Ep 259: The Reality Of Financing Business Acquisitions Online & Offline [M&A Talk] with Bakari Akil

Whether online or offline, business acquisition can be a complex and challenging process. So, how can you navigate through this journey without all the headaches?

Joining the BOB podcast today is none other than Bakari Akil, who will share his insights on successful acquisitions. 

Bakari is the founder of Graves Hall Capital, a company focused on acquiring other businesses. In 2023, he acquired a $35 million burlap bag manufacturing company in partnership with Granite Creek Partners, LLC, where he recruited the company’s CEO and serves on the board of directors.

In 2021, he executed the acquisition of a $25 million educational technology company with Iron Creek Partners, LLC. Prior to this, Bakari held various positions, including Director of Corporate Development for an Engineering Software company, Head of Mergers & Acquisitions for an Artificial Intelligence company, and Director at a Technology-focused Private Equity firm. In these roles, he was responsible for sourcing, evaluating, and executing multi-million dollar acquisitions.

Jaryd and Bakari discuss buying businesses. What sort of businesses does Bakari like to buy and why? How does he find them? What size businesses does he like to buy?

They also talk about the two mistakes Bakari has made when acquiring a business. 

Lastly, Bakari shared his piece of advice with someone who is looking to start buying businesses.

Learn more about financing business acquisitions and turn your dream business into reality! Tune in to this episode today.

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Episode Highlights

03:28 From 24-year-old broke to wealth-building expert

15:47 The real value in business acquisitions beyond time

26:22 From $900K acquisition to $2M revenue  

33:50 From buying businesses to globetrotting the world – Living the dream!

37:10 Why does Bakari share his story?

Courses & Training

Courses & Training

Key Takeaways

➥ Bakari’s journey into buying businesses began when he was 24 years old, driven by a desire to build wealth. He explored various wealth-building strategies, such as real estate, stocks, bonds, and entrepreneurship. In his view, acquiring an existing company with a proven track record of revenue, profits, and a loyal customer base is the least risky option.

Bakari highlights the importance of learning from failures, stating that the successful acquisition taught him more after overcoming doubts about the feasibility of his approach.

Bakari cautions against perceiving business acquisitions as quick paths to wealth, emphasizing the need for patience and the reality of a lengthy process. The timeframe for completing a business acquisition is realistically projected to be around 18 months from the decision to pursue it.

About The Guest

Bakari founded Graves Hall Capital to acquire companies.

In 2023, he acquired a $35M burlap bag manufacturing company with Granite Creek Partners, LLC, where he recruited the company’s CEO and sits on the board of directors. In 2021, he executed the acquisition of a $25M educational technology company with Iron Creek Partners, LLC.

Bakari previously served as:

Director of Corporate Development for an Engineering Software company;

Head of Mergers & Acquisitions for an Artificial Intelligence company;

Director at a Technology-focused Private Equity firm

In each role, Bakari was responsible for sourcing, evaluating, and executing multi-million dollar acquisitions. Bakari is also a visiting lecturer at Cornell’s Graduate School of Management, where he teaches MBA candidates how to buy businesses.

Connect with Bakari Akil


Jaryd Krause:

Buying a business with no money down can be done, but the reality is that it will likely cost you more than what you're probably bargaining for. Hi, I'm Jaryd Krause. I'm the host of the Buying Online Businesses Podcast. And today I'm speaking with Bakari, who founded Graves Hall Capital to acquire companies.

In 2023, he acquired a $35 million burlap bag manufacturing company with Granite Creek Partners, LLC, and he now sits on the board for that company of directors. And in 2021, he also executed a $25 million educational technology company acquisition with Iron Creek Partners, LLC.

Bakari previously served as director of corporate development for an engineering software company, head of mergers and acquisitions for an artificial intelligence company, and director of a technology-focused private equity firm. And in each role, Bakari was responsible for sourcing, evaluating, and executing multimillion-dollar business acquisitions.

Bakari is also a visiting lecturer at Cornell's Graduate School of Management, where he teaches MBA candidates how to buy businesses, which we talk about in the podcast episode, where he teaches people to buy offline businesses. He has also bought an online business from Flippa.

We talk about that acquisition being his first ever acquisition as well. But throughout the podcast episode, we also unravel a lot more of Bakari's story, including how he started living in an unstable environment and how he went from having no money to teaching people how to buy businesses. And it's quite an inspiring success story.

We also talk about how he finds these businesses and a big portion of the talk was about how he finances them with a stern word of warning for anyone wanting to finance a business, which is really important, which we're going to talk about in the pod. We also talk about how to buy a business with management or without management.

Of course, these are mostly offline businesses, but there's so much we can learn and move into the online acquisition space as well. I also go on my high horse again and talk about why we shouldn't be counting time as an input and comparing ourselves to others' successes and what we should actually be doing to set ourselves up for success on our first acquisition.

And then we talk a little bit about our lifestyles. Bakari's traveling at the moment. I'm living in a different country than the one I was born in. I've lived in a bunch of different countries, and I share how many countries I've traveled to, what my life has looked like a little bit, what Bakari's life looks like and how you can have a similar life by acquiring businesses.

And there's so much value in this pod. Before we get started, though, this is not the only way I can help you for free on this podcast. We're talking about buying businesses here. If you don't have my due diligence framework, make sure you go to my website, buyingonlinebusinesses.com/freeresources and get my due diligence framework that I and my clients have used. It's helped them buy great businesses and prevented them from buying bad businesses. So don't buy a lemon; get the tool. Let's dive in.

Do you have a website you might want to sell either now or in the future? We have a hungry list of cashed up and trained up buyers that want to buy your content website. If you have a site making over $300 per month and want to sell it, head to buyingonlinebusinesses.co/sellyourbusiness. Or email us at [email protected], because we will likely have a buyer. The details are in the description.

Bakari, hello, and welcome to the podcast. Am I pronouncing your name correctly?

Bakari Akil:

You said it perfectly.

Jaryd Krause:

Awesome. So you've bought businesses before, and you do buy businesses. Well, how did you get started buying businesses and why? What was even the drive for this?

Bakari Akil:

Sure. So my background is pretty straightforward—or not really straightforward, I should say. It's actually a little bit unique. Let's see. So I'm the founder of Graves Hall Capital, which is a private equity firm I founded to buy companies.

So far, I've completed a few deals. Earlier this year, I purchased a burlap bag manufacturing company in partnership with a private equity firm. The year before that, I completed an acquisition of an educational technology company, which I did in partnership with a family office.

Separate from that, I teach MBA candidates at Cornell's Business School how to buy companies. And separate from that, I've been working as either director of corporate development or head of M&A for large technology companies, completing acquisitions on their behalf.

And so I've been an acquirer both as a principal and as a corporate acquirer and I also do a lot of teaching to try to convince folks who might not see this as an option or an available place to pursue that this is actually an option that's worth considering.

And so, separate from that, how I sort of got into this world was when I was 24, 25, and I was trying to figure out how to get rich. That's really the beginning of my journey.

Jaryd Krause:

24-year-old, the whole process?

Bakari Akil:

Yeah. It was very simple. I was very poor, and I was trying not to be poor anymore. And I was looking into different sorts of wealth building strategies, looking at real estate, looking at stocks and looking at bonds. I looked at just straight entrepreneurship through the starting of a brand-new company. And I didn't find anything that was as compelling as an option.

And from my perspective, the least amount of direct risk is acquiring an existing, established company with years, if not decades, of verifiable revenue and profits, generally speaking with a staff that's long and tenured and a customer base that is loyal to not just the ownership and management of the company but to the products or services that the company provides.

And so for me, that was just the most correct, safest and most direct option for wealth building based on everything I had learned up to that point. And so I started trying to investigate how to actually do this work. And I started just sort of watching YouTube videos and reading as many books as I could on the subject.

I was 24 or 25 back in 2015. And there really wasn't a lot of information about the sort of leverage buyout world other than trying to learn how KKR does deals, which was not as directly relevant to me as an individual buyer.

And so ultimately, I came across this man named Tim Bovard, who was teaching a subject to MBA candidates. And I started to notice that it was really all concentrated at two MBA programs, Harvard and Stanford, where they were actually teaching individuals how to buy an existing business.

And so Tim Bovard had just started teaching this course at Columbia Business School. I wasn't a student at Columbia Business School, but I lived in Harlem, which was right down the street from Columbia Business School. And so I just sort of snuck in at the back of the class and started learning how this world works and how to actually go out and do this.

And so from sitting and sneaking in the back of the class and learning how to do this, now I've done a decent amount of acquisitions and I've worked in this space. And now I actually teach the same class that I was sort of sneaking into several years ago. And so, yeah, that's sort of the beginning all the way to where I am today.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, cool. Congrats. So, did you try stocks or anything like that? Or real estate or anything?

Bakari Akil:

Yeah, I mean, not as a wealth building activity. I would say that once I started to make real significant amounts of money, I started investing my money sort of the standard way that you should, which is through index funds and making sure that you're applying your 401k.

If you grab any personal finance book, like Ramit Sethi's book, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, or any other ones, I'm doing all the things that you're supposed to do now. But at the time, I just felt like I didn't have a really big enough capital base to actually accelerate.

I feel like a lot of wealth building personal finance things are about how to make sure that when you retire, you have like a million dollars or more to be able to live on during retirement.

And while I thought that was admirable, I didn't think that that was the lifestyle that I was hoping to live. I wanted to have access to a large amount of capital or a large amount of disposable income at a much younger age than by waiting until I was 70 or 60. And so I knew that meant that I had to do something a bit more entrepreneurial.

And so, of course, that sort of brings you to real estate because that's sort of the standard place where a lot of people are, like, they'll buy a house and flip it and buy a house and flip it. And I wanted to do that.

But when I started looking into the knowledge place, because I didn't have any knowledge at the time, a lot of the people who were teaching how to do real estate were very sheisty, in my opinion. And it was like a sort of weird “Pay me $30,000 and I'll teach you how to flip a house.

And if you don't flip a house, even though you paid me my $30,000, I'm not giving you back your $30,000. The reason it didn't work is because of you. You didn't do the work. And so therefore, you didn't get it.”

Jaryd Krause:

It’s the same strategy, actually. There are so many people teaching the education of real estate. We call it property in Australia. And I do invest in property. I love property. I'm buying another property right now. And you're right. I guess it's the same; it's definitely the same with the make-money-online space.

I know for a fact. Because a lot of people, when they have a call with me or they start to work with us, they're like, “Oh, okay, this isn't actually a scam. This is a real person who actually is accountable and cares about people and gets people results.” So I totally get that.

And, yeah, your story is really cool. I'm very excited for you. You should be proud of yourself.

Bakari Akil:

Thank you.

Jaryd Krause:

You should be thrilled with going from sneaking into the back of a class to teaching. It's a really cool hero's journey story. What was the first business that you bought?

Bakari Akil:

So separate from the work that I do as a corporate acquirer, where I've acquired several businesses on behalf of an artificial intelligence company that I was working with, and also most recently where I was director of corporate development for an engineering software business and did deals for them, in my personal world, the first really big acquisition I did and completed was the acquisition of the educational technology business that I did in partnership with the family office.

That one came after years of—it's always so interesting to me to sort of start my journey from that acquisition when for four or five years, it was just knocking on the door, trying to complete like a really good deal and getting really close to the edge and watching deals fall apart. While I'm happy with the first one I did, I learned a lot more from the ones that failed.

And in fact, when I ultimately completed the first one, I was actually at a place where I was thinking, you know what? Maybe I'm not going to be able to do this. Maybe everybody's right. You're supposed to go to Harvard and Stanford and that's the only way that you're able to buy a company.

I was really at that place. And so when I continued to pursue, I was in this really sort of sad, dark, and despairing part of my life, but I started pushing through it and it ultimately ended up being completed.

And then, funny enough, just sort of by sheer will and—what's the right word, I'm trying to think—providence, within a year, the next one completed, which is the acquisition of the burlap bag manufacturing business. And so, yeah, it's like once things started rolling, then things started really rolling.

And so now, I'm pursuing a new acquisition. I can't talk about that one publicly, but that one looks like it has a lot of legs on it. It may complete and keep a pipeline active for the whole nine on the personal side.

And so, yeah, I'm excited that things have started to turn around, but there was a long journey. I'm always trying to inspire people to do this work, but I also try to temper them with the idea that it isn’t going to be some quick thing. I started really pursuing this in 2016. And it took years before a full acquisition was able to happen.

That said, I had unique challenges in my personal life. I was very, very poor. I did not have nearly any money to try to pull this off, as I think there was not a decent amount of money for the down payment and all those types of things. So I was going to have to really come up with a lot of creative financing ways to pull this off and ultimately I was able to.

But I always try to caution people that this is not a get rich quick thing. You're not going to be able to—not be able to, but it's very unlikely that you're going to wake up on January 1 and have a completed acquisition by March 1, right? You have to build a pipeline. You have to visit dozens and dozens and dozens.

I mean, in the private equity world, it's not uncommon to look at a thousand businesses and ultimately make an offer on maybe 20 of them to close one of them over the course of an entire year. And so, as an individual going out and buying companies, I'm always trying to caution people from thinking about this, as this year one isn’t going to be completed more often than not. It's going to take a full 18 months from deciding that you want to get this done to actually being in the chair and owning the business.

Jaryd Krause:

Even so, I'm very glad that you shared that. I agree. A lot of people listen to case studies on our podcast of people who have gone away and bought businesses. And people count time like it's important and it's not important. And hear me out, guys.

And you too, Bakari, if you haven't heard me talk about this. It's important if you make it important. But the reality is, like you say, it could take you 12 months to 18 months to get an acquisition done.

And let's say you look at, I don't know, 300 businesses in that timeframe in, say, 18 months. Now it might take somebody 36 months to look at 300 businesses. And the reality is that what might take somebody 18 months might take somebody two or three years and we shouldn't be counting time. We shouldn't be comparing ourselves to others. The reality is that there are inputs that we need to put in.

And I know from what I hear from you that you put a lot of inputs in to be able to get a result. And I take my hat off to you. And I take my hat off to everybody else—all the students that have done that.

And that's what we kind of need to do. We kind of need to look past other people's success stories like, “I bought a hundred-million-dollar business, and it only took me three months to do.” The reality is, how many other businesses have they purchased before that?

So I'd like to ask you, I'm suggesting or assuming that we're talking about offline businesses here that you have purchased and it's with leverage. It's a very different story with online business games. There is not too much leverage on the lower end. Under a million-dollar acquisition, not really using too much leverage.

For somebody that is buying their first business with leverage and buying an offline business that might be a large acquisition, I could see how much work goes into that to try and make yourself even an attractive buyer. So tell me. Let's talk about the first acquisition. How much was that? If you're open to sharing it, how much leverage did you use? And then what did you do to become an attractive buyer to get to that success in that first acquisition?

Bakari Akil:

Yeah, I mean, so for me, the first step was tying my personal identity to what the seller was looking for. And so if anybody's listening to this podcast, you can go on my website, graveshallcap.com, and get a sense for the way that I frame myself in the mind of a person who's looking to sell a company to me.

And this remains true, which is that when I'm looking for a company, I'm usually talking to the owner about the option to buy their company and run it full-time as CEO, where they get the opportunity to not just exit from the company but also exit from the leadership and management responsibilities that they've had over the course of however long that they've owned and run their company. And there are people who are attracted to the option and a lot of people who are not attracted to the option.

There are private equity firms that sometimes will buy a company from an owner but say to that owner, “We are not managers of businesses. We own businesses, but we don't like to manage them. And so as a result, we want you to stay in the management chair, even though we now own the company and have paid you handsomely for the privilege of owning your business.”

And there are a lot of owners who are very open to that because sometimes they just don't have capital access. And if they could get capital access, it makes a lot more sense for them to sit in that chair alongside a private equity firm.

And then there are other owners who are like, “Listen, I've run this business for 40 years. I am not running this business any longer. I'm looking to leave the chair.” And they may not have the option to hand that business off to their son or daughter who has been raised off of the profits that the business has generated and now works in a corporate job as an, I don't know, attorney, a management consultant, any one of those jobs that pays $200,000 to $300,000 a year and they're living a great life.

They may live in New York City, LA or something like that. And the option to come to Lumberton, North Carolina and run their dad's burlap bag manufacturing company just doesn't seem as appealing to them.

And so dad can’t hand that business off to the next generation. And then, if they were considering maybe handing that business up to somebody in the management team, the managers may not know how to orchestrate and put together the financing to actually complete an acquisition of the size that the seller needs to feel comfortable actually handing off the company.

And so for all those reasons, there are people like me who provide that option. We know how to structure the financing and identify and capture the financing to complete the acquisition. And we also want to sit in a management chair and run those companies full time.

And so those types of people are the people who, usually, when I'm on podcasts, I'm speaking to, and also who I'm speaking to when I'm teaching my class at Cornell. These are not just financial managers but also people who want to run and operate.

And so what happened with the first company was that that was the story that the seller wanted. He wanted to find an option to exit the management chair. How it ultimately ended up playing out was that once we started to pull the capital together, the seller was like, “Hey, actually, this is great capital and great capital access.

Why don't I stay in the management chair and keep running the company now that you put together this financing? ” And so that's ultimately how it played out. So he completed an acquisition and he remains the CEO of the business today.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. Congratulations. That's awesome. It's one thing to purchase a business and have the previous owner stay involved and use their team and management, versus bringing in your own and already having your own. And there's so many different strategies to those different types of acquisitions, both in online acquisition, online business acquisition and offline.

Not that I have experience in offline acquisitions. A lot of people do talk to me, and I do a little bit of advising without charging. It's not my forte. But what did you learn? Let's talk about the financing. How did you finance this one? Because it’s your first acquisition. Did you put any of your own cash into it?

Bakari Akil:


Jaryd Krause:

I'd love to hear.

Bakari Akil:

So, yeah. So on the financing—and again, I'll reference my website. So anyone listening to this who wants to understand sort of how these offline acquisitions happen? When I'm talking with brokers, one of the first two questions that they're asking me is whether or not I'm like a good guy and I'm trustworthy. And that makes sense to actually introduce me to whoever they're representing to sell their company to. But then they'll ask me, “So how are you going to pay for this?”

And on my website, I actually have a tab. I usually say on the call, “Hey, have you been to this website, graveshallcap.com? They'd be like, “Sure.” And they'll go to the website. I'll be saying, “You see the section that says how I'm paying for it.” And right there on the website, I break down the entire financial structure.

And so ultimately, what I'm looking to do when I'm putting together financing is, as you mentioned, I'm going to be using some leverage. And so that's usually through the SBA program. That's usually where I'm going first for capital access.

And so what that means in a practical sense is that I go to the bank, and I say, “Hey, can we use the 7(a) program as a part of completing this acquisition?” Or the bank will say to me, “Listen, we're going to use that as a 7(a) program.”

If anyone here knows the 7(a) program or doesn't know the 7(a) program, that's the government guarantee that the SBA gives to small banks that allows them to finance transactions up to about $5 million. And if you fail at running a company and ultimately default on that loan, the bank can get something like 75%, if not more, of the money that they loaned you.

And so for them, it makes it very close to a risky loan. And so oftentimes, if they want to do a loan like this, they're going to use this program to secure themselves against it, while you're also going to have to put up a personal guarantee. So they're secured with your personal guarantee and the government's guarantee.

The second piece of the financing puzzle for me is usually a seller note. And so I'm asking the seller to hold some portion of the purchase price back. And I think that's an accessible option for online businesses as well. I don't think it always has to be that.

Jaryd Krause:

It doesn’t always have to be.

Bakari Akil:

Yeah, exactly. It doesn't always have to be 100 percent.

Jaryd Krause:

We use SBA and we do use seller notes.

Bakari Akil:

Yeah, perfect.

Jaryd Krause:

For seller financing.

Bakari Akil:

And so that's a similar type of leverage that's available to me as somebody who goes after offline businesses as well. This is not to say I don't look at online businesses. In fact, my very first acquisition that I pursued was an online business. I found it on Flippa, actually.

Jaryd Krause:

Oh, right.

Bakari Akil:

Yeah. This was back in 2016 before the platform split; there was an M&A portion and Flippa was just this very, very small type of thing. But yeah, I came across the company on Flippa. It was a subscription box business for survival gear.

So every month, they would send you a box with knives, matches, flashlights and all those types of things.

The business was making $2 million in revenue. I think it was around $400,000 in annual profits. And I was buying the company for something like $900,000. And so I went to the SBA to get the loan, which I got.

And then I had to raise the rest of the money from investors to complete the acquisition. And so I am still actually interested in online businesses, and I don't have any issue pursuing those.

And then lastly, there's raising equity capital. And so that's the final piece of the puzzle. For me, when I completed the first acquisition, the family office represented most of the equity in that transaction. And then we partnered with a large bank to bring in the majority of the leverage on the acquisition.

So we ultimately didn't need to use the SBA program because the bank that we went with was large enough that they didn't want to actually use that guarantee as part of their process. And so that's how we ended up completing that deal.

Jaryd Krause:

Cool. So tell me about cashing in. Did you put any of your own cash in for any of these deals? If so, what percentage?

Bakari Akil:

So I want to preface what I'm about to say by saying I don't think anybody trying to buy companies should start with this sort of frame of, “I'm not going to have to put up any money.”

Jaryd Krause:

I totally agree. I totally agree. It just makes it so much harder to get an acquisition done without putting skin in the game.

Bakari Akil:

That's true.

Jaryd Krause:

And there's so many people out there that I find who unfortunately sell that you can buy businesses with no money down and it can be done.

Bakari Akil:

That's right.

Jaryd Krause:

And it's a lot trickier to do, especially when you're starting out and you have no runs on the board. You have no experience. You're faking the talk. You haven't yet walked the walk.

Bakari Akil:

That's right.

Jaryd Krause:

So thank you for referencing that. And I wanted to back that up for you as well.

Bakari Akil:

Yeah. I always like to say that I don't think anybody should come into this game thinking, “Let me figure it out.” In fact, there are people who sell books and different things and say, “How to buy a business with zero money down?”

And anybody who's sort of telling you how to do that—what they may not be sharing with you is that you're going to give up something. If it's not going to be money, you're going to give up a lot of time. Because, as you just said, it's very complex and very difficult to pull these things off.

So in my case, I've been able to complete several transactions without having to put up a significant amount of equity capital. Mostly because, at the beginning, I didn't have a lot of equity capital.

That means, though, that I ended up trading a lot of time and also giving up more equity than I probably wanted to in the beginning. And so these are sort of the trade-offs that you'll end up making. So you can complete the acquisition. But there's no free lunch, and nobody's giving away anything for free.

And so for me, not only am I putting together all of the capital to complete the transaction, which is ultimately how I can get away with not putting up that much equity, but I also have to hunt down the business and structure and do the due diligence.

And these are all things that ultimately the investors are paying for when I'm bringing the deal all together. And so that's ultimately why they'll look at it and say, “Hey, you put skin in the game because you've already done so much work to complete this transaction.”

What I didn't do was say to a business owner, “Hey, I'm interested in buying your company.” And the guy says, “Yes.” And then I immediately go run to the other guy and just put those guys together and walk away. If I do that, then there's nothing that's going to happen. Then I'd be lucky to even get a fee.

And so that's the difference between this work and so I would say I would caution anybody from thinking, “Hey, let's get this started without putting up any money.” You're going to have to put up something, even if it's not money. But sometimes it's a lot cheaper to just actually put up the money if you have it.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. And I think you can just get the debt deal done a lot quicker. It's a lot easier with more of your own cash. And it's nice. It gets the deal across the line a lot easier with the seller knowing that the buyer has skin in the game and knowing that they have purchased other businesses before.

Especially for your first one, trying to do that without any of your own skin in the game, as a seller, for me, selling my business—and I think that's where people really need to put themselves as a buyer in the shoes of a seller and ask, “Is this something that they would do if they were selling the business?”

So you can sit on both sides and equally see, is that something you would do? Do you think it's fair? Because that's the goal—to get to somewhere where the seller feels the deal is fair and the buyer feels the deal is fair. And that's when magic happens. That's when you meet in the middle, and you make an acquisition that actually works.

Versus, I've had people come into the online business space and say, “These multiples are no good. I can't believe brokers have these sorts of terms.” And they got really frustrated and angry and just left.

And I thought, “Hang on a second. If you were on the other side, what would you do?” And I asked him that question, and like, “Oh, yeah, cool. I'd probably be similar or a bit harsher.” I'm like, “Well, meet in the middle here.” Because that's where the market is and that's where the value is. All the valuation of a business anyway is where we meet in the middle.

So I wanted to ask around when you purchase a business now; you sort of alluded to it before, but you're not the operations manager. Am I correct?

Bakari Akil:

Yeah. I mean, right now, I'm actually traveling the world. I'm on a world tour. I'm going to live in a different country every month. Yeah. So since July, I've been—in July, I left, so right now, this is November. So in July, I was in South Africa. Then, in August, I was in Greece. In September, I was in Spain. Last month, I was in Turkey.

This month, right now, I'm in Mumbai, India. And next month, I'll be in Thailand. And the companies I own are still US-based. And so the only thing that makes it possible for me to do this is really good wi-fi and the fact that I have a management team that runs the companies on a full-time basis and that there are really efficient ways of traveling back to the United States when necessary.

So for instance, last week was our board meeting. And so I flew back to the US for that. And also to teach my class at Cornell. And so whenever I need to, I fly back, but for the most part, I'm doing most of the heavy lifting that is necessary for my work with my companies virtually. And so yeah, that's how I've been able to operate.

So that said, probably on the very next deal that I do, my plan is to come back to the United States and work full-time for that company as a CEO. And so we'll see how that plays out. As I mentioned, I'm working on a deal right now. We'll see how it plays. But yeah, that's the goal. And so every time that I'm having a conversation with an owner, that's the frame. My goal is to buy the company and run it full-time.

Jaryd Krause:

Cool, cool. Was this your goal when you first got into buying businesses? I'll tell you that the reason I ask this is because I do a lot of traveling as well. I've lived in eight different countries. I've been traveling for 10 years now and have been to about 48 countries. And I'm obsessed with traveling. So I invite you to come to Bali.

If you're coming to Bali, this is where I'm posting at the moment, probably for a few years. But yeah, was that your intention when you bought these businesses? Because that was what it was for me. I wanted to travel and surf the world. And it's a pretty cool lifestyle.

Bakari Akil:

Yeah. I mean, I thought, regarding Bali, I may be in Bali by March. So my plan is to live in a different country every month for the next couple of months. And so it may be around March that I make it to Bali. I have a general itinerary that I'm following that hopefully will bring me to Bali by that time.

That said, 10 years ago, which is maybe four or five years before I started trying to buy companies, I knew I wanted to get an option to live internationally and travel the world. One of my favorite movies is Up in the Air.

I don't know if you've ever seen that movie with George Clooney, where he lives this lifestyle where he's like traveling all the time by plane. And for me, that was a movie that was very inspirational. And I wanted to live exactly that life. I thought that was really cool.

And so now, it's kind of funny. I actually really do. I'm on a plane. It was actually exhausting last week. I was on a plane. I probably flew more times last week than I've ever flown in my life. I was on a plane at least twice a day, every day, last week. I flew into New York City.

Then I flew to Ithaca. Then I flew to North Carolina. Then I flew back to Ithaca. Then I flew to Atlanta and then I flew to India. So it was just back-to-back to back-to-back and then several sort of changing flights too. It was so intense. So I'm enjoying the lifestyle.

That said, I think unless you're buying an online business, which is a lot easier to manage, you should not be stationary on site. And sometimes some online businesses do require you to be on site. For offline businesses, for instance, the manufacturing business and the ed tech business, those things somewhat unless you're going to have a management team require you to be on location.

So the company that I'm looking to buy now is more likely to not require me to be on location. And so, unless I plan to hire a management team, the business comes with a very strong management team. That's one of the things I'm excited about with the company. But unless I just leave the management team to run the business or hire a CEO to run it, which is what we did for the manufacturing company, more likely than not, I'll be on location. And so we'll see how it plays out.

Jaryd Krause:

Cool, man. Cool. Yeah. I've got a little travel up my sleeve as well. I won't be back in Bali until March anyway because I'll be snowboarding.

Bakari Akil:

Oh, wow.

Jaryd Krause:

Tennis trips, surf trips up until March anyway.

Bakari Akil:

Very cool.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, that's the reason we do this. And I think it's worth sharing this. Because I do Facebook live into my group, like a paid community, every once a month. And somebody asked me, “Why are you moving to Bali?” And they ended up talking to me and asking me about my lifestyle and all that sort of stuff.

And I had just not shared much of my lifestyle on purpose for a long period of time because I didn't want to be the guy that was on Instagram showing off my life. And then I didn't want to be on the wrong side of that feeling, like I needed to just put out content there and sell my life. Also, I didn't want to have to feel like I was doing things to prove that my life was worthy or inspirational.

But I just forgot that the people, after sharing a little bit about what my year had looked like or what my last two years had looked like in terms of traveling, living in different places, and surfing around, totally disregarded that it was inspirational and totally thought people wanted to hear that and see that.

So that's why I asked you. Because, like you said, with that movie, it's pretty inspirational and a pretty cool life that I feel that you should be proud of. And this is what we're doing here with this podcast, sharing with people, “If you want this, this is the vehicle.”

Bakari Akil:

That's exactly right. I mean, in fact, that's a big part of why I’m starting to become more active on podcasts. I would say that up until maybe five or six months ago, I was almost invisible on the net. There were no videos, conversations or anything else that I had shared publicly about how I had gotten things done, the lifestyle that I was living—the whole nine.

And just very recently, I decided to start to become more visible and vocal about it. Because I do think that there's probably more people like me. I think when I was coming to space as somebody who didn't have a lot to try to get to where I'm at, there really wasn't anybody else like me who had actually navigated a lot of this work and had done it successfully. I kept meeting people who had a lot more safety nets than I had. And a lot more, I don't know, just any sort of they had something that I didn't have. They either had an undergraduate degree, which I didn't have, or they had a business degree, which I didn't have.

Or they had a family support system that could provide them with some capital, which I didn't have. Or they had something as basic as stable housing, which at that time I didn't have. There were just all these different things that I didn't have.

So anytime I was listening to somebody who had bought a company, I would hear them, and I would believe that it could get done, I knew it could get done, but there was always this part of me in the back of my mind that was like, “Yeah, but they also had this one thing that you don't have and so therefore...”

And so when I'm speaking, I'm trying to inspire people because I think I came from the absolute zero place. I think the one thing I had that I think some people might say, “That's an advantage,” was that I had American citizenship. That's the one thing I had, which is not to say that's not an important thing.

Jaryd Krause:

It’s taken for granted.

Bakari Akil:

And I realized it more and more as being outside the United States and meeting people who have different, unique challenges that are sometimes just not challenges for me because I'm an American. It's interesting to realize how privileged you are as an American or to confront it even more as an international person, a person who lives internationally.

But that was about it. Other than that, I had to figure it all out. And so if you're in my position, where you have just a little bit more than just American citizenship, I do think it's possible for you to get these things done. And I hope to use these podcasts, particularly yours, and some of the stuff I do on social media and stuff to just inspire people to see that this is accessible.

Jaryd Krause:

Absolutely. Absolutely. I'm so glad that you came on and shared that story. I think people take for granted that American citizenship is a win. The same with Australian citizenship, which is a huge win. And I may have been a little bit more privileged than you are, being in Australia and having stable housing. But at the same time, I mean, I bought my first business for $15,000 and I scrapped it together.

Bakari Akil:

That's what it is.

Jaryd Krause:

And I was a plumber. I never did the education thing. And I don't know; we should compare ourselves to others. But there are so many people who started with less than what I did and have achieved incredible things. Yeah.

It's so inspirational to hear and talk about where you came from and then look at you and the lifestyle that you live now. And then inspiring people at the same time. So yeah, thanks so much for coming on, Bakari.

Bakari Akil:

Thanks, man.

Jaryd Krause:

I'll be putting a link to your website in the show notes.

Bakari Akil:


Jaryd Krause:

And let’s stay in touch.

Bakari Akil:

And if anybody else who's listening wants to stay in touch, you can reach me via email. It's just my first name, @graveshallcap.com. As I mentioned, I'm doing some stuff on social media. That's on NomadNoir.co. If you type NomadNoir.co into any of the social media—LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok—except for Twitter, that's the only one I don't use right now. You can find most of my stuff there. And so, yeah, let's stay in touch. I'm excited to do so.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. Thanks to everyone for listening and I'll speak to you on the next one.

Bakari Akil:

I look forward to it. Bye-bye.

Jaryd Krause:

Hey, YouTube watchers, if you thought that video was good, you should check out this video here on the 2 Best Types of Websites Beginners Should Buy. Or check out my playlist on How I Made My First $100k Buying Websites and how to do due diligence. Check it out. It's an awesome playlist. You'll enjoy it.

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Jaryd Krause is a serial entrepreneur who helps people buy online businesses so they can spend more time doing what they love with who they love. He’s helped people buy and scale sites all the way up to 8 figures – from eCommerce to content websites. He spends his time surfing and traveling, and his biggest goals are around making a real tangible impact on people’s lives. 

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