Dec 1, 2020
We are delighted to be speaking to a fabulous and fascinating entrepreneur today! We have Mike Brcic, the creator of Wayfinders as our guest. Mike started a business called Sacred Rides back in 1996 and was nominated by National Geographic Adventure as the very first mountain bike tour operator on earth!
Mike is an amazing individual. He has been through everything one can go through as an entrepreneur, and he is joining us today to talk about the importance of living a connected life. He also talks about scaling your business, developing systems and processes to allow your business to run on autopilot, making the right choices in your life, and deciding whether to sell your business or create a new one. You’re going to love our conversation, so be sure to stay tuned!
Mike Brcic’s bio:
Community-builder and a serial entrepreneur by nature, Mike Brcic is passionate about helping entrepreneurs live inspired, more connected lives. Via his events and adventure retreats around the world with Wayfinders, Mike helps entrepreneurs find the tribe and the support they need to achieve great things and personal fulfillment.
He is a passionate speaker on many topics related to entrepreneurship, community building, and mental health. Via his [ALIGNED] blog series, he shares tips and resources to help entrepreneurs find more alignment in their lives.
Community, connections, and belonging matter a lot to Mike because he found most of his school years to be a confusing time, and often felt lonely. He did not fit in too well and had a hard time finding his groove. He also felt isolated, and that feeling never left him entirely. He has put a lot of energy into that space in the last few years, however, and managed to rid himself of some of those hang-ups. Even so, he can still remember the pain of isolation.
Helping people forge deep connections
The work that Mike does matters to him. A lot of the work he does these days is about connecting people and helping them to forge deep connections. And all of that is due to his painful formative experiences.
Recently, Mike has been researching human connection. All of the research says that human connection is one of our most fundamental needs, and our brains have been wired for it.
Feeling isolated throws our entire system into stress mode.
Mike has been working with companies to help them build more connections and psychological safety among their teams.
Mountain bike trails
A friend suggested that Mike show people around the many amazing mountain bike trails that surrounded his town. He liked that crazy idea, so he got a loan and started a business doing something he loved!
Doing things that light him up
Since then, Mike has been following his new rule of doing things that light him up. And he has been doing that with heart and integrity.
After about ten years, Mike started offering international trips. He rebranded his business Sacred Rides, and he grew his company all over the world.
Time to move on
After 23 years, Mike felt it was time to move on. He sold his business in February of 2019.
Mike Brcic’s happiest years
Mike Brcic was happiest in the first ten years of his business when he was still very hands-on and on his bike every day. He remained happy in the first few years after he started growing his business internationally.
In 2013, Mike became impatient with the growth of the business, and he wanted to scale it even more. He wanted to be in 150 countries by 2021.
Expanding made him miserable
He raised money from investors several times, hired lots of people, and expanded. By 2017, they were in 45 additional destinations. Mike experienced everything he had hoped to experience, and it made him feel miserable because he was no longer doing what he loved to do.
Scaling down and implementing systems
Mike came to realize that no amount of scale was going to fill the hole he felt in his heart, so he intentionally scaled his company down and implemented lots of systems and processes in order to remove himself from the company and get his life back. He has not looked back since.
Companies growing themselves out of business
Growing companies typically scale themselves out of business because even though their revenue increases, their expenses tend to increase even more.
Mike got rid of all unnecessary expenses, and he also laid several people off. By the end of it, the company was profitable, and the cash flow was good.
An issues list
Mike got tired of putting out fires, so he created an issues list. If anyone had an issue that would break the company, they had to bring it to him immediately. If not, it would get added to the issues list, and then the core team would look into the cause of it and figure out a solution.
The start and the end of the scaling down process
The process took about seven months from start to finish. It started with Mike thinking he was losing his mind, and it finished with him doing just two-and-a-half-hours of meetings each Thursday with his core team.
The company thrived
The company thrived without him due to the systems and processes he had put in place and less meddling on his part.
Mike Brcic’s advice for owners and CEOs
As an owner or CEO, Mike Brcic suggests you should spend your time in only a few areas. Those areas include establishing a great culture, creating a strategy and a vision for the company, taking responsibility for a few key contracts, and doing the things you love to do.
Mike’s company ran smoothly on autopilot for about six months. After 22 years in the business, he realized he had done everything he wanted to do with that company, and he no longer loved it in the way that he once did. He wanted new professional challenges, so he hired a broker to help him with the process of selling his business.
Getting free and clear
It took only four weeks for Mike to be free and clear of the business once a buyer was found. He was happy not to land up in a position where he had built the business, and a new owner was telling him what to do.
Wayfinders creates unique and transformative experiences and adventures for people, and it helps them to create lives of deep alignment. Mike started it before he sold Sacred Rides, and he was very cautious with it because he did not want to repeat the same mistakes he had made with his previous business.
Mike Brcic’s objective
From the get-go, Mike Brcic’s objective with Wayfinders was to do only two events a year and focus on making them incredible.
Mike realized that people too often fall into the trap of thinking that they have to find their purpose and meaning through their work. He realized that there was a lot of meaning to be found in becoming a great father and the best husband he could be.
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