You might have heard someone tell you to “protect your yes.” Meaning, you should not feel obligated to agree to do things, participate, or take something on that you truly don’t want to do. If it doesn’t fulfill you in one way or another, why do it? In business, sometimes you can’t protect your yes, though. Sometimes, if you don’t say yes, you don’t have customers. But you can’t say yes to everything… Or can you…?
“We did just about anything,” Paul Rathnam says. “I said no to nothing. Like my dad taught me growing up, just say yes to everything and figure it out later. So, I often quoted things like plumbing and stuff. I had no clue how to do it. And then I’d go to the plumbing store and ask them how to do it. And they kind of have somewhat of an idea anyway, the story of my life.
Rantham is the owner of ModPools, a multi-million dollar company that builds swimming pools out of shipping containers. And, as you can tell, he took saying yes to a whole new level. But while Paul was busy saying yes, throughout his life, he heard a lot of nos. And even though his just-say-yes strategy eventually paid off, saying yes to everything had its pitfalls. We’ll get into all of that on this episode of The Journey.
- Exceeds Expectations: Throughout your life, people will place expectations or limits on you. But you should never let what other people think dictate where you wind up. Even if you lack certain skills in one area does not mean you can’t be brilliant somewhere else. Find your passion and let that guide you beyond what anyone else thinks is possible.
- Yes To All: Saying yes to every request is a strategy that many entrepreneurs have tried. When you say yes, you gain business and accounts. But if you say yes, you have to be willing to do all the work necessary to do the job properly, otherwise you’ll be left with not just dissatisfied customers, but a bad reputation as well.
- All It Takes is One: Whether it’s an idea, a design, or a word of encouragement, sometimes all it takes to keep going is one small thing. When you are on the brink or struggling, that one small thing could be right around the corner. Persevere and be open to wherever that one spark could turn into a wildfire.
“They say that people that have a disability or are weak in an area are sometimes exceptional in other areas are really strong. I don’t want to use, I mean, you could look at somebody who’s, uh, hearing impaired, um, or someone who’s visually impaired, their other senses are really high and they tend to hone those other skills to compensate. I think my compensating was people skills.”
“I told my wife, I said, ‘Hey, I’m gonna start a renovation company.’ And she’s like, ‘You really haven’t done a lot of renovating.’ I’m like,’ I’ll figure it out. Like it’s not that hard. I did this house. Then I fixed the thing on that house.’ And she’s like, ‘All right, you know, good luck.’”
“We did just about anything. I said no to nothing. My dad taught me growing up, just say yes to everything and figure it out later. So, um, I often quoted things like plumbing and stuff. I had no clue how to do it. And then I’d go to the plumbing store and ask them how to do it. And they kind of have somewhat of an idea anyway, the story of my life.”
“I went to the shop, I told the guys we’re going to build a pool out of the shipping container. And everyone just sort of, all my welders sort of looked at me like, have you gone crazy? And some of them after like years later said, I thought you were a hundred percent crazy. I was like, I was really expecting to find a job, a new job the next month, like, wow, we’ve hit the bottom. Right. So there wasn’t a lot of buy-in um, my electrician at the time, who was a good friend of mine, he’s kind of like, I don’t think people are gonna want to buy these Paul. Like I think you’re, you know, build one for yourself. Fine. And so we kind of, yeah, that’s kind of how it got started. And a lot of buy-in no one really thought it was a good idea. No one thought I cracked any good codes here. But I had the persistence just to kind of keep working on it.”
“This lady walks by and she stops. She looks at it, she goes, ‘Is that a swimming pool?’ I said, ‘yeah.’ She goes, ‘Made out of a shipping container?’ Yeah. She goes, ‘You’re going to be a millionaire. This is an amazing idea.’ Just straight up. Just said it to me straight in the eyes, turned and kept walking. Okay. That was just like, like that’s exactly what I needed to hear. I just needed somebody to say, it’s a good idea. I need somebody to believe in me. And oddly. that just turned the corner from me. I don’t know why that just flipped a switch in me. And I was like, yeah, we’re going to do this.”
“I didn’t have to pass a test to start mod pools and I didn’t have to pass a test or I wasn’t graded to make my first million dollars or, you know, like none of those things matter in the real world.”
Paul Rathnam is the Owner of ModPools, a multi-million dollar company that builds swimming pools out of shipping containers. He is also the owner of ModPro Containers. He is based in British Columbia.
This season of the Journey is produced by Mission.org and brought to you by UPS. To learn how UPS can help your small business, go to UPS.com/pivot.