Jul 8, 2024

166: Finding the Right Buyer for Your Legacy, Markus Kaulius

From humble beginnings to founding Magnum Nutraceuticals, Markus Kaulius shares the saga of transforming a passion into a $170 million empire with Laurie Barkman, The Business Transition SherpaⓇ.


Discover the pivotal moment when Markus transitioned from operator to visionary owner, crafting a culture of empowerment and resilience.


Finding the right buyer is relevant in the public markets and privately-held companies. A key takeaway for growth through acquisition is to focus on targets with predictable cash flows that fit your areas of expertise and focus on integration early in the process. 


Listen in to learn more about:

  • The importance of strategic fit between acquiring and acquired businesses for deal success. 

  • Keeping founders involved post-acquisition to aid in cultural integration and knowledge transfer.  

  • How established acquisition playbooks can help larger companies smoothly integrate new businesses.

  • The risks of extrapolating short-term performance without considering changes to macro factors that could impact growth.

  • Vetting potential acquirers’ track records of retaining staff, culture and independence of past deals to find the best buyer.


Find Markus Kaulius Here: 


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Learn more about the Endgame Entrepreneurship Masterclass and build with your exit in mind. 



My Links:

🌐 Website: https://TheBusinessTransitionSherpa.com

⏰️ Meet With Laurie: https://thebusinesstransitionsherpa.com/connect/



Get a free digital copy of “The Business Transition Handbook: How To Avoid Succession Pitfalls and Create Valuable Exit Options” by author Laurie Barkman: 



Laurie Barkman – 00:00:00:

Markus welcome to Succession Stories. We talked off air for a bit, a couple of times. And what struck me when we met was not only your story and how compelling your story is, but something you said, which is, it isn’t about being a business owner for you. It was about being the owner of a business. And I think that’s a core part of your success and something I talk about with my clients that they should aspire to do. So I’m so excited to be with you and talk about all of your learnings related to that.

Markus Kaulius – 00:00:34:

Laurie, I’m so excited to be here. Thank you for this opportunity. I’m excited to just give some actionable advice today. And let’s take a deep dive. Let’s have some fun together today.

Laurie Barkman – 00:00:46:

Let’s do that. So why don’t we start with the business? What was the business? You were the founder. How did you get into it?

Markus Kaulius – 00:00:54:

So this is January 17th of 2005. I started my biggest business up until that date. And it was called Magnum Nutraceuticals. It was a sports nutrition company. I loved sports nutrition. I really followed my passion. And I really believed and listened and obeyed and took action on the books that I was reading. The Tony Robbins teaching me, follow your passion. Start a business that you’re so excited about. So before that, I was running, I had three supplement stores. And before that, I was selling supplements out of my bedroom. I was, I am like the true small businessman who took one small step, small step, small step, and just kept moving forward. But Magnum, when I started in 2005, this, I knew this was my vehicle. I knew this was the big one. I loved it. I sold supplements. I sold health. I helped people get healthier and happier and experience more out of their lives through fitness. And then 18 and a half years later, I felt called, compelled to move on, to start my next chapter. And in doing that, I got to sell my business. And man, was it an unreal experience. It was so much fun. Now, of course, there’s tons of stress. I don’t want to pretend like everything was so perfect, Laurie. Perfect exit, of course not. But what excited me about the process, I knew as I was taking every stressful step and losing sleep sometimes, I was saying to myself, this is part of my story. And this moment, every one of these things that I’m going through, everything that I’m learning is going to be to help the next person who’s going to sell, who’s going to experience this type of stress and these challenges, but might not go through it so well. And I’ll be so excited to be on their team, to be in their corner and to help them through it.

Laurie Barkman – 00:02:56:

Let’s rewind just a bit because 18 years is a long period of time. What is that saying that you were an overnight success? It just took 18 years, right? Everybody can say that, I think. We all feel that way. And it is a long path as an entrepreneur. You clearly had the stamina and you had a success trajectory to get as far as you did. So just take us a little bit along the way with you. You built a team, I would imagine. At your peak, how big was the company?

Markus Kaulius – 00:03:26:

You know, I ran such a lean, mean team. It’s true. Like I look for really great high achievers. And I think that’s so important. I think that’s something that’s overlooked. I think people talk about how do you hire? Who should I hire? But so often, and I did this for so many years as an entrepreneur, I hired out of desperation. Like I need somebody right now. There’s a body with some life in it, come on in. But when I got smart, I started hiring for skill and people who I wanted to be around, who would fit properly. So at our peak, we were around 30 employees. And when people hear the numbers that we were doing, they were like, you got to be kidding. You are running with 30 people. And I loved that. I mean, that was a source of pride, too. And I always shared that with my team because I knew these people were working their butts off. And I hope they felt like they were being compensated properly and learning the learning that we had to do because everybody was carrying way more weight than they were used to carrying. But yeah, it was a real fast forward through those 18 and a half years, wasn’t it?

Laurie Barkman – 00:04:38:

Absolutely. Yeah. So let’s just talk a bit about the business model. So you were selling supplements. Was this wholesale, retail, both?

Markus Kaulius – 00:04:46:

Yeah, mostly two retailers, so wholesale. And we were selling into over 100 countries worldwide. So today, I’m magnum in something like 120 countries across the planet. And that was really exciting for me. I mean, one of my favorite things was to see our labels in Portuguese or Russian. That was before there was trade embargoes, by the way. Or, you know, just in all these different countries. And I thought that was so cool. And I would, especially with the social media, people reaching out to me from countries all over the planet going, your product changed my life. Man, that excites me.

Laurie Barkman – 00:05:24:

Yes. I think for anyone who might be curious to see your photos, I got to say they really probably did help not only give you a great brand identity with your company, but wow, right? I was really impressed. I’m going to come back to that when it comes to the sale and sort of separating that identity. But for now, you built a brand, you built an identity, you were the face of the company in a lot of ways, right? In terms of the physique and the lifestyle and your stories you shared, I think I saw on one of the websites. Your workout routine, you know, and how many hours a day you’re in the gym and all the things that you eat or don’t eat and you put it all out there. And you had a team of 30 people. I think I read two, correct me if I’m wrong, from a revenue standpoint, again, this is maybe at your peak, 170 million in revenue. Is that right?

Markus Kaulius – 00:06:19:

Talk about the number that I love sharing with people is that we went from zero to 170 million in global sales of Magnum Nutraceuticals. That was-

Laurie Barkman – 00:06:30:


Markus Kaulius – 00:06:31:


Laurie Barkman – 00:06:32:

That is an amazing feat. And so e-commerce was a big part of that. And you built a scalable business. Let’s talk about building a scalable business for a minute, because a lot of folks want that. You know, it’s the ideal, right? Or can we, we can’t all be Netflix where we have a recurring revenue type of business model. But I’m guessing there was something inherent in your business model, or perhaps you had subscriptions or some mechanism for reorder. Is that true?

Markus Kaulius – 00:07:02:

You know, it’s wild. Laurie, I love this line of questioning, by the way, because I think we’re about to get onto something that plagues most entrepreneurs. And this was a true turning point in my business is where I had to start realizing that if it’s just on my shoulders, meaning, hey, all the hard decisions. No, no, no. That has to go through me. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Everybody talks to me, but hold on. Then we are capped at what market’s is capable of. And with all due respect to all the brilliant entrepreneurs listening right now, that is a small mindset and a small cap. And as soon as I started empowering the people around me, which meant I had to have the right people around me and then empowered them. And I would love to talk about empowerment in a moment, but that was the major turning point. Because when you talk about scalability, well, there is no scaling Markus Kaulius. Markus Kaulius is a finite man who can only handle so much, but a team. Ooh, now we’re talking scale. And I think this is a big moment for a lot of entrepreneurs to say to themselves, hey, I can’t do this all on my own. I have to give up some power to have the people around me make these big decisions and one of the greatest piece of advice, I received, or I learned during that time was recognizing that I will make mistakes. Meaning if I’m going to empower all these other people to make those big decisions, I have to accept that they will make mistakes. So not to go you have one chance and you better not screw it up and if they make a mistake, yank the power from them. No, there’s no empowerment there, and there’s no growth there. So I talked to them and I said, listen, you will make mistakes. I want you to do your best not to and research and make the plan and study which way are we going and then commit to it. And if you make a mistake, you show me what you learned. Don’t point fingers. You start pointing fingers at other people. That means you learned nothing. But if you take ownership of it, show me that you learned, I will give you even more power to make the next decisions.

Laurie Barkman – 00:09:21:

At what point in that 18-year span did that turning point happen that you surrounded yourself with not just yes people and people who were coming to you to make the decisions and put out fires? Was it half the way through or more like three quarters of the way through?

Markus Kaulius – 00:09:38:

Laurie, I love that you’re asking this question because it shows how human I am. It was like 15 years in. Yes. I was so slow to learn that lesson, beating my head against a wall, wondering why we weren’t growing. And then finally everything turned around when I started to empower.

Laurie Barkman – 00:09:59:

Amazing. Do you think that the sales inflection and profitability inflection happened around that time also?

Markus Kaulius – 00:10:05:

No question. The sales started going up. But what’s most exciting to me about that is it opened up my life to do more. It was at that point where I started to become more than just the business owner. But I got to be more of an investor in other people, in other businesses, in other entrepreneurs. I started seeing opportunities out there. I started to get to go on vacation for more than just seven days at a time. How many entrepreneurs feel that one? Like what? Seven days max. And my phone’s ringing nonstop. And I’m horrified that the building is burning down. Yeah, I went on my first trip for over three weeks. And I was like, oh, I’m hooked. Oh, now I’m on the right path. And then ultimately, it led to me having an exit because I felt like, hey, I’m not so necessary here. There is an opportunity for me to take a step all the way back.

Laurie Barkman – 00:11:02:

Yeah, it’s a great point. It’s not just taking the time, but it’s the quality of the time when you’re away from the office that you can truly unplug. I’ve got a few assessments that I use with clients. And one of them is this business readiness assessment. One of the questions is this question, when was the last time you took a vacation? And when you did take a vacation, did you truly unplug? And it sounds like for you, that was an evolution that the answer wasn’t always, yeah, I did unplug. I’m sure your family appreciated that you were able to focus more time on them and with them and be more present. That’s so difficult for many owners to truly separate. And your story is spotlighting exactly how I introduced you. What do you believe is the difference between a business owner and the owner of a business?

Markus Kaulius – 00:11:50:

Oh, so I love this line of questioning. And, you know, this was actually a big question for me that Tony Robbins asked me. And he really challenged me. And man, what he said is, Markus are you a business owner or a business operator? And the litmus test was truly talking about that vacation. If you go away, are you worried nonstop that the building is going to burn down? Do you have to be checking your phone, your emails constantly? And the truth was, yeah, I was a business operator, even though I wanted to be an owner. And I want to say this. If you are a business operator and what I’m about to say, you go, yeah, that’s me. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as you know it and you’re okay with it. For me, I was not okay with it. I wanted to be a business owner. But in every way, I was an operator. And what it actually meant to me is I was in prison. Because what that means is I couldn’t go away. I couldn’t leave the phone. I couldn’t do these things. So I put up these walls around me to trap me in. Now, for those of you who are there and you’re going, oh, no, am I in prison too? Some of us like that prison. For years, I loved it. You’ve got all the toys. You’ve got money. You’ve got a great salary. But, yeah, you’ve got to show up every day and lock yourself in the prison. So when Tony asked me that question, that’s when my mind started to open up and say, well, I’m not going to be a prisoner anymore. So if I need to get out of prison. What will that look like? What will I have to do? What steps will I have to take? What habits will I have to create? What habits will I have to drop? To get myself out. And that’s what happened. And then the doors opened up and I was free to go. And man, has my life been amazing ever since. And it really excites me to help others discover exactly this because there’s so much freedom. There’s so much peace. There’s so much joy. There’s so much bliss. There’s better sleep at night. There’s more connectivity. There’s more presence. There’s so much glory in this next stage. It’s not for everybody. But if it’s for you, man, if there’s anything I can do to help serve you and get you through this, I’ll be excited to be part of that with you.

Laurie Barkman – 00:14:05:

And I think sharing your story is a big part of that, Markus A couple of words you mentioned I just want to double click on because they’re making me laugh. In the same, call them sentence, we talked about prison and we talked about freedom. And for many business owners, they are working in the business, right? They are the operator. And so what I like to ask them is, is your company an asset or is it a job? And everything you described about that feeling of being so controlled by your company and you’re tethered, right? It feels like prison. That’s the J-O-B, right? You got to show up. You got to go to work. You got to put food on the table and keep the lights on, not only for your family, but for all your employees. And it’s that huge weight on an entrepreneur owner’s shoulders that begins to sort of feel crushing over time. But when we can be a little more arm’s length and we’re operating it as an asset. What is it that we want our assets to do? We want our assets to increase in value. So let me ask you this. At the 15 year mark, you’ve got this team, you’re starting to really grow. At what point? Did you determine what your asset was worth? How did you know?

Markus Kaulius – 00:15:17:

Oh, man, this is so good. By the way, Laurie such wisdom you just dropped. Everybody, rewind this back two minutes. Re-listen to what Laurie just said. It is so good and so valuable. And these are critical questions to be asking yourself as an entrepreneur. There’s not a right or wrong answer here. But just as long as you know and you’re good with your choice, your path. So for me, yeah, I was able to put a value on that business at 15 years. But here was the biggest problem. The value went down dramatically if you remove Markus from the equation. Because just like you said, I was the business. And I heard that literally almost every single day. No, Markus you are the business. You are Magnum. Look at the boxes. Look at the ads. You are there. You are. It is Markus. People would sometimes call me Magnum accidentally thinking that was me. And I know there’s so many entrepreneurs going, oh my goodness, that’s me. Everybody knows that I’m this guy. I’m the air conditioning guy. I’m the locksmith guy. And again, that’s fine as long as you are good with it. And just having that conversation with yourself, going through these questions, if you’re good with it, you’re going to actually go, actually, I feel great with that. There’s nothing wrong with that. For the first 10, 12 years, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I loved it. You go ahead and call me Magnum. I am Magnum. I wanted it. But then there was a turning point for me. And so it’s good to check in on this every couple of years to go, am I still good with it? Because we age. We change our priorities. We might want to start a new chapter in our lives. And that was so important to me. I wanted to try a new adventure. You know, I find myself, I’m reminded when I was an actor when I was younger, I loved acting. I loved being on stage. I loved being on camera. And for me, it’s like playing the same role every day for 20 years. And yeah, it was a huge hit. The TV series went crazy. And everybody knew me as that character. But I’m like, you know what? Tired of playing a cop. I want to be a robber for a while. Or I want to be a doctor or a lawyer. And that was, for me, this new chapter. I’m like, you know what? I’m going to try something totally different. And that excites me so much, too, because it’s like the world is so open to me for whatever I want out of it next. And I will be successful because I’m going to put all of my heart, all of my soul, and everything I’ve learned for the last 25 years into whatever I do next.

Laurie Barkman – 00:18:03:

Amazing. Identity is definitely part of your narrative, right? It was your picture on the box and everybody’s, you know, they were calling you Magnus or Magnum, excuse me, my son’s middle name is Magnus. So that’s what I was thinking. And by the way, and if anyone wants to Google, what does Magnum mean? It means strong, you know, it’s a very strong word and that’s what it means at its core. So you were producing, you know, healthy bodies, healthy spirits through the business and for you and your team. Now you’ve reached a point in your story where you’re telling us, Hey, at around 15 years, I’m feeling a pivot here, right? Business taking off. I’ve got a great team. I’m starting to feel like I can spend a little more time out of the office, more time on the business, not in the business. So here’s the question. Here’s the big question. How did you then think about selling? Did you approach buyers? Did they approach you? How did that all happen?

Markus Kaulius – 00:18:59:

This is good. This is good line of questioning right here, because I think a lot of entrepreneurs are perking up right now. I had a brokerage that had been sending me really impressive magazines every month for the last three to five years. And I was really impressed with them. And I’m one of those guys who really respects businesses who goes above and beyond. And this magazine that they produced, it was good quality. Like it was a good quality magazine with really good insight into being a small businessman. And once in a while I’d flip through and I’d read the article. So when my mind said, hey, what if you were to sell? I immediately thought of this company. I was like, I’m just going to reach out to them and find out what they do. And then I had some conversations with their bigwigs and they were like, we would love to work with you. And what we do is we have a group of buyers and they had, I don’t remember the number, but 6,000 qualified investors and buyers, and I was like, oh, that’s awesome. And then they explained to me, here’s how it would go. We would do this deep audit into your company. We’d help prepare the books. We’d prepare the company for a sale. And we’d learn from you, who would you want to sell it to? Now, some people are like, I don’t care. Just get me money. I was different because I’m like, this is my baby. This is my culture. I want this to be my legacy if possible. If God willing, Magnum’s going to be around for 25. Hundred more years. So we had these big conversations and then they started to whittle down the list and they’re like, we’re going to start making introductions. And then I was having these, like, they were like eliminates. They were dates on, on zoom with the potential buyers. And what was really cool. I mean, I had a lot of suitors. I actually had quite a few offers. The man who ended up buying, he, he stood out for sure, but we had a couple of other offers at the same time. And it just taught me so much about who do I want to sell to. And that in itself was so exciting.

Laurie Barkman – 00:21:02:

How did you think about that? How did you think about best fit?

Markus Kaulius – 00:21:06:

One, I knew I didn’t want to just sell to some VC. And with all due respect to the VCs out there, I just felt like they’re going to buy it without heart. And Magnum was all heart, was all love. And I knew also for the longevity of the business, I didn’t have any confidence in that. You can’t go from all heart to like, hey, we’re just making business decisions. Like to me, I saw two to three years and Magnum’s gone if things didn’t line up well, which if I was a betting man, I’d go, no, they’re not going to line up well. So I found somebody who was like, no, I want to take what you’ve done and I want to take it to the next level. Essentially what I was offering is, this company was in amazing shape, always growing. Everything was spectacular, but you’ve got an owner who’s not interested in running and call it exhaustion or whatever you want or fatigue. But I was done my journey there and someone came along, Bill came along and he said, listen, I would love to take the baton and I’m ready to sprint. So give it to me. And that’s what happened.

Laurie Barkman – 00:22:16:

Did he want to run it as an operator like you were?

Markus Kaulius – 00:22:20:

Yes, and he has. So it actually was a year just two days ago, or yesterday was one year since I sold and six months since I’ve been hands off. So it’s awesome. And he just told me about some huge new plans. There’s a chance that Magnum’s going to triple, quadruple, and 10x real soon. And that excites me so much.

Laurie Barkman – 00:22:45:

Yeah. Congratulations on that anniversary. That’s a nice milestone. Tell me a little bit about the transaction. I can’t go into too much detail to reveal confidential information, but just, you know, from a structure standpoint, was this an asset sale? Was it an entity sale?

Markus Kaulius – 00:22:58:

Oh yeah. This is great. And this is where I’m going to encourage everybody to talk to other people who’ve sold businesses, talk to mentors, talk to other businessmen who you respect. It was, it was unique. Yeah. We, we, we went through a whole bunch of different angles and how we actually ended up structuring it was, I don’t want to say it was complicated. I don’t think anybody would say it was easy. Uh, but like there were different types of loan structuring, payback structuring, the works, like everything went into this. And one of the things that both Bill and I do when we’re in negotiations and when we’re having these conversations, this is how I like to do business. I like to lay my cards out on the table and go, hey, can we find a win-win? And there will be, there were times where Bill was like, well, I need this. What can I give you in return? And I say, okay, I’ll give you that in return though. I would need this. And you just massage it. I’m not the kind of guy who likes to go in and be like, like butt heads. And I need to win. The only way this is going to be a win is if I win. I’m a big fan of a win-win situation. That’s not for everybody, but that’s, that’s my style.

Laurie Barkman – 00:24:13:

And so was it important to you to have a pretty sizable percentage of the purchase price cash at close? Was there more put into an earn out that was paid over time? Can you share any of those transaction structure elements?

Markus Kaulius – 00:24:31:

Yeah, absolutely. And again, this is where I would encourage people if they’re going down this road, increase communication. Because we just communicated everything to Bill. I’m like, I need this much up front. I need it. I need it to pay off this and to go and do this because I want to do this next. And I’ve got this going on. So this is the number I need. How can you get me here? And sometimes it just took some massaging to say, okay, I can get you there, but you need to compromise over here. And then we just had that communication. I think it’s really hard for people who are just guarding their cards so tight and is like, oh, okay. And there’s a sneakiness. I’ve negotiated with a lot of people with that kind of sneakiness. I just don’t have that comfort level. And I always feel, you know, it reminds me of buying cars back in the day where you’re like, I know you’re screwing me over. I know it. And even if I walk away with the price I’m happy with, I feel like you still screwed me over somehow. So I’m a big fan of just being like, hey, can we put our cards on the table and have a discussion?

Laurie Barkman – 00:25:38:

Key takeaways I’m hearing from that was one, you had a sense of what your company was worth. You knew what you needed from a walkaway number and you had a number of suitors. So you were in a good position because you’re BATNA, right? Your best alternative to a negotiated agreement. You could have walked away and you could have gone to another suitor, hopefully with as competitive of an offer or maybe even better. I often hear on this show and from clients and just the anecdotal data is out there that the winning bidder isn’t always the highest bidder. So it sounds like that you found a lot of common ground with Bill. He liked what he saw in terms of the total package and you liked what you saw in him from a next, call it the next generation leader. It’s not an age comment. It’s just more of that baton, the baton handoff comment. So again, back to the fit, he was really a good fit for what you were looking for in the business. And also it strikes me that just to talk about the process for a second, because for me, as a intermediary broker, whatever we want to call the role, someone who makes introductions for buyers and sellers, in your story, they made the introductions, which was great. And they let you guys kind of take it from there. Now, maybe they were helping from the side. I’m sure they were. But that’s another mechanism of finding the win-win because you were at the table with Bill, across the table with Bill. And then eventually you’re on the same side of the table with Bill, probably didn’t feel like it was so much of a negotiation as opposed to refinement. Let’s get to the right paper. Let’s just paper this thing and let’s move on. So I really liked that about your story. You’ve alluded, Markus a couple of times about the life you want to lead after you left your company. And you probably started thinking that way even before it was your last day at work. So I want to talk about legacy. I want to talk about how you determine the legacy that you want to leave for Magnum. And then also how you are creating that now, especially with the launch of your new book, which we want to talk about called Play a Bigger Game. And everybody should grab a copy of it. So yeah, just talk about legacy.

Markus Kaulius – 00:27:48:

Thank you, Laurie. I felt called to write this book. I truly, I felt God say, you’re going to write your story now. I’m so excited to share this with the world. That’s the book, by the way, Play a Bigger Game. And it’s the seven universal principles to experience true fulfillment and to win at life. And we didn’t talk too much about my backstory, but man, the first 15 years of my life, I couldn’t get a single win. I felt so stuck in a crappy life where winning felt impossible. And I know there’s so many people listening right now who that resonates with. And I want you to know that if you pick up this book and you read it, and you actually do the challenges that I give you, because I give you truly actionable advice because without action, nothing is going to change in our lives. So I go through everything I did, the mindset techniques, the perspective shifts to change my life rapidly. But then I ask you to do these challenges. You have to take action on this stuff. If you take this action, your life will change. And that excites me so much because I love helping people make the changes they want to change, live the life they want to live and succeed and win at life. And I mean, in all areas, this isn’t just about finances, man, you can have all the finances in the world, but if your health is crumbling, if your relationships are failing, you are not going to feel successful. You will feel the opposite. So I just want people to appreciate and understand that if they go into this, you’re going to be radically changing your whole life. And I want to be on your team. I’m on your side. Reach out to me, reach out to me on social media, reach out to me at playbiggergame.com. And I want to be your cheerleader. I want to support you. If I can mentor you somehow, I would love to do that. That’s part of who I am. That’s my DNA. And that’s my legacy. Is- I’m here to help the next generation of entrepreneurs. And again, just like you said, Laurie, this isn’t an age thing, but it’s that whoever’s coming up next in the entrepreneurial field, I’d love to support you. I’d love to help shine light on the path that you’re on, that I might be a little bit further along and I can show you what steps to take, how to avoid some of the pitfalls. And man, that’s how people get ahead much faster. And one thing I want to mention about the book, it is available right now for a pre-sale and it’s on Barnes and Noble and amazon.com and all those. But if you do buy a copy, go to playabiggergame.com/book, register the book. I’m going to give you some freebies, but I’m also going to give you some big opportunities to win trips to LA. We, I’ve got a big conference in July of 2024 to launch the book, but I’m bringing out some amazing speakers. It will be a life changing day. If that interests you reach out to me, let me know. Let me know on social media. If you found me here, if there was something that clicked with you. I just want to be.

Laurie Barkman – 00:30:58:

It’s exciting. You’ve got so much passion around your experience and how you want to share it. And you’re creating a whole movement, which I love. It’s one of the things that I try to do is help entrepreneurs on their journey, right? Because we know this is hard. You haven’t built your business by yourself, and you’re certainly not going to transition your business by yourself. And a big part of today’s conversation, just to spotlight it for a sec, it’s been about building value, right? And building value, it’s also been about letting go. And the personal identity shifts that you’ve had, the business transition shifts that you’ve had, amazing experience. You’ve given us a number of ways to reach out to you, which I very, very appreciate. So we’ll make sure to put that in the show notes. Markus, I ask everyone if they have a favorite quote or something that inspires them about entrepreneurship. I’m sure you have many quotes. Is there anything top of mind that you’d share?

Markus Kaulius – 00:31:51:

It’s so funny because you caught me at such a special moment. There’s so many quotes that I’ve got, by the way, in the book. So I’m just going to pull up. I’m going to pull up one of my favorites real quick here. By the way, Laurie, will you share yours? I know you ask this all the time, but I bet very rarely does someone say, Laurie?

Laurie Barkman – 00:32:13:

That is true. People really ask me. I find myself quoting “Begin with the end in mind” a lot, which is a Stephen Covey reference. And a Lily Tomlin quote, if we all appreciate Lily Tomlin, the comedian. “The road to success is often unpaved”

Markus Kaulius – 00:32:33:

So good.

Laurie Barkman – 00:32:36:

So it’s about the journey, right? And I think for those of us who are trying to quote unquote, figure it out. We’re not going to have all the answers. It’s okay. Actually, you know what? Fun fact. The number one by volume. When I ask everybody, now at the time of this recording, I’ve released 154 episodes. I’ve recorded probably 160. The number one quote. Do you have any guesses as to what people have said to me, what their favorite inspirational quote is?

Markus Kaulius – 00:33:10:

Going to be one of the typical ones. It’s going to be obvious once you’ve said it, please.

Laurie Barkman – 00:33:14:

Yeah, yeah. It’s not the real name of it. The speech was not this name, but if you Google it, you’ll find it. It’s called The Man in the Arena. By Teddy Roosevelt, one of the American presidents. And it’s a favorite of entrepreneurs. And it’s basically about being the man in the arena means rolling up your sleeves, getting punched. You know, getting kicked. But you’re doing the hard work of the hard work. And critics be damned. That’s the number one people tell me. Isn’t that amazing? Doesn’t that say something about entrepreneurial experience?

Markus Kaulius – 00:33:46:

Truly. And that is the entrepreneurial experience, isn’t it? So I remembered, it’s funny, it’s not even the quote that I was pulling up in the book, but my favorite quote right now is from Rory Vaden. And it encapsulates what I’m doing with my life right now. You are most powerfully positioned to help the person you once were. And I love that because everybody has a backstory. And so many of us think that the stuff in our backstory, the baggage, the negative stuff, the sad stuff is what disqualifies us from getting ahead, from being successful, from being a mentor, from helping others. But the truth is, it’s that stuff that actually helps us to be helpful the most. Because there’s other people going through the exact same stuff. We all think our. Baggage, our crap is unique to us. And it’s not so many people are going through it, but so many people won’t go through it as well as you are going through it. So chin up, shoulders back and say, Hey, I went through this. I’m owning it. Has anyone else gone through this stuff and is struggling? I can help. Maybe even if I’m just one step ahead of you, I can go, hey, the next step, this is how it works. This is the trickiest part. And I love that. And it gives me that strength to own my backstory, own the garbage in my life to go. There are a lot of people who dealt with the same stuff and maybe some people dealt with it way better than I did, but I know I love it. I love my backstory because it made me who I am today.

Laurie Barkman – 00:35:26:

Yeah, and you own it and you’re owning your future in such an exciting way. Markus we’ve covered a lot of ground. I want to summarize a little bit. What are two to three things? You want every entrepreneur listening to this episode to take away.

Markus Kaulius – 00:35:44:

Number one is my favorite to always talk about. Take action. You know, especially there’s entrepreneurs who’ve been in the entrepreneurial business for a long time. And I know what that’s like. Fear gets to creep in. And the fear of loss, the fear of shrinking, the fear of I’m not doing what I should be doing anymore. And that fear will put you on the wrong path. And you have to go back to how you had it when you first started, which was this abundance mindset to go. I can do it. I will do it. I can do better. I can grow more. So if you keep taking action every day and taking action just means. Grow a little bit each day. Listen to great podcasts like this one. Read some books. Spend some time with people smarter than you. Have some big conversation. Ask some big questions. Take action. Stop delaying. Start going. Start moving forward. And own your junk. Own your garbage. Be authentically you. It’s what makes you authentically you. It’s what makes you so valuable to this world. And so many people need you to be you so that you can help them get ahead and get through their crap and recognize that their crap is what makes them awesome.

Laurie Barkman – 00:37:04:

Love it. Love it. Markus thank you so much for coming on Succession Stories and sharing your succession story.

Markus Kaulius – 00:37:11:

Laurie you are awesome. Thank you for all that you do. I have no doubt you change so many people’s lives. I’m so grateful for you. One last gift I want to give you is this. Everybody listening, please just take one minute, go give this podcast five-star review. It makes a big difference to how many people are going to see it. It makes a big difference to Laurie Laurie works so hard for us. She puts in so much effort and time and love and passion. The least we can do is just give her one minute of our time.

Laurie Barkman – 00:37:40:

Thank you so much. That’s awesome. To our listeners, thank you so much for joining us once again on Succession Stories. Be sure to visit us at thebusinesstransitionsherpa.com to sign up for our newsletter. And this is where you get all the goodies for the podcast, my book, and my new course that is launching soon. So tune in next time for more insights from transition to transaction on Succession Stories.


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The Business Transition Handbook

The Business Transition Handbook

Preparing owners to navigate the emotional and practical nature of the transition process so you can exit on your terms and avoid succession regrets.

“A game changer to help you win in your exit and in life.”


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