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What if we could change lives? What if we could be the difference? In this interview, Mike shares his story in guiding and mentoring his class on their journey to becoming successful business owners.

Watch this video for some inspiration that will help you find your why and be the difference in someone else’s life.

Mike Walker has been an educator at New Way Academy in Phoenix, AZ for the past 17 years. He has served as a teacher, coach, mentor and principal for his students and loves what he does. Mike started a High School Business and Entrepreneurship program at the school in 2018, and his latest class has successfully launched a business, B The Difference. This young company was created to bring positivity into daily interactions based on the reminders on their shirts, hoodies and hats. Mike is guiding and mentoring this class (and co-workers) as they navigate the journey of entrepreneurship.

  • Michael Walker
Raw and Real Entrepreneurship with Mike Walker

Topics covered in the interview

New Way Academy
Team philosophy
Identifying strengths
Advocating yourself
Recognizing what you need
B The Difference
Finding your why

Mike Walker’s Bio

Mike Walker has been an educator at New Way Academy in Phoenix, AZ for the past 17 years.  He has served as a teacher, coach, mentor and principal for his students and loves what he does.  Mike started a High School Business and Entrepreneurship program at the school in 2018, and his latest class has successfully launched a business, B The Difference.  This young company was created to bring positivity into daily interactions based on the reminders on their shirts, hoodies and hats.  Mike is guiding and mentoring this class (and co-workers) as they navigate the journey of entrepreneurship.

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Show Notes

Read Full Transcript

Mike Walker 00:00
Honestly, and I really want to get away from sounding cheesy and corny, but that's like so rewarding for me for, to see them understand what it is that they're really good at because again, going based on the philosophy of our school, a lot of students that come here, all they've been known as is what they struggle with.

Welcome to the Susan Sly Project where entrepreneurs rule, startups launch and the side hustle becomes the main hustle. Ladies and gentlemen, your host, Susan sly.

Susan Sly 00:33
Well, hey, what's up everyone? I just want to give you some shout outs, I know that now we're over 135 countries all over the world. And you're here for one of a couple reasons-- you're thinking of starting a business, you have a business. In my most recent poll of all of you, 50% of you were thinking of starting a business. And if you're one of those people a shout out to you. Don't forget to drop a comment on social on Instagram @Susansly, @Rawandrealentrepreneurship on Twitter, @rawandrealentrepreneurship, @Susan_sly on Facebook, on LinkedIn, just wherever, we're everywhere. Anyway, my guest today is actually one of my favorite humans and really was, you know, responsible for changing the course of my son's life. And I have been so excited to interview him. And we've been working on getting this time together for months and months and months. So he has been an educator at New Way Academy in Phoenix for the past 17 years, he served as a teacher, coach, mentor and principal, you should see him coaching football, I just have to say.

Susan Sly 01:40
He also started the high school entrepreneurship program in 2018. And the latest project that his class is working on, and successfully launched and I invested in is called B the difference, the letter B. And this young company was created to bring positivity into daily interactions based on reminders. So shirts, hoodies, like all kinds of cool stuff. And so in addition to running school, the entrepreneurship, program coaching, he's also a dad and just an outstanding person. So Mike Walker, thanks for being on Raw and Real Entrepreneurship.

Mike Walker 02:19
Thank you, Susan. So happy to be here and appreciate all the, all the all the kind words, it's a, it's a pleasure of mine to be here. So thank you.

Susan Sly 02:26
Well, thank you. And I have to say this is my second season not coaching New Way cross country and I miss 120 degrees like, you know, having the kids run mile repeat.

Mike Walker 02:41
Yeah, they definitely miss you as well. They appreciate everything that you did. Kind of solidify the Cross Country Program here at school. And so yeah, you're missed on here as well.

Susan Sly 02:51
Well, thank you, I'm not returning my coach T shirts. So just so you know. Well, Mike, let's jump in, you know, there, at New Way, there are a lot of kids who have learning differences. And just I'd love for you to set the stage. And let's talk about New Way because the you know, there are a lot of young people who listen, there are parents who listen, and having a learning difference in this day and age doesn't have to change your entrepreneurial trajectory, but tell everyone about the school.

Mike Walker 03:25
Okay, great. Yeah, so we are a nonprofit private school who serves kids with a variety of learning differences. And mostly language based, you know, kids have dyslexia, high percentage, you know, struggle with focus, we have kids who struggle with memory, you know, their working memory with processing speed, we have some students who struggle with communication. Might be high functioning autism, whatever the case is. And so what we do is we really structure our classes in our curriculum, to be able to give these kids an opportunity to thrive. And so there's small class ratios, each class usually has between 6 and 10 students in them. They're all grouped by ability level, it's not necessarily grade level, but where they are in the fall. They're in a group of kids that are very similar to them, whether it be you know, the cognitive skills, the social dynamic, their executive functioning skills, and we take them from where they are in August. And we really work with that entire group all the way through, you know, the following May. And so all the classes are broken up into content areas. And so you know, you have math, even our youngest kids, they transition for the math class, for their language arts class, for the Reading Comprehension class. And so it's a very customized, individualized, unique schedule for each student.

Susan Sly 04:51
Yeah, it works. Like let's, it's, there's such a difference there even every single morning, Mike is there and shaking kids' hands and looking them in the eye. And I remember the first time we went there with AJ, like just backing it up a little bit. So, you know, a lot of listeners know. And AJ and his friends listen to show that, you know, AJ really struggled in mainstream school. He was bullied, he was beaten up. And he was, he lacked competence. And so when we first started New Way, there's Mike in the morning, and he's like, you know, shaking kids' hands. They're looking him in the eye. Good morning, Mr. Walker. And I'm like, This is awesome. And AJ had never played team sports. He played flag football, didn't love it, played soccer, didn't love it. But we found that he loves to run. And he was like Forrest Gump, he started running, he just didn't ever stop. And, and Mike's philosophy was different. And let's, let's talk about that. Because I think this is so powerful when it comes to entrepreneurship. If you can't work on a team, you're not going to be a good entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is not a solo sport. But can you talk about the team philosophy?

Mike Walker 06:05
Oh, absolutely. I mean, I think part of what I enjoy so much is how sports, athletics, you know, really kind of correlates just like you said, with business. I mean, I, the group that I have now for the B The Difference team, it's five, it's five of us, it's me and four students, and we are legitimately a team. What we would look for is, all of our teammates strengths, we recognize what our own strengths are, we recognize what our weaknesses are, and really kind of lean on our teammates to make sure that we have a well oiled machine. And so it is, it's the exact same concept. I take the same philosophy that I have on the football field, and I bring it to the entrepreneurship class, we really kind of talked about what individual strengths are. And we also talked about how to give our teammates, you know, good constructive feedback to make sure that they're able to continue to progress in some of their areas. And it works out really nicely. And so this is so much more than just learning about the ins and outs of business, it's learning how to work as a team.

Susan Sly 07:07
And how do you, I'm so curious about that, Mike, because, you know, in, in, in my, you know, startup that I did with four guys, so I'm the only girl, there's four guys, and you know, at times, you know, I look at the mirror and like, and this isn't like, you know, some kind of false vulnerability, it's like, I have to really check in, like, what are my strengths? What am I bringing to the table? So how do you work with the students for them to identify their strengths?

Mike Walker 07:38
Well, the great part about this class is because it's the second section last year was entrepreneurship one where, you know, they learned about marketing and sales and leadership style, and management, and all those different types of things and some of the vocabulary, and we started our business at the end of the year. And so it launched in June. And so this year, it is purely the application of continuing to grow and diversify our product line, and just kind of become better as a company. And so what we do is, the kids are able to really figure out, it's like, on the job training, it really is, it's just, okay, so this particular student, he's very creative, he has a lot of really good ideas, but is he great at follow through, not so much, and then you have the others that definitely just need the structure, they need a task list. And once they get that, and they know what their responsibilities are, they're workhorses, and they're ready to go and get after it, then you have others that are just great communicators, you know, they really have just a natural knack for how to communicate with the teachers, with customers, you know, vendors, and all those different types of things. And they're starting to discover what their own strengths are, you know, and so that's, that's, honestly, and I really want to get away from sounding cheesy and corny, but that's like, so rewarding for me for, to see them understand what it is that they're really good at, because again, going based on the philosophy of our school, a lot of students that come here, all they've been known as is what they struggle with, you know, what their weaknesses and why there's so much more extra work for other people. And so they, their strengths are never really celebrated. And a lot of times they're not celebrated, because they're not even known yet, right. And so you have to expose them to different opportunities, whether it be sports, whether it be entrepreneurship, whether it be you know, theater, it really doesn't matter. A lot of times, they don't know, because they're so closed off, they don't have the confidence to kind of put themselves out there. So if you put out a platform for them to be able to do that, then they start to recognize and they get this inner confidence that is just so powerful, reminds me of AJ, become so powerful, and then it just spreads to the other parts of their life. All of a sudden, they're going into science with a little bit of pep in their step. Or they go into you know, maybe, you know asking out a girl or something and they just have a little bit more confidence because they know how to put themselves out there, kind of navigate through tougher situations and come out, you know, positivity. So it works out

Susan Sly 10:07
iI love that you said that because I have this, you know, so many times, I would be driving the kids to a cross country meet. And they would, and I loved it, you know, the parents are like, Oh, is it okay? If so and so gets a drive with you? I'm like, Yeah, because we'd be in the car and going to the meet, and the kids are telling me, you know, what their experience was before they went to New Way and so many, to your point, they have been told, this is what you can't do. Okay? You can't read as fast as everyone else. And you're so behind and your grades are behind. And they, the focus was so much on what was a weakness, I guess, right. And one of the philosophies of New Way that I love so much is Yeah, okay, yeah, you're gonna have all these experiences. And yes, you may learn differently. But that doesn't mean that things have to be so different for you. And I used to say to the boys, I'm like, Listen, you may have a learning difference, but y'all don't have a physical difference. And if you don't leave it all out on that cross country course, then we're gonna have words. And, and that was, you know, it carries forward into, you know, I'm still friends with the moms and I see some of the kids and it's fun. One of the things that you taught AJ at New Way was how to advocate for himself. And you and I haven't spoken. So this will be the first time in front of 1000s of people all over the world. So AJ, at universities, he's had some, one of his first big challenges was, Oh, you're 18. Guess what, that means that the Disability Center, you have to advocate for yourself. And that was really tough for him. Because suddenly he had to go and say, here's where I need an accommodation, or here's where I won't need an accommodation, but I might down the road. I feel like Mike, most adults don't know how to advocate for themselves. So how, how do you teach that to the kids?

Mike Walker 12:10
We integrate that, that's a huge part of our daily lessons. I mean, again, you have your academics, you have your content, but especially for our high school students, our main goal is for them to know what the clear then to leave, I should say, with a clear understanding of who they are. They need to know themselves as a person, as a learner as a communicator, what it is that they actually need, what it is that they struggle with, because so often, you know, any challenges that people have, you know, either parent or themselves, they want to kind of sweep it under the rug, and just like kind of really stick to the things that might be easy for them. And they just, you know, kind of just drive towards that, as opposed to just like facing real adversity. And so when people start to recognize their own profile, like, wow, I really struggle, it really helps when I have these notes written down, or if I have an extra day to prepare, or, you know, if things were pre, you know, given to me ahead of time, any of those different types of things. Because most people, whether they be college professors, high school teachers, they're going to be so encouraged, and they're going to just be so motivated to help people who are trying to help themselves. And again, that's another cliche term, but if they recognize that a kid understands themselves so much, and they're asking for help, I mean, that's what drives us as educators. Oh, my goodness, this kid really cares. And this is what it is that I can do to help them because educators, whether it's public school, private school, they get into this profession, because they want to make an impact on students. They want to make sure that somehow that they're able to make a positive impact on their students' lives. And so because of bureaucracy, or you know, testing, red tape, or this or that, sometimes it's limited, or you know, how many students they have in the class, but the heart's still there. You get into teaching because you want to be able to make that positive effect. And so when they have a student that also wants to make themselves better, and they're coming to you for help, I mean, there's nothing better as a teacher so...

Susan Sly 14:10
Well, and I love what you said, is that recognizing what you need, and I want all the adults out there to hear that because a lot of adults aren't taking that step back to go, what is it I need? So when I'm preparing for a meeting, or I'm preparing to pitch my business, and I'm asking for millions of dollars or whatever, what do I need? How do I advocate for myself? And I think that watching AJ go through that process, it really caused me, you know, to go through in my 40s and go okay, what is it I need when I'm coming into situations that might feel intimidating to me and to step back and to recognize things like, I know I'm going to be sharper if I have a workout or you know, have like time in the morning to meditate or taking you know, the deep breaths. And for those people who didn't hear my interview with Mark Divine, who's the Navy SEAL Captain, wrote five New York Times bestsellers, Mark spends a lot of time talking about breathing, right? In the SEALs, it's like, got to breathe. And so this is another AJ story. So this summer, AJ took a summer school's course in communication. And he gets his mark back and he calls me and he's crying and he's like, I got zero. I said, How many classes did you miss? Was none. I said, Okay. I said, AJ, that last assignment you did, it was worth 20% of your mark, what did you get out of 200? He goes 210 out of 200. I said, AJ, why do you possibly think you fail this class and got a zero when it's not logical? And it's just, he had to step back. So I said to him, I said, What would Mr. Walker tell you to do? Would you just sit there and take it that you wasted all this time? He goes no, I'd advocate for myself, I said, So you pick up your you know, computer or your phone and you message your professor, and you get it sorted out. So anyway, to make a long story short, there was a computer error. And he ended up, he did, he got like, an A minus in the class or something like that. And that's, that's the power in not just accepting that in business, we are going to be rejected, not everyone's going to invest in our idea, not everyone's going to buy our product. But at the end of the day, if we aren't advocating for ourselves that, you know, seriously. Yeah.

Mike Walker 16:34
Well, that's, that's a great story. And I love that. I love what you said, where you said, it's just the logic because he is so logical. And he's just like, you know, you have to put yourself in that situation. If you got 210. And you've been there participation points, you should be okay, man, like, how could it be a zero? And so yeah, I'm glad that he was able to work that out. Yeah. Use my name anytime.

Susan Sly 16:56
What would Mr. Walker do, it's a common one. And yeah, it's, it's, it's so you know, when when, when a child has a learning difference, and then you become a young adult who has a learning difference, and they're out of their, you know, their school environment, and now they're out in the world. It's, it's fascinating to watch. Let me ask you, this talking about B The Difference. So I remember going into guest teach in the entrepreneurship program, happy to come back any time, I just don't want to stand out 120 degrees and yell at the boys. But I'll come back into the AC and guest anytime. But the, you know, you're putting together this team, how did you guys come up with the concept of doing the clothing and B The Difference?

Mike Walker 17:46
So you remember when, with a day's class, it was before it was pre COVID until we had all of that class time. And so we were able to focus on that particular group, each of the students chose their own business that they wanted to start from start to finish, you know, go through the whole process. And last year, obviously, with COVID, and some quarantines and us not necessarily being in person, it was just a better opportunity for us to be able to do something all together. The kids were really struggling not being in in person being able to kind of figure out some of the different things to drive their own individual businesses. And, you know, some of them wanted to do products, and then had to teach them about research and development costs, and all those different types of things. And it was just like, Oh, my goodness, so what are we going to do? So one of the things that I knew that, that the kids would be, that we'd be able to get into, was clothing, and one of our kids was, it's actually really funny. He was very indifferent about everything. And he was just like, Hey, did you finish that assignment? He was like, hmmm, you know, and everything. Well, How did you feel about that? He's just like, I didn't really think about it. And so we always kind of teased him about being indifferent. Right? And so I suggested to him when we were still thinking about doing individual businesses, dude, you should open up your, you should start your own clothing line called Indifferent. You know, just have it like, you know, all black shirt with white letters, just like with all these sayings, just like man, that, that, that, and all these different kinds of things are, does it really matter and all those kinds of things. And so it almost started off as kind of like a joke. And he was just like, that doesn't sound so bad. He was still kind of indifferent about it. But he was, he was open to it. And but anyway, once we all started to just we're like, okay, so of all the different companies that everybody is thinking about which one's like the most feasible, which one's the most realistic? And so we were kind of drawn to like, Okay, well, let's do the indifferent thing, right. And so because people like the idea that that it was funny, but it was a little bit, and this was the first real lesson for these kids. It was a little bit contradictory that we have the school that's, you know, promoting positivity and just like self advocating and just like being your best person. And then almost being indifferent about school and life and all those different kinds of things. And so as we started going through the process of how are we going to get this thing started, I had to take a step back. And I said, You guys have to think about this from like a kind of like a PR perspective. Does it make sense that we're starting a, a clothing company that's, that's saying that, you know, we're kind of indifferent about school, life, everything else, is kind of contradictory to what we do. And there's just like, Oh, right. But it was the first real lesson, that's when they really started thinking about, it's not necessarily what we think is funny, or what, you know, a couple of our friends would think would be cool. What would be that overall message, right? And so we said, okay, so we really were already into the whole apparel idea. And we definitely wanted to have a positive spin on it, I have a couple of kids in the class that we're very adverse to having anything cringy or corny or cheesy. And so even though we want it to be real positive, we really wanted to kind of tone it down a little bit and make sure that we had a positive message, but we weren't doing rainbows and flowers and bright colors, and all those different types of things. And so they were adamant about doing something really slick, clean, sleek, it's the words that they often use, but had a positive message. And so we read, we went all the way around, like, how can we do this? And it was just like, Okay, well, what about if we just have like, you know, how can we be the difference in the world? And, you know, what can we do? And so we came up with the phrase be the difference, you know, it was just like, be our, it was like, ignite the difference, or spark the distance, or all these different kinds of things like, Dude, why don't we just keep it as simple as we want it to be, and just have it be the B, which is how we got this symbol here. And so it was really cool, because our digital media class gave what we gave them the project, we're just like, you know, we're really trying to come up with a logo, with a brand, a design, can you help us out with that? And so they gave us a bunch of different prototypes of different ideas. None of them really kind of fit us. But what it did was, it gave us a springboard of us really understanding what it is that we wanted, right. And we wanted something very simple, we wanted to make sure that it really kind of, you know, stayed with a, with black, white Gray, we didn't want to just like really go out on on color, we wanted to really remain kind of on brand, but still have good positive messaging. And so we ended up with this logo, which one of our kids created and designed. And, you know, with the difference. And, and here we are.

Susan Sly 22:24
I love that. And that, and for everyone listening, like what a great creative process, right? So something you can take from that is, you know, you have an idea, and maybe you're, you've got some business partners, you know, sitting in a room, asking some of the questions, you know, what are we about? What can we stand for? What, what's gonna get us up in the morning? What's gonna keep us wanting to do this? And how do you, you know, inspire this, this kid who's like, yeah, I could probably even guess here. Like, how do we, how do we inspire this kid? And you know, and, and that's another message that I believe there's a spark of an idea for everyone out there, right? If you ask yourself the right questions. So what's going on with the brand now? So what are the boys working on? And like, where's it going?

Mike Walker 23:11
Right. So we knew that it was going to be kind of a layered approach, what our ultimate goal was for us to get the name out there. And so we knew that it needed to be a B, and then the difference next to it. And so we really wanted to kind of promote the general idea. Because if you just saw the B, you're just like, well, what does that mean, you've, obviously got to build up some brand recognition, etc. But the ultimate goal is for us to be able to have hats and for us to be able to have shirts with the B symbol on it, and then what we call motivators that would be underneath, Be patient. And to be honest, be aware, be present, all those different types of things. So then that way, the customer can really kind of pick out a, they can pick out a shirt that really kind of resonates with them, whether it's something that they want to remind themselves of, whether they want to give it to a, gift to a spouse or a child and saying this is a family value of ours, we're always honest, we're always present, we're always patient. And so we just launched that part of our business, which has been a lot of fun. Because now people are really starting to understand Oh, okay, so this is, this is really starting to come together because when we say that, you know, we want to have our, our clothing or apparel be reminded of how to be when you're walking down the street and you see somebody with a be present shirt on, just like kind of really kind of makes you think about stuff or kind of be patient, be honest. We're really trying to just make sure that people take that extra step, extra second to really kind of think about how they can make whatever interaction they have a more positive one. So as the year started, we, we dropped our motivator, our customized shirts motivated, motivator line. We've also kind of really kind of dove into women's, the women's line because we recognize that a lot of people who support our cause are moms, and teachers and educators. And they just love it because they're just like, either they want to be the difference themselves, they want their students to be the difference. They want their kids to be the difference. And so they really kind of gotten behind that. And so it's been really fun to see the kids really recognize who their target market is, because at first, it's like, oh, yeah, it's just gonna be high school, college or college boys that, you know, get these cool shirts. And this isn't that. But when it really comes down to it, like, Who is it, that's buying it, who's supporting it, who's buying it, so to see the mindset shift, and to see how these young entrepreneurs are kind of evolving, kind of based on what the target is looking for? That part has been a lot of fun. And so we introduced a women's line where we have baseball tees, and we have V necks and, you know, some different, some different variety of types of shirts rather than just your standard t shirt. And so then we have snapback hats. And we are so excited because starting next week, we are going to introduce our hoodies with the B symbol on them as well. And so we're just really slowly but surely just making sure that we're doing it with being very intentional about how we're layering this stuff out. Obviously, now that it's getting warmer, that's when we're doing the hoodies, you know. And then we're also going to have, which I'm really excited about. You mentioned the fact that I'm a dad, I got two young sons and I got our, I don't even know if you know, we have a daughter coming in January.

Susan Sly 26:33
I didn't know Oh, my gosh, congratulations. Thank you. Yeah, January

Mike Walker 26:37
27th. The whole sports team. So we want to get like an infant and toddler line where we have onesies that with the B on it. And it just says B patient. So then the moms can really remind themselves and so we really want to make sure that we're kind of hitting all of those different areas. Because this is not just about a high school kid or college kid or a mom or like, we ultimately want this to be for everyone. So..

Mike Walker 26:43
I love it. I'm going shopping. So yeah, this is, so what, let's talk something raw and real. Okay. Supply chain. Supply chain is like, you know, it's crazy, right? There are, there, Lululemon is having issues with supply chain, there's so many companies having issues with supply chain. So has that been something you've had to deal with? If so, how are you dealing with it? What's your kind of lead time when someone's ordering from the site?

Mike Walker 27:31
So, Susan, you're going to be, you didn't even know this, but you're gonna be so happy to hear this. Our main vendor manufacturer is an alum, as well. Awesome. So he recently started his own silkscreen business, and he got all the equipment, and he does the patches. And he does everything else. He graduated, I believe it was in 2016, or 2017. We've stayed in touch, you know, just, you know, how we do. I let him know about this, he just like, good, I'm, you know, I'm starting this line also, are starting this business also. And so we have, we can say that our manufacturer is connected to our schools. So we're giving him an opportunity. He's helping us out big time. And he's really good. And luckily, I mean, he's organized, he's, he's the kind of person that that'd be the difference. I mean, he's a perfect representative of who it is that we are. So he very much make sure that he has everything that he needs. Luckily, supply and shirts and hats that have not been an issue, even the fact that he's able to do those customized shirts, and so we can get the turnaround quick. Because you know, every time there's a screening circumstance, you'd almost have to buy 75 to get your, get your money's worth, right. But he's able to do a lot of those custom ones, and have a pretty quick turnaround time. And so it's, it's a very effective for our unique business. And so with that being said, supply chain hasn't been an issue to this particular point. But that's because we're really, really close with our vender.

Susan Sly 29:13
I love that. Well that, that is good problem solving Mike, that's awesome. I, uh, you know, one of my, and whoever wants to shop, you need to go to, Let me ask you. So from a business perspective, so the kids are learning a lot. They're learning, design, manufacturing, you know, getting the word out, sales, marketing. Now it's the finance part. So, you know, they're obviously learning about profit margins and things like that. So where, you know, where where did the profits go? Are the, probably currently being reinvested into the business? Yeah.

Mike Walker 29:51
I am so impressed with these kids. Because of course, when you're talking about 15, 16, 17 year old kid, you're thinking about man, we're selling all these shirts, when do we get a check, you know. Their whole intention is really understanding the value of reinvesting into the company and really kind of building and putting the money into your inventory, and understanding the whole concept of, you know, the liquidity of, of your funds. And just like how much inventory, how much money is sitting in the closet as inventory versus how much is out there, and how much goes into advertising. And we just did a Facebook boost. And, you know, we spent a certain amount on that. And from that, we got a couple of people from Illinois and Texas and Florida and all these places, buying our, you know, shopping at our, at our, at our site, and they automatically made the connection of, wow, we've already paid off the advertising for that just based on this, this and that, and all those different kinds of things. And so they're already kind of thinking in that way. And again, a lot of that comes from kind of the pre work that we did in the business and entrepreneurship class. Last year, I really keep it simple as far as making sure that you know, the flow of money, if we have the bank, we have our PayPal account, and we have our website, so we don't have a hole in our credit card, right. And, and so all of your expenses, and all of your profits are all in, in areas that we go over either weekly or bi weekly. So then that way, they have a real pulse on what's going on. So I didn't want to make it too complicated, where you have all these different sources of money going in and coming out and making it like overwhelming for them. And so, because I mean, again, we're still working with students that, you know, we want to really kind of make sure that we're keeping it, you know, keeping it you know, modified to a certain extent. But again, these guys are, these guys are amazing. And I look forward to being their business partners well beyond their graduation.

Susan Sly 31:52
Oh, I know you will be. And then you know, your whole like, next Phoenix sons lineup that you're, this happened at the Walker household. The final question I have for you, I'd love for you to speak to, you right now, maybe someone listening who either has a learning difference themselves, or they've got a child who has a learning difference, like you, you know, as I said, you know, say it publicly in front of the world, like you changed our child's life, which means you changed our family's life. And that's why I was like, Yes, I'm volunteering. Yes, I'm doing this. Yes, I want to get the word out about this company. Because there are lots of kids out there like AJ, who, you know, for whatever reason, they're, you know, mainstreamed or their schools lacking the resources, the suicide rate with kids who are Asperger's, autistic is so much higher. Then on top of it we have social media, we have all these different things going on. What do you want to say to that young person or parents, grandparents, godparents of that young person out there who has been told you're not going to make it you have all these differences. What do you want to say?

Mike Walker 33:05
The main point that I would love to make to that student, to that family is really being diligent about finding your why. You know, I've heard that from for, you know, in another setting, but it's, it's so perfect. And when I think about my kids in my entrepreneurship class, they would tell you, they struggle with spelling, they struggle with their executive functioning and getting their work in on time, or you know, this or that. But the way that they think about this business, and the next steps, and critically think and problem solve, and all those different kinds of things, those are all things that would be kind of smothered or squished and squandered, because of all of the different muck that they have to go through just to make a grade or just to do this or just to do that. So once you really understand what it is that you're passionate about, and you have an avenue and opportunity to be exposed to that. I mean, you just taken it and you run with it, you know, and you just really recognize like, Man, this is what it's about. This is what it's about. It's not all necessarily first through kindergarten through 12th grade, going through and being great at all of these different subjects and, you know, the study skills and this and that. Not everybody kind of fits into that mold, right? Do you have to get through it? Yes. I mean, there's no way around that, you have to do that. And that's the adversity that you, that you go through. But once you do that, and you really start to understand and recognize what it is that gets you to wake up in the morning and get you to tick and don't be afraid to put yourself out there and get yourself immersed in that and that's what's going to ultimately lead to that happiness.

Susan Sly 34:48
I love that. Know your why and really have that you know that, that clarity and putting yourself out there. I want to, I want to close with this. So Mike, every single day, AJ, Monday through Friday, sends me something to motivate me. So I'm gonna read you yesterday's message. It says mama, though you may not recognize that all the time, your thoughtfulness and prayers have saved the lives of many. It can be tiring at times to be of service to others frequently. However, in doing so, the Lord rewards our lives in ways we could not imagine. There are many today who desire what talents, positions, attributes and qualities that you have as a leader, friend, and as a mother. However, some do not know that only through thoughtfulness and service to others, that you may reach your level of success. You continue to change the lives of many each and every day, whether or not you realize it or not. Therefore, I know that the Lord has promised favor, prosperity, abundance, victory and wisdom in your future to improve and strengthen you in every area of your life. Sending you lots of love and prayers, AJ. And I can tell you, Mike, that that message could have been meant for you. So thank you for everything you continue to do. You're absolutely amazing. Everyone needs to go shopping. Well, we're gonna test the supply chain for B The Difference.

Mike Walker 36:17
Test it, because we got a contingency plan. So we've been working on that as well, because I went to Facebook, I said, Hey, if for some reason we get a crazy surge like, we got to be ready for it. So let's go.

Susan Sly 36:29
Alright, we're about to test that supply chain. All right. Thanks, Mike. Take care. It's so great to see you. And to everyone around the world, if this message has been helpful for you today. We would love a five star review and please share it. Please, please share it if you have friends family, who have a child who has a learning difference. This is the episode for them. So take care. God bless. And I'll see you in the next episode of Raw and Real Entrepreneurship with Susan Sly..

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Author Susan Sly

Susan Sly is considered a thought leader in AI, award winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker, best-selling author, and tech investor. Susan has been featured on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime, ABC Family, and quoted in Forbes Online, Marketwatch, Yahoo Finance, and more. She is the mother of four and has been working in human potential for over two decades.

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