February 8, 2024

Episode #121: Nathan Red – Assisted Independence

Nathan Red is an Indiana native, proud husband, and father of two. In 2016, Red founded Assisted Independence, LLC, a home and community-based services provider for individuals with developmental disabilities. The mission of Assisted Independence is for individuals supported to live active and healthy lives at home and in the community. Today, Assisted Independence employees 85 caregivers, nurses, and therapists and supports more than 250 individuals with disabilities in the State of Indiana. Assisted Independence has become a multi-million dollar company since doors opened on July 14, 2017.

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Transcript

you’re listening to the self-made is a myth make a difference together show with your host coach Tim campsa where we talk with successful business owners to hear the stories of their Journeys in building their successful businesses and more importantly we recognize the folks who help them Excel because we know that achieving business success is not something we can do on our [Music] own hello everyone this is coach Tim campel and I’m excited to have a fellow business owner from Indiana with us today fun fact about my guest um his wife is a fellow Canadian and in his downtime he enjoys fishing and he is most proud of both of his wife as well as his children it’s my pleasure to welcome Nathan to the show today hello Nathan hey Tim how you doing today I am awesome well hey let’s start with having you introduce yourself tell us a little bit of your personal story like where you were born where you live about your family and some of your hobbies absolutely so my name is Nathan red and I was born in Bloomington Indiana I’ve been an Indiana native all my life proud hooer and I have a beautiful wife and two young children age two and one boy my professional career has changed a lot since becoming a dad and my my my heart really goes out to every parent out there that that is a working professional wow I see you in a whole new [Laughter] life so your wife’s from Canada how’ you meet her that’s right well I met her on the beach in Florida yes I was down there visiting my grandfather uh fishing we do a tarpon tournament together and uh he kicked me out one morning and said you better get to the beach it’s going to rain later uh I went down there and I saw this beautiful woman and I just had had to stop and say hey funny story about that is though I was missing a tooth at the time so she tells everybody she doesn’t like me for my [Laughter] looks fantastic well hey is there a funny story that your family likes to tell about you that you’d be willing to share with us today well it’s probably just that one and it relates to my work uh I prior to taking this vacation where I met my wife I had a big big accreditation survey which is like an audit a review of the quality of the services that my company provides and I was really nervous and I was just 24 years old at the time trying to start and run a company and I was biting my fingernail and boom I chipped my tooth I look like Jim Carrey from Dumb and Dumber and what do you know uh there was a chance I got the girl and we got a happy family now that’s awesome thank you for sharing so Nathan tell us how the business come about and at what point did you have the confidence you could run your own business well it took a lot to build the confidence and the confidence came because uh self-made is a myth I had a gentleman uh that was a and still is to this day just an amazing mentor to me his name is Steve Bo and he stilled so much confidence in me uh when I was a a young man a high school senior actually I got a job working as what’s called a direct support profession which is a caregiver for people with disabilities um and I got assigned to to work with this amazing family and met Mr Boer and what do you know he starts putting this bug in my ear hey maybe one day you’ll be an entrepreneur you can own businesses I saw his success and and listen to him and and he just instilled this amazing confidence in me went on to school at Indiana University my senior year I had a class project where we had to create our own organization I started putting assisted Independents together with some classmates uh graduated in 2016 kept working on the project and in 2017 in July of 2017 we were able to open uh assisted Independence which now employs 85 individuals in sports over 200 IND 250 individuals with disabilities across Indiana wow I just I I love doing it so yeah what a cool cool story so tell us more about the company um you just said it but tell us the name again what do you do how do you help people so the company is assisted Independence and we provide Home and Community Based Services to individuals with developmental disabilities so these are individuals that have conditions like autism Down syndrome cerea pry we know that these conditions are becoming ever more prevalent in our society especially autism autism I believe the Centers for Disease Control and prevention are now stating that one in every 42 children have autism up 300% from a decade ago boy something’s going on but anyways our company provides caregivers nurses and therapists that go to these people’s homes and and help them um we support over 2 50 individuals in the state of Indiana We’re accredited by the Council of quality and Leadership we are really big on promoting recreational opportunities for people with disabilities so our recreational therapists they host a variety of programs and field trips including adaptive kayaking adaptive cycling we got an Adaptive basketball clinic going on right now it it’s an action-packed job we love it that’s fantastic so for everyone listening make sure to check out out the company in the link in the description and then go visit Nathan on LinkedIn and let him know that you watched his interview hey Nathan share a story where someone pushed you or inspired you that you could do it even though maybe you didn’t think that you could and the impact that person had on you yeah there are so many people that come to mind when you ask that question and I’m actually sitting right now in our local Columbus Indiana Chamber of Commerce and got to give a few people here a shout out so the Columbus Chamber of Commerce has partnered with an organization called score.org and score.org helps young people or anybody in general that want to start businesses uh and they will provide free consultation and the people that do this are successful retired businessmen that want to make an impact well this leads me to who helped me so I got set up with score in 2016 while I was doing this class project Steve B had referred me there previous gentleman I mentioned and I got connected with two amazing people one of those gentlemen his name is Fred Nur God Rest his soul I hope he’s okay um my heart is with his family he’s no longer with us but uh he he was my free consultant through score and Fred had started over 160 businesses helped start over 160 businesses and here I was 23 years old showing up to his office every week and he met with me sometimes three times a week for upwards of eight months and it was little by little him just asking questions not even giving me advice per se just asking the right questions for me to go see the answers that had a profound effect on me in knowing that wait if you seek knowledge in the right places you will find it and his questioning really did that the second consultant that got to help me through this project through the start of this organization his name is Bob wymer and he was a former vice president of cumin which is a Fortune 500 company headquartered here in Columbus Indiana and Bob was the same as Fred asking questions you know light suggestions allowing me to arrive at a conclusion independently not making business decisions for me but teaching me a a a meth a method of how to make your decisions and that I carry with me to this day fantastic score is a great organization and and the fact that it’s volunteer-based and and therefore you know offered free is a fantastic resource um you know for for new businesses who don’t have the the cash yet to be able to you know hire a professional it’s it’s just an amazing organization so thank you for sharing that I’m glad that uh that you had the ability to work with them so Nathan what’s been the biggest learning as a business owner wow there’re so again just so many things that you learn um this this might sound uh cruel it it might not be the most Progressive thing for me to say here but the biggest thing that you have to learn to run a sustainable organization is truly ashes King you got to make sure that your business is going to be sustainable by making sure you know you’re taking care of your business uh you’re making sure that your revenue is going to exceed your expenses and seems very general right yes yes yes cash cash is King for sure absolutely but you’d be surprised at how many people especially in my industry because the work really is philanthropic right I didn’t do this to hit a home run and become a millionaire no and if that’s what’s in store for me one day great um however that is not what started this yeah so point being is in this industry a lot of people start this philanthropy and it’s easy to spend a lot of money there are so many people that need help right and you want to do all you can to to help them but you can’t can’t overextend your capital resources you know if it doesn’t exist it doesn’t exist and if you’re spending more than you’re making you’re not going to have an organization so score really helped me make sure that I had a good break even analysis and that I was going to be cash flow positive from the beginning and that’s really helped us to grow and put in the infrastructure build the systems we never at assisted Independence we never wanted our Personnel growth to outpace our systems growth I could say that say that twice we never wanted our systems our our Personnel growth to outpace our systems growth yeah uh in the event your personnel growth does outpace your systems growth that’s when you start having problems the the whole cash flow thing is is a challenge that a lot of companies have and and one of the mistakes that we make and I say we because I made the same mistake is is wanting to bootstrap my company so not wanting to get a loan because I didn’t want to have that burden and that you know and that responsibility and not having a loan meant that I didn’t have a lot of cash to be able to invest in the growth and so things were really tight and here’s the here’s the problem with that approach is it’s a whole lot easier to get an SBA loan before you start your company then after you start your company because before that you start your company they’re going to lend you the money based on your business plan after you start your company they’re going to lend you money based on your actuals so you know the the saying of it’s a whole lot EAS easier to get money when you don’t need it than when you do is true so for folks who are you know contemplating starting a business really consider you know exp you know and explore the option to get a loan to be able to give you that that cushion that cash flow cushion so that when you you know when challenges come up that you’ve got something to rely on Tim I will say that when you’re starting a business and you’re looking for some cash some Capital you’re looking for a cushion maybe your Revenue stream is not sufficient quite yet but you project it will be very soon and you need some money to get you there well I I would just advise uh hold on to that Equity don’t go selling off fake in your company early on and if you do make sure that you have a buy sell agreement uh you know H having a sole proprietorship a private company it has been ADV agous that we don’t have to have some big bureaucracy to get things done I don’t have to seek a partner’s approval I don’t have to go through a board to get an approval and we know that’s the case for a lot of nonprofit and public companies and absolutely they move I think they move a lot slower because of that yeah for sure yeah um I agree the option of getting a loan through a bank right versus getting a loan through Equity um absolutely you know explore that and and just go in with your eyes wide open right know what you’re getting yourself into and whether that makes sense for you or not appreciate that that that build hey Nathan we know that business success doesn’t happen in isolation so tell us about one of the biggest challenges that you have faced and and maybe a fellow business owner or a colleague that came alongside you and helped you through that early on as I started the business I felt a real disconnect from people in general and I was working you know really long hours putting a lot of pressure on myself that I looking back in hindsight might have been unnecessary but I didn’t feel that there were very many people to relate to and that that was sad for me starting a business is a li a bit like an emotional roller coaster yes it is looking back at my younger self now now I definitely be telling that young man you know do not allow emotion to distort your judgment and don’t allow emotion to uh you know dictate um how you’re going to go about what you do but nonetheless when I was young and starting the business it did feel very isolated you have a ton of people trying to give you advice yeah some good some bad some that’s just outright annoying people that haven’t walked in your shoes or been able to lead a company the way you wish to lead a company uh you got a lot of people in your ear you might have friends family even that they haven’t set out to do what you’re attempting to do yeah uh so who do you go and talk to about these things things and and for me it it was Steve Boer and Steve just an amazing entrepreneur here from Columbus he uh just took me under his wing constantly talking to me about different aspects of his businesses in mine and he had he had such a keen interest in just business in general whether it be his business other people’s businesses um it was just a hobby of his seeing that interest and being able to speak with him about that uh man that that was just so important for me not to feel isolated I knew I had somebody I could lean on yeah it’s so true it’s it’s very lonely at the top though um I have many many business owners who have shared that sentiment with me that because when we were an employee we always had a manager to go to right to bounce ideas off of to get some guidance and some dire but when we’re a business owner right we we lose that and and when challenges come up in the business we certainly don’t want to tell our employees because we don’t want them to worry we may not want to bring it home with us because we don’t want our family to worry so you know we’re kind of isolated and stuck having to deal with it ourselves so I’m glad that you you’ve had that Mentor relationship to be able to to to share that out loud and and and work through it that’s fantastic oh I would also say join join a forum if you can get in a forum join a forum yeah well you mentioned the even the chamber right there’s there’s that’s an awesome opportunity well as well to just rub shoulders with fellow business owners right and build relationships and and uh you know walk through each other’s uh journey together and right and have that support in that Network so Nathan uh if I was I’m going to put you on the spot here a little bit if I was to ask you to pick three people in your business owner Journey who you’re most grateful for them being there to help with your business’s growth who are those three people and how’ they help you yeah so Steve Boer the gentleman that I’ve mentioned several times and then the other two gentlemen that I’ve mentioned Fred nurse and Bob wymer um trusted experienced businessmen that had open arms want to instill confidence in those that they’re teaching for people to have sound practices uh that will be sustainable and make awesome impacts on our community these three gentlemen have meant so much to me but I gotta give a shout out to just a few people you know my dad really did teach me a lot there was a lot that I could take from my dad seeing him um one piece of advice he gave me um was right in a way where there can only only be one interpretation and this simple statement has made it so much easier when I’m developing training for employees when I’m speaking with employees um just communication in general it’s really uh change the way I I think and and seeing my my dad uh re really um go from um going to school and getting getting degree graduating becoming successful starting his own practice um and he really became successful as I became a young man um having that visual in front of me was really helpful as to here’s where you were and here’s where you can become here’s where you can go yeah so what’s your dad’s name Michael red awesome fantastic Michael cool so I throw in my granddad there too my granddad’s G given me some some really good good advice over the years regarding business and he he certainly needs some some credit and one of the the best things that my grandfather told me is if you’re the owner if you’re in charge of leading the company you cannot be caught up in daytoday operations yes it is your job to be the Visionary to lead the path forward to go get those big things done set up for the future so you can’t get too caught up in your day-to-day operations that really helped and and Co made it made it happen forced it to happen yes yeah wonderful advice so as you think about the next you know one to three years what’s your number one either point of growth and development or challenge that you see that you’re going to face in achieving your goals yeah scaling scaling is an incredibly can be an incredibly complex mission for a business you know sure you might have mastered being a president of a company and having one or two midlevel management Personnel maybe a few other administrative personnel with with field staff or staff beneath that mid-level management but when you take a company from being maybe a multicounty company to becoming a a multi-state company a national company or global company how do you set up that organizational structure yeah where you can scale and then how are you going to leverage your revenue and your surpluses to put that plan into place for how are you going to leverage debt or someone else’s expertise uh to come in and and make that happen so I think that that scaling is the toughest um the the toughest task that we have over the next one to three years for sure scaling is is a significant you know big next step for for a lot of companies there’s a a great book out there it’s called what got you here won’t get you there and um it it’s not necessarily about scaling but the idea the principle of it is is hey all the things that have helped a a owner operator have a awesome business are not the same things that are going to allow them to then become a CEO right and have a business that can run without them and a leadership team that’s running the daytoday and you know processes and procedures so yeah there’s a a a significant mindset shift that has to happen for a a business owner to be able to let go and and you know grow into a CEO role but then there’s also significant you know best practices that have to be implemented in the organ into the organization to allow it to not lose sight of the original Vision right in the the the the mission and the culture that that the business owner had created the business on so yeah I agree with you that that it’s awesome that you have that awareness and and look forward to to seeing how you know how that all unfolds over the next couple years takes a whole lot of trust in a lot of other people indeed sure does so last question Nathan um Jim ran great uh uh business Guru wrote number of books one of his quotes that I love is we become the average of the five people that we spend the most time with so as you think about that quote what advice would you have for business owners who are listening to this who you know have a perception that they need to do it all on their own you can’t do it all on your own um it it it’s truly is a myth um and for me as a Christian uh not always a great one but uh the Bible tells us that no man is self-made things in life come to you a as a blessing and you need to take them when they’re in front of you or put yourself in a position where you can receive those blessings um the the advice the questioning the examples that you can find from people in your community uh go get it uh and get it early on keep good company as you start a business if if I could tell my younger s if I could go back in time to make it just the Tad easier uh there are a few things that that I would I would tell my young self and that is hey maybe being with some of these friends right now isn’t the best for you to start this business you know maybe maybe trying to start a a relationship right now it’s not the the best for you to to start a business um and I would also tell my younger self don’t be afraid to go talk to some of these mentors these trusted the these successful people these examples that you have to ask for their help people want to and I’m lucky I had three gentlemen plus many more that that really took me under their wing but um seek seek that out go get it there are people plenty of business guys that they this is just their passion and whatever the business might be there are businessmen that are fascinated with any and all aspects of business I I love that advice to just go and ask them I’ve had over a hundred people on this show and every single person has said hey I’ve been there before if a a young business owner was to reach out to me and ask to you know to have grab a cup of coffee I’m going to say yes so we all might have a fear of well you know nobody’s going to have time for me nobody’s going to want to you know help me out but that’s again that’s a lie that’s a myth we’ve all been there if it’s a genuine request if you’re not trying to sell us something we’ be happy to you know sit down with you and share our stories and see how we might be able to help you because we were you ones right y y and then when you ask and maybe they don’t have answers but it’s their questions that will lead you to the answers you seek indeed you mentioned that a couple of times like that generally speaking if we’re if we’ve invested in knowledge so if we’re reading books and we’re watching videos or we have you know a mentor um and we’re collecting data on how to run a great business the answers are inside us right our intuition is going to generally be right but we may not have that connection to it so to your point if people are asking us questions and helping us sort through you know our fears and doubts and and anxieties to get to the truth right the knowledge that’s inside of us then you know we’re going to make good decisions and not everything’s going to work out but that’s because you know there’s no guarantees and it’s not a linear path Tim I got one more person I should think and I had a professor a business professor myON Canon who went by Mo and he would tell young entrepreneurs people thinking about doing this you’re never going to feel like you’re ready but you have to start yeah then when you’re on the other side you might never want to leave but if you don’t leave meaning so the business will leave you that that has stuck with me that that that is stuck with me that’s great Nathan pass that along I appreciate that it sounds like you’ve been blessed with some incredible people in your journey if they were all on the show here today what would you want to say to them ah thank you guys so much um I I I’m a product of of you all and this wouldn’t have been possible where I’m at today if it weren’t for these mentors I wouldn’t have a wife I wouldn’t have a family I would not have anything without the help of these gentlemen and without god um just my profound thank you to all all the support over all the years really Amen to that well hey it’s been a pleasure speaking with you today Nathan thanks so much for being on the show hey Tim wishing you all the best thanks for listening to the self-made is a myth show with your host coach Tim campaw please help spread this Movement by liking and subscribing to our show and following us on Facebook and Linkedin or wherever you listen to your favorite podcast to join our movement go to bead together.com okay folks that’s a wrap please pay it forward and be sure to tune in next time to the self-made is a myth podcast