Starting from Nothing - The Foundation Podcast | Building your business ENTIRELY from scratch.

Matt Bodnar is a partner at early stage investment firm Fresh Hospitality, who are on a mission to help entrepreneurs grow by providing financial and intellectual capital to growing businesses in the food service value chain. He’s also the creator and host of The Science of Success podcast, which is focused on improving decision-making and understanding psychology.

Matt’s work earned him a spot on the Forbes “30 Under 30”, called a “Rising Restaurateur Star” by the National Restaurant Association, and labeled a “Strategy Pro” by Restaurant Hospitality Magazine.


In This Interview I Ask:

  • 1:50 - How did Matt get started in the restaurant industry, and doing what he does now?
  • 5:10 - Why restaurants?
  • 9:20 - When it comes to sifting through decisions, how many deals does Matt look at before investing in one? What is he looking for, and how does he know when one is going to be a winner?
  • 17:00 - How does Matt leverage his time?
  • 25:50 - What are the highest impact things that Matt does? Where does his time go on a day-to-day basis?


Value Added Investors

There are two fundamental investment strategies:

  1. The discovery of value
  2. The creation of value

Fresh Hospitality doesn’t invest in companies hoping to discover a gem that increases in value – they go in every single day to add as much value to that investment as possible.

They do still want to invest in companies with a lot of potential, so they heavily consider the Founder and how the brand is positioned in the marketplace.


Investing in Systems, Processes, and Technology

Restaurants are a fairly complex and low-margin business, so you have to have really good systems and processes in place. Fresh Hospitality specializes in implementing effective systems and process to add value to their investments, and that’s one of the keys to their success in the industry.

  • A private technology company does all of their in-house IT and developed a proprietary SaaS platform to run all of their businesses, with custom analytics.
  • The invest in an accounting company specializing in restaurants.

The result is complete visibility in operations and minute control over costs.


How High Achievers Learn to Leverage Time

At some point, there’s a hard limit on the amount of time you can work. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and other high achievers are more high leverage in how they use their time than most other people.

They can produce exponentially larger results than most people, in the same amount of time… but how?

  • They focus on improving their decision-making ability. This is one of the best possible investments you can make with your time because the knowledge never becomes less valuable.
  • They continue to focus on learning information that doesn’t change over time (or changes very slowly), and the compounding benefits create exponential shifts in how they view the world.


If you want to start leveraging your time more effectively, head over to to pick up Matt’s “4 Steps to Making Better Decisions” guide.


Direct download: Ep_227_-_Matt_Bodnar.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

If you are a non-technical person, you can still start (and grow) a successful software company.

Dan Schwartz is the Founder & CEO of InvestorFuse, a bootstrapped SaaS company that just hit $1M in annual revenue. However, Dan isn’t a developer and he hasn’t written any code.

Dan also wrote one of The Foundation’s most successful guest blog posts, “The SaaS Cheat Code," and today he’s going to share the cheat code with you.

In This Interview I Ask:

  • 1:40 - How did Dan get started, and how did he wind up building a software company?
  • 5:30 - What was the community you shared your solution with, and how did you reach them?
  • 11:20 - It’s expensive to build the software from scratch so, instead of doing that, Dan built it on top of Podio. How much did that save you?
  • 12:30 - Did the customer base care at all that it was built on Podio?
  • 16:50 - What were Dan’s biggest lessons from all of this?
  • 19:40 - Where is Dan going next?

People Don’t Care How Their Problems are Solved

“We could have built InvestorFuse on Microsoft Word, as long as it did what we said it would do.”

When starting InvestorFuse, Dan saved a lot of money by building the product on top of Podio. They were able to go from idea to beta launch in just three months!

Dan wrote in his guest post, “Here’s the big realization: Cloud based software services, APIs, and integrations that connect all these tools together have made it easier than ever for non-techy people to quickly prototype the building blocks of a SaaS … A ton of investors were using Podio at the time because of its flexibility, but with flexibility came some challenges.”

Dan solved those problems by systematizing and automating parts of Podio.

By productizing the automation service, he was able to sell customers a solution. The customers didn’t care that it was built on Podio because they were still able to stay on top of their leads and close more deals.


Direct download: Ep_226_-_Dan_Schwartz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

Do you really understand how to address large-scale problems?

James Schmachtenberger has a unique education emphasizing the interconnected nature of large-scale problems, and this drives James to approach societal and health challenges with solutions that account for the entirety of a problem, rather than solving for one issue while creating another.

This mission recently led James to Founding the Neurohacker Collective, an applied neuroscience company that has assembled some of the world’s most accomplished doctors, scientists, and intellectuals to address the optimization of the human consciousness itself. Their first product to market, Qualia, is a revolutionary cognitive enhancement product and the most advanced nootropic on the market.

We discuss the importance of our world’s interconnectedness and how entrepreneurs can use universal principles of interconnectedness to make a greater impact.

In This Interview I Ask:

  • 1:15 - How did James become somebody who has that kind of bio and thinks about problems in that type of way?
  • 4:00 - When James talks about universal principles and why they matter, and the connectedness of all things, why is that something an entrepreneur should be taking into account? And what does he mean by universal principles?
  • 8:20 - What were James’ parents like?
  • 9:50 - Does James think about philosophy a lot, on a day-to-day basis? What philosophies shapes his lens and the way he sees things?
  • 11:20 - How is having the experience of a more connected perspective going to help someone make a greater impact? How can people go about doing that?
  • 14:30 - How does someone shift from thinking about self to thinking about the bigger picture, and how do they make it habitual?
  • 24:10 - Empathy is possibly one of the greatest skills you can have as a human. Nobody really talks about it, but it is the driving force behind so many different things.

Universal Principles & Entrepreneurs

In Western society, we have a tendency to think about things very separately. We compartmentalize our health, business, relationships, politics, the environment, and just about everything else. We don’t tend to look at how all of the different facets of life interconnect and guide each other

If you only take into account the one thing you’re looking at or interested in, and don’t take into account how that plays into everything else, you’re going to be looking at too narrow of a picture – and, as a result, you will have a much lower likelihood of succeeding at whatever you care about or creating a real impact.

The Value of a Macro Perspective

“Whatever it is that we put a substantial portion of our time and attention into is going to take up our awareness and shape the kinds of thoughts we’re having and the actions we’re taking.“

If your thoughts are primarily focused around meeting your own needs, that will be the extent of where your mind allows you to go, and that’s not a meaningful or motivating place to focus a huge amount of your attention.

When you expand our awareness into a bigger picture, particularly how you can contribute to the bigger picture in a beneficial way, daily life becomes easier and you can affect more.

How to Become More Connected

“Pay attention to something bigger than yourself that motivates you, take some action, and more starts to illuminate along the path.”

The ability to hold a bigger picture is a skillset that has to be developed:

  • Start by picking something bigger than yourself that you already care about, and start investing more time and attention into that. You generally can’t start with the whole.
  • From there, you will inherently start to learn all of the other things that apply to that space and this will allow for expanded awareness.

Enhance your capacity for empathy:

  • Empathy isn’t just caring or understanding – it’s allowing yourself to fully step into the experience of another living creature and allowing yourself to experience life as they do.
  • That is the most profound way to expand one’s capacity for awareness, and for real maturity.


Direct download: Ep_225_-_James_Schmatenberger.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT