Shaan Patel. Execution is everything. Episode 188 with The Real Brad Lea (TRBL).

Shaan Patel. Execution is everything.

Episode 188: #DroppingBombs with The Real Brad Lea (TRBL)

Episode 163: Forbes Riley

Bureaucracy is the root of all evil…

29-year-old Shaan Patel grew up in his parents’ budget-motel on Fremont Street, Las Vegas. He developed Prep Expert to help students improve their scores in SATs, ACTs, and PSATs. Brad sat down with him to talk about SATs, virtual training, Shark Tank, and working with Mark Cuban.

Episode Highlights:

[01:03] How It All Began

Shaan was born and raised in Las Vegas where he attended inner-city public schools. Though he knew nothing about standardized tests, he set his sights on crushing the SAT but scored just a little above average at his first attempt. Determined to get into his dream college, he spent hundreds of hours in the library studying for a retake where he ended up scoring a perfect 2400. That marked a huge turning point in his life. Apart from attracting media attention, he received a full scholarship from USC in LA and got to meet President George W. Bush.

[05:43] Teaching Others to Do the Same

Realizing the life-changing benefits of high SAT scores, Shaan turned his study methods into a book to help students improve their scores. He believed his book would be well-received as the first test prep book by a perfect score student, but literary agents and publishers wouldn’t publish it. Undeterred, Shaan turned his content into a curriculum for classroom-style courses which became a hit, prompting McGraw Hill to reach out for a book deal. His first book sold thousands of copies and went number one on Amazon for SAT Prep.

[10:26] Student Debt Could Cripple You

For anyone looking at college, Shaan’s message is to look for an affordable college and avoid getting into massive student debt that could lead to bankruptcy.

[16:01] Lamborghini vs Ferrari

If you had the money for a luxury car, would you buy a Lamborghini or a Ferrari? Brad did a quick analysis of what each car symbolizes and concluded that Shaan is a Ferrari while he is more of a Lambo. Why? Because Shaan is the one with a perfect SAT score, a USC grad who partnered with Mark Cuban! Before Shark Tank, Shaan was doing up to a million dollars revenue. After Shark Tank, the number rose to $20 million in sales, that’s why he believes Shark Tank is the most powerful marketing machine in the world for an entrepreneur. As far as marketing goes, you get a free 15-minute commercial on prime TV in front of a family audience.

[20:33] Virtual Online Homeschooling

With encouragement from Brad, Shaan is mulling over creating a homeschool VT to alleviate the problems with overcrowding in public schools.

[23:39] The Shark Tank Experience 

Although the program airs only a 15-minute segment on TV, Shaan was in the tank for an hour and a half. About half of the deals that happen on Shark Tank actually end up going through because many entrepreneurs fail the due diligence test which is a lengthy process. Fortunately for Shaan, his deal went exactly as advertised on Shark Tank, with Mark Cuban giving a quarter million dollars for a 20% equity stake in the company. He had pitched in June of 2015 but couldn’t tell anyone about his win until the show aired in January 2016–keeping it secret was certainly not easy!

[28:06] Expectations

95% of the course is online with only a few in-person courses offered in Vegas. 50,000 students have gone through the program and with Mark Cuban’s involvement, there is bound to be an exponential increase in enrollment.

[29:40] Fostering Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship should be fostered at a young age. Shaan sold Pokémon cards in elementary school, sold burn music CDs in middle school, did internet referrals in high school, and sold used iPhones in college. When Mark learned that Shaan wanted to write a book about entrepreneurship for kids, he offered to co-author.

[32:17] Take Care of Yourself

Brad and Shaan compare notes of what they would do with a few more millions. Both agree that if you receive a windfall of cash, the best thing to do is invest the principle and spend the interest. It took Shaan a while to realize that he needed to move money out of his checking account into a high-yield savings account. At the end of the day, you have to take care of yourself.

[44:29] Why Prep Expert Is Better Than the Rest

Shaan gives four top reason why:

  • Theirs is the only prep course built by someone who went from average to perfect
  • He built 100 strategies around his success methods including a template for essay writing.
  • Amazing instructors with thousands of hours’ teaching experience.
  • Guaranteed SAT score improvement. If you don’t get results, you get your money back.


Notable Quotes

[04:03] Ideas are frickin’ dime a dozen. Execution is everything.

[07:16] I really believe failure is the necessary evil of entrepreneurship.

[23:01] Bureaucracy is the root of all evil… It’s just the worst thing that can happen to any organization, any company, any entrepreneur.

[32:18] A million dollars is fun. A billion dollars is a responsibility.

[40:14] If your processes aren’t in place, if your systems aren’t in place, you could literally kill your business by blowing up.

About Shaan Patel

Yahya Bakkar

Follow Shaan Patel:

Shaan created Prep Expert to help high school students achieve their own dreams. Shaan completed his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology (BA) at the University of Southern California, Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Yale University, and Medical Degree (MD) at the University of Southern California. He has published 10+ books in SAT & ACT prep, entrepreneurship, and self-improvement. He recently appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank and closed a deal with billionaire Mark Cuban for an investment in the company. Shaan was also honored to be named on INC Magazine’s 30 Under 30 list in 2019.

Listen to More Podcasts on the following Topics

Business podcast icon - Brad Lea's Dropping Bombs Podcast for Entrepreneurs


Entrepreneur podcast icon - Brad Lea's Dropping Bombs Podcast for Entrepreneurs


Leadership podcast icon - Brad Lea's Dropping Bombs Podcast for Entrepreneurs


Life tips podcast icon - Brad Lea's Dropping Bombs Podcast for Entrepreneurs

Life Tips

Marketing podcast icon - Brad Lea's Dropping Bombs Podcast for Entrepreneurs


Money podcast icon - Brad Lea's Dropping Bombs Podcast for Entrepreneurs


Motivational podcast icon - Brad Lea's Dropping Bombs Podcast for Entrepreneurs


Real Estate podcast icon - Brad Lea's Dropping Bombs Podcast for Entrepreneurs

Real Estate

Sales podcast icon - Brad Lea's Dropping Bombs Podcast for Entrepreneurs