• Kevin Shabaar Smith


Updated: Mar 30


Welcome to the very first podcast episode of Ugly Business, it's good to have you. You know, I have to tell you, I've been thinking about doing a podcast for a really long time and it just took me, it took me forever to pull the trigger because I think that everything happens in seasons and everything happens when it's supposed to happen.

I think you have to push and push and push.

But I think when things finally happen, they happen at that specific time for a very specific reason. But that being said, I've been meaning to do this podcast for a long time. And I think if you were to really dial into, and I don't wish this on anybody, but if you were to really dial into my inner being, you'd probably find that the reason why I was hesitant to really get started is because I'm introverted and , I was just hesitant to put myself out there in this forum.

And I talk to a lot of people and I tell them I'm introverted, and they find it difficult to believe. And if you are an introverted person, you know exactly what I'm talking about. But a lot of people really don't understand that.

For instance, I do live videos all the time and I go to conferences all the time and I teach training classes all the time. And I've even done a bunch of keynotes... and so people don't believe when I say that I'm introverted and it really is an energy thing. You know, it's an energy thing. It tends to drain your energy if you don't manage it in a certain way.

And if you're an introvert you get that, you understand that, and not to say that you don't get it if you're an extrovert, you probably do. But it just took me awhile to really put myself out there in this particular forum, because I have this thing where I'm super paranoid about making something all about me and sounding as though something's all about me in a one-way broadcast type dialogue, like a podcast.

It was just hard for me to wrap my head around how to do it in a way that wasn't about me and just what I'm up to. And especially this first episode.

This first episode, I want to share with you the story of how I got here. And I was really hesitant to do it because again, I don't want everything to be about me. And then I was talking to someone the other day who reminded me and thank God she reminded me. She reminded me that just because you tell your story doesn't mean that it's just about you. There's someone out there that needs to hear it. And I hope that it's you. I hope that you're the one that needs to hear it. So, I'm going to tell it today. It's episode one. And so this is a fitting time to tell the story.

And some of you know my story. If you follow my content, I've kind of interweaved some of it. And if you're one of the people that have heard this long with past, then you might hear some extra details that may not have been in some of the content I've put out there before.

But many of you know that I worked in organizational development for years and years and years and just hearing the term organizational development, it's like overly corporate, right? I developed training programs, I developed coaching programs, talent management systems, you name it, all that organizational development stuff, right? And I knew from a young age and if you're an entrepreneur right now, then that’s somewhere in the back of your head you kind of always knew that it was there.

I mean, maybe you kind of always knew that someday you wanted to do something on your own. Maybe you didn't believe you are going to actually do it, but there was this seed, right? There was a seed in your mind, at least for me, that's really the way it was. I had to see it in the back of my mind.

And I was working and working, working and I was doing all these things and I remember someone coming to our business, I was working in a manufacturing plant in North-western Pennsylvania. And I remember this consultant came into our plant by the name of Cora Mays. And if you can just envision, she was probably when I first met Cora Mays, she was probably 72 years old, 73 years old, maybe even a little bit older; went and I met her and she was still at it.

She had been consulting for, I don't know how many years, decades and decades and decades. And she came in our plan If he can envision this Irish woman, mid to late seventies and just put the hammer down when she said, this is what you have to do it people listened and they did it the way that she said to do it. And she kind of ruled this project that we brought her into to help us manage with an iron fist as, you can just imagine, like you could just see her. She was short and she was skinny and she was in her mid to late seventies, but she had things together. She was really under control. And I, I remember back then I could pick up on things pretty quick. So I was really paired with her to help get this project going.

And I remember we were alone in the break room one day, and she looked at me and she said

"Kevin, you need to do something more like what I'm doing. You should do your own thing; you should be an entrepreneur. You should probably think about going out and consulting".

And we talked a little bit about it ... nothing really serious, but at the end of our conversation, she said,

"you'll never find the freedom that I can see that you want by working for somebody else."

I'll never forget it, I'll never forget it and she said in her Irish accent, and she just looked at me square in the eye and told me everything I needed to hear at that very moment.. And that really made all the difference in the world and that, the seed was nurtured at that point.

It was like someone took the seed that was in my head, took it in fertile soil, covered it up, poured water on it, and that was it.

That was the seed, right. And I knew like at that point in time, it just came at a perfect time. It was a perfect storm because I wanted more control over my future. I wanted more influence on my future right.

I mean, I had an MBA in business, I had two bachelor’s degrees. I had a decade of experience in trading and leading people and I just wanted to go out and do more. Great. I wanted to do more, I wanted to be more, I want to have more. Right there's you can have all of the education in the world and you can climb the ranks in a management position and you can go higher and higher and higher right? But there's just something different. Right there's just something different about being the owner of a business, being an entrepreneur, being able to create something.

At the time I was making good money. I was making really, really good money. But it wasn't as someone said, it wasn't FU money. You know what I mean? It wasn't, at the time I wasn't making like, like money that was just allowed me to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, however I wanted. But I wasn't making good money. But I wanted the FU money, I wanted to, I didn't care about being filthy rich. I just wanted enough to say, you know what? I don't need this and I don't need that and I don't need your work, and I don't need your work. I'm doing what I'm doing because I want to. That's where I wanted to be, and that was my motivation at the time. And mostly, and I'm going to tell you this and I know that if you're anything like me, this is going to resonate with you. But I had this need to just create something on my own, right? I wanted to create, I wanted to bring something into the world that doesn't currently exist. And I wanted to say here, I created this and wanted it to be here. And I think that's just a part of who I am and it's probably a big part of who you are.

I guess it's probably a big part of who you are. I have a house up here and in North-western PA where I'm talking to you from right now and, much to the chagrin of my realtor and that my banker and everyone else who's been talking to me, you know. As my family has grown, I haven't moved, like I've built things onto my house and I've added things and my house has gone through a top to bottom renovation probably three or four times now, right. Which is ridiculous, and financially it's not smart. And I probably should have moved probably three or four times by now, but I've always kept this house and I'm going to be really honest with you. I could go into this big long thing about how it's some sentimental to me, and this is where the kids grew up and I mean, and all that has some truth to it. But at the end of the day, it was me creating something. I got a satisfaction of seeing what I could change and seeing what I can adapt and seeing what I could put here that was different. And so, I think that's always been kind of a part of me. But going back to the work thing, I needed that outlet professionally as well. I needed it.

I just needed to create something on my own. And so I decided I was going to do just that. And I decided I was going to go on my own. I was going to be an entrepreneur and I was going to be a consultant and I set out to do that. And I had this plan and I talked to my employer at the time, and this was probably actually about a year later, I talked to my employer then at the time and I said, hey listen I have to go try this. If I don't do it, if I don't try it, if I don't see if I can do it, I'll regret it and I'll never know. And my employer looked at me at the time and he said, I can tell you right now, you're probably not, it's probably more than you think it is and it's probably more than you know you can chew.

And I just remember thinking in my head like is he saying this so I won't leave or is he saying it because it's true? And so I decided I was just going to go for it. I was going to go for it anyway, and so we made this plan, we sat down and he didn't want to lose me and I was in no hurry to just kind of jump into the deep end with this consulting business that I was gonna create. And so we made this plan that I would go down to part time and then as people were trained, as we were training the person to take my place, we'd slowly kind of graduate till I was out of the business and then officially on my own, and it was perfect. I was like, this is going to be great because I won't be without income as I'm trying to get this thing off the ground.

I thought, heck this isn't going to, it's only going to take me a couple months. I had been doing it on the side for a while and it should only take me a couple months to get this thing moving full time and it'll be perfect. So I remember going home that night and really thinking about it and starting to make plans about how I was going to do it. And I went downtown and I at least an office, which was a whole horrible mistake. Probably it was my first official mistake, I think I made at the time. I was leasing an office, but I did it and I went back to work the next Monday and I met with my employer at the time and he said, you know what, I was thinking about our conversation yesterday.

And I think it's probably best if we just part ways, we just part ways. And to tell you the truth, it didn't really surprise me cause a lot of employers do it right. You typically don't hang on to someone who you're going to leave because you just never know what you're going to get out of them and you know, all that stuff. And so I got it, but it was a shock to me because I didn't know, you know. I had no idea what the future was gonna hold in that. And so the next day I woke up and I went to the office that I had leased and all that was in this office really was, it was a one room office and it had a table in it, and a telephone. And I remember I walked through the lobby, I walked down the hall, I went into the office and I sat down at the chair. And on my desk was one phone, so it was one desk, one chair, computer on the desk that I had brought in over the weekend and a phone.

And I just remember sitting there and the entire weight of the world just fell right on my chest. When I realized that that phone wasn't going ring, it just wasn't. There was nobody to call the phone, I mean, I had done some work on the side, but there was no reason for anybody to call me. And I realized that I had just gone from making very, very good money to making zero, zero. You know, and at the time I had two kids, and probably the worst part of this story is that it was in 2008. And for those of you who remember 2008, and you should remember 2008 right. It was right when the recession was kicking in, and that's when it all just kind of started to look really bleak.

And, I went to just what I had learned over the years and that's the need to network and to reach out and to call people that you know, not sales calls but networking calls. People who I knew who knew people, people in the industry, industry support groups, industry trade groups and things like that. And so I reached out to everybody and then the last person I called was someone who would later was going to be a mentor of mine. And I reached out to some people I knew in the John Maxwell team, and I ended up being part of the John Maxwell team and through some connections I met through there, I ended up in this mastermind group; mastermind group for entrepreneurs. And I didn't meet the qualifications, like this group was supposed to be for people who had owned their own business for like five years or something like that.

And I'd only been doing this thing like working evenings and weekends, part time, putting together training programs for people. Like just, it was kind of, it wasn't even a side hustle, it was more of a pocket hustle. And so I asked if I could be part of the group and they allowed me to enter the group. And you know, something like this is really amazing because when you're an employee right, you get trained and maybe you get mentored by someone who's a bit more senior. But when you're an entrepreneur and you know this, right? When you're an entrepreneur, you need someone who's felt it, right? Who's lived it, who's felt the pain, who's understand the paranoia, the insomnia and all that other stuff that goes along with being an entrepreneur, right? All that other garbage. You feel it, I know you feel it right. And it doesn't matter how long you've been around, you feel it, you know there's something keeping you up at night. There's always the worry is if things are going to crumble, where's the next the next check going to come from. And so, I got into a group with other people who knew all about that stuff. And so, I joined it and I had this plan. I told myself you know what, I'm going to engage, I'm going to take part, I'm going to go to all the meetings. They had online meetings and then once a year they had these offline meetings and you know, these in person meetings and I was going to I was just going to put 100%. I was going to take all my introverted preferences and I was going to empower them and I was going to inject every bit of energy that I had and I was going to make this thing happen.

Yes, and so I did, I started going to these meetings and I started to slowly, you know learn who all the people were and introduce myself and really do all the things I needed to do to make this thing work for me. And I remember just as it was going on, my savings account was going lower and lower and lower and the mortgage kept you know, coming due. And that was more and more money out of the savings account, into the bank, out of the savings cloud, into the bank, car payments, you know the kids playing getting into sports and you know, all I mean everything. And I was worried, and when I say worried, listen, I don't mean that it kept me up at night; I mean worried. I felt selfish because I quit a job with a guaranteed pay check for something that was unknown. I felt stupid for being dumb enough to do something like that. I felt embarrassed because in the eyes of the people that were around me, I was the one who knew about business. Right. I was the one who knew about companies, I was the one with an MBA.

But I was becoming more and more and more broke every single week and I was getting down to the end of it. I was getting down to the end of it, and I just remember like a week before, one of our in-person meetings was about to happen. And I remember like taking a deep breath and just saying to myself, you know what I'm going to this mastermind group meeting and if I don't get an answer that I think is going to make the difference in this meeting, it's over, it's over. And it was hard.

And so I remember, I remember getting into this meeting and you know, we spent some time just kind of networking and talking to one another. And this one gentleman who was in the meeting, Paul, and I went, I just remember going up to Paul and saying, Paul listen, I got to ask you a question. He's someone who seemed really open, and I felt like I could you know kind of just lay it all out there. And so I said, I go, Paul, listen, I got to tell you, I've been at this for a little while and the resources are running out and I don't know if I can do this anymore. I think I have to go back to the workforce. And he asked me, he goes you know and he had this way of just like asking the appropriate question, like right away.

It's almost as though he knew what question I was going to ask already. And he had his response and a question like on cue. You know, in looking back on it, all that was probably true because I think every entrepreneur goes through this. If you haven't gone through it yet, you probably will. And his question to me very fast was, how long have you been thinking about this? And I said, well, I've had my doubts now for you know, several months, several months now. And he said, listen, one of your biggest problems is, right now you are holding onto two opposing beliefs at the same time and that will never last, you can't do that. It is impossible for you to do that. So you have to choose and then the answers will come to you. And I was like, what kind of Yoda Jedi mind trick mumbo jumbo is this???!!!

It's like, what is he talking about?

I just remember thinking like, and granted I wasn't in the most open space mentally at this time. So I just looked at him, said what? I go, I don't understand what you're telling me. He goes, you can think about a lot of different scenarios, right? You can brainstorm different scenarios. You can think about different options and you can make your pros and cons list and all that stuff is good. He goes, but you can't believe two opposing things at the same time because you can believe that this is going to work for you and then make it work for you. Or you can believe that you need to go back to the workforce because it isn't going to work for you. Which of those two options are you going to believe? Because you can't believe them both.

And at that point in time I was like, whoa, wow. Like of course you can't believe, like why didn't I, that wasn't a solution, but that was the footing on which I needed to stand. Right, that was the stool that I needed to go ahead and jump on. And at that point in time I looked at him, he's like, you can, but you just have to believe know this is what he said to me. Said you can, but you have to believe you can. And then we'll talk about what you're going to do. And so that day I was like I just, I made a decision, right? Decision like incision is, the word incision is to cut into, the word decision means to cut away from. And I cut away everything else but moving forward. I stopped thinking about going back to work. I stopped thinking about all the other, the bailouts, all the other everything. And I said, okay, I know I believe that this is going to work for me. What's next? What do I do next? See, every bit of energy that is spent on something outside of your belief to do something is a leak, right? It's a leak. And as soon as he said it, all of it became clear. I'm like, I'm leaking all of the resources that I need to, to actually do the thing.

And so from that point on, I just put my head down and I said, okay, this is what I have to do. And we sat down for like five minutes; It’s all this took. And I started mapping out, these are the people who I'm going to call, this is what I'm going to do, this one or do I got up in front of the mastermind group, and I said, I'll take any advice, any advice that anyone could give me. And everyone started chiming in and I started writing notes, writing notes, writing notes. And I came away from that meeting with the list of about 20 things that I could do. Right and I started creating my plan, right and it was awesome. So I went to work and I went back and I networked and I got my first real big project within probably two weeks of that meeting. Right and then I got another and I took that one and I got a referral and I took that one, I got a testimonial and I just kept putting one foot in front of the other foot.

And then I looked up one day and I had built a six-figure coaching and consulting business in the middle of the worst recession in United States history since the Great Depression. And I just could not believe it, I mean, God, I am telling you, I just, I could not believe it, how far I'd come in such little time. Right and so I don't know where, where you're at. I don't know what your goals are, I don't know what it is that you ultimately want to do. You know, free to mean so many different things to so many different people. I'm not going to jump on a pedestal and pretend that I know what freedom means to you, but whatever it is, I know this.

I know that whatever you're going through, someone else has been there and has made it. Right and they're waiting to connect with you. I know that if you've never been in a mastermind group, now's the time to get in one. Right and I'm going to be flat out honest with each and every one of you. The work room, which is my mastermind group that I have coming up right now is worth its weight in gold. Right if you're a coach and you're looking to find freedom and take your coaching business to the next level, I started it because of what I went through. I started it because of the value that I saw in it. I started it because I know a mastermind group is the difference between someone giving up when success is around the corner and someone just cashing in their chips. And so, whether we ended up working together or not, I want to thank you for listening to me today, and I want you to know that we are here for you. Whether you joined mastermind program or not, do I want you to? Absolutely, I think that it's going to change your world.

But I didn't create this podcast to, to sell my mastermind group. I created this podcast to connect with you, right. And if anything we've talked about today resonates with you, I hope you're listening to episode number two and then three and then four, because I want to be part of your journey no matter how big or small that piece may be. I want to be a part of your journey, right. I want to be that person that you look back upon one day and say you know what that guy made a difference in my business and my life. Like that's my personal mission statement, and I'm going to leave you that with this one thing, because again, I'm telling this story because I hope it resonates.

But I also want you to know that after I built that business, I still realized that I wasn't doing exactly what I wanted to do. Right and I made another change and I want to tell you about that change in episode number two, right. I want to tell you about that change because if you are making your way through this online world, you are going to want to know what happens next. Okay and again, I hesitate to share it with you only because there's a part of me that feels like I'm just talking about myself. But I know that it's going to resonate with you or a part of you. So check out episode number two that's going to be released next week. Okay in the meantime, I hope that you got some value out of it. I don't know if this was for you; maybe it's for you, but not for you today. But if it's not for you today, I hope you remember that it's here.

And when things get tough, I want you to come back and I want you to listen to this. If it is for you, if you're in the same spot that I was in, then I want you to know that it can happen for you. You have to believe that can happen for you, but it can happen for you. Okay and I have a bunch of tools. I have a bunch of resources. I have a bunch of information, knowledge and experience, and I can curate it from others, and I bring other people in. But we'll do everything we can to help you get through what you need to get through. Okay? So keep that in mind. I hope to see you all here listening to my podcast. I say see in quotes. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a great week. We'll talk to you later. This is Kevin Shabaar Smith. We'll see you.


© 2018 Kevin S Smith | Leaderstone, Inc.

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Instagram