Codie Sanchez started her career on Wall Street working in private equity for some of the leading investment firms. She built an immaculate track record including raising large amounts of capital for funds and overseeing venture capital and private equity investments into companies across numerous sectors.
She had been working in finance since 2008. Her initial journey led her to industry giants like Goldman Sachs, State Street, and First Trust. She’s worked on Wall Street as well as in Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago, just to name a few. Eventually, she found herself burnt out and looking for a new challenge where she could design her own lifestyle on her own terms.
Leaving Wall Street
In 2019, she decided to give up the Wall Street lifestyle, but adopt the lessons that she learned in private equity to reimagine what it means to be a financier in 2022.
For her that meant putting her skills investing in and buying companies back to work, but this time for her own portfolio. Her experience on Wall Street gave her the expertise to identify great deals and also the knowledge that companies can often be acquired for much less than one would expect.
In fact, through her bootstrapping and deal-making expertise she has now built a $30M portfolio of “boring” businesses which has provided her with the passive income to become financially free and live life on her own terms, just as she had set her sights on when leaving finance.
Along the way, Codie has also become a pioneer in the world of buying and selling companies where hundreds of thousands of people now follow her every move on social media and her investing newsletter, Contrarian Thinking.
Pursuing “Boring” Profits
In just a few years after striking out on her own, Codie went on to acquire 25 businesses. The niche that she focuses on? What she calls “boring businesses”.
What exactly does boring mean? We’re talking old-school, tried-and-true models that have been around forever. No apps. No startups. No fancy technology. These businesses with tried and true business models that have stood the test of time and consistently produce profits:
What Codie looks for is simple business models that customers will always need– and that have healthy profit margins. She advises that one of the mistakes investors can make is investing in companies for their “potential.” Instead, she invests in realities, not dreams. Before Codie takes over any business, she wants to know that it has the potential for continued profits over the next ten years.
How to Acquire Your Own Business
Along her journey and as her portfolio of businesses continues to grow, Codie honed the most important lessons that were pivotal to her own success. Here are a few that she shared with us.
You Don’t Need as Much Money as You Think
“60% of all businesses are acquired through seller financing,” says Codie. “Which basically means that you use the future profits of the business to buy the business from the business owner and pay the owner back over two to five years.”
This means that contrary to many misconceptions, one doesn’t need millions or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to acquire a profitable business.
Believe in Yourself
“Most people think that they aren’t good enough, smart enough, or wealthy enough to buy a business or that buying a business is only for millionaires,” Codie explains. “That’s nonsense. Instead, be willing to take the steps necessary to make your vision a reality.”
Lack of belief in yourself causes far too many would-be success stories to quit before they even begin or just short of the goal line.
“Perfect” Can Be the Enemy of the Good
It’s tempting to pass on an investment opportunity because you’re looking for just the right opportunity, similar to the kind of hand-wringing you go through when shopping for a house. But if there’s anything Codie learned from investing in “boring” businesses, it’s that “short-term pain leads to long-term gain”.
Chase perfection, and you’ll be running forever. But if you choose a business that’s profitable and resolve to handle any obstacles that may arise, you can make an investment that pays dividends for years to come.
Respect the Owners
When Codie buys a business, the very first thing that she does is a deep dive into the finances. It’s important that her team understands exactly where the money is coming from and how.
“Past that, I shut up and listen.” Codie refrains from going into a business and making drastic changes such as reworking processes or suggesting a new direction. Instead, she believes in sitting back and respecting the current business owners. “If I buy a handyman company, the guy who has run the business for the last 20 years knows infinitely more than me. I respect that. And I learn from it.”
While she is always looking for opportunities for improvement in her businesses, she doesn’t typically invest in companies that require a complete overhaul. Rather she’s looking for incremental tweaks and changes she can make that enhance revenue and customer experience over time. This is what builds a sustainable long-term business.
The Birth of Contrarian Thinking
Codie has now become one of the most buzzed about investors and entrepreneurs on social media. Her newsletter called Contrarian Thinking where she shares her thoughts on investing and spotlights interesting niches and strategies has garnered more than 110,000 subscribers. On Tik Tok, nearly 800,000 followers watch her daily life as she acquires companies, travels the world and speaks on stages.
She’s become the leader of a movement for a generation that is burnt out on trading their time for money and wants to use financial savvy to design the life that they want.
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