Every business leader has its dirty little secret tucked away, ever dreaming they would share with anyone, let alone clients. Revealing it tells an important story and lays the groundwork for genuine connection between you, your clients, and those you serve. It inspires others, showing them that honesty is a priority and accountability is unconditional.

Welcomed back to the Author Hour Podcast. I’m your host Hussein Al-Baiaty, and my next guest is Matt Shoup, who is here with me to talk about his new book, Painted Baby. Let’s flip through it.

A Budding Entreprenuer

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Hello, friends, and welcome back to the show. I’m here with my friend, Matt Shoup, who is here to talk about his new book called Painted Baby. I’m very excited because Painted Baby drew me in like right away. From the intro to the first chapter I was already hooked, so much story. But Matt, thank you so much for coming on the show today. I’m really excited to talk about your book and how you came to all this wisdom that you’re going to be sharing with us today.

Matt Shoup: Well, thank you for having me. It’s great to be here with you.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah, absolutely. Matt, I want to start by giving our audience a little bit of a preview, sort of your background, your personal background, where you grew up, how did you get into the painting business which later came to, you know, you got to talking about storytelling and the power of story and all those good stuff, but before we get there, I kind of want to get our audience to know you a little bit.

Matt Shoup: That sounds great, let’s do it. Yeah. So, I grew up in Northern New Jersey until I was about 10 years old, and I just remembered getting into a lot of trouble. I was super brilliant with math and a lot of academic things, and the schools just couldn’t keep me busy enough. So, I would just find myself into trouble a lot, and I didn’t really fit in, in terms of, you know, I got bullied a lot growing up, I wasn’t a sports kid.

So I was, just kind of having trouble finding place, and when we moved out to Northern Colorado from New Jersey, I had asked my parents to give me a couple of hundred dollars to buy a boom box, and they wouldn’t give it to me. They said, “You know, you got to figure that out on your own,” and they laughingly said that, so I took their lawnmower and then went around the neighborhood and started knocking on the neighbor’s doors and started a little lawn mowing business.

And that was one of the first times for me that I was able to find some validation, some acceptance in business and hard work, and going out and making something for yourself and really did that from nothing. So, I continued to do the same snow shoveling, selling candy bars at school, you know, out of my locker, and business just became my thing from a very, very early age, and I just really leaned into that.

And fast forwarding a little bit to end of high school, getting into college, I attended Colorado State University from ‘99 to 2003, and I’ve gotten recruited by a college painting company and worked with them for four years in the spring and the summer, while I was studying at CSU and learned all about the residential house painting contracting business and business world.

I took a brief semester, spring semester of my junior year, and I studied and lived in Spain and absolutely fell in love with Spain, that’s a big part of my life, and yeah, when I got back was kind of at a crossroads. Do I want to go back to study? Then I went out one night here, locally in Colorado, and ran into my now wife.

So we met, it was love at first sight. For me, not for her, and it took her a little bit to get around to that, but we graduated and to get around to that, but we graduated and got married, and I wasn’t going to go back to this painting thing. You know, it’s a summertime kind of a dirty job, you’re outside, it’s hot, you’re getting messy, and I didn’t think that, you know, there was any future in that.

I made quite a bit of money painting houses over four years in college, but I spent three times what I made. So you know, I’m married and found myself six figures in debt, and I was working a mortgage banking job, thinking that that was kind of the next big thing that I was going to lean into. I had a friend of mine that was very successful in it and couldn’t be further from the truth. I just did not like the business.

The business didn’t like me back, we weren’t getting along, and I was literally plotting my escape, working at a local corporate, you know, very conservative bank, suit and tie every day, and just really wasn’t happy and was planning to leave kind of on my own terms and those terms got brought to me actually by the bank president. It was March of 2005, he called me into his office and said, “Go put all your stuff in a box,” and fired me.

Threw me out of the bank, so I’m six figures in debt, a hundred dollars left to my name, and all I knew was, you know, business is my thing, and I’m going to make it my thing, and that’s how I launched my painting company, M&E Painting. That was the birth of that company, and that’s a little background on how I got from there to here.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Wow, man, I love that story so much because I see components of myself in your story, you know? And this is the most…this is kind of a great segue into, what we’re going to be talking about next and what your book is about. It’s just sharing a little bit about who we are, you know, where we grew up, and for me, like, okay so like, I came from a refugee camp, I grew up in America, but like we had nothing, you know?

Like, my parents are on welfare, we’re on subsidized housing, of course, right? Like, they barely knew how to speak English, so it took some time, right? All those immigrant stories, right? But man, like that lawnmower? Best friends, you know what I mean?

Matt Shoup: That was my buddy. Yeah, the lawnmower was my friend.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Well, here’s the thing, we couldn’t even afford to have a lawn mower, so I would go to my neighbor, and I would ask him like, “Hey, can I pay you $20 to borrow your lawn mower for the day, but I’ll pay you and bring back the lawn mower all cleaned up at the end of the day.” And then my goal was just to go and like hustle man and I did that for a few summers until my dad dropped me off, one of his friends owned like a gyro joint at like a Saturday market.

I remember him taking me there, and I thought we were just hanging out the Saturday market, you know, “Cool, me and my pops and I” no, there’s always a lesson. So he drops me off, and he’s like, “Hey, you know, this guy’s Ahmed, you know, he’s going to teach you how to make gyros and like learn how to do the till,” and I’m like, “What is happening?”

I’m like 14 years old, 15 years old, but he saw this like, energy in me, I wanted to make something for myself, and you know, I didn’t want to burden them by asking money, you know, for new shoes or for whatever because I knew I got a lot of siblings, we were hurt in the greatest financial situation, but I saw an opportunity to put myself to work.

I love when we take that upon ourselves when we’re young because it starts to get us to see the world differently. Like you said, you know, like, “My friends eat chocolate, oh, it’s a perfect opportunity to go buy some chocolate bars and sell it to them,” right? And so understanding our world that way at a very young age, it will start to seep in later on, but later on, it’s interesting, right?

We kind of start to conform to society’s norms, and they’re like, “Oh, you know, she’s at this banking job,” or whatever it may be, and you find the friction, and you realize like, you’ve been this different kid your whole life. You know, you’re going to be also a different man grown through that, right? And so you built this amazing painting business.

You start this painting business but tell me about that, like, tell me about those days because they’re not easy but got you back into painting houses. Was it just out of sheer like, “Okay, I know how to do something, and this is how I’m going to do it,” or did something else happened?

Matt Shoup: I would be honest and tell you that when I was in the mortgage business. So I bought my first property before I started working this mortgage job, and I got into the mortgage business because of the gentleman that I met, he did my loan. He was a young successful go-getter, and he was flashing his money around, and he took me to lunch in his really nice car and was, you know, throwing all the money around, so I was chasing the money and I go, “Hey, it’s a shiny object.”

I’m young, very impressionable, and yeah, but I just didn’t – I didn’t like the environment being in there. So I realized there was a point in my life when I said, “Hey, this is great, you know, I’m chasing the money, but I don’t love what I’m doing.” And when I got fired, I was standing there. I literally had all of my professional belongings in a cardboard banker’s box, and I blew the single middle finger salute to the boss because he wasn’t very friendly about how he told me.

He said, “You know, put all your stuff in a box,” and he said, “Maybe you should go back to that painting thing” and he, you know, singed up his tie, and he said it with a little bit of a smirk, very condescendingly. So I replied the way I replied, I kicked the front door of the bank open, and I’m standing there and all I could think, I said, $2,800 in 28 days.

So the motivation to that was, I need to make $2,800 in 28 days, it was back to 10 years old, $200 for the boom box, and I said, “How do I know how to do this with the resources I have?” And I said, “Well, I guess I’ll go back to this painting thing,” and there was a part of me being very young and again, upset about what happened was, “Yeah, I’ll prove you wrong, Mr. Banker. Sure, I’ll go back and do that painting thing and make a million dollars doing it.”

So literally, my drive short-term was pay the bills, but then there was also this seed that got planted not saying it was the right motivation, but it was motivation anyway is, “Hey, I’m going to prove you guys wrong. You said this, I’m going to go out and do it,” and that’s all I know how to do, I didn’t know how to make $2,800 in 28 days doing anything else.

So I literally went to Cinco’s, copies there, I made some crooked cut business cards, and I went around the closest neighborhood to where I lived in Fort Collins and just started knocking on doors, and I did that for the rest of the year, and we pulled in about a half million dollars in top-line revenue that year.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Incredible.

Matt Shoup: Yeah, it was super cool. But again, the whole thing was like, I told Emily, “We’re going to do this ‘till we find out what we really want to do. This will just hold us over.” And I hit the end of the year, and I’m sitting there like, “Wow, you actually can make a living doing this, let’s grow this, let’s scale this, let’s take this to the next level.” And half million became three-quarters of a million, a million plus, multi-million, and we just kind of went on from there.

The painted baby is about a really big lesson I learned about how we present ourselves as business owners. The stories we tell, how we market, how we sell, and that we’re really missing an opportunity to build deeper relationships that can last longer and obviously benefit your business in the long run but just benefit you and the relationships you have personally.

Seek Authenticity, Not Perfection

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah. So powerful man because that whole starting a business because somebody else doesn’t really believe in you or doesn’t think you’re the right fit for something and, you know, coming out of college, I studied architecture and like, I wanted to go work at Nike. I wanted to like, get a job, you know, an architecture firm, anyone that would take me on, really in a design world, and it was like 2010, and it was like the worse economic state, right?

Like no one was really hiring, and I finally landed an interview at Nike and, you know, two interviews in fact, and unfortunately, they basically hired somebody within, which is great but it really like, started brewing in me like, “Man, I knew I was that right person for that job.” And the way the meeting felt was like, “You’re not good enough for this.” And that was the furthest thing from the truth.

Because I went on to start an apparel printing business which later grew, and then we ended up started working for Nike and even that thing grew, which is just crazy. So like, I set that like fire in the beginning, it’s great to have because it really pushes you, but then you have, you know, you have something else that comes along, whether it be your kids, your wife, you know, your growth, your personal growth, that takes on, and you start to see yourself, your business and what you’re actually building and what it’s worth.

I think for me, I was like, “Oh, I have, like me and my brother can do these T-shirts, you know?” and then it grew to like, 10 people, which in your case like, you grew your business almost tenfold, right? And so by just believing in yourself and saying like, “I can do this.” And that’s very powerful. However, how we present ourselves, man, how we do our pitches, how we do our sales, you know, the entrepreneurs, that is a very distinct thing.

And you’re right, we always want to show the reviews, the positives, the shiny brochures, the beautiful things, the great stories, right? But the reality is, whoever we’re selling to is human, and they know there’s some stuff that’s gone down and, you know, your interaction with how you opened up the book with Bill and tried to land this big contract was really interesting.

Can you tell us a little bit about your experience with this transition of a businessman that’s selling based on like, this idea of perfection, you’re turning into a businessman that’s really more about authenticity and just being completely vulnerable. Can you share a little bit about that?

Matt Shoup: Yeah, and thinking back to those first couple of years in business, I mean, I was very motivated by the numbers and the X’s and the O’s and, you know, the metrics and the sales ratios. So it’s very much focused on, you know, close the deal, do the presentation, features, benefits, that very old school, you know, sales mentality and came from a background of that with the painting environment that I was in.

But yeah, I’m sitting there with Bill, he’s actually become a great friend of mine, who is a repeat customer at that time, and I’m sitting there about to close the biggest deal of the company’s life. Our average paint job at that time, three to $4,000 to paint the exterior of a home. Bill, very successful guy, had a second home out of state, and we were going to do a full stain renovation, re-stain, remodel, and it was a $60,000 job.

So I mean, I’m getting ready for this, you know, I’ve got my really nice pen and my pitch, I’ve got the Better Business Bureau reviews, the A+ five star, and I’ve got this $4 shiny marketing brochure. Full color, it’s got photos and testimonials, and I’m like, you know, going in, getting in that state. So I sit down with them, and I give them my perfect pitch, right?

Paint the picture of perfection, and he’s a straight shooter. Like, he makes decisions quickly, and I slide the contract over and he looks at it, he slides it back, and he says, “Nope, not ready to do this.” And we go back and forth a little bit, and I said, “Bill, what am I missing here? We’ve worked for your before.”

And he said, “You know? What you’ve never told me, what I want to hear from you is tell me about a time that you screwed up and what you did about it.” And I had never been asked that before by a customer. Never been taught that, right? If you’ve learned anything about sales, you don’t go interject anything you’ve done wrong and like, think about it today, everybody listening, right? Pull up your social media.

Everything you come across, right? Is perfection, it’s the perfect life, perfect wife, perfect family, everything that’s out there, and we just…we play this posturing game, right? We’re humans in business interacting with other humans, trying to serve them, but we’re being inhuman when we’re trying to be perfect. So you know, I’ve come up with this saying, and this comes up in the book a lot is “Painting a picture of perfection prevents true connection.”

So, Bill and I, we’re missing something at the table, and he’s harassing me a little bit, he’s a friend of mine. So he’s like, “Come on, Matt.” He’s like, “You’re not perfect dude, tell me something you’ve done.” I said, “Okay, we painted the wrong color on a house once.” And he goes, “That’s not a big deal, that’s easy to fix.”

I said, “Well, we painted the wrong house once, we actually showed up with the crew, and I had written the address, the street versus the drive, and there was two different street, same address, and we actually start prepping and calking the wrong house.” And as soon as I tell him that, he starts getting intrigued. I’m taking him back, telling him the story, and I’m telling a really great story because I’ve told this story before.

He was very intrigued, and then I said, “All right, how’s that for something we screwed up?” And he goes, “Well Matt, I feel like you’ve got something else that you’re holding back on.” And I have never shared this story of when our company painted a baby. We actually had a paint sprayer blow up on a job site and painted a nine-month-old baby, while the homeowner, the baby’s mother, was standing there, admiring the paint job, and our crew leader was about getting ready to spray some doors.

So I take Bill through this story of just, you know, disaster and everything that could go wrong. It really is a bad day at the office for a painting company. You know, you spill paint, you get the wrong color, you paint the wrong house, those are all progressively getting worse but to actually, you know, put a young child’s life in danger and just have a pink spray explode, it was wild, but again, he’s intrigued.

He’s hooked by the story. “Well, what did you do about it?” and I told him, I said, “We’d made it right. Here is how we made it right. This is what we did.” And then he signed the contract. He said, “You’re the kind of guy I want to do business with.” And he said, “I really appreciate it. You don’t see that really at all these days.” And I was just shocked because it 180-ed everything that I had ever learned about sales.

I was happy I landed the job, and from there, you know, I really started thinking about what actually transpired somewhat at a business level, but more so just the human level in terms of how to, trusting me with the biggest amount of money he’s ever paid me, a nice home he owns and I was imperfect and shared that with him.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah man, it sounds like not only did you get your biggest check, right? But you also learned your biggest lesson, like unveiled something really powerful within you because now not only did you like earn this big check for like you’re not going to go around blowing it, right? Because you are going to invest probably. If not all of it, most of it back into the business, but now you also have this like huge level of awareness that you can apply pressure in a specific area within story to hopefully not only land more work.

But really lean into being yourself, lean into being friends with clients as opposed to just thinking of them as clients. I love that a lot. I share a lot of that commonality, but what are some ways we can explore our own stories and change the narrative to support us in our work? You know, I know this transformation happens for you, what happened next? How did you start implementing what you learned and what did we learn from that?

Matt Shoup: The first thing I did, I went back to the office, and I celebrated with the team. We had a big sales board. So I write this big massive number on there, and we did. He goes, “Oh my gosh, what clothes did you hit him with? Was it the either/or, or the Benjamin Franklin close?” or whatever, and I said, “No, I told him the painted baby story.” And they looked at me and said, “What did you do? We’re not supposed to tell anybody about that.”

So at that point, I realized I go, “Hey, I am on to something here.” So I just went out and I experimented it, right? I go, “How can you track this and measure this and see the results?” and I didn’t want the team to do it until I got a really good grasp on it. So I went out on my next appointments, and I started sharing the story. However, I was so excited to share the story that I forgot about when and how where to interject that story.

Actually kind of moved backwards, I think I scared a bunch of people. I was so excited to tell them about a time that we massively screwed up. I forgot to tell them how great we were. So yeah, in the book I talk about where you put that in the process and how to discover what that story is. So for me, I had nobody knew the story.

Bill forced me to tell it, but I really challenge the readers of the book to think about, there is an associated workbook, but hey, think of something that your competition might find out about you that at first grab if they got this information and went out and shared it with all of your customers or potential customers that that could be really bad news for your business. That right there, that skeleton per se, that is your painted baby story.

It should really explore how to capture craft and communicative message around that and go out and be the first one to share it with your customers, and that’s really what it was. We sat after that experience happened, it was about three years before I told it to Bill. You know, we addressed the issue, but we sat around as a small company and said, “Guys, we’re not going to share this. We’re not going to put this out there.”

So I just experimented with telling the story, seeing and engaging with people’s reaction, and you know, the bottom line numbers as it raised our closed rate anywhere between about 10 to 15%, but it also just made business easier because we were overpromising and then under-delivering. When you promise perfection, you’re just overpromising, and you can’t fulfill that.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Right, the level of expectation is set so high, especially after, you know, when you take those perfect photos, when you do those perfect videos of your product or your service or whatever it is that you are doing, right? It doesn’t mean that every single thing in this particular product is going to go perfectly flawless. So like trying to get your client to remember that you are too a human, right? Is one way to like remove that mentality that everything is going to be perfect.

So at the end of the day, the project will be done, the project will be done very well to the best of our capabilities. However, it is the getting there, right? It is the journey, it is the you and I, you know, it is an understanding, it’s the paint that didn’t show up, it is my guy who got sick, right? Those are the things that the customer can really lean on you for just being honest about, right? But if you are honest from the get-go about, “You know, usually this project I feel like this takes two weeks, but in reality, it may take three weeks simply because life,” right?

Now, there is an expectation. However, if you get it done in a week and a half, they’re just more excited, but you were honest, and then if you don’t get it done in two weeks and it does take that week extra, you’re still in that grace period, right? With the customer or the client or your friend if you perceive them as such and how you communicate with them. I love that, it is such a powerful story.

Matt Shoup: You’re creating a permission that you should have because you are human, to be human, and what I mean by that is if before, I had shared this story. I was out there, “Oh, we’re going to, you know, three days and perfect this and top-level this.” And then something happens that doesn’t go according to plan, and this promise you’re making and the first thing I do is I beat myself up like, “Oh my gosh, we couldn’t serve this customer.”

Then the customer says, “How and they are not doing what they said they’re going to do, right?” Versus painted baby story, you promise what you are going to do, “Guys, we are going to strive for excellence. We are going to do everything tiptop.” And 99% of the projects we have go really well but let me tell you, we painted a baby once. Let me tell you about that, let me tell you what that means.

Let me tell you that if something goes wrong, you’re going to get this sinking in your gut when you see or experience whatever it is, but then it is going to be followed right up by, “Wait, these guys, these gals, they are going to stand behind their work, they are going to make it right.” And it gives you that permission to go interact in that space with the customer and it just really brought down a lot of those levels of stress.

That everybody that’s listening to this, anybody that owns a business where you have something, say, blow up in a professional setting, emotions get high, and they can get out of control. This just allows everything to kind of level back down to, “Hey, what’s the issue, and let us create a way to solve this issue together.”

Live Your Own Story

Hussein Al-Baiaty: So powerful, man, I love that. I love that you really kind of zoom in and zoom out of these things in a way through story, in a way that really helps, you know, just connect deeper with who you’re speaking with, whoever you are trying to communicate with, and then just by laying it all out in the open creates that honesty, it creates that trust. In today’s world, how do you live your story now, and what have you learned from your own transformation over the years?

Matt Shoup: Yeah, that is a really good question. You know, as I would say, closed off and guarded just about my personal story and kind of where I came from and the struggles I went through and things like that, so I think having this painted baby story pop up and then my ability to get really comfortable in the business space has allowed me to share other parts, you know, peel back other layers of my life with other people, other business owners, other customers.

You know, I was at an engagement the other day where we start the business small, chit-chat, and then I bring up the painted baby in the book, and then we start sharing kind of our horror stories and kind of comparing notes of you know, similar experiences like I got bullied growing up, and that was a very painful experience. Instead of dealing with it, I masked it. I lifted weights, I was a tough guy, you know, pop off to people, and you know that.

Then I got beat up by a kid half my age, half my size on the Brazilian Jujitsu mat, so that’s a whole other podcast, but it’s been –

Hussein Al-Baiaty: I think I want to hear about.

Matt Shoup: Oh, if we have some time I’ll share it. It’s allowed me to get real and peel back other layers of my story, and when you start sharing this with other people, you’ll see they reciprocate. They do the same thing. So it takes an initial, say, business engagement where I am going there to paint somebody’s house. They are going to give me money, it is very transactional too.

“Hey, you know, this guy and this guy kind of had it tough in certain aspects of his life growing up.” “Hey, so did I,” boom, and then we start connecting and, you know, you end up being there for a couple of hours or share a couple cups of coffee, and now you’ve got a friend not saying that everybody in business should be your friend but, you know, you have the pure relationships where more trust is built.

You know, the business is tangible there. You are going to have more referrals, more loyal customers, more people talking about you, and I think the biggest thing is, “Hey, this company is different, they do things differently, they connect with customers in a different kind of way that a lot of companies just don’t nowadays.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: So powerful. The reason I believe what you’re saying is 100% true is because I genuinely feel like these are the things that I practice to grow my print shop business, my t-shirt printing business. Literally, that was like one thing I was good at was just sharing stories and connecting with people, just having empathy, and it really just, dude, this is why I am doing this podcast. I am genuinely interested in people, in their lives, in their work, and how they do things.

That’s always been an interest of mine, even as I was young, but when I go drop off some t-shirts or when I meet someone, and we get to talking, getting to know each other, as you know, “My name is Hussein” off the bat that’s going to tell you a story, right? Like off the bat, so it’s like people can’t resist. “Hussein, where are you from?” You know? And then that triggers a whole avalanche of stories, right?

Matt Shoup: Yeah, and you’ve got an amazing story too to share, and so yeah, and I love that.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: I live through it, and I am blessed to live to tell about it, however I started not shying away from that because in my high school years, I shied away from that, right? I didn’t want anyone to know I was a freaking refugee or that I was on welfare or any of that, but then reality is like, that’s who I was, you know? Now, being open and just speaking about those experiences and helping people realize like that is not a negative thing.

That’s just the circumstance you’re in, and you can use your abilities, your stories, your art, your skill, whatever you become gifted at, put those things together to do something amazing and unravel your own purpose, and I think you really exemplify that throughout your book. I just really appreciate it, but I want to know like why did you decide to write this book and who are you trying to reach with your message?

Matt Shoup: I love being a business owner, and I found as a business owner that it can be lonely, and they say lonely at the top, but wherever you are in the journey, you know, bottom, top, middle, wherever you think you are, it’s hard to relate. So I want to have a message, I want to have a tangible message, a practical message that business owners can implement to grow their business.

I talk a lot about life leadership business, how they’re all interconnected, and I really want this message to pass through just the business level and really make people’s lives better, and I know that when I was growing my company being able to have those resources, there is authors and mentors and entrepreneurs that I really look up to. So I think everybody, you have a story. Whoever is listening, you have a story.

You can impact other people’s lives and make people’s lives better with that story, and it is your responsibility to share it, and that was a big reason behind the book, and I actually started writing this book, gosh, like seven years ago, and there was a fear that I had of putting this message out there. “What would people think?” and just the message wasn’t ready, and I wasn’t ready to put it out there.

So it was really for me, it was a project that just needed to be finished, but it really reignited me, understanding what my purpose is for the small business community is just to be here and be a light for people.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Dude, that is so awesome. I love that, and yeah man, the most powerful messages do tend to take a long time to get down on paper and get out of us because yes, what is in front of you is yourself, and you’re like, “Dude, are you ready to be even more naked in the world?” And so for a while it was just like, “Oh, maybe not like let me just wait another couple more months or a couple more years.” Or you know, whatever happens.

But when you position yourself to, you know, when it’s like, “Oh, this is actually a message that is bigger than me and myself and who I can share this with” is actually much bigger than who won’t read it or who won’t like it or who won’t, right? That is really powerful to recognize, and when you do recognize that, you start to apply it to all aspects of your life and that’s, I think, the most beautiful part of writing too is that it is cathartic, but it also helps you sort of relearn who you are and who you want to become.

Matt Shoup: Yeah, and for whoever is listening, and you told me there is a lot of aspiring authors here, if you haven’t jumped into the process yet, I am sitting there looking at the manuscript, and what’s the little reel you see on social media? They say, “Oh, it’s very, very good, very, very crap.” Like I am in the same phone call, the same sentence with the team looking at this and I go, “Oh my gosh, I love this.”

You know this is awful, and it’s this crazy, crazy journey of yeah, you are just putting yourself out there. Like it is you putting yourself out there for the world for millions and millions of people to have access to, and yeah, I think we get too tied up. My suggestion and advice to anybody that is maybe hesitant to move forward with this is there is going to be people that don’t like it, that don’t resonate with your message, but that’s okay.

Think about the, if it’s one person whose life or business or situation you can make better, it’s totally worth it, and I say go for it.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Absolutely, amazing man. You’re 100% right, go for it if you are listening. So if your reader were to take away one thing from the book, what would you hope it would be?

Matt Shoup: Is call yourself out in business and life about how you are presenting yourself, how you can present yourself differently and more vulnerably, and then just dig into what your true powerful story is that you haven’t explored yet and you know, figure out a way how to craft that into messaging within your business that will connect with people, and I will tell you too, it’s not something that everybody else is doing or is suggesting. It was one of the most powerful things that I did in my business that really impacted it in a big way.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Man, I love that so much. So I got to tell you this, right? So I like didn’t talk about my refugee experience for so long, like for so long up until college or so, and then I shared it a few times in high school. It was really powerful, and so on and man, I will tell you this right now, I own a company, a graphic t-shirt company called Refutees, which is the most interesting thing, right?

Because I completely owned my story because a mission-driven brand is about, and like I said, this is why I can’t agree with you more is because your story is a core of who you are, and your story should be the coolest story, you know, and share, right? You really encapsulated that, I think, just throughout this learning from you today and hearing your experiences. I didn’t mean to share so much of my story and takeover the podcast episode today.

But I just wanted to emphasize how much what you’re saying is so true because these are the things that I have been practicing, and they really unfold in the world in a beautiful way. So yeah man, thank you for putting down your wisdom and helping other entrepreneurs really lean into their own personal story and be vulnerable and like shy away from perfection and really be who you are, that’s the perfection.

It’s you getting out of the way, it is you dismantling your ego and utilizing when you need to, right? And empowering yourself to just really be authentic with whoever you are speaking with. It’s so powerful.

Matt Shoup: I really appreciate you having me on here today. It was fun. It was really fun to hear your story, and the point of the book is that there is power in story, and I think whoever is listening they are hearing both of our stories. I mean, they’re getting two for the price of one here, you know? So I love it.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Absolutely, what a deal. What a painting deal. Oh, this is great. Matt, I want to say congratulations on your book. It is so needed, and I can’t wait for it to make an impact in the world. I learned so much from you today by sharing your stories and experiences. Matt, again man, thank you so much. Besides checking out the book, where can people find you?

Matt Shoup: Yeah, I’ve got a whole bunch of resources at mattshoup.com. So if you go there, I have a free entrepreneurial tool kit, all kinds of great things that you can do to grow your business, advance your leadership.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: I love it. Thanks again Matt, great to have you on here, buddy.

Matt Shoup: Thanks.