Hailing from Lima, Peru, Saul Mishkin is a professional inventor, business developer, father of six children, and founder of NEX-XOS Worldwide. While still in the process of earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from the prestigious Universidad de Lima, Saul Mishkin founded his first company, Green Leaf, and grew it into one of the biggest multi-service landscaping and cleaning companies in Peru. Saul then set about travelling the world in search of new technologies and equipment for his business, and through the connections he made in doing so, began to act as a Latin American trade representative for a few other companies. This ignited his ongoing interest in international trade, commerce, and distribution. Later on in his career, Saul Mishkin applied the knowledge he collected during this experience to cultivating networks of professionals in different sectors of the economy, including construction, security, and commodities in countries all over the world.
Saul Mishkin moved to the United States with his family in 2006 in search of new opportunities. After a few setbacks, he founded NEX-XOS Worldwide in 2011. The company, where he currently serves as president and CEO, has since grown into one of the USA’s leaders in shelf-stable food manufacturing and meal-kit assembly. Saul speaks four languages fluently: Spanish, English, French, and Hebrew.
Why did you decide to create your own business?
Life took me there. I’ve never worked for anybody. I’ve always worked for myself. So, the natural progression to work for myself was to create my own business.
What do you love most about the industry you are in?
I’m in the food industry, basically. We make people happy with our food. Also, we fill the bellies of hungry people. The type of food that we make is meant for either consumption outdoors or by the military or for disaster and humanitarian relief. It’s food with a purpose.
What does a typical day consist of for you?
I exercise in the morning, then work like a horse to get things done. More often than not, I work late. Then I go back home, put my kids to bed, and go to sleep. The next day I get up early and do it all again.
What keeps you motivated?
My dreams keep me motivated. What I want to achieve keeps me motivated, too. Also, what I want to leave for my kids and my family in terms of security and legacy.
How do you motivate others?
I love what I do. I think when others see me motivated in doing what I do, and I spread that love and that excitement about what we’re doing day to day, and why we’re doing it, and how we’re doing it, that’s the main motivator for others to join me on this journey. For me, this is my journey.
How has your company grown from its early days to now?
Bootstrapping and bootstrapping and bootstrapping and bootstrapping. Basically, I’ve put everything back into the company. It’s all or nothing.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I think where I get my inspiration from is inside me. I’m always thinking ahead. I’m always thinking beyond. I commit to my dreams and that inspires me.
How do you maintain a solid work/life balance?
That’s a tough one. There’s no solid work/life balance. There’s not a solid balance between your personal life and your work when you’re an entrepreneur because your work is your life. I can’t draw a line between myself as a person and myself as a business owner and CEO because it’s all blended together. It’s a mix of everything. That’s what it means to be an entrepreneur.
What traits do you possess that makes a successful leader?
I think I’m a people person—that is, when I’m not in a bad mood. I’m learning day by day how to better communicate with people. From another point of view, to be a leader, you need to be surrounded by good soldiers. My main goal is to bring talent to my team all the time.
What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?
Listen to your gut. It always knows what’s best.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
I think my biggest accomplishment is being the father of six beautiful kids.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to others?
As I said before: surround yourself with good people and surround yourself with people who possess talents that you don’t have and that you can learn from.
What is the biggest life lesson you have learned?
That no matter how hard life can be, if you have the right support system and you work hard and you put your heart into whatever you’re doing, anything is possible.
Outside of work, what defines you as a person?
Honesty. I pride myself on being a very honest person. I believe that is critically important.
Where do you see your company in five years?
I see my company growing exponentially in the next five years. I see it expanding into many other areas within the food industry. I already have big plans for that. I’m going to try to achieve what is called vertical integration.
Explain the proudest day of your professional life.
There have been a lot of proud days, but I think the day I finally felt comfortable just going away—not forever, but for a short period of time, like a vacation—and that I had built a good team that would take care of the business and its needs when I’m not around, that was a really proud day. In the past, I wasn’t able to take any time off because I was doing everything and in charge of everything. While building a dependable team is a never-ending process, I’m proud that, at this point, I can take a little time off, confident in the fact that my team will run my company competently and correctly. I have a fantastic team, right now.