Interview with Nick Coleman (Ivan Carfax) (Bread Delivery Company)

December 21, 2020
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Today Ete sits down with Nick Coleman, owner and operator of several bread deliver routes including Ivan Carfax.

Ete is on a roadtrip looking for great small businesses and great small businesspeople. Today he's back in his hometown of Glassboro, NJ, visiting with good friend, and all around cool guy, Nick Coleman. Nick owns a business in an industry unlike any of the other's we've highlighted in the show so far. It's an industry with its own business model, unique potential problems and challenges, and its own perks. This is an engaging look into a business that we all rely on, but don't know much about, through the eyes of someone who's finding success within it.

About this episode:

  • What sets Nick apart
    • He's proof that sometimes life just hands you the right business (15:54)
    • He's in of those businesses that no one thinks about (not even he did) but everyone uses indirectly (9:52)
    • His extraordinary candor and vulnerability (42:20 and throughout)
  • What helped him get to the place where he is
    • A father in law with connections, encouragement, and financing, and Nick's gratitude for that and the sense of responsibility that comes with it. (4:30)
    • Trying different paths until he found his thing. (15:20)
    • Dedicated study and research. (1:03:49)
  • Memorable learning experiences (mistakes) and hard things along the way
    • The many industry-specific difficulties of bread delivery. (throughout)
    • Dealing with employees who don't care and don't work. (19:02)
    • Realizing how quickly all the surprise expenses add up. (19:29)
    • Getting kicked out of a store. (32:29)
    • The customer from hell and the fallout. (37:44)
    • Owning a business and dealing with stress and depression (51:05).
  • Major Insights
    • Finding good employees is extremely difficult and extremely essential. (19:02)
    • There are problems in every business. "It's just how you deal with them and how you...monitor them." (28:06)
    • You have to learn how to deal with people in difficult situations, even when the issue is decidedly not your fault. Sometimes you need to "just walk away." (41:03)
    • Let people help. Get professional help when you need it. Meditation and therapy can be life-changing. (48:08)
    • Good sleep really matters. (52:21)
    • Entrepreneurial success can bring guilt. You can learn how to cope with that. (53:36)
    • You absolutely need a good tax accountant. (1:01:33)
    • Separate business and personal legally, and do things by the book. (1:02:46)
    • Read books, including books about businesses outside your industry. (1:03:26)
  • Miscellaneous Good Stuff
    • Ivan Carfax: it's not just a generically generated porn star name. (1:17)
    • "I'm one of six kids. And yeah, they all have at least a master's degree, all five of them....and then there's me." (3:19)
    • What do bread companies do with stale, unsold bread? (23:24)
    • Speaking and driving in New Jersey. He's not in California anymore. (29:27)
    • Snowboarding is not skateboarding. (30:57)

The most amazing quote I've ever heard. You can't get better than this. Keep going with it.

- Enzo Whipple

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