Helping Business Owners Build Their Legacies

In this, The Faces of Business, our guest hosts, Curt Anderson and Nicole Donnelly, flip the camera to talk with Damon Pistulka, Co-founder, Exit Your Way®, to learn about how business owners can build the business legacies they desire.

In this, The Faces of Business, our guest hosts, Curt Anderson and Nicole Donnelly, flip the camera to talk with Damon Pistulka, Co-founder, Exit Your Way®, to learn about how business owners can build the business legacies they desire.

Growing up on a family farm, Damon is a mechanical engineer. His corporate career commenced in 1995, and he has held many C-Suite positions during this course. Today, he stands as the co-founder of Exit Your Way®, a firm dedicated to assisting business owners in exiting as they want. In addition, Damon serves as a Fractional CEO and Business Acquisition Advisor, utilizing his expertise in business value growth, strategy execution, brokerage, and mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

Similarly, Damon’s knowledge is further fortified by extensive reading and research in the field, with thousands of business books reinforcing the same principles he advocates. Through his guidance and expertise, he has played a pivotal role in creating hundreds of millions of dollars in value for companies, empowering them to run better and dominate their markets.

Download our free business valuation guide here to understand more about business valuations and view our business valuation FAQs to answer the most common valuation questions.

The show begins with Curt and Nicole expressing their enthusiasm for having Damon as the guest. Curt asks Damon about his childhood hero and who inspired him during his formative years.

Damon reveals that he was fortunate to grow up surrounded by his parents and grandparents, especially his grandfather, Charlie, the man who influenced his childhood. Living on a farm, Damon saw his grandfather almost daily, sharing meals and witnessing him work. His grandpa taught him practical skills, like disassembling and reassembling lawnmower engines. They used to fix old lawnmowers by combining parts from different engines, creating a functional machine.

On Curt’s request, Damon shares that his grandfather migrated from Czechoslovakia as a child and settled on a farm in the Dakotas, where Damon and his family grew up. Despite his grandfather having only a third-grade education, he was one of the early pioneers in the area, successfully obtaining loans, buying land, and managing the farm in the 1920s and 1930s.

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Curt comments on Damon’s background growing up on a farm in South Dakota and the assumption that education may not have been a top priority. He asks Damon how his mom defied that expectation.

Damon reveals that his mother was determined to ensure that her children pursued higher education. The guest humorously notes that he is the only one in his family with just one degree, contrasting with his mom and other family members who have pursued higher levels of education.

Curt expresses admiration for good mothers and the inspiration they provide. He asks Damon about his decision to pursue engineering and delve into manufacturing.

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“It was all an accident,” replies Damon. He stumbled into engineering in college after initially considering agricultural economics. Inspired by a fellow dorm resident studying engineering, he switched and persevered. Discovering internships during his sophomore year, Damon landed one at an electronics manufacturer and later found a long-term position at Falcon Plastics, where he stayed for 12 years.

Curt mentions that Damon ended up in Tennessee and is curious to know how Damon came there.

Damon explains that he came to Tennessee because the company he was working for wanted to establish a new plant there. Despite having limited leadership experience, Damon took on the challenge and built the plant from scratch in a cornfield.

The guest embarked on a travel-heavy career, overseeing the plant’s operations for five years. He brought along a team of individuals, and together they learned and grew, eventually expanding the team to nearly 100 people working around the clock.

Nicole acknowledges Damon’s remarkable transition from being an engineer to stepping into a leadership role, which involved managing people and developing soft skills. She asks prompts Damon to talk about his experience with this transition.

Coming from a technical background, Damon struggled to transition into a leadership role. However, he learned to gain people’s buy-in and adapt to how individuals comprehend information.
Curt asks Damon about his transition from living in Tennessee to moving to Seattle, a significant shift from the South to the Great Northwest.

Damon says he received a job opportunity in Seattle to run a larger plant that manufactured checkout counters for grocery stores. He embraced the challenging role, which offered increased revenue and growth potential.

Curt mentions the inevitability of entrepreneurs eventually exiting their businesses and directs the conversation toward Damon’s transition to private equity. He invites Damon to share noteworthy experiences during this phase before he connected with Andrew and embarked on a new venture.

Damon believes he gained valuable financial knowledge while working with investor-owned businesses, particularly in private equity. Similarly, he became adept at board presentations. Setting realistic expectations and exceeding them was key to success.

Nicole questions the perceived divide between engineering and sales/marketing skills and asks Damon how he could bridge that gap.

Damon shares that while being exact and detailed-oriented is not his preference, it has helped him in leadership roles. He values the ability to visualize and work through ideas. Instead of getting caught up in finite details, Damon aims to reach a point where he believes an idea is about 75% solid and then takes action.

Damon maintains taking risks, accepting failure, and making decisions with reasonable certainty rather than striving for perfection.

Damon shares his perspective on the solopreneur trend. He believes a solopreneur must prepare for the challenges and competitiveness of business. He acknowledges that success requires a strong desire and dedication while emphasizing the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance and prioritizing health and family.

Curt requests Damon to identify a specific factor or turning point that helped him overcome challenging situations. The guest responds that he reached a point where he grew tired of his negative mindset and decided to make a change. He resolved to move forward and take action, leading to a more positive outlook.

Curt then prompts Damon to discuss the inspiration behind starting the company with Andrew Cross.

Damon explains that his desire to start a company began when he experienced the process of selling a business in Seattle. This initial transaction ignited his passion for building teams and creating successful ventures. While he no longer desired to be directly involved in the business, he was determined to facilitate similar experiences for others and embark on the entrepreneurial journey.

Damon discusses his collaboration with Andrew, his current business partner, starting in 2015. He notes that when it comes to investor-owned businesses, the buying and selling process is akin to moving cards in a game like Monopoly.

She then asks Damon for advice on approaching the future and what steps he would recommend for business owners for long-term planning.

Damon advises business owners to envision their long-term goals and be clear about their intentions for the business. Whether building a business to generate wealth or selling it in the future, it’s crucial to have a clear vision and start working towards it from the beginning.

As the Livestream progresses, Damon expresses his gratitude for working with his partner and witnessing his growth. He emphasizes investing in knowledge, learning, and executing ideas in the challenging e-commerce industry. Damon appreciates how e-commerce forces you to stay tuned to data and information, as even a small error can have significant consequences. He shares the complexity of managing multiple platforms, suppliers, and SKUs, highlighting the need to be constantly vigilant. Damon compares the demands of e-commerce to dairy farming, stating that the former requires a 24/7 commitment.

Curt asks Damon about the common traits of successful entrepreneurs who can elevate their businesses to achieve their goals. Damon stresses the need for entrepreneurs to duplicate resources and strategically add more as their businesses grow. Adapting and managing resources effectively are key to achieving success.

Nicole asks Damon about his favorite book. Damon mentions “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life” by Dr. Wayne Dyer as one of his favorite books. He finds it thought-provoking and appreciates its exploration of Chinese teachings while admitting to being “a book junkie with many favorites.”

Curt admires Wayne Dyer and his radical humility and gratitude teachings. He describes Wayne Dyer as the original Zen Master from the 70s and 80s, encouraging others to explore his work.

Curt thanks Damon for his generosity as a go-giver and for shining a bright light on others through his show. He appreciates the opportunity to get to know Damon better and expresses love and thanks for his support and impact on his life. The show ends with these remarks.

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Exit Your Way® provides a structured process and skilled resources to grow business value and allow business owners to leave with 2X+ more money when they are ready.

You can find more information about the Exit Your Way® process and our team on our website.

You can contact us by phone:  822-BIZ-EXIT (249-3948)   Or by Email:

Find us on LinkedIn:  Damon PistulkaAndrew Cross

Find our Companies on LinkedIn: Exit Your Way®,  Cross Northwest Mergers & Acquisitions, Bowman digital Media 

Follow Us on Twitter: @dpistulka  @exityourway

Visit our YouTube Channel: Exit Your Way®

Service Professionals Network:  Damon PistulkaAndrew Cross

Facebook:  Exit Your Way® Cross Northwest Mergers & Acquisitions

Other websites to check out:  Cross Northwest Mergers & AcquisitionsDamon PistulkaIra BowmanService Professionals Network (SPN)Fangled TechnologiesB2B TailDenver Consulting FirmWarren ResearchStellar Insight, Now CFO, Excel Management Systems  & Project Help You Grow

damon, business, people, sell, entrepreneur, nicole, build, work, kurt, daymond, great, good, grew, talk, mom, man, company, question, zen master, solopreneur
Nicole Donnelly, Curt Anderson, Damon Pistulka

Damon Pistulka 00:01
All right, you said go

Curt Anderson 00:02
live and I did. That is the best best music so you know what Damon you sit back I got the intro you do?

Damon Pistulka 00:11
Sit back like this and relax.

Curt Anderson 00:13
You just sit back and you just relax, man. I mean be bossy but you just sit back and relax just because

Nicole Donnelly 00:19
none master that you are. Okay, Master.

Curt Anderson 00:23
Hey everybody. Welcome. Welcome, welcome. Happy Tuesday and boy are we thrilled we are here at faces of business, the faces of business I might add. And we have an amazing, incredible guest. I don’t know how we landed this just so Nicole Donnelly, my co host this with the Moses. Happy Tuesday. How are you?

Nicole Donnelly 00:47
I have been looking forward to this all day long. Kurt Anderson. We get to have Damon Pistulka in the hot seat. If you only knew what curveballs are going to be thrown his way today.

Curt Anderson 00:59
It’s gonna get crazy. We’ve been gaming. We’ve been practicing all day. Michelle’s here, guys, Joshua, drop us off below the chat box. And again, if you haven’t connected with us this fine young man, Damon Pistulka. You absolutely want to connect with Damon so Damon, are you? Are you right? Like this

Damon Pistulka 01:17
is my mom says I

Curt Anderson 01:20
talk to your mom earlier today. I got a little dirt on you. So we’re gonna go there. Okay, are you ready? There? Wouldn’t be a little while. It’s a truckload. It’s another story. Yeah, I got a hold of some of your high school friends. And that’s Oh.

Damon Pistulka 01:34
Back in the train, train couple.

Curt Anderson 01:37
So, Damon, let’s just go there. Let’s just get this out of the way. So faces a business. How many episodes? What number are we on here? Number 5020. I

Damon Pistulka 01:48
really don’t count.

Curt Anderson 01:49
I really don’t count. Okay,

Damon Pistulka 01:51
I just know that if there’s more interesting people every day to to talk with.

Curt Anderson 01:55
It’s just a blessing, isn’t it? Okay. Yeah. Damon? Fridays. And on Mondays. I only have one question that I asked. So I’m coming right at you, my friend. And I might know the answer. Who’s your hero when you’re growing up?

Damon Pistulka 02:12
Well, it’s, I knew you’re gonna ask this. I kind of figured it out. Yeah, yeah. It was really, I was fortunate. I grew up around my parents. I mean, around around my parents and my grandparents. I mean, my living on the farm, my grandparents. I saw my grandfather almost every day, he would come and have, you know, eat lunch at the house and work at the farm. And so I saw my dad my grandpa every day and and, and, you know, it was my my mom too. But my dad and my grandpa, I spent more time with them. And right, yeah, my grandpa taught me how to how to like disassemble a lawnmower engine and put it back together. So he would bring me old LaMarsh he say you can fix this. Can you fix this? You bring them to me? Oh, yeah, I can fix it. We’d fix some cash. You know, at that age, you don’t even remember it? Because you go, Oh, this piece and this piece fit together? Yeah. So you’d have three different motors and put it into one darn thing would start. How the heck would you do that? So you know, that’s so

Nicole Donnelly 03:13
funny. When I was a kid, I had the opposite. My dad was a he was an entrepreneur and he was the guy that was gonna hire someone to do all that stuff. He didn’t do it all himself. He was like the king of all right? I’m in charge. You do this? You do that? Yeah.

Curt Anderson 03:27
So I needed your grandfather. It’s remember I need your grandfather right this minute because Nicole, my lawnmower just died over the weekend. I am the same as your father. I am like if I have a tool in my hand, like my wife is calling 911. Like, like, what are you doing with that screwdriver? Why are you touching that hammer? So like, people panic if I have a tool so even let’s dig into grandpa. First Name. Charlie, Grandpa Charlie in your father’s name, Dwayne. Oh, you know what? I never knew that. My father’s name is Dwayne. Oh, yes. How insane is that? I never knew that. Oh, yeah. So I uncle’s name is Dwayne, who knew what a great name back in the 30s 40s whenever these guys were coming around, so Alright, so I know about my dad’s nickname is Dewey. They come screwy Dewey. So I don’t know about if you’re, you know, but he was. He was literally. But anyway, that’s another story. So let’s get into grandpa Charlie. What was so wonderful about grandpa Charlie so taught you lawn mower just spent a ton of time with you. Great influence. Let’s let’s take a little bit further. Give us give us more details on grandpa Charlie.

Damon Pistulka 04:33
Well, my grandpa was an immigrant from from Czechoslovakia. He came across when he was a baby and moved into the Dakotas where we grew up on the farm where his I think his father was on the farm where we were at so my dad was a third generation on that farm. My brother was a fourth and and he had Third grade education, you know, but he was able he was one of the first guys around with that. My dad still talks. Well did talk about it, you know, he went to the bank, got a loan bought land, did all that stuff and you know in the 20s and 30s and, and yeah, growing up. I was I was really really fortunate. I mean, like I said, he taught me that stuff. He taught me woodworking he and he was always around. He was always around to

Curt Anderson 05:29
write. So always present real quick. Why? Why the Dakotas? How did he How did he land in the Dakotas, other family?

Damon Pistulka 05:35
Was there. Other fans? Yeah. Yeah, my

Nicole Donnelly 05:40
grandma, her parents, my great grandparents. They emigrated through Ellis Island from Slovakia. That crazy that they settled in Montana. Yeah.

Curt Anderson 05:53
That’s my wife’s check her descendants are. There’s a lot of Czechoslovakia going on right here. So yeah, let’s get it. I want to I want to slide over to Mom, I want to talk about mom for a minute. Now. Okay. You constantly you know, you were talking about like, Hey, I’m just I’m the guy that grew up on a farm in South Dakota. So typically, people you know, like, maybe education isn’t like top priority. Now. How about I think your mom kind of defied that rule a little bit. Yeah. We’re gonna call about mom a little bit. Let’s hear about Mrs. Pistulka.

Damon Pistulka 06:23
Well, we had we grew up knowing we were going to college, when people would ask my mom because we live in a small town right in the middle of in South Dakota. And then people would say, Well, why do you need to go to college? You guess you guys gonna be here environment and my mom said no kids are going to college. So my mom after my sister is 10 years younger than I am. And my sister was just about ready to graduate high school and my mom went back to college. She always wanted to finish college. My dad was supporting her and said, Yep, go ahead and go do it. Do what you want. Well, my mom ended up getting a degree in elementary education and she got a PhD or whatever you go all the way to get a doctorate in Elementary Education ended up being a superintendent of teacher superintendent of schools, enter principals, schools or principal, then superintendent however it works of a school district, and did that for she was in the education system for 20 years before she retired and retired at 70. So yeah, she was she. Yeah, we. Yeah. I always laugh because I’ve only got one. I’ve got one degree. And I’m the only one in my family has got one degree.

Nicole Donnelly 07:29
Why do you think she had such a like, was her family well educated? Why did she want you to go to college so much. It was just she thought that was the way

Damon Pistulka 07:37
that was the way that was the way. And

Nicole Donnelly 07:41
you know, that’s very similar to Kurt’s mom. Kurt’s mom had a very similar kind of experience. She went back to school when he was older, too. Yep. And yeah,

Curt Anderson 07:51
yeah. That was one thing that Damon I’ve always, you know, we just worship our mothers, we look up to them, and just, you know, what an inspiration for later in life and just, you know, for your mom, and thank you, Nicole, for my mother, you know, total hero, too, you know, like, at any age, under tough circumstances, and like, they’re, you know, kids are grown out of the house. And now it’s my it’s a little Meantime, and I’m going to go pursue a doctorate. Isn’t that just fascinating? She goes and gets a doctorate and just built this wonderful career after raising her children. So Damon, alright, let’s go here. Man, if Nicole we’re going to be we’re playing a little tennis match here. We’re going to be going back and forth on questions. But let’s let’s get in to a little bit the origin story and Mr. Pistulka Since he does such an amazing job asking everybody else on the questions right. Damon, you go off to college and you start you get into a little bit of engineering and you pave your path towards manufacturing let’s let’s go there. Why engineering? Why manufacturing?

Damon Pistulka 08:51
It was all an accident.

Curt Anderson 08:55
Cute girl in the class, right? Or I don’t know, there was something I’m just teasing

Damon Pistulka 08:58
but almost almost audit. Went to school. didn’t know any better. Because I was I mean, I was literally the first one to go to college out of I don’t know, I don’t think any of my my answer uncles or anybody had anybody going to college. So I’m going to college right? I got no idea what I’m doing. I go talk to my counselor. He says oh, you should be an agriculture agricultural economics. So he didn’t do and I did one semester of it. And I met a guy that actually in the dorm where I live. And here’s an engineering I said, Well, what’s that about? That was all it took. That’s all I started taking. I was I was out of that I was in it. I was into engineering and away you go and it was it was really hard. It was really hard for me I’m not a good not a great student. Right I mean, I I was very Yeah, I go back to school now it’s easier, and whether it is but you know, but it was that’s how I got into it. And then I got I fell into man. I didn’t fall into manufacturing. There were I think in my sophomore year or something, there are internships who were talking about internships and I was like, what this What’s this? You know? So you go work at these companies and said, You mean that means I don’t have to go back and hook feed at the local feed store or work on the farm all summer. They said, Yeah, you go get you get paid for that. So I’m in. So I found myself a an internship at a small electronics test equipment manufacturer in Sioux Falls there and and then that led into when I went back to school actually got in my first company where I worked for a long time Falcon plastics I had, I had designed a part that was in plastic that they mold it. And after a couple months into school, I got to go to work there, and I spent the next 12 years are

Curt Anderson 10:45
awesome. So now, if I’m not mistaken, you you found your way to Tennessee, of all places with them. Now, how did you end up in Tennessee?

Damon Pistulka 10:54
Well, they wanted to build a new plant down there. And, and I had already redesigned or built two plants for him. And had no I mean, I, I helped kind of supervise a few engineers, but I had no leadership experience whatsoever. And they said, Well, we’re gonna build that plant down there. I said, Hey, do you want me to run it? I was kind of joking. You know, I was in my late 20s.

Nicole Donnelly 11:16
Where are you really joking. Damon,

Damon Pistulka 11:18
I wasn’t really joking. I want to go do it. And what I was good at kind of joking, because I was like, you know, are they really gonna believe me? They said, Sure. Go ahead and do it. So I literally built it was a cornfield. And we bluff. Yeah, call my bluff. And so. So then I started my travel career for a while and we built that plant and ran that for five years, you know, we had a little bit of seed business, but it was, it was a ton of fun. We learned so much with all the people that I was brought, like a half a dozen people with me and, and some of them are still there in the same town and, and building the rest of the team, we ended up I think we had close to 100 people working 24/7 Wow, when we left. I mean,

Nicole Donnelly 12:01
that had to have been a big transition to be like heads down engineer to now shifting gears entirely to stepping into a leadership role, and really having to manage people and all that goes into people management. Was that transition? Like was it a natural transition for you to move to step like had you been building up to that? Or what was that like for you to kind of step for more of like, a hard skill position into like, trying to learn more soft skills and and managing people? Did you like that I looked at

Damon Pistulka 12:33
it, I sucked at it in the beginning. I did. I know. Because I was I was hard. I was a technical guy I was used to, okay, this is what we got to do. Let’s go do it. You know, and then, you know, you’ve run into a few real real bangers and you figure out that okay, the we got to do we got to get people’s buy in and all this stuff. They don’t just get it like you would in in the technical part of it. But it was it was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun. And I did all I don’t say always but I did develop a knack to build team members give them responsibility and do that from right early age. I was like, encouraging people let them go, let them make mistakes. Don’t worry about if we make some mistakes, we’re going to do that. And because I had made tons ton in life, tons and tons in business and, and that was fun, because we really a lot of us grew up together in their

Curt Anderson 13:28
time and who were like was grandpa Charlie, kind of like in your ear was Dad. You know, like other mentors? Like how did you how did you develop like your leadership skills and ability like, you know, kind of thrown in right into the fire? Right? Like, how did you do that leadership ability.

Damon Pistulka 13:43
You know, the, the owner of the business, Don Bender, super nice guy. And his sons is at this point, his sons, Jay and in guy are already taken over the business to a certain extent, but Don had always stayed in touch with me. And really, he was my business mentor, because I remember I started working there and in college, like my third year of college, and I stayed, I was in college for almost five years. So it was a while I was working part time. And he would take the time to explain business to me. And this is a guy who’s got a $15 million business and on some punk kid going to school for engineering, I had all these ideas of we should do this, we should do that. But he always did. He always took the time to explain things to me and really help when I needed help and, and he instilled that in his in his sons and they were pretty good at that too. And you know, that’s who really started off though.

Nicole Donnelly 14:41
That’s so cool. I when I first one of the first jobs I took out of college, I had a mentor like that. And she very much was very open about business and all of that and I can’t believe how much I learned from her. And I think you know, it’s so important for anybody in a leadership position. Make sure you’re taking the time to do that to teach and to coach the people underneath you. And I’m sure like as in your business, that’s what you’re trying to teach people all the time is what’s your succession plan? How can you like build, you know, coaching and training and everything that’s so cool.

Damon Pistulka 15:16
I learned to that, you know, in those earlier years and learn that it’s not necessarily the big shiny piece of equipment that you really need, you need to utilize everything you have first. And if you’re utilizing that to the maximum extent, people equipment, everything, then you can look at what else do I need, but it’s not the shiny tools that are gonna make the difference.

Nicole Donnelly 15:38
It’s not the shiny tools. Drop the mic. No call

Curt Anderson 15:43
about that one. It’s not

Damon Pistulka 15:47
I learned that the hard way though.

Curt Anderson 15:49
Damon’s left side let’s go here. So great opportunity live in large in Tennessee, you know, great. Growing state, southern state. Seattle comes knocking on your door. Yep. Like how on earth do you go from South Dakota? Tennessee. Now you’re going to the Great Northwest. How walk us through that transition?

Damon Pistulka 16:09
Yeah, you know, I was working for a family business there at the at the molding company in in I was at the highest level it could be and I just I was going okay, I want I want to someday run companies. That’s what I wanted to do and had been at this for four or five years. And I was like, Okay, what else? And I don’t know, it’s it’s like all of a sudden, and recruiter called me. Next thing you know, I’m interviewing and I’m on my way to Seattle. And there’s a in the town next to us in Tennessee that had a plant that needed to have somebody run it. And I got a job with that running that plant which is a bit bigger and a bit more money. And as far as revenue through the plant stuff and super horrible neighborhood. I just I was one of these I mean, super horrible neighbor. I remember I drove to the place the first time you know, just checking it out. And I’m like, Holy heck am I gonna get get off? I’m gonna get carjacked here or something. And but yeah, so I went there. And that’s where we were making checkout counters for grocery stores. Yeah. So if you’ve if you’ve been in a grocery store and had stuff I don’t care which one it is on the East Coast or West Coast or in the middle, you probably one of those probably came out of that company.

Nicole Donnelly 17:27
What was your favorite part about managing the manufacturing process? Like what did you just love about it? What is it that just kind of like lit you up when you go to work every day?

Damon Pistulka 17:37
Making stuff? Yeah, making stuff Holy heck, curtsy seen me. You know, you’re getting in there, you make something I would you know, it doesn’t matter if it’s made out of metal or plastic or whatever. But you see something that’s put together and really cool and just run your hand down the side of it and just it doesn’t matter. It’s the coolest stuff ever when you go that was that you know two days ago that was a pile of wood or that was a pile of steel or that was plastic pellets and now liquid it came out it’s going inside of you know whatever it’s I mean, I was so lucky and all the different things I’ve been able to do I mean I still walk around annoying nerd out Kurt all the time. Yeah, I helped those guys design that you know, you know look at it an RX fire extinguisher I was wanting to help the strap there on the outside I remember when we designed it with them and built it and built the molds and started making them and and for three of them a lot of stuff that doctors use still the day to to sterilize your body before you before they cut you open you know it was it was a ton of fun in that in those businesses.

Curt Anderson 18:44
Very cool. So Damon let’s let’s go here so now you you land in Seattle you settle routes you have a family and so let’s go through and how it because I want to I want to save time I’m gonna get to like you know your superpower, very modest, very humble guy. But you know you are the exit your way. You’re the exit strategy guy succession planning, very passionate about helping folks go through that transition go through that process. In one thing that you united just spent a great week in Alaska together, we did a couple of workshops and lots of fun. You and I had a little epiphany of like, every single entrepreneur at some point in time, whether they like it or not, under their own circumstances or not are going to leave their business.

Damon Pistulka 19:29
Yep. We always believed

Curt Anderson 19:31
and that was like that was an aha for you know, death taxes. If you’re an entrepreneur, you are exiting your business one way or another. We’ll get into in a minute. But as you come into Seattle, and you’re working in manufacturing, you did a little private equity did a couple of like anything that you want to share for that transition until you you hooked up with Andrew and kind of got going let’s let’s touch that private equity.

Damon Pistulka 19:53
That’s I mean, those guys that own that business for the first time ever worked with investor owned businesses and I And subsequently, I worked for several more beyond that. But I learned so much about finance. And I knew a little bit of operational finance before that, but I really got to know and I got it. And then I was also in those companies from then on, and all the other companies. I was a guy that had to do the board presentations every month, and I was I went from I had never done that to having to do it every month. And that was that was quite a quite a thing. I never. Oh, yeah, yeah. Once you got I mean, I mean, it, it’s a hot seat when things aren’t going well. Turnaround situations a few times, and that and when you when you know, when it’s in it’s things aren’t going right. How’d you handle it? Yeah, I mean, the turnaround situations are the hot seat, like being in the hot seat. You know, it’s the biggest thing. Biggest thing that people need to know when you’re in the hot seat is don’t over promise, you always under promise, you always under promise a little bit, and you always beat it, you always be a little bit. Even if you go, Okay, our sales are going to be 2 million, or whatever it is, and they want it to be 2.5. You say no, sales are going to be 2 million. This is why if there are 2.5, that’s a great day, everybody’s happy. If it’s 1.9. Everybody’s upset, right? Take a little heat in the beginning. And you’ll be a hero in the end.

Nicole Donnelly 21:26
Take a look at the beginning you’ll be here on the end. That’s

Damon Pistulka 21:31
it? Well, it’s weird. When when people when people asked me about why are you such a such a crazy guy about getting these weekly dashboards and knowing how much our gross margin and esuite and do that I said, Because I used to go on those board meetings and after about two when you go in the financials come out. And it’s different than you thought they should be based on what you’re watching out there. Before I had dash, we you know, we fill out the dashboard and stuff. When you get to the end of the month with investors in in it doesn’t turn out like you kind of like you thought it was going to definitely you can lose your job, right? So you only have about two or three months like that and invest your own company before you’re out the door. And that’s where I learned all this stuff. And that’s why I’m such a such an you know, I just promote it so much. Because it gives you so much clarity in the way you run your business. And that’s that’s what we did. And then on the other side of that, too, when you want to grow your business, there’s nothing better than understanding did I sell enough today? Did I sell enough this week? And then and then I generated the profit. That’s the way it is. So yeah, fun stuff. But that’s what I learned even even in the very worst situations. I mean, people started calling me the investors I work with call me subsequently to have me come in Oh, we got a bad one. You want to come and look at it. And I was like, okay, you know, don’t like dummy. And, you know, so it’s it’s but that that same process works. It works.

Nicole Donnelly 23:04
works. I have a couple of follow up questions for you. Do you serve on a lot of boards now? No, do you like to know you do not do do that by choice? You don’t want to? Or?

Damon Pistulka 23:13
No, I just I just I haven’t pursued it. I’ve been on a few in the last year or in the last couple of years. But just haven’t found the right fit other than the ones I’m already on? Yeah.

Nicole Donnelly 23:27
I have another question. Okay, so typically, a lot of the engineers I’ve worked with, they tend to be like, there’s like this great divide, okay, if you’re really good at engineering, it’s really hard for you to be good at like sales and marketing, from my experience. The people I’ve seen, they just don’t really get it. So how or maybe that’s maybe that’s my misunderstanding. Maybe they do get it, they just don’t. So as an engineer, how do you bridge that? How were you able to bridge that gap and really see understand why sales and marketing is so critical how to do it? Right, right. Like that’s my first question, then how do you how would you recommend to other engineers like that? They understand that because I’m telling you, there’s like there’s like this wall? And it is a painful?

Damon Pistulka 24:12
Yeah. Being exact being exact is kind of, kind of painful for me. And I think that helped me with with man leadership and everything outside of engineering. I mean, I can do it. But it’s not what I really want to do. I want to I want to I want to create, I want to create something that nobody else has. Yes, that turns into whatever it turns into. But I want and that’s how I kind of I was I was able to do that in my career with I think it helped me a lot in leadership. And it still helps me a lot leadership because I can I can visualize and work things through to a point that I’ve thought through some of it, at least so it’s not quite as harebrained as people would first think but it still has a lot of development to do. And where you see engineers, they want to get down to the finite details, I don’t need to, I just get to the you know, I’m 75% in, this is going to be a pretty good idea. And we’re going, and we’ll figure it out. And Kurt knows this, I’ll just say, Good idea. Let’s do it. And that helps a lot. When you’re leading people. And you’ve got a good team around, you build a good team around you to go what do you guys think? And if you’re the leader, and willing to do that, you’re going to take your team so much farther, so much faster. You got to fail, you gotta fail. And and you just go, Okay, are we reasonably, you know, like, engineers want to be 100% they want to build and safety factors and all that I lost my safety factors decades ago, and you just gotta go, you gotta make a good, good decision and get going.

Curt Anderson 25:57
Yeah, sometimes you just gotta get on the field, right? You just gotta

Damon Pistulka 26:00
get on the field and go, we can only we can only run

Curt Anderson 26:03
this play your practice. So many times, we got to get on the field. And, you know, here’s the, you know, somebody’s going to throw a flag, we might make a mistake, you know, make a call, you know, right, just in I know, it’s very cliche. You know, like, Oh, you have to fail, you have to fail. But just really like, like, what does that mean? What do you mean by fail? You know, like, really dig in. You know, Nicole, you know, man, just how many how many mistakes this year alone, right, by the best book we write? Right? Daymond

Damon Pistulka 26:33
I tanked in companies before me, I got fired before I take in companies. Right now you can’t be successful all the time. So I’ve had some bad situations. What?

No, go ahead.

Nicole Donnelly 26:47
No question for you when you’ve tanked. What was it that you did after you tanked? that pulled you out of it? Hmm, good question.

Damon Pistulka 26:57
The first time I didn’t do it. Well, I will say that

Nicole Donnelly 27:00
what happened? Tell us? No, no, what you did.

Damon Pistulka 27:04
It took me a very long time. I lost confidence in myself for a long time. And it took me it took me it took me a while. It took me a while. Because I had never been in the situation I was in. And I it just kept coming and kept coming. And I was like, This is tough. This is tough. Do you I mean,

Curt Anderson 27:30
do you have any? Looking back? Can you pinpoint something that pulls you out? And and you have any advice for somebody that’s been in that situation? So what pulled you would turn it around for you?

Damon Pistulka 27:44
I just looked back and I think I was I was finally sick of being that way. I was sick of being that I got sick of being that way. I said you know what, I can sit here and wallow in this and I can say oh, he’s this or that. I don’t know if I read something or but I just got sick of it. I said you know what? I’m gonna move. I’m gonna move and get going. And then now it’s like, you know, something like that now would it would it would suck but it would you know, it’s not, it’s not going to cause a lot of challenge.

Curt Anderson 28:18
So hey, I’m gonna drop a few hey, we’ve got Michelle dropping you know, accidental learning. I below. You develop talent, Damon. And then he told me am I saying that correctly? I keep saying that over promising under delivering is tough position being if you can’t, we’ll come down here. Let’s see. Good thing is time to build so does trust. And Mike is here. Happy Mike.

Damon Pistulka 28:40
finicky Mike. What’s going on man? Mike has got a baddest television studio in the world. In his office. I’m not kidding you. Dude. Mike has got it.

Curt Anderson 28:56
We got to come party Mike.

Damon Pistulka 28:59
I’m not kidding. He’s got like moved care. Always. Awesome.

Curt Anderson 29:03
Well, Mike, thanks for everybody. Thank you for joining us. drop us a note give a little love to Damon because Damon is on the hot seat today. So usually you guys are coming here and your use of Damon interviewing amazing, incredible week, guests. Weekend week out here Tuesdays at six o’clock Eastern three o’clock Pacific. But we have flipped the script and our dear friend Damon. So Damon, let’s go here for a minute. Talk about when you when you started. When you started the company with Andrew like what? What was the inspiration? Let’s go there.

Damon Pistulka 29:33
I wanted to start a company like eggs away from the very first time I was in Seattle and we sold the business. And we did it lots of times back and forth other transactions after that. But that first transaction was the first time that I was able to come in, build it up, get the team get everything and I was part of the team that sold it and it was an awesome experience. And I said I want to do this. I want to do this. I want to do This for people. And I already knew I didn’t want to do it necessarily being in the business anymore, but I wanted to do it.

Nicole Donnelly 30:09
Yeah, I think that’s I mean, so I have, I’m a fourth generation entrepreneur, and I gotta tell you, like, there’s such a need for what you offer, there’s so many businesses that just have no clue, they’re not thinking about it, they, there’s all this family drama situation, people die unexpectedly, you know, and there’s just such a need for for your, for what you’re offering to be able to not just sell the business but help position it to be successful. So I love, love, love what you’re doing. It’s, it’s super cool. Super cool.

Curt Anderson 30:43
And you also were so let’s dig into eggs your way, Damon and what I love you really you kind of have a it’s, it’s your mission, it’s your war cry, that’s like a social element. If I’m saying that correctly, of like you really kind of embracing and nurturing as you’re describing the cold, those entrepreneurs. And as we just said, whether as every single entrepreneur on the planet, at some point in time, you are going to exit your business, whether you like it or not, whether you want to or not, or whether you do it on your own terms or not. Daymond talk a little bit about like, what was your inspiration behind eggs your way in really kind of helping the like, what were you seeing on the streets? Were like, man, these people need help, not just a broker, you know, like, there’s brokers in notice, no zero disrespected, because they do amazing work. But you take it to a different different strategy from just like a traditional broker. Let’s go there.

Damon Pistulka 31:36
Yeah, I when I started working with Andrew Krause, my my current partner in 2015, and we and then and I’ve been around buying and selling businesses, right, but when you when you talk about investor owned businesses, it’s usually like me selling the business to Kurt because we both have these, these different kinds of businesses and they’re in the investment world, they move around, like people move, move cards around near, you know, like Monopoly, you know, street that whatever it is, when you buy the property, these properties, and they move it around like that. And the businesses they have are usually set up a certain way. So they can do that, right. And to get into that class is a hard thing. And I learned that in the first business that moved me to Seattle, because that’s what those guys were doing. We were building up to sell it into the market, just like we do now. But I, I never really been at the broker level where you’re just you’re you’re going in and you’re going, Hey, we’re going to sell your business for you. Are you ready to sell? We’re going to do it. And I didn’t at that time understand how woefully underprepared. Most businesses are.

Curt Anderson 32:50
Yeah, woefully

Damon Pistulka 32:53
even Simon close to it. So that’s been nice. That’s been nice, right?

Nicole Donnelly 32:57
Isn’t it something like 95% of businesses don’t sell isn’t? Isn’t it? Something like that? It’s

Damon Pistulka 33:02
crazy like that, you know, you read all over? Some people say 7080 90 doesn’t really I mean, it’s enough so that

Nicole Donnelly 33:10
that’s a reason why you have a job. They can just you gotta you definitely got product market fit. Amen. Yeah.

Damon Pistulka 33:15
I mean, think about it. I did this. I did this. It’s about the same odds as launching a startup and it lasting 10 years.

Nicole Donnelly 33:24
Wow. So here’s my question for you. That’s crazy. To put it in that perspective. Yeah. For someone like me, who is new, okay. My business is less than five years. Okay. Building growing. And I’m sure there’s a lot of business owners listening, same situation. What would you advise for someone who’s like, because, frankly, to be honest, when you’re just starting a business, you’re just like, trying to get it off the ground? You’re not like you’re not really thinking about? What am I going to do? 1020 years ago, you’re thinking about how am I going to make this work this year?

Curt Anderson 33:59
Yeah, exactly. Am I gonna cover payroll on Thursday? Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Nicole Donnelly 34:04
You know, and so I think, man, it takes a special skill to be able to do both to be able to look short term, and also be able to think long range like that. So what would you advise for someone because, you know, clearly, you’ve got that long range. That’s what your business is all about, like, gotta think long range. How can we do this? What would you advise to someone like me, or someone who’s new, who’s in the thick of it, and like Kurt said, who’s really like literally just trying to make it day to day just trying to make payroll? What are some steps that that we can be taking now, to set ourselves up for success? So we don’t turn into that majority statistic? Because I don’t want to be that man. When did they come? I want to be able to sell this thing and I wanted to do a ball you know, you

Damon Pistulka 34:43
go and you’ll be able to if you if you do the right things, and you know, I think the first thing is envisioning where you want to go, because it is perfectly okay to say I want to run a business. I want to make a few bucks, and I’m gonna close it down when I’m done. Yeah, but know that going in because if that business is going to generate the wealth you need after that, then you got to make sure that your business is making enough and you’re putting money someplace else you’re not going to have a terminal value for it. Just make sure but if that’s what you want to do do it if you want to build it and you’re gonna sell it to somebody else well what what do you want them to be able to buy this going to be a value what do you want your legacy to be know that now? Even if it seems kind of crazy, because you got to start working on it today because you don’t get you don’t get a multimillion dollar business without you know, it’s gonna take some work and you’re gonna get you’re gonna get kicked in the teeth a few times and have to get back up. Yeah. pearly white. That’s gonna happen probably. You came in you just you’ll put them off Guardian You’ll deal in common. You got what was the quote

Curt Anderson 35:53
member? The gentleman in Alaska. The Dutch. What do you remember in school? What is entrepreneurship? Do you remember? Oh, I fight in a ditch. Yeah, it’s a knife fight in a ditch. It is. It really is. It’s a knife fight. God bless me. Yeah, yeah, army. Iraqi Ross injured was injured in the Iraq War. And he described Entrepreneur on our show. He interviewed. He said, entrepreneurship is a knife fight in a ditch. I thought that was brilliant. Damon let’s go here for a minute. We had a dear friend of ours mutual friend and she wrote a book Alene Elaine fulfilled she was a guest on our show. And she wrote a book called Tiny Business Big Money tiny business big money. And both you and I were in that book. How cool was that? We were both in that book. And one was was your client Kelly, you don’t mind me sharing that? Talk like that. And again, I know you’re very humble, but like this has been a rockstar success. And what I love about this Nicole is like given entrepreneurs second generation you know took took over his dad’s business it was office supply business very traditional selling commodities. You know, just there’s a diamond doesn’t you know, you’re competing against at Staples and Office Max and you know, other major brick and mortar, let alone Walmart, everybody else, right. And Daymond just kind of walk us through the humility that Kelly had to show to say, to raise his hand say I need help. And like how you brought this expertise into this business and like what a wonderful success story can you just share a little bit of that experience working with Kelly

Damon Pistulka 37:30
it’s been it’s been a real blessing to be able to work with him and watch watch watch him develop and just it just helped to be an idea generator once in a while, a place to bounce things off of and then really to watch what you can do if you really will take the time to invest in knowledge learning what you’re going to do and then execution because it’s not his business is not an easy business at all. And but it’s it’s one of those things where you go from a unit you know, is it going to work until you go now it’s working when you go now it’s now it’s working better? And you know, now eight, we’re kind of getting good and then you go boom, you get that year and that knife fight right then you gotta get to get come back a little bit but it’s really been something to watch the the the that and and watch him grow and watch the way that that goes. Because you really understand e commerce as such, as you know, coming on to manufacturing you always felt and saw things and the thing that I really enjoy about working with E commerce the electronic nature makes you have to be so much more in tune with the data and the information that’s running behind it because it can go to heck and in a matter of a few minutes. If you don’t know what’s going on I mean literally bad times where you know if you’re if I do not recommend this ever even testing this right but if you’re sitting here and you’re managing I mean with his company now he’s managing I don’t know it’s it’s it just went up a bunch but I think it’s close to 750,000 skews we’re managing on on like six different platforms and and with I think we’re up to 10 suppliers now so it’s it you know you’re doing all this data is moving in orders and moving in if you get if a data a data point, uploads wrong from someplace to somehow so say my $10 item is now $5 Yeah, not believe you not believe how much demand there is on Amazon or a place like that when when you have a price that’s way too low. And I’m just like, did it the orders kicker, you know, it’s that fast. So it’s it’s an amazing thing because you have to be on your toes and I Think I was I think I was telling you about it, Kurt. It’s a 24/7 job when you’re doing e commerce. And I think and I was telling Kurt about this, we used to always when we were farming, it’s just say, Man, you don’t want to be a dairy farmer, because you got to milk cows, morning and night, seven days a week. And I think ecommerce is worse.

Nicole Donnelly 40:20
Oh my gosh. So that’s. So that’s my question to you. You mentioned that he has this is a hard business, would you say across like, what would you if you were to say like, what are the easiest businesses from what you’ve seen to run and manage versus some of the hardest businesses? What would you do? Can you categorize it like that? Or it’s just too complicated? No,

Damon Pistulka 40:37
no. Are there everyone’s kind of challenges?

Nicole Donnelly 40:39
Yeah. I was hoping you’d give me the golden ticket to the yeah, you’re looking

Curt Anderson 40:43
for the easy one.

Damon Pistulka 40:44
No, there’s no easy button.

Curt Anderson 40:46
No, easy button. Damon, how about this, are you? So Nicole, we had the blessing of visiting entrepreneurs last week, and you know, a couple of hugely successful, Damon, you came on the lives. And Damon, we visit a bunch of entrepreneurs in Alaska, you see a common thread with folks that like, you know, you have the entrepreneur that can you know, you know, I always said, like, you know, they’re doing great, they, you know, you kind of bought yourself a job, but you know what, it’s your job, and you’re not, you know, you you do your own thing, then you have like the next level entrepreneur, then the next level and like, do you see a common thread or a trait of like the next level entrepreneur that really can take it to, to, you know, to hit their dreams? hit those goals?

Damon Pistulka 41:30
Yeah, you have to be able to duplicate resources. I mean, you have to understand where your next step are, and duplicate resources, right? Because in the beginning, you’re the brains, you’re the execution, you’re everything. Okay, what’s next after that, because when I get to a certain point, I have to add to backfill, and I have to keep moving, I have to keep moving forward, and I have to backfill, so I got more resources, that that is the key and growing a business, I don’t care what you’re doing to go from whatever to whatever. Now that changes, it gets more complex as you go, because usually a founder led business will get to a certain point, and they’re like, I just can’t do it. And because because that takes a structural change in the business where we go, Damon can’t manage the six to 10 people that are running the business anymore, we have to establish a management team and do a bit more in there. And that’s where a lot of people stop, but that that from that initial up to you know, you can go 10 $20 million, by just understanding where do we have to add resources next, and to duplicate our resources to be able to do more, and do it and smart on the way.

Curt Anderson 42:33
Nicole? I haven’t had dinner yet. But man, that was like a strawberry rhubarb pie rates

Nicole Donnelly 42:40
are so good. You know, my dad used to say the same thing when he he built an eight figure business. And I remember I’ll never forget him saying to me, the best thing I ever did was when I learned to replicate myself. Yep. And he said, he said that over and over again. He’s like, there’s no way my business would have grown if I hadn’t have replicated myself. And so I think that’s great advice.

Damon Pistulka 43:04
And they don’t have to be as good as you they get 75 80% as good as you that’s just fine. And just know, where’s the next step to do that? All the time.

Nicole Donnelly 43:13
What do you think about this, like, solopreneur trend happening? Where are these people are like building these solopreneur businesses and they’re like, you know, the tiny business, Alain pulpal What’s your vibe on that? Because that seems to be really, really like trendy right now. It’s really popular. Everybody wants to be a solopreneur and have a highly profitable business. What’s your vibe on that?

Damon Pistulka 43:35
Still gonna be a knife fight choose your battle. Choose your battles. I mean, nobody’s going to have it easy. I don’t care who you go who your coaches I don’t care who you’re following. I don’t care who it’s gonna be a knife fight. I’m glad you brought that up, Kurt because he said he’s had it the best. Yeah, it really is. But you gotta want it you gotta want it more than other people. Because there’s gonna be you talk about work life balance. Yes. Don’t Don’t you know, don’t put your health at risk. Don’t put your family at risk and those kinds of things. But every other second outside of that you’re gonna have to do it.

Nicole Donnelly 44:15
Yeah, I agree. I think there’s gonna be I think there’s gonna be a little pendulum swift coming in that direction. Anyway. Yeah. All right.

Curt Anderson 44:24
All right. So David, let’s go here. So we did we did a super fun workshop in MIT. Yes, you’re in a whole new light man like you absolutely crushed it. We got into pricing you got into exit strategy you know? So I want to go there for a minute when you’re working with somebody reaches out to you can walk us through like first steps of zero Thank you, man. We had an awesome place that we had in Alaska man was or what? No Colton so perfect. Yeah, right across major park like oh god. It was like light until midnight. And so like Damon they’re out last night. entrails matter. We stumbled on a rugby match at like, 10 at night, remember that? Oh, yeah, it was like, hey, I can play get out there. And I’m like, do they break me like a pretzel, you know. So. Alright, back to the back to the workshop. I digress. My apologies. So when folks reach out to you, what’s kind of the first step? I heard a couple of calls that you run of like that first step, and I just man, I was like, I was like a sponge listening. Walk us through that first step. Hey, Damon, I’m entrepreneur, you know, Mr. And Mrs. Entrepreneur, we’re starting to think about it like what what’s your process? What are some of the questions that you started that you started out? With?

Damon Pistulka 45:38
Yeah, it’s really, it really starts with what? What do you want to achieve? What are you trying to do? What’s your what’s what’s next for you? Do you have any idea what what that really means? In terms of your, you know, do you want to get out of your business? And do whatever do you want to? What do you want to do? Why are you doing this, really get to understand where they’re at, because a lot of people call us that are frustrated, it’s like, I don’t want to be in my business anymore. And I’m gonna tell you, that’s the wrong reason to leave your business because you won’t work. But it’s, it’s really about what’s next. What Why are you doing this? Right? Why are you doing this, and then you go down to, let’s talk about your business a little bit. If you really want to get rid of your neck, get rid of what you want to sell your eggs for your business? Have you thought about it? Have you prepared at all have you do you really know what it’s worth have even got any idea? And you’re just really trying to get understand where they’re at, and then start to give them information? And go well, you know, if your business is making about this much you can you can tell somebody about what it’s going to be you can do more detail later, but you really got to start there and, and see if they are informed enough because it’s all about just educating people at the beginning. There’s so much not to me, because it’s not like selling a house right? You can’t just go put it up and everybody knows that you gotta there’s a lot of stuff that has to happen even houses now. Everybody stages their house, right? Everybody stages it, they got a little looks better than when you live in it. Right? And it’s, you got to do the same thing with a business search. It’s not gonna sell anymore. But it’s, it’s figuring out where they’re at, what are they trying to do?

Curt Anderson 47:21
Now, in you, if I had this crack, you gave me some, like the best time to sell your business? What didn’t we talk about this? Like, what’s the best time to think about selling your business, or what’s the best time to like, really start taking that action.

Damon Pistulka 47:35
When you love the most,

Curt Anderson 47:37
when you love it the most? Nicole? That’s the time

Damon Pistulka 47:41
to sell. Because if you love it, the next person is going to love it, everybody’s gonna feel it, they’re gonna want it, they’re gonna want it. It’s amazing when Air Jam and we’re champion so hard, and you’re like, This is awesome. Sell your business, because the next person is going to feel that awesomeness. And they’re going to be able to take it and keep going with it is really

Nicole Donnelly 48:01
brilliant. Oh, but you know, here’s the thing, Damon, here’s the thing. Okay, I know, You’ve hear this, this cliche. You hear this cliche all the time, like your business is your baby, you know. And I gotta say, like, from my experience, there is like, you know, there’s an emotional attachment, like you’re building something like you are. Putting your whole heart and soul into it like that, I think is really like, what and when you’re at the point where you’re loving it the most, to let to know when to walk away. What a hard choice that is, you know, like, sheesh, I just, that’s gotta be tough, tough for those folks in that position, you know? So what do you say to people, they’re like, my business is my baby. What do you tell?

Damon Pistulka 48:54
Then you shouldn’t sell it? You’re not ready. I mean, hey, there’s a lot of people that sell their business, they’re certain seller, but prepare, prepare, because your family is gonna get to deal with it then. Or somebody else. But you know, that’s one of the key things, what are you going to do next? Because, really, you’re looking at our lives, whether we like it or not, our lives are forever changing, right? And we’re going to end our work whether we wait until Deming like they’re just about dead, or are we get out early? I know it’s really I mean, I look at this right you look at Harrison Ford, now he’s at in the news, and he’s talking about hey, I don’t want to quit acting. Oh, cool. If he wants to keep

Nicole Donnelly 49:37
doing AI he could live forever, right? Yeah.

Damon Pistulka 49:40
But but it’s it’s really you gotta you gotta think about what’s next because that that what’s next for you should be pulling you towards it, rather than your business keeping you there. Yeah. And the people that I see that are really interested about exiting their business, I mean, our clients are usually in their 40s or 50s. Why is that? Because they want to generate wealth. And they want to go do something else. Whatever it is, whatever it is. And phase two, yeah, the next phase. The next phase can be philanthropic. That’s a lot of people do. A lot of people do. They start different businesses or hobby businesses. I mean, what the heck was it? We sold? And I don’t want to name drop too much, but a former executive of one of the major shoe companies in the world, a bicycle shop. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Curt Anderson 50:35
David, I want to I want to hit a point you and I had the blessing and gift of interviewing Carrie Smith, Carrie Smith was founder, not one technically not even the founder. No, he was the CEO of big ass fans, excuse my language, but he was he built this company. He he he would agreed story, man, go back and catch that episode. What the guy that was Ink Magazine, brilliant entrepreneur. He walked into like this little garage and he saw these this giant fan and he said, angels were singing trumpets were playing like him like he had been a struggling failed. Entrepreneur, right? All these big giant fans bought the company built and sold it for half a billion dollars sold it for half a billion. That’s a lot of zeros. $500 million. In Daymond, do remember what he shared. When he was interviewed when he talked about selling his company? And point what was your baby wasn’t your baby. He said you know what? It was not my baby. It was like my pack of gum. And when I was done with that pack of gum, I sold you my pack of gum, and it was now your pack of gum. I’m like, I’m telling you.

Damon Pistulka 51:49
i He was Stone Cold about it.

Curt Anderson 51:51
He was stone I’m telling you firsthand with vigor. So I was fortunate enough soda business. And if I could if I could have had that remove the emotion from it. Boy, I’m telling you, you’re you’re going to be so much better off. Yeah. Yeah. I wanted to just share that. Okay. I don’t like Dude, how long do you go? Do you go to the top

Damon Pistulka 52:09
of the list? This is about it for us. Okay, so let’s

Curt Anderson 52:13
rapid fire. Do you have any rapid fire? We’re

Nicole Donnelly 52:16
doing it? Okay. Rapid fire. We’re doing a lightning round.

Damian, you need to stretch? Cold disease. Cool guy. There’s

Damon Pistulka 52:25
a lot of cracking.

Curt Anderson 52:26
Take a deep breath.

Nicole Donnelly 52:28
Okay, if you are a spirit animal, what’s your spirit animal?

Damon Pistulka 52:33
You heard this question the other day. So I was thinking about it. Yeah, I would have to say I’m a flying elephant.

Nicole Donnelly 52:43
Okay, now you gotta explain that one, a flying elephant?

Damon Pistulka 52:47
Well, because I don’t think I’m an eagle. But I do think that I kind of, you know, elephants to me are always like, yeah, we’re here. We’re catching it all. That’s kind of Yeah, you know, that’s true. within us. Yeah. Like, if someone comes down there they can take care of it if they need to. Yeah,

Curt Anderson 53:08
I love it. Good answer.

Nicole Donnelly 53:09
Very nice. Damon. I like I’ve never heard Flying Elephant. I’ve heard golden retriever in a China shop. Never heard Flying Elephant. That’s great. Okay. What would be your spy code name?

Damon Pistulka 53:21
Oh, God, spy. Codename? Ah.

Curt Anderson 53:26
Good. That’s so quick yesterday.

Nicole Donnelly 53:28
I didn’t ask that before. Yeah. Your code name be

Curt Anderson 53:36
Zen master the Creator.

Damon Pistulka 53:37
I don’t know. The cleaver. The big chopping? Yeah.

Nicole Donnelly 53:48
Sure. You do do that on your show a lot. That’s like kind of your MO. I love it. Okay, if you had to guess what’s one thing people would say they most appreciate about you.

Damon Pistulka 54:00
I’m pretty I’m pretty consistent. Yeah, I’m pretty that and persistent.

Nicole Donnelly 54:09
But yeah, I can see both of those things in you. All right. What do you think? Would you second that? Kirk is a

Curt Anderson 54:15
great listener. Just great friend loyal to like, boy, you know, I’m a huge huge dog fanatic. He is loyal. Like your best. Like he’s man’s best friend. So he’s just such a such a blessing to me. I could go on and that we’d be we’d be here all night. So Damon, thank you for just being an awesome dude. Awesome friend. And, and it’s great. So I agree with all of the above.

Nicole Donnelly 54:40
Oh, man. Okay, I got a few more. Okay. What is your favorite book?

Damon Pistulka 54:49
My favorite book? I would have to say, God there’s so many. But you know, I really think that the one that was interesting for me In the last couple of years was Dr. Wayne Dyer. Change your thoughts change your life. It’s just an interesting book to read. And it’s talks about the the Dow if I’m saying it right that the Chinese teachings it’s it’s just it’s a real thought provoking book. But I’m a book junkie so I’ve got a

Curt Anderson 55:21
huge Wayne Dyer follower and Damon, we talk about the word. Good words, radical humility. That came from Wayne Dyer. We talked about like, radical gratitude. Like that was his boy here. If you’re not familiar with Wayne Dyer out there, boy. Like, he’s from the 70s and 80s. He’s like the old Zen. He’s the original Zen Master. Yeah, it’s real. It’s real. Check. I

Nicole Donnelly 55:45
don’t know. Damon will always be the Zen master to me. There’s no one else in my mind that could ever replace Damon. Master.

Damon Pistulka 55:55
Don’t look back in time. That’s the thing. But

Nicole Donnelly 55:57
see, that’s what makes you a great set master. In my opinion, because you have mastered it with massive. Okay. Yeah. Okay. I’ll take that. Yeah, take it. That’s all I got for my lightning round. I think we should end There we go. Zen master.

Curt Anderson 56:11
We’re just going to save her. It’s dinner time. We’re just saving one east coast. We’re just saving little amp our pie man.

Damon Pistulka 56:18
That’s thank you guys for coming in today. I didn’t you know, we didn’t plan this until last weekend. We had a guest cancel and it was and you suggested this. I reluctantly said yes.

Nicole Donnelly 56:29
But it’s been fun. It’s been fun to throw too many curveballs your way right?

Damon Pistulka 56:33
No, no, not at all. Not at all. I mean, it’s not like good stuff. But thank you so much. Hey,

Curt Anderson 56:40
so everybody out there. Welcome are well Yeah, you’re welcome. You’re welcome for giving you a little little gift of Damon Pistulka Damon, thank you dude, thank you for being such a go giver. All the people that you bring on your show and just you shine a light bright light on everybody. It was just a blessing for Nicole and I to spend time get to know you a little bit better. hear your story in your background, your superpowers. Thank you, brother. Appreciate. Love you. Thank you. You do don’t know where I’d be without you. Thank you, man.

Damon Pistulka 57:11
Thank you guys so much. You’re the best one. We’ll end it now. We’ll end it now. Thanks, everyone for listening. Yeah, thanks, Nicole. I am

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