8 guiding principles that Sam adheres to. (24:19)
Getting personal with Sam Hill?
My first bullet point is the hardest hurdle. And the first sub-bullet is complacency. I think at the end of the day, it’s all about pain. And the pain for me is like, Alright, well, when I’m 90 years old, am I going to be, you know, talking to my grandkids? About ‘Oh, that like, you know, slowly progressed through the firm? And I made it?’ Or am I going to be able to say, No, I’m, like, super proud that I progressed through all this and went through that hardship to get to this point, whatever that point ends up being? But I think most importantly, it’s just kind of finding your why.
So I knew that you’re going to ask me what my why’s were. And the three that I wrote down are, ‘My 85-year-old self, a few women that broke my heart. And the deep sense that I would never be happy until I owned my own business’. Those have really been three ways. But the important thing too is it doesn’t have to be the same why at all times. The woman that broke your heart, can take you for a few months, and then that’ll fizzle out and you need to find something else. Doesn’t matter. There are too many y’s out there. You just need to find yours and embrace that.
There are many other outsourced CFO and bookkeeping companies out there. And not to say that some of them don’t do a great job. But the deeper I go into the e-commerce niche, the more validation that we’ve gotten from the market. There are very few firms exclusively focused on e-commerce, like there are some highbrow firms that have like a SasS department and an e-commerce department and like a services department and all that. But I’ve decided to niche down as much as possible, and solely focus on e-commerce.
What really changed the game for me, it was so easy for me to go on Upwork or Catalant, or pick your favorite freelancing platform and look at all the freelancers that had billed 60, 100 $200,000 to the platform who are ranking on the first page, and you go, how the hell am I going to compete with them? I’m looking at my profile, I have zero reviews, zero projects? How do I don’t start? It’s super overwhelming that these people must have some crazy advantage or thing that I don’t know. And I started to look way too much. Outwardly and not enough inwardly I don’t know if I’m phrasing that right. But you get the point. So the thing that helped me the most, and I’ve given this recommendation to a couple of other people that have asked me recently is:
I documented everything that I’ve ever done, from work stuff, side projects, business school projects, and I tried to pull out the key elements that actually drove value for that project doesn’t matter what it is. And so once, once I built that big inventory of stuff, then I put it into a presentation. I’m not a designer by any means. And I tried to just write in a few sentences. ‘Okay, what was the problem? What were the results that I delivered? You know, is that client happy?’ Try to quantify it as much as possible. And then I gave that to a designer and said, ‘Hey, can you make this pretty?’ Then I had 15ish slides of pretty quality work that I had done in a number of different areas. And I thought, ‘Okay, cool. I can go to market with this.’ And then before I knew about Loom, when I would submit a proposal on Upwork, I would submit that deck and so many people commented on that to say, ‘Hey, you know, no one else provided this, thank you for, you know, all this in-depth experience.’
Dan: Now what’s interesting, though, is I want a lot of people to think about becoming an entrepreneur. They think about big ideas, they don’t think about going to Upwork and sending out decks to people.
Sam: I have eight guiding principles here. But then the fourth bullet here is understanding and embracing who you are. I forgot what book it’s from, but there’s the visionary and integrator. I am not a visionary. I’m very much an integrator. And I’ve had to just embrace that over the years and understand who I am and what I’m capable of, and what I’m good at and what I’m not. And so I have no illusion that I’m going to start the next billion-dollar SaaS company. And that’s never really been me. It’s not to say that there’s not some technology, offshoot ideas that I’ve thought of for Ecom CFO that I’m super excited about, and we’ve been in the process of building.