Transcript of Interview with Richard Heftel
Dan: Welcome to another episode of Shoulders of Titans. This is Dan Lok. Today, I have the privilege of bringing you a true business titan, a serial entrepreneur, someone who has built a massive media empire. I am so excited. Richard, welcome to the show.
Richard: Thank you very much. I’m happy to be here.
Dan: Richard, I know are a very busy man. You’re a very private individual as well, so I appreciate to get your time and sharing your story, and sharing your wisdom with our entrepreneurs. Maybe take us back to the beginning. Tell us a little bit about your background.
Richard: I grew up in Hawaii. My parents had a TV and radio station there. My father had the vision of moving in the Spanish radio. So, after selling the stations in Hawaii, we acquired the stations on the mainland beginning with Los Angeles, KTNQ and KLVE radio, and into the Spanish market in late ‘80s. I found it to be such a great market. We applied general market as oppose to Spanish radio, which have been kind of a mom-and-pop industry. So, we took what we have learned in the English world and the standards and we applied them to stations there and expanded into Miami and New York.
Eventually, we went public as Heftel Broadcasting and that was changed to Hispanic Broadcasting when we moved to the New York stock exchange. We finished up by merging it into the nation’s largest television group which was the Univision, the largest Spanish TV group. The largest radio who had been the largest TV group for Spanish got together in a merger that was a little over three billion dollars. We all worked out very well.
Dan: Now Richard, growing up, were you always interested in business? Were you always very entrepreneurial? Is this something that you’ve always wanted to do?
Richard: Yes. I started sales and little business ventures in grade school. They had helmets of the different sports teams on stickers and I would buy a package of them for 25 cents and sell the individual stickers for 10 cents. That was in the third or fourth grade. I started a shaved ice business that was a complete failure, but a very good education for me. The best money I ever spent on education in running a business. I’ve just continued on from there. We’ve done the Lincoln Center which is a Spokane’s premiere event facility for weddings, and so on, kitchens, and everything you need. A little bit of mining. I did quite a bit in real estate, apartment complexes. I’ve enjoyed my experience in LYONESS and if you are interested we can go through the companies we’ve created just for that and how successful they have been.
Dan: Definitely. I have a lot of those questions I would dive into each company. But, I want to get an idea because I always want to understand what drives entrepreneur the way you think, the way you manage your team. Right now with Univision, are you still actively involved with the company or you’ve basically gone to different industries and focus on other businesses instead?
Richard: Yes. I’m done with Univision. My last options were back in 2006 I believe. From there, I moved on to a showroom at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. We built and operated that and sold it to the Venetian and we had a show that was very successful called ‘V-The Ultimate Variety Show.’ It grossed eight million and netted four million in its last year of operation, so we bought another showroom that was ‘The Aladdin’ and is now Planet Hollywood. It created the ‘V Theater’ which we built up and sold off to a group of investors.
Dan: So Richard, what are some of the lessons that you mentioned you’ve learned like during those period of time and some of the mistakes you made? If you don’t mind, what are some of the mistakes and what are some of the most valuable lessons that you’ve learned in your business career?
Richard: Mistakes… Not doing enough due diligence on people. When you find someone good things work out very well. Having a bad partner is just horrible. It makes life nothing but horrible. But having a good partner and someone that you both get along with and can trust makes it all very easy. It’s very similar in operating a business and employees. If you’ve got good department heads, then running a large company can be very enjoyable. If you’ve got problem with your department heads or managers, then its drudgery, so you have to look for good people.
Dan: What’s your hiring process? How do you know if someone is good? What do you look for in someone like your executives and management positions?
Richard: In management positions, I look very closely at their history and contacting the referrals, reaching back to see what they’ve done, who they’ve done it with, how they operated, and making sure they fit. As to sales position, I look for someone that has got relationships in the industry, somebody that can walk in with additional sales to offer the company. I don’t look for people that are detail oriented. I had some very successful sales people that were ADD and couldn’t sell out a contract to save their life, but they could sell people. I could hire sales assistants to fill out the paper work properly and clean up after the sales people. The detail oriented and the creative, out of the box promotions and whatever else that a sales person might have, don’t always come in the same package. It’s great if they do, but they don’t always.
Business Partner Experiences
Dan: What about for business partners? What do you look for someone obviously with experience, but like you said you’ve obviously had some bad partner experiences and had some excellent partner experiences. What do you look for in a business partner?
Richard: I operate in one of two ways. There are people that bring me ideas and needs some answering. I look very closely at their track record and if I don’t know them already, I’m pretty weary about starting up something with them. But if the due diligence and everything works out, and it looks like it’s a good business model, then if I’m jumping in his money, I expect to get mine cash out first, before they get their sweat equity, so I don’t expect them to take money out. I do it the same way like with the showrooms.
I had additional partners and where I had to get these additional investors. Again, I wrote the documents up that before anybody got paid sweat equity or anything like that. The investors got their cash investment back plus the percentage. I generally use 8 % per year as an annualized return. So, for me that’s the first obligation and the first thing that gets paid for the annual investor or are seeking investors that should be paid back first.
Dan: So then they are emotionally invested into the venture and some skin that they gave as well.
Richard: Exactly. So you don’t have somebody who’s taking someone’s investment and has a salary and whether the thing lose or dies, they wanted to survive. But, they’re getting paid; they’re making money while the investors are losing money, that’s not just acceptable.
Dan: So I guess that you’re not a huge fan of those tech venture where the burn rate and the founders they take salary, the programmers, they take a big salary on that type of business model.
Richard: Correct. Although I have invested in three tech companies recently, hopefully they’re not taking the big salaries.
Dan: Richard, what are some of the industries that you’re involved? Do you know how companies do you own now?
Richard: Not positive. This will surprise you. To give you an example of the range, we took a doctor who was an OBGYN and turned him into a cosmetic surgeon and set him up in practice on his own. He went from having a salary to doing 200,000 to 250,000 dollars a month in a one-man operation and he was the only doctor involved with some assistance and some clerical help.
So our expertise there was the marketing and selling. Car dealership, lots in apartment complexes. Those are relatively passive. I’ve got a great partner that handles all of the work and has a management company for the complexes as well. Some mining… Barter companies–have been a lot in the world of barter where they are exchanging services and goods. There are companies, one in particular America’s Barter Exchange where if you’re a doctor and you need legal work but you don’t know where to find the legal work on trade and so on and you become a member of America’s Barter Exchange for free, and then you call them up. As a doctor, you offer your services on trade and then they find you the attorney, and he doesn’t have to need your particular services. It can be anything. So barter networks are fabulous for anybody that either has excess capacity or excess inventory and doesn’t have a high cost of goods sold. If anyone wants to talk to America’s Barter, you can reach me there at 801-802-0322, and I’ll connect you with the people that own and operate that for free.
Determinants to Invest in an Industry: LYONESS
Dan: Perfect. So Richard, how do you determine what industries to get into? What do you look for? Do you look for a growing sector? What do you look for?
Richard: You know the best way to answer that might be to go through the companies and what we’ve done with LYONESS.
Dan: Yeah. Why don’t we do that?
Richard: It’s a real good example of it. It started in LYONESS. Have you interviewed or spoke about LYONESS to your listeners before?
Dan: Not yet, but why don’t you just maybe explain to us quickly what is LYONESS. We know it very brief as the world’s largest loading program platform. Why don’t you go ahead?
Richard: So if you’ve ever shopped at a drug store or supermarket and you’ve gotten a discount because I have your phone number on file. You’re a member of their loyalty program. At LYONESS it’s exactly the same thing. It’s free to get. It’s a loyalty program, but instead of getting one benefit from one company in one country, I think they’re up to 47,000 companies in 46 countries. I got involved with them in 2006, and very quickly determined that they had a lot of people that were shopping at Sears and Chevron, and so on. I wanted those thousand of shoppers to come to the Lincoln Center for their wedding, etcetera. I made the Lincoln Center merchant with LYONESS. So basically they did the publicity outward for me and I would give a discount to LYONESS members. Within the first month or two we saw over $10,000 worth of sales to LYONESS members which was about enough to keep the property taxes current or the electric bill. But, it was still enough that it got my attention and that was my most efficient advertising, because I paid after the customers had already paid me.
Dan: So you’re only paying for results?
Richard: Correct. It was very contrary to my whole background within broadcasting, paying the advertising hopes that everything works out. But once I saw that success, I took some of the other companies that they inventoried and I lumped them all together in one website called artngems.com. I went back to LYONESS and said “Here’s a new company that I want to be a merchant.” It has everything from pearls and artwork to building silver bullet, and we did that over a hundred thousand dollars in that company with no advertising, no Facebook, no Google, no anything, just LYONESS. So, there was an opportunity where LYONESS kind of created the opportunity. Once we have that success, I met with the business partner Bruce Woolf in Las Vegas.
Dan: The Southwest Auto Brokers.
Richard: Correct. We just went through LYONESS who were different merchants and what was available. When we got to the car category, we noticed that you could buy a Mercedes or a Buick and so on, but the benefits back, the discounts weren’t very big and all of the dealers required people to spend to buy the vehicle at manufacturers’ suggested retail price. Before LYONESS, we’ve never seen people do that. It’s just uncommon to pay MSRP for a vehicle. So we created Southwest Auto Brokers just for LYONESS, no Google, no Facebook, no advertising. On the first year, we did a net over a million dollars in sales. Now, we’re getting into social media and finding buyers and so on outside of the world of LYONESS as well. That company was created just because of the opportunity of LYONESS. Another example here in Utah, when I started spending all my time back here.
I wanted to grow LYONESS in this area and I found that there was a lack of grocery shopping available to LYONESS here. To another little company, we set up a program with Kroger and Smith which is Ralphs, Food 4 Less and Fred Myer. They’re all under the same family. We bought the gift cards at a discount, a big enough discount that we could then resell them to LYONESS members, give them their LYONESS benefits, and still make money. It has been eight months and we are a well over a million dollars in sales. So that again is just an opportunity that presented itself. So when you say what industry do I look for and so on? When it comes to basic investing, I’m currently very cautious about the stock market. I pulled everything out of there because we’re running three times what it was in 2009. I’m very bullish on real estate as far as passive investing. As far as businesses, it’s for whenever opportunities present themselves, if they just come up.
Dan: It almost sounds Richard that you are what it’s like go where the money is; go where there is a need in the market place which may be not being fulfilled. In this case, you’re leveraging the LYONESS platform, knowing that you can tap into a massive customer-base with little to no money and you’re only paying for performance and that kind of clicks in your head “That makes sense. Let’s do that or let’s create a business based on that.” That’s fascinating.
Richard: At this point, probably the ability to start a company or buy a company is one of my strengths. We do it enough that you just get used to it. Just like anybody that repairs cars. They do the math. They’re very comfortable rebuilding a vehicle. I couldn’t do that to save my life. So, everyone has got their own expertise in what they’ve work and what their experience is in. At this point, it’s been enough years that I got some experience in starting or buying and selling companies.
The biggest rule I go by is that good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment. I made lots of mistakes and lost lots of money, but with that experience if you don’t call it quit, you’ve been more the next time around.
Dan: It’s interesting because we have on one end you have someone let’s say like Steve Jobs that only focus on one industry and on the other end of the continuum someone like yourself over to Branson they involve with all kinds of industries, more of a serial entrepreneur, that type of business model. I’m also curious, why so many industries?
Richard: When I see an opportunity and that makes sense, I go for it. But I’m getting to the point now in my life where I want to scale back. So, I’m giving an example in Lincoln Center up in Spokane. I got tired of travelling up there. You know I want to spend my time in Utah with my kids and my wife. So, I went to the whole facility out to a catering company which I no longer have any employees up in Spokane. But the thing that kind of got me into LYONESS and so on, I don’t do much with anymore. They kept to own the property, but no employees. So, that’s much simpler.
I’m trying to discipline myself not to jump at every opportunity. I’ve had some wonderful ones. If there’s somebody that goes and run it and does it, then I’m willing to do it. Just an example, I helped financed the barter company and I got into a point in time that I don’t have to run it. I don’t do any with it. I mean I work with it. I used actually to six different barter companies. I had just strong belief in the value of them, but the gift cards that I was mentioning earlier my brother Keenan to run all of that. Bruce Woolf runs everything to do with Southwest Auto Brokers. At this point, I not only have to make financial plans, I have somebody that’s going to be responsible for it, because I don’t want to take the time to do it.
Dan: Would you say that you are more the strategy, marketing, big concept, idea person and then every one of these companies you basically have a day-to-day kind of a manager running the company? Is that how you operate?
Richard: Yes… or a business partner. So with Southwest Auto Brokers, it was our collective brain child, where we just did all of the work, but I went to everywhere I could in LYONESS to say this is the best way to buy a car, did all as much promotion as I could possibly do. Right now, I have bartered to have someone redo the website and I’ve done a barter deal to get it to the social media. It’s just starting the break out just the LYONESS community. It’s a fabulous business model. They can deliver a car to you for less than a dealer can. We can do it having the car inspected, and checked mechanically, etcetera. It shows up where you want it and you take money.
Dan: Maybe talk to us about a little bit of that business model. Why you are able to deliver the car at lower cost than the dealer because we’ve eliminated a lot of costs?
Southwest Auto Broker Business Model
Richard: With Southwest Auto Brokers we operate using the web and the internet. We participate in the dealer-only-auctions all across the country. The dealers pick up cars there through this auctions and they can have it little as 14 miles or they can have a lot of miles. We don’t have any late night annoying commercials. We don’t have any irritating, aggressive sales people to pay for, and almost nothing for an office. So, if we pick up a car, an SUV let’s say, for $30,000 at an auction, and your local dealer, Fletcher Jones or a Larry Miller, one of those big companies, they pick up the same car. They’re going to have them on their locks for $37,000 or $38,000. For us, we’re going to pay the 30,000. We’re going to pay for the inspection, the auction fees, a little bit of profit, LYONESS benefits, and you’re buying that same car for less than $35,000.
Dan: So basically we pass on the savings to the consumers.
Richard: Absolutely. It’s kind of like a lot of people who will say “I have a friend. He’ll go to the auto auction and buy me whatever I want for $35,000.” This is the standardized, upscale, national version of that same thing, where you’ve got some guarantees behind it, and much more selections. You just to go sw-autobrokers.com or you can search us Southwest Auto Brokers. It’s based in Las Vegas, but it functions nationally. You fill out a form, locate a car, and then we find what matches there are, and we email them to you with the expected price, and whatever the maximum is and you decide. We don’t deal with cars that are below average. On a scale of 1 to 5, they have to be a 3 or better, with 5 being a new car. We get you exactly what you’re looking for. If we don’t, we can find you a better deal somewhere else. We’ll tell you about it.
Dan: This is what fascinates me. Like as Richard, with you, with Univision, you’ve operated like massive empire, a big company, but the way you think, the way you operate is very entrepreneurial. It’s like the comparison of the big elephant versus a tiger but you are flexible in the way you do things. Even you’ve mentioned the website, why we bother social media, we bother website, most people would think “wow, Richard just writes a check to some advertising agency and they get a dump.” No, you can save money on it or you can bother you would do that. You operate like almost a grass root entrepreneur. Well yes, this is fascinating to me.
Richard: I’m cheap.
Dan: I thank you for the honesty. There is nothing wrong with that.
Richard: Yeah. In my personal life, I’m the same way. I enjoy business. I enjoy putting things together, and I especially appreciate and have been blessed that I have the flexibility of time and get to spend more time with my family and do what I want, when I want. There are times where it pays to write a check. There are times when you grow something organically. You just grow it on its own. Southwest Auto Brokers is a very small investment and has grown organically.
Within the radio business where we have a lot of expertise and we knew what we were doing. The last FM that we bought in Los Angeles was 140 million. That’s a case where you know what you’re buying and you write the check. So there’s a time and a place for each. In my own personal life, I’m not thrilled with stuff, I don’t. To me, lots of things is just more clutter. I drive my dream car which is a 2004 Chevi Avalanche which I owned since I bought it new. The kids can spill on it. I haul stuff in it. I enjoy doing stuff around the house and whatever. So it gets used. It is totally just a work truck. It doesn’t even go through my head to pick up a new car to drive instead of the truck. I just always drive it. I have had cars before, nicer cars, when working in LA and so on, but what I found is that getting out of a particular type of vehicle makes you feel better about yourself or something, then things aren’t right.
For me, staying balanced in what’s important in life is not putting a lot of pride or whatever you want to call it into possessions. When it comes to this little business is I’m happy to make them grow organically without writing a check. But If I can take a shortcut and getting return on investment, then it doesn’t bother me to write a check. But if I do it on barter, if I can do it on trade, if I can do it without writing a big check, I’m first one in line.
Dan: So it’s almost you enjoy. It doesn’t matter the business big or small, but you enjoy the game of business. Like you said, seeing them grow, nurturing them, developing the people, that’s kind of how you get your thrill these days.
Richard: Yeah. I like win-win situations. I like partners and employees to benefit from the situation as much as I do. So, seeing people grow personally and financially is part of the motivation. I enjoy it.
Dan: Fantastic. You’re listening to Shoulders of Titans. We’re going to take a break. When we come back I want to ask Richard some questions on entrepreneurship, maybe what advice he has for fellow entrepreneurs as well. We’ll be right back.
Advice to New Entrepreneurs
Dan: Welcome back. So Richard, what advice would you have for entrepreneurs? One thing I definitely want to ask you is like for someone let’s say a start-up or someone who is quite new to entrepreneurship, let’s say someone running a 100,000 dollar business or a million dollar business? What’s the difference from that to someone running from a 10 million dollar company or a hundred million dollar company or a billion dollar company?
Richard: The bigger they get, the more complex things get, but the benefit usually is you increase the sales and the volume, your profits grow up even more so. Even the value of the company grows quicker than the revenues. It’s definitely worth growing a company. It depends on the industry. If you are a dentist, you’re limited to how many hours you can physically work on patients. You can improve that. It’s just simply by having your dental hygienist do as much of the work as possible and you just focus on the parts that you’re absolutely needed for. But in other areas, once it has proven itself, you can grow by opening either your own branch offices, you can move into other markets, or you can franchise.
We’re currently exploring that and looking for cheap people to be franchised for the America’s Barter Exchange and markets outside of Utah and Nevada. There are many ways that you can start a company without a huge investment. I usually recommend to people if they know the industry they want to go into and they want a company but they haven’t had a lot of experience, I always recommend go get a job with someone in that industry. If you had land on the big island of Hawaii and you want to start growing macadamia nuts or kona coffee, go to work for one of the guys over there and let them pay you to get educated and to build relationships within the industry before you jump in and do it. Learn a lot more on someone else’s dime.
Dan: Would you say also that with entrepreneurs sometimes they come up with the idea and then they fall in love with their idea, and they’re emotionally attached to the idea basically? When you start a business when do you know “Okay, now it’s time to scale up the business or now it’s time to kind of know, this is kind of not working, it’s time to move forward and move on and do something else?”
Richard: Yeah. I had been guilty of that. I’ve hang on to companies that lost money longer than I should have. It’s hard to say whether it’s a gift and you’re going to come back and it’s going to make it or if it’s going to continue to believe and if you’re just in a not good business model and it’s not working. It usually takes at least a year past if you had 20-20 eye sight. You’re probably staying a year longer than you should. In many cases, you find that in that time period, you refine it, adjust, and can make it a profitable company. It really does very and it takes sometimes getting an objective opinion. I’ve done that for people. People call me with the ideas and I had presented with the opportunities all the time. I would say, looking that from the outside, this is where you’re at, unless you can change X,Y, and Z, you’re not going to where you want to get to.
Dan: When you get feedback do you go to your team? Do you go to your board of directors? Or do you have a mastermind group? Where do you go to get feedback?
Richard: I reach out to people in the industry and ask them for advice. So as to give a good example were trying to create a lot of financing options for Southwest Auto Brokers. We’ve come up with a few little options in certain markets. I’ve reached out to Wills Cargo and my contacts and so on to say “Okay, we’re going to take this from a million dollars a year to five million dollars a year or 10 million dollars a year.” One thing that we really need to offer is financing, what’s the take, want do you want, etcetera. Again, that’s one way I could write the check and finance this the par sales, but I really don’t want to get that involved.
Dan: What’s the fun in that?
Richard: Yeah. Looking for vendors that participate with car dealers and finding that. So that’s just reaching out into the industry. I frequently reach out to either employees or business partners who are more hands on to get their opinions. I have also used the services of outside business consultants. I’m not afraid to go to people that I trust even if they’re not in the industry to say “Hey, what do you think about this?” to see what they think.
Managing Various Companies: Business Philosophies
Dan: How do you manage the portfolio of various companies because entrepreneurs I can see sometimes our listeners, oh my goodness Richard, I can’t even manage the one business that I have, like how do you manage all these companies? How do you structure your deal with business partners? Do you just give them an equity up front? Or is it you give them some and then they have to earn gradually by more shares? How do you do that?
Richard: On a time basis, like I said, I won’t get into deals unless there’s someone there to really run it and manage it. What I contribute is either financial capability or some marketing expertise to get the thing growing and growing using connections and that sort of thing like contacts. The structure of the deal is you can think outside the box. Anything is possible. But in general, I try to stick to the cash investors who’d run the cash investor or I’m asking someone to be a cash investor. That they should get their own money back before somebody is taking a big salary and get sweat equity as what I call it. As an example, in one of the second showroom that I did which was at the Planet Hollywood.
That deal was structured where the managing member was given at least 50% of the company up front. But until I would veto and so on. So, who’s ever got the cash in should have the ultimate say and they should get their money back. Once the money is returned, and they got a decent return on their money, then the person with the idea, with the sweat equity that really built the company, the match when they have much more flexibility and have a larger share of the company. So, I don’t have any problems with somebody owning 51% of the company if I’ve got my money back already plus interest and they have proven that they can operate the company.
Dan: So your managing partners they have their ownership mentality “This is my baby now” and they would do the very best managing the business.
Dan: That’s brilliant. What’s the timeframe you’re looking to get your money back and how many years usually is the return of the capital?
Richard: I’m looking at three years.
Dan: Three years. It sounds to me you don’t want to be just a cash partner. Somehow you always want to find ways you can leverage, you can counter build, maybe it’s your contact, maybe it’s your marketing expertise something to help the company grow. Not just “Here’s the money and I’ll see you in three years.”
Richard: Correct. I get involved at least with the offset to give whatever I can whether that is bartering or whatever. There are other companies that I participated in more recently, tech companies, one is Atlys.tv. Basically, your show is an example; it could be on TV, radio or have a magazine component. You would have access to an unlimited number of mobile devices worldwide. You could do a version in English and a version in another language. You can have the live feed going on and you can have pay-per-view or video on demand, separate radio channels and so on. It’s just a fabulous technology. That’s one that I jumped into and I’m participating in trying to grow its business with additional clients and so on, a wonderful revenue share model that doesn’t require huge checks up front.
It’s again a great technology where the money isn’t even spent to build it. There was another tech companies. Rhigh is another great one and Mobile-Pro. It’s not the camera unit. This is Mobile-Pro that helps businesses and the employees or potential employees connect online and keep track and so on. It was very successful. We’re bringing back a very successful company quepasa.com. When we were in Spanish broadcasting, they existed as kind like of Facebook for Hispanics. We’re resurrecting that. Jennifer Lopez and her family will be the primary owners of that one. That will be a fun venture.
Dan: It also sounds to me that you look for business to get into, what’s the synergy amount of the companies that you have? You’re looking for a situation where you know it can easily add a lot of value to the company, not just money, but you can get so many things that you could do. You know what, even if it doesn’t work exactly the way I want, even if it works 50%, this company would multiply. It would grow tremendously.
Richard: Correct. It’s kind of like watching Shark Tank. People come in with their ideas and the guys that are there they offer not just their money but it’s a product and the potential investors have access whether it’s a home shopping network or distribution channels or whatever it is. They bring more to it than just money. Frequently that’s the situation. But in the case of the real estate complexes, I mean the apartment complexes and so on; I don’t really bring any of that. Those are just passive investments. That’s the way they’re analyzed. I analyzed them based on their revenue, not on hopes for appreciation of the property. I ended up investing more in Texas than in Las Vegas as an example. In Texas, it made the return of investment just based on the rental income which is far better than say in Vegas where properties were more expensive because everybody was anticipating that the properties would appreciate. So you give for a file, but then they turned around.
Dan: Yes, very quickly. So you’re more of a cash flow kind of investor versus the appreciation investor.
Richard: The tech companies are all based on appreciation. The passive investments to real estate are cash flow based. I’ve done everything including hard money lending. I don’t do much of it anymore. As a lender of last resort, there are people that you can borrow from, but the interest rates are really high. Instead of be really short term, the interest is going to eat you out.
Dan: As I’m listening to your business philosophies, I also want to ask you if you can give a glimpse of your life philosophies and you can touch on it a little bit that material possessions don’t interest you. I know there was a time where you retired for a brief period of time. Share with us what happened.
Richard: After Univision and after the Vegas showrooms that I did, I was living in Utah and I retired basically. I had some passive investments. I volunteered at my church at Virgin of Goodwill which is called Dessert in the Streets part of the church of Jesus Christ of latter day Saints. I spent a year just volunteering for the end mass and working in the backyard and using my pickup truck. I was asleep one day on a couch and my wife was making lunch for the kids, and she woke me up and asked me I wanted to just stay in here. I said “of course.” She said “Go get a job… Get out of here… Get an office… Go somewhere from 9 to 5…” That’s what I did. I set up an office and started more adventures and got more active. In fact, I got little too, too out there, and I found myself too busy.
It’s when I started trying to figure out how to cut back and how to reduce travelling for business and so on. We lived a very simple life in Provo, Utah. The house is bigger than we need, but it’s nothing fancy. Have time to wake them and the kids have playground equipment and whatever they need. We try to build it in a way to have fun and enjoy our time with the kids. We try not to spoil the kids. We try to make them earn whatever there is. My personal belief is there’s no quicker way to learn the kid than giving him too much too soon. I have expectations that life will always give them what they want when they want it and they don’t have a sense of at least being able to postpone gratification and work for something.
Dan: Are your kids also entrepreneurial?
Richard: So far yes.
Richard: Yeah. They’ve done a lemonade stand and sold off some of their books and toys and collectable cards and that kind of stuff that they wanted to put into other things.
What is Money?
Dan: How do you see money? What’s money to you then?
Richard: Money to me is a wonderful security. It doesn’t buy happiness. But it sure makes life a lot easier when you have enough than when you don’t. I’m pretty low-key.
Dan: Yes you are.
Richard: Yeah. I cannot get up on stage in that cost unless I have the opportunity to talk about Southwest Auto Brokers or something that’s going to be good for one of the companies. I’ve been there; I’ve been in the limelight and had enough of that. For me, money, income, and so on, unfortunately we live in a society where people are more focused on how much they make compared to others, how much they make compared to what they really need. If they were satisfied with making enough money, not being satisfied and that you have no drive to do anything more. If you’re content with what you have, and totally oblivious as to whether or not how it compares to others, you live a much happier life. That to me comes from my church religious side and so on. Ninety eight percent of what we spent our time on is insignificant and pointless in the eternal scope of life.
Today vs. The Past
Dan: It’s like I always tell people that you want to appreciate what you have as to strive for what you want. If you’re not happy with what you have, you’re not content. Having more doesn’t make you happy. We have to learn how to appreciate what we have right now. How do you view life today compared to 20 years ago?
Richard: Well, I’m 55 now and I was 35 then. I could do a lot more physically at 35 than I can at 55. I could do a lot more at 55 than I’m going to be able to do at 75. I’ve never met anybody who at the end of their lives said “I would change one more day in the office.” I think in general we spend too much time focused on gaining more whether we need it or not and not enough time on the things that really matter in a long run which is in my opinion family and friendships, and keeping emotional and spiritual balance in your life.
Dan: Fantastic. Well Richard, we’re going to go with a quick speed round. We’re going to have a little bit fun here. I’m going to ask you eight or nine questions and I’m just looking for very quick answers. Windows or Mac?
Dan: Iphone or androids?
Dan: What’s your favorite success quote or any quote?
Richard: Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment. Take adventure and make mistakes.
Dan: Are you a cat person or a dog person?
Dan: You’re dream car. You kind of already answered that, but say it again, your dream car.
Richard: 2004 Chevi Avalanche.
Dan: Awesome. The number one thing a new entrepreneur should be doing.
Richard: Stay focused on the bottom line. Be careful what you spend money on. Connect with people whether they’re going to be customers or allies or whatever. Making connections is important.
Dan: Any favorite business books?
Richard: The One Minute Manager.
Dan: Awesome. What do you do for fun?
Richard: I play with my children, just about it. I snowboard a little. I like to travel with my kids. We usually spend some time. My wife is from Mexico and I’m from Hawaii, so we usually spent part of summer in Mexico and part in Hawaii. That sounds kind of when you spoil them a little bit. The rest of the year, we try to stay close to home in Provo and focused on family plans. I’m not a golfer. I never got into baseball, the traditional things aside from there.
Dan: What’s the most rewarding thing that you have been able to do for someone because of your success?
Richard: I anonymously walk in to a hospital and pay someone’s bills that were going to have problems with.
Dan: Wow. That’s fantastic. Richard, maybe share with us just your any final thoughts and also if they want to get a call or track where they could go online, and in some of your companies what’s the best way to direct them to different resources or to meet companies that you have?
Richard: I’ll throw up my cellphone, 702 210 4286 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m happy to connect on Southwest Auto Brokers which is absolutely the best way to get the best deal on car without the headache or hassle. For anybody that’s an entrepreneur that’s starting up and has capacity, barter might be a good way; training services might be a good way to go. I get them in connection with one of the barter companies that I work with. I do work with several, so it depends where they are geographically. If they’re near here, with America’s Barter Exchange which is in the western state let’s say Utah, Nevada, and so on. I’m comfortable with that.
Dan: And also the Lincoln Center, if they want to find out some more information about that, do you have a website?
Richard: There is a website, but since I’ve released it up to someone else, anyone that’s up in Spokane area and interested, they have just to read it up on the website thelincolncenterspokane.com and I connected it to any of the things that they need there. If people are interested in LYONESS, I’m happy to describe my experience and what it means. To me it’s a fabulous advertising vehicle and a great loyalty program for any company.
Dan: It’s a great platform to leverage.
Dan: Any final thoughts for our entrepreneurs before we go?
Richard: Thank you very much and I appreciate your time and look forward to visiting some more.
Dan: Thank you so much Richard for inspiring us today with your story, with your generosity, and sharing your thoughts and ideas. I appreciate it. Thank you so much.
Richard: You’re very welcome. Thank you.