Over the course of his executive career, Frank Song has become an expert at finding little-known, unsexy, unsophisticated markets and building multimillion-dollar businesses in each.
What many people don't know is that he did it all with no outside investment - every dollar invested in his businesses is his own money - he's never taken a dollar in loans, venture debt, or funding, and managed to create a multi-million-dollar empire.
“Persistence is what makes the impossible possible, the possible likely, and the likely definite.”
However, Frank didn't grow up with an easy life by any means. He actually spent most of his life as an underdog and was forced to win against all odds.
When he was in high school, Frank Song was doing everything he could just to survive. He spent part of his teen years homeless, staying at a 24/7 Walmart, borrowing clothes from friends, and selling random items just to survive.
Unsure about where his next meal was coming from or where he'd be sleeping that night, he became the definition of resourceful. And as time went on, he adapted and developed the hustle and ability to do more with less.
“Words tell people who you want to be, actions show them who you are.”
Frank had always been an exceptionally hard worker with relentless focus, but dreaming big meant looking past his working, middle-class town.
That's why the allure of investment banking and venture capital caught his attention. The opportunity to do more than most of his friends and family had ever dreamed of - earning six-figures, flying on private jets, and meeting the most rich, powerful executives in the largest companies in the world - it was irresistible.
Venture capital is one of the most competitive industries on earth - his standard competitor had a top Ivy League degree, perfect grades, graduated honors, had investment banking experience - Frank had none of those things, and he even then, he knew was at a significant disadvantage.
But if there was anything he knew how to do, it was how to do more with less.
How did he manage to break into one of the most competitive industries on earth?
Frank drove 2 hours to Stanford university weekly to network with his future competitors, sit in on lectures, and reverse engineered the Stanford Business School curriculum to figure out what to study in finance, accounting, and mathematics.
Frank spent thousands of hours on LinkedIn searching for Managing Directors at investment banks, learned about each deal that they had worked on, and wrote each one a customized email. 1 year into college, Frank Song had sent a cold email to every single investment bank in the entire country.
In fact, Frank was so focused on getting an investment banking internship that once he ran out of investment banks to email in the US, he started sending out emails to investment banks in every country and continent he could find.
While everyone else relied on their school, pedigree, and relationships to win interviews - Frank took a different approach - he leveraged his background as a once homeless teenager to prove his ability to win against the odds, do more with less, and relentless hustle as a must-have on any high-performance team.
His relentless commitment to his vision, resourcefulness, and ability to do so much with the little he had eventually paid off.
Two years later, he landed a full-time offer at Stifel Nicholas Weisel, a top 50 investment bank. And within two years, was ranked as a top analyst, received the top pay bonus, worked on $500M+ in deals, and was offered a promotion.
While most in that position would have taken that promotion and settled there, Frank pushed forward. He leveraged his investment banking experience to get into an even more competitive field: venture capital.
In 2012, after a grueling 10-month interview process against 500+ top candidates, he landed an offer at Accel-KKR, a top Venture Capital fund, where he helped manage the $2.5 billion dollar fund and focused on investing in middle-market technology companies.
At Accel-KKR, his job was to build relationships with Founders, CEO's, and Owners of private businesses doing anywhere from $50M-$100M in revenue.
It was this singular experience that taught him how to become a multimillionaire.
Part of being resourceful is seeing opportunities that others would normally miss.
He came to realize something that no one else had noticed - most of these million-dollar technology businesses ripe for investment were in places no one had never heard of before - small towns in small, random states in the middle of nowhere, solving highly specific problems that most people hadn't thought of.
He realized that all of these million-dollar businesses had one thing in common:
They found great success in unsophisticated markets.
Yes, they were hyper-focused on building a great solution - but in a market with lower competition, that same solution quality had significantly higher ROI.
“To have a business, you need to design a great solution. To be successful, you need to choose the right market.”
Two years later, as a top-performing investor, Frank was offered another promotion.
He turned it down to leave venture capital for good to start his own investment fund and currently manages an international holding company with businesses in multiple countries around the world.
“Being resourceful and knowing how to hustle is a competitive advantage that no one can take away from you. You develop the ability to beat your competitors with equal resources, and in every war, success becomes inevitable.”
Since then, Frank has come to be an expert at finding little-known, unsexy, unsophisticated markets and building multi-million-dollar businesses in each.
He credits his success to his earlier days spent sleeping homeless on the floors of Walmart.
After all, each business begins as an underdog in its market.
“I lived my entire life as an underdog,” Frank says. “Every day is a test. Everyone wants to eat, but very few are willing to hunt. You can't win by fighting over the same opportunities as everyone else, you need to find and create them yourself.”