Startup Therapy Podcast

Episode #238

Ryan Rutan: Welcome back to the episode of the Start Up therapy podcast. This is Ryan Rotan joined as always by Will Schroeder, my friend, founder and CEO of Start Will. As we record this, it is the first week of January 2024. Amazingly, we've taken a little bit of a break. So uh hopefully everybody listening is as eager to hear our voices as we are to share all of this pent up start up therapy from over the holiday break being that it's January 1 of the things that we know is there's a lot of uh a lot of New Year's resolutions get and a lot of those have to do with starting that business you've always wanted to start. So there's gonna be a lot of people coming out of the gates really hot right now thinking is this the time to start my business? Should I risk my paycheck that I have my stable income or not? Should I put that on the line for a larger return? This is often part of the calculus people are doing is they start thinking about starting a business in your experience. Where do we land on this, right? Should we stick around for the big paycheck? Uh the, the regular steady paycheck or do we all on black and, and roll the dice?

Wil Schroter: The two words I hate whenever I ask a question to somebody is when they say the words, it depends and it depends. Always tells me that like you're not gonna actually give me an answer. Now, I'm gonna say it depends, but I'm gonna explain what it depends on. It should be more specific because I think when we think about this question, I think when either people are consider considering becoming a founder, what have you or I think when founders think about it, you know, and compare in these little revisionist history, I said, well, it was worth it. I think what we are missing are a few pretty important criteria as to whether or not one is better than the other. Let's agree that yes, if you have a huge outcome as a founder, of course, it's better. Yeah, of course. Just make

Ryan Rutan: sure you do that. Right. And, uh, and there's clear steps to make sure that you get a huge outcome.

Wil Schroter: Right. Yep. You know, I actually think people are kind of thinking about the wrong way. I think they're kind of thinking about which one could have a bigger impact. What I think what they should be thinking about is which one could have a bigger downside. Right. You know, if we really consider the opposite because like anything else in life, if things go well, you don't have a problem. It's when things go bad, that, that decision actually matters. So, let's talk about, we'll talk about three factors that people really need to be considering. When they're saying, should I go for the steady paycheck or the risk at all? The first one? Of course, and we'll go through all is how old are you at? What stage of life are you in? Because like we're talking consequences, dude, the consequence for a 22 year old college kid and the consequence for a 40 year old woman with four kids and a husband, right? Not

Ryan Rutan: the same. No, not even safe

Wil Schroter: at all. Right. So, so age matters, right? The other would be how much you're, you're earning, right? You know what your earning potential is when I started my first company, my earning potential was literally $6 an hour. Yeah, anything would have put me in a better

Ryan Rutan: spot. I was under the legal age of employment. So technically, my earning potential was zero. At that point, I wasn't allowed to be paid, had to pay

Wil Schroter: myself. I talked to a friend of mine who actually has a seven figure salary. He's, he's ac level executive at a major hospital and he was saying, hey, you know, I'm thinking about going off on my own, you know, do my own thing, but I'm risking a lot, you know, later stage in my life. What, what have you and I'm like, are you out of your mind? So what he has to lose in that seven figure paycheck, right? And this is coming from two guys like us that are founders through, right?

Ryan Rutan: But we also know the reality. Yeah.

Wil Schroter: Yeah. Yeah. And then of course, the, the third part that we'll talk about is whether you even have the opportunity to exit at all. Like there's this given that just because you started a start up that there could be an exponential outcome. It's like, probably not. So we'll talk about that too. Let's talk about Ryan when you think about the perfect age to start a start up. What are some of the, the conditions that come to mind 20

Ryan Rutan: years ago? It's like planting a tree, right? Because then I'll know how it worked out. I could give you a real answer. I love that. Yeah. You know, look, there, there is that there is that curve that you talked about, right? The older we get, the more complicated life becomes uh from a relationship standpoint, from a financial standpoint, we have less time to plan for our retirement if that's something that's important to us. And for most people it is. So you, you have this, you know, the in, in the same sense that money compounds over time, unwinding failures is sort of the same thing, right? It takes time to undo those failures and kind of recover from major disaster. And so at least in theory, when we're younger, we have more time to unwind that we have, we have more energy, we have, you know, less, less cost. I mean, if you can still, you know, uh return to mom and dad's home and, and sleep on the couch if things go poorly, ok. That gives you a different ability to take risk. The, the one, the one wrench I'll throw into this argument is that as we age and as we, as we build things like some financial stability and we maybe have some money in the bank, maybe we own a home, maybe we have other assets. We also have a network, right? And that's not to be forgotten. So if we have to recover from something, having a solid network, having people around you and then there's experience, right? Which is just to say that we may be better, not always, but we may be better at assessing what risk is tolerable and what risk is unnecessary to take. And so there is a little bit of a flattening of the risk curve in my mind. At least II I know now that there are decisions that I would make better, having had the experience that I have, that said, I still think this definitely skews to being a a younger founders game. And

Wil Schroter: as far as just basically risk mitigation, right? That's really what we're talking about, right? Like can I afford to make up for a mistake. That's really what we're talking about. So when I talked about to older founders, now, the founders, let's say they're in their forties, fifties and beyond, and they're thinking about starting something, they all say the same thing. What do I have to lose? Like, literally, you know, that the categorically and, and the problem is some of those things that, that they stand to lose, they can't get back time being the biggest, of course. But other things like I, if I'm in the later stages of my career, let's say, forties, fifties and beyond, I'm starting to think about retirement. I'm starting to think about, I'm actively contemplating paying for tuition, let's say, you know, for my kids, et cetera. If I had them and all of a sudden I'm thinking to myself, I have shit to lose. That's the other side of it. Like I worked really hard to get the stuff that I have and if I lose it, I probably can't get it back if I lose my house. Right. If I lose my 401k, if I, I probably can't, those things took where

Ryan Rutan: the window of opportunity passes, right. You know, like, uh you know, sorry, sweetheart, you're gonna go to college and it'll be pretty cool at 20 and I promise, but daddy needs about 10 years to dig himself out of the hole you just created, right? Not a very quick conversation. Also,

Wil Schroter: I would say for a lot of folks in my experience when you're in your thirties, while that often sounds like an ideal time because you have the most experience and you have the most youth kind of at the same time. And I do think that that's a good era for, for folks to start. I also think it's when you're at your peak brokeness because all of life's expenses have hit you at like full rate and you still often haven't caught up to, you know, to having the income to cover it. Especially nowadays,

Ryan Rutan: the second car, the second kid, the second mortgage, right. It's all, it's all there at that point.

Wil Schroter: Everything, right? And, and all of a sudden you're just getting into what will ideally be some of your peak earning years, but you haven't had any before that. So you don't have savings. You don't, you don't have a lot of cash. So that's a hard time being in your thirties if you miss, if you trip to make up for. So I've seen this, I've seen, I've got a lot of friends who have swung the bat in their thirties, burned that era and missed. Right. And then had to make it up after that. The problem is when they're trying to make it up after that, you know, they usually have to go back to the working world, whatever. It's what you gotta do when you're trying to make it up after that. Your expenses. Just go up bananas. Right. Just orders of magnitude. It's crazy because, like, when I look at, and I'm sure you just say that when I look at my costs of operation as a human, right, with just having a family of four of us, right. Compared to what they were 30 years ago. Right. Like, not even remotely close, we spend more in a day than I did in a month. That's, that's accurate. Crazy. Yeah. And so I, you know, I think about it and I'm like, damn, as we increase those age brackets by decade and with those, the, the, the costs and the, the consequences that come with those, it's not one for one anymore. Again, I agree with you for sure on the experience. No doubt, no doubt that, that definitely helps. And when I look at the version of me now versus the version of me 30 years ago, they're two different people. Right. As far as capability. 30 years ago, I was eating beef a roni three times a day. Yeah, I had $16 in my checkbook bottom

Ryan Rutan: looked very different. Rock bottom was like, that looks soft enough to sleep on. I'll be ok here. Right. No longer the

Wil Schroter: case. I needed hundreds of dollars to survive. And in fact, for some reason, this has always been burned in my brain in my first year of operation and running a company when I was 19, my cost of operations per month total cost all in was $550. My rent split with my roommate was $500. It was $250 a piece and all of my operating expenses fit into $300 a month. Amazing, isn't it? Needless to say I wasn't living big or gaining weight. Correct. Yeah,

Ryan Rutan: we were a dinner a couple nights ago and, uh, a friend of ours said that they have a friend who's, who's gonna be moving to Antigua and they currently looking for an apartment like something close to the center. And they're thinking like somewhere in like the 5 to $800 range as subtly as we could. My wife and I both gave each other what my daughter would refer to as bombastic side eye we both disliked. Oh, I wish like 5 to $800 a month. That sounds so, so fantastic. Um, not that we would all even fit in that thing, but like, the idea is appealing,

Wil Schroter: you know, back when I was that age though, you know, because I was young and because my expenses were so low, I had a lot of people that would say to me, hey, that has to feel great because you feel invincible, right? Because you're otherwise gonna make $6 an hour somewhere, right? Like, literally nothing but upset. And I was like, you know, I don't feel that invincible. I have like 12 cans of beef roni and when that runs out, I don't actually don't have food. Right. Like that, I get the idea the concept that I'm young and, and, and I can rebound. I was in a unique position where if I, if I didn't have anything to eat, I actually would not eat. But, but that was a whole other situation point is like, I was thinking about it from, like, if this doesn't work, I am so screwed.

Ryan Rutan: I know we brought this up a couple times on the podcast before. But you and I both built websites back in the nineties for food. We literally worked for food, right? You got ribs and I got, I got it. You know, I had like a $2000 tab at the cafe that was behind my house. And so I ate their breakfast, lunch and dinner for like two years because I could, it was

Wil Schroter: fantastic. I used to do a thing in college where my open deal to everybody in the dorm was that I'll write whatever paper you have in 30 minutes or less for the cost of a pizza. There you go. And what's funny about that is I was a terrible student. So it was like, I didn't say it

Ryan Rutan: would be a good paper and he said it would be done.

Wil Schroter: Yeah, I didn't think it would be a good paper, but it, it would have words and I had so many, so many pizzas paid for it that way. But to me it was worth it. People kind of have some revisionist history like, oh, you know, those guys are doing well, they must have always been rich. No.

Ryan Rutan: No, not, not exactly.

Wil Schroter: Not exactly. But anyway, going back to the age component, I genuinely believe that while you don't have call, let's call it replacement consequences. Like, oh, shit, if I, if I lose, you know, I lose the house and, well, I don't have a house so I don't have anything to lose. You also don't have any backstop. Now, what you said is, is accurate, you go back to sleeping at your parents' place. Totally makes sense. Right. Not the movie you want, but it happens, right? But still you're restarting, right. In both cases, the difference is how much did you lose when you restart it? As you get older? I've seen guys in their fifties bet more than they thought they would, which is always the case. Lose it and be like, what the hell do I do now? Like, literally how do I retire?

Ryan Rutan: Because even returning to the workforce at that at that point becomes more difficult. You're past your peak earning point in most cases simply be because in a lot of cases because you left the market for a couple of years or 10 years or whatever to go do what you're gonna do. Yeah, it's tough. The analogy here. It's like you're, you're kind of betting on a lottery ticket in terms of earning potential versus the low interest savings account. One has a really high return with an extremely low probability. The other one has a really low return, but with a guaranteed probability, right, you know what you're going to get, right. And so I think that's the big challenge in the trade off here is when we look at those two ends of the spectrum and, and we'll talk about this in a minute, we get into exits. But as we look at that spectrum, the two extremes are quite extreme in terms of, of the the kind of outcomes you might expect. I think in one case, there's a high expectation, you can have high expectations around what you're going to get. If you work the job, if you save the money, if you do all those things, the other one, you really can't have any expectations when you enter, start up land, you can have to throw expectations to the wind and say here are some possible outcomes, these things might happen and this is what I'm working towards

Wil Schroter: 100%. And I also think that there's a threshold and this next part we'll talk about at which point how much you're currently earning has a very difficult replacement value. I think that there's, there's kind of two schools of thought there, let's say you're making $250,000 a year, which is a great salary by us standards. Right. And it's even better salary for most countries abroad. At that point, your cost basis for life, you know, depending where you are and you could be making it very young, could be older. Doesn't matter. Your cost basis often goes with it. Right. Like, at which point I'm making $250,000. I'm still not hanging out with my roommate in my college apartment. Right. I've probably moved on, bought a house, whatever. So your costs are also high. But let's, let's put that aside for a second at that point. Every year that goes by, if you risk it, you give up real money, like the kind of money that you could have paid for real things, you could have saved some of that money, et cetera. I would argue that as you start going far south of that number, let's say that you're at 75 K, 80 K, right? Because life's just fairly expensive. I don't think you were gonna do anything with that. 80 K that was gonna make you any kind of money, right? Like II, I don't think the extra $800 you saved every month was gonna get compounded in some wild way. You know, unless you put it in a Bitcoin, which is a different version of a lottery ticket. But what I'm saying is I think there's a threshold where, like I said, if you're only making it, I'm not knocking $80,000 if you're only making $80,000 probably worth it to risk it because making $80,000 was never gonna take you anywhere. Whereas making 250 that's probably gonna add up

Ryan Rutan: for sure. You have to start to look at the, the compounding risk. But then the, the compounding benefit of, of having that compound interest in whatever we're going to also at, at certain thresholds of income, there isn't even a whole lot of opportunity to come pound it because there is a base cost of living. Right. And so if you do have, you know, if you're making 80 with the family of four, there's probably not a whole lot left over depending on what the lifestyle is to compound in the first place. So a little bit less risk in terms of what you're giving up does not change. And this is the thing I wanna be really, really clear on does not change the risk profile of the actual start up in the least might make it even worse because you've got less cushion, you've got, uh, less to fall back and you'll have to work even longer to make that up. So it doesn't really change the, it, it might change your perception of what you're giving up, but it does not change the actual probabilities of success with the start up or achieving any kind of outcome.

Wil Schroter: Right. Right. Right. Also, I kind of have a feeling that a lot of people are like, well, I could have been making this much money in the market. Right. The forever fantasy. Right. It was like, yeah, I'll, I'll go to the start up and only make 100 K. But if I, if I wasn't working here, I have made 300 K working somewhere else. I could

Ryan Rutan: have given that $100 that grandma gave me for my fifth birthday into Microsoft Stock in 1983. And uh yeah, it'd be sweet but I

Wil Schroter: didn't. Here's kind of what that fantasy argument looks like in my mind. There is this other job that pays extraordinarily? Well, that's also awesome. Which to me is hilarious, right? It dude, if, if there's a job that pays you three times as much and is also awesome, why aren't you there? Do that?

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. Do that. It would be totally fulfilling and stimulate me in all the ways and need be stimulated and create the type of growth and leave the legacy I wanna leave then do that, right? If that is available to you, take that now fast,

Wil Schroter: right? I would argue that sort of is available. The only cost is your soul. Yeah. Sometimes cuts. Well, no, just like historically from when I saw young professionals, right? They were like, hey, I could get a job at accenture. It's usually consulting, by the way, like consulting is kind of that alternate, you know, and I'm like, yep, you probably could make more money doing that at the expense of your soul. And look, I was in consulting. So, were you by, by virtue of being in, in the agency business for a decade? Right. That's the only reason I know this, I've lived it firsthand. It is soul sucking as hell. Some people, it works out great. I mean, I was the CEO and founder of the company. It was soul sucking for me. Right. So I can imagine it felt that way. The others, when I watch people go to the, the big consulting firms, like the accenture is the et cetera, their lives were like taken from them again. I'm not knocking centric. It's an incredible company. What I'm saying is, yes, you can make more. But at what cost,

Ryan Rutan: at what cost? That's it. That's exactly

Wil Schroter: it. It's the same. People want to go into investment banking, you know, things like that and work Wall Street. Yes, you can make more. But at what cost my point here is we all kind of create this fantasy that had I gone the paycheck route. I would have made exponentially more. And I'm like, you sure, do you know that for sure.

Ryan Rutan: Here's the irony of that entire conversation because that same person back when it was time to make the decision between job and start up clearly was like, I'm gonna make way more money with a start up thing. This is gonna be the thing that makes it all why would I take this stupid job at accenture when I can go and make 10 times more at my start up and a dramatic. Right. Like, so it's always hysterical to have. I mean, any type of revisionist history is hysterical and I get why we do it, you know, we don't want to feel complete foolhardy, but, like, you have to go on to accept a little bit of that. I think that's part, that's part of how I've become so much more comfortable with, with start ups as I've gotten older is like, I'm totally cool making mistakes at this point. I don't care. Yeah, I fucked up. I do it all the time. It's ok. I've gotten used to it,

Wil Schroter: right. You know, something that's really funny about everything we talk about here is that none of it is new. Everything you're dealing with right now has been done 1000 times before you, which means the answer already exists. You may just not know it, but that's ok. That's kind of what we're here to do. We talk about this stuff on the show, but we actually solve these problems all day long at groups dot Start So if any of this sounds familiar, stop guessing about what to do, let us just give you the answers to the test and be done with it. When we look at what we're foregoing. I just think that like, you know, hey, I was foregoing that big salary, I would have otherwise made whatever. And I'm like, would you have really? Because maybe, probably not. Right. Here's what you never hear people say, even though it's the truth. Had I not done the start up thing. I would have gone to a job that I don't really like, I would have gotten maybe 8% raises and gotten fired in two years. You never hear anybody say that. Right. It's always the, I could have been VP or whatever, you know, c level executive. It's like, really, you, you're sure this

Ryan Rutan: is exactly the kind of, you know, pets that gets us in trouble around start ups in general, which is that we just assume that whatever the best outcome possible is going to be, that's the one we'll hit. Right. So, when I'm thinking about my start up, it's IP O it's ringing the bell, the NASDAQ. It's, you know, sailing around on my yacht afterwards. If I took the job, it was, you know, clearly I would, you know, I would start wherever I had to start. And then within a year, I'm the CEO and then I'm actually just a, a finger tenting board chairman who makes millions of dollars a year doing nothing. Right. Of course.

Wil Schroter: Right. Whenever I think about, like, the, the opportunities of anything that I've worked on over the years I've always applied kind of three different filters. The first filter I applied is if everything goes to hell, how much downside can I tolerate? Right by the way, that's the most important one because everything else, if it goes positive, who cares? There's a million ways to manage positive. Yeah, we'll figure that

Ryan Rutan: out. Good problem.

Wil Schroter: Yeah. Yeah. Ryan. When, when you and I have done acquisitions of companies, we say the same thing every time we said if it goes well, it goes well, I mean, it's, it's not hard to figure out if it doesn't, if this thing becomes a complete disaster, what can we absorb? And, and that was always primary concern because that's, that's a existential concern. The second one was if it's a base hit, what's a base hit even look like. In other words, if we kind of fire sale it or we kind of just, you know, like it never became what we thought it would become, but we get something out of it. What does that look like? And is that even worthwhile? The third one of course, is what's, how big could it possibly be? And I look at that going, sort of who cares? Right. Like if it, if it winds up being that, I don't have much decision criteria to work on. But will,

Ryan Rutan: do you think it's worth 100 and 75 million or 100 and 85 million? Who gives a shit? Right?

Wil Schroter: When that happens? I'll worry about it when I look at these decisions like, you know, go stay paycheck or, or go for the big swing, I think in terms of downside right now, I know I'm not supposed to. I'm, uh, you and I are our founder guy, right. We're talking about start ups are the best. Everything. Not necessarily

Ryan Rutan: always. No, no, no. We've shared the honest side of this more than once in this podcast.

Wil Schroter: Right. And that's sort of the point of our podcast is kind of giving people the, the true breath of things for an awful lot of people. The steady paycheck actually makes a lot of sense. Right. Again, it's, it given their, their life stage or life conditions there, there, otherwise consequences, their earning potential elsewhere, et cetera. In other words, if you've gotten your law degree, your medical degree or whatever. Right. And you don't take full advantage of that and you may hate those jobs. And I, I've got plenty of friends who've just said actually it's only like the field totally get that, but don't do it. But there's a real cost, you know, financially to not exercising that capability. Right. So, so that's a concern. The third one though, totally separate from your age or earning potential would be whether or not you couldn't exit at all. Yeah.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. It's not a foregone conclusion that you will. In fact, it's a probability that you won't.

Wil Schroter: Right. We ran the numbers. I just looked this up because I was curious, kind of how 2023 ended and This is, uh, January of 2024 when we're recording this in 2023 100 and eight companies went public and I was like, damn, that's not a lot until I then asked doctor chat GP. T how many went public in 2022? And doctor chat GP T told me 71. 70

Ryan Rutan: one. Yeah. Yeah. It's a big increase year over year. Unless you look at the absolute number.

Wil Schroter: I'm not saying you've got to go public in order to be successful by any means. And if you've ever listened to this podcast, you'll know we're saying the exact opposite. I'm saying that's the best possible scenario for most companies. And what was the analogy, the, the statistics you would say of the probability of me getting into an IP O compared to I think you said the NBA? Yeah,

Ryan Rutan: I was saying like how many people bounce a basketball versus how many people get into the league every year. You actually have a better chance of making into the NBA than you than you do having an IP O. Right. And, and yet we would all look at that and go, I don't have any chance at that. Like, of course.

Wil Schroter: Right. And again, it's, it's not to knock people's hopes and dreams. It's, we're just making it numeric, we're saying, like, look regards to how you feel the numbers are what they are. And again, that is typically the biggest possible outcome not necessarily one that you need. However, as we start loading up more and more particularly when we're raising money, et cetera, and we're essentially narrowing our number of options. You know, at, at which point we raised $50 million we have a very narrow number of options in order to get that money out. Yeah, you're basically

Ryan Rutan: IP O acquisition or nothing, right. Those are your two options at that point,

Wil Schroter: correct when folks are saying, hey, is it better to, to, you know, risk it all for the big outcome or get a steady paycheck? One of the first things I'll ask is what do you picture the big outcome to be? Because if you're trying to make $100 million like, go like a massive sale, et cetera. I don't know, man, that window is real small, like, really, really tiny, freakishly small and it's like no one really wants to talk about it right. Here's what I mean. Everyone wants to talk about the big outcomes. No one wants to talk about the probability that you'll get there. Oh, you start up guys, you all make money. I'm like, ah, you, you think that you haven't been in this business? Right?

Ryan Rutan: We, we make lots of it, we make lots of it, but most of us also tend to give more of it away than we make.

Wil Schroter: That's that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I think if you were to say here's a different point Ryan, if you and I are to start a new business today and we were to say, look, man, the goal is to get this business to 1.5 million revenue and 500 K in net income that we'll split. We'll both make 250 K a year. That's our version of risking it all and getting the big paycheck. I'd say pretty high probability that's gonna get done, right. You guys have done this for a long time, you know, you're, you're kind of a prime of your careers. Yeah, like pretty that nothing is a given. It could, could be a total turn, but it seems pretty reasonable.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, the probability of that versus the probability of us starting the same business and setting a goal of IP O is exponentially different, right? We, we have a strong likelihood that we can accomplish one and there is anybody's guess as to whether we can accomplish the other.

Wil Schroter: So imagine this kind of slider if you will, right? And one end of the slider is any income we make is a victory to us. Right. The payoff is there a lot of times you see it in side hustle, right. Seems like look Ryan and I are just gonna start something in a start up weekend style environment, right? And we're gonna go launch this thing and if it makes an extra $3000 a month and defer some of our mortgages. Awesome. Right. Wonderful. That's one end of the slider, right. Kind of anything is, is a success. The other end of course, is a billion dollars or bust. Right? And as you move down that slider, your probability plummets geometrically, right. Here's another way to look at it before that slider even starts grading right before that slider even starts registering it. The slider goes on for miles where you never even get to any success at all. So it doesn't start, you need

Ryan Rutan: a 36 kilometer wide monitor to scroll that one.

Wil Schroter: Exactly. Exactly. And so when we, we talk about, you know, is it, is it better to take the paycheck or to swing for the fences? I would say where the fences look like? Right?

Ryan Rutan: And how did you define them? This is always one of those things that, and you get this, you get this conversation a lot as well, which is, you know, people are, are saying, you know, I this, this needs to be this, it needs to be, you know, a $200 million business or a $500 million business or a billion dollar business. You know, we gotta be a unicorn. Why? Right. Have you actually sat down and thought about what changes at that level? Because I can tell you a hell of a lot changes between $1 and $200 million and there's a whole lot of happy exits along that path that were well before that mark and so often founders have not really done any of the math. You know, we've suggested this to thousands of people at this point where like sit down spreadsheet out what would actually happen and think about what do you actually need to achieve the, the light that you wanna have? And now sometimes that's not the only thing that's driving it right. There are very many times like for us, we're trying to drive impact. Yes. We're also trying to make money, but we're trying to drive impact, right? We want to impact as many founders as we can. And so that's part of the bar that we're setting as well. And so like I get this question a lot at, at dinners, I'm sure you do as well. It's like, hey Ryan, you're an entrepreneur, what's the best way to make money and hands down? I always have the same answer. Get a job, you wanna make money, you wanna guarantee, you wanna go get a job, get a job. If you don't have a job, go get a job, you'll make money. That's cool. If you want to make an impact, then also maybe you get a job, but you can certainly have a, a great shot at making an impact through a start up. And I think that's, that's one of the big less objective tradeoffs that we make in this

Wil Schroter: calculus. I'm at a, a life stage now this year, I will hit the ripe old age of 50 which is hard for me to even say. But it's true. Yeah.

Ryan Rutan: Right behind you. That's why I don't, I don't like that. Let me know if I should keep coming or if I should turn

Wil Schroter: back, turn around now. But here's what's interesting about that. I'm now of an age where all of my friends and lots of friends across a lot of different aspects of life, et cetera have all kind of culminated to more or less become what they were going to become professional. I'm not talking about as humans, right? Uh professionally. And so what you've seen are you see, saw the folks that went to med school or law school, right? And kind of took that path. You see the folks that did the start up thing, you see the folks that, that went and took a job as a, a teller at a bank and kind of moved up the banking ranks, et cetera. And you've kind of had an opportunity to see where they all crest out right now. This is an interesting spot because everybody's in their late forties, early fifties and they're all kind of thinking about retirement, but they're also all at their prime peak earning years of their life, right? In other words, it doesn't get better for most of them after this. My point being, there's a fair amount of them that did the risk thing. There's a fair amount of them that, that did the steady paycheck thing. Here's what I found for the folks that had strong income early on and, and I'll give you some examples. I've had some friends that are just good salespeople. Right. They're just good solid sales people. And because of that they were able to kind of get their income over like the 200 K mark early in their careers, like late twenties, early thirties.

Ryan Rutan: So that compounding started quick,

Wil Schroter: boom and hold it there. Right. They didn't do anything beyond that. They didn't start something that it be something that whatever, two

Ryan Rutan: 50 from 24 until 50. Right. That's a lot of

Wil Schroter: two fifties. The reason it adds up and that, you know, this, I'm not trying to get all like Kiyosaki here, but like the reason this adds up is because for most of us, depending on your life, you have a couple big financial blocks that you have to get past. But after that, you're kind of in decent shape. Right. So one of my friends actually got you and I both know, uh, it's just been sales guy forever. Right. And it's just constantly sold, constantly sold. Right. And just hustles year after year. Always make sure he hits his number, et cetera. Bought a nice house, mostly paid it off. Right. Bought cars that he could pay for in cash. Right. It now has a ton of cash, right? He didn't do anything special. Right. And not knocking his, his work perform. It's actually amazing. I'm saying he didn't take some crazy chance. Didn't play probabilities. Yeah. Yeah, he just stacked. Right. So, he's doing really well. And I'm sure you've got friends like this and I've got friends that every decade had some scheme where they were trying to, like, you know, make up for, for, for what they didn't do in the last decade and are broke. Right.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. They just keep taking the big swing because at some point it feels like it's the only way they've begun to believe that. Like, look, I'm too far down the curve. I can't compound it. I don't have enough time to compound. So I just have to keep betting. I have to scrape together what I can and bet it all. Bet it all and bet it all. Yeah. And it's tough to watch.

Wil Schroter: So, basically got three groups of friends at this point. I've got friends that did risk it all. Like true entrepreneurs, nail on the head and just crushed it. Right. Have just gangster money done incredibly well. I can count them on two hands to be fair. Like, it ain't tons of people. It's probably more than that. But, but not a lot. Right. It's way less than people think. And I hang out with all founders. So it's not like I only know a few founders, right. The second group are people that just, just kept grinding year after year. They just kept, you know, maxing out that comp every year and have done really well. I mean, they paid for it. Right. I mean, they, they hustle. Right. Not that anybody that's made money hasn't paid for it. But these guys, you don't really paid for and they've done well and I've argued kind of in some cases as well as the guys who had an exit. Right. Which is really interesting to me in the third group would be folks that kind of just never ended up doing anything, they never risked nor did they ever max comp and they're just forever on the treadmill, just

Ryan Rutan: coasted. But yeah, but they have to keep, they have to keep paddling to keep it up,

Wil Schroter: right. And they pissed in it rightfully so because they realize that no matter how much they do at this point, they're not going to change the outcome. And so I think, you know, when, when you're contemplating the two sides of this, you know, do I risk it? Do I stick with the study paycheck? What I'm explaining by showing you those three buckets is they've actually seen both

Ryan Rutan: work. You can find an example of success anywhere. You can find an example of failure anywhere. I think it's, it's really important to understand that there's a spectrum of success and failure that exists regardless of which choice you take. I think the real decision points come down to. Uh unfortunately, and this is why the, the it depends, come down to some of the more subjective stuff, right? The objectively if what you want is to know in 20 years that you will have $1.5 million in the bank, you wanna know that, then it's figure out your camp max it to the extent that you can control your costs, such that there's a guaranteed outcome there and you can kind of do that, right? If that's not what matters in life and if you want to have an impact, if you want to enjoy the journey, then maybe it starts. Right. But again, even that's not guaranteed. We know to your point, we know plenty of founders who have had those big exits and still aren't happy people, right? They're not satisfied what they've got the idea of tying it all to this big outcome at the end because then at Shangri LA, unfortunately, a lot of people get there and it's the same shit show it was before they had it. It's just like they're just not happy with what they're doing. And so I think that if you're gonna optimize for anything, optimize for the life that it gives you while you're doing it. Not for something at the very end of the tunnel, because tunnels take a lot of curves. Sometimes they

Wil Schroter: collapse. They do. Hey, look, I would say is if I'm sub 40 years old, I have a, probably a pretty good opportunity to take this risk because I, I've still got enough years in front of me to do something about it. If you're

Ryan Rutan: sub 40 years old, then you've got a fully gassed up DeLorean somewhere that I need to know about. Will?

Wil Schroter: That sounds wonderful actually. And then the, the second would be, look, if I'm otherwise making 80 $100,000 which isn't bad money, by the way. Um, I'm just saying, but if it's not the kind of money that I'm really not gonna get rich, I could live comfortably, but I'm never gonna really earn true wealth where my money is making me money, then it's probably worth the risk because otherwise you're gonna kind of still be in that holding pattern financially for a very long time and it's worth trying to get out of it if not once, right? The last week, the, if you change what your goals are, if you change what your goals are right? And you say, hey, this thing has to make $100 million or bust, I think it's the dumbest goal ever. Right. And, and, and, and I get why people do it. It sounds awesome. It sounds awesome if it weren't for the fact that 99.9% of the time I see people miss. Right. I would embrace that goal. Gary V style all the way. Right? Except I'm like, you know, what, how about we find the first, find a goal that you'll actually hit. So make sure you're ok in the first base and then worry about getting you home, right. Instead of just swinging for the fences and everything, the

Ryan Rutan: massive flaw and all that. And like, I, you know, nothing wrong with having some goals but I, there, there's a quote from James Clear and I believe it was in atomic habits that he said it, which is that we don't rise to the level of our goals, we fall to the level of our systems. So it's cool that you say you want it, you know, $100 million. Cool. That's a great goal. How the hell do you get there? What are the, what are the things that you're going to do? What are the systems? What is the evidence that you have some plan for actually achieving that goal? And I think this is where it gets, it just goes off the rails really quick because people sit down, they do the business plan, they do the five year projections and of course, it's somewhere over a billion dollars magically every time. Yay. Except that when we look at start ups, five years later, almost none of them have hit that. It's so bizarre to me. Will that no one hits those goals,

Wil Schroter: you don't say? Yeah, I get it. I get it. So, so here's what I'd say for most folks, the steady paycheck works fine. Right. And I respect the steady paycheck even though we pedal start ups for a living, so to speak. I respect this, this steady paycheck. And I know you do too. Right. There is a time and a place to make that risk. It's usually less than what people think it is. And it usually makes more sense to apply that risk. If you've got a threshold, like you just mentioned, that you can actually cross that gets you somewhere right. This amorphous goal of it's gotta be a billion dollars or whatever. Just kind of just generally doesn't make sense. There's a 99.9% chance that it's not gonna work. So what we say is when we're optimizing, we look for the right criteria to make the right decision if they line up and you can come back from that. Yeah, take the risk otherwise stick with your job because your job actually may pay even better. So in addition to all the stuff related to founder groups, you've also got full access to everything on start that includes all of our education tracks, which will be funding customer acquisition, even how to manage your monthly finances. They're so so much stuff in there. All of our software including Biz plan for putting together detailed business plans and financials launch rock for attracting early customers and of course, fundable for attracting investment capital. When you log into the start site, you'll find all of these resources available

Copyright © 2024 LLC. All rights reserved.