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Shea Henning ATX Record Players

Shea Henning started ATX Record Players where he builds and restores high end German record players in Austin, Texas. Shea is a craftsman with a passion for high end products. He eventually sold a record player to his childhood hero Jesse James (Monster Garage) and ended up partnering with him on a new venture called Craftsman Exchange.

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[00:00:10] Hey, welcome back to friends in Austin. Today I have Shea Henning on the podcast, and Shea, I met you through a friend of a friend years ago, and I always knew that you were into entrepreneurship and stuff like that, but we never really talked that much. But since then, I know that you have a company called ATX Record Players. And then after that, I know that you are. Is it fair to say that you're somewhat doing business with Jesse James?

[00:00:31] Yeah, yeah. We have, uh, we have a business called the Craftsman Exchange, which is just, you know, getting going right now. So it's pretty exciting.

[00:00:40] And we're going to. Yeah, we're going to we're going to dig more into that, because I know that Jesse James and the people that were just kind of like those shows, like Monster Garage and stuff like that, you were very much inspired by those as a kid. Oh, yeah. Yeah. So you very well knew of Jesse James. And for you to be kind of working with him now and having sold him a record player is pretty crazy.

[00:01:00] Yeah. I mean, I didn't you know, when I was a kid, I wasn't worshiping Michael Jordan or, you know, Brett Favre because I'm from Wisconsin. You know, I didn't really care about any of that. I was I watch Monster Garage when I saw motorcycle mania come out, you know, it was like the lightning bolt hit me and I was like, that is the coolest thing I've ever seen. And that's where I want to go with my life.

[00:01:22] And so, you know, through all the, you know, the path, it finally line somehow. So, well, let's go back.

[00:01:31] So you got into building stuff, really? I mean. Yeah. And what were you doing before, though, before all this stuff happened? You were inspired by all that stuff early on, right? Mm hmm. And then you ended up working in corporate job, though.

[00:01:44] Yeah. I mean, way back, obviously, I saw Jessy's TV show and I was inspired. So then, you know, I, I started building stuff in my garage, you know, putting weeder engines on scooters and go karts and whatever I could get my hands on. And then, you know, I hated school, I despised school.

[00:02:07] And so they had this school to work per program. I could get out of school, have to go to work. I did that too. We called it co-op. Yeah. And I was like, hell yeah. Whatever I can do to get out of this shit.

[00:02:17] So then I got a job at a body shop and um, you know, the body shop. Obviously, they don't let you do anything because you're just an idiot, 16 year old, so they just say sweep the floor, take the garbage out. And I was like, oh, God. So I did it. And then, you know, I started realizing. While I was taking out the garbage that there's cracked headlights in there, you know, a little bit of damage and, you know, grill here and there, that had a little bit of damage. So take that out of the garbage, put it in my car, take it home, fix it and sell it on eBay. And it was 100 percent profit selling used parts on eBay. So every day I take out the garbage and be like, OK.

[00:03:01] Also, I love it. Yeah.

[00:03:03] Like, what do we got today? Like, oh, you know, because the insurance company, if there's a little scratch on it, you know, the insurance company buys a new headlight. So, you know, but some guy on eBay that just hit a deer with his car, he will he'll buy a scratch head, like if it saves him 100 bucks. So it I just learned how to start selling on eBay and stuff. And if I could do it all over again, I would have just went straight into that, quit school and just started selling, you know, on eBay or something.

[00:03:33] But dude, I know exactly what you're saying. I mean, yeah, I just always wish I would have started everything earlier, you know what I mean? And instead of really, like, I don't know, spending more time at school, although I don't know how much time I did quit, but I know what you're saying.

[00:03:47] Yeah. And it's kind of always like, you know, you find your path and then like it's the collective consciousness is like, no, you can't do that. You got to go to school and you got to go do the stuff you're supposed to do, you know? And it's like, oh, man, in retrospect, I should have just. Just quit it all and just followed my intuition in the beginning, and I think that's huge, anybody that wants to be an entrepreneur, you know, live their dream life as soon as you get your your you know, that a lightning bolt of inspiration or where do you want to go for? You know, if I had kids, I'd be telling them, you know, just follow that, you know. But, um. But anyway, yeah, I, I did that and I started dealing in some use parts and then, uh, you know, I went to school for, uh, custom upholstery and I started, you know, working at a body shop full time, finally worked my way up in the body shop so I could actually paint stuff and work on, you know, cars actually. And then, uh. But then I started an upholstery business where I was finally in my parents basement, where I was finally, you know, able to do whatever I wanted and create, you know, beautiful interiors and cars. And that was really what I I want to do the whole time. But but then again, I realized I was in Brandon, Wisconsin, with a village of 800 people in. You know, there's you got to get to where things are happening.

[00:05:26] Yeah, dude, for sure, I can relate to that. I grew up in a town not as small as yours, but a town of 4000, but. Yeah, and then Indiana. So I know what it's like to grow up in, like a small town.

[00:05:35] Yeah. And if you realize, you know, you're not going to there's only so far there's only so much you can do really.

[00:05:42] I mean you've got to get to where the people are doing things. Yeah.

[00:05:45] And I've realized that. And you know, California just didn't. Well then I only way that I could think of to get out of the out of there was to join the military. So join the military, which, uh, you know, like I said, if I could do it all over again, I probably would find a better path than doing the military. But, you know, it was my best decision at the time, so I thought it was great.

[00:06:11] So, yeah, I'm in I'm in some ways I'd say that, like, it could be more valuable than going to school.

[00:06:18] Yeah. M.B well it saved me, you know, I got the GI Bill and all the benefits and saved me from a lot of traps, you know, debt traps that people get into school now. You know, student loans is a scam debt. You know, slavery. You know, I mean, colleges are just. Out of control right now.

[00:06:41] So it is out of control. Yeah, so I said college was a scam on the podcast once before and I've asked different people their opinions on college. Like, for example, I asked Phil Snodgrass her opinion on college, and I think she had a really good opinion on it.

[00:06:55] It.

[00:06:57] I don't know that it's a total scam, I guess it depends on what you're doing, you know what I mean? And if you have like if you really know that you want to do something specific and you stick with it, you do it and, you know, like how much you're likely to get paid when you get out. Yeah, well, that's the problem, though. Most people don't know how much they're likely to get paid. They don't know how likely they are to even get a job. Yeah. And they don't really even know what job they want. Yeah.

[00:07:21] Which and then also the just again, how can it cost so much to how could, how could it possibly cost so much to go to school for four years.

[00:07:30] Yeah. I mean it's the reason is, is because the government subsidizes it in anything. The government subsidizes the prices go up and it turns into a complete shit show. And we never seem to learn this. No matter what happens, the government starts subsidizing something. It takes away, you know, it makes it more expensive and the quality goes down and it turns into just, you know. Corruption, that's I agree with that.

[00:08:02] Not everyone believes that, but I mean, I think that I mean, it's hard to deny that really. Yeah, I mean, you just going to create inefficiency. Really? Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

[00:08:12] I mean, you know, it's has the best intentions, like, oh, we're going to help the people that, you know, they need, but. Time and time again, the same thing, you know, it doesn't do what it's intended to do in, you know, college had its place in the world, but now it's just an indoctrination camp.

[00:08:32] Another thing is it's just it just it just shouldn't cost so much.

[00:08:35] I mean, I feel like you can put stuff on the Internet. You know, most courses could go up online and they could be tweaked and modified over time to fit, you know, new information. But like, how could that possibly cost them?

[00:08:48] Yeah, I mean, the shit they teach is so old it does not even useful for anything like the the information you get is useless. The only thing I really learned in college I was useful was they forced me to learn Microsoft Excel. And that was like the greatest thing ever. Like, I think I thank them for that. But like you said, I learn that. Online for 20 bucks, maybe Orlinda Dotcom lendable.

[00:09:13] Yeah, which is now LinkedIn learning because they bought I don't know if you ever use Linda, but it's actually really good. When I first started learning to code and I didn't go to school for it or anything like that, I first the first place I went was the cycle LinkedIn bought them. They turned it into LinkedIn learning within the past three or four years. But I mean, it was just people putting up a guy would be like, you know, I've been writing code in Ruby for ten years and I make Web applications. And then he would make a course and Linda would pay him royalties, you know, and there there's then there would be a guy that would do an Excel course basically finding experts in different things. And it was very tech focused at first and probably still is. But I'm sure you can even learn like marketing and stuff like that on there now. Yes, but it was literally twenty dollars a month. And and that's what I used that and other random Google searches and just trial and error essentially to like learn to code and then get a job. Yeah.

[00:10:08] And the only thing I can say useful is like, holy shit, I just literally did a deal with the devil. So my life is you know, I just spent I just mortgaged my life. So I better learn this information because.

[00:10:24] Yeah, that's true. That is like mortgage in your life.

[00:10:27] It's like I have to learn this information, otherwise I'm fucked forever. Yes. That's one good thing. Put yourself in a horrible situation. It just so you have to do it.

[00:10:40] Yeah. Yeah. It's funny. It reminds me of when I had a couple entrepreneurs I've had on him. One of them look at SilkAir, the founder of Hometown Hero said that if you have a good plan B, then your plan is probably going to fail.

[00:10:52] Yeah, it's kind of like that.

[00:10:54] I agree. I mean, they are fast forward through my story. I mean, where was I? College. Yeah, military college.

[00:11:03] I saw that you got on the news. Yeah, I was going to talk about this later. The military thing helped you get on the news. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:11:08] Well, actually, and my college helped me in the news, you know, I mean, my college the military paid for my schooling, so and they paid me to go to school. So I was like, I can't like pass that up, see this all the time and wasted, I think. But like, uh, but I couldn't pass it up.

[00:11:26] So I did go to college and get an MBA, but I got college like so but I did go to college and I got an MBA. Yeah.

[00:11:34] So I mean but if I would have had to pay for that shit I would be.

[00:11:41] Pissed at myself, you know, yeah, so yeah, yeah, I mean, if you're in the military and they're paying for it, I mean, it's hard to argue, not at least getting like a bachelors, you know. Yeah. And then and then after you get a bachelors, it's only like 30 more credits or something to get a masters.

[00:11:54] Yeah, like when I got an MBA and I was like, oh yeah, I'm finally going to be hot shit, you know, be I'll get a better job and is sending out resumes and I don't give a shit.

[00:12:05] I was like, no you fuck.

[00:12:08] I was like God damn it. So then yeah but I, you know, the military, the education, it did get me into this. I got into a hedge fund and I was like, dude, I'm just some kid from the middle of nowhere and I'm working at a hedge fund like this. You know, these guys are way too like I'm an imposter here. I had imposter syndrome because but it made me feel good, like, oh, shit, I'm smart. I'm in a hedge fund, you know, what the hell do those guys do anyway?

[00:12:37] I mean I mean, I know what a hedge fund is, but like, I just they just talk to people and make deals and.

[00:12:45] Well, the hedge fund here was we bought up life insurance policies from old people. And then when they died, we cash them in and collect money.

[00:12:54] So, yeah, that's that's kind of what I mean, it's completely legal.

[00:13:01] I mean, your your life insurance policies, an asset like anything else. So they want the money now. Yep. Yeah. We provide liquidity for people that need money. They can sell their life insurance policy and then we put it into a fund. Investors buy into the fund and we it's all statistical. They know when they're going to supposed to die at what time. And the whole fund is based on that mathematics of of, you know, when people are supposed to die. So it gets kind of hellish.

[00:13:32] You know, this group is super interesting, too.

[00:13:35] But, uh, so I guess these people want to sell their life insurance because one I mean, life insurance really benefits your family, not you. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:13:43] Once you can cash in on something you're not even going to get to use. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, exactly.

[00:13:49] And it may be that like many of their family members have passed away or whatever, they might not really have, I don't know anyone close to that. They want to give their money to. And so yeah, they cash it and they take the money.

[00:14:00] Yeah. Yeah. They take the money off your own policy. And sometimes I don't think they tell their family that they did do that, but yeah, it's their property so. Yeah but yeah. And then I got in that world but and it just, it just, I didn't fit in you know, these guys are all like, you know, the interns. I got an internship first, you know, and the interns, they were going to like Goldman Sachs and they were going to all these fancy, you know, financial, you know, TWC or the big four. And I'm like, dude. I am not in finance this like uptight corporate culture, I'm like, this is soul sucking, I cannot I thought I made it and then I was like, Oh, I just don't fit in here at all. And, you know, it's just sitting in a cubicle all day. And it was just Excel spreadsheets. And like, I'm a huge math guy. I mean, I can do it, but I'm not, you know, a quantitative guy. Yeah. So I got myself in the wrong industry. And, you know, I asked myself how why did I why did I get myself into something I hated, you know? And, you know, you do some real soul searching and you're like, well, it's because I wanted to prove I was smart enough to get into a prestigious thing. So that's what I really had found out about myself, was why am I trying to coming from a place of of lack, trying to prove. Who I am, and it's always going to be there, you know, your character defects or whatever, but all you're not the only person for that to happen. Yeah, it's part of being a human and it's also part of our society in college.

[00:15:48] And what we're talking about and what people expect people to do, like there's a standard career trajectory or whatever.

[00:15:52] Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And you get on that path and you figure out you're doing it for all the wrong reasons and. And then I started, you know, my friends started getting turntables and I was like, oh, you know, this cheap piece of shit crossly things from. Wal-Mart or whatever, and I was like, oh, shit, I was kind of coming back and I'll say, I want one of those big wood things, um.

[00:16:18] And so you're in Austin now, you've been at this time that we're talking about, you've been in Austin for how many years?

[00:16:23] Roughly like, oh, six at that at the time that you are?

[00:16:27] Oh, no, probably three or four or four years. Probably six years ago. So, yeah, probably I probably it was Austin like two years. Then I bought my first record console off Craigslist and then, you know, I didn't think anything of it. I just got one. I thought it was cool. And then like, man, this turntable just. Is it's like broken, it doesn't quite work, right? I can just put a different turntable in this, so I put a new turntable in it, new speakers, and I was like, hey, this is kind of cool now. You know, it works. It looks cool. And then it's like, well, maybe I could sell this on Etsy. So I put it on Etsy just as whatever. And boom, the next day I sold and I made five hundred bucks and I was like. How much did you buy for probably a hundred bucks, hundred bucks and I sold it for like six hundred and I made 500 bucks and I had to drive it all the way to Houston to deliver it. And I was like, uh, you know, oh, well, that's five hundred dollars, you know, that's how it was.

[00:17:26] And you didn't have to use an expense. So.

[00:17:30] And so I just I just kept doing it in my living room over and over and over again. And then, yeah, I got a new job as a financial analyst at a different company.

[00:17:42] And so you continued to work full time. You'd sold your first one, but you didn't really did you know? Right then you're going to do more of them?

[00:17:48] No, it was just like a hobby. You know, I didn't really. It didn't even. No entrepreneurial intentions behind it, and we've got a new job. Worked as a financial analyst at electronic parts company here in helping the CFO, but then, you know, it really got me. To understand how a bigger corporation functions, and I got to see open the curtain behind, I really wanted to learn business, so I'm really happy for the jobs like the hedge fund. You know, I say it's like soul sucking all that shit. But, hey, it taught me a lot and I fully appreciate it if those of my bosses are listening.

[00:18:32] You know, I do appreciate it.

[00:18:35] And, you know, it's a great experience to be a part of that and and see how it works. So, you know, and then this next job, you know, yeah, it wasn't fun either, but it taught me so much, so fast and exactly what I needed to know. And it makes my entrepreneurial entrepreneurial business easier since I have been able to see how a big company runs and then go down to a smaller company like mine. So it's, you know, it's just. Easier just understand it better than someone that just jumps in entrepreneurship and doesn't have any business background.

[00:19:15] Yeah, so what we were talking about earlier is like there's people you could jump in right after high school, let's say, to trying to make your own company. Yeah. You could go to college, get a job and, you know, in the business world. And then, I mean, I think there's pros and cons of both side. The pros just jumping right in is like you get to learn really hard lessons really fast. And also you're probably going to be fairly immature and you're not going to really know much, you know, whereas if you go into, let's say, a corporate world or whatever you do, get an idea of what it's like to work at a company that's actually hopefully profitable. And so you're around people that are smart. And that's the other thing.

[00:19:47] That's actually when I in retrospect, I do think about that dilemma of do you go hard early in and learn the, you know, learn the hard way or do you take the the problem is you don't want to get sucked into the Matrix if you take the job right. And then the golden handcuffs start ratcheting the family. Exactly. The house, the car payment, and then slowly the golden handcuffs start clicking and then you're like before you know what you're talking about. But my pension and pension and then you're done.

[00:20:23] You're done.

[00:20:25] But then the other side is, if you don't have a college education or any professional experience backing you and you don't have any money, you have to go and try to build a company with no money, which people do it. If you're good and you get an investor, it's like you make something good and you get an investor or whatever, or you just start selling something for cheap and you start working your way up. But if you fall on your face, you can't really go get a corporate job. Well, you maybe can, but not as easy as somebody who got a third degree.

[00:20:51] If I could if I could do it all over again, I would have, like I said, fucking selling like the keys to the universe is selling. That's my whole thing now is just start fucking selling something, whatever it is like. If it's. You know, Pokémon cards or whatever, like it's the learning of the selling, even I was getting my MBA, I was dealing on Craigslist, just learning, selling. And then one day I posted a record player on Craigslist and a kid from my MBA class saw that record player on Craigslist called me and he showed up and I was like, Dude. Actually, from my MBA class. Oh, yeah, like, hey, what's up? It's like, hey, I want to buy a record player. And I was like. See, the selling on the Craigslist is more valuable than the NBA, you know? Yeah, that's how I learned. I cut my teeth on Craigslist, man, just just selling. And then I was like, fuck you, Craigslist. It just attracts people looking for cheap deals. I need a better branded. Exchange to sell on someone to ETSI, and it's got to better a little bit better clientele, you know, people are looking for art. Art, yeah. I mean, it's a little bit better, you know, than Craigslist or eBay. And so, yeah, you know, it just work in that corporate job. Financial analyst finally, you know, I had a condo that I bought getting on the military. And the first thing I just paid down that mortgage as fast as I could and got debt free and escaped anything. Financially and put myself in a position where I had enough runway like I was airborne, being one room side, basically passive income, that it as soon as I had enough passive income and no debt, I had enough runway to go forever. You know, I could just keep. I could you know, I could keep failing over and over and over again because, you know, and I had no risk, I didn't have to make money to pay for my overhead. I lived like a like a bum. I mean, if you knew me five years ago, I was the cheapest guy ever. You know, you couldn't get me to spend money on anything, you know, very scarce scarcity mindset, you know, of which I had to discover myself solely and realize that money is abundant in the it's I mean, they're printing trillions of dollars a day like money. So maybe naturally today day.

[00:23:25] But you know what I mean? You know, I mean, it's so abundant.

[00:23:29] All you got to do is just, you know, figure out how to make how to become valuable, how to produce something valuable. And it's hard, you know, it's so it is hard to get going like anything. But that's the fun of it for sure.

[00:23:44] For sure. It's it's hard and it's scary.

[00:23:47] Well, and most people just don't think that they could ever even do it. Yes. I like what you're saying about focusing on, like just selling something then that makes you realize that everybody's got money, your neighbor, the people down the street, everybody buying shit all the time. Yeah.

[00:23:59] So if you just need to get some small, small fraction of those people to buy your stuff, get those early wins of go buy it like me if I can, an antique off Craigslist, take a little oil, wipe it up, take a really nice picture reposted on Craigslist and you can make. One hundred dollars a week, easily doing that with your spare time, and then it just builds keep keep the money that your profit and just keep buying more. Like, it's just to me, it's just now that I've done it, it's just so fucking obvious.

[00:24:31] But but yeah, it's looking back, it probably seems a lot easier. You probably learned there's probably so much that you learn that you don't, you know, can't remember. You know what I mean.

[00:24:39] Yeah. Yeah. It's it's like, well, once you do it, it's so easy to, you know, and like you look at other people, like slaving in their job and wanting to be like just this is all you have to do, man.

[00:24:51] But if they can't see it, it's only that's why I like people like Gary V that are very, I don't know, outspoken and motivational.

[00:24:59] But also, I mean, like his you say, slaving your job, it's kind of offensive. But yeah, it's also just kind of like it doesn't come from a place of rudeness, at least when I say stuff like that. And I assume not you either. Yeah. It's just because, like, you want people to be happier. Yeah.

[00:25:13] And some people I'm not saying everybody has to be an entrepreneur. There's people a lot, a lot of people that are completely happy being, you know, employees. And they don't want to have to deal with any of the stress or does.

[00:25:24] It is a lot of stress. And some people do like being an employee and they're just like the world can't run on one hundred percent.

[00:25:30] Yes. No one worked at all.

[00:25:33] So, I mean, like I say, it's just it's just I don't mean to be negative towards, you know, I can't wage slaves or, you know, you know, it's just someone that's completely what I see is something that's completely miserable in their job. That's what I think of, but refuses to do anything about it, but gets themselves in a financial position where they're stuck and their life is complete misery for their whole lives. That's what I mean by, you know, a corporate slave. But if you love that. Yeah, there's nothing wrong with being.

[00:26:04] You know, having a job for sure, because it is kind of a pain in the ass trying to, like, build something and then try to make money on it and everything else. And many people try it a couple of times. It doesn't work out. They have to try multiple times for it, actually. Yeah.

[00:26:18] It's just an ongoing process that you basically never it's just it's just sickening when I see people on the hamster wheel of consumerism or, you know, golden handcuffs or living, they're not their best life in. You know, I wish I could snap out of it for sure.

[00:26:37] So how did ATEX record players then? Progress.

[00:26:39] Uh, yeah, then.

[00:26:41] I quit my job, drove into it, and it went OK, so yeah, you got it to where you had no debt and your expenses were really low. And so that's when your dream. Yeah. Soon as I knew and you saved up some money when you're talking about runway. Yeah. I don't even need much runway because their expenses were so low. Exactly.

[00:26:57] I cut my expenses to extreme low.

[00:27:01] I had no debt in my Airbnb. Spare room was paying my.

[00:27:11] I pay my overhead, my living expenses, so I had infinite runway and I was like, as long as I can eat dog food and and be free, I was like, it's better than sitting in this cage all day. So that was the way I saw it. And like one day I was looking out the window in my cubicle and I was like, man. Men used to like. Sail across oceans and shit, not knowing what's on the other side, and here I am just sitting here afraid to just. Go walk out the door. That is a great, great way to put it, and I just like, what do I do it like even like I said, even if I eat dog food and I just wake up every day and change the sheets of my Airbnb and make that the best fucking Airbnb I can make, and I scrape by and my whole life is free to me again. It's like, uh. That sounds a lot better.

[00:28:10] Yeah, what am I so scared of? Yeah, that sounds a lot better.

[00:28:14] I'd rather live that life and go swimming every day or I just ask myself, what do I want to do with my life? Like, if I want to go surf in Hawaii, go do it. If I want to go, you know, travel the world, go do it, you know, I can do it. I don't have a family or anything. I can do whatever I want. And I really just want to be an entrepreneur. Like, that's really what I wanted to do. Well, because life is short and I mean.

[00:28:38] Yeah, you only get one. Yeah. And I mean, me personally, I don't want to wait till I'm 65 years old to go and do stuff that I can do now when I'm healthy, you know, and then hopefully I'm healthy when I'm 65. But I mean, just the idea of waiting your entire life to. All right, you can enjoy your life now. Here's your retirement.

[00:28:54] People need to realize all the conventional advice is just set up to be a huge scam to use you as a, you know, consumer in a produce, you know, a worker in, you know, save all your money to when you're almost dead.

[00:29:09] And then we'll take it all back, you know, take it all back.

[00:29:13] Yeah. You know, we'll give you a reverse mortgage at the end. And thanks for playing. You came out with zero, you know, so. But, yeah, just. You know, I quit my job and, you know, it's just you think like, oh my God, fucking hustle Gary the hustle Salazar. But no, it's like when you go into entrepreneurship, you have to be ready to be. There is so much going on, you have to you have to wait for, you know, to watch traffic coming to your website like there's a lot of waiting and not doing much, because if you just go try to crush it, simply wasting money and time and energy and over my opinion over hustling and just burning yourself out, you know, and and you just have to be super patient. And that's why I needed all that runway just to be patient and not have to chase money as soon as you start chasing money rather than providing value, which takes time and slow. And, you know, if you're just chasing the dollars, you know, people can feel that. And it's it's it's not. It's not the way to you know, I always want to be in a position where you never cash crunch and you got to make.

[00:30:29] Decisions based on money solely.

[00:30:30] Yeah, like, you know, quick cash decisions, you know, so. That makes sense. That's the way I see it, and if there's one book, you know, Millionaire FastLane, it's like a dumb title in a, you know, dumb cover, but he breaks entrepreneurship down. MJ DiMarco like cuts it straight to the bitter cuts, all the bull shit out of it gives you, you know, it's like you want to be rich and enjoy your life. Well, there's yeah, like 10 options here. You can be a, you know, a sports star musician, you know, politician. You know, you have all these options. And I'm like, well, I am not going to be an athlete. I'm not going to be a musician. He's going to be an entrepreneur. And it's like, well, I think I can be an entrepreneur. He's like, here's how entrepreneurs make money. And it's like you can build a brand. It like, I think that's my best shot is building a brand.

[00:31:28] You know, that's that's I think that's my only hope.

[00:31:31] Uh, you know, so that's what I just stuck with. And I use that as my. My compass to navigate myself through entrepreneurship and I'm going to check out that book, yeah, it's it's good. It's. And then the next one, unscripted, he goes into the same kind of, you know, how like Dave Ramsey, you know, and even Tony Robbins now, they're always like giving you, oh, this is what you should do to be successful. However, they're not doing that, you know, invest in your 401k. And it's like, wait, wait. Is that how you made it, Dave Ramsey? No, you started a fucking podcast. And you built an audience and then you made a shit ton of money, you sold stuff. So why aren't you telling that to people and how to make it not invest in my fucking funds in my, you know, cut your way, cut your costs to wealth. And it's like think given all the wrong advice and they're getting rich, you give me the wrong advice to get rich, you know? So that's the whole thing you got to be careful of. We listen to you for advice. So but yeah. Then. Yeah, then I just, uh, you know, did one record player, you know, was doing one record player month making five hundred bucks and record players a month, and then, you know, I just talked to a bunch of shit about school, but then my school called me the hey, are you still doing that record player thing?

[00:33:00] I was like, yeah.

[00:33:01] And they're like, OK, kicks and wants to, um, do a veteran entrepreneur. And I was like, OK, so they came and boom, like right after I quit my job, I was on the news and I was like, look at that. Yeah. You know.

[00:33:16] Right dude, I know another guy that's really good at getting on the news.

[00:33:21] I mean, but he actually did it himself. You got a phone call, but like, it's still awesome. Yeah.

[00:33:26] So did that help? Did that did you see a surge after that?

[00:33:29] Well, yeah, that's the thing. I didn't know how Internet traffic worked or audience, so I was like, what's going to happen? Will they will people go to my website afterwards or will they call me or, you know, what will happen? And then, yeah, soon as it hit, my phone started ringing and had some calls. But yeah, they weren't very good leads. And I don't really have a good the generation process at that time. You know, that's what I learned. Like all the traffic came, I think it all went away and and you had no way of getting any of those leads. Yeah, I didn't know how to keep the leads, man. It just off the eyeballs came and then they disappeared. And I was like, fuck, I got to learn how to. Keep my audience, you know, so. So, you know, that's how I started learning, is you don't know that shit until it happens, you know, there's no book. And what happens if you get on TV and then they go to your website?

[00:34:26] There's nothing for them to do.

[00:34:29] It's it's you just got to learn it, you know, child by air and burn in your own cash up on dumb ideas and and being like, oh, fuck, that was a dumb idea, sort of dumb ideas.

[00:34:44] I bought tricycles when Pokemon Go was a thing and I tried to rent them out like so I could ride them because it's adult tricycles and so you can have your phone mounted. So like you could just stop and like catch some Pokemon and then right on. Whereas, you know. Yeah, but you could cover a lot of ground.

[00:34:59] That's that's great. I love no crazy ideas. I got like I got some phone calls and people were like people would come up and talk to us because I had a sign on them and I was like, oh, these are fucking cool, we're going to call you.

[00:35:09] And then like, three people call me and they never rented them. Yeah, yeah. It's but like a crazy I love crazy ideas like that. You just give it a shot and and, you know, you never know. Like I you know what I tell people they need advice to me naturally where I'm like, take the fucking crazy idea you got, you know, and then go find where those other crazy people are online and go put it in front of them. You know, that's what I did. You know, record players weren't record counselors weren't cool when I started. Like, it was only like nerds had them. Like audio geeks would have them in their garages, in old people, had them in their garages and like, I'll get them for free and then flip them for like thousands of dollars eventually.

[00:35:57] So what you do cool shit with them. I've seen pictures of them look great and I'm assuming they sound great. I haven't heard one.

[00:36:03] Yeah. Yeah. And then, uh, you know, I just, you know. Does the speaker sound good. This is turntable. Sound good. Is this amplifier sound good. You know, I just kept experimenting until I got a good um. A good. Package put together and then, you know, invest a little bit more money and add some nicer electronics and see if I could get a buyer for in upping my prices and and then after that. Kicks in and I was like, fuck, yeah, I'm. What's happening, man? And then I say, you know what I'm going to do? Jesse James. And I admire him like, hey, I sent him a picture of me when I was a kid and his chopper bicycle I built and I said, hey, you know, he inspired me as a kid. And, uh, um. Uh, by the way, I found my Neshin, this weird Neshin German record players, um, just, you know, appreciate the inspiration. And, um, at first you just like, cool, holy fuck.

[00:37:04] You say cool that I would even respect. The reply was like, holy shit. He said, cool. I was like, look at everyone. You talk to me, talk to me.

[00:37:14] And then I was like driving down the road a week later and I get a message from, Hey man, I want one. I pull over. I'm like, holy shit, you just you want someone that's crazy. And then, uh. Yeah, then eventually. I delivered it. He talked to me and he's super cool, you know. I was afraid, you know, that never meet your idols or, you know, you want to meet your idols or anything. And, uh, but now he's super cool and say, oh, you should build your own brand. You should do this.

[00:37:46] So you you you responded to his message. You set up a meeting in person.

[00:37:51] Yeah. I was like, what do you want, man? I'll get you the best one and say, I want Telefunken. So I found and really nice Telefunken fix it up, you know, restored it. And and then I was like, oh fuck. I gotta, I gotta get Chessie like the best one of all time.

[00:38:08] Were you worried that did he pay in advance before you restored it or. No pay out of pocket for that?

[00:38:12] No, I gave him the option. I was like, hey man, what do you want to do? Say how much are they? Say, well, you can. Pay me cash. Six grand for one, or you can trade me a pistol for one. Or you can trade me Instagram plug's for it and, uh, say, OK, I'll give you some Instagram. That's like, great. And that was the greatest decision I ever made, you know. Yeah. That picture of me in him. Next to that record player I've seen, it came back thousands and thousands and thousands of street cred, you know, uh, um, you know, my probably my business probably built on that picture, honestly, is well, you started it up and you were selling them and then you, I don't know, made this long shot of of messaging him and.

[00:39:08] Yeah, it worked out, you know.

[00:39:10] So see yourself out there, man. Yeah.

[00:39:12] So you decided to do that and then when you met him in person, obviously, because there's a picture and that's when he was telling you you need to build. Yeah. And you need to.

[00:39:19] When I delivered it to him, we just were talking and he's like, dude, you got to build your own brand. You know, I got I got a rule that that goes around the world. Here's my woodworker, you know, go get a custom one built with Mike woodworker. And then I was like, yeah, OK. So this is like, you know, like I said, he's like Michael Jordan in my mind. So him talking to me and I'm like having flashbacks from a kid, like dreaming about this happening. And I just like starstruck and trying not to say anything stupid. And, you know, it's like the greatest day of my life. And then, yes, then I went I did exactly what he said, got his woodworker, you know, fronted a ton of money, you know, it'd be to her. And I just gave he's like a million. I just gave him like. A ten thousand dollar record player. And, yeah, you know, and that's how you earn your stripes, man, if you want to get involved with. The next level people, you got to give them any value you can if you want to get anything, you've got to give, give, give to people up the ladder. That's the only way you earn your stripes, in my opinion. Yeah. And so and I even called like Macintosh Laboratories. And I was like, hey, I got this thing going on with Jesse James. Hooked me up with a badass amp you got. And they're like, OK, it's like. Holy shit, Jesse, just open that door to Macintosh's me and they sent me a three thousand dollar amp to put on it and then I got in with the best audio company in the world, was looking me up with free shit or, you know, damn, that's how you do it. That's awesome. And then, uh. Yeah. So I took what money I had. I invested in this long shot to build this. Really end custom one, not knowing if anything will come along and boom, I pitched it to the customer, a giant and another customer I had with a lot of money, he's like, yeah, dude, I am interested in that. And boom, then I sold a twenty seven thousand dollar record player and I was like. All this, you know, yeah, yeah, if Jesse went to. Opened that barrier in my mind, you know. And I probably would have stagnated for a lot longer, and so just, you know, another lesson in your self, limiting beliefs and like someone more successful than you or that you respect can just put. Open that up for you. You know, anybody else of my. My nephew would have told me, hey, you just just selling for more money, I'd be like, yeah, whatever kid, you know would have taken someone higher than you. And you're like, oh, you know, you'll take it. They'll open your mind.

[00:42:09] I know what you're saying. It is we all have a lot of self limiting beliefs. Yeah, that's one big part of the problem.

[00:42:15] Yeah. And it's a hard thing to realize or only in retrospect, you kind of see it.

[00:42:21] But hey, I listeners, just before this episode is over, I want to give you one more quick friendly reminder to please like and subscribe to the podcast on your favorite podcast player.

[00:42:30] Thanks again so that my mind opened up more and I got more ambitious and it was like, well, Jesse thinks is cool. Like before that, before Jesse. I just thought I was a huge. Idiot, nerd, weirdo, and so just a little bit self-conscious about like I said, all my peers were going to Goldman Sachs and shit and I just quit to make a record deal junk out of my living room. Yeah. So that's where I was at mentally. And so he opened up the the my mind. And then then we stayed in contact and I, I tried to never ask anything from him. He's take I'm assuming guys like they have people asking him for shit. Gimme gimme gimme all the time.

[00:43:20] Yeah. I feel like I'd be really self-conscious and aware about that. I'd almost like try really hard not to ask anything. Yeah.

[00:43:26] So I try never to ask. I always like you know, check this out. What's going on. You know, look at your idea coming to fruition or you know, it makes people feel good. I feel like this kid's following my my advice, you know. Mm hmm. And or then my customer wanted to say I was like, you should buy Jesse James pistol to put in that record console. So then. I actually made him a sale and then I was like, hey, man, my customer wants to buy a pistol from you. So I made a sale for a dollar here. Here's a here's a sale. And so then I think that might have, um, you know, opened up his mind a little bit how that has. Thinking in that direction and then. And then, yeah, and then probably a year later. You know, it's stuck in my mind, you, I have a Rolodex that goes around the world, let me know if you need anyone else like a fuck like I just said. Well, I want. Chance to use that Rolodex. I want the whole fuckin thing, you know, and I was like, what do I really need? I'm like Craigslist. Craigslist is shit at sea is for like grandmas with knitting sweaters and shit, and eBay is like the garage sale, the Internet, you know, where do I go to sell really nice products at? There isn't anything to do that, and so one day I pitched them, I texted them, I must get super nervous, you know, like, fuck you probably is going to laugh at me or say, yeah, OK, kid, you know, good luck on that. That's not what I was expecting. And then say, hey, I got this idea, we should build our own exchange is like I'd invest in that. And I was like. Really, if you're serious, I'll pitch it to you. So, yeah, come on out and pitch it to me. I pitched it to him. He's like. All right. A partner with you.

[00:45:19] So really, what do you want me? What do we do?

[00:45:25] And so, yeah, in the first year, we just kind of kick the idea around and, you know, went back and forth, built a little trust that I'm not going to.

[00:45:36] Be a wacko or, you know, try to.

[00:45:41] You know, I'm sure he's got people trying to infiltrate his life and shit all the time and stuff and feel each other out and work on the idea and get the website. I just built a shitty website and that's the best I could do. And then, yeah, I just we recruited some guys to sell some products in the Cressman Exchange, you know, we came up to. The. The name for it and then, uh, yeah, then slowly sold my record player and then we sold the knife, a ten thousand dollar knife, and then we're just dealing in those high end products said, you know, craftswomen just have to sell it on their own. And craftsmen aren't really sales or marketing guys. They just want to build cool shit, you know, and then get the hype and the attention they love. So I just trying to build I just want to build something that gives them what they want. You know, the customers get what they want the recognition and get an heirloom in, you know, a collector's piece of an asset in the the craftsman what they want. They just got to focus on what they love. And I get the focus on what I love, which is just dealing and selling and marketing. And, uh, and just see mentors me now with we had a meeting the other day and he's, you know. I have my vision, but he's his perspective is so much at another level, you know, that he can just, you know, he just sees it Alphabeat. He's doing it for 30 years. You know, so many interests me and guides me. And it's amazing.

[00:47:12] So it's great to have that relationship with someone that's in that position and is willing to give you some advice.

[00:47:18] Yeah, I mean, that's the hardest part. You know, just and you see how wisdom, you know, you got to earn your stripes to get into that wisdom of how it really works. And that's what I really love. Like, if there's anything, I just like getting to that next perspective, that next epiphany, and then you see the world differently. Like that's there's anything I love about life. It's just having a new perspective or a new epiphany. And you move to the next paradigm and you see it all differently. You see the matrix, you start seeing the ones and zeros in the Matrix and you can learn to manipulate it, you know, uh, or not manipulate it, but you can see how you can create your own reality, if that sounds too trippy.

[00:48:04] But I mean, that's part of the appeal of entrepreneurship.

[00:48:06] Yeah. Yeah. That's the that's the spiritual side of doing it, you know, and then people start gravitating towards you and you start hopping on board and then it starts to grow and. And now you become you know, you can you can just create hopefully better things in the world and make the world a better place, you know, obviously. But but I just I just love dealing in. High end products, and I like I like the. You know, the excitement like what I'm addicted to now is like when I send the email and the calls start coming in and, you know, trying to make the deal and the pressure's on, everybody is watching. And, you know, that's the rush I get. Some people like to. Jump off cliffs and stuff, I just like making the sale.

[00:49:00] Sales are important. Yeah. So the vision for Craftsman exchanges is I mean, you're already doing it now, but you are you really trying to turn into this big platform of high end products?

[00:49:11] Uh, yeah.

[00:49:13] Like other people would use or is for just for your company or just so Kossman exchange like.

[00:49:22] Would you let other people put products on there? Yeah, definitely. It's not it's not just for I mean, you already kind of are you're sourcing these other craftsmen. That's right. Exactly. Yeah.

[00:49:31] Yeah, it's but it's going to be exclusive. So, you know, we don't let anybody we don't have every grandma knitting a sweater on like that, you know.

[00:49:39] OK, so it's not necessarily like an open platform. Yeah.

[00:49:42] People sign up for an invite only and we want the tip of the spear to start, you know, got the best guys in, um, where it goes from there, you know, I don't know. But once we get the the best guys and a good you know, the customers trust that we're not going to like steal their money and, you know, having a new brand where you're transacting 50000, you know, goods, it's. Yeah. Build little trust first. And in the craftsman trust that, hey, they're going to have a good market to sell it. You know, it takes a little time.

[00:50:16] So you're still making record ads and put them on craftsman. Yeah. And you probably still get calls from record players as well.

[00:50:21] Yeah. I mean, that's still my company. I still still dealing in restoration's that's still my main business is restoring German record consoles and putting the audio in them and. Now, we recruited five of the best furniture makers around Austin to start producing custom record councils for me that fit audio equipment perfectly inside of it. And then you know that I'll take their products and sell it on the krastev exchange. And even if I have to start funding projects to sell on the exchange, just to prove the the concept, that's what I'm starting. But hopefully it'll. The start to come off in the crossfire will realize, you know, that, hey, I can go out and build something amazing and I don't have to be scared of what I'm going to do, you know? You know, I spent. Three months building something, not going to sell that shit, otherwise I'm going to go bankrupt. That's what the craftsmen are afraid of, you know, so that's that's and also to boost their brains show get that auction hype going so they can get top dollar and then they're. There the prices start raising in this world and in the heirloom world, your customer wants to spend more money on it like it means more to them if they spend more money on it. You just got to remove those barriers of why they should like why is why New York can they buy a million dollar painting, a ten million dollar painting, I mean. It's it's a fucking painting, it's really has no value to it. But how do you get that? That valley, such as there, you know, and, you know, make it so that the real best craftsmen get the limelight and get the recognition they deserve. So, you know, I love building shit and I appreciate craftsman like artists, but I just don't feel like they get the, you know.

[00:52:19] They don't get the sales like they do in New York for a painter, you know, like how do we you're right, I, I can see that there would be something untapped there because those people aren't going to be like you said, those people aren't going to be the best marketers or salespeople because it's not their passion. Yeah.

[00:52:34] Yeah. So we just leveraged Jesse's Jessy's like the. When the best craftsmen, one of the best, you know, um, you know, has a huge audience, famous craftsman of our time, so to get him straight off on the board, that's huge. Yeah, man. So you should get him on the podcast. Yeah. Yeah. I, uh, you know. I know you've got experience in auctions, so we should we should talk for sure.

[00:53:05] For sure. Thanks.

[00:53:06] Your story is really crazy. I love how I mean, I'm into entrepreneurship, too. So to me, it's really refreshing meeting other people that are really like go hard and that are willing to say things like college to scam laceless.

[00:53:19] But it's and it's not about being mean, though.

[00:53:21] It's just like I mean, for me, I mean, I want people to do what's best for them, be happy. And some people I know, they're not happy in the corporate world, but I know that they won't leave it because they're afraid of this or that. And the longer the time goes on, the more that you get into those golden handcuffs and you get more into debt. If you have kids, that people see that as a barrier. Although I know entrepreneurs that have kids and there's many entrepreneurs that have kids and and apparently they can still run their company just fine and hopefully are still a good family men, but.

[00:53:49] I just appreciate your hustle and story, and I'm really interested see how things progressed with you and hopefully we can keep in touch even as this is great.

[00:53:57] So I appreciate it.