Ep623: Chris Do – Don’t Put Good Money After Bad

Listen on

Apple | Google | Stitcher | Spotify | YouTube | Other

Quick take

BIO: Chris Do is a self-described loud introvert, recovering graphic designer, middle child, serial entrepreneur, Emmy award-winning director, educator, and founder of TheFutur.

STORY: Chris’s business was based on the West Coast, and they wanted to expand to the East Coast for a bigger market share. So they opened a small office hemorrhaging money and didn’t generate substantial revenue.

LEARNING: You can’t export your core competency. Optimize your business before you scale.


“Optimize your business before you scale. Because when you scale, you scale all the success and all the mistakes.”

Chris Do


Guest profile

Chris Do is a self-described loud introvert, recovering graphic designer, middle child, serial entrepreneur, Emmy award-winning director, educator, and founder of TheFutur.

Chris has an audacious mission of teaching one billion people how to make a living doing what they love.

Worst investment ever

Chris’s company was a West Coast LA-based motion design firm. They realized that for the business to get the market share they wanted, they needed to have an East Coast office. They rented a small office and renovated it. They hired an office manager, an executive producer, and a creative director to run it for them. No one from the West Coast office wanted to live on the East Coast. So they had to run two offices incurring double the expenses, but we’re still not growing their revenue. Now they were shrinking profit.

This happened over five years. The company was putting more money into the East Coast office year after year with no reliable revenue. Ultimately, they closed the office because it didn’t work for them.

Lessons learned

  • Don’t put good money after bad.
  • You need to export your core competency.
  • Optimize your business before you scale.
  • Do an accurate cost-benefit analysis and understand your risk.

Andrew’s takeaways

  • You can’t have someone else fight your battles; you’ve got to be on that front.
  • Always consider all the possible risks when you’re looking at expanding your business.
  • Get monthly, accurate, and on-time financial statements.

Actionable advice

Before you expand your business, question your assumptions and analyze whether the effort is worth the risk.

No.1 goal for the next 12 months

Chris’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to launch his mastermind, a high-level group for people making between one to 5 million a year.


Read full transcript

Andrew Stotz 00:02
Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my first worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning in our community. We know that to win in investing, you must take risk but to win big, you've got to reduce it. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm on a mission to help 1 million people reduce risk in their lives. And after this episode, you're going to think why are you going so low Andrew? And that mission has led me to create the become a better investor community, where you get access to the tools you need to create, grow and protect your wealth. Just go to my worst investment ever.com right now to claim your spot fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz, from Ace dots Academy and I'm here with featured guests, Christo, Chris, are you ready to join the mission?

Chris Do 00:49
I am so excited. Now. I feel like I have to speak at a lower register.

Andrew Stotz 00:53
Yes, you've gotten introduced to my radio voice.

Chris Do 00:59
This is a fantastic Good job, Andrew.

Andrew Stotz 01:01
Well, they say you got to come up with something unique and my looks aren't going to do it. So my voice will have to do let me introduce you to the audience. Christo is a self described loud, introvert, recovering graphic designer, middle child, serial entrepreneur, Emmy winning director, educator, and founder of the future. Chris has an audacious mission of teaching 1 billion people how to make a living doing what they love. Chris, take a minute and fill in a little bit about the unique value that you bring to this wonderful world.

Chris Do 01:41
Thank you so much, Andrew, for that warm introduction. You did a wonderful job. I feel like you should always intro me everywhere I go from this point forward. I'm there before. Yeah. Perfect. Some of the unique things about me is that I'm a traditionally trained graphic designer. I ran a motion design studio for 20 plus years. And somewhere along the way, I found that passion, the passion for teaching, and found a vehicle for delivery, which is to use open social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and LinkedIn to teach the masses. And this is where I think I'm unique in that overlap between creativity and business. And using my background in video and production. I tried to teach at scale, practical applications of business principles for creatives, including marketing, sales and negotiation.

Andrew Stotz 02:32
And I can understand the at scale part using social media and all that. But one of the questions I'm sure that everybody thinks about and I can understand that you have great content to because I go to your website, I look at your stuff. I listen to your podcasts. And I know you've got some great stuff. One of the questions, I guess that people would ask is okay, if I want to do that, how do I monetize that? Well, I do,

Chris Do 02:58
you can, and you should, but monetizing shouldn't be your primary driver, it should be, I think, somewhere deep down in your thinking process. And I'll share a story with you. And on the theme of the worst things. One of the things I'm really bad at is teaming up and partnering up with people because we have different ways of working different mission and different. Just work ethic, my previous partner thought that social media is a great way to build awareness for marketing products. And so initially, when we created content together, it was all designed to monetize, to build awareness around the product, and so that we can sell more. And what happened was, the inverse of our expectations came true, in that we got low viewership, low engagement, and we had really low sales, the first year in which we're selling products, I think we did a whopping total of $18,000 in annual sales, which is not even enough to survive. I think in a second world country. It's not enough, let alone a first world is not even enough to pay for interns. And as we progressed, and we started to serve our community and our audience and to turn the volume down way, way, way lower in terms of how much we're marketing and just trying to deliver value to people. The engagement went up, our follower and subscriber count went up and our sales went up. And so I'm of the school of thought that you should try to give as much value as possible. No strings attached, do it in spirit of generosity with no expectations. And then eventually, when you deliver so much value you won't even have to ask people will just volunteer to give you money.

Andrew Stotz 04:33
And some people say like I've heard people say, give your best stuff away, and it just scares the hell out of me. Now, on the one hand, I started to see some possibility that you could like, let's just say you had an amazing course with 20 lessons. And you put each one of those as a single lesson out on YouTube. So in a sense, you've given it away. But there's many people that may see that first one and say I want to get this sequel. ventually or I want to get this in a different format, or I'm gonna, I'm gonna be part of a community learning this. And so then I kind of could see that, you know, maybe that could work? Is that what you're talking about? Or what do you maybe you could describe a little bit more.

Chris Do 05:16
There's a couple of different ways to make what you're talking about work. And so I'll describe a few of them. And then maybe we can circle back to see which one is of greatest interest to you. I'll first speak about our model where you created content, because we wanted to educate and teach people and then all of a sudden, to our surprise, an audience community started to form. So this was just us trying to find our voice in the world to find an audience that connects to what it is that we're saying, and to figure out who we are for and who were definitely a poor match for. And I think this is a really important thing to note is that if you want to build true fans, you're also going to build true critics, a lot of people tend to play too safe. They hide from any of their real opinions. And so they're always going to the middle of the road. And that's really boring. And so that's a really poor strategy to grow an audience. And then once you have the audience, you can ask yourself, How do I further serve this community. So one of the things that we did, in terms of being able to quote unquote, monetize our audience was, we would teach typography lessons for free. That's what we're gonna do. And this organically led to us launching a course in which we gave the course away for free for a period of 48 hours. So every week, I would record the first or whatever module it is I was working on. And we will tell our audience, we're going to broadcast this for free. So tune in live is going to disappear in 48 hours in truth, our word, as soon as 48 hours happened, we took the video down, and people were really upset. Well, that's okay. We'll be here next week. And we're gonna record the second module. And we kept doing this up until the third module, and then we're saying now we're going dark, if you'd like to get in at a pre launch price, and the lowest price we'll ever sell this, go ahead by now. And that's how we got to our first six figure launch. Now, this really humble typography course, which I think many people have been able to get value from just from the free content has gone on to make almost a million dollars in revenue. So that's one model.

Andrew Stotz 07:06
That an okay, so let me just go back to what you said. First, you said about, you know, fans, if you're going to have fans, you're going to have critics. And if you don't have critics, you're not getting good health. Fair enough. Yeah, that's You don't say? Okay, so that's good. The other thing you're saying is that the value of the free content and engaging out there is to kind of hone in on who is our audience. Because they'll, you'll eventually find that out. And then the third thing you talked about is then creating content, a course in this case to that audience, and then doing a live release. getting them excited about it, you know, that hey, wow, this is great. So they're getting value, they're seeing that there's value in it, but then you also there's scarcity to it. And if you want to join this, you know, this content, then come to the course. Yeah,

Chris Do 07:55
I think I'm doing the Mrs. Fields concept, Mrs. Fields, cookies, right, which is a Mrs. Fields, I had a bet with her husband, I think that is the story, or the legend goes. And he was convinced she consulted cookies, and she was having trouble. So what she did was she baked a bunch of cookies, chop, chop them up into little pieces, went outside and offered them to people. And they're like, this is delicious, who doesn't like a chocolate chip cookie, they went and bought cookies. And that's her born our business. So I really liked this idea of giving away the samples if you're confident in your product, and you should be if you're not work on it again, and don't release it until you're confident. So we knew that once people got a taste, so to speak, that they would want more. So we gave me live release away for free. And what benefitted people who actually purchase it was first of all to get the entire course, they don't have to look anywhere for it. And then they're edited and broken down into chapters and annotated. And so it's delivered from beginning to end, you can track your progress, wherever you leave off, you can come back to so it's super convenient. So we're selling them convenience, and we're selling them time. Essentially, we're selling them their time back so you don't have to hunt and peck through videos. First of all, they don't live in there anymore. But if you could go through all the old videos, you'd have to string them together search for remember where you are find the sequence in what we're trying to do save them some time they're in for the price of the product, which is now $299 is one hour, one day of your time worth that much. I would think so. So we're gonna save you some time. It's

Andrew Stotz 09:20
funny, because when the internet started, it was like, Wow, there's so much free content. It's amazing. You know, nobody's ever gonna be able to sell anything again on the internet. And then all of a sudden you realize that actually curated content and focus content is what people will pay for.

Chris Do 09:38
Yeah, well, I noticed you're a lover of books because I can see by your bookshelf and you can see by mine we both buy books. It can we find these books online for free legally, yes. Many of them already published or most of it's already been published by the author themselves. But I don't know about you, but when I receive value from someone, I feel the need to reciprocate. And so I buy books just because I read someone's Instagram post. And I thought it was very, very valuable. And I read a couple of them. And I just gone on to Amazon buy through their books and this sitting on my shelf, I haven't opened them yet, just for me to say thank you, I appreciate you. And I know that by me buying your book, I support what you do. And so that you can do this for a longer period of time, we understand that our dollar and how we spend it is a vote for saying we want more of this, and we want less of that. And I

Andrew Stotz 10:24
guess the subscription models you've seen come out like substack, and stuff like that is a great validation of that, that people are like, Hey, I'm gonna give five bucks a month to this guy or man or woman? Because I appreciate what they do. And,

Chris Do 10:36
yes, you know, I have some wonderful stories to share with you. Because people give us money with no expectations, we have this thing called a sustaining member. It's kind of like an NPR drive, but they donate anywhere between $5.20 $5 a month. And we promised them nothing. And they just do it because they want to. And we have hundreds of people who do that. We have people who send me donations all the time, from $5, down to $1, to over $1,000. And it's wonderful when they just comes in unexpectedly. And this is the truest form, in terms of measuring the impact that you create in the world. When you give to someone with no expectations, and they give back with no expectations. It's a beautiful thing. I would love to build a 21st Century economy built around this.

Andrew Stotz 11:17
And for those people that are donating and feeling like they want to give back to you what is it that they are most appreciative of?

Chris Do 11:25
Well, I'll, I'll share one story in particular, to make this super concrete and real. I was recently at an art center grad show, it's where I went to school, and I often visit to recruit and just say hello to my fellow teachers and former students and new students alike. I ran into this lady, she bumped into me, she was so excited to see me. And she said something to me. She said, Chris, you've done more for my career than this school has done for me. And you supported me even though I haven't had any one to one interaction with her. I'm like, wow, this really cool, thank you so much. And I said, if you really mean that, she goes, I totally do. I said, Well, you know, you could buy something to support us a little cheeky, and I don't know, like, well, whatever. So later that day, she sends me a message on Instagram saying, Hey, what is your Venmo? I wasn't 1,000% Sure was the same person. I suspected it because it was just like really brief encounter. I sent her my Venmo information, thinking nothing else of it. The next morning, wake up, there's a notification from Venmo saying, XYZ has sent you some money. I open it up. It's $1,000. Well, what's more remarkable is the note says, Chris, this is the least that I can do. I feel so ashamed that it's all I can give to you right now. I promise I'll be back with more. I mean, $1,000 is a lot of money in my world. That's a lot of money. Right? And so somebody's sitting there saying, I'm sorry, should be more. This is affirmation to me that we're doing something right. And we just need to do more of it for more people.

Andrew Stotz 12:50
So before we wrap up, I've enjoyed learning what you're doing and all and all that. But I just wanted, I think we can't. We can't wrap up the intro part of this without talking about two things. The first is 1 billion, 1 billion people. Yeah, exactly like, and the second thing is, how does the future pro group fit into all of this?

Chris Do 13:15
The 1 billion mission is just to make sure we set our goals so far that might take multiple lifetimes to achieve to make sure that we're aiming high enough. And it's one of these things where it was during a conversation with my managers, and we're talking about what is it we're trying to do, and I couldn't articulate it. And finally, I went home the next morning, and like here, here's what it is, we're going to teach. At that time, I didn't know what number a certain amount of people how to make a living doing what they love, so that my manager, or my, my one of my creative department heads, their little girl can grow up on day when she's 18. And be able to decide do I want to go down the traditional route, or don't want to study from the future, and there will be comparable forms of education in terms of impact. And that's what we really wanted to make. It was too late for us. It's too late for my kids, my kids are too old, but it wasn't too late for his kids. And that meant something and I could see an emotional response from him. So I knew we were onto something. Now the reason why it's a billion is because of this is because in order to make the impact that you want to have on a billion people, you have to play big, you have to think big. So that means you can't be doing these little things. And I hate to say it like that. So when a small college invites me to come and speak to 15 other students, my old self would like love to I would love to help you with 15 students. But that's exactly the thing I'm trying to get away from, which is that it's not scalable. There aren't enough hours in the day and lifetimes for me to live to do those courses or to teach for 15 people over and over again. I would never reach my goal. So it's a way for us to focus on our actions that we play big and think big. So we're going for that big, big thing. The blue ocean strategy.

Andrew Stotz 14:58
It's great. The idea being that you set such a big target that it forces you, in your internal discussions, should we do this? Nope, not going to do that, because that is not going to that's going to get us farther away from our huge goal. And the pressure of a huge goal helps me be focused the, the, the group, let me ask you about the future program. I have a community that I started. And I've found it to be really fascinating and interesting. And like I, I'm really happy to see that it's growing and all that. But maybe you can talk a little about your group and what's going on there and what that's about.

Chris Do 15:35
Yeah, the future per group originally was designed to be some support group for people who have taken our courses or have enrolled in some of our programs and workshops. Because we were realistic, we understand that by taking a course doesn't mean they're all your problems are solved. And you might have a little question. And we also learn, we also realize people learn from their peers more than they do from the quote unquote, instructor. Because you're working on the same level, you're having the same discoveries, and they help each other learn. And they also embolden each other to try things because they're like, if Sally, Mary or John can do it, why the heck can't I? When the professor does that, of course, they can do because they're especially unique creatures. But this is somebody that can see within my, my, my world of being able to catch up to and so they learn from each other. So we've created a group and the group has evolved over the years in, and now it's really about small cohort, peer to peer based coaching and mentoring. We have established a program that we're still in the midst of refining. And are you familiar with entrepreneurs, organization? EO? No. Okay. Well, eo is a global organization. It's designed for entrepreneurs to help entrepreneurs, the minimum that you can make in a year is a million dollars in order for you to join. And so they're all literally millionaires, I forget the stat, but there's almost 5000 members, so maybe more, that the average person does something like three and a half million dollars in revenue a year, right. And I've spent some time with them. It's a wonderful organization. And I realized the lifelong friendships and how they're able to help each other in their groups of eight to 12. So we're trying to mirror the same structure, not requiring you to make a million dollars. So there is a minimum that you need to make. But otherwise, you're invited to the pro group. And you're going to join a small cohort, and you're going to help each other learn and grow. And we're hoping for the exact same result, which is lifelong friendships, peer to peer mentoring, so that we are able to focus on the bigger overarching themes that all members are struggling with.

Andrew Stotz 17:36
And I noticed this in one of your testimonials, and the lady was talking about how she really appreciated that one one, I don't know what you call it a pier. I can't remember what she referred to it as, but it was pretty, pretty cool. Warner peak performance partner. Yes. Okay. That was great. That was,

Chris Do 17:54
you know what I got that from I got that from Darren Hardy. In his book, The compound effect. Yeah, he said the one of the things that's really helped him is to have an accountability person. Exactly, though. So as soon as I read that, I said, everybody, we're teaming up with one to one, we've expanded the concept now. So that's not one to one, because some people have wonderful experiences, depending on your ability to connect with one person, which can color the entire experience for you, if you have a person doesn't show up, who doesn't give it their all or is taking more than they're giving, then that one to one relationship falls apart. So that's why we're doing it. One is a group of up to 12 people.

Andrew Stotz 18:27
Okay. And that's where like, it's a pod type of concept, I guess. And then you Yeah, okay. We started some in one of my courses, the valuation masterclass. We bring in about, let's say, roughly 50 Students for a six week intense course, and we put them into different groups. And it's funny because we're having them value companies, right. So we're teaching them how to value companies, they got a lot of video content, we got a lot of interaction going on. But one of the things that we found is that the students or we let the students pick the companies that they wanted to value around the world. So they, you know, would go through our process with that. And we just realize it's a bit overwhelming. So what we ended up doing was having them in groups and say, Look, all of you in this group are going to analyze the same company. And what we found was, it just really changed the dynamic where all of a sudden, it's like cheating is good. You know, like helping each other and seeing what each other is doing and sharing what you're doing is how we're going to lift all of you guys, because it doesn't matter to me. In the end, I want all of you to have the best possible presentation and final report at the end of the bootcamp. So in the next three days, I've got 35 meetings of presentations coming up from my students. So it's a little bit of that concept, but I feel like I got you. One of the feedbacks I got from one of the students recently is that, you know, sometimes like when they do the group meetings, if there's no facilitator there, or something, you know, the group meeting can kind of fall apart because the leader is not that strong or so. I'm like that. And I haven't really figured out how to handle that.

Chris Do 20:03
Yeah, you know, I think you're touching on something that is slowly starting to shift within educational models. It used to be about individual performance. And so collaboration was not encouraged as actually discouraged your writing, describing as cheating. When you're borrowing the research and insights from other people. That's called cheating. But we're realizing this very dynamic and in crazy world that we live in where we're problems are changing and evolving faster than the rate of the education, we need to collaborate. And that's a skill of the 21st century. So my son who was in high school, what they do is they do group note taking, which is a brilliant concept, if you think about it. So instead of you sitting there thinking, Oh, my gosh, I miss the concept. And I'm on edge instead of really being present to what's going on, they collaborate on one document, and they share the notes. That way, you can see different ways of listening and observation, and you can compare and contrast. But it also takes a lot of the pressure away from you missing something. And then you form relationships, you can see who their good note takers are, you can see who's listening diligently, who's really not contributing at all. So recently, I did a workshop in Australia, a three city tour, and I said, here's the Dropbox, document, everybody in the city, we will share this document, take notes as best as you can. And people were really excited. I was like, Oh, this is interesting. So they're on the phones or on their laptop, and I can see who's really contributing, who's really listening. And that's a way for me, if I were grading anybody to say, Wow, okay, we need to look out for Mary, Bob and John. They're really doing great things here. So they're future superstars, because you can tell how intently they're listening. But just the spirit of working together, I think is super exciting.

Andrew Stotz 21:42
Yeah. And it's, it's what's exciting about what I do with the valuation masterclass boot camp is that, well, when those leaders come, come, you know, come to the top. Well, then I talked to my corporate sponsors, and say, Hey, are you looking for a person that can do XYZ, I've got someone. And so part of what I've been doing now is connecting with corporate sponsors who look for the best and the brightest. And by putting them into a tough, I do have a hat like you.

Chris Do 22:12
Almost the same. Yeah, my

Andrew Stotz 22:13
hats a little bit more like a drill instructor. But I try to make it tough, because I know that at the end, what the students and the attendees want is they want an outcome, either maybe get a better job or get into the finance industry or something like that. And then I can deliver that, you know, as long as I keep the content great. And the environment tough. Yeah. It one last thing I was just thinking about, you know, when I look at statistics related to education in America, it's a disaster. I left America 30 years ago, and when I look at, you know, what the typical kid or learns right now, compared to let's say, when I was in high school, I graduated in 1983. I just think, you know, and sometimes I heard someone say something, and they said, How could I know? And I thought, exactly how could you know, because you never studied it, and you never learned it. And you may never have read a book on it. And you may never studied history, or whatever. And what I also see in Asia is that there's no change here, everybody still values education, they're trying so hard to learn more. So I think what you're doing as far as education is concerned is great. Keep bringing it well. Listen, we've spent a lot of time talking about all of this great stuff, which I really much enjoyed. And I hope that the listeners enjoyed too. But now it's time to share your worst investment ever. And since no one goes into their worst investment thinking and will be tell us a bit about the circumstances leading up to it, then tell us your story.

Chris Do 23:34
Alright, I'll do my best. We're in a West Coast la based motion design firm. And we realized that in order for us to get the work that we want, we also have to have an East Coast office. That's what we were led to believe, by coastal agency seemed capture both the West Coast and East Coast market and there are more bigger, well established agencies on the East Coast, and there's on the West Coast. And so initially, we thought, okay, let's go do this. But we did it half heartedly because no one wanted to move in. So we found an easy way to do it, which was to sub lease or sublet sublease, a space from another editorial firm. So they would give us one of their back rooms and give us Internet access and computers, so that we would have a New York address. And so we thought, okay, well, we can do this. We have a New York address, the phone number will forward automatically to our la number, and we're in business and nobody bought that. Like okay, so what if you have an East Coast address, so we double down on a erroneous presumption? You know, that by having an East Coast office, we will get East Coast work. So then we wind up renting a space renovating it. It was a small office under 1000 square feet. And we hired an office manager, an executive producer and a creative director to run it for us. Still, no one from our office wanted to live on the east coast. And so we're running two offices incurring double the expenses, but we're not doubling our revenue So we're now shrinking profit. And I think doubling my headache, managing more people, more logistics, and it was just very, very problematic. And so this is happening over the course of five years. So I'm just seeing me putting more money into Pitt, year after year. And I learned some really valuable lessons. Now, ultimately, we closed on the office, it didn't work for us. Because there was little DNA that was shared between the West Coast and East Coast office, it was the same company by name, but that was it a whole different way of working.

Andrew Stotz 25:29
Can you remember the moment by the way that like, like, the day that you had the discussion with everybody like, Okay, it's time we got to pull the plug?

Chris Do 25:37
Yeah, I do, remember. And remember, it wasn't just instantaneous, you'd wake up one day, and you're like, I got to do this, it was slowly gnawing at me for probably six to 12 months, I just knew it was not a good idea. But there's something about human nature about this law of consistency, wanting to be consistent with yourself, saying that if I do not close this office, I'm a loser, I'm a failure. What will people think of me, and you just keep putting more good money after bad. And it's not that it was this giant burning hole. But it was just not worth the effort, I would rather hire three more people in the LA office, we'd probably do another million dollars of business and not have to deal with any of the headaches. And we can do that easily. Because we had tremendous amount of space in our LA office, one of the most powerful lessons I've learned is you can't export your core competency. If none of us were willing to make the move, saying We represent the energy of the company, and we will go and move on back east and establish the same culture and the same way of working before returning back home, then then we were not committed and not being committed to something, you can see that we are approaching this very half heartedly versus renting a little office space, no one else there just to buy an address, it's probably cheaper way to do that. And during that time, I think we had that space for about a year and a half. We got no new business, no one flew from LA to New York. And that was what I then later on realizes, besides the exporting your core competency is I think New York works because you're in New York, this is a critical part. You go into the events, you're going to the bars and the clubs and the restaurants, and you bump into people in the street in the subway, and you're like, Oh, hey, I see you love the campaign that you're working on. Congratulations. And then that's how relationships begin. And it takes a long time to do that. So if you're going to do that, to establish a beachfront or beachhead in another city, I think you have to make the commitment that you're going to move there, and you're going to live there for a period of time until things get underway. It wasn't that we were so busy that we needed another office, we use that as a way to create new business. So I think we were doing this in reverse order.

Andrew Stotz 27:43
Maybe I'll share a couple things that I take away from that. The first one is I wrote down that, you know, you can't have someone else fight your battles. Like ultimately, you've got to be on that front. And when you think about one of my shelves up here is about 50 books on US Civil War, which was an area that I was quite interested in. And what you realize is that the best generals were the ones that were on the front lines, and they didn't fight all the time on the front lines, but they always were reconnoitering. And going out. In fact, Stonewall Jackson, one of the early successful generals got shot because he was going to the frontline. And it turns out he was shot by his own man as he returned from the frontline by accident. But the point is, is that you know, you can't have someone else fight your battles. It may seem like you could but in the end, you can't. The second thing is that, you know, expanding any business is a challenge. It's like, you've got to think, Okay, can we do more out of this particular location? Do we set up? You know, if you're a restaurant, okay, do we, we've done great out of this one location. Now we've set up a second location, all of a sudden, you're changing the dynamics of that business dramatically. Where the dynamics of that business is, how do you run? You can't be at two restaurants at the same time. So either how do you get to great managers? And how do you start to run a very different style of business and I think many people jump into this type of stuff without realizing like the risks. And the third thing I was thinking about is that we had an opportunity to expand one of my businesses, which is a coffee factory here in Thailand. And we supply restaurants, hotels, coffee shops, and the light, we had a chance to expand to Vietnam. And we went through that whole analysis and the end conclusion was, it's not worth it. We could allocate our resources into expanding into another major city and bank in Thailand and get a bigger return the considerably less risk. So always consider the risks. When you're looking at those returns. Anything you would add to those takeaways.

Chris Do 29:41
I think that's it's pretty spot on I would add a new point which is I was at a conference and Leila her Mozi and her husband Alex are speaking and they're famous for scaling businesses from three to $30 million. And so of course, the question comes up, how do you scale and what lay Sid was before you scale, you should optimize, it's really important thing to optimize your business before you scale. Because when you scale, you scale all the success and you scale all the mistakes. This is really important. So when we were trying to scale our business, we hadn't optimized that we hadn't figured out our secret formula, how we work, all the rules that the case, case studies and everything that we needed to know our best practices. We didn't establish any that we just thought, let's put more creative humans in another office and see what happens. It's almost designed to fail looking back on it now. But back then it was like, I don't know, let's, let's see what we can do. And we just were just throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. Oh, it wasn't exactly a great strategy. It sounds like you did the right way, which is to do a real analysis, cost benefit analysis and understand your risk.

Andrew Stotz 30:43
Yeah, but there was 15. Other times that I did it the wrong way I didn't mention. So I listened to Neil Patel and Eric Sue's release of some of the discussion they had in their group with Lila, and what's his name? Again, I'm Alex. And I just crawl up into a ball when I listen to those guys speak, because I just think, you know, ah, what an idiot, all the things I've done. Great stuff out of them. So anyways, that's a great reference. So based on polling, what you learn from this story and what you continue to learn in your life, let's now go back in time and imagine a young person who is facing the exact same situation that you're facing, everybody's talking about it, we need to have that out New York office dadadada da, what's one action that you'd recommend that our listeners take to avoid suffering the same fate?

Chris Do 31:33
The first thing I would do is to question your assumptions first, and what my sales reps were saying to me is you need to have a New York office for in order for us to sell you. And we probably could have poked a lot of holes threat theory and that assumption, and it's one of those things, where are you saying if I do this, you're gonna guarantee us X volume, your work, and you're willing to back that up, and they would not be able to do that. And what you need to understand is salespeople look at the sum and not the net. It's like more effort equals more possibilities, but they don't look at the net, which is, we spent a lot to get this. And therefore is this effort worth the risk? And I think what we have to do is go back and say, what is it that makes our DNA unique? What is it about our product and service that we can do to improve and do all those things before you think about expanding into new office because of all the headaches we've talked about before? So question those assumptions. Now, if you walk away and say, yes, those assumptions have been validated? And I would strongly say they're probably not, but let's just say that they are, then you have to say, what is our rollout plan? How do we see this happening? What is the overhead? Who do we have to invest in and we probably should make that investment on day one, and not do a slow bleed, if we're going to fail, fail fast versus slowly, kind of just set it slowly spending the money and making the effort because every like a year into that effort, we're like, Well, this is not working, because we haven't tried so we can fall back on the fact that we haven't tried versus we tried really hard. We need to close those off as it's not working. We're spending too much money and time. Let's get out of this.

Andrew Stotz 33:04
Yeah. It reminds me of what I teach to my finance students, and you know, the management teams of company about finances that finance adds no value. And my finance students hate to hear that, of course. But what I tried to say is it finance is a mirror, it's a reflection. And the value of finance in a situation like that is to use finance to say, Okay, we think we're going to spend X and we're going to earn y. And now the monthly financial data that we're going to look at every single month is going to tell us whether our hypothesis was correct or not. And we need that feedback loop. So I encourage everybody to use finance as a tool and try to use it as a feedback mechanism. So you don't get stuck in that situation.

Chris Do 33:53
All right, yeah, I think you're talking about like modeling and forecasting and doing the business things that you're supposed to do as a Responsible Entrepreneur, right. Versus like, let's just see what happens.

Andrew Stotz 34:03
And, you know, I after interviewing 600, more than 600 people, and particularly a lot of entrepreneurs that lost a lot of money. I always say my number one lesson that I learned about having a business is you must have on time inaccurate, monthly financial statements. And if you can get those in any odd accountant, it says no, we don't need monthly we just better kick them out, get monthly, accurate and on time financial statements, and then meet with your team and go through them. You'll solve most of your problems because over time you keep repetitively looking at those learning about those, you'll become a financial expert about your business. So let me ask you, what's a resource that you'd recommend for our listeners?

Chris Do 34:51
I'd like to recommend lots of resources but I'm gonna need your help. What have anything give me some guidelines on what kind of resource would well I

Andrew Stotz 34:59
I think that you've got a lot of stuff going on. And maybe it would be great if you could tell us like, What's one way to start to consume your content. I mean, I noticed, for instance, your book as an example, which I think I'm, I haven't gotten to it, I'm gonna get after this conversation, maybe something of yours that you think would be of most value for the audience, the

Chris Do 35:21
easiest thing you can do is find me somewhere on social media at the Cristo, I post pretty regularly on Instagram, Twitter, and on LinkedIn, as well as our YouTube channel, which is the future is here. And that's just a great way to get an introduction. And I would just ask that you listen to or read, like a handful before you make a decision as to whether or not I'm the right person for you. Because on the initial read, I'm probably going to turn most people off because I see things very directly matter of factly. And sometimes in a bombastic nature to get people to wake up and pay attention, that it is a turn off for lots of people like, Oh, he's so full of himself, in a way I am. But you know, I have to say things to cut through the clutter. And that's really important to me, the message hasn't get out there.

Andrew Stotz 36:00
Great. And we'll have links to that in the show notes, ladies and gentlemen. So ladies and gentlemen of my worst investment ever community engage. Last question, what is your number one goal for the next 12 months?

Chris Do 36:15
My number one goal is to launch our mastermind, which is a high level group for people who are making between one to $5 million a year. It's a rather expensive annual subscription is $36,000. It's only for 100 people, if we can launch this and fill up the seats on my happy camper. So that's what we're trying to do. And we think we'll get there.

Andrew Stotz 36:36
Fantastic. Well, listeners, there you have it another story of loss to keep you winning. If you haven't yet joined the become a better investor community just go to my worst investment ever.com right now to claim your spot. As we conclude, Chris, I want to thank you again for joining our mission. And on behalf of a Stotz Academy, I hereby award you alumni status for turning your worst investment ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words for the audience?

Chris Do 37:05
I have one question for you, Andrew, which is, I guess how old you are based on some information you shared today. And I want to look up to like where I might be. When I'm your age. I think you're a little bit older me I'm gonna guess that you're 58 years old, how often my

Andrew Stotz 37:21
you're very close to 8750s I

Chris Do 37:23
was going to I wrote 57 I scrolled out and I wrote 58. But okay,

Andrew Stotz 37:28
you looked at my hairstyle, and you thought, Okay, I'll give me 88.

Chris Do 37:32
I'm 50 years old myself, and I love that you're at 600 episodes. So you're wholly committed to doing this. I'm only a 200 something myself in terms of our podcast. So you give me a lot to look up to and for into my future. Thank you.

Andrew Stotz 37:46
I appreciate that. And I've learned one of the big lessons is just keep going. And Amen to that. Yeah. Then for all the listeners out there, you know, just keep going. And that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and protect our well fellow risk takers. Let's celebrate that today. We added one new person to our mission to help 1 million people reduce risk in their lives. This is your words podcast host Andrew Stotz saying, I'll see you on the upside.


Connect with Chris Do

Andrew’s books

Andrew’s online programs

Connect with Andrew Stotz:

About the show & host, Andrew Stotz

Welcome to My Worst Investment Ever podcast hosted by Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, where you will hear stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that to win in investing you must take the risk, but to win big, you’ve got to reduce it.

Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, Ph.D., CFA, is also the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research and A. Stotz Academy, which helps people create, grow, measure, and protect their wealth.

Leave a Comment