Greg Martel is a revolutionary serial entrepreneur whose service-focused vision is realized in both business and philanthropy. With client-centered business models, Martel is something of an anomaly among CEOs––while most think of how to make more money, Martel asks how he can give back.
Martel’s latest venture, carSHAiR, is a peer-to-peer car-sharing platform that empowers people to make extra income with resources they already have. “What if there was a way to turn financial liabilities into assets? Starting with cars, which spend an astounding 95% of their time parked,” he said.
After many trials and tribulations, Martel launched the carSHAiR app, which features state-of-the-art verification technology to protect hosts and renters alike. “Our platform is much more than just a place to list your car,” he said. “It’s a place to get financial tips, tools, and wisdom. Most importantly, it’s a place where users can create new revenue streams that they never thought possible.” carSHAiR also donates a portion of its profits to Operation Underground Railroad, a nonprofit for children who are victims of human trafficking.
With over 10 companies and mentored by the famed Tony Robbins, Martel was one of Canada’s top mortgage brokers and is now a towering leader in the business community. His heart for investing in people and unbridled passion for innovation has made him an inspiration to a generation of entrepreneurs.
HIS ENTREPRENEURIAL DRIVE
Greg Martel: When I was younger, everything for me was sports. I played football, golf and hockey. I never thought about entrepreneurship or business. Everyone had day jobs and just played or practiced at night. I wanted to become a part of the CSIS in Canada, which is like the CIA. I wanted to speak three languages. I was thinking of potentially applying for that. I went through that process, but then I figured out that I liked finance more. One of the guys I used to golf with offered me a job and this invited me into the finance world. I still wasn’t an entrepreneur. I was the worker bee, the guy that comes in every day to work. It wasn’t until I was in Fiji for a mentorship retreat with Tony [Robbins] that I found my business calling.
Being able to give tremendous value to people, understand the life cycle of the industry and of yourself personally—these all have to line up with the business cycle. Then you just have to fall in love with entrepreneurship; it will give you the ability to do what excites you the most.
carSHAiR was just an idea, and then a year and a half later there’s 50 employees, and they have built friendships amongst one another—that’s the most exciting part.
It all has to do with work ethic. You have to put a lot into it in the beginning. You have to understand what the product is. Is it for you? Does the market need it? That’s the addictive part of wanting to be an entrepreneur. I think that is why 95% of new startups don’t succeed, because they don’t start by thinking of this first.
BUSINESS STRATEGY 101
Greg Martel: One time I was listening to a YouTube video where Elon Musk said, “Starting a business is like eating glass and staring into the abyss.” You get this sense of only seeing the negative in your company. You’re always working on things that are not working.
My advice to people that are starting off is to look at it in a different light. Don’t call things a problem, call them a challenge. One of my favorite quotes is, “Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship.” If you don’t have new challenges, you’re not growing. If you have the same challenges, something’s wrong.
ON BEING INFLUENTIAL
Greg Martel: It’s happiness, influencing someone else in a way that’s going to make them happy, help them reach their goal and create internal fulfillment. That’s the secret to happiness. It has nothing to do with your bank account or what kind of materialistic items you have in your driveway or house. It’s really a contribution or being influential to guide someone. When people are able to benefit, it gives me fulfillment and happiness.