Peter Pesce is the owner of American Restoration in Chicago. Pesce is a man who has seen his fair share of ups and downs in the industry. He started his own company when he was in his early twenties, but a few years later he was already staring down the barrel of $60,000 in debt that was too much of an emotional burden for him to overcome. Pesce then declared bankruptcy and took a few years off from the roofing business, a time during which he ran into problems with alcohol and mental health.
Through the guidance of his wife and father, Pesce was able to overcome not only his vices, but also get back into business.
Now 38, Pesce has a perspective that not many of his contemporaries share. He’s overcome personal tragedy and financial turmoil to the point where he is now able to send his kids to a private school.
But getting to the point he’s at now was no easy task.
Like many new business owners, Pesce struggled immensely with developing a process his business could implement every day.
“I wish you existed 14 years ago,”
Pesce tells Dmitry during a recent sit down in the Windy City.
Pesce of course is referring to Dmitry’s popular roofing business school.
When asked to explain why, Pesce says that early in his career he had no idea how important systems were to running a steady business.
“I was trying to understand the industry,”
Even though today Pesce is back on his feet, he still struggles with abiding by systems.
“I like to have control of everything,”
he admits, knowing full well that mentality will not breed success.
Here at Roofing Insights, we’ve discussed this issue many times, but as a business owner, you have to be willing to get out of your own way. It’s not easy to cede control, but guys like Dmitry and Jason Harley of Eagle Eye Roofing learned that if they weren’t willing to give up control, their businesses would never grow.
For Pesce, his inability to let go has led to copious amounts of stress. To combat this, he chases sales and numbers, following the ideology of the highly-successful entrepreneur Grant Cardone.
“Do sales fix everything?”
Dmitry asks Pesce.
Pesce shakes his head and explains that sales don’t solve everything, that they merely plug up holes in a system that is begging for stability.
The problem with sales is that while they bring in revenue, if the system they operate under is weak, then no amount of money will prevent the eventual crumbling of that business.
Another one of Pesce’s problems has been his struggle to find a balance between work and the rest of his life. He consistently works 12-14 hour days, the extra hours taking him away from his family and not allowing him to connect with his kids in the ways that he would like.
“That’s been a struggle for me,”
Pesce reveals, citing how his father used to do the same thing to provide for his family.
The lack of chemistry between Pesce and his family has at times been so glaring, it’s left him questioning the importance of his business.
“It’s a horrible thing when you walk in the house and your kids…”
Pesce begins before having to stop and fight back tears.
an emotional Pesce then tells Dmitry, another man who knows all too well how stressful providing for a family can be.
To cope with the stress, Dmitry usually gets lost in YouTube videos or engaging with followers on social media.
The same goes for Pesce.
“There’s definitely distractions during the day, especially with social media,”
Pesce says, noting how social media is great for business but bad for one’s personal life.
When Dmitry and Pesce shift the conversation toward the eventual demise of Pesce’s first business, this once again elicits emotions.
Pesce tells Dmitry how the failure of his first business was the most difficult thing he’s ever had to endure. This was also the time when Pesce fell prey to alcohol.
Fortunately, Pesce’s aforementioned father left Argentina to come and help his son.
“He dropped his three businesses to help me,”
Pesce struggles to say during yet another heartfelt moment.
Even with his father’s support, Pesce still dreaded what he knew had to be done.
“The hardest part was realizing that I had to go and sign the paperwork to make it official,”
Pesce says of the bankruptcy process.
At the time he decided to declare bankruptcy, Pesce was $60,000 in the hole. Both he and Dmitry acknowledge that it was a number he could have paid off, but Pesce still went through with the bankruptcy because he was too mentally and emotionally exhausted to continue, and that’s why he took a few years off from roofing.
Dmitry also was in debt at one point, albeit to the tune of $360,000.
Going against the advice of his lawyer, Dmitry opted against bankruptcy and chose to dig his way out.
That decision has worked wonders for Dmitry, and while Pesce didn’t follow the same path, his decision to file bankruptcy did give him the opportunity to create a better future for him and his family.
As Pesce says:
“One thing I’ve learned in business is you have to have a strong will. If you don’t have a strong will, you aren’t going to last very long.”
With both Pesce and Dmitry now in good positions, the key now is maintaining that balance of mental and financial clarity.
Dmitry does this by stepping away from his phone each night from 6-9 P.M.
This allows him to give his undivided attention to his wife and kids, then once they go to bed, he can get more work done, if need be.
As the two end their interview, Pesce commits to putting his phone down as well, and the hope is that many other time-crunched business owners will do the same.
What’s it like for you? Do you struggle to capture a work/life balance?
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