What made you decide to choose this career path?
Ever since I saw my mom speak on stage for the first time when I was 14, I always knew that I wanted to spread a message to other people. At that time I had no idea what my message was though so I knew I had to take some time to learn and to develop my ideas and hone in on what was actually important to me and what I wanted to do with my life. Over time, as I learned more about what I enjoyed doing and what I was passionate about, I always had this idea in the back of my mind that I wanted to share a message with other people. At the age of 18 I took action on this desire for the first time when I started my YouTube channel. Through creating daily videos, I began to tell other people about what I was doing as an 18 year old when it came to personal finance. Money had always been something that fascinated me and I’d always been interested in how people interacted with money and the role that money played in our lives, so I decided to make videos documenting my process building good financial habits at a young age. I really enjoyed this process but eventually realized that my passion was not about personal finance. It was instead about empowering young people to create a life that made them feel fulfilled. At first I had honed in on personal finance because I noticed how important it was for young people to think about their financial situation so they could establish good habits for the rest of their lives.
However, as I learned more about the world in entrepreneurship I realized that I could be sharing a more powerful message than just teaching young people how to improve their personal finances. I also realized that as a 18 year old, I really only had so much life experience that I could be sharing with people around me. I wanted to create a platform where other people could teach young entrepreneurs what they had learned through building businesses that were much farther along and more developed than mine. This is why I started podcasting and interviewing successful entrepreneurs on my show called Young Smart Money. I saw the value they could provide to my audience, and I saw that they had so many experiences that I just didn’t. Through the process of podcasting, I was able to hone in on my larger goal which is to empower 100,000 young people to create a life that makes them feel fulfilled and excited every single day. As of right now I am pursuing that goal through podcasting and to public speaking, however I’m not particularly attached to these platforms. If I come across a better way to pursue my goal I will not hesitate to jump on that because podcasting, public speaking, and social media are simply means for me to achieve this goal and tools in my toolbox that I can utilize to move closer to this goal. Building a following online, or growing a podcast are simply means to an end of impacting 100,000 young people. When I looked at Corporate America and working a nine-to-five job, I didn’t see that same potential impact people in the way that I could if I went out and started spreading my message through my own avenues. For me, entrepreneurship isn’t so much about the income, it’s about the impact that I can have on other people and that is what has drawn me to what I do now.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
So when I was getting started podcasting I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, I actually didn’t even know the podcast was until I decided that I wanted to start one. So going into this, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my podcast. All I knew is that podcasting was new, trendy, and it was a good way to reach people. Because I had no experience podcasting I didn’t really know what kind of preparation I need to do before sitting down and recording my first podcast. I decided to do all of the preparation. For my first podcast I wrote out a 40-page document outlining word-for-word what I was going to say. We are talking about 40 pages of dense text in a Google doc on my computer that I spent hours painstakingly writing out. I decided to repeat the same process for the next three episodes as well, so when I went to record for the first time I had four different 40-page Google Documents about the different topics I wanted to cover. Essentially I had written an entire book just to record four podcasts. From there, I went into a recording booth, pulled up my ridiculously long documents, and proceeded to read them word for word in this booth. Each one took me close to an hour to read and by the time I finished reading the first one I was extremely drained. I proceeded to sit in this booth reading all four of these documents for about four hours to record my first four podcasts.
I can tell you now looking back at these but they were absolutely horrendous. I still leave them up and published just to show people that your first podcasts are always your worst podcasts. They were extremely dry, I sounded like a robot, there was no emotion, and can only be described as unpleasant to listen to. Eventually I realized that I could have a much larger impact with my podcast if I decided to interview other people and that interviewing others would not require me to write out a 40-page document (yes please!).
The biggest takeaway that I had from this though is that you really just need to start, and once you do start you’re going to be able to see where you can improve, the things that you want to change, and how you can start making things better. But a lot of that’s not going to be clear until you actually start doing something because until you start doing you can assume and try to predict how it’s going to go, but you’re never going to actually know what’s going to happen until you do it. So even though I don’t think I would recommend writing out a 40-page document for each podcast episode you do, I think the most important thing is just to get started in whatever way, shape, or form you can. Don’t worry about things being perfect the first time because they won’t be. Just worried about things being done and about you being able to learn from doing and make your next at bat better than your last at bat.
What do you think makes your company/personal brand stand out?
In any business that you start or any project that you work on, it’s been important to have things that set you apart from everyone else. If you try to be the next Gary Vaynerchuk or the next Grant Cardone, you’re likely not going to have much success with that because they’ve been being Gary Vaynerchuk and Grant Cardone for decades. They’ve amassed millions of followers, have extremely loyal tribes, and you’re not likely to really have an impact on that. A mentor of mine once told me that “your vibe builds your tribe” and I think that’s extremely true and something that I have been able to lean into very heavily from my time building my company in my personal brand. There aren’t many other 20 year olds out there with blue hair, wearing colorful bandanas, and whose name is also a fruit. Beyond the superficial things that set me apart from most of the other people out there, I find it extremely important to have a strong why and a strong vision behind everything that I’m doing. With my podcast for example when I’m reaching out to potential guests that I want to have on the show, if I can show them that I’m extremely passionate about what I am doing and that I really care about the people that I’m serving, they’re so much more likely to be willing to come on the podcast then if it was clear that I did not have a strong vision or care about what I was doing. When people can tell that you’re genuine and really are in it to help other people out and not just help yourself out, it’s a lot easier to achieve your goals. Most people’s BS meter is pretty good and even if you’ve been able to trick yourself into believing that you’re in it for other people, you will have a hard time tricking other people.
I see so many young people getting started with entrepreneurship whether that be through social media marketing, or dropshipping, or content creation, because they see other people making money online doing that thing and they want to start making money online doing that thing. That’s not where I’m coming from. And that’s not where the 150+ successful entrepreneurs that I have interviewed on my podcast are coming from either. I use my podcast as a tool to study successful people and to allow them to share their stories with others. Through those stories, one of the things that I find time and time again is that the people who feel fulfilled, and the people who have success in the things that they do, are not motivated by helping themselves, they’re motivated by their ability to help other people. So many people get into entrepreneurship for selfish reasons and most of the time those are the people wind up failing quite quickly. If you don’t have a strong vision and you aren’t impacting other people, it’s going to be really difficult for you to continue moving forward when you’re faced with some of the setbacks and struggles that all entrepreneurs are faced with. Being able to bring yourself back to a larger why and seeing the people that you’re impacting is extremely powerful in setting yourself apart from everyone else and really building a name and a personal brand for yourself.
What’s a quote that you live by?
“There are three types of people in this world. Firstly, there are people who make things happen. Then there are people who watch things happen. Lastly, there are people who ask, what happened? Which do you want to be?” This quote resonates strongly with me and is something that I come back to quite frequently whenever I’m thinking about what my role is in any project or business that I am working on. From what I’ve observed in my life, the distribution is roughly 1% of people who are making things happen, 9% of people who are watching things happen, and 90% of people we’re asking “what happened?” Personally, I prefer to spend most of my time in the making things happen category and the watching things happen category because this is where growth happens.
When you make things happen you’re creating content, you are building something that can help other people, you are impacting the world in some way by bringing something new into it. When you’re watching things happen you’re studying success. You’re learning from people who have done the things that you want to do and finding ways that you can implement the things that they have done into your own life. You’re learning from mentors in-person, by reading books, from podcasts, and really anywhere you can find them. When you’re asking “what happened?” you’re moving through life oblivious to much of what’s happening around you. You’re not observing the subtitles and nuances around you, or thinking about how you can apply the findings of someone else into your own life, or what you can be doing to ensure that you are seeing consistent growth in the aspects of your life that are important to you. This is an area that I spend very little time in because is where I see the least amount of growth in what I’m doing, and provides me with the least insight for how I can move forward more effectively with whatever I’m trying to achieve. In order to stay in the first two categories, I consistently ask myself the question “what am I doing right now?” Am I creating? Am I consuming? Or am I wandering? By reflecting on the answer to this question and finding my patterns that lead me to wondering, I’m able to ensure that I spend as much time as possible in the prior to categories and continue to move towards my goals in the places that I want to be.
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The premise of the dream varies for every player in the game. Life, the ultimate simulation, as referenced by entrepreneur Daniel Barrios is “turning nothing into something; beating the odds by constantly challenging yourself” The million dollar question we can all ask ourselves is something along the lines of: “What is my calling?” Today, we will examine some of the strategies and methodology of successful business “Pooch Perks”
Commonly, we see business owners fail time and time again by making the same mistakes; Albert Einstein is widely credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” Why not succeed from the first month of business? Barrios is a strong proponent toward structured approaches whenever even $1 is involved. From the moment he wakes up to the minute he falls asleep, his mindset is calmly approach his desired goals by completing incremental steps to set himself up for the big goal. We are all aware, being successful in business relies on two things: who you know and how much capital ($) there is to invest. Barrios shared with me that in addition to these two essentials, it is important to acknowledge the importance of growing and developing professional relationships with investors. Ideas are wonderful. Some human beings are naturally gifted; abilities to network and sustain professional relationships are often difficult because they require equal interest from both parties, frequent communication, and responsible transparency.
I was DMing Barrios on Instagram before we spoke via Video Call. I asked as a preliminary inquiry “What do you think of the phrase ‘fake it til you make it’ & does it have any significance in your start-ups?” The established Pooch Perks co-owner had a lot to say- he picked up my video chat. Letting him have the floor, I came to many new conclusions about this popular rhetoric. Barrios cites it having an inverse significance to him, refuting the expression completely. His explanation was predicated on how nothing can be faked; products cost money, ads cost money, promotion costs money, and progression takes time. I followed up by asking him “Hypothetically, why can’t a beginner flex a connection that he may not totally have? Example: Fabricating being close friends with Lebron James?” Barrios held his standpoint by going to say how the desired connection would have further inquiry about (X) relationship with Lebron- even to the point where the desired connection may ask for screenshots proving this relationship is indeed alive and real. Barrios went on to say how “It is impossible to fake a bank statement, and doing so would only harm the credibility of persons involved.” Additionally, Barrios mentioned how “Almost 99% of free shoutouts will be totally garbage- having 10k followers is irrelevant if the engagement rate on that is 0.1%” After this conversation with Barrios, I was interested enough to schedule a follow-up interview including his ride-or-die business partner, Chris Maura
5 Things Photographers Need to Know By Jaime Flores
Jaime Flores is a photographer based in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). He is best known for his portraits but also does a variety of different types of photography. In just a span of a year, he grew his two instagram accounts to have 10x more followers than he had we started. Before photography, Jaime was going to college with no real idea of what he wanted to do for a career. After receiving his Associate’s degree with an emphasis in business, Jaime decided not to continue school and look for something new to pursue in life. He bought his first camera in April of 2018 and quickly gained the knowledge needed in order to be commercially successful in his hometown.
At first his focus was only portraits but later on he began doing product photography, events, landscapes and more. In May of 2019 he started his own Media company called Digital Trends Media. The company provides photography, videography, graphic design, and social media management services. Jaime hopes to inspire and help others find skills that are needed in today’s world driven by social media.
1. Carry your camera at all times
It’s actually really important to always have your camera with you. Pretty often, people get curious and will ask you: “Are you a photographer?” or “What kind of camera do you have?”. Use that as a chance to show them your work and/or hand them a business card (you should always have some). Take your camera everywhere you go and learn to take candid photos of people out in the city, take pictures of your food/drinks, take pictures of nature, etc. This seems pointless but people are willing to buy print versions of those types of photography. Expand your skillset beyond portraits.
2. Leverage your personality
Don’t rely solely on your work to catch the attention of potential clients. Your work will only get you so far but you have to be willing to put your personality out there as well. If you take a look at some of the most successful and well known photographers, you’ll notice that they not only take amazing pictures but they also have huge personalities. People love to see what the person behind the camera is like.
3. Make your photography stand out
Editing is crucial, spend lots of time learning new editing techniques. Also, when shooting portraits, take your time and really analyze backgrounds. Take pictures from numerous angles to give your pictures unique perspectives. Combine a unique editing style with new angles/ideas, and you will gain popularity.
4. Youtube is your best friend
A question I get asked all the time is: “How can I get better at taking pictures?” My answer is always Youtube and practice. Of course you can pay to attend seminars and pay for online photography courses, but to me that’s all unnecessary. All the information you need can be found on YouTube for FREE. At least that’s how I learned everything I know.
5. Cameras don’t do the work for you
A common misconception that people tend to have is that having a good camera is all it takes to be a good photographer. Nowadays an iPhone camera is the best camera to use as a beginner. Anyone can buy the most expensive camera but it takes knowledge about camera settings in order to take the best pictures, as well as good editing skills.
There are 4 Ways to have Fun All Summer Long
Three Connecticut friends transformed a dream into a booming business. While watching sports one night, something sparked their creativity and they realized that there was a gap in the sports industry. After conducting additional research, they found that they truly had an original idea, so they came together and created the blueprint for their game, and within a year, a prototype was born! Now there is a new way to enjoy summer sports whether you’re on a beach, at a picnic, gym, or park. This four- way intersecting volleyball net has all the fun of a traditional volleyball game but with a unique twist and a brand-new set of game rules.
The World’s First 4-Way Volley Ball Net
Chris Meade, the co-founder of CrossNet recounts the journey of creating the world’s first 4-way volleyball net when the idea was only in its infancy. “A prototype that was created and tested on a beach in the summer of 2018 gained lots of attention. It went from the four of us playing and having a good time to 25 people waiting in line and me not even getting to play my own game at the beach. As soon as that happen, we knew we had a great game.”
Success Doesn’t Happen Overnight
In most cases, success doesn’t happen overnight, and this was definitely the case for the Connecticut trio, they attribute their success to creating a clear set of game rules for their users, implementing strong branding techniques, and utilizing social media to build brand awareness and outreach. “We were three kids from a farming town in Connecticut. We had an idea and we were able to make it come to life, and now we’re being played in over 500 gym classes across the world. You can also find their products in some of the world’s top retail stores like Walmart, Target, Academy Sports and Outdoors, Amazon, and many more.
Meade enjoys the life that entrepreneurship has awarded him. Since the business has taken off, he’s able to reclaim his time, energy, and life back. When asked how has entrepreneurship improved his life, he had this to say: “I have more flexibility! “Nothing is worse than going to a job everyday and working for somebody to improve their business. Everyday I wake up and ‘think how do I improve my business?’ Which is a direct impact on my life and the life that I live.”
Changing the Game of Outdoor Sports
Meade is proud of the success and attention that the CrossNet game has gained since it’s release in June 2017, he also mentions that the sports industry has plenty room for innovation, yet, despite the passing of time, the industry lacks fresh innovation, until now! “The outdoor game and sports market is a very boring industry, and I mean that in the sense that no innovative outdoor game products really came out to the market. Our parents and their friends have been playing corn hold, Frisbee, and basketball outside for the last 100 years. There’s only so many times [that a new outdoor game is developed] and becomes a game changer, and we’ve brought in a four-way volleyball net, four-square combined, and a new game of CrossNet.”
CrossNet Brings Value to Players
CrossNet is a unique game that brings value to anyone who is willing to take part in the sport. Families can enjoy this game at a picnic, or at the beach. Physical education instructors can use this game as a pre-workout tool or as a fun workout for students. Even professional athletes can find ways to enjoy this game. Its versatility and easy game rules makes this a suitable activity for anyone to enjoy. Meade says “Leisure players can now play volleyball in a one-on-one setting. Children and young adults who are looking to learn the basic skills of volleyball can now play with select friends. It’s also a great warm-up and skill and development tool as well.
Here’s to the Future!
Chris Meade is a young 26-year-old who has successfully traversed the world of business and entrepreneurship. Together, him and his friends were able to take an idea, and turn it into profit. As a piece of advice to young aspiring entrepreneurs, he says “Have a concrete idea and run it by your peers. Don’t give up! It’s been over two years in the making and we went from a company that celebrated one sale a day, to now making the news in Minnesota were sport anchors are taking our game out of the box and showing the entire state of Minnesota.”
For business inquiries and questions, Chris Meade can be reached at [email protected].
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