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How to Build, Grow, Scale, and SELL Your Online Business


If you want to make money online in 2024, good news: it’s easier than ever! Just ask today’s guest, who had to bootstrap his online business before you could launch a business with little to no startup costs. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and need a little inspiration to get your next business idea rolling, this episode is for you!

Welcome back to the BiggerPockets Money podcast! Today, we’re joined by serial entrepreneur Omar Zenhom from The $100 MBA Show. For many years, Omar worked as a full-time educator while nurturing his fledgling businesses on the side. Naturally, many of them didn’t work out. But rather than letting these failures deter him from entrepreneurship, Omar applied each new lesson to his next business venture. Eventually, he struck gold with WebinarNinja, a software company he scaled to 30,000 users before selling his business and enjoying the spoils.

Want to achieve financial freedom without being reliant on your W2 job? Stick around to learn the ins and outs of building a business from the ground up—saving money to get started, leveraging your network to scale the business, and ultimately, selling your company for a huge profit!

Mindy:
Today’s show is about bootstrapping, running, scaling and selling a business.

Scott:
Today, we’re talking to Omar Zenhom, from The $100 MBA, about how we was able to start the software company, WebinarNinja, scale it to 30,000 annual users and successfully exit it.

Mindy:
Hello, my dear listeners, and welcome to the BiggerPockets Money Podcast. My name is Mindy Jensen. Joining me, as always, is my never sassy cohost, Scott Trench.

Scott:
Thanks, Mindy. Great to be here. I always appreciate the way you’re churning out these intros.
We’re here to make financial independence less scary, less just for somebody else, to introduce you to every money story because we truly believe financial freedom is attainable for everyone, no matter when or where you’re starting.

Mindy:
Scott, I think we should clarify our little jokes today. SaaS is software-as-a-service, which refers to Omar and what he’s talking about. Churn is just part of having software-as-a-service.

Scott:
It’s the amount of people who cancel a subscription product, for example.

Mindy:
But if you’re in the know, that was really, really funny. Omar Zenhom, from $100 MBA, welcome to the BiggerPockets Money Podcast. I’m so excited to talk to you today.

Omar:
I’m excited too, Mindy. Thanks for having me.

Mindy:
Omar, before we jump into your entrepreneurial journey, can you tell us a little bit about your upbringing with regards to money?

Omar:
That’s a great question, upbringing. My parents are immigrants from Egypt. They migrated in the early ’60s. Moving to America, they had to relearn everything. They had relearn how to get a job, and how to find the local supermarket, and the barber shop. In fact, they had to redo their degrees because they didn’t recognize their degrees from Egypt. There’s that too, and learning a new language, and all that kind of stuff.
But one of the things I learned is you have to seek out opportunities. It’s hard to say no to things, you have to say yes to everything. Really, money was valued more than time. You just have to do as much hard work as possible, so there was that. I would say that my parents were very good at surviving, but not thriving. They were really good at making sure everybody was taken care of, pay the bills, everybody’s got clothes on their back. But it was almost like they didn’t feel like they deserved to live beyond that point, beyond middle class, just want to go beyond that in terms of financial needs.
I never actually saw what it means to be wealthy. I never actually saw what that means. I have an uncle, my mom’s brother, who is the only entrepreneurial character in my family. When I was younger, 18, 19, every time he would visit, he would come over to our house and the gift he would give me would be a book. He would give me a book. The first book he gave me was Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. It’s not the most brilliant book in the world, but it’s a good book to get started with and it changes your mindset. Next time he would visit, he would have a chat with me about, “What do you think of this book?” I’d be like, “Oh yeah, I learned this, this and this.” Then he’s like, “Great, here’s another book,” and he would give me another book. The second book he gave me was How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
It opened up this door of what these other people. I found it really magical, this idea of entrepreneurship. Who are these people that have ideas in their head, and then they create it in the real world? That’s wizardry. What is that? I just got enchanted by this idea.

Scott:
I would love to go back to your career journey. I’d love to hear a little bit about that journey and how that progressed in the early years, out of college.

Omar:
Yeah, it’s funny. My dad was in sales. He was a car salesman, so think about the typical salesperson that’s a car salesperson. He sold cars. Growing up in that environment, sometimes we had money, sometimes we didn’t. Sometimes, summer vacation was in Disney World, the next was the backyard. Growing up in that environment, I was like, “I want a safe, steady job. I don’t want to have this fluctuation and this instability.” I went into teaching, I became a teacher. I was an English teacher for the first five years of my career, and then I was a head of department, and the chair of the department at the university was working at. For a good 12 years, I was an educator. That was my career.
The funny thing is, is that through those 12 years, 10 of them I was side hustling building businesses on the side, experimenting. Learning how to be an entrepreneur really, through trial and error, through the internet and through my different businesses.
But one of the things I love about my first career is I really believe that teaching is the ultimate skill. I believe that there’s so many skills I got from that experience. One, communication skills. Teaching basically is sales. It’s like, “I have to sell these 30 bodies in my room that what I’m teaching them is important enough for them to pay attention. If they don’t pay attention enough, they’re not going to pass their tests and I’m going to lose my job.” There’s so much pressure to get this to happen, and I have to do this five times a day, five days a week. In a lot of ways, I love the fact that that was my career and I used a lot of those skills into when I run webinars, when I teach content, when I do the podcast, whatever it might be.

Scott:
During that phase as a teacher here, what does your wealth accumulation journey look like? I’d love to hear about how the dollars and cents rack up, whether they’re saved or invested, and whether anything’s being plowed into these side businesses that you’re starting.

Omar:
This is a great question because I was teaching in Dubai. I was teaching in the Middle East. The reason why I was teaching there is because the money was great. I was making three times as much as a teacher, and then when I was an administrator, I was making four or five times much. Probably the equivalent of $150,000 a year, or something like that, as a teacher. And all my expenses were taken care of. They would give you housing, they would give you a ticket back home, they would give you healthcare. For the most part, a lot of that got saved. Now, obviously there’s living expenses, and there’s living life, and holidays, and all that kind of stuff. But I would say about 80% of the money I saved, I invested in my businesses.
Some of these, I got a return on investment, and some of these, I totally lost all my money. But I learned 100 lessons along the way. “I learned so many things of how not to invent the light bulb,” as Thomas Edison said. I would say most of my money was put in there, and then the rest I just basically put into savings. I didn’t know about the idea of how do I invest this, put it into stock market. I just said, “Too hard basket, I’m too busy right now trying to build my businesses, I’m going to just throw it into savings.”

Scott:
Awesome. I subscribe to the philosophy that nine out of 10 businesses fail. The logical conclusion of that is to start 10 businesses. How close is that to this journey over 10 years for you?

Omar:
No, I started around 20 businesses, about 20 businesses at the time. I would say, out of the 20, three of them really took off and really, I would say, were heavily profitable, over 200% profitable and were self-sustaining. I was able to run this business, and it had its own value, and I was able to sell it at some point. That was something that I learned the hard way.
Now luckily, out of those 20 businesses, I would say maybe about 12 or 13 of them that failed, I didn’t invest a ton of money into it. Probably, we’re talking between 20 to $30,000 in terms of capital. Now, that’s a lot in my opinion, in today’s day-and-age, because you can start a business for far less. I’m starting with there’s no PayPal, there’s no WordPress, there’s nothing. I had to get a merchant account, I had to build my own websites. There’s a lot of expenses just to build a business. But now, you can pretty much get started for less than 100 bucks or something like that, in terms of just getting the wheels in motion. Yeah, that was a bit of a loss with those businesses.
I’ve made so many connections, so many relationships along the way. A lot of people don’t talk about this. When you build a business, you learn so many things and meet so many interesting people along the way. That you can later tap into, talk to, help, network with, partner with later on, despite the fact that the business didn’t work out.

Mindy:
We’re going to take a quick break. But when we’re back, we’re going to learn more about what it takes to bootstrap a software business.

Scott:
We’re back, and we’re talking to Omar Zenhom, from The $100 MBA, about his journey starting and scaling a software company. But first, we’ll learn how Omar used side gigs as a stepping ladder to his first successful business venture.

Mindy:
Do you start these businesses with the intention of selling them, growing them to a certain point and selling them? Or do you start them with the intention of keeping them?

Omar:
I always have the intention of keeping them, but I’m going to back up a little bit. This is something I like to encourage the people that we teach at The $100 MBA, and I like to just even talk to my friends and family about thinking about starting a business. I always just try to tell them forget about starting a business. Some people are just too in love with their ideas. They’re so in love with this concept of, “Oh, I got this great idea for this muffin business.” It’s just like backup a little bit.
I really believe in choosing entrepreneurship like a career. Just like if you wanted to become a doctor, or you wanted to become a mechanic, or you want to become a sales professional, or a consultant, whatever it might be. When you’re in these fields, you’re not thinking about a particular job. You’re like, “Oh, it would be great if I can do sales for Google in this department.” No, you’re just thinking, “I just want a sales job,” to get started. Think of it as a career.
I want to be a successful entrepreneur. So maybe my first job, my first business is not going to be perfect, it’s not going to be something I’m so passionate about. But maybe it’s something I can add value and just learn in the process, and get better, get some skills, so I can get a promotion, which is the better business that I can start and use those skills into the new business. But the point is, is that my end goal is to be a successful entrepreneur, not to have a successful A business, or a particular idea that needs to see its fruition.
I think through all those failures, I learned that not everything is in your control. The market is going to dictate a lot of what’s going to happen to you. You have to experiment, and see, and figure it out as you’re going along. A lot of people say entrepreneurs, they jump out of a plane and they build a parachute on the way down. I’m not that extreme. You should do some preparation, and do some market valuation, and ideal validation, and all that kind of stuff. There is some truth in the idea that the market is going to tell you which way to move. Sometimes, you have to be flexible in the beginning and change things up.
Maybe in the course of me building this business, I realize okay, actually to be a market leader in this market, with this idea, with this business, I’m going to need investment, I’m going to need to be able to hire X amount of people, and maybe I don’t want to do that. If that’s the case, then maybe I should just pack up and leave right now, and sell it, and do that. But I may not know that in the beginning, so maybe my intention …
To answer your question, you got to be flexible. You can’t just go into there and be hard-headed.

Scott:
I think we’ve got a really great picture of what’s going on here. We’re living in Dubai, we’re making great money. We are starting up a couple businesses. In 2014, I believe the next pivot comes for you with your big business, WebinarNinja. Can you walk us through the transition to starting that business and how that began in early stages?

Omar:
Yeah. One of the other trends that maybe those who are listening are picking up on is that most of my successes start with a failure. I always fail first, and then I learn from it, I pick up, and then I realize, “Okay, this is what I need to do.”
The same thing happened with WebinarNinja. I was running webinars in 2013 to grow our community and sell memberships to The $100 MBA, which is a business that I have. It’s online education for people who want to start a business. With that, I was running webinars. I loved running webinars because my teaching background, I felt comfortable. But I hated the tools that are out there. At the time, there was just GoToMeeting, and it was just really meant for meetings, and not for teaching, and workshops, and interaction.
It was like, “Okay, let me see how I can build all the pieces together, to put together a great webinar.” Because to put a webinar together, you have to have a landing page, there’s all these marketing pieces. Landing pages, and registration pages, and opt-ins. Then once they register, how do I make sure there’s a chat? How do I make sure I record it and then send the replay to somebody else? There’s tools for this now that do this seamlessly, but at the time, there wasn’t.
I actually created a course and a guide to show people how to do this. This was called the DIY Webinar Guide. “Hey, if you want to run webinars easily, and you want to do all the marketing pieces, I do this every single week, it takes me two hours, but I’m going to show you how to do it so that it’s simple.” I worked on this thing for four months. I was so excited about it. I launched it, I got two sales. One of them was a chargeback, so it wasn’t even a real sale. The other one was a sympathy sale from a friend, John Lee Dumas. It wasn’t really a big success, even though I invested so much time and effort into it. Then I was like, “Okay, that didn’t work.” At the time I was like, “Okay, let me just forget about this for a second. Let me step away from it,” and continued to do the webinars.
When I was doing the webinars, I started to get sick of putting these pieces together and I started to build a little tool for myself to run the webinars, a little software tool. I knew a little bit of PHP and HTML at the time, and I slapped this thing together, and I started running my webinars with it. The attendees on the webinar were like, “Hey, what are you using for this webinar? This looks cool.” I said, “Oh, it’s just something I slapped together. Anyway, let’s go on with the workshop.” They’re like, “Hey, hey, wait a minute. Can we buy this thing that you’re using?” I was like, “Oh, I don’t know. Let me see.”
After that webinar, I was like, “Is this even an idea? Should I do this?” I put together a landing page to pre-sell the software. I had no concept, the one that I was using was really hacky and not ready for commercial use. I’m not a great developer, I just put it together through trial-and-error. I just put a sales page together, I pre-sold it on the promise that it would fix this problem. But the problem was so painful, people hated running webinars, and all the marketing elements were really hard and all the automations. When we pre-sold it, we sold the first 150 spots in the first 48 hours, and then 24 hours later we sold another 100 spots, for a total of 250 spots.
At that moment I realized okay, this is such a huge pain. I didn’t have a big email list, I had less than 1200 people on my email list. I was like wow, okay this is really a painful problem that people are willing to put money down on a promise that I can solve this problem for them. The learning I got was no one actually wants to do the work, they want a tool to do the work for them. That, for me, was like oh, light bulb moment. I’m expecting everybody to be like me, and do all this hustle, and do all this painful process. But for me, it was a great moment because that was the birth of WebinarNinja. We started that software company and we iterated.
I know those 250 beta members by name. I know them by heart. These guys are in my heart forever, because they gave us so much great feedback and they helped us out. We went from 250 people to 30,000 people using the platform, and over three million people have attended a webinar on WebinarNinja, so what a journey for us. Yeah, that’s the origin story.

Scott:
Tell us a little bit more about the business. What do you charge for this product that has 30,000 members? What was the journey like to get from 250 to 30,000? Did it take a year, two years, five years, 10 years? Tell us a little bit about that.

Omar:
Yeah, sure. I’m going to go through the journey, but just keep in mind, those who are listening, I just sold the business and it got acquired, so these prices may change. We’ve just been acquired by ProProfs, which is a great company.
When we first got started … I’m a very big believer in keeping things simple in the beginning because, like I mentioned before, you’re going to have to pivot, you’re going to have to change. The more complicated you make it in the beginning, the harder it is for you to untangle that later. In the beginning, we just had two plans. We had a monthly plan and an annual plan. That’s it. You got all the features, for monthly and annual and that’s it. In the beginning, we just did live webinars. Then we started to do automated webinars. Then we started to add different automation features, and different marketing features. Then we started doing hybrid webinars. Then we started doing series webinars. As we built up we realized okay, some people value these features and some people don’t.
I was lucky enough to get to know a good friend of mine, named Patrick Campbell, who ran and sold ProfitWell. He’s a pricing expert. He got on a calls with me, and we had chats, and breakfasts. The guy’s brilliant. Basically, he has this idea, it’s called a value metric, where it’s some people are really willing to pay for certain features and they will spend a premium, and some people don’t really care about those stuffs. With those things, make them either add-ons, or make them part of another bundle or another tier. That’s what we did.

Scott:
Let’s go back to the beginning. You had 250 members sign up for the beta. What did you charge those customers for the beta?

Omar:
What we wanted to do was we wanted to get some people that are committed, so those people actually got a lifetime deal and we charged them $300. It was a very appealing deal for people. I did this on purpose because I was like, “I need people that are invested,” and would be able to give me as much feedback as possible because they’re like, “Hey, I’m going to use this as long as possible because I only paid $300 for it.”

Scott:
That’s 75 grand, if I’m doing the math there. Is that how you funded the company? Was the company bootstrapped the whole way through?

Omar:
Exactly. Exactly. We got that 75 grand before we even launched the software, so it was pre-sold. That’s how we funded the company.

Scott:
Okay. You start this business, you got 75K. We know it scales to tens of millions of dollars. 30,000 customers times, even if it’s 1000 bucks a year, I don’t know what the average was there. It was a huge business, 30 mill, give or take, I’m imagining. Is that close?

Omar:
I can’t actually reveal because of my NDA. Yeah. We did well.

Scott:
Awesome. We’re in that phase. Let’s talk about going from X to Y. How are you doing that? Are customers coming from word of mouth? Did you figure out your lifetime value get a paid acquisition stream going? In a lot of software businesses, because that payback isn’t in the first year or the first month, it is cash drag. How did you handle the scaling there? Both from scaling your organization and from the customer acquisition standpoint.

Omar:
The first three years, it was very content based marketing. To be quite honest with you, a lot of the success of all my businesses has to do with my network. I hate using the word network. Really, they’re my friends. These guys are my friends. I met these people at conferences, I met them at birthday parties, I met them at dinners, I met them at events that happen around the world. I just made a lot of effort, even when I didn’t have a lot of money, to go to these events, these local meetups, to conferences.
There’s one conference in particular that we went to in 2014, it was January 2014, six months before we launched WebinarNinja, called New Media Expo. This conference doesn’t exist anymore. But it was in Vegas, and we met so many interesting people who were just getting started at the time. We’re all hungry for success. It was interesting. The vibe of that group was just like, “How can we help each other?” In that group, we met people like Lewis Howes. We met Amy Porterfield. We met Chris Tucker, and Pat Flynn, and all these people that are in our space that were just getting started. ConvertKit’s founder, Nathan Barry, we met him. I remember having French toast next to him at breakfast.
Now these people are our friends and our colleagues, and we talk to each other regularly. The thing is that because we’re all coming up at the same time, we all were hungry to help each other out. After that conference, I had all these contacts, I have all these Twitter handles, all these people that I met that were just super nice people, generous and doing interesting things. Then when we were launching WebinarNinja, I just reached out every one of them. When I say every one of them, I literally emailed in my Gmail account 120 people.
I emailed them and I said, “Hey, I’m launching this thing, this is what it’s called. Here’s the landing page. If this is something that would interest your audience,” not them, their audience. Because their audience is really valuable to me, because they have more reach with those people. One sale is not better than 50 sales. I said to them, “If this interests your audience, can you share it with them? Either with a tweet or in your email, or in your PS, or whatever. If not, cool. Hope you’re doing well.” And something personal like, “Go, Celtics,” if they’re from Boston.
The point is, is that I would do that and some people responded, some people didn’t. But about 30% of them actually shared it with their audience and put it in their newsletter. It got a lot of reach and lot of people were like, “Cool, this sounds great. I’d love to sign up for the waiting list.” When they got on my email list, then I emailed them. This is how we got our first members, literally from that conference, that’s how it happened.

Mindy:
The power of networking is huge. You could email me three weeks ago and be like, “Hey, Mindy, can you do you this?” Yeah, probably not because I don’t know you. But now, we’ve had a conversation. You email me, I am happy to do something for you. When you’re at a conference and you’re just talking to these random people, you’re just having a conversation. You’re not trying to sell them your services, you’re just talking to them about what’s worked for you, they’re telling you what’s worked for them. It’s a collaborative effort at these conferences.
Then a few weeks later, “Hey, it was so nice to meet you. By the way, would you mind mentioning this?” Hey, I remember, Omar was super cool, I got this awesome tip. Or, I just really enjoyed having French toast with him at breakfast. I would love to help him out.

Omar:
People will give back, even for nothing in return.

Mindy:
Yeah. But you have to be genuine. When you come across as salesy and, “Hey, Omar, I sure want to be your friend because I want you to help me out,” it’s going to come across as so smarmy and gross, and you are not going to want to help that person. I don’t want to help that person either. But when you’re genuine, when you are just genuinely having French toast with Nathan Barry and not trying to hopefully get on his good side so he’ll help you out, it comes through. When you’re salesy, you’re not fooling anybody.

Omar:
Successful people get this all the time so their radar is fully on. They’re like, “Oh, what does this person want?” They’re constantly worried about that. I’m not saying this to discourage people, but I’m saying this to really, just try to make friends and try to see how you can help them out, how you can support them. You have maybe a smaller audience, but they’ll still appreciate the fact that …
I remember when I went to that conference, later on I wrote a blog post and I mentioned all the people I met. I hyperlinked to their websites and gave them shout-outs. Even that small thing, people would email me and say, “Hey, man, thanks for doing that. That was really nice of you.” Whether it’s a nice thing I said or just shouting out their product or business.

Mindy:
Yeah. Genuine interactions feel genuine, and salesy interactions feel salesy and gross, and nobody wants to be sold to.
Stay listening. We’re going to take a quick break, and when we’re back we’ll delve into the nitty-gritty of how to sell a company and make a lucrative exit.

Scott:
And we’re back. Next up, Omar Zenhom will tell us about the ins and outs of exiting a company he built from the ground up.
Speaking of being sold to, you just sold the business. I’d love to hear about the process of moving into the sale. There was a sale here of moving the business in there. You mentioned, I imagine, I’m going to speculate and I’d love to hear your take on this, there’s a leadership team or management team you have to put in place, there’s changes you got to make from the cost structure. We want to make sure that the financials present the way you want to present, all that kind of stuff. Was there an investment bank? I would love to hear about all this stuff that you did, to put the business up for sales and the process there.

Omar:
The first thing I want to say is that when you’re selling a business, especially one that you’ve run for nine-and-a-half years, the hardest part is the emotional element. It’s not really the finances, or the sale price, or even the buyer, or anything like that. So much of who you are is wrapped up into something that you’ve done, day in and day out. It’s what I thought about for 14 hours a day for nine-and-a-half years. To come to terms with the fact I have to say goodbye to this, and this is not going to be part of my life anymore, it starts to, I don’t want to say messes with you, but you start asking questions you never asked before. Like, “Who am I? Who am I, if I’m not this business? Who am I, if I’m not?” It made me realize okay, I need to wrap my head around what’s about to happen because I want to land on my feet. I would say that’s a part of the equation is just figuring that out, because you’re going to have a life after this and you got to be ready for it.
In terms of preparing for the sale, the sale process, finding a buyer, negotiating, I was very fortunate because I was part of Dan Martel’s SaaS Academy. He’s a SaaS coach. One of the things that he teaches is prepare for the sale before you sell. One of the things that we did years in advance is have our business prepared, from an SOP standpoint, a standard operating procedures’ standpoint, from just contracts, everything’s organized, everything’s easy to find, receipts, from a financial point of view, P&Ls, all kinds of stuff.
Just having things ready and documented so that when you are ready to sell, you’re not putting your data room together. That’s what the data room is, if nobody’s sold a SaaS company. Basically it’s when you have a buyer, they want to look at your data room, which is basically all your numbers, all your information, everything they need to know to evaluate if they want to buy this business. They need to see it very clearly. This could be your annual revenue, your monthly revenue, your churn, your cost per acquisition, all that kind of stuff. You have to know this like the back of your hand because when you’re on these calls, this is what they’re looking for. You need to have it presented very easily and neatly. We had it all prepared before we even thought about selling.
Why did we decide to sell? Well, Nicole and I often had milestones … I say Nicole, Nicole’s my business partner and partner and life. We had milestones throughout the business. We wanted to reach this milestone, we wanted to get to this level, we want to be able to reach X amount of users, we want to be able to make X amount of revenue. We started to hit all these milestones and we started to do all the things we wanted to do. One time we were just on a walk after dinner and we’re like, “I think I’ve accomplished everything I wanted with this business. I don’t think any other new mountain I want to climb here.” At that moment, I realized the best thing I can do for my customers, for the business itself is to give it to somebody else who can see it to its full potential.

Scott:
If someone is trying to repeat the journey for entrepreneurship, I think a lot of people have in their minds that you got to raise capital from a VC fund, or whatever with that. That’s not the story that I’ve seen most entrepreneurs take, honestly. More entrepreneurs go through your path, and essentially bootstrap businesses from what I’ve seen, than really raise capital there. Is that what your experience is, one? And two, would you give people the advice of just accumulate a lot of cash and have that liquidity so that you have this option to bootstrap and start businesses?

Omar:
Yeah. This is a difficult question because I have seen success on both sides and I’ve seen failures on both sides.
I’ve got to be honest with you, I haven’t been comfortable from a work-life balance and a financial-life balance for a very long time, because I put a lot of my effort into WebinarNinja, a lot of my own personal capital. Every time we made a profit, we’d throw it back into WebinarNinja. We paid ourselves absolute minimum so that we could be able to keep growing the business. That’s what it takes when you bootstrap. If you ask somebody that bootstraps a company, like ProfitWell, they sold their company, it was public, it was $220 million. Up until the last couple years of the business, he was getting paid $37,000 a year. That’s the risk he’s got to put into it so that he can have the feast later.
A lot of people don’t talk about that. Entrepreneurship is a lot of risk and it’s a lot of sacrifice. People say, “Well, these rich people, blah, blah, blah.” But people in jobs, they have a lot of security. I know, I was in a job. You got a lot of security. You get a steady paycheck. You are guaranteed a certain amount of money. With entrepreneurship, you have to make the tough call. “Okay, maybe I’m not going to go on vacation for the next three years, and I’m just going to grind it out, and pay myself as minimum as possible.” And have this family meeting with my wife and kids, or my husband and say, “Hey guys, we’re going to be under the pump for the next few years because I’m starting this business. Sorry, no Disneyland and no eating out.” That’s hard. Who does that? That’s what boot strappers do.
I don’t want to say, “Hey, that’s the only way,” because I’ve seen … Our office was out Fishburners, which is a startup hub in Sydney. It’s an incredible place where it has a whole bunch of tech startups. I would say about 80% of them are seeking to get investment, seed capital, or series A, or something like that. I understand why because most of them are coming from a job and they’re like, “Well, I’m not going to work for free. I need some investment so I can get paid,” and whatever. I understand how unappealing bootstrapping could be, when it comes to the reality of it.
I didn’t have the skills to raise capital. I didn’t have the connections to know where to get investment. I didn’t even know an investor. I didn’t know any of this. It wasn’t my world yet. I just did what I had to do. Now if I had to do it all over again, maybe I would consider getting at least a seed round for a low stake in the business, just to see if the business will be able to take off. Then if it does, I didn’t sacrifice so much and I didn’t throw so much capital on the table. Then as soon as I start making some profits, maybe I could buy back those shares, maybe I can increase my own salary, my own revenue and take some money off the table.
One of the things a lot of bootstrap founders do, they don’t take any money off the table at any point. They get addicted to reinvesting in the business because it’s like, “If I take this money and throw in the stock market, or I throw it into a bond, it’s not going to get the return I see in my own business.” They throw it right back into their business, and then they don’t have any asset other than that business. It’s a little bit dangerous game.

Scott:
Omar, where can people find out more about you?

Omar:
If you found any value in what I said today, then maybe you’d be interested in my podcast which is called The $100 MBA Show. If you go to that podcast, $100 MBA Show, we have over 2400 business lessons where I teach people how to hire their first hire, to how to start with paid marketing, to how to offboard a customer, whatever it might be. But the point is, is that if you’re interested in learning more about how to build and grow a business, that’s where to find me, $100 MBA Show over at any of your podcast apps.

Scott:
Well, thank you so much for sharing your incredible experience here. Congratulations on the big exit. I look forward to seeing where life takes you next. Omar, thanks so much for coming on today.

Omar:
Thanks, Scott, appreciate it. Thanks, Mindy. It was great chatting with you and I loved your energy.

Mindy:
Thank you, Omar. We will talk to you soon.

Omar:
Take care.

Mindy:
Holy cat, Scott, I really liked this interview with Omar Zenhom from The $100 MBA and from WebinarNinja. This was filled with lots of information about how to start a business, how to grow a business. Tips for what you should be thinking while you’re growing the business.
I really liked what he said when he said, “Maybe my first job isn’t going to be perfect, my first entrepreneurial endeavor isn’t going to be perfect or great, and I have to leave. Not everything is in your control, the market is going to change,” et cetera. I love how he gives these life tips from actual real life experience.

Scott:
Yeah. I thought it was great. I loved how I was like, “Nine out of 10 businesses fail, so start 10 businesses.” He’s like, “Well, I started 20 business and three of them worked.” That’s pretty close, right? That’s in there.
I love his journey, I loved the way he approached things. I love the way he went all-in on the business that really had the potential to scale. You can tell, based on that number of 30,000 subscribers, that was a big outcome. Congratulations to Omar, hope he gets a yacht, all that kind of good stuff, in the months and years to come.

Mindy:
Yeah, I hope he gets a yacht, too. All right, Scott, should we get out of here?

Scott:
Let’s do it.

Mindy:
That wraps up this episode of the BiggerPockets Money Podcast. Of course, he is the Scott Trench, and I am Mindy Jensen, saying later, tater.

Scott:
If you enjoyed today’s episode, please give us a five-star review on Spotify or Apple. If you’re looking for even more money content, feel free to visit our YouTube channel at YouTube.com/biggerpocketsmoney.

Mindy:
BiggerPockets Money was created by Mindy Jensen and Scott Trench, produced by Kaylin Bennett, editing by Exodus Media, copywriting by Nate Weintraub. Lastly, a big thank you to the BiggerPockets team for making this show possible.

 

 

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