Welcome to the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview with Mr Stephen Rykwalder
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Introducing Stephen Rykwalder
Stephen Rykwalder is my guest today on todays Join Up Dots podcast interview.
He is a man who has taken a huge amount of action.
I suppose he also has taken risk in the last five months, which is why I just had to have him on todays show.
Unlike many of the guests that appear and chat about their success and failures, he is at the beginning of his journey to the top.
But if heart and commitment are anything to go by, then he is certainly on his way to where he wants to be.
You see “Join Up Dots” isn’t just about bringing you the superstars that have been there and done it.
We want to share the kind of stories that will inspire all our listeners to take control of your lives.
How The Dots Joined Up For Stephen
Sometimes that is people who are in the early stages, struggling to get things off the ground.
Trying their hardest to build a future for themselves.
Stephen decided that he had to try to create just that, his own future, and for the last five months has set out on a path which I guess was pure sink and swim.
With only enough money to cover his expense for those five months, he quit his corporate job, turned on his computer, and set to work.
And day after day since then he has been doing everything he can to earn enough to remain free from corporate America.
It has been a learning curve built on pure desire and passion Well has he done it, has he gained the freedom he wants?
Well let’s bring onto the show to start joining up dots, as we discuss the words of Steve Jobs with the one and only Stephen Rykwalder.
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Stephen such as:
How his girlfriend almost got eaten by an alligator whilst having a stroll!
Why he realized that being an auditor was not the sexiest job in the world!
How by being proactive your life can change in many different ways, and lead to better things unplanned at the start!
How you can make money whilst sleeping!
How a job that makes you unhappy is not worth it no matter how much you earn!
How To Connect With Stephen Rykwalder
Or if you prefer just pop over to our podcast archive for thousands of amazing episodes to choose from.
Audio Transcription Of Stephen Rykwalder Interview
David Ralph [0:00]
Yes, hello again, we’ve got another fantastic guest today. This is a man that I really wanted to be on the show from the very first moment of getting the show idea in my head because he’s somebody who’s taking gonna a huge amount of action and I suppose risk in the last five months. And that is why just had to have him on today’s show. Now, unlike many of the guests that appear and chat about their success and failures, he’s at the beginning of his journey to the top. But if heart and commitment I anything to go by when he certainly on his way to where he wants to be. You see Join Up Dots isn’t just about bringing you to superstars have been there and done it we we want to share the kind of storeys that will inspire all our listeners to take control of your lives. And sometimes, that’s going to be people who are in the early stages struggling to get things off the ground, and trying their hardest to build a future for themselves. Now, our guest decided that he had to create just back his own future. And for the last five months are set out on a path, which I guess was pure sink and swim time with only enough money to cover his expenses for those five months. He quit his corporate job, turned on his computer and set to work. And day after day. Since then, he’s been doing everything he can to earn enough to remain free from corporate America. It’s been a learning curve built on pure desire and passion. What has he done it? Has he gained the freedom he wants? Well, let’s find out. His website is called Five months to freedom. And he’s the one and only Steven white welder. How are you sir?
Stephen Rykwalder [2:17]
Hey, David. I’m doing great. Thanks for that amazing introduction.
David Ralph [2:20]
That wasn’t bad. Was it? Now How you doing today? I’m very well, very well. Indeed. Um, we’re speaking over Skype. So I understand at the moment you are in sunny Florida.
Stephen Rykwalder [2:32]
Oh, yeah. It’s beautiful outside. I actually just got back from the pool. I was out reading a book out there by the pool. So couldn’t be happier. I dislike you
David Ralph [2:39]
more every day. So So what’s what’s the temperature out there at the moment?
Stephen Rykwalder [2:45]
It’s about 70 degrees with a nice breeze.
David Ralph [2:47]
And have you got your own pool?
Stephen Rykwalder [2:50]
I have. I’m actually living in a condo. So yeah, we’ve got a nice pool right here in the complex.
David Ralph [2:56]
So so so what is life, like for you in Florida, because all of us a lot from the UK, we go out every holiday. And we hit the home of the mouse. And we hit Busch Gardens and all those kind of places. But did you do do those kind of places? Or is that just for the tourists?
Stephen Rykwalder [3:14]
I used to do those things all the time. But I think growing up here, you know, I kind of out there at the mall. And now I’m more about just relaxing in the sun and enjoying the peace and quiet reading a book by the pool, things like that. So I mean, luckily for me, I live in a nice area where we’ve still got a little bit of nature. We’ve got alligators right around the ponds by us. So it’s kind of nice to just go out and see those things is pretty key for a man from the United Kingdom to see a crocodile and an alligator. I’ll be
David Ralph [3:45]
honest. And I went over to Florida, first time, probably about 1990 done about six or seven times. And I was amazed that these alligators could be on the pavement and people were just like walking past them.
Stephen Rykwalder [3:59]
Yeah, it’s kind of crazy. Actually, my girlfriend almost got eaten by one when we were taking a walk one day, and she ended up really? Yeah, we were walking actually just like you said on a sidewalk. And there was an alligator out sunbathing. And we were walking and didn’t notice it because we were looking at some other ones that were in the pond. And so she keeps walking. And all of a sudden, we realise there’s an alligator right next to the sidewalk about six feet long. And when she goes to walk by it turns its head. And so she just took off running across the street. And yeah, it’s pretty crazy. But they are, they are a little bit dangerous. I guess if you get too close.
David Ralph [4:41]
Well, we have foxes. And that’s about as bad as it is. I can put up with a fox I just grabbed at you ever again. Well, as I said in the introduction, five months to freedom. You you’ve been a crazy journey, haven’t you?
Stephen Rykwalder [4:55]
Oh, yeah, it’s been a lot of ups and downs and exciting to say the least. So, you know, I started out. I really didn’t know what to expect when I started out, you know, it was kind of take this leap and then just see what happens. What What made you
David Ralph [5:13]
take the leap because that that phrase that leap of faith, I’ve I must have talked about Indiana Jones Last Crusade, when he does the leap of faith on to the to the bridge. You remember that scene in the film?
Stephen Rykwalder [5:26]
Yeah, actually, that’s what it felt like.
David Ralph [5:29]
Yeah, so many people are saying to me, I felt like Indiana Jones when I stepped off. I didn’t know if I was going to fall. But fortunately, I found my footing and I sort of went went forward. So when you had this this moment of it’s time to quit my corporate job. Once it’s something that I’ve been building up for a long time. Was it the case that you hated your job? Or was it just something that you decided to do?
Stephen Rykwalder [5:54]
Yeah, David a with a little bit of everything. Over the years since I was a young child, my parents had always believed in entrepreneurship. And my mom had always told me that, based on certain things that I did, she could tell I was meant to be an entrepreneur. So not as I got older. I want Stephen but so like, for instance, when I was really young, and I was buying my first car, I was flipping through one of those flyers that had all the cars for sale in the area. And I noticed a car that it was it said 1984 accurate Integra. And I looked at the picture. And I said to myself, there’s no way that that’s a 1984. It looks like a newer version, or a newer model. And so I inquired with the people that were selling it, and sure enough, it was a 1994. And there was a typo. So because of that this guy had had the ad running for over a month and had had no inquiries, because it looked like the price was, you know, way higher than what it should be for the model year it was showing. So we went and looked at the car, it was a perfect car, I ended up buying it. And we were able to haggle and get a really good price. Because this guy has zero inquiries on this car. And you know, she said, it’s just things like that, that I would spot these opportunities that most people would just look right over. And
David Ralph [7:10]
that pill man, he probably couldn’t teach children for a month.
Stephen Rykwalder [7:14]
Now, he was a pilot, he was fine. He
David Ralph [7:17]
was a Why was it? But
Stephen Rykwalder [7:18]
yeah, and I mean, we told him what happened to because, you know, I didn’t want to try to pull one over his eyes, I’ve always been someone that believes more in fairness than then just getting a good deal. So he was happy with it. He was, you know, glad to sell it. And I was happy because I was able to get a good deal my first car, especially since I was buying it cash. So it was nice to have both sides come out beneficial. So you never
David Ralph [7:41]
get your first card. You
Stephen Rykwalder [7:43]
know, no, I love that. So, so yeah, it was just things like that. And then you know, when I was younger, to make money, because my parents believed that, since they came up from nothing, that I should be able to do the same thing. So they would not pay me for anything, you know, we didn’t get free allowance. So I started my own businesses, I would do pet sitting in the neighbourhood, I started a car wash business in the neighbourhood. And I would just do these little random businesses to make money to buy the things that I wanted. So, you know, my mom was always really supportive, and really believe that I would be an entrepreneur one day, so. So I think it had a big benefit just from the start. And then, so so. So if it
David Ralph [8:28]
was always going to be there, why did you go into a job First of all, and not go the entrepreneurial route.
Stephen Rykwalder [8:35]
So it kind of ended up being a funny storey. But when I decided I wanted to go to college, for sure, because I got scholarships to go to Florida college for free. So I had really good grades in high school. And I figured you know, what college can be beneficial, you know, for pretty much any industry you go into. So I decided to go to school for business. And along the way, I was taken accounting class, and it was the easiest class I’ve ever taken. And my teacher told me, You know, I know you don’t really study a whole lot for this class. So the fact that you were able to get an A in this class without really putting in a whole lot of effort, I strongly recommend that you pursue accounting. So from there, I thought about it, and I said, You know what, I can’t see accounting being bad for running your own business. So that’s not a bad idea, you know, so let me just follow this path. And so I did that, and I got my degree in accounting. Meanwhile, I launched some businesses while I was still in college with my best friend and my little brother, Eric. And by the time I graduated, I realised You know what, let me give this whole corporate thing a try. Let me just see, you know, what happens with it. And you know, at least say I’ve, I’ve done it. So, when I graduated, it happened to be the time that the whole economy here had just collapsed. And especially in Tampa, we felt that really heavily because our real estate market tanked way heavier than most areas in this country. So, you know, I came out of college looking for a job at the worst time possible. And luckily, I ended up landing with the largest accounting firm in the world, Price Waterhouse Coopers, one of the big four public accounting firms. Yeah. And yeah, so I started doing audit work for them. And I’ll tell you what, David, I hated my life from day one. And
David Ralph [10:27]
being an auditor at age Oh, how old are you?
Stephen Rykwalder [10:31]
Right now? I just turned 28. Actually, last week.
David Ralph [10:34]
Okay. So when he was the auditor for Price Waterhouse?
Stephen Rykwalder [10:39]
Yeah, I started there when I was about 23.
David Ralph [10:42]
Okay, so that the sort of prime finding your feet territory, so it isn’t, it’s not the kind of job I would imagine makes you attractive to the females? I am an auditor for Price Waterhouse, Cooper.
Stephen Rykwalder [10:54]
Yeah, no, I it you know, we get a bad rap. People think of accountants, first of all, let alone auditors is people that have zero personality. And you know, they’re not really fun to be around. So yeah, luckily, I met my girlfriend just before I started this, so she didn’t know better.
David Ralph [11:12]
So when you when you was in that phase, because I find this fascinating, because in the last five months, you have done so much with your life. Why, why were you not doing it earlier, that’s that’s the thing that I would like to know.
Stephen Rykwalder [11:28]
So growing up, I always had parents that were afraid to take risks just because of the way that their childhoods were. And so I really didn’t have a whole lot of money put aside and savings, and I was afraid to take that risk, and just jump out into nothing and just see if I could survive without a job. And, you know, they were very supportive of starting my own businesses, but the taking the leap part they weren’t really on board with. And so you know, it really scared me a lot to take that leap and take that risk. So for a while I put up with, you know, doing the auditing working for Price Waterhouse Coopers and I also thought, you know what, this isn’t a bad, a bad set of skills to learn. And I, you know, I feel like these could aid me in a anything I’m doing, because I’m getting to see a bunch of different businesses from the inside and getting to see their their controls and their systems and how they run the show. And so, you know, I was getting to meet with CEOs, controllers, CFO, of massive public companies, international companies. And so you know, you start to fall into this trap, where you get comfortable, and you you’re thinking of all the benefits of this job. But meanwhile, you know, you’re working 8090 hours a week on salary, so you’re only getting paid for 40 hours a week. And your whole life just starts to revolve around that job. And so that’s when my whole entrepreneurial mindset started kicking back in in overdrive and saying, you know, this is not the life for you, you’re in meant to be doing this. And to be honest with you, I’m really glad that it took me that long to see that because I was there for four years. And without having that knowledge of how bad life can be working at a company like that, I don’t think the juice would be as sweet doing entrepreneurship. So it was it kind of ended up being a blessing in disguise.
David Ralph [13:24]
Because I think so many people, your storey resonates with me greatly because I’ve been there, I’ve seen it, I’ve done it. And I know when you’re doing hour upon hour upon hour of unpaid work, just to cover the work that they’re throwing at you. And then you’ve got a long commute home, I used to have a job that for a while I was leaving at four o’clock in the morning, and not getting home to 11 o’clock at night. And just jumping into bed for five hours to do it again, you know, and I look back on it now. And I think it’s madness. What the hell was I doing? Exactly. You just do because you want the job. And then I think the main thing is, you don’t want to let anyone down. And you don’t want to, for people to think that you can’t cope with what they’re throwing at you. So you go overboard. And in fact, they almost take liberties on your generosity. Do you think do you think that?
Stephen Rykwalder [14:18]
I agree, 100%. And I actually when I left that job, I was planning on writing a book about corporate slavery and how, just like you said, you know, you being kind just turns into more hours for yourself and more loss of control over your free time in your life. So yeah, I couldn’t agree more.
David Ralph [14:39]
So being at the accountants, you say was great learning, it taught you companies from the inside out. So when you decided to go at your own on the five months to freedom, what was there any parts of those that learning that you, you, you straight away? Or was it stuff that once you sort of eased into it, you thought, Oh, yes, I remember this before, this will be useful.
Stephen Rykwalder [15:02]
You know what, more than anything, what I think I learned over time was that, the more simple, you can keep things and just start, I think the better off you’re going to be. And I think seeing a lot of these big companies from the inside, you realise how slow they are, and how bogged down they are with systems and personnel and things that they have to get through just to get the most simple thing done. And so I just operated from a mentality of the more simple you can keep it, the better off you’re gonna be. So I think, you know, it’s a simple lesson. But I think it’s a huge lesson. And I think it really helped me once I was out on my own.
David Ralph [15:46]
What was the first thing you did when when you you were out on your own? You want to keep it simple? What was the first thing that you did,
Stephen Rykwalder [15:54]
and then I was actually just working on getting my own website up for a fitness company that I had been launching. And I think the the thing that I focused on was just launching and getting the site up without worrying about, you know, having the perfect design or having the perfect logo, or hiring a programmer to do all this stuff. I had never built a website on my own, I had always had my little brother do it, because that’s what he specialises in. And so I said, You know what, I’m going to focus on just doing this stuff myself, and getting it out there. And then as I need people, I’ll bring people in to help me with these little pieces. But I don’t want permanent employees that are going to be constantly, you know, needing their time to be filled with tasks that might be mundane, and not really necessary. So that’s kind of where I started was just getting that site up.
David Ralph [16:48]
Because I think that is brilliant advice. Because I think so many people don’t take that first step, because they already see websites that look professional. They see blogs that have been all of established for a long period of time. And like, Oh, I can’t do that. That’s beyond me. But actually, and I’m going to say this to all the listeners out there, if you are thinking of making a website to give yourself a platform for business. Number one, they’re incredibly easy to use. You can go to any of these sort of website building sites. But if you go to a company who actually charge you a lot of money, you may not get the traffic, you’ve you really got to put the effort in to build the traffic to your site. Now, the other thing I want to say to the listeners is, it doesn’t matter what it looks like, because no one’s going to find it anyway, until the business is actually starting to sort of gain momentum. It can be the most ugly website in the world, it really doesn’t matter. It’s only when the business starts coming to you, when you can afford to start it up and make it look a bit pretty. Which would you agree with that statement?
Stephen Rykwalder [17:57]
definitely agree with that. And to your point, my first website that I built for my my fitness site was through Squarespace. And it made it super easy to build it. And then what I actually ended up doing, probably about two months ago was rebuilding it on the WordPress platform. Once I had learned more about WordPress and implementing all this other stuff on my own through the WordPress platform. And I mean, my traffic for the first few months was minimal. I mean, I might have had up to 1000 unique visitors a month. And now I just checked in the last 30 days, I’ve had over 5000 visitors. So that’s pretty much it. Thank you, I appreciate it. So yeah, I mean, I definitely agree with that. I think if you you know some people say if your first product release is perfect, and there aren’t any flaws, then you took too long and getting it out. So I definitely agree with that.
David Ralph [18:55]
Now, the question that I really want to ask you is so what is freedom? What is a key word? You five months to freedom? Well, where do you envision this freedom to be?
Stephen Rykwalder [19:08]
You know, I think freedom to me is doing the things that I love to do, and not having to worry about the money associated with them. I’m not the type of person that wants to build my own businesses, just to make money and look for the next big thing just for the money aspect. I want to enjoy what I’m doing and really feel like I do it for a purpose. And it’s a passion of mine. So when I had left my corporate job, what finally pushed me over the edge, first of all, was I went to a seminar that was a weekend long, and they talked about, you know, you can have scarcity of money, but you can also have scarcity of time. And until you respect your money or you respect your time, you’ll never have more of it. So that’s when I made that leap. And I thought, you know, if I can just be doing something that I really enjoy doing, then it won’t time and money won’t even matter. I’ll just keep doing what I love, and the money will come. And so now, I feel like I’m at a much better place in my life. I enjoy what I’m doing. I’m not waking up every day, dreading what I have to do. I go to sleep with peace in my mind, you know, knowing that I get to wake up the next day and do something exciting.
David Ralph [20:23]
It’s a it’s a it’s a hobby career.
Unknown Speaker [20:26]
David Ralph [20:28]
Can I read something off of your website because I thought it was quite profound here. So I’m going to is quite long, so I’m going to kind of read it straight off. But I want you to sort of backup what your thinking was at the time when you you wrote this. It’s Welcome to the journey into freedom and Stephens written this on his blog. From the time you were born up until you were probably about 10 years old, the world was yours to conquer everyone from parents to teachers asked you one big question, what do you want to be when you grow up? And amazingly, no matter how wild fantastical, you answer, you always received a beaming smile and encouraging words, people would tell you, you could be anything you wanted to be when you grew up an astronaut or a doctor or a fighter pilot, or even a dinosaur. That’s a bit of a stretch, actually, Stephen, but there you go. How awesome would that be roaming the earth as a prehistoric creature with nothing to stop you. But the Ice Age, you always heard adults telling you that nothing was impossible, and do not use the word count. So where did you go wrong in life and screw up this amazing journey of a lifetime? Probably around the same time as the rest of us. And don’t worry is actually had very little to do with you and very much to do with society. What was your thinking when you wrote back?
Stephen Rykwalder [21:43]
So I kind of got caught up and you know, all the emotion of leaving the corporate world and this whole secure as they say, life that I had built, you know, I was on track to do exactly what society said was admirable. And you know, I had gone to college, gotten my degree, I became a CPA, I was working for the largest accounting firm in the world. And I wasn’t happy. And so what I really started doing was looking inside myself and saying, you know, where Where did I go wrong? How did I end up on this path? Kind of like you, you asked me earlier in this interview. And, you know, I realised that I had made good steps and in good faith following what I believed was right based on society. But then I realised that that really was not the way to live. And that there was some pivotal moment in people’s lives where the storey changes from you can do whatever you want to do to you need to get realistic, you have, you’re going to have bills that you have to pay, you’re going to have people that you need to support and that rely on you, and you better find a job that’s going to pay for all that stuff, and is going to be secure. And what I realised was that that is not secure. And you know, so many people are under the false assumption that having a job that pays you a paycheck every two weeks is security, when in reality, you’re leaving your whole life in somebody else’s hands, and you’re sacrificing your happiness in pursuing what you really wanted to do when you were younger.
David Ralph [23:21]
It is so sad, isn’t it? You know, I, I’m talking to guests day after day after day on this show. And literally, to a man and a woman, they come up with the same things. Number one, they were frightened beyond belief. When I started, they really didn’t know what to do, but they knew they had to do something. Secondly, they didn’t have a clue what they wanted to do, they just kind of made it up, there was no massive plan, they just kind of lurch from one mistake to another until they found their momentum and they kept going. And the third thing was that and this is the key point to yourself. The actual job for life, the career, the working in a bank, working for an insurance company for 40 years, is actually nowadays, the most insecure thing that you can actually do. If you are looking to protect your future, or protect your family’s future. You can’t go a better path been trying to earn your own money. Because by owning your own money, you are always in control. Now, it’s not going to be easy. It’s a lot easier to just go into a job with 100 other people sit at your desk, answer the phone, do whatever you’re going to do, and then leave at the end of the day. But as Stephen was saying, you’ve always got that moment when somebody will say, Sorry, Stephen, we haven’t got enough work anymore, you’re out. Now if you’ve been doing that job for 10 1520 years, suddenly, you’ve got a hold in your life. And you think the only thing that I can do is bad. It’s a frightening, frightening place to be.
Stephen Rykwalder [24:55]
Oh, yeah, definitely. And that’s the thing is, I was happy to make that decision on my own to leave. And I can’t imagine being in the place that I was where someone else had made that call. Because you know, at least for me, I got to plan my exit. And I had it all perfectly planned out. The money set aside, I had calculated everything and figured out what I would need to do. And you know, I can’t imagine being on the opposite end of that where someone just pulls you into their office one day and says you’re done in two weeks. So yeah, it’s definitely pretty scary.
David Ralph [25:30]
Why five months? No, Stephen.
Stephen Rykwalder [25:33]
So it actually ended up being when I left, I knew exactly how much money I would have. When I cashed out all my vacation and everything from the company, my savings from the company. And I calculated what my expenses would be each month, and then factored in, I think $2,000 for business expenses and doing the things that I was going to be doing. And so what I ended up coming up with was I had five months from the day I left until my money would run out dry. And so it was pretty much okay, well, I’ve got five months, until I have to make it otherwise I have to get another job. And so from there, I just said, you know, that’s what the name of the podcast is going to be five months to freedom. And I just started going.
David Ralph [26:24]
Now Now the thing with that, although you say podcast, that is just one small element, wasn’t it? You weren’t putting all your eggs in one basket with a podcast? What what kind of things? Have you touched on in in those five moms?
Stephen Rykwalder [26:38]
Yeah. So to shut a little light on it, the podcast, actually. And this is something that a lot of my listeners would actually reach out to me and asked me was, you know, what were my plans for monetizing it? Have I thought about doing this have a thought about doing that. And when I launched the podcast that actually was not even meant to be something that I would monetize off of it was just right after I quit, I thought, you know what, this is something that I’ve never seen documented before. And why don’t I start a podcast that will follow my journey weekly, so that people can see the struggles and you know, the ups and downs throughout the journey as I go through it. And I just wanted to do it purely as a service for other people. Once I started doing it, I added some affiliate links on my website, and things like that, so that if people wanted to help me out, they could, and, you know, use it, I guess there’s a little bit of extra money. But I never wanted my podcast to be the thing that I made money from because I wanted people to see a true journey into entrepreneurship, where I was focused on growing actual businesses away from podcasting, and try to make it. So my main focus was fitness. And my first website that I launched was a website that was created dedicated to bicep workouts, so arm workouts. And the reason that I did that was because I have found other websites, since I’m really involved in fitness, that are targeted towards fitness, but there’s so much content on them, because it’s for the whole body, that you get lost on a website. So I wanted to launch a website that was focused only on one body part. And also that was focused towards beginners so that they wouldn’t feel overwhelmed when they see all these pictures of huge bodybuilders doing these things. And you know, I’m an average looking guy, I stay in shape. But I’m not one of these huge guys, that looks like he’s been bodybuilding for 15 years. So that was the goal. And that was my main focus was to build this fitness website and get enough traffic on it, that we could start monetizing off of affiliate commissions, or Google AdSense and different advertising techniques.
David Ralph [28:56]
So that there’s about three or four things I want to talk about on there, because a lot people listening to this show today may not be aware of what affiliate marketing is. Could you just explain for people sitting there totally cold going? How is he making money here? Well, what is affiliate marketing?
Stephen Rykwalder [29:14]
David Ralph [30:22]
is brilliantly powerful, isn’t it and it’s it’s doesn’t need a great deal of technical expertise, they give you the node, you put it on the website, and then hopefully you can drive as much traffic to it as possible. And the thing about it is you can literally be sleeping and making money.
Stephen Rykwalder [30:41]
Yeah, that’s the coolest part.
David Ralph [30:43]
You know, that is beyond cool, isn’t it? You know, when when you’re starting off in business, or you’re looking to work in a job, and you’re going to Price Waterhouse Coopers? Not one person has said to you, Stephen, if you want to have a sleep at your desk, I will pay you I bet you
Stephen Rykwalder [31:00]
David Ralph [31:01]
yeah. But now with affiliate marketing, you are actually laying in bed snuggling up to your girlfriend, boyfriend or whatever you want to do. And you wake up the next morning and money is in your bank account.
Stephen Rykwalder [31:13]
Yeah, it is really cool. And the first time it happens, it’s just, it’s so cool. Because, you know, you talk about it. But once it actually happens, you’re like, wow, you know, I just made money while doing nothing. And I mean, it’s just it’s mind blowing.
David Ralph [31:29]
Can you remember the first amount of money that you earn
Stephen Rykwalder [31:32]
as a little bit over $1. And it was just for some click through on some Google AdSense. And then shortly after that, we had some sales on our website, because we actually had some links to a supplement company in the fitness industry. And we had a sale that ended up netting us, I think it was about $67. And you know, I did nothing for that I just had the link there for someone to go buy the product. And that’s happens.
David Ralph [32:01]
And if you aren’t building a business, and you’ve got a certain amount of overheads, by having this kind of affiliate marketing, actually your overheads become free, which is, which is brilliant.
Stephen Rykwalder [32:13]
It is it’s awesome. I mean, the only expenses that I really have with my websites is just the hosting. And what I ended up doing for a lot of my my hosting is, now I’ve got it all on one Blue Host package. It’s a hosting package with Pluto’s where I host all my sites on there, except for five months of freedom. So I pay a yearly fee. And then that’s it. And I can host as many sites as I want to on there. So I mean, very low, very low overhead.
David Ralph [32:43]
So the other thing I wanted to point out on on your little speech fair, which was, which was great, because he said so many things I could go into different directions was that you focused in on just one part of the body. So we say niche, but you say niche in America, I never quite understood that. But there you go. And that is one of the things that people make a mistake in when they go into business, they think they can focus in on these global markets, and they’re actually going to make money. But that’s that’s a bad mistake, isn’t it? It’s much better to go niche or niche and actually sort of dominate a small market when go for something else, which is which is already saturated?
Stephen Rykwalder [33:25]
Yeah, I agree. And you’re definitely right, you guys pronounce it correctly? And I don’t know why we say it the way we do. But
David Ralph [33:31]
because I told properly. Stephen.
Stephen Rykwalder [33:33]
Yeah, you do? That is correct.
But yeah, it’s, that’s one of the hardest things I think when you’re launching a business is you could even know what your focus is. But then you still have to figure out how do you want to structure your business around that you’ve got so many decisions to make, you know, exactly what is my target audience going to be? Exactly how am I going to pitch this product or this service? And how am I going to set it up in a way that it’s going to actually reach the audience that I’m intending to reach. And so it was a long process coming to what I finally decided on, and I couldn’t be happier with it. Because I think from the feedback I’ve been getting on that website, it’s exactly what people needed. And it makes it really easy for people to search it because it is a very specific thing. So you know, people aren’t having to search for this broad term, and then narrow it down. I’ve kind of done what some of the guys in podcasting will call, going to find a niche within a niche, and, you know, diving down and niche down even further. So, you know, I took the fitness industry, then I went into two workouts. And then I went a step further and said, All right, let’s target only workouts for this body part. And, you know, all I did was to get my my company out there and to get it well known was completely focused on building the search engine optimization of the website, and making it easy for people to get to it through search engines like Google or Yahoo or Bing.
David Ralph [35:12]
So when you you, you were doing those, the sort of step by step by step? Did you consider any of them a failure? Or did you just consider, okay, that didn’t quite work? Or that wasn’t quite the angle I was going for? Or I can’t actually see myself spending the rest of my life doing this? Or did you go, Oh, my God, I’ve wasted two, two years of my life and look for the nearest alligator.
Stephen Rykwalder [35:38]
Right, would be a horrible way to die. But But yeah, you know, there were a lot of times, I mean, almost daily, there were failures that some of them, you know, just ended up being heartbreaking, where you’ve put so much effort into something and to just see it not work the way you thought it would you just heartbroken. And I’ll give you an example, was one of the ways that I was trying to build my search engine optimization and get to the first page of the Google search results was I was working with different fitness forums, and I hired a virtual assistant down in the Philippines. And what I would have him do is scour the internet to find the best fitness forums that had posts focused on biceps. And he would send me the list of maybe 100 different posts that people had asked questions on. And then I would type out a full response to these people, and send him the list back with the responses. And he had login information. So if you could go in and post my responses for me. So it cut down on the amount of time that I actually had to spend, and all I was doing was literally writing the responses, and then letting him do the rest. And what I started finding was that despite how much effort I would put into some of these responses, I mean, there were posts where it was paragraphs, upon paragraphs responding to some of these questions, and the person will respond, you know, thank you so much. I can’t believe how much time you took responding to my question. But what would happen is the forum, moderators would end up deleting one link that I’d put in there to relevant material on my website that would help them answer even more related to this topic. And so, you know, on some of these forums, where I was even I was operating within their rules, they would get rid of the links. And so I just started to realise, you know, this is really disheartening when I’m putting so much effort into this and trying to truly help the people in this market. But these people are trying to prevent me just because they don’t want a competitor. And you know, it was it was hard, because that was one of my big strategies for building search engine optimization.
David Ralph [37:49]
But won’t didn’t stop you then. Actually what I’m going to do just before you answer, I’m actually going to play Steve Jobs speech which which the this show is based around? Because you are you’re somebody that is a classic example of trusting gut intuition, Destiny, karma, and sort of moving forward. So I just want to play this. And I’m just going to ask you, can you remember the first time you heard this? Or have you ever heard it before? And then I want to come back to that question about what kept you going forward.
Steve Jobs [38:21]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards, 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [38:55]
And you really trusted, didn’t you you really trusted and didn’t stop. So just jumping back on that. Did you remember when you first heard that speech? Because it is? It’s so out there in the kind of the public domain? literally everyone that I’ve ever spoken to? seems to go? Yes. I know that one. I’ve got it on my fridge or whatever. Has that ever crossed your path before?
Stephen Rykwalder [39:19]
You know, hopefully, I’m not the first one that has never heard it. But that was actually the first time I’ve heard it.
David Ralph [39:24]
Really? Yeah. You’ve spent too long on internet sites. And that’s what, even though
Stephen Rykwalder [39:32]
Yeah, I am too focused on what I’m doing, I guess,
David Ralph [39:36]
you know, I remember when I first heard that, and the thing that really has struck a chord with me, and it keeps on striking a chord I play that video on a daily basis now is it’s so simple, but so powerful. None of us out there know what we can achieve, or how we’re going to do it. But by moving forward and just trusting that something’s going to happen. And when it doesn’t change direction, or move forward or do something, it’s cause and effect all the way through. But so many people out there, and I know the listeners out there will be thinking, Oh, I’d love to be able to do this, I’d love to be able to do that. But we all project to the finished article. And of course, that’s never going to be possible until we have gone through those steps. And we’ve actually joined up those dots. So that’s the first time you’ve ever heard that speech. What did you gain from that?
Stephen Rykwalder [40:29]
And then it was extremely powerful. It definitely. I definitely agree with everything he’s saying. Because as you are going through that journey, that is the hard part is you just have to know that those dots are going to connect, I think and, you know, looking back, it’s easy to say like he said, you know, well, this led to this, and this connected this to that. And you know, now I can see that. But when you’re going through it, and you’re in the stages, I think what really, at least kept me going was just feeling like, there’s so much out there in the world. And the opportunities out there are endless. And to commit myself to one path when there are these all these other options out there is kind of a waste of my life. And to all the listeners out there, I’ll be completely honest, when I left, Price Waterhouse Coopers, I was so scared. I mean, it was the biggest risk that I’ve ever taken in my life by far. And, you know, the minute that I walked out the door, all that fear just disappeared, and my eyes just open to opportunity. And I mean, I am I’m not kidding or exaggerating at all, when I say that, things just seem to fall into place the way that they were supposed to. And even on those days where you know, you’d have a heartbreaking failure, or you know, something go wrong, something would happen that would just pick your spirits up and tell you you know what you’re still on right out. And here’s what you need to do to move forward.
David Ralph [42:06]
He’s amazing, isn’t it because I had a similar thing. I was doing a job for 10 years. And I decided I’ve had enough and I quit. And I walked out the door. And as I walked out the door, it was like the clouds parted, and a light came down on me. And by the time I’d done about five steps, I could barely remember being in the office for the last 10 years, it was the weirdest thing. And it was just it was just like my mind had so switched on the to the possibilities in front of me. And I’m like diabetes, now gotta focus you This is the possibility that you’ve screwed up your life because you had a salary. And now you haven’t, you’ve got to go out and do it. But by the time I took a short train journey home about 15 minutes, from the bottom of my heart, I realised two things. Number one, I could barely remember anything about the last 10 years. And number two, I’d made the right decision. It’s like you put new glasses on, and you can now see opportunities that you couldn’t see previously, because you just didn’t focus in on them. Because you were earning a salary, you’re going to work. But once once that fear kicks in, you’re looking everywhere. Because you think my God, what am I going to do? What am I going to do?
Stephen Rykwalder [43:18]
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, it is crazy. I mean, I think the next morning, after I quit my job, I woke up, and I just ate my breakfast, and I went outside. And you know, I noticed things that I’ve never noticed in my life, because I’ve always just been on the rat race on the treadmill, looking for the next thing I needed to do in my career. And you know, for the first time I was able to, to put those new glasses on, as you said, and just notice the breeze, you know, floating through the trees and see the birds chirping. And just feel this sense of peace, just wash over me and not worry about what I was going to do. You know, it just, it felt like whatever is meant to be will happen. You just need to use yourself as the tool to help make that happen.
David Ralph [44:04]
Have you had times sensing that the birds haven’t been chirping? And the breeze hasn’t been going through your hair? And you you you BASF Oh my god, what have I done?
Stephen Rykwalder [44:14]
You know, there were a lot of days where I realised I was kind of working myself into a hole, the same way that you’re trained to do in a career profession. And I would work, you know, from maybe nine o’clock 10 o’clock in the morning until 8am The next day, just trying to get through stuff. And, you know, it got to a point where I realised you’re not treating yourself any better than these people were treating you. So why are you doing this? And you know, so now what I do is I try to take breaks and just go outside and enjoy those things in nature. And just make sure that I’m enjoying the moment and not getting caught up in those details, where there are definitely times that I have, and you kind of get lost in what you’re doing and forget that all that beauty exists outside of you.
David Ralph [45:07]
And you know why is because like me and you. People get brainwashed. And people get brainwashed that the only way they can prove themselves in a career is working incredibly long hours. But yeah, if you get you know, a famous musician, they might, you know, banging away at a piano for sort of an hour, if it’s not coming, they’ll walk away from it. And then they come back later, they won’t sit there for 16 hours thinking I’m gonna write this number one, two. But once you come from corporate land, it’s very difficult to switch off from there, and I still struggle to switch off on that, I still think I’ve got to put in an hour upon hour upon hour. But actually, if I’m really honest with myself, I’m much better when I’m fresh.
Stephen Rykwalder [45:48]
Yeah, I couldn’t agree more that and you know, there were other entrepreneurs that I would stay in constant contact with. And one of the things we would do is hold each other accountable for certain things. And what I started finding was that that was actually counterproductive to me, because that kind of fed more into that mentality of you need to be working on this, you need to be working on that. Because if you’re not all these other people that are holding you accountable, you’re going to think that you’re just, you know, screwing around and wasting time. But in reality, most of my major breakthroughs and huge, you know, just moments of feeling like wow, this is what I need to do happen out there, you know, like you just said, I come back fresh, and I took time off to just relax and go do something completely unrelated to my business.
David Ralph [46:35]
So, five months to freedom. Where are you now? Are you in freedom,
Stephen Rykwalder [46:42]
I am actually in a really good spot. Now I am not in freedom, you could say I failed on my journey. But I would say it was one of the biggest successes of my life, just because I did something that was a huge risk to me. And I faced the biggest fear that I’ve ever had had in my life, which was leaving a corporate world. Because you know, growing up in the environment I grew up in and seeing my family struggle. And you know, sometimes we barely had enough money to put food on the table. I just always wanted a stable life, despite the fact that my mindset was very entrepreneurial. So to take the lead that I took was a huge success. I am back in the corporate world now, however. But the difference this time is that the job that I took was through a friend that I had worked with at the previous firm Price Waterhouse Coopers, he left a few months after me, and he took a job at a big beverage manufacturer, an international beverage company. And he shot me over a text message one day and said, Hey, I’d love to meet up for lunch with you. I’m working at this company. Now. I love it, you know, I know that you probably never want to come back to the corporate world. But I would love to at least talk to you. So you know, I gave him the benefit of the doubt met him up from launch. And it just happened to be perfect timing, my money was kind of running out. And I was still in the process of building my businesses. And I ended up taking this job. And it has been the biggest blessing for me because the director of my department is in full support of me, creating my own businesses and running my own businesses, I only work 40 hours a week, I don’t work anymore than that. They’re very flexible. So I get to come in early in the morning and leave at 430 every day. And then I also get to take days off. So this past Friday, I didn’t even use vacation and I took a day off. So you know things like that. It allows me to have the money, I need to fund my businesses, while also giving me that freedom of time that I need to also work on my businesses without worrying about my job hanging over my head all the time. So I’m in a really good spot.
David Ralph [48:55]
So So could we rephrase it to five months to happiness?
Stephen Rykwalder [49:00]
Yeah, yeah, I would say that’s very accurate. Because I am in a happier spot right now than I have ever been. since I can remember. So yeah,
David Ralph [49:10]
well brilliant for you, Stephen. Because I think you’ve only got about spot by being proactive and taking risks, because I see so many people staying in their miserable jobs, with their miserable colleagues having miserable lunch hours, because they won’t take that risk. And by taking that risk and seeing opportunities, it opens your mind to what was out there, first of all, and so when your friend came along and said, Would you like to do this, you kind of preconditions yourself for taking the risks, and the you know, utilising the opportunities that come along. I don’t think that would have happened if he was in Price Waterhouse Cooper, working your way up the career ladder, at the end of the day, I believe that you would have been at the top of the ladder, but on the wrong ladder.
Stephen Rykwalder [49:54]
Yeah, I agree completely. And I think that, you know, finding this job, I don’t think would have happened when I was still at Price Waterhouse Coopers just because I was not in a good place mentally, you know, I, I hadn’t reached the point where I was so negative about everything. Just because you know, this constant brainwashing and making you feel like you’re your life is dedicated to this company. It just leaves you with this sense of anger all the time. And, you know, once I left, it was just so much peace. And I just felt so happy about so many different things. And I was able to enjoy things. And so I think I took this job from a place of happiness, not a place of I need to get out of this other company. So So yeah, I think it just worked out really well. And I’ve, I’m still very active in working on my businesses. And, you know, like I said, I’ve reached a new peak in the amount of visitors I have on my bicep website. And I’m currently working on launching a new website. So I couldn’t be happier.
David Ralph [50:57]
Well, brilliant for you just and that positivity sort of statement really brings us to the end of the show. Or to the best bit of the show, as I like to call it, this is the bit that we call the Sermon on the mic, when we hand over the presenting duties to you. And you kind of talk to your younger self about what is possible, and the kind of things that you might have done differently, if you had the chance to go back and advise them. Okay, so we’re gonna play a little tune now. And then after it is right over to you.
Unknown Speaker [51:37]
Stephen Rykwalder [51:53]
whatever you do it for a purpose, don’t go build a business just to make money, or just do it, find something that you’re truly passionate about, and that you think will add value to the world. And do your best to bring that about, look for things in the world that people need, and find a way to solve those needs. One of the biggest things that I have done is wasted time, trying to build businesses just to build businesses. And just because I wanted to see if I could do it. So the last thing that I would do is only focus on businesses that are going to add value to the world, and that you’re truly passionate about, focus on those things that have a fire burning inside of you, that you really want to solve in the world, you really can be a tool for change in the world. And on a bigger scale than you could ever imagine. You just have to start small and take the first step and block out anybody that doesn’t support what your views are. Don’t get into a situation where you’re afraid, make those steps. And don’t get stuck in a job where you feel like you’re never going to get out. And where you can’t take those steps to a happy free situation. If you’re if you’re operating out of a place of happiness and passion, then you’re going to find a way to make it happen. Even if you have failures along the way. Just like I failed with five months to freedom. And now I am back in the corporate world, I still see that as a huge stepping stone in the right direction. And I know that it has led me to where I need to be to make my ultimate success happen.
David Ralph [53:35]
Stephen on those words, I’d like to thank you for being on the show today. And being so generous, open and really humble about your arm, your your journey, I don’t think you have found in any shape or form. I think you’ve had an overwhelming success. It may not be where you started. But you certainly are in a happier place. And that’s a success in anyone’s book. So thank you very much for being on the show. And please return once again when you have continued and maybe it’s five years to freedom next time. I don’t know how you’re going to phrase it. Because the only way of actually building our future is continuing to join up those dots. So Stephen Wilder, thank you so much.
Stephen Rykwalder [54:16]
Thank you, David. It’s been a pleasure.