Ryan Crownholm at the Military Millionaire Podcast

David Pere: Welcome to the military millionaire podcast. I'm your host David pray today We are here with Ryan crown home who I met just kind of randomly in a Steve Sims zoom call when we're both gonna go speak in August it one of his speakeasies in LA and we were sitting on the zoom call and I Don't even remember if it was I think I asked a question I don't know one of us was talking and I was like, oh army vet and then we just you know slid in the DMs and I was like, oh, private message. I was like, oh, we should connect and we talked. And then afterwards I was like, you should come on the podcast because it's got a pretty cool story and here we are. So that's the background. So Ryan was in the army and he's a serial entrepreneur. So he's now started five different companies or businesses, sold over half of them. So he's got Crown Capital Adventures, dirtmatch.com, mysiteplan.com, grassroots was construction and then he's kind of built out from there and we'll talk about all that. And he does a lot of mentoring now for entrepreneurs, CEOs, veterans, and both current and formerly incarcerated individuals. And then he's also done a lot with crypto and NFT projects and just a lot of really cool stuff. And yes, we were talking and I was just like, dude, that's a lot of just interesting kinds of businesses that I don't know anything about and not real estate. Well, I mean, there is real estate. just a different topic. So I was like, this is gonna be fun. So Ryan, thanks for joining us today.

Ryan Crownholm: Yo, what's up, Dave? Good to see you, man. Yeah, I had, I guess, a fun time in the conversation with you as well. And so it's cool what you're doing on the podcast. So hopefully my journey over the past 20 years or so after getting out of the military is interesting to your listeners.

David Pere: Oh, I'm sure it will be. Yeah. So I guess first question would just be, you know, what did you do in the Army? And how did, I guess, where did you get started? How did you go from Army and what you did in the Army to starting a business?

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah, so in the military, I was a 14 Sierra in the army, which is Stinger Missiles, Avenger crew member. So air defense, which does not translate into a civilian

David Pere: I was going

Ryan Crownholm: job at all.

David Pere: to say very, very applicable. Yeah.

Ryan Crownholm: So got out and it was funny, as soon as I got out, my parents were like, oh, you can stay with us for a little while till you get back on your feet. Well, two weeks later, I went to the gym and I came back and their house had burned down. And so I was like, okay, no more house because they were under construction. And so I'm now living in my car and like sleeping on friends' couches, like, uh-oh, this isn't good. And so really rock bottom, which turns out is sort of a point for me where I sort of... buckle up and get the most sort of motivation to get stuff done. And so I was working at the time as like a bouncer and then eventually a bartender and sort of working the restaurant scene while I was in college. And then I decided to go out and start doing hauling business. And so I had this old truck that I bought and I threw a trailer on the back of it and I started going to construction sites just cleaning it up because I could do manual labor. I love manual labor. And so by the time I graduated from college, that little sort of haul it trailer turned into a dump truck. truck and eventually into, I think by the time I graduated, about 10 trucks and 20 guys and doing a little over a million year in sales. And I thought, you know, all my friends are graduating college and they're getting job offers for like 40,000 a year. And I'm making a little six-figure salary and like doing pretty good. And I think I'm going to stick with it. And so that business grew into over the next decade or so into a pretty good sized general engineering company, demolition, So I had some recycling centers up in the Bay Area, and I had a property preservation company. I had several other businesses that sprouted over the years. And so it turns out I was just really bad at working for other people. I kind of learned that in the military. I don't want to be an employee, and so the only option for me was to figure it out myself. And so that's what I've been doing now for 27 years.

David Pere: Yeah, well, that's, I guess one solution to not working for other people is, but what I like about that and I originally, when we were talking, I was like, Oh wow, those are all way different businesses. And how did you get into that? And you corrected me and you were like, no, actually they all kind of tie into each other and you explained that and how they flowed. And so I'd love for you to kind of talk through that piece, like how you went from the construction business to the recycling or, what kind of that flow was because when you said that, I was like, oh, actually that makes 100% perfect sense. And I think it's kind of like the vertical integration kind of, you know, just like almost natural progression. I think that a lot of, not a lot, but some entrepreneurs go through, like from the outside looking in, it's like, oh, Ryan has shiny object syndrome, but then you start talking about it and you're like, oh no, actually that makes. perfect sense for why those things lined up like that. If you could dig a little bit deeper into like

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah,

David Pere: how you started the second one.

Ryan Crownholm: all the other businesses that kind of came off the main business were typically they were like problems that I had within my business that needed to be solved. And so when you come up with a problem, I like to come up with systems or solutions. And when I have in-house solutions, it's when the solutions are good enough that often other people want those same solutions. And so you can either take it and outsource it and have someone else do it for you or you could open up a profit center. So for example, the recycling centers was... a bunch of TVs, monitors, refrigerators, things like that. The landfill is charged us a bunch of money for it. And I thought, well. just become a state recycler and just do it for ourselves. I had a 5,000 square foot warehouse, I had an acre of land. And so I went to the state and I said, hey, if the landfills are getting permits, why can't I? And they went, well, cause you're a little guy. And I'm like, well, that shouldn't be a rule against a little guy. What does it take to be a big guy? And so they gave me the paperwork and what I had to do to get it done is that I can do that. So I went through and basically made it so I was a self-recycler. So all of our stuff would start coming back to our own facility. And then at that point I was like, So I wonder if I just put an A-frame sign out on the street and just open it to the public. What would happen? And it turns out a lot happened. Cars started coming in and we started, you know, pretty soon we're recycling millions of pounds of TVs and CRTs and electronics. And we had, I started making arrangements with the metal recycling companies. So they would bring me dumpsters and they were paying me by the ton. So it turned into a nice business. I thought, hey, I could probably do another one of these. And so I opened a second center and then started doing like recycling events all around the Bay area. And so this, what was a... a pain point for me, which is it was an expense. I turned into a profit center. And so that was one really good one. I had some other ones too, like in 2007, when the housing market was correcting, we were seeing a lot of these foreclosures everywhere. And I thought, hey, we've got all these trucks that we're having a hard time keeping busy because the new construction had turned off basically. Then the economy was kind of dropping down, but we're seeing all the foreclosures. So I gotta find something to do with these trucks, start calling on banks and realtors and everyone. REO specialists like clean up property preservation companies. As long as the guys were willing to strap water here and put up smoke detectors and weed whack and you know, board up houses or whatever we had to do. And so grew that into a pretty good size company as well, just to carry us through. Later after that, I also had turned into what was like a really oddball sort of niche, but the largest swimming pool removal contractor in California, where we were taking out 300 swimming pools a year. another niche that had sort of surfaced up, popped up. And I go, well, I can do that. So, you know, specialize in bringing up geotech soils engineer and, you know, perfect my process and set my equipment all up for that purpose. And it was something that was sort of very repeatable. So it was very easy to train people to do the same processes over and over again. Therefore the profitability was great. You know, 70% margins, gross margins on a pool removal where most of construction is, you know, 35, 50%. So it worked out really well. So I'm always just looking for opportunities identities. Within those businesses, there was other issues that I had. Like at the end of the day, for a pool removal, I'd have to come home and I'd have to draw up my site plan. It was a huge, huge pain in the butt. So I created a process around that. And my process made it so that now I could basically send the request to my drafters and the drafters would have my plan in my email box in the morning. I'm like, oh, this is a huge time saver for me. I love it. And I thought, hey, I wonder if anyone else could use this service. And so I opened it up to the entire US. And now we've been in business for about nine years doing site plans, one of the largest provider of non-certified site plans in the US. Dirt was another issue, because we were swimming pool removal, we needed about a thousand yards a week of dirt to fill five or eight pools. And so I had a person in my office whose job was to broker the dirt out. And so they would make phone calls, truckers, excavators, and they would just coordinate to make sure that I had the dirt that I needed. while making sure my competition wouldn't get any of the dirt that they needed. So kind of run a little mini monopoly. And after I sold that company, I thought, you know, that might be another one of those systems that would be really useful to other guys in construction. And so that was the birth of dirtmatch.com. And now we are the largest online brokerage service for dirt. And so it's been very successful, millions of yards of dirt are exchanged on dirtmatch every year. And just taking the and system around it and then asking other people if they would find it useful and that technique has worked for me.

David Pere: Yeah, I love it. I absolutely love that idea, that mentality. And I think it's great. I think I've made a lot of videos talking about how my, I think the most valuable skillset that like an entrepreneur can have is like creativity and just the ability to think through a problem and be like, oh, you know, actually, and I think those are all just really good examples of, like the idea that, like you didn't take an expense in a landfill and figure out a way to reduce that expense by having less items to recycle, you figured out how to completely eliminate that expense and turn it into a profit. Like, that's, I mean, most people like, oh yeah, we reduced this expense by 30% and that would be still good. Like that's not a bad thing. But to flip it upside down to turn it from red to green and then build a business around it to turn it into a revenue generator is just a whole different way of thinking. And most people don't generally think that way. And it's really cool.

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah, yeah. You know, it's about creating space in your business. A lot of people are so sort of head down in their business, you know, trying to just get stuff done that they don't take the time to step back and sort of look at it from above and look below and look for creative solutions. And so that's been for me, one of the most important things is like, I just go on like a couple mile walk every morning and I think about these things and these ideas bubble up and I experiment with them. And often those experiments turn into something, sometimes they don't, but still, you know, it's always useful. Yeah. Practice and testing.

David Pere: And yeah, the power of thinking. And

Ryan Crownholm: Hmm,

David Pere: yeah,

Ryan Crownholm: yeah,

David Pere: I like

Ryan Crownholm: what

David Pere: when

Ryan Crownholm: a thought,

David Pere: you,

Ryan Crownholm: huh?

David Pere: yeah, I know, when you're walking. Have you ever read the book? Oh, was it not Gopher's? It's sitting on my table right now. And I can't. I can't think of the name. I'm staring at the cover of it right now. Anyway, it's in the other room, but he talks about thinking time. Like once a week, you should sit down for an hour and just focus on one major problem in your business and ask a really deep, big question about that and just deep dive it and how that'll

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah,

David Pere: change your business.

Ryan Crownholm: you know, it seems like some people look at that time as like wasted time. It's like we need to be productive all day long. And so they're like, people have to fill every minute with doing. And sometimes like the low hanging fruit is actually the not doing. And so like. It feels unnatural to some people when they're like, oh, I can't just go walk for an hour this morning. I just like, I got so much stuff. I think about how much stuff I can get done in an hour. And it's like, yeah, but think about how much like thought that's not gonna happen. Like going out and collecting different information sources and never like processing into something is pretty, to me that's a huge waste of time. Like don't consume a bunch of information if you're not gonna do anything with it, useful. Yeah.

David Pere: I agree. Yeah. Walk or even like when I used to train for endurance sports, like a, the slow, like long runs after like the first mile or two, and you kind of get into that. Um, it's almost like a Zen state. You get into flow and it's just the, I used to, I used to, like at first it was like a bad habit. You know, the Marine Corps in me would come out and I'd be like, don't pull your phone out. You can't pull your phone out and stop running, or you can't pull your phone out while you're running. I'd be like jogging down the trail, trying to like type. but I would always just pull my phone out on like Google keep and just I'd have an idea and I would just keep notes or Google calendar and just type it in and put the phone back. And I probably some of my best ideas have come out of either a walk or a run just once the juices get flowing and.

Ryan Crownholm: that runner's high is magic.

David Pere: It's, yeah.

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah.

David Pere: Yeah, it's good times. It's, man, yeah. Definitely not

Ryan Crownholm: for sure.

David Pere: something to underestimate. And I'm glad that you said that, because you're right. People don't, they get so wrapped up in the business that they don't. take time to think and then you wonder why you're not having any more ideas.

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah, you know, it's funny. A lot of people, when they're having issues in their business, they think first about like, okay, who should I bring on to solve this problem? Like, and they usually, they'll go out to like a consultant, right? And a consultant will come on and charge them a bunch of money to look from an outsider's perspective into your business and try to tell you what's wrong with it when nobody knows your business better than you. So you're actually the best consultant you could ever hire for your business because you know inside and out, but you haven't taken the time to like stand back and look at it from an outsider. And so the consultant is just gonna waste your money. they're gonna give you some BS and even you're gonna look at what they say like I could have done this myself such a waste every time it's exactly the same right and so that's where for me it's like okay I just need to be the consultant my business I need to have separation and is when I have that separation and I look at it then that's when I that's where my gains come from

David Pere: That's huge. I love it. Yeah, that's awesome. Yeah, that's, yeah, huge. So, okay, so you've run a bunch of different businesses. I'd imagine you have a decent team. You're obviously good at the system side. What are some of the things that you've learned over the years that have really helped you as far as like, I guess, like putting those systems together or putting the right people in place to help... run those systems because obviously you are most likely, well I should say obviously, I would imagine that if you're able to step aside and take time to think, you're probably not running all five businesses or all of the businesses on your own. There's probably, like you said, systems in place and people in place. So what are some of the things that you've, you know, have helped you along the way with building all that out so that you're able to still take time because most people can't find that in one business.

Ryan Crownholm: Sure, yeah. I mean, I've had to learn over the time just to perfect my hiring process. So getting really, really good people on board and people who are creative and, you know, basically they're self-managed people. who work within bounds. So I have, I do create very, you know, very solid systems and I give them bumpers. You know, it's like, you ever go bowling with a kid and you put those like bumpers in the bowling alley and then they throw the ball so that they hit the pins, but they, you know, they still let them do with their thing and have fun with it. That's what my employees get. It's like, it's like, here's the bumpers. This is what you got to stay within. Use your creativity and get stuff done. Okay. And then as long as all the data and everything to me is trending in the right direction, then we're all and like feedback loops and things that make sure that all my customers are happy and my employees are happy and that like everything is working well. And then I get an email every morning that basically gives me all my key metrics that I need to look over and then my day is done. After I look at this email, as long as I see that all my, you know, my... my sales and my discounts and my returns and my conversion rates and all these different things are in line, then I'm good. So all the work that I do is like, I come in and talk to you or, you know, I have meetings with people or I think about the things that 10x my business. So all my time needs to be spent on the 10x things and my businesses are structured where they're going to grow at a natural rate without me. So if I disappear for this next year, my businesses will still grow 20 or 30%. If I stick around and put more time in, maybe they'll grow 200, 300% or maybe a thousand percent. that's been really important for me. It's just creating bulletproof systems, but then still having enough triggers built in within that so that if something goes wrong that I know immediately so I can come in and fix it.

David Pere: And I'm sorry about that. My internet was being stupid. So I lost you at, it does that every now and then. It will mess up the recording. I don't know why I pay so much for one gig and this company just occasionally, it just in and out. And of course it only happens when I'm in the middle of a podcast where at least I only notice it. And it's only like once every blue moon, but hopefully that's the only time. I lost you right at it's creating bulletproof, I'd imagine systems, but.

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah, well, so will it just record on my end and then it'll still

David Pere: It

Ryan Crownholm: connect it like you were saying before?

David Pere: should,

Ryan Crownholm: OK, all right,

David Pere: yeah.

Ryan Crownholm: cool.

David Pere: Yeah, it should have, the memo that it sends me was that when one person's audio or internet disconnects, it continues recording as normal for the other person. So in theory, it captured everything you said there. Yeah.

Ryan Crownholm: Cool, all right, well, let's pick back up then.

David Pere: Cool. Yep, we'll just rock and roll. Cool. see what we want to where we want to go to next.

Ryan Crownholm: I think there's, since

David Pere: lot

Ryan Crownholm: you're

David Pere: of waste.

Ryan Crownholm: a military focus podcast, I think that there's a lot of things that I've seen in veterans that have worked for me and other things within myself as a veteran that have been really beneficial to me as an entrepreneur. And let's...

David Pere: Yeah, let's do that.

Ryan Crownholm: throw that idea around a little bit, just because I love veterans. I mean, it's like my, when I was at, had a construction company, it was like, it was some of the only people I could find that were like, really knew how to work and not complain, or at least that they're complaining, they just complain about each other and actually it's like team building almost like. So, and one of the things, especially in construction is hard work, you know, and. something about when you're in the army, like for me, I was army, you were Marine Corps, but so you're probably tougher than I am, but the

David Pere: video.

Ryan Crownholm: ability to like to know that you can't just walk away. Like you have to build this like this. this resilience to like, I can't just be like, oh, this is too hard, I'm going to leave. Because that's what I would run into with a lot of the other guys that work for me if they hadn't been in the military or hadn't been in a situation where they could just quit like another job. And so they have this ability to like, to sort of just push past really hard things. And that in entrepreneurship is incredibly valuable because it can be really, really hard, you know, although my businesses, for the most part, run themselves now. When you're starting a business, there's no way around the hard stuff. It is hard, it is defeating, there's failure after failure, and if you don't have grit and resilience, you probably won't make it through, and most people don't. Those are some things that I've seen that have helped, at least for me, that's really helped me out as an entrepreneur.

David Pere: Yeah, no, I love that. I actually I joke all the time about the BMW phase of entrepreneurship below minimum wage. And I joke that all the hurry up and wait, and extra duty you do in the military for no extra pay, trains you for that because it's like by

Ryan Crownholm: Yep.

David Pere: the time you get out of the military, you're like, wait, I'm working for free, but it's for me instead of the D O D like this is this is great. I'm used to working for no extra money, but at least it's for my dream. Um,

Ryan Crownholm: Right. Well, it's

David Pere: you know

Ryan Crownholm: also,

David Pere: what?

Ryan Crownholm: you know, for me in the military, there was a lot of frustration around the way that things were done. And so if you're, you know, if you're the kind of person that actually likes to optimize things and create systems and like to build things that are that are substantial and run well. Being in an organization like the military where they don't do that will drive you crazy enough to where by the time you get out, you're like hardcore about growing exactly the opposite. And so like there was things that you'd go to the motor pool and they're like, sweep the floor. We're like, we swept the floor yesterday. It's clean, but there's like grease on the walls. Why aren't we cleaning the grease on the walls? You know, it's like, because that's not what I told you to do. Do some pushups. They were like that kind of stuff used to just drive me crazy. Like, like, like there's things we could do to make the systems work better

David Pere: Hehehehe

Ryan Crownholm: and we just don't do them. And so that was like, you know, whatever. I

David Pere: Yeah,

Ryan Crownholm: think there's

David Pere: always.

Ryan Crownholm: a lot of things that you pick up in the military that help you in the long run.

David Pere: I always loved the old, uh, sweeping of the parking lot to show, you know, how clean your parking lot was when the CG came or the Sergeant Major came. And you're like, I don't think the CG or Sergeant Major cares how clean the parking lot is. Um, but this is fun. Thanks. Like

Ryan Crownholm: Yep.

David Pere: I'm in my Charlie's out here sweeping in my core frames rather than like, cause we can't, heaven forbid we wear our nice, you know, camouflage utilities on duty instead of nice khakis, but whatever. Oh, yeah. Like, this makes

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah,

David Pere: no sense.

Ryan Crownholm: yeah, good to have a behind the stuff.

David Pere: Yeah, no, I love the Marine Corps for sure. So

Ryan Crownholm: Yep.

David Pere: it's good times. But yeah, no, I, I'm, I'm glad to hear you say that about hiring veterans. Um, cause I, I definitely think that there's, uh, unique advantages. I mean, there's a lot of tangible skills, depending on your job that you get. Being in the service, but there's a ton of, I think, unique intangible skills that service members and vets bring to the table when they come off of. you know, active duty or even reserves. Just, I think a lot of life experience for one, at an early age, especially, you know, you compare a 24 year old coming out of the service to a 24 year old coming out of college. And I think there's a noticeable difference in the experience at that age of just what they've done in life.

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah, big

David Pere: But

Ryan Crownholm: time.

David Pere: then, I mean, just the, there's just, it's just a different, I don't want to say different breed, but I think we all know, right? Like the discipline and the grit and the, um, it takes a certain type of person to go. And, and I think a, a part of it is bred by the military for sure. Part of it's just that only a certain type of person goes in the military, you know? And, and so

Ryan Crownholm: True, true,

David Pere: it's what

Ryan Crownholm: but I also think

David Pere: chicken

Ryan Crownholm: it was

David Pere: egg.

Ryan Crownholm: like, you know. We all have like a set point reference point of like what suck means. And like when you've spent a couple of either, either combat deployed, or you've been in the field for a couple of weeks and you haven't taken a shower and you're hungry and you're filthy and like, like that's a really good set point to have. If you haven't been through that, you don't know what that feels like. And so when you go out for like an eight or 10 hour work day, and it just happens to be hard and you're dirty. You feel like you're like, well, yeah, this is nothing compared to like Bosnia when we were out for, you know, for weeks at a time. covered. You know what I mean? And so I think that is really important to you. It's like with my kids, it's like, I almost want to just go like, throw them out in the dirt for a couple of weeks, you know, whether they go to the military or not. So at least they have that reference point of like, what it really means to suck and what your body is capable of. Like, like the fact that you learn that you it's okay, if you don't sleep for three days, you're gonna live. It's okay, if you're like, you know, you're completely exhausted. It means you're like halfway to like, where fully exhausted means, you know. And so, yeah, I think that's really important.

David Pere: That's what I was. I watched Family Feud like two nights ago with the wife and the, you know, the very end where they do the five questions or whatever, and you have to try to get the top answer. And the question was, we asked a hundred people, you know, what's the longest you've gone without a shower or a bath. And the first person gets up and says one day, and I, chat. I chuckled and I looked at my wife and I was like, yeah, right. Guarantee that person's gone longer

Ryan Crownholm: I think

David Pere: than

Ryan Crownholm: I'm

David Pere: a

Ryan Crownholm: right.

David Pere: day. They just don't want to answer that on live television. And then the next person gets up and they say one day and it goes brrm and they have to answer again. And they were like, two days. And I was like, yeah, okay. That person's also gone longer than a day. It doesn't want to admit it. And then the number one answer was one day. I just laughed. I was like, everybody polled. Just didn't want to be the person. Cause I was like, man, that or they just didn't ask a single veteran. Cause I was like, man,

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah.

David Pere: a week, like a month, I don't know. Like

Ryan Crownholm: Right.

David Pere: what you say showered is like pouring water and like baby wipes. Like,

Ryan Crownholm: That's baby wipes,

David Pere: like

Ryan Crownholm: that's what

David Pere: we

Ryan Crownholm: I was just

David Pere: had

Ryan Crownholm: thinking.

David Pere: like

Ryan Crownholm: It was like.

David Pere: week, I mean, at least a month where it was like, is the ISO container going to show up sometime? Or did we like, does it count if it's like the shampoo? Like you just kind of like the, you know what I mean? Like the rinse. shampoo that you just add on the... Oh my gosh, deployments are a whole different beast of like, yeah we got some baby wipes in!

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah,

David Pere: I think that counts.

Ryan Crownholm: I know, right? You just clean the balls and move on with it. Yeah. Right.

David Pere: So you're right. Yeah, there's a I just went to this veteran event last week and we were laying in the prone and 100 degrees out shooting guns in the middle of the day. And I don't think a single person complained. I mean, I had salt stains on my undershirt for the first time in a long time and I had more fun, you know, and it's just a good time.

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah,

David Pere: So,

Ryan Crownholm: 100%.

David Pere: yeah, that's good to hear. Yeah, I love. And I love the idea of hiring vets just to, you know, the culture too. Like I can, when I'm hiring and I'm not, admittedly not the best at hiring, at least not yet, I still got a lot to learn. But one of the things I'm trying to do is get better at the culture side right up front, right? You know, either a video showcasing what the culture of my business is or little things like at the bottom of the application saying, hey, I want you to, you know, if you can do all this stuff, but also you're going to fill out a... this Google form and then email your resume, your disc profile, and three references to this email address, and the subject needs to be badass EA applicant. And of the like 60 people who applied, like the 18 people sent the email with the stuff, but only like six of them actually typed badass EA applicant in the subject. And I'm like, those six are the only people getting an interview because they're the only

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah.

David Pere: six that were like a decent culture fit. All six were vets. And of those

Ryan Crownholm: Yep.

David Pere: six, like, it was like two Air Force, two Army, a Marine, and a Navy. And I'm like, perfect. All six are like, they filled everything out. And so I'm digging through all their applications today for whatever. But I was like, man, 60 people applied on indeed. 18 did the email and only six of them were serious enough to actually type the word badass into a subject line for a job.

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah.

David Pere: And all six of them happened to be veterans. And I was like, what

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah,

David Pere: a,

Ryan Crownholm: that's interesting.

David Pere: what a funny, what a funny thing. What a

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah.

David Pere: culture weed out. I never would

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah,

David Pere: have

Ryan Crownholm: that's

David Pere: guessed that.

Ryan Crownholm: That's a good start when you're hiring, is just to like the basics, like have some sort of attention to detail. That's one thing they do teach you in the military, is attention to detail. But for me, like when I'm going through the, by the way, I'm a huge pain. Like if I have a hundred applicants, I've got like 20 of them put through a test. And then I put another, like the one, 10 of those I'll get rid of, but then the next 10 I'll put through a test. Get rid of five, next five I'll put through a test. And the test actually doesn't mean anything. It's more like the communication, like how quick were they turned around, like... where the courteous do they seem like, you know, were they anxious like, like all of the other stuff besides the actual test them do is far more important. And that's how I get down to the people that I end up hiring.

David Pere: Yeah, it's like the, man, two of my favorite things that I've ever heard from people with interviews, and one of them I don't think you could actually do. One of them is like the, on your third or fourth interview, you just on the way to the interviewer, you go shopping with the person, and then you just watch to see if they put the card away when you're done. And that right there is the whole interview. But the other one

Ryan Crownholm: You

David Pere: is...

Ryan Crownholm: go shopping? You go shopping with your job applicants?

David Pere: So that was,

Ryan Crownholm: I've never tried.

David Pere: so I haven't, I haven't, but I heard someone say once that what they do is they will, they will get in the car to like go to lunch and then be like, oh, hey, we got to go run and do whatever real quick. And they will like stop off to like run an errand at like Target and they'll like, you know, whatever. And they'll have a cart and some like obscure thing and somehow they'll have it to where the applicant has the cart. And like the entire interview is literally to see if the applicant puts the card away

Ryan Crownholm: Man,

David Pere: once they drive. Uh,

Ryan Crownholm: that is really

David Pere: once they,

Ryan Crownholm: specific, it's like super specific.

David Pere: it's,

Ryan Crownholm: Like.

David Pere: yeah, I'm like, I don't know how you'd pull that off, but it's like, they're like, yeah, there's no social reward for whether they put the card away or not. So if they do, they're my kind of people. And if they don't, then I don't want to work with them. And they don't know that that's the interview. So it's just a real test to their character. And I'm like, I don't think I could pull that off. But the other one that I find interesting though, is they'll do like the second or third interview over lunch, and they'll just show up 20 or 30 minutes early and tell the waiter like, hey, no matter what, mess up their order. I just wanna see how they react. I was like, that one you could pull off. And that's an interesting test to see how to see someone's personality. Cause

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah,

David Pere: I've seen some people get really mad over.

Ryan Crownholm: I like that. Yeah, that would be good. Like even just being in a car with them would be good. Like let them drive. If someone puts their blinker on, do they like speed up not to let them in? Are

David Pere: Hmm.

Ryan Crownholm: they that guy? Like I don't want that guy working for me. Yeah,

David Pere: Yeah,

Ryan Crownholm: that's good.

David Pere: it's amazing

Ryan Crownholm: That's

David Pere: when you

Ryan Crownholm: cool.

David Pere: think about it, like how much of hiring doesn't actually come down to what you know at all.

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah.

David Pere: Like, I mean,

Ryan Crownholm: Well,

David Pere: you got to

Ryan Crownholm: you

David Pere: have

Ryan Crownholm: hire

David Pere: some app

Ryan Crownholm: you

David Pere: skills,

Ryan Crownholm: hire on potential

David Pere: but

Ryan Crownholm: like you,

David Pere: yeah.

Ryan Crownholm: you can train anybody to do any job. But what's more important is like the work ethic and like whether they're a nice person. You can't train someone to like to have better work ethic or to be a nicer person. It just doesn't work, but you can train them to like drive a tractor.

David Pere: Yeah, yeah,

Ryan Crownholm: I'll go with

David Pere: or to keep

Ryan Crownholm: the

David Pere: their

Ryan Crownholm: hardworking,

David Pere: cool in a stressful

Ryan Crownholm: the hardworking

David Pere: situation.

Ryan Crownholm: person who's like fun to be around, who. Like who doesn't know how to drive a tractor over the guy who's like worked at ten different companies knows how to drive a tractor But he's a complete jerk and everyone hates him like that. I got no need for him. So yeah

David Pere: Yeah, yeah, the guy who keeps his cool in a stressful situations, definitely more valuable to me than, yeah. Yeah, and the old, like, at the very bottom of my application, I have like the, one of the requirements is that you have to be able to pass the chug of beer test. Like, would I be willing to meet this person to drink a beer on Friday night? If you're not like cool enough, like not that I'm gonna go and drink with all my employees, but like, if we don't, jive enough that you're the type of person I'd be willing to go have a beer with, then it's just not going to work in the company. Like, sorry, because, well, for one, I like to be able to be like, it's Friday, we're going to go have a beer for lunch and you're going to go home. I don't care. Like whatever. And

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah.

David Pere: not that you have to have a beer, but like that's the culture. Like if you want, like, I have scotch in the office. So if you want to have a glass before we, when we celebrate a win, like whatever, I didn't. create my own job so that I couldn't have scotch in the office. Yeah. So whatever, but that's, that's a whole park of culture, I guess. Right. So, and again,

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah,

David Pere: you don't have

Ryan Crownholm: super

David Pere: to drink,

Ryan Crownholm: important.

David Pere: but you just have to be cool enough that I would feel comfortable having a beer with you. And if I get the vibe that like, it's actually kind of funny. Man, I don't know if I should say this. They don't listen. So it's whatever. When I was engaged, we were planning out the wedding and my now sister-in-law. We were in the car. This might be the only time I ever rode in the car with this sister-in-law. And she, for reference, she smokes. And I, or at least did at the time. And I know enough to know that she has partaken in alcohol or at least did, right? Like, so this is not somebody who has never drank in their life and it just has like a bad taste, right? But we were planning out the wedding. We're talking about it in the car. And we were having it at Baptist Church. So like, you know, limited dancing or no dancing. And then like, so the after party was like, we're coming back to the father-in-law's barn. He's got like a 50s Missouri. We've got like a 50 by 80 or 50 by 60 barn,

Ryan Crownholm: cool.

David Pere: massive barn with like an apartment built into the back. And so we're gonna, you know, the after party is like, we're coming back. We'll might have some dancing, but we'll have some. some beer, some pizza, people can hang out, whatever, right? And so like in the car, she was like, you're not gonna have alcohol at that part, right? Like you shouldn't have alcohol at your wedding. And like that one comment, like literally we got out of the car and I looked at my wife and I was like, I kept my tongue, I bit my tongue, but like she lost me, sorry.

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah,

David Pere: Like.

Ryan Crownholm: you know what, I actually, I don't drink, but if I have people over at my house, I always make sure I have some beer and alcohol there. Like, come on, some of my friends are just downright boring if they don't drink. It's like, I'll be sober, but man, you need to have some whiskey to lighten up, so. Ha ha ha.

David Pere: I and for like I might have one or two glasses of something a month like I I'm not a drinker really either but it's just the idea that like if you're the type of person who is you know just Like that you're just you're not cool with like being like light you know like you're just stuck up enough that like I don't know. You know what I'm saying? It's just

Ryan Crownholm: I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I

David Pere: like the culture, the culture thing where it's like, look, I just want to be easy going, carefree, whatever. And part of that is like, hey, if you want to have a beer, have a beer. If you don't want to have a beer, don't have a beer. I don't care. Just

Ryan Crownholm: It's

David Pere: don't get it to

Ryan Crownholm: just

David Pere: you.

Ryan Crownholm: like everything else in life, right? It's like live and let live. You do your thing, I'm gonna do mine. As long as we're not in a fist fight, we're good. Like, we're good.

David Pere: Yeah,

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah. There you go.

David Pere: yeah. But if you're gonna work in the company, you gotta be cool enough that I could feel safe having a beer around you and you're not judging me. And if I feel like you're gonna judge me for having a beer, then

Ryan Crownholm: That's a problem.

David Pere: I'm not gonna pay you, sorry.

Ryan Crownholm: Yep.

David Pere: Like, you can go judge someone else.

Ryan Crownholm: set.

David Pere: So anyway, all right, so we've probably beat the culture horse enough there. So tell me a little bit about this NFT project or the stuff that you've been messing with and then we'll talk some of the mentorship that you've done. probably wrap

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah!

David Pere: things up.

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah, so I've been just, let's say curious about the crypto space since probably 2013. I read the Satoshi White Paper at the time and I thought, this is actually very cool. So I was intrigued by it, enough to buy a few Bitcoin or something. And just to understand the basics of the technology. And then I just forgot about it after that until 2017. And Ethereum came out, smart contracts, and that's kind of interesting too. And so went down that rabbit hole to understand it. been an outsider for quite a while, but had a pretty good grasp of how everything worked and what the potential was and what the uses might be. Still waiting to see them come to fruition. But. I think when the NFT stuff came out, it started to get really interesting. And so I was, so one of my friends is Scott Kelly. So he's an astronaut, former fighter pilot. And I was at his house and he's showing these pictures he has from space. And at the same time, the Ukraine war was just breaking out. And he was, you know, he has family that's Ukrainian. Plus, he's also friends of a lot of Russian cosmonauts who were not pro, you know, for the war. And so we got into a conversation about like, raise to raise some money for the people out there just for you know support for the people that are being displaced as far as getting them clothing and food or whatever we could do you know just bringing stuff into Poland and so I thought well why don't we do some artwork like let's do something based off of your time and space and so originally we were looking at the photos that he had which were absolutely amazing but then we ended up just getting an artist together and did this really cool generative art of like just some of it like but he's in space and space outfit. And he's like, if you go to, uh, it'd go to open sea, you can see the stuff we did on there. It was, uh, look up Scott Kelly NFT and you'll see the stuff. But we raised about a half a million dollars in six hours selling these NFTs. And, uh, and we donated a hundred percent of the proceeds. And so actually it was cool because when we donated it, we donated it to the organization. They went and they printed off a bunch of them in the palettes as they were bringing them into your crane. They put our artwork on the side of the palettes and they sent us a bunch of pictures of it. That was super rewarding, but that was one project. And I've dabbled in some other, as far as working with teams, I have some friends that are in the movie industry. And so we've looked at doing movie memorabilia and things like that based on NFTs as well. We started an organization called the Western NFT Partners with me and a handful of other guys have been putting together some different ideas where we could sort of leverage their insider Hollywood stuff space. And so it's been fun. To be honest, I, the past year or so, I've backed off of that space some, just because the things have just really imploded in a, in a way that's, you know, let's just say the space is not looking so hot right now. The technology is the same. It's still moving forward. Actually, it's probably better that things have imploded because they can get back to business, you know, instead of like a lot of the speculators have gone away. And so, but I'm not currently doing it anymore. anymore projects until there's a little bit more regulatory clarity and you know, it's, it's not worth the risk at the time for me right now. So.

David Pere: Yeah. Yeah, that's I mean, that's super cool that you were able to raise through that. It's it's a very interesting space. And I think there's a lot of potential with some of it. Like, it's one of those I think it's like the dot com thing, right, where it's like, I think, like 70 80 percent of the kind of stuff that's floating around in the crypto world is probably going to just kind of disappear. You know, I can't exactly see a. a real world application for, you know, like cum rocket or whatever that crypto, some of those coins that are floating around. But I think that the technology behind

Ryan Crownholm: I've got a lot of cum rocket, so I think it will. One of these days it's gonna take off, I'm pretty sure.

David Pere: Doge

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah, yeah.

David Pere: and you

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah.

David Pere: know, but I think that the blockchain the Ethereum and some of that stuff is very fascinating and has a lot of potential over the next decade probably to just revolutionize a lot of stuff. And so it's pretty cool to watch some of the projects that are unfolding kind of in the background right now because it's not as mainstream as the prices are kind of down, but once they pick back up, it'll become loud again. It's always funny how that all works.

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah, you know, and I don't know if that attachment to the price is, I think, part of the thing that bothers me about it. You know, it's been 10 years now that I've been sort of playing with the crypto space, and I don't use any crypto on a day-to-day basis. You know, I think the Bitcoin is valuable to have just that sort of a cache of, you know, money on the side that you have access to that no one else can take from you. That's great. As far as the other things, the NFTs, I've got some artwork and stuff that I keep that's not, you know, it's not really worth much. I just kind of like it. But there's nothing like on a day-to-day basis. And so when a new technology comes out, like AI, like I'm on chat GPT and BARD every day. Like it's immediately was incorporated into my workflows. And so that was the technology that was like, well, this is really useful because it's here and it's here to stay. And I'm using it every single day. Whereas the crypto stuff hasn't done that yet after a decade. And that kind of, you know, that I think that to me is a little bit of a red flag.

David Pere: Yeah, I would agree with that wholeheartedly. Yeah. Like I see some real world applications for things like blockchain and NFT potentially replacing title companies or, you know, stuff like that, but it's going to take a long time for that stuff to come to fruition, but then like you said, yeah, chat.gpt is all over. I mean, that's, I've replaced a lot of processes within my business or, or at least dramatically decreased the time. for said processes within my business.

Ryan Crownholm: I came to work one day and my chat tbt wasn't working. I went home I'm like I don't work without this like what about how am

David Pere: Hey,

Ryan Crownholm: I supposed to work just as a regular human? This is ridiculous. And so yeah, it's

David Pere: that's awesome.

Ryan Crownholm: that level already. So Yeah

David Pere: That's hilarious. I have a friend who, uh, he's like, yeah, I told all my employees that they're no longer allowed to ask questions on Google. It's all chat GPT now. Like if you were going to Google the question, you chat GPT it. I was like, that's actually a pretty interesting take.

Ryan Crownholm: I paid for every one of my employees to get on the chat GPT plus on four.

David Pere: Yeah,

Ryan Crownholm: So the 20 bucks

David Pere: I

Ryan Crownholm: a month or 20 bucks.

David Pere: think

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah. And, and,

David Pere: absolutely

Ryan Crownholm: and I make

David Pere: worth it.

Ryan Crownholm: them use it in every part of their job every day, because each one of them can 10 X their, their productivity

David Pere: Yeah,

Ryan Crownholm: if they use it.

David Pere: yeah, I think it's absolutely worthwhile. Yeah,

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah.

David Pere: so okay, so, and now you're doing some mentorship and you're working, I know you've done some mentorship within local prisons, right? Is that?

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah, yeah, I do. Well, in prisons and then also the halfway houses and then after they get out as well. And so I have. I mean, I have a book club that I run for, because a lot of times the guys, when they were in, they learned passion for reading, but maybe didn't just read the right stuff. And so I've got a book club where we go through a lot of these sort of foundational readings that can help them, you know, kind of, my whole idea is like, you know, when I got out of the military, I was kind of hit, had a pretty hard landing, meaning I had zero to my name and living in my car, but, you know, was able to leverage my own skills, what I had, into growing a business. And I stumbled probably for the first decade. Like I did pretty well, ton of mistakes and so here these guys are you know they made a huge mistake when they were most of them when they were young right there under 25 years old and they're full of testosterone, no guidance, and they do dumb things. And then a decade later, their prefrontal cortex develops and they're like, okay, I screwed up and now they want another chance. So I think that my skill set can help them fast forward through the decade of wasted time that I did and I can help them get past that. And so really just say, what can you do? Are you strong? Can you clean a kitchen? Can you work on a car? you throw up sheetrock, like let's leverage that into a job because a lot of these guys have a hard time finding a job. No one wants to hire someone with a criminal record. And so just helping them leverage that into their own sort of self-employed position. And then from there, if they have the chops, take it from being a self-employed person into being a business, which means staffing up and growing something where you start to leverage other people's labor into your bank account. So.

David Pere: Yeah, I think that's awesome. Do you have any, if you don't mind, what are some of the top two or three books that you try to walk people through with the beginning stages of that book clip?

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah, so one of them I love was Atomic Habits by James Clear

David Pere: Yeah.

Ryan Crownholm: because it's... it's almost like a prerequisite. It's like, cause if you're going to read a bunch of books about creating new habits, we should probably teach you how to make habits first. And so, uh, so that's one that I like to start with and it's actually sort of thematic. So we are, as we're going through the books, we're reflecting back to the other books. And so after that we do like, um, how to win friends and influence people. Cause how do you talk to people? How do you grow a network? How do you like those things that have been really helpful? Uh, and then, you know, You know, like an E-Myth revisited, one like that would be good. The War of Art is a great one. So

David Pere: Yeah.

Ryan Crownholm: there's a handful of them that the guys get a lot of value. just try to make them sort of where they're cumulative, where the knowledge just stacks. And also just really applying everything directly to their business. Like when we're reading Atomic Habits, we're not just reading for the knowledge, we're creating habits. Like let's pick something. Like for me, I was like, well, I'm gonna do habit stacking. And so I started doing, as I hit my curing in the morning and I stand there looking stupid for 60 seconds, waiting for the thing to finish a cup of coffee, I get down and do pushups. So like, it's like making that, like now I do pushups every day for one minute in the morning push-ups and like rather than standing there looking stupid

David Pere: Nice.

Ryan Crownholm: or like you know as I'm you know 47 years old I'm getting older I wanted to work on balance and so I've decided another one was like I'm going to stand up and put my socks and shoes on while standing on one leg and so I've like put a sock on put my shoe on tie the shoe and everything and my balance is improving and so every person in there is working on things you know and so that's like this idea not just reading and not ingesting information, but digesting information, actually putting it to action. Yeah.

David Pere: Yeah, I think that's huge. And those are all great books.

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah.

David Pere: I need to probably need to reread Atomic Habits, like the physical copy of I've audio booked it and I have read the physical copy a while back. I probably need to do it again. It's a good one. Maybe

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah,

David Pere: we can't.

Ryan Crownholm: really good one.

David Pere: Yeah, you can't, can't go wrong with it getting better at creating habits for sure. That's

Ryan Crownholm: Yep.

David Pere: awesome. Yeah, I love it. Well, Ryan, I know we were, well, I'm at least, uh, coming up towards where I got to Get out of here, go pick a kid up for baseball here soon.

Ryan Crownholm: Yep, yep, yep.

David Pere: Is there anything that we missed that you think we should cover?

Ryan Crownholm: I don't think so. I'm happy to revisit anything later on, but it was good to chat.

David Pere: I feel like we kind of ran the gauntlet in a good way. Where can people get a hold of you if they'd like to reach out?

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah, just check out ryancrownhome.com or at Ryan Crown Home on pretty much every platform because there's not any other Ryan Crown Homes out there.

David Pere: What?

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah.

David Pere: That sounds easy enough. Well, I love it. This was super valuable. I think we had a really good conversation. I'm sure people got a lot out of this and I'm looking forward to meeting you in person in August and hearing your presentation.

Ryan Crownholm: Yeah, likewise, man.

David Pere: Thank you very

Ryan Crownholm: Cool.

David Pere: much for joining us.

Ryan Crownholm: All right. We'll talk soon.

David Pere: Yes, sir.


Ryan Crownholm at the Military Millionaire Podcast

Episode: 218


Ryan Crownholm


Are you ready for an episode of From Military to Millionaire that will leave you feeling inspired and motivated to take on the world of business? Look no further than this conversation between host Dave and serial entrepreneur Ryan Crownholm.


Our guest today, Ryan Crownholm, is a man who wears many hats with absolute aplomb. A U.S. Army veteran turned successful entrepreneur, Ryan has made a name for himself in sectors as diverse as construction and blockchain technology. He's the founder of Crown Capital Adventures Inc., Dirtmatch.com, and Mysiteplan.com, and has successfully launched and sold multiple businesses during his entrepreneurial career.


In this episode, Ryan dives into his unique method of structuring his businesses – it's all about systems. He gives us a peek at how he keeps everything running smoothly across his diverse portfolio. He talks about his passion for ‘insubordinate entrepreneurship’ and his mission to change the current landscape for small to medium-sized business owners and entrepreneurs.


But what really sets Ryan apart is his dedication to mentorship. He mentors a variety of individuals, including entrepreneurs, CEOs, veterans, and both currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. Ryan believes that everyone deserves a chance to succeed, and he's committed to helping others achieve their goals.


And let's not forget about Ryan's early adoption of blockchain technology and his role as an advisor to several Crypto and NFT projects and companies. He's a true innovator in the business world, with a wealth of knowledge and experience to share.


So, if you're someone keen on entrepreneurship, looking for tips on creating sustainable business models, or simply want to be inspired by an individual who has transitioned from the military to making millions, this episode is a must-listen. Ryan Crownholm's journey teaches us that it's possible to create a successful life post-military, proving that the possibilities are endless when passion meets perseverance. Tune in and get ready to be inspired!


What You’ll Learn from Ryan Crownholm:


  • How does Ryan Crownholm manage to juggle multiple businesses successfully?
  • What's the secret behind his unique business model that delivers immediate and sustainable returns?
  • Why is mentorship such a vital part of Ryan's entrepreneurial journey?
  • And so much more!


Favorite Quote:


“In entrepreneurship, you can't just walk away. You need grit and resilience to push past the hard things, or you won't make it through.” 


            –   Ryan Crownholm


How to Connect:


If you're inspired by Ryan Crownholm's entrepreneurial journey and want to learn more about his mentorship and insights, there are several ways to connect with him. 


Visit his website at https://www.ryancrownholm.com/ to learn more about his businesses and approach to entrepreneurship. 


Follow him on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/ryancrownholm/?hl=en for behind-the-scenes glimpses, updates, and entrepreneurial inspiration. 


Or, connect with Ryan on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryancrownholm/ to engage in professional networking and stay up-to-date on his latest ventures.




Real Estate Investing Course: https://www.frommilitarytomillionaire.com/teachable-rei 

Finding Off-Market Deals Course: https://www.frommilitarytomillionaire.com/teachable-off-market 

Recommended books and tools: https://www.frommilitarytomillionaire.com/kit/ 

SUBSCRIBE: https://bit.ly/2Q3EvfE 

Website: https://www.frommilitarytomillionaire.com/start-here/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/frommilitarytomillionaire/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/militarymillionaire/ 

My name is David Pere, I am an active-duty Marine, and have realized that service members and the working class use the phrase “I don't get paid enough” entirely too often. The reality is that most often our financial situation is self-inflicted. After having success with real estate investing, I started From Military to Millionaire to teach personal finance and real estate investing to service members and the working class. As a result, I have helped many of my readers increase their savings gap, and increase their chances of achieving financial freedom!

Click here to SUBSCRIBE: https://bit.ly/2Q3EvfE  to the channel for more awesome videos!



Related posts...

Show us some love...


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sometimes you just need the right


Join the thousands of other Military Millionaires that are building their real estate portfolio! Subscribe and don’t miss a thing.

Join the ranks!

Stay Connected Warrior!

Optin and get notified when we drop a blog, publish an episode, etc