The bumpy road of entrepreneurship with Phantom Couriers and Mark Huggan



Justin Lam

You want to find your tribe of raving fans. I'm gonna help you do it. This is the digging deep podcast with Three Sixty Media where we help you do better business.


Hey everybody, this is Justin Lam and this is episode four of digging deeper. We help business owners build better businesses. Today I'm here with an amazing individual who has a very interesting story, started off as a bike messenger and worked his way into the ecosystem of courier ship, and now is one of the fastest growing logistics and courier companies here in Vancouver. Welcome, Mark Huggan


Mark Huggan

Hey, Justin has got a good idea. Thank you.


Justin Lam

So I'm super interested in in the journey and I think a lot of people are interested in you know, humble beginnings and how it all goes. So, you know, maybe why don't we talk about like, where the idea of Phantom started.


Mark Huggan

It wasn't my idea I was working in. I was like in between jobs kind of thing. I bought a house in kitsilano. With Tanya I was married to Tanya. We were just I was doing construction things. And then I ended up having to move my painting studio. I had a painting studio at my house on West 11th to downtown, which I thought would be good. And I needed to get a job, like, and so my friend Shane, he was quitting his job as courier. So I yelled at him, Hey, what are you doing? And he says, Oh, I'm going to California as I go. What do you do for work? courier? I said, Could I have your job? So he just gave me his job. So I started working for a company called international Parcel Service, and I had a good mentor named Blake kripp. Well, and I worked for him and I really liked him. But I was using it to my advantage. I'd sit in the IPS office, I go do my work, I'd come back I'd read books. I go across the street to my studio, I'd paint I had a pretty much like life or Riley I was, you know, do whatever I wanted make money painted red books. Then one day This woman jumps out in front of my bike and says, Hey, can you do this? And I was like, yeah, five bucks. It was it was like I've told the story a million times. It's like, I don't know if that was actually the spark that said it going, but I ended up going to kinkos. And I made a flyer, mark the courier, slipped it into the doors, got a pager, and it just took off. Well, it didn't really take off. I remember talking to other independent bike messengers, the internet just started. And there was other guys, and I remember being at triple five Hastings, and this guy, JF and he's like, when you've got 30 clients, you'll make it. I've got like two. And it was a struggle, but it was fun. And I really liked it. I like the hustle. The camaraderie of the bike messengers. You know, I really knew the independent guys more than the employee guys. They come and go, there's around I see them all the time. They're crushing it, but the indie guys we all sort of like how do you do it? I made my rates this way. We were kind of like a small nobody knew anything group of guys who had a businesses that suddenly needed to put out rates billing and invoicing I didn't even know when I handed my first bill to a client. They're like, this is a statement, not an invoice. I'm like, great, you know, I don't know that. I don't know that. So I came from it totally, like open minded and creative. And I didn't even know what I didn't know. It was pretty good. It was great, you know? So that's my, that's the spark day.


Justin Lam

And so how does that evolve? Like, so? Having the first set of invoices and statements and and then you go and climb and create this monster? I mean, you were what fastest growing company in 2018


Mark Huggan

2018. Yeah. And we were before to have done it twice, which is good, because we are just we are not some, you know, glass IRA. We're not a big glass tower business. We're just crunching numbers company that measures our growth. Like, one of the things that we You and I have in common is how much fun it is with numbers. You know, does Good thing. So it's just it's grown day by day, hour by hour trip by trip, moment by moment. I mean, really, it is an existential company.


Justin Lam

And so I think one of the biggest things I think in in your success is the dashboards. I mean, very few people who I could send a text message to asking questions about their business and getting a answer back with a definitive number. And that's all part and parcel of you creating a dashboard that you get to see every day to see, you know, what is going on and how it's comparable to yours once days beforehand. So how did you create something like that?


Mark Huggan

It's not my idea. So I'm lucky. I worked first, my first thing with dashboards was I worked at Earls restaurants, and URLs on top on Robson Street. On the big walking cooler, they had a parse chart. And so of course, I asked, I think was married men or something, some manager there. What is this Cuz I had no need to know, like no need to know, you don't need to know what this is. And he told the kitchen manager, the kitchen manager told the front of house manager, they're like Hogan wants to know what this is, should we tell them? Of course they told me and as soon as I found out, I was like, I love this. And it was. I think it was like Mother's Day, the pars chart said, this is how Mother's Day is performed last five years, girls, this is how many staff we need. This is how much of the sauces we need. This is how much extra staff will need. I'm like, That's brilliant. You know, I'm thinking at home. I'm like, this is like when I packed go on vacation. This is how many socks you'll need. This is how many t shirts you need. What's the weather look like? It's just like, it just became like a culture in my head. Then I forgot. And you know, I forgot everything because you always do. And then my business was in the jet. It was chaos. You know, I didn't know anything. It was growing too fast. I was walking through Vancouver Board of Trade business after business thing. And I hear how again is that you and I look around What I don't recognize anybody, but I like gravitate to the biggest guy I'm like, must be that guy. And it's rich Scott and he's a business coach. And I like to describe rich Scott as like 10 feet tall, you know, jacked Brooks Brothers suit, you know, pink tie, black guy, kind of guys, like stands out in the crowd, like super good. And I'm like, yeah, and he's like, how's Phantom? Do you remember me? And he knows I don't I got the blank stare on my face like, Ah, so overwhelmed. just overwhelmed. Just said another event overwhelmed again, again, again. He invites me to a lunch meeting. And he tells me What's your three big problems and I'm like, Well, you know, accounts receivable CRA and payroll. Like every other business person I turn around here, I get punched in the face. Like over here. I get punched in the face over there punched in the face. He's like, you need my help. He gives me the bill. And I'm like, it's like, like 500 bucks a week. It's like 1998 or something like maybe 99. It was a lot of money. last long. I can't afford it. He's like, you can't afford it or you won't afford it or you don't want to afford it. Like he gave me all those traditional sales things. I was like, if I don't do something, I'm toast, whatever. So then the first thing we did is we made he showed me another dashboard and like, this is like girls. Oh, yes, super successful business. Earl's business coach. He's given me the things like you want clarity and you want to see things clearly get a dashboard. So we started monkeying around with dashboards. Super easy Excel spreadsheets at first, then you tweak them, you make them colorful, you make them function, you take out what's not important at first, they had everything that wasn't important, you know, like, how many hours of skateboarding Can I do after work? And you know, you know, just dumb things like how much time do I spend on the phone which Starbucks if I go to like, and then now it's just strictly it's, it's rad. I love it. And it's I talked about with my Operations Manager yesterday, I was like, This is what we've got. If we don't pay attention to dashboard, we might as well just jump in the car with no gas and head for the mountains and just be like, oh, what happened? Of course, it didn't look So yeah, I live by them and I've got them for so many different parts of the company. Like I put them in everything now, like you do. It's fun. It's so much fun.


Justin Lam

Well, it's really interesting. When you're able to measure and compare, you kind of know what's what lies ahead and what's what you've passed. And sometimes, especially when you're when you're this close to it, it's really hard to understand, you know, how far you've come? I mean, less than 10 years ago, we were in a BNI chapter and you know, we weren't going to pay...


Mark Huggan

I couldn't afford my my dues. Yeah, like I I fully lied to myself about being able to pay those dues like and we've talked about it so many times it's it's a scaling thing. Now, you can't afford to pay for a warehouse or something, but it's like a scale, but you are able to manage it. But remember those I remember when we met, and it's crazy. Now with our dashboards life's clear we know who each other are. We know where we are. We can talk openly about struggles and successes and plans. We can plan now. Mm hmm. Back then we were just, we're running fast.


Justin Lam

I didn't know we were running so fast and hard. But I think that's that part of the fun of entrepreneurship. Um,


Mark Huggan

I love that struggle, the struggles, what makes me good. I have, people always say, I'm gonna go off track. But you know, we come from a world where there's a we go meet a lot of people in there, like how you set up for your retirement, how you're saving, but you got to see me, I'm a financial planner. And I think I've been retired since the day I started my business. You know, I get up every day like, this is awesome life. It's I don't feel I could go to work. And I think I've got the reverse, like, back then I didn't I didn't know. Like, I feel like I'm retired now. Everything all those. It's, I'm so taken care of because of how happy I am. And I think that's when people retired. They're always like, I'm gonna retire and be happy. I'm like, I'm totally happy. Now. All my boxes are being checked. Life is good. And, you know, it's because we measure it, so we can see where it's going. That's amazing. And well, don't you feel that way? Sometimes.


Justin Lam

You know, it's funny. So for me, it's like I'm happy. But at the same time, there's a part of me that keeps wanting more. Oh, yeah. And I mean, if you said, you know, is everything in your life going, right? No, no. And never should I and but I love the struggle. I don't feel like work is work just like you. Like I get up. I'm charged like I can work to god awful hours in the evening. I can wake up early in the morning. I don't feel like it's a struggle at all. So in that sense, yes, I'm happy. It could be worse. I could be working for somebody, it'd be absolutely miserable, not wanting to do anything. You know,


Mark Huggan

I was never unhappy working for other people either because I had, I was always lucky. Like if I worked in a restaurant I work for a guy sampled Assisi. And he's like, I'd be like, how would you do that? Just show me like I'm curious and I had great bosses. I'm sure I didn't want to go to work if my friends were not if they were partying or something. But I was never unhappy as an employee. I was always inspired by good leaders. I I always got the chance to work for cool entrepreneurs or ultra businesses that shared like their core values vision and mission statement stuff that was like part of their culture. So I got, I got in and I was a service industry guy. Like I mean, I've sat in factories and put handles on plastic buckets. I've pulled nails on a two by fours. I have no super skills. Like I'm not a I never had a great job. I never had a career path job. So but they the companies and people I worked around, that we all just sort of stuck together made it happen. That's awesome. Yeah, never I don't have any regrets for my jobs. Let's see if my worst job, even power washing gutters, and it was kind of fun.


Justin Lam

And that's the thing is is the I had jobs. I wouldn't say any of them were career oriented. All that was customer service based. So not necessarily just service but customer service based, generally. And I wasn't fortunate necessarily to have great bosses. I didn't have very many of them. I had a couple that were that were good mentors. on a on a strictly technical level, but then just real quick faces outside of that. And so it's it's nice to see like, like somebody like you who you really do see the good side of so many things. And that's something that I really admire, even when we're on leadership for BNI think that was one of the things is, you always found a way to go, well, that might be on fire. But look at this is pretty good. It's doing really well. And I was like, Ah, that's an interesting mindset way not to learn that way.


Mark Huggan

Well, I looked at you as totally different. I always thought you were like, you know, like, I wanted to give you that jacket full of arrows like nobody knows to see you in the front like, hey, this just landed his back is loaded with arrows like we took you take hits good, you're good at, but you follow rules, like you know, this is the direction we're going the structure. This is the agenda. This is the plan. Here's the goal. Like you always attain your goals, but sometimes you change your plans, but you get to the goal. That's a good thing about you. It's like you hold things together. Thanks. William, you're solid.


Justin Lam

Cool. And so now what's gonna happen with where Phantom is going now, I mean, you went from Phantom Couriers, but I know that you've been tinkering around with the logistics end of things. And that's like, bigger than the, the courier side of it. Like, what does the future hold for you?


Mark Huggan

Well, I always have, I've had so many false starts, right? Because I often put the cart in front of a horse. It's like, Oh, yeah, I could do this. You know, I'm always rhythm down. Like, what you need this done. Let's do this. I mean, when we first read that sort of the big, big tsunami, I think I just finished pulling off like, a bunch of flat deck trucks with iron bridges and four wheel drive forklifts up to Whistler. And I was like, I'm doing this again. I'm getting into the trucking logistics crazy cool stuff. And that totally failed. Right? Because my partner awesome, dude. family business, not so awesome. You know, like, there's all these dynamics and it just, this is good. It just died. So it's like not again but I never took my eye off the prize like okay got the goal keep changing the plan doesn't go This doesn't go that but lately there's more opportunity focused more on it and I've got a better infrastructure for getting things done like my partner companies in a working with a really excellent they're no longer going to be your know your dad in the sun and that stuff so they're much bigger than more robust and we're moving some cool stuff I've had opportunities something panned out and some haven't but a lot of good airfreight going exporting and now we've no export is easy like it's here in Vancouver. Can you ship it? Yes, not a problem. Get it done. But import is always the hard thing like how does tiny fancy careers small office downtown Vancouver limited staff limited resources limited cash flow like everything's limited. How do you go and import a bunch of stuff from the United States with no infrastructure? And so finally feared just kept trying, like, Oh, that's someone that does listening to like commodities, jumping on commodities, cat phone calls and talking to brokers and ever just getting involved and just do you mind if we listen in on this conversation? People were like, okay, yeah, for sure conference calls. And we just got people like, why do you want to go on our conference call? It's like, Oh, well, because we've never done it. Oh, this most people have done it. I went, I went to industry, Canada, at an event at the Roundhouse. And I told the lady, she's like, Well, you can't do this. Because you haven't done this. I was like, I hate that. You can't be a plumber. Because you're not in the Union. You're not in a union because you're not a plumber. That's like the mindset of my youth. Like you can't work in the mill because you don't part of the Union. Like what? Doesn't make sense. So it was exactly the same thing. So I was like, Well, how do you get in? Well, you circumvent the gatekeeper. You talk to people in the back and they invited us in on conference calls. And then they felt we'd follow up with questions. And then with those questions, we got relationships and with those relationships, we've got Hey, you know You guys were interested in this. We're handling all this massive mega stuff, but there's a small thing that's too small for us. Do you guys want to try it out and see if you learned anything? Yes, we do. Yes, please, can we please do this? And so we did. And it works. And it was like the heart It was the creative, weird way around it.


Justin Lam

And that's so amazing. I think the true entrepreneurship and the true driven person really just goes to execute in


Mark Huggan

going to execute


Justin Lam

and that's the thing though, I mean, I mean, you know me as a planner, and you're more of the just executed by the end there's no fault to either or it's it's you really just fire and then aim, I kind of plan and then I kind of fire and then I readjust. And I think a lot of people get paralyzed when you know the first door closes. Oh,


Mark Huggan

yeah, analysis paralysis. I've had great people work for me. Jeremy this sweet dude, love them like best employee guy, but he He's now working in government where things are, so it's way better for him. He's like, I am here in this place, and I'm doing what I love. But he worked for me. He's like, I'm here in this place. I'm doing things I'm doing. I'm not sure I'm doing them. Right. Like he always. Jeremy, you're great, do it. He's like, am I? And it's like, yes. Am I it's like the paralysis, which is normal. Right? And with, like, you mentioned the ready fire aim. It's like bracketing for photography. Right? Remember back in the day of film, you're like, I don't know if this is I'm reading this right? Well go on either side. You got three you're gonna get it. And so I like that and a long time ago. A guy that owns a company called tiramisu in Germany. He's like, econ last miler guy. He, Michael, he was working at Ballard power. He told me you got to listen to this, this CD, their CD, so I put them I was like, Okay, so I've got my portable Walkman on the bus headphones. It was ready, fire aim. And I even have that in my email.


Justin Lam

Yes, sir. You have that as your email header


Mark Huggan

and people tell me to take it out. Like, that's ridiculous. It means you're reckless. I'm like, I'm so reckless. What? What are you reading my email header? You know, you've known me for 20 years, like, you know, it's just like my thing. I'll go do it. It's like, you know, I know that I run into closed doors all the time and then find out that it's it's a it's a full door. Yeah, but at least I tried to open the door.


Justin Lam

That's the thing. It's, it's funny because I think people who don't execute it don't have that mindset. Always look at it the other way. And they think of it as a negative. And I don't think I mean, if you're going with pure attention to learn something, and you run into the brick wall, like heavy, you learn something, and as long as you're not dumb to go back over the wall, yeah, if you're not running through the brick door again and again and again, and again, doing the same thing, like that's insanity. But if you're running into the brick wall and go, well, that clearly didn't work... Like let's try this and let's try that and let's tweak it a little bit. Let's find another way around it. Let's research and let's just keep going with the end goal in mind. I think there's no no fault in that. And actually, over the course of the long term, you'll get farther ahead than somebody who just says, Oh, well, that didn't work. You know, and, man, if it's been done once, it's repeatable,


Mark Huggan

yeah, you know, keep on seeing these little sayings all the time. And one of them is if it's humanly possible, it's possible by humans. So I'm a human, I can do it. So things like that. But you know, we end up repeating our mistakes, we end up going backwards in time, I think about a conversation with you. And the toxic culture of a company that just basically just nailed us into one place last year where we weren't moving. And because we were circling, I was a certain way instead of moving forward, right, and it's like, there's just variables that affect business. You can be like, all great with your planning and your dashboards as much as you want. But if you're, if you fail at any of those little duties, you have to keep your eye on like, why did I do that? Why am I allowing this to happen? How come I'm supporting these rules to be broken.


Justin Lam

Yeah. And I mean, that conversation was interesting. Like I came in. And I just sat there for what I was there for 15 minutes, maybe just looking at everything. And I said you have problems. They're they're glaring problems from an outsider's view. Yeah, and you don't see. That's the thing is is like, I don't think people do see those things when they're this close to it. And that's why I brought it up. Yeah. And for me, it's, it's like in our business, it's the same. So when I know that I won't, I won't see everything when I'm this close. And so I have people that I rely on like yourself, and, you know, other people in my close circle, who I think will give it to me straight and say, Hey, so I'm up against this problem. And there's no shame in that because I think, for me, it's like, you know, that fresh eyes are always good at it. And, you know, for me to walk in and say, You need to adjust something.


Mark Huggan

I'm just like, Are you kidding? We're the best we've ever been. And the problem was, we were we're climbing up, you know, everything was good. And, but it wasn't as good as it could be, but you just get blind you know, snowblind business blind can't see the forest for the trees. It's it's hard. So it's good to have a network. Great. I think that's what we've got both of us bonus. We've got great networks. And I remember a friend of ours said, Oh, you need Mike's network. And I was like, Oh, okay. Yeah, great. I need Mike's network. And I missed the point. The guest smart guy said that he didn't mean you need Mike's network. He needs you need him like that. You need a network, like Mike's. And so I was like, oh, is there like, oh, reevaluated my network. I was looking at my network and being that you're part of it. And I've got an amazing network of cool people. I was like, Ah, you know what, my network is awesome. Because you came over you told me my problem. Three months later, after like, you know, squinting to see it. I was like, You know what, he's totally right. But it as soon as you said it, it was there. It's like this until it's almost


Justin Lam

Once or it wasn't


Mark Huggan

everywhere I went, I was like, oh, what about that thing? Justin Lam mentioned that toxic cultures can sink your company. Isn't your company important? so important. But oh, I like avocados. And then it's like, I have to do something about this. And it was it was hard. I had to go see labor. People all stop, I get out my head for three months. Because really, I'm used to it. I felt that. And then when I'm when I pulled out that first card of that house of cards, and it, nothing happened, and then it went POW. I was like, thank God, and then I rebuilt it. And the first rebuild was almost perfect. And now you know, I've got so much more freedom to do creative things. It was you know, you hear that competitive mind and creative minds. Like I love the creative mind. It's just a place to be it's fun. But my I go to work and be like I already start to be competitive. I'd have to compete against the employees it would put you into like this unfunded state. And then, you know, everybody would go home. And it was so hard. It was like I told you it felt like Evel Knievel racing down the ramp until five o'clock and then five o'clock lunch off the ramp to nothing. No, like, no jump. No nothing. It was just like day. It was like the groundhog day of crap. But getting work done, but the hardest way possible ever, like the hardest way and losing lots of money to mistakes. Yeah, that was killing us like you saw the wall. And I had that new employee Haley who thought it was fun to put things up there because she was brand new. We didn't tell her like Haley quick put that up on the wall in the walls code and it was like $30,000 and fail. And she's like, can I reach the top? I was like, I don't know. Can you jump that? Like she thought it was so great until I told her what it really was. Haley those are all fails. What if he fails like we're refunding the money the customer is not happy. We've totally let down excellent customers just like what you know. But that was we had to have a giant like the elephant was invisible until we covered it in paper and there was this giant 20 foot by 20 foot wall


Justin Lam

and it's insured that was no such a week, a month.


Mark Huggan

That was such a month because it was peeling it was like you can't hide, because you can't hide anymore. Oh, and by the way, would you mind putting your name up there? Because in a month when we review all this, we will ask questions like, how did we allow this to happen? Why did we not find it out and systems of procedures that weren't being done to just get more robust? Remember when Deon joined the team in dionan, Haley pulled everything down and headed into stacks. I got them here. I don't want to dig him up, because they're so painful. But the title pages they put on all ridiculous but they were like no holds barred. Not just like, accounting error. It was like, I don't know what the EFF you were doing lied to yourself. It was like, oh, man,


Justin Lam

and let's, let's pack that into culture then. So when when I first came, I saw that there was toxicity in the system and


Mark Huggan

was there it's here though, starts right here at the top, you know,


Justin Lam

well, we take ownership and and ownership is not necessarily that you breed it But you foster it, because you're not willing because you fear what happens when you get rid of your top tier person, the person who has been like the crux of your system. And, and when they're the backbone of your system, and you've relied on them for so many years, peeling away the bandaid is extremely hard. But let's, let's, let's say, what was the mental journey when I told you to, or I, when I suggested that you do something like that, and then how much it propelled you forward? When we talk about like, that pain point when I said, like, you need to kind of do something, because you're gonna lose a chunk, or you're already losing a chunk load of money, and then you can propel it leap forward. Like what was that transition?


Mark Huggan

It was a across the board transition. Like, everything had to change, everything changed. Like I was in a 10 year relationship where we live together. We don't live together anymore. I was smoking cigars and drinking scotch all the time. So I haven't had any scotches since September 28. Unfortunately, as I look across to my giant scotch collection, I don't miss it. But it was just these habits. You know, my body was I was at the end of my rope because I was every day I was just at just start and end at the end of your rope was still enjoy my job. Like I didn't have problem getting up. It's like, get up go. Okay, open door bed, but like there was enough left. So make the you want to continue with walking forward, like no depression or like, whatever. But uh, just it was just like, it was such a short journey like, Great bad. Right? It was just like, what the house is


Justin Lam

gonna be. You were really stressed.


Mark Huggan

I was stressed and it was upset no fun. There was fails and I'd be okay. When I was lying to myself. Everything's groovy. Right? Like, yeah, come home cigars. sit outside, YouTube videos, headphones. You know, whatever. Live in a beautiful city. Beautiful girl. Who cares? But then when you came over that night, it didn't take much right? Did you see how vulnerable was like, Okay mark, because I'm just like, gathering that shit around myself. It's pathetic, and I know better. And I've had such great influences in my life that are like, do this. But I was trying so hard to keep everybody else like, Oh, I just keep you up. You'll be good. Let it'll dust out. The good moment that you came over, right? I was like, of course, thinking about it all the time finger in the forehead. I went to terminal city club. One morning, like Bob was at work and I couldn't get my parking and I had take the long way around, and I was getting mad. Like, Mark. Like, that's not a thing you would use. That's not something we usually trip me up, you know, oh, Bob doesn't work. Great. I get more time to walk. I don't know. It's like it doesn't really but I was like, what that must be my fault. I'm such a loser. And I came upstairs and there was this guy, Paul Alvarez. And he was standing there with a cup of coffee in the house. Yin and Yang t shirt on, like his logos DNA. And I said, Hey, how's it going? And he's like, hey, do you remember me? And I was like, No, of course again, you know, because I've just so overwhelmed. And he's like, It's me, Paul Alvarez. I've worked with your buddy Jeff. I was like, Oh, this Friday, psycho started up my own company. As I go. And I look there's logos like I love your logo reminds me of like, TNC skate company back in the day like this union. And I was thinking, I was like, I have it union Yang tattoo from a friend of mine that got murdered. And remember me and Steve like always talking about being the line in between. Like, that's a great place to be you got the both worlds you can live in these worlds. I kind of miss like, I missed my tattoo. I miss Steve um, escape boarding I was looking at Paul Evers and he was so like, chill, and young businessman coffee. I was like, and I was like, Well, you know, every word he said seem to be like so how could this young guy research so Sage like, and then packs shows up from restore human? And he's like, super claps. Hey Mark, it's good to see you. Like, oh yeah, so I got just you, I got you. I got Pax I got Paul. And they're all saying like, all these sort of things about old mark and they're like, and Pax is like, oh man, you know, I was driving through Mexico listening to those audiobooks, you were recommended. Going to see my sister as like, wow, I have not driven through the Mexican desert, listening to anything having a good time. And I was like, but you shouldn't be. And he's like, what's wrong? I was like, What do you mean, what's wrong? Like, what's wrong with you? I was like, huh? And he's like, do you need to come and hyperventilate with me? And I was like, What's the weirdest offer to do anything anywhere? It's like, we need to go for lunch or, you know, come to my house and have dinner with my family, but you need to hyperventilate, I was like, Well, okay. You know, I don't know what you're talking about. So of course, I'll do this. But it was like all these people were starting to look at me. And I was like, okay, it was reevaluation day. And I just took all the advice from you and from Paulo from Pax and just started out on a new path, and started like putting new verticals together. And since that day, I've been super stoked, super happy, super good. My dashboards, I might have just been adding the numbers before and not paying attention to them. Right. So that's a super important thing. And so when you were doing that, and then I just started to reevaluate things. And if it was good, it was good. If it was bad, it needed to be like, edited. And, you know, or eradicated. I always go back to like, there's this tool song where they're like, they're gonna eradicate this guy. Like, any cockroach or anything, like your problems that you create. They're just like, if you sound like a evil bug in your house, you want to catch it and throw it outside. I was letting evil bugs just live safely underclasses all over the place. So you my mental, you know, conundrum in my mind when I was looking, I was like, well, it's okay, that spiders not good. No, but it is deadly. And there's deadly time or this grenade. You know, the pins out. It was like I had a lot. I'd set up a lot of fails along the way. eliminated them, which made it good for new employees coming in. I'd be like, here, why don't you read this employees manual, which we revamped got that Going. Our old one was good, but now it's even better. Just all those fun processes started going again and then that just went, you know, Sheree and I don't live together. Now I go to her house and have dinner all time, and we see each other and it's more fun. Like it was just all this mark disaster I was holding way too much not like, Hey, you know what, I'm gonna


spread it all out in my mental mind and go do fun things one thing at a time, and processing my life back to normal. It's been, it's awesome. And you know, I like so I've got, I've, you know, I always got up really early and like to be accountable for that 4am thing. Even that slipped. And I was like, 6am wake up. I was like, Fuck, why don't things work. But I mean, I have a tattoo across my chest printed backwards so I can read it in the mirror. And that was another like, fail lie. It's like, Oh, that's like that guy gets vegan on his arms eating a hot dog at the baseball game. It's like Dude, fail. So I was like, Okay, you know what failures Part of life, we're all gonna fail. So I unveiled and checked myself, and then you know, things are good. And I'm way happier going forward. And every time I'm in a situation, it's like, I know what the answer is right now. And if this is the wrong answer, we're gonna find the right one. It's like we got this excellent momentum. And so when we're bringing it back in into the business, now we're getting these great opportunities, the opportunities are, we're able to handle them, and we're not so gonna do it right away. It's gonna, this is gonna happen and we just sort of tick them off and things are going and those verticals are scaling. I had, I've got a big eight foot corkboard behind my desk, and I had all my verticals. And so a couple weeks ago, I printed out a lonely business plan templates and I put the things I want to work out and I put them up there. And this week, one of the things was taped down business plan start working on so I brought one home this week, as I call good to get to it. And then I heard this morning I've mentioned it to you but Hemingway 39 times rewriting his book and Like that's just like your business plan if you rewrite your business plan lately, because I'm not Mark huggin from August, and my company's not Phantom couriers from September, it's like, we're not even the same company as we were last week. Same things. We do the same things, but we're so much better. We constantly improve every day. And it's like this painting. It's amazing. Yeah. So right now, it's like the best of all, I remember once, a long time ago, I met this photographer in Whistler. And he was a cool guy, and he came downtown, and we were at the love of fernet. nightclub. And just everybody's like, raging around. And I remember this like, weird moment, like, uses cowboy weirdo, cool artists do, he comes up, he's like, grabs me. He's like, you're so existential, I don't even know what you mean. Right? And so I kind of like live for like right now. And that's what it feels like at work. It's like, we're in a freedom flow. It's a flow state of business. And it might sound hippy, but I'm gonna ride it out because I'm having a really good time. Yeah, like I'm so fun into myself. Now. I'm having such a good time waking up just feeling good. And I know it's a life Time of practice, right? Just like whatever up and down. It's not the thing that started in with packs. And Paul that was just me identifying Hey, packs and fall, Justin, you guys are the guys that need to pay attention to wake up, get out of your, you know, fugue state, and roll and you've done it before. And every time you do it, you become more resilient. And I think that's what entrepreneurs are all about. Like, I seriously, I remember another time seeing you and you were in a bad mood and you didn't know it. I saw you downtown, you had your crew and you're going somewhere and I was like, Guys a hard ass Can you say hi? And then you know later you're like, I'm busy. I don't even know what I'm doing. Like, we get into these like high buy. I don't even know what I'm doing. blindness. It's like, like, we don't know, because we're so we're powerful little people running little companies and paying payrolls, even even the smallest started today entrepreneur is a powerful person. You know, that takes balls. It's hard, and most likely, you'll fail and then instantly start again. Like, I mean, I have had so many mega fails that just didn't mean anything. Terrible, I'm broke. The government wants to kill me. I don't know what I'm going to do well, but keep the door open doors go to work next day. We're just we're crazy. Like, I don't understand


Justin Lam

entrepreneurship. Yeah, resilience. It's, I think, for people who are just sort of dipping their toes in entrepreneurship, that's a good litmus test is when the going gets tough. Do you crumble? Or do you just,


Mark Huggan

you don't know. It's that tough. That's why you get worn out. But then your network can save you so. But when you're worn out, you will let your guard down. And that's when not everybody who works for you has got your back. Like, you can't expect that because they're just normal people. They want to come to work and have a job and go home and be with their family and do their things they'd love doesn't mean that they're there to serve you. And if you miss read things, that's your problem. You should know that people want to come to work and do the thing and go home and you should be what do you like to do when you go home and support That, because if you don't, you're just going to end up on supporting them. And then they're just going to become unfulfilled. And then that's you. That's you as the boss making that environment for them to work and that affects your business is you cannot blame them. It's how you mismanaged your leadership. All What did I write down today something about? Every problem is a leadership problem. I don't know why I wrote that down. It's like, because I hear it all the time.


Justin Lam

But it is true. And he's 100%. Think about it when we took over leadership role at our chapter. I mean, it was it was in shambles. I mean, it was hurdling down words, and people were just


Mark Huggan

getting really grouchy and whatnot. There was a lot of change. The last leadership team was unsupportive with all their change, which meant, like we're the leadership team here. They were the leadership team here. The ones that were telling people that came from like a leadership position. They're like, would you mind just doing all this, we're not going to show you how to do it. And they're like, I don't know how to do it. And then the clock runs out. They're like, Justin and Mark, and would you mind doing this? and Joel, would you mind doing this? Sure. And then suddenly, there's a huge gap. And we know what happens with a vacuum or a gap. It gets filled with whatever you think is gonna fit in there. And that's not usually what is proper. So yeah, that was a that was a learning thing. It burnt me out. I hated it. Like, we


Justin Lam

I believe we did good. I mean, like, we turned it around. Like we put a lot of effort, we waited through a lot of sheds. But at the end of the day, like we, we rallied together, we had each other's backs. And, you know, we had direction we want, we knew what we wanted. And we knew the type of people we wanted. And and I think we did, we did well,


Mark Huggan

we knew our goal was to hand over a buttoned up leadership team for the next team. That was our goal. Our goal wasn't to like make every week beautiful, great week and to make the financial goal. Our goal was to fix like where the holes were to let everybody know like here's a hole here. Once you stand where there is no hole, well we figure things out. Like maybe you should not stand where the hole is stand over here where it's a good structure, quit looking at the stupid hole, because that's going to be edited out. And we only started to like edit out the problems. And we showed people where to go where it was good and safe. We handed over and we had that test with the finances. And it's like, calm down. Right? Would you just calm down and look? Because we we use the, the words? Well, when you take over the transition, there's going to be like this cash flow surge that comes it's like a tide. And then there was the instance where they were like, this is freaked out. It's like we have the paperwork to back it up. And we did and we showed it and it was gone like that. So that With that being said, I think that's our, that's where our leadership was always gonna go was to get this thing steady, and hand it over. So you can do with it what you will, but you had a good foundation. You know, like, because everything that you learn and talk about is always about structure. And so there's no way you were going to be in charge of anything and be like, yeah, I'm just gonna get this balance this for a year and then you know, hand it to you. It's like, no, I got this. I got this, right, I got this. And it was like, you hand it over like a gotcha. So it's good. And we learned that from the last 20 plus years of being in business. Yeah, you know, Justin Lam Cameron's neck, I think this thing's gonna make money and have a wife and a kid with this camera I think said no one smart ever but passionate people say it all the time. It's like got to put food on the table. How much food was a variable rate?


Justin Lam

Some days and years are very little food. Sometimes you would need to just let everybody else with a belief but


Mark Huggan

I had coupons and dressing ones like


Justin Lam

dressing I just got a few times mark


Mark Huggan

is late and I'm it was just one of those days I came home like whatever. I used to cycle a lot back and forth to work and I was living in Ackroyd road in Richmond in an apartment where my mom thought was a crime scene because company failed hard. Like, it was terrible. And I regrouped. And I came home super late. And as I got to see it, I was like, oh, there's these things to be missing. Because I didn't buy anything. It's like dressing. I just remember like, this is it man, next day, went bought some groceries. It wasn't like I was broke that I had not prepared. It was just an entrepreneurial, fun afternoon, you know, just disasters. It's mental.


Justin Lam

So generally ask my guests to recommend a resource or whatever that has been helpful for them either a book, a website, whatever. What type of resource would you recommend people to dive into the,


Mark Huggan

you know, I love reading books. And like everybody knows I like to read. It's a thing I was talking about. But I guess, with technology Lately, I've been really loving my art. audible account. And I know I could, you know, read that. It's like, oh, I'll just do it again and again and again. And, you know, I was listening to you can't hurt me by David Goggins for the second time the other day and I went and did one of his like 48 miles in 48 hours challenges last week. And just listening to the audiobook I get up in the morning you know, I get my little running cell phone holder put it on headphones on make some coffee do whatever go to do work out or whatever in the morning and I've been listening to those those things and just getting in my head I'm my resource is me. So I get up with a plan to be right on point of learning and feeling good. Like he in the last one that you can't hurt me. I'm sure some people have heard it and some haven't. He has his challenges where he's like, go back in time find out what bugs you and address it and things always bug us and it might be you forget about the thing that bugs you and your little maybe of stink bugs you yesterday. I was like yeah, those little things that are bugging me like Like I won't allow the toxicity to start, you know, I cut myself, I better clean the wound. So it's not going to get infected. So I'm more resilient now. Due to that, and just I think I'm lucky, I'm super lucky to be able to now understand and absorb things that I'm learning. But my network shows me the path all the time. Like I was talking to Carrie Wren deck last night, and she said that, you know, with this coronavirus, and Australia burning and the pipeline, protest disruption and the whole economy and the United States shutting the borders and all these weird things that are happening to the economy. She said that she saw because she has privy to all closed Facebook groups. So all the chatter amongst the people, the network that we belong to the culture in all around the world is all these people reaching out to support each other. And it's like, that's where it comes from. Like, you know, that's the Golden Rule our big thing you know, you know that book, Think and Grow Rich. And this. So HR lead singer of the like thrash, hardcore punk band. Bad Brains are my favorite bands. It's just like, it's like this reggae hardcore guy and he's like a god hrs like a god. But he made everybody read that book. And I remember reading the book because I read like an Xen, the thing and I went found the book because HR is a God. And then when I got into our bi thing, they're like, yeah, the golden rule, and Tuttle that Chicago Maris like we will not do anything unless it benefits other people and givers gain and golden rule. I think that that our culture of friends around us our community is excellent. I think that's probably my I would recommend everybody to look at their group of friends and and get supported from them because they're there to support you because friends support friends no matter what. Even criminals. Like Joey we're gonna knock over the truck tonight. Oh, we're gonna do it. Hey, I don't even know Joey. Let me show You have done this a million times you did it wrong last time you run over your foot. Even the criminals have friends that will show them the way right like if you just line up your like your mind and just go with your friends because that moment outside standing beside my new car when you said that to me, I was like, dude. It was like, I remember walking up the stairs like every step. Did he just say to me, I'm the best I've ever been wrong. Because she saw me outside. I'm like, smart move. Right? So you want to ask me I think it's guys like you and all my friends around that I see all the time who dropped golden nuggets. Like Dean Robertson. The guy can't walk by your throat dropping a golden nugget of like wisdom on the floor. If you don't pick it up your dummy. Pick it up. What did he just say? What does he mean by that too? Right? Call what you mean by that? Because it might be a crazy or arty way of saying something. Confucianism. Yeah.


Justin Lam

Say something. Like, oh my god, that's so deep.


You have to really mull on it. Yeah, like, you know we're sitting on the shitter is when you think


Mark Huggan

he hooked me he looked me up the other day, because a guy was door to door sale salesman came to his house and he's autistic. And he was trying to do aeration of the lawn. And Dean's like, you need to meet Mark again. So Dean's out in Langley, this guy's like a door to door salesman. And he thinks of me, because Dean's put out things that I really like. And I guess I've said things that Dean really liked. So that's a great symbiotic relationship with a mentor style person. So if I look at him like a mentor, and he looks at me like a mentor, we're in a good place. And if Dean calls me to help some guy out in Langley, because he thinks I can help him. I'm so in a good place. I'm so grateful. So gratitude, friends, network, all the good stuff that's going on these days. It's, it's a crazy good world, you know, and it's a bright, sunny day. I mean, we're lucky guys.


Justin Lam

I know. It's gonna be so awesome. I'm going to go Have a wedding tonight. Awesome. Thank you very much. If any of you guys found value in today's podcasts, or if you're watching it on YouTube, please like subscribe really helps with the algorithm helps spread the news and I really appreciate you guys being here. Have a great day. Make it awesome and we will talk to you next time.



2 views