Not only is a DeLorean car curbside the doors open, it's waiting for you to hop on in.

So you hop in and you're now gonna go to an earlier point in your life, Gregory, as a young child, a teenager, whatever point in time that would be. What would you tell your younger self with life wisdom, life lessons, or, hey Gregory, do this, but don't do that? What would that sound like?

[00:41:19] Gregory Shepard: I would probably say those two things, if you're going through, hell keep going. You don't stop in the middle. You just keep going and there's light at the tunnel and it's not a train. I wouldn't wanna change anything per se, because I think all of those elements created who I am today, including all of the struggles.

But I would want to let myself know that it's gonna be a lot better than it is at the time. You know, I always tell people you need a handful of things to be successful. Focus, drive, enthusiasm, discipline, and optimism. Five things, one for each finger. And optimism, I had a lot of which is just the biology of hope, but there was a lot of times where I just felt like this is [00:42:00] just, there's no way I can get out of this situation where you're so poor that you're like, how am I ever and then I can't even afford to eat. I was going to the hotels and I would sneak in for their buffet so I could get breakfast. For lunch at a happy hour. I'd get dinner at a happy hour, pretend like I was gonna meet somebody.

But, you know, it seems like if there's no way, but you have to remember that there is, and I think it would be important to tell my past self that there is a way I just have to keep doing what I'm doing.

I wouldn't want to change it.

[00:42:29] Jeffrey Feldberg: You know what? It's really advice that I hear often. You're in terrific company, Gregory, because people are saying what you're saying, hey, if I changed something back in the day, I wouldn't be the person that I am today. The journey that I have would be different. And so what I'm hearing you say is, hey, I wouldn't change it, but I would tell myself as crazy or as negative or as bad as it may seem.

Hang in there, it's gonna be okay. And that's just terrific advice for our listeners of what a way just to look at where you are, another way and other things that, that I've heard that really resonate Gregory is what you're saying is call it what you want. Some people call it the universe or life, or God, what, whatever it means for you.

You are where you are today because that's where you're supposed to be and anything that you're in your life right now, good, bad, or otherwise, it's there because you can handle it as crazy or as off kilter as it may seem. You have everything that you need to be able to handle it.

[00:43:22] Gregory Shepard: I agree. You have to be optimistic about everything that you're doing because otherwise, you're gonna go nowhere.

[00:43:29] Jeffrey Feldberg: Yeah, words well said. Well, Gregory, let me ask you this again. We'll have all of this in the show notes. It is a point and a click for our listeners. If somebody has a question, they wanna get on the pre-order list for the book, or they wanna learn more, where's the best place online that they can contact you?

[00:43:46] Gregory Shepard: is my website. And there's a form you can contact or any of it, like LinkedIn primarily, but they should subscribe to my social media because there's, I give away a lot of free and free [00:44:00] stuff in there constantly from YouTube videos all the way up to Instagram. I do a minute mentor.

There's a lot of good stuff in there that people should go into. But yeah, my website is the primary

[00:44:13] Jeffrey Feldberg: Terrific. And again, for listeners, all in the show notes, can't get any easier. Point, click, you're there. So, Gregory, it's official. This is a wrap. Thank you so much for your insights and your wisdom. And as we'd like to say here at Deep Wealth, may you continue to thrive, may you continue to prosper and please keep healthy and safe.

[00:44:30] Gregory Shepard: Thank you so much.

[00:44:32] Sharon S.: The Deep Wealth Experience was definitely a game-changer for me.

[00:44:35] 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.

[00:44:45] Kam H.: If you don't have time for this program, you'll never have time for a successful liquidity

[00:44:50] Sharon S.: It was the best value of any business course I've ever taken. The money was very well spent.

[00:44:56] 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.

[00:45:12] 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.

[00:45:34] 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.

[00:45:44] 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.

[00:45:57] Kam H.: I've done an executive MBA. I've worked [00:46:00] 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.

[00:46:16] 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.

[00:46:43] 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.

[00:47:01] Jeffrey Feldberg: Are you leaving millions on the table?

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