Episode #4 :

Larry Janesky

Lessons on Growing up an Entrepreneur

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During this episode,  we chatted with Larry Janesky, Founder and CEO of Basement Systems Inc., co-founder of Total Basement Finishing, Inc., Foundation Supportworks, Inc., and Dr. Energy Saver, Inc. Larry is an inspiration to entrepreneurs everywhere, and during this interview, we dove into the story behind the visionary who made an amazing leap in life when there wasn’t much hope to begin with.

Always Remember to Dream Big

Larry Janesky essentially came from nothing; no money, no motivation, and no support. The struggles in Janesky young life never stopped him from dreaming big. Growing up, he had to fend for himself a lot of time, buying his own bicycles, comic books, and other items that seem like luxuries for kids.

At 8 years old, he got a comic book that struck an interest that he never knew he had. Starting off with something so simple like burpee seeds, Janesky started to make his own money by selling seeds door to door every day. He discusses how he learned early on that you can take an opportunity handson and not to wait for it to come your way. He goes into detail about how important is was for him to get the right message as a kid and to realize his true potential reminding himself to “rely on himself to get ahead, not the rest of the world” (3:20). He strived to formulate his own expectations for himself even if no one else had them.

At age 18, he graduated high school realizing that college was never really an option for him being that his parents were divorced and they had no money. He knew he had an interest in carpentry but he didn’t know how serious people would take him being that he was so young and had no college education. He discusses the importance of being at the right place at the right time. When he was just 18 years old, someone asked him to build a house for them.

How to turn Nothing Into Something

During the year of 1983, Janesky discusses the building boom and how all the “real” carpenters were busy at this time with bigger projects. He reminded the customer that he was only 18 years old but he was confident he can get the job done. When they agreed, Janesky, his 14 year old brother and 17 year old best friend took on this immense project. No matter what obstacle came their way, Janesky and team worked all day until the sun went down to successfully build their first house. Afterwards, Janesky began receiving calls from neighbors to work on a plentrea of houses.  He discusses how he learned a lot by making mistakes which allowed him to grow as an entrepreneur. He says, “measure the results by what you get, but when we’re young we you have to measure results by who you are becoming and what are you learning for the future?” (7:46). In 1987, after the building boom bubble bursts, Janesky fell into the waterproofing business where his life will change forever.

Swing the Bat; Take the Chance

In the year of 1987, Janesky began to create his own products and programs that didn’t 100% make it with the first few tries. This struck him to create his own company and his own patons in order to make a name for himself in this already thriving industry. His breakthrough product was developed in 1994 and he has created 30 patons ever since. He discusses making mistakes by saying, “Swing the bat, sometimes you hit the ball, sometimes you strike out but you keep swinging” (TIME). With real guidance and only the help from his cassette tapes of audio books, Janesky is an inspiration to not only aspiring entrepreneurs but also kids who have dreams in life that may not have an abundance of support.

TimeStamps

  • 2:40 – Larry’s start with Entrepreneurship: Selling Burpee Seeds at 8 Years
  • 4:50 – Starting out as an inexperienced, yet Capable and Eager Carpenter
  • 5:39 – At 18 Years Old, Larry Was requested to Build a Home for a Potential Client.
  • 8:45 – The Last Home Larry Built Had a Leaking Crack in the Basement Walls.
  • 15:47 – “Ideas are Powerful”
  • 18:25 -Finding Inspiration in other High-Powered Leaders & Motivational Speakers
  • 20:43 – Being the Underdog & Never Quitting
  • 23:48 – Creating an Industry for Dealer Networks for Crawl Spaces
  • 26:18 – The 7 Qualities of a Winner
  • 47:27 – “When You Learn on Your Own, You Learn Things that You Know are Relevant that You Want to Learn.”

Transcript

00:12 SJ: Welcome to the Mac talks everybody. I’m your host, Scott Johnson, this young fellow to my right is my co-host, Chase Hutchison

00:20 Chase Hutchison: Hi guys.

00:22 SJ: Chase tell them what the Mac talks are.

00:25 CH: The Mac talks are that vehicle that brings you the stories that you need to hear from business owners, entrepreneurs, and impactful leaders.

00:34 SJ: Yes, sir. That’s what we do here. And today, I’m excited for the guest that we have on the show. I’ve always followed his career and had the pleasure of meeting him for the first time at the Better Business Bureau Summit a few months back. This gentleman is not only an entrepreneur but a visionary. He went into business for himself right out of high school, building his first house at the age of 17. He holds numerous patents and has revolutionized the basement waterproofing industry. Employs over 400 people at his nine building campus, located in Seymour, Connecticut. Larry Janesky. Welcome Larry.

01:10 Larry Jenesky: Thank you Scott.

01:11 SJ: How are you today?

01:12 LJ: Fantastic.

01:13 SJ: Alright, thank you so much for joining us, we really, really appreciate it, like I said, I’ve always followed your story, I’ve always kind of seen you from afar. So when I had the opportunity to meet you, it was great, I got to see you speak at the Better Business Bureau event. We were super excited and we just really wanted to get you on the show as soon as we could, so thank you.

01:32 LJ: I’m happy to talk about my favorite subject, it’s entrepreneurship.

01:36 SJ: Awesome, awesome. So tell us a little bit about how your career got started, and take us back to how you got involved with business to kind of start.

01:46 LJ: Well, okay, I’ve told the story before and to me, when you tell your story over and over and over again… I went to a thing called the Landmark Forum one time and where people worked through all their problems they’ve had in the past. And one of the exercise is you write your whole story down, your whole sordid tale and all the misfortune and so forth, and then you just read it to someone else and then at the end you read it again. And then they say, read it again, and read it again, and after six or seven times reading your story, it becomes funny, it becomes like, “Oh, this is not meaningful anymore.” And that was the point…

02:25 SJ: I like that exercise that’s really yeah, yeah, yeah.

02:28 LJ: So anyway. Yeah so when I was a kid, I think one of the earliest things that happened was I got comic books… A comic book when I was eight years old and in the comic book it said, “Make money selling Burpee seeds.” So, I was eight and so I sent away to Minnesota or somewhere to get a box of Burpee seeds and I went door to door, knock on the door, “Would you like to buy some seeds?” And I sold lots of seeds. I got around the block I was out, so I had to send away for more seeds. But the point there is that I learned very early on that you can take opportunity, you don’t have to wait for it to come your way. You can sell things, you can rely on yourself to get ahead, you don’t have to rely on the rest of the world.

03:27 LJ: And that was an important lesson for me and I went on to have a big paper route and buy out the paper boy next door, and the other paper boy, and I was delivering 140 papers per day kind of thing, but family had no money, parents were divorced, stepfather was an alcoholic. If I wanted to buy a bicycle I had to buy my own bicycle and that kind of thing. So it was really good that I was an entrepreneur.

03:55 SJ: At a young age too, you’re able to figure that out, which is truly amazing at the age of eight.

04:00 LJ: And I think these early lessons we have to be careful with our kids too. What message are we sending with these little things in life, what do they learn, what do they take on as their identity? Because you’re never gonna out-perform your own expectations of yourself. Your own belief of who you are and what you can do and what you’re capable of, what you deserve, what you’ll go for and not go for. These are important things that formulate those expectations and beliefs in someone’s life. So, anyway, graduated high school, college was not an option, no one in my family ever went to college, it was never even talked about ’cause we had no money. And so I went to high school Bullet Havens in Bridgeport, and was in the carpentry class and figured I was a carpenter and I wanted it be a carpenter, and put an ad in the paper of carpentry “Call Larry no job too small.” I would show up, and I didn’t know how to do anything. But each time I’d say, “Okay I’ll get right back to you with an estimate.” And then I’d frantically go down the lumber yard and ask the guy, ” Well, how do you do this? How do you do that? What kind of… ”

05:11 SJ: There was no Google back then, right?

05:16 LJ: No.

05:16 SJ: There was no.

05:16 LJ: So, gave people estimates, and often, I got the job, because I was eager.

05:22 SJ: Yeah.

05:23 LJ: And even though I was young, you see them like looking at me, weighing, “Yeah. Okay. Well, how bad can this go?”

05:30 CH: Yeah, right.

05:31 LJ: But you know… So when I was 18, I got a phone call, “Can you build a house for me?” And I said, “Well, I can build house for you, but I’m only 18 years old. And if that’s a problem, let me know now.” So there’s this long silence on the phone. Right? You can just hear the guy weighing his options.

05:50 LJ: And there’s a book by Malcolm Gladwell talking about people being in the right place, at the right time. And so, Bill Gates, for example, had access to one of the very few computers for programming in a university. You had to sign in for half hour blocks, right? For programming on this computer. Well, he noticed that no students would sign in after like 9:00 PM. So he took from 10:00 PM to 6:00 in the morning.

06:26 SJ: Wow.

06:27 LJ: And by the time the world really needed some software to run on this hardware that was being developed, Bill Gates had more programming experience than anybody in the world.

06:36 SJ: Yup.

06:36 LJ: So he was in the right place, at the right time, right? With the right skill, at the right moment in history. So this was 1983, there was a building boom going on.

06:45 SJ: Yeah.

06:45 LJ: And all the real carpenters were busy.

06:47 SJ: Yeah.

06:48 LJ: So they get down to me, right?

06:49 SJ: Yeah.

06:50 LJ: And so, I got my shot. And so, I built the house, and my brother who was 14 years old on summer vacation. You can’t make this stuff up.

06:58 SJ: Wow.

07:00 LJ: And my friend, who was 17, and I was 18. We built this house in six weeks, 3000 square foot contemporary. We framed, roofed, sided, put the windows and doors in and deck on in six weeks, and we showed up early in the morning and we didn’t quit until it got dark. And then, the neighbor on the left side said, “Well, can you build mine?”

07:16 SJ: Yeah.

07:16 LJ: And then the neighbor on the right side, “Can you build mine?” And then this developer came by and looked and said, “Hey, can you build houses for me?”

07:24 SJ: Yeah.

07:24 LJ: And I wound up learning a lot, making mistakes, and everything. And then, I started spec building, buying the lots from the developer, and going partners with him. Me getting the builder’s mortgage. And so, I learned a lot.

07:39 SJ: That’s great.

07:40 LJ: And it’s really… Sometimes in our career, we think about… We measure our results by what we get. But when we’re young, especially, we have to measure our results by who we are becoming. Right? What are you learning?

08:00 SJ: Yeah.

08:00 LJ: What are you learning that’s gonna be useful later on? And then, we reel the clock ahead. And later in our career, we can move from success to significance. And ask that question again, “Who am I be coming?”

08:15 CH: Yeah.

08:15 LJ: Who I really wanna become.

08:17 CH: Building from there.

08:18 LJ: Yeah. ‘Cause you can’t take it with you.

08:20 SJ: Yeah, right?

08:21 LJ: It’s nice while it’s… While you’re here but…

08:23 SJ: Yeah.

08:24 LJ: You’re not gonna be here forever and it’s not coming with you. So then you say, “Well, what good can I do in the world? And who can I really become now that there… ” There’s only one thing better than a good person, it’s a good person with resources.

08:35 CH: Yeah. That’s true.

08:38 SJ: Yeah, you can get much more done obviously. And you can help a lot more so… So you were building the spec houses, and then…

08:45 LJ: Yeah, so the last house I built had a wall crack in the foundation that was leaking, and I couldn’t build any more houses because the building bubble burst. And I had to sell that last house three times for it to stick. And I said, “I can’t build any more. They won’t sell. Everybody got stuck with all these houses they were building.”

09:02 SJ: What year was this?

09:03 LJ: 1987.

09:04 SJ: Okay.

09:05 LJ: So I sort of fell into the basement water proofing business, trying to figure out how to fix this foundation crack. And I became a dealer for another company out of Illinois, who had some mediocre product. I didn’t know what was good, what was bad, what was anything, so I became one of their biggest dealers in two and a half years. And they would always have other dealers call me and say, “Hey, I have some questions for you. And I called the head office in Illinois and they said call you, that you’re doing some pretty good stuff. You could help me.”

09:38 LJ: So I created this dealer support program, and I told them about it. I said, “Would you support me? Would you give me your blessing? If I helped your dealers, you can only gain because they make money when they sell products.” Right? So if I help their dealers grow, they’re gonna sell more product. So they said, “Well, send it to us.” So I put this whole binder together. And this was before computers and the printers that we have.

10:02 SJ: Yeah.

10:02 LJ: It was like typewriter, you know?

10:04 SJ: Yeah.

10:04 LJ: And I send it to them. And couple of weeks go by, nothing. I call them. I said, “Hey, did you get my package? What’s going on?” “Well, we’ll get back to you.” Two weeks later, “Hey, did you get my package? What’s going on?” “We’ll get back to you.” So two more weeks later, I called and I was a little annoyed and I said… I’m only 23 years old. 26, sorry. 26.

10:27 LJ: I said it’s kind of rude of you guys. You said, “Send me the whole thing,” and I did and you’re gonna get back to me. And he whispers in the phone, he says, “If you get your resources together, I think you could buy this company.” I was like, “what?”

10:40 SJ: Wow.

10:41 LJ: They had 128 dealers throughout the country, and I had no money. Yeah.

10:46 CH: Yup.

10:47 LJ: And so I went out to Illinois to explore buying the company somehow, and I had read like “Nothing Down” by Robert Allen. How to buy real estate with no money, and I figured, “Well maybe I can it do with this company.” And I realized, A, I don’t wanna move to Canton, Illinois, B, I can do it better than these guys can.

11:06 SJ: Yeah.

11:07 LJ: So I left and I developed my own products and started my own dealer network, so I started calling around the country to other basement waterproofing contractors. “Hey, would you… I have some pretty cool products that you can get a competitive advantage over your competition. Would you like to take a look?” And a lot of them said, “Who are you? I’ve been in business for 25 years, alright what are you gonna teach me? I’m not interested,” but I persisted and some said, “Yeah, Okay.” And I developed a really breakthrough product in 1994, and they just came running and I’ve had 30 patents, on things ever since.

11:46 CH: Well that’s awesome. That’s great. So it’s funny ’cause you had a problem and you needed to solve it, with the crack in the wall and it kind of pushed you into that industry, and it was great timing because the housing thing was kind of to coming to an end. You hit the bubble, the bubble burst, so I mean that’s…

12:03 SJ: And during this time, did you have anybody that was… That was guiding you in any way that maybe like a mentor, or a business owner that was maybe helping you along?

12:15 LJ: Yeah. So, I discovered Nightingale Conant audio programs very early. And Earl Nightingale is one of my heroes, and he started the first sort of really… It’s audio books it seems so simple, so obvious now, but back then it wasn’t. And so I’d buy these cassette tape programs for 49.99 or 59.99. It was a lot of money, but I bought them and it was Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy and Dennis Whatley and Wayne Dyer, and these guys. And I listen to them constantly, constantly. I never listened to the radio, and still to this day, I don’t listen to the radio on the way over here. I was listening to audio programs, so…

13:00 CH: That’s great.

13:01 LJ: After 35 years of that habit. Habits make us. And it’s amazing what you can do. When you watch TV or listen to the radio, my philosophy is you get dumber.

13:15 SJ: Yeah and I hear you.

13:17 CH: Melt your brain.

13:19 SJ: Yeah. I’ve been trying to do more listening to motivational speakers. Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuk while I work out and stuff just because… To absorb that information on your free time is huge because then it subconsciously programs, you into a certain extent you know what I mean, so you…

13:39 LJ: Oh yeah.

13:40 SJ: Yeah.

13:40 LJ: Well, that’s literally what it is. We think about a TV station has a program director, so they’re gonna decide what is in the program for hundreds of thousands or millions of people to watch.

13:53 SJ: Yup.

13:54 LJ: That’s a powerful position because what goes in, that’s what people are pondering, thinking about that’s their… Becomes their identity over time. And you gotta be the program director of you. You gotta decide what you tune into you can’t leave that to somebody else, you wanna live on purpose, or you wanna… Conforming to the low level of what is normal in the world is what most people do.

14:22 SJ: Yeah.

14:23 LJ: And it’s actually quite easy to get ahead. You just gotta have different habits than everyone else has.

14:29 SJ: Yeah.

14:29 LJ: ‘Cause most people have the same habits, right? They listen to the same thing, watch the same things roughly. And you see…

14:38 SJ: The older you get, the longer you stay in those habits, the harder it is.

14:42 LJ: Yeah, it’s never too late to change, but yes.

14:46 SJ: The same way that you formed the good pattern, forming the bad pattern is the same thing, you stay in it.

14:52 CH: That’s right.

14:53 SJ: You have to make change, you have to try to push yourself and you have to put yourself that’s what you hear. All these motivational speakers say. And then I’ve heard you say it as well. You have to take yourself out of your comfort zone because that’s where you’ll succeed when you push yourself in other things. And it’s not just business, it’s just it’s in life, right? I mean, you push yourself and then when you’re in business, you can actually deal with things much easier. And I know that that’s what successful people preach so I think that’s amazing. So you were able to patent a lot of these products and you came up with that original product, you know that was your first product that you patent in ’94.

15:32 LJ: No, that was probably the third patent I had back then.

15:35 SJ: Okay.

15:36 LJ: So, you swing the bat sometimes you hit the ball, sometimes you strike out. But you keep swinging, and if you wake up in the morning, you got another chance.

15:46 SJ: Yeah.

15:46 LJ: So you go out there and go for it. Ideas are powerful. It’s all about ideas, how are we gonna operate, how we’re gonna treat other people, how we’re gonna speak, who are we gonna be. And just a few key ideas will change your whole life. You don’t need 10,000 ideas, you need a couple. And you gotta pick a direction and go and be the best version of you, and win in the environment that you choose to go into. Some people are interested in making money and being in the business world. Other people are interested in things that don’t necessarily make money, but they become incredible masters at whatever is that they choose. And I think we’re all made differently and you gotta follow what you’re really interested in. If you have a desire for something, it means you have a talent for it and it’s possible for you. If you have no desire for something, it’s not possible for you. And so there’s lots of things that I’m not interested in, but I really appreciate people who are incredible dancers, musicians, scientists, computer programmers, whatever it is. So, yeah. You gotta expose yourself to ideas and then gravitate to the ones that are striking your soul.

17:06 SJ: Yeah, yup. I have one other question for you. When you do start to change your habits, I imagine you’re 23-26 years old, right? A lot of the people that are the same age as you that maybe you grew up with don’t have the same ideals as you, don’t wanna work hard, don’t have that same vision. I imagine that it can get kinda lonely if there’s nobody else there to share it with. So, my question is, how important was it for you when you were going through those changes and you had that vision to have people surrounding you that shared that? Did you have people surrounding you, that shared the vision or was it really just you and then…

17:47 LJ: Well, you can put yourself around people. And when you listen to an audio program, you’re literally listening to someone who’s a high performer, and you’ll probably never meet this person, right? But they’re giving you their life’s wisdom for 1999, you know?

18:06 SJ: Yeah.

18:06 CH: Yeah, right.

18:07 LJ: You can save 50 years of experience by listening to this person, and then you listen to another one and another one, you establish patterns and you recognize what’s true for you and what’s applicable for you. Yeah, so, when I was a carpenter, I had these audio programs and when my friends would get in the truck, I would stuff them under the seat ’cause they would say, “Oh, you’re listening to that motivational crap again,” whatever. Look, we all have 24 hours in a day, right? So, let’s say you sleep eight, you’re gonna work a certain amount of hours, you’re gonna be brushing your teeth, taking a shower, getting dressed, eating, doing all the basics, right? And everybody has to do those things. It’s those times in the margins, right, when you have a habit that everyone else is squandering those times in the margins. And that’s where you can become… Basically get ahead. And not that your goal is to compete against other people and say, “Look I’m better than you,” that’s not it. And that’s important too, it’s like, why are you doing this? So, I do it so I can be the best version of me. And hopefully, that can inspire other people and I could pass it on, I could teach other people what I’ve learned to have $150 million business, 400 employees, and thing runs without me there. It’s running right now, I’m here. They don’t even know where I am. I don’t get phone calls. It’s awesome.

19:41 SJ: That’s great. And that’s all because of you, and that’s the message that you’ve and the infrastructure that you have kinda set up. To go with what Chase was saying, one of the things that I’ve noticed about you is you have a lot of people that have worked for you for a long period of time. I was watching like a documentary about your story, couple nights ago, and there’s a few people in it that have been with you at a very young age, and it’s amazing to see that and it kinda speaks to you and the type of employer, and person, and motivator that you are. Because those guys probably weren’t in the same boat as you were when you were younger, but they were with you and they were kinda grinding with you, and it’s awesome to see that you guys kind of to a certain extent, made it work together and made it happen all together. And I’m sure that you’re not somebody that just takes credit just yourself. Your team has definitely done some amazing things and obviously, that’s you coaching your team and motivating your team. So, I thought that was really, really cool that…

20:43 LJ: Yeah, when I was a kid, so, I was an underdog in a lot of things. Little league, and I batted 67, and I didn’t quit. I kept coming back as embarrassing as it was. So, I don’t quit, but you have to allow other people to succeed in your organization. And it’s not something that came naturally to me, that’s a learned skill for me, in particular. But you’ve got to allow other people to lead. Ralph Nader said, “I start with the premise that the purpose of leadership is not to create more followers, but it’s to create more leaders.” And so, that’s what you have to do. If I wanna sit here and not get any phone calls, I better have a lot of leaders back there that are taking care of stuff, that are empowered to make decisions, that know… That have a vision, mission, and values, so they know what decisions to make when they come along. And have process and the resources that they need to be really successful. And basically, at the end of the day, you want your people on your team leaving work feeling good about themselves. If they leave work feeling like crap about themselves, or about the place that they work, they’re not gonna be there long. Right?

22:16 SJ: That’s gonna show in their work, and their… Yeah. Yup.

22:18 LJ: Yeah. They’ve gotta feel better about themselves than when they walked in. If they go home to repair their ego and their self-esteem, and then come back the next day to be abused again, they’re not gonna be there long. And you’re always gonna start with new people, and you can’t get any traction that way.

22:39 SJ: Yeah. No, that makes sense. So that kinda takes us to your campus that you have in Seymour, which is amazing. I saw how you… Your growth was so fast, and you built the company so fast, it seemed like you were relocating to a new building every couple of years.

22:56 LJ: Yeah.

22:58 SJ: And then you finally purchased a gigantic building in Seymour. And then, you’ve kinda built some other buildings around that. The most… I think it’s the most recent building, the eighth… Is it the eighth or the ninth building, building?

23:11 LJ: Right now, we’re building, building 10.

23:12 SJ: Okay.

23:13 LJ: But, yeah. So we’re do have a lot of buildings. I think if we were in the Midwest, and I was in a flat spot, I would have less buildings. But Connecticut so dang hilly. You’ve gotta…

23:24 SJ: Yeah [23:25] ____.

23:27 LJ: Yeah. It was 90 feet vertical, elevation change from the main floor building of two to the main floor building one.

23:36 SJ: Oh, wow.

23:36 LJ: For example. So it’s just really…

23:38 SJ: That would be a lot of excavation.

23:41 LJ: Yeah. But, yeah. So for the listeners, just to kind of… I know we… I’m not sure how much time we have, but…

23:49 SJ: We got time.

23:50 LJ: So I then developed dealer networks for crawl space retrofit. So fixing nasty, moldy crawl spaces. And I created an industry. I created that industry, and now, it’s a very big industry. And in the beginning, it was… What we were doing was against building code, but today the building codes have changed.

24:13 SJ: Oh wow.

24:14 LJ: Right. So anyway, we have dealer networks in basement finishing in… I started a company with a dealership model for structural repair of foundations and home energy conservation insulation, and air sealing, basically. And we have an internet marketing agency for our dealers. We have a finance company, so our dealers can offer financing to the home owner. And we have… Our newest endeavor is our School of Entrepreneurship. So we teach other business owners, particularly contractors, but we have other business owners as well, how to be the leaders that they need to be to attract what it is that they want. And it was a live program. It’s online now, at…

25:03 SJ: Oh, that’s great.

25:04 LJ: Thesoe.com. And that is… I spend over half my time on that. Right now, I’ve been writing their curriculum for nearly three years now. We’re just about done with the curriculum. So it’s like a university…

25:19 SJ: That’s a great.

25:20 LJ: Education on how to be a successful home improvement and home repair contractor. And we’re trying to take that to the masses.

25:30 SJ: Yeah.

25:30 LJ: That’s what we’re trying to do.

25:31 SJ: No, that’s great. I love that idea. There’s definitely a need for it. I don’t… It’s funny. I wanna take the class and become a contractor.

25:36 LJ: Yeah. Yeah, well… There’s a lot there.

25:41 SJ: Yeah, no. That’s great. So, yeah. You’ve overcome a lot of things. You found a lot of niches, kind of, it seems like. Especially with the water proofing. How many contractors were builders that probably went out of business because of that recession, and the housing market boom kind of bubble kind of burst. And you were able to find this little niche and revolutionized the basement industry. So congratulations. I think that’s really, really awesome. I love the idea with the school. And one of the things that you always say that I really, really like is the seven qualities of a winner. That’s one of the things I’ve always liked that I hear you say. So if you could kinda run through for our guests, in your mind, what the seven qualities are.

26:34 LJ: Okay. I’m not sure I can recall the actual list that you’re referring to.

26:38 SJ: Okay.

26:38 LJ: But… So are we talking about in business, or as a leader, or…

26:47 SJ: As a leader.

26:48 LJ: As a leader?

26:48 SJ: Yeah.

26:49 LJ: Okay. Alright, well I’m gonna make this up. I’m gonna generate it, because I can’t recall the actual list that you’re referring to. I would say the first thing is you have to understand that your external results come from your internal, from what’s going on in the inside. So I say from the inner comes the outer. From the invisible comes the visible. From the unseen, the seen. And so the second thing I would say is that you have to take total responsibility for everything that’s going on around you. So if you blame other entities, the government, the taxes, the people, you can’t get any good people to work for you, your family, your poor childhood, what happened to you, whatever, you can blame anything you want. What you’re doing when you blame is you put the power for your progress outside of yourself, and you’re powerless. Hey, they’re in control, not me.

27:57 LJ: The reality is they don’t think of you very much at all, they’re just thinking about themselves. You need to think about you, you need to take full responsibility, because if you look at it, honestly, you’re misfortune, you’ve probably had a hand in it if you were an adult. If you’re a kid, you’re not responsible for your childhood, but you are responsible for your adulthood. So you gotta take full responsibility. And the moment you take full responsibility, you assume power over what happens next. So next is you have to learn all you can. When you’re exposed to a lot of different things, you can find out: What do I really want? Who do I really wanna be? When I was a kid, we lived in a multi-family house and I went to my friend’s house and he had a single family house, and that was really impressive to me. Now, okay, it was a 800 square foot cape okay, but it didn’t matter.

28:56 LJ: It was a single family house, I was like, “Wow.” And he had shag carpet.

29:01 SJ: Woah.

29:02 LJ: Woah.

29:03 LJ: I was like, “Man I wanna live like this. This is nice.” So by being exposed to a lot of different things, so whether it be other people, places in the world, and information, knowledge, education, you can determine where you really belong. I believe that we’re all created differently with different talents for a reason. So some of us are good at being caregivers for example, we wanna take care of our people. Some of us are hunters. We’ll go out there and fight the dragon, and bring it home. Some of us are farmers. Some of us are creative, some of us are artistic. And so you have to find why you were put here and follow that. And there’s lots of paths within that, but if we spend our life chasing some artificial notion of who we should be, ’cause our parents told us we should be a doctor, or we should go to college, and whatever, then we’re gonna probably struggle with that over time.

30:20 LJ: So then you’ve gotta set a goal. I think some people don’t set goals, ’cause they’re said, “Well, what if that’s not good enough? What if there’s some better thing that I should be doing?” Well, you can figure that out along the way. For now, set a goal. Where are you going right now? Who do you wanna be? What do you wanna do? What do you wanna accomplish right now? Then you wanna go at that with all you’ve got. So, be very clear about that. And we have goal setting exercises, and vision/hearing exercises in our school. But you have to sort of see it before it happens.

30:55 SJ: Yeah.

30:57 LJ: If you can see it before it comes true, you can make it come true a lot faster. If you can’t see it, you may never be able to get there, ’cause. Where are you going? “Well, I just wanna do better.” A lot of people say, “Well, I wanna do better.” Well, what does that mean exactly? How much better? In what area of your life? Let’s quantify it.

31:15 SJ: And even if you come up 80% of your goal, without setting that goal, what are you working towards? And then obviously when you get there, you can reassess your goals at that point and set other benchmarks.

31:29 LJ: Yeah. People say, “Well, what should I be doing with my time or what habits should I have?” Well, that depends on what your goals are. If you don’t know what your goals are, I can’t tell you what you should be doing.

31:41 SJ: Yeah. So that’s kind of where it all starts, right? Yeah.

31:43 LJ: Now, you could change your mind along the way, and that’s how it is. Even when we accomplish goals, it’s like, “Okay, we got to the top of this mountain, but we realized it’s only a little hill,” ’cause we could see the next mountain top from there. And then we spend five years getting there, “Okay, I accomplished that. Oh, I see another mountain top,” and that’s how it is. But for now, you gotta pick a direction and go at it with all you’ve got. Don’t second guess yourself. And then as you get new information, you can adjust. Adjust. And then you’ve got to create a plan. You gotta create a plan. So in business, you wanna be the leader in a niche, but you don’t want the niche to be so small that you can’t accomplish your personal goals. So you don’t have to compete with Microsoft or a General Motors.

32:41 LJ: But you wanna pick a niche that is big enough for you to accomplish your goals. If the niche is too small, then you can master it and you’re not accomplishing your personal goals. Then you’ve gotta find a business that has some margin. This is really important. There needs to be a margin. Buy low, sell high. So if you’re buying something, if you’re entering a business where the competitors have a tiny margin and they’re barely making money, you better bring some innovation to the table.

33:28 LJ: So a lot of times, it’s just combining ideas, executing, can you communicate better. What are you gonna do better to beat them? They’ve been doing that for decades and you’re gonna come along and you think you’re just gonna beat them? They know their business. So you better have some new ideas. So learning from others who are doing what you wanna do now, even if it’s maybe a different industry, is very valuable. You will never live long enough to learn it all yourself. That’s Brian Tracy, who’s a friend of mine, I did an audio program with him and he… But he tells a story about KeepCup Myer. He went to KeepCup Myer seminars and KeepCup Myer had 190 secrets of success or something.

34:20 LJ: So Brian Tracy being a impatient young man went up to him at the break and said, “Mr. Cup Myer, of all these secrets of success, what is the number one secret of success?”

34:32 LJ: And Mr. Cup Myer said, “Young man, you have to learn from other people. You’ll never live long enough to learn it all yourself.” And I definitely believe that is true. So you had to continually learn. And when your goals change, now you got a whole new set of things you have to learn.

34:52 SJ: Yeah, that’s amazing, that’s amazing. One of the other things that you do is you push yourself and a lot of entrepreneurs do that. You get out of your comfort zone and you push yourself to do things that are extremely difficult and not even within sight of business. So what I’m speaking about is how you ride the Baja 1000, correct?

35:13 LJ: Yeah.

35:13 SJ: And how many years have you done that?

35:16 LJ: This is the fourth year.

35:18 SJ: Yeah. So the Baja 1000 is a race through the desert which is, you stay on the bike the whole entire time, correct?

35:27 LJ: Well, this is the longest non-stop cross-country race in the world. It’s 1000 miles more or less. Some years it’s a little bit more; some years, a little bit less. And it starts in Ensenada, Mexico in the Baja Peninsula. That’s two hours south of San Diego. And there’s many different classes of vehicles. There’s race trucks and buggies of all kinds, and motorcycles.

35:54 LJ: And so I’m an avid motocross rider and we went on a recreational tour down there in January 2015, and the guide said, “Hey, we’re in the Baja 1000 course right now.” Where I’m like, “What’s the Baja 1000?” And he told us about the race and we’re like, “Wow.” And my son decided, he was 19 years old at that time, he decided that we should do it.

36:16 LJ: And I thought, “Oh, boy.” So, “And I shouldn’t have brought him out over here.”

36:22 LJ: I have been riding with my son since he was five but…

36:25 SJ: Have you always had a background with bikes and stuff?

36:28 LJ: I started riding when I was 32.

36:30 SJ: Okay. That’s crazy because you’re from Bridgeport [36:33] ____. So I was like, “Not many dirt bikes.”

36:41 LJ: My younger brother got me. He started riding and I thought he was nuts, and he’d be in the hospital with a collapsed lung and a tube coming out of his chest. And I was like, “Why don’t you quit that?” He’s like, “No way.” I’m like, “What? I don’t get it.”

36:53 LJ: But when I got on a bike, I crashed in about 45 seconds and the rest was history.

36:57 SJ: You want the nasty one to figure it out. Yeah you wanted to figure it out.

37:00 LJ: And I don’t quit. I don’t quit.

37:01 SJ: You don’t quit. Yup, that’s it. That’s awesome.

37:03 LJ: Yeah, that’s a big lesson right there. You know, don’t quit. Now sometimes you should quit because you’re in the wrong gig and… I say don’t quit but there is a time to quit because you can spend your time finding another path that there is a lot less resistance instead of just beating your head against the wall, beating your head against the wall, beating your head against a wall. But nevertheless, don’t quit once you find your endeavor. It’s gonna be hard. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

37:41 SJ: Yeah. Well, you know what they say, everybody has ideas. It’s the people that can execute it are the ones that truly get ahead. You know what I mean?

37:48 LJ: That’s right. And you’re gonna execute it and you’re gonna fail, like I did in the Baja race but… So the first year, my son and I entered the race as a two-man team in the sportsman class. It’s a mixed age class and we were against teams of five and six riders so they could ride for two or three hours and give the bike to somebody else.

38:10 SJ: Wow.

38:10 LJ: Then ride for two to three hours, give the bike to somebody else. Well my son and I, we had devised a plan we would take six turns each, I would start give the bike to him after 80 miles, he would go 70 miles, give the bike to me and we go back and forth to the end. Well, you’ve gotta watch the movie. It’s on YouTube. And it’s called into the dust and it’s a 90-minute theater quality full-length movie about that race.

38:32 SJ: That’s on your YouTube channel, correct?

38:34 LJ: That is you just punch in into the dust.

38:38 SJ: Okay.

38:39 LJ: And it’ll come right up and there’s a trailer for it too.

38:43 SJ: Oh, that’s right. Yeah, it’s great that’s…

38:43 LJ: Yeah, so the first year, it was quite dramatic, it was dramatic. Good thing we brought our video guys out. And we made this movie. And so should I tell them the punchline [38:57] ____?

38:58 SJ: Yeah go ahead tell them.

39:00 LJ: Alright, so we won the race in 25 and a half hours by 60 seconds.

39:04 SJ: Wow.

39:05 LJ: So my son says, “Hey we should do the Iron Man class next year.” And Iron Man is, you do it all yourself, there’s no teammates, you’re on the bike, the whole time and you’re talking about 30 hours or more on the bike depending on how long the race is so he wanted to do it and he’s… And I said, “Well I lost my teammate and what am I gonna do, am I gonna ride in the truck? No I’m not riding in the truck. I’m gonna be in this race.” But I was at the same time, you know this is gonna… It’s gonna end badly. It always ends badly in Iron Man class. Because even if you finish which less than half finish…

39:48 SJ: Oh, wow.

39:49 LJ: Even if you finish… Because you’re physically exhausted or you crash or your bike breaks or something but even if you finish, you’re in dramatic pain and suffering. Being on the bike for that many hours. Continuously…

40:02 SJ: It’s not like, “Yay I finished”. It’s more like, “Oh thank God.”

40:04 LJ: Yeah, yeah.

40:04 SJ: Right? You’re just exhausted so…

40:10 LJ: Yeah. Absolutely. So the first year, my son actually finished 855 miles 28 hours-ish, and I got hurt at mile 200, I got whiplash and I didn’t know if my neck was broken, or what, but I gutted it out to mile 600 and I couldn’t go not one mile more. So that was our first attempt in 2016 so I don’t quit, so we gotta go back.

40:40 SJ: Keep going back.

40:41 LJ: In 2017, they announced the course, 1134 miles.

40:46 SJ: Couldn’t be 930 they had to go over 100.

40:50 CH: Was that the longest one.

40:52 LJ: That was the second longest ever. So my son got to mile 607 and he tapped out and he was having some issues. He’s allergic to peanuts and 30 hours before the race we’re eating fajitas he puts hot sauce on his fajitas in Mexico, it had peanuts in it. And so he just ate a few drops, but we were in the hospital and 30 hours before the race, so then he didn’t get any sleep before the race, and he wanted to win this thing, so he was pushing early and he was in a lead for 200 miles in our class and… But at 607, he couldn’t go on anymore.

41:33 SJ: Well It sounds like you pass the no quit down to your son ’cause he seems like he’s got the same.

41:39 LJ: Oh yeah.

41:40 SJ: You know what I mean?

41:40 LJ: Yeah, and then so I got to mile 831 and I had trouble, I actually missed a gas Pit, I ran out of gas and I was waiting for seven hours, so that was last year. This year, I had to go back again and Tanner, said, been there done that. Got the t-shirt you’re on your own dad. So I went back and I said, “Man, I gotta finish this and I can’t die, like this.” I can’t be telling myself the story forever that I couldn’t finish Baja 1000 Iron Man. And only… My son became the 13th human being to ever finish.

42:20 SJ: Wow.

42:21 LJ: Okay, that’s it. So not many enter and…

42:24 SJ: And you weren’t gonna have his name on that. Not yours, right?

42:29 LJ: I had to finish so I, I worked out I cross-fit with him, I ran, like bicycle, I trained, I got myself in great shape as I did the years before, but we had a great plan and I said, “I’m gonna race all four races of the desert racing series to prepare myself for the last race which was the Baja 1000 and I did well, I finished every race only two of us in Iron Man finished every race, and so I went into the Baja 1000 in second place in the points for the season, which was unexpected. And so that was great, and we had a great plan, we had a great team and we executed our plans calmly and with all this chaos going around us, I mean people die in this race. It’s dangerous.

43:26 SJ: So how long were you on the bike for on this one?

43:29 LJ: I was on the bike for 34 hours, 33 hours and 45 minutes and I finished. I finished and I became the oldest finisher…

43:37 SJ: Congratulations.

43:38 LJ: In the Baja 1000 Ironman. I finished every mile of the season and I finished in second place in the points. There was 10 starters, five finishers this year.

43:48 SJ: Wow, that’s amazing.

43:49 CH: You’re gonna go back?

43:51 LJ: Well, next year, we’re gonna do a team; my brother, and my son, and myself.

43:55 SJ: That’s great.

43:56 LJ: Yeah.

43:57 SJ: That is awesome. So do you take breaks? Obviously, you have to stop and get gas, you have to get off the bike for a little bit, but for the most part, what’s the longest break that you’re taking?

44:07 LJ: Well, there’s a time limit in these races. So it was a 36-hour time limit. If you don’t finish in the time limit, you do not finish. So you could take all the breaks you want, but you need to finish in this time. So the longest break I took was about 45 minutes one time, I got in the van to get warm, I was almost frozen. It’s 40 degrees at night, and it’s probably full winds…

44:31 SJ: And it’s hot during the day.

44:32 LJ: And it’s 100 during the day. But the average break, I would say, is about eight minutes. And I see my truck, I saw my truck 16 times in the race the way you lay it out. You gotta plan your own race. You gotta figure out where are you gonna meet your chase truck, where you’re gonna…

44:52 SJ: Yeah, they’re not just following you through the…

44:54 LJ: Well, the course crosses paved roads…

44:56 SJ: Okay, so that’s where you have to stop.

44:58 LJ: Anywhere from 30 miles since you saw them last to 100 miles, and last year’s race was 180 miles before you’d see your truck again. Three different times is 180 miles, so it’s a long way.

45:12 LJ: But yeah, so it’s a lot of logistics and planning. But when you do things that are difficult, like I race in Spartan races. Love ’em. When you do things that are difficult, it just makes the rest of life easy.

45:25 SJ: That’s true.

45:26 LJ: You can’t get upset about the small stuff or see it as a big wall in your mind. And so I would encourage people to get out of their comfort zone. And physically, when you have the energy to get through your day, I mean leadership requires energy. If you’re shot by 3:00, you can’t get as much enthusiasm and vibrancy, and you get a little grouchy. You run out of energy for people. So keeping yourself physically fit, I think is really important. I’ve got to give credit to my son. If I didn’t have a son, I’d be 25 pounds heavier right now.

46:12 LJ: There’s no way I’d be racing, no Baja, nothing.

46:15 SJ: That’s great. That’s great. Now, is he involved in your business endeavors or?

46:19 LJ: He is now. He started his own business, he was a salesperson for us for a while. Now, he works in R&D, really bright kid. And another example of how you don’t have to go to college to be an entrepreneur, or get a great job, or even be in the sciences. I think there’s gonna be a radical change in higher education in this country. Kids come out of there and they don’t have all the skills they need, in many cases, or they don’t even know what they wanna do with their life. They get a degree in something that they never even use, and now they’re $150,000 in debt. So by the time they’re age 35, they might be out of it. So you can learn with the internet and everything that’s available these days, you can learn a tremendous amount of things right now.

47:14 SJ: Yeah, and I mean just like anything, when you get out of college, you’re not ready to go. You’re starting from the bottom, the same, it’s trial and error. And that’s kind of how you built your career, trial and error, and figuring it out, and toughing it out.

47:31 LJ: When you learn on your own, you learn things that you know are relevant that you want to learn. When you learn in college, you learn some what you thought you were signed up for, and a lot of stuff that they think they wanna teach you. So you’re wasting a lot of time here. So I really believe in self-education.

47:49 SJ: Yeah. No, definitely.

47:51 CH: But here’s the thing though, I went to college, and I think the biggest advantage is that you get exposed to ideas. In my college in particular, we had a creed or a motto called cura personalis, it’s Latin for care for the whole person, or development of the whole person. And so they make you take these classes that maybe in the beginning you’re like, “Oh, I don’t wanna take whatever it… Astronomy,” or even some people they don’t wanna take English class, they don’t wanna learn how to read and write better, ’cause they’re just not interested. But what I found was that it exposed me to ideas that I never would have come across before, and some of those ideas I really did like and enjoy, and some of them I put forth in my life today. But I also think you could get that from other sources too. I think, like you said, your own personal development is important. You have to learn how to educate yourself, not other people bombarding you with information like that. And I agree with you, I think that that whole system is not setup correctly, and it’s going to one day fold into something new, which we’re seeing now. The internet is…

49:04 SJ: Yeah, the internet’s what’s gonna make that possible.

49:04 CH: The next push. But like with… It opens up new pathways in the brain. I think when you try something new and you get exposed to something new, it opens up new pathways in the brain and it also makes you appreciate things that you’ve never encountered before. So whether it’s a culture, it’s a set of ideas or thoughts, but you have to then wrestle with those whether you like it or not, your grades to depend on it, you gotta graduate. So it also forces you to look at things that you don’t wanna learn. A lot of the times we don’t want, we don’t wanna do these things, we don’t wanna learn these things, but in college you have to in order to move forward.

49:50 LJ: Yeah, it’s different for everybody, if you haven’t noticed a bit of a rebel, I don’t wanna conform to anyone else’s plan.

50:00 SJ: Yeah.

50:01 LJ: And I think the whole institution of… Institutions and even governments, they wanna expand their influence, right? They wanna… And we all do, right, we all do. But there’s ways that a person if they didn’t have the means with the time of the patience or to go to a college could learn. Now, you’re not gonna be a doctor in the home study course. Okay, you gotta go to college for certain things, right?

50:34 SJ: Yeah, yup, yup. That’s always what I said.

50:36 LJ: Yeah, but if you wanna be an entrepreneur, you don’t need it in my view.

50:40 SJ: No, I agree. Yeah yeah.

50:42 LJ: Yeah.

50:43 SJ: Alright, well, we’re pretty much out of time, but I really, really appreciate you coming in, sharing your story. It’s super educational for me, for Chase as well and obviously for our listeners, we have a whopping seven subscribers on YouTube. So all set.

50:54 LJ: Nice.

50:55 SJ: But we’re just getting going. We are just getting going. There is no quit in this podcast.

51:00 CH: And we’re never giving up.

51:01 LJ: That’s right.

51:02 SJ: Thanks for coming through, so I really, really, really appreciate you coming by. I’m excited to put this podcast out and share your story with everybody. So, Larry thank you.

51:14 LJ: Alright, Scott.

51:14 SJ: Have a good day.

51:14 CH: Thanks for coming Larry.

51:14 LJ: Alright, thanks Chase. Alright.