Entrepreneur Bryan Young on How to Create High-Profit Businesses: The ROI Online Podcast Ep. 55

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Out of the thousands of businesses created every year, only a small portion survive beyond 3 years. And fewer still make a significant profit. On this episode of the ROI Online Podcast, entrepreneur Bryan Young shares his secret to creating four high-profit businesses.

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Bryan Young is an entrepreneur who has four successful businesses under his belt and another on the way. He started his first company, a lawn service agency, when he was 12 years old. He later started a truck company around 17 and a digital agency in college. Despite studying business in college, he found that the skills that truly helped him make and scale businesses were honed in the field, not in a classroom.

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From all his years of leading businesses, Bryan has personally experienced the emotional struggles that come with having so many people depend on you. He even felt like he wasn’t good enough to be an entrepreneur at one point. But his passion for building companies, marketing, and automation led him out of the corporate world and back into the world of entrepreneurship. 

Among other things, Bryan and Steve discussed:

  • How he ended up starting his businesses
  • Why he left his business to enter the corporate world
  • Marketing automation and how it could change everything
  • What it means to be a leader


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You can learn more about Bryan here:

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Topics: Marketing, Podcasts

Bryan Young: 

As I was doing interviews, and we were talking to your, again, your tech stars, your, your bigger players, you know, for us it was more so finding people that would focus on us as entrepreneurs in our vision for the company, not just necessarily trying us to how quickly can we get revenue and stuff like that, like, again, revenue isn't as, as important. Don't get me wrong caches. Definitely King, but data is gold right now, you know. So we were more focused on helping people and we felt that, again, if you put your heart in the wrong in the right place and keep it there, everything else will take care of itself. Our vision for this company was helping people understand what they're getting themselves into before they commit to a home loan, or helping those that say I would never be able to buy a home, find a way to buy a home.

Steve Brown: 

Hi, everybody. Welcome to the ROI online podcast where we believe you, the courageous entrepreneurs of our day, are the invisible heroes of our economy. You not only improve our world with your ideas, your grit and your passion, but you make our world better. I'm Steve Brown. And this is the place where we have great conversations with winners just like you while we laugh and learn together. Bryan Young, welcome to the ROI online podcast.

Bryan Young: 

Thanks for having me. Pleasure to be here.

Steve Brown: 

So Brian, you and I met in a bar and a little West Texas town called Amarillo, Texas. You were participating in a a wire accelerator, the Amarillo wire accelerator program. And I went over there to meet the folks that were going through this program. And there you were, we got to talking. And here we are, ya know why online podcast? Welcome.

Bryan Young: 

Thank you. Thank you. Pleasure.

Steve Brown: 

So tell us a little bit about give us a little backstory about how in the world you ended up in Amarillo, Texas for this chance encounter.

Bryan Young: 

Yeah, so you know, we were part of our company was part of the wider accelerator. And while there's different types of accelerators, they actually invested $25,000 upfront into our company, for a small equity stake. And their whole goal of purpose is to help you grow and scale your business. quicker, basically. So you go about through about 13 weeks of I guess, a boot camp, and probably the best thing to call it, where every week, you're given a different task or assignment to help you grow your startup. And so the last six weeks, we came out there and do them in person, which is where I met you. And we were fortunate to be there and to really get a chance to meet both individually working with through the accelerator, but then also the local Amarillo community.

Steve Brown: 

Yeah. So that's how we stumbled into each other. Tell us a little bit about the the evaluation process you had to go through to actually be approved to go through this program?

Bryan Young: 

Yes, I think you still go through about three or four rounds of interviews, you have to have a pitch deck and what you're pitching your concept your business. And you're being evaluated by their staff. Now, why is a little bit different, because you might have heard of different accelerator programs like Y Combinator or 500. startups are pretty much the same in the same boat much smaller. But the the key focus is how can they or resources, their assets really help you grow and scale a business? And as we went through the pitch, you know, I think we were selected as one of the four companies that they chose, but we really had to focus on what were we trying to get out of the program? And how are we going to accelerate our company after leaving that program beyond just the initial investment that they gave us?

Steve Brown: 

So it's kind of a big deal that you were able to participate in this program. Right?

Bryan Young: 

Yeah, I mean, to, to get to raise money is hard in general, you know, it's very tough in general, but to do it during a pandemic, is even tougher. And we were very fortunate that we were selected. In many ways that program kind of saved our startup in many ways. So that part is really cool. And then again, it's more about being able to show your idea but we are fortunate that time that we had a working product, we had a private beta that we were doing so we were actually able to demo the product a little bit and it's been great since then.

Steve Brown: 

So let's learn a little bit about you. This is not your first rodeo so to speak, and the Texans would say right. And so this is num company number what for you.

Bryan Young: 

This is number five, I'm crazy enough to do it five times. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing, but this is my fifth one.

Steve Brown: 

All right. So you're in Florida. So let's start off, give us a little background of how the first company that you started again. Yeah, yeah.

Bryan Young: 

So when I was in Japan, my parents were military. So you know, we traveled all over the world. And my first one was a lawn care company, and which I realized that a lot of the housing on based on military installation overseas are basically built on these cookie cutter templates. And where people live, it's based on their parents pay grade. So I basically took that start cutting grass, and they had a workers program that allows you to basically work if you're under age. So I didn't utilize that program to secure a contract with the local government, in which we were, at that time, I was about 12. And, you know, I did have to help them out. So I didn't do it completely by myself. But with that contract, we were able to continue cutting people's grass, I was able to hire my friends to help me do that. And long story short, I ended up selling that to one of my dad's commanders at the time at when we had to relocate back to the States. So that was kind of my first one. The second company I had was a trucking company, I originally wanted to do an ice cream company, my mom had a friend that was doing ice cream, but coldstone, most people don't realize when coldstone first started, they would do a little jingle whenever you walked in the door and stuff like that. And I really wanted something like that. So there's no way we're gonna be able to compete with coldstone. Plus, I love their ice cream. So my uncle was a truck driver. So I was able to utilize his experience as a truck driver, then we met a family friend, that was a broker for the car, it will only make sense if he drives the truck. And he's the guy that finds the loads to do both of them. So we scaled that to about 22 trucks and a little bit over 5 million in gross revenue within like two years. And it was really just me just, I guess, being me, as my mom was say, you know, finding contracts, finding deals and utilizing our own trucks to support our routes. And then when we didn't have those, you know, then outsourcing it to other people. At that time, I was 17, when I started it, and I was about 19, when we end up, you know, getting acquired, so that was around the time that about 2000, we're looking at about 2007 2008 if you remember the subprime mortgage crisis, which is what drove everything, but diesel fuel shut up to about $5 and 40 cents a gallon, if not more, at that time. And so now I moved to this owner operator model in which you know, a lot of the other truck owners or company owners, like you're crazy for doing that, that's not gonna work. And, you know, they went out of business, and we adapted and were able to survive. And because I put the two biggest costs, which were our maintenance and our fuel on the driver, so it was no longer up to us. And you know, of course, if you're driving a truck that you're owning, you're going to treat it a lot better, you're going to do a lot better with it. So that work that we were able to sell that, then I ended up going to college, more so by my mom than anything. And I started a online magazine, which was geared towards connecting students, entrepreneurs are well, alumni and professors. And my biggest thing is that I felt that what you learn in college isn't what you actually need to be successful in the real world. And as I was talking to different entrepreneurs, they're like, you know, hey, I want to hire these college kids, but they have book knowledge. But with all due respect, no common sense. And so you know, we were building a site that really was geared towards helping people understand that and it nearly got me kicked out of college. I decided one day that to start our initial kind of product launch, I was going to have all of the athletes on the campus. Were my my apparel the same day, which they did, I was fortunate I knew a lot of football and basketball stars. So that kind of helped. And then I went around campus and put a sign that said, I can see your business and it had a man looking down was mouth wide open in all the men's bathroom stalls across the campus. So me and a buddy got up to probably about five, six in the morning before anyone first class is around like seven or eight, around every bench bathroom stall in the campus until we basically ran out of flyers. Needless to say that while the campaign was a huge hit, I was in the chancellor's office before lunchtime. So what ended up happening is that I did not get expelled the entrepreneurship program, what became the entrepreneurship program actually bought that platform from me because when you're using traffic, all of our traffic came from the same IP addresses that was building the platform from and that time Google AdSense didn't like did not let me monetize. So while we made it, I think a little bit over $5,000 just in that first day alone, I couldn't actually get the money out. So their point was like, Hey, you can't make anything from this. And we were just starting the entrepreneurship initiative. So you know, let us buy it from you. So once selling that, but from that campaign, of course, a lot of the alumni heard about it, they wanted to hire me for the marketing aspect. Then, instead of going to work for one I decided that I was just going to consult for all of them. So that's how I started my digital agency and I ran my digital agency See from about 2000 with probably talking about like 2007 2008. Around the same time I was selling my last the trucking company. And I did that until probably about 2013. So that's

Steve Brown: 

what school is this?

Bryan Young: 

Not Carolina State University. So, NC State Wolfpack and Raleigh Durham, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Steve Brown: 

Yeah. So digital agency. So I'm not seeing a common theme is like, I am actually but you're doing a very diversified portfolio of businesses here.

Bryan Young: 

Yeah, I guess you could say I'm an equal opportunist. No, you know, when I when I got to college, so I got into digital, I met a guy my freshman year, whose name was Bobby Pham. He was like, you know, I know some guys that are doing affiliate marketing, and you have a great work ethic, you know, but what your trucking company it's very heavily, it's not really a cash based business you really can't do a lot in trucking with with I mean, well, if you have cash, you can but it's not really a cash based business. So he was like, you know, you come and you're working around the clock, that's the thing about trucks is that they don't stop, you know, that's probably one of the few industry industries that's not ever really impacted other than fuel prices. Because like, you know, you're really hard worker, you'll be much better suited to do digital marketing stuff. And I'll teach you. And so I was like, Okay, I'll learn and so I got around these guys. And when I first met James, I think James was maybe 2425. But the guy had, you know, Montserrat, he had a high rise, condo and rally high rise condo in New York, and it's just like, Oh, well, what do you do, I want to learn how to do that. Yeah. And so, and I realized that they were very, basically very data driven, what we call data driven marketing. Now, they were already doing that back in 2005. And, basically, their whole concept was that, you know, with affiliate marketing, I spend $1, to try to make five or 10 back, and you know, so these guys, were probably putting out, you know, hundred thousand dollars a month, but making back you know, anywhere from 400 to $500,000 a month in revenue. And that was when, you know, if you remember, back in the day where it was, like, you know, give me an email for free cruise or stuff like that, though, those were the guys that were running those campaigns. So, so I just thought that was really, really cool. And I thought that if you could take that same concept and translate it into business, it could be really successful and end up being successful. You know, our our first year, we did a little bit over six figures in revenue. And then by my junior year, we were doing, you know, national international clients and end up dropping out of school early to focus completely on the business, relatively speaking.

Steve Brown: 

So actually, the trend that's appearing, is that actually your business man, you have a natural inclination to understand business. Tell me about one situation that really made that stick home with you that you wish you had, every everything we're here right now is success, success, success. But I would imagine, there are some places that you stumbled that really made you sober and made you the kind of person that you are to really shift down and get really good at something.

Bryan Young: 

Yeah. I definitely my grandmother impact with that. But I think so many people are afraid of failure. And we talked about the successes that I have, but I think it's because I'm okay with failure, I'm okay with being comfortable failing, because I feel like that's when you really learn you don't I've never learned anything from being successful or any success that I've had. But I've learned a lot from failure. And I think when it comes to failure, you have to be able to fail quickly. That's not to say that, you know, I've had these four companies, and they've all just been great. You know, I've had four companies prior to this that have all learned to pivot and change as the economy as a business. So I think for any person that wants to have success, you really have to be okay with saying that, you know, this is what I wanted initially. But however, for me to continue to monetize, make this grow to be successful, I have to be willing to change into a DOP. I think the truck company was the biggest example of that, you know, there were a lot of people that were stuck in their ways. So what we don't do owner operators, these are my trucks, you know, they drive for me, but yet, you know, a lot of those same companies went out of business, whereas, you know, our company stayed in business because we were willing to share the success and the failure with our drivers. And that really made them kind of dig in and want to do more with the company.

Steve Brown: 

So when you say fail fast, does that mean that you have this natural vision of when you hit a stop loss, when you see something that's not going the direction you want? It's easy for you or you're less emotionally involved? Or you can you can just go I'm going to change directions here because this isn't working?

Bryan Young: 

Um, yeah, I think you have to really, I mean, it's your baby business is very much like a child for most people. And the original vision that you have is really what you want to work. I think for me, while I have this original efficient, I'm not Against changing that, or adopting that to benefit the company. And so many people are against that, you know, it's really getting outside your comfort zone or accepting constructive criticism that most people really just don't do well. And so for us, you know, I'm always seeking that, that hard conversation I don't want to talk to, I rather talk to 10 people that hate my product, and 20 people that love it, because the 10 people that are hated, are going to tell me things that I need to know to improve this product and make it better for everyone. So where is

Steve Brown: 

where does that courage come from? I mean, that's a certain amount of self confidence that lets you go listen to someone really hate on your product or in at work, where do you get that some people are very sensitive,

Bryan Young: 

I think has thick skin, I think you have to look at it from perspective of while it isn't what I want to hear it is what's going to make me better. And I really think just just how I was raised, you know, being a military brat growing up being heavily involved in sports, I think those things kind of influenced that thought process. But I think at the end of the day, if you truly want to be successful, those are the things those are the type of conversations that you're going to have to listen to, and really dig in and understand. And to your point, and a lot of people are really sensitive about that, you know, to hear someone doesn't like what I'm doing or doesn't like me is is really tough for a lot of people. But I don't think you find success without that or not. So you listen to everything. But I think you have to be able to compartmentalize certain feedback and say this is useful This is and you'll be able to quickly dissect those. And I think that just comes from understanding who you are, what your goal is, and really finding now most people start companies and they want it to be, oh, I want 100 million dollars, or, or I want you know this amount of they usually think about the money first. But you know, for a business to truly grow and scale and be successful. You have to have a set of core values, morals that regardless of what else happens outside of this, this is what I'm here for this is what I'm trying to achieve. This is this is I know who I am and what I want, and stick to those regardless of kind of what happens outside of that. Because if you lose that you're going to lose your company and yourself in the process.

Steve Brown: 

So tell me what yours our

Bryan Young: 

minds what minds our minds are definitely rooted in helping people. I think, you know, when I came to this company, or when I started this company, it was really geared towards helping people understand a lot of stuff that I'm doing now, as far as you know, financially to achieve financial success at such a young age, you get asked that question, Well, how do you how did you do it? You know, how do you do that? So I definitely think it's doing right by people, putting people before money. And that's not to say that you can't make money, you know, but it's, you have to have that understanding that you know, if it comes like with this company, if it comes between making $10 million, or helping 10 million people, I'm willing to help 10 million people first, which is usually against all business principles that you learn. However, most people don't realize that if you help 10 million people do something like achieve homeownership, which they thought was never possible, those 2 million people are becoming going to become 10 million people within your Salesforce, they're now going to go out and get you 10 million more people. And that's just a very hypothetical example. But you know, you have to look at that perspective to really and again, that's rooted in helping people not necessarily just focusing on money or revenue, which is hard when you're trying to raise investment capital.

Steve Brown: 

Love that. Do you think your marketing, you obviously have a stack of skills or talent stack? Right? What, where does marketing rank on their

Bryan Young: 

marketing, it's definitely a you can be, I prefer not to be the smartest person in the room. But you could technically be the smartest person in the room or I've come across, especially when you're dealing with data science and machine learning. I meet a lot of smart people all the time. And my co founder talks about this all the time is that my skill set is being able to sell myself and a vision. And what I mean by that is that what we're doing is a very complex topic. homeownership is very complex. But yet marketing is really a talent of being able to take a very complex solution that you're creating something that you feel is different from what anyone else in the world is offering. And being able to explain in a very simple manner, that a person that has no technical background no knowledge of your industry, can not only understand what you're saying, but can get value from that too. And that's really where marketing comes in. Both from so you're always selling yourself, you're always selling your product, whether you know it or not with every interaction even when we first met, you know, that's still selling myself, you know, so, marketing is definitely my best skill, my top skill and something that I'm always working on.

Steve Brown: 

Keep that from your mother or your dad.

Bryan Young: 

Probably both man. When I was younger, they were a lot more strict and stuff. I remember I wanted to get my ears pierced one time, and I had to write a one page paper on why I should get my ears pierced. And you know, in the time for most most teenagers that are rebelling, you know, it's just like, I don't get why my parents are so strict, you know why they make me do these things. But now that I'm older, I definitely think that both of them influenced me in different ways that have helped me understand that. And now that you reflect back, I was like, Well, it wasn't that bad. You know, being able to sell why I should get earrings also makes it a lot easier for me to sell why you should buy my product or my service. So

Steve Brown: 

I love that. All right. So now your digital agency, you sell it or you you exit in some way.

Bryan Young: 

Yes, yeah. So we were fortunate that we did, one we did. campaign for both political parties, like we work with Republicans and Democrats, but we were working sides against or at worst, you know, it's funny, at least to say, and again, this is why I talk about you have to have moral principles, because at that time, you know, I was much younger, I was probably only in my early 20s. And our joke that we would make is that, you know, red or blue, all we see is green. You know, that was kind of the joke that we would tell about to justify working with both parties. But then it came to a point where, you know, you have to, again, stand for something, you'll fall for anything. And we were fortunate that, you know, we did some political work. And we actually, I ran the digital strategy for Obama in 2012, which was a big thing, because more so because the companies we beat out, or these large incumbent shops, and we were more focused on the data driven approach again, so we did stuff for the DNC. And that was kind of the the one that put us on the map in terms of, you know, getting acquisition offers and stuff. And it took about a year before we were actually acquired, but actually the one that kind of put us over and outside of that it was just more of these young kids. They were doing cool work, I guess, if you will,

Steve Brown: 

did you ever get to meet Obama.

Bryan Young: 

So that's the funny part is that, you know, we were promised that we would and when I went to the convention, we actually ended up working the whole time. So I missed the dinner, I missed the speech, because I was actually behind the scene. So at that time, in 2012, we were doing a lot of location based stuff. They called it one of the most open and interactive convention experiences that were at that time, because we were doing a lot of localized stuff, we create an app that translated this the programs into Spanish, we did a lot. And to three days before the actual his actual speech, our servers crashed, and we were working with at&t at the time and we had to go back and basically make sure everything was working. So long story short, we made it to interactive and it crashed everything inside was behind the scenes trying to put out all the fires and so we my entire team did not get the chance to see him speaker or meet him in person, which is really unfortunate. But you know, I'm not really that big into politics anyway. So I was only there because they they came they paid me so.

Steve Brown: 

So in that crash episode, what was the big thing you learned from that? What was it like a big enlightenment that came from that? overdue on interactive stuff?

Bryan Young: 

You know, as a leader, you are the energy you are the voice You are the beacon that everyone follows. And when things aren't going right. If you panic, everyone else is going to panic. You know, you mentioned earlier when we first got on how calm I seem now, I often equate to be a duck I tell mostly young entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs are taught to be a duck which is on top of the water you seem calm cool, collected, like nothing's wrong. Under the water, you're paddling like hell just staying it's just to stay afloat. Nothing that was really one of those things where I really learned from that is that you know, everything was not going how we planned it, it was not going right. But you know, my team was willing to be calm they were willing to keep working because I wasn't panicking. I think when they see you panic when they see your concern, you're worried they take on your energy, your persona and fortunately, you know, I have this cool calm collected this about me that kind of helps alleviate that for most of my team members.

Steve Brown: 

So what do you do next after after this?

Bryan Young: 

I actually uh, so after I sold my agency, I went and worked in corporate for a while I spent probably my mom excellent, crazy part is I sold my agency on November 31st of 2013. My mom was diagnosed with stage four, terminal colon cancer on December 25 2013. So talk about an emotional roller coaster it went up and then went way down. So after that, you know, I really didn't feel like I was fit to be an entrepreneur or leader as a company. So I went and worked corporate for a while I went to Time Warner Cable. I was really only theirs as a consultant. couple months, and then they got acquired by charter, which is why I didn't get brought on full time. But in that process of them going through the acquisition process, they were evaluating different marketing automation tools. So at that time, you had exact target, which I believe is. They were acquired a while ago, but they were exact target. You have parta, at HubSpot, you have Marketo. And as we were going through that process, a couple of the people kind of joking, I had the exact target market, I was like, Hey, you should come work for us. And we're the exact target. I didn't want to move up to Ohio to be with them in their office. And then the Marketo guys were like, Hey, you know, you should really come work here. And I was like, Oh, yeah, yeah, put an output in that my application. And so I get it. So anyway, they went like two two weeks, and they call him back like he put in your application yet. I was like, No, not yet. I was still like, Well, come on, man. Like, what are you waiting on? So anyway, I put in my this is right before Christmas of at this time as Christmas of 2014. I put an application they sent me. They had me, they flew me out to California from North Carolina. They were like, Hey, you can work remotely, you can still, you know, make California salary and work in North Carolina. But most people don't know it was actually by accident. But when I got there for my interview, they never actually sent me the time of my interview. So I wasn't sure when I was supposed to be there. I tell people, if you don't know the time, it's better to be early than to be late. So I got up to like, 830 that morning, actually, I got up at 530 their time, the first time got to the office, nobody was there. And I didn't realize that I was on California time not North Carolina. So my clock never actually reset. But I'm wondering like, why is it so dark? Why is everyone but why are there no cars in the office? So I went back to the hotel, and I came back at 830, California time, Pacific time this time. And I went up to the front desk and she was like, What are you doing here? And I was like, Oh, well, I never received a invite for like, what time my interview was, and I wasn't sure. So I just came early. She's like, oh, why me You can stay today. But your interviews isn't till like 430 this afternoon. I was like, oh, okay, well, I'll work from here. So, in the midst of working Steve, I had, there was another division that I was actually interviewing with before that I literally got to the last step. And they had a change of headcount. So they didn't hire me. So they thought I was in the building, they kept coming down from the fifth floor to the third floor, to get me and to have me go around their office. So now like the head of the department is like, you know, what's going on? So So Helen comes telling you I'll never forget, she came, and she was showing me around the third floor like the marketing professional services department. And she's doing that one of the executives comes up to me, he's like, Hey, I know you. And I was like, No, no, no, no, I've met you before. We've talked a lot. And I'm like, and I felt horrible, because he could tell he knew who I was all that good stuff. Apparently, I had given a speech at Ad Age, after the old political stuff that happened with Obama. I went and gave a speech about it. And we accepted a little small award for like, you know, upcoming agency. And he was there. And I actually talked to him for a while. So now I felt really horrible. But she was like, Well, it seems like a lot of people know you. So she's like, you know, you're going to do these interviews, I'm going to have you hired before Christmas break. And, you know, you're thinking like, Yeah, whatever. But sure enough, she, she did it and I was hired. And that was that I

Steve Brown: 

want to pause here just for a moment and talk to you about a program that we have just released called the ROI quickstart Academy for authors. Every day, I talk to business owners just like you who struggle with quickly getting their fundamentals in place. We want to create a great foundation, and we want to grow our business. But the things that are in our way, our lack of knowledge about the specifics, we should put in place, what kind of technology what kind of messaging and what kind of campaigns and that problem exists for authors as well. And we just chill so good with authors because, well, I'm an author, and I understand everything that you struggle with. You have a great idea you have a great book, but what do you want to do? You want to get your book in front of more people, you want to make it easy for them to find you learn how they can schedule a time to talk with you hire you for a conference, or maybe sign up for the services that your book promotes. So what is the Quickstart Academy for authors? Imagine working with a small group of like minded authors and the experts from the ROI quickstart team. It's a great way to get your message in clear To be confident with the technology in your marketing automation, and how to run a strategic campaign to get you more of what you want from the investment of your book, to learn more about the Quickstart Academy for authors, you can visit ROI online.com or clicking the link in the show notes below. And now, back to this episode. So where do you fall in love with algorithms? I'm

Bryan Young: 

probably at Marketo, you look at what they're doing from the marketing automation standpoint, their whole kind of objective is to automate a lot of human processes. And I saw a lot of value there. And I was fortunate that marchetto, when they actually created a position just for me, cuz I really, I'm not really a, I'm a technical person, but I'm not really a technical founder, I would say. And so they created a digital strategic consultant position, what they called it. And my job, which was fun was that, you know, I could scale from enterprise to SMB there, SMB division, I work with professional services, sales. So I was able to look at a lot of different aspects of the business and really use my skill set of not siloing your business operations, you know, most people, they create marketing campaigns, and they don't tie them together, they don't track them. Well, you know, they'll actually, you'll have one campaign running on social media that's focused on one message, you know, another campaign on AdWords, and you know, it's just not really done well. So my job was basically to go into these large enterprises and really build out that process of what it looks like to not only get everything tied together, then to analyze everything to determine where your true ROI is coming from. And in that process being at Marketo, you see how much they're automating the email marketing process. And I think from there, it's really when I fell in love with the idea of automating processes that are usually human processes that have room for errors, not so you won't still make errors. But that's really where I kind of fell in love with that whole automation concept.

Steve Brown: 

So let's talk about homelendingpal.com.

Bryan Young: 

Yeah.

Steve Brown: 

What's going on here.

Bryan Young: 

So that's my my new baby. And we are basically simulating underwriting to help first time homebuyers understand affordability, risk, approval, odds and budget strain for homes they actually want to buy. As we're getting you more purchase ready, if you're ready to go through the process, we then streamline it by utilizing artificial intelligence to make it simpler for you to understand. So we're really taking a process that usually takes more than 60 days and cutting it down to about 14. And we have a lot of technology on the back end cyber lenders within our network that allows them to, again, automate a lot of the human processes that they have right now. To reduce the redundancies, reduce the human capital, reduce the errors, so it just makes it a lot quicker. And as we went through I we're currently in our public beta right now. We've had about 45 users that have successfully bought a home within 45 days. So we're pretty much averaging a person a day that we're helping. We actually have a unique problem that we're raising capital, but we have a lot of user usage. We have over 1200 active users on the platform right now, over 300 lenders, and we've crashed our servers eight times in the past week alone because of the amount of data that we're collecting and that we're running. So, you know, we're trying to work through some unique challenges ourselves right now.

Steve Brown: 

So where did this idea spawned from there? Obviously, your why was involved in that. What did you recognize what was the inciting incident here?

Bryan Young: 

So, most people, so when I left marquetta was acquired for 1.4 7 billion back in 2016, or 2000. Yeah, 2016 was October 2016. I ended up leaving, I didn't want to move to Atlanta. And I didn't want to go to California because of my mom's health condition. So I ended up leaving the company and taking a severance package. And in that process, but at marchetto, I had done a lot of big things. You know, I worked with companies like Zillow and Microsoft and the NBA. So you know, I had a lot of experience from those two and a half years. And a buddy of mine, an actual older employee, found out that I was considering doing some mortgage lead generation for a friend on the side. And he introduced me into Stephen. And the concept that is now home lending power was actually the original conversation that Stephen and I had, about, you know, automating disrupting an industry. Most people that that was in April 2017, when I first moved to Miami, most people don't know that Steven, and I actually tried to go our separate ways to resolve the problem. I was like, Well, you know, this is going to be expensive, which it ended up being expensive, but I was like, you know, maybe we can do a smaller just lead generation campaign. I have a lot of conversion rate optimization experience, so maybe I could just do something smaller, and then utilize that to fund the company. And what ended up happening is that I was driving traffic But the traffic wasn't necessarily, the idea was that I would drive traffic and then once it converted, or once they close the loan, the lender would then pay me money a basis point or two on that, which, depending on the size of loan could be anywhere from two to $3,000, depending on kind of where they were, where they were operating out of, it ended up being a very expensive focus group in which I found that a lot of people don't compare. And the reason that they don't compare is because it's so challenging, you know, you go to one bank, you give a bunch of paperwork, that you have to go to another bank and give the same documents all over again, it just becomes cumbersome, it's like, and I don't want to do all this to find out. And then on top of that 50% of the people that go through the process, get the client, you don't even get accepted. It's like, you know, I don't want to do all this for weeks, months at a time just to get to the very end and find out that you know, I don't qualify. So as we were doing that expensive focus group as like, as I called it, I started having people call into a Google Voice number. And I started seeing some reoccurring trends, which is basically people asking questions hoping to get answered. But again, because you're not in a sales pipeline, if you don't qualify right now that this the mortgage brokerage is kicking you out and going to the next person, you know, you really haven't helped me understand how I put myself in a better position to buy a home. So at that point, we're like, well, the technology's there, you now have the infrastructure that allows this to happen, why isn't happening. And so we spent about two and a half years going through the regulations to be able to show and then it's the biggest one is your data as a consumer, it is your financial and credit information. So why when you apply, I mean, you get a letter in the mail that showed this very generic, it gives you three or four bullet points of why you didn't get approved. But it's nothing really that really helps you understand how to improve that better. So we felt like you know, we should take your data, you should be able to see it directly before you commit to anything, even if you do get accepted. You know, you should know what you're getting yourself into before you accept that that loan.

Steve Brown: 

Wow. So you got going you got traction you got became a part of this wire accelerator. So let's, let's talk about the wire accelerator. You've been involved in some of these things. Give us some wine. Where'd you come all the way to Amarillo, Texas? And what? What opportunities came out of that? Because you were able to participate? Yeah,

Bryan Young: 

I think, as I was doing interviews, and we were talking to your, again, your tech stars, your, your bigger players, you know, for us, it was more so finding people that would focus on us as entrepreneurs, and our vision for the company, not just necessarily driving us to how quickly can we get revenue and stuff like that, like, again, revenue isn't as, as important Don't get me wrong caches. Definitely King, but data is gold right now, you know. So we were more focused on helping people and we felt that, again, if you put your heart in the wrong in the right place and keep it there, everything else will take care of itself. Our vision for this company was helping people understand what they're getting themselves into before they commit to a home loan, or helping those that say, I will never be able to buy a home, find a way to buy a home. And that isn't something that necessarily monetizes itself from day one all the time. Now, sometimes you get you get relatively speaking lucky, or you just get really good at what you're doing. But that's not something that necessarily comes from day one stuff. And so when we met with the wire folks, you know, they really seem like they really bought into that, that concept, that idea that, you know, yes, we can make money. Yes, we can monetize this today if we wanted to. But, you know, we're not looking to monetize. And for us, you know, when you talk about growth and traction, most startups are trying to build everything on their own, we took a completely different approach. I went directly to executives for billion dollar enterprises, and sold them an idea that I didn't even have a working product for so they bought into it before I actually had a working product. And then I came back to the wire and said, hey, these guys have bought in, I just need the money to finish the building of the product. And giving them what they what they what I've sold them or what I've marketed to them. And they really kind of bought into that concept that you know, hey, your product is almost working, you know, hey, you're more focused on helping people, you know, we believe the most. And I think with wire, it helped because I didn't know that at the time. But their accelerated group and their investment group are two separate identities. So they're able to operate differently, you know, it's not necessarily completely focused on the ROI that you return immediately. I just so happened that because of the way we build, they will get a good ROI immediately. But that was not their their initial objective with us.

Steve Brown: 

So you were pleased.

Bryan Young: 

I am pleased. I mean, we came to Amarillo. I was there in person for six weeks and to come out with you know, four or five different banks in the local area that are willing to pilot our product. And of course, that's still we still had to go in and sell it. It wasn't like they just gave it to us because we were part of the program. You know, we had to go market it and sell it but to come out with that To come out with the connection to Paul angler, whether he does anything or not, you know, hopefully does, but I think and then to meet all the fine folks that we met there, while we were there in person has really been, you know, good for us. And I think overall, I was pleased, you know, there's some things that, you know, I've openly talked about to their investment group and to their, to their, their team as well about, you know, things I think could be done better. But for it to be their second year, I think it was very, it returned a high ROI for us potentially.

Steve Brown: 

So what's next for you?

Bryan Young: 

What's next for us? Hopefully, we'll close on that hopefully, we will close our seed round raise, we're currently raising 750,000. So we closed about 150. Of that we have another 650 to soft circle, which basically means that investors have verbally committed to giving us money. Our product is in a public beta. So you can go to our website, register for it, create an account and use it. But we're rapidly currently looking to expand the features that we've already kind of beta tested. And we know that people want. And then most importantly, we just closed a partnership with a group. That's pine roadshow COMM And we are bringing on 330 banks from across the country. So the biggest priority for us next is to put in a process that allows us to, to bring those banks on in a very streamlined, easy manner. Right before I got on this call IBM were partnered with IBM, which actually helps as well. They just reached out and said, Hey, now that your blockchain portion of your portal is working, we want to bring banks on and help you help assist in bringing things on so. So I have to figure out a way to you know, close this investment before we get revenue, even though we have revenue opportunities already stabilize our database, because again, we're crashing right now with the usage that we have right now. And still make these banks happy and and give them a good experience as we bring them on board and continue to grow our platform. So a lot of a lot of irons in the fire for me right now. Me and my partners.

Steve Brown: 

So is the refinancing is is your website, a good place to go if you want to refinance an existing home?

Bryan Young: 

Um, it's on our roadmap. I mean, technically, you could use it, but that's not really we don't promote it as much right now. It's been really good for those that are looking to buy new homes. We've even had people I've actually spoken to mortgage brokers. So we did a a beta test with IBM back in late May, early June. And about out of 300 people, about 83% of people were like, Hey, we love this platform, it feels, you know, completely live and functional, we would definitely use this. So it naturally makes sense that, you know, moving to refinances our overall goal is that when you look at the amount of data that we're collecting, that we'll be able to use that financial profile to then make recommendations on if it makes sense for you to take a refinance, or if it makes sense for you to take a personal credit card, a personal loan, because we have all that information. And again, we're not tied to one bank, we don't make, we don't make any more or less money based on the amount of the loan that you have. So it makes it easier for us to make recommendations to that are in your best interest as a consumer. So I think that's really what's going to drive where we go next is what consumers are looking for and what they feel they need from our system.

Steve Brown: 

You know, I read that book about Ilan musk. And there's this part in his story where he establishes PayPal, basically. And he saw ease in revolutionized online banking. If I mean, it's he made that become a part of a conversation that the banks were resisting or not really going through. So we started revolutionize how you pay safely online. What aspect of your platform is disrupting an existing process?

Bryan Young: 

A definitely our artificial intelligence and more importantly, blockchain. We're using AI to basically be conversational, which removes the necessity to interact with the human as you look to buy a home. And we're coining this the new contactless way to buy a home. So our idea is that you could literally go from research, to application to clothes within our system without ever actually talking to a human. And we're doing that with artificial intelligence. But then on the back end, we're also incorporating blockchain and most people when they think of blockchain, they think of cryptocurrencies, but we're utilizing it for document management. So now, you know, you look at contracts titles, you're able to be more transparent for the consumer as to who has access to my data and what they're doing with it. But more importantly, the consumer controls their data now, so now it's like, you know, I don't want you to send my package to, you know, four or five different underwriters, you know, you can't do that because I didn't give you permission to because they don't have the access key. So that's really our disruptive part that we're working on now that we're getting by, and we have a couple different banks that are really excited about that. But, you know, like you said, it's a, it's a process, you have to really show traction, show value, and then keep building from that, if

Steve Brown: 

you will. So it's here we have these credit bureaus, the three main ones that have our data, and we don't learn until six, nine months later, that our informations been hacked. And who knows what's happened to it? Is there a solution for that and your, your platform?

Bryan Young: 

It's coming. I think it's a process. You know, we're fortunate that you know, you have these young startup guys, relatively speaking young, I'm 34, NASA, but I'm still the youngest guy, my executive team. So hopefully they hear that part and they'll get upset about it. But I think it all starts with a conversation. And we've been fortunate that Cali craziness, call it fearlessness, call it vision, I like to call it vision. But whatever it is, for those who know, we've introduced ourselves into rooms where now we're having we already have Equifax on board. We're meeting with Experian for the second time this week, actually. And then hopefully, from there, we'll go to TransUnion. You know, you really can't be afraid to talk about what's what you're doing. I think so many people when it comes to marketing and sales, they forget who they're talking to. And what I mean by that is that I go into a marketing or sales campaign, I'm literally trying to sell you the values that I want you to have. But I'm never really thinking about what you want from this product. So what we've been able to do with these large enterprises, you might say, Well, why is a small startup getting so much nolley help. advocacy is probably the best terms from the larger organization is because I'm not just coming to you with the problem, identifying multiple problems that you have, and then I'm providing a solution for that problem. But the solution isn't based on the value add that I see just to my business, I'm positioning this, this marketing this solution as how it values are of great value for your organization. So let's just look at credit credit card companies or the credit bureaus, for example. Most credit bureaus only look at historical credit information. You know, there's no forward looking metrics that they're utilizing, which, even now, especially after this crisis, it's going to be a huge headache. Because pretty much everyone I will I won't say everyone, but a lot of people were in 44 million people were impacted. So there's going to be 44 million people that are going to have horrible credit. But when the economy bounces back, you're going to have this five, six, hopefully something five or six. And we really don't know how long but we're going to have this period of COVID. That is going to be horrible in terms of Miss payments, everything else does that mean those people aren't qualified to buy homes or cars or anything like that? No, because you have to do something that will allow them to rejuvenate the economy again. So the only way to resolve that is to then bring in more creative metrics that will look at more of a forward looking score combust composite score of what is your likelihood to your credit worthiness of being able to pay this debt back, even though you have this blip on your your your credit profile. The reason that we were doing this made sense even before COVID COVID, as sad as it has been, it has helped us in multiple ways, because one, it helped us with the contactless version of what we were saying that you didn't need a person is kind of like carvanha. With buying cars, you know, you don't need a person to buy a house in perspective. Now that helps you need a person to kind of oversee everything is going well. But you don't need that direct human interaction to make that work. The second part of it is that you're seeing a millennial demographic that represent represents 39% of the buyers market. However, most millennials don't necessarily have a large withstanding credit history. So you're putting yourself and Gen Z's even worse. So now you're you're having a younger demographic that's coming up representing more of the buyers market, but yet they don't have credit, they don't use credit, you know, most of them, don't even keep cash on them. So you have to update your system to be able to look forward for that. So when we went in to sell or to market ourselves, we weren't marketing our tool. We were marketing, that idea that concept of the amount of data that we could have and ways we can make that process better, was kind of what we were marketing towards.

Steve Brown: 

And sounds. I've always thought it's kind of stupid. Google can predict future trends or can really project out all the data they have, they can project out but yet our credit system seems to just go well, we're just going to look backwards, which they're not projecting out to the future, like everything else, right is really old and antiquated and backwards. It is and

Bryan Young: 

You look at it, why don't they change? Well, change is hard changes a lot of work, you know, and call me crazy now. But maybe you call me crazy, then if I hadn't known that,

Steve Brown: 

Brian, crazy, Brian,

Bryan Young: 

you know, if it took us three years to get access to credit information, maybe if I hadn't known that, in the start, if she if our internal champion had told me that, I probably wouldn't have done it. But every month, she was telling me like, Oh, it's just going to be another week or a couple more a little bit longer. She didn't tell me until we actually got access to it, oh, it doesn't matter. If you're at home lending PAL or lending tree, it still takes two and a half, three years, just because the number of people that have to sign off on this to have to go through the processes

Steve Brown: 

board that helped us or you could have just hacked it,

Bryan Young: 

right, or I could have just hacked it, like they were getting hacked. So it's just like, you know, but now that it's done, it's there's two parts. So first, you have to get the credit unions to buy in that, hey, we can be better which they know. But then you have to get the banks to buy in that, hey, this is a valuable score that we can use, you know, we can utilize this information to assist in our decision making efforts. And so there's really a lot of buying that has to happen, I think, you know, with us, we were fortunate that again, when we were trying to get that buy in, we didn't go from the bottom up, we always look you know, talk about vision and and having that grand vision, we sell the big vision, you know, our people will say Oh, was take smaller steps, you know, instead of trying to hit the home run, hit your hit your your first base and second base. I don't I don't disagree with that. I think once you sell the the big vision, hit the home or go for the home run. Because you don't know when you're going to come up the bat again, hit for the home run. And if you get it, you're going to get another at bat. And at that other at bat dinner, you can play the Moneyball approach where you're just trying to get you know, trying to get the first base, second base, third base. But on that very first meeting, you got to try to hit the home run.

Steve Brown: 

So the spin an excellent conversation and urine. You're an amazing guest, I really got a lot out of this conversation. So Brian, what's what's one question that you wish I would ask that you would have loved to answer that I didn't ask?

Bryan Young: 

Oh, man, you x a lot of good questions. How do I get started? I think a lot of people ask me that question. How do I get started? How

Steve Brown: 

did you get started?

Bryan Young: 

Just do it. Just just do something. You know, so many people want everything to be perfect. Just ask a question by someone who's done it before. Create a pitch deck, you know, there's plenty of stuff online that you can use. But if you don't know what to do do something, and then go to smarter people say, here's what I have. Can you make it help me make it better? I think I meet so many people that want help. But when they come to me, they haven't shown me that they've done anything for themselves. Mm hmm. You're likely to get a lot more assistance. If you say, here's what I have, what do you think? Because now people are and then again, that goes back to our conversation earlier. You have to be willing to accept constructive criticism. They're going to give you tough feedback, but the same time utilize that to make it better and then keep doing that over and over and eventually you'll you'll have a good product and a good business and hopefully a successful business.

Steve Brown: 

So Brian, someone who's listening maybe they want to be a part of your your seed funding or participate in some way How do they connect with you?

Bryan Young: 

Yeah, yeah, you can go to my direct email is be young at home lending power calm. You can also go to our website we it is active home lending, calm and you can create an account if you click Sign up for you takes you through the entire process. And the other those are probably the best two ways other than Twitter. But you know, my team manages the Twitter account for us so they will get your information our Twitter account is at home lending pal. And if you send a direct message it will get to me eventually. Awesome.

Steve Brown: 

Brian young, on lending pal calm. Excellent conversations got a heart for people are for folks that are maybe wanting a little mentoring and some capacity. I'm proud to have you on my podcast. Thanks, Steve. This

Bryan Young: 

was This is awesome. Thanks for the honor. And thanks for inviting me it was a blast.

Steve Brown: 

No. All right. That's a wrap. Thanks for listening to another fun episode of the ROI online podcast. For more be sure to check out the show notes of this episode. And feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn where we can chat and I can help direct you to the resources you're searching for. To learn more about how you can grow your business better. Be sure to pick up your copy of my book, The Golden Toilet at surprise that golden toilet.com. I'm Steve Brown and we'll see you next week on another fun episode of the ROI online podcast.