Asking My Friend How He Went From $0 To +$100M Before Age 30 (#486) - YouTube

Channel: My First Million

yes in the early days I saved everything
I mean I did not buy a bed until I got
married dude just to put in perspective
even when we were dating
no there's no bed
what up dude this is a long time in the
making episode here I think we've been
talking about you for like two years
I think you told us you're like hey hey
guys don't put me on blast like this uh
we were like you got to come on the show
you're like nah you're just gonna ask me
how much money's in my pocket right now
and I don't know if I want to do that
but somehow some way we convince you to
come on Saeed bulky you're here uh first
why did you just change your mind how
did you decide to come on you know I was
talking with Sam over Twitter DM and
that's how it happened
well what I told you a lot of people
think that Sean and I are like really
aggressive about questions but what they
don't realize is like we'll ask an
aggressive question but if you say I
don't want to talk about that we just go
all right cool we'll we'll move on like
we're not like digging that hard uh so
hopefully that changed your opinion that
did that did so side you're kind of an
amazing guy so let me just set the table
here for people let me just give you a
little let me just tease everybody with
the appetizer so
I think you are one you've done
something that I don't even know five
other people on Earth who have done what
you've done which is that you've
basically bootstrapped a unicorn you've
bootstrapped a billion dollar company
um you've done it you're only 32 years
old so you did this by 32. you also
didn't like invent the next big thing
it's not like you did this because
you're Super Genius you know you're not
you didn't you're not like a you know
vitalik you know creating ethereum on
the blockchain or something crazy like
that like you just did a very specific
set of like prudent smart actions and it
just added up in an amazing way we're
gonna talk about it
um but also I didn't know [聽__聽] about you
Sam's known you for a little while he
brought you up on the Pod a while back
he goes I know this guy or I met this
guy he's really interesting he does this
WordPress stuff have you seen him and I
was like no we went to your personal
website I don't know if you ever got
this clip but like way back in the day
we went to your personal website we were
talking about you but we didn't know too
much then
we do Camp MFM which is my my basketball
fantasy camp we're invited like 25 other
Founders and we had an NBA guy come
basically treat us like we were you know
Pretend We're a pro for the weekend and
uh when we were there there's so many
people to get to know again I didn't
really get to know everybody at the same
time but then Mr Beast did something
amazing so one night we were all in the
kitchen basically we're all hungry after
basketball and Mr Beast just sets a
chair in the middle of the middle of the
room and he goes I don't know whoever
you guys are because he's like if we've
just been playing basketball all day and
now I'm curious like who the hell are
you guys you Tech nerds basically uh and
he's like sit out of this chair you sit
down and then he would just interrogate
that person be like all right what do
you do who are you all right how does
that work is that big what's your dream
okay cool and then he would like go to
the next person and I think you were
maybe the third or fourth person in the
hot seat and I was like oh this is great
I actually don't know too much of
science story
and then you just blew us away you blew
us away your story was so good Mr Beast
was while he was interrogating you I
thought um it was just like the perfect
interview if we had just recorded that
podcast I would have been happy so we're
just gonna try to recreate that moment
right now well inside you you were the
one of the quieter more humbler people
and probably the most impressive in
terms of like traditional business uh
accomplishments and it was very
fascinating what you've done I basically
heard about you through my friend
Neville midora and what I know about you
is that you had this blog called
wpbeginner which wrote really uh a ton
of articles some of it really simple
like how do I set up a WordPress site
and I think that ended up getting or it
still does has a ton of traffic and then
if I remember correctly and this is just
from an outside perspective you'll have
to tell me if I'm right or wrong you
basically started buying different
WordPress plugins that I imagine you saw
were popular on your blog so it was like
how do I set up
um a form to capture emails on my
WordPress blog and you it probably got
lots of traffic and you're like oh I
should just go buy one of these or here
are the best here are the five best
plugins for this thing or here's the
five best themes and if you put your
cursor over the links on wpbeginner
you'll see which of the links are
affiliate and I just I'm guessing that
like of the top five let's say forms for
WordPress based off the URL you own like
three of the top five and through that
you've like built this into a business
by the way you've never told me I'm just
guessing that makes high tens of
millions of dollars in Revenue no no Sam
not tens of not tens of Millions
nine figures of Revenue over 100 million
dollars of Revenue oh I did not know
that okay wow so just to paint the
picture here you have uh WP engine and
we'll talk about how you're sorry WP
beginner so WP beginner and we'll talk
about how you got to that but that's the
content site that's just providing free
help you know content to other people
like you who are trying to make sites in
the WordPress ecosystem that's the the
Mainstay and so I'll draw an analogy
here because uh we've had Andrew
Wilkinson on the Pod I don't know a
dozen times or something he's probably
one of the most famous guests and most
uh favorite guests of the audience of of
our community so
um you have a business that's a lot like
his he's got a portfolio of companies
you've got a portfolio of companies he
had meta lab which was kind of his like
Core Business Cash Cow thing that
allowed him to buy these others you had
your uh your WordPress site that the the
content site that was your core engine
in but I think you've actually done I
think your model actually might be a
little bit better that's no knock on
Andrew it's just to get people excited
here so basically you
I think have a more like one ecosystem
you're like okay I'm gonna like dominate
this WordPress ecosystem and the good
thing is that WordPress I think power is
like 30 or 40 of all websites so it's
you know it's huge it's basically like
you know a huge chunk of the internet
um and then all your stuff fits together
so you you know you have one customer
they're trying to you know uh make a
successful website and grow and and
solve other problems you're like great I
the content that will help you then I
have the tools that'll help you and you
either buy them or you build them and
you've created this portfolio that now
does you know nine figures of Revenue
probably worth a billion dollars you own
the whole thing yourself with no no
outside investors you're only 32 years
old uh you know you've built kind of an
amazing thing so that's the just to
sketch out like the blueprint here for
what what you've done
um Sam does that do you think would you
add anything to that description well
then there's all his side hobby stuff
which like I read his annual report and
he's like I bought a gas station or I
bought like eight or ten gas stations so
that's like a whole another conversation
but yeah that that's that's let's do a
quick thing on the on the origin story
so that people people have it you told
me once on the phone you said I think
you were doing consulting or something
you had like an agency you're like I was
helping people make websites and I was
building like crms or whatever for them
and then WordPress came out I was like
oh this is way better they should they
should be using Wordpress you started to
help it you just were a service agency
right and then you started then
WordPress became your your core service
and then you're like okay I'm just gonna
help people make WordPress uh sites for
their business is that right
pretty much so remember uh the very
first websites that I built were online
proxies because I wanted to play games
in school
um and I was making ad revenue on
proxies and some arcade TurnKey sites
and I was helping small other you know
local businesses set up their websites I
tried making my own CMS uh with PHP by
the way I can code I'm not the best at
it I would say now I probably suck at it
and what age what what what age was this
13 14
um so so I would I would build these
websites super cheap call it like 250
300 that would make you a website uh
back in the day and
but what happened is that these clients
would always rely on me to make changes
to it changes to the websites and as I
started doing consulting at a bigger
um I didn't want to do this uh the small
and small endings so and I discovered
WordPress around this time this was
2006. uh and I said WordPress was only
an Inception for three years so
WordPress started in 2003 so I
discovered it in 2006 to to put in
perspective I've been I'm 32 now I've
been in WordPress half of my life you
know this is the result is compounding
in one thing for half of my Life by the
way you're 13 14 doing this are you like
at the dinner table at night being like
uh my clients are pain in the ass right
now mom like you know what are you
saying at home and also how are these
people finding you are they coming to
your middle school and you're handing
out flyers what's going on no no no no
so we moved from Pakistan to us when I
was 12. okay my dad had the mechanical
engineering degree but it did not
validate when he came to us so he was
working 16 hours a day as a gas station
clerk attendant you know just swiping
things 16 hours a day kid you not every
day Monday to Friday and on the weekend
he had his third job so I didn't really
see my dad uh my mom was busy because
there's three of us and the fourth one
on the way right so my youngest brother
was born in U.S so there was not many
dinner conversations happening
um I wanted to figure out a way to have
some chunk of change in my pocket so I
can buy junk food like Mountain Dew and
Kit Kat and Snickers and all the [聽__聽]
that you buy it when you're in high
school dude your dad was at the gas
station man you had the hookup you just
uh you just needed to ask
my dad would never do that by the way
you went to high school at age 12 also
yeah I started so I moved here I had
just finished seventh grade in Pakistan
and I came here in March so this this
two-month Gap the school system is like
well we can put you in eighth grade
worst case scenario you'll repeat 8th
grade because that's where you're
supposed to be in anyways but our
education system in Pakistan is far
better than the one we have here in U.S
so they're like you can go to high
school so I'm like 12 in high school the
youngest person in school I did not
speak English that well
um I would say probably very little
English I knew how to read English
because we were thought alphabets and
such but my communication skills were
not there
um so yeah that was that was a pretty
challenging time for me and I spent most
of the time in the library during lunch
time I was in the library and I wanted
to play games because I'm like I can't
talk to humans so I would just play on
the computer and those game sites were
blocked I'm like how do you unblock this
thing and that you know drove me down in
terms of how I was getting clients it
was through these forums online right so
you had forums like DN Forum digital
point name Pros a bunch of these you
know OG communities online where you can
get you know business and my cousin got
me into one of those they don't know
you're 13. you're just a guy in a forum
no yeah well like so we had like a
family friend who needed a website and
you know they had a bit local business
they knew how old I was and they're like
oh you can do it and I'll pay you 300 to
build my website I'm like okay sounds
good and then you know that's how that
that funnel started so you do insights
you're trying to make your own CMS you
discover WordPress you're like oh this
is way better here's a CMS out of the
uh what's what becomes the aha moment
and uh when do you create the blog so
had had discovered WordPress moved these
clients over I had affiliate sites I was
doing affiliate promos at the time I was
discovering this
um I had directories that I was telling
you about earlier that um so
I wanted to get more traffic so I had
these I created these Myspace profiles
they were fake profiles
um and got hundreds of thousands of
followers and I would send both you know
DMS equivalent which were called
bulletins on MySpace right so I just
wanted more traffic and I went down the
rabbit hole of SEO which brought me to
Wordpress and and then because WordPress
was Dynamic content so I added the blogs
to the directories started using uh
WordPress for the clients and I had the
social media profiles uh on dig and
stumble upon never superpower users and
such and essentially when I wanted to
get rid of this business the Consulting
business I wanted to figure out how how
do you do this I asked other agency
owners and they're like well you know we
just had these PDFs that we give to our
clients and I'm like but WordPress
updates all the time how do you keep
those PDFs updated and they're like oh
no we uh we updated the PDF I'm like
that's dumb you should use WordPress to
update those documentation so
essentially wpbeginner started that way
it was The Unofficial documentation for
WordPress now WordPress had
documentation but it was it was written
for developers by developers nothing was
for business owners and began what year
was this 2009 well one good point here
is that that's now six years after
WordPress started and you're making the
beginner site and there really wasn't a
great one most people I think uh there's
a lesson I've seen many many times as we
talked to different guests which is and
sometimes you feel like you're late but
you're rarely ever actually late to the
wave and uh Kevin vand Trump told us
this one time he goes for all the best
things you always get it was a second
turn to get on the train like uh you
feel like you're late you feel like you
missed it but often uh you're not you're
not that late actually don't talk
yourself out of it there's almost always
another another chance to hop on
it look according to similar web right
now you get like two or three million
visits a month the early website
shockingly doesn't look significantly
different than how it looks now you kind
of nailed it right out the gate it's
like it was a simple website
um where you just have articles about
picking the right name how to install
WordPress selecting the right theme
picking the right web hosting but were
you writing this stuff because I know
you're in English as a second language
person so were you are you actually
writing these articles because a lot of
them are long like look 55 of the Most
Wanted WordPress tips tricks and hacks
yeah like these are like pretty like
in-depth articles as well as you're
playing the game of SEO and like you
clearly understand like English yeah no
by by this time I was already in college
right so I started high school at 12
started college at 16. by that time my
English had gotten uh much much better
so I was writing uh these articles on
wpbeginner I had a team
um of two other people that were helping
me uh with with the website the website
looks similar now and what it was in
2009 there was a period when when I
changed it and there was a mistake
people you know I changed the color
scheme too much and the audience were
like they didn't resonate with it so I
changed it all back uh and haven't
changed it since then because the big
lesson was you know big companies don't
really change their stuff because they
know if it's working don't you know
break it if it's not broke don't fix it
don't interrupt compounding
unnecessarily as Charlie Munger says uh
so I made it go back to what it looks
like and it's been that way since 2012.
and what tools do you use to figure out
well because I I imagine most of these
articles are you're writing them based
off of what people are searching for is
that right yes uh it's a combination of
that and what they're asking us through
our contact form what they're asking us
in our Facebook group I think our
Facebook group has probably over 90 000
um and support requests are coming so
yes we have our own keyword generator if
you go on WP beginners kind of hidden on
the free tools page it's a keyword
generator and you can put in anything in
there like WordPress and we'll tell you
what people are searching for
um and do you have a lot of comments
early on June in 2010 a year or two
after starting you already had 26
responses on just I just clicked on a
random article so you're like getting
traction yeah so a couple of things
happen that that worked out for me one
do you guys remember yeah it was
it was really popular so I had a power
user profile there so what I like if one
out of two articles that I would submit
would hit the front page
so of course I use that to my benefit
and I use that Network to my benefits of
your profile because uh there was there
was legitimate ways and illegitimate
ways to do that I'm curious how did you
end up having that it's just a Social
Circle right so there's these engagement
pods that that you go on and back back
in the day was on MSN Messenger and well
um Aim so so we just had the engagement
pods so if I submit something like you
know it was a group chat and everybody
would jump dump their items in there and
you would upload it so say I was the
engagement pod and and what year did
this did WP beginner cross a million in
Revenue in annual revenue how long did
how long did that take maybe a year and
a half or so
oh damn you crushed it right away yeah
so you know we had a good Revenue stream
so let's let me take a step back so
there was this business and the listicle
business so collectively past a million
uh in a year and a half so about
2011 2012.
and so your early 20s uh basically at
that stage you're a millionaire
um that was my first million how does
that feel you said you grew up your
parent you know your dad worked you told
me you were like yeah my dad worked at a
gas station and I thought Pakistani guy
says gas station I know you own gas
stations I was like oh so your family
owned gases you go no no he sat in the
gas station he swiped the cards in the
gas station uh and you were like
everybody in my family I knew you were
either you worked at a gas station or
you're like oh you're you're real smart
like you get to be a bank teller and
that's all you knew in your bubble so
tell me two things how did you get
because you got to kind of see the
possibility of being a business person
or being wealthy before you're going to
even do it uh so how did that happen and
how did it feel when like the name of
the podcast my first meal I'm curious
how did it feel when that first happened
what was do you remember your reaction
yeah so I'll tell you how it how I knew
it was possible so I used to play
um which if you have a lot of listeners
in Pakistan and India you know they love
Cricket We love I love cricket so I was
playing cricket and there are many
leagues in U.S and South Florida there
was one and there's many now too
I met this Pakistani gentleman and he
was the sponsor for her team he's a
crazy qriket fanatic and he became my
mentor and now he's a family friend
um but back then I just see this
Pakistani guy you know driving a S-Class
and you know just super humble super
nice and I'm like what do you do are you
like born into money or was it what's
your Spiel I was pretty blunt as a kid
um so so he's like no I have real estate
I came to the US with like 500 in my
pocket or 100 in my pocket you know
those typical immigrant story uh and
then he you know after we'd win the
games he would take us out to eat
sometimes he'll invite us all to his
house which is like you know big Mega
Mansion right you know 15 18 000 square
foot house
um and his kids were my age so we'll
just kind of go over to his house hang
out sometimes he would go over to his
house to watch cricket games because
they're happening on the other side of
the world so time zones are different
and in between breaks I was the one who
took interest in his business you know
and his kids were all roaming around but
I was I'm like tell me how this works
tell me how this works right so he would
tell me stories like oh this is how I
took over a Burger King for free or this
is how I did this and this is how I
started so I I absorbed a lot of the
earlier lessons on business finance just
hustle from him right and he was always
super encouraging to ask me how's this
going how you know and I felt like I
could talk to him about it so that's
that was the early stage of me knowing
oh this is possible because nobody in my
family uh had any any wealth uh they
were just working at gas stations all my
uncles everybody and if you're really
smart you're working at the teller at
the bank
um so so that was the motivation part in
terms of how it felt when I hit my first
you know you would think it would be
like the joyous moment of oh my God look
at this
I was more scared than than uh than
anything because
I was is this gonna is this Gonna Last
that's the question that you have you
know in your 20s you're like you come
from nothing and you have this thing
you're like is this going to last
forever like what what is the what am I
supposed to be doing I have no guidance
so there was like this inherent fear so
I always lived below my means like way
way way below I mean so when I was in
college I uh I did not buy any furniture
I just slept on the floor on a blanket
because I mean that's how I grew up in
Pakistan so I'm just like I'm not gonna
buy any furniture why why waste time and
money with this so in my in my apartment
I had a blanket and I got a desk from
Goodwill so that's what I worked on
and and I mean what's amazing is you
said I would have thought the first
million came sooner than 2012 but
because in 10 years you've thrown that
from one to 100 plus or whatever it is
when were the inflection points where
you were like all right blogging is cool
and it's working yes uh let's get Beyond
yeah so I launched opt-in monster in uh
2013 list 25 in 2011.
um these things started really cranking
I had some really sweetheart affiliate
deals with certain companies
um that worked out really really well
for me and
so that was good
in that time you know we were coming out
of the economy the recession so real
there's still like some real estate
deals to be had so I bought my gas
station the first one primarily because
I wanted to offset uh offset expenses
with an appreciating asset which was the
lesson I learned from my mentor right
yeah let's let's talk about that one
real quick so just do a quick quick
little monologue on why did you buy a
gas station when you found out you're
having a kid
so one of the things I learned from my
mentor early on I was like how do you
how do you like justify buying a
Mercedes because that's a depreciating
asset and he's like yeah but you know
when I drive in this people think of me
better like you know there's the
impression game Etc and how I justify it
is I buy something that's an
appreciating asset like real estate and
I just use the income from that to us
pay my lease payment so my principal
never disappears and I was like that's a
good idea your principal continues to
appreciate and you're using something uh
you know the income from it to offset
and it also helps you stay disciplined
because you're not gonna go you know
overspend your money because normally
when you get a raise or something like
this everybody just thinks in monthly
payments so this takes you away from the
monthly payments mindset into thinking a
little bit bigger so when I was about to
have my son uh I was
26 by this time guys like I was I was
doing all right you know I I had all
these VC firms reaching out me you know
I I could I could have had a a solid
eight-figure exit like you know two or
high eight figure eggs that I had offers
for that at the time and I'm just like
high eight figures as in as in 90. I was
in 70 at the time 70. for the for WP
beginner no no I had opted monster at
the time and I had uh uh the gallery
solution at the time and I had uh I had
WP forms I had analytics so were you
close to taking it and how did you
decide not to yeah I I I definitely
thought about it but then I was like
what would I do afterwards like my son
is gonna you know grow up seeing me not
work because I'm like I'll be stuck with
that bunny right like I would not I
would not go do anything if you I mean
if you have 10 million dollars 20
million dollars you put it in the bank
and you're like hey this this is it I
wanna but you're gonna have a lot more
yeah I was gonna have a lot more than
that that's that's what I'm saying even
after paying taxes I I would have a lot
more than I would be set so the the the
the factor that my wife and I talked
about was what instill my work ethic was
watching my dad work
and I wanted my son to at least see that
right what was the what was the multiple
on that for to get to 70 million is it
as high as 10x multiple at that time
um no it it was lower than that so so
you turn that down and I turned that
down you turned it down was it really
you've turned it down because you were
like I want my son to see me work yeah
and also I didn't I wasn't ready to give
up my baby okay and uh okay so fair
enough so you you
um basically so here's the thing so so
at this time
my son is about to be born and I'm like
okay how much does a baby cost right
like what what are the cause of this
baby and you're like okay well you know
you're gonna have diapers you're gonna
have you know schooling and this and
that and I'm like well no if I buy
something that gives me at least five or
six grand a month nothing that
um and then the baby costs are covered
first so like you know it's gonna give
me 60 to 70 000 a year
um and now I don't have to think about
it and my family is taken care of no
matter what happens to me so yeah that's
that's what I I got for our baby shower
most people take the money they make and
then they're like all right that's what
I have to spend and they spend it what
you do from your Mentor is you take the
money you make that has to now go to buy
an appreciating asset that will spit off
cash flow you and then you could spend
whatever that one makes so it's kind of
like a a savings program basically
um so you you spend what the you go by
the gas station the gas station's gonna
pay you and you're like that will pay uh
for this child you know like I'm gonna
provide my I'm not going to provide my
for my family this gas station is going
to provide for my family I want to put
food on the table dude it allows me to
want sleep better at night and to be
more bullish in the deals than I'm doing
how many gas stations you have now ten
and you own a bank too I I bought a bank
yes in Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo because you have a cool blog
post where you're like uh I used to go
to this Bank all the time and I decided
to buy it this year yeah I used to ride
my bicycle around it I couldn't even go
to the bank I didn't have a bank out of
time I used to ride my bicycle around
the bank because there was a Sports
Authority there and Office Depot there
uh just like ride my bike into that and
then I bought that building what amazes
me is is how like I don't know if you're
similar web estimates are right but can
do you say what your monthly traffic is
on wpbeginner no
but you know it's it's in the millions
okay so let's just let's just assume
that similar web is roughly correct two
to five million we'll give it a huge
range a month that's a lot that's not
that much like what's crazy to me is
that I mean that's high intent traffic
it's likely people who are coming for to
buy something like they want to in the
email software so they're coming for a
review it's just amazing to me that that
much traffic has created so much value I
think when you start
um your online business most people
think about maybe a CPM model of
monetization or a CPC model of
there is far there are other and better
models of monetization right
um you can have cpls you can have CPA
you can have a combination of CPL CPA
you can have recurring you know uh
commission you're talking about uh CPM
meaning just uh
ten dollars per 1000 visitors for
display ad versus cost per lead or cost
per acquisition which is someone buys
something they give you a hundred
dollars per month if it's a MailChimp
and it's someone's paying 500 a month
they'll say all right you get a hundred
dollars per month while they're a
customer correct and there are verticals
that are not available on wpbeginner
because remember I was telling you I I
did a lot of affiliate marketing as well
um there are articles that will pay you
on a lead basis and hundreds of dollars
just for a lead not for not for a
commission like as an affiliate not like
you made a sale just to lead we'll get
you hundreds of dollars and and so so I
did a lot of those
um and I still do so that's that's a
good Cash Cow
um so those verticals are available
where you can go and promote something
and get over 100 an elite has the wp
beginner Revenue grown like the rest of
the business or is that just like you're
like I'm I'm perfectly fine with it just
being a steady 10 or 15 million dollar a
year thing and I use I bet you it's
super profitable I'm looking at your
team page I would bet you make 50 profit
or something crazy and you're like I'm
just gonna take that profit and buy more
stuff and I'm okay with that being
steady pretty much you know on a Content
business you cannot compound it as much
you know eventually what what happens is
you will hit the traffic Mass that you
um and you can unlock as many levers as
you can but the compounding will stop
because it's a reoccurring Revenue you
know like the person that I referred
this year weird or something it's not
going to compound next year I'm not
going to get that plus new customers
which is what happened in a software
business which is recurring Revenue so
yes your assumption is right that while
WP beginner has grown it hasn't grown at
the same Pace as the software companies
and that's like a very big you know
mental shift in between recurring
revenue and reoccurring revenue for all
the creators that are listening
um because once you understand that
you'll start thinking about your
business a little differently so I I
took all of our profits and invested in
um you know software and tools I I still
have Niche tools that are not even
related to Wordpress
um that I bought off of Flippa and
sometimes just private Outreach because
I knew those verticals were going to be
lucrative because I had a better offer
than they were promoting and I paid like
one guy I think like fifteen thousand
dollars up front and in the very first
month it made me 18 Grand and now every
month it makes me over 10 grand like and
it's pure profit nobody touches that
tool right so I think about ad just as
good as a gas station because like my
hosting cost for that tool is maybe like
eight dollars a month right maybe 10.
um and that's it so so you can have
these cash flow income streams that come
through and that's how I was able to buy
the businesses that I did without any
outside financing without any outside
debt I was also in a market that wasn't
fully mature so so like there was that
advantage that you know those shrewd
pe's and VCS are not in in the market
they didn't understand the market
um and I could see what the potential of
a business so I might buy something and
you're you're saying well this has no
Revenue it just has user base and I can
come in and say yeah but if I do this
and this it can it can be a seven figure
business so I might buy something for
like you know six figures and then in
two years that thing will make seven
figures in profit you told me something
once that sounded almost like a real
um philosophy so like in real estate
they always say or some people say you
make money on the buy not on the sell
meaning like you should buy something
that it has both a margin of safety and
that you have the plan for what it's
gonna how it's going to be different
than what the current owner values it at
and I think you've had a similar thing I
forgot what the example was but it was
sort of like uh like let's say for
example you're like great I buy this
company and they're paying three and a
half percent on their payment things but
I have a contract with that same payment
provider because I have more scale
that's at two percent so now I know I
have 1.5 off just off the gross from day
one because I I have this contract uh
and you kind of have these principle of
like almost like you make the money on
the buy because you already know well I
have I know I can throw this much
traffic at it maybe from wpbeginner I
know I can renegotiate these payment
terms because I already have the
contract with the paper provider or the
affiliate contracts with the companies
on the other side is that uh is that
accurate 100 100 so this was one of the
lessons I learned from from a mentor
right and who had the real estate
background so the philosophy is very
much derivative of real estate you make
money in the buy you have to be
otherwise if you're paying a high
multiple thinking based on future I mean
yeah that might work out but it has a
bigger risk so from my perspective you
know I want to have heads I've been
tails that don't lose much and I got
that you know formula from reading
monish babri's book I was a huge fan of
his now her friends
um but oh yeah so that's very much
finding margin of safety explain that
more heads I win Tails I don't lose much
um what what does that mean and what's
an example so a good example would be if
if a business in your perspective
intrinsic value of it is a million
dollars and you end up paying 700 000
heads you know you're gonna win if this
business continues growing tells you
know you you'll still have so much of
upside that you know because you you
paid 300 grand less 30 less than market
um that in case something don't doesn't
go right it has to be like 40 doesn't go
right and you still only lose 100 Grand
in that situation so you need to be able
to look at the deal and say what are my
downsides you have to invert the
um think about like how you're gonna die
in this and then don't go there sort of
our software is the worst have you heard
of HubSpot see most crms are a cobble
together mess but HubSpot is easy to
adopt and actually looks gorgeous I
think I love our new CRM our software is
the best HubSpot grow better
you sort of have this like
pay attention to the sense and the
dollars will follow type of vibe where
like you're really not
you're not I guess I'm surprised at how
maybe I don't know if it's still the
same way I'm surprised at how small some
of the things that you do and yet
because you own 30 or 40 of them they're
really accumulating exactly so dude when
you come from nothing you have you have
to have a good sense of where the money
is going to go right and you have to be
very conservative to not lose it all
because I came from nothing I don't want
to go back to that so I'm very very
the funny thing about compounding is
that if you compound at a healthy rate
and I I have a very very good
compounding track record what what is it
I've been compounding it in double
digits in for for past
70 years what's that mean 20 like what
would be considered good like you know
like free for you you're like all right
30 or 40 that's like I mean that's
amazing you can't get that in any normal
investment right exactly so Market
compounded well eight percent yeah
um private Equity might give might get
you in teens right you know I I'm way
way I'm double private Equity more than
so so that's and that only happens when
you can identify a mismanaged gem
um when some somebody has a has a
business and they might only be thinking
about monetizing monetizing from one
angle they're not thinking about it from
a full perspective so I can look at it
and say well yes this is the current
Revenue today and I'm getting a bargain
on today's Revenue but here are my
contracts that I have but so many
different partners and vendors and such
that I'll be able to unlock Extra
Revenue here here here here here here so
I turned this business that has one
Revenue stream having like multiple
revenue streams
um and and that's how you take something
that was doing like no Revenue to or or
very low Revenue to having you know five
eight ten million dollars in Revenue
um and you do it enough times and you
just let it compound like these
businesses are not rocket growth right
so this is not a
um business that's going to hit one
business gonna hit a billion dollar in
Revenue that's not what's gonna happen
but these businesses are going to
consistently come pound because more
people are going to need websites the
web presence just keeps growing you had
a Tailwind which was WordPress was just
going to keep getting more and more and
more popular right that's a huge
Tailwind that's like a generational
Tailwind that's huge this is already
it's going to grow faster than like an
average growth rate because of that then
you could do things smart operationally
but I gotta ask you a question so our
buddy Moyes has this phrase he goes the
two sexiest words in the English
language are distressed asset and you
just said mismanaged gems as a as a
catchphrase of something you look for
I like that idea but also I'm kind of a
lazy [聽__聽] and when I hear
distressed asset or mismanaged gem I
think work oh I gotta go clean up I
gotta manage this better
um isn't that gonna take a bunch of work
and a bunch of Mind share to turn things
around versus it's kind of like the
Buffett cigarette butt companies versus
like just buying a beautiful business
that's already working and letting it
letting it grow for a long period of
um am I wrong I must be wrong about the
the amount of effort that goes into
fixing a mismanaged gem or a distressed
asset what do you think about that
so I think distress asset from a real
estate perspective I would say slightly
different than what a mismanaged gem is
my real estate buys Sean that I did uh
in in early days were distressed assets
um but it was just the banks needed to
get get this off their books right and I
was a cash buyer
um you know I'm not looking to finance
anything I'm a cash buyer I had the
right contacts so I was able to buy some
of those gas station properties they
were already leased out to uh to put at
least out to like kushtard the Canadian
multi-billion dollar company that owns
Circle K all I had to do was just give
cash to the bank and take take the you
know deed over so those are distressed
asset and I got lucky I mean I bought a
gas station
um money was all said and done I paid 90
grand for it and you're like holy crap
how did you do that that was a
distressed asset because you had to do
environmental cleanup on that thing okay
that was work so so those are distress
assets when you're thinking about
mismanaged gem this is a property where
somebody maybe do the lack of effort or
lack of experience have not fully
understand the potential that is there
what are the commonalities of not
realizing potential or common mistakes
so you know you might you might be a
Creator and you have a lot of user base
and you just haven't think about
monetization from you know all the
different potential monetizations that
that can be had in that one business
yeah we have a friend that was doing
this they were just looking at business
on Flippa or like you know websites you
know products to buy companies to buy
and they were like yeah I just want an
owner who just cared a lot about product
and thought 95 of their brain just had
the word product stamped all over it and
then you're like cool so what were you
doing for marketing and they're like
well it's word of mouth and they were so
proud of the word of mouth it's like
great as long as their answer isn't
Facebook ads then I'm just going to
start doing Facebook ads or even if
their answer was Facebook ads like
what's the budget like oh you know like
eight grand a month it's like why eight
grand that's like uh you don't want to
spend too much and he's like I want to
spend 80 grand on Facebook you know like
and basically that was his entire like
you think oh this person made 20 million
dollars wow they must be a genius and
it's like no I just found a business
which was so common somebody makes a
product and all they think about is
product and they really care about
product they don't spend much on
marketing maybe none because they don't
know it or a small amount because
they're just kind of like they don't
think what like they don't ask
themselves the question why don't I
spend 10 times more on Facebook ads what
would that take and that's literally the
only change that they did that's the
good barometer the other thing that that
worked in our favor was the ecosystem
effect so if I buy an analytics software
I can cross-sell out than monster and
vice versa you know if I if I buy member
press then I know that all the people
who are creating a course will need to
buy optinmonster to have lead generation
or it will need analytics to track all
the things so the Synergy effect uh
compounds and and that that was a big uh
big up for us and I read somewhere that
you said something like I don't buy
whole steaks anymore I don't buy 100 of
the company anymore I try to buy 49
because I can't
I have too many things I can't run all
of them and then in the pre-call they
did with Sean you have this really cool
line it's in quotes it says how I manage
a billion dollar portfolio without
stressing out
when I met him he was like he said
something like you were like I travel I
was like what are the you know what do
you do with your time like how are you
spending your time and you were like oh
I love to travel my family we go travel
and I was like I thought you meant like
you know like I don't know LA or you
know like we go to see the Grand Canyon
and you were like we're going to Egypt
and then we're going to like the
Serengeti and everyone like I was like
oh okay this guy's like doing like
Exotic Travel every month that's cool he
you said something like I don't know
this is exactly right but my brain heard
you basically stack a bunch of calls
with your kind of operators in the last
week of the month and like that's your
only time to like stress out or think
about like those calls and then the rest
of the month you're not thinking about
those things you're reading you're
playing basketball you're doing other
things and um so a is that accurate and
B like I interpreted that as wow this
guy's managing a billion dollar
portfolio and he's not stressed out
that's awesome
yes that is that is fairly accurate now
it now it didn't start that way I wanna
I wanna emphasize that it didn't start
that way
um I didn't figure this out up until
two years ago
okay so just just to put in perspective
uh in in terms of like me being as chill
what was like what were you doing before
that you know I would have to go in
sometimes clean the business and you
know like oh this this is not doing
right I would get get involved too much
were you a hard ass yeah depending on
who you ask yeah sure
according to me no according to everyone
I ever worked with hell yeah
like you you seem like you have a
ruthless side to you even though you're
polite and kind you seem like you could
be ruthless I I was sad I could be very
disciplined uh ruthless might not be the
right word that sounds so ruthless the
way you said that that was awesome yeah
that's a ruthless thing to say the
[聽__聽] ruthless thing to say I love it
so so the trick is you know like if
people say higher good people get out of
the way but that sounds easier than it
is so we use EOS in our companies and
some of your audience might be familiar
with it others might not be is
entrepreneurial operating system
um and as transparency accountability
oftentimes when you know I found I
sometimes bought businesses from the
founders who who started delegating but
they really abdicated and then the
business went down and then you know
that now they're like they're really
checked out so now they're like ah this
this thing sucks now I'm back in the
business and it's a mess and they will
come and exit to us that's a mismanaged
gem by the way because all what you got
to do is put back those accountability
things and maybe put a right team member
and this will this will start uh
kickstarting again so you have to
delegate but not abdicate so the EOS
scorecards and good P L's uh monitoring
will help you with that accountability
piece so the P L's for all of our
um are managed by my finance team at the
HQ level that's cool so you um I want to
talk a little bit about ideas so uh
you've built this amazing thing uh and
you've been basically kind of like
building Cool Stuff making money since
12 to 32. so you've had this run
um I'm curious you know one of the
questions we always get is all right
well you know now it's easy for you it's
easy for you to just keep doing what
you're doing but like I'm not you so
that's you know it's inspiring but it's
not entirely helpful uh what would be
more helpful is like what ideas or
opportunities do you see that like
somebody else could do you're too busy
to do them or they're too too small for
you now
um what ideas or opportunities do you
see that other people can do I think
about cash flow
so if I had nothing you know of course
it's a lot easier for me now I can say
hey Andrew I want to spend I want to
invest in tiny I want to go do this and
I can do a lot of those with the means
that I have now but if I was starting
all over the first thing would be to go
build cash flow again and the easiest
way to build cash flow is Services
um you know agency business right now uh
content agency since I know content well
using AI
I would crush it you know because I
already know that Brands like Shopify
Etc are using AI agencies to create top
of the funnel content so of course
there's some human adoming involved but
this changes the game because if an
article used to take maybe four hours to
write now you can do it in 45 minutes
right because if if you know the game
right so
a hustler younger version of me that's
what I'd be doing content agencies
copywriting agencies all AI Power Plus
human review I would I would use like
tools like I'm not sure if
you've seen but it it helps you
automate your sales Outreach you dump a
profile and it finds all the data on on
that person so you can write you can use
GPT to write emails to them and then
just hit them up right just call
Outreach cold Outreach call Outreach
so not everybody but a small portion
will you know take take you up on it
deliver a great service go above and
beyond with them watch the word of mouth
take you places you raise prices
um and I think that's uh that would be
the way to go for me if I if I wanted to
start all over again step one build cash
flow then figure out how I can take this
cash flow to build some recurring
Revenue stream because in agency you're
you still only have reoccurring Revenue
stream and so uh then you would uh would
you buy versus build from there and talk
about that distinction because you
started off as a builder you've now
bought like I don't know 30 companies or
something like that along the way and I
think you studied
not just Charlie Munger and Warren
Buffett but also
um Mark Leonard at constellation and you
had told me something like you read all
his annual letters and there was one
thing in there that really stood out to
you about building for spying what was
yeah it was one of his earlier letters
maybe maybe like a third one or fourth
one or something something like that
um where Mark talked about that there
was three types of growth that
constellation was experiencing one was
growed through organic which is just
your business growing organically in
their case maybe seven eight percent
um the second part of Revenue growth was
coming from Acquisitions
um where they would just go buy revenue
and the third one was initiatives and
initiatives would be things like new
bills I had this product and I'm going
to build a second product and he was
like these turn out to be very expensive
because it required more resources than
time that you plan for it takes away
time of your senior people
um and you're not even counting those
things so they're distracted and he's
like you know I'm a capital allocator
and from a pure Capital allocation
perspective the return on invested
Capital isn't always great because bills
have higher risk so if it doesn't work
out it's crap
um for the first year or so when you're
building there's zero percent return on
your investment in that time so the
compounding return is lower
um and this this was my take was you
know you can have ad spend of three
years CAC at that point might not just
go buy a company that has guaranteed
revenue and then you can cross promote
so so that sort of took me away from the
initiatives idea so most over focus and
all of our focus is on um is on buying
one thing that I I imagine Sean is a
little bit like this but I'm definitely
like this where
creating products and uh new businesses
is is part self-expression where like
it's just exciting it's fun to do that
[聽__聽] and I'm not like the most
disciplined person when like the reason
I don't like real estate is I'm like
dude I I'm not very great at just
looking at this Excel sheet and
unlocking value like that's not that's
not what I'm skilled at and I don't know
if I even particularly like that where
did you learn how to like unlock like
find Value that you could unlock and
what are some of the like common themes
that you see uh with that I don't know
Sean are you like that too yeah I am uh
but then
I'm also a a natural shortcutter I like
to find the simplest path to the
solution and that so like while creating
like you had this thing you said on the
Pod that was hilarious you're like I'm
an artist bro I'm just an artist I gotta
create and I definitely feel that I have
a creative itch to me but I also have a
path of least resistance itch to me
where I'm like oh there's some beauty in
just finding a simpler a simpler way to
um you know like I agree with that I
also think it's fearful or it's it's
fear to out like to pay like with the
internet you could start with nothing
and spend time and you can get something
yeah but I think that's or you could
he's like you could build something new
High chance is just not gonna work it's
a zero it's also gonna take a long time
if you're buying something that's
already working yes you out like cash
but are you actually taking more risk
there's a difference between putting out
cash and putting out risk and I think
what he's saying is that but that's what
I'm asking is the difference I'm asking
the difference between putting out cat
like how do you make that Gap small so
I'll I'll say this so when I started Sam
I was very much an artist like you I
enjoyed my creation I enjoyed putting my
you know fingerprint footprint whatever
you want to call it on those so when if
you were looking at the early days of
atten monster or those products you
would have my footprint on them and then
you had like a twenty thousand dollar
bill to the Serengeti with your family
of five
I was not doing Serengeti when I was
building the business you know I'm not
doing anything I was building the
business I was very very much involved
but a big mindset shift that happened in
my career which has led to I would say
tremendous growth for awesome mode
is the mindset of going from a Creator
and operator to a capital allocator
right and this happened when I was
studying uh Buffett Monger uh Monash Etc
Buffett says I'm a better investor
because I'm a businessman and I'm a
better businessman because I'm an
investor now you you read that and
you're like okay sounds good shoot right
but when you think about that from a
first principal's point of view what's
the commonality between the twos that
both investors and the businessmen are
resource allocators or Capital
allocators so when you can when you tie
that together that was the aha moment
for me when I think about okay if I
start this new thing yes I'll make X but
if I buy something if I shortcut it and
let's say I buy something that's doing
two million dollars in Revenue I you
know 20 or 30 of 2 million is always
going to be better than you know 10 or
30 of 100 000 or 100 100 000 for that
matter you see what I'm saying what's
the biggest what's the biggest deal that
you've bought you don't have to say
which one but like uh what checks out
what check made you sweat well check
made me sweat none of them because I'm
not buying like I'm not putting 80 of my
net worth or my cash in any any one of
those deals but if you bought things for
tens of millions no no and have not
bought anything in the tens of million
dollar range but these are so single
digit millions
that is [聽__聽] insane that you've built
that much value with like these little
small like what's that whatever Sean
said the cigarette butts like you've
made the cigar with it but um and are
you doing all cash up front or I there's
no way you do that you're you're you're
you're way too sophisticated mostly
mostly all cash up front you do do that
there might be some pieces of like
seller financing but one one of the
advantages that that we have uh compared
to somebody offering like a higher
valuation is that we can make the price
process really seamless for for the
seller that also allows us to have get a
better and more attractive valuation
um but you know if you try to ever sell
to like a private Equity or a VC mostly
private Equity you you'll be on in on
the hook for like six months they'll be
dragging you asking you for all sorts of
nonsensical stuff and by the time the
entrepreneurs is burnt out and it's just
a shitty feeling
um with us you know you send you send me
a message over the website my assistant
Source through it I'll look at it and
say okay yeah this is good
um we'll like look at it and ask you for
the P L's within like a week or week or
so time will give you an Loi and then we
can close in 30 40 days after that holy
[聽__聽] are you the only decision maker yes
that's insane I I like to think that I'm
the chief risk officer of the company
and you told me a story about risk you
because I was like okay you buy all this
um like how much debt do you have you're
like no debt and you're buying you know
with a margin of safety and you're like
even with his mortgages he says no
mortgages no mortgages and and look look
there's gonna be a lot of financially
Savvy listeners here and I have many
many financially Savvy friends who are
billionaires uh and they disagree with
me on this you know but but the way I
was raised in in Pakistani culture that
is considered bad it's considered taboo
and short leverage can help you grow
faster especially when used in a smart
way but
it also takes away the margin of safety
which in troubled times can really
destroy your autonomy if you're not
being careful so you know I'm okay with
getting rich slowly
um and I think I've done all right for
where I am I see myself with a turtle in
a rabbit race bro you're a 32 year old
like pretty much billionaire dude yeah
yeah you're slow
I'll be okay
um it helped me sleep better at night be
more bullish I don't know Sean is Sam do
you know about uh Charlie and Warren's
third business partner no no tell the
story you see nobody knows about the
third business partner
um so they did have a third business
partner uh his name was uh Rick right
Rick Warren or something like this and
he was just as smart as them but was in
a hurry to get rich and monish asked
Warren about what happened to Rick at
one of the lunches that he had and this
is public I'm not sharing with you
anything Lauren's like Rick's a [聽__聽] no
no no Warren said something along the
line with like Charlie and I always knew
that we would become like you know
incredibly wealthy but we were just not
in a hurry to get wealthy we knew it
would just happen Rick was just as smart
as us but he was in a hurry so like in
the 70s like 7374 downturn what ended up
happening was that Rick had margin loans
he was highly levered and the stock
market went down 70 so all those margin
calls happened and he had to sell his
personal your shares to Warren and
Warren bought him for like 40 bucks a
piece right so now the same share is
like half a half a million plus I'm
gonna get a frame picture of this guy
Rick on my wall and it's just gonna be a
reminder every day don't be in a hurry
to get rich it'll happen don't don't be
in a hurry I that's going on my wall uh
Sean I cut you off what were you gonna
ask him
um oh I wanted him to tell that story
but also I wanted to go back to idea so
you had given us the first move uh if I
needed a cash flow right away I would do
Service Agency maybe something around
creating content for Brands using and
use AI for leverage or generating leads
for Brands and create a lead agency
using AI for leverage
um okay that's the get started plan but
you don't want to be in the service
business forever and you want to you
want to get that's just to get you know
the escape from broke jail print plan
okay now you've done that what are
what's kind of like level two type of
ideas or opportunities you see I I would
look into the Quick Cash Cow of tools
right now there are these AI rappers
right so you think like
upload your PDF and we'll turn this into
a chat GPD there's several of those out
there right now
but you can make it vertical focused
that's what I would do I'd like chat GPD
for lawyers add all of your internal
Sops and now your team can just talk to
um real estate internal processes you
can do this my team built this
internally in about a week so it's not
very hard to build you can pay somebody
somebody on upwork to do it and then
work with the different uh AI
influencers on Tick Tock IG Etc and this
can easily get you to 10K plus a month I
know as a matter of fact like several
kids that are making 10K over 10K a
month and some even over 100k a month uh
doing Justice Just the AI wrappers so I
think that's uh that's that's pretty
um I would I would look at how I can
um Leverage The
Freedom of Information Act to my
um what is trying to go into the student
businesses are you familiar with foia no
what is that okay so basically in the
United States this works only if you're
in the United States we have such thing
called a Freedom of Information Act that
allows you to request any kind of data
from any government run
Authority so usually journalists use it
so we used to use it at the hustle all
the time so like when big stories break
oftentimes it's because the journalists
did that and they like uncovered some
you know controversial fact so now you
can you can get creative with it right
so you can you can go and say
um to a government agency maybe a
university or whatever uh Hey I want to
see the contracts of your last three or
five construction projects that you
um and that that will give you an
um in terms of how to approach terms and
pricing that was approved before so when
you're submitting your bid it's it's
better so but you can get a really
creative uh like that I remember I was
talking this was a while ago
um I was talking to a guy he was in
Atlanta area and he would request
student information from University so
public universities
um and he was targeting like nursing
school graduates and so on if you were
coming out of nursing school you know he
he wanted your information and schools
have to give it to you and you might pay
them like a processing fee like 100 or
something like that but you get the
whole graduating classes name email
address that you know their physical
address that the University have them
filed they give they give that to you
um and then he would send those students
an affiliate offer for student loan
forgiveness program that was passed
passenger the Obama Administration right
and so the affiliate offer was for a
company that would
fill out those forms for you right and
they would charge to charge you like I
don't know 500 600 bucks and they would
pay this guy and he was like I just sent
one email I make six figures and I move
on so I would find Arbitrage
opportunities like these to build up
more cash flow
um and then I would go invest so but you
know Sam when you when you're talking
about in the earlier days you're very
focused on the wp beginner but there was
a lot of creative things that were
happening like this that was helping my
cash flow
um grow uh and that allowed me to invest
in software or some fun creative cash
flow things you were doing at the time
I'm not gonna die about this
there's got to be one prolific one that
that is I've heard a bunch through
friends of friends I'm not going to
mention any of them but I've heard I've
heard some of your things I mean like
the space that you're in everyone starts
sometimes black hat a gray hat and then
as you like start making real money
you're like all right I gotta go legit
uh but I've heard some crazy stories
about what you used to do
that's good yeah Justin Mary's had a
good phrase he goes uh do whatever you
got to do to make your nut and then go
on your Noble Mission and um and I was
like I don't know if I agree with that
but I like the way you said it um let me
put it that way and I know several
people who have done that where it's
like okay what were you doing before
this oh I was running
um you know this dating dating site
affiliate you know affiliate ad Network
it's like okay cool Plenty of Fish like
you know this is not really where you
want to hang out for too long or like
these poker uh you know poker arbitrages
poker Affiliates uh there was one guy
selling ringtones with subscriptions
there's a guy who emailed me that was
like uh I think he said you could say
this on the Pod he's like yeah like uh I
go on Sportsbook every sports book has a
welcome offer so he's like I go on
Sportsbook a and they have a welcome
offer of like they'll match up to 20 of
your deposit up to whatever a thousand
dollars on it and B has the same welcome
offer and I go max out both welcome
offers and I bet on the same game for
team a team B I lose the small rake but
I take the whole welcome offer and I
just let's do that again and again and
it's so simple and so funny that you do
what are you have you ever had liquidity
from selling a business or is the
majority of your liquid wealth come
through annual cash flows and are you
pulling out a significant Chunk from the
from the business yes
um I'm pulling up massive chunks from
the business
um in terms of liquidity event yes I
sold uh two two businesses relatively
small you know seven figure exits on
both of those one was the YouTube
channel business and another was a was a
software photography software business
in terms of the cash flow you know we
operate with a very healthy cash flow so
I moved that out to the to the whole
um and then use that cash to invest
um you know in a private businesses as
well is in real estate and public
if you had a pie a good question Sean
always asks is what do you do with your
money if you had a pie of your uh net
worth what's that allocation looking
like pie chart not just a pie a pie
chart or a pie yeah or a pie it's still
heavily skewed towards my business the
online business portfolio extremely
extremely heavily skewed
um I would say then a good chunk is in
the in the public stock market
um and then I have cash do you actively
manage your portfolio or are you uh are
you just doing boring [聽__聽] big chunk of
it is boring and you know dollar cost
average index
um I have begun to play with you know a
little bit of money to uh to see what I
can do with it I've done all right like
stocks or other stuff
no no stock stocks this is only I was
only talking about public Investments
because real estate is separate you um
you talked about like kind of coming
from nothing literally sleeping on the
floor uh because you're like why would I
buy furniture I should not buy furniture
even when you had money
um yeah but I believe two things a money
is a tool it's not the like end goal
it's a tool to enable you to do
something with it and B
um there's no point to money except for
to you know uh you know enhance your
lifestyle other people's lifestyle you
know and improve lives in some way right
it would be a shame to just uh have the
money and never use it have you and and
spending money and spending money is as
much of a skill as making money you just
you know you just start it later in life
um have you learned how to spend money
and uh what have you learned what can
you teach us
yeah uh yes in the early days I saved
everything I mean I did not buy a bed
until I got married dude just to put in
perspective even when we were dating
no there's no bed
ladies find you a man finds you a man
with no pain so so you know I I met my
wife in high school
um so she's known me since I was broke
and you know her her parents weren't
that well off either so um so yeah in
terms of learning how to spend the money
yes now I have right for me and the
culture and how I was raised we take
care of family first
um and my first thing was to ensure my
parents are retired because my dad
worked really really hard when I you
know when we moved to us so my my
parents are retired I mean they go to
Pakistan maybe like four times a year
they're in Pakistan you know like right
now for example so um so yeah so that
that was first thing first in terms of
making that impact
um in terms of traveling I I realized
that I get a lot of creativity and joy
out of just going and seeing new places
um and
I spend the money on those those things
are you giving Equity to your uh people
like is the structure where is there
like a hold code that you fully own and
then the whole Co owns 80 of this
company 70 of this company yes in the
early days that's what I did now I don't
do that
now you don't give Equity to the
operator no do you regret giving Equity
no I I enjoy working with those
co-founders and I I don't think I would
be able to do what I did without them
what now you're only 32 like what are
you gonna like how do you get up in the
morning and feel motivated you know what
do you what's what's driving you now I
want to build a generational company
sounds like you're there though no I
think it's generational one like you
know when my kid kids are older and
grandkids are around I I'm I'm probably
going to be doing this till till I'm
um I enjoy the game I enjoy the fun of
um I know Sam doesn't get excited about
uh about buying a business and fixing it
up and growing it I I get I get a thrill
out of it you know because for me that's
the opportunity that's the hustle like
finding finding the edge
um getting that deal uh you you can say
in in some sense
just just getting an unfair Advantage
um but but knowing those tricks knowing
those tactics giving me a head like you
know like if you play basketball I mean
we all play basketball and I sucked at
it right but there were some people like
Alex was amazing right because Alex had
been doing this for a long time and he
has tactics he could just cross you over
or whatnot
um I like having those tactics in in the
business okay what's crazy is you might
like probably in the top 50 richest
maybe maybe top 100 top 200 richest
under 40 year olds in America
I've kept a very very low profile and
the only way this would be validated is
if I ever was ever to race around or if
I was to exit right
um so right now what I can see in
looking at are our numbers and what
similar companies trade at and and you
know exit at my assumptions are based on
um but it actually doesn't matter to me
one way or another I'm pretty
uncomfortable this model of buy don't
build and
um of becoming a hold Co and having a
portfolio like there's a whole bunch of
people who I know that are trying to do
this right now I'm sure you get a bunch
of questions I think I've called you
asking you a bunch of questions about
um what do you think uh they get wrong
what's the common mistake or trap you
think smart people can fall into trying
to do this path or what's a
misconception that smart people have
when they come into this one thing that
I've I've noticed uh there's several
things but this is the primary thing is
that the excitement takes them away so
they they'll overpay on a deal and then
regret it later on when they find out
because oftentimes they're taking
investors money
um they are on a timeline you know most
of them are trying to raise a fund you
know your typical 10-year plus two years
whatever so they have they're not
disciplined enough uh to wait and I have
no rush like you know if I don't buy a
company this year
no doesn't make a difference
um but you know so it allows me to be
more measured and disciplined in the
deals that we do
um and that's that's probably the
biggest thing yeah and and or
underestimating the problems that exist
in a business
the first interview that I saw with you
was it looks like it was on mixergy our
friend Andrew Warner it looks like it
might have been 2014 but I think it was
even before that and Andrew was like how
much revenue do do you do and go you go
Andrew I told you I'm not going to tell
you this and uh it was pretty funny
and then I asked you to come on here and
you're like I'm not telling you these
you've told us a lot of [聽__聽] like it
seems like you're you're you're in a
different uh sphere than you were before
where you don't mind talking about some
cool stuff and I think that that's neat
because you're like maturing from like
this hacker probably gray hat hacker
from you know 20 years ago 15 years ago
to like
kind of a tycoon I think you know when
when I was younger I was afraid
um you know just from a taboo things but
I didn't I want to fly under the radar
and I still do but I wasn't very
um I struggled with vulnerability and
that that change as my network changed
as as I continued leveling up
um you know with with I mean now my form
is amazing and with my PO but it's not
an IPO form but everybody's in ypf
um and those kind of you know groups
really really help you
mature and find your blind spots and
things like that so
so I'm you know definitely appreciative
of the friends that I have who call me
out on those things and they have helped
me become better I'm gonna have to use
that little clip for my new company as
an ad thanks
we use AI to replace what the company
you said
uh no man I think by the way if your
goal is to have a low profile
I have a feeling that's going to change
when the headline of this of this
podcast comes out because uh I don't
think honestly that he's trying to keep
a low profile I just feel like you care
about being humble and and you came
across a lot of humility uh you know not
false humility you know false humility
is basically like uh I'm gonna downplay
everything and not tell you anything and
um that's actually like a different form
of sort of uh you know I don't know
arrogance or narcissism the non-flex
flex yeah the not Flex Flex right or the
it's sort of this close the door uh
behind me on the way in so you know I'm
in but you can't get in because I'm not
gonna really do anything like you know I
think the best people are the ones who
sort of become the person they needed
when they were younger and I think that
like you know the younger version of you
if you heard something like this all
right this guy came from nothing moved
here for Pakistan didn't speak English
was like sitting in the library because
he didn't know how to make friends in
the school was like all right I want to
play video games the library had a
firewall so his first business was
creating a proxy to get around the
firewall and they started giving that to
other the kids as a both a way to like
make friends and make a little bit of
money and then he took money and like he
was like okay how do we get more
customers and it's not like he's some
business Savant he just kept asking how
do we get more customers oh what if a
directory posted about me how do I get
them to do that what's in it for them
and like you do you just one foot after
another so I think you uh yeah I think
you did a good job of basically like
um putting yourself in a position where
you said something you're uncomfortable
with you know you you did share stuff
that I think is you know for me at least
pretty uh pretty inspiring you're
somebody that uh you know I gave Ben a
list of like five people I was like you
know who are the five people that we've
met because we met a lot of people last
two years I said in the last two years
who are the people that we've met that
were kind of the most inspiring they
seem to have a blueprint for life not
just business that was working for them
yeah their business part of their life
was working but they were also like
content and they weren't you know like
in the first five minutes of meeting
them like weirdly bragging about stuff
or like saying something that revealed
some like weird insecurity that's
driving them still and they haven't
gotten over it's like I don't know those
people are their characters they're fun
to be around but like I'm not trying to
be them
um you know like somebody who's you know
has a family life that they actually
care about so we put you on that list
um and I'm glad you came on because for
sure I don't think most people even know
your story and that's a shame you know
like uh I think more people are gonna
know your story now after this where
should people like follow you or where
do you want to send them to uh well
really quick Sean before we wrap up I
want to tell you something so he has
this website so Google syed's uh so it
uh I want the listener to Google this so
s-y-e-d and then his last name
b-a-l-k-h-i and then Google that and
then the word net worth
he's got this hilarious blog post oh
this is yours Sam told me about this
yeah yes where it says what did what's
science net worth the first line you're
probably thinking and so his his website
comes up first and it's a blog post
you're probably thinking that I'm some
sort of narcissist writing about my own
net worth in third person it's quite the
contrary I was looking through search
traffic for my blog and I noticed that I
have a lot of type in traffic for users
simply searching my name uh and then the
term net worth and then he goes on to
explain that it's like it's always
changing but it's not but knowing
someone's net worth is not going to help
you succeed but he's got those hilarious
posts and
it was really funny and uh that you also
I want to give a shout out we talked a
lot about money and [聽__聽] you've got uh
amazing posts where you do an annual
wrap up I've been reading that for years
I think you started in 2017. 15 2015
2015. you put a big emphasis on
philanthropy so like you have a school I
I think you're big on schools right you
build schools I forget where Pakistan I
think and you like are giving away uh
you put a lot of emphasis on uh
philanthropy and then it's you and your
wife and your kid and a lot of these
stuff and you have your own Foundation
you're giving away a lot of stuff and so
I think it's awesome I think that to
reiterate what Sean said about being
like a you know he has this joke about
being a total man about and uh in a way
that's kind of like what you are is like
you're like a holistic person and your
your personal website does a really good
job of explaining that yeah you know I I
started doing those write-ups when my
son when we found out we're gonna be you
know we're gonna have our son
um I was like okay I should start
recapping this
um well we start trying to have a kid
I'm like I should start recapping
um what's happening in my life so that
way uh because I'm gonna forget it and
at some point you know I may want to
tell them oh check this out check this
out and that's how those year-end
reviews came about and I enjoy writing
them and a lot of people love reading
them including you thank you Sam for
reading it and in terms of Education I
do believe that levels of playing field
and that's why we're you know we do what
we do well I was gonna say sam gave you
a compliment I'm gonna make fun of you
the home page needs a revamp you go
entrepreneur investor and marketing
extraordinaire with extraordinary and
then there's a photo of you with the the
headset the bottom the Ted the Ted the
pagada bike you got the clicker and
you're doing the hand gesture talking
about you know you got to start with why
and you're above that now bro you you've
elevated to Tycoon status now you've got
to have the super minimalist thing where
it's like
yay all white and it's like um you know
we buy we buy companies of all sizes
um please inquire that's Bluetooth yeah
like if you have a company for sale
I like to buy it if you if you go to
Automotive website I really want people
to know about Automotive instead of me
um if you go on my website I barely
spend any time I write once a year that
that's the year-end review and that's
really more for me than for anybody else
but if you go to or
um that website this website uh it says
helping small businesses grow and
compete with the big guys now that's
what we're talking about that's a good
one um and it has all the companies that
you've you've that are in Under the
Umbrella uh dude do you want to come uh
do you want to keep coming back
you got to keep coming back on you're
you're fun to talk to that's Sam's uh
that was pretty good for me was that
good for you question yeah no you're
fine I enjoyed it I enjoyed it and happy
to come back I told you we're not we're
not we're not [聽__聽] no I loved it
more importantly are you in for Camp MFM
part two uh that we're about to host in
a few months I'm in all right and that's
the pod