Minting 1000 Millionaires and Losing a $26M Business

Minting 1000 Millionaires and Losing a $26M Business

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Chris Thomson (Student Works) - Minting 1000 Millionaires and Losing a $26M Business

Chris Thomson - Student Works: I want to be about co-creating so many amazing people that literally we could create a thousand millionaires over decades and decades. And, and it was also part of my commitment to do this for decades and, and I, and I have done it for decades.

One of the things on our website is we have account. I think it says 161. I think it's more like 175 that we've identified. Okay. We've got a number who, who literally worth, over a hundred million.

Smart Money: Hello, and welcome back to smart money where we host some of the most amazing entrepreneurs, business leaders and provide you with tips and tricks to help you figure out personal finance, investing in your future and making your life a happier experience. I'm very, very excited to have with me today, Chris Thompson. Chris Thompson is an amazing podcast host, he has his own podcast leaders of tomorrow, but more importantly, he's also the head coach of the student works management program. Chris, thank you for joining us.

Chris Thomson - Student Works: Oh, well, really great to be here

Smart Money: Why don't you tell us a little bit about, yourself, how you got to be in the space? I know you've been doing this for a long time, so, tell us a little bit about it.

Chris Thomson - Student Works: Yeah, so I guess I first started, getting involved in this organization when I was a university of Toronto student back in 1984. So I was the 10th owner operator of a business at the time called student painters. I joined, the company and then we really just grew and grew and grew. I excelled in the role. I got the opportunity to be a district manager, then a vice president. Then I got the opportunity to buy into the business in 1989. And I bought the business in 1993. And so. Right now we run a business that runs from, thunder Bay, Windsor, Halifax, St. John's all the provinces in Eastern Canada. And we run a business, in window cleaning and in painting under the brand name, student works painting and student works window cleaning, and we have French brands as well. And, we basically go on campus every year, or now there are no campuses or, or are online campuses, but basically all we do is recruit the, the best possible talent in the fall of every year.

And then come December, we just start training people December, January, February, March, April, I guess we're in now hosting this in April. So our teams are now coming out and we're teaching them how to actually provide the services. So that just in a few weeks they'll be out in full time production mode throughout the summer. And then we stop because everyone's head back to school. So it's an entrepreneurial training program.

Smart Money: I remember you'd mentioned to me that two years ago, If somebody had told you that Corona would be a thing and all the different classrooms would be shut down. And, you mentioned that your main promotion up to this point had been going in and promoting at the lecture halls. Tell us a little bit about that. Like, how has that changed?

Chris Thomson - Student Works: Yeah, if someone had told me two years ago, I would say, how could we still be in business? And it looks like, at this point all university campuses in Canada it will be virtual. That's what it looks like, at least right now. So, how could we possibly have survived two years without being able to go talk to students on campus because that's how we recruited. And so they talk about pivoting. They talk about, if you're not growing and changing your business, then you're dying. If you're not growing faster than how fast the world is changing, then you're going too slow.

And so we really, really quickly saw what was happening and really started making changes of big things. Ron, it was very easy in the past to be able to get in front of people and tell them our story. And now, you never can tell someone your story because before you meet somebody or, Oh, I'm going to go meet somebody there, you Google them, you see them on LinkedIn, you see their sites.

This is just a natural thing everybody does. So, we started recognizing that we really needed to get our story out into the social media feeds. We needed to get, our, what we're up to. So that includes a podcast that includes all sorts of testimonials. That includes all sorts of getting our raving fans to share who we are. And as a result of it, we have had so many more referrals.

So we used to get about 35% of people who would come back to our program every year, which I always thought was a good number. If you think about how many students have. Other opportunities and other internships and, Oh, I need to get into this engineering specialty or, or whatever. And now we have 50% return rates every year.

And so I think we've just done a way better job of telling people who we are and, one of the things they, they talk about is net promoter score, who. Is a raving fan of your business. That is what it's all about. Okay. Because they are going to literally, help create your business, help tell other people about your business.

And, so really what's happened over the last few years is we've just gotten better and better about helping, helping our, our real fans become fans and then giving them opportunities to share with others.

Smart Money: So what is the program you touched on it lightly, like you mentioned, if it's either window cleaning or painting, but talk us a little bit about, is it an operator business? Are they,

Chris Thomson - Student Works: So basically for, yeah, for all intensive purposes, they're franchisees, but the franchise laws in Canada allow us to not be a franchise because they really don't invest. They don't give us a whole lot of money up front, like, a McDonald's would or another big franchise would because we, we can support it so they don't need to. We provide a whole bunch of these services. So what an operator does is first of all, they go and recruit their own team. And then they go out and market their own business. Okay. They set up their own separate Facebook accounts there they're canvassing and putting up lawn signs. They're dropping flyers. They're going to home shows in, in, in a pre COVID world and expect to post COVID world there. They're getting their own referrals and repeat clients. They're they're calling our enormous past client lists to, to generate business. And then, they're taking those staff who they've recruited and engaged in trained and then they go out and produce that work and they produce that work at a net profit basis. So they learn how to create profit in the, in the world and through all those steps. We coach them. Well, first of all, we train them and there's manuals and systems and checklists about how to do each and everything.

But the biggest thing we are is really a coaching organization. So every week, everybody in the organization has coaching meetings with their coach. And it all streams down in so that we have, conference calls and trainings and zoom meetings and breakout sessions and all sorts of people set up accountability calls with not only, separate from their coaches, but with their other operators.

And so, our operators are just learning an enormous amount about business and they're really, really engaged. A typical operators putting in is 25 to 35 hours a week around full-time school. Now it's a unique circumstance because people don't have this huge social engagement they'd normally do.

They don't have this huge activities that they do on campus. So a whole bunch of them just went back to their territories and are just working on their business. I don't have class. I'm going to canvas, talk to clients. I don't have class I'm going to go tune into another learning session that we have.

I'm going to go talk to some operators. I'm going to go call, call clients. We have sessions where there's 20 people on a screen on a zoom screen and everyone's calling clients at the same time. Okay. They're choosing to do it. They're having fun. It's like, Oh, Hey, I'm working hard. He's working hard.

I really believe that, association is such a huge part of being really successful in life. Who do you associate with? So if you associate with people who really work hard, who are really trying to contribute, really trying to make a difference in the world, you'll find they spend way more time doing that.

Okay. And so if you're just used to the people I hang out with, don't watch a lot of TV, don't sit and, drink beer and smoke, lots of weed on the couch, but they're actually engaged in their life. They're actually really trying to make a big difference and they're putting way more time into this stuff, but I'm just hanging out with people who are doing the same thing.

Just seems normal Ron just seems like, Oh, that's great. And I know, frankly, just from knowing you that you spend a bunch of time with people like that who work hard, who are excited about their businesses and put extra time into and not because they quote unquote have to, they want to, and that's, that's the group of people who we work with.

Smart Money: love that. And I actually want to pause there cause I think you touched on it very briefly, but I think it's so distinguishing in my eyes at least, which is a lot of companies. And not even companies, I don't know what the right word to use is, cause I don't want to associate you with them, but like there are a lot of these, what I would call like, the right word is definitely not

Chris Thomson - Student Works: direct

Direct Sales Organizations?

Smart Money: Yeah.

Sales organizations, where you come in and you actually pay them. And I remember when you and I talked, you said something amazing, which was, you have a goal for people to book $30,000 in the first two weeks.

By the time they graduate or finish their semester. I don't know if I'm using the right words and people who don't achieve that goal you just shake hands with, and you say, thank you so much for your effort, but you don't charge them anything. And I think that is like the biggest distinguishing factor between, other sales organizations and then this.

Chris Thomson - Student Works: Yeah. And, and so to speak more to that, I guess, number one, it's thousands of dollars investment for us to do what we do with every one of our operators before we make any money. Okay. So we make a bunch of money. We're really good at this. And our operators make an enormous amount of money because they get really good at this.

But we come in, we take university students who really don't know anything. Okay. And they, they they've obviously got skills in a past track record, or we wouldn't think we wouldn't choose to invest that money, but what we, we call it a minimum and we're actually going to stop calling it a minimum. We're actually going to create another term for it because it's not a minimum to have $30,000 worth of business book by the middle of may is actually incredible.

Like it's like, wow, that, that person's on track to do 50 or $60,000 and make 12, $15,000, or more, depending on their ability to run their net profit. But that's the, that's the bottom line. That's the, the lowest performing operator we want in our business and then everybody else above there.

And so it's a high bar, but the reason we want that bar there is so that people win. And so if they, if they can't win while working around their school, then Hey, it's okay. These are the things you learned. You spent a bunch of time, you spent a bunch of energy. So did we and that's where we spent, like, we spent a bunch of money too, but, but for them, they spent a bunch of time, energy.

Yes. They drove their car around to go meet with people, but all their materials that they use, the flyers that they use, that the training that they spent, all those things. No cost, and it's okay. And hopefully when they leave, they'll go, Oh wow. Those guys were great. They taught me a lot.

We have a big belief in our business around completion. So every relationship you want to have, you want to have it complete. So when people leave and they're rockstars, cause by the way everyone eventually leaves our business. Right. Like that's the point they come here, they get developed and then they leave. So, so there's no bad feelings it's like, and we talk about when they're in the business. Oh, when do you think you're going to leave? Oh, that's good. So no matter where people are, if they spent three months, if they spent three years or eight years or 10 years, we said, well, what did you gain from this?

What did you learn from this? From now how you see yourself, what you learned about yourself, what can you see possible in the future for yourself? We want them to get, and again, even if they spent two months here, And they found that, wow, I just couldn't do this. I couldn't get out of my way to go and do the marketing. I just felt nervous. Or I just, who knows what was there for them? You know, sometimes as well, we'll have people who, we have people get COVID this year and, that would be, that would be a contributing factor. Why I know one operator, good chances not going to make it this year.

You know, that, that really what impact we have people who have family issues that come up and, and yeah. Oh yeah. I remember someone's aunt died this year. And so she needed to go help with her aunt's kids. Well, that person would have been a rockstar. I believe so. And so we stopped them. We think about what it is and then. We, we move on and, and we feel, we feel good. They feel good. We obviously set all these expectations upfront, so that they're aware and that there's nothing wrong. Like, I'm not sure about you, Ron, but I've had many businesses that haven't worked and I've stopped.

So, so that that's part of being an entrepreneur is having the maturity. We should stop this business. It's not going to work. Yeah.

Smart Money: Sure. So you told me, one of your life goals and, I'd love for you to repeat it in your own words.

Chris Thomson - Student Works: Decades ago. One big thing that was, was really big in the, in the business culture was creating a big, hairy, audacious goal. Okay. So, so I created beehag, a Beehag and I created one and, and it, and it was to create a thousand millionaires. And so. First of all, when I created it, I would say it once a year at the major training.

And that's all I could say for and just cause it was so ominous, so big, so frightening. So scary to actually say here's this guy saying he wants to be part of creating a thousand millionaires. And there was something that sort of made me feel uncomfortable about that, imposter syndrome or that I'm so good.

And that that's not what it was, but it was. But what it was was I want be a real contribution. I want to be about co-creating, so many amazing people that literally we could create a thousand millionaires over decades and decades. And, and it was also part of my commitment to do this for decades and, and I, and I have done it for decades.

The last number of years, we, we actually started counting and one of the things on our website is we have account. I think it says 161. I think it's more like 175 that we've identified. Okay. We've got a number who, who literally worth,, over a hundred million. We know there are more because there there's a gap in time where there was no social media where people just, would disappear and there's, and they never jumped on because we had a bunch of 50 year olds and 40 year olds. Yes, I'm on social media, but that's because my business, it makes an impact.

So there's a lot of people who, who just didn't bother. And so we know there's more and we know that we're in the process of creating lots, lots more. So, it's one of those things where it's not a question of, if this goal will happen, we really feel comfortable that this goal will happen.

And so I know there's actually been a call from, from our senior leadership team and some of, some of our alumni advisors and mentors of the program to sort of say, Hey, reconsider it or look at it. But really, again, all goals, it's not about the goal. The goal is about challenging you. The goal is about thinking differently.

The goal is about inspiring you. Some people have, and I get it sort of money hang ups. So what millionaire, what's that to you now? Now, by the way, when we set it, a millionaire was worth more too. Okay. So now you could

Smart Money: Yeah, for

Chris Thomson - Student Works: said, Oh, a millionaire.

That's not really worth that much. And, and, and I get it, but, but, for me, a millionaire is first of all, Someone creates a million dollars in value for themselves. They've really done a lot in the, in the, in the world, in the economy. It really likely, again, employed people or gotten really good at their job.

Really good in, in the community. There they're a real contributor. The media always loves to sort of say the serial killer entrepreneur. That, that seems to be a favorite movie, a movie thing that shows. But, but, so that's the thinking about. About the millionaire. So it's not about money. It's not like, cause cause money is, is to me, I look at money as profit comes after value, somebody delivers a lot of value and profits going there. You know, that that's kind kinda how I look at money in, in this context.

Smart Money: Yeah. One of the things that you touched on there. And we touched on a little bit earlier as well was about drive and hunger. I know one thing that you'd experimented with and I'd love for you to share the results is a president's club. We'd love for you to share firsthand what impact that had on your business.

Chris Thomson - Student Works: Yeah. So, so we'd certainly heard. And some of our operations that do what we do across North America had, had had president's clubs where basically they take their top operators, they set a goal, the top are operators and they go to Mexico and they they'll go away for a week. And so I had held on just, just kind of just going, would that make a big impact?

Cause it's a big impact, not, not just the money cost of it, but just the, the time being away from my kids. And, and that was kind my, my thought, well the business that runs this out West started to do it. And what happened like was, was incredible. So we jumped on it in the third year and so we used to have five operators every year.

Who used to do above $70,000. So that was the first Mexico target. Now the targets are a hundred, 125, 150 for people who do it first year, second year, third year. And so our first trip would have been maybe 15 people. And now we likely will have 150 people go down. Now.

Now again, I know it's a, we're living in a COVID world, so we are living into the future. Believing that there'll be vaccines, believing that it will be safe to take Canadians in November to Jamaica or Mexico or someplace. So, so that's what we're, we're, we're believing. I know last year we canceled our trip because it was not safe.

I know many organizations use these top performer trips is a huge, huge motivator. I'm hoping that with vaccines, this is something that is going to get back and get normalized.

Smart Money: Amazing stuff. So we're going to take a quick 20 second break to tell you where you can find out more information about investing in business.

Smart Money: And we're back with Chris, our featured guests. Chris, I'd love to talk to you a little bit about perseverance . As you talked about businesses that have succeeded and failed. And I know even within the student works management program, there have been businesses. You told me a little bit about home Depot in the early two thousands. Why don't you share that story with the listeners?

Chris Thomson - Student Works: Yeah. So, I was looking to, grow my business. And I couldn't figure out ways to, to really grow my business. And so to me, the, the whole idea of life is to become as successful as you can be as contributed as much grow as much, be the biggest tree you can be in the forest.

So, one of the things that we're looking at doing was running a professional painting model. And so we had, we had started to do that. We started going down the road, and then all of a sudden we heard that. That home Depot was looking to create a national paint supplier, where they would provide leads and we would operate under the home Depot brand and or somebody would have operated on the home Depot brand and we would provide services. So because of our, our brand and our success they gave us the opportunity to basically run all their stores right across Canada.

And we built out a network. So we went from $300,000 in sales to $26 million in five years, we raised over a million dollars, had a whole bunch of my friends through a whole bunch of money in myself. We took all sorts of talent from our business to grow it. We grew it into the United States about a third of the United States and ultimately there's so many great things that we did, like in terms of doing that much business, doing it that fast, growing, developing, working with a really incredibly world-class organization like home Depot. But ultimately what we did do was lose an enormous amount of money, and it was, it was really, really painful.

They decided to pull out, and it was over time. And basically I think what home Depot decided was home Depot services, that type of a service there's risks around safety, there's risks around, clients. And they just felt like let's get back to the core of their customer. And ultimately that business ended up being a big, quote unquote failure.

Now it's all how you look at your life. To me, it was just a big wake up call around. Really what's true is I was looking for a financial gain. And, and, and so really I was looking for money above contribution, and, and so one of the things that we did when we saw the business, wasn't going to make it, we basically started just doubling down all of our efforts, around student works.

And, and, and as we were doing this home Depot business, we actually were creating all sorts of new ways that would build our student works business. At the same time, our business was like $5 million. And so since then, it's, it's, we're going to do over 20. So it's just grown and grown and grown and grown and, and so, so for me, it was like, I'll never do anything else outside this business.

Like this is the main hub and that, that that's, that was a really major lesson. It was a, it was a, It was a very painful lesson lesson, but that's sometimes how life is. And really we understand as well that really what we're about is student leadership. Like that's really what I've put my life to other than my family, but that's really what my business career has been about.

And on the other hand, like candidly, I look at it and it would have been tough to say no to home Depot. Because, one of the biggest brands in the world tapping you on the shoulder and says, here, we think this could be really great. And by the way, the, the amazing people I work with at home Depot, there were just some really, really amazing people.

I know when they gave us this, this opportunity, they thought this, this would be really, really powerfully successful for us. Didn't end up working out for them. Didn't end up working out for us, no hard feelings or at least on my part. And I know on their part or whatever, those people who I'm thinking of, it just, it just didn't work.

And sometimes that's how life goes. It's not like, Oh, someone's bad. Someone's dishonest. No, it just, the strategy didn't work.

Smart Money: Yeah. And one thing that I, I actually particularly admire, you touched on family there and. What I really admire is that your partner in life has also your partner in business, which for a lot of people is a big no-no because it's hard, right? Like when you are with that person 24 seven, right? Like, let's just say you're day is split into 12 hours, like 12 hours, family, 12 hours work.

Now it's 24 seven

Chris Thomson - Student Works: yeah.

Smart Money: would love to hear a little bit. Cause I know you, you love your wife and you speak very highly. She's the CEO. I believe of the

Chris Thomson - Student Works: Yes.

Smart Money: Can you speak about that? And then also, how does that work between life balance and work balance?

Chris Thomson - Student Works: Yeah. So, so first of all, it's really hard. So, I'd love to tell you, Oh, we just got it figured out. We don't, it's a work in progress all the time. I guess really what, what happened was, I needed help in the business. I was the head coach and really great at training and coaching and recruiting and leading, and really was not a great CEO.

And we were kind of CEO less. And so, so she actually has an Ivy business degree and has really incredibly, committed and focused and intelligent. And, and so she came in being able to be capable of all these other things and great in marketing and strategy. And, and so, so we're very complimentary and, and, and not, not only in, in, in business, but personally as well, like, like I do these things around the home, she does those things.

I do these things in the business. She does those things and, and, and that's actually a really great thing about looking at your relationship is, is really, around strengths and weaknesses, it's, it's, it's really, we can become complimentary of each other. And, and then of course become complimentary of each other is a good thing, too.

But, but it's like you, they've got complimentary skills, you've got complimentary skills. And so, so some of the best practices that we have is, is in any relationship you need to figure out. Who, how do you deal with deadlock? How do you deal with decisions that you disagree on? So, so one of the things that we did, I know, Sara Blakely, I remember listening to a podcast with her.

Her husband is very successful as well. Hasn't made the money Sarah has, but I'm sure very successful entrepreneur. And they have a deadlock where they do when they, when they reach a deadlock, they do rock paper scissors. Okay. To decide what to do. And so, so let's think about a deadlock. It's like we're, we're, we're disagreeing.

And one of the things I found in, in these circumstances over the last, 10, 15 years, because it never used to happen before business. Like we worked together in business, but, but it was like, I was fearful that she had, she was making the wrong decision. I'm sure she was fearful I'm making the wrong decision, why do you get to make the decision?

And, and a lot of times really looking at it, that decisions ended up being 55/ 45. 45/ 55. Who's right. And so you think about that and you go, God, there's a lot of, a lot of negativity, a lot of, hurt. And so one of the things I did was I just went, first of all, I think she's a better decision maker.

She's more practical, less emotional, more thoughtful, more complex, like look at more complex things. I'm way more, simplify, make a decision quickly. And, and so what I decided was okay, you're the decision maker period, and I knew she would always want my feedback. And, and, and so, so now, In my mind, I go, Helen, we can't have a fight about a decision because you all you decide.

Now I will tell you what I think. And then you, you decide, and I may disagree and that's okay. And you're deciding, so that's how we work it out. So, so that again, it really has worked to, to really, manage conflict way better, but people who work together need to figure out how they're going to manage, how they're going to make decisions, how they're going to hear each other out.

One of the other things our organizations actually, obviously pretty big and there's other senior people in the business. So, so especially our VP, she deals with some things he's, he's, he's really, really great. And, and just, just, they work through a lot of things. Like I get kinda left out of a lot of things.

But by the way, that's great because that means then I'm spending more time coaching, I'm spending more time training. I'm really not a lot of value in detailed oriented meetings about what process we should run or how we should deal with this specific thing. They'll ask Chris, what do you think?

Oh, here's what I think this is kind of the big picture. That's the kind of the concept that I want to work with. Great. We'll make sure that, that that's, that's in the decision and then we'll, we'll, we'll, we'll step-by-step it out. And, and that, that really works well for us.

Smart Money: that's amazing. And I think that's the most important thing because statistically, if you read the studies, most businesses fail due to partner fallout where like when it comes to startups and I think you just compound that when it's also a life partner, it's like a compounding of like, Oh my God, this is a high stakes game.

Chris Thomson - Student Works: we, we read this that's about how many relationships fail and then businesses fail when they work together. One of the other things as well that I should speak to is, is we both have done an enormous amount of work on ourself and enormous amount of work with each other. Spend a bunch of time communicating, done a lot of courses, done a lot of, quote unquote, personal healing.

I'm always, I'm always a big believer that we're, the most important thing to recognize is we're all a little F'd up, like that's, that's normal. There's no way to not be harmed in the, in the process of becoming human. It doesn't, it doesn't mean in a really serious way.

Most parents are wonderful people really doing their best, but, and it's impossible not to be harmed in the process of being a human. And so, as a result, we have fears. We have things that impact how we interact. And so the better we learn to understand ourselves the better we're in relationship.

And then again, we can be more successful. And as you mentioned, it doesn't just happen in a, partners, husband and wife or whatever partners running a business. But like you said, startups, founders, again, that relationship is critical.

Smart Money: yeah. And business is all about relationships. And you talked about it earlier surrounding yourself with the right people. I think that's true for personal life and for professional life, they say the five people that you're around most of the people that you'll start to embody of it. I definitely think that's true.

So, another thing I want to talk about is working hard, cause I know that you, you're a big believer in working hard and you shared with me that working like 10%, 10% harder, can have an outsized effect on the return. Can you share a little bit about, some of your wisdom there?

Chris Thomson - Student Works: my understanding, yeah. The stats are, you work 10% more, the average person works 10% more gets paid twenty-five percent more. The person that works, 25% more just it's in it. And it outsizes it. I know people who have worked really, really hard all their lives, it's like my swimming career I look at, I swim with world record holders.

I swam with Olympic medalists and, and we just would just. Go and we'd all go swim two hours in the morning, swim two hours at night, swim 10 kilometers in the morning, swim 10 kilometers at night, and then just go do this all the time for months and months and months on the end years and years and years on end.

And you, you, you recognize how hard work creates incredible results. And if you read, I've read loads and loads of autobiographies. Now they're just a lot of it's available just through simple podcasts, but hearing people like people talk about Elon Musk. Well, My God, how hard that person works is just beyond belief.

The number of hours he's committed to and just, just, just how incredible it is. And so, so one of the things about, when people really talk and think that they want to make a real out-sized difference in the world, they really need to understand that a big, big part of it. It's it is, it is the one through line of all exceptional people.

People who really make a huge contribution in the world. They worked their butt off. It's just a, it's a given don't tell me someone who's not made a monstrous impact that they didn't really work hard. Like sometimes people get confused and they see them later in their life. And they're like, Oh, wow, they're not working that hard.

Like right now, my wife and I could totally not very work very hard. And we could be generating enormous profits in generating enormous results in the business, just because the business is at the point where, we've have all these amazing leaders now I'm still, I'm one of the things I say, as I'm working hard to not work so hard.

Just because you end up creating this, this energy that you just keep doing it. I love a quote, a master knows no difference between work and play. It all seems the same, right? So if you're really, again doing what you should be doing in your life, you're, you're loving the complexity.

I know you solve all sorts of really complex technical problems, and I'm sure you love solving these complex problems? And if you didn't. I don't, I don't think the chances of it working is, is going to work. You can see in the background, you see all these books here, all, so many of those are leadership books and understanding the human psychology books.

And, and, and so I just, I just love coaching people. I just love figuring out, and motivating people and, and helping people find their path. So a lot of it doesn't feel like work to me. But, but I know on the other hand, it's a lot of hard work, so, so it's, it doesn't feel like work, but yes, I know I'm putting a lot of hours in, I know we're having a lot of conversations in the evenings or on weekends or running trainings or, I I'd rather be doing that than watching Netflix, and not to say I don't watch some Netflix, but, it's fun. It's engaging. It's exciting.

Smart Money: I think we'll, we'll need to have you back for another episode to talk a little bit about the swimming career and some more of the coaching stuff. Cause I think, that could be a whole other one-hour episode. So as we were, as we start to wrap this one up, I always like to ask for one piece of wisdom, let's say you're getting into an elevator with someone and you have 60 seconds to say anything. It can be about coaching business life, what does that message you want to put out into the world?

Chris Thomson - Student Works: Okay. So probably we've even reached some of the themes. I think it's not about finding your passion to me. It would be about, unfurling it. Spending time in it, like pulling on it, cause as you spend more and more time in it, maybe you'll go, Oh, this isn't for me.

It's kind of like dating, you date. Oh, that that type of person doesn't work for me. What a nice person, but that didn't work, and Oh, but that type of person, and then all of a sudden you find the person and it's like, Oh, and then you spend more and more time, with that person.

And I think, I think a lot about life and choosing what to do with your career or, or, or should I switch careers? It's pulling on it and, am I excited by this? Am I motivated by this? Do I enjoy this? I feel extraordinarily blessed that I love what I do. And so I'd love for more and more people to actually have that. And I think to have that you actually need to be thinking about that you actually need to be that's what you think. And so I thought that I might have been giving up financial returns to do this. Meaning there are other opportunities that maybe I would've made more money, you know, what you're going to become a student painter.

And I remember, one of my exes. And by the way, she said it really nicely. I know it was totally a well-meaning and sh and she said at a party, Chris, do you really want to make this your career? You could be so successful. And again, it was, it was heartfelt, it was, it was warm and I heard her and I thought about it and, and I, and I thought that maybe she's right in terms of there may be a better financial opportunity or there may be a better platform for my skill set, or opportunity.

And I thought, I thought, what, what I, what I was doing was going to make an enormous difference. For a bunch of people really, really, really at a unique time in their lives, 18 to 25, really, really helped make, make a powerful, powerful difference. And if I could do that and do really, really well, like I, I could very easily see a path to do really well.

Then I'm like, well, maybe that top, top line isn't possible, whatever! So I chose the, I chose the path of doing something I really loved. And, and also obviously that I really felt a connection around the contribution. Oh, Hey, I wake up every morning and I'm super excited about, Hey, I'm going to go, help people, help people become better leaders, help people be profitable. And, and that's, and that's a space as well. I guess I'm going way longer than a minute. The elevator ride must be, would have to be really long round for me.

Smart Money: Yeah, it's okay. Keep going.

Chris Thomson - Student Works: So we'd step out and we chat.

Smart Money: That comment from your ex must've been very difficult and I respect her first of all, for voicing it, because I think it was difficult for her to voice it. And then for you to reflect on it and realize that you were in pursuit of something that had more meaning and that the top line, in some sense, it didn't matter, or that you had enough to put a roof over your head. And then the deeper soulful meaning was gonna fulfill the void. So I think that's an amazing message. Where can people find out more about you, student works and, the leaders of tomorrow podcast.

Chris Thomson - Student Works: Yeah we are interested in amazing young students, amazing young leaders who are looking for an incredible experience. So if you know someone please share our podcast, the leaders of tomorrow podcast. You can go link in with me, Chris Thompson. Also you could go to student, to find out more information about our program and any young students that you might know who might want this type of incredible program.

Smart Money: I hope people take full advantage of that as always. If you guys want to learn more about interesting business people, the greatest tips and tricks in finance, real estate, budgeting, savings, and more check out

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