The Entrepreneur Podcast
The Entrepreneur Podcast

Episode · 11 months ago

Legends with David Patchell-Evans of Goodlife Fitness

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Adversity is an essential part of great stories, and few things spell adversity like muscle damage, broken bones, shoulder and chest injuries.

Arriving at Western in the 1970s, David ‘Patch’ Patchell-Evans, BA’77, LLD’12, was all set to pursue a degree in business before a horrific motorbike accident intervened. As he took the long road to recovery, Patch discovered the life-changing power of physical health and therapy. Today, as the head of one of the largest health clubs in the world, Patch is helping people across Canada (and beyond) find the good life.

You were listening to the Entrepreneur podcast from Western's Morrissett Institute for Entrepreneurship, powered by Ivy. In this series, join me Eric Morse as we uncover the stories of our entrepreneurial legends. These Western founders have revolutionized industries, built recognizable brands, and added richness to lives across Canada and beyond. Discover their origins, their greatest moments, their deepest challenges, and what makes each of them tick. Welcome to the Legend Series. Adversity is an essential part of great stories, and few things spell adversity like muscle damage, broken bones, shoulder and chest injuries. Arriving at Western in the nineteen seventies, David Patch Patchel Evans was all set to pursue a degree in business before a horrific motorbike accident intervened. As he took the long road to recovery, Patch discovered the life changing power of physical health and therapy. Today is the head of one of the largest health clubs in the world, Patches helping people across Canada and beyond finding a good line. It's it's quite a business. You've You've built their Patch and I want to get to that, but I also want to start, you know, way back, maybe early days, and and get caught up with your story. And this is one of our legend podcasts, and we're really happy you joined us today. So thanks so much. Thanks. I guess qualifies a legend. Does that mean I have to be good or old? I think you have to be good and probably old doesn't hurt either. Okay, hey, let's just start from the beginning. Was when you were growing up, was being an entrepreneur on your radar? And if it was, you know, when was the earliest you kind of thought about that. My father got was a child in a car accident that I actually saw, and so my mother had to look after three kids and three boys. There wasn't a lot of money, so you know, I never it never occurred to me. I didn't even know what an entrepreneur was. I don't think people talked about it. At six years ago. Um, what I knew was I didn't want to be hungry, and I knew that my job as the oldest boy was to help look after the family. Okay, you know, so at eight or nine, I started to do paper roots and shovel snow and it you know, cut grass and um all that kind of stuff. And the benefit of that is you can kind of do it on your own time, and you could do it as fast and as hard as you wanted to. So you got rewarded if you get paid five bucks to cuttle on. You got rewarded if you did it fast because you made money quicker. Sure, and I can make a lot more money that way. I could. Then. I think back then you get paid two bucks an hour or something. It was. It was a way to be more successful, quicker and what I wanted to. And you started that you had a paper route, and you kind of even at that time, understood leverage. I think you had a couple of kids working for you doing their own paper routes. So in Toronto at the time, there was three papers, the Golden Mail and Telegram and the Start and UM, so people bought one or the other. So what I did is I got all the papers on all the streets that I could walk to, and so then when I delivered, I was carrying all the papers instead of just one. So we do. I got rid of the redundancy right right. And then I also noticed that most people didn't like to go to the door and ask for money and go to the door and steal someone by the paper. So I spent a lot of time in doing that, and then I hired other kids who went to school with me to actually deliver the papers. You know. I still delivered the globe in the morning because not too many kids wanted to get up a five and deliver the globe. But but you know what happens is when you collect the money, people are worried about people not paying. That's also when you get all the tips, right, So that was a good insight, you know. And some of these people would actually have all three of my papers. Wow, you know, because some people want to read the paper all the time, right, just you know, there wasn't there was no...

...internet, you know, so so in every direction I could walk and you know, half an hour or forty minutes I had all the newspapers. Wow. Great story. Uh so then you you came to Western University as a student, you came to study business, but something traumatic happened that changed that path. Can you kind of walk us through that story? Well, there's two part I don't tell people out very often is in high school, one of the ways I figured out how to make money. It was the book rock and roll Bands, Okay, And so like Friday Nights, I used to rent a hall somewhere and you know, get all my high school students to buddies to party. But in the middle of the summer before university, I booked a big concert and it rained all weekend and I lost all my money. So I came to actually went to you in college. And I was walking through the college with my girlfriend at the time, and the guy through showing us to the cultists and here's the cafeterian. It's all you can eat. And I looked at him like he was crazy. Say I said, what all that's all you can eat? You said, okay, sign me up. So that's how I got to Western. I thought I could make a lot of money in the rock and roll business, but you know, I had lost a bunch and they had these different government loan programs. And then at Western, I thought I'm gonna take business and learn all about business, and you know, enrolled in economics and business twenties. It was called back then. I don't know what it's called now. And I had this bad motorcycle accident and I ripped apart the right side of my body, you know, tore off my del toy, broke my clavical you know, ripped off my chest muscles. My my right arm still doesn't go totally straight. But I went to the Kennedy Fowl Clinic for physiotherapy a couple of times a week, and I was training, I mean, I was taking rehab, but all these Olympic athletes were around me, training like crazy. And I said to David Wise, who was the guy in charge of the time, you know, if I came often, when I get better, And he looked at me like I was kind of crazy, says, of course, of course you'll get better, right, And so long story short, I end up coming four hours a day, and so I got off the description of disabled, took up ruin the following fall to build the right side of my right shoulders about four inches lower than my left back up. And the experience made me passionate about fitness. And I had all these people helped me through that rehab journey, and I thought I could give back that way, and so as I when I got it accepted into the business school, I thought, you know, I know I can do business. Yeah, I need I need a skill. So I said, I'm gonna go back. I'm gonna switch from business kinesiology. And I remember the professor at UM the Business school look at me like I had two heads, like what are you thinking? Right, He probably didn't realize the extent of your business educated pal already by that time. No, no, but you know, he said, you're gonna become a teacher, you know. I said, no, no, I'm not gonna teacher, and I'm gonna look after people's fitness. And he thought I was crazy, because you gotta remember this was a long time ago, was the nineteen seventies five, right, And so when I took my kinesiology courses it was called physit At the time, I was focused on I was gonna help. I was gonna help people, right, So it really drove the focus. And because I've got an accepted in the busines school, i could take my options two courses of a year in the business school. Even when I went to do my master's next sis physiology, they let me do that. So I had this unique combination, right, And then I started a snow powing business and university, and that gave me hands on experience, you know, And then I got the business school to do analysis on my snow powing business is one of the which became a case study, right, and uh, did you learn anything from that? Do anything good with the case. I learned the process of thinking things out. The different papers you took talked about unique selling position, and my unique selling position was I would have the snow plot by seven o'clock in the morning, no matter what. And I would take small lots that other people didn't want,...

...but charge as much as a big lot got it because most guys didn't want the in communiance, you know. And then I paid people that were in phys ed with me or on the sports teams with me, well, because they're gonna work all night, but I pay them more for working fast, you know. So if you if you saw someone speeding in the middle of night and some small lot in London, that was one of my guys, you know. And but I did it too, right, you know, people to do things you can't do. So if it's if it's snowed, I didn't sleep usually for two or three days. And but you know, back in the nineteen seventies s seventy seven, I was making seventy thousand bucks a year going to school. Wow, so you already, even even though you didn't really think of it as entrepreneurship necessarily, you'd figured out a way to to make money to pay for school and to do a lot of the you know, the things you were doing outside of school. I'm sure as well. Yeah, and then money borrowing the money. I had five trucks at the time, and having established a relationship with the bank when I went to borrow money for that very first fitness club is is my banker said, I think that's a stupid idea, but we trust you that you'll pay it back for your snowplowd money. Okay, So the first ten years brilliant that I had the fitness club business. I still snow cloud. Yeah. Really interesting, so that I lived off that, not off the business. So tell me about buying that first first gym. It was a gym that you were a member of. Is that is that right? Yeah? I was training for the Olympics and the Olympic ruined team said, if you want to keep your carding, that's money the government gives you if your high level athlete. You want to keep that, you need to work out of this Nomas fitness club. Okay, so I'm going to this place. I don't need this, you know, I'm doing all this stuff in fazed. What do I need? These guys you know, talks And I went and worked out, and I found out this circuit style equipment, intense training was really good. And so I would ask the guy a lot of questions. I would ask questions about training and asked him questions about his business. And I was had done my a thesis and fourth year on opening up a squash club, and I've done all the analysis of it at the time, so I was asking some pretty pertinent questions and he looks at me and he goes, you asked me, damn questions. Why don't just buy this business all right now? At the time I didn't. I thought it was a lot older, but it was only about ten years older than me. And his daughter now works for me as gentleman. But you know, at the time, you know, he was in a different industry and he just thought, I'll open this up. They were opening up across the country, and it'll be easy when nothing's easy, right, right, and you've got to be into it. So I opened it up, and everyone said, what are you gonna do? Different said well, I'm actually gonna look after people. I'm actually gonna get them in shape because fitness clubs back then we're focused on selling memberships and not on changing lives. And that became my model. We're going to change your life for the better, right, you know. And and that's that cultural difference of making it a reward for the time you put into exercise and making sure you've got results. That's how we grew from one club to you know, almost five. That's amazing, it's amazing. Were there other experiences while you're at university that kind of shaped your journey as an entrepreneur? Yeah? You know, when I when I think of the different things, I think of the case study programmed that they used. Did they assume they still do that at the school? Yeah? Absolutely, Yeah, And so I learned to think how people can think differently about the same thing. And weirdly enough is I went to Huron College, as I mentioned, and they had all these courses. I didn't take it Western. I took a Huron and they were all liberal arts courses. Sure, and you know it took a few courses in the philosophy and sociology which I never would have occurred to me to take, and we thought, you know, the relabeled bird courses, you know, really easy. But what what they did is really make you think absolutely right. And when I took the case studies in the liberal art stuff, and I started to think, how can you make a...

...difference in people's lives? Because you know, I thought anybody can do a business. You know, that's kind of arrogant to think, but I thought, if you're gonna do a business, what I learned from the snow plowing was what was my unique selling position going to be in people's hearts and in their bodies? Okay, right, well, how do I make their leisure and their physical activity, their social activity, their psychological activity all make their lives better? You know? And created a culture in the company aimed at improving people the way they wanted to improve, you know. And then and then I took all kinds of courses in sales because as an athlete in a business school, and you get arrogant and you think you know how to do it right right the world. You're oyster at that point, right, yeah, But when you actually go out and try to sell something, I quickly figured out that I wasn't, you know, I was telling people I wasn't selling, I wasn't getting inside of their heads, in their heart arts. So I took all the top motivational salespeople in the world. Back then, I went to virtual every course. So I thought of that as my independent study, right, And so I took the background that I had the business school, the background I had in the liberal arts, and then the school hard knocks, which is how do you actually make it work? Yeah, and put them all together, right, Yeah, fantastic. So I guess that was entrepreneurship. Yeah, it's a good education, and it was a great There was a great professor. I took a course in entrepreneurship at the school, took it into master's program, and there was a great professor there. His name was Russ Knight. Yeah right, you know Russ Yeah, yeah, you know. And I'd go back every once in a while and I say, Russ, what do you think? You know? You know, and you know, and I bounced stuff off him, and then he gave me the We had used my snoke line business the case study, and then when I was going to open up my second club, we use it as a case study for business business course. Yeah, I got so much out of that, right, because now I was in defending myself my idea is against people are only a couple of years younger than me in most cases a lot smarter, right about that. But you know, um, to have that challenge to your way of thinking was really useful. Yeah, you know. And sometimes teaching is is such a such a great way to learn, right, because you just have to think about it in ways that maybe you wouldn't otherwise. It's not just a great way to learn, is if the teacher asks you the right question, right. I think that's the gift of the teachers that you have there, is they ask the right question. Yeah, that makes you learn, right. Yeah? And you know the fun thing about the case method for me anyways, patches that you know, hopefully I'm asking good questions and my students, but but I always find I learned something new every time I teach a case uh, from their from their creative way of thinking about a problem. And as you said earlier, everybody thinks about it a little differently, And that's that's so much fun for sure. Well, it's whenever to do you resume? I thought, okay, here's a guy that is I thought about what people are thinking about, well, thanks, I tried. Well, so you bought that first club in seventy nine. How do you go from one club to four and fifty the best known brand in Canada? You know? What's what led to that transition, that growth? Well, the first thing you have to do. In my case, I didn't have very many staff, as you have to do. I had one staff part time. So you have to do everything yourself right right, you know. And one of the hardest jobs I learned was cleaning the whirlpool when it was twenty degrees below zero. You know that the filter was on the outside wall, reach it from us, you know. So I learned a little bit about construction that way, right, sure. And then i've as I went through my lease that I inherited from the previous one, and I realized this is so one sided, yeah, you know, And so I had to learn to read leases. So here I had...

...to learn how to make a worldpool work. And then I had to learn how to negotiate with the landlord and say this is unreasonable. This is a major graduate degree, wasn't it. Yeah. You had to know the nuts and bolts of how to do something, and you had to know the literal part of how to interpret the two things right. And then people are coming to sell you advertising and you quickly realize I don't have a clue, right, So I joined things like the Advertising and Sales club so that I would you know, in the concept that you have in school of continuous education, that's what you start, you gotta put in practice, right. I joined the advertising sales coming I learned, oh, I need the network right, right, and I need to make contact with people. Well, this is what sales is. I need to take these courses right. And and then I had come back but honestly to the business school library and it's still okay, this is what I need to know. Take good for books and the same diligence about you know that you would have, how do you understand this physiology problem and this business business problem. I had this unique way of looking at things from a business school perspective, in an exercise physiology perspective, you know, because I trained, and how do I get people in the best shape of their lives in such and such a period of time? And I applied that same logic of I want to run a marathon in this day is I want to open a business on this day. And what did all the backwards steps to do right? The combination of skills really worked out? Well? Yeah, absolutely, Well how did you go about? I mean, I think you've really changed the person of gyms across the country right that they were always fragmented. It was kind of always one off. There were a couple of change, but they didn't have the best reputation. How did you tap a piece of it? Well? I started off with having core values for the company, and the number one core value is carrying. And you know, we've grown to about twenty clubs and we're being influential. But there was this negativity that came from many other clubs not operating ethically as you're just implying, right, So I created a thing called the Communion Association of Finnis Professionals. I knew I couldn't change the ownership's mind, but I could influence everybody that worked for them. Okay, interesting, And I knew if I made everyone in the industry get better, not not made, but gave the opportunity for an everyone in the industry to get better. People being what people are. People in the fitness industry want to help people like if it's like a teacher. It's like yourself. If you didn't want to help people, you wouldn't continue to do this, right, absolutely, And so people that stay in the fitness industry inside and they want to help people. So the role of camp a pro Canadian fitness professionals was provide courses and materials, opportunity for instruction, to develop people's talent to deliver what they want to deliver when it didn't exist. It's one thing to take a course in school, it's another one to know how to deliver it to a person. Sure, so I got people saying to me, well, why are you creating these courses? Are going to educate all your competitors. It's in My job is to stay ahead of my competitors no matter what, whether the course exists or not. But if the whole industry can get better, they're not gonna be I'm gonna do okay too. There's no way I can run all the fitness clubs in the country, realistic, right, right, So, because there are a little barriers to entry run in the fitness club, you know, in terms of not like a telecom company, right, So, um, by educating everybody, then everybody became better, more Canads become fitter, which was my goal anyways, it helped on all fronts. Yeah, and it really became the leader in the industry. So you know, by doing that, more people are gonna want to work with you, for you and hopefully join the gym as well as that triples down. Yeah, we became a leader in this dry in Canada. But camp a Pro is the fitness leader of...

...the world. Yeah, that's fantastic. You know. So I have the most clubs of a single individual anywhere in the world, is that right? I don't know that batch. I can't think of an organization of twenty clubs or more run by one person. But I'm also one of the few people with a practical degree like kinesiology for z that runs Finnis clubs because a lot of times people don't combine the two talents right right now, and I think it's that combination that you've had through your work and through education that has has really set you apart that way. Yeah, I mean in the university quite honestly, creating that melting pot that allowed me to get these things. Well, what lessons might you have learned, you know, going from one to four fifty or it's more than that. Now, I think you know, any lessons that you would share in terms of how do you grow that quickly? Or or things that you had to learn along the way, all kinds. So for me, the key was how do you do one club as good as you can? Yeah? And basically I always think of my businesses one member at a time, right, so I always want to keep every member that everyone's important, and I try to think medically professionally like every life counts, right Absolutely. With that attitude, you develop enough people in one location, you're gonna open a second. Now. You can make more money if you have one location in one look more money per location if you just focus on one location. But it's not convenient for the population. If you know, if I just had one location in West London, for example, and people from East London would have to travel away. So then the next stage was build it and then build it communiently, build more. You know. That led to being dominant in London. Then it led to be dominant in different parts of Terio, then dominant Ontario, the dominant in Canada, you know, and I quite I took the same techniques down to New Zealand and we're now you know, we've been there four years and we're the big as a group of clubs in New Zealand. Well, one of the things we talked about a lot patch an entrepreneurship is this idea of what got you here may not get you there. And we often talk about talent on the management team, the systems, the processes you have in place. Um, you know, can you tell me about that? You know, how did you get your operations so that you could handle you know, clubs across the country. I was in the sport of rowing right now. I had played hockey and I played football and stuff like that. In ruing, you can only go as fast as everybody in the boat, so it doesn't matter how great you are individually. The boom will only faster if everyone's not going together, right. So that that was my ads towards the business. And then I tried to surround myself with people that were better at different things than I was. Like early on, um, a guy that was a fireman, his name was John Connley and his wife's he's passed away and his wife still works with me, Diane. He saw me working fixing fitness equipment he says, it's driving me crazy watching you try to do that. Let me do it right. So he became my second employee and he was fixing equipment for me on size and but he was really into computers. You know. I'd get all these checks and every month I'd be writing all the checks and he saw me doing that one night at three o'clock and morning goes, well, once you just put that on a computer. This was but John on the side had become great at computers. Back then there were radios act computers. So we were actually we created a system for doing it withdrawals before the mortgage companies were doing it, you know. So there was this technical side, a little bit of implemented it right. And then I'm a pretty driven person and I'm go, go, go all time, and I need someone to balance me out. I had a great employee was working for me. Her name is Jane Roddell. She graduated from Western too. She was a high level athlete of Western and h She was really kind of like the ying to...

...my yang. She believe in the same stuff. But then she would say, okay, here's how we implemented piece by piece. I didn't have time to do the piece by pieces I'm running came running, and Gay would make sure this stuff got followed through and got followed up on. Right. Absolutely so, and she's Jane still with me. Fantastic that kind of charge the company. So that led to developing great people that stayed with you. So my upper management team, if you came from the fitness side, there's nobody in the upper management team that hasn't been with me twenty plus years. Wow. Right, that's a real statement. And when they've come from other sides like Pat Jacklin, who's my CFO, you know she's been with me I think twenty years too. That speaks a lot to your culture patch, you know, can you tell me more about the importance of culture and how do you keep people around that long? People don't want to leave, people don't want to go places. If your culture is fun really helps. So you know, I'm the chief entertainment officer, right, So back to your rock and roll days. Yeah, but on a scale one to ten, I enforced constantly that we're tense. We have to be tens to help people become tens themselves. Okay. You know, I teach people about how to engage with people, talk to them and elevator spirit, and that culture is one of the things that keep everybody in the company. Most people want to have lives of meeting. So if I, if I do the right things, they can fulfill the purpose they have to have a life and meaning inside the environment of our clubs, right, Right, So the first person you have to look after is your staff. And if you look after your staff, they'll look after your members. And I want them, you know, and I want the members to be looking after our way I'd want to be looked after, absolutely, So it's just care for each other, right, Yeah, Happiness is one of our values. Perseverance is one of our values. Integrity, right, Um, fitness of course, you know, so all these things are crucial and important to the picture. Yeah, and I you know, gosh, we've been through so much over the last eighteen months now. That culture, I'm sure has been a big part of what's seeing you through. Um. But if we think about this past year gold pandemic, it's not your first crisis, it's your toughest, given that the government forced you to shut down. How do you lead during a crisis? You gotta believe, you know. The key part of my success has been believing in myself to making other people believe in themselves. And let's believe in ourselves as a team. Okay, so you've got to believe that these things are temporary. It's like injuries. I'm injured, I will get better, you know. I have to do the rehab after the training, I have to work out, but I will get better. I do those things. So with COVID, it's you know, let people know you have they're back, let them know you get it. You know, make sure you pay the same price they do. Like when COVID started, we paid our people for two weeks even when we had to clothes. And I stopped paying myself then and I still not paying myself. And does that make a difference. Everything makes a difference, but psychologically makes a huge difference. Right, It's no different than when I started be able to do every job and being everybody's shoes. So I don't agree with the way we've done things. I believe fitnesses a right, the the opportunity to look after your health should not be taken away from people. There are ways to do it right. Yeah, So I think that's been totally done wrong. A lot of people suffered because of it. I think mentally and obviously physically that I think mental health. A lot of us, myself included, you know, need the workout. Yeah well, if proven for fifty years that if you exercise a regular basis you more...

...money, more productive, happier minimum Wow, right, you know, we know, and this is one of the failures of our school system. If kids exercise and regular basis, they get better marks. Right, Oh, but what do we do? We kept back in phzet Right, I think you know something magic is gonna happen. It's not right. People's level of self esteem is higher when their bodies work right. It's not about having a perfect body. It's about having a functional body. Because when you have a functional body of a functional brain. Yeah. Well, you know I've heard you in the past talk about activity and how important it is just to the regular operation of your business. It's had to be really hard to to keep that up throughout the pandemic and keep your you know, your top team positive about what the future is gonna hold totally. It's hard, but I mean, running a marathon is hard, but you can do it right. Virtually anybody can run a marathon. If you can run a mile. And if you can't walk a mile, and then you'll learn how to run a mile and then but it's having the tenacity to put one foot in front of the other. Right, So my people have been incredible. I just saying, Okay, the sun came up today, what are we gonna do? One of my favorite quotes is Leonard Cohen The door's got a little cracker, the windows got a cracker. I can't remember how it goes that suthing like gets in right, right, So you just gotta look for any glimmer of hope. Boy, people up right. So if there's a if COVID is going crazy in Alberta, how's it doing? A P? I so Alberta we could be like P. I really see it, you know. I wrote a thing called the twenty one Leader's Guide to Resilience, the Guide Resilience Right. So at the start of COVID, I said, Okay, what am I gonna do? So I started getting up two hours earlier. I got ten development, psychologically improving, motivating books and I would read five pages, tend pages, twenty pages to e one, all from different walks of life, right, And I read these and then I shot down notes so every morning for the first three months, my morning was focused on how to be better. So then I wrote this guy, and I shared it without my staff and with anybody that wanted it. If anybody wants it, can have it. But it was about taking twenty one minutes a day to set your day for success, a little a little bit of stretching, a little bit of minute minute and meditation minute, thinking about this, that kind of stuff. With the whole idea. It was like exercise for the heart. Yeah, heart, mind, body, um, but to move to that stage so you would be hopeful. Yeah, and you've got everybody and you know, back to that culture thing. Everybody is training on something, doing a shared experience and looking, you know, towards the future. I think that's tremendous. Yeah, it's as you know, you have to be student history too, right, Yeah, So this isn't the first play. Europe in the Middle Ages was devastated, but half the population are more being killed? Right, how do we not have that happen? For sure? And then how do people get out of it? So I talked about the Roaring twenties are coming. It's a hundred years later, but the next roaring twenties are coming, right, yeah, yeah, And then I talked about you know, people realize now that that hospitals are not designed for your health. The designed for you when you're sick. Right, So your job is not to go in the hospital. It's not to go in the hospital and find out, you know, how to get unsicked. Your job is not to go there in the first place, you know. And you can be the unlucky one that gets cancer, you can be the unlucky one that gets something else. But all those things are reduced if you're healthy, absolutely And your mental attitude is a big fact of this. Your mental attitude can only be positive if your physical capabilities positive. Absolutely, right, And which is why I...

...believe fitness should be considered an essential human right. So to get through COVID, it's it's like getting through a marathon, same deal, right, one step at a time, one step at a time. You don't know what's coming up. So this is like a marathon over a mountain through a stream in the dark, right right, right, And all we know is that there's a finish line, but we don't know where it is. Yeah, that's the hard part, isn't it. Yeah, we know that I'll finish because it always has and I want to be standing here and healthy when it finishes, financially, spiritually, until actually socially that kind of stuff. And so it's the balance of all those things all the time, Like, how do you make a prudent financial decision so your business is still here in three months, six months, whatever it is, and also a decision that is for the positivity of the people that work for you and for your members. Yeah, that's hard. That's that's the daily that's my daily grind. Yeah, I'm sure the the the opposition forces. So let's look forward now a little bit. You know, four decades you've been doing this Good Life Fitness, built an amazing business that affects, you know, people in their daily lives. What keeps you going? You know. I didn't get in the business to make money because I kind of thought I would make money from a snowblowning business, right right. You know, as I developed, I thought, Okay, you can make money doing this, but you're only gonna make money if you make a difference in people's lives. So I was so lucky before I read about it. I was doing what I love, you know, So I would have done it for free, right, So that takes us forward to now is my job now is to prepare my successors, you know, So I spend my learning curve preparing it. And it goes back to when I'm I was picked on Preneur of the Year in Canada about ten years ago, and as I was talking to at the time, they said, you're the only guy who hasn't sold okay, right, and I said, well, how did I get picked? Then it says, because you've grown so much. You've learned how to be somebody different at each stage, right. So now my job is to leave a legacy inside the people that work at Good Life. So if you know, I fall off a mountain hell scheme, things are looked after, right, right, And so that's what I'm learning to do. And for an entrepreneur that's really hard, yeah, because you want to go do it. So I'm trying to think, Okay, how do I become entrepreneurial about creating people with different skill sets that can run the company. So no one's going to know all the stuff I know because they didn't start from nothing, right and go to where they are, right, And it's illogical that one person could do all this stuff anymore. But if I can develop and a the different components of the industry the same attitude of carrying whether you're driving our technology or driving our construction or driving our people department, if everyone's got the commonality of culture, then they can fulfill the mission of the particular part of the business. Yeah, you said something, I think it's really important their patch. I mean, you've gone through a trajectory, right, a life journey that that no one else has, and so you have a body of knowledge that's different. And you know, I think a lot of people don't understand the patients that it often takes for an entrepreneur to to build that team below them because you know, you forget, oh gosh, yeah, it took me ten years to learn that. That was thirty years ago, but it took me a long time to learn that. And so there's some patients that it goes along with building that team. And I think the entrepreneurs that build the best teams, you know, recognize that and give time to their teams to really make it work. So you've always interviewed a few you're you're absolutely right, it is patients,...

...yeah, right, you know, and in the risk I see in the classification of entrepreneurship now sometimes like it's mixed up with get rich quick, right, And so when people talk about being entrepreneur or not, I often think they think they're going to be a tech entrepreneur, come up with an idea and get rich quick. Still gates to not get rich quick, no, right, you know, Steve Jobs do not get rich quick. Yeah, And I'd like to remind people that nine of all business started are not tech businesses. Yeah, And you know, and businesses failed by the fifth year, right, right, So it really if you're gonna work for yourself and being an entrepreneur, pick something that you actually really care about, because if you're thinking about how to cash out, you're probably never going to cash out. And I think that's a great lesson for our students and and for all entrepreneurs. Frankly, it's gonna be hard, it's gonna take time, and so you better a lot that. Yeah, and you've got to like people. You're not going to do this by yourself. If let's say you're really good and engineering and not so good with people, get some people on your team that make up fore weaknesses. The number one thing with entrepreneurs to get people that back up your weaknesses. And your weaknesses might be stronger than most people in that area, but they're not the level of if you want to be huge and great at your business, your your strength becomes a weakness unless you have people that are better at you than you like surrounding yourself with people that are better at you, because the skill set of being an entrepreneur is that weird ability to see something that other people don't see and create something m hm. So most of the time people are going to agree with you, and at the same time you've gotta be willing to sit back and say, Okay, they don't agree with me, should I be listening harder? Yeah, that's a great same same patients you talk about, right, absolutely, you know. So it's great that people talk about being entrepreneurs, and you know, one of the things that they need to think about is leading with your heart not your head. Yeah, you're gotta have both, right, and too many people leave one at the door, for sure. Yeah, and it it doesn't really matter what is because you're going to deal with people. Yeah, even if you're making robots, there's people somewhere in that somebody's gonna buy the robot, right, you know. So it's there's always a sail evolves, which means there's always a connection with people involved patch this is this has been a lot of fun for me. What's one last thing that you might share with our listeners, whether they're students or maybe somebody a little bit later in life thinking about starting up a business, I would think about how you're also going to give back. Okay, So one of the things I noticed is even when I started the business, we we've we've funded charities, charities you know, Um, I was in the Boys and Girls Club group, for example, a nonprofit in my area. Right that I couldn't make a difference. So think about ways that you're going to give back, ways you can socialize and get back. I didn't know it at the time, but when I look back, and it has two major benefits. You create a social group outside of your work group, and when things are shitty, and there will be shitty times, that socialist thing you've done also fills up your heart absolutely. Like my business helps people, And if you're doing something you really love, it's almost always going to help people in some way. Right, So if you're if so, if you can save yourself on the darkest days. I'm helping the people that work for me. I'm helping the people that buy whatever we sell. And I'm also giving back in some way. Yea. You know, I've tried to get back in a lot of different ways or a period of time. And I looked back when it...

...was given a PhD. By from Western it was in recognition of all the stuff I'd given back. It was so it was so interesting because they weren't giving me this degree because I've been awesome in business. It was because I had taken some of that talent and given back to people. And then I was so lucky. The chancellor was Joe Rotman, and h he and I got to talking and I said, I asked him what you just asked me? What what it meants? You man? He says, come and see me. So I went and saw him on my birthday. He spent like four hours with me, telling me a story he says. He says, Patch, the best part of my life was after I was sixty, when I started to spend more of my time giving away money than making it. That's cool. And after he died, about three or four months after he died. I sent a letter to his wife just telling her how much I appreciated that day. Oh wow. So I happened into that by accident. One of the first things at Western they had a special Olympics thing, the Winter Special Olympics, and it was like early on the first year, and I volunteered and so um, I had this boy that I was looking after. It was only I think a year or two years older than me. He had down he was super nice and had a great day to teach him how to cross country ski and everything was all Western. Right. So I went back to her in college having dinner that night, and I'm telling the group that I'm with about my great day at the Special Olympics, right, and then the woman sitting across from me, her name is Sue Callen. But her name is Sue Callen. Now the man who became her husband was a good buddy of mine. He's at one side of me, and they had been childhood sweethearts from Sarena, Ontario. And they both looked at me kind of funny and said what was his name? And I said his name, and that's my brother. Oh you're kidding, wow, Right, So fast forward, like would have been three five years later, I have a special needs daughter, you know, severe autism, and I'm getting people to help me with this, and ensues one of my first volunteers. Wow, so I didn't you know, I didn't know. At different times I've been drawn to help the special needs community. Yeah, that I would end up three years later lucky enough to have a special needs kid on my own. And that special needs kid taught me half the stuff that has made my successful. And the number one thing that taught me you talked about patience. Yeah, and it taught me to focus on happiness. It is amazing, Patchy. It is a circle, right, And I think you know, people and especially aspiring entrepreneurs, too often lose sight of that. You know, your reputation is critical, your your network is critical, You're you know that idea of social capital, which I think is kind of what you're talking about and giving back, and you know, all of those things help you so much as an entrepreneur in ways that that you can never know and and and as a person as well, as you've pointed out. And there's a fun side to it too. It's like I'm sitting we're doing it. We have conferences all the time for our staff. And I'm sitting beside a woman, Rochelle, who's helped organize our conference, and she's fairly new to our company a couple of years. And she's talking to looked and her said, did you work at the SEEPS? And you know, for people listen to this arm from London, the SEEPS is like the beverage Beverage Institution of London, that's right, for many years and I used to work there, okay, right, And so SEEPS is a very fun place to work, right, you know, And I tried to keep that culture in good life. But I thought her job was to help at this conference, make sure we had fun. Perfect And so sitting I get to talk to her and go, no, wonder right, like what you're talking about, what goes around comes around, right, absolutely, And Rochelle is still with me doing a great job, you know. And we're still a fun company to work for because...

I start off every call without a scale and one of taim, what are you Our people in good luck believing themselves? Then they can influence other people to believe in themselves. Absolutely, you know, what a great business. You know. I can't wait to see what the next four decades springs and wish you all the best and share your positivity in terms of getting through the tough times we are right now. Thanks so much for the opportunity. I really appreciate it. I'll get that touch. Thanks so much. The Entrepreneur podcast is sponsored by Quantum Shift two thousand and eight ALE. I'm Connie Clarici and Closing the Gap Healthcare Group. To ensure you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast player, or visit Entrepreneurship dot u w O dot C, a slash podcast. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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