Start early, fail early. You can learn so much from falling on your face.
As Chief Executive Officer for Easy Bids, Brian Lebeck is responsible for developing and implementing operational policies and strategies to facilitate company growth.
Lebeck is well-versed in corporate leadership roles, serving as a leader in the commercial contracting insurances and personal lines industries for more than 16 years. In addition to overseeing Easy Bids, Lebeck is currently president of Confie Seguros (Family of Insurance), where he is responsible for all West Coast operations and manages more than 650 employees, in over 200 locations.
Prior to his current positions, Lebeck served as vice president of sales for Freeway Insurance Services, Inc., where he managed the sales team in executing effective sales strategies and ensuring client satisfaction. When he isn’t busy leading two companies toward success, Lebeck enjoys spending time with his family and playing golf.
As Chief Operating Officer for Easy Bids, an e-commerce platform offering consumers and contractors a convenient way to connect for home and business improvement projects, Thomas Gonzales oversees the company’s business operations and ensures the company has effective operational and financial procedures in place. A seasoned business professional, Gonzales brings more than 15 years of experience in real estate finance to Easy Bids.
In addition to his role at Easy Bids, Gonzales is currently the vice president of investments with Park Brokerage Investment Services, where he is responsible for managing a team in the negotiation and purchasing of new properties that benefit the organization.
Prior to his current positions, Gonzales served in the armed forces. A decorated military veteran, his combat service awards include the Presidential Accommodation medal, Good Conduct medal and Superior Achievement medal, which he earned through joint task forces with the British.
When he’s not overseeing Easy Bids’ business operations, Gonzales enjoys spending time with his son.
Where did the idea for Easy Bids come from?
Brian Lebeck (LB): The concept for Easy Bids started back in 2001, when I was involved in the home improvement industry. I quickly saw the industry needed a better way for consumers to connect with reliable and reputable contractors that was both time and cost effective, not just for the consumer, but for the contractor as well. With that idea in mind, I launched a platform similar to Easy Bids but the technology of the time wasn’t capable of bringing to life the product I had in mind, so I decided to move in a different direction, but the concept was always in the back of my mind.
Fast forward several years later, after drastic technologic advances and having gained extensive experience in business management, Thomas and I were playing a round of golf and started discussing the idea of Easy Bids. We met the very next day, put the pen to paper and started charting out the blueprint. Two years later, here we are with a full team and the Easy Bids app.
Thomas Gonzales (TG): We’re both very passionate about this idea. There are companies that have solved the need that he initially thought of, but not to the full extent. Today, consumers are still having to deal with the outdated method of posting a project, being bombarded with calls and messages from contractors then having to decipher which service provider is best all on their own resulting in stress, wasted time, financial loss, and, in some cases, poorly finished projects. On the contractor side, service providers are forced to allocate time and resources scoping out projects that end up not coming to fruition. With Easy Bids, this problem is resolved.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
TG: A typical day for me is when I first wake up do something that will stimulate my body and mind first. Whether or not that is meditating, reading, affirmations or working out. Its something that puts me first and starts my day out in a positive way. Then I spend some time with my son. I make him breakfast, then a little playtime so he feels love from daddy. Then to my office which is my home office. How I make the day productive is preparing the night before. I have a whiteboard on my office wall which has action items for the day. Preparing the night before helps me save time and gets me a head start on my day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
TG: By putting a plan in place. Start simple, don’t overwhelm yourself. Usually, I know what I am good at, so the first thing for me is putting a team together that can execute. Know what you are good at and be humble to what you are not. This process is so important in building a strong team that lifts your vision up. You are only as strong as your weakest link.
What’s one trend that excites you?
TG: That currently, we are able to do and go places we never have been before because of technology, and the infinite possibility of your wildest most innovative ideas can come to life. This excites me because possibilities are endless. Just look at Elon Musk.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
TG: Drive. The ability to not be discouraged or let down because of failure. Every entrepreneur will fail, fail, fail and fail again. This is part of the process and if you don’t have that burning desire to succeed and the drive to put things in motion you will never accomplish what you set out to.
What advice would you give your younger self?
TG: Start early, fail early. You can learn so much from falling on your face. You begin to understand what works and what doesn’t. You are your biggest teacher so self-educate yourself.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
TG: Rocky road is the best Ice cream ever. Haha!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
BL: Create time at the beginning and end of every day to think and strategize. So many people don’t spend time to gather thoughts at the beginning of each day to go through what worked, what didn’t, what changes should be made, etc. This time is critical to planning and executing short term milestones.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
BL: Building the right team. Finding people that can do the job better than you, helps elevate the effectiveness and execution of your company. In doing so, it allows you to grow into other markets or revenue channels by having people to lead those initiatives.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
BL: One failure I had was not hiring people to support jobs I was not an expert at. At times, when you need to run a thin expense line, you tend to think you can manage it all. Not having an expert for certain projects and initiatives can allow you to make mistakes and set you back. Tip – Hire the right person upfront, it will pay for itself!
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
BL: We need a simple and convenient way to transfer electronic business cards to people. There are apps that support this but it requires both users to download. We need a different way!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
BL: I got a massage last weekend and it allowed me to relax for an hour and take care of me. Much needed!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
BL: Zoom and Webex are two free apps that we find extremely helpful. Their video conferencing and team collaboration features help us stay in touch with our team members no matter where we are and help us get work done quickly and efficiently.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
BL: My favorite book that I would recommend for entrepreneurs is Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins. The book analyzes the characteristics of a set of successful companies and provides valuable insight into being a disciplined and financially responsible business leader. It also provides advice on how to hire the right people for your team – people who are disciplined, committed, honest about the facts and know-how to put the action behind the work.
TG: My favorite book that I would recommend for entrepreneurs is The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M. R. Covey. The book gives advice on how to build relationships and trust, which is a skill I think is essential for every business owner regardless of industry. I use the strategies I learned from this book in all my business networking. I also try and use the strategies mentioned in the book with my team to build trust and solidify our relationship, and it reflects in our meetings. The Easy Bids team’s energy when we’re in the room is so great and that resonates with our investors and partners, which helps them feel confident entrusting their dollars to our cause.
What is your favorite quote?
BL: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” I always tell this to my team. You must take the time to sit down, strategize and identify the steps you need to take in order to achieve your goal. Once the plan is established, focus all your energy to achieve one step at a time.
TG: My favorite quote comes from my old baseball coach who would say, “if you think you can, you will.” Basically, if you think you can accomplish it, you will. It’s all about believing in yourself, in your team and in what you’re trying to achieve.”
- Know what you are good at and be humble to what you are not.
- Start early, fail early. You can learn so much from falling on your face.
- Finding people that can do the job better than you, helps elevate the effectiveness and execution of your company.
- Hire the right person upfront, it will pay for itself!
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.