“You got to go through the nitty and the gritty. Not only from a business perspective but from a life perspective”
Paul Hoffman Jr. – President & Co-Founder AIS Industries; Balancing Time; Redefining the American Dream; Being a father & businessman; An insane work ethic.
Segment 1: (Length :04:00) – General Updates; Introduction to Paul Hoffman and his journey as an entrepreneur; Entering the family business; Redefining the American Dream.
Paul’s finer points:
“Yeah, you know what, I feel very fortunate and blessed. With a family, my younger sister is our office manager. My father created the company 30 plus years ago. He’s a very old school, type A. I love him to death, he’s my best friend. We laugh and we joke, where it’s like old reruns of Orange County Chopper, where we can be on screen with each other and shake hands, and give each other a big hug.”
“It’s (our story) a classic, out of the garage, used welder started with a hundred dollar bill story. A lot of hard work, a lot of luck, a lot of commitment and a lot of sacrifice.”
“I did everything I could in my youth not to work for the family business. I tinkered in fabrication, and I didn’t feel like it was my … Shoot, I think sometimes it feels like it’s still even not something that I’m full blown passionate about. Again, that’s the duality of sorts.”
I remember sitting outside of a curb here in Tempe when I was in graduate school, and I had gotten word that my father had had his third heart attack, and I ended up going back to try to help and make that commitment.
“At that particular time, I was living with, now which is my ex-wife. I bought into the Beaver Cleaver American dream, the white picket fence and the 2.5 dogs and the two kids. Yeah, I mean, that’s the evolution of where my progression from a graduate student and pursuing a degree, and the emphasis was to be in sports psychology.”
“Yeah, I was grinding even up here, bartending, going to school, cleaning golf club, take golf courses, trying to network. Finally I made the decision to come back and work for the family business.”
“My version of grind is I’m Joe Lunchpail. I’m your normal guy. My days start at 3:30 in the morning and end when it’s done. The glamorization for me, it seems to be something where I think many people really don’t understand what it takes. They think it’s sexy. They think it’s glamorous, they think it’s something that is unique in their own way.”
Mine is I go to work every day. I manage. I'm a father. I try to take care of myself. Those are my tools of measurement. I can go to work every day and I have something either, my staff or myself, we have something tangible that I can physically touch, visit, freak out about, you name it. That's my interpretation to it.
“Everybody thinks it’s sexy, and I think that correlates also with the restaurant industry. People think its sexy to own a restaurant and bar, but they don’t want to put in the 120 hour work weeks.”
“I mean, it’s a very unique … I’ll say it’s a beautiful business but then simultaneously it’s very incestuous. Understanding value and value of time is critical. I mean, it’s a very unique dichotomy in food service and design, fabrication. You deal with a multi-faceted group of individuals, I’ll tell you that much.”
Segment 2: (Length :08:00) – Talking with Paul Hoffman Jr.; Balancing time; Being a father and a businessman; Elevating his business acumen.
Paul’s finer points:
(on finding balance) “I mean, pivotal for me was in 2007, my now ex-wife, as I spoke earlier we sold into the American dream. I did everything my entire life the right way as society tells you to do it. We were pregnant with two identical twin boys. Unfortunately she contracted a number of different, severe medical conditions from HELLP syndrome to pre-eclampsia, and the boys were delivered very early.”
“For me, from a balance, to life, to extrapolating everything that I can and in this journey as I speak of it, to me that’s when it began. From that moment, I made a decision that I would attempt to live my life in the most honorable way that I can.”
“When people ask me how many children I have, I say four. The two little guys, Parker and Ethan, they passed away. God was gracious enough to give me Carter and Easton, but also the things that come with all of that.”
To answer your question in long format, it's like I'm learning tidbits every single day. Working, I work my butt off. I work my butt off being a great Dad, a business owner, and in attempts to being a human being, so I have to find it when I can find it, and utilize it and tap into it when I can. It's a lot!
“The dawn that I think of or this new hybrid of the strategic entrepreneur businessman or woman, I think you have to have that split of both tapping into your humanistic abilities and being mindful of things, but also being a gangster when it means to be gangster.”
“It’s really having the opportunity to being very confident in what it is that we do, where we now have the opportunity to pick who it is that we work with. Having the balls, for a lack of better words, to get up from that table if you don’t think it’s a good fit, or the money’s not right, or there’s not profit in those jobs, but then doing it in a diligent way, not in an arrogant or ego-filled way.”
“It’s really, it’s just understanding and identifying as quickly as you can from a distance how to navigate through those torrential waters or potential catastrophic implosions of sorts.”
“There’s no greater satisfaction then peace of mind.”
I think that very early on in my career as a professional in this industry, I was a yes-man. Everything that was coming my way I wanted to take, and I wanted to run with it and make it my own. Before you know it I was tapped.
“Instantaneously the next evolution or wave came, where I was a little bit more in tune with not being the people pleaser, and then going after the right customer. I’ll be the first one to tell you, I think a lot of times, one of the things that I work on is that to identify a risk analysis.'”
“The money’s right, logistics might be an inconvenience or a strategic nightmare, but you might have to take on that job that you don’t want or to embark upon a project because you know that there’s a number of other things coming down the pipeline. It’s a mixture and a hybrid.”
I've done a number of jobs that I just despise all across the board but the money is terrific. That money as to we speak of it, we are reinvesting back into automation from fiber optic cutting systems, and really the goal is to be as liquid to then simplify a very archaic, American-made, by hand technology and industry.
“We pride ourselves on craftsmanship and being archaic, but then simultaneously advanced. You take it where you can get it. I think that the market dictates and the workload seasonally.”
“Fortunately, we try to stay extremely diversified from clean room, from multi-aspects of metal fabrication, water features that go onto the top of the San Diego Children’s Museum, to your mom and pop taco shop.”
Segment 3: (Length :10:00) – Building .
Paul’s finer points: Understanding business versus personal; Having an insane work ethic; Allowing yourself to grow in life and business.
“I think for me, my journey from childhood to career, to a father, to all of it. It’s been that Rudy Ruettiger, underdog story. I don’t make myself to be any form of a prophet. I think my life experiences have come from a very unique application, from suffering and hardships, and that saying, that no mud, no lotus.”
“You got to go through the mud in order to have this beautiful flower. My advice, I guess, would be is that when all these young kids are rocking and rolling, don’t think that everything is just you step out the gate and you’re making tons of money, and you’re walking into a corporation where, let’s say in my particular case, a fabrication facility and you think that you’re building custom choppers and TV cameras are walking you around.”
You got to go through the nitty and the gritty. Not only from a business perspective but from a life perspective.
“I think that it’s okay not to have a direction. I think it’s okay not to have the answer, and really it’s feel all the feels. If they’re good, if they’re bad, just be present with those. Those are valuable lessons that you’re going to learn.”
(advice to his son) “Well, that’s great, but you know what, sometimes you need to get out and make your mistakes, and do your things, because that’s what gives you your independence and growth.” Go out there, experience it. Say hello. Run the gamut, make those mistakes. Then be present with those feelings and truly commit to it. Feel sad, but then feel happy. If that touches upon any of that, Case, I think that would be my advice or suggestion.”
(obstacles in business) “One of the things that hit me like a ton of bricks is that, I thought everybody was honest, and that they’re your friend.”
That you could do things with business with a handshake. You look left eye to left eye, and you can speak to someone's soul. Not everybody operates like that. Sometimes those handshakes are a little bit more slippery, and again, growing up with family from Illinois, you get that good wholesome vibe. I had to learn the hard way that, to separate it's not personal and it's business.
“I know that’s a very prepubescent response, but you have to experience that. People I’m buddies with or friends, they’ll open up these crazy bars and restaurants, and night clubs. All of the sudden, “What I thought we were friends,” it comes down to different dichotomies. Then all of a sudden there’s that complete separation that they got that leg up on you.”
“You navigate and it’s almost like the Three Stooges affect, where you stick your hand up a parallel between your face, and they try to eye gauge you. Are they doing it personally or professionally? Understanding between the two of that. That was one of the things that I had to really work diligently and that was helped from my father.”
“Again, it’s being the young, they call it youthful exuberance. I call it hustle and grind. Nobody’s going to hold me down, you’re not going to beat me, where it’s stepping back and really paying homage to those that have been in the game for a lack of better words, in no matter what industry that have those tidbits of knowledge that are absolutely critical.”
“Segment 4: (Length :03:00) – Hustler Thought of the Day:
“As you grow and evolve, it might feel like you’re losing your mind. But you’re just losing the old mindset that was holding you back.”
Paul Hoffman Jr. – President & Co-Founder AIS Industries
Paul B. Hoffman Jr. is the President and Co-owner of AIS Industries, a leading Design, Supply , Fabrication & Installation company that serves Casinos, Hospitals, Prisons, Bars, Restaurants, & Boutique Craft coffee.
38 years old and originally from Chicago Ill and currently a resident of Tucson, AZ
Paul graduated from The University Of Arizona with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Arizona State University with a Master’s Degree in Clinical psychology.
My experience it the Work Life Balance, Hustle & Grind of Life all the while running a successful multi-dimensional business.
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