Celebrating Small Family Businesses: A Conversation with Matilda and Damien Relyea

Matilda and Damien Relyea, founders of Relyea Insurance Group, speak about their journey in running a small family business. They detail the challenges they faced such as navigating financial hurdles and attaining a work-life balance. They also discuss the importance of self-reliance, lessons learned from other family business owners, and provide advice to aspiring entrepreneurs. Damien and Matilda emphasize the need to surround oneself with successful and experienced business owners for guidance and advise those considering starting a business to simply ‘just do it’.

00:00 Introduction and Welcoming the Guests

00:26 Starting a Family Business: The Backstory

02:09 Challenges and Reactions from Family

03:26 The Joy of Working Together

05:47 Overcoming Challenges in the Business Journey

06:08 Balancing Work and Personal Life

06:52 Financial Stress and Its Impact

09:03 Creating a Healthy Work Environment

10:49 Lessons Learned and Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

14:02 The Power of Being Debt-Free

14:45 The Dangers of Comparison and the Importance of Choices

15:36 The Trap of Living by Default

16:36 The Addiction to Materialism

18:14 The Changing Dynamics of Family and Business

21:00 The Importance of Networking and Learning from Others

22:43 The Value of Earning Your Place

25:04 The Power of Resilience and Self-Confidence

28:39 The Importance of Teaching Financial Responsibility

30:50 Closing Thoughts: Just Do It

You can find them at www.relyeainsurancegroup.com which will forward to https://usabg.com/DRelyea

Transcript
John:

Hi, so today we are celebrating

John:

Damien and Matilda Relyea of

John:

the Relyea Insurance Group.

John:

Hi guys.

Damion:

Hi.

Damion:

How's it going?

John:

We're happy to

John:

have you here with us.

Connie:

Yeah, thank you for joining us.

Matilda:

Thank you.

Damion:

Thanks for having us.

John:

Our theme is family, celebrating

John:

family businesses, small family

John:

businesses particularly, and you guys

John:

I think fit that pretty perfectly.

John:

So how did you get started

John:

in family business?

Damion:

Yeah.

Damion:

Yeah.

Damion:

I mean, do you want to start with

Damion:

a little bit of our back story?

Matilda:

Yeah.

Matilda:

So my, my background was I was

Matilda:

pursuing medicine at the same time.

Matilda:

I sort of got into real estate and

Matilda:

that ended up being the route that

Matilda:

I stayed on a little bit closer.

Matilda:

So I sold real estate.

Matilda:

I recruited real estate agents.

Matilda:

Damien's background was sort of

Matilda:

varied starting in, started in

Matilda:

plumbing, did a couple of things.

Matilda:

And we were introduced.

Matilda:

To to business, I guess by

Matilda:

connection in New York, which is

Matilda:

where we're from upstate New York.

Matilda:

And that those kind of

Matilda:

business connections originally

Matilda:

actually not an insurance.

Matilda:

They ended up bringing us to

Matilda:

Florida and about six months

Matilda:

after we moved to Florida.

Matilda:

Having spent some time working in the

Matilda:

insurance realm, we decided to start

Matilda:

our own insurance business together.

Matilda:

I should say he convinced me to

Matilda:

work in an insurance business with

Matilda:

him because that's a little bit

Matilda:

more what it was in the beginning.

Matilda:

But since then, about a year and a half

Matilda:

coming up on two years, actually, I

Matilda:

would say we've been insurance business.

John:

Congrats.

John:

Yeah.

John:

Did either one of you guys come from have

John:

a family business in your background?

Damion:

No.

Damion:

So both of our families are pretty

Damion:

job minded, I guess you would say.

Damion:

Your dad's an RN, your mom's a

Damion:

accountant, my mom is a English teacher.

Damion:

Yeah.

Damion:

So we don't have really any background

Damion:

as far as learning from someone as

Damion:

running a small family business.

Damion:

No.

Matilda:

My uncle had a pizza shop.

Matilda:

How's the piece of shop that I worked

Matilda:

in a little bit, but, but our, our

Matilda:

lineage is not really entrepreneurship.

Matilda:

Well, congrats for stepping

Matilda:

out and doing that.

Matilda:

Yeah.

Matilda:

Cause that is scary.

Damion:

Yeah.

John:

Any, any particular reactions

John:

from family were, were they cautionary

John:

about you when you decided to do this?

Damion:

Not really.

Damion:

We've always just kind of been.

Damion:

I guess you would stay hardheaded

Damion:

pretty straightforward.

Damion:

Like we're going to get

Damion:

this done no matter what.

Damion:

So maybe a little bit.

Damion:

But we also didn't really consult with

Damion:

them because none of them own a business.

Damion:

So we weren't going to ask other people

Damion:

who didn't own businesses, what they

Damion:

thought about us starting a business.

Damion:

We talked to other business owners.

Damion:

But yeah, I mean, obviously parents

Damion:

always want the best for you.

Damion:

But we've always just

Damion:

kind of been that way.

Damion:

I've wanted to own a business since I

Damion:

was probably 15 or maybe even younger.

Damion:

I had small variations of my

Damion:

own businesses, I guess you

Damion:

could say, in high school that

Damion:

weren't technically on the books.

Damion:

But yeah, they're, they're pretty

Damion:

supportive.

Matilda:

Yeah.

Matilda:

Yeah.

Matilda:

And I think, and to your point, we

Matilda:

learned from business owners, we're

Matilda:

really fortunate actually to learn from

Matilda:

other business owners really early on.

Matilda:

Like, don't take advice from people

Matilda:

you wouldn't trade places with.

Matilda:

Yeah.

Matilda:

And that was a big deal

Matilda:

because I love my parents.

Matilda:

You love your parents, but we

Matilda:

wouldn't trade places with them.

Matilda:

In fact, a lot of what we do is for them.

Matilda:

So you, you can't take advice from

Matilda:

the same people you want to help.

Matilda:

Even though we have so much respect,

Matilda:

we've learned so much from them.

Matilda:

Absolutely.

Matilda:

That's a writer

John:

downer right there.

John:

Wow.

John:

Very good.

John:

Very good.

John:

So what do you guys love

John:

most about working together?

Damion:

Yeah.

Damion:

I think it's that phrase, just

Damion:

being able to work together.

Damion:

When we were working jobs, we

Damion:

weren't in the job market or I guess

Damion:

sphere, you could say very long.

Damion:

We didn't pray for other people very long.

Damion:

But we just hated being apart and

Damion:

we were also building somebody

Damion:

else's business all the time.

Damion:

And there's nothing wrong with that.

Damion:

We worked with great people.

Damion:

We still have great

Damion:

relationships with them.

Damion:

We just got sick of

Damion:

being apart all the time.

Damion:

It just didn't really make sense for us.

Damion:

So now we're together all the time.

Damion:

We're building something

Damion:

together for our family.

Damion:

And it's just so much more fun.

Damion:

It's so much more fulfilling.

Damion:

I think people and us included, we

Damion:

kind of went through the motions.

Damion:

We were just showing up collecting a

Damion:

paycheck and then, you know, that was it.

Damion:

And now we're actually building something.

Damion:

We're on an adventure.

Damion:

Yeah.

Matilda:

And I think that to your, to

Matilda:

your point as well about having more

Matilda:

freedom and choice, like when you were

Matilda:

working, when Damien was working at an

Matilda:

insurance agency, you have a ceiling.

Matilda:

And that's, I mean, that's true of

Matilda:

anything, like when you're working

Matilda:

for somebody, you have a ceiling

Matilda:

because you have opposing interests.

Matilda:

Their goal is to pay you as

Matilda:

little as possible and get as much

Matilda:

value from you, which is fine.

Matilda:

That's their business.

Matilda:

And your goal is to make

Matilda:

as much money as possible.

Matilda:

And in some people's case, do

Matilda:

as little work as possible.

Matilda:

So you really are kind of at odds.

Matilda:

And he just saw the opportunity of like,

Matilda:

I can do everything my employer is doing.

Matilda:

All he's doing is buying, you know,

Matilda:

insurance and buying me leads and

Matilda:

making me come and sit in an office.

Matilda:

And I can do those two things by myself.

Matilda:

And so he's like, he made it that simple.

Matilda:

And I think that was key, honestly,

Matilda:

at first for insurance, just

Matilda:

making it that simple and saying,

Matilda:

Well, I can do this stuff myself.

Damion:

Yeah, I think one of my

Damion:

skills is explaining things like I'm

Damion:

explaining it to a fourth grader,

Damion:

because that's how I operate.

Damion:

I'm like a fourth grade level, so I

Damion:

can break things down pretty simple.

John:

That is huge.

John:

Simplicity.

John:

Simplicity is an art.

John:

I don't, have you ever heard of

John:

the physicist Richard Feynman?

John:

No, he is well known.

John:

In fact, it's called

John:

the Feynman technique.

John:

And it's basically, if you can't take

John:

something and explain it to an eight

John:

year old, you don't understand it.

John:

You're right up there with

John:

a brilliant physicist.

John:

So is there, is there any challenge

John:

that you've overcome together in

John:

your journey that other couples

John:

might benefit from hearing about?

Damion:

Yeah.

Damion:

I mean, I'd say so the first

Damion:

year in business, the first

Damion:

couple of years in business for

Damion:

most businesses is pretty tough.

Damion:

You're investing a lot.

Damion:

You're not necessarily always seeing

Damion:

the return that you want to see.

Damion:

In the beginning, it was very much

Damion:

separating work from not work.

Damion:

Because we started off

Damion:

in our small apartment.

Damion:

It's a very small apartment.

Damion:

We've worked from home.

Damion:

We did everything from home,

Matilda:

everything,

Matilda:

desks in the living room.

Matilda:

Not a good idea.

Matilda:

It was fun.

Matilda:

Like

Damion:

it was a grind.

Damion:

It was fun.

Damion:

It was the beginning.

Damion:

But it got to the point where it

Damion:

was like, man, this is not healthy.

Damion:

Cause when you're sitting down

Damion:

relaxing, you can see your desk and

Damion:

you're like, wow, I should be working.

Damion:

And it's like nine o'clock at

Damion:

night and you should not be working

Damion:

because you've worked all day.

Damion:

So yeah, just one learning

Damion:

how to work as a couple.

Damion:

But also learning how to separate

Damion:

that when it's not business, you're

Damion:

spending time going to dinner, not

Damion:

talking about, Oh, Hey, we need to

Damion:

buy this and we need to do that.

Damion:

All right.

Damion:

What's the P and L look like just being

Damion:

able to spend time together and separate

Matilda:

it.

Matilda:

And I mean, for most people in new

Matilda:

to business, I mean, your number

Matilda:

one problem is cashflow, like at the

Matilda:

top of pretty much everyone's list.

Matilda:

And so we were, we were profitable our

Matilda:

first year in business, I would say.

Matilda:

That business was making money, but

Matilda:

we were not making money which is

Matilda:

the case for a lot of people because,

Matilda:

you know, even in the beginning when

Matilda:

you're succeeding, you know, we're

Matilda:

like, Oh, yes, like, this is great.

Matilda:

Look at our profit margins.

Matilda:

And then we're like, Oh, but we have

Matilda:

bills and expenses and all of that.

Matilda:

And so it was cool to come out of.

Matilda:

You know, that phase but I think

Matilda:

that's kind of the big, a big challenge

Matilda:

and it can cause a lot of stress.

Matilda:

Like financial stress can

Matilda:

leak into your personal life.

Matilda:

So, yeah, I think we were blessed

Matilda:

to have really good influences just

Matilda:

in our personal life of how to have.

Matilda:

you know, a good marriage.

Matilda:

And that's something that's a continual

Matilda:

work in progress for everybody.

Matilda:

But if you can't separate that, like

Matilda:

the financial stress, it can like

Matilda:

really, you know, be hard on a marriage.

John:

Yeah, I agree.

John:

I want to call out something you just

John:

said that kind of slipped on by, which

John:

was the idea of financial stress can

John:

leak into the into the relationship.

John:

I think it's A much stronger

John:

statement would be appropriate.

John:

I think what I've read is like the,

John:

that's one of the biggest problems

John:

that couples in business together

John:

face is that is the financial

John:

stress stresses the relationship.

John:

Yeah.

Matilda:

And I mean, number

Matilda:

one cause of divorce.

Matilda:

As far as I know, it's financial stress.

Matilda:

You guys can correct me because I, you

Matilda:

have your, you have your facts straight

Matilda:

a lot more than I do, I think, but but

Matilda:

yeah, that financial piece is big, even

Matilda:

for people who don't own a business.

Matilda:

So when you own a business and it's like

Matilda:

suddenly everything, you know, the way

Matilda:

you say is like, you have to hunt and

Matilda:

kill and everything you're going to eat.

Matilda:

That's the most, how it feels.

Matilda:

That's kind of like a primal

Matilda:

example, but like when you're right.

Matilda:

Deal by deal, commission by commission.

Damion:

That's what it is.

Damion:

There's no taking it easy today.

Damion:

Cause you're out, you're

Damion:

literally hunting.

Damion:

If you don't kill, like you don't

Damion:

eat, like you gotta, you gotta

Damion:

put in work, make sure it happens.

Matilda:

Well, and being together

Matilda:

24 seven is another stressor,

Damion:

right?

Damion:

Yeah, I mean, we love it.

Damion:

Like we're, we, we understand that.

Damion:

Yeah, we've done really good at it.

Damion:

But we also got to the point

Damion:

where I got an office space.

Matilda:

We learn our,

Matilda:

we learn how to navigate

Damion:

it.

Damion:

Yeah, yeah.

Damion:

Because we'll distract each other.

Damion:

When we're together all the time,

Damion:

we won't get as much work done

Damion:

because we're just hanging out.

Damion:

We want to have fun.

Damion:

We want to talk.

Damion:

So I ran, we ran a small office

Damion:

space for me to go to during the day.

John:

So one of the ways you

John:

figured out to work more effectively

John:

business wise was to create a

John:

little separate physical separation.

Matilda:

Yeah, 100%.

Matilda:

When he's home like today he came

Matilda:

home from the office early and he

Matilda:

says, Oh, I'm coming home early.

Matilda:

I'm like, Okay.

Matilda:

I'm not going to get anything done.

Matilda:

And I know that.

Matilda:

And that's, you know, obviously

Matilda:

I can work if I have something

Matilda:

booked, you know, it's easy.

Matilda:

Cause I, it's booked.

Matilda:

I can be there.

Matilda:

But yeah, I think we do our best work

Matilda:

separately and it's fun to be together

Matilda:

all the time, but we did have to kind of

Matilda:

find that, you know, balance, especially

Matilda:

because for us, some couples maybe can

Matilda:

sit there and work together for us.

Matilda:

The majority of our work

Matilda:

is done over the phone.

Matilda:

So you can't really have, you know, Two

Matilda:

conversations, phone conversations going

Matilda:

in the same, same small space, same room.

Matilda:

So that does make it a little tough.

Matilda:

So we did have to kind of work

Matilda:

that out and get another space.

John:

Okay.

John:

Yeah, we actually are similar position.

John:

Connie's computer is, desk is right there.

John:

And so if we both wanted to be on the same

John:

zoom call, we would have problems with

John:

echo and you know, all that kind of stuff.

John:

So hence we sit next to each

John:

other for, for coaching and, or I

Matilda:

moved my computer

Matilda:

into the, into the dining room.

John:

Yeah.

John:

No, they're into the house.

John:

Yeah.

John:

Well, there's not a problem.

Matilda:

Yeah, absolutely.

Matilda:

And we've done

John:

that too.

John:

Is there anything that you, anything

John:

about being, working together in a

John:

family business that, you know, now that

John:

you wish you'd known when you started?

John:

I know it's kind of, you're

John:

kind of new in the game yet.

John:

I mean, yeah.

Matilda:

I think, and I

Matilda:

think we've said this before.

Matilda:

I think if we knew, I don't want to

Matilda:

say, I don't want to use the word hard.

Matilda:

I don't really like that word hard.

Matilda:

We work on changing our vocabulary

Matilda:

and having the right words coming

Matilda:

out, but I think if we had known.

Matilda:

Certain things we maybe

Matilda:

wouldn't have started.

Matilda:

So I actually think that that

Matilda:

phrase ignorance is bliss

Matilda:

and that can come off wrong.

Matilda:

We're very glad for the decisions

Matilda:

we've made, but I think if you know too

Matilda:

much, it can actually be a detriment.

Matilda:

So we, we talk to people a lot who,

Matilda:

I mean, they want to start a business

Matilda:

or maybe they're, they're doing what

Matilda:

they're doing and they want to have

Matilda:

something else or other things going.

Matilda:

And it's like, The main thing that you,

Matilda:

you just say a lot is just do it, like

Matilda:

stop talking about it, just do it, because

Matilda:

if you, you can't research it all the

Matilda:

way, you can't explore it all the way,

Matilda:

like, one, the more you know, could be

Matilda:

detrimental to you, you just, potentially,

Matilda:

and two, it's never going to happen.

Matilda:

Yeah, no for sure.

Matilda:

You're never

Damion:

going to get all the answers,

Matilda:

right?

Matilda:

No, no.

Matilda:

And if you get them all,

Matilda:

you might not want them all.

Matilda:

So you might as well just go

Matilda:

through it until you have the

Damion:

result you want.

Damion:

Yeah.

Damion:

Yeah.

Damion:

I mean, we'll have people who ask

Damion:

us you know, whether it's family,

Damion:

whether it's friends, cause like we

Damion:

haven't done a lot yet, but we've

Damion:

been self employed for almost two

Damion:

years now, fully the both of us.

Damion:

Like that's an accomplishment.

Damion:

And they'll, they'll just act

Damion:

like, okay, I'm going to do this.

Damion:

I'm thinking about that.

Damion:

And I'm like, Just do it.

Damion:

Like there's nothing

Damion:

else I can say to you.

Damion:

Like until you start going through

Damion:

the action we're not going to

Damion:

be able to have a conversation

Damion:

cause you just don't get it.

Damion:

And that's not to be offensive.

Damion:

That's not to be rude.

Damion:

But when you're talking to another

Damion:

business owner, the conversation is just.

Damion:

There's more depth.

Damion:

There's more conviction.

Damion:

There's more relatability.

Damion:

So you just have to start.

Damion:

Or it's just never going to happen.

Damion:

Yeah, yeah.

Damion:

And we don't know what you don't know.

Damion:

Right?

Damion:

Yeah, like,

Matilda:

yeah, exactly.

Matilda:

And that's like.

Matilda:

Like again, like that's actually a gift

Matilda:

for the first, you know, a little bit,

Matilda:

because if we had known like some of the

Matilda:

stressors or some of the things that we

Matilda:

would encounter not say that we wouldn't

Matilda:

have done it, but would we have been as

Matilda:

excited or like as ambitious about it?

Matilda:

Maybe not like you never know.

Matilda:

Maybe we would have been like, Oh,

Matilda:

well, if we can foresee, we're going

Matilda:

to encounter this financial stress.

Matilda:

Maybe we shouldn't invest so much here.

Matilda:

That's not how it works.

Matilda:

You don't get to.

Matilda:

look down the road and feel like, Oh, I

Matilda:

should do this or I shouldn't do this.

Matilda:

You just have to do it.

Matilda:

And we're just really thankful

Matilda:

we had the influences.

Matilda:

To help us set ourselves up right

Matilda:

and make the right decisions.

Matilda:

You know, for us starting a business,

Matilda:

we were fortunate to be debt free.

Matilda:

That was an important thing for us,

Matilda:

because when you're investing a lot of

Matilda:

money, the lower your cost of living,

Matilda:

the better, and we see people around

Matilda:

us who sometimes they don't have those

Matilda:

influences, or maybe they haven't listened

Matilda:

to the same voices and, you know, we're

Matilda:

just thankful that we did because we

Matilda:

set ourselves up in the beginning.

Matilda:

Had we not done that...

Damion:

Cause if we had, you know, two

Damion:

car payments, a truck payment, I think

Damion:

the average car payment in America

Damion:

right now, I just heard the other

Damion:

day, it was like $600-$700 a month.

Damion:

Like that's insane.

Damion:

That's a lot and there's nothing wrong.

Damion:

Like if you want to do

Damion:

that, we're not against it.

Damion:

We are for our family because

Damion:

we know being debt free has

Damion:

created a lot of options for us.

Damion:

We don't owe anybody anything.

Damion:

So we can take that $700 and turn it into

Damion:

$2, 500 by investing in our business.

Damion:

So yeah, again, I think.

Damion:

I'm never one to, we're kind

Damion:

of going off on a rampage.

Damion:

Yeah, it's, I don't want to.

John:

No, that's, that really comes

John:

back to my previous, you know,

John:

question about, well, what would

John:

you, you know, is there something

John:

you'd tell other business owners?

John:

And that I think managing debt and keeping

John:

your debt as low as possible is a huge

John:

you know, wisdom, point of wisdom, I'll

John:

say that, that a lot of people just

John:

don't get in our culture of payments?

John:

You know how much...

John:

subscription model; everything's

John:

a subscription today.

Damion:

Yeah.

Damion:

Yeah.

Damion:

No.

Damion:

And I think one thing that I would add

Damion:

is just comparison is the thief of joy.

Damion:

That's what we've heard.

Damion:

One thing we did during that, I completely

Damion:

cut out social media for a time period.

Damion:

Because when you're looking at

Damion:

Instagram, when you're looking at it,

Damion:

like, are there some people on there

Damion:

that probably live that lifestyle?

Damion:

I think absolutely.

Damion:

There's probably some,

Damion:

but most of them don't.

Damion:

I think it's too easy for people just

Damion:

to post what their life looks like.

Damion:

And you're like, man, why are, why does

Damion:

it feel like we're hemorrhaging money?

Damion:

And there's other people who are out there

Damion:

living a lifestyle that we want to live.

Damion:

So just like doing what you need to

Damion:

do, I think too many people think

Damion:

it's easy to start a business now

Damion:

when it really is like, it's one of

Damion:

the hardest things that you will do.

Matilda:

And I think you could

Matilda:

probably make more sense of

Matilda:

this in the psychological realm.

Matilda:

But we, we talked recently about

Matilda:

like, there's this mindset of.

Matilda:

Like just this life path that people

Matilda:

follow almost by default of like,

Matilda:

you go to school, come out, you get

Matilda:

a job, you meet a guy, or if you're,

Matilda:

you meet somebody, you get a dog.

Matilda:

You get a house, you have a baby

Matilda:

and like we see people who, and

Matilda:

there's nothing wrong with that path

Matilda:

at all, like, but we see people who

Matilda:

they don't actually make choices.

Matilda:

They don't by not making a choice all

Matilda:

of their life choices happen by default

Matilda:

and happens to follow that same model.

Matilda:

And I'm like, wow, I'm so not that

Matilda:

there's anything wrong with those things.

Matilda:

I'm like, I'm just so glad that we

Matilda:

took a step back and like evaluated

Matilda:

some things and chose to make a couple

Matilda:

different choices along the way.

Matilda:

And we just see so many people who

Matilda:

follow and some of those people who

Matilda:

even say they want to own a business,

Matilda:

but there's, there's still making

Matilda:

all those other this cascade of

Matilda:

decisions that's preventing that.

Matilda:

Maybe there's some psychological

Matilda:

explanation for that.

Matilda:

I don't know.

Matilda:

But it's interesting to see.

John:

I'm not a psychologist.

John:

Yes, but I would agree with you.

John:

There's a lot there that, you know,

John:

living by default those, they're addicted

Matilda:

to it.

Matilda:

You know, they're addicted

Matilda:

to a new car every year.

Matilda:

They're addicted to, you know, whatever

Matilda:

that they're, they're going out for

Matilda:

dinner three or four times a week.

Matilda:

And, you know, the fancy alcohols

Matilda:

and the things like that.

Damion:

Yeah.

Damion:

And it

Matilda:

becomes an issue That they get

Matilda:

locked in to where they're they're at,

Matilda:

instead of pulling out like you guys

Matilda:

did and saying, no, we don't need all

Damion:

that.

Damion:

Yeah.

Damion:

Yeah.

Damion:

And I don't think there's anything wrong

Damion:

with those things about once you've for

Damion:

a period of time for a period of time.

Damion:

Yeah, exactly.

Damion:

Yeah.

Damion:

It gets so radical.

Damion:

And maybe that's not, maybe that

Damion:

gets people a little upset, but if

Damion:

you, I just heard it the other day.

Damion:

I don't remember what it was, but

Damion:

if you want to win, you better be

Damion:

radical at whatever you want to win.

Damion:

Cause when you're, it goes

Damion:

back to sports, right?

Damion:

Like if you want to win the super

Damion:

bowl, you're not going to win the

Damion:

super bowl by playing golf part time,

Damion:

like during the season, they are

Damion:

obsessed and radical with winning.

Damion:

You have to do that.

Damion:

You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Damion:

You have to cut it out

Damion:

for a period of time.

Damion:

And then once you've reached a certain

Damion:

point, you can probably bring those things

Damion:

slowly back in or back in completely.

Damion:

Yeah,

John:

it's, it's it's kind of an

John:

impatience at getting, reaching the goal.

John:

You know, I, I want to have this

John:

lifestyle or this, you know, I will

John:

eventually want to achieve this.

John:

And, and the mountain that they've

John:

got to climb to get there seems,

John:

just seems to get bigger, so then

John:

they start trying to take shortcuts.

John:

"Well, I'll just buy this now."

John:

And I instant, gratification.

John:

Yeah.

John:

We're in such an instant

John:

gratification world.

John:

Yeah.

John:

Interesting that you mentioned the, you

John:

know, the kind of the, the cultural models

John:

of, you know, like go to, go to school,

John:

get a job, have a baby, all those things.

John:

I mean, yes, there is a, there's an

John:

assumption in, in, in the culture

John:

of, of what, or has been for a long

John:

time of what a family looks like

John:

and what an ideal life looks like.

John:

And when I was, when we were growing up.

John:

You know, the idea was to have a pension.

John:

You work for the same, you want to work

John:

for the same company for 40 years and

John:

get a pension and the company would

John:

fund that, you know, pension for your

John:

rest of your life, for your retirement.

John:

And that all went away.

John:

Yeah.

John:

There's so many things that

John:

we've seen just go away.

John:

And, but, and talking about family,

John:

as we discussed doing family

John:

businesses for, for this podcast.

John:

We've also got to expand our

John:

model of what is a family.

John:

It's a traditional you know, look of

John:

a family and has been you know, they

John:

oftentimes the, the founder, the person

John:

that runs the business is the male.

John:

And you know, there was a, a cultural

John:

expectation of subservient females

John:

in the, you know, fifties and

John:

before, and all of that has changed.

John:

And so, you know, we've, we got to embrace

John:

the, the variety that exists today.

John:

Yeah.

Matilda:

And I think I, like we talked

Matilda:

about this a little bit when we, when

Matilda:

we met previously that there's different

Matilda:

models of a family business for us because

Matilda:

we are You know, I guess you would say

Matilda:

a first generation family business.

Matilda:

We don't have the same dynamics

Matilda:

that maybe a second and third

Matilda:

generation business would have for us.

Matilda:

We just have us.

Matilda:

So it does come down to that.

Matilda:

Like, like you said, there are

Matilda:

some preconceived models and, and

Matilda:

some of those things are good.

Matilda:

And some of those things are not

Matilda:

some, some work, some didn't.

Matilda:

And it's just like, how do

Matilda:

you, how do we have the best?

Matilda:

highest functioning team.

Matilda:

And that's something that we talk about

Matilda:

because there are times where we have

Matilda:

to shift and be like, okay, if your,

Matilda:

if your plate is full and mine's not

Matilda:

that I need to take something off your

Matilda:

plate and to be able to kind of make

Matilda:

those shifts and acknowledge when,

Matilda:

you know, I have to acknowledge just,

Matilda:

just by the virtue of the way our

Matilda:

business runs, Damon does our sales.

Matilda:

I focus on recruiting

Matilda:

and building our team.

Matilda:

So he does have.

Matilda:

More of that stress at this

Matilda:

point in our business, just

Matilda:

by virtue of where things are.

Matilda:

And so yeah, we definitely have to be kind

Matilda:

of conscious of that dynamic and making

Matilda:

sure things are moving fluidly because it

Matilda:

can be really easy for one person to be

Matilda:

bogged down more than the other for sure.

Matilda:

And that's going to happen

Matilda:

anyway in a, in any kind of

Damion:

relationship, right?

Damion:

Yeah,

Matilda:

absolutely.

John:

So do you network with any

John:

other family business owners?

Matilda:

Yeah, I would definitely say so.

Matilda:

Yeah.

Matilda:

We are big internet, we decided pretty

Matilda:

early on in our business and every

Matilda:

model is different, but our business

Matilda:

is pipeline built, built upon leads.

Matilda:

So we decided we wanted to buy

Matilda:

higher quality leads and network.

Matilda:

That was kind of our, our goal of how

Matilda:

we wanted our business to be built.

Matilda:

And we've done that pretty successfully.

Matilda:

Now there's still phone calls

Matilda:

involved sometimes, but.

Matilda:

That that network of modeling we do we

Matilda:

did join a couple of networking groups

Matilda:

and we've had to evaluate over time what

Matilda:

works and what doesn't, but networking

Matilda:

has been really successful for us.

Matilda:

And I would say that there are probably

Matilda:

several family businesses among

Matilda:

people that we, yeah, that we work

John:

with.

John:

Any, any specific lessons or takeaways

John:

that you've gained from having that

John:

interaction with those other businesses?

Damion:

Yeah, I wouldn't say

Damion:

necessarily as far as like owning

Damion:

a family business on that side.

Damion:

But one thing that we're really good at

Damion:

is getting around other people that are a

Damion:

lot better and more experienced than us.

Damion:

So I mean, countless.

Damion:

Yeah.

Damion:

Countless lessons.

Damion:

The only reason we have what we

Damion:

have and are going to continue

Damion:

to grow is because of the people

Damion:

we've surrounded ourselves with.

Damion:

Yeah, so that's, yeah,

Matilda:

that's the other

Matilda:

piece of advice we would get.

Matilda:

That's that you say that that's, that

Matilda:

should be the only piece of advice

Matilda:

that we give to business people

Matilda:

who want to own a business, gather

Matilda:

around people who own a business.

Matilda:

Don't go to the bar happy hour and say,

Matilda:

Hey, to your buddy at your corporate job,

Matilda:

Hey, you know what I'm thinking of doing?

Matilda:

I think I want to start a business.

Matilda:

Yeah.

Matilda:

Yeah.

Matilda:

They're gonna be like, Oh,

Matilda:

right now it's Friday night.

Matilda:

We're gonna, this is not the

Matilda:

right person to talk to you.

Matilda:

Get around those people.

Matilda:

But I think in family business,

Matilda:

I mean, from the ones that we've

Matilda:

observed, and I think it's just

Matilda:

important for the second generation

Matilda:

to have to work for it and to, to earn

Matilda:

their own, like dignity and respect.

Matilda:

And I'll, I'll be, I'll be non

Matilda:

specific cause I don't want to say

Matilda:

anything specific, but for the second

Matilda:

generation to have to come into

Matilda:

their own and maybe not just to.

Matilda:

I don't know fall into

Matilda:

the family business.

Matilda:

I guess just that's something that I think

Matilda:

from the ones that we've seen I think is

Matilda:

helpful, you know, because then you really

Matilda:

can truly have a respect dynamic, as

Matilda:

opposed to maybe just tension or feeling

Matilda:

of subservience or something like that.

Matilda:

So I think that that's something

Matilda:

should we, you know, have.

Matilda:

In the future, even like our kids, some,

Matilda:

someday far down the road in business with

Matilda:

us, far down the road Connie understands.

Matilda:

You get this.

Matilda:

Then, yeah, I think that

Matilda:

would be like our main thing.

Matilda:

We would want them to, to go through

Matilda:

their own pain and their own, their own

Matilda:

growth and let them suffer a little bit.

Matilda:

For themselves so that they

Matilda:

respect themselves and so that

Matilda:

we can have a mutual respect.

John:

Yeah, that is actually one of

John:

the, the main pieces of advice that

John:

that we see over and over, you know, in

John:

various levels, you know, we're again

John:

focusing more on smaller business, but

John:

the through all levels of the family

John:

members that come in as a second or later

John:

generation, they need to earn their place.

John:

Nobody is served by somebody just being

John:

given a job because they're, yeah,

John:

having, especially if they're unqualified.

John:

And the experience of going out

John:

and working in either the same or

John:

a different industry, but going out

John:

and getting that business experience.

John:

Ideally in the same industry, working

John:

for a competitor that brings out, you

John:

know, they learned so much and they see

John:

what worked and what didn't work there.

John:

And then they can bring the best into

John:

the family if they choose to join.

John:

But then they're coming in they're much

John:

better informed, you know, they're,

John:

they've got their eyes wide open

John:

instead of just, well, you know, Mom

John:

and Dad have always taken care of me.

John:

And I'm

Damion:

speaking from experience.

Damion:

Yeah.

Damion:

When you get your own teeth kicked

Damion:

in, it's a little bit different.

Damion:

Yeah.

Matilda:

And I think that's

Matilda:

something that we talk about.

Matilda:

We're really thankful that,

Matilda:

you know, we didn't have.

Matilda:

That the fan even even stepping

Matilda:

away from the business structure

Matilda:

of us kind of coming up and then

Matilda:

getting into business for ourselves.

Matilda:

We're really thankful that we

Matilda:

didn't have that kind of backdoor

Matilda:

of family financial support.

Matilda:

You know, like.

Matilda:

Nobody bought either of us our first car.

Matilda:

Like nobody, my parents paid for

Matilda:

half of my associate's degree.

Matilda:

So do the math.

Matilda:

I, I was putting myself through college

Matilda:

and I don't complain about that at all.

Matilda:

In fact, I'm like thankful for that

Matilda:

because I knew walking around that

Matilda:

campus, I had, it gives you like a

Matilda:

little bit of a pride of ownership.

Matilda:

I knew like, I'm paying my way.

Matilda:

And, you know, same thing for you, you

Matilda:

buy vehicles and starting business.

Matilda:

Like, yeah.

Matilda:

All that stuff.

Matilda:

And I don't want to make it sound like

Matilda:

we, you know, walked uphill both ways.

Matilda:

We didn't like we had, you know, we were

Matilda:

really blessed with the families we have,

Matilda:

but to the same point, like they didn't.

Matilda:

give us.

Damion:

And I can, and I'm so

John:

happy.

John:

Yes, that is, we call

John:

that self-confidence.

John:

There is a distinction between

John:

confidence and self-confidence.

John:

, that you were able to take those

John:

experiences and internalize

John:

them as self confidence.

John:

Basically, I did that.

John:

I did that.

John:

I know I can do that.

John:

And that gives you a a strength,

John:

a resilience that a lot of people

John:

don't have doesn't come otherwise.

John:

And so yes, kudos to you.

Connie:

You got to have

Connie:

skin in the game, right?

Connie:

You gotta

Connie:

put in your time and you

Connie:

gotta put in your effort.

Connie:

What was it that we, we also, the

Connie:

whole thing about if we stop somebody

Connie:

from having the experience where,

John:

oh, yeah, it's that very wise

John:

person said to me the cruelest thing

John:

you can do is to prevent somebody

John:

from experiencing the consequences

John:

of their choices, or their actions.

Matilda:

We can point time and

Matilda:

time again that we had to kind

Matilda:

of go through things on our own.

Matilda:

And then we can look at somebody else

Matilda:

who, you know, maybe we are close to her.

Matilda:

We have a lot of love for, but they didn't

Matilda:

have to go through that on their own.

Matilda:

I think of our first year in business

Matilda:

and we went through some, you know,

Matilda:

financial challenges like it sounds

Matilda:

better if you say cashflow problems.

Matilda:

So that's what business owners should say.

Matilda:

Right.

Matilda:

But no, no, no.

Matilda:

We went through.

Matilda:

Yeah.

Matilda:

You know, financial challenges.

Matilda:

And in that time, like you have a

Matilda:

choice, you can look around for help.

Matilda:

You can try to get somebody

Matilda:

else to bail you out.

Matilda:

Or you can be like, you know

Matilda:

what, I'm going to dig in and

Matilda:

I'm going to get really gritty.

Matilda:

And I'm going to do things that

Matilda:

people don't really like to

Matilda:

talk about and find a way to.

Matilda:

Plug the gap and go make some extra cash.

Matilda:

And nobody likes to talk about

Matilda:

that because they have an ego.

Matilda:

They don't want to talk about

Matilda:

door dashing on a Friday night.

Matilda:

Well, I'm a, I'm a business owner.

Matilda:

What do you mean?

Matilda:

I'm at networking groups and I, yeah,

Matilda:

I address, but it doesn't matter if

Matilda:

you're losing money and it doesn't

Matilda:

matter what the appearance is.

Matilda:

So, you know, we're really thankful

Matilda:

that we went through some of those

Matilda:

times where we got gritty and coming

Matilda:

out of that, like you said, that self

Matilda:

confidence so much higher as opposed to.

Matilda:

Being like, Oh man, I'm so glad mom and

Matilda:

dad come through with 500 bucks for us.

Matilda:

Like that doesn't, then

Matilda:

you, you feel the opposite.

Matilda:

You feel shameful.

Matilda:

You feel guilty because we know people

Matilda:

who do have those situations where

Matilda:

they're constantly going and going and

Matilda:

constantly getting, you know, that relief.

Matilda:

And it's, it's.

Matilda:

Detrimental in the long run.

Matilda:

Yeah.

Matilda:

So yeah, a

John:

hundred percent.

John:

Well, I, I'm confident that if you

John:

have a second generation, join your

John:

business, they're going to be in

John:

good hands and well, so I think

Matilda:

I'm to the extreme.

Matilda:

I'm like, I don't want

Matilda:

to buy our kids cars.

Matilda:

They can pay for their own college.

Matilda:

Like, I don't, what do they need that for?

Matilda:

Like, yeah, I think

Matilda:

that's a little extreme.

Matilda:

I think, you know, maybe

Matilda:

we'll soften up, but I'm like.

Matilda:

No, if we have, if, and when we have

Matilda:

kids and it's like that whole thing of

Matilda:

like, you're not rich, mom and dad are

Matilda:

rich, like they make sure their kids

Matilda:

know that you don't have anything like

Damion:

in a positive way, like

Matilda:

very uplifting, but but

Matilda:

yeah, I think I'm a lot, you're really

Damion:

seriously, you

Damion:

don't have anything.

Damion:

Yeah, pretty much like

Damion:

we're joking, but we're not.

Damion:

Yeah.

Damion:

Yeah.

Damion:

Awesome.

Damion:

No,

John:

it's true.

John:

It's true.

John:

And that's it's, it's not only a good

John:

perspective for the, that child to

John:

have, but then that child can also

John:

communicate that to, to their friends,

John:

for example, that, that, you know, are

John:

thinking that because their parents

John:

have money that they can just, you

John:

know, it's a free flowing thing.

John:

Well, and they're always asking them for

John:

stuff, you know, my parents have money.

John:

I don't have money.

John:

I

Damion:

go to school.

Damion:

Yeah.

John:

Well, this has been wonderful.

John:

Thank you so much, guys.

John:

How can people if they're looking

John:

for so you guys, you know, want to

John:

give you a short commercial here.

John:

I think you do various

John:

kinds of health insurance.

Matilda:

So anyone who is under 65, we

Matilda:

primarily work with business owners.

Matilda:

So we primarily work with small

Matilda:

business owners who are under 65.

Matilda:

And, you know, they're

Matilda:

a great referral for us.

Matilda:

We'd love to help them

Matilda:

oftentimes business owners.

Matilda:

Don't have, they don't know all

Matilda:

their options for health insurance.

Matilda:

If you have a job, you're used to having

Matilda:

corporate benefits and all of that.

Matilda:

Business owners, especially small

Matilda:

business owners, don't have the luxury

Matilda:

of knowing how to navigate that.

Matilda:

So that's our specialty.

Matilda:

And they can find us at

Matilda:

relyeainsurancegroup.com.

John:

All right.

John:

Perfect.

John:

And I'll make sure I put that in the show

John:

notes when we get this on posted online.

Connie:

Is there any other words

Connie:

of wisdom that you'd like to

John:

close us out with?

Connie:

Yeah.

Damion:

Just do it.

Damion:

Nike has the best slogan ever.

Damion:

I didn't appreciate it

Damion:

until we owned a business.

Damion:

Just do it.

Damion:

Stop talking about it.

Damion:

No one wants to hear it

Damion:

until you've done it.

Damion:

So just do it.

Damion:

Yeah,

Matilda:

that's good.

Matilda:

I'll leave it at that.

Connie:

Perfect.

Connie:

Right.

Connie:

Love it.

John:

Thank you guys.

Connie:

Thank you for joining us.

Damion:

Pleasure.

Connie:

We appreciate it.

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