Welcome to the Join Up Dots Podcast with Rocket Dollar’s Thomas Young
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Introducing Thomas Young
Thomas Young is today’s guest joining us on the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast is the co-founder & VP Marketing at Rocket Dollar.
Rocket Dollar is a self-directed investing company, which if you are like me you might be asking “Well what is self directed investing?”
Self-Directed investing allows investors to make all investment decisions from a tax-advantaged retirement account.
This includes choosing assets, vetting deals, and writing checks.
A Self-Directed account holder can invest in any asset class allowed by the IRS.
Om. its still not that clear, but what is clear is the co-founder who is on the show, has shown serious hustle and commitment growing this company from humble beginnings to over 13 staff and counting.
Thomas Young is a marketing professional with years of experience in the start-up community.
He started his career at AngelSpan, Inc., before founding a marketing agency catering to financial professionals.
How The Dots Joined Up For Thomas
His experiences with clients led him to the self-directed space, where he quickly realised that people are yearning for more control and that there was a need for a company to make
it safe, secure, and fast for people to invest their retirement savings in the assets of their choice.
Young’s close contact with many self-directed investors led him to identify a strong need for a platform combining the best attributes of a self-directed account while leveraging the best
technology of the day to make it easy to operate these accounts.
He currently lives in Austin, after attending the University Of Texas at Austin, although he is originally from Mexico City, although a
When he isn’t working on is business he enjoys running around town lake when he’s not thinking of ways to share the Rocket Dollar story.
So why did he go into an area that in so many ways is restricted by regulations and financial ombudsman?
And looking back, does he see where the time was used up most as he got the business of the ground?
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Thomas Young
During the show we discussed such deep weighty subjects with Thomas Young such as:
Thomas shares the story of how he first started to scale his business by making an equity split to gain his founding partners.
We discuss the pride that Thomas has with the future that he has built himself over the last few years, and the control he has in his life..
Why it is so important to understand what the customer really needs before ever starting to build multiple products for a market that doesn’t exist.
Thomas reveals why it doesn’t matter what you are selling. the mechanics are pretty much the same. Learn the process and then go out and conquer.
How To Connect With Thomas Young
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here– enjoy
Interview Transcription Of Thomas Young Interview
David Ralph [0:01]
Once upon a time there was a guy with a dream a dream. He’s Jobs for himself online and have a kick ass life working when he wanted him where he wanted across the world. Little did he know that dream would lead him into a world of struggle, burnout and debt. Until he found the magic ingredient and knows drunk was became a thing of the past, of course, was bad person. And now My dream is to make things happen. BU Welcome to Join Up Dots.
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK, David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:57]
Yes, hello. Good morning, everybody. Good morning. Welcome to an interview show. Yeah, you’ve had a few solo shows recently. So we’ve got an interview show for you today. And today’s guest is joining us on the show is he’s the co founder and VP marketing expert at Rocky dollar. Now, Rocky dollar is a self directed investment company which if you are like me, you might be asking well what is self directed investing? Well, is when you allow investors to make all the investment decisions from a tax advantaged retirement account. And this includes choosing assets betting deals and writing checks. A self directed account holder can invest in any asset class allowed by the IRS now if it’s still not that clear, what is clear is the co founder who is on the show has shown serious hustle and commitment growing this company from humble beginnings to over 13 staff and counting. He’s a marketing professional with years of experience in the startup community. He started his career at Angel span before founding a marketing a NC creating financial professionals now he’s experiences with clients led him to the self directed space where he quickly realised that people are yearning for more control, and that there was a need for a company to make it safe, secure and fast for people to invest their retirement savings in the assets of their choice. Now he’s close contact with many self directed investors led him to identify a strong need for a platform, combining the best of all of it, and that’s what he’s done done. When he isn’t working on his business. He enjoys running around the town lake and when he’s not thinking of ways to share the blocking dollar storey, he probably just falls down exhausted. So why did he go into an area that in so many ways is restricted by regulations and Financial Ombudsman and looking back does he see where the time was used up most as he got the business off the ground? Well, let’s find out as we bring on to the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Thomas young
Thomas Young [3:00]
Hey, David. Great. Good morning to you from Austin, Texas
David Ralph [3:04]
is lovely to have you here. Hopefully I become a little bit more professional. I was struggling with that introduction. I don’t know why but my mouth was not operating with my brain. I didn’t feel comfortable did it come across, but I was just, I was dying now.
Thomas Young [3:19]
No, no, it was fantastic. And thank you for that kind introduction. That was great. It’s crazy how many? How many things have sort of come together to where we are today from a marketing agency to self directed to retirement and being relatively young myself? I don’t know how many dots will join up, but we’ll make it will make it work and, and we’ll have a good talk.
David Ralph [3:41]
Do you still feel young Thomas? Or do you feel like you’ve aged a lot since you first started on this entrepreneurial venture?
Thomas Young [3:49]
You know, at the end of the day, I think even though it is a tremendous amount of work and more than, you know, maybe most willing, most people are willing to put up with and maybe it’s just me being naive. About what work is, but no, I still I still feel young. And I’m still energetic when I go into the office and get my cup of coffee. And I love our morning meetings with our team. And we get excited about what we’re going to work on that day. And, and growth for us is always exciting. And we’ve been lucky enough to experience it. So no, I think I think I’m still good. I’ve still got some life in me.
David Ralph [4:22]
So who was the first person that you picked? I’m always interested in this part where most entrepreneurs have this driving ambition themselves, and they start creating they start developing a business. But then there’s that point, there’s that tipping point of do I keep on doing it myself and take all the profits or do I lose some of the profits but potentially scale? Do you remember that 14 your mind and Do you remember the first person that you hired?
Thomas Young [4:49]
Absolutely, absolutely. And it really came from what I was doing with one of my clients before, they had a very similar business to what Rocky dollar does But they did it in a very paper based sort of legacy system way. And I quickly identified that there. I mean, I’m in Austin, Texas, which is the second Silicon Valley, if you will. And I knew that there was technology that could be built to make this faster, more scalable, and more secure for our clients. And so when that client actually offered to sell me the business that he was running, because he knew that I’d become, you know, pretty well versed in the product. We went through the process of potentially buying it. And in the end, we did I didn’t do it, but some of the people that I had reached out to, in sort of the process of coming up, and I had to raise a little bit of money in order to acquire that company. RR now CEO and board member Chris Palmisano, actually introduced me to our CEO, Henry Yoshida, who is my co founder. And then he and I know both of us are not technical and so we knew we needed a technical founder. And that’s what Rick dude. And that is his real name, join, join the team. And so it was really the three of us that were sitting together in a room coming up with the name coming up with a storey. And then our first hire was a developer. His name is Ryan Martinez, he’s still with us. He was actually 20 years old when we hired him. One of those very smart people that realise that he could do more outside of outside of university than inside. And so he had been working since he was 16 or 17, in the web development space. And so he came on very quickly. And, and then, from there, we built products, we built something that we could sell. And then we just started, you know, every time a need would pop up, we basically, Rick and I would take that job on, figure out how to do it, figure out how to automate it and offload it to someone that we hired that was much better at it than we are. And we’ve been very lucky that of the people we’ve hired. We’re now up to 17 full time, we’ve only had one Person leave us since we started Rocky dollars. So through all of the pain of building a new company building process trying to grow trying to market, we’re really proud that that our team is has by and large together.
David Ralph [7:12]
So those first two guys, Rick, and was it Henry, did you say the first two? Yes, right we can Henry God, I was good paying attention there were the world at that equity based acquisitions because you obviously I imagine you weren’t getting enough money in to suddenly pay two full time employees. So how did you do that? The very first two.
Thomas Young [7:35]
Well, so the company hadn’t even been formed. And so the three of us, formed the company together and decided on an equity split that we all were comfortable with and, and Henry has had and it also really worked out that we were all in a place in our life where we could, you know, stop what we were doing and do this full time. Henry’s previous company had sold to goldman sachs and he was coming out of a two Your lock up with them when when she couldn’t, during which time he couldn’t start anything in the retirement space. And so when he and I connected, it was just the stars aligning. And so he and I decided that we will.
David Ralph [8:13]
Thomas, what was that loving the air when you first met each other?
Thomas Young [8:16]
You know, it was a 30 minute meeting that lasted about 60 hours over the next three or four days. That’s love
David Ralph [8:22]
that’s love you it was fast. You could conceive children in that time.
Thomas Young [8:28]
You didn’t much less. Yeah, well
David Ralph [8:32]
who knows where it would lead? So so the two of you was it was it kind of, you know, stars and dollars in your eyes? What What was it? Was it the vision or the potential of financial wins? Because it seems to me by speaking to so many people, it neatly falls between one or the other with most people.
Thomas Young [8:52]
You know, for me personally, and I can’t speak for Henry as much but for me personally, I always, ever since I was a little kid. I, I saw others around me be very successful with an entrepreneurship. And I always love the the sort of vision in my mind of coming into an office as a 60 year old or 65 year old, having all of these employees that are taken care of, and you know, coming in after you’ve had breakfast and sitting at your desk and sort of, you know, being quote unquote, semi semi retired, but still active and still doing it and, and having built something and so for me, I mean, sure, I am not going to not gonna lie to you and say that the financial reward isn’t very attractive, but at the same time, it’s, it’s building something that that, that you walk in and you’re proud of, and it’s the people that that pay their bills and raise their families with something that you created, to me is very attractive and it’s, it’s more satisfying than, than money because there’s, there are easier ways to make money than then entrepreneurship is if I’m being completely honest
David Ralph [9:59]
with you. Don’t have to be completely honest. I think we all know that. And it makes me wonder why we do it. Why do you think but we do it because certainly, I spent two years basically working. I didn’t really make any money because I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know what I was servicing. It was just kind of I was just doing stuff, but I was still willing to come back to it time and time again. Why do you think some people do that while others go now that’s too much of a risk. Can’t do that.
Thomas Young [10:30]
You know, it’s interesting for me, I think it’s it’s just, I just always knew that it was going to be that way. I knew that I wouldn’t be happy at a big company where nobody knew my name. Or were I only knew my team and, and, and I always sort of, I think the thing that brings me back time and time again is the unlimited potential. If you go to work in a big company, I feel like and I’ve never worked at a big company, but this is the perception that I have is that that You know, you’re going to push up against your boss or your boss’s boss, and they’re going to and they’re going to curve you. Or you’re not, you’re not going to have maybe that escape velocity into something huge. And entrepreneurship. What I love is that the slate is blank, it’s just you and a laptop. And you build from that. And you can build anything you want. You can build it, you can, you can, you know, think I’m going to just build the absolute biggest, you know, I’m going to do Uber, I’m going to do Google or I’m going to do Amazon, or you can say, I’m going to build a business that supports my life and the life that I want to live and I think that that is what’s attractive to me. And then you know, with Rocky dollar, it’s grown so fast that it’s, it’s taken on a life of its own, which is fantastic. And I’ve learned a tremendous amount from it. But I think it just comes down to stubbornness.
David Ralph [11:53]
Well, I think it’s it there’s something east, is it the stars align? I don’t know because I was in In a company, as you discussed, and that’s exactly as it was, and I’ve always worked in big companies, and I just knew about five years beforehand, but my time was coming to an end, I just felt more and more exhausted by the effort of going to build somebody else’s dream. But never in my wildest dreams did I realise I would feel so exhausted by building my own dream, probably doubly as exhausted, but still delighted to come back to it all the time. Is that when you know that you’re onto something, when you’re willing to just keep on going? Or is it as you say, bloody minded stopping this?
Thomas Young [12:39]
Now, I think it’s both because I mean for me, and you know, there are there are fantastic days where I come out of my office at six or 7pm. And I’m, I’m on top of the world and I go home, and I’m still reading and I’m still researching and I’m still thinking about it. And I’m excited even though I’m exhausted, and there’s days when I don’t even want to think about it. But even on the days that I leave the office not even wanting to think about it. The next day I wake up, I get in the shower, I put a clean shirt on, and I’m in the office. And so I don’t know what it is, I I on it. I wish I had some, you know, great insight as to why we do it. But when when you have that thing that you’re doing that you’re excited about or that you want, you have a vision of what it can be. I think, I think that’s what that’s sort of the bridge that takes you over the the rough waters, if you will. Because Because as you know, David, it is hard. It’s hard as it’s hard as hell. It’s harder.
David Ralph [13:38]
It’s harder than hell. It’s like the worst kind of how I think, because it is it’s like, and it’s an unknowing, hell, Thomas, I think that’s the problem. I think it’s all about gaining experience. And once you gain the experience and things work, you’ve done it so much quicker, but of course you can. You just got to go back and forth, back and forth. Now we You You said something that I really loved right at the very beginning, but you knew your limitations, you knew what you wasn’t good at. So you got the guy from university or didn’t go to university to actually start building your sort of web platform is that awareness met so many people don’t have because everyone that I speak to and I suppose myself in, you know, will be putting his hands up both hands on this. We tried to be the sales team, the marketing team, the web designer, the the front end, we tried to do it all. And some of it we do really well and some of it it just takes so long to get anything even possible. You seem to be quite clued up on that, Brian the beginning?
Thomas Young [14:42]
Well, you know, I think that it’s a combination of two things is one you know, I, my, my co founders were successful in the past and so they’ve they’ve taken a lot of these knocks that that first time founders which I am Don’t don’t know. So I had, I had some great teammates early on that were helping me sort of, through this rough, not not rough patch through this through this beginning, right? And not making sure that we were never the smartest guys in the room. And so they, they knew it, they came from experience. And for me, I knew sort of what I wanted to do inside the business, what I wanted to focus on what my skill set was from before and what I needed to focus on in order to be successful. I knew that I was quickly going to be complete over my head if I tried to do it all. And so it’s a combination of, of having experienced founders. And and also, you know, just being very stubborn about what it is I wanted to focus on. No
David Ralph [15:48]
way was the discussion point about what the customer actually wants as a sort of minimum viable product because once again, I see so many people spend months and years doing developing something without asking any of the customer whether they actually want it. And when they get down to the nuts and bolts, a customer only wanted 10% of what they built. Did you have those discussions? Or did you just go? Nope, this is what you’re going to get and provide it to them?
Thomas Young [16:16]
Well, I was really lucky in that I’ve been working in this space before. And I’d been, you know, the way we were doing it at the company that I was at before, was very paper based. It was $2,000 to set up an account versus the 360. We charge now. But it was a much more sort of one on one discussion. And so in the process of selling those accounts and setting up those accounts, and being the customer service for those accounts, I had the opportunity to speak to you know, a couple hundred people before Rockefeller even was was you know, before we even owned the domain. Before I even knew the guys that I’m working with now, I’d already talked to customers and so it was accidental, really, that we were able to really focus in on on our MVP and build it with In a month or two months of starting Rocky dollar and be and have a customer, basically the first day we turned on the cash register and and so I think that, that when you look at, you know, what advantages do certain companies have? I think that’s one of the advantages that we had is that I’d already sort of spent a couple years softening the ground on what this product needed to be. And so our requirements were very clear on day one of what we needed both to sell in order to fulfil the account properly, and then the add ons that a customer wanted to see in order to manage the account. And so we were just really lucky that that we’d had time in that space. But for other companies, and for other entrepreneurs, what I would say is, you don’t have to take two years, but really focus and spend some time with your target who you think your target customer is, and just let them tell you what to build. And then build it and sell it to them. And and rinse and repeat. And when you’re looking at new product features or new product Wind, just keep going back to your customers because they’ll tell you exactly what it is. And it’s kind of a sly way if you tell them if you ask them what they want, and they tell you, well, then they have to buy it when you build it because they told you they wanted it anyways. And so now you’ve gotten, they’re on the hook for it almost.
David Ralph [18:17]
Steve Jobs always used to say customers don’t know what they want. It’s it’s up to us to give it to them.
Thomas Young [18:24]
Well, there’s only one Steve Jobs.
David Ralph [18:28]
It’s kind of true, though, isn’t it? Because, you know, we didn’t know that we wanted Apple Watches before they give it to them. We didn’t know that we wanted you know, Amazon echoes. We didn’t know all these things until somebody actually brings them to market when you think this is brilliant. This is what I’ve been waiting for.
Thomas Young [18:45]
Yeah, and then there’s certainly some truth to that. I think that it has to be a combination of of, you know, what people are asking for and then just pure inventing, which is what what Apple was doing. I think yeah. It’s it’s, I mean, you’re absolutely right. It’s it’s definitely, it’s definitely an approach, but I don’t think they have to be unique. You know, I’m sure that Apple spent a lot of time talking to different people about what it is they were going to go after what you know, because they could have done a watch, or they could have done any number of things. And so I think for them, maybe even internally, because they’ve got so many thousands of people working for him anyways, they still have an audience where they can discuss and talk about what they think people want, just because that’s what they want. I think a lot of the people that work at Apple are probably their own target customer, and so they can still sort of test the waters within their own company. They’re just big enough to do it. I agree, but I don’t I’m not sure
David Ralph [19:46]
I agree with you. But I’m, I’ve never bought an Apple device in my life. And I’m quite proud of that. Let’s hear some words from the remarkable Jim Carrey.
Jim Carrey [19:55]
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. So he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [20:22]
Now, at the moment, I’m quite big on on getting people to understand the power of the value ladder in your business, to increase your offerings to basically open the wallets of more more rich people. I suppose there’s no other way of saying it with yourself and you’ve got the $360 open an account, I imagine that you that was part of your strategy to be increasing the work that you can provide back to gain more value from certain customers.
Thomas Young [20:53]
Yeah, and it’s actually really funny that you mentioned that because we just on October 1, launched what we call Rockefeller Gold. And so it’s an extension of that core account, where customers were asking for things like wire transfers, or like, you know, priority phone support or expert, you know, things that pertain to our accounts. And we and we just like in a credit card will offer a premium tier, we came out with a premium tier at a $600 to open and $30 a month. And so we’re always looking at not only ways that we can sort of open the wallets of our customers, but also you know, how we can provide the valley to where they’re willing to do that. And so it’s a win win for both of us and, and I think that once you have an MVP, you immediately start thinking about what’s next what what can we offer that that is, you know, a cross sell and upsell, a value add. And, and I really liked sort of that, like you mentioned a ladder, where you start at one thing, you you make money off of it, but then you think of the next thing that’s going to help your customers the next thing, the next thing, the next thing and when That. Usually, there are some some revenue opportunities. So I’m, I agree. I mean, that’s a it’s a good way to go about it.
David Ralph [22:08]
No, I agree totally. And I keep on saying to people, you’ve got to think it through, you’ve got to sketch it out, because you’re just leaving money on the table. Now one of the things that I loved and internally but you laughed externally, was the fact when you mentioned opening the wallets of customers, you kind of laughed like it was a bad thing to admit. But that’s what business is about Thomas, isn’t it at the end of the day, that’s all we’re really interested in. Hopefully, we can do it in a way that our customer gets amazing value, and they really love us. But that’s business, isn’t it?
Thomas Young [22:43]
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we’re not doing this for our health, certainly. Because it’s because it’s not healthy. But, but no, I think I think that there is a way that everybody wins. And if you take care of your customers, you don’t even have to think about wallets being open because they’ll open automatically They will ask to pay you, if you’re providing the right thing. I mean, they’ll sign up. For us. It’s it’s you wake up in the morning, and people signed up for your product overnight. And that’s because they were, they were aware you were conveying the value that you’re providing, clearly quickly. And, and so I think that’s when you’ve got something when people will pay you without even talking to you about it. I mean, obviously, it depends on what you’re doing. But no, certainly, I mean, we’re here to make money and we’re a business and we need to make money in order to feed our, our staff and ourselves and and, and it’s just the way the world is right. You said it.
David Ralph [23:37]
Now, what would you do? Because businesses do have their ups and downs, you know, and one minute you’re doing really well when somebody else come in with a new product or something new, sexy? Do you have an exit strategy for the business because, once again, I speak to so many people, people, especially because I’ve been doing this for six years, but now say to me We held on to the business too long, we should have let it go. But because it was our baby, we weren’t willing to see that the market trends were changing.
Thomas Young [24:10]
Yeah, no, absolutely. And I think that I mean, we’ve we’ve been fortunate enough to raise a relatively significant amount of outside capital from investors. And that’s what and they make you focus on that from day one. Because for you, it’s it might be your passion, or it might be a business that you want to build. But for them, it’s an investment and they expect a return. And so it’s something that we had to think about very early. And one of the beautiful things about our product is that it it allows people to do more with their with a pool of retirement funds that they didn’t maybe know that they could use for these sort of investments. And so there’s a lot of platforms out right now that are funding investment into the alternative investment space. So platforms that help you invest in real estate or platforms that help you invest in different sort of asset classes and for We think that our product is a natural fit for one of these companies. So if it’s someone, you know, some quick examples that come to mind in the US is funder eyes is helping people invest in real estate with low dollar amounts, there’s yield street that does alternative investment, you know, anything from, from litigation to marine financing to whatever it’s so our product, I think, is a nice fit into into some of these platforms, and some of them have raised, you know, hundreds of millions of dollars. And so that’s where we think will will end up and that I think that’s where we are team and our products and provide the most value and and we’re certainly not opposed to continuing to grow the business under another umbrella because that way our investors are paid we’re a value add to that company, and and we can keep building frankly with their resources. And so what
David Ralph [25:57]
do you love about this business because I’ll be honest, Thomas. I like making money. But investing bores me. And I think it can only be but I worked in a bank for many, many years. And I’ve got some kind of, I don’t know, deep, ingrained feelings about it which which don’t sit well. Is it the business you like building? But if it wasn’t investing, it could have been, I don’t know, a burger joint or something that you would be still as happy and as enthusiastic in? Or is it because of the subject matter that you’re working in?
Thomas Young [26:31]
Both i think i think that when I when I first started sort of in this space, I fell into it. You know, I certainly wasn’t a 23 year old kid passionate about the retirement space. Because I don’t think if there are any 23 year olds that are passionate about the retirement space, I want to meet them. But But no, I really fell into it and and there really was a moment when when I realised the power of these accounts in that they do help people And that they can help people do things that they want to do. And I became more and more passionate about the product. One of the jokes or one of the things I always tell is, you know, if I if I go on a date with a girl, and they asked me what I do, and I tell them I work in self directed retirement, their eyes glaze over. And the easiest way that I say is go tell your dad about it. He’ll be really excited. And they’ll call me back a couple days later, I told my dad, he thinks it’s awesome. Yeah, well, nobody my age thinks this is fun, but but their parents Sure do. And, and so that’s kind of funny. But no, it’s if it weren’t this product, I think I would be doing something else in the entrepreneurship world. So I think it is the building of the business that I that I love, that I’m very passionate about. And the product i think i’ve i’ve really grown to appreciate and grown to love. Just as because it can provide some good outcomes for people.
But no, I would be an entrepreneur regardless of where I was I think,
David Ralph [28:00]
because I say to so many people, and it is a bugbear of mine, but it’s something that I totally 100% believe in, that so many people connect with me and they say, David, I can’t think of an idea, I can’t think of an idea. And I say to them, what you should do is learn the logic of what makes an online business or makes a brick and mortar business. So that when you understand how a customer comes in and you move them up the value ladder and you nurture that relationship, then the ideas will naturally come. I think so many people are trying to think of the big idea before they actually understand how it all operates. Would you say that’s naive advice, Thomas?
Thomas Young [28:44]
No, I think Well, I think that that’s spot on advice because I mean that the when this is why repeat entrepreneurs get funded get get access to capital so much faster. It’s because it doesn’t matter what you’re selling the the mechanics are only is very similar, especially in an online business. I mean, you have, you have certain, you know, marketing analytics that that are transferable across industry across, you know, maybe the only difference is if you’re in a b2b or business to business sale versus a business to consumer sale but, but really the mechanics are the same and, and, you know, the functioning of an online business, you have someone come in, they sign up, they pay you then you they get a product, they get fulfilled, they get customer service, they get all these different things. And just being able to, to rinse and repeat that process means it doesn’t matter what the idea is, because you already know, the ideas. 5% of it and the rest is execution. And it’s your ability to to have happy customers, I guess at the end of the day, I mean, it’s really it’s really not more complicated than that. But there’s a lot that goes into that statement.
David Ralph [29:50]
I’m mentoring a guy at the moment and he basically he was a listener of Join Up Dots for many, many years and then he decided to do it. He took an idea and it’s still in the formation. So it’s kind of a secret scribbled time at the moment. But he took the idea to a valued company of over a million dollars in three weeks. Because he understood what something needed to be done. A got investors, the investors went, Wow, this is an amazing idea. He got a CEO from another company, all women about three weeks. And now he’s basically coming over to London, and we’re going to go out for the day, and we’re going to chat about different things and stuff. It’s amazing to see how quickly it can occur. You know, how lightning can strike when you find that value point, isn’t it?
Thomas Young [30:42]
Oh, absolutely. And, you know, people will will look at him and say, Oh, he’s an overnight success, or Oh, he got lucky. But what they don’t see is all of the work that he put into his business before it was a business and that’s, you know, there’s no such thing as an overnight success because he’s been prepping for At that moment for so long, just by just by virtue of knowing that he wanted to do it, and I think that a lot of successful entrepreneurs are that way. I mean, they’ve been really prepping and studying and reading and having mentors and advisors and, and they really just learn the mechanics. And then when the big idea strikes, it’s all about execution at that point in your account. It’s like a, it’s like a soccer player that’s going to go out and play. I mean, yeah, you might see him on the pitch for 90 minutes, but he’s been practising for 30 years before that, but but now he’s an overnight, an overnight star, and that just doesn’t work that way. There. There really is no overnight success unless you win the lottery. Oh, it’s about the night
David Ralph [31:41]
a 15 year night,
Unknown Speaker [31:43]
you know, exactly, exactly. Yeah.
David Ralph [31:47]
Benny would probably be the case, but even it like amazes me people were like the YouTube stars and stuff, you know, and they’re making so much money on there. There’s a starting point, but so many people don’t want To see the starting point, I don’t want to see Thomas young, sitting in his bedroom thinking things through, but I just want to see the sexy point, because I think it then gives them the ability not to go through it themselves. And I see that so many times now that people almost buy into the myth, but they can’t do it because I don’t look at the very beginning.
Thomas Young [32:24]
Yeah, I think that that’s, that’s absolutely spot on. You know, you look at some of these, these YouTube stars that, that today are making an absolute ridiculous amount of money on the platform. But what you don’t realise is that they started shooting little videos with their friends, when they got their first flip phone, or when they got their first little camera they were they were hanging out with their buddies in their backyard just doing it because it was something they were passionate about. And there is a tremendous amount of practice and training that goes into those seemingly funny sort of off the cuff videos but they’ve been doing that for 10 or 15 years. I mean, one of my favourite people on YouTube and I’ve become sort of a YouTube dork. I spent way too much time, too much time on it. But there’s this kid that he’s become world famous, his name is David Philbrick. And a lot of people know who he is. But if you go into his channel and go back in time, back to the very beginning, he wasn’t the polished sort of kid that you see today that that his videos flow seamlessly. I mean, it was rough, and the editing was terrible, and the audio was terrible and everything is bad. And then he did one a day or two a day for four years before he hit that any sort of vitality and so he’s, he’s been working on it. Yeah, people are just hearing about him now. But he’s been working at it for as long as he’s been, you know, had a camera in his hand.
David Ralph [33:45]
The ones I get into but then I fade very quickly is the 30 day ones. I did this for 30 days, and this is a result I did this for 30 days, and I find that I get passionate on them for about a week. And then I just disappear. What has David got? What makes you come back to him time and time again, Thomas?
Thomas Young [34:08]
Well, I think it’s just the ridiculousness of what he does. I mean, it’s all comedy, all of his stuff. And he’s got a group of friends and they live in LA. And it’s just, it’s just funny. And I think that they take it so lightly, and they’ve, they’ve, they’ve done a really nice job actually on the sort of YouTube angle of really showing their personality and really showing sort of their life and and so that their content is just, it’s just fantastic. So he’s just done a really nice job of that. But I think for most people that are saying, Oh, well, I’m going to be David dough brick, and I’m going to do a video, a video a day for for X number of days, or I’m going to do this I’m going to do that is is that you’re not coming at it from a place of this is what I’m passionate about. You’re coming at it from a place of, well, this is what it must take, but I don’t really want to do it. I just want the result. And then you have people like David that they just they’re just passionate about You know, their friends, the video editing and creating, creating essentially, I don’t think he did it for the money because I mean that kid smart he could have done any number of things for money. I think that’s
David Ralph [35:13]
most people say to me that have been on the show. Oh, you still running the show? And I think it’s the laziest question anyone can offer because you only have to go and Google me and you can see I’m releasing shows too. But they also need that they all think that starting a podcast starting a YouTube channel isn’t going to lead to something but of course, what you’re saying is brick after brick after brick. That’s what happened with Rocky dollar. That’s what happened with these videos. And you know, I can’t imagine now not doing Join Up Dots. I’ve got no interest in doing any other shows. People say to me, why don’t you do this and why don’t you do about I go No, I’m not interested. This is my thing. And, you know, eight years down the line 10 years down the line. I’m gonna still be doing this. I just can imagine how you would switch it off. But it’s the journey isn’t it? Is the journey you? What, what does trap me? And this is a question for you, Thomas actually because it’s quite a good entrepreneurial question is when you’re building something of a personal brand, and you realise that actually, you can’t escape from it, I can’t escape really from Join Up Dots, I could give it to somebody else, but then it’ll be a different show, you know? How does that sit with you? Are you in a position where you can actually walk away from rocket dollar and come back six or seven weeks later? And is it still ticking along without you? Or are you integral to it?
Thomas Young [36:39]
Well, I like to think that I’m entitled to it. But but that might be no I think, I mean, we’re lucky enough that that our team is so is so good that you know if let’s say that I was in hospital for six weeks or because I can’t imagine taking a six week vacation so something bad must have happened for me to be gone for six weeks. But But no, I think that we were lucky enough to get to the point where we’ve built a team that that can handle it if I were to step away for any period of time. Now at the same time, that doesn’t mean I don’t think I’m providing value. But we just have a great team we’re lucky. But on the personal brand and for example, with you with Join Up Dots you know, it’s it’s a, it’s, it’s yours. I think Rocky dollar was mine. But it is now. It’s not only mine anymore, it’s a lot of people’s and so it’s shared across a lot of people.
David Ralph [37:36]
But why can’t you imagine going for six week vacations because I can imagine that quite easily. And, you know, and it’s the thing that I do quite a lot of now just switch off and disappear. You know, I’m not somebody that has to be doing this all the time.
Thomas Young [37:52]
Yeah, well, I think I think it’s a you know, a point of where the company is, you know, when when when I always talk about a company’s like, what when you started, it’s like a baby. And if you drop a baby, the results going to be bad. And then it’s a toddler and then it’s a then it learns to walk and then it learns to run and then it and then it lives by itself, right? It goes off and does its own thing. And I just right now, we’re just not there yet. You know, we’re still building really fast. We’re still doing all of these things. And so we’re still sort of in the trenches of Rockefeller. I think eventually it’ll be it will be at a place where where, you know, you can step away for for a few weeks at a time a month at a time of summer, a season, but it’s just not where we’re at yet. Hopefully, we will but but not right now. There’s this is really where my head’s at. And, and I like being here. And I liked this sort of, period of building and period of acceleration. So I don’t really want to be gone for six weeks
David Ralph [38:54]
yet. I love escaping. I really do. But the trouble is, I get Ben go into a big slump. When I come back, I realised that actually, you know, I’ve got to do it again. And I haven’t quite balanced. I’ve tried to do a month on month off. And I realised that wasn’t any good because I hadn’t got anything planned for my month off. So I was just kind of floating around the house watching a bit of YouTube going for a walk that was born. So then I thought, well, I’ll get more holidays and vacations in. But then my family couldn’t go because of school and stuff. I can’t quite get it right where it fits naturally. But I do know, I do know I love scampering around the world in my special and depends that’s what I like Thomas
Thomas Young [39:37]
know, and I agree. I mean, I love to travel and I love to I mean my family lives in Mexico City. And so I love getting on an aeroplane and landing there and, and moving around. But I also i mean i’m, i’m 27 I’ve got more energy than I know what to deal with. And so I know that after two or three days of sitting on a beach, I’m on board and I want to do something and I’m starting to And I’m thinking about either rockin dollar another business that we could do and it’s just, I just can’t turn off yet. And I don’t want to and then so I, even if I were on vacation, I’d be thinking about something else I could be doing. That would be exciting, that would be fun. That would then be able to provide me more vacations where I think of more things that I want to do. And so now I really just can’t turn it off yet.
David Ralph [40:24]
Yeah, but you’re 27 I’m nearly 50 a few few months and I’m hitting a big FIFO. So it’s time to Congrats, it’s time to wind things down. He is the words of Steve Jobs. He said these back in 2005.
Steve Jobs [40:36]
Let’s hear him again. 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 [41:13]
So in those dark times that we all have when we think God, it’s going badly here because you know, I don’t know what to do. What do you actually believe in, in the words of Steve Jobs that you gotta trust something what you actually believe in?
Thomas Young [41:26]
No, I think I think that what he said was was spot on and whenever I sort of come across those moments, because we do I mean, entrepreneurship is is high highs and low lows. I think that the thing that gives me the most pause or the most positive sorry, the most encouragement is to just put my head down and do and do the work and trust that it’s going to work out because I believe that if you’re if you’re a good person that shows up that does right by others that works hard. You can’t fail. You just can’t. It’s it’s impossible to fail. If you work If you work hard, and you do right by others, and you’re good Now, that doesn’t mean your company won’t fail, but you won’t fail. And I think that that, when you do look up after after those periods, and you look back, you go, oh, wow, that was hard. But, man, that was that was fun. And you look back fondly, because, you know, we’re going through that right now where some of our team is about to go to a conference that we all attended last year. And I was looking back going, Man, that was fun. That was crazy that we did that. And, and Rick, my co founder was telling me and you were in the middle of you were miserable with all of the things that we had going on and you were working 100 hours. And I and I looked I don’t remember that. I just remember the fun stuff. I remember the good times and keeping Yeah, it’s it’s like you know, from that pain came this great thing and you don’t remember the pain you just remember the great thing. So knowing that that’s going to be the case. The next time you look back I think gives me a lot of calm and and allows me to go forward and when it gets tough and when it gets rough and when there’s 1000 things going, I think just sitting down choosing the one thing that you’re going to work on and focusing. I think that, for me is a really good sort of escape. Because if I’m doing one thing, I can’t be thinking about 10 others.
David Ralph [43:21]
Yeah, because I can now build a business from idea, an online business, not so much brick and mortar, but the online business from idea to basically go out and build it in eight weeks now knowing exactly where the customers are, how to get them to the business. Now I look back on that loving God if only somebody has shown me those ropes, though that because it’s kind of common sense. If there’s a logic, there’s a strategy that works behind it, but if only somebody showed me that I could shave years of my life. Do you feel the same way Thomas Are you pleased, but you’ve taken time to actually work it out yourself?
Thomas Young [44:00]
No, I think it’s a combination above. I think that a lot of people, if they don’t have, you know, if they don’t go to the University of hard knocks will call it, you don’t learn it because you can get all of the resources that you need in order to build a business from, you know, five or six bucks, or from or from blogs, but you really only learn it by doing it. And you’re going to mess up a few times. Or a lot of times, but then you learn it and it becomes a muscle. It’s just like going to the gym, or like running a marathon. You start at the beginning, it hurts and you’re short and it hurts and it hurts and it hurts and it hurts and then it hurts less and hurts a little bit less. And then all of a sudden you go Oh, how how did I ever struggle with that? I mean, this is it’s it’s easy, but it’s because it’s you. You’re trained. I think entrepreneurship is a muscle that can be trained. And you get better at it and you and you know what to focus on and you do those things. And you know, I love the the saying that 20% of your efforts get you 80% of Results. But you really only know what those 20% are, after you’ve already spent time figuring out, you know, messing up everywhere else. And then and then by the time you do have some experience and you go into an online business, you know what to focus on to get the results that you need.
David Ralph [45:15]
Yeah, I agree. I agree. Totally. So just before we send you on a journey to speak to your younger self joining up your does, what would you say your big success at the moment? Would it be a business one? Would it be a personal success?
Thomas Young [45:33]
Yeah, I think I think that the big success and something I’m incredibly proud of our team is that we launched a product from idea to product launch in about six weeks. And this was with a team with several stakeholders and several different, you know, parts of the company from product and marketing to sales to, you know, whatever. And we really came together for the first time to launch something new as the team that we have now. And I’m tremendously proud that that, that our team was able to launch on time, everything was good. And the revenue is has, you know, we’ve got about a 30% take on this new product. And so I’m fantastically proud that of our team that we launched it and came together and, and it gives me confidence that the next time that we decide to launch a product will be able to do it even faster. Because because we have a process now and because we know how to work with each other. And so I think that’s our big our big win is the launch of rocket dollar goal. I think
David Ralph [46:31]
that’s a huge success. I really do. Well, this is the part of the show that we’ve been building up tonight. We call it a sermon on the mic when we’re going to send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young Thomas, what age would you choose and what advice would you like to give him Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the music and when it Phaedra This is the Sermon on the mic.
Thomas Young [47:19]
So, as the music was playing, I was thinking about what age I’m going to speak to myself and I picked 14. And the reason I wanted to speak to 14 year old named was because you’re just old enough to know better, but still too young to know much. And what I would really, you know, walk into a room, sit, sit 14 year old Thomas down, he’s probably got a tennis racket in his hand because he just came from practice. And I would say, you know, I’m not that far removed from where you are, there’s 13 years between you and I, there’s about your age, dividing us. And I would say, continue doing what you’re doing. Focus really hard on what you’d like to do. Don’t spend too much time doing the things you don’t want. Focus on your strengths. Focus on what makes you happy. Focus on what is good for you and for your family and for your friends. And always sort of just when you decide to do something, just go all in and do it really, really, really, really well. It doesn’t mean you have to do everything but what you do decide whether it’s school or athletics or business or whatever it is that you’re doing. At that moment, do it all in and be the best at it. And I think that if you know you approach your relationships that way if you approach your work that way your school your family, and you do the best that you can in the time allotted. You can’t go wrong and always always continue doing right by others. I was a pretty good pretty good 14 year old and and I love you know my family and my friends But continue to do right by others and work really hard. And the dots you know, will connect, Join Up Dots they will always connect and nothing bad will come of being a good person one. Number one is always the most important just be a good person. And number two work really hard and take the things that you’re doing seriously.
Unknown Speaker [49:23]
And I think that that
Thomas Young [49:26]
if if you can approach everything that way everything will work out and it always has for me as as your older self, young Thomas but but if you do right by others and do right by yourself and treat everybody with respect, and and then and then work hard. You can’t go wrong. And so even though I’m not that far removed from where 14 year old Thomas was. I think that if if you do those things you’ll be proud of where it’s at and and I wonder where I’ll be 14 years from now. And hopefully saying the same things to 27 year old Thomas and, and trust that those that those dots will align because they will. And so I would really say to 14 year old Thomas, just keep, keep doing what you’re doing, do it, do it as the best that you can. And, and everything will work out. And oh, and this was another one is you don’t have to spend time being anxious because it will work out. You don’t have to worry, because as long as you’re doing as long as you’re doing your best, nothing bad will come out of it. So that’s really the message that I would have for for young Thomas. I know I rambled but that’s kind of the way I talk to myself when I’m talking to myself when I’m working. It’s a little all over the place. And so that’s that’s on brand for me.
David Ralph [50:50]
I love the You don’t have to be anxious, you know, because I got into a terrible state of just being anxious and I got so ingrained in anxious, I couldn’t stop being anxious even when there was nothing to be anxious about, you know, it was just it was stupid. It was almost like I trained my body into that state. So no, absolutely agree with that. So Thomas, what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you, sir?
Thomas Young [51:16]
Absolutely. My email is Thomas at Rockefeller. com. Reach out to me ask me questions. I’m I’m pretty available. And I’m pretty good at answering email. So that that’s the best
David Ralph [51:30]
way. We have a link on the show notes. Thomas, thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining up those dots and please come back again when you’ve got more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is always the best way to build our futures. Thomas young, thank you so much.
Thomas Young [51:48]
David, thank you again for having me. This was this was a tremendous amount of fun and a great way to start to start my day here.
David Ralph [51:56]
Mr. Thomas young from Rocky dollar. So you can do it can Yeah, there’s no overnight success. No, there’s not. It’s just looking at where your customer is what they want. If you don’t know what they want, start asking people try and get information, you can go on to all the forums nowadays, you can go into Facebook, you can go on to anything you want really, to canvas that information, there’s ways that you can do it without even speaking to people. It’s all out there. You’ve just got to not even get that idea. You’ve got to understand as mean Thomas was saying, understand how it operates. And then once you understand you can then do it. It’s like, you couldn’t swim an ocean. But if you learn to swim vein, you could swim an ocean you know is exactly the same in business, whatever you want to do. You learn it first, and then you become better at it. But most people do it the other way around. Until next time, I will see you Look after yourselves and I’ll be here waiting. Cheers. You inspired to live a life on your own terms working when you want You want to sit back and make the decision of how much you want to earn to and it’s all totally doable and nowadays easier than ever, head over to the startup business school at Join Up dots.com and check out the video testimonials from just a few of the students that are now building their dream businesses after going through our coaching sessions. And if that excites them book a time to speak to me one to one to make sure you have what it takes to become the next success of our conveyor belt that started business school at Join Up dots.com