Who Is Chad Willardson?
Since the beginnings of his lawn-mowing days, Chad has seen the benefit from bringing value to people. Even though he didn’t completely know what he wanted to do in college, he happened to visit the Merrill Lynch booth and realized that helping people with their finances spoke to him.
Fast-forward to years later, he started Pacific Capital, a firm in Southern California specifically focused on helping entrepreneurs and families with financial decisions. He further went on with a group of people to create the Draft Sports Complex, a 75,000-square-foot arena used for basketball, volleyball, cheerleading, and stunts tournaments. And then COVID hit. And with that blow, when all games were suddenly cancelled, after sleepless nights, they’ve turned the facility into a charter school for kids whose parents are essential workers.
Incredibly story right there. Enjoy!
And maybe the biggest news for Chad is the publication of his new book: Stress Free Money
By all means, Chad Willardson is a highly qualified professional with a background in economics and financial management. For anybody who has chrometophobia – aka the fear of anything related to money – Chad Willardson may provide the ultimate cure.
The CEO of Pacific Capital has been dedicated since day one to putting people first in everything he does. His desire to bring value where it is needed has enabled him to make a difference throughout his career, from his humble beginning as a young entrepreneur mowing lawns for pocket money to his current days as the president of a wealth management business.
For anyone who’d like to schedule a time with Chad’s company for a free consultation, just head over to www.goalsconversation.com
Helping people is his main call, and Willardson has made it the underlying mission in all his business and career choices. Therefore, he knows and understands how to make sense of complex topics, such as finances. The Southern California-based father of five is committed to helping both entrepreneurs and families achieve their goals and grow wealth.
But his people-focused approach goes beyond wealth management advice. Chad Willardson supports those in need in all his business ventures and interests.
When he left Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in business management, Chad Willardson didn’t know where to take his career. It’s only when he gathered experience working in wealth management with a portfolio manager and pursued his education with a Financial Planning program at Boston University that he made up his mind. Willardson rapidly turned his passion for financial education and acute knowledge into a growth platform for his clients.
The passionate professional acted as a Financial Advisor for nine years at Merrill Lynch, where his expertise and people focus ranked him in the top 2% of over 16,000 Financial Advisors nationally. Chad Willardson’s desire to empower people to make better money decisions led him to become a member of the Chairman’s Club and Senior Vice President.
When he left Merrill Lynch, he maintained his ethics and values, starting the wealth management firm, Pacific Capital in Corona, California, to put people back in control of their finances.
The CEO of Pacific Capital is a certified professional, acting as an Accredited Wealth Management Advisor, Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, and Certified Financial Fiduciary. It is worth mentioning that Willardson is also a Certified professional member of the National Ethics Association, NEA, a national program administrator committed to helping businesses serve their customers with the highest standards of transparency and trust. As such, it’s no wonder that families and companies trust the passionate entrepreneur in their financial decisions.
Dedicated to making wealth strategies and understanding accessible to all, Chad Willardson also acts as a guest lecturer on investments at Chapman University. He has also been designated a 5-star Wealth Manager in both the Orange County and Inland Empire yearly since 2012.
By allowing his desire to bring value to others guide his career path, the CEO of Pacific Capital has managed to build an effective, reputable, and successful wealth management ethic for his team and himself. Therefore, it is a surprise to no one to learn that Chad Willardson has received numerous business accolades, including the Top 40 under 40 in Corona, Elite Wealth Management Team of the Year, and Who’s Who of the Inland Empire 2017.
Draft Sports Complex
Passionate about entrepreneurship, Chad Willardson is the creator of Draft Sports Complex, a sports venture he launched with partners as a go-to venue for athletes who want to practice their skills and improve their performance. The 75,000-square-foot arena is designed to be used for basketball, volleyball, cheerleading, and even stunts tournaments. However, the coronavirus pandemic put a hold of the project, leaving the sports complex empty. Taking on board his mission to bring support and value where it is needed most, Chad Willardson turned the complex into a remote learning center for kids whose parents are essential workers, giving in the process the Draft Sports Complex a life and purpose in the midst of a health crisis.
The Corona resident continues to find new ways of bridging gaps and delivering additional value to the population and the people around him. His community service involvement speaks for itself, as Chad Willardson manages the $300 million city investment portfolio as an elected Corona City Treasurer. He also holds a role as a Corona Business Representations on the Citizens’ Oversight Committee, where he oversees the $396 million bond issues by Corona-Norco Unified School Board.
Additionally, the active father is involved with the Boy Scouts of America, earning the rank of Eagle Scout and having served as a Scoutmaster for Corona troop 399. Chad Willardson received the White House Volunteer Service Award after serving as a volunteer for two years in Eastern Europe.
You can find out more about his business involvements here:
Pacific Capital https://www.pacificcapital.com
Draft Sports Complex: http://thedraftsc.com
Chad Willardson Podcast Transcription
Charan: Hey guys, this is Charan Prabhakar with the Lemonade Stand podcast, and I’m here with Chad Willardson, who is an incredible entrepreneur in California. He has been killing it for some time. He’s a California native, I believe, right?
Chad: That’s correct.
Charan: And he has a company called Pacific Capital, which specifically focuses on entrepreneurs and families and helping them with their financial investments. But other than the financial side of things, he also has a company called Draft Sports Complex, which is all about team sports, basketball, volleyball, cheerleading. I’m sure I’m missing something. What else do you, what do you represent?
Chad: I mean that pretty much covers it, yeah.
Charan: Stunts. That’s right. You know, you do all kinds of fun stuff. And I don’t know, we just kind of chatting like over a couple of weeks ago, we were talking about all the different things you were doing, and I was like, dude, you’re amazing. And you’ve got some really cool stories and some cool insights, and I thought you’d be perfect for the Lemonade Stand podcast. So I’m so grateful that you gave us a little bit of time. So welcome, Chad, thanks so much for being here.
Chad: I appreciate you having me on, man. I’m honored to be on this podcast, so thank you.
Chad Willardson Talks About His First Business
Charan: Of course, absolutely. So the Lemonade Stand podcast is all about helping the future entrepreneurs, right. And we talk a little bit about our beginnings in the world of entrepreneurship. When you’re a kid a lemonade stand is usually their first business, right? So what was your first foray into business?
Chad: The first experience I had it was not a lemonade stand, it was really lawn mowing. I started by … I did such a fantastic job mowing and edging my own lawn that I think the neighbors … We kind of had a couple of neighbors who were getting up there in years, and I remember mowing the lawn and I went across the street, because his lawn was a little bit overgrown it seemed, and I said, “Hey, if you ever want me to mow your lawn and do some of the yard work stuff, I’d be happy to help out.”
Chad: And you know, I think the first time I did it, it took me, I want to say, five to six hours because I did the bushes, you know, hedging and trimming. I just wanted to do this perfect job in the guy’s yard, and I got, I think he gave me a $5 bill. And I was like, wow. Like I sweat a lot for that $5 bill, but I was excited. Because I had one neighbor that started it and it turned into a few other neighbors. It never got big or anything, I don’t have some amazing story, but that was kind of my first time just going and approaching somebody from scratch and saying, “I’d love to help you out. Would you be willing to hire me do something?”
Charan: Yeah, I know. That’s amazing. How old were you when this happened?
Chad: I want to say I was 12 years old, maybe 11 or 12. So I’m the oldest of four kids. I’ve got three younger sisters. So as soon as I could push a mower, my mom and dad were like, all right-
Charan: Get out there.
Chad: It’s your turn get out there.
Charan: Yeah. Well, and did you enjoy it? I mean, obviously you must have to like go to your neighbors and say, “Hey, I want to do your lawn as well,” right?
Chad: Yeah. It was kind of fun to just have that opportunity to create something. Because I thought about it and it was like, man, if I didn’t go over to my neighbor’s house that wouldn’t have happened. You know, I wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to do some work and earn a little extra money. Eventually, I got better at it and I was a little bit quicker and I was still making the same or more. So, I mean, it was fun to learn how to put some money into my own pocket as a kid, for sure.
Chad Willardson Talks About How He Got into Finances
Charan: Yeah. Well, and obviously your first primary business deals all with finances. So you learned a little bit about like how money grows and how it works and how you can multiply money and expand it and stuff. What kind of drew you down that path of saying, this is what I really want to do and want to create?
Chad: Yeah, to be honest, and I would be speaking to all of you who are younger, I’d say under 25 years old, I had no idea, I really had no idea what I wanted to do. I didn’t know what I wanted to be. I was in college and I was a senior in college when I went to a career fair and basically said, I’m just going to talk to everyone and I’m going to see what shakes of it. So I just went booth to booth booth to booth and talked and asked and said, “What is the job like? What do you get to do? What are the skills needed to be successful?”
Chad: And eventually I landed at the Merrill Lynch, who’s a very big investment bank company, and they said, “You know what, you need to be someone who works really hard, who’s self-motivated, who’s good with people, likes to talk about goals and plans, but you also need to be good with numbers and like money and investments and have that analytical side to you as well.” And when they said that it just rang true to me, like, hey, I think I could do this. I think I should give this a shot. I was literally graduating in two months and my mom was like, you got to figure out what you’re going to do for work. You know, you can’t just graduate college with nothing. And I said, “Mom, I’ll figure it out.” [crosstalk 00:06:57]
Charan: Well, what was your major then if you didn’t know what you wanted to do?
Chad: My major was economics and my minor was business management and I chose economics because I loved my Econ 101 class. It was really fun for me to learn about how the world works and the economy. And it was a really, really short major. So it was like the shortest amount of credits to graduate. I didn’t realize it was also like the hardest major.
Charan: Yeah. I was going to say like, econ is like a really tough subject.
Chad: It was brutal. The higher level stuff was like calculus, like one problem would take five pages of math in calculus, and I was like, this is not what I thought it was about, but I’m already in halfway, so I’m just going to try to get this done and go out there and figure out what I love.
Charan: Yeah. Well, so you’re at this career fair, you talk to the Merrill Lynch booth guys, and you said that something just kind of rang true to you, right?
Chad: Right, yeah. It was certainly something that there was a kind of an aspirational quality to the job where it was like if you get really good at this, you can, you can build a business and you can find your own clients and you can grow your own business and there’s no limitations, and you can also fail. So it’s kind of a high-risk job, even though it was working for a big company, it wasn’t my own company, it was a high-risk job where there was going to be, the salary was for 12 months, and after 12 months it was-
Charan: You have commission.
Chad: … you’re on your own. Yeah. Good luck. So whatever clientele you brought in, that’s all you’re going to get paid off of. So I’d say 95% of the guys and ladies I started with were out of the business within three years. Everyone was gone and I was very lucky somehow to still be barely hanging on, and I realized I did like it, so I was going to stick with it. And eventually in 2011, that’s when I decided to actually fully become an entrepreneur and leave the big corporate world and say, I think I’ve learned enough and I want to try this on my own and implement all the ideas I have that I’m not allowed to implement at a big firm. So that’s when the real journey started was on 11/11/11, actually, I’m a little superstitious, so that’s when I started.
Charan: I’ll be superstitious, you know, I’ll be superstitious right now for that. That’s amazing. Well, let me ask you this, getting clients for a company, like what you do, where you’re managing portfolios and whatnot, has got to seem kind of daunting, right? What was the process like of saying, okay, I need to go target some people. And how did you even go about like approaching them and whatnot?
Chad: It was a challenge at first, and I think that’s why the failure rate is so high is because, I’m 24 years old and I’m approaching somebody with significant financial wealth, and I’m saying, you need to trust me with your financial wealth and your financial wellbeing. And what I learned was that there’s so much out there to learn and I just needed to fully be all in. And the phrase I like to use is “fully invested.” I said, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to be fully invested. And so literally I got my hands on every book and every article and every magazine, everything that I could find on the topic of wealth management or personal finance or consulting entrepreneurs, and I just read.
Chad: And to be honest, I didn’t like to read, I didn’t love reading in college or high school. It wasn’t a thing that I ever did. But once I realized that I’m either going to make it or I’m not, I said, I got to be a learn-it-all. I have to know so much and be able to communicate that to these clients, and then I can build trust. I can gain their trust. And so it was a very short period of time, within a couple years where I realized I may not have millions of dollars, like some of these clients do, but I can actually give them advice and guidance, you know? And that’s where it really started building that trust with them is that I just … They knew either I knew the answer or I was going to grind and work hard and go find the answer.
Chad: And I think that’s what people love about entrepreneurs is they see that spirit of just, I’m not giving up, I’m fully invested and I’m going to go figure out what I need to figure out, because someone out there as the answer, and I’m going to go find it.
Chad Willardson Talks About Becoming “Fully Invested”
Charan: Well, you talking about being invested, being fully invested, I guess. How did you get to that point? Because you know, to get to that point, you’re having to your own personal doubts, your own personal struggles, your own personal just feelings of inadequacy, I would say, right?
Charan: And I think that every successful entrepreneur has had to face those challenges at some point or other, right. Because the road to becoming an entrepreneur or a successful one, I would say, that has lots of money or has built like a really big thing, is filled with all kinds of pitfalls and struggles and challenges. Right? So how did you get to the point where you’re like, I’m going to be all invested in this thing?
Chad: And that I think is a challenge right now because of social media, that a lot of people see successful entrepreneurs and the lifestyle they have now, and they want that end result right away. And they what they don’t see is all the struggles and rejections. And I’ve told people that before, I’m very honest about it. Like you might see the freedom and success that I have now, but this is 19, 20 years in the making and I struggled, I doubted, I had failures and rejections.
Chad: I would come home from work, you know, I was the first one at the office, I’d get there before 6 a.m. I’d turn the lights on. I’d sit in my little cubicle and I’d study and I’d work and I’d make cold calls and I would leave at 6 p.m. or later. And I’d get home to our little apartment with my wife and my little baby girl, and I would lick and stuff envelopes for hours. And I would be, I’d be handwriting the names of these prospects on these lists that I built from the phone book. And I’d stuff and lick envelopes for hours. We’d turn on a basketball game and I’d be just stuffing my envelopes, writing, stuffing the envelopes for hours. And then I mail them out in the hopes that someone would read it and maybe come to a dinner seminar I was hosting or they would call us back for an appointment.
Chad: And there were times when I show up to the dinner seminar and I’d invested dozens of hours in this one seminar, and I’d set up so much stuff that I put in some of my own money, which I didn’t have much at all. And literally there were seminars when nobody showed up, and I had all these materials printed. I had reserved like a big U shaped table at the restaurant. And I’m sitting there with my presentation ready. And maybe there were like seven or eight people that RSVP’d out of the thousands I contacted, and nobody showed up.
Charan: Oh my gosh.
Chad: Just feel like a total failure. Like, what am I doing? You know, maybe I’m not good at this. Maybe, maybe I should try something else. You know, this is too hard. And I was rejected many, many times, even for people that eventually did come and have a meeting. There were many times where they didn’t go with us. You know, they, they took their business elsewhere. So the grind and the struggle, I just remember someone telling me, if you just hustle and really strive to do what’s best for your clients and put in that effort for the first five to seven years, eventually you will get at least to some point on that mountain where you can look around and say, okay, I’ve made some progress and I can see that I can go further up that mountain. But it’s a grind and it’s a struggle, and everyone’s got to go through that. You know, there’s a reason 95% of businesses close within the first five years.
Chad: That’s not a fallacy; that’s fact.
Charan: So did you, during those times, like that moment when no one showed up, how did you pick yourself back up? Because that is a tough thing, when you’ve put so much effort and so much, I guess, blood, sweat, and tears, your own personal finances to host something, just to gain someone’s trust to say, oh, no one wants to even listen to it.
Chad: I kept feeding myself positive … essentially the content I would consume was positive. And back then we didn’t have podcasts and we didn’t have a lot of the resources we have today, but it’s even easier today to fill yourself with positive content. So I wouldn’t dwell on it. I’d say, you know what? I got to learn from this. I like that phrase “you’re either winning or you’re learning.” And so I had a lot of years of learning, had a lot of failures where I was like, you know what, this is just a setback. I’ve got to figure out a way how to make this work. What can I do better?
Chad: So I was constantly trying to get my hands on information that would help me stay positive and really just learn from all the mistakes that I was making until eventually I would fill up the room with a seminar, or I would have people schedule appointments, or I would have some kind of success that I could say, hey, I figured something out. You know, it actually worked this time and, and it’s not going to be failure or strike out every single time.
Charan: Right. And I like what you said, you’re either winning or you’re learning. Right.
Charan: And that’s a cool mindset because I tend to look at failures like, oh, I’m worthless or I’m awful. But it’s more like, okay, cool. Well, that was that was how this experience went. What can I learn from it? You know, and what can I do to prepare better for the next time? And at that moment, your self worth isn’t in jeopardy. You know what I mean?
Chad: No, I mean, I’m not a baseball guy, I’m more of a basketball guy. But a baseball player, you get ten at-bats and you get a successful base hit on three of them. And you’re an all-star. You fail or get rejected or you’re not successful 70% of the time, and you’re an all-star. So I don’t think it’s reasonable for us to expect ourselves to bat a thousand and have 100% successes. We have to realize that the struggle is part of the journey, no doubt.
Charan: Yeah, absolutely. And yet, during those moments of stretching and struggling, you really start to discover who you are inside.
Chad: Absolutely, absolutely.
Charan: Right. And you discover, oh, wow, I didn’t know I had this type of inner strength in me to keep going. I don’t know. My dad always kind of jokes with me cause he’s just like, “Charan. I wish I had your tenacity.” And I’m like, “Well, what do you mean?” He’s like, “You’ve just been rejected so many times as an actor, like over and over.” I’m like, “All right, Dad, I get it. I get it.” You know? But he’s like, “No, no, but seriously you failed so many times.” I’m like, “I know, I get it.”
Charan: But the thing is, it’s funny because, yes, I have been rejected, but once I started learning, oh, rejection just means, okay, you just weren’t right for the part, you’re like, all right, great, well, I’m going to keep going and I’m going to keep going. And the next thing I know, I started winning and I started winning some really good ones. And I’m like, wow. I think the real trick to winning was just kind of like having fun with it and not getting too emotionally attached to what you think the outcome should be, but just going for it and seeing that, hey, the whole process, the journey, the struggles, it’s all part of the joy that we experience and that-
Chad: Not taken it personal.
Chad: I would say that’s another thing. It’s like, don’t take it personally. If someone rejects me, that’s fine. The timing may not be right for them. That doesn’t change the value of what I’m offering to the world. So I’m going to find someone. There are enough people out there who really would love and appreciate what I do. So it’s my job to just find those people.
Charan: Yeah, absolutely. And, and, and like you said, it’s like one of those “square peg, round hole” situations. If someone just doesn’t fit that’s okay. No worries. Somebody else will. And finding that person is the way to go.
Chad Willardson Talks About Draft Sports Complex
Charan: So let’s shift gears just a little bit. You’re also a huge sports fanatic, I guess, with this other company. How did you get involved in that side of things?
Chad: Yeah. So 2019 … Well, we’ve been talking about it for years, “we” being a couple of friends and I in town. We didn’t have an opportunity in our area to have a big regional sports facility, a complex where our kids could play and travel in club sports tournaments. So it stemmed from us seeing the need. So let’s just give you perspective here. So my kids play travel basketball and travel volleyball, club volleyball. So travel basketball teams, we would play a team who’s based maybe 10 minutes from where we live and our team is based in our city, and we would each drive an hour and a half to go meet up at some tournament and face the Southern California traffic to play West Los Angeles.
Chad: It doesn’t make sense that we were playing these teams that are right from our own backyard, and we’re both spending all day on the freeway and getting stuck in our entire Saturdays out at some tournament facility that’s not even close to either of us. So we just kept talking about, man, we really need to create something that’s local, where we could host huge tournaments for basketball and volleyball and now cheerleading.
Chad: So finally we put together a group last year, end of last year, and were able to basically take over this really nice, big building about 75,000 square feet that was a furniture warehouse and turn it into this beautiful sports complex. And put the gym floors down. We put the restaurant café in, we’ve got some other stuff coming in. And the crazy situation about that is it took us years of thought and many, many months of grinding to get it to where we could break even. And we could essentially start paying the bills and having a little bit extra, and then COVID-19 hits-
Charan: Oh my gosh, dude. Of course.
Chad: And we’re no longer allowed to gather in California. And there’s no sports tournaments, no practices, no games, nothing. And we have this massive, expensive sports facility sitting empty in Southern California. So here’s a great situation. We, all six months of forward, all the tournaments that we had canceled, we had massive, massive success putting the next six months together, it was going to be very, very profitable. And so here we are with huge bills to pay, not even allowed to function in our business, and what do you do as an entrepreneur? You figure out how to make it work.
Chad: So what we did in the last couple months is we figured out a way to sign up and create a charter school. So we essentially became like a charter school tutoring center for kids of essential workers. And that was a way that we could continue operating. So in our 5,000-square-foot office area, we ordered desks, chairs we hired some tutors and now we have a school option for tons of kids to come in every single day.
Chad: And do their laptop learning there, and then we have our trainers that can do like their PE, because the kids aren’t getting PE in California because there’s no school in person.
Chad: And so we’ve completely pivoted towards creating something that’s going to keep our business going until we’re allowed to gather in person in a way that we can do sports tournaments again. So it was a real, I mean, it was tough, because-
Charan: Yeah, I mean-
Chad: … right as we got to that peak, it was just cut off.
Charan: It was like all right, well see ya. Yeah.
Chad: Yeah, yeah.
Charan: Man, well, what a pivot, what a really cool pivot. Well, temporary, maybe, until the games start coming back on again. But how quickly were you guys able to switch over to this charter school idea from the moment when you’re like, oh shoot, nothing is going to go down, you know?
Chad: We had to do it within a couple of weeks, because-
Charan: Oh my gosh, that sounds so stressful.
Chad: It was stressful. It was like very late nights with the partners. We were on Zoom calls, just trying to figure out how can we, what can we do to stay in business and to not lose the huge investments we’ve made as a team in this business and still stay compliant with the rules of California? So, and I think going forward, we’ll have that, we’ll still have that charter school option as well. And it’s a way for us to bring in revenues during the day in the morning, which is very hard for sports facilities, to do. So I think this could be a pivot that we made that will have lasting positive business impact. So we’re very excited about it.
Charan: Man, that’s so exciting about all of the switches that you were able to do. Now, let me ask you this, how did you market and how did you get people to say, hey, yeah, we need a schooling option? And how did they allow for that to even happen? Because I thought, isn’t that also social gathering as well, or?
Chad: Yeah, so there is an opportunity to offer like supervision and tutoring services, because there’s so many essential workers out there. Like if there’s a hospital worker and a fireman and there’s nowhere for their kids to be, they’re allowed to go to, essentially, a tutoring type daycare service.
Chad: So we dug into the California state laws and all the recent changes and tried to find a way that we can still serve the community and earn money. So we blasted it out [inaudible 00:26:21] and we were very transparent. I said, we just got to tell people, hey, we appreciate all the support in the community, and we’ve got a great business that we believe is going to be here for decades. But we need your help and we want to make it a win-win, so we want to help you. So this is what our aim is, we want to switch and pivot to accommodate those kids who would need to be supervised and helped and tutored because no one’s going to be home with them during the school hours. And the community support was just awesome, and people really rallied around us. They love our facility. They love the way we run the business. So it’s been just great to see how quickly people embraced what we were doing.
Charan: I mean, I think that’s really great, man. And you were able to in a very quick amount of time, like that seems like a very, very quick amount of time. You’re able to understand a need and understand a way to solve that need. And so, good on you.
Chad: When they’re desperate, you get creative and that’s what we did.
Charan: I know seriously. Well, I think there’s something to be said there because I feel like when you have limitations, sometimes those can be the most beautiful things you could have in your life because those limitations suddenly force you to action and to say, okay, cool. This is what we got. How are we going to survive? What are we going to do to make this happen? Right.
Chad: Agree, absolutely.
Chad Willardson Talks About Finding Joy and Purpose
Charan: I think that’s awesome. So let me ask you this, speaking of COVID and speaking of uncertainty, what are some things that you’ve done in your own life to kind of find joy and to find purpose?
Chad: I’ve reprioritized my time better because of this. My wife and I have five kids and they’re very involved in sports. And so we went from spending every night driving the kids around to different practices, to absolutely nothing on the schedule. And it’s been a great opportunity for us to reconnect better at home. You know, having every meal at home as a family for dinner seven nights a week has been incredibly unique. And at this stage in our lives, I couldn’t see that actually happening.
Chad: So I believe we’ve just figured out ways to stay grateful and to focus on what matters and that’s our family relationships and our health and the things that money can buy. So that’s really what I’ve taken from this is really to focus on the things that are within our control and what we can influence and to stay grateful. And like I said back earlier is focus on the content you consume. So the news media is really focused on pushing a lot of fear and division, and so I really stay away from any really any people or sources of information that are focused on the negatives. That’s been important to my personal health.
Charan: Yeah. I actually think that’s incredibly poignant advice. I look at the news a lot of times and I’m like, man, these narratives that are being presented are just so divisive. And they’re negative and so much is being presented, and it paints this picture that this world is just so terrible and people are just terrible. But in my experience, when I go out and I actually interact with people, I’m like, oh, people are actually quite wonderful, and they have some great compassion and they’re willing to help each other out. So there’s definitely this huge difference between my interaction with people versus what the media says is going on, right?
Chad: And that’s a good quote from my coach, Dan Sullivan, who says the mind only sees and the ears only hear what the eyes are looking for.
Charan: Oh, I like that.
Chad: Essentially, you will find what you’re seeking. So if you’re going to seek division and negativity, there’s plenty of it. But if you’re going to see positive collaboration, opportunities, blessings and gratitude, then you’re going to find that as well.
Chad Willardson’s Advice to the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs
Charan: Yeah, absolutely. Well, let me ask you this, a kind of like a wrap up question, what would you give advice to the younger generation of entrepreneurs? Specifically those that aren’t exactly sure where their path is, because that’s kind of like where you were at, right? Where you weren’t exactly sure where you wanted to go.
Chad: I’d say to be successful, you need three things. You need to be doing something that you love, that you’re naturally good, at and that people value and they’ll pay for. So if you have two of those three things, it’s not enough. If I love to paint paintings and people are willing to pay lots of money for paintings, but I’m no good at it, it doesn’t work.
Charan: Doesn’t work.
Chad: You got to have all three. So, and by that same token, I see a lot of people who are good at what they do and they earn a lot of money, but they really don’t like it. And that’s not a winning formula for life. So I think figuring out what you’re good at and what you love to do and see where those intersect and see how you can essentially turn that into a business to where you can share those talents and gifts with people who are willing to pay for it. And discovering what you’re good at and what you really enjoy, that should be a fun journey. Should be a lot of experiments and testing. And everyone, I believe, has unique abilities and talents. And so it’s a matter of discovering those, igniting those, and then figuring out a way to essentially package that and give that to people who are looking for it.
Charan: Yeah. I love that. Those three things find something that you’re good, find something that you love and find something that you know people will want to buy. Right?
Chad: Exactly. Yep.
Charan: It’s interesting. I had a, I guess, he was a mentor to me for a little bit, but his name is Jake Eberts. He passed away, but he was Robert Redford’s producer. He would do a lot of these movies. His first movie he ever made was “Chariots of Fire” and I’m like, that’s insane, right? And so he had like this really beautiful home and everything. And one day he invited me in and we were just kind of chatting about life and whatnot, and we decided, as we were discussing things, he said, “Charan, I got to tell you, when it comes to making movies and stuff really find something that you really love. Don’t make a movie just because you’re going to make some money. Do it because you really love it, because it just takes so much of your life to make a movie.”
Charan: And he said his entire career he’s only made one movie where he was not passionate about it, you know? And he said it was just a miserable experience and it was a total failure. I’m like, oh shoot, that’s too bad. What was it? You know, I have to ask him. And he’s like, look, my kids wanted me to do it, so I did it, and it was “Mario Brothers.” I remember that movie back in the 90s.
Chad: Oh my gosh. That’s funny.
Charan: I remember that movie being terrible as a kid. I was like, oh man, I just didn’t really enjoy it. But he himself was just like, yeah, it wasn’t a good experience for him, unfortunately, because he wasn’t totally passionate behind it.
Chad: Yeah. If you’re not fully invested, it’s not going to turn out how it should.
Charan: Yeah, exactly. Absolutely. And I think that that same principle of maybe making movies or finding your path for you is so important that you do those things, that A) yeah, you are good at, that you love to do as well, because that love is what’s going to help carry you through the struggles.
Chad: Correct. Yep. Absolutely.
Charan: And then yeah, and find something that people will want to pay for, because I think that’s the big thing, right?
Charan: Well, Chad, I really appreciate you taking the time and chatting with me. Do you have any other last bits of words or bits of advice that you would like to give? Anything that you may have learned from mentors from your own past that have helped you?
Chad: I would say that it’s okay to have struggles, and I think that message needs to be loud and clear. I would also say that, well it’s part of the journey and defining success upfront is important. Defining what’s important to you is important. You know, hopefully you’re not someone who’s going to measure success by financial numbers alone. That’s a great measurement of growth when you’re building a business, but it’s definitely not the most important and it’s not the only measurement. So look at what success means to you. What is your end goal? What are you looking to create and find ways to be valuable first. People will hire you and pay you once they realize how valuable you are.
Chad: So don’t look to say, how can I make money quickly or how can I make the most money? It’s how can I be useful to the target audience? Who do I want to be a hero to? Who do I really want to be a hero to? In my life I look at that and it’s like, first of all, I want to be a hero to my wife and my kids. I want to be a hero to the team members who work for me. And I want to be a hero to the busy entrepreneurs and families who are looking for more clarity and more confidence in their financial life. That’s who I really want to be hero to. And so once you define that, you can really see where should I spend my time? Who do I need to focus on? And what’s important to them, what problems do they have that I can help solve? And that’s really what has guided me in my entrepreneurial career.
Charan: That’s beautiful advice, man, because I think too many times we run after things like, oh, this will make some money quickly or this will make some money quickly. But in the end you aren’t really providing value, because you haven’t even done the homework for yourself to figure out, hey, who do I want to be hero to? Or who do I want to bring value to? Right.
Charan: And if you don’t have that anchor point then you’re like a ship without a rudder, right?
Chad: Right, exactly. Yeah, good analogy.
Charan: And you’re just kind of going all over the place. So yeah. Anyway, Chad, this has been amazing, man. Thank you so much for taking the time and for chatting. And I can’t wait to come to California one of these days and either attend a charter school or go to a basketball game, you know? One of the two.
Chad Willardson Plugs His New Book
Chad: There you go. I like it. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention, by the way, my first book, my new book comes out next month.
Charan: Yes, yes. Actually, yeah, go ahead and give a little bit of a shout-out for that.
Chad: Yeah. So the, so the book is called “Stress-Free Money” and it’s “Overcome the Seven Obstacles to Find Financial Freedom.” So in that book, it’s coming out most likely the end of September 2020, and you’ll be able to buy it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. There’s going to be an audio book, e-book, all that stuff. But really it’s going to give you some very practical insights on the seven things that keep people from having confidence and peace of mind and a stress-free relationship with their money and their financial life.
Chad: So I share a lot of cool stories in there from my past 19 years in the business and just a lot of insights and tips that I hope that readers really find valuable. So regardless of your financial net worth or how early you are in your career, how late you are, I believe that I’ve included enough principles in there that apply to you.
Charan: Yeah, that’s awesome, man. Well, yeah, I’m excited to take a look at that book. I would love my money to be stress-free, so that’s awesome. Well, I appreciate, Chad, you taking the time and we’ll make sure that we put the link to your book when it comes out in the description under the podcast as well, so that people can go right to it.
Chad: Awesome, appreciate it.
Charan: So, anyway, thanks again, man. I really appreciate you taking the time.
Chad: Thank you, my pleasure.
Charan: Yep. Take care.
Charan: Thanks so much for listening to Lemonade Stand podcasts and we hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you use to be alerted when we release new episodes. We’d also love to hear your feedback in the reviews, and if you or someone you know has an awesome Lemonade Stand Story, please reach out to us on social media and let us know. Thanks so much and have a great day.