The Solar Scouts – An Interview With Nick Manto

by | Feb 23, 2023 | Solar Energy Company

Mandatory Questions –

• Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.

The Solar Scouts are experts of installing solar for homes and businesses. We aim to educate people about the benefits of adding solar to their properties. We know that when someone understands: the value, how distributed generation works with their utility, and identifies the right strategy aligned with their goals; The Solar Scouts help people through the whole process. Educate, Strategize, Implement, Maintain.

• Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).

◦ Nick Manto grew up in North Texas and through years of scouting, earned the rank of Eagle Scout. His foundations of environmental conservation and thriftiness formed during these years. While studying at Rawl’s College of Business at Texas Tech University, Nick played trumpet in most of the athletic bands and other ensembles, was Trumpet section leader and Vice President of the Goin’ Band from Raiderland his senior year! After graduating, Nick completed E&J Gallo Winery’s Management Development Program via their distributor Glazer’s Wine and Spirits. After a few years of managing sales teams, Nick wanted to take full control of his career and life, and decided to make the leap into entrepreneurialism.

• What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?

◦ Starting with scouting, Nick was trained to “leave the campsite better than he found it.” Through travel, Nick’s idea of his campsite expanded to mean the entire planet. Hearing the pain point of homeowners with high electric bills, Nick sought out a solution within an emerging market that aligned environmental and fiscal conservation.

• What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

◦ Focus on your best skill set

◦ Trust other experts to perform on their best skill sets

◦ Learn as much as possible, all the time

• What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

◦ Tenacity

◦ Humility

◦ Agility / Flexibility

• How many hours do you work a day on average?

◦ Not the best metric because it implies that you’re working the same number of days as in a “normal” work environment. Weekdays, 10 hours / day. Weekends 4 hours / day.

• To what do you most attribute your success?

◦ A great foundation built in childhood thanks to my parents who knew how to keep me busy!

• How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?

◦ Networking and word of mouth referrals.

• Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?

◦ Self funded, sweat equity.

• What is the best way to achieve long-term success?

◦ Small, daily steps.

• Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?

◦ I see The Solar Scouts as the leader for education and consulting for on-site solar production projects, brokering the best plans across the U.S.

• Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?

◦ Tesla thanks to their focus on continuous improvement and engineering mindset.

Recommended Questions –

• How important have good employees been to your success?

◦ Vital. To be an effective leader, you must first be a great follower. And to be a successful leader, you must have dedicated followers who align on the same goals.

• How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?

◦ Until new information indicates that the plan wont work.

• What motivates you?

◦ Family, Community, and Adventure.

• What are your ideals?

◦ Sustainability, humility, trust.

• How do you generate new ideas?

◦ Just having an open mind. Challenging yourself to new experiences. Forever learning. Being unafraid to spit ball before criticizing your own ideas: Maybe the first thought isn’t great, but with a little polishing and refining, the first bad idea becomes great.

• How do you define success?

◦ Progress. Just making an attempt to move in a positive direction every day is successful. Little things compound into big things.

• How do you build a successful customer base?

◦ Set expectations. Meet or beat those expectations. Reward customers for their loyalty.

• What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

◦ I choose what I do every day. While I probably work more than other people, I make that choice. I’m not required to go into any place, or to report to others, or to check in. Instead, I must own my behavior, and my habits only impact how the business grows (or doesn’t).

• What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?

◦ Safety Net. There’s an inherit risk in going out on your own. In my first job out of school I saw the leadership leaving to start their own businesses. I thought “that’s super risky, especially since they were well established in their career, had homes, families, kids, and all the expenses that comes with that.” That helped inspire me to quit and start my entrepreneurial journey much sooner. I wanted to take the risk before shouldering more responsibility. I figured I could always go back and get a “real job,” and that If I took the risk and made the time investment early, I could grow to a comfortable place before starting a family. So far, so good… I have a baby boy due early April 2023, and I don’t feel as stresses about it as I thought I would in younger years.

• What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?

◦ Open door, results only. Any body can create and implement Ideas. It’s solely based on what you deliver! This enables everyone to take an entrepreneurial approach and to feel invested in their business.

Optional Questions –

• If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?

◦ I’m not sure I would change anything. I like where I am, and the trajectory of my business and life. To change something would be to learn different lessons, and to plant me in a different place than I am now. One thing I still kick myself for is: I quit my job then tried to purchase a home… I didn’t know what I didn’t know…. Buy the home, THEN quit your full-time job. Just some missed appreciation. But still – I’m not sure I would be in the same place I am now if I didn’t learn that lesson the PAINFULLY hard way.

• How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?

◦ Mostly for the better. There is some short term sacrifices that must be made. Family & friends get told no to fun plans. But the long term goal would be to open the calendar availability after the systems are in place that the business runs itself.

• What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?

◦ Total loss and failure is the worst fear. Not being able to support my family. I mange that fear by going to work every day to make sure that the business is progressing.

• How did you decide on the location for your business?

◦ I already lived here.

• Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?

◦ Maybe. Whatever it is, it includes a lot of time. Whether it’s your time, or inherited time in the form of money. It’s going to take one or the other, and many times both.

• If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?

◦ My (great x ?) grandparents that immigrated to the US from Sicily and Ireland. Just to understand what specifically was going on in their lives that they were inspired to uproot and leave their homes on a massive adventure.

• How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?

◦ Run to smoke. If there’s a problem, solve it immediately. It’s better to fix something quickly before it becomes a larger issue.

• What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?

◦ I love the great outdoors. Hiking, biking, playing soccer and sand volleyball. Recently, we’ve gotten into PickleBall. I’m excited to be a soccer dad and scoutmaster for my boy who is on the way!

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