This is episode number five of the Mobile Alabama Business Podcast with Kevin Mohler. My name is Marcus Neto and I own Blue Fish Design Studio. A digital marketing and web design company based in downtown Mobile. I'm the host of Mobile Alabama Business Podcast where we talk to local entrepreneurs and business owners about their businesses and how they got started. I'd like to thank you for spending time with us today.
In today's show, I sit down with Kevin Mohler the founder of the American Autism and Rehabilitation Center located in Daphne. I'm blown away by how driven Kevin is. He is approximately 27 years old, works as a nationally recognized motivational speaker, sells and trains for Legal Shield, and has just launched the American Autism and Rehabilitation Center. In this interview, we discussed what motivates Kevin, how he got started running his own business while working construction and going to school for architecture, why he is starting the American Autism and Rehabilitation Center, and books and events that have helped him focus on success and moving forward. So, let's dive right in with Kevin Mohler.
Marcus: Welcome to the podcast, Kevin.
Kevin: Well, thanks for having me, Marcus. I appreciate it.
Marcus: You and I don't know each other terribly well, but we have run in similar circles for the last four to five years. I know we're friends on Facebook and I'm impressed with your drive and motivation, which is why I asked you to come and be on the podcast. I know you have quite a number of things going on, but I don't know a whole a lot about you. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Kevin: Well, I was born and raised in Texas. Moved actually to... here in South Alabama when I was six years old. My father had a traveling job with an environmental company and my mother was a nurse. She actually worked at USA Hospital in Mobile, and growing up for some reason I had a fascination with construction. I started at the age of 13 to get started in the construction world. From that point my vision grew to wanting to own a construction company and wanted to own an architecture firm and design unique homes. From age 13 to 20 that's what I did in construction. I took drafting courses outside of that and went to college full time at night at Faulkner State Community College, fifteen credit hours semester, studying architecture while I were a construction crew during the daytime.
Marcus: At what age?
Kevin: Well that was at 20.
Marcus: Okay. I was going to say.
Kevin: At that point, I realized I didn't want to do construction but I had aspirations of really owning my own business and stepping out making a difference in the world. At age 20, I started a marketing business in my spare time around college in construction, and seven months later it ended up evolving into something allow me to go full time. So, I quit construction and refocused my efforts and my whole life at the point really started to change because I met my first mentor in life. I read my first book outside high school and college...
Kevin: ...Fell in love with the personal development industry for the first time. Just got on this course that just radically change my life, and from that point I'm 27 now. Every three years has been a totally different life in the previous three years now for less seven and half years.
Kevin: I fell in love basically with still designing but designing businesses and designing systems instead of designing homes. I still fell in love with building, but building companies instead of building homes.
Marcus: I know we were talking a little bit before this and it's not just building companies, but it's building the processes that allow the companies to survive and move forward with success versus floundering and not moving forward. One of the things I find interesting about you, and I know this maybe seem a little bit weird, but is that you're involved in number of different things. You eluded to this a little bit when you said that every three years you've had this jump forward or you've changed directions slightly but I know you're family has recently made a huge effort to get the Autism Center in Daphne going and we were talking earlier and that should be opening fairly soon, so by the time this podcast has actually heard it will have had it's grand opening. Hat tip to you sir for pushing through and getting that going, but tell us a little bit about how that effort came about and what was involved, and some of the things that have been going on with that.
Kevin: Absolutely. Well, as I said earlier my mother had a background as nurse at USA Hospital in Mobile. She's an excellent nurse and her career kind of took a transition many years ago to taking care kids with bleeding disorders. Many years ago, she started a company called HemoCare Plus which is Specialty Pharmacy that treats kids with bleeding disorders in Alabama. I grew up with a lot of these kids and fell in love with what her company stood for and the quality of life that her company was able to give their patients and their families. I was always around with all their functions and hanging out with these kids, so I had a passion there but not necessarily as a business, if that makes sense. I got started and my business had been more marketing and personal development and processes those types of things. Her business didn't have any of that. Ironically, many years ago, I decided to really help her with operations and with marketing. We re-branded her company, but during this period my nephew was born. He became autistic and my mother and I because I had a business and she had a business and she had a passion for nursing. I had a passion for my nephew and for these patients that she have with Specialty Pharmacy. We decided to go across the country and start researching autism.
Kevin: We flew all over the country, from Chicago to Los Angeles, California to Atlanta, Georgia to Houston, Texas. We've been all over and really figured out a lot of different things about autism and taking the world's best therapies and things for these children with special needs. Decided, man, it would be really nice if there was an actual one place you could take your child to get all these therapies under one roof. What we created at that point was an idea. We just thought that we've just had to do it that was the idea for the American Autism and Rehabilitation Center. The company's got 12 divisions. There are businesses out there that do every piece of what we do but not under one roof. That's when we decided to bring that where you could have one resource to take your child literally drop them off to the therapies and stuff that they need and pick them up. And have it done in one location conveniently.
Marcus: No. It's really cool because I know when we spoke of this before it was the integrated solution where all the different folks that are providing care know what is going on so they can work together better versus the siloed approach that's been done in the past.
Kevin: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Marcus: That's getting ready to launch with, when do you suspect that would be?
Kevin: We suspect that we'll have our soft opening on April 27th, which is later on this month. Then next month we should have our grand opening.
Marcus: Very good. What are some of the therapies that you're going to be offering as a part of that?
Kevin: ABA therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. We have nurses and doctors. It's a whole -- really a whole world of...
Marcus: Point A to point Z.
Kevin: Right. We currently have about 30 employees, full time. We have several that are part time. Our medical doctors will start in the summer. They won't be opening with us in the grand opening.
Kevin: We're rolling into each division. I guess you would say when we launch, but it's a whole like I've said a whole community of everything that these kids need from diagnosing, we have a diagnostician, to nutrition to nursing to any type of supplements that they may need, to just the regular therapy, ABA, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy. Basically, everything that they would need under one roof is our goal. The second thing we wanted to do is we really want to partner with other people in the community that do resource -- that have resources that we won't be using at the center, so we wanted to be educated about it so people can come. One of the things we're not doing, for example, is getting kids or getting the older patients prepared for the workforce.
Kevin: But there are organizations that do that here in Baldwin County. We want to lock arms with them so we know about these resources. If someone comes and says "Hey, can you guys help with X, Y, or Z?" If it's not something we do at the center we can refer them to somebody that does in Baldwin County.
Marcus: Yeah, it's really cool. Now, I know you have similar focus on self-improvement and that as part of that you do a lot of motivational speaking. You've mentioned just a minute ago that you were in Indianapolis speaking for the was it the basketball...?
Kevin: The National Association of Basketball Coaches.
Marcus: Yeah, very cool. I've have to say i'm a bit envious of your experiences there. Now, how did you even -- how does -- how did you even get started going down that path? Tell us a little bit about that.
Kevin: Well, I've got involved with a company, the first business I ever got started with was a big corporation by the name of Legal Shield. I started a marketing organization with them and once we became successful they start to ask me to do trainings. I did trainings specific to that corporation; their strategies, their products, and their services. But many, many people in the audience that had partnered with Legal Shield that I was talking to owned other traditional businesses.
Kevin: Once they saw me speaking about systems or speaking about processes or sales or motivation. The different things that I was speaking about, they said "Hey, can you bring that to our company?" That was really the big start, was just having some exposure and being passionate about what I did. Certain people like my style and asked me to speak about different topics that their corporations or their businesses or their organizations or their school system or whatever it maybe. It literally ran into a point to where I started a new business which I call Kevin Mohler Unlimited, which is my personal development coaching, consulting, and public speaking company. Which now, I'm not doing as much traveling and speaking all over the country because of what we're doing at the Autism Center but it's certainly something that I still and very very busy doing when my schedule allows for it.
Marcus: Yeah. It's been really cool to see some of your travels and the thing that you've been able to do there. It fascinates me because I am very much interested in that whole -- the whole realm of continuing and focus on improving and educating oneself, especially as somebody that runs a business I think it's extremely important, because if you don't then your business isn't get any better because your business is really limited by what you're capable of thinking or doing.
Kevin: Well, your business is a direct reflection of you. I believe that either you're getting ripe or you're getting rotten.
Kevin: It's constant never ending improvement.
Marcus: That's awesome. You're either getting ripe or you're getting rotten.
Kevin: Yeah. There is no in between. I believe that we should all strive to get better in every area of our life daily.
Kevin: It's a daily journey.
Marcus: Focused and very driven. Obviously, the Autism Center has been a big push for you. Take that for instance, what have you been focusing on lately to build that business? Is there an area that you're putting a lot of effort into? Or you can use one of the other businesses if you'd like.
Kevin: Certainly. Well, right now the Autism Center, it's a very simple business, but it has so many complex moving parts that most of my time is spent putting pieces together to make it a well oiled machine. The biggest thing I've done as far as growing or obviously we haven't launched yet but the biggest thing is just awareness. Right now 1 to 12 boys have autism. Almost everybody knows somebody that has either themselves or has somebody in the family that's affected with autism.
Marcus: When you say that, are you saying that they're on the spectrum because...
Marcus: ...I know with -- okay. Because there's -- for those of you that maybe listening that aren't familiar there's a spectrum and you can be either Asperger's, which is lower on the end of the spectrum, or autistic which is much further down the line. One and twelve applies to anybody that's on that spectrum.
Kevin: It's something that everybody knows somebody that's affected by it, just about.
Kevin: They think for us it's just getting the word out. I've had this featured already in Eastern Shore Magazine and Lagniappe in Mobile. Just let them know that what we're doing, what we stand for, what our Center stands for because it's so much more than just a business.
Kevin: To help kids and their families is just something worth passionate about. We're just getting the word out our Center. Different media outlets has been; the Chamber of Commerce and networking groups and magazine features that we've been featured in and will be featured in. We also have the Autism Walk that's coming up on April 25th which is Saturday. We're sponsoring that. We had sponsored the Mayor's Prayer Breakfast last year. A lot of things we partner with in the community to just kind of get the word out...
Kevin: Yeah. Exactly.
Marcus: No, that's fine. If there's anything that we can do to help further that hopefully we'll be launch here shortly and we'd love to promote what you're doing because I really enjoyed hearing about your efforts there. As the business owner, what's the one most important thing that you've learned and you can limit that to last three to six months? Or if you can remember something further back than that and you -- that you'd want to share then that'd be fine too.
Kevin: Well, most important thing that I've learned is that really how to work with people. When you create a company, your employees are people. They need to a successful work environment that they're happy to be a part of, not dreading. Your customers are coming to a company that probably there's competition with your company. You want to make sure that customers like doing business with you, that they want to do business with you, and they wanna refer people to you. All of that is people skills and if you really think about it every business operates with people. They've operate with employees and they operate with customers which are people. If you can master working with people you can build a phenomenal company. For prime example, this morning we had to gather all of our employees together for policy and procedure training. It's boring stuff that needs to be done, but we ended it with the personal development segment. About what it takes to build a successful company, and what it takes for all of us to bring our strengths out instead of our weaknesses. I believe that working with people is everything. Some of the things that I do and encourage with our teams our personal development big time is Drive Time University, I love music, I think most people do but not every moment of me being in my car is listening to music. I'm listening the personal development CD's. Making me better. Making me think different. Maybe it's marketing ideas, running successful teams or leadership or something spiritual. Something that makes me better. I attend a lot of seminars - that helps - I study what other companies are doing that are not related to my field. Think a lot of people study their own industry. Flower shops will study another flower shop to see what they need to do for marketing or they may learn more from an insurance company.
Kevin: I study what other companies are doing. I'm a reading fanatic. I hate to read, but I like what I get from it. I have a library at my house where I read at least 10 pages of a good book everyday. That's my goal. Sometimes it's more than that if I'm on an airplane or something but usually I've tried to get at least 10. Seminars, CD's, all that kind of stuff, and really what it boils down to is helping you work with other people and it's helping you work with yourself. Because it's not the enemy that's the problem it's the inner me.
Kevin: I feel like a lot of times I get in my own way and the only way for me to limit that is to get better.
Marcus: I love your comment about Drive Time University. That's a really -- it's very valuable -- it's one of the things that I actually missed. The only thing I missed from my commute that I used to have in Washington DC...
Marcus: ...is the time that I lose because my office is only five minutes away from my house here and so, but in that commute I used to be able to listen to a lot of that stuff. I know that it was extremely powerful and changing my perspective in my life. You've mentioned books just a minute ago that you have a library. What are maybe the top two or three books that have influenced you or that have a powerful influence on your life.
Kevin: "E-myth Revisited."
Marcus: Love it.
Kevin: It's a book about systems. No matter what business you're a part of you need to have systems if you want freedom. If want to be able to walk away from the business and the business still grow as to serve people and fulfill your purpose and make a difference. You got to have systems so "E-myth" is about systems. Another one that I love is "Traction" by Gino Wickman. "Traction" is a lot like "E-myth" but it's more of like brick and more to business, but it's about systems. Like processes for meetings and that kind of stuff and it's phenomenal. Another one which is my one of my all time favorites is a book called "Influence" by Robert Cialdini. "Influence" as my understanding as it was told to me that that book was a mandatory reading in over 85% of college schools for psychology in the field of psychology.
Kevin: I'm not sure that's to be true. I don't have the same documentation on that, but it wouldn't surprise me because it's an amazing book on how people think and how people work and just the human nature. That book was very instrumental.
Marcus: Which tie goes back to the idea of working with people and understanding not necessarily how to manipulate people but what -- how to behave and how to be the good manager and be the good business owner and be the good customer service and stuff like that. Understanding people's behaviors integral to that.
Kevin: Well, "Influence" is, not just the book, but "Influence" in general is a touchy subject because Gandhi and Hitler both used it. You can use it for good. You can use it for bad. But if you use for positive persuasion to help people that book is incredible. You can really use it to -- if you are a pastor and you want to just incredibly impact your congregation it's great book to read. If you're an insurance person that really wants to help people make the best financial decisions protect their household or their family. It's a great book to read. If you're running a non-profit, it's great book to read. If you're just want to be successful in business and want to influence customers in a positive way and your staff and people around you in the community, it's a great book to read.
Marcus: It's interesting. I have to look that up. Any other resources that you've found helpful? Blogs that you frequent -- video courses, seminars that you've gone to that have been excellent, anything?
Kevin: Absolutely. James Malinchak M-A-L-I-N-C-H-A-K, James Malinchak. He was featured on ABC’s “Secret Millionaire”, the hit TV show, he’s one of my great friends. In Vegas, he runs a boot camp a couple times a year and it's on marketing and he's actually on speaking. He's one of the highest paid speaking trainers in the world. To teach people how to monetize their mission and their purpose in life. That seminar -- I've been to the same seminar for James, I think six times.
Kevin: It's a same one. It's been...
Marcus: But yet, it's different every time.
Kevin: It's different every time. There were these four solid days.
Marcus: Go and attend the same thing but depending on where you're at...
Marcus: ...and the problems that you're dealing with, absolutely changes.
Kevin: Absolutely. That and then Brendon Burchard. He's a New York Times best selling author. He's incredible. He has a high performance academy. That was pretty cool. That was a really great seminar. Like I said I'm a personal development nut so there's a lot of resources that have impacted me, but that boot camp by James is one of the most impactful ones that I could say.
Marcus: Very cool. Very cool. In switching gears just a little bit, you like to travel and I know you're big into cars but what do you like to do with your free time? Do you have any hobbies?
Kevin: Oh, man. If you...
Marcus: I can ask you about business all day long and you'd be rattling off answers...
Marcus: I guess it's nothing but the minute I ask you about hobbies...
Kevin: If you're to follow me around for a week you'll think I have multiple personality disorder because you don't know what songs I'm going to listen in the car. You don't know what clothes I'm going to drive. Don't know what car I'm going to get in it's different all the time. Same things with hobbies, my wife and I are scuba diving certified we love to scuba dive.
Kevin: Locally and across the country and outside the country. We like to rock climb. We've taken helicopters to tops of mountains in Canada and gone rock climbing.
Kevin: I love to fish, offshore, for sure so we like to take the boat out and go catch fish. We're going skydiving on May 3rd. We like to skydive. Well, I say that, but it will be Julie's first time and it'll be just my second but I enjoy it.
Marcus: Right, yeah.
Kevin: Firearms, I'm a big firearms nut.
Kevin: I like to workout usually four to five days a week. There's all kind of stuff I do. We love movies. Julie and I go to see movies like crazy.
Marcus: That's cool.
Kevin: And restaurants, we try to visit any new restaurant we’ve never been to. We want to go there see what it's like at least once.
Kevin: I'm sure I could think of a couple of other ones. Well, I'm also tech-y freak. I love gadgets and electronics and things that can help me whenever I can't help myself. The things to help stay on reminders with tasks and systems and business that kind of stuff and reading.
Marcus: It's cool.
Kevin: Some are at the top of my head.
Marcus: The passion for life is very evident...
Kevin: And motorcycles, I have to mentioned that.
Marcus: Yeah. Well, maybe not so much a passion for life there. You mentioned just a minute ago that you go to the gym four to five times a week. What does the average day look like for you? You wake up at X time. You do X first, then go and do Y. You have a lot of different balls in the air, but is there any pattern in your days or there any rituals that you used to get started and motivated?
Kevin: There's a goal which is usually up at seven. I have a routine in the morning from drinking of cold cup of water first thing in the morning to get things going and get some coffee. I sit down I read at least a chapter or two of the Bible. I usually read 10 pages of personal development book. Then I re-prioritize, because people talk about priorities all the time, but for so many irons in the fire, when you talk about that I have. I feel like I need to prioritize in the morning and then I have to re-prioritize throughout the day. To make sure I'm working with the most important things that are most urgent and that changes constantly. The gym, I try to fit the gym in sometime between first thing in the morning after I've done reading, to last thing before I got to bed, ironically. I just try to fit that in, but I tell you one things that I do that's very important to me is: number one, time with my wife. I prioritize that. I believe that a healthy marriage is prerequisite before a healthy business.
Kevin: If I get that out of order it's not good. I also prioritize time with God. For me, spiritual part is a big part of my faith. If I got time to make appointments I need to have time with him.
Kevin: And prioritized that. Those are things that go on my schedule no matter what and same thing with health. That's very important to me. Like I said at least four days a week. I'm trying to go to the gym. Trying to eat right throughout the week to give my body energy in the things that I need to run right and everything else I fill in the cracks with business or fun.
Marcus: Right. You got the foundation in everything else is the glue that holds, and not hold it together, because that's the wrong way of looking at it.That fills in the crack like you mentioned...
Kevin: Because I've got a party system more than I do a system each day.
Kevin: I'm going to get those things done no matter what. That's my daily mentality, but some days I'm up a lot earlier than others. Some days I read before I go to bed versus first thing in the morning. Everyday is totally different but those priorities are so important to me that it's mandatory for me to those done.
Marcus: Yeah, it's really cool. Alright. Tell us a little bit about where people can find you. You've got a couple of different businesses, so if you want to rattle of the contact information for some of those that would be great.
Kevin: Absolutely. With Autism Center it's the American Autism and Rehabilitation Center. You can find our Facebook page. You can also go to KevinMohlerUnlimited.com - that 's my public speaking consulting stuff but it’s also got my -- a link to my Facebook page on there. I'm on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, you name it.
Marcus: All over.
Kevin: Yeah, all of them you can think of.
Marcus: Very cool. I want to thank you again for coming on the podcast. To wrap up is there any other final thoughts or comments you'd like to share?
Kevin: Well, I can't wait to listen this along with a lot of other people. This going to be my go to podcast, to listen about what's going on in Alabama.
Kevin: Great place that we live. A lot of awesome people here and I can't wait to learn from that and I appreciate your time, and I appreciate you having me for sure.
Marcus: Well, again I appreciate your willingness to sit with me and share your journey as a businessman and an entrepreneur. It was great talking to you.
Kevin: Thanks for having me.