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Get an inside look at the incredible journey of Jeremy Delk, the founder of Delk Enterprises, as he and Susan have a candid conversation. Join us for an inspiring and relatable story of success and perseverance.

-Jeremy Delk

Raw And Real Entrepreneurship with Jeremy Delk

Topics covered in the interview

Getting started on day trading

What makes a company investable


Dealing with stress

Jeremy Delk’s Bio

Born and raised in a small town and from a blue collar household, his parents worked for the post office. However, Jeremy always held much bigger dreams. He longed to experience the world outside his small hometown of Bardstown, Kentucky.

He jumped into entrepreneurial ventures with the naivety of a child and the tenacity of a tycoon. He started the day trading at the age of sixteen, learning and failing with each trade. It is this process of adapting through failures that is paramount to his success in business.

After high school, he attended college in Rhode Island under a business & marketing scholarship. However, he spent most of his class time using his palm pilot to day trade. By the age of 19, he earned 30K to 50K a day as a day trader from the desk of his college classroom. He felt invincible!

As quickly as the money came, it vanished just as fast. After amassing almost 2 million in his early twenties as a day trader, it took him only four days to lose it all! The tech bubble has a way of making people go broke quickly.

To make ends meet, he began renting apartments, earning commissions on the sales. As luck would have it, one of the people was a newly relocated executive at Fidelity in Boston.

His knowledge and skill as a day trader would help him land a job as one of the youngest brokers at Fidelity trading institutional equities in Boston and later in New York. He was earning great money, but it didn’t fulfill the entrepreneurial spark within him, so he decided to go out on his own.

Delk Enterprises has grown from making $6,000 in its first year in business to a diversified VC fund that has built and exited investments in both private and public transactions. Today, more than 20 years later, Delk Enterprises has holdings in biotech & healthcare, consumer brands, technology, building materials, and real estate development.

Jeremy now focuses on investing in and advising entrepreneurs through speaking. His upcoming book shares his reality of the Good, Bad, and UGLY of entrepreneurship. It serves as a not-so-subtle reminder of fundamental principles he’s learned through his journey: while great times don’t last forever, neither do the truly bad ones.

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Show Notes

Read Full Transcript

Susan Sly 00:02
This is Raw and Real Entrepreneurship, the show that brings the no nonsense truth of what is required to start, grow and scale your business. I am your host, Susan Sly.

Susan Sly 00:17
Well, what is up, Raw and Real Entrepreneurs, wherever you are in the world, I hope you are having an amazing day. My guest today is so cool. We were talking and I'm like, I need to put us in recording because we were having a great conversation. I mean, he's, he is a person who literally has achieved and the you know, right now, I think there's a lot of trying that's happening, but not a lot of results. And I know as listeners of the show, some of you have been listening, you know, we're on, I don't know what episode, we're on hundreds, that you've been listening for a long time, you've heard Glenn Stearns and Jesse Itzler, and you've heard all these different people. And at the end of the day, what defines success as someone who is able to execute and my guest today is someone who executes in a variety of areas. So he was born and raised in a small town, and came from a blue collar household, his parents worked for the post office. And before you have any comments about the post office, I'm super grateful for the post office. However, he has always had much bigger dreams, he longed to experience the world outside of his small hometown of Bardstown, Kentucky. And if you're listening in Kentucky, go ahead and give him a five star review because this is my first guest, I believe, who resides in Kentucky. So he jumped into entrepreneurial ventures with the naivete of a child and tenacity of a tycoon. I gotta love that. He started the day trading business which, you know, Hey, everyone, another thing he and I have in common, I used to do day trading at age of 16, learning and failing with each trade. If this is the process of adopting through failures, then that is what is paramount to success in business. And to fast forward time, he took the knowledge and skill of day trading, and landed one of the, a job as one of the youngest brokers at Fidelity and, which is huge, in Boston, later in New York. And he was earning great money, but didn't fulfill the entrepreneurial spark that lay within him. And so he decided to go out on his own. He has grown Delk Enterprises from making 6000 his first year in business to a diversified VC fund that has built and exited investments in both private and public transactions. Today, more than 20 years later. And if you're not watching on YouTube, you wouldn't know because he looks much younger than he could possibly be. Delk Entreprises has holdings in biotech, healthcare, consumer brands, technology, building materials and real estate development. He is also the author of Without a Plan, which is available now. And my guest today is the one and only Jeremy Delk. Live from Kentucky, Jeremy, welcome to Raw and Real Entrepreneurship.

Jeremy Delk 02:50
Wow, thanks for having me. I don't know if I can add anything to that. Like I think you've wrapped it. You've got me, got me summed up.

Susan Sly 02:57
Well, I'm gonna jump in as a mother of, I was gonna say a mother of dragons.

Susan Sly 03:01
Yes, yes, as the mother of teenagers. And so I've been educating them on the Roth IRA, and the benefits of starting young with compound investing and so forth. But it is, unless they're watching those kinds of things on TikTok, for a lot of people who are in their teens, they're not thinking I'm gonna go into day trading, especially back in, perhaps those days in life before social media. So wha was the catalyst for you to say, this is something I want to pursue when you were 16?

Jeremy Delk 03:37
Yeah, so I wish it was very well thought out and calculated, but it's really started kind of simply, little tragically, and a bit out of necessity. So

Jeremy Delk 03:51
my father passed away when I was like seven years old. And I was left you know, about a $30,000 inheritance. And I knew that was coming when I was going to be 17, 18 years old. So we have a lot to unpack there. And I talk a lot about that in the book. But one of the things that happened to me as a seven year old was, you know, relatively comfortable family life. My father was an entrepreneur, he had he worked on cars and engine shops and things. So we had a very stable household, financially, like middle class, but also family life, your mother, my little brother, everyone was kind of there. So we went from a level of, of cyber stability to a young mother losing love of her life and two young kids. So to a moment of hyper instability. So I think that engrained and made me grow up quite literally and figuratively, from a young age to kind of be the man of the house. And I realized then, that little boy, that I never want to do that again.

Jeremy Delk 04:54
I'm very cautious. I'm talking much slower than I usually do. Because I understand the, I usually, if anyone

Jeremy Delk 05:00
watches me on social, I do curse a lot. So I'm going to try filter through.

Susan Sly 05:05
Sidebar, as Jeremy continues, the disclaimer I gave him is we don't swear on the show and it's not that I'm against.

Jeremy Delk 05:12
I should get like, you guys have to check my socials and then you'll see like, I should be like, get the biggest gold star if I pulled this off. But anyway, so that made me grow up, and I, that's the last thing I wanted. I wanted to make sure that I could have that stability, provide that stability for my family kind of going through. And there's a lot to do that. But one of those things is

Jeremy Delk 05:33
you know, finances right, so I think that was probably the driving factor one. But the other piece is kind of funny, right? Small town kid from Kentucky that's called Barge Town with a bourbon capital of the world.

Jeremy Delk 05:43
I always had you mentioned the bio, like this idea of, you know, I was a decent looking kid, had some girlfriends. You know, I had, I felt I was like, had this like big fish, small pond mentality. And I always knew there was something more out there. And to me New York, right, Sinatra, you can make it there. Anyway, so that's that was it. And, you know, my, you know, my education about New York, had never been there, was movies, right? So it was like, you see Godfather, right? My last name was Delk so I don't think I'm going to any mob crime families. So that was out for me or Wall Street, like that was the, that was a two thing. So I think New York, Wall Street and then money, that's what kind of got me interested into it. And just started watching you know, reading you know, Investor's Business Daily Wall Street Journal and my mom you know, God bless her. She's, you know, really kind of, you know, always been there for me as best as she could. But she's really encouraged at failure, maybe because she couldn't stop me anyway. But I think always just like, yeah, here you go. And like, signed over that, you know, custodial account where I had trading access, and you know, cashed out of Disney and

Jeremy Delk 06:50
I think it was 20 century Ultra mutual fund. And I started going, this is '96, '97, '98.

Jeremy Delk 06:58
Right around, you know, the tech boom. And I was hitting JDS unifies Qualcomm. And those that was, you know, very self taught. Very basic training, a very basic trading rather, from a buying, you know, long or selling short, I was doing no options, no hedging at all, it was just basically momentum trading. But I learned a lot. The cool part, I grew that portfolio when I was 16, to almost 20. I grew it to about 2 million bucks. So $30,000 from 2 million, which everyone's gets so impressed with him, I'm like just wait. Because what's even more impressive is I blew it up in four days. So when kind of bubble burst, and in the early 2000s, I was learned about this beautiful thing called leverage and margin, right? But this is what do you mean, I could buy stock that about money for? That's, oh my god, it's so easy, it's easy when the markets going up or down and you're on the right side of the trade. But uh, but yeah,

Susan Sly 08:03

Susan Sly 08:05
There's a lot unpack there. And I have a very similar story. So in the 80s, when I was a teenager, I watched the movie Wall Street with Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen. And I watched it over and over and over again. And I was probably 15 years old, and I started reading. So in Canada, I was reading like, the Financial Post and all the dailies and back in those days, you didn't get the stocks online, right? It didn't exist. So you just have to read the next day in the newspaper. And I started to learn from my grandmother about a portfolio and I took an internship, Jeremy, in a company called Richardson Greenshields and the first thing they said was you have to do manual retirement portfolio calculations for compound interest. And in those days, people just bought stocks and sold them, There weren't a lot of day traders and I was horrible at math. I was really, calculus not my thing, but money math, I was so good. And I always thought that that's the profession I would go into. My career took a completely different turn and I love what, you know this what you said about being a trend trader and there's a lot of merit to that. I did a certification in options trading and you know, if you know how to trade the trends and read the read the charts, there's you know, there's a lot you can accomplish. I think that the risk tolerance too is definitely you know, associated with a different time in life. Are you, do you still have the same level of risk in your investments or has things changed?

Jeremy Delk 09:33
So, so since I blew it up, I don't have $1, I've never put another dollar in the market. Now I think I have some, I may have some 23andme stock left, maybe but I was in Uber, Airbnb, so I was, I was in like private placements in early rounds of those stocks whenever they, but when they go public and the lockup's over I usually liquidate. So the only money I have in the market is, like it's 529 plans. And it's interesting. I was gambling, I think at the end, because I was, I was off the thrill of the kill and what have you, when I blew it all up, and I got that job at Fidelity, which was like a really cool story in itself. But like, we got that job, it was like, it was like cheating, because I was like, I learned so much because I was self taught in a very, and we had the internet and stuff, but it's still very, you know, fun, or it's not like what you can learn now. And, you know, what I learned becoming a trader and learning about leverage and option strategies and hedging strategies and stuff of like, it's like watching a movie that like getting in a fight, like watching the movie playback, and learning all the moves that you could have done differently.

Jeremy Delk 10:42
So again, and that, you know, that was a really tough time, I don't recommend anyone blowing up 2 million bucks in four days, it's not a cool feeling. But looking back, hindsight, is probably one of two or three best things that were happening to me my life, because there's a lot of lessons there. And I think that's where I talk about when I'm speaking or in the book that things are happening to you or for you, and you can just get past the woe is me and feeling bad for yourself. You can really look back and there's probably a, probably a lesson. So I'm not in the market from that piece, most of my stuff. So to answer your question, Are my investments as risky, not as risky to me, but I'm in control of them, right? Because most of the deals I'm doing, I'm buying. So yeah, I don't know if the average consumer investor would go and do the deals that I do. But I do them because I've got confidence in the team that I have to leverage this up, or ramp sales and whatever, but it's in my control. It's not, you know, in the control of some CEO, that's, you know, cooking the books or something like that. So those things you can't control. So but they're still there, they're still very speculative investments, in real estate's not as speculative, right. I mean, that's, you know, somewhat, but the new startup world that I live in, for the most part, I like that, because it's new. I love the idea of creation. That's why I left Fidelity, I was making more money than both my parents. And you know, I just rebuilt back my stack from losing all that money. I was in my early 20s. Living in Manhattan, and Chelsea. And you mentioned I made six grand my first year. Sounds cool. You're profitable your first year business? Well, my rent was like 5500 a month. Right? So like I was, back then. Real money. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So yeah, inflation the index that to that I was like, Yeah, but that's what it was. And, you know, you, you really look at that, and you're like, that was, but I need that I'm, I'm wired that way that I need, you know, my back against the wall. But I couldn't see myself doing that for 20 years. And I bet buddies don't see in New York next week, when I go up there that are very successful. JP Morgan and they have two houses, a boat and 2.2. Kids, like they live in the dream, which is not my dream, right? Because they're doing the same thing. And very successful, very happy. To me, happiness is this level of creation and seeing something come out of nothing I love, I love that piece of the process. And that's business for me and entrepreneurship. Once I get the business to a certain level, you know, we mentioned taking some companies public and private and exits, you have to be good at what you know, and not what you know, but what you like doing. Like I know myself, if you like, I do a lot of coaching and stuff. And if you got a business and you're doing 10, 20 million bucks, and you want to grow that incrementally by eight months, or like a percent, the last person you should call is me. Because I would just break the thing, right? That doesn't excite me, I want to really kind of lever it up and disrupt things to kind of go through. And then once you have that peaceful and stable piece, where it's you know, 100, 120 employees, that's when you put the adults in and let them kind of run it. And then I go and start my new, small, small deal.

Susan Sly 13:43
I love that. And what I hear from you is this, that you're very clear on your zone of genius and successful entrepreneurs are they know. You're also, Jeremy, so self actualized because you know, when you will get bored, you know that that isn't in the best interest for the company at that point. And yeah, and even for myself, I have some PBM investments because I invest, right, and I look at it, like what do I invest in? And what traits are those, you know, for those companies? Do I also want to possess to be investable? Right? And so, like you I'm very clear on what my zone of genius is, and 8% gains don't excite me, especially in the startup world, because you look at, like our growth was 800% last year to this year. And so which is, that's exciting to me. Now, you're not going to hit that every single year. But you have to have a clear path to know exactly how to get where you're gonna get to, why you're gonna get there, and what wakes you up every day. Let me ask you this. I want to talk about Fidelity some more, but I want to you know, you brought this up. What, in your opinion, and makes the company investable? Because I've had different venture capitalists on the show who also came out of the entrepreneurial world. And there are some similarities, but there are some differences. And I'm curious to hear your take.

Jeremy Delk 15:14
Yeah, I mean, I'm just, I'm in Kentucky right now and, you know, grew up here. It's the jockey, right? It's very rarely the horse. Right. You know, that's, it's really the team and who is the team? And that's also a good question. You know, that doesn't mean who that person is, like, for an entrepreneur, I know your audience, some people either thinking about going out on your own, and, you know, starting or just getting started or just trying to scale. So don't get discouraged by that. Because depending on where that business is in the lifecycle, you need a different figure, right, just like I even said, I displaced myself at a certain period, because that business has a different need. So it really comes down to the individual. And then, you know, for me, personally, it's something that I'm interested and excited about, or I think I can really help, right, because that's only I'm gonna put my money is if I can, you're not, I'm not gonna just put money into help, like, I need to be able to add, you know, strategic capital as well, that maybe I can help bring my marketing team on, or, you know, finance or that whatever that is. But it really is the team. And then, you know, just does the idea do you believe in the idea is, are you aligned from your value state? And, and that's it. So that's a very broad answer. It's very much the person. And then I think, another piece from a typical, I get pitched deals all the time.

Jeremy Delk 16:40
You know, especially young entrepreneurs, they come in, and they're so nervous, like they're gonna come in and like, have a meeting to pitch uses, and they're like, they're gonna read your background, they're gonna read all these things, and they're going to have an answer for every question. That's their goal, right? And they fear like, if they don't have the answer, you're not going to invest in them. If some young kid comes in my office with an idea and has the answer to every question, I won't give them like, I won't validate his parking, right? Because I don't have all the answers. And I've done a little bit a little, don't have all the answers. So the moment that you can be authentic, which I'm a huge, I'm so proud of myself, and how long I'm not cursing, I'm like a genius, but

Susan Sly 17:17
You're amazing.

Jeremy Delk 17:19
The moment, but I thought about, I don't think cursing is a great thing. But it's naturally right. So as long as you're coming from a good heart, that's why I do it sometimes. But that level of, if you have that level of authenticity, and vulnerability, that's it. Because people do business with people. And get it, if I'm in a boardroom, or however I conduct myself, that's how I am. And it's not good or bad, but I just, it's real in my heart, they're loyal guy and honest guy, but you can that also breeds vulnerability of like, I don't know, or, you know, I'm, I'm really good at this. But I'm scared. Like, there's a lot of money in the accounts. But like, I don't know if we owe people money, like, those are great things for a founder to come. Because if you can be that way with your investor, as you should be, authentically, they can help you. But if you don't let them know that that's your weakness, they're gonna say, Oh, well, yeah, well, you know, Susan's got the financing down, so let's not worry about it. But what you're receiving about so if you have to be vulnerable, and that's within business, life, relationships, you just have to .If you can just get past your own BS, look at me, if you get that you're gonna be so like, hey, let's just communicate what I need. I need your help. It's hard to say, it's hard to be vulnerable. But that gets you a, to the where you want to go much quicker. And you have that level of trust and respect like thank you, I can help you or I can't, or I can't. Both are still great, great places to get to, is a true and fair solution.

Susan Sly 18:47
I love that. And my deal for you is I do business in Kentucky, we have several locations that we service with Radius. So next time I'm there we can have a cocktail and you can just swear the whole time.

Jeremy Delk 19:01
I'll pick you up on that.

Susan Sly 19:02
And to all the parents listening who have your kids in the car who write in I want special love for Jeremy for like, resisting the swear which is awesome. I gotta ask you, you know the, and I love you know, I love what you said about betting on the jockey not on the horse. Right now I have three startups I've invested in and each one of them it's because I know that founder, and I know how they are when their back is up against the wall.

Jeremy Delk 19:33

Susan Sly 19:33
And that to me is one of the things, right? Anyone can perform like a trained circus monkey when everything is going well. But what happens when their back is up against wall? So let me ask you, Has there been a time when your back was up against the wall and mere mortals would look at that situation that you're in and think, there is no way that guy is getting out of it, and what was the situation and how did you get out of it?

Jeremy Delk 20:00
Well, there's a lot there, a bunch of them to answer your question, I've been in a bunch. I think, before answer that I want to kind of just, you know, hit on a piece, you know, I've now kind of even segmented my investments that I won't invest in someone that hasn't went through a cycle, because that is in right? That is really where you kind of, it separates the boys and girls from the men and women, it really does separate them. So it doesn't have to be a bankruptcy, but it has to be a real big kind of downturn. And then the other thing I do is, I always, you know, really try to dig into, like, why they need this money, why they need that because most time, even my businesses that I have the ability to fund an over fund, I purposely cashed out of them. Because look at WeWork. Look at these companies, that you just sometimes you have too much money, that you get lazy, and then you have consultants that are being managed by consultants, right? I mean, so, you know, keep in cash, starving yourself and making yourself be more methodical on that think through. So what have I overcome? Um, so I'll give you one. This is, this was fun. This was a few years ago, we had a pharmacy business that we were growing. Three years, we grew from zero to about $60 million.

Jeremy Delk 21:20
We were on a rocket ship with integrative health space. So like age management, if you have different peptides, everyone's heard of ozempic now, that's a peptide, the GLP one. We were the first ones to introduce these, some of these molecules on a regulated scale in the US. So we were doing really well, make a ton of money, have a lot of fun, we grew that it was the fourth fastest healthcare company by Inc 500, 21st in the country in 2020, I think, 2019. So about, and this is a good sign when you think you're the smartest guy in the room and you're invincible. Just wait because Tyson's coming with that right hoo and you start learning. We gotten some term sheets unsolicited, we weren't in a process. And we got offered about $600 million for the business of which I owned about a half of it then so it was a nice nine figure, payday.

Jeremy Delk 22:18
I've already done, and I don't want to discount that money. But I turned it down. And I turned it down because A, I wasn't getting it all up front, they had an option to buy me out for like 800 million or something like in 12 months. And like, that's what really made me kill the deal. Because I'm like, Well, why? They're putting a cap on what I could do. And I was growing this rocket ship. And I'm like, You know what, I'm gonna turn it down and then in a year, I can probably get a billion because that was already a very done, okay. That big thing a cash wasn't going to change my day to day life. Because it's cash, you're gonna have so much cash, I got a lot of wealthy billionaire friends, but like, cash is whatever, you just don't put that in somebody else's generating cash flow, right? So it wasn't gonna change my my day to day immediately, it would have been generational changing wealth, don't get me wrong. But to me, it was rare air to be potentially in that billionaire, like build a business from nothing to sell for a billion.

Jeremy Delk 23:15
So that was, I did that in my genius. foresight. And then two weeks later, I was heading to the gym, and I got some calls from the office and I think 18 or 22 FBI agents raided our offices and yeah, fast forward, a lot, we were in a compounding pharmacy space that was unregulated. And still, there's 30 Pharmacy doing the same thing we were doing, we were just the biggest.

Jeremy Delk 23:45
And, and it cost me a few million dollars in fines. And I sold that business for about, I think $7 million. So several, several zeros off, but I actually could have sold the business for probably twice that to a company that would have rolled up. This was another Kentucky based business and they would have taken the business book and moved it to, I think this group was out of Florida that was looking at it. And this is right during, this is March. No, this is yeah, this is March of 2020, COVID. Right. And I live in this town and it would have displaced about 110 employees. So we ended up taking half what we could have gotten, kept the jobs. And that business is still around today. So to answer your question, how I got through it, a lot of resilience and probably some some, you know, going through a couple of cycles myself, likr losing a bunch of money at a young age, building yourself up. I mean, you start to flex those muscles and you can realize that, hey, everyone's had these really bad days. Hopefully you haven't had a business that you left, you know, half a billion dollars on the table but we've all had what we feel like are the worst days. But we're still here. You're still in the car, with kids who listen to this podcast, and that's whether you lose a family member, spouse, whatever, we've all had these traumatic losses. But humans, humans are resilient. So

Jeremy Delk 25:09
it's, and you know, and my wife got me through it. I was very, it was a really, really bad place mentally, because it's so easy to be a victim. And certainly we, we were not, we didn't do everything right. And we grew fast. I mean, you don't grow for something from zero employees to 120 and zero $60 million, without, you know, getting a few speeding tickets. So we, we definitely, you know, we're outside of our lanes and a few capacities. But

Jeremy Delk 25:37
you have to show up. And that's what entrepreneurship is right. And it's tough. I remember that next day, I wasn't in the office, when it happened, I was going to gym, I wasn't, I'm not really, I'm in the office, like 10, 11 o'clock, I get more work outside the office than in it. But you have to show your face, right, you got to go through there, you got to be there for your people.

Jeremy Delk 25:56
So that next morning, we open the pharmacy at 8, I was there at seven, seven o'clock in the morning. And I was like for sure no one was going to show up, right? Like it's over, right. And every single one of my staff showed up, including someone that was her first day of starting, she was actually an HR, she showed up the day of the raid, which was hilarious, but they all showed up and I had to put on a good face. And I had to, listen guys here, this is where we are, we're gonna get through this, we've got good intentions, we're driving, we're gonna do whatever we can do, but just you know, when I get nervous, you guys can get nervous. Inside I'm,

Jeremy Delk 26:39
I'm just falling apart. But it's entrepreneurship, right? It's a it's a lonely place sometimes because there isn't an easy button. There is no one you can call to fix that. So stop looking for that. Stop feeling bad for yourself, because that doesn't fix the problem. And then just get up.

Jeremy Delk 27:00
And then each day, you have sleepless nights. And it was probably six months of a lot of uncertainty, which is that's the worst, like, having a bad situation and having to deal with it is one thing, but six months of uncertainty, that is torture, right?

Jeremy Delk 27:16
But you just got to kind of get through it. And either be a victim and you know, that defines you that moment. Or you define it and take that into a positive where I can try to help talk to people and say like, you know, use my, you know, success and failure. My book is all about failure. It's a memoir of unban action in my family, my way to success, I think is a subtitle, use my failures and lessons I've learned to kind of, you know, putting your own toolbox to say like, Okay, it's alright, it's okay. You have to change your mindset and your perspective that failure is a bad thing. Failure is what it's about. That's where you learn.

Susan Sly 27:58
Yeah, yeah. And I'm excited to read your book as well, because we're talking about David Goggins. Prior to this, David could not do this show without swearing. So we'd have to like basically beep the whole thing. But the, you said, I mean, I just took a page of notes, as you were talking Jeremy, and the six months of uncertainty, right, that is the hardest. And you see, entrepreneurship has one of the highest divorce rates. There are all sorts of ways that people cope with that uncertainty. We had, my friend Will was on the show. And he and his partners, they had a term for 300 million for their food delivery business, they had cornered a particular geographical area. And the, you know, one of the guys who was not part of the negotiation team ends up going and talking directly with the purchaser. And the purchaser was like these guys are I'm pulling out of the deal. My friend salvaged it and he was like, he didn't realize how much stress he was under until after the whole thing was over. But we all have our healthy ways we handle stress, we all have our unhealthy ways. So what are the healthy ways you handle stress, personally? Is there anything you do that perhaps is unhealthy because it is Raw and Real Entrepreneurship, and the big thing is that, you know, we want the audience know, and I always go first, like, yeah, for me, generally speaking, I won't, I only drink red wine, a little bourbon and tequila. So there's the, throw that out. And normally I don't drink during the week unless I'm like, traveling for a conference or something like that. But, you know, for me, it's going to be like I already worked out that day. I prayed. I meditated. I'm having a wall kicking moment. I'm having two glasses of wine. So I'll just throw that right out there and confess first, that's my unhealthy thing I do but do you have any unhealthy things you do? And then what are your healthy things because people look at you're like, Dude, you're an author. You're a coach. You're a VC like, you're everything. So...

Jeremy Delk 29:57
Well. I only drink a lot of red wine, a lot of bourbon, and a lot of tequila. So, everything in moderation, I think it is. I think, you know, habits are hugely important. And you know, you just have to be cognizant of what's a good habit and a bad habit. Going out with your, your buddies, your girlfriends and having a, you know, a bottle of wine and just like just escaping, that's, nothing wrong with that, like, but it can't be the habit that you do all the time. Right. It's, it's kind of pieces. But you know, I work out, you know, religiously right? Now, things are breaking at 43. And you know, going that, you know, it's that's a whole.

Susan Sly 30:37
Dude, I have almost 10 years on you. We won't go there. We're not hiding that.

Jeremy Delk 30:41
But my doctor buddies are like, Delk, just cause you can bench this much weight, you don't need to do it. I'm like, sure. It's fine. But still in your head. I feel 19. But um, but that's a good, that's a good habit.

Jeremy Delk 30:57
Well, I don't talk about religion a lot. And I know it's controversial or whatever. But you mentioned prayers, I'll bring it up. I mean, I say a prayer every single morning. I think that's huge. And people that know me, I think would even be surprised by that. But I say a prayer every morning. But it's not like I pray win the lottery. I pray this, like, it's all gratitude. Like, very, very rarely well as like, you know, if someone's sick or going through something, but being gracious and gratitude, you know, having gratitude, but not like, Oh, I'm so happy, like, just truly feel it. Right. I mean, other stuff, something I just saw, like recently, actually, one of my social guy told me like, remember the time when you wanted what you have, which is pretty crazy, right? Because we've all had that, oh, I want this out, and me, I obsess over these things I go. But remember, like, when there was a time when you wanted to be happily married and have kids, there was a time when you're 23. That's when you want it. And that's all you could yearn for. But then you have it. And you kind of take it for granted. Remember, when you want to start your own company, remember when you want it to do this. And then you get that and then you take that for granted. I think just really having gratitude and really living in the moment and kind of going through and just having that good gut check is, those are the healthy things that you can do. And ask yourself why you're doing the things that you're doing. Right. And there's, I told you I break businesses, I've had destructive behaviors personally, right. And I think I really want your feedback on the book, you'll give me an F on the rating for language. But I read

Jeremy Delk 32:25
You told me that yes, I'm good. Yeah, well, I'm like, I'm like Sesame Street compared to David. But you'll see, I get more compliments and feedback from the book about the personal side than the business side. And there's really good business stuff in there. I'm not trying to toot my own but there's really good business tactics and tools and, and things that are good examples I think you can learn from, but the biggest compliment to me is the personal side of things that you, that you get from it. Because you know, when I first started writing it, it was it was kind of BS, right? It was all business and like, that's only half my life. The other half is how it affects you. And no one talks about that right? Fear nothing, like few people talk about that. And you got to get okay with it. You got to get okay with I told you what I did. The day after FBI raid and I took 600 hours to tape I told you what I did in my film got hit by us footage of me like you should find that put it shame of me like talking to the staff that actually want to see that you have that? Yeah, I'd love to see.

Susan Sly 33:32
I want to see that too.

Jeremy Delk 33:34
Let's get that out. Because I want to see that. Because I can't tell you what it probably looks like like, oh, wow, it's rallying up, he tell you inside is to say like, I have no I'm like, just thoughts racing through. So it's that duck on water mentality. It's okay. It's okay. Just be, just be conscious of what it is, you know.

Susan Sly 33:53
The, in the year 2000, after I, in a 16 week period, I got diagnosed with progressive MS as a professional athlete, lost my business, my then marriage fell apart, and I ended up homeless. And I remember, it's funny you mentioned that this like, what your social guide pulled for you. So I was reading a Canadian newspaper called The Globe and Mail. And there was a quote by anonymous, and I, to this day, I have it. I cut it out of the newspaper, Jeremy. It's in one of my journals, and it says, you know, you become successful when the things you used to dream about are the things you now complain about.

Susan Sly 34:34
And it's like, oh, I only have this much money. Do you remember when you were living in $5,500 a month apartment and you lost 2 million bucks and you dream of having that money? Right? It's that, that sanity check. And I love what you said about prayer like this. It's Raw and Real Entrepreneurship. We talk about it like right now, my prayer list is over 42 people. I had to segment them

Jeremy Delk 34:59
Jeremy, so there's like nine with cancer. Like one of the girls I mentored, she went from homeless to, you know, building a great business, she was just diagnosed with a stage four glioblastoma in her 30s, given two weeks to live, and that was three weeks ago. And so, like when we're so focused on ourselves, that's also not attractive for investors. It's not attractive in customers and that's, you know, one of the things in the morning, I humbled myself, it's like, if I want something for myself, I better damn well see, I said, Damn, but that one's okay. I better be able to pray it over others first. So how dare I ask for something that I'm not wanting for someone else. And so I love, I love that you said that.

Jeremy Delk 35:44
Yeah, it's great perspective, too. I think that's what I think the key to life is really just being genuine, you know, having that level of vulnerability with others and yourself. But just put that in perspective, like, this is what's happening to me, for me, how are you going to look at that, but am I healthy? Are my kids healthy? Like, just look at what you can be grateful for.

Susan Sly 36:05

Jeremy Delk 36:05
And then and then put that comparison to wherever the wherever the problem is, because there's problems every day, it doesn't matter. But like, that's not going to, just okay, that's an event, let's deal with it and kind of move on. But there's so many, it's much easier said than done if you've never done it, right, because it's so easy to like, oh, this happened to me. And it's a victim, victim, victim, it's a much easier story to tell ourselves, but it's not productive, and it won't make it better in the long run.

Susan Sly 36:30
No, absolutely not. And that, keep going. I mean, the woman who founded Canva, 200 VCs rejected her. And I bet, I bet at least 80% of them, it became a multi billion dollar company. And these were, they could have, they were early stage investors, you know, and you know, just because someone has an opinion doesn't make it right. And that's the thing like one of my mantras. So I want to talk about the book. So depending on when someone's listening to this, it's always a good time to read. So I'm going to give you a couple statistics, and everyone's gonna go order your book. So the first one is the biggest study on millionaires that has been done, it was actually done by Dave Ramsey's company. So north, I think, like, maybe I'm getting my geography wrong, but Nashville is not so far from you, Franklin, Tennessee, and, and so they studied over 10,800 millionaires. And on average, millionaires read two to four books every month. So, you know, I don't believe in fake it till you make it. But I believe in there's a recipe for everything. So two to four books a month, and they're not reading anime books, and they're not reading romance books, friends, they're reading actual books on business, on mindset. And so then the study on billionaires was that, that was not done by Ramsey, but I can't remember who did it. But the study on billionaires is 24 books a year. So one of the things I committed to, minimum 24 books a year. So the millionaires, they're doing two to four a month. And you may say, Well, that doesn't add up to billionaire status. The billionaires are doing Sorry, I got that wrong. billionaires are doing four books a month. So they're audio listening to books, they're reading books, sometimes they don't start to finish, but it's about 48 books a year. So I said to myself, already, you know, I've done okay, financially. But I read on average, four to six books a month, and some books I read twice. So Goggins second book, I'm actually reading it twice, which I very rarely read

Jeremy Delk 38:37
Do you read or do you do audible it?

Susan Sly 38:40
I do it all. So I, I still run. Great question. So I turned 50 last year, and I've done six Boston marathons and I want to do 10. So I still run and that's a great time on a long run to be audio listening. I very rarely listen to music unless I'm just needing like a little you know, bit of some Journey or Bon Jovi or something usually 80s. And, but, so I audio listen, and then I physically read as well. And that you know, every day, so that's how I get it in. And so my workouts some days, it's an hour, some days I work out for two or three hours just depends. And I audio listen to the books then. So that's how I get it all in.

Jeremy Delk 39:22
Very cool.

Susan Sly 39:23
So without a plan everyone needs to plan to get without a plan, which means you need to go right now. And Jeremy, it's on Jeremy's website. So it's,

Jeremy Delk 39:37
It's on it's on the website like, Forbes, they just named it like the number one out of the top three business books to read in 2023 which is pretty cool. Shout out to Forbes. But um, so it's, you know, the best seller is all you know, Barnes Noble Amazon, etc. But do it on Audible because, you mentioned Goggins as I kind of mentioned it

Jeremy Delk 39:59
We roll like we, I read like the foreword, and so the openings, but I couldn't narrate the whole book. So the publisher had a really, you know, high end professional narrator, do every chapter. But similar to what David did, at the end of each chapter, we had like a q&a. So like, oh, man, that was a crazy story, you turn out 600 million or Wow, you took a jet to Vegas. And then when we're, you know, in Miami the next day, you know, these kinds of quick things. Tell me about that. So it's like this behind the scenes a bit, that everyone really like, so check it out on Audible. If you, get it anywhere, but if you if, you like to listen to book, that's another reason why you wait, because there's more content in there than there is in the page.

Susan Sly 40:40
I was gonna show you me getting it on my phone. But my phone is not right in front of me. But I will, you'll see it. So firstly, I want to, I want to thank you and I, like a few things, obviously, are very transparent, which is, you know, not everyone is, right? When you look at, to your point, we don't need anyone else preaching at us, what we need is people ministering to us. And there, that is a very different come from, because the preacher is going to speak at you and a minister is going to minister to your wounds, which means they're going to come from compassion, and the only way to have compassion is to have overcome. And so thank you for that, Jeremy. And I'm excited to, you and I are going on a long run together, brother, so I'm excited for that.

Jeremy Delk 41:33
Let's do it, definitely hit me up when you when you get into LAX. I'd love to show you. My buddy just open up a new hotel called the Manchester so check it out, beautiful hotel, you'd think you're in New York. So we'll put you up there and have a couple of cocktails.

Susan Sly 41:48
All right. It's on. Well, Jeremy, thanks again for being here. I want to give a shout out to everyone listening, Jeremy and I would love a five star review. We don't want four star reviews because Leaders Ask for what they want. Hit us up on social, let us know what you're taking away from the show. And if this show has helped you in any way, definitely reshare it because we would love that. So with that, God bless. Go rock your day, and I will see you in the next episode.

Susan Sly 42:16
Hey, this is Susan and thanks so much for listening to this episode on Raw and Real Entrepreneurship. If this episode or any episode has been helpful to you, you've gotten at least one solid tip from myself or my guest, I would love it if you would leave five star review where ever you listen to podcasts. After you leave your review. Go ahead and email Let us know where you left a review. And if I read your review on air, you could get a $50 amazon gift card and we would so appreciate it because reviews do help boost the show and get this message all over the world. If you're interested in any of the resources we discussed on the show, go to That's where all the show notes live. And with that, go out there rock your day, God bless and I will see you in the next episode.

Susan Sly 43:09
Are you currently an employee looking to start your own business? Maybe you've been thinking about it for a while and you're just not sure where to start? Well my course, Employee to Entrepreneur, combines my decades of experience as an entrepreneur with proven methods, techniques and skills to help you take that leap and start your own business. This course is self paced, Learn on Demand and comes with an incredible workbook. And that will allow you to go through this content piece by piece by piece, absorb it, take action and then go on to the next module. So check out my course on Employee to Entrepreneur.

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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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