MS: What was your pivotal moment in life that made you take this direction?
TL: I was living with a roommate whose name was on the lease, and he was going to kick me out for not paying rent. During that time, I was at rock bottom moment. At the same time I had 6 tabs open on my computer on how to make v-flats...
MS: What made you want to be what you are now?
TL: I always wanted to work for myself because I don’t like listening to other people. I don’t like authority and rules. I like doing things my own way. So, that naturally lead me to start my own business. I am essentially where I am now because I didn’t have any other option.
MS: What are your favorite parts about what you do?
TL: I like that every day can be a completely new day, with new things to do. I don’t have just one job. I kind of do a little bit of everything. My work is very non-repetitive. I love building a brand, watching it grow, seeing the numbers, and the challenge of e-commerce.
My friend was kicking me out while I was figuring out how to make them. Knowing I would need to move back with my parents pushed me to start thinking about financial freedom and how to solve these problems I had at the time.
MS: Do you have advice for entrepreneurs?
TL: It doesn’t really matter what you’re selling. Entrepreneurs think alike. It takes similar tactics and skills. My advice is to be consistent and persistent. Utilize the internet for information and to learn things. The internet will teach you anything and everything you want to know, even to the point where if you don’t know how to research things you can Google how to research things and there will even be an article for that.
MS: What is something you wish you knew in the beginning?
TL: Patience is a virtue. Being patient and doing things slowly and thought out will save you a lot of money and time. I’m a very impulsive person and I don’t think that can change, but it would have benefited me a lot in the beginning.
MS: What is your favorite quote and why?
TL: “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” In business there’s always people looking to take advantage of you and I like to protect myself. You have to learn which people to cut out right away. It’s very important to work with people that you trust.
MS: What are some things that keep you going?
TL: Financial freedom and being able to help and support my own family and other’s. It’s not about financial freedom for the sake of buying nice things, it’s about the ability to help supporting others too. I want to be able to give back, especially to those who helped get me here.
MS: How do you approach a work life balance?
TL: Haha you don’t. It doesn’t work like that. I wish it did. Though, I don’t consider myself ever really working, because I like what I do.
MS: If you could solve one problem in the world, what would it be and why?
TL: For people to be truly open-minded. I feel a lot of people that call themselves open-minded are actually being close-minded towards someone else. For example, there are cultures in other parts of the world that go against American values, but it’s not our place to tell those cultures how to live and what to do. Cultures have done things for a very long time.
Also, I see a lot of division with politics. People have political views and think their way is the only way. There a lot of people who close off because of this. Just because someone doesn’t agree with your opinion doesn’t necessarily make them a bad person. There is a lot of hypocrisy and the media doesn’t help.
MS: What is the most valuable advice you received?
TL: Don’t eat yellow snow. Just kidding. When it comes to business, competition is not your enemy. For instance, if I am selling a product and someone else is selling a similar product then they are essentially raising more market awareness. Competition raises awareness for the product I am selling, which creates a larger market for that product. So, competition is a good thing.
If you are willing to run your business and offer a good product and service then you will have plenty of business.
Also, don’t procrastinate. If you have an idea that you believe in then just do it. Too often, people hold themselves back and overthink. It is better to do it and make mistakes than to not do it at all.
Another one is: trauma is something that doesn’t happen to you, it’s what happens inside of you. The same thing can happen to two people but how they react may differ. It is important to dive in and analyze yourself and work out the things that bother you. I think everyone or almost everyone should be in therapy. We live in a world where people are selfish and consumed in their own problems and lives that it’s hard to talk to friends and family even. Therapists help to work things within ourselves when everyone is going through their own issues. By getting a therapist you only have more to gain.
MS: What is your definition of success?
TL: It is definitely not money. Money is a side effect of success. It is only one idea of what it does. If someone has money but isn’t happy, then to me, they aren’t actually successful. If you are truly happy then you are successful. If you are able to do the things that maintain your happiness then that is true success.
MS: Looking back on life, how have you or values shifted or refined?
TL: I learned through the process of making money, that when you get to a point of making money you dreamt about as a kid because you didn’t grow up with a lot, and that money turns into all you have, then you will be disappointed.
The biggest change that I learned is that money doesn’t buy happiness. You have to feed your body, mind and soul with nutrients. Because of this, I’ve changed a lot of my lifestyle habits. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke cigarettes anymore, and I don’t smoke weed either. I realized I was just using things as bandaids for bigger problems. It’s a catch 22. After quitting, I notice I am able to focus better and learn more clearly.
MS: Any final words?
TL: Don’t eat medium rare chicken, and if you want to be happy, one of the ways to do that is by being thankful for what you have. Spending just 5 minutes a day focusing on the positive things you have; whether that be health, family, friends, creativity or passion, or whatever it is, focusing on those things will help you grow that part of yourself. In order for it to have a real effect though, you need to be consistent with it.
Also, it’s good to talk to nicely to yourself, and about yourself. Talk to yourself like how you would talk to your best friend if they needed support. Stop being mean to yourself!