Thomas Kerbel is a resident of West Des Moines, Iowa and a regionally renowned CEO and entrepreneur.
Born in smalltown Illinois, Thomas Kerbel graduated high school, then made his move to the Windy City where he launched his career in the construction industry. In 2012, Thomas moved his career and creative endeavors to Des Moines, Iowa where he continued his work in the carpentry field. In 2018, after endless research and studying the local markets, Thomas launched two regional companies: Kerbel Carpentry and Midwest Hospitality & Management Company, LLC. Midwest Hospitality specializes in property management and provides comfortable furnished housing options with flexible leases. Kerbel Carpentry provides unique custom woodworking designs for clients looking to add something above and beyond to their homes. Thomas’ focus on client satisfaction, exceeding expectations, and providing consistent five-star customer service has enabled his companies to achieve exponential growth in their respective industries in just five short years.
Currently, Thomas Kerbel serves as the owner and chief executive of each company, as he channels the majority of his energy into developing and expanding them, along with launching Land Des Moines, his new company set to make its debut in 2023.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
My entrepreneurial ideas weren’t necessarily the result of a lighting bolt or ‘eureka’ moment, but more of a slow burn. They stemmed from motivation to build something for myself and family rather than to build on or emulate other successful entrepreneurs’ businesses. After working for many years in the field, I started spotting gaps in the industry where better service could be provided. Then I applied the advice passed down by previous and current generations of successful entrepreneurs and conducted a thorough investigation of the markets, found two needs that I was well-equipped to fill, and took action to fill those gaps in the industry.
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” — Seneca
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Typical days are hard to come by, as each day presents various new obstacles and problems to solve when running businesses. The key to staying productive is to be efficient in solving these problems.
“The trials we face will also introduce us to our strengths.” — Epictetus
Capitalizing on these strengths throughout each day becomes routine and, as a result, productivity increases. I then recycle the process. There are times when I’m blown away by how many hours there are each day. I like to say that with the right motivation, energy, and focus we can live three days in one.
“Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.” — Seneca
How do you bring ideas to life?
“But if a thing is humanly possible, consider it to be within our reach.” — Marcus Aurelius
I believe that bringing ideas to life starts with a motive, then it follows with the energy and drive to take action. Motivation to take action is propelled by the thought of something great happening in our lives. Using that positive energy to move forward with our business ideas can never be wrong. At some point, we’re faced with taking that ‘giant leap’ we always hear about, and we need to have the confidence to jump. We can gain that by making sure we’re taking the necessary time to soak in ALL the proper information available that’s related to our niche market. Networking and building positive relationships with other peers in the industry is a great next step.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Rental arbitrage is very exciting for me, and has been a great business endeavor. It’s a fairly new concept that gives property and hospitality business owners an opportunity to work hand-in-hand to provide furnished housing options with flexible leases to quality renters. One of the reasons I find it so exciting is that it requires only a minimal initial investment and has great potential for return.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Drive. Having an aim and consistently pushing towards it. Checking boxes daily while pursuing life’s balance. These practices take consistent effort and I try to place them at the forefront of each day. I credit my energy and consistent internal drive to the positive outcomes that occur from helping others while practicing good business tactics and maximizing ROI.
“You have to live for others if you want to live for yourself.” — Seneca
What advice would you give your younger self?
If I had access to a time machine, I would go back and tell my younger self: “Explore your options more thoroughly, and don’t doubt your ability to manifest ideas”
“You’re invincible if nothing outside your will can disconcert you.” — Epictetus
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I like to say that everything is ‘figure-outable.’ In other words, every problem, no matter how seemingly insurmountable, has a solution in one form or another.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Putting ourselves in the customer’s shoes and aiming to exceed expectations. Taking the time to communicate professionally with positive affirmations throughout the duration of client interactions. Providing honest service, backed with effort to resolve issues efficiently. Putting in the extra effort to provide consistent, over-the-top customer service and using quality products to service the customer’s long-term needs.
“Waste no more time arguing what a good person should be. Be one.” — Marcus Aurelius
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Consistent growth itself is one of our overarching strategies, however that can be achieved. Growth is obviously always a goal for any company, and I’m not sure my answer entirely addresses the question about how to achieve it—but that’s almost the point. The mechanics of consistent growth are variable, and dependent on an ever-changing business climate. As an entrepreneur, in order to achieve consistent growth, you have to be wired into the emergent trends of your chosen industry, and you have to be adaptable and open-minded. Actually, those are three effective strategies right there.
“You ask what is the proper limit to a person’s wealth? First, having what is essential, and second having what is enough.” — Seneca
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
“Get back up when you fail, celebrate behaving like a human.” — Marcus Aurelius
Founding and developing multiple companies is not an easy thing to do. Aligning multiple tasks to take place on time in a given business day can be challenging. Inevitably, I’ve encountered failures with this, as well as other obstacles that can sneak themselves into the workday. Some are physical issues and some are mental errors that can be resolved. It all goes back to my favorite saying that everything is ‘figure-outable.’ Staying calm and using efficient problem solving is key to overcoming these challenges. Being open-minded, dispassionately evaluating the situation, seeking out the best solutions available, and then implementing them is a solid strategy.
“Difficulties strengthen the mind as labor does the body.” — Seneca
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’ve always thought that starting a company that rents high end electric bikes, vehicles and other electrical recreational equipment would be a profitable, fun, and interesting automated business.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Recently, I spent about $100 by taking my little ones out for a night on the town. We came back with full bellies, elephant hats, slime, and big smiles.
I also recently spent about $100 to attend Dr. Jordan Peterson’s US tour in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which provided some great food for thought at an excellent venue.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Creating and maintaining a website to represent your businesses is the best marketing and promotional tool, in my opinion. Many apps or online services in a niche market will also provide excellent opportunities to grow your businesses. These apps are especially good at generating leads for new businesses needing an extra boost to get things rolling. However, gaining organic leads over time directly through your website not only builds YOUR brand, but is also the most financially efficient way to generate leads. Placing descriptive ads highlighting your businesses’ strong points through the most common search engines will also help generate lead traffic and will eliminate third party interactions and fees.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, who was a stoic philosopher, as well as one of the more celebrated emperors of Ancient Rome. The book is a collection of his writings, essays, and quotes that are meant to guide us through the challenges that arise in our daily lives. The fact that the life-guiding insights found throughout this book are still applicable to modern-day situations is so intriguing to me.
What is your favorite quote?
“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.” — Marcus Aurelius
- With the right know-how, inspiration, and motivation, an idea can become a reality.
- Placing goals in our aim, consistent action pursuing them, and maintaining life’s balance can lead to amazing outcomes.
- As an entrepreneur, it’s very important to maintain positive client relationships, practice good business, and always keep an overarching goal of growth at the forefront of your mind.
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.