Michael Flinner and Jack Tucker from Seamless Logistics

Episode Transcription

Glenn: Hello, everybody. Welcome to another edition of Empowering Entrepreneurs. I’m Glenn Harper.

Glenn: Julie Smith.

Glenn: What’s up, Julie?

Julie: How’s it going? It’s getting cold out. There.

Glenn: It is. I didn’t have I had a real coffee this morning, so I’m not sure how this is going to go.

Julie: Well, at least got your long sleeves on.

Glenn: That’s right. You had to cover up all my tats. We’ve got two special guests here today, fellow entrepreneurs Mike Fleener and Jack Tucker. And we were just so happy to have you guys here. They have a couple companies because they’re just serial entrepreneurs. They can’t stop with just one. And that is the patented trademark of most entrepreneurs, is they just keep going. Welcome, guys. What’s going on?

Mike: How much you guys must have ran out of gas? You know, you finally call it after like a year. So. Well, we didn’t get the opportunity.

Julie: Well, took a long time to get you on the schedule, in all fairness.

Glenn: True. We didn’t want to rush into things. Jack was shaken.

Jack: Oh, not too much, man. Just another day in the fast lane, ain’t.

Glenn: It, though? It’s every day. Start negative and you got to build it up, right?

Jack: That’s right.

Glenn: So, you know, Jack, I understand you’re from California. How did you end up in Columbus, Ohio?

Jack: You know, by the way, of school and football? Brought me to Columbus, Ohio, went to Ohio State, played for the Buckeyes from 2000 to 2002, went back to California and figured out that I couldn’t just hang out on the beach all day and I had to get a real job. So move back to Columbus, Ohio, where I had a kind of built in network and got married in California. And my wife’s from here. And gradually we we came back.

Julie: Did you come back for the winters solely?

Jack: I did. I did. We just couldn’t stand. Those 75 sunny days.

Glenn: Would get old, I would think. Mike, where’d you grow up at?

Mike: I grew up in Ohio’s Amish country, up in Holmes County.

Glenn: So how did you get to how did you get to Columbus?

Mike: Yeah. Similar growing up, the lifestyle that Jack grew up in Southern California. Now we joke about that because he grew up with surfboards and I grew up with Amish buggies. So but no, I moved down here about 20 some years ago, early 2004, with a previous job. I could kind of live wherever, and I decided I didn’t want to live in small town USA anymore. So I moved down here for bigger and brighter things.

Glenn: You’re looking for that thing called electricity and things like that.

Mike: The simple things. Yeah, right.

Glenn: Important thing. How did you guys get hooked up together? You guys were running businesses on your own, or how did you guys come together and say, You know what? We could make something cool together?

Jack: You know, Michael might be the best storyteller between the two of us. I tend to leave out lots of details, so I’m going to defer to him as to how we came together.

Mike: He always makes me tell the story.

Glenn: Yeah.

Julie: You need a big picture guy in a details guy so I can already see this is going to work. Sure.

Mike: Sure, sure. So I was at the time in real estate. Jack was already in the industry. He worked for a less than truckload company, and we met through friends. And, I don’t know, we kind of just hit it off, see each other at parties, and our wives became friends and we were kind of hanging out. No kids young. And then we took this trip to Costa Rica back in 2006. And, you know, we’re reading books and, you know, I don’t know what podcasts were out back then, but, you know, what do we want to be when we grow up and had this entrepreneurial spirit about us and slowly realizing as we were in the workforce that we didn’t really want to work for anybody else anymore, we wanted to kind of forge our own path. And so we kind of had this aha moment in Costa Rica, you know, what do we want to be when we grow up? So after beers in the swimming pool every day overlooking the jungle of Costa Rica, which was awesome, maybe a bit of clarity, we slowly started talking and Jack, being from the West Coast, you know, three pals were were pretty big back then and the West Coast. But there wasn’t a huge presence like there is today in the Midwest. You know, that’s since changed not only with ourselves but very you know, there’s a lot both here in Ohio and Chicago and throughout the Midwest, but a lot have popped up that a lot of people even having heard about, including us, that haven’t made it on the map.

Mike: But there’s there’s a lot of three pals now. But back then, you know, we felt the need was, you know, it sounds kind of cliche, but a higher level of customer service where we thought if we could meet people with technology because at the time it was mostly just people, you know, just trying to survive every day on the phone, looking for trucks, looking for loads to cover. So we built out some technology that we thought could kind of meet the the need in the middle where, you know, you had the people there when you needed it for the customer service and the technology for the, you know, for the customer that wanted more of the hands off approach. So so yeah, we, we kind of just put this idea together throughout the week. And then on the plane ride back, you know, Jack looks at me we both have aisle seats and he says, Are you serious about this? I said, Yeah, are you? And he said, Yeah. So we we came back and it was February, I believe it was. Blistering cold here in Columbus, Ohio, and we put a business plan together in his basement. And I wish I could tell you the rest of the history, but as you know, there were some bumps and bruises along the way. The roller coaster.

Glenn: Two questions. Did were you on this trip, just the two of you, or did you have families with you?

Mike: We yeah, Our wives were with us as well.

Glenn: Yeah. And then for our listeners out there, you said a couple of words, like two. Pl Three. Pl What does that mean? What is the business that you’re actually in? Go ahead.

Jack: Jack. So there’s a couple of different business units now. As you know, Glenn, the third party logistics side where we become the intermediary between customer and the and the transportation companies. And then there’s also the asset based side, the trucking side of the business. So we’re kind of that third party within the overall transaction.

Glenn: So you have a company, a seamless logistics, I believe, where I have some product I need shipped, I would call you and you would facilitate that to happen, correct?

Jack: Correct. We take a look at what you had. Timeliness of getting it, their commodities, those things. And then we would we would plan accordingly and execute the transportation for you.

Glenn: So you were working for a company that was kind of doing this. Yes, But Mike, you were not. So how did you get sucked into this black hole?

Mike: It’s a good he’s very persuasive. I was always kind of, you know, head on a swivel. Oh, squirrel, you know, something shiny over there. And I loved just, you know, again, being young and not being exposed to the business world as as much as maybe we are now. But you know what’s next? What cool things out there I don’t know about. So.

Glenn: So I think a take away here for our listeners who are aspiring entrepreneurs is that sometimes you you it could be at a pool in Costa Rica, it could be at the aisle seat in a plane. It could be anywhere where the light bulb hits and you say, Hey, there’s an idea. Was it pretty intimidating to want to go do this thing or was it you? Did you have a bunch of capital buildup so you could not work for a while and not make any money and still support your families? Or was it like, oh, let’s just jump into this thing?

Mike: Yeah, it was. It was probably young and dumb. We made a ton of mistakes. But, you know, I think being a little naive at the time probably is is a bonus little silver lining in there. But, you know, I think, you know, this model we built, we didn’t have to go out and ask for a huge capital raise investors. You know, it was we bootstrapped, it kept our day jobs, you know, and we still, you know, we’re advising an up and coming entrepreneur now. And we you know, we told her we think, you know, you know, if you can bootstrap it as long as possible, you know, from a financial standpoint, you know, it’s harder potentially, you know, there’s some upsides and downsides with risk there. But yeah, that’s how we did it. We we just bootstrapped it, quit our day jobs. And, you know, those first few years were still pretty rough.

Glenn: How long did it take for you guys to, you know, get a return on your investment, start being profitable and going, Oh, my gosh, this thing’s really going to work? Or did you know it from the beginning? It was going to work.

Mike: I don’t know if we ever questioned if it would work. It was it was more of when, you know, the will it fly, you know, goes through your head at night, sleepless nights. But, you know, I guess we could say we were profitable pretty much from the beginning because it was just Jack and I. But to the point where we could hire and scale. It took us about five years, you know, And then we did, of course, become bankable and investors were attracted. And so once we got, you know, through that first five or six years, you know, then we we became able to scale. And, you know, Jack was wearing, you know, 22 hats. I was wearing 22 hats. And, you know, we could finally take a deep breath and see our families at night and early in the morning and not be, you know, working crazy hours. We were able to to scale it and hire people.

Julie: Now, I want to go back to Costa Rica because you were there with your wives to be able to get there by and for you guys to jump off this cliff. What did that look like?

Jack: It didn’t take a whole lot of convincing because I think back to Michael’s point, we were bootstrapping it, so we were meeting early in the morning, working our day jobs, reconvening in the evenings, working till 10:00 and going back home. So we were trying to mitigate as much risk as we could. And that’s pre kids. So, you know, that’s there’s no it’s not a huge lift for my wife to be at home by herself. You know, there’s no kids in the equation. So it didn’t take a whole lot of convincing. You know, my wife’s always been super supportive of going after it. And we’ve never really we never really had that conversation in the process.

Julie: We just have always found that that’s always such a you either have it or you don’t. And, you know, once you have it, it’s like you’re unstoppable. Yeah, because you’re you’re kind of free from that. Right?

Jack: Right. And I think that has a lot to do with, you know, we were very young when we started. I think I was 27. So, you know, that’s that’s young for an entrepreneur. I’m sure there’s younger ones out there. But as you get older, it becomes a bit more difficult. Once you’re you know, you’ve got good income, you’ve got a steady job, you’ve got kids at home. There’s additional risk there that Michael and I did not have.

Glenn: How long did it take for you guys to quit your real jobs and then say, okay, we’re all and we’re just doing the seamless? How long did that take yesterday?

Mike: It’s kind of because we always laugh about it. They’ve been talked about this for a while, but, you know, we quote unquote, launched in 2006, you know, got back from Costa Rica and got this office in the basement in grand view. That was about 300 square feet. And it was so cool, you know, we’d be working our day jobs. We were both outside so we could pop in and send a fax. You know, faxes were still a thing back then and, uh, you know, or do something we needed to or in the afternoons we would just meet there, you know, which was it was just such a cool feeling. But so that was 2006 and then in 2008. I left first. So about two years, right about the same time, my wife and I found out she was pregnant with her first timing. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Gloves are off. Here we go. If you’re not in, you are now.

Glenn: That’s it.

Mike: So and then Jack followed. That was pretty much beginning of the year 2008, and Jack followed suit. What? That march? Yeah, Yeah. A couple of months later.

Glenn: Amateur. Jack didn’t see what was going to happen. I’m kidding. Of course. No. You know, it’s the funny thing. It’s really. It’s hard to be an entrepreneur until you’re all in and you can’t go back. And so when you close that one door, it’s it’s all open. You got to make it happen because now it’s got consequences.

Mike: Sure.

Glenn: Does that motivate you more or was it like, eh, I got this, no big deal.

Mike: I think, you know, once you’re in it and it’s kind of I think that’s why people who sign up for, you know, or in it, because it’s kind of a weird thing to say, but it’s fun, right? Like you’re going through that grind and it’s hard. You know, I have a tremendous amount of respect for people going, you know, solo on it because having a partner to weather those storms with you. You know, but since we started, like we talk about that a lot, right? Like, especially social media, everyone thinks being an entrepreneur so sexy and it’s cool when you’re in your company and you’re jet setting around and doing all these cool things and, you know, nobody.

Glenn: I mean, it’s not. It’s not.

Mike: No, it is. But we’ll get in conversations. You know, we had a conversation we meet with, you know, with Nick like a couple of times a year with our buddy that’s an entrepreneur here in Columbus. And he, you know, we always talk about like it’s not what people think it is, right? It’s it it is, you know, if you’re in it. But nobody knows behind the scenes and the trenches and, you know, you’re on an island essentially by yourself or with a partner.

Glenn: You know, it’s funny, that attitude, you know, the attitude of gratitude or just the unwavering belief in yourself and your ability and your idea, you just can’t be stopped. So, you know, when you get those things lined up, don’t keep trying to make it perfect. You’ve got to eventually jump. But when you believe in yourself, nobody can stop you. And then when you have a partner that’s willing to have that same passion and commitment, I think that’s kind of the secret for all our listeners out there. Just, you know, you’ve got to believe in yourself. And if you do and you have that positive attitude, I don’t know how you can fail. We don’t we don’t use that word, though. We can’t I can’t say that word. We never fail. We have pivots, setbacks, re calibrations, you know, attack in a different direction, of course. But I mean, that’s what it’s all about.

Julie: I would agree. You guys mentioned something about scaling and building a team. And I know when you started, you know, it’s just the two of you and you bounce ideas off each other. But what is it meant to both of you about building a team and what has that brought to you?

Jack: Building a team has taken quite some time. That doesn’t happen overnight as an entrepreneur because I think in order to build a team, there has to be great culture around the business and until you get to that point, you can’t build a good team. And as entrepreneurs, you jump into the game and your head’s down and you don’t have the time that is needed to do a lot of that culture work, to do a lot of that deep dive, to do a lot of that discovery. Michael and I have been very fortunate over the past five years to do a lot of that work and. Doing a lot of that work has resulted in. Building. We have a great team. People understand who we are. They understand our mission. They understand our culture pillars. They understand what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable within the company. And. Once you get there, things start to figure themselves out. And we always say, I love this quote, is that once you’ve built a great culture, they say that, you know, strategy eats culture for breakfast, right? And that meaning that we can go out and bring a big deal back into the office.

Mike: Culture eats.

Speaker4: Culture strategy. I’m sorry.

Glenn: So hungry.

Jack: Yeah. So make sure we edit that part. So the idea is that culture eats strategy, right? And that our team are our outside sales folks or myself or Michael can go out and bring a huge opportunity to the table that maybe we’ve never seen before, and our group is thirsty for that opportunity to dive into it, to dissect it, and how are we going to make it better, how are we going to build process, how are we going to make things efficient for this to work within the workplace? So that takes a lot of time. And I think once you get there, you can start to create some good layers within the business. That’s been something that we’ve done over the past two or three years that has allowed Michael and I to kind of steer the ship and to be forward thinking and say, What’s next? How can we get better in these facets of the business? What’s what’s out there two or three years now in the industry and how are we going to attack it?

Glenn: It’s probably the natural progression of an entrepreneur. As you start out with an idea, you’re going to do business, you’re going to do that thing, and then eventually you’re like, I can’t do this thing all the time. I’m going to burn out. I don’t have enough time, I don’t have resources, I’m stretched too thin. And then we have this little phrase we use to get out of your own way, and then you decide, Wait a minute, I’m not going to do business. I’m going to build a business. And that light switch comes on. When did that light switch come on where you wanted to identify those core values, the vision, and start building a team? How long was that in your journey when you first started off?

Jack: You know, I think that Michael and I were really lucky and fortunate to be surrounded with some really good people very early on. And I’ll never forget this conversation we had with a couple of entrepreneurs that brought one of the biggest ice cream franchises to Columbus and grew that business. And I never forget we were it was after a round of golf. We’re sitting there having a beer and we were just Michael and I couldn’t get enough. It was always asking questions, picking the brain and. They told a story of they had their first grand opening of the first ice cream store. And, you know, the anticipation of the ice cream store opening was huge line out the door. And here to entrepreneurs can’t wait to open it. And one of the entrepreneurs brought his dad in town to watch. And from the time they open to the time they closed a steady line through the entire store, they get everything cleaned up and they sit down and they’re just like, That was amazing. And one of the entrepreneurs looked, His dad is the dad. What do you think? And. He said, Son, he goes, If you continue to scoop the ice cream, you’ll never have a real business. And it was like little nuggets like that. Along the way, you knew that there was more to it eventually. But hearing it from people that had been super successful, that there was going to come a point in time where you couldn’t do everything and that you had to provide people with great autonomy and empower them to make decisions and things like that. So I think that early on we were, you know, and that’s one story amongst 100, right? And, you know, I think that Michael and I always gravitated to people that were much smarter than us, that were much older than us, because I think that the more opportunity you have to make mistakes, the smarter you’re going to become. Now, typically people that are older than me have made more mistakes than me, so we’ve been fortunate from that standpoint.

Speaker1: Do you feel like? Did you have a specific mentor that said that you’re like, Wow, that person really guided me through this? Or was it a group of people? Again, it’s very you know, the information out there today is way different than the information was out there when you guys started. I mean, we’re talking back in the Stone Age. There was not a lot of, you know, readily available entrepreneur empowering them and giving you shortcuts. You had to let it talk to people, right? You couldn’t just go read articles and such and watch watch podcasts. So was there you know, the the take away for this for our listeners is don’t be afraid to go ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of people, because most entrepreneurs believe or not, really do want to help each other. Right? It’s a big let’s pick them up and help them versus others. Not enough, you know, business out here for everybody. Was there a specific one or was it a group of or how did that work out for you guys?

Speaker2: And do you still keep in contact with them today? Hmm.

Speaker3: I think for me, probably both of us, because I know the gentleman that Jack’s referring to. Yeah. I think just you’re open to meeting, you know, or getting to know. And I think you’re in the back of your mind before you really had those conversations with those people, you’re like, Man, I wonder what makes them tick. I wonder how they got to where they’re at. Right. And and to your point, we don’t have what we have today, right? Like, I can scroll through social media, be it LinkedIn or Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and, you know, see all these. You know, these posts of of messages to up and coming entrepreneurs like me I wish I.

Speaker1: Was that.

Speaker3: Yeah right. The inspiration for I to answer your question Julie I don’t you know we see these folks from time to time, but I think, you know, they’re kind of maybe put in your life at the time when you’re looking for that inspiration again, back then, before we had to have more human connection. So yeah, it was probably more it was probably tougher back then to to to find those sources of inspiration and knowledge of how they did it. Because there’s no and you can read as many books as you want. But and you know, I guess to that point is, is, you know, those handful of people everyone’s story is different right? How they made it to the top or how they’re still searching for the top. So I think I think that was my biggest takeaway is this is not a one size fits all model. This is going to be different.

Speaker1: Did you guys when you were kids, did you have those entrepreneurial tendencies where you’re like hustling on the streets all the time and selling stuff and doing things, or did this just all of a sudden, Wow, I think we can do this and that. It hit you then, you know, everybody has a different take. And when they got the bug, when did that happen for you guys?

Speaker4: I think I always had a hard time. Having somebody tell me what I need to do.

Speaker2: I don’t see that Jack at all.

Speaker1: I don’t get it.

Speaker4: And I’m from the mindset of Tell me. Tell me. I can’t. And I will. And I think that’s always been my mentality. I think I’ve always been very curious, an innovator. If I see opportunity, I’m going to try to pounce on it. So that was kind of my mindset. I was heavily into sports. I didn’t have a whole lot of time, but I think once I got out of college and into the real world and had my first corporate America job, I knew very quickly that this is not where I was going to be able to survive and thrive.

Speaker1: What does this 8 to 5 thing and TPS reports? I’m not doing that. Hey, how about you, Mike?

Speaker3: What was the question again?

Speaker1: What did you have The entrepreneurial bug. Did you always have that as a kid or did you just convert to that? When was your aha moment that this is crazy.

Speaker3: Yeah. You know, my wife and I talked about this maybe a year or two ago, and I really never stop and thought about it. I don’t think you know, I think there’s both options or aspects to look at. Right. I think there are maybe natural born entrepreneurs, but I think there’s more times than not those that aren’t born with it. I don’t know that I was, you know, is doing the same thing as every other kid, probably trying to make a buck, you know, selling, mowing lawns, you know, lemonade stand, stuff like that. But I do remember being a kid and I guess I overlook this maybe there’s some sort of psychological thing there, but we had this spare small, spare bedroom, this toy room, whatever, and I would set up like a card table and it was like my office, you know, And I and I would just sit there. I was like, Oh, this is what you do, I guess, right? I’m the boss. Yeah, the boss. I just sit there. Yeah. So I think that’s like and I kind of completely forgot about that until recently, but it was kind of a weird thing to remember, I guess. Like, I don’t know, it was interesting and. Yeah, I guess that’s pretty much the I think.

Speaker2: Was it a clean desk or was it chaos?

Speaker3: Oh, it’s so organized. Yeah, because I didn’t, you know, I just sat there and said to make sure.

Speaker1: We have a secondary podcast on deep thinking and psychological issues. So we’ll get to that one at another date.

Speaker3: Like a couch. I can put my feet up.

Speaker1: Well, we got to be comfortable.

Speaker3: I could be there for hours.

Speaker1: Do you guys have a you know, all entrepreneurs have a thing like they’re just good at? Like there’s whether it’s details or communication or they look good, whatever that thing is. Do you what is your each of your superpowers? It’s like, man, this is just a thing I got. And I roll with that every day.

Speaker2: And I’m curious if Jack thinks Mike’s the same thing that Mike thinks. Jack says.

Speaker1: Yes. That’s a good, good, good point, Julie.

Speaker3: We step in a soundproof booth.

Speaker1: That’s right. Like la, la la. Cover your ears. Go ahead, Jack. You first. What’s your superpower?

Speaker4: I think. Running a business, especially in the logistics and transportation world. Things come at you 800 different ways. And not one day is the same. And I think I have this kind of calming. Kind of aura. I always try to be very even keeled. Whether I’m super excited, whether I’m super pissed, whether there’s a good situation or a bad situation. And I think that the folks, when you’re leading, they find comfort in that and confidence in that, depending on what the situation is. And always going back to we can do this together. And I think that, you know, I think that setting the tone like that encourages people to maybe dive into situations a little bit differently than maybe they had done before or prior to coming to Seamless. So I think that that’s. One of my superpowers is just, you know, this business throws lots at you. Good, bad. And I think attacking it with the same demeanor is super important, especially when you have a team that you’re leading.

Speaker1: So if I can summarize that just tremendous amount of data processing capability that you have to make lots of decisions, but basically staying even keeled. So everybody, no matter what you’re like, I got it and we got this.

Speaker4: And Michael could attest to this, but he I’ve probably only gotten wound up maybe a couple of times.

Speaker1: Oh, do tell.

Speaker2: That’s for the other pod.

Speaker1: Yes. Get the couch out.

Speaker4: And if you and if you look at the wound up, it’s it’s very mild. So, you know, I think that’s that would be one of one of a good characteristics that I have as a as an entrepreneur and a business leader.

Speaker1: What’s your release when you got it all built up? How would you go do you you lift weights, you play the piano, you jog.

Speaker4: I work out every day. All right. And just for an hour. And, you know, believe it or not, I actually get a lot done work wise while I’m working out. I think I have lots of friends that. I think I don’t want to welcome them to a workout, but that’s kind of my time. That’s my time to release, to think, to maybe send some emails to follow up. And that’s a good like hour of exercise and getting some work things done.

Speaker1: It’s probably one of the few times as a guy you can multitask, believe it or not. Most guys can do one thing at a time, but it looks like you can do two things there, which is impressive.

Speaker4: Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker1: Mike, What? What’s your superpower? You are wearing your cape today, so just making sure. Yeah.

Speaker3: 24 seven. Yeah. You know, I think, you know, that probably brings, like, the ying to the yang, right? Like what Jack enjoys doing. And his superpower and mine are opposites, which is probably been healthy and and helped us scale over the years. You know, the details guy things that he’ll be talking about something and I’ll be like man that boards the that bores me, you know, and vice versa. But I think you know if I had to pick one, it’s more of bringing in, you know, the empathy part of a not only with our customers but with the team is Jack mentioned you know five, six seven years ago we started looking into culture building and I just I really enjoyed it, you know, bringing in, you know, outside resources to kind of wake us up of who we are and what we want to do. As you grow, you know, the X’s and O’s are over here. But I enjoy, you know, the part of like, you know, we’re human beings, right? And and I think it’s always been a goal for us to have our team walk through the door and be human beings, not, you know, human doers. And so we kind of have taken that motto and even that we’ve grown in a lot of the the day to day stuff is completely different than we created, right? Because we had we brought smarter people in to figure systems out.

Speaker3: There’s still the core there that that we started and, you know, with our customers and the customer’s not always right and that’s not true. However, I feel like if you can if you can reach out to them with empathy and, you know, have people on staff that are in it for the right reasons and not treating the customer as another transaction, but as a human and and, you know, reaching out to build the relationship and saying, hey, maybe this didn’t go right or maybe this went great, but let’s, you know, meet in the middle. So I think that’s kind of where, you know, what I bring to the table of just saying, hey, let’s take a time out and bring the human element into this. You know, I recently, in the past couple of years just passed the torch on for HR duties. But I think both of us and I heard Gary say this one time is he’s still the head of HR, right? He’s running a multi, you know, millions, three or four or 500 million company. And he’s like, I’m still head of HR. We always will be right until you forget, you know, the people that are that are around you know both behind the scenes in front of you know and the customer base.

Speaker1: So Jack’s the stone cold killer and you’re going to rub the shoulders to make sure everything’s gonna be okay.

Speaker2: I like it. Well, I was going to laugh because we always say, like, there’s good cop, bad cop. Yeah. And for whatever reason, someone falls into that naturally, and the other one just happens to be that other ying to your yang, right? Yeah.

Speaker1: But I think the cool part is probably like most entrepreneurs that have multiple partners or people at the top is that you guys are fiercely united in your front to your people, like they know who to talk to about what situation, but they’re going to get the same message just in a different way, right? I mean, there’s failure is not an option. Don’t be wanting to complain to me, but they’ll get a different reaction from each of you. But the message is the same. I mean, that’s the key thing, right? Right. If you could go back in time and go, man, as you pause and me, like most entrepreneurs, don’t have time to do this because they’re so busy fighting the battle every day. But if you could, if you’re sitting here today going, Man, if I could just if I just knew this back in 2008 or knew that back in 2008 or nine, whenever, that would have been really cool to know, to implement back then. It’s not like regret. It’s just like, Wow, if I’d have known that. What is one of those things that you’re like, Man, if we could have just did that back then, Do you have anything like that?

Speaker3: Everything’s going to be okay. You know, it sounds so simple, right? But like, I feel like at least me, like I. Yeah, I used to stress over it, right? Because I think you have in your your mind the way this is going to go. Right? And you can write a business plan and you know, it’s the same thing like with accounting and finance, right? You can have a budget but thing, you know, life happens, business happens. But I feel like back then it’d be easier said to tell a 2006 version of myself, Everything’s going to be fine. But, you know, it’s it’s, you know, here’s A and here’s Z, right? And it’s just a roller coaster to get there. So I think that would be my biggest thing to go back and try and tell myself is it’s not going to go the way you plan. However, it is going to be cool. And you know that. You know, the old saying it is the journey, you know, can sound kind of corny and cliche, but when you’re in it, I mean, it’s it’s it’s phenomenal. It’s intense. And some people don’t want to get to the finish line. Right. They enjoy the. Or any too much.

Speaker2: I’m going to interrupt with something. So you said it’s about the roller coaster between A and Z. And we talked we’ve talked about this on other podcasts, too. So do you two believe and we’ll get to your Jack, but did you learn more in the peaks or the valleys or where did you feel like you guys just really united, you know, as you went through the roller coaster and. You know, what do you think about those peaks and valleys and what did that really bring to you and your business?

Speaker3: That’s a great question. I think, you know, I’ve told Jack, I feel like being on this journey of an entrepreneur is you’re on an island, right. And there’s just different seasons, different phases of being on that island. Right. So I think when you’re at the the you’re starting off in the valley, especially when we did and all of our friends, right, were all removed from college of four or five years and they’re all financial advisors or, you know, lawyers or outside sales people, medical staff and they’re all doing great. And we’re just like, is the thing going to fly? Right? So you’re during that learning experience of not comparing yourself to others and you’re at the valley of it and then you get to the peak of it of season and you’re like, Well, this is great, but then you must have that. Like, well, nobody else knows what we did to get here. This is and you feel kind of guilty, but yet I can share it with Jack, but yet nobody else really knows. And, and then you get back to a valley, the backdrop, and then we talk about this a lot, where you get to 12, 15, 16, 18 years, and you’re like, meet somebody and they’re like, Oh, well, you guys, you own your own business. You must, you know, And it’s just nonchalant, like it’s no big deal, right? So I guess to answer your question, I think it’s this is an easy way out, but a very good combination of of both. Right. Kind of like life. Like you can’t just be on a high all the time. You can’t be on depression low all the time. But if you can kind of I think that’s what Jack’s really good at, right. He said earlier about bringing his emotional intelligence at a hole where the highs don’t get too high. The lows don’t get to lows.

Speaker2: Good answer.

Speaker1: Talk to me, Jack. What do you.

Speaker4: Think? You know, I think that. You know, the the grind is where and you find a lot of it builds a lot of character. And I think it reinforces why you become an entrepreneur, because you got to get through that, right. And I think that Michael and I have a tremendous amount of grit, and it’s through that as as business partners that you become stronger and better. And through those experiences, you share conversations that you didn’t anticipate having. And I think that, like Michael said, you know, if somebody had to say it’s just going to be okay, I think very early on and midway through our our our journey here, we had some tremendous success. And just the the DNA of Michael and I. We didn’t stop a whole lot to just even if it was a day or an hour to recognize it, to enjoy it. And I think today we’re getting there just because of the great culture and the great layers that we have, that we have an opportunity to do that. So for me, that’s that would be it. I think that, you know, the grind, the valley is where I, I tend to kind of thrive because when you’re when you’re here, you know, it’s in just who I am. It’s where are we going next? I don’t want to stay up here too long and look around. I want to go for for that next thing.

Speaker1: So a thing that is, I think most entrepreneurs probably have to experience this. There’s there’s the the solo guns and they build a team around themselves. And then there’s other times where they’re they actually have a partner. And, you know, in this line of work, I get to see a lot of people be partners and I get to see a lot of people than not be partners. What do you think is the key to the success your guys is, you know, not only partnership but friendship? How do you balance that? And what is the key thing? I mean, I’m sure it’s communication of some sort, but what is the key thing that makes it where you guys you guys just you’ve got no issues. You guys are just lock step because it’s very rare. Right? People do can do it, but it’s hard. And then people have different vision. They split off. You guys have been like since I’ve known you’ve been a mighty long time. You guys are like. Like side by side. What is the key to that? That our listeners would like to hear that that I can maybe help identify or solve a problem that they might be having with the current partner.

Speaker4: I think the communication part is is huge. Michael and I sit down weekly. I mean, it could be 4 hours and we’re talking not only about work, but we’re talking about kids, we’re talking about life, talking about where we want to go next. What’s what’s our current state? What’s we’re already talking about next year. But I think we were pretty fortunate early on that we just kind of started to evolve into our own roles. And I think trust is a huge thing. And I feel like Michael always trusted that I was making the right decisions from a sales and operations standpoint, and I always trusted that Michael was making the best decisions for the company from a finance standpoint. And there was never a pointing of the finger when something went wrong, Right? It was like, this is just an opportunity to learn, right? We’re not going to beat each other up over it. So I think that sort of mentality has resulted in in a great partnership. I also think that I, I know Michael and business, but I also know Michael outside of business. I know his family. I know his kids. I know his wife. Right. We’re able to share those conversations. I also think that we do a really good job of separating work and life and we’ll be outside of of work. And it’s very easy to just get. You know, completely entrenched in work and want to talk about work. And when we’re out, we don’t even talk about work. We’re just enjoying time together. So there’s a great dynamic of of business, partnership and friendship between the two of us.

Speaker3: Yeah, I think Jack nailed it. But it’s balance, right? It’s. It’s, you know, if you’re not, I should say everyone’s different stories. Different. But for us, if if we didn’t have probably that personal connection and friendship, you know, outside of work, you know, someone’s having a bad day. I’m having a bad day. Jack’s having a bad day. And, you know, maybe, you know, you know something’s going with this, you know, with their kids at school or whatever. You know, you just, you know, life is is is a bigger piece of the pie here than, you know, this thing we call business and entrepreneurship. So I think it’s getting to know them as a person first and foremost more than a business partner. But then, you know, like Jack said, there is that balance, right? That we could be hanging out, golfing, doing whatever. We don’t say, you know, a couple of words, more than a couple of words about about work. So I think it’s that balance of of of bringing in, you know, okay, we just talked about, you know, this next phase for 30 hours last week, like let’s go golf and not talk about it. You know, let’s talk about football. Let’s talk about kids, like whatever. But yeah, just that understanding. And I think there is a lot of it to that. It’s hard to describe, right, because you are in the trenches for so long. And I used to joke it’s really not the the the truth anymore. But I mean, for probably over a decade we would see each other more than we saw our spouses, you know? So there has to be some sort of respect there, boundaries of, you know, you’re in it for the long haul with with this other person. So you just kind of get thrown into this marriage, I guess, kind of that, you know, a thriver.

Speaker1: It’s not it’s a weirdest thing. The the partnership relationship is that a whole different level than a spousal relationship? It’s not it’s neither. It’s just different. And it is all encompassing because the partnership it’s it’s business to like there’s got to be a mutual respect there because this affects people’s lives. It’s just not two of you. Like with a spouse it’s it’s a little bit not better or worse. It’s just way different. But you guys have definitely been an inspiration for me because I can I take a lot of things from you guys. I’ve known you for a long time of how you guys roll and and it’s a good thing to kind of share with other people, not the intimate details, but just the attitude of how you can make this thing work as a partner. You just got to have that unwavering trust dedication. The same page got each other’s back and just know that you can count on that person so much and be able to communicate. And it’s just it’s wonderful watching it happen. I mean, I’m sitting here on the sidelines and I’m just always I’m always Twitter because it’s so much fun. Do you you know, when you’re in business and you’re in the trenches and your work and like I said, it’s hard to come up for air every once in a while and just see, well, how am I doing with everybody else? What’s what’s the rest of the world doing? You’re always so busy doing your task. I would imagine earlier in your careers it was hard to get out of those trenches and now you’re probably getting out a little bit, but you still feel a little bit weird getting out because you feel like you’re losing control if you don’t stay in a little bit. But the the trick question we have is, is what’s the endgame like? Are we going to build this thing and sell it? We’re going to just stay and stop being an entrepreneur. We’re going to get real jobs. Are we going to retire? What what is the end game of being an entrepreneur? Trick question. Oh, Glenn, I knew you’d love it.

Speaker3: You know, there’s again, there’s no one size fits all. I don’t think there’s you know, you could have, as you probably have, you know, 100 people sit in these chairs and answer it differently. You know, I think for us back when we started and and looking at. You know, the whole venture capital game. We had some friends in that business. We’re like, We’re going to grow this thing and sell it. You know, we’re going to be the next Zuckerberg, Right. But I think for us now, it’s it’s when you get a little bit seasoned, you’re like that. That’s cool. But like, what’s what’s in the next? Like we stopped looking out five, ten years because you don’t know, right? Again, life gets in the way. Business gets away for the good, right? Like, you know, we just recently, you know, acquired a fleet of trucks. Like if you’d have told us that two years ago, like, that was our that was our strong motto for years. Like, we’re not asset based. We’re not going to take that on the road. I could take that risk on. And, you know.

Speaker1: Nice.

Speaker3: Trucks just sitting empty, you know. Now, it did go down a different path, which is why we chose to get in that game. But so I think we’re just open minded to the journey, man. I don’t think, you know, if you told us, you know, a year from now, it would look way different. It does now. We wouldn’t be surprised if you told us it’s exactly what we planned. So not trying to get out of the without answering the question. But, you know, we can’t do this forever, nor do we want to do it forever. I think, you know, entrepreneurs like that’s our heads on a swivel. You know, we have a dozen ideas that we haven’t launched or maybe never will. But I think, you know, that’s that’s what kind of gets me up in the morning now is like, what’s next, you know. Jackson more the details and ops guy but we have such a fantastic team now that run the day to day of of you know the companies that you know once they’re you know you never want to. Take a step fully away from it, you know, But there’s that trust like you you bring on, you know, those people, that team to run the day to day. And they do it better than than I did. You know, they do it probably better than we did that you can’t pivot into what’s next. So I think that’s our biggest thing is not how can we walk away and go crazy, but what can we get into next? And some stuff’s not even in our industry now, right? We’re just kind of looking into, you know, what can we can we go and disrupt and build the next rocket?

Speaker4: Yeah, I think you could talk about all of all of the things above, right? You could talk about bringing on capital and scaling faster. You could talk about an exit. You could talk about. Diversifying the service portfolio. You could talk about, Hey, I want to get out. I want to want to retire. I’m might take a corporate job and have all the security in the world. But for me, I’ve kind of given and we’ve talked, we’ve had. Hundreds of conversations around all of the above. Michael and I have, but I’ve kind of like taken a step back and just given myself the grace to say, Hey. You’re having a tremendous amount of fun right now. You’ve got great momentum. You’ve got a great team. Let’s just continue to go and we don’t need to figure out what three years looks like, what five years looks like. Let’s just continue to be us and good things will happen, I think, to Michael’s point. We want to continue to get our hands dirty and other things. We have lots of those things on the shelf and we’re now have the time and the energy and and the financial resources to to pursue some of those things. So for me, there’s at this point, I don’t have it in game. And I know that’s not the answer.

Speaker1: No, that is looking for.

Speaker2: You answered it like a plus, plus, plus, plus both of.

Speaker4: You. Yeah.

Speaker1: Yeah. The the the reality is the entrepreneur that we see and I’m trying to build this hypothesis and this scientific law and a theorem or whatever the things you do and to prove something. But the common theme seems to be that as an entrepreneur, you grind it out, you figure it out, and by the time you get it figured out, the light bulb comes on and now you just want to do it again. Do it again, do it again. And then it becomes it’s not really the money always comes, but it’s never really about the money at that point. It’s about how do you empower others and help others and create more opportunities and then see a need in society or whatever that you can put that mentorship into play and it just keeps going. It’s very rare to see an entrepreneur just go, Oh, I’m stopping, I’m out. Those are usually most mostly owner operators, not owner investors, because where you guys are at, it just seems like, again, shiny squirrels, squirrel, squirrel every day. It seems like an entrepreneur has 12,000 ideas and that’s never going to stop. And so I think once you’re sucked into this little pit of entrepreneurism, you can never get out of it, which is the cool. That’s that’s the trick question. Like, I don’t think there is an end game. It’s fun. And entrepreneurs, when you’re out there grinding away, literally just stop every once in a while, look around, smile, take a deep breath and go, This is what you’re this is what it’s all about. And then hire people smarter than you and and make that process work and try to build your business. And I think you’re going to have a lot more fun than just making donuts every day. Mm hmm. Well, if if that’s works for us, I think that’s probably where we want to go with this. Do you guys want to give any plugs out to any of your businesses out there? For people who want to listen to anything? There might be a person out there who might need what you guys have to offer.

Speaker4: No, what I would say is that if anybody is looking for a great partner from a CPA standpoint, Glen and Julie are fantastic. They’ve truly been great partners and I truly mean that. Glen and I know you’re looking for me to maybe advertise our services and what we do, but I think it’s one of those things is as an entrepreneur, that’s one part of your business that you should have buttoned up. And Glen, you constantly ask us the tough questions, and I appreciate that.

Speaker1: You’re welcome. It’s been a pleasure, fellas. Well, thanks for coming in. I’m Glen Harper.

Speaker2: Julie Smith.

Speaker1: Well, see you guys next time.

Episode Show Notes

We welcome Michael Flinner and Jack Tucker, co-owners of Seamless Logistics.

And we start with their genesis story, how they came together to create Seamless Logistics. The lightbulb of a business idea happens anywhere, so pay attention and act on it.

What is a 3PL? A 3PL (third-party logistics) provider offers outsourced logistics services, which encompass anything that involves the management of one or more facets of procurement and fulfillment activities. In business, 3PL has a broad meaning that applies to any service contract that involves storing or shipping items.

So, you call them to get something shipped!

Other topics we cover, and you can learn from…

How important was it for them to continue to bootstrap in the early stages?

When did they start to see it being profitable?

How did they get their wives to “buy in” into this venture?

How long did it take to quit “the day job”?

What did it mean to build a team, and what has it done for them? We love the quote “Culture Eats Strategy.”

When did you start to build the business, rather than do business?

Did you have a specific mentor or group of mentors?

What are you good at, your superpower?

What advice would you give to your younger selves?

What are some of the benefits of your partnership with each other? And the key thing that makes it work?

What is the end game?

Find out more about them, and Seamless Logistics at www.shipseamless.com/

Running a business doesn’t have to run your life.

Without a business partner who holds you accountable, it’s easy to be so busy ‘doing’ business that you don’t have the right strategy to grow your business.

Stop letting your business run you. At Harper & Co CPA Plus, we know that you want to be empowered to build the lifestyle you envision. In order to do that you need a clear path to follow for success

Our clients enjoy a proactive partnership with us. Schedule a consultation with us today.

Download our free guide – Entrepreneurial Success Formula: How to Avoid Managing Your Business From Your Bank Account.

Copyright 2022 Glenn Harper

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