A Conversation with Brock Blake and Joseph Warren
Brock Blake is founder and CEO of Lendio, an online marketplace for small business loans. Lendio offers borrowers access to loan options from more lenders than any other marketplace in the industry. Blake is an Inc. 500 CEO, national keynote speaker, and Forbes columnist.
As an entrepreneur himself, Brock knows that small business owners need resources to scale their businesses. And if you’re an entrepreneur following the podcast, you know you can’t do it alone. You need a support network, partners, and funding.
Brock talks about all this and more in Ep. 214 of the Your First 100k Podcast.
But Startup Nation, what happens when funding competes with family? What happens when business comes between you and God?
I can share all the business advice in the world, but if you don’t have our priorities straight, you're going to end up miserable. It happened to me. In the eyes of the world, I had everything. But I still found myself hopeless and depressed.
That’s why I want to share this story from Brock's career. It came at the end of the podcast, almost an afterthought, but it’s a rare nugget of wisdom.
If you’re struggling to manage your life’s priorities, you need to pay attention.
Investor vs. Family
Here’s how Brock tells the story.
One time I was out trying to raise a round of capital. Lendio has grown since then. We’re now 250 employees with tens-of-millions in revenue, but early on I was trying to raise a round of venture capital to help us grow the business.
We had an investor who was really interested. He flew in from the Bay Area to come down and meet with us and it was likely he was going to give us an offer at the end of the day.
As we went to lunch that day and we sat down to business, we started to have the conversation be more personal.
“Hey, I noticed you’re married with kids,” the investor said. “Tell me about that.”
My face lit up. “Yeah! I’m married to the love of my life with two kids, a son and a daughter. They mean everything to me.”
Then the investor said, “How to they fit on your priority scale?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I’ve worked with a lot of CEOs, and I just don’t believe that you can be a successful CEO and a great dad. You’ve got to choose one or the other.”
Startup Nation, what would you do in this situation? Think about it. You’re trying to grow your company. Here’s a person who could literally inject millions of dollars into your dream project.
You could take the money. Your family’s your own business, right? Or you could convince the investor that your company is more important than your family. Can’t both sides win? One little concession could save your business, lift your family into a new tax bracket, send your kids to a good school, score you that Mercedes you’ve always wanted, etc. etc.
Here’s what Brock did.
As I sat there at lunch thinking about this guy, I just had this pit in my stomach. I just realized, “I don’t believe that at all!”
It rubbed me in such a bad way that I told him at the end of the day, “I appreciate you willing to give us an offer.” At the time it was a big deal to the company. “But," I said, "I just don’t think it’s the right fit.”
Ever since that day, it was this moment in my life where I set off to prove that guy wrong. I believe you can be a great CEO and a great dad. I’m extremely passionate about entrepreneurship and the family. I’m not a great CEO or a great dad yet, but I’m aspiring, and I believe it can be done. It’s something I’m quite passionate about.
What's most important to you?
In the end, Brock turned the investor down.
He didn’t compromise on his values.
If an investor says you have to choose between being a CEO and being a parent, run. Run far away. You can’t win that argument. You don’t want that kind of person pulling the strings behind the scenes. Allowing a person with that mindset into your business will impact board meetings, company priorities, and long-term strategies. Sooner or later you will start making compromises.
I'm going to say it to you straight. Stand strong. Don’t compromise.
Hopefully this story encourages you to hold fast to your priorities. But what’s easy to see in hindsight isn’t always easy to see in the moment.
If you’re facing a similar situation to Brock's and need someone to talk to, jump on a Spiritual Clarity Call with me. As a spiritual life coach, I can help you realize what truly matters in life. A 45 minute call today could save you years of heartache.
To listen to Brock Blake’s full Your First 100k Podcast episode, head to this link.
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About Joseph Warren
Joseph Warren is a Christian Speaker, Podcast Host and Spiritual Coach. Joseph Warren offers Spiritual Coaching to Christian Business Owners who somehow find themselves in a spiritual rut. In just 90 days, he helps them avoid expensive divorces, break free from addiction, restore broken family relationships, and start living their Higher Purpose!