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#BEYOUROWN MAN MEETS FRANKIE GRUNDLER

Frankie started his first business at the age of 8 and has not stopped. In his 20s he grew a company to 150 employees and $30MM in annual revenue. However, in the process, he lost himself, in part due to the beliefs that had been drilled into him. He thought working long, hard days was what was most important, and a culture of fear was the only way to motivate a team. He knew this wasn’t how he wanted to lead but had never seen it done any other way.

Without knowing what else to do, he slowly drove himself into the ground. His health tanked, his marriage fell apart, everything good in life turned grey. On the other side of intense personal development, in 2010 Frankie started a new business. He was committed to doing everything differently, so he found a business coach. He wanted people to feel good about themselves and their work. He wanted to be happy while building this business.

Over time he realised he was having success in all of these areas. He grew the business across multiple states, maintaining this positive culture at scale. He also found love again and re-married, discovering a whole new approach to relationship. People started approaching him for coaching – asking for support in getting some of what he had for themselves, either for their business or their personal life. This led him to coach full-time. More than anything, what Frankie shares with his clients is an enthusiasm for life, a belief that what they want is possible and lots of tools to make it fun and easy.

Frankie, can you introduce yourself to us?  

I’m a 39-year-old serial entrepreneur and coach who loves life!

Can you take us through your journey as to how you arrived at where you are now?

I have definitely not taken the path I had envisioned for myself.  I have learned seemingly small choices can change the trajectory of one’s life. My late teens and early twenties were very much on “plan”. I followed through on what I was taught I “should” do (by a family of entrepreneurs).  I went to college, got out of college, invested in my first company, worked crazy long hours, built something, lost it (this is where the “plan” started to change) got married.  By the time I was 25 I was managing over 40 people all who were twice my age. By the time I was 29 that number had tripled. I learned a lot during this period.  The rest of my twenties were challenging as I tried to stick to the path that had been laid out for me. At 30 I needed to shift.  I had run myself into the ground and into a hole that felt like I couldn’t get out of. That allowed me to find help outside of myself so that I could design a new path in my thirties aligned with who I wanted to be.

Did you undertake any courses/workshops or rigorous training programmes prior to launching 2M Leaders?

If so what, and where did you study? I have always been a fan of educating myself and learning more.  I was fortunate enough to have my first coach at the age of 11. That experience allowed me to stay open enough even during the low points in my twenties to continue to invest in myself and my wellbeing.  I’ve been to workshops focused on living your best life, management training programs, meditation retreats etc. I am a certified Co-Active coach and ICF accredited. For me as a coach, I find most of my clients are drawn to work with me so I can leverage my life and business experience, even more than my formal training.

Can you tell us how you are helping your clients to pursue their highest potential without losing themselves in the process?

Life does not come with an instruction manual and definitely is not one size fits all.  Each client is a unique individual with specific needs. As a coach, I’m here to walk with them along the journey and point out what they might not see.  This includes bringing them back to center when they start straying too far from who they truly are.

What important factors did you consider when looking at the scalability of your business model? 

I look at the current need for the product or service vs. the long-term need, the current landscape of the industry, opportunities to innovate, major players in the space and most importantly my interest in the space. If I am not interested in what I’m doing, my business is not going to succeed.  I learned this early on, my first business was a car detailing service.

My business partner and I would go to our clients’ homes and clean their cars. For them, it was convenient not to have to take it anywhere. For my partner and I, it was a bit of a challenge.  Since we were only 8 and 9 at the time we needed our parents to drive us back and forth. For me, the only reason I was in the business was to make money.  I didn’t really care about people having clean cars.  I just wanted to make money. This will work in the short term and not in the long term.

I’ve been an entrepreneur since starting my first business at 8 years old.  I’ve grown up around entrepreneurs, been raised by them, as have many of my friends.  One of the beliefs I was raised with is “if you don’t grow you die”.  This meant that scaling was the only way to survive. In many industries that is true.  Our world is also evolving at such a pace that the old ways of doing things no longer apply.  Now I believe that a business does not always have to scale to be successful.

Where can you see your self within the next 3-5 years? 

My wife Miriam and I love adventure. This shows up at work and play.  Over the past 4 years, I have lived in Aspen, Colorado, on the island of Maui in Hawaii and we just moved to New York City.  These experiences shape what versions of life we live.  We believe there is no limit to how wonderful our life can be. We are willing to make changes (even big ones) to follow our dreams.  The last nine years of my life have shown me a very different version of living than I ever thought was possible.  Over the next three to five years we may move again (and again). We are always following our intuition regarding how best to grow as humans and how to have a stronger impact on others.  I like that I don’t know if this will take us to Europe, Australia or somewhere else.

Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally as an entrepreneur?

I’m not sure we have enough time to cover that subject. At every turn, there seems to be a struggle. The wonderful thing about being an entrepreneur is that the struggle doesn’t have a negative emotion attached to it. When I have been excited about what I was doing and what I was building, I recognised each “struggle” as challenges and challenges are something that I enjoy.  However, that all changes for me though if I’m not actually passionate about what I am doing.  I’m a founder who loves the startup phase.

Once the business is doing well and operating smoothly it’s time for me to go.  I become a bull in a china shop.  For me really understanding when that shift occurs and honoring it has been my ultimate struggle.  It can get very complicated when you have partners involved, investors, family members, team members, employees.  For me, an “unwavering loyalty” to all the stakeholders has kept me from stepping aside when I’ve needed to.  

Have you ever had a coach or mentor? If so how has this benefitted you to grow? 

As I see it, coaches and mentors are two different roles. I’ve had a lot of each.  At each stage of my life and career, I have engaged a coach that could support me in identifying my learning edge.  I have also made coaching stipends available to employees in my businesses in the past, regardless of someone’s role I wanted to make coaching available. I believe there’s not a better investment to the bottom line than happy and healthy team members who feel supported by the company and the leadership team that they work for. This is what brought me into becoming a coach myself.  

What outlets do use to market 2M Leaders? The majority of our growth and opportunities have come from personal relationships and word of mouth referrals.  We have been lucky in that way. Moving forward as we continue to grow we will be sharing more content on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.  We are very interested in sharing our best practices with the world and building an audience at the same time.

Which methods are you using to build your own network? 

Connecting with people has always worked for me.  Whether it’s a social occasion or a conference, being genuine and connecting with new people without expectation of business has worked well for me. I am increasingly engaged in social media.  I see social media as a must in our current marketplace.  With that comes the need to understand which platform makes the most sense for you.

What do you believe are the common misconceptions about being an entrepreneur?

“Must be nice” is something that I have heard for the last 20 years.  This is something that someone says when referring to owing your own business. Many people associate the “boss” with someone who gets to make a lot of money, set their own hours and answer to no one.  This couldn’t be further from the truth. Risk doesn’t always equal reward in entrepreneurship.

What would you like to see changed for millennials in business?

I’m passionate about leadership and what it means to be a leader. I think millennials get a bad rap for being perceived as “lazy” or “selfish”.  They have grown up in a world where the belief that “you can have anything you want at any time” is born out of reality.  I would like to see millennials getting more respect for this fresh mindset.

What is the best piece of advice you have received to date?

“If you consistently wake up dreading what you are going to do for the day, change what you are doing.”  This applies to everything in life, not just in business. While some days are challenging or difficult the majority of them don’t have to be.  It has taught me that I can actually control my experiences.

What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned in your career so far?  

Overriding a gut feeling can be incredibly expensive.

How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life? 

I am a data guy. I rate each day numerically along and capture a brief overview of what I did during the day.  This helps me follow patterns and notice shifts when the rating seems to drop.  Most of the time the fix is pretty simple. Other times I need the team around me to help gently nudge me to take notice when I might have my “it’s all good” blinders on.  Data combined with a great group of people in my corner make it much easier.  That accompanied with “Phone Free Play Day”.  Miriam and I take one day a week and go phone free. It’s a must in the digitally tethered world we live in.

The highlight of your career so far?

Learning from previous experiences and not repeating them. Instead of using them to empower me moving forward. This is not as easy as it sounds.  During the first ten years or so It seemed I was learning the same lesson over and over again.  From who to hire, how to raise money, customer acquisition etc. It took repeating some things over and over before I was able to get to this point of learning the first time and moving forward.

What gives you ultimate career satisfaction? 

Waking up excited about what I’m doing that day. As long as I’m passionate about what I’m spending my most valuable resource on (time), I’m in that sweet spot of ultimate satisfaction.

Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why? 

I have a very long list. The women who own the corner grocery down the block is in that list along with Richard Branson. The common thread with all of them would be that they are doing something that they believe in. Passion is infectious.

How would you say you are intending to use your voice to educate others in the coaching industry?

I think the most important thing to do as a coach for it to walk your talk. I work with other coaches and we support each other in practicing what we preach.

What is a good article or book you have read recently?

‘5am Miracle’ by Jeff Sanders. There are a few tips in this book that I really love like home base zero and desktop zero.

What does your Podcast playlist look like?

Tim Ferriss’s show, ‘crypto 101,’ ‘InvestED,’ the ‘Thrive Global’ podcast, ‘The Adult Chair’ and also S Town.

How do you measure your terms of success?

It all comes down to the impact I’m having and how happy I am.

What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?

It’s a reminder that I have everything I need inside of me if I’m willing to tap into it.  My own boss, my own best friend, my own trainer, my own cheerleader, my own accountability partner and on and on and on.

Lastly, what is next for you and 2M Leaders?

Continue to learn, grow and have fun!

 

Twitter: @fronkieg

Instagram: @frankie2mleaders

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frankie.grundler1

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/frankiegrundler/

Website: http://www.2mleaders.com