Brian Hynes grew up on Chicago’s south side. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois and his law degree, at night, from Loyola University Chicago, while working full time for the Illinois House Speaker. Brian practiced law for twenty-two years, stopping in 2018 to focus on his finance businesses.
While practicing law, Brian founded several specialty finance companies including Vendor Assistance Program, LLC (VAP), MuniBuy, LLC, Bluestone Capital Markets and Blue Stone Finance. Collectively those companies have purchased over $6B of sovereign, government receivables. Brian is the founder and a manager of each entity.
Where did the idea for MuniBuy LLC come from?
MuniBuy is a merger between two unique, long established businesses: Municipal Finance & Securitization.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My day always starts by 5am. I usually read, workout and prep for the day. Once 9 am hits, I’m on the phone all day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring ideas to life through relentless pursuit and listening to many people’s perspectives.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The willingness of governments on all levels to think “outside the box” in seeking positive results for their constituents.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
You are going to meet a lot of people, especially if you are the first one to do something, that are not going to believe in your idea or are not going to want to do what you want because it does not fit in their box. You have to believe in what you are doing. If you don’t really believe in what you’re doing, then something new is never going to get done.
What advice would you give your younger self?
My advice would be to never settle.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
During moments of crisis, chaos or storm, I always maintain that “everything will be fine.”
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I always wake up early.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Maintain good relationships and strong people skills.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I tried to launch a hedge fund-of-funds in 2008. It was horrible timing and a venture that effectively bankrupted me. I didn’t let this failure define me. Rather I picked myself up and looked into what existing problem I could find a solution for. This is the foundation for every successful entrepreneur.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think a great business idea would be an app that tells you all the places a specific movie or TV show can be found, such as whether it is on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or somewhere else.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently spent about $100 on dog food as well as on harnesses for my two small, three-pound dogs. Last year I fostered a stray mother and her two puppies and ended up keeping them, so now I have a total of five dogs.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I have an Apple watch. I really appreciate how it helps me keep track of my sleep.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recommend 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene.
What is your favorite quote?
Teddy Roosevelt’s “In the Arena” speech.
“It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
• Never settle.
• Stay calm even in a crisis.
• Don’t let a failure define you.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.