Episode 12: Window and Pressure Washing with Bobby Walker

July 19, 2018

What would you do if you lost your job tomorrow?  Our guest, Bobby Walker, was faced with this decision, and he answered that question by going into the window washing business.  Bobby is a humble and down to earth guy, who decided he was going to rise above his critics and grind his way to a successful window washing business.  Known as the "window washing guy" on the entrepreneur subreddit on Reddit, he has been able to help and motivate others start their own service business, but not without fair warnings about the entrepreneur life.  Bobby is a great example of someone who fixed their mind on a goal, and has run right through walls to achieve it.


In this episode, you will learn about:

  • Why Bobby started with window cleaning only, and how it evolved into pressure washing (now the majority of the revenue!)
  • Difference between residential and commercial work
  • What percent of revenue Bobby applies towards labor expense
  • Average ticket price for Bobby's different service lines
  • What kind of profit margin you can expect for pressure washing and/or window cleaning
  • How much money you need to start pressure window washing and pressure washing right away
  • Why the work is there to be had, but lots of people don't succeed
  • What Bobby's most effective marketing channels are
  • How many hours Bobby typically works per week (during start up and today)
  • Best advice: Know your why
  • Best resource(s):  Keith Kalfas YouTube Channel, The E-Myth by Michael Gerber, The Five Secrets to a Phenomenal Business, Quick Talk Podcast


References talked about:

Journey of a New Entrepreneur

Profit First book

Entrepreneur Subreddit

Start With Why - TED talk by Simon Sinek


Ready to follow in Bobby's footsteps? Get a sense for Bobby's window washing business here.


Episode 11: Fitness Gyms with Jim Thomas

May 9, 2018

Have you ever wondered what it's like to own a gym? For all the fitness gurus, and people passionate about helping others improve their fitness, owning a gym or a fitness studio could actually be a good fit.  Our guest, Jim Thomas, tells us what it takes to open up your own gym.  Jim has been in the fitness industry for many years and now helps others start their gym business.  While competing with household gyms such as 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness, Lifetime Fitness, etc. may not be an easy battle to fight, there is still plenty of opportunity to go around by niching down.

In this episode, you will learn about:

  • The three biggest costs to a launching gym business
  • Typical operating expenditures (some are even negotiable!)
  • What to expect to pay on payroll
  • Biggest risk in the business and how to hedge it
  • Why you should always be recruiting and developing staff
  • Why competing with price is a losing proposition
  • Best advice: Know your why
  • Best resource: Club Industry, Wayne Dyer books, Think & Grow Rich

Learn more about Jim and his gym consulting business on his website


Episode 10: Tent Rentals with Jim Mariano

May 8, 2018


What does someone with a large property do when they want to invite a ton of people? Rent a backyard tent of course! Backyard tents are important when keeping your guests out of the sun or the rain in order to successfully host outdoor events.  They have a wide variety of applications - from parties to graduations to weddings to retirements.  Jim Mariano is a fantastic resource for entrepreneurs as he started from the bottom, and has now grown his backyard tent rental into a serious business in the Boston area.

In this episode, you will learn about:

  • Why it is so important to niche down in the tent rental business
  • Typical startup costs and why it's less than you think
  • What types, sizes, and colors of tents are ideal to start with
  • Where to find tent equipment
  • The importance of digital marketing for dominating a niche
  • Good sub-niches in the tent rental space to go into
  • Typical gross margins for the tent rental business
  • The biggest risk that keeps Jim up at night
  • Best advice: Don't quit your job yet - build a business on the side first.
  • Best resource: ARA (American Rental Association), Entrepreneur Subreddit

Feel like buying your first tent? Check out Jim's website.


Episode 9: ATMs with Noah Wieder

December 23, 2017


Have you ever been appalled at ATM fees and wonder whose pocket they go into?  Today we have an ATM "mogul", with a popular online following, who has spend most of his career dealing with ATMs.  Noah talks to us about how an ATM business can start small, and can be very profitable if you pick the right locations and manage risks accordingly.  You'll see a lot of similarities with the vending machine business, which fortunately allows you to start small, then scale from there.  Instead of snacks, however, your main assets are quite literally $20 bills!  In a world of PayPal, Venmo, credit cards and more, there will always be a role for cash to play.  So yes, cash is still king!

In this episode, you will learn about:

  • Overview of Noah's ATM business
  • Advice for starting an ATM business
  • Best spots for deploying an ATM
  • Best way to keep your ATM profitable - it's a relationship business
  • Biggest risks of the business
  • Dealing with loading ATM machines (its not as complicated as you think!)
  • Noah's story about an exploding ATM machine
  • Best advice: This business is just like real estate, it’s all location, location, location. Just make sure you got the right location.
  • Best resource: The Amazing Money Machine: How to Make Money and Build a Passive Income Owning and Operating ATM by Noah Wieder

Think you know a good spot for an ATM? Start Start by checking out Noah's website.


Episode 8: Plant Nurseries with Mike McGroarty

September 7, 2017


If you are big into gardening, you may have heard the name Mike McGroarty - a charismatic guy who seems to know everything about plants.  Well the man (the legend!) himself joined us on this episode as our very special guest.  Mike has been working with plants for pretty much his entire career, and he has created an online community for people that are interested in selling plants for profit.  Mike is convinced that you don't have to have a "green thumb" to learn how to grow plants and he says there is still hope even if you are unable to even keep a plastic plant alive.  Margins on plants are actually pretty good, and it takes practically nothing to get started.

In this episode, you will learn about:

  • Types of plants that sell well and what time of year to sell them
  • Typical cycle times for profitable plants
  • What equipment you need to start
  • How almost everyone can afford to start planting seeds
  • How big Mike's plant selling operation is
  • How to ship plants in the mail
  • Planting seeds vs. cuttings vs. stems
  • Mike's personal plant pick to get started
  • Best advice: Get educated and commit! Posting on social media will create instant accountability.
  • Best resource: Backyard Cash Machine or Small Plants Big Profits by Mike McGroarty

Interested in trying to plant a few plants? Check out Mike's website.



Episode 7: Self Storage Investing with Alia Ott

August 15, 2017

Today we are joined by Alia Ott, an investor out of the West Coast, in a real estate niche we at the Business Shorts Podcast have always been curious about - self storage.  Alia is really passionate about teaching others how to invest and work towards financial freedom, and her company, Investors In Action, has been able to guide a lot of people investing in this niche.  It's time to learn more about this unique niche in the real investing world.


In this episode, you will learn about:

  • What makes self storage units so attractive
  • Typical cap rates currently found in the self storage industry
  • What types of down payments you may expect for self storage facilities
  • In what cases banks will offer financing
  • Best places to search for high potential self storage units
  • Biggest risks in the business
  • Why pricing your units correctly is extremely important
  • Best advice: Get educated! Learn as much as you can to give yourself an advantage.
  • Best resource: selfstorage.org; insideselfstorage.com


Find more about Alia and her business at her website.


Episode 6: Auto Detailing with Darren Priest

July 6, 2017

In this episode, we talk to Darren Priest, an entrepreneur that started his auto detailing business by detailing a friends car for $40 in his early 20s, while looking for an additional stream of income.  Today, he has created a mini auto detailing empire located in Orange County and has even solidified himself as the "auto detail guy" on social media.  Search "auto fetish detail" on YouTube and any of the other big social media platforms and you'll undoubtedly run into him.  Darren is big into the entrepreneurship mindset and believes that focus and hard work can turn just about any niche profitable if you play your cards right.


In this episode, you will learn about:

  • Why it takes practically nothing to get started
  • All the different car components that an auto detail touches
  • How the Specialty Equipment Manufacturer's Association (SEMA) show in Vegas gives an idea of the growth trajectory of the industry
  • Why you NEED a unique selling proposition (USP)
  • What factors to pay attention to when determining pricing
  • Best advice: There is no "best" route - listen to your passions and be persistent.
  • Best resource: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey & Cold Hard Truth on Family, Kids, and Money by Kevin O'Leary.


Find more about Darren at his website or on his YouTube or Facebook channels.


Episode 5: Decorative Lights Installations with James Anderson

June 18, 2017

We knew we found a great entrepreneur from the moment we met James.  He has built a successful Christmas lights installation business from practically nothing, yet still manages to live in Whistler, Canada - a beautiful/expensive area north of Vancouver (so there's no excuse!).  James says he learned everything he needed to learn from this most expensive business school around: the school of experience.  When James is not preparing for the winter Christmas light season, he actually owns and operates an ax throwing business! We hope to have him on the podcast again in the near future!


In this episode, you will learn about:

  • What exactly you need to get started
  • What the best types of customers are to target
  • How a lights installation business can actually be run year round
  • Walking through a typical invoice and learn about standard pricing
  • How the best first customer can be your mom
  • Best advice: Take the first step - don't let objections
  • Best resource: wehangchristmaslights.com

Reach out to James at www.lightright.ca or on Twitter @jameswdanderson.


Episode 4: Real Estate Appraisals with Gabe Grant

June 6, 2017

Gabe Grant is a part time real estate appraiser on the side of his full time job working at a concrete company.  Gabe began his real estate appraising as a full time appraiser with his dad, and moved to part time once he had a solid understanding of the valuation process and developed his list of industry contacts.  Since moving to part time 4 years ago, he averages 2 appraisals a week and enjoys a comfortable side income of about $20,000 or more each year.

In this episode, you will learn about:

  • What exactly does a real estate appraiser do
  • What is the best way to learn this business
  • What are the biggest barriers to entry
  • Overview of typical revenues and costs
  • Why this is a great niche to do part time OR full time
  • Best advice: Find a good mentor for your apprenticeship period
  • Best resource: Local real estate commission website

Episode 3: Photobooths with Soren Coughlin-Glaser

June 6, 2017

Our guest today is Soren Coughlin-Glaser, from Portland Oregon, who decided to enter the photo booth rental business after pivoting from the wedding photography business.  He runs a successful photo booth rental operation with 4 photobooths, and has even started a second business that teaches people how to start their own photo booth business themselves.

Episode Highlights

  • How much it takes to get started (it is less than you think!)
  • What makes a photo booth operator successful in crowded markets
  • Best way to market and advertise a photo booth business
  • Unique ways to differentiate a photo booth business
  • Top Advice: Focus on marketing. The business is not complex, so the best marketers succeed.
  • Top Resource: Hubspot.com – inbound marketing and sales/CRM software