LA Business Podcast

26. Patrick Butler, Co-Founder & COO of Better Earth

Better Earth Solar
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In this episode, we speak with Patrick Butler about his Podcast, Start-ups, and the Solar Industry.

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Intro: [00:00:00] Welcome to the LA business podcast, a form for business owners and senior executives to share the experiences about the elements that drive their success. Your host is Robert Brill, CEO of Brillmedia.co, an Inc 500 company delivering the power of hyper-local advertising. Robert writes for Forbes, Inc and Ad trade publications.

Our goal is to bring you the stories about successes and failures of people who are making big things happen in marketing, entrepreneurship, and management.

Robert Brill: [00:00:37] Hey, everyone. Welcome to another episode of the LA business podcast. Today our guest is Patrick Butler, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Better Earth.

Thanks for being with us, Patrick. Appreciate it. So, tell us about, um. Better Earth and, what you do over there. And also, you have a podcast. I want to know more about the podcast. I was recently a guest on that, so thank you.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Patrick Bulter: [00:01:03] To give you a little bit of background, I’ve been in the solar industry for about five years.

 Better Earth being, you know, the latest venture that I’m a part of, before that, uh. You know, if I rewind a little bit farther, I was in college and, you know, sort of frustrated with the speed, that, you know, the first few years of college courses go.  and I found that I was learning a lot more on my own time listening to podcasts, watching YouTube videos and, reading books.

And I was enjoying that content a lot more than. What I was getting from the college courses. So, I actually dropped out of school and dove right into sales and just, you know, sort of work my butt off as much as possible to, you know, develop that skillset. Because from what I had heard, if you, you could get good at sales, it was something that would stick with you for life.

And it would be something that, you know, is just. You always have a place in the marketplace. And so, if I was going to take the decision to not have a college degree, I figured I need some marketable skills. I worked all sorts of retail jobs and T and then, you know, grew, fascinated with entrepreneurship and business.

 you know, read some biographies of people like Steve jobs, stuff like that. And, knew that for me to get into business, I would have to go join a business. And I figured what better place to go than a startup.  I moved. Around the country a couple of times to check out different companies. And that led me to a startup company back in Massachusetts where I was from where I was, born and raised.

 and that company was a solar company, and that’s how I got into doing solar door to door sales, or the most raw kind of sales that you can do. Yeah. Have you ever done any door to door?

Robert Brill: [00:02:46] No. I have not.

Patrick Bulter: [00:02:48] It’s, it’s a thrill. We’ll take you out to the field sometime because, you know, from there, you know, it’s, it’s one of those things, once you get out there and you’re talking to people, it’s a very unnatural,  sort of counterintuitive way to market of products.

You know, going straight someone’s door. But it’s a really comfortable talking to just about anybody. And, I really enjoy that aspect of it. I was a part of that startup company for a few months before me and a few of my, partners. We jumped over to solar city, which was acquired by Tesla about two years ago, a year and a half ago.

 and, you know, love sort of what they were doing there. We were running the largest sales team in their organization at the time, which was really something it’d be a part of, and it sort of inspired us to move across the country, drive our cars out to California and start our own company at that time.

Uh. Which we stuck with for about three years. That company was called Sun Grade Solar. And just this past summer, we, you know, decided to go out on our own once again and found a better earth,  really with the intention to do more than just solar and,  you know, basically approach this industry in a way that other, we were not seeing other companies do.

It.

Robert Brill: [00:04:06] And so it looks like you’re eight months into Better Earth, is that right?

Patrick Bulter: [00:04:12] Yeah, just about, so we started in July, so seven, eight months.

Robert Brill: [00:04:18] What’s the core differentiator that you guys are offering? I know nothing about the solar business. Like I understand that the margins I think are pretty thin, but I might be wrong with that, but I think that’s what I heard. Like, tell us about the solar business.

Patrick Bulter: [00:04:33] So for a lot of people out there, you know, to give you an idea of paint, a picture of solar is, or especially what we do with residential solar, you might see a lot of people installing it up on their rooftops.

And the reason for it is because right now you know, consumers only have one option for electricity. And that’s the utility grid. It’s a one way street, and the utility prices are going higher and higher every single year.  and it’s related to a lot of reasons. You know, the grid is old and outdated and sort of falling apart.

 you know, a lot of it was built 50 to a hundred years ago.  and so when solar allows people to do is utilize their roof space to become their own power generator.  well I learned about that back in high school. I thought it was the coolest thing. And so when I heard about the opportunity to get into solar, just was like, Oh yeah, that’s something I get behind.

And I had done some door to door as well. I worked for a company that represented Verizon Fios doing door to door and the margins on that was quite low. You know, you’d do like a triple play package or whatever, and you’d get maybe $200 in commission, which was, you know, at the time, outstanding.  whereas the solar, it was actually pretty cool because at the same time, I was also pursuing getting my real estate license and looking at that industry.

And, solar commissions would vary between, you know, at that time, around $1,500. You know, $3,000 per project if you’re the ones selling the deal. So that really entice me because door to door is extremely challenging. And if you’re doing Verizon, it’s hard to get passionate about cable.  you know, you can only muster up so much energy for that.

 so solar, at least, you know, it’s like, Hey, I’m doing something really great for the client here, they’re going to save money. They’re going to have a new option for their electricity.  and it’s also got all those environmental benefits, which we all, you know, we all love going green and being more efficient.

 but yeah, so when it comes to the solar business today, more and more people are seeking out these products.  as you know, again, the, you know, you’ve probably saw the wildfires in. California, the past couple of years. So for the listeners out there, they might not be aware, but one of the largest fires that campfire up in Northern California was proven to be caused by the gas and electric, which was the largest utility company in Northern California.

And the amount that they destroyed. Thousands of structures, and actually it ended up in the deaths of dozens of people.  so there are liabilities through the roof and what the state government allows, for,  PG need to do cause PG and they are not going out of business, is to roll those costs onto the consumers.

Robert Brill: [00:07:13] Outrageous.

Patrick Bulter: [00:07:14] But anyways, a lot of people are looking for an alternative, and that’s why solar is serving unique fields. But there’s a lot of people out there that do what we do. So to answer your question, what makes us unique?  there’s a lot of people that do what we do. Solar is a commodity.

It’s a commodity product. And when you’re selling a commodity. The way to distinguish yourself is with bender service. So really where we specialize and what we’ve done so well in the past is deliver five-star service to our clients. They really want to always have a line of communication, and makes sure that, you know, their projects going smoothly or something doesn’t go smooth.

It is a construction industry, so never going to be 100% perfect, but we always deliver top of the line service and. Again, our goal is to sort of be more than just a solar company. We, we noticed if you look out there and you Google some solar companies, you’re going to see like Sunrun’s Sungevity, but everything like sun this on that SunPower.

We want to focus on the sustainability aspect, which we believe a lot of people are sort of sleeping on right now. It’s kind of low hanging fruit, which is to remind everybody of sort of the benefit of solar and what you’re doing is really more of a move in the sustainable direction rather than just getting panels on your roof.

It’s making a very conscious decision as a consumer to do the smart thing.

You know, I’m on your website right now and what I really like about your site, there’s two things that sent out to me. The first is, you’re using video, which is super cool. And even better than that is, you’re, you’re showing real people and with smiles on their faces.

And I think, you know, one of the things I’ve learned over the years is that people buy when there’s social proof, when they see other people doing something that they might want to be doing and showing smiling faces, like one of the best way of doing doing that.

Robert Brill: [00:08:58] I really liked your site.

Patrick Bulter: [00:08:59] Thank you. Thank you. And yeah, that’s what we love to do too, because you know, we could go out there and just install panels and you know, call it a day. But you know, we want our customers and our clients to be thrilled with their experience with us. So much so that they, you know, every, like I mentioned, door to door is a very challenging industry.

You know, the reason why it’s challenging is because it’s hard to build relationships with people on the spot. But if you can do that and you can do that successfully, you know, there’s no reason why one sale or one installation shouldn’t be three or four installations after they tell their friends and family members.

Robert Brill: [00:09:34] What do you, what are the things that you’re doing to grow Better Earth?

Patrick Bulter: [00:09:39] Well, there’s a, there’s a few components that make growth challenging in our industry.  you know, one is just customer acquisition and there’s all sorts of methods and means to doing that. You know, all sorts of marketing campaigns.

Like when you were on my podcast, we talked about marketing strategies and the hyper-local marketing strategies and stuff. There is a lot around that. And one of the other challenges is just developed, getting the right people into your organization, getting enough people into your organization. So one of the things that we specialize in is being able to recruit a lot of people.

 some of my partners in the business, our CEO, his name is Zane Jan, he’s got quite the following on Instagram.  we’ve. Basically innovated our recruiting funnel to work through social media,  so that we’re able to get the people that we need and in the volume of people that we need in the,  sort of ambitious people that we need to come to our, be attracted to our company and want to sort of see the vision that we see and want to join us.

Robert Brill: [00:10:40] So when you say attracting people, are you talking about attracting employees.

Patrick Bulter: [00:10:45] Yeah attracting employees?  certainly, especially,  you know, sort of, a lot of it comes back to the nature of our business is creating personal connections with people. And, and you know, being able to do sales is certainly not for everybody.

And if you go out there, and we did this for a long time at my previous company, we,  spent thousands of thousands of dollars, tens of thousands of dollars on the job boards and the on the job websites. Indeed, Monster you know, Glassdoor, all those different companies were in like the top tier spending level, and we were not attracting, we weren’t getting great people to join us.

 and that becomes a constraint when you want to grow and keep your volume high.  because when in the solar industry, not only are you balancing. You know, your sales volume, but that goes with your installation volume and your ability to keep installation crews hired and give them enough work to keep going.

And,  you know, you could get a rainy month where it’s difficult to go out in the field and make sales. So you can get just around the holidays, you know, people are more focused on other things than home improvements. So one of the biggest challenges is essentially throttling your sales volume to be able to keep up with your operational growth and be able to scale effectively and efficiently.

 so the bottleneck becomes how well can you recruit talented individuals to join your company. And,  that’s something that’s sort of one of our, the secret sauce is there.

Robert Brill: [00:12:05] So, are people finding out about Better Earth through word of mouth? Like if I’m in, if I’m a homeowner, right? Like.

You know, the challenge for me, first of all, I’m not in the market for solar panels, but if I were like, what do you, do you speak to generally people? Do you have a customer persona that you’re looking at? And for that customer persona, whats the driver?

Is it word of mouth? Is it content marketing? Like, I really, you know, I talked to someone the last episode, he built a voice over IP business on,  affiliate marketing, not exclusively, but enough to where it was a key point of the conversation. I’ve talked to another ad agency owner, and he built his business purely on referral.

I have a tech company that, who I spoke to they build their business on LinkedIn. Like it’s interesting to me because I’m so focused on the advertising business and there are like prerequisites that need to happen before advertising can be effective. Like you got to know your message.

You’ve got to know what people want, that type of thing. Yeah, I’m curious. You know, it’s this and it’s a very selfish, it’s a selfish ass because I want to learn from people who are doing things so I can build my business, you know?

Patrick Bulter: [00:13:40] Sure. Hey, absolutely. We’re, you know, that’s the fun part about podcasts.

I get to share all the secrets. So you’re asking what sort of like the value for the, for the homeowner ?

Robert Brill: [00:13:53] Like what are the key, how is your business growing? I’m really interested to understand what the value is for the homeowner, but more, more interestingly for me, it’s like as a business owner, like how do you scale your business?

How does one scale is solar? I actually was talking to someone recently who actually has a solar business. And he said that a lot of what he was doing was based on partnerships.

Patrick Bulter: [00:14:18] Yes.

Robert Brill: [00:14:19] He’s building his business on partnerships.

Patrick Bulter: [00:14:21] Sure. So I can shed light on both of those things. So for one, the value for the homeowner and the, one of the reasons we’re able to scale is because we have the best product in the world.

We’re selling the sun.  you know, it’s abundant, comes up every single day, and if you use solar energy, you’re, you’re usually able to save somewhere between 30 to 50% off your monthly electric bill as a homeowner just by switching to a power source that you may eventually own and add as an asset to your property.

And then there’s also tax credits available for it. It’s a, it’s essentially 26% of the, of the total price of the solar system. You get back on your taxes. So, really great value add for, for any homeowner, we’re looking at an asset to their property.  and then for us, the partnerships is definitely where the industry is at today.

 to give you a little bit of background on sort of how the industry went all along, when I mentioned I worked at solar city a few years back, they were the powerhouse. They were the number one.  they were doing more installations than any. Combination of all the other companies combined, they were absolutely on fire.

 but the industry is fragmented since then. It used to be a situation where everyone is joining, you know, either Sunrun or Vivid or us Solar City.  and that shifted dramatically over the past four years.  when. You know, sort of around when that Tesla merger happened, when Solar City was acquired by Tesla, and a new market emerged called the EPC market, essentially engineering, procurement, and construction, where all these installation teams were now fulfilling, the contracts from sales teams.

So instead of all operating under one vertically integrated umbrella.  it fragmented into their sales units and there’s installation units. And then there’s software, you know, companies that focus on solar. And, that’s sort of where we’re at today has been a couple of years into that kind of a dynamic.

And so it’s, it’s sort of a unique place where if you can attract the right installation teams, if you can attract the right sales teams and bring a lot of them together under a one logistics process, you can control a lot of volume.

Robert Brill: [00:16:28] And what, how, what, what should consumers look for when they’re making a decision about solar?

Like, like it just seems so daunting. I am the epitome of analysis by paralysis, paralysis by analysis for small things. But I have to know what I’m getting into, or if it’s good or not. And often I’ve just resolved. I’ve, you know, when I buy like a camera or something, like at this point I’ll just buy something that might be good or might not be good.

And then if it’s not good and return it and it cost me like 50 or a hundred dollars in like overall fees just to try it out and shipping. But this is the type of thing where I wouldn’t be able to do that with my home. Right. Like once you’re in, you’re not changing it.

So like, what’s your consumers look for when they’re looking at solar products?

Patrick Bulter: [00:17:17] The same thing. If you’re going to look for a camera, you know, like even if you’re looking to buy that camera at Best Buy. If I were you, I go on Amazon, I checked the reviews.  and that’s really the name of the game these days because,  you know, advertising is great and, and your public facing image as a company is great, but all that really matters is how well your customers are being treated.

 again, it’s sort of a construction-based industry. So. It’s never going to be perfect 100% of the time. You know? It’s one thing to be able to, you know, sell the deal and solid deal, all that stuff. It’s really what makes the differentiating factor is what happens to the clients when that goes wrong.

Because for you, your home is, precious. You know, it’s, it’s where you live for a lot of people

Robert Brill: [00:18:00] Safety element, certainly like the construction wise, which, which so, so should I as a consumer do, we do, can, should consumers assume ideally that it’s all, like the construction element is going to be done really well.

Like you’ve got that covered. So your point is a differentiating factor is how well the company treats its consumers once the job is complete.

Patrick Bulter: [00:18:24] Yes, it’s the, you know, it’s basically making sure that the expectations were met. And so if you go online and you look at different solar companies, you can look at their reviews or you see some common trends.

 it’s very rarely the actual installation piece that that was the issue. It’s mostly the communication around it.  it’s usually the, the bad reviews that you see out there are from, clients who felt left in the dark or they weren’t getting communication.  like I said, solar is a commodity. It’s something a lot of companies are out there selling.

There’re thousands of solar companies in California alone. So when you take that perspective and you realize that this differentiating factor between a good company and a bad company is really the customer service is how well,  you know, they take care of their clients throughout the project,  throughout the whole process.

How will they communicate with everybody. And essentially just making sure that the expectations set by, you know, your sales agent are accurate and correct.

Robert Brill: [00:19:20] Yeah. Interesting. Setting expectations.

Patrick Bulter: [00:19:24] Yeah.

Robert Brill: [00:19:24] You know, that’s, that’s one of the things we, um. We, we definitely are thinking about in our business setting expectations because it’s, really not.

The thing is the thing like, you know, we had a recent campaign where the client somehow did not then get that you can’t directly get followers on Instagram. Like there’s no way on Instagram, for example, turn on ads that get you a follower. He knew, but it can do things around it, but you can’t actually run that campaign and we just didn’t. We thought we communicated it, we kind of did a little bit, but it just didn’t like it didn’t connect. And so it’s expectation. That’s the problem that needs to be set appropriately. I like that. It’s a common element.

Patrick Bulter: [00:20:11] Yeah, totally. I mean, that’s for any product, any service, and in this day and age you have to over communicate. There’s so many things flying at us from every direction. There’s a constant battle for every one of our attention, you know, between Instagram, social media, TV, radio, billboards, advertisements, everywhere. People want to sell you a product. They want to get you information. They want to entertain you.

There’s, too much content out there for what are, you know, primate brains were designed to be able to process. So,  with that, you know, if your, whatever product you’re selling, whatever service you’re offering, you have to go above and beyond and communicate probably literally 10 X more than you think you need to, to make sure that everybody fully understands everything.

So then they’re never caught by surprise. Cause it’s that surprise moment that people feel shaken and they lose trust.

Robert Brill: [00:21:01] Yeah. Well, and, and even, you know, I almost feel like it doesn’t, if it’s not in writing, it doesn’t, it never got communicated. Cause it, didn’t somehow get recorded.

Right. Because I’ve been on calls where I’ve communicated things, but it didn’t, it didn’t land.

Patrick Bulter: [00:21:21] Yep.

Robert Brill: [00:21:22] Or I’ve been the recipient of information and I didn’t hear what the person was saying. I heard something different and putting it in writing at least opened up an opportunity for dialogue. In case theres questions or misconceptions about the being stated.

It’s almost to the point where I just, I can’t even trust it if it’s not in writing or somehow documented, which is a very strange thing. It’s a very interesting communications time, I think consumers are, I think consumers in some ways are bewildered by the just volume of messaging that they were all delivered. It’s hard to focus.

Patrick Bulter: [00:22:01] It is that it’s never been harder. There’s never been this much content out there, and it’s never been engineered so well to specifically push those, you know, dophamine receptor buttons in your brain, you know what I mean? So there’s, there’s like. I’ll say it again. There’s just a constant battle for your attention, and I think a lot of people don’t,  don’t realize how different it is today than it’s ever been before.

Robert Brill: [00:22:24] So what, what have you learned over the last almost year that you’ve been starting as you’ve been the co-founder of this business? Like what are some of the challenges you’ve seen and what does the next year look like for you?

Patrick Bulter: [00:22:37] So some of the challenges are there’s, it’s like, Oh, you know, I can give you a dozen challenges.

One that I would definitely say one of the biggest learning is all about the right people and working with people that.  you can,  you know, really like going into business, like,  with my business partners, I learned a lot about, you know, they always say like, Oh, you know, going into business, someone’s really hard.

You know, you gotta be careful. You gotta make sure everything’s in writing, all that stuff and it didn’t really hit me until we started a Better Earth how challenging it really is to work with a group of people day in, day out through the good times, through the hard times, the stressful times. You have to be with people if you’re ever going to go into business with anybody, it has to be with people that you have a track record with. Fortunately, all these people I’m with, I have a track record.  we worked together for. Many years before. So we sort of understood each other’s dynamics, and you know what it’s like to, you know, get along with each other and communicate with each other.

 that’s been, you know, a massive learning curve,  because, I think you just really don’t know until you dive in there with, you know, really try to start a business up with people to find out, you know, really how challenging it is.  and then when it comes to employees, making sure that you have the right employees that are actually on your team and actually representing, you know, their with the values of your company.

You know, if you’re not making your values,  crystal clear to people, then they start to slip. And,  you’d be surprised how quickly one person who sort of has a toxic energy can turn off, you know, it spreads like cancer through your team. That can be one of those hard things because if you identify someone as sort of having that toxic energy, you have to be able to either fix that or get them out of the organization and in, sometimes they don’t really give you a great reason to.

You know, you don’t really have a good reason to fire them or anything like that besides you’ve just identified this energy problem.  and that can be a challenge cause a lot of people are like, Oh no, he’ll turn around and he’ll be good, you know, and she’s figuring it out, whatever. But you know, once you sort of understand that it’s, you know, your diagnosis will be terminal.

If you don’t remove that cancer, you know, it’s like you gotta take massive action, even if it seems inappropriate at the time.

Robert Brill: [00:25:01] Do you,  do you focus a lot on process? I mean, you’re an operations person. You’re the head of operations, right?

Patrick Bulter: [00:25:07] Absolutely. Yeah. So, so when it comes to process and, and you know, our procedures, everything needs to be documented and standardized in a way that people understand.

 this really comes in this, you know, sort of all comes down to training. So it’s the way that you essentially have to treat every person in your organization. Like they’re your customers. Because in a way, they are same way that, you know, as a salesperson, we would pitch a product and we’d want to present it in a particular way to be, you know, upfront, transparent, you know, honest about the way it’s going to go and everything like that.

You need to do that with your employees as well, or the people part of your team, your partners and everything.  because. You know, if you’re, if people, if everyone has a different experience of what they think being a part of your company is, then it turns into a mess. So, we focus on standard operating procedures and documenting everything, and having, you know, common resources where everyone can find the answers.

 that way, you know, you basically give everyone the resources. In the end, you build the backbone of the company off those standard operating procedures. And people know, you know, if this happens, this is what you have to do if you don’t have that sort of chaos.

Robert Brill: [00:26:21] Huh. Yeah. I mean, we, we definitely spent the last year focusing on process and in our organization so much better for it.

We have a great Chief Operating Officer in Tony Price and they’re going back to your earlier one. I think it’s, I like your point about knowing the people that you’re going to business with and the people that I find I feel the most comfortable with are ones that I’ve gone into business with in the past and like Tony is, this is now the third time that I’ve hired him.

We ran the same circles when we went to school, and he’s just such an exceptional professional and such a great counter. You’ve got to find, I think it’s not only people who you know, but it’s also knowing that the people you’re bringing on have the complimentary skills, skills to counter one’s flaws. We all have flaws.

Patrick Bulter: [00:27:14] 100% I couldn’t agree more.

And that’s, yeah, that’s really, if you think about any sort of dynamic, you need the balance, you know? So, if you’re, if you don’t have complimentary skill sets, if you have very similar skill sets, even though, even if it might seem like a great, you know. Great working together. You might be a, you know, sort of off balance, off tilt when it comes to the things that maybe you’re lacking in.

You need people around you out for sure.

Robert Brill: [00:27:42] So tell me about the ambassador’s program. I’m on your site. I’m seeing about ambassadors. How does, like what, what does that?

Patrick Bulter: [00:27:47] Well, yes. So, this is one of those things that we want to, you know, really empower. Cause what we found out there is there’s a lot of people that want to be a part of Better Earth and they want to, they want to help other people think more sustainably. They want to get, you know, our message out there.  so, our ambassador program is essentially designed for anybody doing whatever else they’re doing. Whether you’re real estate agent and you do, you know, taxes or insurance or, you know, you own your own business.

 whatever it is basically giving you the opportunity to present our mission to your clients and to basically get a kickback on any installation volume that comes through us fromyou spreading the word about what can we do. So, you know, it’s really just empowering everybody out there to be able to share our vision and, and get it right.

If they know someone who they think would benefit from going solar, we want to help them, help us.

Robert Brill: [00:28:45] How important it is to Tik Toc for you or your marketing and if it’s not, what is? What are some of the marketing channels that you’re putting effort into?

And I ask because going back to what, you know, the flip side of it is, can consumers get a lot of messaging. And businesses have so many ways of communicating with consumers. What are like the two or three that you really focusing in on?

Patrick Bulter: [00:29:11] Actually we believe in using every single platform, you know, and, and it’s something that a lot of companies have, especially solar companies are not taking advantage of.

Uh. But you know, we’re not your typical solar company.  we believe in every single platform. If there’s people using it, you gotta be on it, and you have to post on it all the time.  and it may seem counterintuitive, you know, like, I, I know what immediate criticism some people would think. It’s like, Oh, well, you know, there’s no homeowners on Tik Tok.

You know, your clients are not on Tik Tok, but what’s different about us and our vision is that we don’t see this as like a two, three-year business. We have no, intention to like, you know, build this thing and get out or anything. We’re trying to build a generational company, one that’s going to, you know, 50-100 years, really make this thing last and build into an amazing.

 amazing thing.  and so we know that the people that are on Yik Tok today, you know, the, the 12 year old on tech talk today in 30 years is going to be 42, and they’re going to be a homeowner and they’re going to be,  you know, as one of my partners, I say, this generation, they’re going to pull the receipts on what companies were doing back in 2019-2020 to see, you know, were they, you know, living up to their ethics and at Better Earth we really want to walk the walk as much as possible. And so. We’re selling sustainability, we are sustainability, and we want to represent that in every single way possible. Like from our business cards being sustainable to our, the polos that we give our team,  being made of recycled materials, really everything, you know, walking the walk, doing,  everything the way that we preach.

 and did we know that. You know, cause older. If we can build an awareness in their mind about better earth when the time is right for them to be homeowners, they’ll know who to go to and they’ll know who to trust.

Robert Brill: [00:31:05] That’s a massively lofty goal for a generational company I get the essence of that.

But you definitely have like. You know, employees, you’ve got to pay in sales, you’ve got to earn, how do you, not how do you prioritize? But how do you do both? Like that stresses me out to think about a generational company. I’m trying to get the next one. Six months of my life here.

Patrick Bulter: [00:31:37] I’m with you. I mean, it’s a, even though it’s focusing on the day to day, but it’s, it’s really thinking about like, what are we building and what are we even doing here? You know?  and the more that I’ve learned about, you know, successful entrepreneurs and, you know, people who have built massive companies like that, you know, it doesn’t seem like money is ever really the thing that satisfies people.

You know? And you hear that time and time again, like, Oh, money doesn’t buy happiness and all that. And. You know, money is great. Uh. But at the end of the day, we’re all confident. We, we sort of know from the experience we’ve observed is that that’s not going to be the end all be all for us. We want to do something bigger than that.

We want to do something that’s deeply fulfilling, something that we can be truly proud of. So, it starts with the foundation that we build today. So we just started. Yes, seven, eight months ago. But, it’s the foundation that we lay today, the connections that we make with our homeowners, the connections, the experience we build for our employees and our, our partners.

 that really is what we care about. And we believe that if we can build those things strong enough, you know, as we continue to expand vertically.  we’ll have the solid foundation to allow for that. I think a lot of companies, they, you know, if your end goal is to sell someday or to just go public and cash out, I think it, it sort of leaves you in a vulnerable position because you’re not focused on the foundation that will, make your business truly successful.

Robert Brill: [00:33:03] So are you reinvesting profits back into the business and taking a small, share for you guys? We don’t have to go too deep into that, but like what you just told me tells me because you’re in it for the long term. Or a hundred years, you’re going to pull back a lot of the profits into the business and grow it so that I can scale.

Is that, is that an accurate sort of assessment of it?

Patrick Bulter: [00:33:32] Certainly. And you know, the idea is, you know, to have enough that, you know, we’re still set up. You know, I got, certainly money is a motivation. I don’t, I would never say that. It’s not a, you know, but it’s a motivation that even. You know, personally, enriching ourselves, we think is also a way to help expand our overall footprint.

 you know, get into, you know, larger circles, get, you know, be able to expand our own presence, will help,  you know, as individuals will help the collective, you know, company grow as well.  so. Did build our business,  with whatever investment is required to reach for those next goals or account,  tackle those next obstacles.

Robert Brill: [00:34:13] What tools are interesting that you use? Any, any type of operational tools or marketing tools?  I find that people are often using things that I don’t know and I want. I think it would be interesting. Is there anything that comes to mind?

Patrick Bulter: [00:34:29] Man? I mean, I’m just, I’m a slave to Apple and Google, you know?

It’s like, I think if, if they cracked down on me, I’d have no choice but to sucum. You know what I mean? It’s like,  we, we. Utilize all their tools. You know, having all Apple devices I think is like common sense in 2020. Having the seamless integration,  just using, you know, the, the basics, Google calendar, a lot of the, those they design things.

The simplest, easiest way to use another common tool that my team like seed is Evernote. We utilize, we’ve experimented with a number of CRMs and task management platforms.  you know, there’s. A lot of exciting stuff in the CRM space, but I don’t think there’s even one out there that’s truly amazing yet.

Robert Brill: [00:35:12] Does your whole organization use Evernote?

Patrick Bulter: [00:35:15] No, I’d say it’s mostly like our corporate team. You just ever know. Maybe some of our sales staff, but, it’s, it’s mostly corporate.

Robert Brill: [00:35:23] Yeah, I like it. I use Evernote too, but it’s just me. But I think he’s really great too. I love how it seems between my phone and my desktop.

Patrick Bulter: [00:35:31] My new favorite you know, an advancement in organization productivity is just using a legal paper.  it’s,  I recently, you know, I’ve, I’ve been trying to actually ask and look for what other successful people use. And one of the craziest things is that it’s like. A lot of people just use the old fashioned pen and paper, you know?

And oftentimes you just need to be able to get ideas out of your head. You know, when you have those things, you know, especially if you’re trying to grow your business, there’s going to be a hundred things flying at you every single day. And if you don’t write them down somewhere, they’re going to get lost, or you’re going to be too sort of ah say like frazzles or something. When you try to sit down and do your work, you know you’re going to have too many things and not know where to start and what the focus on. So really the first step is getting things out of your head. And I find even when I would use Evernote or the notes app on your iPhone.

You know, it’s like you can put notes in there, but can you ever get back in there to reflect on them?  it’s very hard, you know, if you can fight through, you know, all those other shiny, beautiful apps, you know, like Instagram and Twitter and all those notifications, and you know, your text messages to get down to your notes.

 you know, good luck. If you can do that, you have super human focus.

Robert Brill: [00:36:51] Yup. Yup, yup, yup. So, so Patrick, as we wrap this up, two questions. Number one, I’m a big foodie, love eating and finding out about good food. Where, do you like to eat or what’s interesting to you?

Patrick Bulter: [00:37:06] Man, I’m pretty, I like the same stuff every single day.

 you know. It’s like, it’s some sort of variation between Tender Greens, Sweet Greens, Shake Shack, Chipotle, you know, mix those up. that’s, you know, straight nutrients is all I’m after every single day.

Robert Brill: [00:37:28] I love it.  and how can, how can people find you?

Patrick Bulter: [00:37:32] I mean, first I’d recommend they just check out Better Earth.

I got some amazing team members and people out there that they can connect with as well as myself. They can find me just online. I’m usually Patrick Butler zero zero on most things.  Instagram, Twitter, and you know, you can check on my podcast as well. And I had Robert on recently.

Amazing episode. My podcast is called knowledge without college, and you can find that anywhere. Podcasts are published.

Robert Brill: [00:38:01] What’s the URL? So Better Earth Solar is betterearth.solar and the podcast, we’ll see URL for the main podcast page.

Patrick Bulter: [00:38:11] You know, I think, let’s see. It’s probably anchor.fm/knowledge without college.

Well, you can also find it.  Oh. There’s also knowledge about college.com yeah, I also, yeah.

Robert Brill: [00:38:24] Cool. Awesome. Patrick Butler, thank you so much. Appreciate this. Super interesting.

Patrick Bulter: [00:38:28] Thank you. Appreciate it.

Robert Brill: [00:38:30] Thank you for listening to this episode of the LA business podcast. If you like what we’re doing on this podcast, please consider subscribing on Apple or Google play, leaving a five-star review and sharing with your friends.

If you have any questions, comments, or recommendations for a guest you’d like to hear on this podcast, please email me, [email protected]  Thank you. Have a fantastic day.

 

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Credits

Audio Production – Echegoyen Productions

Creation and Marketing – BrillMedia.co, a hyperlocal advertising company.