We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Derek Derbigny a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Derek, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. Being a business owner can be really hard sometimes. It’s rewarding, but most business owners we’ve spoken sometimes think about what it would have been like to have had a regular job instead. Have you ever wondered that yourself? Maybe you can talk to us about a time when you felt this way?
Being a business owner is stressful. It requires significantly more work than a ‘regular job’ and knows no limitations or hours. Many people begin their entrepreneurial journey with the hopes of attaining financial and time freedom, only to walk into years of 100+ hour work weeks just to keep the business afloat. Even with that in mind, most studies show that people who define themselves as self employed report higher levels of happiness, even those that make less money than they would if they had a ‘regular job’, which further illustrates the fulfillment being a business owner provides.
I can vehemently say I am happier as a business owner. But, it is not because I am a business owner that I am happier. This may sound like an oxymoron, but I am happier because in order to be successful as a business owner you have to be cognizant of the reality that you control the trajectory of your life and of your business. I am happier because I have accepted accountability and understand that the events of life do not happen to me – instead, they are often the direct result of my decisions and my responses to them.
For most, it is terrifying to accept this reality because it goes against virtually everything we are imbued with since birth. Most of us were fed into the school to work pipeline, which provides a constant resource of excuses and ways to pass blame. Most religions provide a reservoir for accountability deflecting as well, but that’s outside of the context of this question. I firmly believe that being able to accept the good and the bad outcomes – while truly internalizing both emotionally and spiritually – that those outcomes are direct reflections of your actions is the key to being successful and happy.
Still, I often find myself thinking about what it would be like to solely work a ‘regular job’. I think about how it would be less stressful and I would have far more time freedom. How I would be able to explore more hobbies and enjoy my long lost friend ‘free-time’.. but, I’ve realized that simply isn’t the life I am wired for. I genuinely enjoy the work that I do, regardless of how many 12-18 hour days I work in a row, again, because I am doing work and creating opportunities that make the lives of others better, which satisfies my definition of being a successful individual.
To me, the fulfillment and happiness that comes with the mental aptitude required to be a successful business owner far outweighs the stress and long hours.
I am happier as the owner of my life.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
I now own a venture company which owns multiple other LLC’s. I own multiple properties which I use for short term rentals via Airbnb, the wonderful meal prep company Map Meals which provides Dallas and Fort-Worth with free same day delivery on personalized meal prep, Dallas Meat Delivery which provides same day delivery on all of your favorite meats and seafoods at wholesale prices, Simpl Real Estate Management which has its hands in everything from short term rental management to home buying, and I am currently in the process of building a few other companies that will help to bridge the gaps between the existing entities and make them all run even more efficiently. I also am blessed to be able to consult for other companies in multiple states.
Any fun sales or marketing stories?
One of my favorite marketing stories is one of the most simple and goes back to the importance of understanding human psychology when it comes to marketing. By changing just a few simple words on our website to highlight ‘same day delivery’, even when the service ae are providing is not necessarily one in which when your receive the product makes a difference, has more than increased our new customer sales by 42% in just a matter of six weeks. Remember, marketing it not spending tons of dollars on a campaigns – it is maximizing the human desire and propensity to buy your product. This usually doesn’t cost you anything more than time and research.
We often hear about learning lessons – but just as important is unlearning lessons. Have you ever had to unlearn a lesson?
I had to unlearn that being selfish is bad. We were all taught not to be selfish as we grew up, but the older I get the more I find that when I am not selfish is when I make mistakes in my business. You have to do right by yourself and take care of yourself in order to do right by others and take care of others. You cannot pour from an empty cup. Be a self starter and take care of you as you grow. In other words, create value and ensure everyone in your organization is taken care of, but be sure to take care of yourself as well.