About Me

Answering the questions:
1. Who is Josh Stalets?
and more importantly:
2. Why do I care?

(Humble) Beginnings

My very first experience with entrepreneurship was in third grade.  I would buy toys (magnets and transformers were the hot items) from kids in my first period class, and then sell them to other kids in my third period.  Shockingly – the school didn’t like that and I got sent to the principal.
I could say here about “how I was hooked” or “born to be an entrepreneur”, but nah, I was only 9 and it’s just a funny story.

If you’re like me and enjoy cliffnotes, I added a TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) to the beginning of every section after this. 

The Come Up

TL;DR: Started an eBay business selling rare video games

Entrepreneur life was quiet for a long time after that. At 17 I started with some odds and ends things to make money, but nothing worthy of adding even more to this page. So I started college, knew I needed a job – and I tried to find a job, but I wasn’t really trying.  I eventually landed a job at Gamecrazy (like Gamestop) for part-time holiday help. I loved the job so I worked my ass off – stayed late, worked nonstop, whatever was needed and then some. I proved myself so they kept me on after the holidays were over. I worked my way up through positions over the next year to eventually manage my own store in a few cities over. 

While there, I heard about “rare video games”, like how there are rare albums or books. Typically it was games like Mario where people loved the games, but they were older and therefore just hard to find.  I noticed a large discrepancy between what Gamecrazy would sell these games for (whenever they came in stock – they were rare) and what people would pay for them online.  

The margin on these were fantastic – the largest discrepancy I found was Marvel vs. Capcom 2 on PS2. It sold for $14.99 in stores and $100-$130 online. One day I managed to buy one of those and a few mario games and sold them online the very next day. I had made about $150 altogether (after eBay and paypal fees). NOW that’s what started it – I was hooked.

 

One to One Media

TL;DR: Drove all around Tennessee buying everything I could make money on

I would spend 2-3 hours every night for about a month researching what every single game sold for online. I started a spreadsheet that had all of the prices that I could reference.  I spent the next few weeks going to every Gamecrazy in Tennessee, buying out everything I could find that I could make money on. I more than tripled what I made for my salary that month, so I quit my job to do this full-time. 

I started finding more and more ways to squeeze margin out of video games. I would find coupons and buy things on sale to the point that the games didn’t even need to be rare sometimes. I found a tool to search for typos on games to even buy them on eBay, then resold them with the correct title and used my eBay powerseller status to sell it at a profit.  I discovered you could buy gift cards on eBay for cheaper (a $100 gamestop gift card for $80 for example) so I bought those out every time I found one.  I was going to every single video game store I could find, every pawn shop, every Craigslist post, every yard sale, anything I could get my hands on. 

I did this for about a year until Gamecrazy (still by far the largest source of margin/profit) shut down. They were owned by Movie Gallery and went under about the same time all of the movie rental places went out of business.

There wasn’t going to be enough inventory to continue the eBay business with my main supply going away. I now had a choice – either go back to having a job or go all in on something new. I researched online and tried a lot of things – some worked and some didn’t. I eventually landed on direct response advertising – the process of getting paid commissions for a new lead or sale by your advertising efforts.

One to One Media

TL;DR: Drove all around Tennessee buying everything I could make money on

I would spend 2-3 hours every night for about a month researching what every single game sold for online. I started a spreadsheet that had all of the prices that I could reference.  I spent the next few weeks going to every Gamecrazy in Tennessee, buying out everything I could find that I could make money on. I more than tripled what I made for my salary that month, so I quit my job to do this full-time. 

I started finding more and more ways to squeeze margin out of video games. I would find coupons and buy things on sale to the point that the games didn’t even need to be rare sometimes. I found a tool to search for typos on games to even buy them on eBay, then resold them with the correct title and used my eBay powerseller status to sell it at a profit.  I discovered you could buy gift cards on eBay for cheaper (a $100 gamestop gift card for $80 for example) so I bought those out every time I found one.  I was going to every single video game store I could find, every pawn shop, every Craigslist post, every yard sale, anything I could get my hands on. 

I did this for about a year until Gamecrazy (still by far the largest source of margin/profit) shut down. They were owned by Movie Gallery and went under about the same time all of the movie rental places went out of business.

There wasn’t going to be enough inventory to continue the eBay business with my main supply going away. I now had a choice – either go back to having a job or go all in on something new. I researched online and tried a lot of things – some worked and some didn’t. I eventually landed on direct response advertising – the process of getting paid commissions for a new lead or sale by your advertising efforts.

121 Marketing &
Be Better Advertising

TL;DR: Created an Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Company in America

I just knew there was money in this style of marketing/advertising. I just couldn’t quite figure out how. It took me about 4 months of trial and error to make my first $1.70 commission. This wasn’t piddling around for thirty minutes at night for 4 months – this was 4 months of 7am to 10pm, every single day.  I had blind, pure confidence that this would work. It had to.

Once I saw that first sale come through – I celebrated with my girlfriend of the time (now the wonderful mother to our two children). I’m sure that sounds like a ridiculous reason to celebrate – but with the internet being so massive, I knew if I could make $1.70, I could make $1.7 million or even $17 million – the ceiling is incredibly high.

I worked on varying types of advertising over the next 6 years. The industry is extremely volatile, with campaigns coming and going overnight. However, over time, you get some decent averages. About 3 years in I started to see real potential. I was now doing millions of dollars in revenue per year and was making more than enough profit for my own lifestyle. Now I needed help to push further any more. I then asked both my best friend and dad to help part-time with different things and just worked out of my house. 

The next 3 years (2013, 2014, and 2015) I was stuck at around the same numbers every year. I was still working non-stop but just couldn’t push through any higher.  I wasn’t quite sure what to do until going to a convention with other entrepreneurs in similar industries. I found a consultant there that helped me with the how to build the foundations of a real company. 

I finally hired my first non family/friend USA W2 full-time employee in November 2015 to help out. I still had no idea what I was doing, but I’ve found the only thing that matters is taking action.

In 2016, we continued to hire people on and the numbers tripled previous years’.  We made the Inc’s Fastest Growing Companies list. Everything was awesome. 

Until one day – it just wasn’t. Due to my ego, we had grown too large, too quickly, without putting the proper structure and operational procedures in place. In January 2018, I had no choice left but to close the company down from financial reasons.

The 1 Mistake

TL;DR:  Humble on the outside, vain on the inside

The 1 mistake that caused the company to crumble? I could put the on blame a lot of things. I could throw the blame on a lot of people.
But honestly – it was my ego.
My massive ego.
My elephant sized, gigantic fucking ego.

Those close to me would describe me as a humble person. I thought I was humble. But deep down – I realize now – I wanted more employees, more revenue, a bigger office, and more recognition. 

I had years and years of negative people telling me variations of “you’ll never make it” or “that’s not possible”. I ran on pure hate to prove them wrong. I started hitting $100k+/year at 25 and thought I was on top of the world. I got nicer cars, a bigger house, more expensive clothes. Then I started hitting $400k+/year and multi-million revenues and I thought “this will show them”FINALLY they will show me the respect I deserve – so I thought.

The 1 Mistake

TL;DR:  Humble on the outside, vain on the inside

The 1 mistake that caused the company to crumble? I could put the on blame a lot of things. I could throw the blame on a lot of people.
But honestly – it was my ego.
My massive ego.
My elephant sized, gigantic fucking ego.

Those close to me would describe me as a humble person. I thought I was humble. But deep down – I realize now – I wanted more employees, more revenue, a bigger office, and more recognition. 

I had years and years of negative people telling me variations of “you’ll never make it” or “that’s not possible”. I ran on pure hate to prove them wrong. I started hitting $100k+/year at 25 and thought I was on top of the world. I got nicer cars, a bigger house, more expensive clothes. Then I started hitting $400k+/year and multi-million revenues and I thought “this will show them”FINALLY they will show me the respect I deserve – so I thought.

Nothing Changes

TL;DR: Negativity is Still Negativity

But nothing changes – negativity is still negativity – both inside and out.

On the inside – all that negativity and hate I was running on to buy the house, the clothes, the cars, none of that changed how I felt inside. None of it made me a better person. “We buy things we don’t need […] to impress people we don’t like.”

On the outside – negative people want a reason why they can’t do it. So the “you’ll never make it” just turned into “you’re so lucky”Which is infuriating.

Luck has nothing to do with working 100+ hour weeks for years. Luck has nothing to do with sacrificing Friday and Saturday nights learning about business tactics and networking strategies while your friends are going out. Luck is having 1 thing finally work after you have failed 1,000+ other times.

It took me a long time, but now that I realize it didn’t accomplish anythingI’m not mad anymore. I stopped caring about “proving people wrong”. I realized even after you “make it”, nothing changes. So now I have nothing to prove. I ditched the fancy cars and stopped spending unnecessary money.  I cut those negative people out of my life. My goals and dreams stopped being to buy a Maserati and living in a multi-million dollar mansion.

Now my goals are just working on what makes me happy, including spending as much time as possible with my kids and the creation of Always Be Growing to help small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs with the tools and knowledge to succeed.

Now What?

I am now working on building 2 companies in tandem - one is the rebuild of Be Better Advertising and the other is the ground up of a software company.

I found you only ever hear from people after they get successful. I believe I have a unique opportunity to show what goes into the day-to-day of building (not just maintaining) a successful multi-million dollar company. 

Please click "Follow Along" below to subscribe to my e-mail newsletter and follow along on social media. I will be posting daily & weekly updates about both companies.

I'll show you what worked, what didn't, what I learned, what I failed at, and everything in between.  
My hope is for each of you to learn from both my successes and my failures in order to make smarter, more informed decisions about your company.

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