Carl Guidice was born in Baltimore, Maryland and grew up in Northern Virginia, although much of his youth was spent in Washington. As an epicenter of business, politics, and education, Carl attributes his passion for business to his time spent in D.C with his father.
Carl graduated from Chantilly High School and completed his post-secondary education at the University of Virginia, where he earned a bachelor of arts in economics. After obtaining a degree in finance, he began his career as a financial analyst. However, with a passion for business he soon transitioned to entrepreneurship.
Carl has served in executive positions for various high-performing companies including the Professional Employee Organization (PEO) – an outsourced payroll company for small and medium-sized businesses with a focus on benefits, 401Ks, and worker’s compensation.
Carl Guidice and his wife are currently situated in a community of luxurious homes in the Walt Disney theme park. As adventurous individuals they enjoy staying active and traveling the world together.
Can you share a little about the early days of your company?
The early days of the company were quite difficult. I couldn’t afford staff at the time, so I was out cleaning up the parking lot and wiping down the bathrooms while also running the company and handling all of the legal aspects. As we grew and I was able to hire more talent, I was able to focus more. I could see what was going on overall and look at the big picture instead of just trying to get through the day.
How have you achieved success?
I would not ask my employees to do anything I wasn’t going to do. I’ve been very casual, and I don’t stay in my ivory tower. That has kept me a very loyal following. I’ve bought and sold multiple companies and my team follows me wherever I decide to go because I treated them right.
What obstacles have you overcome in the process?
A lot. Quite often, I’ll get in businesses or lines of business that I have no experience in whatsoever, and I just jump in with both feet and sink or swim. I can remember many nights spent staying up late reading books on how to do certain things. There are multiple times when I was thrown into a situation with no knowledge, but I dug in and wasn’t afraid to figure it out.
What drives you to succeed?
I think it’s not quite a drive, but more of a love. Like the adage says, ‘if you love what you do then you never work a day in your life’. I genuinely loved what I did, and I think that makes all the difference. One of the ways I’ve structured my companies in the past is trying to get equity to as many people as possible. I want to have owners, not employees, because owners think differently when they go into work. An employee just wants to get through the day and go home, but an owner won’t go until everything has been done. I think I’ve always had the mindset of being an owner, so I take pride in what I do and I enjoy it.
How has your definition of success changed over the years?
Like everyone else, I wanted the brass ring. I thought ultimately, having a liquidity event, selling my company, and getting a big pay day was what it was all about. When I sold my first company and the deal closed, I called my wife and asked if she felt different and she said no. I didn’t feel any different either. It was a big letdown to have the thing I was chasing feel wrong. I had to reflect on it a little bit and I realized that the success was the journey, the camaraderie with my employees, the late nights on my knees praying that my company would survive the recession. What I’m doing now is something I’m doing because I enjoy it. Success isn’t about how much money you have in the bank, it’s about development and camaraderie.
What has success meant to you?
Success is seeing my people develop and come to my office with answers instead of problems. It’s very encouraging to see people that you spent time and energy with over the years surpass you in some ways.
Do you have advice for others on how to be successful?
You’ve got to find your niche. What makes me successful isn’t necessarily going to be the same formula that makes you successful, so doing what you love is going to be the driver. You also have to understand that success doesn’t come easily most of the time. Success comes from failure, so sometimes you’ve got to make mistakes. Part of it is getting back up, dusting yourself off, realizing something didn’t work, and trying something different. Success is persistence and believing in yourself enough to push past the people telling you that you can’t do something or that it won’t work out.
How do you feel success affects a person’s outlook?
It depends on how you gain that success. I’ve known people who are successful and they never really have to try. It comes naturally to them. I don’t think that’s as valuable as somebody that has success through hard knocks. I used to drive by a billboard that said, “Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment.” Basically, it was saying that you have to make mistakes to gain good judgment. One of the things that happens in success is once you figure it out, you’re able to leverage your success with other people. They believe that because you’ve been successful in the past, you’ll be successful now. So success breeds success.
Website — https://www.carl-guidice.com/