Lies Entrepreneurs Tell Themselves with Casey Graham

I used to think that I had to grow a business as big as possible to be successful. Turns out you don't have to build a huge company to create the lifestyle you want.

Lies Entrepreneurs Tell Themselves with Casey Graham

My guest today on The Portfolio Life, was instrumental in helping me discover this life-altering truth. Casey Graham has always been an entrepreneur. At age seven, he landed a customer who paid him seven dollars a week to pull weeds. At age 13, he cut grass for a man who taught him to play the guitar and invest in mutual funds.

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In college, Casey started a business to load out sorority girls' furniture, hold it for the summer, and load them back when the new semester started. Not only did he find lots of willing dads to pay him for his service (and save their backs), but he also found himself a wife.

After college, he became a pastor and started a church in Atlanta. Over the next five years, Casey got married, had kids, and left the church to start a financial education business for churches. He jumped in his truck, strapped in his curriculum, and knocked on church doors to sell them his guide. They said no.

People at conferences said yes, and his sales grew by word of mouth. Casey was successful, but learned he didn't want to spend his nights and weekends away from his family teaching people about money. That led him to explore businesses that didn't require his physical presence; ones that created residual income.

Don't build something you don't want to run!

Casey Graham

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Within 90 days of switching to a bookkeeping company, he had 45 clients paying $500 a month for his services. Casey brought in a business partner who took the company from $80,000 in the bank to $80,000 in debt. Forced to take drastic measures, he fired everyone, outsourced the work, and then sold the company.

Next, Casey started The Rocket Company. This experience taught him what running a company was all about and how different efforts work together in an organized structure. Within this success, Casey started gleaning emotional stability from his company's performance, his team's respect, and his reputation as a businessman.

He sold Rocket and made a lot of money. But he lost the external things that made him happy: his community, his sense of purpose, his identity, and his structure of time. During his time of greatest financial success, he felt most empty.

We don't need more opportunity, we need to capitalize on the opportunities we already have.

Casey Graham

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Feeling lost, Casey searched for emerging business trends and settled on an uncomplicated business that helped other companies make money: Gravy Payment Recovery. That's what he's doing now, and he's finally living the life he wants with a healthy relationship between work, family, and identity.

Show highlights

  • How did he almost lose his life to save a business?
  • How not having a schedule is crippling.
  • What advice would he give to himself as a teenager and young adult?

How the first 100 days determine customer satisfaction

  • Customers expect competent, reliable, and responsive service.
  • Surprise and personalization solidifies the relationship.
  • Create a unique customer experience and people will share it with the world.

How to determine the right business for yourself

  • Slow down, be alone, and figure out what you want.
  • Don't know what to do? Make a list of things you know you don't want to do.
  • Have rhythm and make intentional decisions.


Have you made a list of things you know you don't want to do? Let me know in the comments.