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Ep. 260 – Lucas Root “The biggest reason that businesses fail is that the founder didn’t have enough money to pay their own bills”

Lucas Root Headshot

For over 17 years, Lucas Root led numerous teams on Wall Street. After establishing a consistent track record of success, Lucas started his own consulting business.

Lucas works with strong brands with a well-funded great idea, who doesn’t quite know how to execute.

Since early 2019, Lucas has had the wonderful opportunity to speak to numerous audiences in North America, Australia, and Europe, as well as partner with both businesses and VCs for mentoring.


Most passionate about

  • I launched my consulting company and was really focused on the thing that I got paid for on Wall Street.
  • On Wall Street I was hired to execute the strategies they would come up with and to give them constructive feedback.
  • I’ve partnered with the NCN university, which has one of the largest MBA programs in the world. They strongly encourage their MBA students to start a business while they’re going through the MBA program so that they can test out the things they’re learning in the program real-time, live, in their own business. They support them with this program called The Launchpad.
  • Three years ago, I decided, for better or worse, “I’m doing good things here.” So, I started focusing on women entrepreneurs.
  • I found that there are significant barriers to success for women. I wasn’t happy with that.

Lucas’s career and story

  • I was on Wall Street for 17 years doing mergers and acquisitions.
  • I always had a side project. My first two side hustles were real estate businesses and they were great.
  • My third side hustle was a food blog where I wrote about recipes and food. I shared my passion with the world and it was wildly successful.
  • Once I was satisfied that I knew how to create a marketplace and have people get excited to show up and have that conversation with me, I decided it was time for the next thing, not a side hustle. So, I left Wall Street.

Best advice for entrepreneurs

  • To be a successful business owner, you must be able to create a conversation with a marketplace and have people excited to show up and have that conversation with you at its very core. That’s what it is to be a business.
  • Get started. Go out, start your idea, bring it to the market. Find a team that believes in you and supports you, and just start doing something. Don’t get stuck trying to create some version of perfection just to get started.
  • The biggest reason that businesses fail is not the thing you see in the newspapers. The newspapers are lying to you. The magazines are lying to you. The entrepreneurship books that you’re buying from Barnes & Noble are lying to you. The biggest reason that businesses fail is that the founder didn’t have enough money to pay their own bills, their rent, their food, their cell phone. The founder didn’t have enough money to pay their own bills for at least two years when they started.
  • What can be done about that? Make sure, number one, that you have a plan in place to have your bills paid. Let’s be honest: Your business is probably not going to be ready to pay your bills for you in the first two years.

The biggest, most critical failure with customers

  • One of my first businesses was a real estate business, as I mentioned. It was amazing. I had a really cool idea. I was a really smart analyst. I found a market where I could invest a certain amount of money and that money would turn into a profitable opportunity very quickly. This doesn’t always exist. However, I made two big mistakes with that business.
  • Number one, I went in from an analyst perspective and didn’t learn my lesson from this business. I went in because of the profit potential, not because of my passion for the business, not because it was something I loved.
  • Number two, since it was a business that I didn’t love, I didn’t want to be in it. I didn’t want to be in the details. I didn’t want to be elbow deep in everything going on in that business. So, I hired a manager early because I just didn’t want to be involved in the details. That manager understood what I was doing. He recognized it and saw an opportunity. His opportunity was: “If I’m not paying close attention, he can steal from me.” And he did. He stole from me and it didn’t matter.

Biggest success with customers

  • Landing the Pokémon company as my client is my greatest success. They’re still my largest client. They’ve been with me the longest.
  • I was re-engineering myself to understand what is valuable, what brings value to the world, and what things I was just carrying along that are not valuable, that are maybe even negative. I was having honest conversations with myself about that. It wasn’t just about my job or my passion or my skills; it was also about my entrepreneurship, the businesses that I had built, and the way that I had built. That’s what I bring to entrepreneurs when I work with them as a mentor.


Lucas’s Mountain

Since we believe that the best way for entrepreneurs to get fast, big, and sustainable success is by leading your (new) market category, and the entire entrepreneurial journey reminds me of mountaineering, I want to ask you: Is there a mountain you dream of climbing or a mountain you have already climbed?

  • In a very real and physical sense, my wife and I have an internal dialogue every two or three months. We’ve been together for 15 years, so we know each other very well. It’s not about her; it’s 100 percent about me. She’ll say, “You know what? It’s been three months. It’s time for you to go climb a mountain.” And this is true.
  • This is what I need. I need to go out into nature. I need to climb a mountain. I need to find someplace where I can be 100 percent alone, the only human for miles, and do it for days—just be with nature and return to the ground, return to the mountain, return to the elements.
  • This is part of how I keep myself connected to the earth, connected to where we come from and what makes it possible for us to be us.
Climbing mountains peek after peek - illustration

Connecting to the earth – illustration


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