$4m Exit At 21 Years Old: How to Start A Business As A Teenager

$4m Exit At 21 Years Old: How to Start A Business As A Teenager


– You know the we got the email from the attorney saying, “All right the money’s wired.” And I’m like refreshing my
bank account on my phone. (Ryan laughing)
Right? Classic, just refresh, refresh, refresh. And then it was like, oh, there it is. And it’s like this weird,
surreal moment and… And I felt nothing. (bass thumping beat) – It was never what do you want to do when you grow up? It’s like, it was a, what kind of business do you want to start when you grow up? They always said I was gonna
be either a millionaire, or in prison. – Oh hey, capitalists! Oh man, this is gonna be fun. A few years ago, I met
this young man who was 17 or 18 years old at the time. He came to a workshop that I was holding, and it was about growing your business to seven figures and beyond, and he had a little business at the time, and he and his partner, they were like 19 and 17 years old, they took some of what they learned, and they applied it to their business, and a couple years later, they each made a few million bucks when they sold the company. And what’s interesting
about this conversation is that Jeremiah talks
a lot about what came up during that process of, what do you do now? And so we explore that in this episode. But if you want to start your journey, I think entrepreneurship
is the fastest way to personal growth and
personal development and it all starts with your first product, and we help people create products and build sellable businesses. If you go over to Capitalism.com/Start, there’s some free resources
for you to do that. Or if you go to Capitalism.com/Exit, we can send you the exact
strategy that’s talked about in this show, where it’s building product businesses, and then selling them. And that was how I made my money, it’s how I’ve helped a lot of people become financially independent, and then the story gets
really interesting, after money shows up, as you’ll
discover in this episode. Enjoy. (cheerful rock music) – You’re how old now? – 23.
– You’re 23. (Jeremiah laughs) – That’s insane! – [Jeremiah] It is crazy! – Were you 18 or 19 when we met? – I think I was… 17 or 18.
– Oh my goodness. – Yeah, The Next Level event? – Yeah! – With Alex from way back when? That was the one, yeah.
– Oh my god, I didn’t realize. Wow, so from that workshop,
within the next two years there were like eight people there, within the next two years– – [Jeremiah] You blew up (laughs). – Well you made like four million dollars and they’d make like 25 million dollars and both of you were doing under a million dollars a year at the time. – [Jeremiah] Yeah. – Wow! I just had a proud moment right there. I didn’t realize that both of
you were at the same workshop, and both of you had such big, big explosions after that. Wow, I should raise my prices. – [Jeremiah] You probably should. – Good grief!
(Jeremiah laughs) Good grief. Well that’s what we do
here at capitalism.com, we solve money challenges
and make people rich, so they can do the deep inner work of discovering why they’re not happy. There’s a sales pitch! So you have this exit, you make a few million bucks
when you’re like 19 or 20. – Like, 21, I think? – And you had– – [Jeremiah] Time is just a blur. – Yeah, well when you’re 23. My goodness, that’s crazy. So, at that point… I mean a lot of people go
through existential crisis when both they’re 21, and also when they have a money event like that. You had them both at the same time, the money event and just
being in your early twenties. – Just growing, yeah. – Like I have to know what you were going through, I don’t know anyone your age, or that age at the time who got that much (snaps) money at one time. So tell me what the experience was like. – It was definitely surreal, it was the kind of thing that. It was a year-long process
going through the acquisition, but I wasn’t necessarily prepared for it in the sense of like. We got the letter from the email, from the attorney saying, “Alright the money’s wired.” And I’m like, refreshing my
bank account on my phone. Right? Classic, just refresh, refresh, refresh. And then it was like, oh, there it is. And it’s like this weird,
surreal moment and, I felt nothing. I was like, oh nothing’s changed. And it was that same kind of moment that, when we originally started Tribe Fitness me and Johnny would, I
remember one time we were talking about how it was in the early days
we were like this could be a million dollar business.
(laughs) This could, we could make
some money with this! And we were like oh yeah we’re gonna have a big party when we hit
that million dollar mark right? And we were like yeah, fucking
yeah we’re gonna do it, that’s gonna be great! And then we got to that point and we didn’t even notice it. We just kept going, we didn’t even realize we hit the million dollar mark. We were not in any way satisfied and not in any way celebrating because it meant nothing. – It’s just another day. – It’s literally just another day. And it was that same kind of
feeling and it kind of clicked and I was like this is the same. Nothing’s changed. – You mean, when you had
the exit, same thing. – Same thing!
– Yeah. – It was just, there was more
money in my bank account. So I was like, oh. And then like a week, and I was kind of suspicious
to why I wasn’t… I don’t know, reacting more to it and that’s kind of what
started the inward journey, if that makes sense. – Same thing with me, I
mean after I made my money I kind of self-sabotaged for a good year and a half where I was just doing dumb things with my money, with my time, I wasn’t as mentally prepared
for it as I thought I was. And that just gives you the room to do a lot of self discovery, and to discover what does make you happy. I think in our world, we’re
so achievement oriented that it takes some time to unlearn the just more, just more
for the sake of more. And I love more, as long
as the journey is fun. – [Jeremiah] Yeah. – So, where are you in that journey post exit, it’s
been two years now? – Like a year and half-ish, I guess? About that. It was, it took about a year to exit. – Yeah, okay, okay. – Because we were under LOI for a while, we had a few different ones
that were under contract and we broke some contracts,
went off the market, went back on the market,
and then we found a buyer, and closed fairly quickly. But after all that… It kind of made me take a step back and kind of like our conversation a few months
ago, over Skype with Justin, we realized that, alright,
we have the resources and, the team to step back and
that’s something we’re proud that we’ve built over the years now but, we were still in the weeds. – Up until that call? – Not necessarily up until
that call, we were slowly removing ourself from the picture but with it was still a
lot of stuff going on. – [Ryan] Yeah. My sense about you the last
time we chatted over Skype was that your next business,
you were excited about, but you built it the same way that you built the first
one, and it’s going– – Yeah, very similar. – It’s going fine, but you don’t need the money anymore, you don’t need another business like that. So you’re kind of missing the juice and that both of you needed to kind of, recharge in order to
have the inspiration to discover what you wanted
to build it around. – Yeah. – Like you can apply the same processes, but you were missing the, it was a very logically built business and it was missing the juice
that you need right now to sustain your interest and it only comes when you recharge the batteries. – And I was surprised at
how fast that came, too. – The recharge? – Yeah!
– Yeah. – It was actually really
surprising because after that, I was like, alright me
and Justin both agreed, alright we’re gonna take a step back, whether it’s just mentally,
like checking out a little and letting the team take responsibility even if it means
sacrificing short term goals like we discussed. And after a month, month and a half, I started kind of having
these realizations, that the stuff I’m most excited to do is the stuff that brings the most value, regardless of the payday, and
when I bring the most value things start to change. – That’s right. – And money starts to come following. So then, like I started… I used to dabble in influencer
marketing, ever so slightly like with Tribe, just a little bit and it was always, what can you do for me? What can you do for
me, I’ll pay you money, I’ll pay you money, but
what can you do for me? And, it never worked out
for a number of reasons. – Right. – But that was one of them, and I started re-visiting that because that’s kind of something
I’m excited about, influencer marketing, I
know the kind of industry that we’re in is kind
of going that direction. So I started reaching
out to people and saying, just completely leading without
you is what I’m calling it, which is pretty basic
I guess but (laughs). It’s just such an easy
principle, it’s nothing special, and just reaching out to people, and just building a relationship
with different people that I think would genuinely
add value to the Roam brand, and the Roam brand would
genuinely add value to them and their audience. – Roam is your new business? – Yeah, exactly. And, I’ve seen… 10 times better response from 10 times better people. – Who would’ve thought? – I know! (laughs) And it gives me so much more energy to genuinely connect with people. – We make things so hard
on ourselves, man (sighs). – Literally! And that’s why that conversation
this morning was so timely about just shifting your
perspective on money. – Would you summarize
the conversation we had that you’re referencing? – Yeah! So… You were talking about money, and of course I’m gonna
go blank (laughing). – You can just say what shifted for you if that makes it easier.
– Yeah so, when we were talking
about, actually I have my note here, of course I brought notes. (Ryan laughs) We were talking about, instead of saying, what can I do with this
money, and what can it get me? Instead of thinking like that, thinking where can I provide the most value, and the money will follow? – [Ryan] That’s right, yeah. – And that was pretty
much the basis of it. – Yeah, we talked about
being on a date with money. – Yeah (laughs). – So many of us are like holding
on to money hoping it never goes away, could you imagine
if you were on a date with money with that same mentality, like never leave me! Please never leave me! Never leave! Eventually like a person is like get away from me, this is
horrible, you’re so clingy! And that’s how we are with money. – It really is. – But if we realize that
money is just a measurement, it’s a measurement of good work, of service, of creation, of value, so that you don’t optimize
for the measurement, you optimize for the thing that is creating the thing we measure. We optimize for the creation, we optimize for the value,
and the money just measures. – How much value that’s
brought to the table. – That’s right. – I think that was the shift. – Good, because too many people make their decisions base on what the
data suggests the market wants rather than just creating for the market. And I measure that on energy, you know when you’ve got a winner, not when the market data tells
you it, but when your energy is at its highest around that thing. And that’s the sign, that’s the tell. – I’m alive idea. – Yes, did you read that post from– – Suzy.
– Suzy Batiz, today? That’s ironic. – Oh, she’s posted today about it? She’s posted a few time using that term. – Okay, the alive idea? – Yeah. – She posted just today
about, she was saying, just wait for the idea
that you can’t let go. Don’t pursue a good idea,
don’t pursue an idea that you can logically justify. Pursue the idea that you can’t let go. That’s when you know
you’ve got a real winner. – I feel like that
makes so much sense too. Especially, like you just
said we started building Roam on the foundation of
what we build Tribe with, and the industry, and kind of the, the playing field was
much different back then so certain things being more
analytical in that sense, and algorithmic strategies
worked a lot better back then, and those still work today but
there’s other things at play, and you need to be more brand-centric and add more value today to succeed while still playing those same
algorithmic, strategic plays but you have to add
other things to the game. – Yeah, the game’s not harder,
it’s just different now. – Exactly, yeah. – And it is now more
stacked for real brand rather than just, like throw
this thing and hope it sells. So, what have you changed
since you started to recharge your batteries and bringing
back that new energy into the new business? – The influencer marketing
was one of the biggest things just ’cause that has been kind of my pet project anyways
that’s given me energy. – Would you actually, give a
quick summary of the business? – Sure! So this is Roam, we sell
outdoor recreation products. We cater to the, kind of,
outdoor adventure enthusiast whether it’s rock climbers,
cyclists, motorcyclists. Hikers, camping, that kind of… We live in Colorado and it’s kind of like, the Colorado in person.
– Okay, I love that. – It’s like the perfect Colorado avatar. – Got it, it’s a very clear
avatar, totally got it. I know, most your sales come
from Amazon, but for a while you were really trying to
build up other channels. I remember you got really
frustrated, at one point. – Yeah, we were kind of
operating out of this mentality of scarcity, and you see it so much, especially with people selling on Amazon, the grass is greener on the other side, I need to get out of Amazon
like people (laughter). And we kind of were operating
under that mentality and we desperately were
trying to scale off of Amazon, not that that’s a bad thing by any means, I mean that’s a great
thing, that’s power to you, if you can do that absolutely. But what we realized and
after hiring an agency and over a hundred thousand
dollars later, we realized for our product selection currently, it doesn’t make sense because our acquisition costs are too, our acquisition costs was too high. – [Ryan] For your business
it wasn’t the right move. – Yeah, it wasn’t the right move. – And so, question, how long were you
pushing that rock uphill? – Eight months, at least. A hundred grand later,
and lost total focus on everything we were doing,
the team was a mess. – I can’t tell you how often that happens. On the bus back from dinner,
like an hour ago (laughter). – The guy I was sitting across from was talking about how he, so many of his sales come from
Amazon but 80% of his focus goes to him trying to build
up off Amazon channels. And I was like well, stop it! And he was like why? I have to X-Y-Z. You don’t have to do shit! You don’t have to do
anything, there is no have to! When things are a struggle it’s a sign! Now, I don’t mean if things
are hard, don’t do them. I’m saying if it’s a struggle,
if it’s an energy suck, it means the energy wants
to go somewhere else and he’s just sitting there
putting all of his energy into the thing that isn’t working. Why don’t you put your
energy into the thing that is working? And I don’t know what
it is about our psyche that makes things so hard on
ourselves, like this game, this life is supposed to be fun, light, and easy. And easy does not mean
you don’t work hard, easy means it doesn’t
have to be a struggle. It’s not made to be that way. And I hope I have
learned that enough times to finally get the lesson. – [Jeremiah] Right, it’s, I’m sure I’ll learn it a
few more times (laughing). – So you went down that
rabbit hole for quite a while and then eventually
said it’s not worth it, put your energy back into where there was progress and that was Amazon. And now you’ve kind of backed off a bit in terms of like, trying to force things, recharge your batteries and now you’re kind of going
the influencer marketing route. Where do you want to go next? – So right now, we’re
kind of in this process of one, building a team, we have
a super small team right now but they’re efficient,
we love them to death, and we’re kind of, like the process of us
pulling away from the business wasn’t necessarily fully
automated like there’s still stuff in the weeds that need to
be done, so we’re kind of helping our team fully take
on those responsibilities. That’s going really well, we’re really happy and excited about that,
so we’ll continue to do that, continue to kind of
build the team culture, the corporate culture in
our brand a bit better. – [Ryan] So you’re becoming a leader, that’s your transition right now. – Essentially, that is
the transition, yeah. And it’s a very different
one, especially because even in the last business even though it was similarly sized to Roam now, it was very lean, it was me and a partner, and some VAs working in other states. So the transition from that
to being a leader and a boss and managing people and having
people manage other people, it’s a big shift. – Yeah it is. So, question for you, I
read this article today, that really pissed me off.
(laughs) It was, why do rich people still work? And it was this analysis,
and the whole thing was like, ’cause they’re greedy! And it’s just like, oh, you are. What happened to you
when you were a child? So sorry. But I’m curious when you’re… 20, and you make a few million bucks, why not just, peace out for a while, why did you start another business? – I could never. I’ve tried that laptop lifestyle, ‘mailbox
money’ on a beach. I just get bored. That alive idea, the energy that you get
from creating, essentially even if I’m not necessarily
trying to create the next Nike but creating in my space and
building the brand further taking it further, that gets me excited. – Yeah, you’re 23 now, we
met you were 17, my goodness, what would you say to a 17 year
old version of yourself now? – Oh my god, the same thing that everyone on your podcast
said, five years ago and it’s build an audience sooner. – Ah (laughing). – Yeah, and stay funny. (laughing) – You’ve done just fine,
what about personally? What would you say to that 17
year old kid that showed up? – Allow yourself to be happy and stop making excuses, don’t
put things off until you have enough money, and enough
this and enough that, or have the right person, or
the right car, whatever it is stop putting off your own happiness for other people, or even
if it’s for yourself, that you think it is, but you
can be happy all on your own. – Yeah. I’ve said this on the show before but, I think I was talking with
Alex Huditan, I told him, I’ve realized I could be
working at Juice Land, which is a smoothie shop here in town, I could be working at a smoothie shop, if I’m having a good
time, that’s happiness. Like, I could be just as fine working at Juice Land having a great time. – Living presently. – Yeah, if you’re
present and you’re happy. Downstairs, I think it was yesterday, Jason showed me a quote that he liked, which was “Be happy and
the reason will come.” – I love that, that’s good. – Just choose, allow yourself to be happy, and you’ll find the reasons to justify. Because we can be as
happy as we want to be and we can find reasons
to be sad or depressed, or reasons to be really happy. – That’s good, there’s always
gonna be reasons to be upset and be sad and be depressed,
there’s always gonna be reasons to be happy, you can choose to be happy. – Yeah, that’s right. What did you do with the money? – Tried to pay as little tax as possible. – (laughs) Good man! – Shout out to, well maybe I shouldn’t. – (laughing loudly) Shout
out whatever you want. – I moved a bit into real
estate, I enjoy that. I have a really great
property manager in Maine who manages my buildings there. That’s like quote unquote mailbox money which relieves some stress. – That’s your monthly nut
and so you can be aggressive in the business because
you don’t need the money. – Yeah, it’s not just money
in my bank account getting lower, and lower, and lower, like we were talking about yesterday. – Yeah, if you’re attached to that, you can mess things up real quick. – I try to invest it, whether it’s. I just don’t like keeping
money in my bank account. – Good.
– I don’t want to see it. – Yeah, well I know you
have a flight to catch. – [Jeremiah] Yes, I do. – Is there anything else that you want to say before
you go hop on the flight? – Thank you, it’s like you said I mean, when I was 17 we met, and you’ve been a huge inspiration it’s
been, a crazy journey, and we definitely owe a lot to you. – Thanks man. – It’s been helpful. All of the capitalism, everything. – All of the capitalism? – All of the capitalism. The teams, everything you’ve
done really, pretty much, really all the content
you’ve put out for free, because even in those times
when we were going through the next level program, we
went through that program, but we were just consuming everything. The content you were
putting out at the time was unbelievably valuable,
not that it isn’t now, but at the time nobody was doing that, not many anyways. – Thanks man.
– Absolutely. – We’ve been working together
in person for a few years now, and it’s pretty rare for a
21 year old, 22 year old, to get into a room with
other high rollers. I did that and was the
youngest one in the room, when I was 21. I would like to hear, how that
has changed your approach. – What do you mean? – You’re 21, you’ve come
into a room of people sometimes twice you’re age, sometimes a just few years ahead of you, but they’re thinking differently,
I’m just curious if it impacts your approach to business. – Well my approach to meeting people and networking with people
has changed in that sense. You can never really
assume you know someone, until you meet them, until
you really talk to them like, people might assume things about me because of my age, right? And… I do the same, we all do,
everyone assumes and judges people here and there, we try and do
it as little as possible, but when it comes to coming to
these events and meeting people, I just have to kind of force myself to… Be completely neutral, you know? And just meet people, and be present, and pretty much build rapport with people, and connect with them personally, and the value will come later too. – Well you are wise beyond
your years, my friend. – I appreciate that. – And like, dude you
are in the first inning. Do you know that, do you
know how young you are? – It surprises me sometimes
because so much happens, and so little time has gone by. – Yeah, and you are just warming up so I am very bullish on you, buddy. – (laughs) Appreciate that. – All right, man. Let’s go get you on a plane. Hey I hope you enjoyed
that as much as we did. (bouncy piano music)
One note I wanted to draw to your attention, if you enjoyed this, and you
want to hear a little bit more about the backstory, we
had Jeremiah on the show a couple years ago when
he was right at the peak of his first business,
the one that he sold. So if you just look up
the richest kid in Maine, there’s an episode on the
capitalism.com feed on the Freedom Fast Lane podcast or
if you just want some free resources if you wanna
start building businesses, businesses that you can either use to replace your income or for you to sell go over to Capitalism.com/Start and you can see our free resources, or I just started giving out a resource that talks about how
to build a product business, and sell it and that’s over
at Capitalism.com/Exit. I hope you enjoyed the show, and I’ll see you on the next
one, thanks for listening.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

8 Comments

  1. Always love your free content, very inspiring. I will actually set up my company this month and start with a friend our 1st physical products on FBA. Will be hard next to full time jobs, but let's see how many times we will fail before we prevail. 2020 will be fun. – Somehow the sound is pretty terrible in this video.

  2. Awesome video!

    As a video suggestion, I'd love to see you expand about your thoughts/perspective on competition because this is something I'm confused about. You said on stage before that we're all making this pie as big as we want (which I'm assuming means you believe we shouldn't have to worry about competition)

    Because of my background in sports growing up I've always been super competitive and I don't know if it's a motivator/energy source I can switch off.

    I know in the future when I get to that stage of building my physical products' brand that I will not tolerate having a competitor creating a better product/providing more value/caring more than I would to my target audience.

    So because of that, why should I ever share everything I know or everything that's working for me with my competitors? I really want to go to your conference or join your backroom in the future but part of me also doesn't want to share 100% of what's working for me. Has your students/backroom members etc. ever felt the same way? I'm self aware enough to know I could be wrong about a lot of my current beliefs on this subject.

  3. Man! I'm 48 and rolling. Lots of successes and failure. When 4 million eventually show up in my bank account I'll be jumping up and down like a crazy fool! The struggle is real. The hardest thing for most of us to figure out how to get someone to voluntarily hand over a dollar. Whoooohoo!

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