You can’t teach people to have passion, but you can encourage them to dig within themselves to find what drives them.
Zac Rinehart grew up as a farm boy in Iowa. He was born into a family of thoroughbred salesmen, all classically trained from GE (General Electric), known to be one of the best sales and training programs in the world.
From age 15 and on, he would ride along with his parents on home interview sales calls to clients. From this experience, he learned how to listen to clients and the pain and problems they were having.
Zac started off as a sales rep for LTCFP (the largest long-term care insurance brokerage) and at age 24 was the youngest regional sales leader to be awarded in the company history. He was sent to Louisiana and Mississippi (the worst territory in the company) and grew a sales team that was one of the most successful in the company.
He was in line to be one of the chief executives of the company until he got an offer to move back to Kansas City with his family. It was in Kansas City that Zac started his career in construction and began to get ideas about building Hydro Pro Tubs.
He started Hydro Pro Tubs in his house with staff working at his kitchen table. He took $1,000 and turned it into $1.2 million in his first year of business.
Where did the idea for Hydro Pro Tubs come from?
The idea for Hydro Pro Tubs came from my experience with the senior market. I knew America was aging and the people I sat down at the kitchen table with in sales appointments told me they wanted to stay at home and be independent more than anything. Going to a nursing home was not an option and having family take care of them was humiliating.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Each day is full of creating, inspiring, and streamlining processes if things are running smoothly. Each day has a surprise of its own, sometimes it’s full of laughter and sometimes tears. On the teary day, it’s usually full of cleaning up somebody’s mistakes or fixing a tech problem. Automating a company and fixing errors is part of the everyday battle to make things work smoothly. The key to making it productive is to be able to survive the storm and take on problems and be able to pivot at any moment in time and fix problems for the company. Most people will freak out and freeze with the type of problems I have to fix on a daily basis, but to me, it’s a challenge I simply have to solve or my company will fail. It’s all a part of being a creator and being able to run operations at the same time. There is no secure paycheck in a typical day for the owner when things can crash hard.
The most productive way to make each day impactful on a good or bad day is to inspire passion within the company. When the sales crew, installers, and office staff feel important and want to come to work every day to help client, it makes productivity come naturally.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Ideas come on a 24/7 stream of thought to solve problems for Hydro Pro Tubs. I dream of ideas and am always thinking of how to improve existing processes. Having a great idea is one thing, but being able to manage a team and run operations is where I shine. I am a natural entrepreneur, but I take it to the next level from my background in motivational speaking and leadership to be able to make my ideas to come to life. If my team doesn’t accept changes or new ideas, then I would be stuck. A true leader doesn’t lead by force, they lead by respect. People follow me and don’t question my changes or ideas because they know I have a plan and it will be successful. This is the sign of a true leader.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Allowing seniors to stay at home versus moving to a nursing home is the trend that motivates me with Hydro Pro Tubs. I have lived the experience with family and caregiving and don’t want “send mom and dad to a nursing home” to have to be an option. Knowing that Hydro Pro Tubs is one answer to keep people in their homes is a trend that lets me sleep at night.
More and more assisted living and nursing homes are popping up each month on every street corner. This trend is not only super expensive, but it is also scary for most people to think about losing their home and their freedom. Most people do not have the money to afford care, but they also can’t stay at home safely.
When I created Hydro Pro Tubs, my first client was my fiancé’s father that was dying of cancer. He was an ex-marine and was not going to the nursing home. He had the money to afford the nursing home, but it was not an option for him. I was able to ease Ron’s end of life experience giving him the dignity to be able to stay in his own home. The Hydro Pro Bathtub was installed the last six months of Ron’s life. And in those six months, Ron was able to alleviate some of his pain from cancer and be able to bathe by himself without having a nurse or family member to help him.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
The ability to focus and have the courage to make hard decisions and move quickly is what sets me apart from most entrepreneurs. Not fearing making mistakes in my early part of my career if what gave me the strength to survive. Failing is part of learning and without failure, I would never have been able to grow Hydro Pro Tubs so rapidly.
Being daring is not always attractive to my fiancé, as sometimes it entails budgeting during the month until the money comes in and I able to pay myself and my family. It took the first three years of working night and day and every weekend to build Hydro Pro Tubs. I didn’t get to see my family much, but it was a sacrifice my family was well aware of and followed and believed in my dream. There were many hard days when I missed parent teacher conferences, sports games, plays, and many family dinners, but this is what it takes to build a company. Not many families are prepared to take this risk and live this way.
I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs, so this was normal for me and my fiancé ran a start up software company at the same time, so she understood the time and dedication. Sharing the dream together is what made things work. We took turns taking the kids and dogs to the office so that everyone could be together. The kids had a blast playing with stuff in the office and making friends with staff whom are like family…so this is their normal way of life. We make it fun for the kids when we have to work, the kids get to go to meetings, events, and watch us both solve problems for our companies, which is inspiring to our kids. They see us fail and they see us win so they get to see the whole story from start to finish of what it takes to build a business.
What advice would you give your younger self?
My parents were not around much to coddle me and take care of me, so survival was part of my daily life as a teenager. I focused on work and being successful. Perhaps I got there faster than most because I didn’t have the best emotional family support. The best advice I would have given myself to make my childhood more pleasurable would have been to reach out more to my brother and sister more for help. It was like survival of the fittest at home for attention from our parents and for help. Our parents loved us and went to our sporting games and fixed dinner, but we didn’t get many hugs or alone time with our parents.
I may have finished college as well, but at the time I was too eager to be successful and bored in school. I was always bored in school because it was too easy. Perhaps it would have helped to have a degree and I always urge young kids to pursue a degree to better themselves, but I didn’t have any one to push me to pursue a degree and if I could have given advice to my younger self I may have stayed in school.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I can seem egotistical to some people because I believe so much in taking huge risks. Most people think that I am crazy for some of the risks that I take. My family and my fiancé did not agree with my risky behavior in the beginning, even though they believed in me. I had to spend my first three years away from my family and kids to make this all come together. It was a sacrifice, but a risk we all took together.
Most families don’t agree with how my fiancé and I took five years before we got engaged, but we both shared the same dream to build a business so that we could build a secure life. We struggled together and have now been engaged for one and a half years with our wedding coming this summer. Our friends and family supported our vision and we just had an epic engagement party in the backyard of our house. My brother, who is an installer for Hydro Pro Tubs built us a stage, dance floor, and a bar for the engagement party. We had about 200-250 friends and family celebrate our engagement party. We used all of our friends as vendors, as we believe in entrepreneurs and want to support small businesses. Even the band we hired for the party was one of our friends. This may be a lifestyle that most people think is weird or not agree with how we started our business, but we work hard and party hard to celebrate the victories.
We live a very humble life centered on family and friends and spend most of our time at our house entertaining family in our spare time. We have and office in our home and frequently have staff and vendors in and out of our house, but this works for us and lets us keep our family close.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I read a ton of books on leadership when I was young. I have always been an outcast and super quiet and never really fit in, but it didn’t stop me. I knew I was going to be successful. My best recommendation to do every day is to put blinders on and make sure you don’t listen to idiots or naysayers. These blinders will help you keep your head up and know that you are trusting your gut and going in the right direction. Each day is full of people from all spectrums telling you that you can’t do something or that you idea is stupid or impossible, but you have to be confident, stick to your gut, and make the risk day in and day out with consistent belief in yourself and your decisions.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Leadership and empowering people are the core strategies that enabled me to grow my business. I grew fast because my staff and clients believed in the product. You can’t teach people to have passion, but you can encourage them to dig within themselves to find what drives them. When this is achieved, it makes it so much more fun for my staff to come to work each day and enjoy what they do. This is what makes a business run.
Some people are natural born leaders and some people need to fail several times to be able to lead a team, but the most important strategy that helped me in growing Hydro Pro Tubs was my ability to lead by example and inspiration and not by force.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I picked some of the wrong people in the start of my business. I was new and desperate to hire vendors, staff, and get systems in place on a shoestring budget. Mistakes were made that took me years to pay back, but without taking some of those risks, I would have failed and gone bankrupt.
Not being able to hit payroll is not something most people ever have to think about, they have their secure paychecks each week. But as an entrepreneur, this is not a choice. You have to overcome obstacles to hit payroll and take risks to make decisions.
Now in our fourth year of Hydro Pro Tubs, I see my failures as stepping stones that had to be taken to get to where we are now. We are now overcoming our mistakes and have a core steady staff and company culture that is thriving.
The Hydro Pro Tubs office staff is one of the keys to our success now and we are having more fun than ever. Our key office staff of three is amazing. Beth onboards staff and is my executive assistant. Rick is our overlord, the all-around awesome maker as well, whom does all the scheduling for staff and clients. And our newest addition, Joe, runs production and works with installers.
Installers, sales staff, national sales leaders, and office staff are top of the line at Hydro Pro Tubs. They love what they are doing for the clients and are excited to be able to keep the trend going to keep seniors in their home safely. Each and every day, this company is run by people that believe in what they do and that’s what makes the company special.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
My fiancé’s brothers are in the hemp, CBD, and medicinal marijuana business. If I had time, I would allocate my time to getting into this industry. Not growing, but supplying a need as a vendor to the dispensaries and growers. This is a very risky business to most, as most people don’t know about the benefits of CBD, but it is about to be a multi-trillion dollar industry.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Getting engaged last year was one of the best things that ever happened and best money spent. We had to put off our wedding to save money. We have been together for seven years and are getting married next summer. My ring seven years ago would have been about $50 as we were building Hydro Pro Tubs, but now each penny is appreciated during this journey.
The best $100 I have recently spent was probably on a part for my TR6 that I am restoring at home. I am restoring it for my grandfather-in-law that passed at 92 years old. We took care of him with his dementia and are building this car in his memory since he had a TR6.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Excel spreadsheets! They are golden to run a company for sales, management, and growth. I use excel spreadsheets as my holy grail. I am a genius and creating excel equations to manage and measure everything about my company. Most people don’t know that lots of software and apps are simply excel spreadsheets on steroids. We are not a tech company, as most of our customers are older and not the majority of users of software and apps, but we run the majority of our business on spreadsheets.
At the same time, we are also old school as we still use paper and have to keep hard copy files for legal reasons, but other than some paper files, we are an automated company that uses software to be able to keep up with customers and customer serves and not let anyone fall behind.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recommend the community reads “How To Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. This book is a foundational book about becoming a person of influence if anyone is interested in becoming an entrepreneur or just wants to learn about self improvement. This is one of the first books I read that helped me realize I was not normal and was destined to be a creator. This book spoke to me that it was okay to think differently and to want to be a leader. So many times in school you are told to be a rule follower and not to think outside the box, but this book really opened me up to listening to my gut and gave me the urge to pursue my dreams.
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is “whatever the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve” by Napoleon Hill. I love this quote because I believe in the power of people’s minds because human potential lays in our ability to believe that we can do whatever we set out to achieve if we believe we can do it. Sadly, not too many people believe enough in themselves and wish I could help inspire more people and give them this pleasure of belief.
- Leadership and public speaking is what I am best at for inspiring people
- Sacrifice and hard work do not come easy but sometimes you have to be an egotistical jackass to make stuff happen and take risks most people can’t even dream of taking.
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.