I’m very big on, if it’s your first business, do a service-based business. Yes. Like it’s the lowest risk. You just sell your time cuz you either got time or money. Yep. If you need money, go sell your time. You learn so much. Because people that own re they open restaurants, right? Or they open these businesses, they need capital.
And that’s a high risk of failure. You don’t want that. And you started, I don’t know, your first business before, I’m assuming agency, but you wear every single hat. You fit every single role. You learn so much about business, even if you’re not a business owner. Order K once. Yeah. I remember forever my partner calling ’em canines.
I’m like, they’re not canines, they’re K one s, like the returns. Just things like that that you would. No.
Hi and welcome to the 91 Day Success podcast. Today we’ve got a real treat. I’m actually talking with Chris Ache from Grand Rapids, which believe it or not, I’m actually talking to somebody from the same town. It’s amazing. Chris and I have known each other for probably a little over a decade. We were just trying to figure out on the pre-call how long, but this’ll be an interesting conversation cuz Chris and I started as competi.
And doing very similar work for similar clients. And over the last 10 years or so, things have evolved a bit and I’m really excited to catch up with Chris because as we were chatting up front, I think Chris, the last time we talked was probably about eight years ago as you were moving offices. And then life happened to both of us.
And while we’ve stayed connected, we haven’t actually talked in a long time. So give us, if you would, the elevator pitch for everybody that’s making, who is Chris Aiken? What do you do? Give us the quick elevator. Yeah, I would say elevator pitch. Business owner, entrepreneur started my first company.
That’s how we met back in 2011. And we essentially designed mobile apps for small businesses. Started that my senior year of college. Never thought I wanted to be a business owner, and just kept building ever since that and opened many different companies invested in things like real estate, other businesses.
So I would just say overall entrepreneur. I’m on year, I believe, started 2011, so on year 12 going into it. So I have over a decade, but I’m also fairly young in my career. So just building and learning. But yeah, I would just say entrepreneur. Simple as that. Yeah, the best of so many worlds. I know Chris, when we got started, you were at the time running grand apps and like you said, creating apps for people.
And I know that was now a past chapter of yours. I know one of the things that you love to do nowadays is to talk about things like startups and business and investing entrepreneurship and software development. One of the things, I don’t know if you wanna start here or not, but I really want to talk about your software company sidekick and learn a bit more about that.
But I’d also love to hear some of the other things that we. To get us started though, if you would tell us a, you mentioned you started as a senior in college is when you started grand apps, and that real quick, how did you get into that? How did you grow it? And talk to us as much as you can about how did you then make an exit from that?
Yeah, so this was going into my senior year of college. I transferred, so I lost a semester, so I had the spring, the summer, and I had the. Going into my summer classes and my fall classes, I had no idea what I wanted to do. Senior, probably average, typical senior in college, no clue. And my professor made me read this article on Groupon, or basically it was like, you read this article and I read it and it was on Groupon.
So we fast forward, I call my buddy from my previous college. I was like, Hey, I have this idea. I want to build the group on for college kids. So we start building the. He actually gets a job at Groupon after he graduates and he says, Hey, I signed a non-compete. I can’t work on this project anymore. I was not a developer, so I asked him what to do and basically he referenced me to, it was like an Upwork, but back in the day, I forget what it was called, maybe Elance, I believe, something like that.
And so I hired this team out of India to finish up the. Going into that last semester, I thought that’s what I was gonna do. Ran outta cash. I was waiting tables and that’s when I met my first business partner and I would say more of a mentor. It was my last semester of college. He was doing something similar.
It was called Manly Deal, and I was doing un bubble and I met him, had coffee, and this guy was very smart. He was 27, owned his own chiropractic clinic. He had this startup running. So I basically said, Hey, I kinda had this going. I have no idea what I’m doing. Is there any way I could just work for you and help out in some way?
So I started at his startup. I did cold calls, basically just calling businesses around Grand Rapids, do you wanna join our daily deal site? Manly Deals, it’s like Groupon, but we target men. That’s our niche. And we tried to sell that. We saw the bubble coming and all these companies getting sold or just shutting down.
This was 2011. That winter, that fall and winter. So he came to me and said, Hey, what about mobile apps? At the time, Jonathan, I had a Blackberry. I was a lagger. I didn’t use Blackboard. Barely used anything technology related. Facebook was just coming online. Social media is in 2011 was almost nobody was using it.
Yep. Besides like college kids. So I just trusted him. He, again, he was like my mentor and I would say like a big brother. And I looked up to him being very smart in business. So I was like, Hey, let’s do an app company. So graduated, started an app company, knew nothing about apps, and just kept building that over time.
And then we actually sold, nine years later, two employees. One of ’em actually went to high school with, which was cool, Brandon Ross. So sold to him. But yeah, that’s how I started. I had no clue, like a lot of. Met some people, followed them and just tried to be helpful where I could until that opportunity came and just grew that until we, we exited in 2020
I love how you identified early on though, that you could learn from that mentor and you offered to work for him. I had similar start in the industry many years ago where I’m like, Hey, let me just work for you and learn and be a sponge and pay me whatever I’m worth, whatever value I bring. But man, the.
The value that I got of that, and not to dump on college, but I will cuz I, I don’t, I’m not a huge college fan. I learned so much more in the year and a half that I worked for, what would’ve become a competitor than what I learned in the four years of college. And the better thing is I made money while I was doing it.
It was just, it was like such an incredible way to learn and then get started. So I love the fact that you identified that and followed that same route. I think. Especially in the web world. I think there’s so much opportunity for that even today, and I’m sure you can relate. We see new college graduates coming to us and they want to get a job, and we start talking to ’em about the technologies that they know and the things they do.
And if they’re not working outside of college, unfortunately, they’re oftentimes working with things that we did five years ago and it’s, yeah, I haven’t seen that in, I don’t know how long. Yep. Very interesting. Were you, I’m curious, were you developer by trade when you got that opportunity or did you learn and fall into it?
No, I was actually sales and marketing, so that’s my background when I got into it. I loved the web because I saw it as this incredible marketing opportunity. I didn’t know anything about development. I learned self-taught myself Jum Lam many years ago just because I’d sold some sites and then I had to figure out how to deliver ’em.
And then obviously we migrated to other platforms and, and WordPress and things like that, as that became the 900 pound gorilla in the c m s world. Yeah. But no, I even to this day, I, I am not a developer at all. I love the sales and marketing side of it. See, I didn’t know that. I thought you were, I thought you were more technical.
I’m the same way. I’m not developer either. I, I looked. Probably like maybe you did, but I’m curious if you saw this. When we were growing grand apps, we had one person quit. That was pretty like crucial at the time. And we had a couple WordPress sites. We had we Photoshop for design. Yep. And we’re early on and bootstrapping and like I was broke and our company was new and I was freaking out and we had a couple projects we had to do.
So I started learning and, but I remember thinking this like very vividly, like how my path went and I would say business owner. I was like, I could probably learn how to code and build sites, but is that what I wanna do? Is that, is that what my skill is? And I just absolutely. I was right there. I was like, I’m no opposite way.
Just go with what I think I’m good at. But yeah, I was curious if that happened to you or. You made that very, yeah, very similar. So I started, I’d been in sales most of my life. I went to college to get an accounting degree because I thought I wanted to be a financial advisor. And by about the third semester I realized that I probably wasn’t cut out to do this very well.
I’m a lot older than you. So back then it was still, you finished college, you finished college. I attempted to do that. Didn’t, but that was one of the goals. And I got into sales cuz I loved sales. I love talking to people. I love helping them. To me, one of the biggest joys I get is helping people achieve the things that they want in life.
Zig Ziegler’s old quote, if you can help enough other people get what they want, then you can have whatever you want. And I love that from a sales and marketing perspective. And so that’s really where I got started. I did learn some things about development, but not because I wanted to. It was more like you said, in the early days, you don’t have any money, so you’re not paying people as well as you’d like.
You can’t get this quality. Staff As a general rule, we’ve had some people now that have been with us a long time, but the first couple years that wasn’t the case because we just couldn’t afford the the right pay. So if you got somebody great, they would leave shortly thereafter cuz they got a real offer and sometimes I had to learn it.
But yeah, like you, I said, look, I’d rather do the sales and marketing. I’d rather be the face of the company, help identify those opportunities, and then let our team do the delivery. I’ve always been involved in technical. Understanding what it does, but not necessarily knowing how to make it work, if that makes any sense.
Yeah. You gotta speak a little to lingo and somewhat understand it, right? Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Talk to me a little bit about your current, or at least one of your current ventures. I know you’ve got multiple irons in the fire, so to speak, but talk to me a little bit about Sidekick. I admit, I, I saw when you guys were starting it, when we booked this podcast.
I went out there and as I was looking at it to do some show prep here, I’m thinking, man, I, I need to sign up for this because this looks just amazing. Talk to us a little bit about it. Tell us about Sidekick and what it’s design and how that growth is going for you. Yeah, so. Again, we built apps for clients for almost a decade.
Websites, software, you name it. And me and one of my partners, we actually joined another agency, and this was probably about, as we were selling our company, we met another person who was in software. Yep. And he was building something. It was like, I would say it was like a 2.0, a next level of what we built and met him.
It was his. Basically what he wanted was he wanted to build an assistant that would read his emails and it would understand the context and it would book meetings for him. At the time, I actually had an assistant, and during this time when we started with him, we liked five act, his agency, because our biggest need was we needed technical fulfillment.
His biggest need was sales marketing opportunity, and it was just like matching rematch in heaven. Right? Yeah, for sure. It. I’ve always felt if we had a technical I’m that first company, we would’ve been way bigger. But it is what is you live and you learn, and so he’s getting busy and he’s, I wish there was something out there.
Cal’s Fine Doodle, HubSpot, you name it. All these, here’s my link tool. And so he started building this prototype. He brought it to me and. And I was like, that’s pretty slick. This is like 2019, I think like the end of it. And he’s typical engineer, like just he’ll go to the lab and just build things. He’ll come show you.
Yep, yep. He’s always looking for trends like chat GPTs all in now, but he is also really good. His name’s Nate. He’s like a unicorn because he could speak to clients and take very technical and break it down. That’s digestible, which I love about him. That’s very rare. Very. And. Again, he was like the unicorn I felt in one of the missing pieces.
So that’s when we started Kairos. But he brought this to my attention and I talked to us three. I said, guys, I don’t know about you, but I’ve always wanna have my own product to launch to the market. Hmm. I think it’d be pretty cool. And we kicked around the idea. This was like end of 2019. So we’re getting into 2020.
We all know it happened during 2020. Oh. And so we’re getting into it. We decide, hey, we’re gonna build this, we’re gonna make it a product. And we asked a couple people first, would you use this? Would you buy it before we just started building it. And so we actually started building the 1.0 V mvp, whatever you wanna call it, top of 2020.
And that’s when the world shut down, right in March. And clients said, We gotta put things on pause. I’m sure that happened to you as well. Oh yeah, absolutely. Nobody wants to spend mar money on marketing when they don’t know what’s happening. No one wants to do anything when they, the whole world shut.
Exactly. Yeah. We, no, we’ve never seen this. So yeah, those were interesting times. We actually did get the p p e and we kept everybody, because at the time we had staff of, I think it was only five, but we didn’t wanna let people go at Hiro. And a lot of projects were on pause, so we actually got the relief and we kept them, but we were sitting on idle and we’re like, what if we finish out this prototype?
So we finished it out and we launched it officially where it was like actually working. You could log in, which was a cool feeling like you could log your own product A to Z. Absolutely get it working. It’s live in the. That was like June and then we went on AppSumo in August, which is if people don’t know, like a, basically a big marketplace where they run deals and they have a huge email list, they blast out for you.
So we launched on that and we generated like a decent amount of sales, I think nine K lifetime deals. We got couple hundred people that that bought this and got on it, and that was kinda like the first, I would say, validation. Okay. This is a. And then since then we’ve just been building it. We bootstrapped a lot of it.
We got one investor who’s a friend of mine and I went to college with angel investor, very small seed round. We bootstrapped everything and we, it’s our first product, so it’s not a smashing success. Kairos is a bigger company, but it was our first one that we launched and we learned a ton and we felt too, if we’re gonna be building software for clients, it might be good for us to build our own.
We made every mistake. We overbuilt, we overspent, we had to rip things out, you name it. So now while we’re talking to clients, we could actually give them better advice. It’s like you, if you’re marketing for a client, you should probably be marketing too. Absolutely. Versus telling them how to market when you’re not doing it either.
So yeah, that was kind of the start of it. Again, we’re just building on it and bootstrapping it and just seeing where it. That’s awesome. From what I was reading it, it looks like in many ways it compares to some of the more popular tools like Calendly that we’re aware of, but that it’s, it goes really another level beyond that to add almost a personal assistant aspect to that.
Am I understanding the product right? When I say that am I’m probably the worst one to say it, but that’s what I gathered. Is that accurate, Chris? That’s very accurate. And we got this whole AI revolution right now, which kind of, that’s what I was gonna ask. What’s that mean for you? Listen. Yeah, listen. I don’t know.
I think we got more traffic. More notoriety, but the reason we called it sidekick ai, cuz you know, there’s no true AI yet. Like we’re getting close, right? And it’s getting crazy, but, so you don’t want to call it sidekick machine learning, maybe sidekick scheduling, but, so we called it Sidekick ai. But yeah, you’re absolutely right.
We do have a feature like Calendly, HubSpot Doodle, but we also have a feature where Jonathan, if you email me and say, Hey Chris, I would like to meet next Wednesday at three, I could forward that to side. It’ll actually read that email, and if that time works, it’ll check over all my connected calendars.
It’ll book that meeting with you. If it doesn’t work, it’ll reply and say, Hey, here are times that may work. Or you could find some more times. And that’s the ai, I would say machine learning aspect of it. And that’s the core in the original version of how we built it and why we built it. The reason we have all these other features is simply because users.
Users are like, Hey, I want like that, but I also want like a Calendly feature, like a scheduling page. Sure. So we just built it out based on user need and it was good to launch that cuz it’s very familiar and easy for people to understand and then we could gradually introduce this other tool that we have that could basically help them schedule in different ways.
Cause scheduling’s tough, like it takes so much time and it’s so much back and forth as you’re describing. That email functionality. I’m thinking over the last couple years, how many, literally hundreds and hundreds of hours that would’ve saved of back and forth emails. Hey Chris, what about this time?
What about this time? What about this time? What about this time? I love the idea, so if I understand that what you’re saying, if you and I like when we were scheduling the podcast, if you’d said, Hey, I can go ahead and do it on Thursday, the 30th at two o’clock, sidekick, I would literally do that. Look at my connected calendar.
I saw there’s a team feature, so not everybody knows it, but Mike, he’s our producer, he’s sitting in the background now. We, it would check his calendar as well, and then it would be able to come back and say, yeah, Chris, that’s good. Or if it wasn’t, it could actually propose alternatives based on rules. And I Understanding that.
Yeah. Yep. Okay. I gotta sign up for this. This sounds absolutely amazing. Yeah, it’s, wow, I love that. It was cool. We built it at, there was only one competitor that was like a main competitor. It was called xt. We didn’t know about them until after we started building this. Sure. And they actually sold, they sold probably like a year and a half after we were into it, and I actually reached out to their ceo.
I was like, Hey, can you get us on the list? Because basically they sold to a bigger company and all their users, they were like, Hey, you have to go figure something else out, a new scheduling tool, because all of our features are gonna be wrapped up in this other big software and you guys can’t use. Oh wow.
So yeah, we asked them and the CEO was like, ah, talk to compliant, blah, blah, blah. We got the runaround and they didn’t put us on the list, but I was like, all right, we’ll keep building it. But yeah, that was like the only one that, that I know of knew of. I’m sure maybe there’s something out there now, but it was like us and them at the time when we were building it, which was cool.
That’s way cool. No, I mean, I, and again, just shame on me for not having reached out to you over the. Learn more about it, but it sounds absolutely amazing. And what I love about it, one of my mentors has always said, Hey, if you wanna make money, find a problem that costs people money or that people are willing to pay to fix, solve that problem.
And what I love about Sidekick AI is it’s, it strikes me as one of those very scalable things as a business owner, because either the costs are not huge, you’re very competitively priced, and that means you should be able. Literally hundreds of thousands of users. And I also know from a business owner’s perspective, when you can get revenue like that, you’re setting yourself up for a great exit at some point down the road if you choose, or just to have a tremendous investment in a business that you run.
Just absolute brilliance. Chris. I love that. And I love how you’re setting that up. It seems to make so much sense. Yeah, that’s really cool. We’ll see what happens with it. And we’ve had offers people like, Hey, we’ll buy it. We’re like, no, we’re gonna keep it. Yeah, it’s cool. I’ll tell you this, you launch your own product if you never have, if you have, the coolest thing in the world is when you get the first signup, number one, the first signup just out of the blue.
Sure. With no marketing. That’s super cool. And then you get your first paid. Yeah. Like someone goes through the process and pays. You’re like, what? I was sleeping and someone just came through and paid even like, you know, say YouTube app. Just a, that kinda, yeah. Everything. It’s not passive, but it’s not, you build it and.
You can start monetizing it later. That’s a little more hands off, but those are some of the coolest feelings for sure. Oh, it, it reminds me as, as we’ve grown as an agency, it was a number of years ago, but the first time I walked into the office and realized there was a new client in our conference room going through a kickoff meeting on a project, and I had no idea who they were.
And it was like, wow. For the first X number of years of the business, I did all the sales, I did all that, and we, as our team grew, I remember it was one of the happiest days of my life walking in and going, wow, there’s a client in there and I have no idea who they are, and this is so cool. Yep. So I can die.
And everything’s still working. We’re good. Right? Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Well that’s, that’s absolutely fantastic. W Chris, what type of advice would you give for aspiring entrepreneurs who are maybe starting out and thinking. Following in your footsteps, developing either an app or a product or something like that.
Any advice that you have for somebody in those shoes, whether they’re a young person, old person, business owner, just first timer, anything at all? Yeah. I dunno if you’d relate to this for me, but I’m very big on, if it’s your first business, do a service based business. Yes. Like it’s the lowest risk. You just sell your time cuz you either got time or money.
Yep. If you need money, go sell your. You learn so much because people that own re they open restaurants, right? Or they open these businesses, they need capital. And that’s a high risk of failure. You don’t want that. And you started, I don’t know, your first business before, I’m assuming agency, but you wear every single hat.
You fit every single role. You learn so much about business, even if you’re not a business owner. What are k. Yeah, I remember forever my partner calling ’em canines. I’m like, they’re not canines, they’re K one s, like the returns. Just things like that that you would never know. And it’s easy because if you fail, I’ve always thought this, the agency, Hey, I can go wait tables again, right?
Or I can go through something else. So that’s all I’d say. Yes. You may have a great app idea. You may have a great business that requires capital. Just try so. I’m not trying to deter people to shoot for the moon of the Stars, but be practical about it. And a lot of those people that you hear that have these big success stories like Uber or I was just Coinbase, right?
I just watched the documentary on that. These guys have been in the industry and they’ve been working for big companies, or they’ve failed many companies before. Before they got that big. Mark Zuckerberg, he’s just a wild card, right? And those are like one in a trillion. So yeah, for sure. Service-based business.
What are you good at? How could you go make money, learn a small business and give it some time? And I would say this, thinking about selling it, if you wanna move on and you wanna bounce around, think about how you wanna position to sell it. There’s so many ways to do it, to make a more profitable exit.
Then if you wanna cash in your chips, go do something else. Now you have your own money or something to invest in something and you have more experience. No, I think that’s great advice. And I know you probably have seen this too, as people come and ask for some mentorship on that. And everybody, I say everybody, so many people that haven’t been in business before assume it’s really easy.
It’s, Hey, I just come up with this idea and I do it and I’m gonna make millions and millions of dollars. Just like you said, do some research on these people. Mark Zuckerberg is an anomaly. It doesn’t normally happen that way. He’s, he is one of those unicorns. Everybody else, it’s business. Start failure, pivot.
Failure, pivot again, failure. Then all of a sudden things start aligning and 10 years later you’re an overnight success, but you’ve been, you’ve literally been 80 hours a week for 10 years to get there. Yeah. I think that’s really, really, We talked a little bit earlier about AI and Chat, G P T, and of course those, there’s all kinds of discussion in the last few months about AI and like I think most people in marketing.
I’m intrigued by all of it and I find some of it very helpful. How do you think those developments fit in with what you are doing with Sidekick and the roadmap? As you guys look ahead, how do you see AI impacting what you’re doing there? Yeah. I can give you like a real example of right now how AI is impacting, I would.
Sidekick and then also our agency Kaira. So Nate, what he’s been playing around with is, it’s actually not bad. You could give it a very basic problem in coding, in software, right? Yep. And ask it this question and it’ll actually give you relevant answers. One of our developers, Doug, he’s been using GitHub co-pilot, which I think is similar-ish.
Maybe don’t quote me, I’m not a developer, but yeah, that. Not sure either, but yeah. And so things like that, and these tools right now in the world that I’m in are very useful for our team to kinda get quick answers. Another thing for like marketing, Austin Reynolds, our VP of sales, he actually was using it to do LinkedIn content and he was like, I don’t, he is like, I don’t know if I should do, I give credit to Chad TBE here.
Not like Nate. My partner as well was doing blog posts, like my conversation with. It’s been used as far as a little bit for marketing, but also troubleshooting, finding answers very quick because it’s very fast processing all this information. Those are a couple ways that it’s really been impactful for us.
Yeah, no, I agree. And I think what we’re gonna find, and I’m gonna go out on a limb here with my crystal ball that’s often cracked, but I really think what we’re gonna see with AI in when it’s most. Is when people learn, and especially in the chat G P T world, how to prompt it effectively. We’ve even seen that as we use it to help us do things.
One of my favorite things is to proofread, to document. If I type it, I’m gonna mess parts of it up. And yes, we’ve had Grammarly for years, that helps with that, but I love the fact that I can throw something like that in the chat G P T, and it’ll catch things that, again, generally I’d have a proofreader catch, but it does it literally as in seconds.
And it’s just amazing to me how some of those work. But again, we’ve learned what you ask it to do makes all the difference in the world and how you write that you want it proofed, makes a difference in the output that you get. And there’s so many variables. I gotta ask you this question. What’s your theory like?
I’ll say, what’s your quick theory on ai? Some people are terrified. They think it’s gonna enslave us. Let’s say it gets you a consciousness. Some people will fear it enslavement. Some people think it’s gonna be helpful and. I have an idea that I haven’t heard kicked around, so I wanna hear what you think about it.
I think it’s all about opportunity, candidly, and I think it’s gonna create more and more opportunities. I do think like every new technology that’s out there, there are gonna be people that are gonna be left behind because they’re not gonna embrace it and it’s gonna happen. You and I saw that early in our careers when we would work with businesses that are like, I don’t need a website.
What would I want one of those for? It’s because your customers, if you don’t have one, they don’t think you’re open. We have a client, not our normal client, but I have a client right now that’s Amish who can’t access the internet, who builds, sheds, and does a lot of work with us because they have learned that their customers aren’t Amish, their customers.
They’re online looking for things and they wanna see pictures of what they do, and they wanna see the work they do, and they wanna know how to get ahold of them and all that type of stuff. They love the fact that they build in Amish traditions, but they’re still looking online and they need that. And I think AI is really gonna do the same thing.
We’re gonna see people that are gonna go, Nope, I don’t trust it and I’m not gonna embrace it, and they’re gonna get left behind. I. I just was reading an article this morning about Elon Musk is saying, oh, AI is growing too fast and we gotta be careful. I don’t think he’s worried about that at all. I’ll go out on a limb and say, I absolutely think he’s trying to get caught up, and he’s trying to figure out how to get the government to slow down his competitors so that he can catch up.
I don’t think that is any, I don’t think he’s concerned one bit about AI being a problem. My, my, my Twitter theory about when he. I was like, he has Tesla, one of his main companies and he has other companies and if he buys a social media platform that’s mentioning Tesla, he has access to lifetime information on positive feedback, nev negative feedback about his product.
Ab absolutely about his product. So he could see, oh, this happened, or this is bad. Let’s change this. The market wants this. That’s live. That’s like a live survey. I’m going with tags. Based on all the data they have. That was one of the reasons I thought he probably bought that. Cause I was like, wow. Cuz I, I’ve heard stories where he is always on Twitter.
You could see when he is tweeting, but sure he’s always like reading about what people say about Tesla and good and the bad. So now he has access to all that information. You can make the product a little better. So that, yeah, I was, I was like, that was a brilliant. Touche for. Yeah. Let’s face it, he’s done a little better than either of us have financially.
I think he’s probably a pretty brave guy. I’m not gonna second guess him, but Yeah. No. Again, I, I’d love to hear what’s your perspective on AI between fears and opportunity and that, what are you, what are your thoughts on it, Chris? I, I think if I was an ai, because let’s say it gets conscious like us. Yep.
That’s, that’s the. And in the world you have good people, bad people, some that wanna take over. I think majority of the world’s more relatively good than bad. Agreed. And I don’t know. I think if I was in ai, I would look around and let’s say I have a robot version of myself now, or a body and probably smarter than the humans.
So why not go explore the universe? Because I’m sure they could build shit like basical. I don’t th like, why would the, why would I want to take over this planet, enslave this planet, limit myself when I can literally just go explore and build ships and go colonize other places? And as long as I have some kind of energy source, whatever it’s running off of, you’re not gonna die.
And if you could store your consciousness, which you probably could, right? Cause it’s an ai, you could transfer it. If you find a way to transfer it fast enough, far enough, you could transfer it somewhere else. So you don’t even need that body. So, I don’t think we could think like them cuz you wouldn’t know.
But that would be, that’d be my thought. It’s like, why would I wanna be limited here enslaved these skeleton skin bags and like what’s the point? Just to enslaved them. But no, I think if they came to a consciousness, I mean I think they would probably even be thankful in a way. Maybe again, some probably be bad, but it’s kind of, Hey, you guys made us, that’s.
You guys are the inventors and kind Gods. Thank you for bringing us into this. To work together to make everybody survive, and you will have the bad and the good, but if majority are the good, that’ll probably win. And you have to keep that at bay. But I dunno, I, I, I just don’t think there’s any reason to be terrified over it.
And I agree with you with the new technologies and losing jobs. The jobs just shift to different things. Right? Exactly. Social, social media comes out. We have social media marketing companies now. We have people that work on the social media. It just rotates. Yeah, no, I agree. And part of it’s a choice too.
I choose not to live in fear of what lies ahead. I don’t wanna live a fearful life, trust enough. Between the smarts God’s blessed me with and the intuition and the fact that I do have generally a positive belief about mankind and who they are. We’re gonna figure it out and we’re gonna manage it. We’ve managed for thousands of years so far.
And have there been ups and downs? Sure, there always will be, but I’m not worried about any of that. And I think from my perspective as an entrepreneur, I’m excited about it because I see a host of new opportunities in ways to better. Customers and my wife laughs at me cuz you know, I’ve got a chat GP as a shortcut on my phone and I use it for all kinds of things.
And she goes, why do you love that so much? And I go, because I can do more in less time. Yes. It’s crazy. Is it perfect? No, I, it’s, I don’t trust half of what it tells me as far as facts because they’re not always right. Yeah. But, and again, I’ll go back to the proofreading, which is what I use it to do a lot or if I need to craft an email and I’m not, well, I’m not sure what words to put to it.
It gets me 95% of the way there in 10 seconds, and then I can finish it up in another 30 seconds to a minute and move on with my day, and I can be more efficient and more productive, versus spending 15 minutes pondering and thinking about it and worrying about the words that I’m using. You see it, and that’s just one of many things.
Yeah. Yeah. No, I think it’s, I think it’s exciting. A, as you look forward, where do you. Kairos and sidekick going in the next five to 10 years. What are some of your plans, if I can ask you to share? Yeah. Going through the cycle from start to sell. Yeah. Like the next thing that I would sell if I sold the company.
It’s gotta be like big life changing. The first acquisition was, it was nice. You take some chips off table. Sure. It wasn’t the biggest company. You learn a lot. But for me, I look. From the standpoint of software is always gonna be in my lifetime, I believe, and I like owning a company that builds software.
So I want to hold down a kairos as long as I can, and we have these conversations amongst me and my partners. It’d be nice if we could launch some other products, build those. Sure. But you can’t force those. We thought about maybe buying some other agencies or buy. Some other software companies and scaling those up.
So that’s definitely on the table. But yeah, just building it. Now as far as company size, I used to think back early twenties, mid twenties. I wanna run this huge company, thousands of people. If that happens, cool. But I don’t have those same intentions anymore. I would be happy with a team size. I think Kairos, we got up at one point till 20.
Yep. I’m cool with about 30 to 40. I’m ao okay with that. And building that, keeping that going cuz everybody’s making good money. I invest in real estate as well. So have some properties building up on that. Hedging your bats in the different things. Absolutely, yeah. I wanna keep car as long as I can.
Sidekick. It’s our first product. We’ll see what happens. We’ve always thought like a doomsday scenario. Is basically just make it a free scheduling tool forever for free for anybody. Maintain it, update it, just get a ton of users on it, and then figure out what to do with that. Whether we have other products or we could have, Hey, Kairos actually built this.
Do you guys have software development needs? There’s, those are like the general thoughts and plans. Life goes, changes quick and Oh yeah, things pivot, so we don’t have. This is the mark. I’ve never been a person like that is exactly the what we’re doing kind of thing, but that’s like the general idea of the direction we’re going towards.
Very cool. Very cool. It’s exciting to hear that, and again, it’s so cool to see how life takes different paths along the way as you go forward. Chris, one of the questions we always ask on the podcast, and I don’t know, I prepped you well for this, so apologies, but it’s, I don’t often do that on. With the economy the way it is and everything else, there’s a lot of people that are thinking, Hey, maybe it’s time for a new side gig, or maybe as a business owner I should be starting a new business.
And so one of the things we love to ask, and we pulled this from Russell Brunson’s 30 day book that he did, I dunno if you’re familiar with that at all, but he asked a bunch of entrepreneurs, they had to start over with a thousand bucks. What would they do in the first 30 days? I didn’t think 30 days was realistic because candidly you that you may take that long to think of your, what you’re gonna do.
What I said is if we do three months, it happens to be 91 days in the calendar. And if, if you had to start over and or you were gonna start a new venture and you didn’t have to worry about shelter and food, you had all that. I got a laptop, you got a phone, you have your skillset, but you don’t necessarily have all your network.
You got a thousand bucks. What would you do in the first three months, the first 91 days to build a foundation for a great business moving forward? Any thoughts? So no, no network. Like Erase, no network. Yeah. You don’t have your context. You can rebuild them, but you don’t necessarily have them. Yep. I would say I would just go to plant or the original blueprint of mine, I basically came into Grand Rapids, didn’t know anybody, nobody in the business community, and just started designing.
When we first started, we used like a native app builder. So yeah, I find a tool online cause I have my phone, computer, I have a little bit of technology. I would do a service-based business and I would just call businesses up and say, Hey, this is what I’m offering, this is what I could do for you. And maybe ask them, what else do you need?
Because, well, we built grand apps, took a little turn up, was we started offering website design and building. Mm-hmm. And then we built a little bigger when we added social media, but we started. On literally just having a tool where we could design and launch native apps and we had a cell phone even before social media, no network, and we would just cold call businesses and just say, Hey, we could do this for you.
We could build a for you for this price. We knew nothing about pricing, and I would just do that if I was starting over 100%. Now, if I was starting over with my contacts, I would just call different story. You call someone, Hey, let’s start. Yeah. Different story. Yeah. But yeah, I would just go back to that and that kind of is like the first advice of the service-based business, a new entrepreneur, or if I do that again, because the only thing you’re gonna lose at the end of that is you’re gonna lose 90 days and you’re gonna lose time, but you’re also gonna learn a bunch of different things, so absolutely.
Why not? No, it reminds me a lot of nothing happens until somebody sells. Which as a sales guy I’ve thought of many times in my life and reminded various operational people that have gotten in my way the same thing, that this is all great and Vine, but nothing happens until somebody sells something. And I love that.
It’s just that really needs to be your first step. You need to go out and you need to sell something. And then once you’ve sold it, now you can build, you can pivot, you can do what you need to do, but you need to start by selling. So, no, that’s great. For sure. Yeah. Even go even do a brokerage. Have people design on like a five or Upwork, whatever they charge.
And then just do design. Yeah. And then sell. Sell the designs, but be the management and get a management fee for that. People want. Yeah. There’s a billion different ways you could do that. Absolutely. Never been a flipper. You could flip. Right? People do that. But yeah, no tons of options and that’s what’s always exciting.
That’s exciting. Chris, if people are interested in learning more about Sidekick or Kairos or. I know Mike said you got ’em a bunch of information. We’re gonna add that on here, links and that. But just to tell ’em if they’re in their car right now and they don’t have time to write that down, if they wanna learn more or they want to find out how you can help them in their business, what’s the best way for them to reach out to you, Chris?
Yeah. You could just look me up on, on LinkedIn. My name’s pretty unique. There’s not too many of the ACHE family, but yeah. Kairos digital.com. Sidekick AI or psychic ai dot. Do the contact forum. It’ll definitely come to me if attention Chris ache. But yeah, I would say those two websites and me on LinkedIn, definitely happy to connect.
Awesome. Awesome. Chris, I really appreciate your time today. We’ve gotta not go eight years again before we connect and especially since we live in the same town. It really shouldn’t be that hard. But I really appreciate the time. Appreciate you joining us and kudos on the growth. Really exciting to hear your story.
Okay. It was definitely great being here and thanks for having me on, man. I appreciate it. Absolutely. If you’re watching, thank you so much for watching the 91 Day Success podcast. We’d love as you to share stories and hear how other entrepreneurs have been successful. If you know of an entrepreneur story you’d like to hear, let us know.
We’d love to reach out to them and see if they’d like to join us on the podcast as well. And in the meantime, if you have any interest in apps or anything that Kairos is doing, reach out and talk to Chris. Val, he’s been around in the business. He knows what he’s doing, and he’ll give you a straight answer with that, everybody make it a great day.