Focusing small businesses ON their business so they can realize true freedom.
Every small business owner running a Freedom Focused business where their personal and professional freedom are maximized.
Authenticity – Always strive for honesty and sincerity.
Insatiable thirst for knowledge – Never stop learning and growing.
Positive mental attitude – Have a can do, positive outlook.
Constant Improvement – Don't settle for good enough. There is always a better way.
Initiative – Don't wait to be told what needs to be done.
A little about Daran...
I'm one of the few native Arizonans my age, and I love my home state. I live with my three daughters in the Town of Paradise Valley, a small enclave in the center of the Valley of the Sun, nestled between the City of Phoenix and Scottsdale.
I was born in Scottsdale, about two miles from where I live now, but grew up in Tempe, home of Arizona State University. After grade school and high school, I became a three time ASU Sun Devil, completing a Bachelor of Science degree in construction management from the Del E. Webb School of Construction, a Masters Degree in Public Administration, and Ph.D. in Public Administration and Policy.
My ideal "rejuvenation" activity is traveling with my daughters both inside the United States and, whenever possible, internationally to see as much of the world as we can together.
The most effective way to truly "unplug" from daily life is to go hunting with my twin brother Devan. We only get to plan a trip once every year or two, but we've been fortunate to enjoy our hunting adventures all over the wilderness areas of Arizona as well as several trips internationally.
My Entrepreneurial Story
My entrepreneurial journey started over 20 years ago when I turned down an offer to work for someone else helping home builders build energy efficient homes, to instead work for myself taking advantage of the same opportunity.
I grew the business, D.R. Wastchak, LLC, from myself and one employee to a team of 27, eventually certifying over 10,000 homes a year for the EPA's ENERGY STAR for Homes program.
With all going great for D.R. Wastchak, and my confidence running high, I started a second company with three partners, Superior Walls of Arizona, manufacturing and installing precast concrete basement walls. Three years after startup, the venture sputtered and eventually failed, resulting in a heavy loss of time and money, along with a fair bit of that confidence.
What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger, and so the lessons from the demise of Superior Walls proved invaluable to D.R. Wastchak's survival of the Great Recession that soon followed.
We shrank from 27 to 5 employees to match the revenues available.
At 5 employees, it was all hands on deck. I was thrown right back to almost starting over again, and in survival mode.
Prior to the recession, I had achieved what I call the "experienced" level of freedom in my business, but now was dragged back down to the "competent", if not "struggle" level (click here to learn more about the "Four Levels of Freedom").
I was grateful that D.R. Wastchak did not fail, like Superior Walls, but the price I paid was a heavy loss of both personal and professional freedom, and I felt much less happy.
Trying to Break Free
D.R. Wastchak eventually grew back to half of what we had once been, in terms of employees, but it became clear that what had worked in the past to make the business successful was not a formula for success in a post-recession world.
After 15 years, I was burned out, frustrated, and felt trapped in a business that was no longer of interest to me. I yearned for greater freedom and was prepared to do just about anything to get it.
On several prior occasions, I had entertained offers to buy the company, and at one point worked with a business broker to try and sell.
Now I was determined to get out, and pushed as hard as I could for most of a year to make it happen, but came up short once again. I realized the cold, hard truth. My business was not prepared to sell, primarily because I was the business, and without me actively involved every day, there was little to no real value for a buyer.
A Time For Change
With the reality of my predicament staring me in the face, and a clear eyed look at what my small business really was, I determined to make a change.
I started by looking at who was on my team. Who was going to stay and who needed to go. It was one of the hardest challenges I'd faced, parting ways with long term team members, and friends. However, a better future required tough decisions, and my freedom wouldn't happen without these necessary changes.
Next I determined to fundamentally operate my business differently, more deliberately, focusing on the basics that would create greater efficiency and increase employee engagement and productivity.
It all worked! So well, in fact, that three members of my Leadership Team eventually recognized that they could run the company without me, which of course was my main objective from the start of the transformation. They offered to buy me out, and I jumped at the opportunity... for me and for them.
On March 31, 2018 we closed the sale that helped three young entrepreneurs realize their dream of owning their own business, and I finally found the freedom, and happiness, that had eluded me for most of my entrepreneurial career.
Discovering Freedom Focused
What I had discovered in the two years from the beginning of D.R. Wastchak's transformation to the closing of the sale to my employees is how to become Freedom Focused, a transformation from frustration to freedom!
I'm now committed to showing other small business owners (those with 10 to 25 employees), who find themselves at the "struggle" or "competent" level of freedom in their business, how to move their business out of struggle and frustration, to greater freedom. To the "Freedom to Exit" level of freedom.
I do this in several important ways:
- Sharing valuable and useful information with small business owners in my bi-weekly "Freedom Focused Podcast" (click here to learn more)
- Sharing the same information in regular emails to my email list (Click here to join my list, or here to read the archive in my blog)
- Offering online courses that provide a road map to becoming Freedom Focused:
- "Dream Team Builder"
- "Freedom Builder" (launching Summer 2022)
Click "Get Started Today" below to begin your own transformation from frustration to freedom!