Interview Series #1: Talking Business with an Entrepreneur

From the mind of an entrepreneur

Welcome to the vest first installation of a new series here on The Financial Scoop where we will be interviewing financial writers, investors, entrepreneur, professionals and more! Within these series you will get a direct look into the minds of successful and clever individuals who are making things happen. Apply their wisdom, learn from their mistakes and see if you are also making smart money moves!

We are thrilled for our first installation to be speaking with Steph Pattyn.  Steph is a serial entrepreneur with a fire and drive that reminds us of Gary Vee. Between a family, multiple current and prospective projects, we wonder how the guy even sleeps. ..Does he sleep? More on that later.

Steph is walking the walk and creating his own empire, let’s hear how he’s doing it.

Steph, can you tell us a bit more about yourself? Where are you from, what got you into entrepreneurship, and set the record straight: do you sleep?

First off, thanks for including me in your series. I enjoy reading and interacting with your content; keep up the good work. I am from Ste Anne Manitoba.

What got me into entrepreneurship is that I have always wanted to live a good life which included a happy family, health and wealth. I knew the best way for that was through business ownership. I took entrepreneurship at the University of North Dakota where I played college hockey and I believe that’s where I figured out that the sky is the limit if you take your own limitations and boundaries out of your head. It started with one business and now it is growing almost monthly.

And yes, I do sleep. Some nights less than others but I know sleep is important to my health and performance, so I prioritize sleep in my schedule as much as I can, same as family time.

 

Questrade Democratic Pricing - 1 cent per share, $4.95 min / $9.95 max

 

Entrepreneurship requires a lot of discipline, focus and drive. Which you clearly have, how did you cultivate those traits?

The biggest thing in entrepreneurship is passion. I tell all the business owners that I help with their startups, passion is everything so don’t waste your time, energy and resources if you are not passionate about the business.

Passion is what will keep you disciplined, focused and driven. It’s also what will stop you from quitting when you go through the hard times. Because, there are a lot harder times than good times when running a business.

 

Can you tell us a little more about what businesses you run, industries your in and where you plan to take them in the future?

I started Pattyn Concrete while I was still in university, basically pushing me into the honor roll because every graduate teacher that heard that I was legitimately starting this business spent a bit more time with me on things and it also reflected in on my final grades.

About two years ago, I had an opportunity to explore the world of land development. I had no experience and luckily for me the deal fell through at the provincial level (I was protected by my conditions on sale, always protect yourself with conditions!). It was a huge learning experience and I lost a lot of money but I knew I wanted to get into the land development business.

This was the main driver to transitioning or building Pattyn Concrete into Pattyn Ventures (soon to be Pattyn Construction). By acquiring land through Pattyn Developments Inc, I determine my margins and workload for Pattyn Construction.

In the last year or so, I have also began building a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) which should be launching for round 1 of funding within the next couple months as I build our board of governors with some of the biggest business names in all of Canada.

In the last couple months, I have also started a digital media company with a local photographer/videographer who has such a deep passion for what he does and that I want to see succeed at. That business has surprisingly taken off like a wild fire with a lot of interest and multiple large corporate contracts already. There are a few more businesses I am also working on/starting but they are far too early to share.

 

 

There was one last thing that you are working on also.  We thought it was very interest.

 

The last thing I am currently working on now is a mentor-ship program. Yea, yea, yea, another one, I know. This one will be different. Through a long interview process, I will acquire an assistant who will work for me for minimum wage for 6 months. They will be reading, reviewing and building business plans, doing my data research and help me run my multiple businesses.

Through the interview process, it will be discussed a future plan for a business they want to start. For the second 6 months, I will help them build this business. A new prospect will be picked annually. I believe our next big financial crisis will be student debt, and that’s a total different conversation to have.

By working for minimum wage for a full year, they will acquire entrepreneurial experience, be shown that it doesn’t matter what you know or don’t know, as long as you are willing to hustle and learn, you can accomplish anything.

They would avoid thousands of dollars of debt while spending 4 years of their life learning some valuable things, some not so valuable things. Obviously, there are far more details to this, but I don’t want to bore you with that or reveal too much.

 

Besides investing in your businesses, how else are you investing for your future?

Currently, almost everything is being reinvested into the businesses, but I do allocate a monthly contribution to our children’s education fund and to a mutual fund (I should kick my own ass for this because I pay more in fees than I would if I did it myself but it’s something that I off my plate for now).

I also invest in the stock market, sticking to high dividend blue-chip stocks. I like the time tested and proven businesses that continue to grow and cash flow every year. It’s boring but again, I don’t have time to follow the market as closely as I may in a few years.

I have purchased marijuana stocks for a bit more risk/return with upcoming legalization. I am also a seed investor in One Great City Brewing Company. That came with a $10,000 tax rebate and I was able to exchange work for shares by building a beautiful stamped patio for the brewery, so it ended up being a great investment for me. If you are in Winnipeg and you haven’t checked them out, you should. Great people, great beer and amazing food.

 

Questrade Democratic Pricing - 1 cent per share, $4.95 min / $9.95 max

 

What’s the worst business mistake you’ve ever made?

 

I make a lot of mistakes, it’s a big part of my growth. Because I explore so many things and try so many things, I learn mainly by screwing up. I have a great group of mentors that help me make connections in whatever venture I explore and that helps me learn from others’ experiences.

But I would say my biggest mistake would be early on when I thought a business runs itself. I based it on quoting the work, doing the work and depositing a cheque. Now I basically track my businesses daily/weekly. I know where things are at currently and it helps me adjust when I need to adjust.

Also, thinking business was all about making money and becoming wealthy quick. That was a rude awakening.

 

What’s the best business play you’ve ever made?

 

The best play/plays I have made so far is structuring my businesses around good people who possess a certain skill. Treating people well and giving them responsibilities and opportunities allows me to diversify my time to multiply myself that way. Also, writing down and structuring my “plan” brought a lot of clarity and vision to what I plan on doing. This made me much more efficient and confident in the decisions I must make and the moves I want to pursuit.

 

What are the 3 most important components to becoming a successful entrepreneur, in your opinion?

 

The 3 most important components to becoming a successful entrepreneur in my opinion are:

Emotional Intelligence. This is something my mother has pushed on me a lot and that I have only recently started to really understand. By knowing that every single person is completely different and that they all require different types of communication and treatment is huge. Whether it’s with employees, clients, relationships, being able to understand the person is huge and I am really enjoying becoming better at it. Believe it or not, it’s actually making my job easier.

Hustle. There are some days that you are going to wake up at 5am, deal with problems till 6pm, drive 1000km, get home, kiss your wife, leave again because you need to get something ready for the next day, get home at 11pm and then do 3 hours of paperwork. These days are not uncommon actually. The willingness to do what needs to get done needs to be there.

Passion. As I stated earlier, this is probably the most important component. If you don’t have passion, you won’t hustle. If you don’t hustle, you won’t succeed.

 

Questrade Democratic Pricing - 1 cent per share, $4.95 min / $9.95 max

 

Any closing remarks or tips for new or hopeful entrepreneurs?

 

Don’t be afraid to ask. The worst thing that could happen is that you will hear no or get ignored. Ask for mentorship, ask for help, ask for money, ask for an opportunity. Get yourself out there, the more people you meet and tell your story to, the more people you will know and connect with. Networking is undervalued a lot of times in business.
Also, keep learning. Whether it’s through mistakes or failures, reading or workshops. Don’t stop learning.

 

Bonus question: if you were given $1,000,000 tomorrow, what would you do with it?

If I were given $1,000,000 I would start by taking a family trip somewhere, we are due for one of those! Lets budget that at $10,000 for easier reference and because they deserve it. I would pay down any debt over 5% interest in my businesses, which would account for about $40,000.

Next I would inject $100,000 into Pattyn Ventures LTD which is the current holding co for my businesses This would give us some operating capital throughout the businesses and cash in a business is a very good thing.

I would put $100,000 into personal investments where I would take my time and do it all myself.

Lastly, I would put $700,000 into my REIT because we have huge plans for that and promising returns both in dividends and over time. It would crush most available investments that I could find and it also employs 2 and possibly 3 more of my businesses.

I would keep the final $50,000 in a higher rate savings account so that if I lost everything (knock on wood, but you never know) I would have something to do it all over again.

 

Thanks so much for your time, Steph. 

So it turns out he does sleep, but we still aren’t quite sure how.  At the rate he’s going we are sure he will have 7 figures to play with one day.

Do you know someone making smart money or business moves that we should speak to?  Please show them this article and send them our way!

Thanks for reading!  You can follow Steph on Twitter HERE

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