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Building a Franchise Empire | Brian Scudamore | The 2%

Eric Partaker


Do you have BIG dreams? Is the fear of failure holding you back? Join Brian Scudamore (Entrepreneur, Author and Founder of O2E Brands) and Eric Partaker as they dive into what it takes to reach your full potential and share tips on how you can succeed at life! 


Dream Big, Live Bigger – Believe in possibility. Every dream starts with an idea. Dream big, work hard, never give up. 

Failure Inspires Winners – The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure. Failure is a gift. Not only do you learn how to deal with mistakes but it is a necessary ingredient in the recipes for success. Take the first step. Fail. Learn from that failure then take the second step towards success. 

Persistence Is Key To Success- You can have just about anything you want in life, providing you’re willing to go through 1000 nos. Collect your nos because yes lives in the land of no, eventually yes will appear, and success will materialise. 

Giving Up Is The Only Sure Way To Fail – Set a goal of how many times you are going to fail this week. Imagine the gift of learning you will get from those failures. We all make mistakes, but it’s how we learn from those errors in judgement and take steps to rectify the situations that show our true character.  So much of failure is not understanding what the mistake was and why you made it.

Failure Is Not Fatal! – Don’t let failure come as a shock to you. Expect it, and plan for it. By foreseeing failure and expecting mistakes to be made, you’ll reduce the negative emotional impact when it appears. Learn from it, pick yourself up and reflect. 



Brian Scudamore: Failure is a gift. Not only do you have to learn how to deal with failure and not be so fearful, but it is a necessary ingredient in the recipe for success.

Eric Partaker: Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of The 2%, where, as always, we’re interviewing peak performers in all walks of life. Why? To decode excellence. To give you the tips, strategies, and tools that you can use to close that gap between your current self and your best self. And I’m super excited to have on the show today, Brian Scudamore. Welcome, Brian.

Brian Scudamore: Thank you, Eric Partaker Partaker. Eric, happy to be here. I understand we’re two different ends of the planet, right now. You’re in Portugal, I’m in Whistler and the beauty of technology, having a great conversation. I’m excited.

Eric Partaker: Yeah, we were actually just talking about that before we press record that the pandemic has given us this ability to recognize that it’s actually possible to live and work in ways that we hadn’t experienced before, right?

Brian Scudamore: It’s unbelievable. For the first time my wife actually said, “Maybe we can live in France for a while.” It’s been a dream of mine and she brought it up the other day and asked our youngest son what he thought. He’s like, “Yeah, I’d be down with that.” So the ability to be able to work remotely and still do great work and maybe even better work because you’re more passionate and excited and charged. It’s an unbelievable opportunity for those who can make that happen.

Eric Partaker: Yeah. And you’re in Vancouver now, is that right?

Brian Scudamore: Yeah. Our head office is in Vancouver, in Canada. And right this minute I’m in Whistler, in the mountains-

Eric Partaker: Okay.

Brian Scudamore: … Enjoying all this has to offer up here.

Eric Partaker: Yeah. And I can see you have some sun, but I have a different quality sun right now. Mine is more like beach sun and you have more like mountain sun.

Brian Scudamore: Exactly. They’re both good.

Eric Partaker: Yeah. So, I mean, you’ve done… I have to provide obviously some context. You’ve done some amazing things. I mean, I think of you as a franchise king. To me, you are someone who empowers people who have that entrepreneurial spirit and who wants to start something, but maybe they’re a little bit scared. They’re not sure what, or how, or will I be able to operate correctly or, all the system, all those things that go into a business. For me, you’re someone who simplifies that for people. You do that because you have three different, massive franchise brands. You’ve got 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, WOW 1 Day Painting and Shack Shine. I’d love for you to tell us a little bit about each of those but before we get into that, how the hell did you get into this? What sparked all that?

Brian Scudamore: Yeah. 32 years ago, I was one class short of graduation from high school. I wasn’t the best student. I love to learn, but the school format of sitting down, here’s the subject, listening to a teacher speak for an hour or two, it just didn’t work for me. And so I failed out of high school. All my friends were going to go to college. I didn’t want to miss out, had some FOMO. And so I talked my way into college, but I had to find a way to pay for it. And there I was in a McDonald’s drive-thru, of all places. And I see this beat up old pickup truck with plywood side panels built up in the box, filled with junk. And it said Mark’s Hauling along the side, and I looked at that truck and I said, “That’s my ticket. I am going to go buy a truck. That’s how I’m going to fund my college education.”

A week later, I had a business called The Rubbish Boys. It’s just me, but a vision for something a bit bigger. And I started hauling junk and it paid for college. But ironically, three years in, I was faced with a fork in the road and I sat down with my father and I said… My dad’s a liver transplant surgeon. He’s done a lot of school. I said, “Dad, I got some good news for you. I’m thinking of leaving school to build this business full time.” And he thought I was crazy, “You’re quitting school to become a full-time junk man.” I said, “Dad, my business opportunity might not always be there, university will be, and I can always go back. So I’m going to take a flyer and check this out.” And I quit school. I’ve gone to 14 schools from kindergarten through to college. And the only diploma I have, true story, is kindergarten.

Eric Partaker: Wow.

Brian Scudamore: So my learning has been on the streets and there’s no looking back. I love what I’ve been building. And you said I’ve got these three huge brands. I’d say one huge brand. This is one, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? is a half a billion dollar business and the other two are sort of the babies in the family. That WOW 1 Day Painting and Shack Shine are still growing and we’ve got about 50 franchise owners in each and they will be huge but we get to live that fun, that dream again, of building something really special from the ground up.

Eric Partaker: I think 50 franchise owners in each, for most people, wouldn’t make those babies but I love…

Brian Scudamore: Fair enough.

Eric Partaker: I love the perspective. I also love Rubbish Boys. When you said that, I immediately thought Beastie Boys. And I thought maybe… go ahead.

Brian Scudamore: No, it’s funny that you say that, Eric, because people would say like… I’d tell them I own a company called The Rubbish Boys and they’re like, “Oh, that sounds like a band.”

Eric Partaker: Yeah, exactly.

Brian Scudamore: Yeah. So I had to change the name. So we changed, our phone number used to be 738-Junk. That’s what was on the side of the trucks, the phone number for people to call us. And I noticed that people would call us either 738-Junk, our phone number or The Rubbish Boys, and it was confusing. So I amalgamated into one and I said, “We’re going to come up with a phone number that we can use in every city as we grow and it became just one name, one phone number, 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, simple.

Eric Partaker: 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, is the family involved as well or…

Brian Scudamore: Family is not involved in my business. My kids are young and they haven’t expressed an interest yet. My oldest is a teenager, who knows. But I just enjoy what I build and the passion behind watching people grow and being a part of that success, that if it attracts my kids one day and they want to approach me and say, “Hey dad, I think I want to work in the business. I think I want to learn.” “Hey, awesome.” If they want to do something else, that’s awesome too. I want my kids to be happy and…

Eric Partaker: I can totally relate. So we have a 16 year old and a 7 year old and it’s tempting, right? It’s like, you want to, “Hey, you could take over the business and you could do this and that.” And sometimes when I’ve said that, it’s met with, “Uh-huh, okay.” But not necessarily the enthusiasm that you’re hoping for and you kind of realize that you have to let them find their own way, right?

Brian Scudamore: Yeah. I think that’s incredibly important. So growing up, we traveled a lot. We lived in England for a while, Sweden for a while. My dad was [crosstalk 00:07:10] his job.

Eric Partaker: You lived in Sweden?

Brian Scudamore: Yeah.

Eric Partaker: Really? I’m half Norwegian. I’m half American, half Norwegian.

Brian Scudamore: Okay. Nice. We lived in Göteborg.

Eric Partaker: Okay, cool.

Brian Scudamore: And so, and then we lived in a small town called Varberg on the west coast.

Eric Partaker: Wow.

Brian Scudamore: So loved that experience and what it was, was we moved away with my dad. He’s a liver transplant surgeon and at the time he was learning from mentors all over the world, how to do liver transplant, so it brought us to some different cities. My point growing up was, as a kid, my dad always used to say, “You have to go to university. What are you going to do?” And I felt the pressure of this university thing. I would get Christmas money from family and I’d write thank you cards and I was trained to say, “I’m going to save this money for university,” but that wasn’t my dream. That was my dad’s dream.

And so when I sat down with my dad to say, “I don’t know if this is what I want to do,” it was a conflict. And so I think I’ve taken the other extreme with my kids to say, “I’m not going to talk about their dreams. I’m just going to show them opportunity.” How I show up with my work, my businesses, taking them to Kenya, to help build a school, touring rural India, things that just have them open their eyes to whatever they might be able to see and what opportunity as you said, they can make their own.

Eric Partaker: Yeah. That’s quite beautiful because then it basically illuminates the fact that there’s many paths to success and I mean, that’s a good thread to pull on. How do you define success?

Brian Scudamore: I think it’s happiness. All right. Are you happy? Do you love what you do? I think as North Americans, we often define it based on money.

Eric Partaker: Yeah.

Brian Scudamore: And I can tell you I’ve made more money over the years than I could ever know what to do with, short of philanthropic type causes, but it’s never made me happy. I drive a little Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. I know that cars don’t make people happy. They make some people happy for a short time. I had a friend that sold his business for hundreds of millions of dollars and he went and bought a fancy car and he returned it after a week because he said, “For four days I was excited about it. And then it just became another car.” And he said, “It wasn’t worth it.” And so money doesn’t make me happy. I like watching people grow and evolve and take opportunity.

I love when I… We had a franchise owner, Lee Adler, who is an employee in our company, of WOW 1 Day Painting, just celebrated his 15th anniversary the other day so it’s top of mind for me. He started in our call center for 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and today he’s a director in our business but also runs and owns a WOW 1 Day Painting franchise. I love that stuff. That’s what drives me and makes me happy.

So to your question of what is success, I think if you feel like you’re happy and you’re making an impact. If you are doing things for others or contributing to others that has the… Being a father, you and I are both fathers, it’s exciting watching kids grow up and live their dreams and knowing that we play a role. And I love that with people, employees, franchise owners, and so on. So that would be my success.

Eric Partaker: And it’s tempting, like as you’re talking, I almost immediately want to revisit what I was first saying about, “Oh, let’s learn a bit about each of these three businesses.” But as I hear you speak, clearly, that’s not where the conversation, I mean maybe it will go there at some point but it’s tempting to talk about, “Yeah, let’s grow the three businesses,” but that’s not really what you’re about in terms of growth. And you just said something earlier about growing people. Talk about that a bit, because that feels like your mission.

Brian Scudamore: It is my mission. So it’s just, it’s fun, it’s rewarding and-

Eric Partaker: But what do you mean by it? Like to grow… Grow would be like, what do you mean? Grow people, it’s like I can picture you planting seeds [crosstalk 00:11:30] and you feel that people are growing, but it’s not that. What do you mean by that?

Brian Scudamore: Yeah. It’s opportunity, it’s development. So as a kid, I loved Lincoln Logs, and Lego, and building things, right?

Eric Partaker: Yeah.

Brian Scudamore: And I think that I’m still living that childhood kind of feeling of building businesses brands, but through people. So when I watched someone come into the business like Lee, who starts in the call center and we help provide an opportunity for him to take, to get into a different business, to grow into a franchise, that’s what I mean.

Eric Partaker: Did he think he was an entrepreneur?

Brian Scudamore: He was inspired by our entrepreneurial spirit.

Eric Partaker: Right.

Brian Scudamore: And he moved over from Australia years ago. He was a golf guy. And I think he saw business is very similar to playing sports and playing games. Today I spoke with… I had a woman in our business, Farah, and Farah reached out to me and, and said, “Can we just have a coffee chat? I want to get to know you in this virtual world.” She’s been working for us for a couple of years and we’ve never really connected. And she started in the call center with WOW 1 Day Painting. She ended up moving into a role where she’s on their service desk, helping franchise partners with software problems related to booking and dispatch. And I just thought that, that was kind of her path. And so I said, “What’s your dream?” She said, “Well, my husband and I moved from India two years ago to start a new life.” And I said, well, “What was your old life?” She was a Bollywood actress and dancer. She told me not to Google her. And I said, “I had to.” She won like Miss India in [crosstalk 00:13:06]

Eric Partaker: It’s like the surest way to get someone to Google you.

Brian Scudamore: I know, but she won like Miss India or something in like 2012. She became a Bollywood actress, but her interest is in business and entrepreneurship. So she said to me at the end of the day, her goal is for her and her husband to run a franchise.

Eric Partaker: Oh, cool.

Brian Scudamore: So I love that feeling of that unexpected when you find out what someone’s dream is and how your business can be. Because as you said, it isn’t about the businesses. These three brands are three vehicles towards helping me feel successful and helping others live whatever dream they might have.

Eric Partaker: Yeah, and there’s so much freedom in… I mean we’re both entrepreneurs and there’s so much freedom in entrepreneurship. The opportunity to find your own rules, set your own goals, decide your own hours, simple things, like on a daily basis.

Brian Scudamore: Sure.

Eric Partaker: And that’s incredibly liberating. And again, what I like about what you do is that a lot of people, I think, equate entrepreneurship to having to come up with the next Elon Musk idea, right? And that is so anomalous to what entrepreneurship is really about, which is just about carving your own path and it doesn’t necessarily need to be this earth shattering thing. And what I really love with the brands that you have is that it gives an opportunity for people who maybe don’t have that idea, or don’t even want to like come up with an idea, they still get the benefits of entrepreneurship, still get the benefits of the happiness, still get the benefits of kind of creating their own rules, setting their own agenda. Now, can you tell us a little bit more about these different paths, these different businesses?

Brian Scudamore: Yeah. And maybe I can just layer in first, just on your thought there, which I’m always intrigued by, is that entrepreneurs, you’re right, people that want to live the dream of business ownership. We call it the American dream.

Eric Partaker: Yeah.

Brian Scudamore: And there is the freedom, the lifestyle, the pride of ownership but I think a lot of people do come in with misconceptions and they think I’ve got to have the big idea. But what I’ve been loving about franchising lately is like the movie, The Founder, with the Ray Kroc story of starting McDonald’s [crosstalk 00:15:32].

Eric Partaker: So good, isn’t it? So good.

Brian Scudamore: All those people that became entrepreneurs that didn’t have to have the big idea. In fact, Ray Kroc’s big idea was to take someone else’s idea and blow it up.

Eric Partaker: Bingo.

Brian Scudamore: So I think it’s often the people that can popularize an idea. So while I started with one truck and a McDonald’s drive through, it was our franchise owners that came in that said, “I want to be a part of this.” And we’ve been building something bigger and better together. And so I’ve realized that with franchising, most people aren’t pure creators that want to start something from scratch, that get juiced from doing that. They actually want to just be successful and live the dream of entrepreneurship. And so if you can give them a proven recipe with almost freedom within a framework, that’s interesting.

I was lucky enough to meet, virtually, Shaquille O’Neil, one of the world’s best basketball stars. And he spoke at our kickoff, our big annual conference this year with franchise owners. And at the end, he said, “I want to talk to you. I want to talk to you about maybe investing, maybe being a part of your next brand or something.” And I was like, “This is crazy.” And so I had a conversation with them after. And what really impressed me about him is he owns a ton of franchises. Five Guys burgers, Anne’s pretzels, a whole [crosstalk 00:16:56].

Eric Partaker: Does he? I didn’t realize that. Wow.

Brian Scudamore: I didn’t either. And I said, “So why franchising?” He goes, “Listen, it’s like sports where I was able to lead a team, build a team, have a vision, and have them go off and do the hard work.” He said, “I see this as you get a proven recipe, you don’t need to invent it. You plug in the right team and you just dial it up and you just say, let’s go. Let’s go build hundreds of units in this franchise where they’ve already figured out the proven recipe.”

Eric Partaker: Yeah.

Brian Scudamore: And I just thought that was amazing. And there’s a lot of our owners who come from sports backgrounds, college basketball, whatever it might be, college football and they come to us and they’re like, “Yeah, I want to follow a recipe and I just want to make it awesome.” So it’s interesting that you used to be that franchising was just McDonald’s, Subway, but people are realizing in our space, home services, you can build quite a team and have a ton of fun in a unique space.

Eric Partaker: And that’s like a great segue to what the actual businesses are because when a lot of people hear franchising, they immediately think of food and they kind of begin and end with food. But you’re doing something quite different and unique with franchising. So tell us, tell us a little bit about the businesses.

Brian Scudamore: Yeah. So every one of our businesses, it took me 10 years, by the way, to create the franchise model. So I started with my truck. I kept adding trucks. I grew to a million in revenue with 1-800-GOT-JUNK? in eight years. It’s a long time.

Eric Partaker: And that fish is going around and…

Brian Scudamore: Hauling away junk. And so what we do is we go into people’s garages and basements and haul away their junk, take it away to the transfer station of the landfill for a fee or recycling. And it’s a simple business model.

Eric Partaker: Yeah.

Brian Scudamore: And so it took me a million or sorry, eight years to get to a million. My first franchise owner who followed the proven recipe, got to a million in one calendar year, his first calendar year.

Eric Partaker: Wow.

Brian Scudamore: So I was just like, “Okay, we’re onto something.” So let me just talk about… You’ve asked the question, what are the businesses? So 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, we remove junk removal, we give people their space back. They renovate, remodel. They got crap to get rid of.

Eric Partaker: That’s a nice twist on it. We give people their space back. That’s good. I like that.

Brian Scudamore: Well, you think of during the pandemic, everybody needed a guest room to become an office. Well, first you had to get rid of all the stuff in there, right? That’s our business record revenue across all our brands.

The second business, I started 22 years after we had grown 1-800-GOT-JUNK? to a size where we figured we’d learned enough that we could apply it to another franchise space. I was looking to get my house painted. I had three guys come in and give me estimates. The first two, cigarettes hanging out of their mouth. They show up late. They were exactly what I would have expected in the industry. But the third one came with a shiny van, uniformed, friendly, on time, and he said, “I will paint your home with the same quality, same price as everyone else. I’m competitive.” But he said, “My difference, my unique differentiator is I do it in a day.”

And I thought, “How do you even paint a home in a day?” And he took my entire home SWAT team of people that came in and within one day, every single room, a couple of coats, whatever was needed, Florida ceilings, molding, trim. I was blown away. And I said, “Have you tried to franchise this?” He said, “No,” or sorry, he said, “Yes, it doesn’t work.” I said, “I might be able to help.” And I partnered with him and ultimately bought the company and called it WOW 1 Day Painting because the feeling when I came home that day was “Wow, look at the transformation of my house in one day, no disruption.” And so I found another model that was again, home services, find great people, and we’re not looking for painters as franchise owners. We’re looking for someone to come in, who says, “I’m going to build a business empire of my own.” Leadership, development, finding customers marketing and so on.

And the third one is Shack Shine. So a similar story where I tried to find someone to clean my gutters and had trouble and I found this company Shack Shine and ended up buying them. And we rebranded the business and we made it just fit our brands and started finding great franchise owners. We look for what we call the four H’s in owners, happy, hungry, hardworking and hands-on. We want people that have a smiley, happy, demeanor in life that are optimists. We want people that are going to work hard, that are going to get hands on and understand the business before they try and build and scale it, that they’ll follow the system. And people that are hungry for an opportunity, not someone just looking to be a silent investor.

So it’s been pretty special. Like with kids, you’ve got a couple, I’ve got a few, and you’ll watch the first one grow and you kind of learn as a parent, what this is all about. And then the second and the third are generally, in my case, a little bit easier. I’m like, same thing’s happening with the brands. They go through different challenges, but it’s fun repeating the cycle of growth.

Eric Partaker: Amazing, amazing. And so many… So much opportunity, right? So there’s like so many different paths you can choose of the three, but there’s a commonality, I guess, in the four H’s that you mentioned that cut across all the brands. So Brian, what do you believe that others don’t?

Brian Scudamore: I believe in possibility. I believe in pure possibility that if you can dream up big things, you’d never know they might just happen. An example, being one of my goals early in life in the business, when we were a million-ish in revenue, is I said, “I want to be on the Oprah Winfrey show.” My goal was actually to meet Oprah Winfrey, give her a big hug. I love her as an entrepreneur and humanitarian and so on. And so I integrated into my business and I said, we created this vision, this painted picture of all the things we would become as we grew, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and one of the things I said is we’ll be featured on the Oprah Winfrey show. And 14 months later, we made it happen. And we were in front of 35 million viewers live on TV. And I got a great plug from Oprah saying the business a couple of times, talking about the business and it just rocketed us into a bigger, better place than where we were.

And so my gift, I believe, is inspiring possibilities and believing that anyone can do anything they dream of, if only they start with the idea. I think what happens is people often start with an idea and then they go, “Okay, so how am I going to get there?” And they start to build a plan and they get overwhelmed by the plan and they talk off the ledge of taking the leap to make greatness happen.

Eric Partaker: Oh, I love that.

Brian Scudamore: Thank you. What I do is I take this painted picture, this vision in my mind, and I say, “Here’s what it’s going to look like. I’m not going to worry about how to get there.” When I said, we’d be on the Oprah Winfrey show, it wasn’t even me that made it happen. We hired a fellow named Tyler who had zero PR experience, but believed in the goal, had all the energy in the world and he made it his mission to make it happen.

Eric Partaker: Yeah. So, so cool. My personal view is that the number one reason why people don’t achieve what they want to achieve is because they’re actually holding themselves back in some way.

Brian Scudamore: Of course.

Eric Partaker: They limit themselves. They cage themselves. From your point of view, why is it that people cage themselves? How do they limit themselves? What’s the reason?

Brian Scudamore: Yeah. So my perspective, my own opinion is fear of failure. So I wrote a book and I’m not trying to promote the book, but it’s relevant to what you did today.

Eric Partaker: I actually wanted to talk about the book because this is like [crosstalk 00:25:02].

Brian Scudamore: So here we go.

Eric Partaker: Yeah, and this is why I was asking the question because I was hoping we could talk about it, because I’m so aligned with you on this subject. So go for it.

Brian Scudamore: So I wrote a book called WTF, which actually stands for Willing To Fail. And let me tell you a little story of how I came up with the premise for the book or the title, because it fits in here to people’s biggest… What’s holding them back. So Roy H. Williams, the wizard of ads, who does all our radio creative kept saying to me, “Brian, you got to write a book, got to write a book.” And every year I’d go visit him in Austin, Texas and he pushed me to write a book. And I said, “I don’t need a book. I don’t, my ego doesn’t need one. I’m a terrible reader. I don’t do well with books, even though I can’t actually write.” And he goes, “Listen, I’ll make it easy for you. This is not about you. This is about others. You need to tell your story so that others can be inspired and learn from all you’ve gone through. We’ll make you up. You’ll tell story after story and you and I will work together to put it into a book.”

Through the process of doing the book. I kept saying, “Roy, we need to come up with a title. I’m a branding guy. 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, WOW 1 Day Painting, Shack Shine, I start with the brand in mind.” He said, “It doesn’t work that way in the book world.” And he’d written a ton of books so I had to trust him. He said, “We write the book, then the title comes out.” So we wrote the manuscript and kind of closed it. And I was like, “Man, this is story of a little bit of growth and then failure, growth, failure, growth, fail.” And I kept failing. And the title became WTF, kind of with the double meaning of like, “Wow, be willing to fail.”

Eric Partaker: Yeah.

Brian Scudamore: And so I realized after the 30 years I’d had in business, before the book came out, that a gift I’ve embraced even more so after writing the book and having this realization myself, is that failure is a gift. Not only do you have to learn how to deal with failure and not be so fearful, but it is a necessary ingredient in the recipe for success. I have not met and I bet you haven’t, met anybody who’s been successful in life who hasn’t failed. You don’t build a [crosstalk 00:27:12].

Eric Partaker: I’ve royally screwed up so many things, right? And it’s like, you’re totally right. And it’s only because of those things together with understanding what went well as well, of course. It’s not just like failure [inaudible 00:27:27] that you find the right path. I totally agree with you. And how magical is that message then? Because if the primary reason why people don’t want to embark on their own, try something, take a risk, take that leap into greatness, as you said earlier, is because they’re afraid of failing. If they then suddenly realize and embrace what you’re saying, what I’m saying that “No, the very thing that you fear is the exact path that leads to your success.” The brain, right?

Brian Scudamore: Absolutely. And I think what changed it for me was I realized failure is a gift, failure is an opportunity and so cold calls. Most people hate making cold calls. I would cold call the press and I’d say, “We’ve got an awesome story idea for you.” And more often than not, what do you think the answer on the other end was from the journalist? “No. No, thank you. Sorry, It’s not a story.” That could be seen as failure, as a door slamming. To me, it was always an opportunity. So I’d say to the journalist, “So Eric, you don’t like the story and I’m not trying to convince you, but what would make it a story? What’s missing? Why don’t you like it?” They would tell me, as a journalist, exactly why they didn’t like it or what was missing. I’d go then re-tool and when I pitched the next person, I was better armed towards success.

Eric Partaker: Yeah.

Brian Scudamore: And it’s every single time.When I went out to go franchise my business, 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, I had about a dozen mentors that I went out to and approached and sat down in their office and spent time with them, people from McDonald’s and so on. And I said, “This is what I want to do.” 100% of those mentors said it can’t be done. The business can not be franchised.

Eric Partaker: Right.

Brian Scudamore: And I said, “Why not? What would make it franchisable?” So did I fail in having 12 nos? No, they gave me what I needed. I retooled, I went back to two of them and I said, “Now, what do you think?” And they’re like, “You might be onto something.” And here are today.

Eric Partaker: Yeah. Do you know Byron Katie?

Brian Scudamore: I know of Byron Katie [crosstalk 00:29:47].

Eric Partaker: Yeah, so when you’re talking about those 12 nos, she said something along the lines, once she said, “You can have just about anything you want in life, provided that you’re willing to go through 1000 nos.” And that’s always stuck in my head as an entrepreneur. And that’s something I always teach and try to mentor to those in my network that, collect your nos because yes lives in the land of no and if you can just rack up the nos, eventually, the yes just fall out the other end. So when you just said the 12 nos, I was thinking, yeah, and you can go even higher than that. You can go way higher and your success is guaranteed.

Brian Scudamore: Yeah. You can take the Kentucky Fried Chicken Colonel Sanders story, right? I mean, how many times did he try and sell the recipe? No after no after no, but that story has been told millions of times relating to different people because it’s true and it works. And so you have to be tenacious and you have to persevere and you have to, I love that, collect the nos.

Eric Partaker: Collect the nos. You know, one other example, it just comes to mind. I was talking to the co-founder of Reebok a few weeks ago. And do you know how many times he tried to enter the US and failed? So he say he tried five consecutive different times to enter the US, failed every single time miserably. He picked himself back up and tried for the sixth time and then finally broke into the market. So I think that is, I mean, that’s a gem right here for anybody watching, listening, that the failure is required, the nose should be in a way expected, embraced, and sought after, because therein lies your data for what you should do differently to eventually collect the yeses, right?

Brian Scudamore: There’s a fellow I met, Ben Zander, years ago, who was the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and met him after a speaking event and he was unbelievable. Then we ran into each other in an airport and hung out on a plane and became friends. And what I loved about him was his whole belief with failure is when you make a mistake, you smile and you go, “Aha. How fascinating.” You know, he’s got this wonderful… He is he’s in his eighties, and has this wonderful British accent. “Oh, aha. How fascinating.” And you smile.

And so I think what people need to actually… My wish for people, and I really do this myself, we almost need to set out as a goal how many times are you going to fail this week? I’m going to go fail right now. I am going to go fail. But imagine the gift of the learning I will get from that failure. So back to your initial question, what’s holding people back? They’re scared to take that first step. If you don’t take that first step, you don’t fail. You don’t learn from that failure and you don’t take a second step.

Eric Partaker: How do you… So there’s somebody who never thought they were an entrepreneur. They come across one of your businesses or might be even listening right now and they’re like, “Oh gosh, okay. You know, I want to do this.” And so they get started and then they fail in some fashion. How do you help them pick themselves back up? What do you do to kind of nurture that failure and development process?

Brian Scudamore: Yeah. Let me answer that and I’m going to throw something in first. We have a lot of franchise partners who have come to us who have failed trying to run a business on their own and then they succeed with us because they realize it’s this bigger and better together. They’ve got the support and they’ve got the learning from our franchise partners surrounding them. So the learning from a franchise partner, let’s say someone comes into our business and they fail with some of their marketing. We’ll match them up with someone who’s had the same failure and learned, or who’s figured out something in a way that they need to sort of sponge up.

Eric Partaker: Perfect.

Brian Scudamore: And so, so much of failure is not understanding what the mistake was and why you made it and it’s getting the learning. So we want to set you. They say, when the student’s ready, the teacher will appear. When someone fails, great. Hopefully you’re a ready student. Let’s put you in touch with a teacher. And again, it’s letting the franchise partner know that that failure was okay. Now, we don’t like when our franchise partners end up in an ultimate failure of shutting down the business, it’s rare. But when it happens, it’s because they often weren’t paying attention to, and listening to all the failure points along the way where they had to readjust which direction they were going.

Eric Partaker: So what’s one thing that the person out there who wants more, wants to grow, because you say you grow people, right? So the person out there that wants to grow, wants to grow themselves, what’s one thing that they should be doing, but they’re not?

Brian Scudamore: I think it’s starting with the end in mind, what’s your vision? And it doesn’t matter how big it is. Like Obama said, one day he would be president. That’s a big goal to set when you’re a young man. Set the big goal and then start to think backwards, reverse engineer. What’s the one step that I need to take towards failure? What’s the one thing need to do? You know, I mentioned Shaquille O’Neal. How many teams did he play on? He moved teams because he knew he had things to learn. He loved his teammates. He loved winning. I can’t remember what the trophy is called in basketball, it’s terrible, but he wanted to win championships.

Eric Partaker: The NBA championships.

Brian Scudamore: Yeah, he wanted to win championships, but he knew he had more to learn.

Eric Partaker: Yeah.

Brian Scudamore: Michael Jordan quit basketball and went to baseball, failed miserably, but learned, and then came back to basketball. So I think it’s figure out what the goal is of what happiness is. What is it? Is it living a life of freedom and enjoying building a great business and all the good and bad that comes with it? Great. Then if it is, what are the steps that you can take towards failure? I don’t say towards success because if you’re just going, “I’m looking to succeed,” you’re going to make mistakes and feel bad.

Eric Partaker: Yeah.

Brian Scudamore: If you’re trying to find the failure, the gift, the lesson, you go, “Okay. Did it. Check.” And like Benjamin Zander, “How fascinating.” And you learn and you smile, you pick yourself up and off you go. Now hey, I get when people fail, sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it’s hard. I’m a normal human being. I’ve had some of those periods of my life where I’ve spent three days in bed feeling depressed and down about a mistake or what’s gone on. But when you pick yourself up and you’re ready, reflect on what happened. People say to me constantly on a podcast or an interview, like what’s the one thing you’d change over the last 32 years? And the answer is always nothing. Are you kidding me? I needed those gifts. I know you get that. Yeah.

Eric Partaker: Yeah. It’s like a… It’s the whole time machine thing. If you had a time machine, that’s dangerous. You change one thing and unravels everything and it’s like-

Brian Scudamore: Totally.

Eric Partaker: You absolutely need everything, right? And you have to own it all and you become greater as a result. Brian, it’s been so awesome. You have such an incredible, nice demeanor, good soul, nice person, really enjoyed the conversation. I’m sure you’re having a wonderful time right now with your family and everything. How does somebody who’s listening, if they’re inspired, if they want to learn more, if they want to break out of their corporate path, or they had this entrepreneurial itch, or maybe they’ve tried before and now they failed and they don’t think it’s possible again and they want a second shot or a first shot, how do they get in touch? How do they learn more from you?

Brian Scudamore: Yeah. So I would say, put Brian Scudamore into Google and find what content resonates with you. We’re on YouTube, social media. You can go to our brands and check it out. But I love inspiring entrepreneurship. I think it’s one of the most incredible career choices people can make and love helping people. I often get people reaching out through social media with notes and questions and ideas. And so whatever someone wants to do to reach out, I love connecting and I really enjoyed this time together. I mean, what a perfect way to spend an hour hanging out with someone who’s in Europe. We’re both having great conversation here, and forgetting that it’s actually going out to an audience.

Eric Partaker: Yeah, exactly.

Brian Scudamore: I love reflecting and thinking about the journey and thinking about what’s worked, and what hasn’t, and what’s next. So thank you, Eric. This is unbelievable.

Eric Partaker: Awesome. Thanks a lot, Brian. And yeah, really appreciate you coming on. Next time, you start your fourth franchise business, please get in touch so we can talk about that.

Brian Scudamore: Amazing. Awesome. Thank you very, very much. Yeah.

Eric Partaker: See you then.

Eric has been named "CEO of the Year" at the 2019 Business Excellence Awards, one of the "Top 30 Entrepreneurs in the UK" by Startups Magazine, and among "Britain's 27 Most Disruptive Entrepreneurs" by The Telegraph.

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