Ep. #1160 - Mastering the Startup Mindset
Today’s episode of Startup Hustle features Andrew Morgans and Adam Gillman, Co-Founder and COO of Hiya Health Products LLC. Together they talk about overcoming early startup challenges and mastering your startup mindset. The duo digs into Adam’s entrepreneurial journey, full of challenges, failures, and successes. They also share their opinions on the challenges of depending on a group of people, dealing with all the red tape, losing confidence, and the importance of believing in yourself.
Covered In This Episode
Many startup founders experience failure and lose their confidence. Listen in as Andrew and Adam discuss the problems that beset startup founders at all stages of entrepreneurship. They share their experiences with failure and how they got their passion and confidence back. Adam talks about launching his businesses, illustrating the importance of returning to the basics, mental fortitude and emotional intelligence. Andrew and Adam agree that working with the right people and learning to love challenges are critical to successful entrepreneurship.
Start small and build on mastering the startup mindset by joining the conversation in this Startup Hustle episode now.
- Adam’s story (2:41)
- From failing a T-shirt business to working for Steve Stoute (5:25)
- From MeetMoi to launching his own businesses (8:55)
- Don’t depend on any one thing or any small group of people (12:53)
- Founding F/ELD (15:55)
- Crash and burn: Stepping down as a CEO (21:09)
- Getting the passion and confidence back (28:06)
- Starting small and building on it (31:07)
- The importance of going back to the basics and keeping promises to yourself (33:27)
- The biggest challenges to an idea or a startup (37:53)
- The importance of mental fortitude and emotional intelligence (39:02)
- Learn to love the interesting hardships (42:03)
- Surrounding yourself with the right people (46:31)
- The role of Adam’s wife and family (48:52)
- Book recommendations (50:52)
I’m a nobody from nowhere that saw ecommerce as a live playing field when I came across it, and it was like, Look, the best can win here. If you’re good, you can win in E commerce, it’s not about you know how big your retail store is or any of that.– Andrew Morgans
How do I get confidence? What are the moments in my life where I felt confident? And what I realized, right, was in order to be confident in yourself, you need to accomplish things. You need to say I am going to do this thing. And you need to make a promise to yourself. That’s for nobody else, and then follow through on it, knowing that if you hadn’t followed through on it, nobody would have known. But the only person you would have let down is yourself.– Adam Gillman
Whether it’s about how to build a team or dealing with regulatory complexities or scaling operations, or dealing with competition, it all starts with you having to believe in yourself. And you have to acknowledge that there will be crippling moments of self-doubt in the process. And those will be self-inflicted, they will come externally, they will come from the people you love….being able to navigate through that is the only way that you can be successful as an entrepreneur because all the other shit is solvable if you believe in yourself.– Adam Gillman
Figure out a way to love that as part of the process of knowing that, okay, shit’s hard again, let’s go. If it’s hard, that means that there’s something amazing on the other side. And if it’s easy, I’m not doing something interesting, right? Like, if my life is easy. I simply am not doing something interesting.– Adam Gillman
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Andrew Morgans 00:00
Hey, what’s up Hustlers? Welcome back. This is Andrew Morgans, founder of Marknology. Here as today’s host of Startup Hustle. Today’s guest is a friend and colleague. Before I make that introduction and before we get into our topic of overcoming early startup challenges, today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult, Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably and has the platform to help you manage that team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. Adam Gilman, welcome to the show.
Adam Gillman 00:33
Thanks so much. Really happy to be here.
Andrew Morgans 00:35
Yeah, I love it. You guys can’t see this because we’re on video. But Adams got a big American flag hat on. I absolutely love it. He’s outside. I think he’s he told me he’s in Long Island. So me and Adam have been building a couple brands together working together for at least over a year, I believe. And I wanted to bring him on the show because he’s doing a lot of things with a lot of awesome people. And I felt, like, a lot of value to bring through your story. And just, like, you know, as an investor and brand builder as a different perspective than you know, I think a lot of people have. So I’m excited. I’m super excited to kind of just jump into it with yatom you know, and shoot the shit here, so to speak in regards to, like, what what a really a startup faces. I think so many people think of, like, the normal things. But I want to get into just kind of, like, what what those what those challenges are. We have a lot of listeners on the show that come from all different backgrounds of all different shapes and sizes. So it’s a show by founders, for founders. But we have people from enterprise level all the way down to, you know, really incubating that startup idea. So I think the best way to get into the show is just a little bit learn a little bit more about you. You’re in Long Island, are you from Long Island?
Adam Gillman 01:49
No, no. I live in Florida and Florida during the summer as a hellhole. So my family is up here for the summer. And I’ve been kind of reverse commuting back and forth.
Andrew Morgans 02:00
Got it? Okay. Well, you know, I think I think you’re around my age. I want to say that I love I think you’re around my age. And you’re already in a position that I am in some ways, but I think a lot of us hope to be, which is really that that I. That that investor play you’re working with, you’re pulling in all the right partners, you pulled in the right place, find those good ideas, jumping on those. Where’s your, where’s your story began to just start out like building your own brand? Did you start somewhere else other than, you know, entrepreneurship around brand building? Do you go to school for this kind of stuff? Where does Adam, you know, where did you decide you wanted to be an investor and brands and a brand builder?
Adam Gillman 02:41
Yeah. So, I started my first real business when I was 18. And by real business, I just mean a venture of some kind, right? Where my goal was to do something. And really at that time, my only interest was making money. Not necessarily building things, not necessarily doing something groundbreaking.
Andrew Morgans 03:08
Where were you? Where were you? Were you in Florida and, you know, is your family in business too? Or just
Adam Gillman 03:15
Yeah, great question. So, I come from a family of entrepreneurs, my father and mother were both entrepreneurs. My uncle is an entrepreneur, my stepmother, who was very active in raising me, also an entrepreneur. So, it was always around me and in my peripheral. I was always intrigued by it never really understood what it took, or what it really meant in order to be successful at that type of craft. But when I started that first business when I was 18, I was living in Chicago, that’s where I I’ve lived in a lot of places moved around a bunch when I was a kid, but high school onwards, my family was in Chicago. And that summer, me and most of my friends had fake IDs. And I was a party promoter. And I did it with one of my close friends and my cousin. And we crushed it. We knew how to get people to a place particularly because we knew that everybody would be able to get in. But you know, you have to figure out what your selling point is. And that was kind of my initial foray into the startup world. And since then, I’ve done a lot. I can fire it off quickly, if you want.
Andrew Morgans 04:35
Let’s get let’s get into it. This show is about, you know, I think if we’re getting into advice over into like overcoming startup challenges is very helpful and beneficial to know kind of, like, where we got to a point where we’re able to share that with others. You know, I think that can be helpful. So, for me like I was in a band. I did like a million different jobs like I really do feel like I can understand what the common person likes and does because I’ve worked those jobs. And been in those places and, and sold to those types of people. You know, those types of experiences are what help you understand this is going to be a good brand, this is going to be a good product. And this is you know, this is a present a specific way to position this product. Talk to me about some of those ventures. You can spend as much time on on them as you want. But you went from promotion what was like, you know, I guess the next thing outside of an event?
Adam Gillman 05:25
Yes. So, I in college, I went to USC and LA, me and a couple buddies started a men’s clothing brand. Basically just like T-shirts. Uh, one of the most important learning experiences I had because we put all of our effort into all of the things that don’t matter. We needed an office, we needed a fax machine, we needed incredible business cards that cost us $2 a pop. And, truth be told, I think we probably sold three shirts at the end of the day and lost in excess of $10,000 collectively. But it was a big learning experience for me in terms of understanding the stuff that really mattered. After I graduated school, so while I was in school, I read this article in Rolling Stone. And it was a was like one of those one page short articles about this guy named Steve Stoute. Steve Stoute was a former music mogul turned advertising executive who started this agency that basically helped connect brands with celebrities. And it was the first time I had seen something in business where I was like that shits cool. I want to figure out a way to do that. And I literally called and emailed his office three times a week for six months. No response, just completely persistent. I was unwilling to give up. And this was actually my junior year. So I was looking to see if they would be open to giving me an internship for that summer. And I’ll never forget, I got a call. And it was a woman who worked there. And she was like, Is this Adam Gilman? I was like, Yes. Who’s this? She’s like, Hi, this is Angie from Translation, that was the name of the agency. I just wanted to let you know that. We weren’t planning on having an internship program. But you’re hired. We you’re you’re already famous in this office for what you did. Yeah, yeah, you were emailing an inbox and nobody was checking. And all of a sudden, we saw this string of emails from this kid named Adam Gilman. And by the way, every week, I wrote something different. I was thoughtful about it. And I got that internship that summer. And they ended up giving me a job, they had an LA office as well. And I worked there my senior year, and then went to go work in the New York office after I graduated. And it was a really cool experience for me because I got to work with all these really big brands that were doing these really interesting projects. And our agency was specifically tasked with helping them figure out how to be cool, right? Yeah. And I realized really quickly that it was not for me. Primarily because as I got out of college, and I realized that I wanted to create my own life, separate of my parents, that I was never going to be happy being in a position where I wasn’t able to live life on my own terms.
Andrew Morgans 08:44
And this company kept you from that why?
Adam Gillman 08:46
While I was working for somebody else.
Andrew Morgans 08:50
Okay, so it wasn’t necessarily what you were doing. It was simply that you’re working for somebody else.
Adam Gillman 08:56
Yeah, it was it was that the fruits of my labor, all the benefit was going to somebody else, right? And not that there’s anything wrong with that. But to the people, to the extent that there’s people listening to this podcast, who have that longing feeling, I had that longing feeling, right? Knowing that there was nothing wrong with being a part of a larger organization and not necessarily the leader. But I learned really quickly that I was not that guy. And in order for me to be able to live life on my own terms, I couldn’t be an employee. And if that meant that I had a small business and I made a modest amount of money every year but I got to dictate what I did. That was enough for me. So from there, but I didn’t go directly into launching my own business after that. I ended up being introduced to this group of guys that started a technology company called MeetMoi. MeetMoi was an on I was a mobile dating application. That was, I don’t know, five years before Tinder came out. So we had literally the same functionality. It was a hot or not right type functionality. We’re hoping I brought that up. Yeah. Yeah. I like her I don’t like and if two people like you match them, right. The problem is like, we started this company before the iPhone even came out if you can imagine that. So we were right concept, wrong time. And I spent years on it. And I learned a ton. I came in, had an interview with the CEO. One of the hardest interviews I’ve ever had in my life. I had no idea what I was talking about. I didn’t know anything about tech. But he asked me a lot of deep probing challenging questions. And at the end, he was like, you’re sharp, you’re hired. Come in on Monday, I was, like, I have a job. Currently, I have to give notice, he was like, okay, like, give two weeks, I’ll see you in two weeks. So I showed up and, you know, started off doing all the random shit that they didn’t want to do, and ultimately got to the point. By the time I left of running all product, for the company. And from there, I joined forces with one of the guys who actually initially brought me into MeetMoi, and his name is Darren. He comes full circle again, this story later on, to join a mobile marketing and mobile application development company called GoLive Mobile. It was a privately held company. But it was the first time I was put in a position where I had a stake, right? So I got to eat what I killed. I had a direct effect on the strategy of the organization. As the company grew, I grew. I was making more money, et cetera. And we did phenomenally well.
Adam Gillman 11:54
You left MeetMoi to join that one?
Adam Gillman 11:56
Yep, I left MeetMoi to join that one. And I ended up, I’m sorry, we ended up the sole year that we applied, we were like number 41, earning 500. Number one in the media category. And it was an incredibly rewarding experience. Unfortunately, like the type of work that we were doing, it just got really crowded, and the business stopped working. And we just shuttered it. And in parallel to that, I launched a chain of boutique Cycling studios with my wife and my best friend from college. It was called Cyclehouse. We were in the LA market at our at our peak, we had four locations. And also luckily a phenomenally successful business.
Andrew Morgans 12:51
Fortunately, not luckily.
Adam Gillman 12:53
Fortunately, fortunately. Right. Thank you, Andrew. Another really big learning experience for me there though was how important it is to not be dependent upon any one thing or any small group of people within your organization. And like the business model behind boutique fitness is you create these personalities, these stars that ended up becoming very popular with your customers. And then the next logical thing that’s going to happen is those people feel, like, they’re indispensable. And it became a constant struggle of fighting with my most successful instructors and appeasing my instructors who are trying to become successful, but felt like they can never get a shot because the ones who were successful wouldn’t give them one. We ended up selling that company in 2018. Unfortunately, and in parallel to that, I started another business, which I’ll speak to. But unfortunately, the company that acquired us, once the pandemic hit, we were in all major DCS that were not COVID friendly, if you will, the whole business shattered relatively quickly. So it’s not around today. But it was very successful. We had a reality show on E! that I was actually unfortunately featured on. One of the worst experiences of my life. But this conversation is not about that we can have that conversation another day.
Andrew Morgans 14:23
Because, because you’re shy and didn’t like it? Or because it was just like actually a bad experience?
Adam Gillman 14:28
It’s actually a bad experience. I’m not a shy person. I’m I’m willing to be probably too vulnerable with most people. But it’s, it’s a business that exists, right? And a content form that exists with people who want to be famous, right? And I had no interest in being famous. So we were dealing with these producers,
Andrew Morgans 14:54
But I want you to act out differently than your normal self.
Adam Gillman 14:57
Dramatize it or like, yeah.
Adam Gillman 14:57
Who were pushing you to do things that would make good TV. And what’s so funny is, first off the show was very unsuccessful, it flopped. But if they had actually listened to the guidance from my wife and I around, like, we actually have really cool shit going on here. You guys don’t need to fake it.
Adam Gillman 14:58
Yeah, I think it would have been a great show. And I hate reality TV, but it would have been a great show. But anyhow, so that was the big learning experience I got from that one and,
Andrew Morgans 15:32
And pause right there just for a second. Because if you said that you built it in parallel to having equity and other company that you guys shuttered. Because just market share and other companies started coming up, the mobile app one, I think, yeah, I was shuttered, and you kind of just left and then you were just, like, because you had started the cycle, the cycle clubs, you just went all in on that for a while?
Adam Gillman 15:55
Correct. I went all in on that for a while. And I’m three, four years into Cyclehouse. I’ve always been passionate about cannabis. I’m a user a patient, however you want to refer to it, went to school in LA, right? Uh, effectively had legalized cannabis since 1996. Even though it was medical, like, you could walk into any of a thousand doctors offices and say, I have anxiety and they would write write your prescription, and you could basically purchase whatever cannabis you wanted. But it was right around the time, it was just after Colorado started to pass like some formal legalization. And there was a lot of chatter about it being an impending thing for California. So my best friend, who was also one of the partners in Cyclehouse, and I were, like, we gotta go for this, this is an incredible opportunity. And we actually launched our first business in Colorado with another group of guys. There were like, six of us altogether that started it. And shortly thereafter, once it became clear that California was happening, we exited that and put all of our weight into the California market. And we started a company called F/ELD. F/ELD was an ultra premium vaporizer line, right? So we focused on a very specific form factor, we had a few other products, but that was really our hero product. And the company was very well revered within the industry. Not necessarily because of our sales but because of the quality of our product and our brand, right, we put everything we had into developing a premium brand that was different than everything else that was on the market. And the big learning for me there was it’s really hard operating an over regulated industries. Yeah. Government too much in your business is never a good thing. They and I don’t think anybody necessarily has malintent, right? But government and particularly, I can only speak to California government, because this still isn’t a federal thing. But California government, right, they looked at these cannabis companies, like, you guys are going to make so much money and a 20% tax here and then a 30% tax here. And it made it so that not only did they cause the black market to thrive, which was like the opposite of the intention of what legalization was about. But it made it so that there were so many rules that it was really impossible or close to impossible to operate successfully as a company. There were a few really amazing brands, like Raw Garden is one that comes to mind that in spite of all the red tape, were able to thrive in spite of it, but you know, less than I can put on my hand that were able to navigate.
Andrew Morgans 19:10
And I could I could echo that sentiment like I I love cannabis always have and you know, I’m like I’m in E commerce. I’m literally a Brand Builder. Why haven’t I gotten into that or build something around that? And it’s just from knowledge like Amazon number one is a challenging platform. That’s where my expertise lies. You know, it within ecommerce, specifically Amazon but you know, things like CBDs and hemps and supplements and you know, my advantage to the marketplace or to the industry has always been like kind of guerrilla warfare. Think outside the box, small budget, lean and mean. I’m not the big fire house. Like I’m not going to have billboards and you know, all that kind of capital to make things happen. It’s going to be like leveraging my skill set. And that’s why I’ve loved ecommerce I’m a nobody from nowhere that saw ecommerce as a live playing field when I came across it, and it was like, Look, the best can win here. If you’re good, you can win in E commerce, it’s not about you know how big your retail store is or any of that. And that’s, that’s why I jumped in. And that’s, that’s why I am where I am today. You take those things away, and you’re going to have to just be you’re just going to have to compete, you know, run against bra. And there’s a lot bigger players, so to speak. And so for me, it was always just like, you know, you can’t run Facebook ads, and you can’t say this, and you can’t do that. Business is hard already. It’s super, super hard. It’s even harder when your hands are tied behind your back, you know.
Adam Gillman 20:37
So, so true. So true, man. And with, with field in particular. Right? Like, it’s it’s ironic, because it’s actually a story that in certain ways defies some of the principles I live by today as an entrepreneur and as a businessman, which is hard is good. I like hard because if you make it through hard, that means that you’ve built some type of moat around yourself, right?
Andrew Morgans 21:07
Barrier to entry, harder barrier to entry.
Adam Gillman 21:09
Yeah, harder barrier to entry. And this industry certainly had that. But the the other x factor, right, that I now am incredibly conscious of is is government, government regulation. industries that are over regulated are just very complicated to navigate. And that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful, you just need to be really prepared for it. And we weren’t, like, we knew how to if we weren’t in a highly regulated industry, we would have destroyed. But, and it wasn’t a failure, we ended up getting acquired by what’s now a publicly traded company. And I did very well on the deal. And I’m really happy and proud of what we built there. But it was far from what it could have been, if it wasn’t for all of those external factors that I simply wasn’t prepared for. Yeah. And, you know, on the tail end of F/ELD, it was kind of an interesting thing that happened to me. I built this team around me and hired a lot of guys that in spite of things getting really ugly, towards the end, I have a lot of respect for. Guys that were cannabis veterans that were, you know, pioneering the industry and other guys that were just really good at their craft, whether it be Nick, our guy who ran branding, who was brilliant. I didn’t have control of my team, I didn’t have the respect of my team. And things ended up devolving in such a way where I had I ended up having like a complete nervous breakdown. And I had to step down and CEO of the company. And it was like the hardest moment in my life without a doubt. Yeah, yeah. It was like one of those moments where, you know, like, the first 30 days, I couldn’t get out of bed. And I had to learn or relearn who I was, and what it was inside of me, that gave me that fire to be hungry to build shit. And in retrospect, best thing that ever happened to me, turned me into who I am today. But when you put so much effort into something, and still come up short or still end up losing control, it’s it’s really hard, right? And and whenever I talk to people about entrepreneurship, it’s it’s a story that I often share because people who are in this grind, and truly married to being in this grind. To continue what I said earlier, this notion of being obsessed with living life on your own terms, being obsessed with building your own future, building things that matter and can make a difference in the world or in in somebody’s life. Everybody I know of talks about this like very delicate dance of this like never ending anxiety that they feel, but also being addicted to that anxiety in a weird way. And I felt that and I was addicted to it still am, but I didn’t understand it. And I didn’t understand how to harness it. And that experience of me literally crashing and burning at least personally, right? Not necessarily the business and luckily my second in command took over. And he did a great job navigating the business to an exit. I, I’m learning how to, you know, rebuild myself and work my way through this, like, punch to the gut that I had that I never felt before, was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. And also keep in mind, this is in the context of, I had just had two children, I wasn’t a present father, my wife was really frustrated with me. I was so obsessed with achieving a nine figure exit on my business, that I lost sight of the shit that really mattered,
Adam Gillman 21:09
Sacrifice those things, and then still lost the other. You know, in that regard.
Adam Gillman 25:40
I sacrifice myself, I was fat as fuck like I was, I felt terrible about myself. Deep down, I knew that, like I didn’t have control over what I was doing, and that the people around me, or at least some of the people around me, didn’t respect me. And that that was, I think, hopefully, for the rest of my life, I will point to that experience is like the big tipping point, the big turning point for me into gaining more control over who I was as an entrepreneur. And it was it was coming out of that right that the guy who brought me in to MeetMoi, who I ended up working with a Go Live Mobile, who I always stayed in close contact with and is a friend of mine, reached out and was like, I’ve had this idea for this kid’s vitamin. And it was really ironic, because for the first time, since my kids were born, I was spending a lot of time with my kids. And, like, two weeks earlier, I was giving my kids their vitamins. And I was reading the label. And I was like, this is like, crap. Like, it doesn’t make sense that I’m giving my kids like gummy candies, like, Sour Patch Kids effectively. For something that’s supposed to be good for them and didn’t think much of it. And then fate brought Darren back to me with this idea that literally solve that problem that I was thinking of in the kitchen that day. And, you know, I’ll never forget that. He, I lived in LA and there was this like, center, right around where my house was, I live in this kind of secluded neighborhood. And he came to meet me and we were talking about it. And we were like, should we do this. And we were like, maybe we can build this into something and sell it for $10 million in a few years or something like that. And fast forward to today, we launched March 2020. And we spent a year formulating building out the product getting everything ready. We, I can’t speak to revenue numbers on the phone. But we are in the high eight figures in revenue as a business. Yeah.
Andrew Morgans 28:06
I want to I want to ask a question just personally, for my own understanding. Like, when you were in that, you know, the stage of, you know, I’ve been divorced, that was a major low. I’ve been through different areas in my business where you know, you know, the anxiety is there, you’re addicted to it. I remember getting on anxiety meds, this is, like, years ago, and being, like, I can’t stay on these. They removed the anxiety. But the anxiety is what makes me great at what I do, you know. And so I was like, it feels good to know that it’s there. But I can’t stay on this, like I need the anxiety. You know, it just makes me who I am. And it makes me good at what I do. Talk to me about besides your friend coming into your life, and coming up with this new opportunity, like, getting back on the horse. Like, what were some of those things you did to get that fire back, they get that passion back around, like building things like that that want to?
Adam Gillman 29:01
Such a good question. And I talk about this a lot. My, my wife makes fun of me because I tell this story so often. But I committed my, well, let me take a step back. Right? I wasn’t happy with who I was. I didn’t have any confidence in myself as a result of my failure. And I had to look inward and say, why do I not have confidence? And I couldn’t answer the question. But what I could figure out was okay, well, how do I get confidence? What are the moments in my life where I felt confident? And what I realized, right, was in order to be confident in yourself, you need to accomplish things. You need to say I am going to do this thing. And you need to make a problem, a promise, excuse me, to yourself. That’s for nobody else and then follow through on it knowing that if you hadn’t followed through on it, nobody would have known but the only person you would have let down is yourself.
Andrew Morgans 30:01
I did things. I didn’t mean to interrupt, but I like, I’m loving where you’re going with this because this is something that happened to me 10 years ago, and I forget some of it until we talk about it. But I made an internal promise. My circle was super, super small. I just got divorced. I had like no friends, I was working as an E commerce manager and starting my technology on the side. Yeah. And I made a promise to the universe not to tell a single lie for six months. Not a white lie. Not it was about authenticity at the time for me and transparency through communication, and it was small, and I’d catch myself like, did you get your 10 set? And maybe I did nine, I’d be like, yeah, no, there’s no way we have one more, you know, like, meaning it wasn’t perfection, but it was like this, like internal. I don’t need to lie about even the smallest things like, you know, did you have a good day? Yeah, sure. You know, no, if I didn’t have a good day, I was not gonna say Yeah, sure. And I really feel like the universe. And myself the confidence I got from doing that may, you know, mind you, my circle was super small. It’s not the energy, you know, today. But like, I feel like that promise to myself and getting that done. It was a big one change everything for me.
Adam Gillman 31:07
Yeah, dude, it’s funny, you refer to that as a small thing, that is a huge thing. Like to not lie for six months, that is a huge thing. What I did was actually small, I committed to brushing my teeth, and flossing twice a day, every day for 30 days. That’s it, right? Something that I knew that I could do, despite how awful I felt, despite how physically shitty I felt, because of all of the anxiety and depression, no matter what, I don’t care if I have 104 fever, I can go brush my teeth, and I can floss my teeth. And I’m going to make that commitment. And I’m going to do it for 30 days. And that little thing changed my entire life. Because from there, I just built upon it. And I started to set goals for myself. Initially small, eventually big, getting back in shape, etc, etc. And it created this snowball effect where the more I did it, the better I felt, the more confident I felt in myself. I always thought of myself as a confident person. And I was not confident. I didn’t believe in myself. No wonder why my team didn’t respect me. People can see that shit. And underneath the surface, at the end of the day, I was just a guy that was puffing his chest that didn’t believe in, in what was really behind it. And now I’m the opposite. I believe I belong in every room. I don’t care what fucking room you put me in put me in a room with Bezos and Musk. I belong there. And it’s because of brushing my teeth and flossing and starting that one thing. It’s no different. Right, like, back to another analogy and like I referenced a few times, like, I got back into fitness, right? And, like, just feeling good about myself and not being fat. I when I started weightlifting, right, like you don’t go in there and put the pen in the biggest weight. You have to start small, and then it compounds from there. And that’s exactly what ended up happening to me.
Andrew Morgans 33:27
I love that. Thank you for sharing that. I think that’s gold. If anyone gets anything, I think that’s absolutely gold. I got a couple questions. Before we do one more shout out to our sponsor, finding experts, software developers doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you visit FullScale.io We can build a software team quickly and affordably. Use the Full Scale platform to find your technical needs and see what available testers leaders and leaders are ready to join your team visit FullScale.io to learn more. Okay, so, one just that’s it’s super impactful. And I think the reminder to just like go back to the basics, I’ve gone through a period of this, like in my own life where you know, I am very transparent on the show, you know, I got I got jumped last August and hurt pretty bad my buddy ended up in a coma, you know, broke my hand coming back from that getting back in the gym, gaining weight, you know, not being able to do the things you love to do, you know, loss of focus and vision on some on some of those things, you know, and really fighting fighting to get myself back. Because when you feel weak, it’s just weird. It’s like it’s it’s not tied to everything, but it is tied to everything. And, you know, I think a journey that a lot of us can share whether it’s in your business or your personal life a divorce, like, you know, this this moment of, like, I thought I was the guy and now I’m not feeling like the guy anymore. You know, and it really does just start with like keeping promises to yourself in the smallest of ways, whether it’s like I’m gonna do these things for myself, that I know are the right things to do. To get myself back to a point where I’m feeling you know, like I’m in a healthy mindset to take stuff on Yeah, absolutely gold. Okay, well, we talked about higher. Okay, and this goal and you talked about now being like, you know, in eight figures, I believe, three years down the road. Startup startup startup startup startup, you’ve got another one now, and I know you’ve got more projects than that, right? You know, in, in today’s like, some of the projects we’ve worked on are not even mentioned in your story yet. So, you know, everything happens for a reason in regards to learning. Okay, who am I as a leader? Who am I, as a team member? Who am I, as a colleague, who am I, as a father, who am I, as an investor, who am I, as a Brand Builder, you know, these different identities that are all Adam, or Andrew, right, but they’re different aspects of us. And all of them had something to teach us, I think that’s one of the main things to realize, when you’re going through a hard time is like, you won’t see it now. But if you have enough long, long game, and mindset around when I am through this, because you gotta believe in that, when I am through this, this is going to be a lesson, you know, and I’m gonna take something from every experience has value. And startups like, you know, it’s a, it’s a different characteristic or character, the, you know, ability from humans to be able to create something out of nothing. And that’s what a startup is, like, that’s what a real entrepreneur is, it’s not a business owner, it’s to create something from an idea to create something out of nothing, and bring it forward. And we’ve talked about some of the challenges you had with those early ones. But as we like, you know, in the last 10, or 15 minutes, as we take kind of like that, that original story, and and what you’ve learned to the rest of our listeners here, like, we’ve talked about people problems in the cycle and the cycle company, we’ve talked about personal development or issues like, you know, losing trust in yourself, or losing respect for yourself, letting your body go. And then other people seeing that feeling that we’ve talked about, knowing you’re a leader, and being a follower at a company, and that not being a good fit. We’ve talked about, you know, legal regulation, you know, federal regulation being being a challenge to startups, you know, we’ve brought up just to your own story alone, we’ve talked about a lot of what those challenges are, and what those lessons are, and you can kind of see that ahead of the next idea. But I want to talk about, like, you know, if you were to put on on one hand, what like you think the biggest challenges are to an idea or a startup? What would those five be? Um, and I will hold you to this, I’m gonna write an article on it. But just like, if you’re like, Man, these are the things that if I’m thinking about a new idea, like, you know, these will be the most significant challenges and the things we have to think about first.
Adam Gillman 37:53
Yeah, it’s funny, because the only reason there’s hesitation is because my inclination is to say that at the end of the day, there’s only one, and it’s your mind. Because everything else is a byproduct of that, right? Like, whether it’s about how to build a team or dealing with regulatory complexities or scaling operations or dealing with competition. It all starts with you have to believe in yourself. And you have to acknowledge that there will be crippling moments of self doubt in the process. And those will be self-inflicted, they will come externally, they will come from the people you love, who to no fault of their own, they’re scared too that you’re going to fail, right? And being able to navigate through that is the only way that you can be successful as an entrepreneur because all the other shit is solvable if you believe in yourself.
Andrew Morgans 38:59
I couldn’t I couldn’t agree more. I think that’s a beautiful answer, not what I expected. But it is where I think several years back, even before this last incident last year, I was out at conferences and go to a bunch of events. And there’s just this moment of clarity, where I saw that it wasn’t about getting my logic or my like, you know, intelligence mind to a certain level to be able to win this game of life or business. It was it was legitimately emotional intelligence. My ability to lead, my ability to remain sane in the hard times, my ability to, you know, remain calm when there’s chaos, like, my mental health, essentially, my emotional intelligence. How do I train that? How do I get as healthy as I can. Because if you have that in place, you’re right, whatever comes up, you’re going to be able to handle it. And I think, you know, that is something that there’s a lot of talk about mental health in the world, especially with men, and I’m excited for that. And it’s an amazing and beautiful thing. But there’s still a lot of knowledge that isn’t known or isn’t shared enough, or, you know, talking about those vulnerabilities of saying I had a mental breakdown. You know, I think you can get such on an island, you can feel so on an island in regards to entrepreneurship, but especially if you’re the leader and building something that, you know, you become the enemy of yourself, internally, it’s like, it’s always me versus me, which is cliche, but it’s so so real. And for me, one thing that I have overlooked, and I get surprised over and over, is this concept of, you level up, and you solve some of these other problems. Like, let’s say it’s cashflow, let’s say it’s team, and let’s say it’s location, let’s say it’s revenue numbers, or like, you know, something goes away that you were going toward, or that was a problem. But at each level up, you’re essentially presented with more problems, or more things that you need to overcome and the mental the mind, the mental fortitude, I think that you have to have is to understand that that’s kind of an unlimited thing that’s, like, kind of always out there. It never ends. And that is something that’s really overwhelmed me through the years of different times where I’ve reached this monumental, like, reached the top of the peak, and then only to realize that there’s a bigger mountain in the distance, and being, like, Oh, my God, like it took it took 100% of what I’ve got to get me here. I don’t have 105% That’s a stupid saying, in my opinion, you have 100% of something, you don’t have 150% something, you know. And I’m like I’ve given my all, only to see that there’s like so much more for me to get over whether it’s like another skill to learn or another. Okay, I thought I was great. But I have, I don’t have the ability to communicate well, or, you know, whatever the case is. I think that’s one of the hardest challenges is that perspective and expectation of knowing how much it’s going to be. And when you get to that first thing that you think is a is a mountain top, there’s a whole another list. I think that can be, that can be really what drains me in the big moments.
Adam Gillman 42:03
Me too. And Ray Dalio, who’s, like, one of the most successful hedge fund managers of all time, he wrote a book a few years ago called Principles. And it’s like, a massive book, I somehow I managed to read the entire thing. And hey, buddy, I love and one of the things he talks about is the growth path, right? And most people think that the growth path is linear, that once you make it to one spot, you just continue on that same trajectory. And the reality is in everything in life, whether it be business, whether it be personal. It is, and is this podcast, audio only. No, there’s video, okay, so like, it’s actually like this, and then like this, and like this, and like this, right? So for those that are listening, I’m going up into the right, but then going backwards and down, and then back up into the right again, right? So you, you need to slow down, you need to go backwards, sometimes in order to ultimately be able to go forward again. And a phrase I say all the time is what got is here won’t get us there, right? Like, the skills that got you to where you are today sometimes you need to learn new skills, Andrew, like you pointed out are sometimes the skills that you have need to shift, right? And being able to navigate that is a really hard process. Because that feeling of getting to the top of the mountain to realize Holy shit, there’s 10 more mountains that are 10 times the size of the one that I just climbed, how the hell am I going to do this is something that you will always run into, at least based on my life experience so far, based on the experience of every single person, I’ve talked to that’s successful. And you have to be prepared for that. And in a weird way, figure out a way to love that as part of the process to knowing that, okay, shits hard again, let’s go. If it’s hard, that means that there’s something amazing on the other side. And if it’s easy, I’m not doing something interesting, right? Like, if my life is easy. I simply am not doing something interesting.
Andrew Morgans 44:35
And if I know who I am, then I’m like, I know that why I might be lazy in this moment, or I’m wanting easy in this moment. If I truly know who Andrew is, you know, with this perspective, then it’s like I know that I like the hardship. Yeah, I like interesting hardship.
Adam Gillman 44:52
Yeah, interesting hardship and I read a lot right and I listened to a lot of podcasts. And I can’t I’m blanking on who said this quote. But it’s one that another one that I repeat to myself all the time and say to people all the time. And it’s, if you have, if you do the things that are easy in life, your life will be hard. If you do the things that are hard in life, your life will be easy. And if you always take the easy path on everything, you are not going to have a good life. If for no other reason, you might have monetary success, but you’re not going to develop self belief. Right, you’re not going to develop the feeling of satisfaction that only comes from going through something hard, right? That’s why the success rate of trust fund kids is really low, right? They have everything handed to them, they don’t have the skills to navigate hardship in their life. And they know that at the end of the day, I haven’t done anything with my life. And knowing that and understanding that and when you’re in those moments, shifting your mindset into thinking, okay, it’s hard again, I’m scared again, I don’t know how I’m gonna do it again. But I’m going to do it. And even though I’m scared, I’m going to push through anyways because one of two things is going to happen, I’m going to fail, and then I’m going to try something else. Or I’m going to make it through and I’m going to level up. And knowing that those are the the two outcomes that can happen, you can shed a positive light on that mental experience.
Andrew Morgans 46:31
I love it. I love it. And I could dig in so much to what you just said, there. There’s so much meat there. Like you know, I like to have it. I have a tattoo on my body feel the fear and do it anyway, which is just a silly quote. I think I even saw it at Walmart or something. It’s a reminder for me daily, you know, a symbol of like, you know, I’m someone that grew up in a war zone with crazy shit happening. I’ve always had fear in my life since I was a child, like, in regards to just being afraid of real danger. I’ve seen real danger, and I know life and death. And it’s been very real to me all the way through business and whatever, right? And for me, it’s just a reminder that like, just because of the fears there doesn’t mean there’s not an opportunity for courage, right? To courage to push through. And I’m like, Look, I have I have a couple quotes out there. One of them is I embrace the fear that greets me in the morning for my courage was starving while I slept. And it was just like a poem I was writing, you know, at the time, but the thing is about, yeah, I wake up, I’m scared to do this everyday jump on podcast, talk about stuff I don’t know about sometimes. You know, push, put myself out there, spend my money on this thing, tell people I’m doing it. And embarrassment, the pride. But without that fear, there’s not an opportunity for courageous, you know, actions to come forward. And so, you know, my if there’s no fear, my courage is not it can’t use courage when it has to be in the face of fear. That’s what courage is. And so, for me, these little things, these little symbols, these little mantras are like, ways of getting through those times. And I think, you know, one of the biggest things for me is just surrounding yourself with the right people to remind you of those things, right? If you’re not around people that are reading, or that are ingesting good stuff, they’re never going to have that quote for you in the moment when you need it. You know, they’re never gonna have that encouraging word of like, hey, there’s something else has climbed this other Hill, you know, or so in the early startup phase?
Adam Gillman 48:29
You can do it.
Adam Gillman 48:31
Adam Gillman 48:31
Or just be when you don’t believe in yourself, sometimes you need somebody else to believe in you.
Andrew Morgans 48:35
Yeah. How important was your wife during that time? You know, you she was frustrated with you? You weren’t being a good father. In those moments. You were like having her as your good husband? Yeah. What, you know, how impactful was she, on that journey back?
Adam Gillman 48:52
Extremely. I wouldn’t have I mean, she and my boys were my inspiration through it, right. But also, as I started to change, right, Relationships are hard. And what’s what’s hardest about a relationship is you are a unit together, but you’re also two individuals and like, you grow at different speeds, right. And while I was going through that process, she was obviously further along than I was at that point in time, and having the patience to let me work through it. And knowing that at the end of the day, she was going to be there for me as long as I kept trying I think if I’d given up you know, she wouldn’t been nor should she been. But knowing that there was somebody who believed in me was everything. And and, you know, I’d extend it beyond her. Her though, like my, my family was important and I I keep a small circle, right? Like I, I have less than 10, close friends. And those are the people that I want to be with me. And those are the people that I want to be there for right, and being able to talk to them. And that’s the other thing I learned in that process is like I was never was willing to be vulnerable. And by being vulnerable, I was able to get wisdom from the people around me, who never would have seen the window to provide it, if I didn’t communicate it, I needed to hear it. So the people you surround yourself with are going to shape how you make it through tough times. But also how you determine what you’re doing next, when you’re in good times, you know, like, it’s everything.
Andrew Morgans 50:52
I love it, I think we’ll have to wrap it up at that just as we’re hitting the time. And I think that’s an amazing quote, like, you know, how you get through everything. I definitely had something the last 10 years that I’ve really just perfected that idea of tribe. And you know, who I want to win with, and who I who I want to see when and I know who wants to see me win. And, you know, really understand look, like, people might not understand why certain people are in your lives. But you can remember, you know, that time when you couldn’t get out and they were, like, helping you laugh and get to the gym and you know, do the things that you know you need to do. So I really, really believe if you haven’t read a book, I recommend a book called Tribe by Sebastian Junger.
Adam Gillman 51:32
I actually that book, and I haven’t read it yet. And if we’re doing book recommendations, the one book I have 10 copies on me at all times, Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins. I’m not sure if you’ve read it. His story is incredible. It’s a testament to the power of the mind and the ability to make it through really hardship.
Andrew Morgans 51:57
Yeah, he’s amazing. And I just saw this, like, podcasts he did about brotherhood. And it was pretty, it was pretty beautiful. But the Tribe book is one that I’m always giving out to everybody. And you know, it’s just really talking about kind of what that means for us in 2023 and beyond. You know, what tribe means as an old principle, but I hope I hope a hustler listeners like really enjoyed this. I know I have, you know, leaving it feeling encouraged and inspired. And some I already knew a lot of your story. But getting into the details and being vulnerable was was awesome. Today, thank you for sharing that.
Adam Gillman 52:32
Thank you for the opportunity. It was awesome being here.
Andrew Morgans 52:34
We’re gonna have to have a part two, when you when you’ve exited Hiya or whatever’s in the future for that, you know, you made a you made a hey, maybe we’ll sell this for 10 mil. You know, we’ll get on the other side of that when you’re allowed to talk about it. And, you know, come back with what you’ve learned since then. Shout out again to our sponsor for today’s episode FullScale.io. When you visit FullScale.io, all you need to do is answer a few questions. Let the platform match you up with fully vetted, highly experienced team of software engineers, testers and leaders. At Full Scale, they specialize in building long term teams that work only for you learn more when you visit FullScale.io. Adam, just in passing, as we close out the show, you know, we’ll have your notes in the show notes on Spotify and Apple and everywhere for anyone that wants to look it up. But, you know, where can people contact you? You on LinkedIn? You know, email if someone wants to contact you or follow your journey, or what’s the best way to do that?
Adam Gillman 53:28
Yeah, I don’t do social media. So, best way is email. It’s just email@example.com: a, d, a, m, g, i, l, l, m, a, n.com.
Andrew Morgans 53:37
I love it. Short and simple. Thank you, Hustlers for your time. We’ll see you next time. Thank you, Adam for being on the show. It’s been a pleasure.
Adam Gillman 53:45
Likewise, I really enjoyed being here. Thanks, man.