Having an unbreakable will is critical as an entrepreneur. To stay productive you have to to be able to stay focused and persevere through adversity.
Curtis Nalley is an Orem, Utah based entrepreneur, CEO and founder of Lending America LLC. Lending America has helped more than 250,000 business secure their startup capital and Curtis has personally helped his clients secure over $1 billion dollars in funding at 0%. His company, Lending America LLC, provides unsecured lines of credit and unsecured term loans to provide financing for clients in all different industries.
Before becoming the authority in the unsecured lending space, Curtis realized that there was a dramatic need for entrepreneurs to be able to secure fast, reliable funding, at reasonable interest rates. He is an expert on not just helping entrepreneurs get funding, but also an expert on both personal and business credit, how those systems work behind the scenes, and how they can be used to help businesses get the funding they need.
Curtis Nalley is passionate about helping fund the next generation of American entrepreneurs and is committed to properly educating people about how credit works, and how funding works, which he says major banks do not like everyday consumers being aware of. He is a sought after public speaker who regularly discusses and educates audiences about how to establish and repair credit, as well as obtain optimal funding for their businesses. He is a regularly featured speaker at iStack Trainings and has also been featured on Grant Cardone’s “Ask A Pro” broadcast.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
The idea for Lending America LLC came from a bad experience I had with a major bank. At the time, I was just a young entrepreneur at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey. I assumed that because I had always made smart financial decisions, paid his bills on time, and been responsible with my finances, that I would be able to easily get funding for my business. That is something that I think most entrepreneurs would assume as well. In fact, I had even obtained a copy of my own credit report, and discovering that I had a FICO credit score of 750, assumed that I was going to be in great shape when approaching the bank. You can imagine the surprise that I felt when the banker told me that I did not qualify, even for a small loan. This was due to some technicalities with the way that banks treat business owners differently than personal loans.
I realized that there was probably many other entrepreneurs out there that either had the same experience as I did, or would inevitably have a similar experience. So I dedicated myself to learning as much as possible about business credit, personal credit and the way the big banks take advantage of consumers and entrepreneurs. As I acquired more and more knowledge on the subject, I realized there was an entire world of non traditional banking products that were available only to the most elite and connected business owners. I decided to make it my mission to educate as many entrepreneurs as possible, and connect them with the capital and loans that they deserved. Since starting Lending America LLC, I have helped more than 250,000 business owners secure more than $1 Billion in unsecured funding to start and grow their businesses.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
In the world of business funding, no two days are ever the same. I typically will start my day around 9AM which is pretty standard. I either work from home or drive to my office to get my day rolling. Tasks during the day can involve the usual, such as answering email, phone calls, managing my team, interacting with lenders, banking partners, and making sure to set specific time aside to speak and work one on one with VIP clients.
One thing that sets me apart from the average banker, is my work ethic. There is the joke about bankers hours being very short and favorable. Most bankers work as little as possible. I am the opposite. I typically work until at least 9PM, sometimes 10PM or later. However long it takes, until all the work is done. I feel personally invested in all my clients, so unlike a banker or a loan officer at a major bank who just is showing up to work to do the bare minimum to earn his salary, I thrive on going the extra mile to educate my clients, find them the best loans, solve the most challenging problems and always be innovating.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring ideas to life through a specific process that has worked for my clients and I, time and time again. The first thing I do is listen. I take the time to listen and really understand the problems that my clients are facing. Most lenders do not listen, because they do not care. They just tell applicants what they have, and if they are rejected or approved. If they are rejected, they usually will not spend very much time explaining why, and then they move on from there. This leaves business owners feeling rejected, confused, and sometimes helpless. That is why I start by listening to what their problems are, so I can take my time creating a solution for them.
The second part of bringing ideas and customer relationships to life, is making sure that they understand the solution that I am presenting. Not everybody is a financial genius, in fact, quite the opposite, most people are not. Finance, to the average person, can be boring. Especially to entrepreneurs who want to focus on their passion or their product. So aside from listening to them and understanding their issues, I make sure to present the solutions in ways that they genuinely understand.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One trend that excites me is the upcoming changes that I can see taking place in the banking industry. Big banks are like big freight trains, once they are rolling, they stay on their track and it takes a lot of time for them to stop or pivot. Deregulation and the economic shift from the brick and mortar world to digital world, is creating exciting, fast, new opportunities not just for new lenders to hit the market with new financial solutions, but also for customers to have new options for borrowing they never knew existed.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One habit of mine that keeps me productive, as well as has attributed to making me a better entrepreneur, is getting in the habit of having an unbreakable will. It is too easy to get caught up in every set back that happens when you are responsible for your own business. If you do not stay mentally strong, you can easily get sucked into wasting time on distractions that rob you of your precious time and energy, and pulls you out of productivity. Having an unbreakable will is critical as an entrepreneur. To stay productive you have to to be able to stay focused and persevere through adversity.
What advice would you give your younger self?
The advice I wish I could give to my younger self would be to start working for myself sooner. The false comfort of having a salary distracts so many people from living up to their true potential. I would tell my younger self to not be afraid to fail. It is that fear of failure that keeps people working jobs they hate, and before they know it, they are too entrenched to be able to start their own business, follower their dreams, or live up to the maximum potential in life. Most people think that if they have a job, they have security. But the truth is, you have to perform and deliver, sometimes at a much higher level, to keep your job. As soon as you stop performing, you will probably get fired. So you might as well perform for yourself, and get to make the most money, and be your own boss! This is something my younger self would have definitely benefited from hearing.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
One thing that is definitely true, and I have proven it over and over again, but that so few people agree with me on, is that it is possible to build, grow and develop an entire business with absolutely no money of your own. People have been so conditioned over the years about how scarce money is, or how hard it is to raise capital. The truth is, the banks want you to think that, but there are so many options out there. Even many options at 0% interest. It is just up to you to find out who has your money.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
One thing I do over and over that I recommend all other entrepreneurs do as well, is outwork all your competitors. Hard work beats talent almost every time. I believe in having a sickening work ethic. There is absolutely no excuse why you are not the hardest worker in the room. I recommend just checking your excuses at the door, and working as hard as you can.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One strategy that has helped me grow my business has been keeping my focus on building and maintaining a solid reputation and striving to be an authority and master of my subject matter in my industry. By positioning myself as an authority on the topic of unsecured lending, sharing my knowledge with as many people as possible, genuinely helping people, and building a reputation for delivering results, I have been able to benefit by having new referrals constantly rolling in. I am able to build on those referrals, and keep the process going into perpetuity.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest failure as an entrepreneur happened because I put all my focus in one type of client. My entire business revolved around something that I just assumed would be there forever. I believe this is something that plagues many entrepreneurs, and they do not find out until it is too late. Many of them are also probably aware of it, but they do not do anything about it because it is just easier to pretend that nothing will change.
I overcame it by facing reality, and realizing that I could not rely on only one source of business forever if I wanted my business to have longevity. The solution I came up with was to research, develop and offer products that no one else could, therefore giving myself a strategic advantage in a crowded marketplace. My goal now is to offer products that serve as wide a variety of niches as possible. That way my business is not subjected to changes in industries or other types of changes that are outside of our control.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Really any business idea these days needs to focus around finding a way to help other people’s businesses make money, and then get paid on results. If you can create a win-win situation and relationship with your clients, you will always be in business. One idea I would give to readers looking to start something new, would be to start a lead generation company that generates prospects looking for unsecured funding. There is a huge market of entrepreneurs who are unaware of their funding options, and companies like mine can never have enough new clients! It goes back to that win-win formula.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best purchases I have made under $100 recently have all been books to help grow my education and understanding of my industry. You should never stop seeking out new information, learning new things, and mastering your industry. Industries are disrupted so quickly now because of how technology and the online world works, if you do not keep up and keep educated yourself, you will find yourself unable to adapt and survive.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
One piece of software that I use that helps my team and I all be more productive, is the customer management system Pipedrive. It helps keep all of our clients very organized. It is nearly impossible to scale a business if you can not keep track of your clients and all of their information. Pipedrive is my customer management software of choice that helps our entire organization keep our clients organized and serve them better.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
One book that I will always recommend is the 10X Rule by Grant Cardone. I think it will change most people’s view on life. I know that it changed mine. Most people, including myself, are programmed that there is not enough. Not enough money, not enough time, not enough resources. People go into life assuming they have to make sacrifices. But The 10X Rule puts into perspective that you can have everything you want, do everything you want, and that the only difference between success and failure, is your ability to work smart and hard.
What is your favorite quote?
“If you help enough people get what they want, you will have an abundance of what you want your self” – this is my version of Zig Zigler’s quote.
- You can build a business without your own capital.
- You can get funding to grow your business without paying interest.
- Always makes your clients your main focus.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.