[00:03:16] Kathy: Good morning Drew and Sarah, my guests today from Evergreen, Colorado. How are you guys doing?
Kathy: Great, wonderful. Absolutely. I have been looking forward to this so much. Give us a little bit of context before we get into your story. How long have you guys been married, kids where are you living now?
Just a little slice of what life looks like currently for you. Yeah,
Drew: for sure. You get to speak. First of all, speak a lot later.
Sarah: I know. And I'm sitting here as you're asking that question is like, how long has it been?
30 or 31 years? 31 years. That's 30
31 years. We have, we have four children that are 26, 25, 23. and [00:04:16] 21. Um,
Drew: so yeah, three boys and a girl princess bringing up the rear.
Kathy: So she's the last 21 to 26. Okay. Gotcha.
Drew: It'll be 27 in just mere weeks.
Kathy: Yeah. It's always changing, right. And you guys moved recently. Tell us a little bit about where you are and,
Sarah: um, raised our family in Kansas city. Had a business, started a business in Kansas city.
Um, we'll start more than one business in Kansas city recently moved to, um, evergreen, Colorado to our oldest two boys live in Denver. And so we are, um, still very involved with our current business. And, um, but we're doing it out of evergreen. In fact, that is our view out of our window, that his Mt. Evans
Kathy: so gorgeous,
Sarah: and we just moved here. Right? We moved here right before the COVID. So then we were kind of housebound for a while, but [00:05:16] we're starting to get to know the town of Evergreen slowly.
Kathy: So that's really hard when you're brand new and trying to meet people. Yeah, we've a
Drew: good fortune of having some connections here.
And there's interestingly some, uh, quite a bit of cross pollination between the Evergreen community and Kansas city with the variety of, uh, uh, different, I call it ministry. Uh, we're going to say then some crossover it's kind of been fascinating in that. So we've benefited from that. Uh, I'll tell you though, that we finally went out and ate at a restaurant last night and were served a meal.
So it was kind of fun to, uh, finally enjoy that virtue of being out here in Evergreen.
Kathy: Isn't that crazy? The seemingly small things that we will never take for granted again. Right. Yes. Yeah. Mark and I went out to a meal in grand Lake, probably two or three weeks ago. It was the very first day they had opened for dining in Colorado and there were all three tables.
[00:06:16] So we were all spaced out, but it just, it was such a treat. It really was what brought you guys to Colorado?
Drew: No, I would say that it was a combination of things. Not really just any one thing I would tell you at a high level, it's been a dream of ours. We've traveled out here for decades with our kids. And even before kids have always enjoyed, uh, just vacationing and sightseeing and enjoying the beauty of Colorado God's creation.
You know, it's always been a place where I've a five personally. Felt just closer to God when I'm here and I'm being up in the mountains and the vistas and the magnificence of the creation and a, and then thirdly, it would be the opportunity to. Move toward an aspirations of, of launching our, uh, business in the front range, expanding it in the front range area.
And then, uh, and then lastly, having a couple of children that live out here with their spouses and beginning, their young adult lives is, is also a treat. We get to see them quite a bit more. Now, obviously [00:07:16] they're both down in the city. Uh, that's been terrific. That's been a great benefit. Good.
Kathy: Good. Well, welcome.
Welcome to Colorado. Um, so we've been married 31 years. Tell me a little bit about. When you guys first married, were you in college or did y'all meet in the nursery at church? Y'all are so young.
Sarah: We met, um, our last semester of our senior year of college. We both went to the university of Kansas and, uh, We met in our first date was Friday, December the 13th.
Kathy: Oh, great.
Sarah: And it was just love at first sight, but we dated for three years before we married, Drew went on to grad school and I started working and we dated for three years before we got married. But so we were at a college.
Kathy: Okay. But you met in college and so in those early conversations, dating and [00:08:16] early marriage, what did work look like for you then?
Drew: What did work look like?
Kathy: Uh, like what did you think about work? Did you at all see yourself as an entrepreneur at that point?
Drew: I don't think that was the case so much, you know, I, I, um, certainly was aspiring to pursue. You know a vocation. And then frankly, the reason I went to grad school was because the, a particular degree I was pursuing an undergrad was, was an industry represented industry that was in absolute the tank at the time I graduated.
So began to
Kathy: what was that Drew?
Drew: My undergrad was in geology. So I was trying to get into exploration, geology, and petroleum and so forth. And, uh, the energy business was just at a low, low, low spot and 86. So, uh, decided to go ahead and attend grad school for business, got an MBA, which felt like broadened my options at that point.
And I think, you know, for work, work look [00:09:16] like a lot, like at that age, for me, um, engaging with a strong company that I could help grow and be part of a winning team and, and make a great contribution and begin to create a, you know, uh, uh, Uh, you know, a lifestyle for Sarah and I and our family. And I think when we really, uh, began to deepen in our relationship, it became apparent that we wanted to have a bunch of kids.
We wanted to have the option at some point of being able to, um, uh, have a. Full time mom, on the case and have the option of doing that. And, and, uh, that was a real driver for, I would tell you for some of the entrepreneurial dreams that, that manifested, uh, subsequent to early days of career VOCA and it pursuits so that the entrepreneurial.
A bug, I would say didn't bite until several years after, after college. And realizing that corporate world really was gonna [00:10:16] ultimately be a difficult place for us to pursue, to realize some of the dreams we wanted to realize. And, uh, I also felt like, gosh, until I, um, you know, um, May not be the most employable individual out there.
I'm pretty kind of Maverick in a lot of ways. And so, you know,
Sarah: Drew is not an Indian. He is a chief. Yeah.
Kathy: I think that could be said for a lot of entrepreneurs. Don't you? Is that they really are unemployable. It's not that they can't do the work, but
Drew: be terrible, uh, or negative connotation. It's just, you get that natural, uh, disgruntled.
Um, we call it smoldering discontent, and eventually it kind of pours out as a, uh, gee, I want to pursue something. I dream on my own and, and, uh, that took on several different variations in the beginning. And. You know, so much of our journey together and that 31 years after the first four, maybe five, six years [00:11:16] has been entrepreneurial and very much, you know, business ownership and trudging through the, uh, the, you know, the pros and cons, the challenges and, and opportunities and virtues and the pitfalls of, of owning a business.
Kathy: Yeah. You said you guys married and you both went to work. What were you doing? Early on Sarah.
Sarah: I was working for a video production company. I was a director and producer for corporate videos, training videos, things like that. But I would never say that I was ever a career person. I always saw myself as wanting to be a mom and raising kids.
So for me in the beginning, it was just kind of a, I'm just going to park here and wait and see what happens and could contribute some to income, but not really wanting at big career. That was just never one of my [00:12:16] dreams.
Sarah: But it was also a little scary once a
Drew: well, so we actually ventured out on our own in those early days and not too long after I quit my role, resigned from the company I was working with and gave up what they call secure salary.
Uh, that Sarah's company, uh, folded. So we went dual income, essentially dual income, no kids to, to, um, uh, no income, two kids in this little season of about two years. And, uh, it was scary. You know, it forced us into some corners we had to come out fighting from and a lot of scar tissue, a lot of, uh, Peanut butter jelly, ramen noodles and tuna casserole.
we, uh, we, we had to scrum, you know, it was part of the journey and, and, uh, You know, being, you know, within a, uh, an inch or two of [00:13:16] declaring a bank, you know, bank personal bankruptcy and folding our, our, our entrepreneurial venture and closing up shop and moving on with our tail between our legs was, was all out there.
It was all on sale.
Kathy: And I think it's so good. And part of the reason I want to draw out these stories for our listeners is especially right now in the middle of this pandemic. And I have heard from several sources that there will be a lot of new entrepreneurs coming out of this time, people that maybe never thought of themselves as entrepreneurs, but maybe they've lost their job or they've realized, you know, what, if I could just find something that would even just replace my income.
That might be a good thing. So we want to hear all of that story. So what was, what was this first business? This first entrepreneurial venture. Once Sarah lost her job or her company closed.
Drew: Yeah, I would say it was really a part of our, um, you know, not cause all this [00:14:16] could get down in the weeds as we think through some of that.
But this particular was the situation was the ultimate business that we, you know, continued to see flourish longterm. But at the time we had really just launched. And invested capital, uh, made the strategic decision to give up, you know, a full time occupation and really, you know, jump off into the deep end and really anticipated that her company would, she could be in a contribute part time while we get this started, but that her company would still, uh, you know, produce some income through her role there.
And that we would be able to, uh, have a little bit more of an OnRamp that gave us some. You know, some lifestyle. And so,
Sarah: uh, but that, that business that we kicked off was a payroll processing company that we started in our basement. And it was just the two of us. And Drew would be in his boxer shorts and making phone calls.
I'm over in the corner. Laughing. How can you take yourself [00:15:16] seriously in your boxer shorts and a cup of coffee.
Hey Joe, you guys
do business with us.
Kathy: Yeah. Before the days of zoom, right?
Oh my goodness. So you had two kids at that point. Did you have a business plan? Okay.
Drew: We had gone out and raise, raise funds, raise funds from the SBA. We raised funds from friends and family, and, uh, you know, it was just good old bootstrapping, uh, had, had nothing to begin with and started at zero and.
And, uh, we quickly learned the business plan was, you know, a pipe dream and we were way off estimating the amount of startup time. We were way off estimating the amount of capital required. We were way off, um, yeah, estimating the virtue of the, [00:16:16] the solution provider that we had partnered with along technology.
And. Uh, that really turned out to be a, uh, a fail point that we had to make some modifications and really re-engineer our business in order to survive. So, you know, navigating that technology water was a big part of our on ramp as well and understanding what in the market really competed with the large national competitors and, and, uh, ultimately finding a technology partner that allowed us to, to, to, uh, perform at a high level for our clients.
There's so many, you know, unique stories inside of that, that, yeah. Uh, are so formative for how we ended up in a place of, uh, ultimately being able to really grow and scale the company. But that, that, uh, early couple of years was just awful. And in terms of, you know, that journey and I look back at it though and go, Hey, that's still was [00:17:16] that still was such a formative part of, you know, What a, I became as a leader, uh, how much our company was able to flourish in the market, how we were able to build equity value, how we were able to ultimately leverage that business platform for impact in the lives of the people we served as employees, customers, vendors, you know, uh, industry partners out in the market, through our association and so forth.
And then ultimately it's led, uh, you know, toward a path and in the work, uh, I engage in today.
Kathy: I have two questions. I want to. I hope I can hang on to them. One is we talked to a lot of young people, young adults that are thinking about having their own business, starting something, but they can't figure out what to start.
Now you went through from geology to payroll processing. Can you tell us just a little bit about why, [00:18:16] why that, how did you get into that field? Was that your passion? Or did it just make sense?
Drew: You know, it didn't, it probably didn't make a lick a sense, frankly, the, uh, what was behind it and, uh, was, you know, after I got out of grad school, I had, um, three different organizations I worked for.
But during that, during that journey of these different jobs, I. I started to build some knowledge base around, Hey, here's, here's a way to, you know, build equity. If I'm going to start a new business, I want to find something that creates residual repetitive, repeat income. I don't, I don't want to start over at zero every year, if you will.
How do I build a book of business that we continue to build on each year? And, and you're accumulating. You're not just, you know, uh, literally kind of at the beginning of every year, you're starting at zero and. And so that whole idea of a recurring and a repeat income and building a base of customers that, you know, would be a book of [00:19:16] business that would continue.
You can continue to build on year after year after year, assuming you provided good services and value and responsiveness and accuracy and all those things. And that was what drove us toward that particular business that we ultimately selected to dive into. Was I passionate about being in the outsourced, uh, human capital management technology space?
No, uh, I would tell you, it's kind of ironic that Sarah and I ended up in that because neither of us are detail oriented people that love spreadsheets. We don't have account training as accountants. There's nothing about the two of us that would make. Anybody go. Yeah, you guys would be great at the outset. It was an absolute disaster from that standpoint.
I think that's where God comes in and just starts laughing. And, uh, you know, who's to say what you're good or not good at. Uh, what we became passionate about in that journey was providing exceptional customer service experience. And that's what became, [00:20:16] uh, our blue ocean in our industry. And, uh, so we, you know, I love running after blue ocean opportunities.
I love running after areas that, uh, you know, are being underserved by potentially large national customer or, uh, large national providers. I do think finding something you're passionate about certainly helps. And, uh, what we, what we, you know, ultimately over time became, uh, uh, entrenched with was this idea around customer experience, being the differentiator.
And so that drove how we went to market. It drove the types of solutions we rolled out to the to the customers we served and the types of people we hired to put on our team. And, and so it really became the, you know, the heartbeat of our organization and it, it allowed us to be one of the top growth companies in our region of the country, nine consecutive years, and one of the rating services.
And, uh, ultimately one of the top players in our industry nationally and, uh, you know, [00:21:16] There's more to that story, certainly. But there,
Kathy: sure, we'll dig in
Drew: you know, the essence of this is more about the marriage piece and then how that was a big part of, you know, building our company as well.
Kathy: Well, and what I really look for is the intersection, you know, so that there's the business that's starting, growing.
And then if you're married, you cannot divorce yourself from that business. And. So let's go back to where you are with two little kids. Sarah, your company has folded. Drew has already launched the company at this point. Yes. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So what are you doing to stay sane and how did you guys grow your marriage in what could have blown some marriages apart?
Sarah: Right. Well, first I will say that when Drew decided he wanted to pursue starting a business. It terrified me. I wanted nothing to do [00:22:16] with it. I have not an entrepreneurial bone in my body, at least at that time. And I thought, what are you doing? But I thought, well, I still have my paycheck. That's fine. I can at least pay our house payment.
We'll you know, I could go get another part time job. We'll figure it out. So he started and then right after I lost my job because they sold and I was duplication. They were like, we don't need you. So. Then I was, then I was really terrified, but I just decided, you know what, now we've got to make it work or we're going to lose everything.
And I thought at the time we were with 30 to 30 young thirties and I thought, well, if we lose everything, he could always go back and get a job. A regular job and we'll be okay. So I just thought, you know, who cares? We don't have that much stuff. If we lose it, we lose it. But I also had, in the back of my mind, I've got to help him.
We've got to make it work. And I think we learned that we really [00:23:16] work together. Well, we get along. At least we did back then
Drew: maybe not so much over the years found that working together actually was a good way to have a more transparent level of communication. And we. You know, we knew what was going on.
So we didn't have to sit down at the dinner table and try to go through the entire chronological order of the day and unpack everything that happened and tell all the nuanced stories. And, Oh, so, and so did this. So we just kind of were there already so that when we sort of turned off the business for the night, we could engage with kids and, you know, enjoy, enjoy our evenings together.
Obviously. With the business in the basement. At that point, there was a lot of, I got to know the basement later kind of thing, but, you know, we, I would say to Kathy, back to your question, it's just, those were, those were formative days around the formation of, of our faith together, uh, or our faith with Christ, but then our faith together as, as a [00:24:16] married couple and the bumpy roads of entrepreneur ism, uh, certainly brought us to our knees.
We made, you know, we made church a priority. Uh, we made dating a priority. We made, uh, uh, praying together a priority during that season. And it still is that that to me is been the essence of what's allowed us to maintain a healthy marriage is praying together. And I can't just, I can't or emphasize that.
I can't emphasize that enough. It's just such an important part of, of not letting the sun go down on your anger and, and having to let go of your pride, which is what you know is ultimately the source of that anger. And, and, uh, I've had to eat a lot of Crow at about 11 o'clock at night and, uh, allow God to just, you know, release it and, um, Release it from my soul and, and not Harbor this bitterness to might've built up [00:25:16] during the period of, of our day or moment and in the evening and, you know, openly, we had four kids, you know, um, in addition to the two older ones that came along when we first started.
So, you know, it was just a, a constant battle of activity and, and priorities and, and trying to make all that work. And, uh, but the priority was always really around. How to, how to keep our marriage healthy and, uh, make our marriage our priority, uh, both in relationships since between us, but also in a prayerful relationship with God and felt like that if we do that, that the, the other things in our life will fit in they'll workout.
Um, according to his plan and in time,
Kathy: Was that an intentional decision that you made about your marriage? Or was there something that kind of made you open your eyes and go, we better pay attention to
[00:26:16] Sarah: I think it was just that, um, at first we were both so involved in that business and so busy. And then after the other two kids came, I stepped out of the business.
And so Drew was then just. In there full time and he would come home and he didn't want to talk about what had happened, you know, but I knew everybody there. And so I would ask, well, how's, so-and-so doing what's going on here and what's what's happening. And how was your, and he's like, I don't want to talk about it.
And so we kinda, I think, started to feel that we were kind of separated. We weren't as close as we were when we were both working full time together. So then we were like, okay, we need to make our relationship a priority. So yeah, it was a conscious. Decision to, we're going to go have a date night every week, every quarter, we're gonna leave town, not even leave town.
Maybe sometimes it'd be staycation, but no kids, just the two of us away for at least 24, 48 hours or more. Um, [00:27:16] and then, um, and I don't even know where the prayer thing did somebody. Suggest that, that we just started every night. Just we're going to take time out and we're going to pray before we go to bed together.
And so it was just really a conscious, we need to make sure we are a priority because if our relationship isn't working, the business is probably going to fail. You know, our children are going to struggle. So, yeah, and I, I give all the credit for that to Drew because he really was like, we've, this is what we're going to do.
Drew: Whether, you know, it was just as a new believer in, uh, our late twenties, early thirties, uh, because really our, our faith, um, became an important part of our lives by virtue of what I would call the failures of commerce and, and failures in our business. That's what certainly drove me to my knees. And.
Ultimately surrendering my life to Christ. And then it's just as part of that growth and [00:28:16] maturing as a follower seeing, uh, you know, I think just trying to be wise and observe what's going around around the world, around what's going on or with peers going on with, from, you know, what kind of teaching and coaching we were receiving around how to have a healthy marriage and, you know, Uh, those, those elements of growth, just like, well, how can, how can I continue to walk out our faith and not really engage in the activity of it, of, and the discipline of praying together and quiet time with the Lord every day and, and those things, um, I'm not perfect, Sarah's not perfect.
None of us are we're all sinners. Right. And, uh, and yet. If we, if we come back and make God the source and the center, it certainly, uh, enhances the, the opportunity for our, uh, relationship to be bonded. So tightly together and be protected with this, you know, hedge of protection that we, uh, can, you know, [00:29:16] avoid the evils attempt evil ones, attempt to divide and divide and split a relationship.
Kathy: Yeah. I don't have statistics, but there. I think it's pretty well accepted that there is, um, there are more, what am I trying to say? There's a higher percentage of divorces amongst entrepreneurs. And I think some of it goes back to what you're saying. About entrepreneurs tend to be very driven. I can do this.
It's up to me, it's all up to me. And so they push and push and push sometimes many times at the expense of their marriage, their family. And, um, that's part of the what launched this podcast really is to help couples see that you, you don't have to sacrifice your marriage or your family for the sake of the business.
I mean, what do you have if you have lost all of that, who cares? If you have a great big business, [00:30:16] right? So
Drew: you see. Uh, over the last three, four months, it's a situation that nobody has any control over, come in and, and, uh, throw a left hook into somebody's gut around their, this business that maybe they poured their entire life into.
And many business owners. have been forced to shutter the business or make severe cuts. Certainly it's affected the wealth of many people. A lot of most entrepreneurs probably have a big percentage if not all of their wealth tied up in the equity of that business. Right. And, uh, you know, when, when the business craters and falls, what do you got left?
And so it's, it kind of, I think, shines a light on, you know, at the end of the day, What's really important in this life. Yeah. Uh, your business is a vital part of, you know, providing a lifestyle and a way to, uh, engage your passion into something that you love to do. [00:31:16] And yet it's not worth sacrificing the, the, the most important things in life, which are your, your faith and your marriage and your relationship with your kids and the legacy ultimately is your, you know, your family.
Uh, and this one things that's, you know, sad to see so many businesses being negatively affected. Cause you know, it's, it's not just the business that's being lost here. That there's probably a lot of other carnage going on, uh, on a ripple effect that relates to those relationships and so forth. It's really simple.
Kathy: Yeah. And who knows yet, how it's gonna impact marriages and the family that I think marriages that have some cracks in it. I read an article recently about the divorce rate going up, like, or filings 25% in China. Once they reopened it back in, whenever that was March, they were reopening a little bit when we were shutting down.
Right. Um, and [00:32:16] as the spouse of an entrepreneur, and especially when you're. You know, home with four kids doing what you can to support, because as you said, Sarah, it's our business, right? This has to succeed. It affects all of us. So what, what can I do there? And sometimes that business can feel like a mistress because it gets so much attention.
So I think you were very wise, you guys to, um, to focus early on on prioritizing your marriage. And it's probably why you're at 31 years and getting to enjoy some of the best years of your life in a beautiful space and, and continue to work and continue to, uh, mentor and do the things you do. So back to four little kids.
Now you're you're, you're not working as closely, but you're focusing on your marriage. Tell us about the next piece of the business Drew, how, how the business grew from [00:33:16] there. And some of the challenges maybe. Biggest challenges.
Drew: You know, the challenges, obviously in life didn't stop them. They haven't stopped yet.
Kathy: it doesn't end at some point, wait a minute.
Drew: Maybe when
Kathy: we're dead,
Drew: we, uh, you know, move the business out of the basement. You know, uh, within a year and a half to two years after we started launched, um, you know, I think one of the biggest challenges early on and in the transition, you know, once we kind of hit bottom and, and re-engineered the business rebranded re focused on, you know, a specific niche inside our, uh, segment of industry, really at that point was, uh, finding talent that wanted to come work for small.
Enterprise. Um, it was, it's a difficult task, uh, capitalization when you're growing is, is difficult. And, um, those were some big challenges at that stage, as [00:34:16] we, uh, continued to grow, you know, Add employees at customers. Certainly I would say that they had the people side of it continue to be a challenge.
I'd say, you know, in light of the work I do today and, and the, you know, running an operating a business day to day, that I would say 85 to 90% of the challenges business owners, entrepreneurs face are related to people in leadership. And they invariably always point back to something as relates to leadership and, and dealing with people and trust and, and communication.
And, and, uh, along the way had, uh, uh, picked up a couple of minority partners, uh, through the journey that came on board that were very talented individuals that, uh, wanted to engage in the entrepreneurial pursuit as well. And, uh, you know, that was a plus minus as well. Had choosing had his challenges. Um, you know, in the book we wrote, uh, this past year, my business partner and I, uh, one of the chapters was about partnerships and [00:35:16] how they're metaphorically, very similar to marriages.
They need TLC and they need a consistent communication ,meeting together, uh, being on the same page. And, uh, uh, I felt like our, the, the two partners I had that were, uh, active in the business, we had pretty strong alignment, but, uh, It felt like there was also some cracks began to form, uh, you know, later in the journey.
Um, so, you know, those were all challenges that we faced. And, uh, I would say technology became a challenge longer-term around how to scale the business, um, which, which ultimately was a big reason that we strategically decided to merge our company with one of our. Um, uh, fellow industry, uh, counterparts, uh, because they had, uh, some technology felt like would allow us to really scale the business, but also, uh, enhance the longterm equity position for our organization and [00:36:16] kind of make this leapfrog ahea three to five years. And, uh, that turned out to be a great strategy. Uh, you know, it didn't, it wasn't easy street. It wasn't roses either. And, uh, had its bumping, uh, turbulent times, but it was also, uh, you know, in the big picture, longterm, probably the, one of the best decisions we ever chose to pursue. And, uh, that, that decision has paid huge dividends longterm.
Kathy: Right. That was an acquisition. You were acquired
Drew: by a company that had a case, uh, Midwest, Kansas city, central time zone region. Uh, Position. So Kansas city and st. Louis. And then the company we merged with was based out of Cincinnati and had a big presence in Ohio, uh, uh, down into Florida. And, uh, they were probably four times, three to four times our size.
So it wasn't like one big company coming in and swallowing up this a little bit fish. We were very compatible, had similar cultures because of some systems and technology they'd [00:37:16] already invested in really allowed us to. Jump onto a platform that allowed greater scale and, and, uh, expansion. It was never intended to be an exit at all.
And, uh, it was also, um, you know, a great way to create, I would say a one plus one equals four, five scenario. And really it was that it gave our employees a chance to become, excuse me, employee owners. And the organization. So just a lot of virtues about it. It was also apparent that, that, uh, you know, I, I kind of hit a, uh, unique crossroad, uh, in my life and I would call it the halftime journey.
And for those who are listening that have heard of the book halftime and Bob Buford, uh, he and I worked, I felt like I was walking alongside him as, as he was writing and I was reading and, uh, And so went through this journey of halftime and that, um, really became, uh, an off ramp to the day to day work. I was engaged in there.
[00:38:16] Kathy: what is that concept? Just for people who may not have. May not be familiar with
Drew: that. You know, you get something that virtually everybody goes through. Uh, you know, the book was written really more around probably entrepreneurs and business owners who, you know, build something and then they have an opportunity to transition.
And the kind of the tagline they often used was success to significance and, uh, I would tell you that, that a while I agree with that idea, I go really is success and significance. And so, uh, a great deal of my work today is around working with business owners and entrepreneurs to help them be success and significant, you know, leveraging their business platform for influence and impact to, uh, imp impact the lives of the people they shepherd and serve every day to not only create a great company that produces, you know, Market excellence, uh, top line [00:39:16] success, bottom line, uh, profitability, but, but enrich the storyline, you know, get in there with God and leverage your business as a, as a platform to, uh, uh, have eternal impact and kingdom impact.
Uh, on the, on the lives of those who you serve in your world. So, you know, that off-ramp with the, uh, outsourced, uh, HCM company allowed me to begin to pursue this kind of more purposeful journey maybe in life. And, uh, you know, I'm still a business owner, still an entrepreneur different scale, um, different.
You know, a target audience for sure. And, and, uh, yet it's, it's very satisfying because the, the men and women I work with are running companies that influence, you know, countless hundreds of thousands and millions of people through ultimately their customer and the ripple effect of the organizations they lead.
Kathy: So Sarah, fill us in on what you were [00:40:16] focusing on as these things shifted, like when the company was acquired and what do you remember thinking or feeling about that shift?
Sarah: I was mostly just at home doing kid duty and, you know, involved in volunteering, PTO, you know, booster club, whatever. But I do remember when he first started talking about merging the company, I was, I was a little sad because I thought that, you know, this is something that we started kind of started together and I've watched him grow.
And I one, I was worried because he's not a good Indian. And he would not be the top dog. And I thought, Oh, I hope this is going to work out, but also just kind of letting go of the control of what's going to happen to the company was kind of sad. I kinda mourned, it was almost a death and in a way, [00:41:16] in a way, but, uh, and were you
Kathy: able to express that to drew your concerns?
Sarah: I don't know if I did. Did I?
Drew: Yeah. We talked a lot about it.
Drew: don't remember the metaphor of death. You know, Sarah has always been a fantastic voice of reason now that I think that's one of the major blessings from our marriage. It's just the, uh, The rationale and reasoning she offers when I've got some harebrained entrepreneurial idea or.
You know, shiny object syndrome that I'm chasing, chasing, uh, you know, some, some new, uh, innovation or, you know, a creative, new idea. And it's like, okay, seriously reel that back in cowboy.
Sarah: But I do
Kathy: go ahead. Go ahead. Well, I was just wondering, do you present all of [00:42:16] those ideas to Sarah or are there 10 ideas for every one that you say, Hey, what do you think about this,Sarah, Yeah,
Drew: I do. I , you know, I think I generally try to get Sarah's perspective on, on ideas that might be a certainly out there do really value her perspective on, you know, sort of the reality. The sniff test, the litmus test, whatever you call
Sarah: it. Right, right. Yeah. I was going to share that, you know, I thought things were going along so smoothly and great.
And we were happy and then, you know, this opportunity came along and it's like, you know, okay, look, let's do it. So we merged and. And it became apparent after what year, year and a half, that in order for Drew to really feel like he had an impact on this company, we were going to have to move to [00:43:16] Cincinnati and we had kids and grade school and middle school and one just starting high school and they didn't want to move.
I, all my family was there. His family was in Kansas city. Nobody really wanted to move. So it became apparent that. He was going to probably step out of the business. He was still on the board of directors, but he was probably going to step out of that business. And I will say that I felt like our marriage kind of suffered when you left our business, because it, he almost became depressed and like, what do I do now?
Um, but I think the Bob Buford thing really kind of gave you some insight.
Drew: A lot of entrepreneurs have a tremendous amount of identity wrapped up in their, in their role and the CEO, president, and business owner, whatever you wanna call it. And, uh, I certainly had that. I still, I still have that syndrome.
And, uh, [00:44:16] you know, I think it it's this, uh, Feeling of needing to be in charge, you know, there's this, you know, this alpha, uh, characteristic
Kathy: of the nest of a business.
Sarah: Yeah. Right. Yeah.
Drew: So, you know, I, I, you know, there was kind of this desolate desert like journey for few years actually
Kathy: just quickly for a time context.
When did you step out of the business? When was that?
Drew: We merged in '06. I stepped out in early '08 kind of right ahead of the recession. And, um, so the, you know, it was felt the timing of that was pretty virtuous. We. We, uh, maintained ownership in the company, but, uh, let go of my day to day role. Uh, Sarah said I was on the board.
I was on the board for eight years until we had a recap event 2014. And, uh, at that time stepped down today, we still have a stake in the company. So [00:45:16] there's this, you know, there's legacy has continued to. Carry on with our involvement as stockholders, but nothing day to day. Uh, when I left in'08 Sarah's mom went through a health crisis and ultimately passed later that year.
So it was just kind of a, you know, a season where I felt like it was hanging on. And, uh, it was kind of a Valley because, um, You know, now, can I let go of this identity and this business platform and this place that had been able to really exercise my leadership, um, and exert that, you know, skill in the world of commerce.
And now I wasn't really engaged in anything that resembled that. And, uh, Sarah was very involved day to day with her mom's health issue. And so I kind of went from, you know, Mr. Important business guy to, you know, let's, let's show the kids to soccer dad, [00:46:16] and it might not have been a great role,
Kathy: but I bet your kids loved it.
Drew: I'm not sure it's best personality during that.
Kathy: We'll do an interview with the kids one day.
Drew: Yeah. I don't know that that soccer dad and. You know, one who, you know, I've had to learn to, you know, uh, not exert my coaching, uh, perspective, you know, immediately upon leaving the practice field or game field. Just got to say, I love watching you play
Kathy: well. And what you're describing is a bit of a renegotiation of the marriage. And I think a lot of people. Don't recognize that ahead of time that who you are as a couple the day, you marry is not who you are 10 years later, or 15 years [00:47:16] later, or pre -kids, raising kids, empty nest. I wrote a post one time called my five husbands.
And about kind of the five different men that I've been married to what drew
Drew: Mark appreciate it.
Kathy: Yes. Yes, but they were all the same, man, you know, and I have changed and how boring if we aren't growing and evolving, but again, Do we find ourselves suddenly, you know, 20 feet apart? Or can we be intentional?
About okay. We are in a different season. Drew. You're not working. Sarah, you are in a huge caretaking and hard role caring for your mother. One with no regrets. I'm sure, but still very hard while you're still raising kids.
Kathy: So talk a little bit about were there some intentional [00:48:16] conversations and if not, if you had a do over of that time, What, if anything, would you do differently as a, to strengthen your marriage and that shift?
Sarah: I think there were intentional conversations, um, bless Drew's heart, because I'm kind of an oblivious person. I'm just like, okay, I'm going to go do the, you know, I'd be like, get the kids ready for school. Drop them off at school. And I run to my mom's either in the hospital or wherever she was to try and help.
And then Drew would have to pick them up and kind of get dinner going. And I roll in late in the evening and I'm thinking, okay. I'm just going to fall in bed and do it all over again the next day. And I'm just, I was, you know, this
Sarah: and Drew was just getting so frustrated, but he would at least, instead of just letting it fester, he'd be every once in a while.
Okay. We need to talk, we have to talk about the huge elephant in the room between us [00:49:16] and it came out and it, they were hard conversations and it's not like we. We ever really came to a different solution or it, because it was like, this is a season I have to go through and bless my mom's heart. She only lasted 10 weeks.
So it seemed like eternity though, while we're going through them. But in the scheme of things, it was a short period of time. But, um, so we didn't really change anything, but I think just getting. Off of your chest, how you were feeling and kind of opening my eyes to what you were going through helps, you know, help, help the marriage, help the relationship.
Drew: Yeah. I went back, you know, back to that kind of the block and tackle like. Gotta communicate, gotta connect, carve out intentional time together, you know, very, uh, you know, tragic season in your mom's life. And, [00:50:16] and we've got a family and, you know, there, there, our lives will go on and. We've got a, you know, kind of battle through this and, and serve your mom.
And, uh, we've got to make sure that we come out of this healthy.
Kathy: Yeah, well that is a rough time. Yeah, yeah.
Drew: Yes. And it was, it was certainly at 10 weeks, which was really from prognosis to passing, but it was really longer than that because there was some health challenges that led up to it. So it was about a six month season and, uh, You know, it was just hard and it was hard.
And I would tell you just being very transparent. I was, that was a bit resentful because I just, I had just kind of entered this season of, wow. I can't wait to do stuff and go places. And I got an open calendar. I got some cash in the bank and we can do some things with life to go, you know, celebrate this, you know, A gift if you want to call it that.
And it went from kind of wide open [00:51:16] playing field to this very, very narrow swim lane of being literally kind of being soccer dad, you know, it just felt nice. So I had a I would share with you just transparently, you know, unhealthy bitterness that sort of built up during this during this time and, you know, shame on me.
And it was truly kind of a source of embarrassment cause, um, you know, what was at stake was moms. Sarah's mom's health in life. And, uh,
Kathy: Sarah being torn in so many different directions. So what would you do differently? What
Drew: are you talking to Sarah? Because.
Sarah: I don't know. I, I have no regrets. I have no remorse. I don't feel guilty that I didn't spend more
Drew: I think Kathy was asking me that
Kathy: you're off the hook here. Sarah.
[00:52:16] Drew: I think what I would have done, I tried to do was be more mindful that in the big longterm scheme of things and the big picture. Uh, it's all gonna work out according to his plan and just, you know, be, be more servant hearted, be less self-focused. Yeah, this isn't exactly how it was. You thought it was going to happen, but be, uh, embrace, embrace the reality and, and let go of your preconceived notions for what this season in life was going to look like.
Kathy: Well, I appreciate your honesty Drew
Drew: and that's longterm, you know,
Kathy: and again, I think we
Drew: just laid my mom to rest in March and yeah, well the last, uh, especially surprise six months of her life were not a better roses either. It was just, it was terrible. You know, this is a terrible journey to watch her go through.
Cause it was so not what she wanted to [00:53:16] endure and, um, and. You know, you just kind of have to embrace it and just know it's temporal and yeah.
Kathy: And grief is a journey and layered over that has been this time of quarantine where you haven't been able to gather with family.
Drew: Right. Well, I'll tell you this thing, thankfully, and we count this major blessing.
Nobody, you know, certainly wants there. The timing of a loved one to the passing and relative timing of the, of a loved one to happen, you know, certain intervals but she passed on March 7th. We were able to lay her to rest publicly on the 14th. And then the kind of the doors came, you know, the windows all shut and, uh, and you know, she was in a senior care facility and.
Obviously the doors were shut on those not too long ago, we would not have been able to go in and visit her. And she would have passed without any of our, any of us being able to be by our [00:54:16] side. So it's just, God's hand was all over the timing. And we really look at world events as relates to this micro family situation.
Kathy: But everyone's journey is important. Well, I do appreciate your, your honesty there Drew, because I think it is. You know, we are human and we're not perfect. And there are a lot of families that are facing, like you said, just monumental change that no one anticipated. Some of us are having to shift roles.
Dads are having to take over maybe what mom was doing because mom has the job. So I think. You know, hearing about other couples who have shifted. And I think that is a key to a healthy marriage. One of the keys, you've talked a lot about communication, but also the ability to pivot, to be flexible and not rigid about, well, you're the woman.
So you're [00:55:16] going to cook every night. Why, you know, we were a team
drew did make breakfast. He said, yeah, I appreciate so much all the positive things in your marriage. You've talked about date nights. Y'all did that early on, and I think that's so important. Are there any other tools you've picked up. Do you go to marriage retreats?
Do you read books? How have you learned to communicate well,
Sarah: I was going to say, I think, um, early on in our marriage, we had, uh, read a couple of books. What's the, um, Oh, his needs, her needs, we read and we cut. And that was, I think the first time we realized, Oh, we're not, we do come at it from different angles.
We do have different needs. Um,
[00:56:16] and so we did try to. Try to communicate or try to speak to each other in their, I guess, love language
Drew: materials, just timeless. And, uh, you know, when, when opportunities to do. Some sort of a marriage enrichment or marriage retreat have come up. We've, we've taken. We don't, you know, it's not like we do one every year.
Uh, but you know, especially if it involves some other friends and couples that we admire and they represented a healthy marriage that would do that in the business owner, CEO community that I lead now, uh, we, we, uh, Make marriage enrichment a fairly regular part of a gathering of our owners to really kind of place a emphasis around how important that is, you know, kinda what you spoke of earlier.
Kathy don't, don't give up marriage and then prone to this and in light of running a business too, because, [00:57:16] um, This is the one that's gonna last and right. The legacy impact on future generations, your family,
Sarah: and we've planned some marriage retreats for our community, which is even more, more helpful, I think, because you really thoughtfully thinking about what, what, what kinds of activities, what kind of good?
What are you gonna put in the goodie bag? I mean, just, you're just really thinking about marriage a lot and if I think it was even helpful. More beneficial to plan one and execute one, then going to one,
Kathy: you planned it. You guys can
Sarah: plan them for our, um, CEO community lawn. And
Drew: we don't, uh, you know, normally we bring in somebody, uh, you know, like a Kathy and Mark Rushing to come in and facilitate the, you know, the good kind of the meat, but, you know, hosting it, putting it on, you know, making it a good experience.
That's the part we've had a role in and it makes you look inwardly at like, you know, what, [00:58:16] what would we want to experience? How would we want to, uh, you know, what would make this enjoyable? And, and for us, we're going to. That's this kind of, uh, you know, capital and time to go to go engage as couples.
Kathy: Right. And it's never just like a once and done, but I really look at marriage as just something it's, it's a beautiful living, evolving organism and we have to nurture it consistently, just like a plant. We don't stick it in the corner and expect to come back a year later and it still had beautiful blooms on it.
It won't, you know, it has to be watered at, we need to know the right environment for that plant. And so is marriage and two people who learn how to become us instead of me and you, you know, it's not a battle, but it's creating an us. Right.
Sarah: And you're right. Cause it's constantly changing. Like [00:59:16] you talked about your blog.
My 5 husband's because it he's always changing. I'm always changing. So the dynamics always changing. So yeah, you do have to continually work on it.
Kathy: Yeah. Any parting words that you all would like to share, having to do with entrepreneurship, marriage, family, life.
Drew: You know, the, uh, uh, just having been asked to officiate a wedding and then engage with, um, you know, our kids and some legacy planning activities that then I even, I think in light of what we see in our world today, just with some of the chaos going on and so forth, but I, I just encourage.
A couples to engage in first Corinthians 13 and dive in and take a look at what love is and what love isn't. And then really, uh, internalize that, [01:00:16] uh, because it's, uh, you know, even as I was sharing at my mom's funeral service, we, we unpack this because she really, to me epitomized love more than anybody, uh, except Sarah in my life.
And, uh, Just her, you know, so many of the traits of what love is: love is patient, love is kind, love is truthful. Love protects, love trusts, love hopes, love perseveres. Love is not: Love's not envious. It's not boastful. It's not proud. It's not rude. It's not self-seeking it's not easily angered and it doesn't keep a record of wrongs.
Love never fails. Right? So. Love is love is not. And if we really own those in our lives and live those out, so many of the problems in our lives would go away. So many relational problems in our marriage with our kids, with the, our peers, uh, would go away. Uh, Take that to a macro level or world events would wash away.
And so that's a big one. And then I think the last advice I would give and I've given this to countless business [01:01:16] leaders is pray together with your wife, pray together with your spouse every day. Don't let the sun go down on the anger that may be harbored in your life. Um, let God get in there. When you, when two people pray together, it brings you, think of a triangle.
With the husband and wife being on the opposite ends of the triangle. When you pray together, you're praying with God and that brings you together. At the top of that triangle. Uh, and, and, and when you do that, you just really forces you to engage in what love is and what love is not you can't Harbor bitterness, no matter how mad you might be at your spouse at that moment, it's pretty difficult to do it with genuine authenticity when God's, uh, being asked to engage in that prayer with you guys
So powerful. Thank you guys from the bottom of my heart and for this redo. And um, if, if listeners want to reach you, how should they [01:02:16] reach you? So
Drew: the business of running my business partner and I run is called acumen and, uh, the website is an acumen impact.com. So my email is kind of follow suit. And it's true dot HES.
And the last name is spelled H I S S email@example.com. And Sarah also has an email affiliated with our company as she's got some various entrepreneurial duty. She conducts and handles for a company, but hers, hers was Sarah.hiss. And as Sarah with an H sarah.Hiss@acumenimpact.com.
Kathy: Great. I will put all of that in the show notes and look forward to seeing you guys hopefully soon.
Drew: Take care. [01:03:16]