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Nick Huber

How to grow your business the old fashioned way

Published about 1 month ago • 3 min read

Before we dive in:

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--

You hear a lot of people talking about SCALING a business.

Growing a company from $1 million profit to $10 million profit. That is scale.

But if you think about this too early, you'll miss out on a lot of ways to grow your business that DON'T SCALE. As a matter of fact, some of the best ways to grow your business don't scale at all.

Exhibit A:

I ran a student storage company in college called Storage Squad which we sold in 2020.

This is what I did to grow that business in the early days:

I wore holes in 3 pairs of jeans writing 2000+ ads just like this on the streets of Boston.

Marketing budget of $200 in chalk.

It worked.

We got 2,000 customers the first year and $500k of revenue.

We'd find the locations where all the freshmen walked every day on the way to class and put 4-5 ads. BU, NEU, Tufts, Harvard, MIT, Brandeis. I'd go from school to school and paint the campuses. It was a real bummer when it rained.

We came out of nowhere and blindsided the competitors. Too many customers to handle honestly.

The chalk ads shifted from customer ads to employment ads towards the end of April.

"$15 per hour + tips, flexible schedule, storagesquad dot com/apply"

It was a hell of a week when we went to pick up all of the customers and I had a mental breakdown on the side of the road in Boston after 7 days straight of 1-2 hours sleep (in a warehouse) and hard manual labor each day.

Here's the story:

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This business was brutal. And we didn't make much money. My wife supported my ass for the first 5 years after college. But it taught me a lot - Most importantly how to deal with real stress and not be soft.

I learned how to operate a company by doing the things that didn't scale.

Entrepreneurs today aren't willing to do this. They want to start a company and get rich quick. They want an app to get to #1 in the app store. They think about SCALE and their MOAT.

The truth is to run a successful company you need to know how to manage people. Deal with problems. And be resourceful.

Those things don't come naturally and you sure as heck don't learn them in school - so you have to be willing to put in the work on something small. That is what I did.

We built a great little business that didn't scale by doing hard work that nobody else was willing to do.

And by 25 years old my partner and I had $500k in our checking account and a bunch of experience doing hard things. Then we were able to build a self storage facility from the ground up, get in better businesses, and build real wealth.

The lesson:

Do things that don't scale.

A few more examples:

My brother grew a lawn care company by running around town placing yard signs at major intersections. He would get up at 5am and get 20 of them out by the time people got in their cars to head to work.

And the phone would start ringing.

Another friend built an insurance agency by simply CALLING all of his customers on the phone and asking for referrals.

Calling them, one by one, and asking them if they had any friends who needed insurance. It worked and he is a millionaire today.

These things aren't sexy. They don't get written about in business books. But they freaking work.

Onward and upward,

Nick Huber

P.S.

I got the annual premium on my 63 self storage facilities reduced from $360k to $280k AND got better insurance.

I switched to Titan Risk as my property insurance brokerage. Set up a call if you own commercial real estate and your renewal is approaching!

I'm an investor in the business as well as a happy customer - if you own commercial real estate Titan can really help you get a better policy at a lower cost! Click here.

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113 Cherry St #92768, Seattle, WA 98104-2205

I have financial interest in many companies mentioned in this newsletter.

Nick Huber

Entrepreneurship & Real Estate

I own a real estate firm with over 1.9 million square feet of self storage and 45 employees. I also own 6 other companies with over 400 employees. I send deal breakdowns with P&Ls. Newsletter topic: Real Estate, Management, Entrepreneurship

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