When I was young I wanted to be both a missionary and businessman. My dad and grandfather were entrepreneurs and involved in ministry. I saw first-hand the benefits of entrepreneurship, the sacrifice of ministry and the joy of doing both. With this in mind, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how this would look in my own life.
As a young teenager, I would work hard to make money while in school and then spend it over the summer doing mission work in the Philippines, Mexico, Hong Kong and in the U.S. I enjoyed traveling so I started homeschooling after the 7th grade so that I could take my work with me.
Once I was able to work at my own pace, I doubled my effort in school and finished high school at 16. In college, I studied welding, business, and computer classes. I took welding to create and sell metal sculptures on eBay. At that time, I started an eBay store drop-shipping electronics from China, but decided to sell art instead because I thought art would give me a higher margin. My first customer was located in Alaska and since I had naively charged a small flat rate shipping fee, I ended up losing money on my first deal. I learned a lot about selling art online, but ultimately the business failed due to my travel schedule.
After taking two years of welding classes, I realized that welding was not for me. It didn’t scale well and I got tired of wearing the welding gear. I ended up finishing school with a B.S. in Business Finance.
While in school, I also started many ventures and most of them failed. I worked hard, dreamed big and strategized 24/7, but becoming a good businessman was challenging. I dealt with the lows of entrepreneurship, the struggle of trying to get something started while working for someone else and the frustration of having to start over multiple times.
I was ambitious and had very lofty goals, but the reality of scaling a business often left me disappointed.
Fortunately, I was able to start over multiple times as a teen and was able to solidify my career before most of my peers had started working. I tested so many online business models that it felt like a game and with each game, I played smarter and hit the market with more energy, efficiency, and commitment.
Getting Started In Digital Marketing
I became interested in marketing when I failed to get a steady flow of sales on my website. The majority of my early businesses were online and I learned that building a website was not enough to sell products.
I started programming when I was 12, so by age 17 I was a fairly good at building websites. I would create a product, build a nice website and then wait for sales…
I didn’t get any sales because the right people weren’t seeing my website.
Apart from selling on eBay, I couldn’t get anyone to buy products from me and I didn’t have any capital to outsource a solution. So I became interested in internet marketing. Day and night, I studied the art and science of digital marketing. It consumed my time and I wanted to master it.
I moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma while in college and met a gentleman that worked at a marketing firm for attorneys. He was planning on breaking out on his own and needed a marketer to help him build the business. He hired me so that he could focus on sales and building the company. Working for this startup agency was definitely a training ground for me. I was able to test ideas at a much faster rate and implement my theories much faster. We built websites, launched Ad campaigns, performed SEO & Link Building, created mobile apps, etc.
The owner was a older businessman and taught me a lot about sales. We became friends and he was even a groomsman in my wedding.
In under three years the company was a thriving business with over 120 clients (the industry average was 35 clients per agency). The work was rewarding, but fast growth led to growing pains and as the company transitioned into a more established enterprise, I felt like it was time to move on. So I left to pursue other opportunities.
The Marketing Business
After leaving the marketing agency, I took a position managing the marketing for a nutritional supplement company. I worked at the supplement company for a little over a year and then started getting offers from other companies to manage their marketing or consult with them on setting up their marketing systems. I accepted around 10-15 clients and started automating the process of marketing. I then put together a small team to remove myself from the monotonous parts of the business so that I could start a new project called, ReportAudit.com.
I stopped selling marketing services and once my client contracts expired, I decided to pivot my company away from small business services and took a position as the marketing manager for a 3D printing company. For close to 3 years, I focused on expanding the 3D Printing company and building a new Self-Development App with the owner. I also made some financial investments in a few small ventures.
Years of online marketing has led me to consulting. I now consult with businesses on setting up their digital sales and marketing infrastructure. I also have a company that manages the marketing for select clients, and I run multiple product websites (I also have a minority stake in a few other non-marketing related companies, that I’m not at liberty to discuss).
Angry Axe Throwing
In 2017, my wife and I were traveling and we ran across an urban axe throwing venue. I remembered throwing knives, ninja stars and axes as a kid, and I thought the concept was perfect. Tulsa didn’t have anything like it and I knew that people would enjoy axe throwing, so me and my wife decided to open Angry Axe. Opening a brick and mortar business was a lot different than my previous ventures, so it took us close to 6 months to actually open our doors, but it was worth it. To see the look on people’s faces when they throw an axe for the first time is awesome!