Episode 182 Featuring Connor Curlewis

How To Set Up A Business For Potentially Millions In Sales

How To Set Up A Business For Potentially Millions In Sales

Neil Twa is the co-founder and CEO of Voltage Digital Marketing. He has been launching, operating, and growing private label e-commerce businesses for the last 9+ years.

Neil shares his blueprint for how to build an online business that can generate a passive “almost automated” six-figure income in just 12 to 18 months. And how to set up the business for potentially millions in sales within 18-24 months through a 'pay as you profit' skin in the game model of consulting + performance driven business mentoring.


Moving to Ozark and building their lifestyle

Neil Twa: Not to be confused with the show Ozark, which so many people know now where the Ozark even is before it was like, oh, you're in Missouri. I've never heard of nothing good I know that comes from Missouri as my friend jokingly tells me. But yeah, we moved out here long story short. I was actually born in a place called independence, Missouri, which is north of here just in outside of Kansas city.

But when I was two, my parents moved to Arizona and we ended up in Oregon. So I grew up in the west coast, from the age of about three on. So I ended up back in Missouri of all places after traveling the world and living all over the country from. Literally Oregon to New York. I ended up back in the Midwest, where I kind of settled down, grew my roots and had a family and built business and life.

And we got about 40 acres out here in the country. We'd like to hang out in, which is fun and get to do all kinds of outdoor things out here in the country. We've been out here for about nine years now, establishing this area.

Connor: That's so my dream, I talk about that with my friends. So often just New Zealand, just get a piece of bush.

Neil Twa: Well, surprisingly, I hear that enough from people. I'm actually surprised to hear that more and more from folks who kind of, you know, at first it was 10 years ago or so people kind of snubbed their noses. Why'd you want to do that? That's kind of crazy. We had to be nice to house on the little lot and the nice neighborhood and all of that kind of stuff.

And you know, my wife just said, Hey, you know what? I think we need some more space. We're kind of going in a different direction from the world where we're homeschooling our girls. We do business at home. We kind of do our lifestyle very differently. You know, and we moved into the mode of building our lifestyle, so that we could use a business to support it. And everybody gets that reversed I like to say, and I try to build a business to get a lifestyle.

And I'm saying it's a mindset thing first. Mindset thing first happened, you start to move that mindset towards your goal and objective, and then you build things to allow that to become sustainable in the changes that you're making. If you wait to build a business and then create the license, You'll be months to years behind when you can actually start to shift that momentum. Now that's a big life lesson for me. Finally, understanding that concept in its truest form. 

So we've built our lifestyle from the ground up, we'd got a smaller home on bigger acreage and I've since been expanding this all out from pools to chops to parents moving out here from Oregon and landing on acreage, just down the road from us. Her parents are moving over here and uncle owns a house on the Hills and how he got, you know, five houses and 65 acres of compound here. If you will, or community, depending upon what time of day it is. It's a great place to establish and kids can run all over the place and play.

Connor: Yeah, that's really good to hear. I fallen into a similar role reversal. There were working at Debutify becoming fully remote. I was already a remote filmmaker for about a year beforehand, but now I've kind of solidified that there's no way I would ever work in a studio all day, five days a week. I want to go on a bike ride as soon as this podcast finish. 

And then I'm going to go surfing tomorrow morning. And I'm going to come home from those activities and I'm going to do a lot better work, you know, instead of just slogging it out on the computer all day. It's kinda crazy that we do this like self destructive self-fulfilling social pressure. 

Neil Twa: Been there and we've all to some degree have faced those things in our time. I faced it as well. It's things you have to overcome. There's very few born entrepreneurs. We are usually intrepreneurs, and wannapreneurs and solopreneurs who all involve business. And eventually we can call ourselves entrepreneurs. There's a classification level to each of those things much like a business operations level.

Everybody wants to jump to the entrepreneur, but they go to skip the whole component of, well, you got to build the rat or the rungs on the ladder before you can get to the top. And I too went through a track of that similar. You know, thinking in my life once upon a time. And I jumped out of college for that reason because they were putting me in front of my day, putting me in front of green screens and programming crap that had nothing to do with the life and not really what I wanted to do in terms of business and e-commerce and international business.

And I was like, they're going to plop me down in front of a green screen and make me program. And now it's sorry, I'm a fight that. I had an opportunity to get past that there are a lot of struggles and challenges on my spaghetti road to some success. 

His journey to ecommerce success

Neil Twa: Well, I mean, long story short, everybody has some aspects of their story that are fun. I always like to focus on the more positive ones. Cause it's easy to hit the negatives really fast, all the bad things that happened, et cetera. But there was always something that occurred as man. 

Yeah. Well, I mean the bad things. Ying and yang, right? Dark and light. And without the bad, you don't understand that good without the dark. You don't understand what the light does. And in this way, many dark paths occurred in my life. That tripped me up from literally a really bad divorce that kind of set me on a completely different path in life and reset all goals, expectations, and, you know, life things I had and was literally a complete reinvention of like now what down to moving and losing a house and that relationship and family, and a whole lot of mess that really comes with divorce. 

But out of that came a very positive turn in my life in a very confidence that eventually turned around after all that kind of nonsense and sent me on a very new path in life that really helped me to see again, dark and light. And so through that process, I got to establish the comfort level with being able to handle things that are more. And one of those things was the fear of getting out of a job. And at that point I was working at IBM. And so I knew that at some point I was going to separate myself from them. I didn't actually want to go that route.

I just took it because I had literally two choices stay in academia and keep following that path or go in the corporate world and kind of follow the money because the internet was so new and business was new, online and stuff. There really isn't really many other places to go. So I chose the corporate route and by the time I got to 2007, I've had enough of that.

But in the IBM stage, similar to the way you just explained, I had the opportunity to learn some really cool things and shift my mindset. I came out of the cubicle world of sprint got to help launch the mobile first mobile phone division and be a part of the team and the customer support and knowledge management components that help that grow in scale and got to see that division of what PCs became sprint mobile.

And, you know, they went from like 5,000 employees to 80,000. It was a huge growth time. Very fascinating to watch that whole thing take off in the whole mobile division and expansion of mobile phones that everybody takes so much for granted. Now there was not that right. It evolved, it was cool to watch, but it was very corporate and it was very, you know, button seat.

You know, ride the corporate jockey world and in that life I suffered depression. I suffered gaining a hundred pounds. I was a very unhappy person. I was kept in certain tiers because of, you know, performance issues and stuff. I outperformed the group, but because I was the only male in that group, I got held down.

And there was a lot of trouble in that. It just really hurt me mentally, physically, emotionally spiritual. So by the time we had an opportunity, I performed, okay. You know, IBM said, hey, would you come take a look at this job? I'm like, heck yeah. So in that period, I became a laptop cell phone traveling road, warrior junkie lost a hundred pounds.

Connor: Was that the move from academia to IBM? 

Neil Twa: It was a move from corporate America in its typical, you know, lay light, gray stan, gray office cubicles, and to IBM at that point in the division I was in, it was more like a road warrior in division between business and jumping between clients and doing project work all over the place, which took me into the field and out of the corporate.

And so while I would be in a corporate office, it would usually be a different corporate office in different locations, sometimes two to three times a week or I'd be on a two month project at one place and then to change. So it was an ever evolving, ever changing in my laptop. And my cell phone became my own.

And because of that and flying, I had a whole different level of activity and whatnot, and the weight came off and I got more active and I lost and confidence boosted, and my creativity started to flow. And after almost five years in that thing, I was very confident that I could take what knowledge I have.

And at that point, move into a management consulting company that I own in 2007. And I left IBM to do that, but I needed that transition. I went from the corporate world jockey to the road, warrior, you know, mobile laptop person, straight into marketing and building and managing my own, you know, management consulting firm.

And that actually did pretty well, until I discovered online marketing. Well, I got to start playing with mobile applications and so much of the internet component that was really taking off was, well, how do you utilize this tool called the internet to make money and do business. And it was still evolving greatly and it was evolving.

And of course businesses need leads and lead as the lifeblood and the money and the company. And so one of the things that I got into was affiliate marketing, and specifically in the mobile affiliate world where we were using traffic over mobile phones, because that was my background in mobile to then do lead acquisition through those phones.

So we were doing cost per installation, cost per acquisition type of campaign to get mobile apps downloaded by customers and we were being paid for the difference. So if it was a $5 install and we could acquire that customer for a dollar 50 or $2, I made the three $50 in profit for every one of those. They shut down and there were no interfaces. 

There were no webinar interfaces to do this and there was no marketing interfaces, no Facebook, no to go do your ads or whatever. There was spreadsheets and uploading into the systems, given a hail Mary pass on your campaign and your budget and watching to see the numbers come back and was it profitable or not profitable. And then repeating that process. 

So I didn't actually make my first campaign profitable until the 300 launch. I remember this exactly was 301, and I almost gave up every time, like 2 99 is this yeah, 300 is, you know, like every time I'm like, no, nope, nope. Just keep going. Keep going. And it's that one took off.

I want to take off. I mean, it was $500 a day in profit, and then I launched a second one and it was 500. So then I just made two little millimeter shifts to the creative and I just kept going. And pretty soon, I'm doing more than a thousand dollars a day in profit. So I just kind cracked a little bit of that code for me, and that took off and I suddenly realized I could do some really fun things with that.

And that expanded into helping some other affiliate companies in mobile and stuff. They ended up getting some series a funding. I helped a couple of the push networks develop their web systems based on my lead generation campaign strategies. And, you know, that gave me some online cloud and got me started in that way.

But I transitioned to the physical produc

t world when I realized all that lead generation. Was helping other companies build their products and brands. And I was still acting like the middleman. I created a job for myself. I didn't even realize what I'd stepped into because again, in that entrepreneurial world, I was still trying to be the entrepreneur, but I was still so solopreneur.

I was still with, to some degree, I want to punch her and I'd have good successes in the different businesses. I just fully had an evolved in my mindset and my business and my experience. So I was still developing. By the time I got into the realization of building my own brand, building my own products, somebody introduced me to Amazon. 

Amazon as a marketplace, as a platform of selling physical products. Other people were looking at it like, you know, Hey, just a way to make money. I had always been looking at it as a way to build businesses, which is one of the things I knew that I wanted to be involved as I was growing and evolving. And I wasn't sure exactly how to tie that together. But when that platform showed me the capabilities, I quickly realized that this was a mode of traffic that also allowed me to build a brand.

It was kind of a hybrid. It was a unique situation. So I jumped in with both feet. I said it was another traffic source it's products. How do I establish this? How do I figure this? And how do I test 300 products to get my threat or wants to go off? That, that was my expectation. I had no mens that I had to do some sort of lottery mindset thing.

I was going to scratch and sniff and hit a winner. I already knew I was willing to test 300 products before I found a winner. I didn't need to do that ultimately, but I was in that frame of mind that I was going to dig that trench and stay in it until I found that. And so it didn't actually take me that long to figure out and something I discovered very quickly was the technology I'd learned at IBM during those days stuff we were building and doing was part of the technology that Amazon had developed into its search algo.

And I'm like, oh, I recognize this. Like, this makes no sense to me technology. It makes sense to me, if the algorithm, it makes sense to me how they're evaluating products and looking at the knowledge of the products and the information and how are we getting customers? And as soon as I understood that now everything just sorta changed at that moment.

I couldn't launch products and brands fast enough to keep up with the growth. How many runs did you launch? We've now had eight brands launched and almost 10 years on the platform. We sold a couple of them. We're working on new ones. We're still working on the old. We've taken people along for the ride with us hundreds to thousands of them.

We've had conventions of 800 to a thousand people per convention. We made last track well over 50 millionaires off the platform under my coaching and help teach a lot of the industry experts that are now out there in the world came through our trainings. I like to be the guy that's in the background, the mentor that hangs out that watching people get to their Everest and take their picture.

I don't need to be at the top of my Everest anymore. I lost that whole desire a long time ago. I just kind of wanted to be the guy that helps others go and obviously doing my own business and operating daily in that platform understanding how it works still and of course, working to scale so that others can take those benefits like Daniel and Bri, who just recently hit their sales records of 8,000 and $9,000 a day and their businesses.

So they're pretty happy about that growth and I'm happy to see them do it. Pretty exciting. 

Connor: Yeah. And all of those brands are within FBA? 

Neil Twa: They are. Some of them moved into DTC or direct to consumer channels, like funnels and Shopify and other places. But those are all multichannel opportunities for growth and exit.

Cause that's my big evil capitalistic agenda. As I like to joke is I help these people, help these people grow them up and exit them. So we go from zero to hero and then give them the opportunity to actually sell those companies and help them understand the whole process from Indiana. 

Insights on capitalism

Connor: What's your thoughts on capitalism? Do you think that entrepreneurs are the driving force for change? 

Neil Twa: A hundred percent man. Hands down. Get government out, allow the free speech, even if they don't like it. Of course, there's lines in the sands of accountability for free speech. You have to be accountable, but all people can say all things and then it's up to them for individual accountability.

What the outcome is, and maybe negative and maybe positive, but it's still free speech. So entrepreneurs, yes. Entrepreneurs have always been the ones that led the cutting edge, the innovations. It was never the corporations that did corporations borrowed a lot from the entrepreneur and small business world in order to establish their base.

It's very clear. And if we're going to change, you know, the focus of our culture and stuff, we're going to have to get back to what is really driving the core of our economy which is supporting and leveraging small businesses. And especially through these last few years of hardship with local businesses and businesses that lost a lot of traffic, some of them stayed afloat.

Some of them went out of business, some of them adapted and made it. But many of them couldn't adapt to online or couldn't adapt to the change in the market and, and suffer because of that. But they still are a huge foundation. And you know, a lot of people talk to capitalism. Sometimes they accidentally stumbled into pure capitalism or they veer off into socialism not realizing what.

Because it's such a nuance between the two and they say things like, well, this is a democracy and no in America, it's actually a, it's supposed to be a Republic. It's supposed to be a constitutional Republic and they don't understand the nuances anymore. No one's been trained. They don't know. They can't recite the literature that supports our constitution.

They don't really understand it. It's been watered down so much to the point where it's been a lot of corporate toxicity in that way. And I'm probably getting on a soap box. That leads to a little bit of fascism, and that's a dangerous thing. When corporations start to drive the policies and economics of our government, the people will lose and that's been proven in history over and over and over again.

So yes, I am for a capitalist model. I'm not for a pure capitalism for evil gain and agenda. And I'm certainly not for socialism. I believe in individual's work and accountability should be their own. And that everybody, frankly, whether they realize it or has an opportunity. I came from a hardworking family who was relatively poor. My dad worked hard and he provided, but we had enough to get by, but nothing else. 

So I learned very quickly if I wanted to make anything, I needed to go mow lawns or find some other way to get cash, to do what I wanted to do. You know, we had food on the table and I had clothes and I wasn't suffering, but we weren't doing terribly well.

By the time I got to be 21, I was making more than my dad was at 55 by the type of business model that I was doing. And he's a hard worker and I learned a lot of wonderful things about him. He's still of course alive and he's on the hill and I get to see him almost daily and he is just an amazing man, but I also had the benefit.

Others might not. I had a, which was my uncle was a businessman and he was an entrepreneur. And in the same rich dad, poor dad scenario, he kind of came out, became my rich dad because of his thinking and his mindset and the way he, he understand business. And he challenged it and I was able to have conversations with him.

And he was one of my first real mentors to challenge my thought processes and get me out of that corporate thinking and that scarcity mindset that I didn't even understand. It was a major part of my thinking in my daily life which is a huge shift in the way I started to think about success in business differently, but make no mistakes.

I crawled along. Sure. I had help, but not much more help than everybody has to some degree, if they're willing to work hard and help themselves up other people will help them out. It's just too much handout right now and that's not going to support a model of economy that's for darn sure. 

Don't even get me started on that crap. That's at socialism masters capitalism and I'm in many forms. So no, I am not for that. There are evolutions to life. You have to accept that it's okay for you to start out being a janitor or to be in the garage or to be somewhere where you learn a trade or a skillset that starts the fundamentals of your knowledge. From there, you might learn how to be a manager or somebody who owns a, to some degree, something in an owner level. 

And then you understand what it's like to take on the world. I have an owner who puts capital and energy and time and heart and stress and even blood into working the business and ensuring everybody gets taken care of and the customers are taken care of and the businesses running and yeah, I mean, these are all stages, which I think people don't understand anymore, or maybe they've forgotten or they don't care to know.

I'm not sure. But they just want to skip right to the end, which is just give me the money and, or just make me a CEO or whatever it is. They kind of forget that it's okay to, again, climb that ladder a little bit and understand what's going on and be that operator for a little while. So you actually understand the risks it takes.

It's a whole different sphere of visibility into the struggles that entrepreneurs face that most people kind of gloss over. I jokingly say it's, you know, 15 years to an overnight success because for many people, that's what it looks like. 

Connor: Fair enough. I mean, we can't all be owners and we can all be I think that the UBI thing is like, as originally got sparked by the electric truck revolution in the United States. Having an autonomous truck, that's gonna swap out a lot of jobs. 

Neil Twa: It will change a lot of things. There's a lot of positions in this country that are going to be taken over by machines. It just is. AI is going to be here. It's going to grow. It's going to change the landscape and, you know, adapt and survivability and perseverance.

These are gonna be words that some people are going to understand and others unfortunately, are going to fall under the sword because of that or they'll just simply choose a thing like UBI because they simply don't need to work. It's been a major problem in United States finding manpower that wants to work.

Thankfully my business model, which switched to one in which I don't need employees, my contractors are paid on performance. We have standard operating procedures. We have key results and objectives they must achieve for payment and, and bonuses. If they don't perform, I'll find someone else who will.

And I've found that to be a much better model of performance. They are happier, I'm happier. They'd take an owner mindset and the way the businesses run and because they are to some degree entrepreneurs themselves, and it's a great symbiotic relationship and it doesn't require warehouses anymore. I used to have one, it doesn't require employees used to have those two, and it's a much simpler model again, that moved to that lifestyle direction and choice into the business that now has become what we do now. 

His thoughts on remote working

Connor: So do you guys work completely remotely? 

Neil Twa: We do a hundred percent. I am talking about voltage. Voltage holdings owns a number of things, including digital media at one center as well as our brands and software. So it's kind of a holding company that conglomerates the other activities, but we are all virtual. 

Connor: Yeah. How do you find it working remotely? I mean, there's a bit of a nuance having employees in person compared to. 

Neil Twa: I mean, look, if you struggle to recognize your strengths and weaknesses, and you think you're a people manager, but you're not a people manager that will only be exacerbated by trying to do remote work in a management format.

If you couldn't do it in person, you're going to struggle even greater with that on zoom remote again, having okay. Ours, you're familiar with those objectives and key results. It's a formulaic strategy of that was eventually there was a deployed into Google first. And then everybody saw the benefit of that and many have employed that into their management by exception strategy.

So we deploy that. We also have our standard operating procedures that everybody follows for their particular roles. And they're very comfortable knowing what they're going to have success and where they can get their performance from and what makes the job great and how fun it can be for them.

And they get a flexibility as me to do the life they need to do as well as perform under those goals. You know, I don't need your butt in your seat. I need your performance. If you can do that from a coffee shop or a different hours of the day or whatever, as long as it meets the goals of the clients and the objectives of those, you know, okay hours. Be my guest, because I want you to understand lifestyle as a business. 

I mean, we've trained up some people who went on to do their own businesses. It's the way it works sometimes. Right? Certain people expand beyond that and they're like, Hey, I'm gonna go do my own thing now. Thanks for the training. And it's like, okay, great, more power to you. You know, they're usually willing to accept that and help me work it out, but it doesn't happen very often, so it can be challenging. 

And I'm not the greatest people manager I've learned to work through that more and more. But putting those particular frameworks in place is a great help for me. So people know their boundaries and they hope write those goals which has helped me become a better people. 

Connor: That's very humble and a nice approach there. 

Neil Twa: Well, we learn from mistakes. 

The challenges he had to overcome

Neil Twa: Yeah, about 15 years juggling things on my own.

Well, it's actually closer to 10 in reality. I wouldn't consider the five years in which I struggled to figure out what a real entrepreneur does. After leaving the corporate world and having to like reprogram my life and my mindset and make so many adjustments and changes to expectations that, that that's more like the dark area, but for the light shut up, that's something that I know now I probably should have just went for a mentor sooner.

I should have reached out to some people. My mentor, I mentioned my uncle. He died in 2005. So he was the catalyst of me getting out in 2007 because the loss of that, a person and an ability suddenly, you know, made me realize that I had lost the opportunity sooner to take advantage of his knowledge and expertise when I could have got out on my own and used him as more of a bridge and his knowledge to help me kind of push forward.

And he was encouraging me to do some things like even start a franchise and stuff and just get something going. And I was hesitant to do that. And now I recognize there was a loss. And so after dealing with that for two years and kind of reconciling not the sadness of his loss per se, that went faster, but just the realization that suddenly I didn't have another sounding board in the world.

I didn't have another way to, to think about that. Mindset that was there and that, that board of talk and conversation. And Hey, what do you think? And hey, well, didn't you think about like this aisle crap? I didn't even see that. I didn't know to look at it that way. I lost that. And so I knew the only way for me to really gain it was to get out on my own and to struggle through it.

So I knew that was gonna be a tough move and it was, and we made it through it. You know, it, wasn't the easiest move and everybody's like, well, We know how much money do I need to start a business and we're trying to jump out and do I need four more years and do I will blah, blah, blah. And I'm like, no, you just got to go.

It's always imperfect. It is literally imperfect and something perfect will happen along the way. And that's my phrase. So at the end of the day I jumped and in that same timeframe between me getting out and starting my business. We got married in March of 2007, and then the job ended in 2007 as well in June.

And then after that new marriage and, you know, I'm on my own, I'm doing my thing. My wife has a registered nurse and had her BSN. She was working and doing home health and really loving it and then find out we're pregnant in October with the first baby and first year which led to a considerable amount of an unknown medical issues for her from October to about December, due to that pregnancy which caused her to go on bed rest. 

So then she wasn't working anymore because she had all the paid time off. She could go and she could no longer be in the job. And so she literally had to stop working and go on bed rest. So in the end of our first year, we'd gotten married. I lost my job. We gotten pregnant and she had lost her job. So we went from 250,000 a year in income to zero all in the case of a year without a mortgage, a new baby on the way in a second. So when everybody gives me their objections about life and, you know, I just lost my uncle two years earlier. In 2006, I lost my grandma in 2000, after 2006, I've lost another family member.

You know, there are plenty of excuses of wildlife hurts and why things were struggling and why sickness and illness and death and whatever else is justifiable in your reasons for stopping or giving up doing anything or not starting things. And, you know, I literally doubled down with my back against the wall and said, well I did this. I'm not stopping now.

So thankfully my wife was very understanding in the spiritual side of things. God put me in a place where I had to be still for a while because I needed to be down. So as the first child was born and my wife was still overcoming those issues and we were dealing with the sickness there.

It did take a lot of toll on her ability to, to take care of things. And so I had to step in more of the mom and dad and that kind of continued for a little while, as we discovered the medical issues were also apart me for my daughter. And we had to deal with those medical issues for her after she was born.

And so that whole timeframe, it was like, Hey, you know, this is where you need to be right now. And I got this, so he took care of it. And, you know, saw me through that and found a path through all of that nonsense into inventing that guy who became the mobile marketer. They kind of saved the business, saved a life and turned everything around.

And that happened after about four or five years down that path. So that was my experience. And now I've given people the opportunity by mentoring them to jump past all of that and really start to coach the mindset and the opposite of scarcity and getting into abundance. And we really got to look at things and realize that you're, it's never going to be perfect, but you've got to be agile.

You've got to persevere. You're gonna have to change. It's never exactly the same way. No matter what you're going to follow up critical path has success, but you got to remember, you know, even if you're climbing Mount Everest and you've got all the right equipment and you left base camp and he feels super confident that you're going to go up.

There's a storm that could pop up, like over the horizon super fast and you never saw it coming. And that is what life and business. It's adaptation, perfect perseverance, and having the right people around you that will get you through it. It's really simple. It's who, you know, that gets you there. And it's what you know, that keeps you there.

And that's a life lesson that I had to learn the hard way. And now I show people how to try to avoid those potholes in life, by helping them see their way through it quicker and easier and faster. 

Advice to younger generation

Neil Twa: Well let's talk to the last few people who were probably listening all the way through this podcast at this point. Some of you may have dropped off. You're going to miss this, those of you who are still hanging out, you know, if you're 21 at this point in life for you is a struggle to some degree, whether you don't understand it, whether you acknowledge it, whether you're trying to figure out your way in the world and you.

And, you know, don't know what to do next, per se. You might even at 21, you might still be in college, you might be thinking about graduating or at this point, or even heading into a master's degree or something. If you're in college taking that route, or maybe you're in the world of trade, and you're thinking about how do I go to the next step in business or licenses or expanding my trade into maybe a business, or maybe you're just listening to this setting at your couch in your mom's basement.

That's the old joke doing nothing and playing thinking, you can be the world's greatest video game person you might be able to, but you won't want me, you won't beat me. Cause I was a video gamer before it was cool. I actually built a server business and I had 20 servers and a farm in Dallas where I did multiplayer online gaming before it was cool.

And before there was YouTube to stream and all that stuff, we were selling Kodak access. So people could do voice over the internet on a multiplayer gaming before it was built into the games. So people could play the games where they couldn't. So we had all these clans on our servers who were playing in multi chatting across our audio.

So they could play the game together, right? Voice chat, voice IRC. I know it's going to date me. I'm only 46, but this stuff sounds like, you know, this sounds like grunting with fire. 

Connor: So, no, I mean, you still can't even use voice down age of empires today, so. 

Neil Twa: Some of that stuff still sucks. So we had a solution and it was cool and we kind of stayed into engineered new codecs for higher quality over lower latency. So audio would be great and it would be near real-time and we had servers. Located in and started to expand around the world. So people from all over the world were coming home to our servers and stuff. It was doing great, but I understood that game and to get that business to grow and I became a gainer.

So I played a lot of games online at that point, multiplayer call of duty. The original was one of the big ones that I got really good at the end result is, you know, any one of those things can be true. But you have to understand, there are certain levels of success in each of those areas is the same way.

If you wanted to say, I want to become a celebrity. And go what be movie star and do this kind of stuff. Your level of success is going to be very small unless you get into a network, the greater success opportunities for you will be in things about business e-commerce and online creations of things you can do, even, you know, NFTs and other things that are starting to become trending in the world.

You know, should we be looking into those kinds of things? They're not only evergreen, they've been around for a long time, a long time. They've matured for quite a long time. And quite honestly, the commodity of physical products I chose as a hedge against inflation. Which is 21, this point, you may not even understand the impacts of inflation on our world or the growing impacts of that kind of stuff.

Have a few people too, but you should understand those things and what are people actually going to need now or in the near future? Should that issue continue to rise and that is to be involved in the product or service of supporting an area of demand and need products. Certainly are one of those areas.

It's why we've chosen is why we double down. It's why we grown products will be in demand. Even if cost goes up and inflation increases, people still need products. If you could somehow manufacture a baby formula that was safe and effective and get it in the market right now, you'd probably be crushing.

Because right now that's one of the things that's running off the shelves here in America, very fast. And I keep seeing articles about the scarcity of baby formula and how critical is that need, right. Entrepreneurs can find a need and fill it there. You know, there's opportunities to grab that. So again, at 21, if you could just crack a moment in your head and just listen the real goal here is that you can create something of value.

You can create something that's tangible and it's asking if physical product business might be the answer for you, because you can create value and brand and organic brand. And even if you're involved in online multiplayer gaming, you might develop a product line that's yours that you could sell as part of your gaming platform or part of your live stream.

There's so many ways it's so difficult at times to figure out what works for you. Just think of the nuances. I was literally in an Uber in Vegas, and this guy had all these products lined up on the front of his car. And I'm like, what are all these products? Things like. And I'm like, so you're, how many do you make?

And he's like, well, I make about two times a month. What I make as an Uber driver, it's selling the products in my Uber car. I'm like, seriously. And so I got back from Vegas after that trip and it just so happened. Somebody sent me an article cause they were in that Uber with me and they're like, dude, check this out.

And it was an article about a guy who made about a half a million a year as an Uber. Of which about 400,000 or more was from the product sales from his Uber. Right. And he has taken a creative activity and was selling physical products that people who drove in his Uber car and unlike look that ingenuity is there.

Those creative ideas in business are there. It's why I got into business to be creative and to find ways and alternatives to make money because there are so many different ways to do it. It literally gets down to, you know, what do you feel you can do? And it's, you know, everybody at every age has that possibility, right?

Even if it's getting out and mowing lawns, because you're passionate about being outdoors, you can start a lawn company. If that makes you happy, the end result is you can make money doing what you love without jeopardizing your passion. That's just an excuse people will use. You know, that excuse to say, well, if I do what I love, then I'll no longer enjoy doing it.

That's lame. That's a scarcity mindset mentality. Don't think that if you really love it that much, you'll find new ways to do it that enjoy it and make it passionate and make it changeable for your brain as an entrepreneur, your ADHD or whatever, while still making money in that. That's why I have all these different verticals now. 

It's why I've stayed in this area for 10 years. I can constantly get to change, adapt, create, and move and shift in this vertical space without starting up a, you know, a whole nother business of some kind off in the right field. I'm staying within my lane and creating multiple streams of revenue. Now, inside of that and being able to create and continue to adapt.

So the other aspect is just the final thing I mentioned. Do something. Even if I'm perfectly, you're not going to learn, you're not going to have any success. And sometimes those failures were turned into successes. If you just turn it around, it's usually just a very small move off of failure to success, right? If you don't give up, go to your 300 and once the campaign, whatever it is here, 301st idea and don't stop. 

Connor Curlewis
Connor Curlewis

Former Content Producer

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