Kurt Sowers – President & Founder of SOCO Group | From Solopreneur to Construction Magnate

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About The Guest

Kurt Sowers is the President and Founder of SOCO Group. SOCO Group is a general contracting firm that offers design and build services specific to commercial upfit and interiors. Mr. Sowers currently holds his general contractor’s license in the state of North Carolina and has set sight on expanding his licensing across the South-Eastern states. 

Prior to starting SOCO Group, Kurt worked professionally in the construction industry as a construction manager and project superintendent. During his tenure in the industry, Kurt has directly overseen $25 million dollars of new construction. 

Although building can be considered the embodiment of his persona, Kurt’s entrepreneurial aspirations are not limited to construction. He is currently creating a fashion brand with his aesthetically inspired and long-term friend William.

Talking Points

  • 00:00 — Intro
  • 02:40 — Kurt Sowers’ origin story
  • 04:05 — How to figure out your passion
  • 07:15 — Lessons learned getting into entrepreneurship
  • 10:15 — How to start a business from scratch
  • 13:51 — General contracting horror stories
  • 14:50 — Navigating through Covid
  • 16:41 — Closing and executing on your first few deals
  • 19:42 — How to overcome business problems in construction
  • 25:12 — What should people look for when hiring?
  • 26:12 — Why did it take two years for Kurt’s company to become profitable?
  • 30:26 — How does Kurt bring in new business?
  • 36:11 — How to scale a business.
  • 39:19 — Personality traits of successful entrepreneurs.
  • 43:44 — Did going into and coming out of the show “Joe Millionaire” change anything for Kurt Sowers?
  • 47:56 — The change in Kurt’s mindset from back when he started his business vs now
  • 59:20 — Where can people connect with Kurt Sowers?
  • 1:00:05 — The biggest challenge Kurt Sowers has overcome in his personal life
  • 1:00:55 — What keeps Kurt up at night?
  • 1:02:01 — One person that had a major impact on Kurt’s life
  • 1:04:24 — A book or podcast recommended by Kurt Sowers
  • 1:05:31 — What would Kurt tell his 20-year-old self?
  • 1:07:05 — What does success mean to Kurt Sowers?

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What is the Success Story Podcast?

On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups, and entrepreneurship.

The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.

Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures, and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas, and insights.

He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their stories to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategies for business professionals, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between.

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Machine Generated Transcript

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

people, business, projects, gc, gcs, figure, deal, build, construction, building, commercial, job, kurt, estimate, super, company, easy, shit, subcontractor, work

SPEAKERS

Scott D Clary, Kurt Sowers

 

00:00

The new film 13 lives is coming to Prime Video. Well boys and their coach are trapped in a flooded cave from Academy Award winning director Ron Howard. How we got to get those kids out just too crazy. I said only chance. Experience the incredible true story. How sad is this? I’ve never done before. Nobody has that united the world today. Mr. 13 lives rated PG 13 maybe inappropriate for children under 13 and streaming August 5 Only on Prime Video.

 

Scott D Clary  00:30

Welcome to success story, the most useful podcast in the world. I’m your host Scott D. Clary. The success story podcast is part of the blue wire podcast network as well as the HubSpot Podcast Network about Podcast Network has other great podcasts like marketing made simple hosted by Dr. JJ Peterson. Now Marketing made simple brings you practical tips to make your marketing easy and more importantly, make it work. If you like any of these topics, you definitely want to go check out the show how to write and deliver a captivating speech, how to market yourself into a new job, how design can help and also hurt your revenue creating a social media ad strategy that actually works. If these topics resonate with you. Go check out marketing made simple wherever you get your podcasts. Today my guest is Kurt Sowers. Kurt is the president and founder of SOCO group now SOCO group is a general contracting firm that offers design and build services specific to commercial upfit and interiors. Now, Mr. Solis currently holds his general contractor’s license in the state of North Carolina, and a set sight on expanding his licensing across the southeastern states. Prior to starting SOCO group, Kurt worked professionally in the construction industry as a construction manager and project superintendent. During his tenure in the industry, Kurt has directly overseen $25 million of new construction. Now, although building could be considered the embodiment of his persona, Kurt’s entrepreneurial aspirations are not limited to construction. Kurt is currently creating the fashion brand van owners with his aesthetically inspired and long term friend, William additionally, Kurt continues to pave the road for passion projects in the entertainment industry, and has an overarching theme and vision for this platform. So we spoke about a variety of different topics, he spoke about the world of construction and development, something that Kurt is incredibly passionate about, we spoke about the steps an entrepreneur should take when starting a company from scratch, we spoke about how to make the move from solopreneur to business owner, how to hire how to train how to find the best talent, how to make yourself redundant. We spoke about managing work life professional personal public spotlight, and then we spoke about how to leverage your personal brand for business success. So a lot of personal branding, a lot of personal branding lessons, a lot of entrepreneurial lessons, a lot of business owner lessons, of course, Kurt is in construction, but the lessons that you can learn from his journey are applicable to any industry, any category, I hope you enjoy.

 

Kurt Sowers  03:11

Bringing it back, so I guess I kind of have this ideology or this idea that I think people should, you should do what you were inspired to do as a kid as a child, right? So it sounds dumb, but for me, I love Legos love building shit. Right? So I was just like, well, and then in my teenage years, and then in college, I worked as a handyman built furniture, worked in and out almost every trade in the construction industry. And it was, it was always what kind of came natural to me. I was good at it. So, you know, then I veered away from that for a little while. And then in college, too. I studied, studied construction management and civil engineering technology. So you know, very, very educated on the science of construction. But I definitely, you know, I steered away from it and I wanted to be like, I always thought I was like a PA be a businessman as a kid. I didn’t know what a businessman was right. And then as I got older, I realized I was like this is there anything you’re actually like really good at and are inspired by I get inspired by construction and and the industry in itself. So that’s kind of why you know, I have stuck with it, I guess

 

Scott D Clary  04:24

so so you have these like aspirations as a kid and you have some idea of like, well actually like what lights of fire? Yeah, but I think that a lot of people like when they’re coming in So walk me through like even like in high school. When did you start working in this? When did you start figuring like, shit like, I’m actually good at this or this is something that you wanted to test that was like high school was a college like Well,

 

Kurt Sowers  04:44

yeah, it was college just out of necessity. I mean, I put myself through college. So I was working at carwash and then a friend of my dad was a handyman had a handyman business. So I apprenticed him pretty much all through college. And that’s where I kind of cut my teeth as far as working in different trades. Because we did it all mechanical, electrical, plumbing, framing carpentry, you know, so I kind of did my hands and all the different divisions of construction. And I just got a knack for it. And like I said, I enjoyed it. So from there, I was doing in college, I was studying business, and I was terrible students, like terrible students. So I decided, like, alright, let’s change pace, and I switched over to construction management. And I found that I actually enjoyed learning about that. So that’s kind of what, what propelled me I think, into this direction. And then

 

Scott D Clary  05:41

like, what, like, what is construction management mean?

 

Kurt Sowers  05:45

Yeah, broad term, right. But construction management, construction is actually a very, it’s a very scientific industry. And you, you, you cover a lot of different topics and disciplines. And so construction management teaches you about the different divisions gives you a little bit of background in structural engineering and kind of the, you know, the components that go into construction or building. And then as far as the management side of it, which I’m terrible at, to be honest, like, when I was working, I worked for a GC for years. And I was a construction manager at first. I was terrible at I’m a terrible project manager. But what I found that I was really good. And then I moved into a site superintendent, I was a great superintendent, because that was when I was in the field run the crews getting shipped, built, you know, hands on. So that’s when I really started to I think, excel in the industry when I became a site superintendent.

 

Scott D Clary  06:45

And by like, when you’re if you’re a site super, like, that’s still like, if you start your own business, like then you have to figure out the business side of it. Which is like, it’s a mother. Like, it’s not easy, right? So that’s why there’s a lot of people get stuck. And when people try, like they’re passionate about something, and they start and they want to start something, and they want to figure out a way to they’re working for somebody, and they’re like, Oh yeah, I could totally do that. No problem, I could do what like my boss’s boss’s boss, and the founders company could do and they try it. And it’s like, not so easy. And

 

Kurt Sowers  07:13

it’s not at all it’s, um, I mean, I was just telling my friends earlier, I’m a, I’m a terrible businessman. But what I am good at, I’m good at building. And I’m good at the relationship side of it. So I’m good at getting people to trust me to contract with me. However, the business side is I’m definitely still working through that right now. And that is it’s, you know, it’s tough, tough figuring out the business side of things. I mean, the back of house keeping up with all your paperwork, there’s a ton of paperwork that goes into construction. So

 

Scott D Clary  07:45

So you start, okay, so he says, You want to start into your own business and construction. So like traditional entrepreneur, I’m just thinking like, you can bootstrap this, you build your own company with the money you saved up or you go raise money. So what did you do to like, actually start your own company?

 

Kurt Sowers  08:00

I had nowhere near enough money to start my own company. It was kind of I started my company out of

 

Scott D Clary  08:05

how much money okay, how much money were you making as a GC? Like before you pivot it? So like, you’re still working for somebody? much money can you make there

 

Kurt Sowers  08:11

I was making about 95. Okay, as a superintendent for commercial GC. Okay, cool. I was making good money. And then, when the pandemic started, actually, I had been thinking about branching out on my own. Okay, so it was alright, it was it was in the back of my head. I’ve been working at that point, as a superintendent for, you know, like six plus years, you know, gained a lot of experience, I knew that I was, I mean, a site superintendent is probably the most important person on a job. They’re the one who gets shit done, right. So I knew that my skill set that I could take that and be successful at it if I wanted to on my own. So when the pandemic hit, was working for a company, and they asked to furlough me, we were doing, like commercial tire centers. I did a lot of fast food restaurants. So all their contracts dried up, right when the pandemic hit, and I was like, that’s the furlough me and I was like, Man, this is it was like the kick I needed, right? Yeah, but I only had it’s embarrassing to say like, I only had like 15k in the bank. To start Yeah, to start my own of like, liquid cash to start my own

 

Scott D Clary  09:21

company. That’s including, like your rent and your food like cost of living? Yeah, yeah. So I’ve just,

 

Kurt Sowers  09:25

I just dug in and did it. And I don’t know how but everything worked out. It was the relationships I built throughout the years of being a super Yeah. It was easy. I reached out to people I had built for developers and stuff when I was working for other GCS. And everybody was like everybody fed me work. Everybody was happy to work with me. I was like, hey, look, just getting started, you know, do a little bit cheaper. This that and yeah, I mean, I didn’t really need or want anything for that first year. I’ve had plenty of business.

 

Scott D Clary  09:54

And so like when you first set on your own, like, what are the jobs you’re taking? You’re doing the jobs like yourself?

 

Kurt Sowers  09:59

No, no. So I’m a true general contractor. So I subcontract out everything, I don’t self perform anything. I, I have supervision on it. And I might do a little bit of handyman stuff at the end of a project, like touch up and stuff. But no, so I, so construction is broken out across 52 different divisions. And you get the two, yeah, for larger scale. So what I’m doing now I’m mainly doing commercial interiors. So I’m only dealing with, you know, maybe 12 different divisions, if that I mean, usually I have about seven or eight subcontractors on a job. So I subcontract out every component of the job to different subcontractors, and then I manage them, you know, scope them out, supervise them, and take it to the finish line.

 

Scott D Clary  10:44

You have. So if you’re doing this, like you’re trying to so when you find your next project, like what are the things that you were thinking about when you first started like to find the first project? So what I’m trying to do is kind of like take like the experience that you have somebody who’s like in this field right now? Yeah. What’s the first action item? They do? Like the first month? Are you reaching out to all your you’re reaching out to all your contacts? Yeah. Are you? Are you like, is there no issue with you taking business away from like, the people that you

 

Kurt Sowers  11:10

know, that was that I wasn’t taking business away from the PR weren’t were because they were they were much larger? So when I started off, I was just doing little renovations and additions, residential stuff. Yeah. As I was trying to formulate my plan of like, what kind of general contractor do I want to be? And that took me a while to figure out at first I was like, well, maybe I can. So rewind a little bit. When I first became a super I was building townhouses. So I built 20 Different townhouses in around Charlotte, they’ve gotten pretty good at that. So when I branched out on my own, and then from that, I moved into commercial as a super, which I love, I love the commercial side, but it takes a lot of bankroll to run a commercial figure

 

Scott D Clary  11:52

raising money, and she got to figure all that,

 

Kurt Sowers  11:56

it’s just, I mean, honestly, it’s a we can get to that, but it’s a it’s just a balancing act, it’s, you know, you are a GC at times you act as a bank. So it’s, it’s billing ahead to the owner. And then you get that money in there that might pass straight through to the subcontractor and then you know, you make your margin on top, but a lot of times, I mean, I won’t pay myself till the end of a project just because I gotta keep you know, enough money in the account to keep the jobs flowing. So But anyhow, backup, so when I was a super building townhomes, that’s what I thought, initially, when I start my company, I was like, well, I’ll just do residential. No, I learned my lesson quick that residential, it’s, it’s so personal, for the client, you know, they’re living in that house, they have a timeline that they have to meet, the budget is always dicey. You know, they’re always trying to cut corners, save money, it just, it’s a headache, especially the way I’m set up to try to run a residential general contracting company, at least as a small company, right. So then, after doing a couple of residential jobs, that first year, I decided that I’m going to focus on just commercial interiors. No, nothing structural, if I can avoid structural, I will just for liability, what that means like, so commercial interiors, commercial outfits, so you have a lot of developers, especially in the city, like Charlotte, very new city, right. So developers come in, they’ll build strip malls, or the build skyscrapers. And that’s it, they usually just do the shell, and then different GCS, because because then they’re leasing those spaces out, right. So wherever they lease it out to a restaurant, or an office, whatever, then they bring in their GC to do the outfit. So that’s that’s the, that’s the market that I’m targeting right now. Just commercial interiors, commercial outfits, because I just think it’s a it’s a, it’s a reliable business model. And also, it’s, it’s what I can handle right now is building a small business, you know, with with minimizing my risk and liability.

 

Scott D Clary  13:53

Because if you go into one of these places, like so, like, even like the cash flow, you’re just describing it. Like, you don’t have a lot of margin for error, you have a lot of room for error on these deals. So like you’re selling the service, you’re selling yourself, you close the deal. You have to subcontract all these other subcontractors, you have to bring them into the deal. They finished the work. I’m assuming when you’re first starting out, you can’t work on that many projects,

 

Kurt Sowers  14:15

though. I mean, I’m, I’m, I’ve got four right now. And I’m stretched thin.

 

Scott D Clary  14:19

Yeah. So it’s a lot. It’s a lot. Yeah. And then like when you’re when you’re doing this stuff, like you’re a small business owner at this point. Like what’s the what’s the what’s the worst thing that could possibly happen? How do you mitigate or protect against that when you’re trying to do these jobs?

 

Kurt Sowers  14:32

So the worst thing in in general contracting is the estimating the initial project cost? There’s no There’s no science to it. I mean, there’s a bit of a science to it, right? The way you estimate is you, you break everything down into the smallest margin possible or the smallest unit possible. And then you apply a price point to it. And then you build out your estimate, you know, so say for flooring or paint you break out flooring into Do you know square foot and then you can apply x per square foot, or per brick, you break it out per brick. So as it is, it is a bit of a science however, it’s never accurate because you always have incidentals, and or the cost of materials, as you probably know, is just fluctuating so

 

Scott D Clary  15:22

nasty like, this is like not even where we’re at right now. Talk about like, COVID and supply chain and like the shitshow that the world has gone through, and how you navigate it now because like, we’ll keep finishing your thought, but like, not only did you like start at 15,000 bucks, yeah, you started a business. It’s like the worst time to ever start the worst. Nobody wants to like, like, forget, like you’re trying to like be like a GC and like all these like little residential areas to start like nobody wants you even walking into their home. Yeah, probably let alone I know. So you figure out how you

 

Kurt Sowers  15:51

manage that. But yeah, it really the only even if you want to. I don’t even consider myself six successful. Yeah, I mean, I guess I built a business out of out of nothing. But as far as the monetary side, I’m only now becoming successful. But where I found success that first year, was completely dependent on the relationships I build, I’m a good like, I’m a relationship guy. And right there. Yeah, I’m like, if I see value in, in a relationship, or even if I don’t, I treat people very well, I respect people. And I try to, if I do see potential value in it in a person, or relationship, I definitely make it a point to follow up on that relationship, you know, to just just keep up with that person, or that business and just, you know, establish some sort of relationship. And because of that, because of, I guess, my way with people that that led me to be able to be successful, or at least to be able to keep business coming in.

 

Scott D Clary  16:53

Yeah. So okay, so you had business coming in, but you also had to deal with like, mass, like, the problems you dealt with when you were starting this when problems that like a GC, two years ago would not have had? Yeah, so you have supply chain issues, which impacts your project time, like time to completion, you have like cons of like, all these costs associated. So like the first deal, you worked on the first few? What was the like the absolute worst shit that happened that you had to figure out? So the and also just like the general climate of like supply chain, how it impacted? Yeah,

 

Kurt Sowers  17:26

it’s not even just supply chain and material costs. And then it’s also labor, the labor is so difficult, especially on the residential side. It is another reason why I backed away from it, because it felt as it felt as the labor pool on the residential side were like rookies, you know, these are, these are people even if they were established subcontractor, their labor pool was still there. We’re still getting like new guys. And you know, they’ll claim they’re a painter, but they were, you know, a carpenter the day before. And it’s like, so it has just been very difficult to navigate the labor, though. She says there’s not there’s not people. There’s nothing sexy about blue collar, right? So the labor pool for the construction industry is getting smaller and smaller. I mean, then that’s why we have a lot of trades being filled by you know, Latinos or Mexicans because they’re willing, they love blue collar, they love it. That’s a good day’s work for them. They enjoy it. But I think our society has taught you know, most American born people, American born men grow up in a society where blue collar is not sexy, so they’re not aspiring to go be a tradesman or being electrician, a plumber, you know,

 

Scott D Clary  18:41

and like, like idiots, they’re going to work for like, some 70k year job for the naked for me making 120 as a plumber, you know, or they can make a shift. I know, I know GCS like I’m not saying it’s easy to work. I’ve, I’ve spoken to a lot of them, like they make bank but like, it’s tough work. Yeah. Cuz I think a lot of them don’t know how to scale up a business. Yep. So they work they get to where you are more or even less than they’re not working on for products that time to working on one product at a time. And it’s just them. And I remember talking to one guy, he was like, yeah, like, you know, I could, I could never have to work again. But like, I can’t because like, my whole body’s broken from doing, like 30 years.

 

Kurt Sowers  19:17

I mean, it’s true, man. That’s another thing it is. It is a tough industry. And there’s so many other ways out there if you’re a smart man or woman there’s so many other ways to make that money in other ways, right through yourself doing yourself and or you know, you don’t work the hours that you do. I mean, general contracting, it’s like it’s a constant. It never stops. Literally. It’s it’s can be seven days a week. A lot of the stuff I’m doing right now, since we’re in commercial interiors. We’re working in like medical spaces stuff, so we have to work after hours. So I mean, I have guys working till midnight on some jobs. So it’s a business that really doesn’t sleep. So it’s long hours. It’s exhausting. There’s a reason why you see like old G’s These are all great and grumpy. For good reason.

 

Scott D Clary  20:03

It’s tough to you. So you, you got to figure out how to get out, you have to figure how to get out of the actual working in the business. Yeah. Okay, so you figure it out, like, you actually you have a ton of problems, I don’t even know how you solve for any of them. So yeah, supply chain issues, you have contractor issues and like labor issues, you have like cost of goods, it costs all over. How do you actually fix any of this stuff? So what did you actually do to like, get the right people make sure the product is done on time? Yeah, find stuff that wasn’t way overpriced, or did you not and you just,

 

Kurt Sowers  20:30

it’s, it’s a constant game, especially lately of pivoting. So construction, in the first place is a never ending game of solving problems. It’s, it’s no matter how well you have it planned out, something’s gonna happen during the day, and you’re gonna have to solve that problem. So that’s always a constant with construction. But with all these added, all these external factors now that we have attributing to, to it, like the supply chain, labor shortages, material costs all over the place, it just makes it that much more difficult. So, yeah, you have to constantly pivot. And also, and this is a part that I actually, I lack is communicating with the owners and or banks. So in residential, you know, usually dealing with owners, but on commercial dealing with owner slash banks, right, communicating all of these issues, and that assignment ahead of time, or as they’re happening. So me, I like to be like, Okay, well, fuck, I’ll solve it, you know, whatever, trust solve it. And I will communicate all these things to them. So then when they see, you know, a week delay, they don’t understand that I’ve had to pivot for three days just to get us back on track, you know. So I think that’s the biggest lesson that I’m learning is communicating these things to the owners, to the banks that way they are in understanding of it. And then when you hit him with a change order, you can get paid on that change order, and they’re not fighting you for it.

 

Scott D Clary  21:48

I just want to take a second and thank the sponsor of today’s episode, HubSpot. Now, what words come to mind when you think about entrepreneurship, for me, it’s grind, hustle strategy, hard frickin work. Because building something from the ground up is anything but easy. HubSpot is on a mission to help your business grow better with a CRM platform that’s easy to buy, use and love. With 1000s of integrations. Teams actually use HubSpot works the way you do hard. And if you want to figure out how to streamline your deals easy, the sales hub makes it easy to close more deals by automating your busy work. If you need to automate your social media piece of cake, the marketing hub has everything you need to publish post and monitor your social media channels. All in one place. Learn how HubSpot can make it easier for your business to grow better@hubspot.com. So you solved some of these problems. But you’ve also now scaled to working for projects at a time. So even in the past few years, you’ve done something that some GCS can’t do, and you’ve scaled up yourself. And you actually said like, at the beginning, you’re like, you were not great at business school, and you were like, not not having it. So how did you solve it? Like, what did you do differently that is allowing you to be successful now?

 

Kurt Sowers  23:00

Honestly, I don’t I don’t know if I have solved it. So no, you’re

 

Scott D Clary  23:04

solving. There’s Yeah, it’s always learning, always figuring it out. Yeah, but you’re doing something, right?

 

Kurt Sowers  23:10

I think, where I find my success is that I get up every day. And I work so I know how to build. So when I don’t have the solution to maybe some of the business stuff. I’m just like, fuck it, I’m gonna go to work. And I just, I stay on the grind and keep pushing on the project. So I think that is I’m still trying to figure out how to be a better businessman. But I’m finding success because I at least get up and I get the job done. And I just keep moving things along. Even if I’m taking even if I’m, you know, getting hurt, maybe on some of the costs I might have. Or yeah, or Yeah, or I’m grinding. I’m not paying myself for the hours and putting in but at least I’m keeping things moving along. And and I guess I’m just trying to figure it out as I go. And like it. Look, if I just keep getting up every morning and I keep working on it keep chipping away at it daily, then, you know, I’ll figure out the other stuff,

 

Scott D Clary  24:01

which I think is like, that’s like the X Factor. And like any startup small business, like it’s never going to be 100% Yeah, but if like the entrepreneur is like willing to like figure that out and go through it. Like that’s what differentiates them. And I think that I think that one of the issues people have is they like, become a business owner and they either build themselves a job, and then that sucks. Or they try and remove themselves too quickly without understanding all the components of the business when it’s not functioning right. Yep, like there’s this point where you have to work in it, but then you got to figure out a way to scale yourself. Yeah. Did you have you like hired out people you just mentioned you’re just starting to be profitable now. Yeah. So what’s so what’s your, you know, the past two years, not the easiest sort of business? Yeah. But you started to hire and

 

Kurt Sowers  24:41

so I still I still manage. I had a superintendent working for me for a little while. And then I have a girl helped me in the office. Taking care of some of the receivables and payables

 

Scott D Clary  24:53

super was your first big hire that super was the first big hire, how’d it go?

 

Kurt Sowers  24:56

It went well, but then he left me to go back to work for himself. was a handyman. So it was great. Yeah, it was like he was covering some some of the residential stuff I still had going, he was covering those for me. And then I have a hard time. The next big step is hiring a full time super to manage the commercial projects for me, because right now, I’m in the field all day, if I’m not in the field, I’m on the phone all day with my subs. So I still supervise all my commercial projects. I mean, I’m very hands on. And only, I mean, I can I can, um, now I can afford to bring somebody on but it’s also I got I don’t know how to, I need to hire somebody that’s really good at it already. And then maybe just trust them to do it. Or you know, or have to train somebody so that’s gonna be like a difficult

 

Scott D Clary  25:46

that’s gonna be he’s gonna ask me when you when you like. So again, small business owner hiring super critical role for the first mover. Obviously, you don’t have it down to like a perfect size. But what are the things that people should look out for? Somebody’s hiring that first? Yeah. What made you pick this this super

 

Kurt Sowers  26:03

honestly, because he was just a young kid who I thought was, you know, influential and, or that I could influence him rather and kind of, you know, curate him how I wanted, like, teachability Yeah, it’s very, he was younger, he was ambitious, wanting to get into the industry. But now I’m realizing that my next hire for Super will be, I’m gonna steal, you know, a 4050 year old man that’s been doing this for another company for years. I’m gonna pay him what he needs to get paid. And he’s going to do it better than I could.

 

Scott D Clary  26:33

Okay, so if you’re going to make that kind of hire, you need money. And let’s talk about talk about cash flow, talk about profitability. So you can be as specific or as ambiguous as you want and talk in numbers, but I’m still curious, like, even percentages, like how did you want you close one project they’re working on for why only two years later, you’re starting to be profitable?

 

Kurt Sowers  26:54

I guess it’s not that wasn’t that you pay you pay yourself? I pay myself okay. Yeah, it’s just my payments. I was I guess I say I was profitable. But, you know, after paying myself my expenses, I just, I just left money in the company. Because, as I said before, a GC is like a bank, you, you are always having to flow money and a lot of times, and this is where I need to get better on the business side. You know, a lot of times, I’m not getting paid from the owner 3045 days after I bill, but all my guys, they want to get paid on Friday, all my subcontractors, and that’s and that’s the reason why like, that’s why the good ones, that’s how I keep them showing up because I pay them on Friday. So I’m having to float a lot of cash a lot of times I mean, I gotta keep my guys paid. Because they do good work for me and you know, I gotta respect them and they need to get paid and that’s so you

 

Scott D Clary  27:42

like the like when you do this kind of business? You have like massive cash flow issues. I’m assuming if that’s the case, because you had like a net 30 or net six Yeah. On the owner paying. Yeah. Okay.

 

Kurt Sowers  27:50

Yeah. So yeah, so I’ll be floating. So maybe I’ll invoice you know, take like this barbershop. I just finished one of my invoices. It was a smaller job right? The whole job was only like 125k But you know, I sent a $30,000 invoice Yeah, I wouldn’t get paid that one was actually had to go through the bank had to go through the developer then to the bank. By time I got my money was 3045 days in the rear. Yeah, and Thomas said that invoice but I’m paying all my guys every week. So someone having to float that 35k For just on that job? And like,

 

Scott D Clary  28:22

would you if you had to redo it? Would you like go raise money take out a loan, would you do a different?

 

Kurt Sowers  28:27

Um, would it make things it would make things easier, honestly, and that’s, I’m getting to the point where I’m thinking about you know, should I should I if I want to scale right, I need good help. So if I’m going to afford a good super that’s been doing this for 20 plus years, right? I’m gonna need to pay him 100k or more. So I’m at that point I’m like, do I do I go get a loan to hire a guy for six months and then he can kill these commercial projects for me while I go out and get more business and while you know while Yeah, build the business. So that’s kind of where I’m at right now.

 

Scott D Clary  29:00

What do you what do you think?

 

Kurt Sowers  29:02

I mean, I could I could float it but then I put myself in a pinch like I should use somebody else’s money right and then I can recoup it for the job because anybody on the job should get paid by the job right like the super expense should be on that job so but again it’s it’s the cash flow thing

 

Scott D Clary  29:20

what was like the biggest like shit hit the fan moment in your in your entrepreneurial journey where it was things like did not work out

 

Kurt Sowers  29:33

honestly,

 

Scott D Clary  29:35

every day are not

 

Kurt Sowers  29:37

bad frequently but I just said I’ve been pretty fortunate thus far. I you know anytime I think that I might be oh my gosh, am I gonna have a cash flow issue? It just has worked out for me so I don’t know maybe I’ve just been blessed and fortunate,

 

Scott D Clary  29:52

less fortunate, hard working to Who do you like when you when you’re trying to like learn this now? Where do you go to learn and sort of like, upskill yourself, like, you’re trying to figure all this shit out. So what’s your strategy?

 

Kurt Sowers  30:04

I just study I study other companies, I study people. Yeah. You know, the guy who brought me really into the professional construction industry, my mentor, sorts, he wasn’t really great mentor, but he was a great guy to study. Like, he was a gunslinger, this guy was, you know, he was always bringing in deals, always making it happen. And then he had the ability to then, you know, come through with it, he would, he was like a developer slash builder. He’s like a restaurant owner, he’s got his hands, a little bit of everything. However, you know, if he struck up a deal, he would then find a way to get it done, or he would build it. So studying him a bit kind of just gave me the inspiration that because I knew talking to him, he didn’t always have the answers, but he was like, it’s not rocket science, we’ll figure it out. And there’s not nothing nothing we do in construction. It’s not rocket science. You can figure it out. But I think a lot of is just getting, getting the deal on the table, and then figuring out how to

 

Scott D Clary  30:55

get done. So like, when you say that they’re like, then you’re saying one of the most important skills, which I think I agree with is sales. Yeah, you got to sell yourself, sell yourself nonstop. So you like you accomplish that by having great network, you’re still going out and closing deals right now? Yeah. How do you how do you bring in new business?

 

Kurt Sowers  31:13

I haven’t even so that’s one of the reasons why I couldn’t find anything. I mean, I literally I don’t, I haven’t even marketed so I didn’t even tell most of my friends. I started my company. For the first year, I didn’t wasn’t because I was afraid to fail.

 

Scott D Clary  31:25

Like imposter syndrome.

 

Kurt Sowers  31:27

I didn’t want to be like, oh, like, I’ll start this general contracting company. And then six months later, be back working as a superintendent. So I didn’t I didn’t tell anybody. Because I was really afraid to fail. And then as I build it, I just don’t really want to show it off until I’m super proud of it. And I’m still just, you know, I’m still in it. Like, I’m still just,

 

Scott D Clary  31:45

I think you shouldn’t show it off more man. I think Well, I think, you know, like, the whole the whole building a personal brand. Like, you can’t convince me that’s not the way to do business. Yeah. Like, that’s how, like this show happened. Like build a personal brand. Like I go crazy on social like, like content marketing. I haven’t even had the exposure you have. And like, that’s given me like speaking opportunities and like, incredible network, and like, nonstop. Job offers investment into the company I’m working at like, it’s like, insane. Like, when it’s funny, like, when you have a name out there, even if people don’t really know who you are, just because you’re putting yourself out there they like they learned to trust who you are without ever meeting you. Right? Yeah, like, I think you got to double down on this shit. You got to ride this wave. You got to build out the personal brand. Yeah, your your company’s out there. Now.

 

Kurt Sowers  32:30

It’s out there. And I think I think you’re very right. And I I’ve been very reticent to do that. Because again, it’s my it’s my fear of it. My fear of failure and fear of you know, it’s funny that even did did that show because I don’t, I don’t

 

Scott D Clary  32:47

know learn from your personality very now talking to you for like, whatever, like 30 minutes, I’m like, There’s no way this guy is looking to, you know, be in the limelight.

 

Kurt Sowers  32:54

Exactly. It’s very, like I like it, but I don’t like it. Because I do like to keep things very, like close to the chest as far as you know, like what I do for a living and I don’t I don’t love. It’s almost like what the show I’d put a facade on right. But a facade on this is what I want the world to see. And I really let people see the real, you know, curve, what I actually do. And so I don’t know, I’m still still figuring out the business. But you’re right I do you need to dive into the self exposure or double down on myself a little bit and build build my brand, build the company brand and use the tools that I have available. I

 

Scott D Clary  33:30

mean, no, I would argue that very few other GCS if not, and like or maybe none would ever have had that ability to have that exposure at the level that you had. Yeah, at this stage of my career. I think it’s just a matter of like, how do you get over that imposter syndrome because you’re dealing with it right now. 100% But like every entrepreneur in the world has that every entrepreneur and I actually think that like when I work with like, a lot entrepreneurs, like not not in construction, but like, I mean, building something from scratch is the same shit. A lot of a lot of it’s tough, like it’s tough, and you have to put yourself out there and your friends and your family big this guy’s crazy like why you know, I think that when you put yourself out there like even like you’re doing this show you’re like you’re laying like everything that you’ve done on the line and I think that holds you accountable which I think is like what a good manager should do you think that when you like commit to something in public I think it forces you to actually like do it like you like what’s the saying like you burn the boats or burn the ships or whatever, like burn them or whatever it

 

Kurt Sowers  34:24

  1. Yeah, no, that’s the that’s that’s so true. And that’s I’ve actually used that strategy with myself if if I do tell people about something that I haven’t done yet it’s almost like I’m telling them because that holds me accountable. I’m like, better fucking do it now.

 

Scott D Clary  34:40

You got it right. Yeah, got it. You’re like so this guy. I don’t care if this guy is successful, but at least he’s like you know, like, if you put yourself out there you’re gonna do something like you can be a liar. You can’t Yeah,

 

Kurt Sowers  34:49

no, no, I’ll be a liar especially Yeah, especially if you have any proud of yourself as a man. I mean, you got to live up to the expectations you set for yourself. So

 

Scott D Clary  34:57

but but he went on this show and like you’re This is not your personality at all going on this show. But now you can actually do it. You can do it. Like, with yourself, like with your true personality. Like when you put yourself out there now like, will you turn yourself into like a content marketing machine? Like you’re gonna get nonstop business? Yeah. But then you don’t have to feel like you’re putting on this facade or this face or whatever. Because you’re talking about, like, what we’re talking about now, like what you’re actually passionate about? Yeah, like, none of this is none of this is B as well, you actually care about and this is like, this is your, like, 110% of your life. So you just turn like this into like your your daily. And then I think that would attract business, I think that would actually give you like, a huge amount of success. Yeah, and probably expedite your growth much quicker. Because now you think about all the different parts of the business that like a strong personal brand, accomplish like touches, like, yeah, maybe you have more exposure on social, but like, also, you’ll have a better time planning projects. Because like, now people will want to associate with your firm, you’ll have a probably an easier time attracting talent, too. Because you’re probably going to get for sure your staff people that want to work with you just like be in your sphere. Right, like, so I think like you double down on that. Yeah,

 

Kurt Sowers  36:06

no, you’re you’re right. You’re right. And I guess I’ve been just hesitant to do so because I want I guess I guess I mean, it is like the only two years and is it the first year but I was just trying to figure out where I wanted the company to go, you know, it’s gonna figure out do I stay residents stay in commercial. So I think I just wanted to be, you know, I want to have a solid vision, which I do now finally have a solid vision of the company, what I want the company to be where I want it to go. So now that I have that I need to start capitalizing on some of the things that you’re talking about.

 

Scott D Clary  36:41

How do you Okay, so without without the personal branding stuff, that’s cool. But how do you scale up? So where do you take from here? So you have four projects now trying to hire super, if somebody’s at this stage in their GC life or their GZ? Business? How do you scale up?

 

Kurt Sowers  36:59

I mean, I can’t do it without a Kendra without help. So I gotta get the right help. And or partnerships. So that’s kind of like, three of the biggest projects, I mean, and in all actuality, I have actually have six current projects going on, but two are closing out. So I got four, but three of those are, I’ve got partners with them, and I’m acting almost as a subcontractor to them, but um, I’m building out the whole jobs for them. And those have gone really smoothly because we all know our role, and we rely on you know, one another to perform it. So I think if I’m to scale it, I just I’ve got to find the right people, you know, put them in their silo. They do what they need to do to run the company and then I can continue to float 10,000 feet.

 

37:52

Yeah. Like, what’s your

 

Kurt Sowers  37:54

vision for like, where you want to take this, I would love to be a I would love to do stick with the commercial interiors, commercial outfits. As I said, I think it’s a really good business model for a GC it’s a safe business model to, but I would love to be you know, multistate I love to be the go to guy for certain restaurants and or businesses that I’m their guy when they’re opening up in a new city. Boom, yeah, I’m the guy that comes in does the

 

Scott D Clary  38:19

relationship play or relationship? Or relationship? Yeah, is there like is there like, like, like regulatory things you got to think about when you switch states in this industry,

 

Kurt Sowers  38:27

I’m just applications. So you have reciprocity. In a lot of states with with your North Carolina GC license, you have reciprocity, and a lot of you have to apply for and then take, sometimes you got to take a small exam.

 

Scott D Clary  38:40

That’s it, and then you can just split Okay, except for up north, it’s

 

Kurt Sowers  38:42

a little more difficult up there.

 

Scott D Clary  38:44

I want to just so and I want like general like entrepreneurship advice, people that are starting out. So what is you know, if you’re talking to a new entrepreneur, like what’s your best advice for somebody who’s starting something from scratch?

 

Kurt Sowers  38:57

I guess you, I think, to be successful in anything, right? I mean, you know, no African who said no wind is favorable, if you if you know, not which port you sail, so you have to have a vision, right? And you have to then tackle that and be good become good at what you do. So figure out what it is that you want to do, and then master that that skill, right? And you got to have a, you have to have a vision in mind, and then you got to tackle it. And then from there, I think I mean, nothing. As an entrepreneur, nothing gets around just hard work. Even when you don’t have the answers don’t know what to do. Just get to work because it’s better than it’s better than sitting there and your thoughts and just, you know, spinning your wheels just get to work and get something done. For me, at least I’ve found from at least getting something done. If I’m from knocking off tasks during the day, I feel productive, and then things kind of fall into place.

 

Scott D Clary  39:49

And then if you’re going to talk about the personality traits, what are the the personality traits that have made you the most successful?

 

Kurt Sowers  39:56

So I think that A successful entrepreneur, you have to be likeable, and trustworthy. So people want to do business with people that they know, like and trust. So you have to win people over. You got to get in front of them first of all, so that they know you and then you got to get them to like you, how do you get them to like you? I mean, me, I found like, I’m a pretty humorous guy, like, sharing a laugh with somebody, I think is probably one of the best way to build a bond with somebody, and then you gotta get him to trust you. So and that’s, you know, a whole nother issue. I mean, you just have to be a stand up person to get people to trust you. Right? Have

 

Scott D Clary  40:52

you have you like, as you know, you build that your network and like, it’s a lot of like, people connections. It’s happened to me before it’s happened a lot of people that I know, but have you been screwed by people, like, people that have just, like, totally double crossed you? Like, how have you solved for that?

 

Kurt Sowers  41:07

Definitely, honestly, more so when, when I was working for other people, I just always felt undervalued and or underpaid, or, you know, wasn’t getting the bonuses that I should have been getting or what we negotiated. But, um, honestly, as I started my own company, everybody has been pretty good. I mean, definitely, I’ve gotten paid late on stuff, but everyone’s been pretty good. I haven’t got screwed over by anybody. But I think that’s also because I’m careful about who I do contract with. I mean, I don’t enter into any deal. Randomly, every every deal that comes my way is from a contact, you know, it’s, it’s because they know me or know me from somebody else. It’s, it’s not out there shopping, you know, just shopping for deals. And I think that’s where people get get screwed because when you do shop around like that, you’re also dealing with an owner that shopping around and you know, doesn’t value a lot of people undervalue GCS in general or people in construction, I think a lot of people definitely undervalue their time and expertise. So I just think that’s how people do get screwed in this industry is, you know, shop around shop around they want the best deal they want the best deal, you can’t have it all right, you don’t get you don’t get the timeline, you know the price and the quality you get to have them. So you gotta choose which do you want. At least in

 

Scott D Clary  42:27

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Kurt Sowers  43:52

I’ve been extremely blessed, literally fortunate and

 

Scott D Clary  43:55

like, I don’t know, there’s like knock on. It’s not.

 

Kurt Sowers  43:59

I mean, I’m sure I will get it going man look sooner than later. But again, I yeah, I don’t contract with people. I don’t I don’t know and or don’t have a relationship with so

 

Scott D Clary  44:10

and like, like, I guess I am curious, like after you. So after you went into the show, and you came out of it and you had like this amount of fame, has it impacted or changed anything?

 

Kurt Sowers  44:22

No, because I haven’t, I haven’t capitalized on it. Like, like you talked about I still even after show I you know, I mean, I still have a website. I’m building it right now. And that’s mainly because I didn’t want to showcase some of the previous projects I’ve done because it’s that’s not the work I want to track moving forward. So I’m only now building it out so that I can showcase some of these commercial interiors that have completed because that’s the trajectory that I want for the company. So no, it didn’t really affect me business wise other than people do. Like especially some my subs. They they want to work for me they want to work with me. Yeah. So that is that’s probably helped a little bit and whether you know, I don’t know

 

Scott D Clary  45:06

double down on them. Yeah, you got it like it’s gonna make your life like exceptionally easier and that’s that’s my two cents whatever figure like go hire somebody to help you out with like content or something. Yeah, like just throw up your phone like this is like Gary Vee. Yeah, I’ll say like you just put anything that you love you put out into the world and your content around it. Yeah. But I think that’s

 

Kurt Sowers  45:25

yeah, I know, I need to I think I just spend I’m afraid to, like, take that leap. And like I said, I want I want to have all the pieces in place. I want to have everything go never ruptured. I’ll

 

Scott D Clary  45:35

never be in place. Yeah. Never said never be. Yeah. So I think that, yeah, I think that everyone has that problem. I think that the people that are the most successful at it, they don’t think too hard about it. Because you think too hard about, you’re gonna realize it not everything’s perfect. No,

 

Kurt Sowers  45:52

you’re right. I mean, that’s if you listen to any of these super successful entrepreneurs, they’re just, they just fuck it and go all in. I mean, yeah,

 

Scott D Clary  45:59

he said, You got to have a little bit, you got to have a little bit of like, not thinking clearly when you’re starting something that you want to blow up and make a huge. What I mean by that is like, if you think through every possible thing that can go wrong. Yeah, this, this show would have never happened. This podcast, your business, it never would have happened. Yeah. So true. Because people just like get up in their own head. And then you just you just absolutely sabotage your own progress. Absolutely. I mean, like, you’re at the point, like, I’m sort of like preaching to the choir, like you’re, you’re in it, you could definitely love it. But I think also like, like, I mean, like, the person that you were on the show, and everything that pulls up when you Well, that’s not even like, who you are. No, no,

 

Kurt Sowers  46:39

you don’t. I mean, yeah, it’s not at all I mean, I like I said it, put it on a bit of a facade.

 

Scott D Clary  46:45

You know, think facade is to a facade, but I was just thought insinuates to like the personality you had on the show. You’re pretty like, to the point yeah.

 

Kurt Sowers  46:53

Very much myself. I guess I was just, I didn’t I didn’t open up really let people know about who I actually am. What inspires me what drives me? Why, you know, what makes my clock tick?

 

Scott D Clary  47:05

Yeah. And as you’re like, I also just want to understand why you thought this was a good idea when you’re trying to actually build a business because somebody said to me, like, Hey, Scott, like I’m trying to start this thing, but just don’t worry. I’m gonna film you like expert eight weeks. Yeah, dude, like that’s,

 

Kurt Sowers  47:22

I put out fires for two months after I got back. I have no doubt. And I had so I had a guy that I had a joint venture with on a residential project with and he stepped up for me, I paid him to run point on all the projects for me while I was gone, he did a good job. And I had I had a super at the time running water, by the way, I’m gonna add that super running, is running jobs for me. So it was good, but it was just it was very difficult to manage that. While I’m filming 1516 hours a day, it was like, it was chaos. So yeah, but it was it was a and I’ve used this analogy before I had to pull the scales out and say, Okay, what, what could this hurt me? And then, you know, how will this help me that’ll benefit? Yeah, so it was yeah, it was it was it was a, you know, cause for success. And so I figured that, okay, if I lose a little bit, I film the show. I think I can gain from it after. And that’s where I’m at now.

 

Scott D Clary  48:21

I mean, you’re not wrong. That’s why I think he like it’s, you have to like double down and lean into it. Yeah, for sure. Your business, like the priorities that you had when you started the business versus now? Have those changed at all? Like what you’re actually focused on to compensate. How’s your mindset change?

 

Kurt Sowers  48:38

Ah, yeah. I mean, you. GCM is a stressful business in general, right? So definitely gotten better managing my stress. You can’t let things stress you out. But my focus is definitely definitely change. I’m a lot more particular about, you know, even the subs I’m using. I want a one everybody that is working for me, I want to I wanted to be a partnership that way. Expectations are set beforehand. And then how do you do that when

 

Scott D Clary  49:13

they’re just the contractor? That’s not it’s Yeah,

 

Kurt Sowers  49:15

I mean, it’s a lot of relationship building to be you know, to be honest, like one of my best subs, my metal stud and drywall guy. I’ve just built a really good relationship, really good rapport with him, you know, we you know, we’ll talk and call and shoot this shit for a couple of minutes. Just stuff like that, like warming them up to a not just a business relationship, but an actual relationship. And I think that that inspires people to do better work for you, you know, and or then work for you. So you know, if I come in on a job, and you know, their numbers over budget, if I’ve got somebody that has been working with me, it’s way easier to say, hey, look, did you cut 5% here, that way we can do this job together. So it’s almost like bringing them in as partners and that’s what I’m that’s what I’m focused on now. Is everybody I work with, I want it to be a very almost personal relationship with these guys that way they are inspired to do good work for me, and then stick with me. Because the market is crazy. I mean, you have guys that if they’re a guy that you’ve never worked with before they’ll walk off the job because they’ll get paid, you know, five cents more brick somewhere else or something, you know? Yeah, but that’s that’s that’s how the market is market

 

Scott D Clary  50:26

like so is the labor market a little bit better now or,

 

Kurt Sowers  50:28

um, it’s it’s tough. But I’ve I’ve definitely honed in on I only use certain guys I’ve very rarely now I’m am out there trying to compare prices like, you know, if I’ve got a good sub, I’m not out there shopping another subcontractor for that same division. I’m just breaking it down to, you know, to linear foot of of metal stud and square foot of drywall and then kind of just just getting that price together and saying, Hey, look, what’s your profit margin here? Okay, I’m good with you making this much profit. What’s your timing here? So it’s more of? Yeah, I’m not I’m not shopping. I’m not I’m not trying to, you know, make somebody work on something for me. I mean, it takes a lot to put together an estimate, right. So I hate wasting people’s time, actually, by the way.

 

Scott D Clary  51:13

So were my reminder now, there was a merge. It was like a huge tech conference like two weeks ago. Yeah. And the winner of this, like pitch competition with Kevin O’Leary. He had this tool. It was like an AI tool. And what it does, is it with AI measures, every measurement that you’d normally do an estimate. Yeah. And like the matter of like, seconds. Well, it’s like in 10 seconds. It does, like a whole building. And the guy like, I mean, I need that. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, it’s insane. Yeah. So I mean, like, that’s something anyway, I thought of that. But that’s, uh, he was going on about how insane a process it is to estimate is

 

Kurt Sowers  51:49

it is it’s like, that’s it. Luckily, that’s when I got into the industry. That’s why I started off doing I was a project engineer. So I was doing estimates, and I learned the old school way on on plans. So I would put a set of plans, you know, I’d have all my measurements, and I would scale everything and then compile an estimate. But I need to get more technological with it. Because I still kind of do the old school way.

 

Scott D Clary  52:11

This is cutting edge as hell yeah. When outside. It’s not like you’re behind the door, you’re missing out and all the other GCS have it. That’s why he was so successful first year, because he’s like, he’s building something.

 

Kurt Sowers  52:21

And that’s, that’s can be so helpful. I mean, I that’s part of getting business is you have to be able to turn it on estimate at a reasonable time. Yeah, you know, because they are, you know, typically, if you have a bigger outfit, say a dental practice or something, they’re getting to, you know, at least two or three bids from bigger GCS, and then they can compare them a little bit. So you had to be able to produce an estimate in a timely manner. And that’s something that I definitely struggle with, because I’m doing it all myself still. I’m not outsourcing that. So,

 

Scott D Clary  52:50

like, that’s something that’s one of those things that where you look at like, the the activities, or the things you could do that have the highest impact on your business. Yeah, that’s definitely one of them. Yeah, absolutely. That’s like probably like, you know, you take your you take your business from x, you know, whatever it is in revenue, and you like, you know, probably 10x that when you start to sort of outsource that task, but that comes down to like hiring the right people figuring out exactly who’s not going to screw you by doing the job ethically, quickly, responsibly. That’s like, again, all comes down to like hiring relationships. Like it’s all the same shit. Like that’s why like, you build this company, you build software company, you build like services company, like anything. Yeah, every business is people always. Like, it’s funny, because people just like, totally missed that point. Yeah, it’s like, how do I how do I transact my way to success and just like churn and burn and use and abuse people, and I don’t care about relationships, and it never works out. Like it doesn’t matter if you’re doing what you’re doing, or you’re selling something that’s a $10 million thing to somebody. I mean, even if you’re selling to an organization, like a large organization, you’re selling my backgrounds and sophomore Integra. So I sell you know, you sell like a $10 million piece of software. So you’re still dealing with people, your level of trust has to be established. That’s it’s the same shit. Same shit on any level. wasn’t gonna say I was going somewhere with this too. Can’t remember now. No. Oh, I was gonna say like, when you when you build out your company, like, what’s the point when, and maybe this is something that you wouldn’t do. But I see this as like a huge, like, revenue opportunity. You ever go into like pure development? Like where are you?

 

Kurt Sowers  54:15

Oh, for sure. I think that is the eventual goal of anybody, any inspired individual in this in Hagerty, you have the team and then once you get to a place where you’ve got the either bank connections or the the money, yeah, it I think it’s a no brainer to get into development. I mean, that is Yeah, I think that’s the end goal of any builder. I mean, that that that’s in my mind, starting from conception to construction. I mean, that’s, that’s the whole the whole package, you know, so eventually I was you go into that, like, you have to go raise money or what I mean, just make this business successful first, you know, and then once you get really good at doing what I do, or my company gets really good at doing what Do I think it would just be, you know, a matter of time before I ended up in that, you know, in that part of the industry, and I do have a lot of connections in that industry. But yeah, it’s just a matter of time. And it’s again, it’s one of those things why I haven’t like promoted my company that hard. It’s it’s one of those things that I don’t do anything quick. Like, like, I think things I know, but I like you think

 

Scott D Clary  55:28

too much. Yeah. Thinking you’re overthinking. I mean, it’s good to overthink sometimes. That’s probably actually why you’ve actually had like a pretty good two years Yeah, because you think through stuff Yeah. But I mean there’s something to be said for like velocity to Yeah, and just like moving quick. Yeah, breaking shit and figuring it out. Not always it’s not always fun always

 

Kurt Sowers  55:46

know. But some of those guys that are just hammers I mean, they they get shit done. And that’s all they know, you know, is they just push push, push and you know act without thinking and, you know, super successful like Stephen Stephen Stephens dad from from the show. He’s like that the guy’s a hammer. He just, he’s a gunslinger. He just puts his deals together and and gets it done. And it’s It’s wild. I mean, how quickly he’s able to, to get shit done.

 

Scott D Clary  56:11

It’s also stressful as hell though. Yeah. Oh, yeah. I mean, you gotta have I think that another like, another thing that really makes people successful is like their, their confidence in themselves. And I think that that can only be that you built that like, over time. Like, I think like when you’ve like, killed it for multiple years in a row. Yeah. And you realize, like, hell, you know, I figured out all this other shit for the past 10 years, 20 years, 30 years. Even if I go into a situation that I don’t really know that well, there’s a pretty damn good chance I’m gonna be able to figure it out. Sure.

 

Kurt Sowers  56:37

Yeah. Again, not rocket science figure anything out. We want to

 

Scott D Clary  56:42

know, I feel okay. I want to do I want to do a couple like, like rapid fire to pull it like insights. Is there anything else that like is top of mind for you right now that’s like really relevant that you want to go into? Like, I feel like where you’re exactly at with your business. Yeah, like, you’re at a great point right now. I still think you should double down on the personal brands. Yeah. But like you are, like, killing it in like the small business space. And then it’s like, just uphill from here. And you’ve already figured out like the how to make a business functional how to make a business profitable. That’s like, this core. Yeah.

 

Kurt Sowers  57:12

Yeah. Yeah, no, I mean, I don’t think so. I mean, I’m still in the I’m still in the thick of it them and I’m in the grind. I mean, I’m not going to try and preach to anybody about what it takes to be an entrepreneur, because I’m sure people know a lot better than I. Yeah,

 

Scott D Clary  57:29

a lot of people know a lot less to That’s true. Yeah. I mean, there’s something to be said for building like, like we were talking before, like, like businesses that are like not like sexy business. It’s like, just like hard work. Yeah. I think that if you look at the businesses that really take off quick, like you have like a lot of software businesses or like a little like a lot of blockchain and crypto and stuff like that. And they just like attract money. Yeah. And they attract so much money. And if you develop a great product, for example, you can use the internet to get it out to a million people overnight, very easily. Yeah. Not saying it’s easy. But I’m saying that when you’re dealing with people and projects and physical things you have to do and you have to build, like not You’re not brick and mortar, but like same category, you’re building shit and you’re selling shit. You’re you’re solving shit in real life. And you don’t have the ability to scale up at the same level. You can’t just take on tomorrow 2000 projects, if you had a software product, you could you could tomorrow, take on 2000 users, you don’t have the luxury of doing that. You got to figure it out. And every single thing you’re doing is a high risk activity techniques. A business owner. Yeah. And that’s something that I think like is truly admirable when you can figure it out. Because I think that it’s exceptionally hard to do. Because I see a lot of people that don’t do it well. And I see a lot of people that, again, they’ve done the same thing as you. But then they stop after two projects. And that’s the rest of their life. Yep, they started but then to scale up is like the difficult part

 

Kurt Sowers  58:50

for them. No, and that’s exactly that’s exactly where I don’t want to get stuck. And that’s, I’ve I’ve noticed that lately, because I get pulled into the grind and that I’m you know, I’m just running these projects all day. And I’m like, Hey, where’s the vision at? You know, yeah, you get stuck and then you you lose sight of where you want this thing to go. So

 

Scott D Clary  59:08

how do you how do you keep reminding yourself over the visions that What’s your

 

Kurt Sowers  59:11

fucking tired? Yeah, like out there sweating working with the guys like, I don’t need to be doing this right now. Like, I’m supposed to be the producer out here. You know?

 

Scott D Clary  59:22

Okay, you do anything for like, you know, you’ve been doing for like two and a half or whatever, two years, right? You do anything for 10 years? You’re gonna be pretty damn good at it. Yeah. So like, you’re at this point right now where you can start to move out. Yeah, you can start to move out right now. I think that that’s probably going to be your next big challenge. Yeah. Where you hire out and like hiring the right people aren’t trustworthy people. Yeah, for

 

Kurt Sowers  59:41

sure. It’s definitely where I’m at. And that’s yeah, that’s where I’m the next task to tackle.

 

Scott D Clary  59:47

Yeah, man. Okay, before I do the rapid fire. Yeah. So where do you want to send people you have your like, drop your social your website’s not done yet? No website is gonna be though.

 

Kurt Sowers  59:57

Um, I’ll probably have it up here in a month or so. I’m just waiting for a couple of these projects to finish up so I have some good content for it. Yeah. So the website will be SoCo, das group.com. The Insta is SoCo, das group my insight is Sir underscore Kurt. Mine is definitely my is is predominantly just like my life I want it to be very separate of my business you know, and that’s honestly why I don’t even like put my last name on, like my social because I want the business to be separated you know?

 

Scott D Clary  1:00:28

Yeah. And I think I think in the future I think it’s probably going to blend a little bit more All right biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your own personal life? What was that? How did you overcome it? What do you learn from it,

 

Kurt Sowers  1:00:42

um, how man i I’ve overcome some some big stuff in my life, I definitely had a rough couple years dealt with some serious depression, probably some some some big mental health issues. And

 

Scott D Clary  1:00:57

as you figure that out, as you get through,

 

Kurt Sowers  1:00:59

just just perseverance, mental fortitude, you know, I think that for me, it, it takes a lot for me to learn a lesson. So I almost had to be broken down to nothing too literal like rock bottom before, then I could start to build myself back up in the way that that I wanted, or that I, you know, build myself to the person that I aspired to be. So

 

Scott D Clary  1:01:25

what keeps you up at night now?

 

Kurt Sowers  1:01:30

Just honestly, clients and expectations keeps me up at night expectations from other people. And then also for myself, you know,

 

Scott D Clary  1:01:38

I’ve been like somebody who’s like, harder on yourself than anybody could ever be for

 

Kurt Sowers  1:01:41

sure. For sure. I have a lot of definitely expectations. And, and I think that’s what broke me down years ago, when I was in my early 20s was, I didn’t turn out to be the guy that I had dreamed of as a kid and as a as a teenager, and in college. It just didn’t shake out for me. And then so I had all these expectations for myself, and I didn’t, I didn’t turn out to be that guy. So like, I beat myself up on and went down a dark turn. So I think that’s something that I’ve definitely had to wrestle with. And just, yeah, set expectations for yourself, but you have to do something to get yourself there. You know, you can’t just blame it on all these external factors. I mean, you have to look yourself in the mirror and just, you know, get shit done. If you want to be that person, then you have to put the work into go be that person.

 

Scott D Clary  1:02:31

Yeah. Now 100% If you had to choose one person, there’s been many pick one person had a major impact on your life. Who was that person? What did they teach you?

 

Kurt Sowers  1:02:44

I would probably say the, as far as definitely business wise, the guy who brought me into the industry,

 

Scott D Clary  1:02:55

gunslinger guy. Yeah, quasi mentor, but not yet the guy. Yeah.

 

Kurt Sowers  1:02:59

He was definitely just a very inspiring he, he he, he took risks with people, you know, he kind of took a risk on me, like, maybe this guy will do? Well, maybe won’t. So, you know, he took a risk with me, it turned out working, you know, working out? Well, for him. I learned a lot from him and his company. But he was just a very inspiring person to watch. And see how he navigated through the multiple different industries that he was in. I mean, he just, you know, it was he was really good with people too. I think that was the bedrock like about it’s very what I don’t like about myself, he was very distracted. And he almost would spread himself thin and would have so many things going on that he you know, wouldn’t, you know, he’d get his people started on something, and then just be like, Alright, you’re on your own, get it done. Because he would expect because he knew if he was on his own, he’d figure out how to get it on. So it’s like you either sink or swim type of deal. And a lot of people I mean, shit when I was there, we had so much turnover, because, because because of that people would think, you know, he would just get people started on one of his projects, and then, you know, he would disappear and go start something else.

 

Scott D Clary  1:04:08

Which is not great to be on it. Like there’s a lot of a lot of positive and that attitudes, like how you if you can pull out the positive from that. Yeah, like you’ll be you’ll be exceptional. But I think that like the one thing that he was probably he was probably off on was the fact that if you don’t own the business, you don’t give a shit like the owner of the business. Yeah. You can’t ever expect anybody who works in the business to be like an owner. Exactly. Yeah. And also, like, they don’t care and

 

Kurt Sowers  1:04:29

they don’t know what they don’t know, either. And I think I think he just expected people and I do the same thing. I just expect people to be smart enough to figure it the fuck out. Yeah.

 

Scott D Clary  1:04:39

Yeah, I mean, like, you gotta be sure that like, if you’re gonna, if you’re gonna have the attitude like they you have to have somebody who can figure it out. Yeah. And that’s sometimes like if you if you over assume that they can, like you’ve kind of being a shitty leader, because then you’re just leaving them out in the

 

Kurt Sowers  1:04:52

right, right? Yeah, helping them at all. If you had to

 

Scott D Clary  1:04:56

pick your favorite source to learn from the book podcast, something you’d recommend people check have a

 

Kurt Sowers  1:05:00

podcast for sure podcast. I started getting into Jordan Peterson years ago, books however, his books are a bit heady to read. I find myself like having to stop on him.

 

Scott D Clary  1:05:12

Because he’s a heavy dude. Yeah, it’s very heavy. Dude, I like him.

 

Kurt Sowers  1:05:15

Yeah, very intellectual. But his books just the way they read sometimes are like, very difficult. So his podcast, so I enjoy listening to his podcast, the dialogue, the people that he brings on and then I’ve got a few other guys that I like Andrew Klavan is one of them. That’s one of my favorite podcasts. Andrew Klavan. Just because his perspective on he was like a Hollywood script writer. And then now he’s just just the content and the way he is able to formulate his words and articulate his thoughts, I think are just great. And that’s, that’s kind of how I aspire to be is like, to be able to convey my message to people properly. You know, so I like listening to people who are good at that like Jordan Peterson’s. Probably the best

 

Scott D Clary  1:05:58

at that, yeah, like the most articulate person. Yeah, even saying, yeah, if you had to tell your 20 year old self one thing, what would it be?

 

Kurt Sowers  1:06:08

Be a lot of things I would tell that 20 year old self, um, it would probably be balanced. I think that’s what I struggled with, early on in life is balance and everything and to, you know, for any advice you might have, you got to you got to outweigh that with some virtue. So, I think that’s where people you know, go down the wrong path is, you know, they, they start, they don’t they don’t balance things out. Right. I don’t think I want to go with this first originally, like, talked about this a little bit earlier. But

 

Scott D Clary  1:06:50

we got all the squat off. No answers.

 

Kurt Sowers  1:06:55

Honestly, a balanced though. And also, I was always a hard worker, but I think I am early 20s, I think I resented that I had to work so hard, right? So other people just just get stuff. So easy, right? You see it, I would see it. So I was very resentful in my 20s. So I would probably just tell myself to drop that and also check your pride. That’s what killed me in my, my early 20s to was my pride I had, and when I checked my pride, and you know, set my ego to the side, my life in every aspect, as far as relationships, business wise, has exponentially, you know, improved.

 

Scott D Clary  1:07:35

And good advice. Last question, what does success mean to you?

 

Kurt Sowers  1:07:41

So, what’s up guys? So I was thinking about this honestly, for a couple of days trying to figure out what, what just copied an answer? Because I was like, what does success mean to me? Because I don’t I don’t view myself is that successful as a man? I mean, yeah, sure. Maybe I built a business from nothing. However, I’m only like I said, only monetarily seeing success. But I don’t, I don’t really view money as a tool of success. I think success for me is freedom of freedom of thought, freedom of action, knowing that every day when I wake up, my life is mine. I dictate what is going to happen that day where I’m taking my life and having the freedom and the ability and the peace to be able to do that

 

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