Why I Started Buying Businesses & Never Looked Back


It’s a little late in the month, but we are still in the hype of the new year and what lies ahead. 

Everyone’s back to work after the holidays, which brings up an interesting issue: employee engagement.

85% of employees aren’t engaged in the workplace. This means the majority of employees don’t love their work and are probably underutilizing their strengths and abilities at work. 

73% of employees are considering leaving their jobs. 

Poor employee engagement costs companies $450-500 billion each year. 

People aren’t engaged. They don’t love their work. 

Why not? What are they looking for? 

Here are just a few things employees want: 

  • Greater work-life balance
  • Better personal wellbeing
  • Ability to do what they do best
  • Outcomes over output
  • Career growth and development


Unfortunately, to be fully engaged in your job and to build assets that will help you create wealth, you won’t be able to do it in a regular job. 

But if you’re open to becoming an entrepreneur, specifically buying businesses, you can have all these things that you may not have in your current job. 

Today, I’m going to share my story with you. I’m going to tell you how I acquired $16.5 million in revenue across seven businesses and then how I grew them from there.

My name is Walker Deibel. 

I started buying businesses in 2006. I’m the author of Buy then Build: How Acquisition Entrepreneurs Outsmart the Startup Game and the creator of the Acquisition Lab, a do-it-with-you buy-side program for people looking to buy business in the next 12 months. In the last 18 to 24 months, we’ve exceeded $100 million in transactional value from our members buying other companies. 

Needless to say, this invigorates me. 



But first, let’s rewind. 

When I first got started in my 20s, I was trying to figure out: how do I own my own company? How do I do it? 

I got started with content sites, e-commerce sites, and invest a little bit into each of these ideas. 

I tried to raise capital for another business and license the technology. I was a finalist in a business plan competition. 

I was trying hard.

But all these startups failed. That’s what startups do. 



Meanwhile, throughout my 20s, I made money by getting jobs. After college, my first job was as a stockbroker. After that, I worked in the financial area within the medical industry. Then, I worked as a medical sales rep selling medical equipment. 

Having a reliable paycheck and good income was something I was grateful to have, but I knew even in my 20s that I needed to get out of having a job – even as I was getting promoted early in my career and could feel that wind behind me. I saw a clear path forward, where I would keeping working hard, taking care of my clients, and making sure my boss was happy. I would eventually get to that next place in my career where I could make more money. 

When I was a medical sales rep, my goal was to be number one in sales in the country. Sure, part of that was for the money, but, more than that, I wanted to achieve the highest of what was possible in that role. That was it. 

My question was, “How well can I perform in the role?” 

To do that, I took the actions I needed to that would lead to the outcome that I wanted. 

One morning, I had just finished up work at the hospital and went back to my car. It was 5:00 am, and I looked up and a light was still on in the building. Someone was there, and I still had work to do to meet my goal. 

It had been an exceptionally long day. 

My wife was expecting me home. I think I had a kid at that point. I was in a situation where I was needed and expected at home, but I was after a goal. 

I had already given up time with my family. I had given up time with myself. But I went back in to work, anyway. Now, no one else in my position at that time would have made that call. I don’t even remember if I made the sale that morning. 

But when I finally ended the work day and returned back to my car, I thought to myself,

“Why am I working so hard for someone else?” 

I don’t mind working for someone else. It wasn’t that. The thing was, I was building the brand of the company I worked for – a company that was publicly traded and I owned $2 worth of it.

It was a good company and a good opportunity, but I had finally asked myself, “If I’m going to work this hard, why don’t I just do it for myself?”

So I thought to myself, I could start my own company. Startups were hot between 2004-2006 after all. But I wasn’t in California – I was in St. Louis. There was no Silicon Valley here. 

So what do I do?  


Acquisition Entrepreneurship


Even though startups were out of the question, I knew there was a way to buy an existing company. I knew that I could buy a business and go to the bank for a loan to finance it. I wouldn’t have to raise money for two years to start a business from scratch. 

And once I buy the company, it’s going to have revenue, employees, customers, infrastructure, equipment, standard operating procedures, and most importantly, profits. 

The profits are ultimately what make the existing business bankable. 

So that’s what I did. I went out and was able to acquire a number of companies. Shortly into my journey in 2004, I got the idea to write about Buy then Build because I was also trying to navigate this acquisition landscape myself. 

Buy the Build came out in 2018 and it’s a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller. We’ve sold almost 70,000 copies. 



Where to Next?


If you’re stuck in your job and struggling with what to do next, I want you to do one thing.

I want you to consider buying an existing company because it’s the single fastest way to getting out of where you are today and moving into an engaged life and engaged career, while having an asset that you are continually building.

Buying an existing company is the best way to build a life of wealth and freedom.

45% of the small business economy in the United States needs to retire and transfer their business before the end of the decade. And between 2007 and 2061, there’s a total of $59 trillion that will be transferred. 



And you can be part of that transference. Because this is happening – the largest transfer of wealth in human history. 

Are you ready?

If you’re ready to acquire a business in the next 12 months, the Acquisition Lab is your first stop. Reach out to us today and get on the fast track to becoming an acquisition entrepreneur.

Picture of Walker Deibel

Walker Deibel

Walker Deibel is an entrepreneur and advisor. He is the author of Buy Then Build: How Acquisition Entrepreneurs Outsmart the Startup Game and Creator of Acquisition Lab.

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