I had an amazing discussion with Tony Whatley about working twice as hard as the next person, never giving up, building a business from scratch, selling his business for millions, working for a corporation and now his new life of helping entrepreneurs.
Check out his book “Sidehustle Millionaire”: https://amzn.to/3fXEwmd
This was a fascinating chat with someone who has really done it…created a business and sold it for millions. So many people act as if they’ve done it but rarely do you find someone who has and is willing to share their knowledge to help lift others up.
Enjoy and thanks so much for listening!!
CEO – 365Driven.com
Author of: Sidehustle Millionaire
365Driven Faceook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/365driven/
Podcast Music By: Andy Galore, Album: “Out and About“, Song: “Chicken & Scotch” 2014
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Joe: All right, my guest is Tony Whatley. Tony, welcome to the podcast.
Tony: Joe, good to connect and thank you for having me on the show, brother.
Joe: Yeah, man, so you and I connected on Clubhouse and there is a tremendous amount of noise on the Clubhouse, as with any platform, once it takes off and you stuck out to me because you’re not one of those people that are leaning against a rented Lamborghini or sitting in a hollow like a fuselage. So and when I listen to you talk in certain rooms on clubhouse, just something attracted me to wanting to connect more with you and learn about your story. So what I like to do with all my guests, as I like to go back, I think it’s important for people that become successful like you, that the people that are listening to this and who will eventually watch the YouTube video of this a few days after I release this on the platform that they understand where you came from, because I think that’s always really important to know that you just weren’t handed all of these things. And this just with any anybody becoming an entrepreneur, it’s not an easy journey. So can you kind of bring us forward to today, but tell us where you started? I know that you got into oil and you had a regular career, quote, regular giving air quotes for the podcast listeners. So if you could take us from the beginning, it would be awesome.
Tony: Hey, thank you for the opportunity. So my life grew up lower middle class to hard, hardworking parents, blue collar careers. My mom was a cafeteria worker in the public schools for over 30 years, serving kids meals. She had a really strong heart. She loved everybody, didn’t and didn’t dislike anybody. Even some of the people I disliked, she was like she could find the love in everybody. Right. And my dad, Vietnam veteran U.S. Marines, and after the military, he worked in chemical refineries here in the UAE, an area the rest of his career. They’re both retired now, doing well. And I just learned the value of hard work and having to learn to be grateful for what I had in the houses that I grew up in. Three houses specifically in Friendswood, Texas, is really the lowest income neighborhood in the entire city, which had affluence and also had lower middle class, lot more of the affluence. But, you know, fewer of us. And we would basically buy the crappiest house and the smallest house in the neighborhood and live in it while we flipped it for a few years, while we were restoring it, making it nicer. And eventually those small houses would become one of the nicer houses on the street. And then they would go by a little bit nicer, bigger house, because me and my sister, which we’re growing just like the house sizes. And so I just thought that was a normal life. I saw that there was a affluence nearby. I could get on my bicycle and my skateboard and run around and look at these big houses that had a lot of windows on the front.
Tony: I remember being a kid and I only had one window on the front of my first house. I grew up and it was the one that was a bay window on the living room. And I would watch my sister, who was a year and a half older, get on the bus every day, and I would wave to her just like my mom would be standing in the window. And that was always my view of the house, the first house I grew up in. And I just thought that every house just had one view. So I just thought that was normal. And I remember when I became old enough to go right around and leave the neighborhood and go see what was outside, I saw all these big houses with multiple windows. And I remember thinking to myself, I wonder what the view at that window looks like. I wonder what the view at that window looks like. And I could just envision myself running through this house and like looking through the windows and seeing if was a different view. And each one, as funny as thing is, as my wife is a realtor and sometimes I’ll go do some showings with her and I’ll we’ll be at these large houses and I’ll still look out every window. Even to this day. I’ll still look out every window just to see what the view is.
Tony: So I started to catch myself doing this. Like, why am I so fascinated by what’s outside? Each one is like, oh, now I remember. Now I remember.
Tony: So yeah, a little bit about me
Joe: Yeah, so how did you get into so what did you did you go to college for some particular subject or degree or.
Tony: I went to college for the pursuit of the six figure paycheck. That
Tony: Was that was the only reason
Tony: Because because I turned well, my first job was McDonald’s at age 15. I worked there through high school. Then I was a busser at Olive Garden. And then I became a waiter there because I was good busser. And then I went to work at a steakhouse where I was another waiter. And then I became a manager of this brewery steakhouse and Clear Lake, Texas, and. I turned 18 and it really wasn’t enough money to live on just just working at the restaurant, so I actually started working in construction just like my dad and and working in Texas and fire retardant clothing with a hard hat and 95 degree temperatures. It only took me a few summers of realizing that that’s not where I wanted to be. I saw these these men with collared shirts walking into air conditioned rooms on the same facility. I was like, well, what do they do? All their engineers like? Well, man, I need to figure out how to work in the air conditioning. Yes. So I just said, hey, if you’ve got to go get a six figure career, that’s what we tell you. You could be a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer. Well, I happen to love cars. So I said, well, maybe there’s something in engineering that I can learn about cars and I can maybe go get that six figure paychecks. I became a mechanical engineer and I worked full time during that whole ordeal. I paid for school myself and actually the first person and both sides of my family to go to a university. My dad was the first one in his family to to move to a house that didn’t have wheels attached to it. And so it was the first one to go to university. So I really applaud him for not going back to his hometown after he got out of the military and just decided, like, I don’t want to grow up there. I don’t want my kids
Tony: To grow up there. We’re moving somewhere else. So he went where the work was and he facilitated that change. And I felt like it was my obligation to do, you know, a little bit better for him, for the work that they put in. Isn’t that what we all should be striving to is trying to do a little bit more than our parents
Tony: Who struggled
Tony: To put us in that situation? And so, you know, me getting that degree took me seven years. I was I was going to school at night time, usually between six and 10 p.m. and sleep deprived and broke and stressed out and actually had more gray hair in college than I do now. Is is strange and really a sleep and stress. You know, it really does has a lot of physiological, you know, turmoil on us. And my relationship struggled back things I just didn’t have any time to dedicate to those kind of things. But, you know, I never changed majors. I never quit. I did drop some classes along the way because I struggled and my grades were suffering at the point said I didn’t quit. And that was a testament to me is like, I’m going to see this through because I actually had friends that joined mechanical engineering program. Honestly, even when they tell you that when you start freshman year of school, they said only 20 percent of you are going to graduate. And then they said, OK, well, how many of you have a girlfriend or boyfriend or you’re married and raise your hand? Remember that orientation freshman year? And I said, OK, well, only 10 percent of you will graduate. And they said, how many of you are working full time job to do this? And I raise my hand again, I said, well, only 10 percent of you will graduate. So I was like out of a 20 percent pool, 10 percent of that and 10 percent had really bad odds. But you
Tony: Know what? I’m pretty defiant. And I said, you know, I’m going to prove them wrong. I’m going to be the one that defeats the odds. And upon graduating, it was only 12 people in my class that had graduated that that semester.
Joe: Wow, that’s
Tony: I was the only one that was working full time. So I really did defeat the odds. And I thought that I wanted to go into automotive career. But automotive in Detroit just didn’t pay nearly as much as oil and gas in my hometown of Houston. So I decided to just take the paychecks in Houston. And that’s why I started businesses in the automotive performance arena, because I still wanted to satisfy that itch.
Joe: Right. So you ended up taking a full time job in the oil and gas world. What was that job?
Tony: Earliest was a project engineer role working for a manufacturing facility, we built subsea equipment and pay pay back then was probably 45000 base salary, you know, entry level at that time. So for context, this was around 1997, 1998, and I was getting home at four thirty in the afternoon, like most people with a 40 hour job. We started really early in the morning, but I get home at four thirty and I felt like. After going through seven years of hustle and grind and working three jobs, I was still a waiter working construction as a mechanic and said this feels like a part time job. So here I am with my big boy salary and my big boy degree feeling like, OK, I guess I’m on my journey. I’m on my early journey to go chase the American dream. And I’ve done it. And and I was just bored. I was
Tony: Bored and I would be really honest with myself. I’d look at my small apartment and, you know, I bought myself a nicer car, bought a Pontiac Trans Am when I graduated. So that that was like my reward to myself.
Tony: And I felt like this is this isn’t enough. This is not enough. And I got a lot of energy. I got a lot of time. So I actually went back and waited tables at the restaurant that I was a manager of because I had promoted one of my friends to be the manager when I left. And I called him up and say, hey, man, do you think I could just come pick up shifts and bartending and waiting? He’s like, hell, yeah, dude, you’re awesome. Like, come back any time. I don’t even need to put you on the schedule to come pick up one. And so for me that meant seven nights a week. I just I put the apron on and people lot of the people that were still working there knew who I was. And I graduated and that’s why I left. And to go, why are you back? And it’s like because I’m not where I want to be. Like, I can sit home and sit on the couch and watch TV or I can come back and make an extra 150 bucks a night.
Tony: So I chose to go suck up my pride and go do that. You know, his thing is I’ve never I’ve never felt shame for doing what was necessary to get what I needed to do. And I think a lot of times people put ego or self-importance above what they need to do. And, you know, I was fine if I was cleaning the bathrooms at McDonalds, I did it the best I could find, mopping floors. That is the best I could. And even as a kid, I go back and some of my long term friends like you just never complained. You just did what was required. Like football coaches would tell you something. You just do it. I’ve never been the complainer because I watched my parents work so hard and we literally were living inside of a flip house the entire time, and I just know that blood, sweat and tears is not just some a cliche phrase. And I learned from my dad like, hey, you know, he’s a combat vet. Like, you should see what I had to do when I was 18, son,
Tony: You know, like like suck it up,
Tony: Go do the work. Don’t complain. You have it better than a lot of people in this world. And that’s the mentality I adopted as a kid. And I grew into a young adult and I still carry that with me today.
Joe: So you’re at this job, you’re doing part time at the restaurant. And when do you decide and is the first side hustle that you start? Is it is it less one tech? Is that what it was?
Tony: Now, actually, my first side hustle. It’s going to get really nerdy, but I learned how to build electronic circuits with resistors, a little bread boards and soldering, and I was kind of geeking out on this and I learned how to design a device that you could plug into an engine harness on a on a Camaro or a Corvette or a TransAm that would fool the NOx sensors and give you about 10 horsepower. So it basically would give it a little bit more ignition time. And it was a plug and play thing. And I knew how to design it and I built it. And so I would go to RadioShack back when those were everywhere,
Tony: Buy all the resistors and I would buy these little circuit boards and little boxes and the wiring and I would buy the GM harnesses from the parts counter at the local Chevy dealership. And I get home and I would bust out my little kit and I would solder things and it would take me about take me about an hour to build each one of these units. And I had about thirty dollars in parts. I can sell over 75 bucks. And so it didn’t scale very well, obviously, because there was only a limited market, you know, I mean, hundreds of people that maybe wanted to buy that. And I can only build two or three a night without running at a time. And so that was my first online business. I actually built a little one page landing page is
Tony: What we
Tony: Call it now. But it was actually that’s all my capability was back then.
Tony: And I sold I mean, I could sell six or seven a week and it was like good beer, money or aside, money was better than waiting tables, to be honest, because I could still make the same amount of time, but I could be at home. So that allowed me to leave the restaurants. And then I started building Web pages. I taught myself how to code HTML about really simple Web pages and do graphic design with Photoshop and take some good photos and build Web pages. Because I started that. A lot of people out there, a lot of automotive performance shops and manufacturers didn’t have Internet presence at that time because they didn’t have a website. So it’s like, well, shit, I could trade my skills for car parts. So it’s like a barter system is like
Tony: I can get free car parts
Tony: Of a website. And that funded my car and my racing hobby. Right. And so I got known for building these little simple one to three page websites, which I would have to basically layout on Photoshop visually first and then slice them and make the little buttons and like re rebuild those slices into like what looked like a Web page on the. There is a whole lot harder than it is nowadays and I probably got 100 of those websites over a period of two years. And so I got known as the guy that could build car stuff websites and I would get paid or I would trade car parts. And I was hanging out on other communities at the time and they weren’t being managed very well. You know, they were they’re not paying their server bills. Things were getting crashed. And sometimes all the content we create would be gone. You know, after you built all this, how to articles and you’re writing all the stuff that’s free of user generated content. And and finally we approached the owner of that Web site and we said, hey, we see you’ve got advertisers. We know how much you charge because some of my friends, advertisers have built their websites like, why aren’t you paying your server bill? It’s like it’s like three hundred dollars a month, like what’s going on. And rather than take that as constructive feedback from some of his best supporters, like a group of us, he said, well, if you guys think you can do a better job, go start your own.
Joe: Mm hmm.
Tony: And it never even was a thought in my mind until he said that he challenged me again, like you don’t challenge me. I’m the kind of person if you challenge me, I’m going to go do it. I’m going to prove you wrong. And so I said, well, man, I could build websites and I don’t know much about servers, but I’m pretty sure I can figure out how to load some software on there into a server. That’s pretty easy. If I could read a how to. And so that’s what we did is like, you know, two of us started a website that was at least one tech. That was November 2001. So 20 years from now and this year. And we just started as a hobby. Dude, it’s like, you know, the Set-aside Kim, it’s not reliable. Let’s just go start our own place to hang out. And my partner, John and I, we just thought, you know, if we can make 500 dollars a month, which is the Karno to the Trans Am I had and the Karno to the Camaro SS that he had. So that would be pretty cool to be like we would have a free car just to hang out and a place to talk about cars. And I’ve got a big boy job and a salary and you’ve got your own too. And we don’t need this and it’s just something we want to have fun with. And I like to illustrate that because, you know, you know, shocker.
Tony: Yeah. That thing went on to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in profit. And we sold it for millions in 2007, but was never intended to make millions of dollars. You know, a lot of people are like, oh, did you were you a visionary? And could you stop this? And it’s like, no, we just wanted to make five hundred dollars a month. But the main difference, why we became the number one in the category and why we really dominated that entire automotive form seemy we we set so many bars and taught those other forums and the BMW sectors and the the Porsche sectors, we taught them how to monetize the audience. We, we taught them how to build a strong community and attract advertising revenue. So I had clients like Chevrolet and Cadillac and Goodyear and big name brands that were paying me to advertise on my website. So the main difference is that we treated it like a business. What started as a hobby, we started seeing real dollars come in and within within six months we’re making 10000 dollars profit a month and we’re like, whoa, I think we need to go get one of those. What are they called an LLC or I think we need to go do that. And I think we may need to create a separate bank account instead of just paying ourselves
Tony: Like in
Tony: Our personal account, like. So I love to share that because I want people understand that you don’t have to have all the answers. You don’t have to be the best entrepreneur ever. You don’t have to overdose on YouTube and podcasts and reading books and attending seminars. You’ve got to just start you just
Tony: Got to start and you’re going to improve with time.
Joe: Yeah, so the important things I want to touch upon about this before we leave the subject about Ellis one tech is how did you get the advertisers? Did you actually one of you go out as a salesperson, whether it was phone calls or in person, or did they actually care about you and come to you and say, hey, we heard about your site, we want to advertise.
Tony: And this is a little bit going back to we hear about personal branding all the time, right? Nowadays, it’s
Tony: The buzz, personal branding. You’ve got to build a personal brand. Well, I was already doing that, and so was he, because we were active contributors to an existing community. So to put that in today’s context, we have Facebook groups, you’ve got online communities. Go join those communities and actually be a contributing, valuable member. That’s always helping people by answering their questions and giving encouragement and giving advice and sharing your resources and sharing your network. And then you start to build that personal brand of being someone that creates value rather than asking for all the stuff. And whenever it comes time for you to go launch your own community or write a book or launch a podcast or whatever, that’s your side of the fence. Guess what? You’re going to have a really strong group of supporters of, you know what, this person I like them because they’re always helping and they’ve always never asked me for anything. So here’s the thing they’re finally asking me for. I’m going to go support that. And that’s the way it worked. And I didn’t understand that. It’s just my nature to be that person. I’m the person that I follow on social media or a forum or anything that I’m spending time on. If I see somebody ask a question that I know the answer to, I’m not going to be. The person goes, well, you know what? Somebody else can answer that because I don’t have time or I’m just super important. And
Joe: Mm hmm.
Tony: Oh, that’s too trivial of a question for me to answer. I’ll let some beginner answer that one for them. Know, guys, if I’m scrolling and I actually see someone that needs help, I respond. If I have the time, I respond and and it takes me a few seconds. But those few seconds of me investing into that pay dividends. If there’s a few seconds here, a few seconds or a few seconds there, and people start to see because what you don’t understand is on a social community, especially on the Internet, is that thousand people will see that response over a period of time. Let’s say you’re in a Facebook group and somebody asks a really good question and you happen to have the answer, even if you think it’s trivial or a beginner. But you answer it, thousands of people will see that exchange of information. They will see who asked the question, they will see who answered the question. And if they start to see this pattern showing up over and over, hey, Tony is always helping people. He’s always answering questions. You don’t think that’s a building you some kind of a personal brand capital that you’ll be able to use later on if needed, because you may never deploy that, but if needed, it’s going to be there for you. So, you know, that was how we built the advertisers because we were helping the manufacturers on other sites by answering some of the technical questions.
Tony: I would buy those parts. I would install those parts. I knew how to. I would give the good and the bad of it and do a little review of those things. And we just answered questions on Web sites. And when it came time to go launch our own website, we were such contributors that they’re like, you know, we’re going to go see what they’re doing, what’s what’s that’s about. And we’d already established relationships with people who are willing to advertise that we actually had ten advertisers in the first week. And I was not the cold caller. My partner, John, he owned a recruiting, a technical recruiting agency, and he loved to call people on the phone. I was like, that is not me. I will build the websites. I will create the graphics, I will set up the servers. I will run things at a technical level like an engineer. And I’m a project manager by trade. By that point is like, oh, I’ll plan things out and execute. And he was the one I was going to make the calls. I was OK emailing, but I still even to this day, I don’t like making cold calls. And I don’t I just don’t.
Joe: All right, so the timeline now is you’re doing your day job project, managing in the oil and gas arena, and you have this website with your friend and you are selling advertising, you’re building. And it’s basically if it if it looked the way it did, then that it does now. It’s literally a forum that you guys built. But
Joe: Now it’s it’s probably expanded. Where I see it has the marketplace and it has all these other pieces of it that’s helping to build that whole infrastructure on that site.
Tony: Yeah, definitely, we we had access to all the activity logs of the forms that we created so we could see the response of the individual categories that we put in the community and the classified section. We were actually one of the first ones to do a class of five sections in a forum and an automotive forum, especially because we realized that hotrods have used parts to sell and they always want to upgrade or they’re looking for a better this and that. So we put this classified in there so people can list their used parts, not new parts, because if they want to sell new parts, they need to be an advertiser. But the used parts, we’re fine. And we saw that that really increased the the longevity of their visits by about 40 percent. And just give you guys a context of how busy this site was. On average, we had about 100000 unique visitors per day.
Tony: So. So if you’re thinking about a speed shop or a car dealership or anything like that, imagine with a hundred thousand people walking through your front door every single day and spending an average of about 20 minutes, looks like that’s how we were able to generate the advertising revenue because we had the data logs, we had the Google analytics and we said, hey, what are you guys spending on magazines and television ads? And they go, We’re spending 5000 for a half page ad. And this automotive magazine, OK, cool that the automotive magazine has a circulation of about 250 copp, 250000 copies per month. We see that in two and a half days. And we’re going to charge you 10 percent of what they charge. And they were like, whoa, like this is a no brainer. And said, even better, you don’t have to give us content 30 days in advance ahead of publication because there’s that waiting period for publishers to print magazines
Tony: And they have to have the content editors and make it all look pretty and put it all in the pages and number of the pages. And I said, so if you wanted to do and unveil of a product, you could actually show up that day and your representatives could log in with their account and post a video or something that they’ve created that day. And you could get real time feedback from the people who see it and give you questions and maybe even pull out their credit card. So, you know, forums and things like the things I created, you know, we were really were the the commercial demise of magazines in that regard. And we’ve seen the magazines, the publications struggle. But here’s the thing. As much as I love magazines and I was a contributing editor for most of the automotive magazines for over a decade, what they failed to do was adapt. They had the brand name, they had the readership, but they were like, you know, we are super important and we’re the media and we are magazines and nobody’s ever going to replace magazines. And we’re just super awesome in that forum stuff. That’s just a waste of time Internet fad. And really, this is the kind of conversations that we would have with these publishers, say, hey, we’re trying to partner up with you. How about we build out your forum and you’ve got the audience base? You could start mentioning it in your magazines and, you know, get them to drive to the forum and we can help you monetize that. And they’re like, oh, no, we’re not interested in that. Our business model is public catering and our ad rates are much higher than yours. So we make a lot more revenue than you and guys like me put them out of business. Guys like me sold my brands for millions of dollars when they went bankrupt. So that’s a good lesson and adaptability and understand that you have to go where technology’s telling you to go.
Joe: And same with the newspapers, right? They didn’t move
Joe: Enough. Same thing. Yeah,
Tony: They have the audience
Tony: They don’t use it.
Joe: It’s crazy.
Tony: Men had it.
Joe: So I don’t want to harp on this subject too long, but I want to make sure that the audience understands the the exit route and how that happened out of this. And so still, at this point, you still have a dual career, right? You’re still working and you still have this website. It wasn’t like this Web site took off so much that you decided that, OK, I’m not doing the day job anymore.
Tony: Now, that’s one of the things people ask me is why didn’t you quit your job? You know, when we were really the last two years that we’re on this website, we’re making about hundred thousand a year profit and. People are like, well, why don’t you quit because at that point, my job was probably making 150, 175 range and I said, well, I also work offshore. I did a lot of offshore construction. So sometimes I was gone 28 days, sometimes with Internet, sometimes without. And so me being a project manager and engineer, I was very well adept at writing processes and procedures and systems that other people could follow. That’s what I did for a career. And I said, I don’t need to fire myself. So how can I create processes and systems to be able to hand these to other people that can do these in my absence? Because I don’t can’t guarantee if I’m going to be there or not. And so that’s what I did, is we started to build a team at about 75 people on the team and we paid them in perks and free car parts and sponsorships and sometimes, you know, ten, ninety nine dollars just to do certain tasks. And that’s what I did, is I fired myself. And what that did is allowed me to use my website as a consumer now. So I get to be at the same ground level and see what the problems were and what we could improve on and how we can add more features to attract more eyeballs and more time on screen.
Tony: And a lot of the things that Facebook and Instagram do nowadays, we were doing a long time ago. We just had to do it manually versus, you know, with A.I. So that’s what we do, is we try to stay focused on how can we increase engagement, how to increase eyeballs, how to increase time on screen, and what was the hot topics and what are the things that we can do to create content that was going to keep them coming back as the value proposition that needed exist for them to be entertained or get some information. And there’s a reason my website is still existing and I sold it. And still it is still the number one General Motors website to this day. It’s been 20 years. But the thing is that I didn’t quit the job because I didn’t need to. And it goes back to that scarcity mindset that I grew up with, that if I can work the career and make, you know, 150000 plus like, why would I quit that? Because, one, we were the top of the market share. We’re number one. And they’re always trying to people trying to take us down or literally hundreds of copies of our website, always trying to take us down. But we are way ahead of these people. Right. And so I had the market share me working one hour a day versus eight hours. There was not going to ATX my revenue. It wasn’t going to increase revenue at all. I had the market share.
Joe: Mm hmm.
Tony: So the hours versus multiplication just wasn’t there. Right. I was realistic about that. I could have been lazy and played PlayStation at that time or Xbox 360 and built cars and done nothing but. But why would I do that? Is like in I wasn’t where I wanted to be at the time, so I was OK stacking money, working to career that also I had to struggle to get that engineering degree. And for a long time I felt like I didn’t want to waste that effort. You know, I built it. I spent this time and investment and the hardship I explained earlier and I said, you know what? I don’t want to waste my degree. I was pursuing the corporate executive path in oil and gas eventually. So I was very good at my career and I was very good at entrepreneurship at the same time. And I always find that was fascinating because I I saw my entrepreneur friends on one side of the fence and I saw my employee friends on the other side of the fence. And the mindsets are completely different between the two. And I would try to cross over. So I was what you would call an intrapreneur, someone who’s an entrepreneur that works within a corporation to try to always enhance, improve, evolve. And I was always met with resistance, especially the larger the company names game. I was working for major oil companies in my later career. I mean, I left in 2015 and it was always like, hey, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. You know, this is the way we’ve always done it. Like all these things that
Tony: Corporations collapse.
Joe: Same old thing, yeah.
Tony: Same thing over and over and over. And it drove me nuts. And but yeah, that’s that’s why I never quit, man. I was good at doing both.
Joe: Ok, so how did you how did the approach happen to buy the website?
Tony: And that’s a funny one, because at the time, very few people understood the amount of volume and dollars that was coming through a business model like that, because they just thought, oh, it’s a cool car side. People are hanging around and making, you know, talking about cars. They’re probably making, you know, 50000 a year doing this. You know that that’s probably what they’re thinking.
Joe: I have
Joe: To I have to make the point that when you did this, it was hard to do what you did. It was not the drag and drop and all of
Joe: That stuff. It was not easy because I grew up I was telling a story the other day. I used to teach companies how to use an Internet browser like
Tony: Oh, yeah,
Joe: I’m old
Tony: We’re from
Tony: The same era.
Joe: Well, I’m probably older than you. But anyhow, you you did this at a really hard time. And when you’re talking about the you know, the construction of the site and then on top of it being smart enough to keep all of the logs and Google analytics, I mean, it’s hard to use today. I can’t even imagine what it was like when you were trying to pull the data out when you did it. So I just wanted to make that point. I didn’t mean to interrupt you, but I think people need to understand
Joe: That this you have to put it into the context of when it happened. And it was not easy at the time that you did it.
Tony: Yeah, yeah. For context, I sold the website in 2007 and I was 34 and multimillionaire and Facebook and Instagram came out two years later.
Joe: There you go.
Tony: See, so everything that you see now, easy, like I could just do a video and
Tony: I could do targeted ads and I can find all these people like we didn’t have that we had we had to rely on joint ventures with media and racing events and person type events to be able to to really build the snowball of momentum.
Joe: Mm hmm.
Tony: There was no like buying targeted ads. And it’s super easy nowadays. Like, really, there’s the excuses nowadays for entrepreneurs to not have success is like it just makes me laugh. It’s like, come on, it’s never been easier. The information has never been easier to find. All the stuff is being shared nowadays, which we had to go learn ourselves the hard way. And, you know, so the approach going back to the question of the approach. So it wasn’t uncommon for people to casually email us saying, hey, you think about selling your website and. We never really thought about it, to be honest, because we’re doing pretty well. We didn’t need to sell it and we were really taking a lot of the profits, rolling it back in the company to make it grow because we had careers. And so they would always just just out of curiosity, once someone was, hey, would you like to sell your website? We always would entertain the question. We would say, well, what do you think it’s worth? Because we’re curious ourselves. Like we
Tony: Didn’t know anything about
Joe: All right.
Tony: Like, what do you think it’s worth? Like what’s your offer? And most of it would be like, you know, I was thinking like Dr. Evil. We know when he talked about the one million dollars like this and it was like it. Going to go watch that movie if you haven’t. You know what I’m talking about, but they’ll be like, how about a hundred thousand dollars?
Tony: Thinking like, man, we sold advertising packages for bigger than that, you know, like, do you want to buy an ad package or do you want to buy the website?
Tony: You know, and and it just shows you that they had no clue. And that probably happened a dozen times over a period of quarters. And we just kind of laughed about it like they don’t know. And we’re not going to tell them what we’re making because it’s just they just have no clue. And and this is one company came in and they their eventual buyers were a little bit different in their approach. And they said, hey, we’re looking at acquiring the top level forums and each brand marquee. We’ve already bought this one, this one, this one and this one. And all of those brands we were well recognized with, like it was the best BMW side, the best Volkswagen site, like top level names on par with the one I’d built for General Motors. I was like, whoa, if those people sold, then maybe there’s some there’s something to this one. Right.
Joe: Mm hmm.
Tony: I remember having this conversation with John. And as a man, we’re kind of getting long in the tooth on this. I want to go build on some different projects. I want to do something different. And, you know, what do you think? And he’s like, we’re both on board. Like, you know, if they make us this offer and we came up with a number. Right. And I said, if they come up to this and we can negotiate it, I think we both agree that will sell as I call. So we responded back and said we’d entertain this offer. You know, what kind of questions would you like answered? And they actually asked if they could put their Google Analytics pixel into our website so they could see for themselves if we’re full of shit or not. I said, OK, no problems. I’ll put it in there to help them put it in there. And then about two weeks later, they called back and they said, we’re at it, have a discussion with you guys about the moving forward. And I said, OK, cool. And so their initial offer was double our number that we had come up with in our mind.
Joe: Oh, my gosh.
Tony: And we’re like, oh. So we had to contain our excitement, first of all. And act like, oh, OK, well, we’ll consider
Tony: That we’re going to have a talk about that and we’ll get back to you. And the first thing I said is like, John, we need a lawyer, we need it. We need to get an attorney. That’s a good with M&A and we need to have some conversations with him on these early contracts, negotiation things. And of course, luckily, he had a good friend of his that specialize that in Chicago. And we got on the phone we talked a couple of times, went through some details of the preliminary offer. And he’s like, so you’re going to counter right? Or like, well, should we? And he’s like, yeah, there are first offers, always the lowest
Tony: Like, what do you want to make? And so we said, well, what about this? No, it’s like worst they can say is no. And so we put that back out to them and they said, sounds good to us. And
Tony: We’re like, damn it, maybe we should ask
Tony: For some
Tony: More. So of course, we’re not going to be greedy because it was already double our number in our mind. And we sold them and then they said yes, and we’re so cool. We went down that road and it was about a better one year due diligence phase of going through all the accounting and understanding, all the systems and processes in place and negotiating the contract and the details. And that was a really, I would say, a semi stressful situation,
Joe: I can imagine.
Tony: Even though that the millions of dollars is looking in your mind, you don’t really think it’s real. Actually, because I actually interviewed somebody on my show yesterday. It sold a nine figure exit and he and I had very similar, even though he was a whole different range of the money. I made very similar psychological things going through your mind because it seems fake until you see it in your actual bank account.
Tony: And even when you initially see it in your bank account, it still feels a little fake until you, like, spend it a little bit, you’re like it’s real, OK, they’re not going to call me back and say, oh, we made a mistake. We need to have our money back. Right.
Joe: All right.
Tony: So does these weird things that we go through the exit companies and only one percent of businesses actually sell. And to hear this kind of experience is very rare. But I wanted to be really transparent and show people that because it’s a it’s very intrusive to go through that your books better be damn right. If you think you can lie about things that your company is doing or not doing, you’re going to get discovered during that because lawyers get involved and they’re digging through all kinds of stuff. I mean, they’re literally looking for ways to devalue your company and you’re looking for ways to add value to your company during that one year process. So you just got to be transparent about things and keep your books in order. That’s the main thing. And learn how to build valuation in your companies. And it just turns out we were just doing everything right. We had the recurring revenue business model. We had presold ads. We were cash flow positive. We had proven database of, you know, information of users and their emails and our names, which increased valuation based on customer acquisition cost. It would cost them to go find those people in the same market. So we had a lot of things that were checking the boxes. And it was also a tech platform with a really strong brand, which also increased valuation. So we just did everything the right way. And the reason we did that is because we just did things like business. Again, it wasn’t a hobby to us.
Joe: Yep, so you get to the final stage, it gets sold, they buy it, you sell it, you’re still working. How long did you stay at your job once you exited this company?
Tony: Another eight more.
Joe: Eight more years.
Tony: Eight more years.
Joe: That was
Joe: Not the
Joe: I expected.
Tony: I had spin offs, I had verticals that I created from that acquisition, I had a retail company selling wheels for cars because, one, we didn’t have an advertiser that was selling wheels. And I was referring a lot of business out the door. And I said, you meant I could just do the buying and get another LLC and create my own wheel company and sell the wheels. And, you know, that became a seven figure business on its own. And when the website came up for sale, I said, do you guys want the retail side? Or like, oh, now we just want the data. We want the assets. We don’t want anything to do with retail. They’re a marketing house.
Tony: I was like, so I could just create another LLC and keep this business to myself. And that’s and so I did. So I still had a seven figure business even after that. That was part time that I enjoyed that kept me in the industry, kept me relevant, kept me engaged in cars. And so but I was also in that pursuit of becoming an executive with an oil and gas. That was my my goal. And I was really good at navigating that. And I made it towards making about 250000 a year in salary. And and near the end of that, I started to realize that the oil industry just doesn’t treat people as good as they should. And I started to have to be that person that had to make tough decisions on employing certain people. And even though they were high performers and I got to see a lot of shady things in H.R., the things that are unwritten that we always hear about, like ageism and like cutting people before their pension fully
Tony: Because, you know, it’s a it’s a it’s a it’s a financial decision. It’s not personal. And I get to see this multiple times. And it started to impact me. And it’s like, you know, I don’t want to support another industry that does not support people, that we’re we’re basically disposable. And when I was young and disposable and making less money, it was very easy to find me a replacement job because I was it was inexpensive and unexperienced as I started to make, you know, multiple six figures. And in my 40s, if I were getting laid off, it was typically a six to eight month sitting on the bench waiting for the next bus to come around type scenario. And a lot of times I was having to fire myself and put people in my my desk that was ten years younger than me and 100000. I was less income than made just to keep the bench warm. For me to return at the market turned around. I was like, I don’t like being in this situation. And so, you know, I took a near-death experience for me, racing cars to finally realize, like, I don’t want to go back to that and I need to go create more impact in the world. And that’s what I did, is I decided I need to go teach people what I have passions for. And one was cars, which I built a lot of success in cars. The other thing has always been entrepreneurship. And so I said, OK, that’s how I’m going to best impact this world, is teach people business and confidence around being an entrepreneur. And that’s what I’ve been doing since 2017. It took me two years, even after leaving my job, to think about what I really wanted to do. You know, was it was it a nonprofit, wasn’t a philanthropy? What is it that I wanted to do? And for me, I just love to be a teacher, so that’s why I do what I do now.
Joe: So do you. I’ve thought about this question a lot in regards to you, if this if the site didn’t do what it did and you didn’t sell it and make that kind of money. Have you ever thought about where you would be today?
Tony: Yeah, I would still be working in the oil and gas industry for sure.
Tony: For sure.
Joe: With viewers, listeners and viewers that will hear this. What would you say to them if they were to say, well, he I mean, you did the work, it wasn’t like you got lucky, but you got lucky in the sense that someone wanted to buy it. Right. I mean, and and
Tony: Yeah, it wasn’t for sale,
Tony: So you’re right.
Joe: So someone saying, well, what’s the chances of that happening to me? Or how do I if that doesn’t happen, then I do have to just continue on the path that I’m on. So what would you say to them about not getting a lucky break like that? How do you create that break for yourself to to then become this entrepreneur and service the world and do good things?
Tony: I mean, honestly. My book, Side Hustle Millionaire, teaches people how to take the ideas for businesses and create reality out of those, because I was always ask, hey, what do you think about this business idea and what do you think about this? And the thing is that too many people take pride in having ideas. They think that there’s their super smart. They think they’re genius because they have this idea. And, you know, you and I both know that thousands of people die every single day with brilliant ideas and take them to the grave that were never materialized. And so ideas really aren’t worth anything until you take any actions and see some results from those. So don’t give yourself too much credit if you’re listening to this or watching this, if you’ve got an idea, unless you try it and it’s OK to fail, sometimes failing is actually the best lessons. But for people who are employed when you’re all your bills are paid, you need to start thinking about what the number is and the number is what is the bare necessities. You need to be able to sustain your lifestyle or even downgrade your lifestyle.
Tony: Let’s be honest, because a lot of times people live above their means. What is the number? And I’m thinking a dollar number. What is the actual number like? Take your rent or your mortgage, your car, note your insurance, your food, your utilities, and put them on a spreadsheet and go, this is the number. And if it’s 2000 or 3000 or 10000, whatever that number is, you need to have that number in your mind. Because once you start to make a profit in your side business that meets or exceeds that number, you need to really force yourself into a decision moment. Like you need to know that number is so important to know that number, because a lot of times we find that side hustlers and people that do things on the side will exceed that number, but never force themselves into decision mode. Because the question that you have to have in this decision is, should I just drop my career and go full time with this? And I have two reasons to do that. Right. Like you heard me give examples of why I didn’t leave because it wouldn’t have increased my income
Tony: Like I was the number one in the category. I had all the market share. The extra hours would not have translated to extra dollars. It made no sense for me to leave. Now, if you do have a company and you realize that, hey, if I can contribute eight extra hours, maybe nine hours, if you have a commute to go to work, if I can commit nine extra hours a day to this business, what are the numbers look like? Does it scale? Does it make a higher profit? Because I’m already at the number I could actually leave right now. I actually have a parachute on my back that I could deploy that it’s going to replace my salary already. So why am I staying here? And if the answer is like, yeah, extra hours will increase the business, it will also increase your freedom and your confidence. And most people really don’t understand the confidence that entrepreneurship brings because I’ve never experienced that. There’s something beautiful about commuting to your coffeemaker and walking to your office and you’re in your own house, in your pajamas
Tony: And and waking up like you fire up the email, you go, Oh, I made three thousand dollars last night while I was asleep. I mean, it just sounds so unrealistic. But the reality is, is realistic realistically, when you start to surround yourself with people who are doing it and who could teach you how to do that, your eyes just start to open up and you go, wow, I remember thinking, eighty five dollars an hour at work was like a lot of money because that’s close to two hundred thousand dollars salary. You know, I remember negotiating like they wanted to give me eighty, eighty dollars an hour and I was like, I want nineteen. OK, how about we meet in the middle eighty five. I mean I was at 180, 200 range. If you do the if you do the math. And the thing is, is there’s this perception that multiple six figures is a lot of money and corporate and it is because I get it, the average income in the United States is 67000 a year. Some people will never make 100000 hours. It’s sad to me because I can make that in a weekend now.
Tony: And had you asked me twenty years ago if that was possible with a laugh, it’s like there’s no way you can make a hundred thousand dollars in a week. And that just sounds stupid, like you’re dreaming. You get rich quick, you join some kind of network marketing or whatever, like it’s bullcrap, Tony. But now I’ve done it a couple of times, like why did I ever have these limitations on income and why did that exist? And you start to think about where that comes from. It’s because of your supervisors, from your parents is from your teacher, your professors. They’re telling you what you they think you’re worth based on what the market will bear. Oh, you’re a mechanical engineer. Well, you can make one hundred fifty thousand dollars if you work twenty years. So, OK, so your self-worth becomes well, I can make one hundred and fifty thousand dollars by the time I’m sixty, and maybe they’ll give a bonus to me and my last five years as an attaboy and I’ll get a Rolex. And
Tony: Why the hell we give Rolex is to people that are retiring. Like what do they need to be on time anymore.
Tony: Like thank you. What, why don’t you give me the Rolex when I’m twenty, so I’m always on time. Right. So a lot of weird things. They were created in these boundaries and and so people tend to define their self-worth based on a limitation of their salary. Their profession, which is really sad, is really sad.
Tony: And none of these limitations exist in reality. It’s that there’s no such thing as a limitation. And when you start to hang around people that think like I do, you’re going to challenge everything you believe. And it’s going to be really hard to to unwind a lot of the things that were were screwed up with. But it’s crazy. The reality of. It really exists.
Joe: Yeah, and this is why I do my podcast and I openly admit it to people, is it’s because it’s a selfish endeavor for me to be able to hang out with people like you and just virtually rub elbows. And at some point, hopefully we meet in person. But that’s the goal, is to change the mindset. I watched my father just work himself to death. He literally was. I forget if it was two weeks away from retiring and had a stroke
Joe: Was paralyzed on his right side. I watched him work harder than any man I ever watched. And I just I don’t want to see that. I don’t want to experience that. So I appreciate that. So you jumped ahead on me, which is great, because I want to know. So here’s twenty seventeen. Your you decide that you’re going to do you know, you’re
Joe: To do
Tony: And the
Tony: Community building, yeah.
Joe: So when did you decide to write Side Hustle a Millionaire. When did you decide that. Well I have to write a book on this because that’s a big endeavor. I everybody I hear that has written a book says it’s probably one of the hardest things I ever had to do.
Tony: You know, the funny thing about writing the book. Side Hustle Millionaire was a idea in my mind five years before I actually wrote it. Five years, because I knew even because I was around 40 at that time and I was like, you know, I need to do something that helps more people, you know, before the Internet flex on Instagram, I was the one that would post driveway photos with 10 cars and things like that, because, one, I had some insecurity issues and self validation things that I had to work through. And I didn’t ever feel like I belong with the rich people. And I had to prove that I belong with them and a whole lot of weird things that we grow up through. But besides, the point is that as I wanted to start teaching people how I got those cars, because the only people that were benefiting from that knowledge were my friends and like people I worked with people within my close proximity because one, I didn’t like being on camera. I didn’t like being on stage. I didn’t like my recorded voice. And I had a lot of insecurities around that, too. And I became a highly successful kind of in the background, and I was fine with that. So anytime people were like, oh, you should go write a book and you could teach all the stuff, I’d be like, Oh man, but I’m so busy. You know, I’ve got a kid and a wife and I’ve got a career and I’ve got this retail company. And I would just make a a list of bullshit excuses of things why I wasn’t really serving the purpose that I am on today.
Tony: And it was all stem based on the fear of criticism. Right. And so even when I go through this near-death experience, racing cars and deciding that I need to impact the world, I was still approaching it from a I need to make impact. But I was still being cowardly about my way of doing that, my method. And so I said, you know what, I could write a book. And that doesn’t mean I have to be on a stage or a camera or radio or TV and I can just write this book and it’ll be a good way that’s affordable. It’s portable, and I can get what’s in my mind out to thousands of people. And so I decided in really November of 2017 I’m going to write a book and I validated the idea and use my social media to ask what they would want from me. And I asked them what questions they would want answered. I was really good at using my entrepreneurship, evaluating a product before I spend time on it. I did that. I applied the same principles to a book which is another product. And while I was writing the book, my editor, Mike, I was giving him a chapter at a time to review and he was like, Man, this is going to be a good book. I cannot tell because he’s helped a lot of people become bestsellers and and one day he’s like, they’re going to want to interview.
Joe: You’re like, oh, no.
Tony: Yeah, he’s like because you might be on TV, radio, podcasts, and I felt that Stagefright, again, coming up was like, I’m in. But I’m kind of a daredevil anyways, and I said, you know what, this is a sign. This is this is a sign I need to go take care of this fear. So just like any other normal human with a fear or something or challenge like so just like most people with a fear of public speaking or any other challenge, they basically get on Google or they get on Syria, they ask, you know, how do we overcome this? And for the results, I said, join a Toastmasters or join a Rotary Club and hire a speaking coach. I said, OK, this is something I have to do. And and obviously, it was really, really avoiding this kind of scenario. So I joined Toastmasters. It’s a it’s a nonprofit that teaches public speaking and leadership. And there’s local clubs all over the world and is really inexpensive. I think it was like 45 dollars for our whole six months. And I said this is like a no brainer. So I’ll I’ll try that. And so I said, if I’m going to go, I’m going. I’m not going to be a spectator. I’m going to make myself really uncomfortable. I want to sit in the front row and I’m going to raise my hand every meeting with, like once a week and just volunteer to do something in the front of the room and just make myself uncomfortable. And because I knew that the book was about five months out and I needed to get ahead of this. Right. So
Tony: So that’s what I did is so I would learn a new tactic of public speaking at a meeting. And then for the next seven days, I would do videos. I would I would go on Instagram or Facebook and just practice what I was learning on public speaking to my phone and is really uncomfortable. And I did not. All those videos exist or like in May, June of 2017. And I basically just I just did them every day. And that’s how I improved. And I used to be so afraid of just doing videos, I would do them in my truck. Somebody walked by in the park in like an aisle away, I would put the camera down and act like I wasn’t doing any videos because I was so weird to go through that. And I would record myself like ten takes and I would finally get one. That was the best I could do at that given moment. And I would share that one. And and that’s how I did better. And I did that for over a year. And now within six months of me joining Toastmasters and doing those reps and making myself uncomfortable and doing about a speech per month, I actually started competing and representing that club and the Toastmasters competitions. And I actually won and went three rounds like
Tony: I went I was like fourth place in all of Houston, you know, after doing the club level than the area level that I went to district. And it was it was crazy. So even after winning a couple of competitions, I, I finally started realizing there might actually be something to this. Like I actually might be OK at doing this.
Joe: Mm hmm.
Tony: So it’s me winning competitions to finally realized that. And like anything else that I get into, I just go all in. And to me, public speaking was the thing I needed to go get good at. And I focused on it. I studied who I thought were the best speakers. I learned from people to hire a speaking coach. And I did reps and and I actually became the president of that Toastmasters club. And I grew it to one of the largest clubs in Houston and had about 50 active members at the time. I was president for a year or so. I got to go from being transformed to transforming hundreds of people that came in and out those doors for a period of over four years of being in that organization. And and I just I’ve seen so many changes that most people really underestimate the the quickness you can change. And I would say for most Toastmasters, you can come in definitely afraid. And if you participate within three to six months, you’ll be a completely different person. So it happens that fast. And I’ve seen it too many times to to argue the results. So if you’re out there and you’re worried about public speaking or doing videos like this or you have a fear of that, like go join, make yourself uncomfortable, do the reps and it is a skill is not a talent. When you hear someone speaking like I do now, it’s not a talent. It’s not something I was born with. It wasn’t even a thought in my mind to be a public speaker. But I learned the tactics and the strategies of effective communication and how to use my vocal inflections and speed and volume control presence, hands. All the things that you never even think about are part of communication. You learn when you actually get coached and you actually it’s a skill. It’s just like learning a new language.
Joe: Yeah, and it was a real surprise to me, because I actually heard you say that you had a real fear of public speaking in it. I think it was a clubhouse room because you were giving advice to someone. And when you said that, I was like, I can’t be the same person. I just, you know, I didn’t understand it. And I personally think, you know, I come from the entertainment side of things. I own an entertainment booking agency here in Phoenix, probably one of the biggest ones here. So I was a performer my whole life. So it’s not hard for me to necessarily do this, even though, yeah, a lot of people don’t like how they look. They don’t like how they’re their own voice, all these things. But
Joe: I think you have a great voice. It’s it’s incredibly soothing the way that’s what I liked about how you presented yourself in those rooms. It wasn’t like I’m great and it wasn’t like there’s a lot of people that just sort of yell and they’re like, you know, that’s how they
Joe: Get there
Tony: Super awesome,
Tony: And for nine hundred ninety seven dollars,
Tony: You can get the course that will make you a millionaire
Tony: And one
Joe: It. That’s that’s the personal talking
Tony: Just do
Tony: Makes you a millionaire club and follow all the moderators up here because they are super awesome, just like me, and they do their call to action
Tony: And they pitch
Tony: Like me
Tony: You have your. ReachOut,
Joe: Ok, so twenty, seventeen. You start there. Right side hustle millionaire.
Tony: I started to write it and it came out in May of twenty eighteen.
Joe: Ok, great. And did you have to go do any sort of book talk type of thing and.
Tony: No, I built the online presence, I built the support community, I kept people engaged with the project by giving them excerpts of chapters, asking them for feedback. We did a cover design. We had like nine cover designs to help use them to help pick the covers. So I let them become bought into the project. So they felt like they a part of it because they were. That’s my marketing skills coming out into the book, because I’m not like a well-known author as my first book,
Tony: And as a result when it launched, we sold over a thousand copies the first week and it became a number one bestseller. Then it moved to different categories and actually become number one in the small business category. And on the personal development, one of all personal development books on Amazon, which is like millions, it hit number 11. I was really hoping to get in the top 10, but it hit number 11 of all personal development books, which is crazy to think about. Like me self published. No, no publisher, first time author. You know, the funny thing about this, Joe, is that when I decided to write the book, I’m big on vision boards and usually it’s the backdrop of my computer screen. I make a collage of things that I want to achieve. And
Tony: When I say I’m going to write a book, I’m going to be an Amazon number one bestseller. And people laughed. People I knew that were you know, I actually put the logo, the gold crest, right in the middle of the screen. So every time I fired the computer or shut it down, I saw it and. Most people laugh, but they don’t they underestimate me again, because to me, I understand there’s got to be a process that’s repeatable. There’s got to be a way that really get the odds of achieving that. And being the engineer, I was like, OK, if that’s the level of quality and the deliverable I want to create, I need to go find people who have done that. Just ask them how they did it, get some coaching, pay them for their time. And that’s what I did. And I found that editor who’d helped dozens of people achieve it was a process is like this is what you need to do. This is the kind of format you need. This is how long the book should be. This is how you should write the book that will best translate to readers wanting to share the book. And so he gives you a lot of psychological things in the cover design. This is the subtitle needs to be in this kind of a format. Don’t use these colors, use these colors. This is the size font that translates well, because we realize from what I learned from him, is that people don’t finish a book like if it’s too thick because a lot of people want to write this giant book and like, you know, their first books, like it looks like an encyclopedia volume. And the thing is that it’s like, do you want people to recommend your book? And I said, well, absolutely. It’s like, well, they got to finish the book.
Tony: Because what he realizes that nobody ever recommends a book they haven’t completed, so we need to do things to make sure that this is a easy to digest, easy to read, easy to understand book that they will complete that way. Oh, man, this is a great book. So there’s a lot of stuff about book marketing and positioning and and writing that most people take for granted.
Joe: I was going to ask this question, but I really want to get to 365 DrippiN because there’s so many things and I know where I’ve already gone over the hour and I want to respect your time, so I’ll ask you at another time. Well, we’ll do this again for sure. 365 driven. When did that come out in relationship to the book?
Tony: Well, the Facebook group was initially 40 entrepreneurs that I asked on my time line is say, hey, I’m writing an entrepreneurship book. Would you guys like to be a part of this project looking for entrepreneurs to bounce questions and feedback on? And I thought it was going to be like five or six people that raise their hand. And 40 people are like, yeah, that’s cool. And so that became the 365 driven group. It was originally the book support group.
Tony: And as it started to grow, I mean, we’re almost 4000 members now and it’s just grown organically. Would you say if you’re getting value, invite a couple of your friends and that’s just how it grows? Because I know that if I use the referral network one, they kind of filter out the crappy people that
Tony: Not contributors are only going to invite their good friends. And so it’s kind of grown that way and slowly over time, which I enjoy because it gives me a little more time to get to know the people that are participating. But that’s the basis of 365 driven because I built communities with hundreds of thousands of members, I’m still the same leader. I still understand the core values and the principles of leadership. I’m very comfortable in that role. But now, instead of cars, I’m applying it to entrepreneurship because that’s my impact. I want to have an impact legacy. So I fully expect my 365 driven brand to crest millions of members over time. And I’m patient enough to do that. I’m not like, hey, I’m going to expedite this and I need to just amplify and spend all this money. Like if it takes me 10 years to reach a million members, I’m OK with that. I’m OK with that. But it’s going to happen. You can hear my voice. I’m very certain it’s going to happen because that’s just who I am. And I’m patient for the results.
Joe: Ok, so then the Facebook group starts, and before we get off the Facebook group, do you have to be a part of anything else to be in that Facebook group? Did you have
Joe: To purchase something or or anything?
Tony: A lot of them do come by way of listening to my podcast, 365 Driven or reading the book because it has like a call to action, if you like, to join here. So it’s a free community. We do have paid versions. We have live events and we have online coaching. We’ve got one on one coaching. We’ve got some accountability group type mastermind formats like six to eight person formats. So that’s how we’re scale it. And I’m training some other people to start running some of these groups. And we’re just helping business owners are getting the information that they didn’t have.
Joe: Right, so outside of the Facebook group, all of the rest of that can be found on the three five driven dotcom website,
Tony: That’s right.
Joe: Right. So that’s the part where you can be a part of one of the events, get one on one coaching, and then you have the three sixty five driven society, which is, I would assume the community has gone through something
Joe: Of one of the paid things on the website.
Tony: Yeah, that’s a it’s a low ticket group to get in as three hundred sixty five dollars for a year, so it is really just a separate the the doers versus the talkers.
Tony: And it’s funny as it sounds like even one dollar a day separator really starts to pull the cream of the crop. And, you know, we always think about conversion rates when we’re doing offers or webinars or things like that. And we say, hey, if you get 100 people to sign up, three percent will convert five percent if it’s good. That’s the exact number when we rolled out the offer for the 365 driven society for a dollar a day. We had the exact same conversion ratio in a three to five percent target window, so even if a group of thousands of people think, wait a minute, the numbers always seem to pan out. And when you get to that group of people who are just paid a minimal amount to be in it, they get more attention. When you group challenges, they’ve become lifelong friends themselves. It’s a it’s a really supportive, strong network. And it’s just funny how, like, just a little dollar value can make a big difference in the people.
Joe: Yeah, and it’s what’s more incredible is that people will go spend four and five dollars on a lot, but not spend a dollar on themselves
Tony: Telling you, I mean,
Tony: We got multimillionaire’s and all kinds of business owners and a dollar a day group and people just don’t understand what they’re missing out.
Joe: Yeah, it’s crazy. All right, well, I so appreciate your time. I’m sorry we had some little Internet glitches here and there. I don’t know what it is, but it was an honor to talk with you. I, I am a big fan. I hope someday we can hang out. I love what you’re doing. It stands for everything that I love and want to do myself. I just haven’t gotten to the point where you are, where you’re sharing it. If you have a great website and and a great team and lots of followers. But I hope to to somehow work with you someday. What’s the best way for everyone to get a hold? What do you prefer? Is the best way to ticket touch?
Tony: Well, first of all, thank you for the kind words, Joe, and just realize that I’m just now entering year four. And so you can do things and things can accelerate really fast in the first year, I would say it was a little slow, but I was doing that daily video and helping people and I didn’t charge anything for the first year. And the year or two it really grew. And that’s when I started to become well known. And that’s when I started charging year three, definitely triple what I was earning even in the corporate level. But year four, we’re onto some incredible things. I mean, I just got a signed a deal for a potential TV show and all kinds of things that are
Tony: Going on
Tony: Now. So it’s only four years in. So I believe in you, brother. If you if you
Tony: Got it in your mind to do it, you just had to outwork people. Yeah.
Tony: That last people. And you have to realize that momentum seems really slow at first. But the more you compound that that effort and show up every single day and give love and value like you do, it’s going to happen. You just have to see it. No one else is going to see it but you. That’s that’s one thing. So, yeah, but thank you for the opportunity. My my website’s 365 driven dot com and from there you’ll find all my social channels, my book, my podcast and the society. So keep it simple.
Joe: Well, thank you so much, man, I really appreciate this. I look forward to another one of these at some point with an update, maybe the TV show will be a big
Joe: By then. And we have a lot more to talk about. But I could have gone on forever, but I really want to respect your time. So, Tony Whately, thank you so much. I appreciate it. And we will hopefully see each other live one of these days. Zoom.
Tony: Thank you, Joe.