Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Luke Milholland, Founder of Vault Wealth, located in Oklahoma City, OK, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Vault Wealth is a financial planning and investment advisory firm that believes financial freedom is bigger than a number. It's planning tomorrow while enjoying today. Financial freedom is not worrying about money. It's spending time where it counts and investing where it's truly important. Financial freedom is more than a destination. It's a way of life. We help people Live Free, Financially.
Tell us about yourself
I grew up on a horse ranch. I learned a lot of amazing things from my parents - hard work, how to treat people, etc., but like most people, there was no intentional impartation of wisdom on how to handle money. I grew up thinking I would follow in my father's footsteps and be a horse trainer. When I was a sophomore in high school I read a book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I fell in love with the idea of entrepreneurship, real estate, and investing.
I started learning everything I could about those topics and at 19 years old I bought my first rental property. During college I discovered there was a career path called "Financial Planning." I did an internship in the field and never looked back.
Then seven years into my career, the "new" had officially worn off. I was getting frustrated.
I still loved the subject matter and got great satisfaction from helping people, but I could no longer look past the issues of the traditional financial services model with its corporate agendas, hidden fees, proprietary products, etc. I didn't know what the answer was, but I had to try something different, so I went to another 150-year-old company. I spent a couple of years there, but that wasn't it either.
By the 10-year mark, I'd had enough. There had to be a better way. There had to be some way to better align with clients where I could be truly objective and unbiased in my advice. Where I could incorporate wealth strategies like rental property, physical gold/silver, private equity, etc. With that vision in mind, I went to work detailing out what it would take to bring this dream firm to life, and in 2015 Vault Wealth was born.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is simply just doing it. I'm reminded of the Teddy Roosevelt quote:
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood who strives valiantly who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming but who does actually strive to do the deeds who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions who spends himself on a worthy cause.
Who at best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
Sure I was a good practitioner - a competent financial planner, but it's one thing to complain about the status quo and to dream about "the way things should be." It's something else entirely to step into the arena. To leave what is known and familiar and to start from scratch and build something entirely new.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
For me, it's striking a balance between working “in the business” and working “on the business”. It can be a real challenge for a person who is highly visionary and has a new idea every day to figure out which ones are actually worth spending time on.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Being an entrepreneur is great. You get to work half days, and the best part is that you get to pick which 12 hours you work! In all seriousness, though, there is a lot of truth in the old adage -do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life.
- Find something you can throw your whole self into. As Howard Thurman put it, "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
- Make sure you aren't running away from something you don't want but rather running toward what you do want. There is a difference.
- Show up on time, be nice, and do what you say you are going to do.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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