Navigating the Stages

of Entrepreneurship

Ep. 146 with Brad Crowell

“Remind yourself things are going in the right direction, and good things are happening.”

Brad Crowell

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Show Notes

The entrepreneurship journey is not a one size fits all. Brad takes us through his experience getting into the entrepreneur space as an employee, leading his own team, and the fears that come with start-up finances. It’s honest, it’s real, and it might just be the conversation you need to know you aren’t alone in your financial fear.

If you have any comments or questions about the Be It pod shoot us a message at [email protected]. Or leave a comment below!

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In this episode you will learn about:

  • How to deal with the fear of supporting your team
  • Dealing with betrayal from the boss
  • Journey of resilience
  • Learning from past employment for preparedness
  • Fear is linked to mindset
  • Becoming an asset, not an anchor
  • Business growth and handling the next biz steps
  • The pressure of supporting your team
  • How to refocus the fear
  • Fear-based decisions make reactionary decisions, not proactive decisions

Lesley Logan
Welcome to the Be It Till You See It podcast where we talk about taking messy action, knowing that perfect is boring. I’m Lesley Logan, Pilates instructor and fitness business coach. I’ve trained thousands of people around the world and the number one thing I see stopping people from achieving anything is self doubt. My friends, action brings clarity and it’s the antidote to fear. Each week, my guests will bring Bold, Executable, Intrinsic and Targeted steps that you can use to put yourself first and Be It Till You See It. It’s a practice, not a perfect. Let’s get started.


Bra Crowell
All right, good morning Be It listeners. Welcome back to, I don’t have any idea what episode this is actually. But this is gonna be a solo episode from yours truly, Brad. Really excited to sit down and share some thoughts with you and some things that I’ve been working on in my life. Today, I wanted to talk about fear. And this is very personal for me because as we have grown as a company, something that I have constantly battled is the fear of not being able to support our team. And what I mean by that is, as we’ve grown, we have been in a position to actually hire a team. And it’s been so exciting. And it’s been really incredible and amazing to have help, handling, you know, all the things because, as you know, we have a lot of things going on. But in the back of my mind, there’s been this, you know, this, this, like, nagging fear, underneath it all of are we going to be able to make sure we can pay everyone, because they’re depending on us, right? They’re actually literally depending on the work that we’re doing to be able to, you know, some of them have families, and, you know, they’ve lives and bills and life. I mean, I remember what it was like being employed, if my employer didn’t pay me, that would have been an incredibly bad day. And in fact, that happened to me a couple of times throughout my journey, in this entrepreneurial space, where I was actually working for an entrepreneur, and the business didn’t go well. And I ended up suffering from it because I never got paid. The first time I had a startup company crumble out from underneath me, I was only I was 26, I think, or 25, maybe I think I started working for them when I was 24. And everything kind of really didn’t pass, didn’t succeed by the time I was 25 26. It was all crumbling at that point. But my belief in the people, my belief in the product as a full blown team member, because that’s like my mentality, I prefer to be on a team rather than solo, I was so convinced that we were going to be able to make it work, pull it around, even though especially at that age, I had no understanding of the money of how any of it all worked at all. But I knew we were going to be fine and we weren’t. And literally to the point where I actually was the last person showing up in the office of 35 people, no one else was even coming not even the CEO and I showed up to work. And that was like that moment of like, “I need to figure this out. Like I can’t believe that I’m here. I’m here. What am I doing here?” Like there’s nothing going on in this company. And it was a very real world like wake up moment of, you know, I can’t, I can’t actually trust, I can’t rely on this income stream this job. This isn’t going to be the thing that takes me to where I want to go. Right. And, and that was really crushing. That was like, I felt betrayed, I genuinely felt betrayed. And then I was angry that the people who had hired me didn’t sit me down and say, “Hey, man, this is failing. You’re gonna need to figure out some other employment, you know, figure out another way to make money.” No, I had to come up with that on my own when I realized they had bailed. And that was, that was crazy, you know. And then I was like, then I was in like, full freakout mode. I didn’t know what to do. I actually did call my parents and be like, “Hey, I can’t pay rent tomorrow because my paycheck I don’t think it’s coming.” And, and that was like, really impactful for me, that caused a lot of frustration and anger, actually a lot of anger. Because I put my trust in some people that didn’t do well, by me. I ended up having to actually threaten to take some of them to small claims court in order to get paid, you know, just a couple $1,000. It wasn’t even like, you know, it wasn’t like they would be 50 grand or 100 grand. No, it was just like a couple $1,000. And but I needed that money desperately in order to live, you know, and it took me years to make the decision to go to small claims court. So and that was a whole nother battle that we won’t go into here because I had to really get over this idea that I was going to be hurting them or burning relationships, right. From all my friends perspectives they had burnt my relationship with me. But for me, I was thinking, “Oh, well, this is still my network. This is still my people.” Anyway, we won’t go into that.

But the the next thing that I had to do was to scramble, I had to figure it out like immediately within one week, and I had gotten three jobs. I had started working for a restaurant, on the far side of Los Angeles. Also, I didn’t have a vehicle. So I was literally taking the bus across town, I started working at a school where I was doing admin for the school. And the other, I got another restaurant job up in the valley. So I was working, you know, these, these restaurants were, I don’t know, eight or ten miles away from each other, the school was somewhere in the middle, and I lived way off to the side. So my morning, it really was it really as crazy. I actually was, the only choice I had was to get up at like 6 6:30, which is against my nature, by the way I don’t, I’m not a morning person, I genuinely like to stay up late, I’ve always felt like my brain functions better at night. That’s been since I was really, really young. So I had to get up really, really early, I had to roll out of bed. And I got into this very interesting routine where I would walk down the, I would walk about a mile down to the train station and on the way I would stop and I would pick up my breakfast at this spot there. And then I would grab a coffee and I would sit on the train and I would take the train into Hollywood, California and I would work at the school. And then after school, I would leave about five o’clock 4:30 5 o’clock, and I would take the bus across town, which was a 45 minute bus ride to go to a restaurant. And then I would leave that restaurant at like 11 o’clock at night and I would take the bus back to my home, I’d get there around midnight, and then I would crash and get up at six and do it again the next day. And then on other nights, I would take the train north up into the valley to a different restaurant, I would walk a mile and a half down the street to get to the restaurant because the train stop wasn’t close enough. And then same story, I would usually try to catch a ride back to the train at the end of the shift, or I would walk you know. And anyway, the the point is, you know, going through these experiences, it didn’t actually, it’s interesting looking back at it now, in the moment, what actually happened was I just told myself, “I’ll do it, I’ll do whatever I need to do to get it done to figure it out.” Right. But what I didn’t see was that I was resilient. I was actually built a ton of resentment and anger in me. And it was probably some of the darkest years of my life when I was really scrambling to just make ends meet and just literally make, you know, 1500 bucks a month to pay my rent and eat. And you know, especially living in a big city like Los Angeles, and I got a phone call from some of the people I used to work with, like a year and change later. And they were like, “Hey, Brad, how you doing man? I hope you’re amazing.” Right. And these guys, like, have plenty of money. And they you know, are very resourceful. I mean, they’re also decades older than me at the point at this time. But still, they called me up and I was angry at them. I was so angry, and I challenged them. I said, “Why would you, why would I ever work for you again? You burned me, you burned me, you know, like really, really you fucked me over.” Right. And it was like, I was so pissed. And, and they said, “Well, look, man, we really, we really believe in you. We really love, you know, the efforts that you were doing at the company and what you were doing, and we think you’d be an amazing team player. You know, plus, we can pay you.” And so I, I was really hesitant again, I had this fear, and I was really hesitant, and I called my dad and I said, “Hey, these guys who are really I’m not sure that I trust them. They’re offering me a job.” And, you know, he’s like, “Well, is it better than what you’re doing now?” And I was like, probably because I was you know, I was fried I had been I don’t know, it was just more than a year of of scrambling and trying to make ends meet. Right.

And the, you know, I called another friend of mine, who I really trusted and he told me, “Look, you were able to go get those jobs in a weekend. You can go get jobs like that, again, if you need to, you know, maybe this could be a good opportunity for you. And by the way, you know, if you don’t trust these guys, then just get the most out of it that you possibly can. So what is a crazy ridiculous number that you feel like you, you know, like it would they would probably turn you down if you told them this number, you know and tell them that’s what you need or you’re not interested in taking the gig.” And so at the time, I was probably bringing in 20 to $25,000 a year. No I was at $25,000 a year or so and you know, but life was a scramble it was tough. And I was like, “I’m going to ask them for $50,000.” Right. And I genuinely believed that like, this was an inordinate amount of money, that it was like, they were going to laugh in my face. And they’d be like, “Dude, you’re cool. But like, come on, and like, you know, get real.” Right. And I said, and not only that, I told them, you know, “Hey, if I’m going to take this job, I have to work from home because I was tired of commuting, or I was tired of being on a bus, I didn’t even have a car.” Right. And then the third thing I said is, “My laptop is busted. I can’t do this job unless you buy me a new laptop that I own. It’s mine.” Right. And I walked into this meeting, I sat down with these guys, and I told him how awesome I was, and how all these amazing things I’ve been doing, you know, and how I have basically put my life back together, which is a lie. You know, I put my life back together after our past startup company had crumbled, right? And they sat in this coffee shop with me, and they listened me and said, “Dude, that’s so crazy. We didn’t know that you were, you know, literally negotiating contracts, and, you know, managing a school and, you know, bringing students in, you know, whatever. It sounds like you’re managing a team.” And I said, “Well, sort of, you know.” And they said, “Great. Well, we want you to manage a team, for the company that we’re working for.” And the first thing they told me was, “Listen, I know that there’s a, there’s not a lack of trust, there’s a lack of trust here. So just so that you can feel assured, we’re not writing your check.” And I was like, “Oh, Holy shit, that changes a lot of it for me,” because I wasn’t putting my trust back in these two guys, I was putting my trust in different people. Now, I didn’t know that either. But that animosity that I had, I was able to let go of it. But I still stuck to my guns. And I said, “I won’t be able to do this job unless you pay me 50 grand. I work from home and you buy me a laptop.” And like without hesitation, they were like, “Yeah, cool, we can make that happen.” And I was like, “Oh my God, did I just should I have asked for 60 grand? Should I have asked for 70 grand, like 70 grand.” I couldn’t even have imagined $70,000 at the time, you know, but I was like, “That was too easy. Why did they, you know, what the hell? Why did they, you know, why did that happen so fast.” Right? And it, I was just, again, fear, worried about this. And anyway, it ended up being an amazing experience to work with those two guys. This time around, it was a much different environment than our previous startup company. Even though those two were both decision makers in the past company. In this company, they were also decision makers, they ran the marketing department and I ended up working for them, managing an entire team of bloggers and doing all the social media, and SEO and stuff like that, and, and over the next year, I really had a chance to get to know them. And it was it was a really great experience.

And the you know, ultimately, though, what happened was, there were some other people in the company, namely the founder, and the guy who had put in a lot of money, who, you know, the guy was a shark. And he forced my friends out of the company three days before they actually were going to be vested, which means they were going to be qualified to receive, you know, stock in the company, all the stuff, and he forced them out. And I don’t know, all the politics of it. I wasn’t involved in those conversations. But you know, from the side view, it really looked shady. And it was pretty clear to me that my role in the company wasn’t going to be a long, you know, long for this world. Right? So it started to, I started to think, okay, cool, I need to start increasing, I never let go of my restaurant job, by the way, because again, fear, I didn’t actually stop. I didn’t cut that because I thought if I need this again, I’m going to keep it. So I kept the really fancy restaurant I was working at working at nights. And I would work on Friday and Saturday nights and just bring in a couple 100 bucks. But it was a lifeline for me. And I knew if I needed to I could go back into the restaurant, I could tell anyone in the restaurant, the staff, I’ve been working there for a couple years at this point, like, “Hey, any more shifts, if y’all want to take a vacation, I’ll cover anything.” I don’t care, just in case, you know, the rug got pulled out for me at this job. And I had a feeling I just had this feeling like, you know what, they’re shifting, they’re making a lot of changes in the company. They brought in a new woman to do intense ad analysis and ad spend. And she, you know, used to spend $7 million a year or something, whatever. And, you know, I was like, I could probably figure it out. But like, it wasn’t really something I was into. And she sat me down. She’s like, “Do you want to do this?” And I was like, “Yeah, sure.” And she was like, “That wasn’t very convincing.” I was like, “Yeah, you know, I don’t actually really want to do this. But you know, look, I’m good at this stuff and I’ll figure it out.” And she basically went back to the boss and said, “He’s the wrong guy for me. This is not gonna work.” And so they fired me. But, you know, I kind of had a feeling. Right. So I was prepared this time around and I had that job. I had already started to you know, let people know and, and it allowed me to kind of land on my feet. And I was also able to, because of this was like a legit company I was working for and all the things I had been paying into unemployment, so I was able to immediately go apply for unemployment. And just like, you know, it was way less of a hard landing than the last the first time through. But, you know, again, it still gave me fear, I was suddenly making, you know, half as much money again. And, but this time, I decided to make the most of it I, I actually spent most of my time over the next year, working on music, because that was what I had done, gone to Los Angeles to do anyway, so, but I share these stories, because, for me, it’s fun to go down memory lane for you, I want you to have an understanding of, you know, this, this fear that now fast forward. You know, years later, I ended up working another job for a really long time. And then I left that company to start my own stuff, right. And I had this fear that I wasn’t going to be able to pay my bills. At this point it had been, I don’t know, 10 years, since my first ventures, the first story I was telling you, and my life was a little more complicated. You know, I was married at this point, I had bills to pay, I had, you know, like, just life, right. And so I now instead of me, you know, needing 1500 to $2,000 a month, I needed more than that, like by double right, because Los Angeles is expensive, and all the things and and so I was like scrambling to get my fledgling companies off the ground to actually pay me. Right.

And I was so afraid to leave those companies that I’d started and throw my weight behind the what Lesley had started, because I knew how difficult it was to put a financial burden on a new business. And I was worried that if I brought me, you know, I looked at myself as a as an anchor to Lesley’s company. I didn’t look at my self as an asset to Lesley’s company. Right? Again, fear and mindset, right? So I said, well, yeah, okay. But that means her company is going to have to support me, and I know the financial strain that could put on everything. And that’s not, you know, I know it can crush a starting company. Right. But I never was looking on the flip side of the coin. I was never looking and saying like, like, I have been through so many different startup companies. I have worn so many roles. I’ve seen so many things. I’ve spent all this money from other people and all these other things, you know, marketing, hiring, firing, whatever events, like so much stuff, Dev, I mean, it was just a lot of things. And I wasn’t looking at all of that as an asset that I was bringing to Lesley’s company. No, instead, I was saying, like, “Man, I’m just going to be an anchor that’s going to drag her company down.” Right? And this is again, fear, right? And when, when we took our first when I participated in our first coaching program with somebody else, the very first thing that my coach, my one on one coach said to me was, “Dude, you are going to be, you’re going to make the money. You are going to make that money. Right. You You have all the skills, all this understanding, all this where with all, you’re going to make that money.” Right? And, and he was totally right. Not only did we make that money, we made more money, then then I needed just to pay my bills. We were paying Lesley’s bills and my bills, right? And then slowly, we started to hire an assistant, and then we’re able to pay her, you know, and then we hired a video editor and we were able to pay her. Right. And so it was very exciting to have this belief in myself. I’m like, wow, you know, me coming into the situation isn’t an anchor, isn’t a negative thing. Me coming in can be a positive thing that I didn’t even really know what I was doing in the sense of like, “Here’s my plan. Here’s my strategy for growth.” It wasn’t like that. It was just me being willing to do whatever it took, again, that you know, at work ethic that I had fallen into before, applied here, because I felt like at any moment, like we were gonna lose it all. Right. And so I was working so hard, and it didn’t matter. I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t sleep, I would just work and but the company started grow. And we started to suddenly be able to do fun things like Lesley began traveling around the world and speaking at these events, and then we began hosting these retreats and everything and it was really, really an incredible life that we had built for ourselves. Our team was really small still, and we got to travel and do what we loved and, and then all of that came crashing down with COVID. Right. So suddenly, we’re making more than enough money for Lesley and for me and our two teammates. And we may have had a third person at that point I’m struggling to remember. But, you know, it was still a really small team and the COVID suddenly made it, we had to switch, we had to change everything, right. And we had to, if we were going to grow, all of a sudden, all these cool ideas that we had been laying the foundation for, they needed to work, they need to actually make money, right. And so in order for us to do that, we needed to hire a team. And so now here we are years later. And now we have a team, we have like a real team, it’s like, you know, like, depending on the month, depends on who’s specifically working for us. But we have a handful of full time people, and we’ve got a whole lot of part time people, like we could have 20 different people working for us during the month or more even. Right. So and we now I have this the same creeping fear it’s never gone away. Right? And so now it’s like, are we going to make sure we’re able to pay these people, you know, what they deserve? And I value them, and I’m so grateful that they’re working with us. And, you know, the experiences that I had, my worst nightmare would be that they experienced what I had to experience because it was terrible. Right? And so the bigger question is, like, How do you tackle this fear? How do you work on this? How do you get, you know, like, this, you may you may be, you know, I don’t know, there’s the stories that we’re telling ourselves, you know, and if you are a small business owner, or running a studio, and you have a team, and you’re worried about, you know, class attendance, like I get it, I totally, totally get that, you know, an unexpected bill comes up or like, you know, something happens in the studio, and you have to fix, I don’t know, like, constructions stuff, or something like a water bursts. And like, I don’t know, there’s so many things that like could go wrong. Right.

And how do you, how do you live life looking on the positive side of things, looking at yourself as an asset, instead of, you know, allowing that fear to creep in and take over. And when I today, what what I want to when I feel that fear, because it still comes and goes, especially every month when we have to do payroll. Right? Or we have to pay our credit card bill, because we put all the the company expenses on a credit card. Right? You know, I get these, like, these moments of this. It’s like a dam burst of like, whoa, and me like, Oh, my God, and then it’s like, okay. Right. I gotta, I gotta remember, like, we have amazing things working for us, we have amazing, we have an amazing team, I have an amazing partner in Lesley, I have an amazing team who’s supporting, you know, we’ve got a beautiful vision, we have awesome clients, we get to work with amazing people. And we get to impact their life in such a positive way whether that’s with the online classes, or with the fitness, business coaching, or even with this podcast, and I have to remind myself, “Hey, things are going in the right direction, and, you know, good things are happening”. And I know that if I open my heart to the fear, it will flood in and if I allow that to happen, it can consume me and it will overrun me and then I will then suddenly be in a fear based mindset and I will be making decisions, reactionary decisions, instead of looking, making proactive decisions. I won’t be, you know, I will be it just changes your mind so much when you embrace that. And the, the, one of the practical ways, one of the BE IT action items that I can recommend you take because I do this, as I write my fear down. I literally say, “I’m afraid we’re not going to be able to meet payroll.” Okay, and I look at that, and I go, well, then, you know, maybe maybe the next one is, “I’m afraid that you know, I missing something that is going to make our business fail.” Right. Or I’m afraid that you know, whatever the fears are, you know, generally it’s it comes down to money. Right? And then when I see it in front of me, then I can right next to it, like, “What do I actually do, what am I doing about the thing?” Right. So if it’s, I’m afraid we’re not gonna make enough money to meet payroll, then I get to write okay, in to make sure that we are meeting payroll, we created a forecasting system where I can begin to look ahead and say, “Okay, this month is going to be good. This month is gonna be good. This month seems to be low. Let’s see where we can make money in this month.” Right. So we we started to think proactively and when I have this fear when these when these waves come every once in a while. I look at that, and I go, alright, well, what have I been doing to address that fear? And why is that fear unfounded? Have I been able to meet payroll so far? Yeah. And we’ve met, we’ve met it every single month, and it’s been amazing, you know, that we’ve been able to support our team and that they’ve been able to help us, you know, help you. But it is a, it is something that I, I want you to know that you’re not alone with this. Right. It is absolutely something that you, you, like, most people hide it. I hide it. Right. And the reality is that it is there and talking about it is actually refreshing. So if you have someone that you can talk to about these fears, that could be, you know, like, a counselor, or, you know, basically someone that you can talk to you about this, it could be your best friend, it could be your partner, your spouse, it could be a family member. Right. But by talking about it, that helps by writing these things down, that really helps. And then the reality is, you need to look at yourself, you know, and look at the things that you’ve been able to come through and where you’ve been to where you are now and realize that you’re still alive. You are you have, you are winning every single day. Right. You’re still breathing, life is moving forward, and you’re part of it, and it’s going to be, it’s going to be amazing.

And that has really changed, changed, the way that we look at our company, changed the way that I live my life now. And you know, with Lesley, too, you know, we we do our best to focus on the things that we’re doing, that are fighting those fears, instead of focusing on the fear themselves. So I’m going to leave that, leave that with you. And if that is something that you struggle with, or if this resonates with you at all, tell us, you know, tell me, contact us through the @be_it_pod of Instagram account, and just fire off a DM and just say, “Hey, Brad, you know, I, two have fear about, you know, money or management or, you know, buying house.” Or whatever it might be. You know, and just share that because I I believe in you and I know that life is crazy. Right? And ‘life lives’ is what a saying that we’ve adopted, you know, but there’s still an incredible moments to be had in this life that we can dwell on and focus on instead of that fear. So thank you so much for listening to us. And we’ll, we’ll see you soon. Bye for now.

Lesley Logan
That’s all I’ve got for this episode of the Be It Till You See It podcast. One thing that would help both myself and future listeners is for you to rate this show and leave a review. And, follow or subscribe for free wherever you listen to podcasts. Also, make sure to introduce yourself over on IG at the @be_it_pod on Instagram. I would love to know more about you. Share this episode with whoever you think needs to hear it. Help us help others to BE IT TILL YOU SEE IT. Have an awesome day!

Lesley Logan
‘Be It Till You See It’ is a production of ‘As The Crows Fly Media’.

Brad Crowell
It’s written, produced, filmed and recorded by your host, Lesley Logan and me, Brad Crowell. Our Associate Producer is Amanda Frattarelli.

Lesley Logan
Kevin Perez at Disenyo handles all of our audio editing.

Brad Crowell
Our theme music is by Ali at APEX Production Music. And our branding by designer and artist, Gianfranco Cioffi.

Lesley Logan
Special thanks to our designer Jaira Mandal for creating all of our visuals (which you can’t see because this is a podcast) and our digital producer, Jay Pedroso for editing all video each week so you can.

Brad Crowell
And to Angelina Herico for transcribing each of our episodes so you can find them on our website. And, finally to Meridith Crowell for keeping us all on point and on time.

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