The Future of Freelancing with Michael Brooks of goLance | Soar Payments LLC

The Future of Freelancing with Michael Brooks of goLance

As the gig economy grows and the workplace continues to swing aggressively in the direction of freelance contracts, the sophistication of the payments process has to evolve. In this episode we are joined by Michael Brooks the Founder and CEO of goLance, to discuss the art of freelancing.

Payments & Fintech Insights In This Episode

  • How to support employees without endless in office perks.
  • Building a business through the payments lens.
  • The role of freelancing and the gig economy in the future of the workplace.
  • How easing the complexity of billing improves the work cycle for both businesses and contractors.
  • The power of total vertical integration.
  • And so much more!

Episode Transcript

Heather: Hi, everyone. Welcome back to PayPod. I’m your host, Heather Bodie. And today we are going to be talking about a topic that is very close to my heart, the art of freelancing. Joining me today is Michael Brooks, founder and CEO of goLance, connecting virtual teams and global freelancers with clients to help people work from anywhere transparently. Michael, welcome to the show.

Michael: Thank you, Heather. It’s a pleasure to be here. Appreciate being a part of the program.

Heather: Yeah. We’re glad to have you. Before we actually turn our focus to goLance, start us off by telling me about you. What’s the path that led you into founding goLance?

Michael: Well, like you, I’ve got a payments background, rather extensive. I got into payments in, like, a thousand years ago.

Heather: Wait, wait, wait, 909. No, a thousand years.

Michael: Yeah. It was very early on. Like, I kind of finished up the infomercial type space, and I was like, “Okay, this is kind of dying,” but I was part of an infomercial. But so much of it was related to payments, and it was just still…this was like 18 years ago, and that was, like, the tail end of the infomercial when it went from call here to go to this website and focused on TV to direct response internet. And it was, like, kind of a game changer at the time because we cut out all the order takers [crosstalk 00:01:48]

Heather: Yeah, the call center. Yeah.

Michael: And it had made the whole compliance process easier, made everything easier, the order process. And we used different URLs on television commercials. And we were the first ones to do that. So, it was really exciting. We had…

Heather: Yeah, that’s very cool.

Michael: Thanks. We had a lot of fun with it, but I quickly recognized the Achilles heel of the space was the payments. And I liked it. I liked the business. I liked the aspect of it. I started to really understand acquiring. And then built an ISO with a partner. And then I met my wife, who was working at…it was PRI, Payment Resources International, which got sold to TransFirst. So, I met her there. Didn’t start dating until after I sold my portion of the company. But fast forward a bunch, stayed in e-commerce, stayed in payments, and built a subscription billing e-commerce platform. During the process, I wrote two books on electronic payments. Second one was on digital currency. And I just really was into it. And thereafter, the crisis in 2008. It took like a year-and-a-half and all kinds of personal and business challenges. I had a really tough time maintaining my e-com platform. And did a Hail Mary, and hired a freelancer in Eastern Europe and I’m just…kind of was, like, “Okay, I had to let go of 50 people,” and everything went to hell and… I hired one guy as a freelancer, and we were PCI compliant and all that stuff. And I was nervous about everything. And that guy’s now the CTO of the company.

Heather: Wow.

Michael: Yeah. And so I ended up, a few years later, said, “Hey, this whole freelancing thing changed my mindset on everything.” I call it the full Michael Scott. Like, I had the whole Halloween parties, everything in the office. I tried to build a regular corporate office culture. And I just was, like, “Dude, people just wanna be free, they wanna do what they wanna do.” You can still have culture of supporting people, but not all the little knick knacks that go along with an office and all the inconveniences that go along with it and inefficiencies. So, at the point that I stepped down as president of that e-com platform, I said, “What do I wanna do with the rest of my life?” And I figured I’d work for another 40 years. So, it’s like, “Hey, you know, what if I worked till I was 75, 75, 76? What if I just committed to that?” And I just stopped… You know, I didn’t wanna have the mindset, I’m gonna jump into a business in five years and an exit, blah. Like, it just kind of was, like, “Then what? Like, what if I just committed to something, how much can I get done if I just committed?”

And so I backed it out to 40 years, and I’m like, “Yeah, I may retire earlier. I may die. I don’t know. Who knows? I may not. Like, anything, I may want to keep going till 85.” But I’m looking at going, “If I wanted to just do one thing, commit, go through the business like a marriage, what would it be?” And I was like… I gotta tell you this, this whole freelancing thing, and this remote work teams, and whatnot, I just fell in love with it. And it’s something I knew I could stay with because I had so many different legs and so many different exciting aspects of it. So, with that, I looked at the business itself very much from a payments perspective, through a payments lens. And that’s been the delta between where we’re going and where our competitors are going.

Heather: As I alluded to at the top of the conversation, I have worked as a freelancer, in some capacity, whether it was full-time or sort of side hustle style for the last 15 years. And oh my gosh, I know the heartache of seeking and securing work, right? But beyond that, the administration that comes with managing so many payments from so many different sources, all at the same time, it really had me questioning everything at times, too. You know, like, how much I love this life, versus how much a drag that sort of administrative part of it is. So, talk to me about how does goLance ease that process? And what are some of the things you’ve heard from, I don’t know if you refer to them as clients, but what are some of the things you’ve heard from both the folks who are hiring the freelancers and the freelancers themselves?

Michael: Yeah. So, it’s definitely a trusted three-party relationship. There is the freelancer that does the work, and sometimes they have subcontractors. And then there’s the client that pays for the work and expects quality and value. And then there’s us. So, the thing you just mentioned is all the different complexities, and billing, and what have you, like, that’s where we come in and take care of it, right? We go, “That’s on us.”

Heather: Oh, dreamy.

Michael: Yeah. And then there’s clients all around the world. Someone wants to hire you from Scotland and they wanna pay in euros, but you wanna accept in dollars. Like, we just take care of all of that. And then it’s how do you wanna get your payment out? Do you want an ACH to your bank account? Do you wanna be able to have instant access to a card? These are the areas where the industry can really improve, and where we’ve really focused. And then there’s the aspect of, how’d you meet your client? If we introduced them to you, our fee right now is 7%, 9%, 5% and we charge nothing to the client. We’re adding a toggle in there where we split that. So, it’s 3.9% each, and we recommend that the client split it. But ultimately, it’s up to them and it’s up to you to accept the contract. Whereas our industry counterparts start at 20%, which I think is a bit much, and then 5% to the client. So, we’re looking at payments and going, dude, we do recognize the value of what we do, not just bringing freelancers and clients together, like, that’s a huge thing, but all the other aspects of building trust, and building value, and our tiered…the status and value system and support system. But at the end of the day, once you’ve worked with your client long enough, you’re like, “What do we need these guys for?”

Heather: Exactly. That’s exactly what I was gonna say. Essentially, when those fees are that high industry standard, what ends up happening is you connect with a freelancer who, eventually you either poach, you know, cut out the middleman and decide they work for you full time. But there are so many people who are contractors on project by project basis or have limited hours a week, right? Where there’s no future, where they will cut out the middleman. For me, that’s where I see goLance having so much value, is in these sort of short-term projects. It’s not gonna go on forever. It’s not necessarily seeking quality talent that you’ll then acquire, but as opposed to legitimate contract work, where folks are piecing together this giant sort of pie of what their income looks like, and allows the individual companies the chance to work with quality people, have that seamless relationship through payments and also other…I noticed, on your website, like, other tracking metrics and not have to have that itch they wanna scratch about how big the fee is between the two of them.

Michael: Yeah, I get that. And that’s why we’re throwing in the little toggle. And we’re trying to make the fee extremely palatable because it’s core to culture, right? Then there’s other aspects, right? Because it’s not even just the fee to make the money, then there’s the fee to receive the money depending on the [crosstalk 00:09:04]. So, our objective is total vertical integration and lowering those costs across the board so that it really is a huge net positive. Because you’re right, if our fee is out of whack and it doesn’t make sense for you, you’re gonna disintermediate.

Heather: Right.

Michael: And the only way that we can stop that possibly is do what our competitor Schmuck Work does. I try not to say their name. They’re a big company. I just call them Schmuck Work.

Heather: Oh, right.

Michael: Schmuck Work, we’ve heard, that does this crazy thing, where if you are a freelancer, no matter how much you’ve made on the platform, no matter what, if you give your phone number, we’ve heard this from people, they’ve given their phone number through the platform to talk to a client because a client wanted to. If they pause their accounts and put it through compliance, and their policy is to keep all communications through their platform, so you never disintermediate, which sometimes you gotta pick up the phone and talk to somebody. And our vision is not to make a platform that’s closed and controlled. I think that if you do that, you’re fighting a war of attrition, and people will wiggle around it and find different ways around it, which sucks. Because then you take a good client, a good freelancer and you put them in an adversarial position, where we go, look, let’s just make the value worth so much that, yeah, we have a fee, but that supports the thing like the credit card costs, which you know, is heavy, right? So that clients can pay with a credit card, and then lowering the fee if they use alternative payment methods. So, if we don’t have those costs, we pass along that to the people we work with.

And doing something in that manner really helps the process and driving continuous value, so most of our freelancers are not short-term contracts, they’re not little quick one-and-dones. They’re people that run their businesses completely on, or almost completely remote and keeping the cost palatable. And we’ve even had two cost lowerings. We started at 10%, which was the lowest in the industry at the time. And as we doubled our business, we cut our cost. I don’t know that we’re gonna continue to do that. We’re working… It is a massive process, being able to give someone the opportunity that, if they wanna hire someone right away, pop up in a job and then get somebody connected and hired. And we also have no cost to bid. That’s a big problem I have with the industry and I find it, quite frankly, disgusting, that I think there’s some free bids, but Schmuck Work charges people, even a buck to apply for a job.

That’s kind of nasty. Sure. If somebody’s making $75, $100 an hour, and they’re a really expensive programmer, that’s not gonna mean a whole lot for them to pay a couple bucks. But if somebody’s making $3 or $4 an hour in the Philippines, like, how many hours do they have to work for free just to apply? And then if somebody’s working for that little…like, that sucks. So, that’s really kind of heartbreaking. So, I hate to see that. We try to put in a opportunity for people to show up better, to add to their profile. So, hey, if you’re gonna put in hours, putting in hours, putting in work, doing a video, demonstrating your competency, taking these, not just skills tests, which you can find the answers to online, but cognitive tests, creative thinking tests, all types of…we are even adding in a lot of tests so that we understand the right personality type for the right position, which is very exciting, but this is the direction that we’re going.

And it’s really fun and exciting for us, and we’re going, “Okay, we don’t wanna have to race to the bottom, but we wanna have the lowest cost in the space,” that’s a given, because I think that’s how we’re going to take the space. That’s a big part of it. And then parity to our competitors, and saying, “Okay, if somebody posts a job, they’re gonna get it filled with a greater quality candidate, selected quicker.” That’s our objective, but it is very much payment first. And collecting and paying, and being that flexible with all those different platform types and all those different relationship types, it’s a massive enterprise and it’s one that we’re happy to tackle. We understand the problem, we know where we fit in, but we know where we’re going, we know where our competitor is going. Our competitor, I think they’re gonna constantly be fighting a war of attrition. I mean, tell me I’m wrong, the controlling one just loses in the end, right? If you’re in a controlled relationship, where they wanna…imagine having a husband or a boyfriend that wants to read every text message to make sure…that you’re not allowed to be on the phone, you can only email.

Heather: Exactly. And furthermore, I mean, Michael, what we’re talking about here is catering to a group of people who want the freedom and flexibility to design work in a way that functions for them, the very nature of remote work, and being able to, whether it is a full-time contract, or it is a series of part-time, or quarter-time contracts. When you’re a client… And I think it’s a game of know your customer. If the people you’re working with want that sort of flexibility and freedom to choose those projects and to work with a variety of different companies, but then you want incredible amount of control or oversight over that process, you’re rubbing against the grain.

Michael: Exactly. So, our approach is open and encourage communication, so people can work the way they wanna work and in the best fashion for them. Value, constantly increase the value for the client and for the freelancer. And then cost, lower the cost to something that is so palatable people all go, “Okay, that’s fair. That’s fair.” They don’t want to leave because they’re paying a fair amount that is gonna be not enough for them to leave. If you are paying [inaudible 00:14:53] of your pay to the guy that made an introduction, then the other guy’s gotta pay 5%, it’s like, “What are you doing? What is this?” That’s just blockbuster resentment. Like, people ran to Netflix, in large part, because they hated Blockbuster. It wasn’t just because Netflix was, “Dude, this is…it’s a better product.” That was really hard. But it’s like product adoption can be driven by excitement, enthusiasm, or just hatred of the other guy.

Heather: Okay. So, I wanna switch gears just a little bit, because I really wanna dig into the last two-and-a-half years. In this absolute boom of remote work during the pandemic, I have to imagine that your platform has seen an enormous demand, like, have it grow almost at an alarmingly exponential rate. How has your team kept up with that? How have you weathered such rapid growth?

Michael: Yeah. It has been a lot of growth, and you would think we’d be excited about it.

Heather: Well, that can be overwhelming. I mean, that’s why I say weathered the growth because growth is uncomfortable.

Michael: Yes, it is uncomfortable. It’s wonderful. We’ve been able to capture that. Like, it doesn’t feel very good having…I call that schmuck luck, like, we just…where you’re kinda like [inaudible 00:16:08] like we have…our business grew because of something that caused so many people so much pain.

Heather: So much pain. Right.

Michael: But I’ll tell you what, and I’m not kidding about this, Heather, I miss the times where I’m actually, I don’t have a better word than saying selling people on the power of remote work, why it’s so great. And now it’s, like, people are like, “Yeah, I know. Yeah.” I’m like, “No, no, you don’t get it.” [crosstalk 00:16:31]

Heather: You don’t understand.

Michael: Yeah, no, everybody knows it now. And it was like a couple of years ago, we would go and like, say, “Hey, let me take a crack and find these people for you,” and it would be fun and exciting. And now it’s just the standard, which is okay, which is great. It’s an evolution that I had no control over, but it was different. We had this magical thing that a lot of people didn’t know about, they didn’t quite get and grasp. And I was really enjoying educating the space and educating the market, and now that market’s like, “Hey, just go do it for me,” and I’m like, “Okay.” It just changed the drill. I mean, I’ve been working remote since 2010, since we went remote from that e-commerce platform and I have not been able to go back. I even tried one time to have a little office, I’m like, “This is terrible. Why did I have to get in a car and drive? Like, look at how much time I’m losing.” And it just made no sense. And the risk, I’m like, “I could get hit by another car. This is crazy.” And then a few years later, my wife and I decided to homeschool. So, we’ve been homeschooling for about 7, 8 years now. So, when the pandemic hit, it was like, “Ah, okay.”

Heather: Yeah, we’ve already been doing this.

Michael: Yeah, it was…but I knew how much of an adjustment that was for a lot of people mentally, because they had their processes, and it’s been shattered. And we’re happy that we’ve been able to help ease that transition for some people.

Heather: I know that when I was in a traditional office, and I am no longer in a traditional office, I now run a nonprofit and have a series of freelance gigs, but I know that when I was in an office, you were talking about, oh, this drive is terrible or whatever it is. I also had that feeling of, yeah, I started to build feelings of resentment and started to notice that my behavior in this space, when I had to be in one space for a certain number of hours in a certain way, that I started stretching time. You know, I would show up five minutes late, I’d leave five minutes early. I’d stretch my lunch by five minutes, and I was stretching my lunch by seven minutes. You know, I had ways that I could pull spreadsheets up on my screen in just the right fashion so that I could be working on something that my brain actually was enjoying, and if I heard someone come around my cubicle, switch over to the spreadsheet, you know.

And I just found that my days were spent trying to figure out how to look like I was working. And ever since I’ve been into more of a freelance and flexible environment, I feel so much more fulfilled because I work when the energy and brain power is there, and I deliver, and I get it done. And as I get better, and less and less of my time happens on the same projects, more and more of my life is returned to me and I’m still making the same amount of money. So, I’m with you in that excitement of trying to, like, you know, “No, you don’t understand. It really is wonderful.” And I think that’s been a big transition for me is listening to people who aren’t having as easy of a time transitioning to freelance or at-home remote work. So, I just wanted to share that story with you because I feel that same excitement of trying to sell people on just how incredible it is to have this kind of freedom to work the way you want.

Michael: Yeah, that is cool. I mean, what you just said sums it up, it’s freedom. And people, I believe, work better and create more when they’re free, when they feel free. And you mentioned money, right? You can make the same amount of money. I actually think you can make a lot more because of your fee, you’re not going to the same boss annually, looking at a raise and what have you, you can take on a variety of projects, and then your rate can be adjusted based upon the amount of time you have. So, as someone learns their skill more and hones their craft more, they can charge more. And they don’t necessarily have to charge the current client that’s been fair and great to them, maybe ask for a bump here and there, but they can put their rate out and say, “Look, if you want my time now, this is what it is.” And you’ve got the freedom to do that without any of the constraints, without any of the stuff that locks you in and it’s like, oh…that’s what companies tend to do.

I get people, sometimes they come and they’re like, “Look, I’ve been working with you this long, and this is my rate.” Even people that have had good increases, their ability has gone past what we need them for. And I go, “No, I get it. Let me help you find some work at the right rate.” And I get to be an advocate for them, and their happiness, and what they wanna accomplish, and I go promoting them, and I refer them, and I’m happy to do it. And then I find somebody else that, you know, better suits the position because the position doesn’t always justify the desired rate, but it’s great to see people grow and diversify. And then usually it’s like, well, we have this amount of work, and it’s creative work. So, if this is the price, if your time isn’t filled, just go ahead and bill us and do this stuff. And you can come up with these really fun, flexible ways. And so that way people are like, “Oh, that’s great.” They can go charge at a higher rate, go seek other business, but also have some type of base to make sure that they’re not left high and dry, and scared, and starving, and fighting for work. So, it provides all different types of way to work together, and take care of the people that take care of your business, that I can’t go back. I mean, the concept of showing up, putting on a suit, or even just [inaudible 00:21:53] going, “Here I am. Let’s go, you know, sit by the water…” Like, I just can’t do it. I can’t even imagine. It sounds so incredibly archaic to me, at this point, when… Look at what we’re doing. We’re talking, we’re having this beautiful podcast led by the amazing Heather. And I’m over here, you’re over there, but the value is still created.

Heather: Absolutely.

Michael: The thing that we focus on most, and that I think all companies, or platforms, or what have you, should focus on most, and it’s really incumbent on the company, not the freelancer, is creating culture, a culture where decentralized work can be created in a manner where people still get a sense of value, that they’re bringing value, they’re creating value, and they’re getting value, and growing with an organization, and providing an opportunity for people to grow with an organization that’s on a distributed, remote, or the fancy word now is decentralized workforce. That means so much to people. So, we still do all-hands meetings with all our freelancers, and we’re a company comprised completely of freelancers. Another thing is constantly reviewing and sending out company-wide assessments, assessing people from an individual, but not just their work, not just saying, “Hey, what’s your work like?” but asking for feedback on the company and saying, “Hey, are we aligned on our vision? Are we focusing on our culture well enough?” And we’ve been perfecting that. I’ve been working with Jairek Robbins, who’s the CEO of “Success” Magazine, and he’s been coaching me for about a year now, and we’ve totally put focus on culture and how powerful that is to a company’s success. And it’s really more powerful, I believe, than anything else because if you have a culture of people that are aligned on a vision, they can accomplish it and get just about anything done.

Heather: I could not agree more. I’ve always said that people stay for who it is they report to, not necessarily for the company or the product. If the culture that you’re working in makes you feel valued and heard, and like it has that flexibility, but also responsibility, it can be so incredibly fulfilling. So, I don’t wanna peel back this onion too far but I’m having the feeling of, like, of course, who wouldn’t engage in this process? Why wouldn’t you use goLance? So, I’m curious, do you get any pushback? I mean, is it all around… I know a thing we talk about a lot on this podcast is integrations, right? Every company has their own stack of technology, a lot of them have legacy systems that it can be kind of hard to convince an accounting department or an accounts receivable department to add yet another platform that they need to log in to manage payments. Have you experienced any pushback from companies? What has the response been?

Michael: Yeah, but it’s more like the question isn’t, “Should we all be remote?” it’s, “How do we integrate? How do we integrate special teams so that they can support our internal ops?” So, we have a fairly sizable bank that’s our client, and we love working with them. And they need a lot of help because they’re growing rapidly. And they can plug into us and go, okay, we don’t tax their internal resources. We actually have, we call it SMB service, a small to mid-size business services, but they’re really more enterprise, where we just bring our own team hands-on. We go, “Okay, look, we know everybody to work with. We’ll” go ahead and take care of it for you.” And they don’t have to post a job and hire a person. We put a very talented product development and implementation person, and we staff that person for them, and we say, “What do you need done?” And then we go and pull the remote teams and all these subject matter experts with as little pain to time cost to the client as possible. Everybody kind of knows this is the way to go. What they’re excited about, the way we get over that hump, so to speak, is with this decentralized saying, “Hey, don’t go remote, just expand remote.” Let us bring in the special ops teams that can get a lot of this out of your hair without taxing your current team, which a good company that’s growing is gonna really need that.

Heather: What do you see as the future, future of this freelance remote work? I mean, I know there’s been a big shift. Like you said, it went from this trying to sell people, that everyone’s like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Status quo. We’re all remote.” But what do you see the landscape looking like 10 years from now?

Michael: I see most of my competitors gone, which is probably a surprising thing because they’re so big and they’re monsters. I think the shareholder value is top of their mind, but they’re not looking at the freelancer as the shareholder. They’re not looking at the person who puts their time into their business as they’re looking at their stock. I think that you get in trouble when you get to that point, in this space, because you gotta constantly find a way to increase revenues, increase shareholder value. And that doesn’t always work in a space like this. I see freelance platforms, like ours, and freelance communities becoming more and more open, and the process and cost becoming more aligned with something like PayPal than Schmuck Work, right?

If we have a place that says, “Okay, Heather, we know who you are. We’ve identified who you are. We’ve figured out who you like to work with, and how you work best. And when you come here, we’re gonna serve you well, the absolute best possible opportunities that fit you the absolute best,” I think costs are gonna go down, I think fees are gonna go down. I think in 10 years, our fee is gonna be down, just as we’ve done in the past. So, I think we’re the only ones who have ever lowered costs. Everybody else is up. Costs go up. Ours is the only ones that had two price drops. We’re keeping it steady for now because we have to, because it’s business. And we need to grow our business, but we’re still making it very palatable, still the lowest cost in the industry. But I think that there’s gonna be a couple major platforms out there, and the way to get work is gonna be so smooth and so easy when you are completely understood, and your value is completely understood, and how you like to work, and the type of companies, the type of work, the type of duties.

I put it like this. I look at other platforms as like Tinder and us as eHarmony. There’s so much focus when you’re looking for dating or for people that are looking to get married or even in relationships that want to do some type of compatibility counseling, there’s so much that looks at these people and goes…that looks at people and goes, “Okay, this is how you communicate. This is what works best for you, right?” There’s so much of that. And I have taken some of these tests, and it’s eye-opening. And it tells you who you’re in compatibility with and how you’re supposed to communicate with certain type of people. And it’s huge in love relationships, but very, very little in work relationships.

I have to love the work, and I love the people I work with, and I want to be there and communicate with them in a way that makes them feel valued and gives them the best possible opportunity to succeed and grow. And when I talk about culture, that’s what I see happening. I see distributed, remote, decentralized, whatever, culture of working unlike anything else. And that’s when we truly identify who people are, and get a sense of how they really like to work, and how they like to be communicated with, and how they communicate best, and then you can truly find, what’s the best opportunity for them, what’s the best match for them. And that’s gonna win…that’s gonna win the war. I don’t know if it’s gonna be complete in 10 years. I don’t know that it won’t. I think it’s highly attainable in probably less time, significantly, less time, but understanding…

And also that on the client side, I mean a client should know what type of environment they have, and not just, “Does somebody have the skill to perform this duty? Thanks for showing up. Here’s your check, go home,” right? Is it, “Is someone gonna fit into this culture and have a sense that working within this culture is gonna give them meaningful value in such a fashion that they’re gonna wanna grow with this business, in this culture?” And that was one of the things that I think people are not looking at, that the other guys are not looking at. They’re too busy keeping control and trying to put numbers on the board instead of that level of deep connection. When we start looking at how we work with people, with the same compatibility, intimacy compatibility, and intimacy may be too strong of a word, but relationship eyes as love relationships, I think we’re gonna start seeing some really amazing things, and I think people are gonna find places they like to work, and they’re gonna stay there longer.

Heather: I wish you could see the smile that has been plastered to my face listening to you talk today. This has been really wonderful. I like to close out the show as if we haven’t already heard so many wonderful, insightful nuggets from you over this past half hour. But what’s the best business advice you’ve ever received? And who can we credit it to, if you can pull a rabbit out of a hat?

Michael: Yeah, probably Larry Miller, Sit ‘n Sleep. I don’t know if you know that company.

Heather: I don’t.

Michael: Sit ‘n Sleep. It’s a mattress store, and it’s like 50 mattress stores throughout Southern California. He’s like the most… He does these goofy commercials. He’s a great guy, a good friend. He does these goofy, “I’ll beat anyone’s advertised price, or your mattress is free.” He’s like an LA legend that way. He is a very successful guy. I mean, just like the mattress king, and he just dominates that space. But the best business advice I got from him was that nothing mattered and he didn’t create anything of value except for his kids. And that’s, everything else doesn’t matter, and that’s the only thing that matters, and how he runs his business is what he wants to leave for his kids, and that’s not just about dollars in their bank account, but how people are gonna treat his children based upon how he treats them. That’s been a shining light for me.

Heather: Michael, this has been such a joy. Thank you so much for joining me today. If folks wanna get in touch with you or they want to learn more about goLance, where do they go? How can they get in contact?

Michael: Well, they can go to, or I’m on the Twitter @MichaelBrooksPR, Michael Brooks PR, like Puerto Rico. That’s my Twitter.

Heather: Is that where you’re located?

Michael: Yeah, I live in Puerto Rico.

Heather: Oh, wow. Fun. I didn’t even ask you that part. That’s fantastic.

Michael: It’s a riot. I like it here.

Heather: Well, thank you again for joining us today. Really appreciate it.

Michael: It’s been a genuine pleasure, Heather. Thank you so much.

Heather: If you enjoyed this episode and wanna hear more, head on over to to subscribe on your podcast listening platform of choice. That’s

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