Episode 37: Patrick Gorrell: Turning Tragedies and Crises To Become Your Biggest Motivation for Success

Who is Patrick Gorrell and the key takeaways in this episode?

Tragedies and crises can only do two things to a person: it can either crush you and leave you hopeless and lost, or it can bring out the better part of yourself and your qualities, such as perseverance and determination.

Patrick Gorrell, the CEO and founder of Worksfire, has come out of both situations to tell us his story of how he conquered these Goliaths in his life to become who he is today. In this interview, you’ll learn about:

  • Patrick’s challenges before building his company Worskfire
  • His secret on how he was able to emerge victorious and successful despite the circumstances that nearly crippled him
  • What his advice is for those are trying to build their own success stories
  • His thoughts on company culture
  • and a whole lot more…

The Questions

[4:21] What made you the person you are today?
Answer: My professional career actually started in my early twenties. I dropped out of college because I wasn’t really getting what I needed out of attending classes in college. I knew that I wanted to follow into some kind of category that involved sales because I was extremely motivated to make money.

When I was 20 years old, I went to work for a mortgage brokerage, back in 2004, I believe. We basically just hit the ground ready. I was pretty much handed a script in call center of 400 people and told to just dial for dollars and we would make about 500 phone calls a day, just pounding list every single day. It was this non-stop, competitive, big sales atmosphere. It was a commission job and I knew that it was going to be really, really tough but I stuck with it for a long time, a couple of months, to just start as a basic salesperson, and I knew that I could do something better.

[7:55] How do you retain the people that got on the bus earlier and how you attract more people to get on the right seat on the bus as it relates to using your office environment?
Answer: I’m from Temecula, Southern California. It’s known as wine country and there’s really not a whole lot of tech companies out here. I think we weren’t the first tech company to ever receive investments but we’re the first fully fledged tech company that wasn’t doing sales or something else to really get a large [inaudible 00:21:44]. Before there was even a product, it was just an idea.

We also have another office that we work with all of our developers up in Hollywood. It’s at this building that’s called “WeWork”. WeWork has a bunch of different buildings all over the place and it’s a really cool, collaborative kind of environment. I wanted to bring that here. We just had to have really simple, open office layout. I didn’t want people to have offices. I justed want one office that was open and all of our desks are basically just chopping board table tops and there’s nothing else on them other than just a computer and maybe an extra monitor; we can all talk to each other and see what’s going on and no one’s limited to an office because we’re not used to doing it. I was a mortgage broker. I used to just run to my office, close my door and hide there.

I knew that we needed to have energy and we needed to be motivated. It kind of keeps us all in tune and in check with each other. Communication is really huge especially when you’re trying to do this as fast as we are. Having an open office, nobody behind walls and just making sure that we can all see each other and that we’re all working. Kind of keeps us all in check. It’s actually so much better working this way because we are so much more productive and communication, again, is key and being able to talk to somebody all the time especially when you have something pressing is huge. So, just a single office, as bare as we could be. It’s really modern but we just want to be able to see each other at all times.

[16:06] Patrick, our listeners will want to know. They’re building their businesses. They’re building their cultures. They’re building their teams. What’s the one piece advice you can give them?
Answer: First of all, you need to know how to explain what you’re doing. That’s the hardest part. Even though I may have worked on my system tons of times, to explain what you’re trying to do in front of  30,000 people is much harder than it sounds. People need to get it right out of the gates. It’s like the elevator pitch. Can you sum up what you’re doing in three sentences? I still struggle with that today but you need to know how to do it.

Secondly, you can’t be afraid to go out there and talk to as many people as you need to. I’ve worked with other companies that were afraid. They made everybody sign non-disclosure, non-circumvent agreements and you don’t get very far by doing it. You just need to be able to put it out there, deal with whatever it is really fast and be wise in choosing the people you want to work with, and you can’t just solicit yourself to everyone out there. If you do that and you do it smart, you’ll find people who are willing to help you. People who get the idea. And they might have to think about it for a few days but if you’re doing a good job, they’ll call you back and say, “You know what? I’m ready to do this. I’ll put time towards that.”

Culture According to Patrick Gorrell:

I think that company culture is, in a sense, you have to have a fixed point. You have to have a single goal that everybody is looking at and you have to be able to work together to achieve that goal. It’s not the thing that you have facing you every single day when you show up to work. It’s how you feel when you come to work and what you know that you’re doing, it’s kind of a core, the principle you get out of bed and when you go to work, you need to feel inspired every single day and know that what you’re doing is making a difference to each and all.

Go To Quote for Inspiration

Book Recommendations:

  • 4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss

What Patrick Gorrel Wants His Company to BE:

  • BE Great
  • BE Progressive
  • BE Humble

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Interview:

Where to Find Patrick Gorrell:

Connect with John on

FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

John: Patrick, welcome to BE Culture Radio. I’m glad you’re here.

Patrick: Thank you for having me. I’m super excited.

John: Hey, man. It is so cool that you’re here. You have the coolest product. As Patrick and I were talking a little bit pre-show, I was telling him how cool it was and that I’d go out and I’d share it with my college-aged kids, and they’d inform me they already know what I think I was trying to break out. They already knew about this product. So, shame on Dad again. But it is cool and I am so excited you are here today. But before we jump into what it is, I want you to share with my listeners some information about you and where you came fro, how you grew up and what made you the person you are today.

Patrick: Awesome. My professional career actually started in my early twenties. I dropped out of college because I wasn’t really getting what I needed out of attending classes in college. I knew that I wanted to follow into some kind of category that involved sales because I was extremely motivated to make money.

When I was 20 years old, I went to work for a mortgage brokerage, back in 2004, I believe. We basically just hit the ground ready. I was pretty much handed a script in call center of 400 people and told to just dial for dollars and we would make about 500 phone calls a day, just pounding list every single day. It was this non-stop, competitive, big sales atmosphere. It was a commission job and I knew that it was going to be really, really tough but I stuck with it for a long time, a couple of months, to just start as a basic salesperson, and I knew that I could do something better.

I went out and got my broker’s license, which turned into a finance lending license within my first year of actually doing mortgages, and I left the company. I started my own business, got an office not too far from where we were located originally, and I opened up shop and started hiring people and became very successful.

I hired about 30 people. We had a pretty large marketing center. I was underwriting loans. I think I’d underwritten over a billion dollars in mortgage financing in just the couple of years that we were actually in the market. I knew it wasn’t going to last. So, I tried to predict the future, what was going to happen with the mortgage market and what I saw as the alternative outcome to all these crazy things that were going on, because I was really young. I didn’t even really own a house at the time and I knew that it was completely unstable. There was no way people could be making this much money off real estate, that the system was really botched and I needed to figure out what I was going to do if something was going to happen.

So, I kind of immersed myself in credit reporting because I knew that if people were going to foreclose on their homes and that we were going to have this major mortgage crisis like everybody was talking about back, then a lot of stuff had to evolve around credit reporting.

A friend of mine who was a programmer, basically, approached me and said, “Hey, listen. We should build an application that helps people manage cards and their credit and manage their finances.” So, I invested a lot of money into this program and we worked together for about six months and unfortunately, just a string of things all went badly at the worst possible time. My friend overdosed on Oxycontin and just didn’t wake up one morning, and so I had lost my programmer and a really good friend.

The mortgage crisis, that was right around the time that Bear Stearns, which was a big mortgage lender, announced that they had lost $12 billion in a single day. So, I knew that the mortgage crisis was about to hit really bad. My sister had just passed away, which also is pretty tragic. I had all these crazy events all happen at the same time and I just became really fed up with where I was and what I was doing.

So, I decided that one thing I was passionate about was trying to help people. I knew that we were going to face a really tough time over the next couple of years. It was 2007 and 2008. That period of time. I wanted to do something new with my life because sales and marketing wasn’t really doing it for me. What I did was I tried to pick up the application from where my friend left off and I had to immerse myself in programming.

What I did was I just picked up as many books that I possibly could, went on YouTube and figured these all on my own and so I spent probably two years learning programming. I started with HTML and CSS, which is this basic website design and then kind of took it to another level by learning PHP, MySQL databases, JavaScript and from then I just became more and more advanced in the different languages that I was learning. Along the way, I was building applications for businesses and that’s kind of how I was making paycheck, putting food on the table. It was really exciting because I had a really good background in sales and an understanding of how to do marketing but I also had this really good capability now that allowed me to build applications for people, or build ideas that I had.

And so, I remember, back when I was doing mortgages, that people were always frustrated and they would also call us and say, “Hey, I have no idea what’s going on.” and the average mortgage takes between 30 to 45 days to close, typically. And we had, as lone officers, we had all these great software that will handle the entire transaction for us but it didn’t really do anything for people, the people that we were working with. Those people would call us and they’d say, “Hey, you know what’s going on with my real estate agent?” And we wouldn’t be able to tell them because real estate agent had their own system and then same with [inaudible 00:05:21],with Escrow, appraisers and everybody else.

I thought one day that it would be really great to have a single system that everybody could work from and I didn’t start with professionals. We weren’t trying to build professional software. What we were trying to do is we were trying to help people figure out how to do these things because when you’re someone trying to buy a house, the most frustrating part is not understanding what’s going on. You have to constantly try to communicate with people from different parties and each person has their own version of a story that they’re telling you. And so, I thought it would be great to build a system that started with people, that was looking for professionals to help and that’s kind of the idea Worksfire spawned from.

The idea was that if we had a single system that had an amazing set of tools like document sharing, document storage and document signing, it made it easy for people to find professionals that they could work with based on reviews, referrals and, let’s see, if we had a featured advertisement system that it would make it easy for people to work with each other and have a single point of communication and reference so that everybody was on the same page.

Then, when I looked up at what we had, I realized that it worked for just about every type of project. So, it didn’t matter if it was trying to plan a wedding, going through a bankruptcy, buying a house, refinancing a house or remodeling a home, there are hundreds of different categories that people could use a system like this for. So we didn’t want to label it as a single vertical that we’re stuck with, like real estate. We decided that if we built a tool that was built for people then people could use it for anything that they needed, any type of project that they had. So, that’s where the idea spawned from.

John: Wow. I’ve got to ask you this. My listeners are sitting there. You didn’t come out of the box assembled, Patrick. You had some challenging times in your early adult life but there had to be something that shaped you, from where you came from, the people that took care of you and say, “Hey, Patrick. Knock yourself out. Go nuts.”

Patrick: Actually, I was born into this really entrepreneurial family.

John: So, there’s the real story, right? Come on, tell us.

Patrick: My dad actually was one of the leaders in fiber optics. He owned a company called AIDCO, which is Allied Interstate Development Corporation. He was really successful. He sold it back in the early 90s for quite a bit of money and that was kind of the idea. He didn’t really have an education. He came back from Vietnam, dropped out of college. I think he was in between colleges, he was trying to go from one college to another, when he was drafted for the Vietnam war. So, he didn’t really get the chance to finish college but when he came out from the army he had basically learned all of these new technologies and applied it to his business. He became an engineer and then started working with higher technologies at the time. One of them was fiber optics.

I think that’s kind of what inspired me to work in a technology-based business, but in the beginning I knew that I had to have some kind of experience. I was bit of an introvert, myself, growing up, but I really knew that if I was going to be successful, I had to put myself out there. So, I had to be more extroverted. The hardest way to do that is door-knocking and cold-calling.

John: It’s brutal.

Patrick: Yes, it is really brutal and that is a tough job because you are dealing with people who do not want to talk to you and you’re trying to get some of the most sensitive information out of people when you’re trying to do mortgages from cold calling. It’s a brutal job. A lot of people didn’t like how that job played out but it was really important in developing who I was because you had to put yourself out there and I did not like doing it but I did it anyway.

John: One of my oldest sisters was, for years, in the mortgage business. Mortgage origination, hunching out works for a big bank, and she does the hiring of the mortgage people, but I watched her and she was the first female executive for Prudential Bache. I can’t tell you how old it is but when there was a Prudential Bache, she was from the mortgage business and I watched her go through the process and she is probably one of my heroes in corporate America today because it has chiseled her to – she’s just amazing. You guys that come out of that mortgage business have a skill set that most don’t have.

Patrick: It is crazy. When I reflect on it, I just think about how crazy we were at the time. A lot of people compare us to a boiler room but that wasn’t really the case. My whole entire team was really young and we were figuring it out as we were going, which was kind of crazy, too, because at that point in time, homes were just going crazy and the value in homes was just skyrocketing and it didn’t matter where you were, it was across the entire nation.

I knew one thing about it; that it was unrealistic and that it was going to change. I looked at that more as learning experience and an education than anything else really. It was fun times but still we had to learn to put ourselves out there and had to build a brand and build a business. It was really exciting and it kept us motivated. but at the same time we were doing a lot of hard work and it was work that was pretty brutal, and we were getting beat up every single day. By the end of the day, after talking, you make 500 phone calls, and you talk to, maybe, one-third of those people. It’s really hard work. It’s really, really hard work. You don’t know if you’re going to get a pay check or not. Mortgage deals don’t go through.

What came for me in Worksfire is this fundamental idea that by helping people, you can create value and show them a better way of doing things and also making it extremely useful for professionals as well, and that’s why I think you saw that one of our last articles was reverse marketing, knowing how people’s intentions were.

If someone wants to buy a house then you know that they need a real estate agent. You know that they probably need a mortgage broker. So, when people give you intention of what their intent is, it’s easy for you to go and find professionals because professionals are always looking for people to work with.

John: It’s amazing. Everybody’s got, as I like to say it, a tribe. You just described your tribe and what supports you in that tribe is, I think, what helped transport you to Worksfire.

Patrick: Absolutely.

John: And people talk about brands in my company, my company brand. And I want to say, “Hey, get this. A company isn’t a brand. The people in the company, your tribe is the brand.”

Patrick: Yes. Absolutely. It is most definitely the people that you can work with together to accomplish something. Your tribe has to know it’s like taking care of a fire. You can’t always be there except to make sure that there’s wood on the fire. So, what you have to do is, you have to make sure one person’s out getting food  and the other person’s taking care of the fire and everybody’s trading spots but the same thing is being done. If somebody is taking care of certain parts that makes the company work as a whole. So, it’s really, really tough to find people that know where to fit in. You’re a young company, you’re looking for people that have skill sets, that are very malleable, that are quick learners, that are not afraid of new challenges. And if they don’t know how to do something, they’re willing to learn. If they’re doing something wrong, they’re willing to fail. Those are the types of people that we looked for. Before we ever got into anything too specified, even with our programming and some of the people that we deal with on the higher end of the tech scale or people that have built massive brands. Our programming team is amazing. They’ll tell you it’s the same thing. You just have to find people that are malleable, that are wiling to work to get something done. And I’ve worked for a couple start ups because, as a programmer, I go looking for work in programming. Work’s not that way. The whole entire premise of what they try to do is, “Hey. We’ve been funded. We have tons of money. Let’s go hire everybody under the sun.” And they are done five months later. They can’t do anything else. They run out of cash. They run out of capital and it’s just not effective, but by defining a culture and knowing what kind of people you can work with, at least you can head in the right direction.

John: It’s said, everybody’s got to get on the bus and then they’re going to get on the right seat on the bus, right?

 

Patrick: Absolutely. And just to make that trip enjoyable, right?

John: If not. It’s going to be a long, arduous trip.

Patrick: Yes, exactly. So, you know who you have to sit next to and what you have to do in order to get through it and try to enjoy it because it’s time spend. So, you might as well try to enjoy it.

John: I want to talk a little bit about Worksfire. I want to drill down a little bit and get some of your perspective. You talked about a lot of life changing events that happened to you that could be perceived as – really, you could have taken them a bunch of different ways and gone a bunch of different ways with them and I think you have really taken them and made them positives. As I like to say, “You got lemons and you made lemonade out of it.”

 

Patrick: It was tough. It’s a series of tragic events. Losing a person, too. I lost my sister and I lost my dad in a really close time for him as well as the business I was working on and trying to build. An idea I pinned into the next industry was kind of ended abruptly, too.

It’s tough. Everybody deals with those kinds of losses. So, I knew that it wasn’t really something that was going to try to hold me back from what I was doing. I just knew that the best way for me not to think about those kinds of things was to be working on something progressive, to be doing something that I knew was – Even if I wasn’t making a lot of money doing it, I was headed in the right direction and I had an idea of what I wanted to do and what I wanted to build, which was the result of Worksfire itself, but I didn’t know how to get there so I had to learn. I had to, basically, fail over and over and over and try new things and walk down different paths in order to get a little bit further.

John: But, Patrick, did you really fail? Because here’s my issue: I don’t think you failed. I think you succeeded because if you had not had those experiences – I don’t call them failures; it’s just that some experiences cost more than others. So, you succeeded because if you don’t go down that path and have those experiences, good, better and different, you can’t get to where you are right now.

 

Patrick: It’s a level of perception. You know where you are in the process. So, at the time they feel like failures but when you look at it like I said earlier when I reflect on it, I think, “Man, those were some crazy times.” I can’t believe that I came from there to here and taught myself how to do these things and became so inspired to learn more that one of my favorite things to do is to just go on YouTube and just sit for hours and learn new things.

I think YouTube is one of the greatest ways. If you’re really set on something and you feel like you need to learn something really, really fast, you have so many things available to you today that I wish I had when I was starting college. iTunes, for example. You can go on there and learn college courses from professors in Stanford University about artificial intelligence and then you have the course work. You get the basic understanding of it and you can go find more information about it.

I take all these different tools and I’m just inspired to go out there and learn more. I think that’s one of the great things about this generation. We have the ability to do a lot more for ourselves and do things with people who are also inspired to do things and learn on their own and take the reigns by their own, and I think that’s just kind of where we are. I’d like to think that I was kind of a pioneer in that sense, too. I didn’t want to go to college. I want to figure it out on my own and I use the available resources that we have to figure it out and now, it’s so much quicker for me to learn new things. I sit down for a day or two and, almost certainly, I’ve learned a whole, entirely new technology. I’m not a professional at it but I understand it. I know how to use it. I know what I can do with it.

John: I want to shift gears a little bit.

Patrick: Okay.

John: You’ve had a lot of experience. You’ve seen a lot of different things. So, my listeners want to know: how do you define company culture?

 

Patrick: I think that company culture is, in a sense, that you have to have a fixed point. You have to have a single goal that everybody is looking at and you have to be able to work together to achieve that goal. It’s not the thing that you have facing you every single day when you show up to work. It’s how you feel when you come to work and what you know that you’re doing. It’s kind of a core principle that when you get out of bed and when you go to work, you need to feel inspired every single day and know that what you’re doing is making a difference to each and all. What we do is we set these goals really far up and we say, “Ten years from now, this is what we want to be doing,” and we want to make sure that we’re headed in that direction.

This is how we expect each other to work and behave with each other in order to get there. Sometimes, it’s tough. Sometimes, it’s really easy and sometimes it’s great. Sometimes it’s bad but every single day, when you leave the office, you should feel like you got a little bit closer to that goal.

John: Is there a story you want to share with us where you guys took the company culture and accelerated your growth and accelerated your business?

Patrick: Yes, absolutely. Team is everything when you’re an early phase start up. Who you have really defines the expectation. We had this great idea and that’s pretty much what Worksfire was. It’s just an idea in a sense.

What I did was, I shared the idea with a lot of other people. Some just didn’t get it but others said: “You know what? I could really use a system like that in my day to day life.”

What I did was, I went around other people and talked to them and told them, “Hey. This is what I’m trying to do with [inaudible 00:18:17]. Would you like to try to help me? If I find funding, this is something that you could consider yourself working on.” And they said, “You know. Before you even get funding, let’s just work on it. Let’s try to build this thing.”

I had this really amazing team of programmers who were world renowned. I always try to find people that are better than me in specifically whatever they’re doing, but they have to be pretty well-rounded and be able to cover a lot of different bases but it’s just been kind of this experience where it’s hard to say but, everybody had to have skin in the game. That’s kind of the idea. We all had to put something in before we got anything out of it.

What I told the people who were trying to invest in our company that this is who my team was. They’re like, “How did you do that? You have all these people. Every single one of these people are $200,000 a year people. How did you get all these people to come help you?”

And I said, “Because they believed in me. When we talked about the idea, everybody’s motivated and everybody wants to see this happen. We want to make this reality.” I think that was the big push. When we finally sat down with investors for the first time, it was the first people we talked to, actually.

She said, “Wow. Your team is amazing. We don’t know how you got this many people and how you were able to get this far without having a penny, buddy. This is a deal. We have a deal here.” That was a really good feeling.

John: It’s called leadership.

 

Patrick: Yes.

John: It’s called a vision. It’s called leadership. Some of my listeners, entrepreneurs, know that without leadership – if you just have vision, or you just have leadership and you don’t put them together and you’re not aligned – because Patrick’s aligned if you look at his company and you look at the product. Everything is aligned in what Worksfire does. Everything he’s talking about that he’s sharing with us is aligned. That’s why people are all in, Patrick.

It’s easy. I can sit here. I don’t have any skin in the game in Worksfire, but I can sit here and tell you today that’s why they’re in. So, hats off to you, buddy. You did it right.

Patrick: Thank you very much. Hats off to everybody that works here, too, because without them it wouldn’t be possible. Having skin in the game, people that are willing to come on board and put their time and put their effort before they even know what’s going to happen. They’re taking a big risk. They’re leaping off the edge of that cliff with you and they don’t know where they’re going to land and you just have to know that if you’re doing the right thing, if you’re trying to do the right thing, you’ll just run into money, basically.

John: You know, Patrick. It’s said many times, there is no “I” in me or we.

 

Patrick: Yes, exactly.

John: I’ve just listened to you talk for over 35 minutes and have yet to hear you say, “I” or “Me.” That goes back to the leadership that I was just talking about. I want to change gears because we’ve talked about the people side of it. We’ve talked about the emotional side of it. Let’s talk about the physical side of it. How do you build a culture and an environment? Because we’re all products of our environment. We talked about where you came from. You’re a product of your environment.

You’re building this company. You have an environment. You have an office now. You have a design layout. How does that work for you? How do you retain the people that got on the bus earlier and how do you attract more people to get on the right seat on the bus as it relates to using your office environment?

Patrick:  I’m from Temecula, Southern California. It’s known as wine country and there’s really not a whole lot of tech companies out here. I think we weren’t the first tech company to ever receive investments but we’re the first fully fledged tech company that wasn’t doing sales or something else to really get a large [inaudible 00:21:44]. Before there was even a product, it was just an idea.

We also have another office that we work with all of our developers up in Hollywood. It’s at this building that’s called “WeWork”. WeWork has a bunch of different buildings all over the place and it’s a really cool, collaborative kind of environment. I wanted to bring that here. We just had to have really simple, open office layout. I didn’t want people to have offices. I justed want one office that was open and all of our desks are basically just chopping board table tops and there’s nothing else on them other than just a computer and maybe an extra monitor; we can all talk to each other and see what’s going on and no one’s limited to an office because we’re not used to doing it. I was a mortgage broker. I used to just run to my office, close my door and hide there.

I knew that we needed to have energy and we needed to be motivated. It kind of keeps us all in tune and in check with each other. Communication is really huge especially when you’re trying to do this as fast as we are. Having an open office, nobody behind walls and just making sure that we can all see each other and that we’re all working. Kind of keeps us all in check. It’s actually so much better working this way because we are so much more productive and communication, again, is key and being able to talk to somebody all the time especially when you have something pressing is huge. So, just a single office, as bare as we could be. It’s really modern but we just want to be able to see each other at all times.

John: Got a little logo on the wall, I understand?

 

Patrick: Yes, absolutely. Do you know what we have a lot of? It’s really cool. I put up these kind of motivational quotes called “start up vitamins”. We had some of at the other office and ones that bring that down here be a little different than what you would find in a company. It says, “Get Sh*t done.”

Next poster says, “Lights don’t pay the bills. Sales do.” The one next to that says, “Finish what you started.” That’s kind of really important in what we do. We were talking a little bit earlier about when you put something out the first time – you did a podcast. It wasn’t perfect. Now, it’s like our alpha product. So, we had really high expectations about what our product was going to be but the first time we released, it was terrible. But at least we finished it. We were able to finish something.

John: If you’re not embarrassed by your first release, you probably waited too long.

Patrick: Exactly. It was really embarrassing but we, as a company, knew that things were going to be better. The second time is always better and that’s why we’re in beta now, and if you look at our alpha versus our beta product, it’s so much better. It’s so different. How much better the team performed. It took us months and months to build the alpha but we’ve done the beta in two months. We rebuilt the whole entire system and it just works and functions so much better and the usability is a thousand fold better. Again, it’s a learning curve and you can’t expect the first time to be perfect.

John: I always like to say, if everything’s in alignment, it’s amazing. You get ordinary people do extraordinary things.

 

Patrick: Absolutely.

John: Because some of the parts are greater than the whole.

Patrick: Absolutely.

John: When people say, “What does that mean?” I’m like, “Just look around you.” And to that point, you now sit here with this amazing funding. You went through that process you shared with us. What are you going to do with your capital investments? How do you move the company forward and maintain the culture you built?

 

Patrick: Skin in the game is huge to us because we, as founding members, all had to do it. I worked at Worksfire for years before I ever showed it to anybody or gave the idea to anybody else but now at least I can get a paycheck which is kind of good and I could go somewhere else and I could focus on Worksfire 100% of the time.

John: Paychecks are good.

Patrick: Yes. Paychecks are good. We try to learn [inaudible 00:25:42] that’s really important right now because we have a limited starting capital. We got $600,000 in the seed round, which is actually pretty big seed ground but everybody that started with me at least can now get paid. So, that’s good.

Now, I can afford better technology. I can afford better servers. I can hire more programmers which is a really good deal. We set up a marketing budget which is kind of nice too, so when we released we could actually go out and expose ourselves on a much more grand scale than what we were anticipating doing for ourselves. So, that’s good. But we still expect people that come into the company to kind of invest their time right now because we do only have limited funding and so there will probably be another round that we’ll be looking forward to, but we’ll have to get a lot further with what we have before we actually go out there and start soliciting ourselves. You’ve got to take care of your people. You’ve got to make sure that people can put food on the table but, again, we’re still working really, really hard. I think everybody here deserves to get paid four times what we pay right now. But the fact of the matter is we all know what we’re doing and why we’re doing it and that’s the most important part.

John: So, Patrick, our listeners will want to know. They’re building their businesses. They’re building their cultures. They’re building their teams. What’s the one piece of advice you can give them?

 

Patrick: First of all, you need to know how to explain what you’re doing. That’s the hardest part. Even though I may have worked on my system tons of times, to explain what you’re trying to do in front of  30,000 people is much harder than it sounds. People need to get it right out of the gates. It’s like the elevator pitch. Can you sum up what you’re doing in three sentences? I still struggle with that today but you need to know how to do it.

Secondly, you can’t be afraid to go out there and talk to as many people as you need to. I’ve worked with other companies that were afraid. They made everybody sign non-disclosure, non-circumvent agreements and you don’t get very far by doing it. You just need to be able to put it out there, deal with whatever it is really fast and be wise in choosing the people you want to work with, and you can’t just solicit yourself to everyone out there. If you do that and you do it smart, you’ll find people who are willing to help you. People who get the idea. And they might have to think about it for a few days but if you’re doing a good job, they’ll call you back and say, “You know what? I’m ready to do this. I’ll put time towards that.”

John: So, what’s the most common mistake you see founders and entrepreneurs and people who are building making? What’s that single thing you see over and over again? There’s a common thread we’ve all – I’ve seen it in my travels but from your perspective, what is it?

Patrick: It’s hard to judge people that you want to work with. It’s hard to find people that –  because in that interview process for example, you’re not really seeing who the person is, they’re putting up a facade. They’re coming into the office and they are telling you X, Y and Z but really you’re looking for ABC. Finding people based on that first interview, for me, is still very hard. That’s tough.

John: You’re not alone. We’re all right there with you, Patrick. It’s almost as brutal as cold calling.

 

Patrick: I think there’s a really cool quote that Gary Vaynerchuck said, “Hiring people’s easy. It’s firing them that’s hard.” Firing people is the worst part of your job. We have original founding members who aren’t part of the company anymore and that’s always been tough because we take on a lot more that we thought we were capable of doing, we have to carry a lot of weight, but some people just can’t do it and they can’t stick with it. It’s unfortunate but you need to know how to end that relationship really, really fast. You can’t dwell on it. You can’t focus on those things. You just need to constantly be moving forward.

John: It’s tough. I want to move you to the lightning round because I know you’ve been generous with your time and I know you’re a busy person. Is it okay if we go right to the lightning round?

Patrick: Absolutely.

John: Okay. Here we go. Is there a book that changed your life?

Patrick: Absolutely. “4-Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferriss.

John: I like that book. It’s got pretty profound…

Patrick: I actually did exactly what he said in the book. So, I went out a bunch of jobs here that didn’t require me to be in the office. I found a really great person in Bangladesh that I can work with and just taught him how to do everything and he did my job for me while I built Worksfire. So, I got paid. I taught him how to do things. He worked out all the systems for me and every single day he would log in, do all my work while I focused on working and building Worksfire. I did it for two years straight. It’s pretty amazing.

John: Sign me up for that. Do you have a quote you go to for inspiration?

Patrick: Absolutely. “Passions grow like a forest and we give strength to the trees with sparks behind our eyes and fire beneath our cheek, we set these passions ablaze to rage for all to see.”

John: You remembered that?

Patrick: Absolutely.

John: Wow. I’m impressed. I’m still trying to remember my phone number. We moved about six or eight months ago to a new house. People say, “What’s your phone number?” I’m like, ”I have no clue.”

Patrick: I have, like, four phone numbers now. I don’t think I know some of them.

John: I’ve got the cell number down. What companies do you admire the most as it relates to culture and why? You can’t say yours.

Patrick: No, absolutely not. We took our own entire office idea from a company called WeWork and it’s always fun to go down to our office in Hollywood and go there and see how things are working. It’s just this really open office environment and it’s super modern. There are no walls. Everything is class. People are talking to you from different startups going on. We don’t have that down where I’m from but every time I go up to Hollywood, it’s always an inspiration to walk into the door and know that you’re working with people that are all facing the same types of different problems and they’re all inspired to work and they’re all working really hard. WeWork is just the office building but I think that the culture that they create is amazing.

John: I would agree. It’s a very cool cutlure.

Patrick: I look to them and I say, “Wow. If I had to build a company, I want to feel the same way I feel when I come here.”

John: Why should people work for Worksfire?

Patrick: It’s always a challenge. So, if you’re the type of person that likes to take on challenges, it’s definitely a great place to work. We give people a ton of responsibility and it’s a responsibility they have to figure out on their own and if you’re the type of person that likes to feel that people count on you for what you’re doing, then it’s also a really great place and you’re going to learn a lot because the people and the talent that we have here are amazing. These people are top of the line, top-tier people, much better than myself. I always say that everybody on my team does at least one thing much better than I could ever do.

John: I like that theory.

Patrick: We try to let people grow.

John: We’re going for the big finish. Are you ready?Yes. If you had to describe the culture of Worksfire in three words. What would it be?

Patrick: BE Great, BE Progressive and BE Humble.

John: So, BE Great, BE Progressive and BE Humble. Those are pretty good attributes that I think anybody could adopt. Patrick, how can my listeners connect with you?

Patrick: Just go to Worskfire.com. We’re still taking beta registrations right now. We’re going to release in a couple of days, hopefully pretty soon. Feel free to. My email, I actually answer emails all the time from people. So, if anybody wants to reach out, feel free to hit me up. My email address is Patrick@Worksfire.com and I love responding to people. I create a lot of relationships just from email.

John: Any new releases, roll outs, you want to share with our listeners?

Patrick: We’re getting ready to launch. That’s going to be a big one. If you keep going back to the site you will see more and more information. Check out our video, too. We actually just produced, I think you had the opportunity to see it but it’s a great video.

John: It is way cool. I looked at it last night I was like, “This is way cool.” By the way, when I tried to impress my kids, they were like, “We already saw it.” How did you already see it? That’s the millennials, they’re way out in front of us.

Patrick: Absolutely.

John: I can’t thank you enough for spending the time with us. I share with every one of my guests my favorite quote before we sign off, and my favorite quote is from Maya Angelou, which is, “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” And I sincerely hope we made you feel part of our tribe and we hope we made you feel welcome.

Patrick: Absolutely.

John: And I’d really like you to come back after your launch and share with us what’s going on and how you’re doing. I had a blast talking to you.

Patrick: Thank you.

John: Patrick, in your travels, have you run across another entrepreneur that would love this platform to tell their story? Would you send them my way?

Patrick: Absolutely.

John: This has been great. Promise me you’ll come back?

Patrick: Yes, absolutely. I’d love to come back as soon as we launch and just touch base with you, and let you know how it’s going on.

John: My door is always open to you. You know how to get a hold of me. Just come in. Schedule your time and you’re going to be back on the show telling us how great – because, folks, he’s got something that is unbelievable. It’s going to take off like a rocket.

Patrick: Thank you very much. I appreciate it, man.

John: You bet. Be well. Be successful. Talk to you soon. Thanks.