Do you find yourself in the daily grind, discouraged by seeing so many successful-looking, young entrepreneurs on social media? Don’t believe the façade. Entrepreneurship is tough, and every difficult moment of every difficult day is preparing you for your future success.
This week on The EnTRUEpreneurship Podcast, Wes welcomes Parham Parastaran — an entrepreneur and author who is living proof that fast success can be unhealthy. At a young age, Parastaran moved to the US from Iran and ended up building a $10M+ automotive business; however, at the peak of his success, he was nursing a $2,000 cocaine habit. Parham has since been delivered from his addiction by addressing the faulty foundation upon which his success was built.
On the podcast, Parham recounts his full story, which is — hands down — the most amazing story shared on the podcast to date. Parham’s motivational story has rich takeaways for all listeners about entrepreneurship and about the nature — and danger — of success.
The EnTRUEpreneurship Takeaway:
“What drives me now is always trying to find a better version of myself… What drives me is now me against me, instead of me against the world."
“If you go through your whole life and have no failures, it doesn’t make you a good businessman. It just makes you a lucky businessman."
“The best thing that ever happened to me was coming really close to bankruptcy."
“You don’t have to love everything that you do… You just have to love the end game."
“I got into the [automotive] business and quickly realized that it’s all about people. If a customer walks in, I’ve got to make them love this place. If they love this place, they’re going to tell somebody."
“[Getting my MBA] just taught me to really validate my gut feelings as an entrepreneur."
“The one mistake that I made was that I made the company too dependent on Parham… If I had to do a company over again, I would want to be influential, but I wouldn’t want it to be where, if I took a breather, our sales would drop."
“I was insecure. I was extremely successful, but I was the most insecure successful person you will ever meet."
Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:
3:25: Parham starts his story at the beginning, including his family’s escape from Iran during the Islamic Revolution and how he got his initial cash to buy into his dad’s auto-shop.
10:25: Parastaran walks through what it was like to partner in his father’s business endeavor and outlines the dynamic between the two as co-owners.
14:57: Parham describes the events that led up to when he first tasted success and began to expand the business to multiple locations.
20:30: Parham’s story takes a turn for the worst, as his fast success led him to expand from 3 stores to 10 stores in 1.5 years and, ultimately, nearly declare bankruptcy.
24:21: Parastaran outlines the tough road of overcoming the denial that his business was crumbling and describes the transformation that occurred once he’d come to grips with that fact.
29:21: Parastaran details why he never felt that his businesses were self-sustaining and explains how this drove his decision to sell a large number of his automotive locations last year.
35:55: Parham explains his new book — Perfect Pain — and reveals why he (and many other entrepreneurs) have a difficult time handling success.
42:21: Parham gives Wes a vulnerable and honest look at the darkest days of his substance abuse and shares how undergoing recovery has impacted his leadership style.
46:17: Parastaran shares some invaluable advice about the nature of work and describes what is now his driving force, post-recovery.
Bullet List of Resources –
Parastaran’s book: Perfect Pain