Mitchell Dubros is the owner of Investigation Hotline, a private investigation firm located in Toronto. Mitchell has always been entrepreneurial and has been identified as an indigo child since he has always had a strong desire to help make the world a better place. Indigo children, for those of you that are unfamiliar, are born to create change and spiritually awaken humanity. They are considered to be free thinkers with profound insight into the human condition and have an uncanny ability to see the truth clearly.
His first foray into business was Just- In-Case, a Costco-like concept in the 1970s which supplied bulk items to businesses and individual consumers in Canada. After growing the business for several years, a restless Dubros was inspired to get into the private investigation business and formed Investigation Hotline in 1988. Helping clients uncover lies, discover facts, and locate lost loved ones was a perfect fit for Dubros, who admits he has always been able to identify liars within minutes. He pioneered and championed different methods of investigation and grew to become the leading high-end private investigation and consulting firm in Ontario.
Where did the idea for Investigation Hotline come from?
I’ve been doing investigation now for 32 years and the main reason is to protect the public because the police don’t do it. At my firm, we do things the police can’t. We actually care for each person and their situation. They have been misled or not helped by policing agencies or businesses or the government. When we go to work for them, we don’t quit.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
There is no such thing as a typical day. Look at the name of our business: Investigation Hotline. Part of my idea for that name was to show people we’re open 24/7. We’re not a 9-to-5 business. Bad things happen at all hours. We get calls all day and night. A lot of our stuff is international, so there are many different time zones we deal in. There’s a lot to keep up with and a variety of ways we have to look at things, so there is no typical day for us.
How do you bring ideas to life?
We don’t think like anyone else. We think ten times outside the box. When I’m considering a scenario in an investigation, I think of multiple directions we might go in. We create our ideas based upon what we want the outcome to be, and the outcome is based on what is going to help our client and what will help society.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am excited by the conclusion of a case and the reviews that we receive from our clients. When we conclude a case by solving it, and somebody writes a positive review, that to me is gold. Whenever I’m feeling down or beaten or betrayed or under attack from our competitors, I go and read some of our reviews. It always puts me in a better mood.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I have no habits. I morph and adapt into whatever situation might arise. Habits can be changed. But the most important thing for entrepreneurs is to follow through. Most investigators and agencies don’t follow through. But I’ll pick up the phone and contact some of our clients to see if they followed our advice and how it worked out and if their life progressed since we closed the case. We have been more of a psychiatrist than an investigator to half our clients. When people call us, we are their last hope. Follow through and psychological connection is so important. We don’t do this just for money.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Map my brain better. The brain is an interesting thing. I have an amazing memory, but I don’t have the capacity to keep track of everything. Someone will give me a cue to remind me of a past event I’d forgotten, and it will bring back the whole memory. My mind is somewhat photographic in this regard, and a simple cue or keyword can bring back every detail for me. I just wish I’d kept some kind of diary that would have given me a better record of everything I ever did that could trigger the whole memory. I would tell my younger self to keep such a diary.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
The actual truth itself, not the perceived truth, not the desired truth, but the actual truth. You know the saying there are three sides to the truth: there’s your interpretation, my interpretation and then the actual truth. The truth is somewhere in the middle and we need to investigate to find the real truth and the real motive. I look for the motive before I find the actual truth.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Think outside the box and don’t chase the money. If you’re doing it right, the money will chase you.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The best strategy has been being transparent by allowing people to comment publicly about their experiences with us. Transparency has always been important to me, so I created a public review process so my clients could share their experiences with me and their case. That has helped build trust in our organization with potential clients and also helped bring in partners with the same mindset who are in it for the long run and want to support people in their times of need.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I trained people and shared my passion and my ideas with them and saw them basically copy and steal my methods and procedures. My failure was giving everyone an equal chance by providing training and equal opportunity. I spoiled them. They’d never made so much money. But then they got greedy and went out and thought they could do it on their own. Some failed, some have done well, but I’ve heard horror stories about how they’re ripping people off. I overcame it by continuing to provide the best service I can to my clients and allowing them to share their experience through reviews.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I have an idea to set up a rehab center for people with brain or other physical issues to swim with dolphins. Something about the dolphin’s sonar helps us connect our brain across the left and right sides to improve the balance between our rational and creative minds. There is medical equipment that can measure your brain activity and it shows the incredible changes that can occur after swimming with dolphins.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I have started leaving larger tips for people whose livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
For my business website, we use a program called ClickCease, which determines who is maliciously manipulating our ads. Another answer to this question is social media in general. It is so very important. We put new blog entries up every two weeks on how to protect yourself. It’s not advertising for us. It is helping the public to be aware and helps authenticate us as the real deal.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I really recommend The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It really focuses on how to use your words, thoughts, and energy to be positive.
What is your favorite quote?
“Investigation Hotline, how may we help you?”
• We’re crazy but brilliant.
• We’re here to help everyone, and we’re not going away.
• Buyer beware: Choose your investigator carefully and make sure they will be someone who will follow through with a plan.
• Clients should call us before they make decisions so we can help them with a strategy.
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.