Luke Layman is a decorated fighter pilot, serial entrepreneur, investor and transformation coach.
With decades of experience leading high performance and high growth organizations, Luke has cracked the code on how to live with INTENTIONAL ALIGNMENT, enjoying all the best that life has to offer while sustainably growing businesses across the globe. He has led multiple 7 and 8 figure businesses as well as leading the highest performing organizations in the United States Air Force.
Amongst his many accolades he is the recipient of a Combat Action Medal and Single Mission Air Medal for combat operations flown in the A-10 Warthog. Additional, Luke is the recipient of multiple business awards included being voted Top 40 under 40 in 2019.
Luke’s Entrepreneurial Accelerator Framework is the method which he applies in his own businesses as well as those he invests in. The pillars for success are coaching high performance mindset by Becoming the Commander, accelerating revenue and profit in his Jet Fuel Sales and Marketing Strategy, and creating leveraged growth systems in the Auto Pilot Method.
Welcome to the deal. Scout. On this show, we talk with deal makers about the different aspects of a deal. We brought on investors and venture capitalists and all these awesome people who invest in things. This guy takes a unique approach on how he invests in businesses, adds value. We've known each other for a while, so I want to bring him on the show because he has a great story and he spends a lot of time talking about the mindset of fellow deal makers. So, Luke, welcome to the deal, scout.
Thanks for having me back. Great to see you again, Josh.
Yeah, man. All right. You've got an accent right off the bat. Why don't you tell everybody? Where do you Gmail this accent from?
The accent is a funny story because I grew up in North Carolina and when I was in the military, I spent the better part of 15 years trying to become geographically nondescript because I recall just thinking people from the south are dumbasses is really what it was. I moved back to the south and all of a sudden the event name back in a flash. We are in Charleston, South Carolina, min, the heart of the deep south and Southern accents.
Beautiful. What a beautiful location. We have family at St. James island or St. John island style is just out of here. Yeah, super cool. I love that area. Luke, you and I are hanging out in a coffee shop in downtown Charleston and I'm like, hey Luke, who are you? What do you do? How do you answer that?
My brother calls me covering fighter pilot. After finding jets for a decade in the Air Force, I think that I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what's next. I'd like to say that I have figured it out so far, but the short story entrepreneur father and then beyond that, there's not a whole lot left. Really. What I talk about on my podcast is living with intentional alignment that's really just a focus of health, wealth and relationships. Today we're going to talk about wealth building through investing. Really? Where do we get deals from? I try to balance that with the other components of health and relationships and for me that's primarily my two kids.
Awesome, man. Super cool. Why don't you just give us a shout out for any kitcaster out there live. Live. I love to give them a shout out. So what's your podcast name? Where can people go and download and subscribe?
Yes, my podcast is the Shiftwork podcast. It's on Apple and Spotify and all the regular stuff. It's just www.thushiftworkpodcast.com and love to hear what the audience this and how we can engage. If you leave a comment in the comments section with what you like to talk about, that's probably the easiest way to engage with me. We'll get some shows recorded for you.
Why did you start the show? What's the core focus of the show? How did you come up with the name?
Yeah. The core focus there's really three pillars of the shift work podcast. We talk about high performance leadersre, which is really a product of my decade of flying jets in the air force. Take a note about business strategy and tactics, but most importantly, we talk about brain science. I'll tell you what, for me, Josh, a lot of the podcast is a reflection of my own studies. When I get back down to podcast, mindset has become this catch all. Now it's really in vogue in 2022 and it has been for the past couple of years. From a straight brain science component is having an understanding of how we make decisions. I study a lot about heuristics and linguistics, which is really how we shortcut our brain into making decisions and how we communicate with each other. It becomes foundational in the way that I negotiate, it becomes foundational in our sales efforts and it becomes foundational in the way that I lead others as well.
Yeah, super cool. Heuristics and linguistics. Awesome, man. As you're talking about high performance and strategies and tactics and brain science, how we go about making decisions, there's formulas, there are heuristics and then there's the linguistics of the communication and how we go about saying things. What are some of the things that you've learned yourself? Because you said it's a self reflective study on what you're finding out, sharing with the community. What are some of the things that you fundamentally have learned because of the podcast?
First and foremost is that in any given place that your environment reflects you and it's a reflection of what happens on the inside when you're not getting what you want in the outside. The change has to first start on the inside. From the most basic component of a b do have model, if you want to have something in your environment, you have to change the actions and behaviors that you engage in and then you have to first change the identity. One of the things that I talk a lot about was the identity shift. There's been a few of them in my life. There was the change from a college student into a fighter pilot and then from a fighter pilot into an entrepreneur. One of the easiest identity shifts happens when you become a father or a parent in general. Obviously for me it was becoming a father.
It's something that you are ill eprsquared for yesterday and instantaneously become that new identity tomorrow. We spend a lot of time on doing the work and the shift work moniker is the shift and the changes that need to happen for you as an entrepreneur before you can become and receive min the environment what else you would hope to have.
Nice. Now, when I first read the shift work, I thought it was because I was a firefighter in my number 37 career or whatever.
I was a firefighter and we had shift work, so I thought it was a show for live police and fire, maybe military. The shift work is actually the mindset shift, the brain shifts that's right. In different things.
Light bulb went off.
It is catchy A for all my Canadian friends out there who use A. Awesome, man. Here you are, you have your podcast show, and then you add heath by investing in businesses, but in a very unique way. Why don't you explain what you do now that you're not flying up in the sky with big birds?
I think what's important to note is along the way how wrong I actually got. It when we talk about deal making, investing, is I've done a lot of things the wrong way. The first couple of deals that I got into were targets of opportunity instead of something that was necessarily accretive. The foundation for me is that I have to be able to add value to the business from a very simple lean or six sigma component. I don't do a whole lot of angel investing where I just throw money at something and then let it go and hope for the best. Even if I really like the founder, it's something that I need to be able to add value. The first one that I got wrong was investing in a hospitality company. Great company. Love the brand, love the founder. I personally couldn't add a lot of value because I'm not a hospitality guy.
I don't do a lot of goods trading, commodities. This specific brand has a great bar in central North Carolina. It's got some food and beverage stuff, but I don't personally add a lot of value, so it ties up my capital. The ROI is moderate, but still not accretive. The second one was into a radio frequency manufacturing company, of all things. That, again, I don't add value. It was in the defense space that I hail from. I did add of value, but I'm not a software developer. I don't get into those components of how we do agile, methodologies, and some of those things that a good investor might. My focus and energy on investing as of late has been looking for places inside of business with the customer base that we can add immediate revenue stream and open up the bottom line. My target is about one to $5 million, which is historically smaller than I was looking for originally in gross revenue.
The only thing that I need is positive net revenue, or EBITDA. A lot of the business owners that I've talked to don't even talk about EBITDA. They don't understand what those depreciation and amortization discussions are. The real piece of it that I'm looking for is the ability to add information or digital products as a front side or backside offering. We either add a PDF, downloadable, fix the funnel on the front side, and they're almost all service based businesses so that we can work on the customer acquisition side with a proven offer that already exists or something on the backside as part of a digital product or community based offering that we can add annual recurring revenue or monthly recurring revenue to that as well.
All right, so give me an example of what an ideal group is. One to 5 million, their service based business got a good history of customer support. I've got a bucket of email addresses and people that I've served over the years and you and I are going to do a deal together. You're like, listen, front side or backside, I'll add immediate revenue to the bottom line. What would that look like?
So a great example. I'm working with one right now that's very niche inside commodities market. It's specifically flofr industry and the founder has a very good understanding of the market. Great product, great offering, great algorithmic approach to forecasting the price of lumber, but was laden with limiting beliefs about what that market could support. Right? By and large, the housing market, the framing market is a very blue capital markets and with low margins, so they're not pushing very when you look at where the margins happen usually at the home builder. Once the widgets get put together, that's where the margins happen. When you go back into the supply chain, to the guys that cut down the logs, to the guys that build the frames, to the guys that process at warehouse have a yard, they're not super high margin or super high yield companies. Well, this company is an information product company, has a weekly newsletter that's gone out for 30 years, great customer list, great market engagement, great brand reputation, but was stuck at a revenue threshold because they were limited.
The founder was limited in his own beliefs about what the product offering could be. Were able to go min and simply add a back end offer which served the company and the customer of the audience higher and doubled the revenue in the course of about six months. And likely we'll do that again. My play is come in double and then exit together or at least take something out of the recurring revenue model if the founder wants to stay. What's happening is, again, to be specific, so we don't have to talk in ambiguities is this founder believed that there was no money to take because it was a low margin business. Even in low margin businesses, if you're doing 30 or $40 million a year in trading lumber, you can have low margins and still have plenty of money to go throw for an information product.
We go in there and put a $15,000 annual backside Offer And We Can Serve It. They stand against 1530 45 $150,000 as a return on investment. It becomes a no brainer. So it was his own limiting beliefs. And I go. We have to try something else. We got to put this new product into the market.
Wow. What did your side of the deal look like in terms of live? Here's what Luke and team is going to do versus this guy who's been chopping trees his whole life. He's like, I don't know the first dang thing about whatever. What do you guys focus on?
The deal structures can be I'm very open to deal structures. I do work in, buy out deal structures. I do roll ups. There's lots of things that I'll do into a deal structure that makes it worthwhile. One of the biggest plays for me and the most frustrating pieces for me in the industry is the number of people that have a low confidence and their own ability to deliver services, and they want a fee for service on the front side. I am so wildly confident min my ability to have product market fit that I want a larger bite at the apple. It's also because it's not where my personal money comes from. I would rather go in and either put capital or put my team into place to go build that revenue stream and take a bite at the back side. Really the competition is with marketing firms as compared to a marketing firm wants to come in.
Really, that's what I do, is I come in as an agency. I just do it in an acquisition model. Someone comes in and says, I can fix your funnel. I can put back that product in there. I say yes, but I'm not going to send you a $30,000 bill. You don't have to take my word for it. I'm going to take equity in the company on the front side. If I can't do what I say that I'm going to do, you'll just take your equity back. So we structure the dial as such. But that's what the team comes in. It really comes in and does a lot of strategy work, a lot of marketing work and then we do a lot of systems work just to fix the system so that the owner can get out of the day to day grind and do what they're really good at.
Yeah. Double double exit, right? That's the goal in mind. You're getting multiples on your money that has come in on the front end.
Yeah. Super Cool. I think a lot of people would love that kind of model. Right. Especially like marketing firms or people that have a skill set to add value to a business. Like that model sounds brilliant, but a lot of people can't, because on the front end, they need to keep their lights on. Right. How did you overcome that or is that something that you're learning? Because keeping lights on live, you can't eat equity. I've learned that the hard way. You could go broke Channing, Hamlet and try to eat this thing called equity. How did you overcome that?
There's going to be a few different components of that. First, it takes money to make money, right? You have to do that if you're investing in the stock market. You got to take your 1st $10 and put it into the stock market. You need to be playing with your excess capital before I get there. One of the things that I'll tell you on a strategy component is that I believe that people are wildly non creative. Again, on my podcast we talk about this concept of the box a lot. It's a challenge to me because people say think outside the box, Josh. Think outside the box. I can't and you can't. There's a couple of ways they're not crazy. I'll tell you the way that I conceptualize it. The box is defined by four sides. The bottom of it is your learned or live experience. It's however you got to 30, 40 or 50 years old and the sum of your life experiences.
The left side of the box is your emotional state, which I take a note about on my podcast is managing your emotional state. If you look for something through the lens of someone that's happy, excited, joyous, anticipatory, you believe and you see things that are more possible. If you are frustrated, discouraged, doubtful, your box begins to close because your options present to you are limited. The top side of the box is simply your values and beliefs. Those may change over time. So this that you value. We gave the example of parenthood in the beginning. As a parent, I value things that are different than before. I used to value wealth generation as I generated the wealth. I now value time more than I value money. It has to be a balance of making sure that I have the appropriate amount of time to spend with my family.
The final, what people really miss this on is the outcomes. That's the final on the right side of the box is they get this finite expectation. I'll go back to the business and say if you believe that $500,000 is possible for your business and you can make that a million, that becomes the right side of your box and the finite limit of your outcomes. I go in there and say why not two? Why not 5 million? We begin to backwards plan from that. For me, it's just opening the aperture of what can become possible. How do you do it? There's two ways. Well, one is you. You can change your learned and live experiences. The easiest way to do that is consume information. Listen to this podcast. You can get on YouTube and garner something in 15 minutes that was not readily available for decades prior.
You can learn how to raise funds, you can learn how to do anything on the internet these days. Change your emotional state. That's easy. We could talk about that. We can shorten the number of minutes that we spend in a negative emotional state. Values and belief is a little more difficult to change. I can shift some of that for you and then the final is just change the outcome. By opening the aperture and creating the bigger box for yourself, you can think about what can become possible for you. The second borrow somebody else's box, just get a mentor and we do that in multiple ways. I come into a business and I say I don't see the world the way that you see the world, I see the world differently based on my learned and lived experiences, my emotional state, my values and beliefs and my desired outcomes.
If you want to borrow my box, my window to the world happens to be bigger than yours is and I put a straight risk reversal on it. I'm not going to ask for a dollar from you if I can't do exactly what I say that I'm going to do. Because I'm so fraser focused on who I can serve and where I can put my money and get a return on my investment is almost a zero risk game. It's a risk and that I may have to apply some resources, but I have such quick min scenarios. We'll get immediate return and some of the plays will be longer. Obviously we need to let it marinate. I can come in 30 days and make strategic decisions for the company to take of capital and get an immediate return on investment of 1015 20 X what the investment was.
The original question was why don't people do it? Scarcity is the answer is people are non creative and you can't eat equity, yes, but you can eat line of credit. If you are confident in the way that you can engage, these are just the T's and C's of an engagement. Whether or not I use bank's money, my money, line of credit money, venture capital money, private equity money, doesn't matter, I need to eat right. It's nice to have cash of your own money available but that's not a creative if I'm only ever spending my money, I don't want to do that. I want to leverage my money with additional debt. It doesn't help that interest rate is going to be 7%, but when it's two and 3%, when you can get a line of credit at four or 5%, I'll do that deal all day long because I can return 1020 30% return tech investments.
The short answer is borrow somebody's box, borrow someone's.
Box, man. I grew up on a construction site, swinging hammers, right, in South Florida with my dad. I read a few books rich dad, Poor dad, and I learned that we had ourselves a job, right? Even though dad owned the company, we had a job. I met an investor, brought them into the company, borrowed his box, and he's like, Josh, don't be worried about this. See that land over there? Buy it. I didn't even think to go do that. I was like, well, what about the money? We don't have any money. We're rubbing two nickels together and tried to buy food. He's like, Go buy that land and borrowing someone else's box. I think sometimes, unless we sep through another box or see what's possible, we limit ourselves just because we just don't know. We don't know what we don't know. How did you start learning about this?
Because you were up in the sky with bombs and bullets and a fighter pilot, right? How did you start to look at investing differently?
I think it's a constant evolution, and I think you're learned and lived experiences you have to get there on your own and to the capacity that someone might be listening to this to go, could this also become possible for me? Yeah, of course it's possible. When I did the after action or the post mortem or the historical, how is it that I could learn to fly a 41,000 pound jet in twelve months of my life from having never done it before? I borrowed someone else's box. It's a specific program. Having the time and resources necessary, having the dedicated instructors to be able to do that. If I just said, Josh, just go teach yourself on YouTube how to go do this, it would take you decades to be able to do that. The answer is how quickly you can shorten the continuum. I don't have to tell the listeners if you can shorten that to a period of months or weeks or even days to be able to get to that same conclusion.
When you begin to change the outcome that says, I want to buy the land, new York, begin again. I just recorded a podcast episode about the particular activating system. When you say, I want to buy the land, and you begin to focus your brain on that, it now presents for you because you're focusing. It's not that it wasn't there already. It's that the resources become available. Maybe you can get an investor, maybe you can leverage the asset. Maybe there's a hundred different things that you can do to make that become possible for you. The first step is to simply accept that desired outcome could become possible for you.
Yeah, super amazing. I've interviewed billionaires and all these different amazing people, and so many times I'm like, oh, my gosh, is that possible for me? Here's ways we can do that. You can think outside the box and you can push out the squares and all that stuff of the box. I love how that image I drove that image. The bottom is learned and live experiences. The left is emotional state, which I definitely want to follow up with. Top is values and beliefs. The right side is outcome. You could push that or you could buy or borrow someone else's box and look through that framework and go there much faster because their boxes existing. Brilliant, dude. Nice work. Emotional state, man. I'm a business guy investor. Why do my emotions come? Like, is it really necessary? Because I grew up kind of a badass guy, tough guy.
My dad taught me how to not focus on my emotions and suck it up, buttercup. How do emotions play into the world of deal making?
Well, first off, your dad did you no favors, but you'll find yourself in good company because that's primarily our generation's parents approach. Suck it up, buttercraft. Again, I kind of go back to when I talk about living with intentional alignment. It's about a balance of health, wealth, and relationships. A lot of what happens for me in my professional development happens as a reflection of what happens with my children. When you can get present to what's happening, you can begin to use it as a weapon. One of the concept is you project upon others the things that you are most afraid of, and that gets to a very deep capacity. When you look for what triggers you can begin to see where your weaknesses are. For me, it's disorder. When the house is mayhem, when it's chaotic, I look to return it to a state of order and discipline.
That's a me problem and not my kids problem, and you can become aware of it. You use that. What happens in my environment when things happen that become chaotic? When you get to a deal state, the deal state looks like it's in jeopardy. When it looks live, chaos might be ensuing for me is that I need to be aware of what my emotional state is going to because I'm going to have an emotional response. My ego is going to be engaged, and I'm going to want to drive and push that to real estate of a linear state, a state of order. When you begin to become aware of that emotional state, there are really only two types of emotions. They're what we consider to be negative emotions and positive emotions. We can use thousands of words to describe those things. That's generally people get so far as they describe things as mad, glad, sad, or afraid, but we can use hundreds of words to describe that.
You get present to it, the idea for me is to shorten the negative response. I get into it. The negative response is a fear based response that says there's two primary ways that people look at things as entrepreneurs. They think, this won't work for me. When it does work, they think, this won't last. We go through this continual cycle, this won't work for me, this won't last. This won't work for me. This won't last. You get to the next level and you say, well, I don't want to just buy that one piece of land. I want to buy the 100 acres beside it. You go through the same emotional state, this won't work, and this won't last. If I can shorten that emotional state to go, it will work. I'm only now backward solving for that. I need to now change my emotional state to where I'm looking for that expectation of success.
You mentioned that I hear you right. You project internally, right? Externally. Did I? Team chat, correct?
Yes. And that's a big, giant concept. You project upon others to things that you most fear in life. I'll tell you where this comes from, and I'm happy to share this. The impetus for this was about seven years into my marriage, and my wife and I end up in marriage counseling, and we're ready to divorce. We say, this is going to be the end of it. Therapist tells me that says, you project upon others to things that you must fear in life. I say, Well, Josh, that's impossible because I am afraid of heights. Now, I know that your listeners are trying to suspend disbelief right now and go, you just told me you're an aviator, and why are you afraid of heights? I can fly all day long at 100ft, but I can't stand on the Gmail of a twelve foot rail of an 80 ten and not have shaky legs and sweaty hands.
So I said, well, that's not possible. You can't possibly project your fear of heights on someone else. And that's not what we're talking about. We're not talking about Arachnophobia. We're not talking about a metaphobia or fear of heights, whatever it is. The two greatest human fears are a fear of inadequacy and a fear of judgment. When you can become aware of that and figure out where that projection is, for me, the large, dominating emotional state, there is a fear of inadequacy. If it is a fear of judgment, it's internally referenced from the fear of judgment. I don't care. Josh, at the end of this, if you're like, Luke was the worst podcast episode. This is terrible. I'm not even going to publish it. If I feel that way, if I get to the end of the episode and go, I didn't speak clearly, I did not articulate, I didn't stay on message, then I will judge myself.
It really comes back to the inadequacy that goes, I didn't do my best. That projection, when you look at it. You say that inadequacy and judgment is when you project upon others the things that you most fear in yourself. And you can get honest about that. If inadequacy is what you fear, then it's likely going to be what triggers you the most as well, and the way it manifests for me, my wife is an author. She was finishing her first book, but it wasn't at the place that I expected it to be. The conflict was happening because she wasn't moving as fast as I would have expected. Josh, is that her inadequacy or is that my inadequacy? It's mine. Right. I was projecting, but she was likely working at exactly the right pace to do exactly what she wanted to do, and I was projecting on her.
Man, I think both of those are high fears that I have inadequacy. Right. The things that I feel God called me to do, I'm like, I am not the right dude for this mission. I'll raise my hand, I've been bankrupt and all these issues. I am not the right guy. That's the internal dialogue that happens a lot. The judgment is a lot of my stuff is done very publicly. I'm like, what will everybody say when it fails again and again and again. I'm never going to stop quitting, right? Or I'm never going to stop trying. Those two things, I have to spend a massive amount of brain energy. I wake up this morning at 430. I went for a five mile run live. I'm working hard on changing those two things, and you're nailing it. This is like free therapy for me because you've already paid the counselor.
How do we work on those two things? Because I know that there's a lot of dudes out there. I know that there's a lot of people out there, fellow deal makers that show up. I've interviewed the best of the best in the world. I've interviewed Navy Seals who even said live. I just wanted to feel special. I wanted to show up, feel special, and be loved. I'm like, what if you're an elite warrior and you feel that way? Yeah, I think everyone does. How could I improve that area to be a better deal maker?
Yeah. Your deals will become better when you become a better person. That's as true for you as it is for me, as it is for Navy Seal, as it is for anyone listening to this. You will feel those emotions. You will have those feelings. It's not a matter of whether or not you will feel those emotions. It's about shortening them. The self doubt happens all the time to everyone. Anyone who says that it doesn't is full of it, because it absolutely happens that way. So what do we do? There's a few different things that we can do before I get into the answer is, I firmly believe that if you ask better questions, you get better answers. Einstein made a quote, and I've seen it quoted multiple different ways, but basically said the problem cannot be solved on the level that it was created. From the state of awareness min the state of being that it was created, you cannot solve it.
Here's the analogy that I will give you. As a child, you likely believed at one point that it was near impossible to ride a bike. You could see that it worked for someone else. You could see the neighborhood riding the bike. When you got on the bike and your a** beguns tap mobile, you go, this isn't possible for me. Your mom or dad give you a little push, or you go down the hill and you do it one time and then you say, it can't last. I won't be able to replicate this and do it again. Of course it's possible. What makes it become possible for you is simply by believing that it can become possible for you. You change it from a problem to an outcome. Which is the first place that I'll go with this. By you believing that it can become possible for me, you can now begin to solve flofr that.
It's not a matter of whether or not this will work. Ian Hill work. I just need to learn the steps and the mechanisms for that to happen. I am not, to this day, I am not a billionaire. I'm not even trying to become a billionaire. I'm not playing that game. Is it a limiting belief? Maybe it could be right, but it's not the game that I'm playing. There's a specific revenue goal, and it is a big, giant number for what people would say, but I'm playing a very specific game. So how do we do that? Ask better questions, get better answers. The first thing is to move things from a problem to an outcome state. What generally people look at it and they go, I'm not sure how this will work. If you move that from I'm not sure how this will work to I'm solving for that, I don't know how to close this deal as a problem vice I'm going to close this deal, and I'm excited about understanding the process that it's going to take to close that deal.
I move it from an outcome or from a problem to an outcome. The other way that people look at things, they look at it as an impossibility. This won't work flofr me. It won't work for me now. We begin to tell our stories, which is where we can go with this as well. We begin to tell ourselves stories that back up our belief statement, which is a whole different discussion point there as well. We could talk about our BS as well, our belief statements, but when we look at things as impossible. The alternative to that is the as if statement. One of the things that I always do is I go forward in the future to a place that this has already occurred as if it has already been completed. I now look backwards to what it took to get there. It's very easy. I've already told you that I was a fighter pilot.
There was a whole lot of self loathing and fear and doubt that happened to me in 2002 when I was going to pilot training. If you look backwards from the day that I stood on the ramp in Del Rio, Texas, and you go, what did it take to be able to do that? Well, it took you studying on Saturday nights. It took you having to do some repeat rides to be able to find the mechanisms and the maneuvers it took going to the simulator. It took the androgogi adult learning model of visual audio, kinesthetic. I had to use all of those things. But it's easy to diagnose. If it's possible for someone else, it is also possible for me. The answer long story there to say that I move things from a problem to an outcome or I move them from an impossibility frame to an asif frame and that is where the box gets bigger.
Super cool. When you first felt that box b*** up against you, when was that first conviction where you're like, man, this box is too small. Describe the time where you broke through for the first time in the business world. Let's start there.
Yeah, I think that the challenge there is no matter what I could say is that no one else can borrow my experiences. Unfortunately, you have to also see that yourself. What I've found is that when I can create that break through and someone else is they can do it repeatedly. What I say is that's a story. To come back to that concept, here our belief statements. There's street linguistics. I told you that I study linguistics. Linguistically, a fully formed belief statement is comprised of a cause and effects statement and then a complex equivalent. It's three parts and linguistically the majority of us speak and solutions, distortions and generalities, likely because we just don't have the time. We're going to be on this podcast episode for 45 minutes or so. I can't use all of my 40,000 words available to be able to articulate a specific message.
You process min shortcuts. I think one of the biggest breakthroughs that happened for me in the business world was I got into a bad relationship in a business and I was making good money. The relationship was so poor that it was affecting every other component of my life. My marriage was failing, I was a terrible father and I was miserable in the job. I was mired by a scarcity mindset that said that if I leave, I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to replace this income that I've now become accustomed to having. I like the quality of life. I'm staring at the water here in Charleston, South Carolina. I like that. That scarcity mindset is either a problem frame or an impossibility frame. This limiting belief, this box is so narrow that says that I don't believe that I can replace this income if I let it go.
You got to go through it to be able to see it on the back side. Not only did not a single month go by that I had a lower personal dollar value hitting my checking account, but it was exponential because I was now aligned with things that I could do that better served me and how I could better serve others. The answer is you got to go through it yourself. The bottom of my box just gets bigger. Now where my learned and live experiences have given me enough information that says that I can have the trust and conference link myself. It's also why people get to 40 years old and have more vonfinch than 18 years old. You just don't have the level of experience to be able to rely on yourself to know that the way that you process information, your heuristics are able to be trusted.
Yeah. Min I love this.
You thought were going to talk about deal making. The second Canadian Conference link. Not even Canadian. I'm from the south.
I tell you, behind every deal maker there's a story. After interviewing 1000 deal makers across the years or whatever, there's common patterns, mindset, the way we think, the way we show up internally matters massively. Anybody who says it doesn't, then they're probably playing way too small when we but up against our own boxes. And that personal growth has to happen. And there's a breakthrough. That's impending breakthrough, man. The joy that comes from that is so much greater than the last deal I closed. It's so amazing when you help other people do those breakthroughs. That's why we share stories here on the podcast. The ultimate purpose of this show is to put deals and capital markets together, but to find cool deals and cool deal makers, right? Like that's the ultimate purpose. I learned so much from hearing people's stories and journeys. Luke so what then does the future look like for you?
Right. You said you have some revenue goals that you want to hit some goals.
My mission, Min life is very simple, is to leave behind a trail of better humans. And I can do that. When I start with me thing or you thing, I often ask that question. It doesn't go much further than my family. If I can be a Peter person, I can show up better as a leader for my wife and my two children. Beyond that, I can show up as a leader for my employees, and then beyond that, I can show up for my friends and colleagues. I don't have a number with it. You'll see, some entrepreneurs say, I want 10,000 people to have better life. I just want to leave behind a trail of better humans. One of the ways that I can do that most influentially is I can find founders that I looked at, and I know that their product or service is better than what they think it is.
My time and energy now, there's a financial goal, right? Because we have a common exchange element, which is a fiat currency here in the US. I exchange a dollar because we both understand that I had a conversation with someone this morning about bartering. What you may be selling and what I may be selling might not be what you want or what I want. We have a common exchange mechanism there. So, yes, I want to go on that journey with you financially because I want us to both reap min the rewards. On the back side, what you're going to find is you don't need me anymore because you've already gone through that professional growth there, and you see it that I'm no longer the best business partner for you. You're going to find someone that may be more technically proficient or whatever it is, but we're going to have ridden that ride together, but you're going to be a better person for that.
What happens, and what's so fulfilling for me is when people show up better as a father or their marriages become intact because they realize it was their own s*** that was prohibiting their growth. They think it's like, well, it's easier now because I have more financial freedom. It's not easier because you have more financial freedom. It's easier because you decided that you were the impediment to that, and you've removed yourself as the impediment to it.
Heath so an ideal deal for people who are in the audience, fellow deal makers, and they're like, Well, I wonder if this would apply for me. What's some deal criteria for you to come on the front end, do some sweat equity and build some stuff and do some shared upside? What are some deal criteria? We got a one to 5 million company that has a net positive.
Okay, here's more into that. One to $5 million happens to be the deal flow. A couple of things. You have to have a starting point, right? That has to be an entry point. I like services based businesses. I don't want to get into manufacturing, product based, commodity based. I have to be able to go into somewhere that I can make someone a Blue Ocean service provider. It's very easy for me to do that. I'm not interested in products or commodities. Why net revenue? Because if you can't manage a business and live within your means, no matter how much money I put into it, you're still going to be spitting out negative bottom line. Any amount of positive bottom line for me shows me that you have the ability to manage it. I'm not talking about all the creative ways that we show positive numbers. I'm saying, can you show me a tax return that you paid money on last year because you showed positive returns?
That's all I need as a starting point. So there's some other caveats to that. What I also need is I need the founder to stay because I'm going to do the work with the founder. You don't have to stay forever, but you need to plan to stay for two to five years so that we can go do this work together and that we can both enjoy the upside. If I have to go in and train someone else to do what you already weren't doing, it's not a good deal for me.
Where could people go to connect with you if they have that business set up? It just US based, southeast based, anywhere in the US.
I prefer us based. Yeah. I don't like getting it. I've owned international companies, and I go, that's kind of a mess there. I prefer us based. I won't really get into Canada, Mexico. If there's subsidiary stuff, that's okay, but US based is what I prefer. If there's a capacity to be local, that's great, but this day and age doesn't need to be that anyway. Lukelayman.com is the hub for that. They can find me all over social media, but LinkedIn is probably my primary, with Facebook and Instagram available as well, if that happens to be your place of choice.
Luke, what questions should I have asked you? Or do you wish someone would ask you during a podcast interview?
You ask better questions, you get better answers, right? I think that we covered a lot today. The big impetus for me, I truly do believe that you're in a race against yourself. What's the key to happiness, I guess, would be the question.
What's the key to happiness there?
I'll give you the answer there. For me, it's a race of me against me. I actually was thinking about this, and I was going to write it this morning, and I did not write it. That we have gotten to this point in our life where we see so many things in others, and we go, that's interesting, the way that Josh does that or the way that my parents or my siblings does that. Taken out of context, it's easy to get into this component of doubt because you say, I would live that min. My example is I have a friend that I used to fly airplanes a handsome devil that works out every day religiously, big giant biceps and looks very good but doesn't have any kids. I have people that are very wealthy, that have a lot of money and enjoy lives on boats and airplanes that I would also like to enjoy their marriages in disarray.
I have other people who have phenomenal marriages and great relationships with their children but want more money. For me, it's the balance that living with intentional alignment means that it's a balance of health, heath, and relationships. But it's only me against me. If I can do better today than I did yesterday and commit to making tomorrow better than today is, I can live min perpetual happiness knowing that it's only a race of me against me.
So awesome, man. Super cool. How do when you're not winning that race?
I have a pretty healthy relationship with myself at this point, and I know after years of doing the work of when I'm not showing up as the best version of me, and I have a pretty refined process of getting back on track. The second component of it is that I have an enormous amount of trust in my wife, and when she says, what's up with you? What's going on with you? The ego responses, nothing's wrong with me, right? I'm great. I'm just a little stressed at this point in my life when I received that feedback, I just stop and ask a better question what could be wrong with me, and what would it look like when I return to a state of peak performance? I began to move min that direction.
Super cool, man. Awesome. Luke, thanks again for popping back in. Fellow deal makers, thank you for listening, and as always, reach out to our guests, man. I hope you were challenged as much as I was about my self limiting beliefs about the box that I fall into, and I hope this has been helpful. As always, reach out to our guests. Thanks for being on the show. Find a way to do a deal with them, especially, man, if you got that service based business that you're looking to maybe grow your own box, reach out to Luke, say, hey, I heard you on the show. Want to do a deal together? Now, if you have a deal that you'd like to talk about here on the dial scout or maybe do some content together, head on over to the deal Scout.com, fill out a quick form, maybe get you on the show next.
Till then, we'll talk to you all on the next episode. See you guys.