In Episode 13 of Content with Teeth's The Come Up, meet SWFL Career Coach Jason Teeters

A Career Coach for the Jet Set

The Come Up Episode 13 Video Transcript

Scrappy:

What up, what up, what up? I’m Scrappy. Welcome to The Come Up, a video podcast featuring Southwest Florida entrepreneurs, business leaders. We’re sponsored by Content With Teeth, a creative content agency with over 20 years of experience right here in southwest Florida. And as you can see with this fathead, they do it big, really big specializing in copywriting, video production. They got content, that’s for sure. And if you’d like to sponsor, come up, or be a guest, hit me up @heyscrappynig or text Mike at 21,000. Today’s guest is Jason Teeters. He’s a fascinating dude. He’s a nurturing lead at Collaboratory, a non-profit organization where he helps people overcome emotional, psychological, and technical problems in collaboration. He’s also owner of JetSetState, where he is a lifestyle designer for creative entrepreneurs. Welcome, Jason.

Jason Teeters:

Wow. Thank you so much, Scrappy. So happy to be in this space with you, my friend. So happy to be a part of this conversation today.

Scrappy:

Yeah, I’ve seen a couple of your videos. You’re an outgoing dude.

Jason Teeters:

My blood type is B positive. I was once told.

Scrappy:

Well, definitely positive, that’s for sure. Collaboratory, and then you have the JetSetState is kind of like two different worlds of technical, psychological communication, emotional consultation, if you will. Can you break it on down for us?

Jason Teeters:

Yeah, yeah. It’s really simple. Now, it’s probably been almost close to 19 years ago, I started, JetSetState, was really focused on creative entrepreneurs. My wife is a wedding planner, and so I found myself in a lot of spaces with content creators, photographers, videographers, hair, makeup, and a lot of them really had this… Most entrepreneurs were able to create something out of nothing almost, right? They had this passion and people wanted to pay them for it. And oftentimes for creative entrepreneurs, they shy away from the business side. And so for my background, one of the things that I started to recognize is, how can I support creative entrepreneurs to keep turning their side hustle into their main hustle, allowing them to keep moving in this space and create a life for them. And so that really got me in this space of helping design a organization or a business that works for them, which along the way really got me involved in helping larger organizations and communities figure out, how do you design a system that allows you to compete or to participate at all levels?

Scrappy:

So, that’s a pretty cool niche. Creative entrepreneurs, helping them out. What’s been the biggest struggle other than financial for them?

Jason Teeters:

I think for a lot of creative entrepreneurs it’s really that motivation, right? ‘Cause oftentimes, it takes a lot to move forward and say you’re going to be a creative entrepreneur. But once you take that first step, you hope that it’s… You’re going to land in this really beautiful space where you’re traveling and you’re just getting business all the time. And I think you know it as well as anybody that often it doesn’t just happen that way. And so really helping take their big ideas and focus them so they can really design a life that works for them, whether it be the timing, whether it be the financial, and so they’re not overworked and overwhelmed, but really focus on moving forward. And so a lot of times clarity and motivation is the biggest piece that then allows for the rest of everything else the true business work to happen.

Scrappy:

Sure, sure, sure. So the creative disposition, what’s the baseline for them?

Jason Teeters:

That’s a really good question. I think oftentimes, we’ve been sold that most creative entrepreneurs are this hustle, 24/7, grind, grind, grind, and they’re just ready to take over the world. But one of the things that I find is they’re really big problem solvers. A lot of times the disposition’s that, “I don’t like the way this is working, I think I could do it better.” And in that process of doing it better, they start to find all these other constraints around either the industry or the environment or the clients or the product or service that really gets them off track. And so they start into problem solving and coming up with ideas. But you know and I know too many ideas makes it really difficult to actually progress anywhere.

Scrappy:

For sure. And you give tips all the time, every day, all day. What’s the best tip you ever gave?

Jason Teeters:

I think the best tip that I ever gave was to get out of your head and get in your heart.

Scrappy:

Interesting.

Jason Teeters:

And I think oftentimes we get so caught up in this perception of what we’re doing and how we’re doing and how we compare to other people, that we have to recognize that this is a long game. This is an infinite game. The idea of building a business, the idea of living life is 80, 90 for a lot of us. I don’t want to be a hundred years old still doing this work. And for me to do that, I think oftentimes I need to just quit getting that in my head and start focusing on and moving towards the things that matter to me, the things that I care about. Because all this stuff is going to be hard, at least find joy in it. Sure. Every step of the way.

Scrappy:

So you’re a big believer in intuition.

Jason Teeters:

Yeah. I am. I think that oftentimes we’ve been told that the only way to know things is between our ears. And I think for a lot of us, we’ve had opportunities and moments throughout our life where we’ve either felt something, intuitively known, had that gut feeling that we ignore because that’s obviously not correct. But oftentimes we find that it is. And I think the more we tap into that, the easier it will be for us to navigate a lot of these spaces.

Scrappy:

JetSetState, you’re an entrepreneur, you’re helping creative entrepreneurs doing that, but you’re also the nurturing lead at The Collaboratory. What the hell does that mean?

Jason Teeters:

Yeah. Collaboratory has this bold vision of bringing the community together to solve every social problem in Southwest Florida in the next 18 years. Every single one of them.

Scrappy:

What are the problems? What are the biggest problems?

Jason Teeters:

I mean, if we just talk about housing, we talk about education, we talk about workforce development. These are really clear. But one of the things that we recognize is that at Collaboratory, we’re not the solver of those problems, we’re the coordinator. And so our idea is, how do we bring people together from all aspects, from a right brain, left brain, from a creative industry to a structural financial industry. We all need us to be able to solve some of these really pressing problems. And my role is how do we bring people into a space to be able to have those conversations, to be able to not only listen, but be heard and operate in a way that we often say we move at the speed of trust. And so how can we start to build that together to be able to make change in our community?

Scrappy:

Are they buying into what you have to say?

Jason Teeters:

I think it’s interesting. I think it’s hard to believe that this is a new way to thin, oftentimes for so many of us, even for myself as an entrepreneur. “I’m going to be the best,” and, “Nobody’s ever going to be better than me.” And we move in that space that we often try to take on more than we really need to. Or we often compete in areas that we don’t need to be competing in. And so I think as a community, we’re having really good conversations about, “Why am I doing this many things when there’s other organizations that are doing this? Why don’t I focus on the thing that I care about and let them focus on the thing they care about?”

And being in a space where you start to hear individuals come together in ways to say, “Oh man, this is a real struggle for me. Oh, we love doing that.” You start to build these bridges that allow people to collaborate. And so long story short, this is 18 years, so we believe by 2040 we want to solve all these challenges. So we’re on the long road. And so we have individuals that have raised their hand. But I imagine along this route, we’re going to start picking up individuals along the way.

Scrappy:

So you have a little Elon Musk in you?

Jason Teeters:

Yeah, I try. I try.

Scrappy:

Okay. We’re talking with Jason Teeters, fascinating guy. Really enjoying this conversation. And we’re sponsored by Content With Teeth, a creative content agency with over 20 years of experience right here in Southwest Florida. As you can see, when we talk about the fat head behind me, they do it really big specializing in copywriting, video production. They got content. And if you want to sponsor, to come up, or be my guest, hit me up @heyscrappynig or text Mike at 21,000. Now Jason, why 18 years? It sounds kind of arbitrary.

Jason Teeters:

Well, I think for us, one of the things that we think about is, what does Southwest Florida look like in 2040? What does the school system look like? What does our water quality look like? What is our workforce development, our housing? It really helps us start to think about who are we speaking for and who are we speaking to, right? Because we know very well that a lot of the youth in this community in 18 years are going to be the parents, they’re going to be the CEOs, they’re going to be the entrepreneurs in this community. And the goal is, how do we carry forward a community that supports and works with everybody to create an environment that attracts the people to come down here, that helps businesses grow, that educates our youth and helps us build something sustainable.

Scrappy:

I think that’s awesome. You’re great facilitators. Is this going on in other communities throughout the United States?

Jason Teeters:

Well, as of right now, we are the first to try this. We call this, we often say, “Welcome to the greatest community problem solving initiative in American history,” because we want to make really clear that across the country, no foundation as of right now has really leaned into this idea of bringing the whole community together to try to solve some of their biggest social challenges.

Scrappy:

Interesting. Very interesting. Jason, I want to do something kind of fun. I want to do some big questions and they’re big questions, but I only want a few sentences for the answers. Okay?

Jason Teeters:

Sounds good. I’ll see what I can do.

Scrappy:

Okay. Dealing with talent, how do you collab with the diva?

Jason Teeters:

I think you let them speak and share their ideas, and then you support that.

Scrappy:

Okay. And raw talent, how do you nurture it?

Jason Teeters:

By letting it breathe.

Scrappy:

Okay. Building trust in a team.

Jason Teeters:

Authenticity.

Scrappy:

Okay. Creative entrepreneurs, not you, you’re an entrepreneur, but your clients. How do they pitch?

Jason Teeters:

They pitch around the outcome that they’re solving for.

Scrappy:

Okay. How do you tell somebody their project is wack? I know you’re not going to say that directly, but how do you break it on down?

Jason Teeters:

Is this what you really imagined for your organization?

Scrappy:

Okay. It’s of nebulous.

Jason Teeters:

Well, they’re always…

Scrappy:

Working away around it.

Jason Teeters:

Yeah. Yeah. They’re like, “Oh, we could do this and this.” And I’m like, “Well, you talked about this. Is that what you really,” “Oh well no, it’s this.” “Okay, well then maybe let’s get back over here.”

Scrappy:

Indirect approach.

Jason Teeters:

Yeah.

Scrappy:

What’s the worst advice you ever gave somebody?

Jason Teeters:

Oh, don’t worry. It’ll work out.

Scrappy:

Come on. I’m sure you gave some worst advice.

Jason Teeters:

Yeah, I think, man, probably my son when I told him, “Well, if they push you, push them back.”

Scrappy:

I think that’s good advice. I’m from New York City.

Jason Teeters:

I got called into the office for that. I got called into the office for that. Telling…

Scrappy:

Are you from Chicago or Indiana? ‘Cause I know you went to Ball State in Indiana, but are you from Chi-town?

Jason Teeters:

No, I’m from Indiana.

Scrappy:

Okay. Very cool. Very cool. And I think your degree is fascinating, industrial psychologist. Now, if one of your clients has a lot of anxiety, how do you talk them down?

Jason Teeters:

I think for me, I often try to figure out what is the fulcrum, what the thing that they’re trying to really solve for. Because oftentimes there’s a lot of things with anxiety, there’s a lot of things that are playing into that, what others think, how they think, what it looks like. But try to get really clear on what is the key thing that you’re trying to accomplish for this moment right now.

Scrappy:

Okay. My boss is a son of a b. I can’t stand him. He’s mean to me. How do I cope?

Jason Teeters:

That’s a challenging question to answer, but I think for me, one of the things that I would say is I always talk about this “me to we.” So what are you doing? Or what is the individual doing to take care of their own wellbeing so that they don’t get wrapped up in thinking that, “This company I work for is me, or this boss is me.” If I don’t have another outlet, then all of my energy goes into this organization or this business or this boss that feels like it’s the same as me. Instead of me recognizing that I have options, I have choices.

Scrappy:

That’s a great one. I appreciate that one for sure. So many of us are mired in multiple jobs, just getting by, just paying the bills, that’s about it. No discretionary income. We feel stuck. What do you tell them?

Jason Teeters:

I think often that feeling stuck is, for my own personal experience, I think the feeling of being stuck typically comes around aspirations for myself. And so oftentimes, it’s really getting back to this. Is that intuitive? Really getting back to what are the things that really move you and how are you doing those on a daily basis? If it’s meditation, if it’s yoga, if it’s reading, if it’s playing video games, whatever it is. Oftentimes when we’re stuck, it feels like the things that really bring us joy are missing from our day to day, which doesn’t allow us the opportunity to get out of our own head.

Scrappy:

I think that’s a fascinating answer, an intellectual answer. But if I’m working two jobs, just no, it’s just frustrating. It’s very frustrating to leverage your way out of that situation.

Jason Teeters:

It really is. And it is a vanilla answer, right? So much of our stuckness has to do with so much of our, has to do with so much of our history. ‘Cause it could be the stuckness around the work, it could be the stuckness around what I like to say, “organizational trauma.” You work in a company, you’re like, “Oh man, I’m just going to try to ride this out.” And then we stay in that space for far too long. And some of it is just a natural fear of breaking the mode. And I think that’s tough for a lot of people to figure out which one of those is making them feel that way, and which one of those do they want to work on first? ‘Cause you can’t do them all at the same time.

Scrappy:

Got you. Collaboratory, it’s a real challenge. You get a bunch of business leaders together, different races and ages and religions, personalities, opinions. How do you get them all on the same page?

Jason Teeters:

I think we focus on the things that we do have in common. I think all of us love living here in Southwest Florida. All of us want clean water, all of us know that every student in every high school across the region will eventually be working in our companies, our organizations, at our grocery stores, at our movie theaters, our gas stations. And so it’s really focusing first and foremost on the individuals that live here and how can we make their life better in some sort of way that allows to give them the agency to quit being stuck, start a business, be involved after school in an education program. And so we try to start with what we have in common.

Scrappy:

Okay. I think that’s awesome. That’s an awesome answer. I really appreciate that. I think too, that in business sometimes, there’s different agendas that are really hard to arbitrate, but for sure, I totally agree with that. How about haters, back stabbers, and gossip queens? How do you deal with them?

Jason Teeters:

It’s so interesting. If you go to the website Collaboratory and you look up nurturing department, that’s what it says right at the beginning, right?

Scrappy:

Okay. Okay.

Jason Teeters:

And that’s where that idea of moving at the speed of trust, because oftentimes you and I both know that to develop a relationship takes time. And we always say, “I don’t want you to leave your ego at the door. I want it in the room because [inaudible 00:18:13] flipped experience can shed light on a way that I’ve never been thinking because I’m only in my silo.” And so creating space for that to happen with respect and with care that isn’t focused around individual or a single topic, but it’s really focused around the betterment of what we’re all collectively coming together for.

Scrappy:

Okay. I’m a big fan of the Buddhist philosophy, living in the moment. How do you get people there?

Jason Teeters:

Scrap, I think that’s one of the challenges, and I think even for myself. And I would often say it feels like something that you would be better at answering oftentimes, because I think when people hear you and they listen to you, they’re like, “Man, Scrappy’s got it all figured out. He’s just himself.” I think for a lot of people, we box ourself up during the week and we have our representatives show up at places we go to. And so really getting people just to be themselves in the messiness and the history of goofiness of all of us, sometimes that’s what’s needed in a space and that takes time for people to just sort of allow that to come out. Because like I said, oftentimes with Instagrams, and Facebooks, and social media, I’m giving you the best that I have to offer. Not knowing that it took probably 30 minutes to take this one shot because the music and the video and all these.

Scrappy:

Absolutely.

Jason Teeters:

Which is why they need Content With Teeth, so they don’t have to worry about that and they can just be themselves.

Scrappy:

Jason, you’re awesome, man. I appreciate your energy and I think that you’re… I’m sure you’re doing big things with JetSetState as an entrepreneur with creative entrepreneurs, and also with Collaboratory as a nurturing lead. We’re brought to you by Content With Teeth doing really big things, content agency. If you want to be part of it, hit up Mike, 21,000 texts or me @igheyscrappy. Jason, awesome man. Awesome, awesome, awesome. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your time, bro.

Jason Teeters:

Thank you so much. It’s such a pleasure to be a part of this, such a pleasure to be able to see you and connect with you again after so long. And I love what you’re doing because this needs to be out there for individuals that are going through that process to know it’s okay to stumble and you have somebody to lean on to learn from and to hear sources of information.

Scrappy:

You want to bust out your socials, maybe get a client out of this.

Jason Teeters:

Yeah, I love it. So you can follow me [email protected], Instagram, uh, Teeters Jason is my personal, and then JetSetStatesetstate.com. And then if you’re in the community trying to really make change happen, follow collaboratory.org. You could jump on there and see what we’re doing in the community and be a part of helping us solve some of the largest social challenges in our community in the next 18 years.

Scrappy:

My man, Jason Teeters, thanks for your time, man. I really, really appreciate it and I learned a few things and I… That’s awesome. Really awesome.

Jason Teeters:

Thank you my brother. Thank you so much.

Bid It, Bill It

A Financial App for Hard Hats

The Come Up Episode 12 Transcript

Scrappy:

What up, what up, what up, what up, what up? I’m Scrappy and welcome to The Come Up, a video podcast, featuring Southwest Florida entrepreneurs and business leaders. We’re sponsored by Content With Teeth, a creative content agency with over 20 years of experience right here in Southwest Florida.

As you can see from this fathead behind me, they do it really big, specializing in copywriting and video production. And if you’d like to sponsor The Come Up or be a guest, hit me up @heyscrappy on IG or text MIKE at 21000.

Today is awesome. Very fascinated with these two guys. Our guests are entrepreneurs Randal Kendrix, and FSW’s Dr. Roger Webster. With Randal’s driving spirit and his vision, they’ve created an innovative app called Bid It, Bill It. Randall, this is your baby. So go ahead. Let’s start with you. Tell us about yourself.

Randal Kendrix:

That a heck of an introduction. Thank you very much. I appreciate that. So I have spent a long time and still am in the technology world with Canon USA out of New York. But in one of my trips, one day in my typical fashion, I’m sitting in the airport, bored out of my mind, waiting for the next airplane. And I’m wondering what the heck I’m going to do when I grow up. I was thinking back about a conversation I had with my brother and I realized he still works in a very antiquated, in my opinion, antiquated world of creating bills in either hand or with word docs. He writes things down and there’s a typical structure that a contractor goes through as probably in the middle of their busiest part of their day. Someone will call on a bid or estimate on something. They’ll get the crew running, take off, hair on fire, run by the job site, write down some notes, run home. Friday night, Saturday morning early, they start working on these bids.

Short story long is that they end up losing a lot of money because they forget a lot of details along the way. And I’m thinking, all right, how can I figure that out? I did quite a bit of research, but didn’t find anything other than accounting style or just full on construction apps, which are real expensive. And I thought, well, geez, I got to figure this out. So I asked my brother and a couple other contractors around the country said, “How do you do this?” And all of them are kind of the same way, just a real antiquated way. So I thought, well, how hard is it to learn swift code? There’s another guy down at the bottom down here, laughing right now. I got this. I whip out the laptop, and I turn on YouTube. And I realized a month into this. I thought, man, I could be 95 before I figure this whole process out. Considering I could make little stuff, no big deal, but there’s no way I’m going to make this intense app that I want.

So I’ll fast forward a little bit. I go through Fiverr. I find a really great, what I thought was a really great developer, happens to be in India. A lot of exchange of both culture. He doesn’t know how the US culture works, business works. I’m trying to explain it to him in my west Texas vernacular. And he has no clue about the things I’m saying. So literally I don’t have them behind me right now, but I have those big, giant sticky notes that look a lot like these pads, but they’re literally wall size. So I end up literally writing stuff out and making pictures and they were all over this entire living room that I have here. That was the way I got my points across.

So I mean great experience, nothing wrong with it, but even longer stories. We got the app where I thought it would work, launched it. It started getting some users. And then I thought, well, I’m ready to go to phase two. And I thought, okay, that’s great. So I connect with him, start telling him what I want. And then all of a sudden, just AWOL, just gone. So I don’t know if he got another job. I don’t know if his village fell apart. I don’t know what happened to him. Just gone. And then the code kind of crashed. So here I am out quite a bit of money and with no workable apps. I’m thinking, man, I’m done. I’m lost. And honestly, months later, and really I wrote that note actually in another area. And I said, look, I was kind at my wits end and it was almost seriously like a hail Mary pass. I thought I’m going to call literally right outside my door, less than a mile for Southwest.

I said, there’s got to be somebody who knows something about computers over there. And I called Roger, please tell me what was the gentleman’s name? I forgot what was the gentleman’s name that I called?

Dr. Roger Webster:

Albert Nolt.

Randal Kendrix:

Okay. Mr. Nolt. That’s right. I call, I left a message and it was one of those, Scrappy you know. You’ve made millions of calls in your life. You’re not expecting anything to come back and he was on it like the next day. He just popped me right back and said, yeah, you got to talk to this guy. And I’m like, all right, that’s great. So it is a little bit of hope I connect with Roger. And I mean, I can’t tell you, you talk about relationships, just kind of meshing from the moment on. From the moment we met, funny thing is Roger’s literally a mile, not even a mile outside my front doorstep, he’s already created two apps, pretty darn similar to what I’ve done. And he’s just an awesome guy. So I literally feel like I went from little league coach all the way to Joe Tori. I mean, Roger honestly is the saving grace of Bid It, Bill It at this point in time. So I got to give him a lot of credit.

Scrappy:

With many teams, there’s a driver, and there’s a creative or a scientist. And you need kind of those different core competencies to compliment each other, in order to be successful. Roger, so you get this phone call from Randal, crazy Randall. He’s got this great idea, but you’re kind of like the app expert. You’ve done a handful of these in the past. What were you thinking? What’s going through your mind when you heard from Randall for the first time?

Dr. Roger Webster:

Well, I gave him a call and I said, yeah, I can do it. That’s what I do. I have a PhD in computer science from Temple University, School of Engineering in Philadelphia. Two master’s degrees in computer science, a bachelor of science degree in computer science. And I’ve been teaching computer science for 40 years before I came to Florida Southwest, I was in the Pennsylvania state university system, teaching computer science and teaching app development up there. So I came down to FSW and I retired from there. But instead of retiring, I decided, yeah, I’d like to do a little bit more teaching. So that’s what I do. And I told him, yeah, I can do that for you. So we met it off and I started writing the code and the app is really, really nice. We’re in beta test right now. It’s up on the app store, beta test. Another couple of weeks, it’ll be in full version and looks great.

Scrappy:

Randal, roadblocks and road bumps happen all the time. You go through Fiverr, you go through this guy in India, you get frustrated, but where you are now, are you better off with Roger than if you had been successful previously?

Randal Kendrix:

Oh, I mean, it just fills my face with just excitement. I can’t believe it. Looking back, I mean, I was really in a moment of despair when I got to that point where just everything just kind of fell apart and I’m thinking, ah, money, time, effort, created all these channels and all this. And then you look back at it now where I thought probably was a complete wash out of a road. It appears now that it’s more of just like a bump in the road. And I know a lot of business people around, not only around Florida Southwest, I travel around the world and I’ve heard some horror stories and it felt like one at the time. And then when somebody gets on the other side of that little bump, they look back at it and yeah, it wasn’t that big a deal so far.

Scrappy:

I’m sorry. Many entrepreneurs go through that. Many entrepreneurs have those bumps, those frustrations. They’ve got freelancers that flake out on them and so forth. And I think that’s kind of cool that you’re both rooted in Southwest Florida because that’s been kind of a come together as well. Now both of you have incredible resumes, have done incredible things. Why Southwest Florida? Roger, you first.

Dr. Roger Webster:

Well, my parents moved from Massachusetts down here to Estero, Florida, and they bought a nice little place here about 15 years ago. And I would visit them in the winter of course, and absolutely love it because in Pennsylvania, there’s six feet of snow and down here, it’s 80 degrees in the winter. So I visited them quite a bit in the winter. And I decided when I retired in 2018 that I would buy a place in Florida. And I bought a place in the same community as them, four doors down, actually. And I still have the place in Pennsylvania. I’m down here nine months, a year and up there three months in the summer and it’s been quite nice.

Scrappy:

And Randal, you’re a Texas New York guy, all of a sudden you’re in Southwest Florida. What brought you here?

Randal Kendrix:

Born and raised in Texas and this gorgeous blonde girl I met in New York of all places. So Texas, New York and we meet up in Fort Myers. Actually her folks lived here and right after we got married, she moved to Texas for a couple years. And then I had a chance to come back and man, I’ve never looked back. This is my hometown. I’m a Texan by birth, but boy, I love Florida.

Scrappy:

It’s pretty amazing that here in Southwest Florida, we can do global things. Your company Bid It, Bill It, what’s your niche and differential advantage versus the competition?

Randal Kendrix:

Well, thanks for that. I searched long, like I said, I searched a long time. And what I found is if you know anything about contractors, I’m sure you’ve used people either where you are now, where you lived, they’re craftsman. I mean, if you bring a carpenter in, he’s not an accountant, that’s not what he likes to do. And he doesn’t want to go home and mess with a computer. So I thought, how on earth? And honestly, most of the guys I dealt with early on with Fiverr really wanted to create a very detailed, difficult program. And I just kept rejecting it going, if there’s not a way I’m just going to not do it at all. But there has to be a way, because I look at my iPhone, which I absolutely love. And while it’s a really complex computer, nobody makes it simpler. And so that was the whole thought process.

So what we do differently now, and we will add more as we go, but we want to make that experience one really, really quick and simple to learn. I just did a video last night and I uploaded it to YouTube, which I got to redo. But the whole thing, I think I did five or six minutes. And that’s with an intro. That’s start to finish to opening up the app and creating your first invoice to email to a customer. That’s the whole idea. So no more scribbled notes than waiting two or three days, four, five days to create all your invoices or quotes, you can do it on the fly. So the idea is have it in your hand, it’s local. Don’t need wifi necessarily. It’s on local. I can create a bid in a bill, immediately send it to a customer before I leave their house. Or if I just want to use it for notes, fine. We’ve got pictures in it, but simplicity, which is my whole idea. Simplify your business. That’s the whole mantra of Bid It, Bill It. If I can’t make it simple, I probably won’t make it.

Scrappy:

So how do you differentiate yourself from Get Jobber, Velocity, Procore, Buildertrend?

Randal Kendrix:

Super detailed on the Procore’s, ours is a simplistic bid and/or invoice. So while we may add functionality like that someday, I think that when you look at the department of labor statistics, there’s somewhere between 800 and 1.2 million services folks on the planet. And if you look around at what they use the usage on Quicken by folks in that realm is minimal. They’ll pay someone else to do it. So the thought is to get… Let’s say you have a half million of those. If you get 1% of those huge, huge marketplace, and it’s so simple for them to use the folks that we’ve introduced, it took so far said, well, how much are you going to charge for this? Well right now, nothing. It’s free. We want you to use it and understand it and go from there.

At some point, I think we’ll have a next version, Roger, that will have a charge to it, but it’ll have more information, but the thought is to always have the free, just for those who just want something super simple, boom, and it looks professional. You can upload your own logo. A lot of folks, you can’t do that.

Scrappy:

So from a functionality standpoint, whether it’s organization, speed, manpower, having less of it, saving time, being organized, you really fit to bill, right?

Randal Kendrix:

I think so. Go ahead, Roger.

Dr. Roger Webster:

Fast, easy and powerful. It’s very powerful behind the scenes, but the GUI, the graphic user interface is very simple and easy to use. We use SQL databases on the back end. So we have a database for customers, a database for invoices and a database for how it looks and feels. And it’s very easy to use and it’s customizable. You can make it be an invoicing app for any business you want. You can change all the different categories, the invoice items, the prices, the description, and it’s completely customizable. And you can use your phone to take pictures of the site. We attach that to the invoice and you can print it, send it by text or send it by email.

Scrappy:

Does that translate to the customer? Because here I am doing something for my house and I’ve got credibility issues. I’ve got trustworthy issues with contractors. I’m just going to keep it real. That’s how I feel. So with your invention, can you help me out? The customer out as well, your second customer, so to speak?

Dr. Roger Webster:

Absolutely because the contractor can send you a text, an email or print it right there as he’s doing the quote and you’ll see exactly detailed items of what it’s going to cost. And it’s a quote. And then if you say, yes, I’d like to do it. Then the contractor has a contract between you and the contractor.

Scrappy:

I understand that you guys are in your second year. Randal, how have you progressed?

Randal Kendrix:

The first year and a half, it’s essentially wasted. Not wasted, but wasted time so to speak. Cause I had to start everything over and we’ve been about six ish months Roger, into the new version?

Dr. Roger Webster:

About six months.

Randal Kendrix:

So we’re just in our beta. And as of this week, or probably next week, we will launch the full on polished version of it. And then we’ll be able to hit it worldwide or countrywide, whatever we want to do on that side, which now is the big job now of making sure I get exposure. Which also thank you very much for doing this for us. Just getting the word out and getting in people’s, in their mindset.

Scrappy:

Do you have downloads now or are you just anticipating a huge amount in six months?

Randal Kendrix:

Obviously the drive is six months from now, but we have some downloads now. I’ve tried to minimize just because we’re still very much in a beta site and I don’t want to have people have a bad experience with even the smallest of feature sets. So I’ve kind of kept it quiet, but we’re literally about a week or two weeks out from just doing a massive blast media style blast.

Dr. Roger Webster:

Very, very close, very close. As you know, software is beta testing before it actually goes worldwide on the market to work out some of the initial user bugs, but we’ve got almost all of them done.

Scrappy:

Both of you guys are fascinating to me because you’re grinding really hard on another job. And here you are doing something special for lack of a better term, on the side. So Randal, how many hours are you putting into your real gig, so to speak or your first gig Canon, and then how much time can you put into this?

Randal Kendrix:

I am thankfully an early riser. So I’m up around between four and five, so that’s when I get most of my stuff done. I will spend two to three hours daily or as much as possible, but on average, two, three hours a day on Bid It. And then of course my other job, Canon, is a full-time. So, and that depends on travel. Now I will say if I’m in the middle of an airplane or if I’m driving and I can make calls, obviously if I’m not doing stuff for work, I’ll jump on it, do it at lunch, all that kind of stuff.

Scrappy:

Roger, as a doctor, Roger, at FSW, you had certainly educational responsibilities, but you too, you’ve created a bunch of apps. You’ve been on the cutting edge of app creation. How do you balance the two?

Dr. Roger Webster:

Well, I’m an early riser, just like Randal. And in fact, when we first hit it off, I said, what time do you want to meet? And I said, because I get up at 5:00 AM. If you want to meet by Zoom at 6:00 AM. That’s okay with me. So by nine o’clock I’ve got four hours in before people even wake up and weekends of course, things like that. Number of apps and another consulting clients as well doing app work.

Scrappy:

How about, you mentioned that you’re getting some exposure, but from a marketing perspective, looking out from a timeline, one, two years, how are you penetrating?

Randal Kendrix:

Honestly, not just to toot your own horn, but I want services from folks like yourself. I’m going to need that. I can only go so far. Even with that background from Canon and the advertising and business development, all that, I can only go so far and the bandwidth runs out. I’m going to need some serious help once we get to a certain point. And I think we kind of have a number in mind, but we’ll see how that works out, but definitely want a full on nationwide push at this. I hope within this first half of next year is the thought,

Scrappy:

Okay. Okay. And entrepreneurs, you take risks. You have no fear of failure. Tell us about your entrepreneurial spirit Randal.

Randal Kendrix:

Oh, I have plenty of fear.

I’m just too stupid to stop, I guess. From a young age, I actually owned my own paint contracting business when I was 18. And I’ve never fully given that up. I do more consulting than anything now. And then I do my own projects as well, but I have always had a desire of some level to keep my hands moving and legs and just keep moving and keep asking about this. And even when I’m in my other job, I like to ask a lot of questions and I’m probably too curious at times. I love learning stuff. Especially in this day and age, there’s so much emphasis on the college degree and push and push and push and that’s all great. But boy, there’s also a massive shortage in this world that I’m working on with the app right now with the blue collar guys, the tradesmen. And always had a heart for those guys cause they work hard and they just kind of get the crap of the world. They get beat up a lot.

Scrappy:

Given their blue collars, is there an opportunity for grassroots movement?

Randal Kendrix:

Oh yeah. Yeah. I’m thrilled. One of my heroes right now is, I’m sure you know who he is, Mike Rowe, who’s got his foundation to give scholarships. And as a local guy, I’m pushing as many people as I can without an affiliation Mike, to his scholarships because man, there’s a lot, there’s good money to be made in it. And I can tell you of all the things that I do for a living, the most satisfying stuff is when I’m creating something in my garage or in the house, you can put something together and go, I did that. So it’s a really great feeling.

Scrappy:

Roger, I’ve been here for 18 years and I have a relationship with FSW. I am blown away by the growth over the last 18 years. Can you tell us about your university?

Dr. Roger Webster:

Oh, FSW is a wonderful, I say little college. It’s not really very little. I mean there’s three campuses, Lee County and Collier County and Henry Glades. And I think there’s 25, 30,000 students. I mean at FSW, among the three campuses and in computer science, we’re growing so big that they’re blowing away the inside of the building we’re in right now and putting a $7 million renovation for the school of business and technology and computer science and our cyber security. We offer computer programming and cyber security and of course cyber security and programming, both are really big business. And we’re expanding, we’re hiring faculty, we’re hired two new people. We’re going to hire probably two or three new, more people next year. And it’s really growing leaps and bounds.

Scrappy:

It seems like in this age, everybody has an entrepreneurial spirit. When you look in the eyes of the juniors and the seniors that you teach, do you see that?

Dr. Roger Webster:

Oh yeah, absolutely. And I always tell them, Hey, if you have a great idea for an app, tell me so I can write it for you. But they’ll be able to write it themselves after next semester. And this coming January, spring semester, I’ll be teaching COMP 3655, which is mobile development for a mobile application development for devices. And we’ll be doing iPhone development and Android development. And they will have the first time in FSWs history, a class being taught on how to develop iPhone and Android.

Scrappy:

Wow. Wow. You’re going to give your students a little equity position though, right?

Dr. Roger Webster:

Well, I always tell ’em. I say just because you have a good idea. It doesn’t mean you can make it happen so you know, have great ideas. It’s wonderful, but you’re going to need people like myself and my students to actually develop the code.

Scrappy:

When you see the seniors graduating from FSU right now, what’s their outlook?

Dr. Roger Webster:

Oh, they’re very excited about it. There’s a lot of opportunity in cyber security, all over the country and in computer programming as well. And I tell them all the time you complete your degree at FSW, a four year degree, even a two year degree, you will be instantly employable.

Scrappy:

That’s true. Absolutely.

Dr. Roger Webster:

It is.

Scrappy:

Randal, I was looking at your resume and says board member of Edison Pageant Of Light. That’s impressive. Can you tell us about it?

Randal Kendrix:

Oh, I absolutely love it. So when I first moved here, you’ve been in Florida long enough, you know the typical conversation is, Hey, where are you from? That’s how you start it off. And I had a tough time cause in Texas, everybody’s from Texas. So it’s more like, Hey, what town are you from? Kind of thing. So when I get here, there’s so many transplants, including myself, that finding local was very tough. And my wife who’s been here her entire life had so much and so many connections. There is a wonderful lady in town. Her name is Sue Grime. She’s an institution. If you’ve never met her, you need to, as my wife said, she roped us in.

So if you don’t know, Edison Pageant Of Lights is 80 something years old. It was in honor of Thomas Edison and he actually was there in the early days, giving out the diplomas. Actually her mother got her high school diploma from Thomas Edison and it’s a really beautiful homage to the Edison family. And then all the families in Florida for over 80 years, it’s in my opinion, one of the best local true long-term local things that you can learn and get to participate in Southwest Florida.

Scrappy:

Very nice, very nice. Any parting thoughts as far as selling Bid It, Bill It?

Randal Kendrix:

Well, there’s a lot of ways I’ve thought about going with it, but just me showing my heart out loud. I would love to build a large scale company and pull talent from people like Roger’s students. I would love to feed that college with just job, job, job. That would be a dream. That’s a dream of mine, I’d love to do that.

Scrappy:

That’s awesome. That’s really awesome. We’re sponsored by Content With Teeth, a creative content agency with over 20 years of experience right here in Southwest Florida. And as you can see by the Fathead, we do it really big, specializing in copywriting video production. If you want to sponsor The Come Up or be a guest, hit me up @heyscrappy on IG or text MIKE at 21000. I want to give a shout out to Mary Myers because Mary Myers put us all together today.

Dr. Roger Webster:

She’s the Dean of business and technology.

Scrappy:

Yeah. So Mary, thank you very much. We really appreciate that. And Randal, Roger it’s really, really awesome to talk to you guys today. I love what you’re doing. I appreciate your entrepreneurial spirit and I really love the fact that you’re doing it in Southwest Florida.

Randal Kendrix:

Thanks a lot Scrap. We appreciate your time.

Dr. Roger Webster:

Thanks Scrappy.

Christina Amandis is a Florida hair stylist who is Scrappy's guest on Episode 11 of The Come Up

The SWFL Hair Edgelord

Looking for a haircut in Southwest Florida?

How about the Wolf Cut or another “animal” style?

If you’re a man, are you feeling the perm with a curly mullet?

If you’re a Lady Who Lunches after tennis at the club, do you need a Florida hair stylist whose studio culture is edgy but classy like Vogue?

You need the SWFL Hair Edgelord.

You need Christina Amandis who is Scrappy’s guest in Episode 11 of The Come Up, Content with Teeth’s video podcast profiling dynamic entrepreneurs in Southwest Florida and beyond.

Christina owns Hello Beautiful Hair studio in Bonita Springs and brings a funky, zen vibe to the hair experience.

The Come Up Episode 11 Highlights

Scrappy Goes Rasta: Christina delivers the hilarious verdict on whether Scrappy having dreadlock hair extensions is advisable.

Studio 55: She might not be in The Big Apple but Christina details her journey in opening her own studio after 16 years of experience in the hair game.

Hair Salon vs. Studio: The terms are not interchangeable. Learn why studios are for entrepreneurs and salons are for employees.

Claws: It might be September but words can’t describe Christina’s vibrant summer nails. Watch to see her reveal true nail flair!

Catch other key insights in Episode 11 of The Come Up like Christina’s edgy strategy in keeping golf and country club ladies formidable in the style game.

About Christina Amandis & Content with Teeth

For UnBoring Content like The Come Up, contact Content with Teeth HERE. Find out more about Christina and her Hello Beautiful Hair studio HERE.

The Come Up Episode 11 Video Transcript

Scrappy:

What up? Welcome to The Come Up. It’s a video podcast featuring entrepreneurs doing really big things on their own, right here in Southwest Florida. I’m Scrappy. We’re sponsored by Content with Teeth. It’s a content marketing agency that generates leads, conversions, and brand awareness. Now, today it’s pretty cool. We are going to spotlight Christina Amandis of Hello, Beautiful Hair, established hair studio and Bonita Beach. Christina, we’ve known each other for a while and I’m kind of concerned. My hair’s getting shorter and shorter and shorter. Can you help me out? I want dreadlock extensions.

Christina Amandis:

Well, we got to get you scheduled, Scrap.

Scrappy:

Can you do extensions in dreadlocks for me?

Christina Amandis:

Absolutely. Whatever you want.

Scrappy:

All right. As a studio owner, please differentiate for us, what’s studio versus salon?

Christina Amandis:

Studio is where you’re independent, you are your own boss. So with the salon setting, you have a team usually, your receptionist and other stylists that you work around. In a studio setting, you are by yourself, you do everything on your own.

Scrappy:

How long have you been doing it?

Christina Amandis:

I’ve been in hair for 16 years, but I just got into my own studio this past month.

Scrappy:

So you’ve been part of a salon and now you’re saying “I’m want to be an entrepreneur?”

Christina Amandis:

Correct.

Scrappy:

How scary is that?

Christina Amandis:

It was a big leap. It was a really big leap, but long overdue. Like I said, I’ve been in the industry for 16 years and I was comfortable where I was at in the salon setting, but I was ready for a change.

Scrappy:

You must have had a lot of regulars. Did you steal them all and take them to your studio?

Christina Amandis:

I sure did.

Scrappy:

Are you still friends with the salon?

Christina Amandis:

I have some insiders on the salon.

Scrappy:

Got you. So these people that have been with you for such a long period of time, they must be thrilled for you.

Christina Amandis:

Oh, absolutely. Everybody loves the change and they pretty much have said, “What took you so long? Why did you wait so long to make this move?” But I think I’m a firm believer that timing is everything.

Scrappy:

What’s the toughest thing about making a leap like this?

Christina Amandis:

Oh, doing everything on your own. I was a little spoiled at the old salon with having employees that pretty much do all my dirt work. They do my shampooing, they handle all of my checkouts, they handle my phone calls and my appointments. I am my own team right now. So it is definitely a big change for me.

Scrappy:

From marketing perspective, I think it’s all about personification. I mean, you are a walking, talking billboard for your business. How do you market yourself?

Christina Amandis:

Social media. Social media is key, that is definitely where the world’s at right now. So definitely letting everybody in this world know where I’m at, what I’m doing, what I’m capable of, and just keeping that ball rolling.

Scrappy:

Magazines. I don’t know if it’s uncool from a guy perspective, but I actually brought in a picture of a dude from a magazine to get my haircut. Does that happen often to you?

Christina Amandis:

Yes. As a stylist, pictures are worth a thousand words because that gives us a better understanding of what they’re looking for and if it’s doable.

Scrappy:

Culture-wise, I look at your studio looks really funky and cool and hip in the background. Can you describe the culture of your studio?

Christina Amandis:

Wow.

Scrappy:

Zen, funky.

Christina Amandis:

Yeah.

Scrappy:

Cool, fun.

Christina Amandis:

Edgy, but a little bit of class, a little bit of a little bit of pop. Just have fun, but be clean and classy at the same time.

Scrappy:

Kind of Vogue.

Christina Amandis:

Yeah.

Scrappy:

I see your nails. Can you share with us your nails? Very cool.

Christina Amandis:

It’s summertime.

Scrappy:

What’s the biggest hair trend that we need to be thinking about?

Christina Amandis:

Oh my goodness.

Scrappy:

Men and women.

Christina Amandis:

Back to social media, all these animal haircuts. We went through the wolf cut. Now we’re doing, there’s another kind of animal cut. And I don’t understand it, I mean, they’re at home haircuts, but I end up fixing a lot of them where they just put the hair up on their head in a ponytail and they chop it off and it’s just not cute. I can’t wait for this part to get out. Men right now we’re doing the perms with the curly mullets.

Scrappy:

I’m not really feeling that.

Christina Amandis:

No, me either.

Scrappy:

Maybe it’s maybe it’s my age, but my nephew has it, all the basketball players have it, but it looks gnarly to me.

Christina Amandis:

It is. It’s definitely not my favorite. I can’t wait for that trend to go away.

Scrappy:

Yeah. It’s not fresh and fresh and crisp and clean.

Christina Amandis:

No, not at all. And some can’t pull it off. So it’s hard. It’s just like, “Eh.”

Scrappy:

Absolutely.

Christina Amandis:

“Can we pick something else?”

Scrappy:

Well, you’re very trend setting yourself. Do you have any recommendations on where things are going?

Christina Amandis:

It’s a constant revolving door. It’s hard to say. Right now, highlights, the chunky zebra highlights, are starting to come back in and it’s just like, “Oh, why? Please, no.” It almost looks like a zebra. So that’s the trend coming this summer. So I’m holding on.

Scrappy:

But as a studio owner, what else is very important?

Christina Amandis:

Staying on top of your business, you have to be prompt, you have to be responsive. You have to be on your A game, one little step to the right and you could lose it. So you definitely have to stay focused, stay involved with your clients. I had a client last week that went in for knee surgery. I took the time out of my day to follow up with her just to make sure her procedure went well.

Scrappy:

Good for you. That’s awesome.

Christina Amandis:

Yeah. Staying in contact, staying on top of everything and following up is definitely-

Scrappy:

It’s a relationship business.

Christina Amandis:

Absolutely.

Scrappy:

When Mindy had a child, I brought her a toy elephant and I’m the client. So it’s definitely about getting together. But Christina, there’s a lot of salons out there, a lot, and not everybody’s making a lot of cake and a lot of money. How do you stay on top of your clientele? Not just from a customer service standpoint, but growing it from social media standpoint and sustaining it longterm?

Christina Amandis:

Again, that connection, creating those relationships with your clients. And I care, it’s not just I do this because it’s great money, it’s I care about my clients. You form these relationships where you know about their grandkids, you know about their house up north that they go to seasonally. It’s that connection that keeps that going. Then that connection creates more connections with their friends. And they’re like, “Oh, you have to go see Christina. She’s awesome.” It just keeps trickling that way.

Scrappy:

Interesting,. From a target demographic standpoint, who are you trying to attract?

Christina Amandis:

Well, my demographics right now are more of those golf and country club ladies.

Scrappy:

Okay.

Christina Amandis:

Those are my bread and butter. They are die hard. They will kill somebody to get their hair appointments. So they are my demographics. I am in the center of Bonita Springs. So I’m surrounded by all these country clubs and all it takes is one member of that country club to find me. And then it’s just-

Scrappy:

Awesome.

Christina Amandis:

It spreads like wildfire.

Scrappy:

It’s polarized because you’re this really cool, hip chick and you’re cutting senior citizen’s hair. They probably get a big kick out of you, right?

Christina Amandis:

Oh, they love it. They look forward to coming in. Every time, every visit, I have a different look or a different hairstyle and they just love it. It’s fun for them and I think it makes them feel a little bit more younger and hip because they go to somebody that’s a little bit more on the edgier side.

Scrappy:

Sure.

Christina Amandis:

That can give them that little pizazz to their hair. It makes them feel a little [inaudible 00:08:06].

Scrappy:

Well, that’s my next question. This pizazz, but do you push their limits? Do you push them to be more progressive?

Christina Amandis:

Absolutely.

Scrappy:

Okay. Give us an example. That’s very interesting to me.

Christina Amandis:

Yes. Because hair should be fun. Hair is a staple. Hair is, it’s who you are. It’s what everybody sees first, I feel like. So giving them that little edge or that little funk to make them feel young and hip is a big deal for them.

Scrappy:

How about color? Do you tell them to get really funky that way as well?

Christina Amandis:

I try to push a little bit of the color, but a lot of them I can get the cuts in and give them a little bit of an edge, but as far as color is concerned, that’s a different story. They like their blondes and their browns. And as they get a little older, the dark, harsher colors need to go away and bring in some lighter tones to complement them. So as far as color is concerned, I try to keep it edgy, but the haircut’s where that comes in.

Scrappy:

Southwest Florida is our focus here with this podcast. Do you see anything different between Southwest Florida haircuts and the rest of the nation?

Christina Amandis:

Absolutely.

Scrappy:

Dish. Tell us.

Christina Amandis:

Southwest Florida, we’re definitely a little bit more reserved in this area. You don’t find the funky fashion colors as much as you would going down to the other coast or up into the city. We’re a lot more reserved here. So walking that fine line of having that fresh, edgy, but not too crazy to make people feel like they’re not in the right-

Scrappy:

Sure.

Christina Amandis:

… Comfort zone, I guess.

Scrappy:

This podcast is featuring Christina Amandis, superstar hairstylist with a studio. Go ahead and make your pitch to everybody. Why they should visit you? Hey, come on, bring it.

Christina Amandis:

Oh my God, you just made me sweat.

Scrappy:

Why you?

Christina Amandis:

Why you? Why me? I’m always open for a new adventure. I love change, I love taking care of my clients, they become family to me. So I definitely love growing my family in the hair world and making everyone in Southwest Florida feel beautiful in their skin with their beautiful hair.

Scrappy:

And your hair is so unique. I’m sure you’re capable of giving unique haircuts, as well.

Christina Amandis:

Absolutely.

Scrappy:

Awesome. Advice to other entrepreneurs? You’re budding entrepreneur, you haven’t been in the game too long as an entrepreneur, but what advice would you give others? Especially those starting a studio?

Christina Amandis:

Grind, grind, grind. You cannot sleep on running your own business. You have to stay on top of everything. Just when you think that you have a break, you got something else that you could be working on, whether if it’s following up with clients you haven’t seen in a few months or just reaching out and letting them know that you’re here for them whenever they need something. You just have to stay on it.

Scrappy:

Finally, Christina, what advice would you give to your 12 year old self?

Christina Amandis:

Oh, knowing what I know now, keep pushing, don’t give up. Sky’s the limit. There’s [inaudible 00:11:38]-

Scrappy:

That’s that’s too generic. That’s way too generic. Okay? 12 year old self. I’m not talking about the salon or the studio or hair cutting or hair styling or coloring or perm. I’m talking about you, Christina.

Christina Amandis:

Me? Oh boy, me, 12 years old. What would I tell myself? You got me, you’re getting me these hard questions, Scrap.

Scrappy:

Any advice that you’d impart based on what you’ve learned over the years?

Christina Amandis:

I’m stronger than what I thought I am. I definitely found myself second guessing myself as I was growing and maturing and just would, “Oh, should I?” And it’s always about taking that leap and just going for it and just doing it.

Scrappy:

Sure.

Christina Amandis:

Life is too short to hold back and there’s so much out there to do and explore. And I’ve definitely learned that, not to hold back, just to do it.

Scrappy:

Nice.

Christina Amandis:

Why be scared?

Scrappy:

Very nice. You have a lot of social handles. You want to give them out to everybody so we can find you?

Christina Amandis:

I have my email at [email protected]. And you can find my website at HelloBeautifulHairByChristina.com.

Scrappy:

Hello, Beautiful Hair. An awesome studio, it’s on the corner of 41 and Bonita Beach Road, right?

Christina Amandis:

Yes. [inaudible 00:13:07]

Scrappy:

Which side, how can we find it?

Christina Amandis:

It’s right on the corner of where Komoon is and Crunch Gym.

Scrappy:

Okay.

Christina Amandis:

So I’m right in between. Yep.

Scrappy:

Very cool. Well, it’s awesome to have you here, Christina. You’re doing really cool things. You’re serving a lot of wonderful people. I’m not going to say you’re doing God’s work, but it’s really important for a lot of people.

Christina Amandis:

Yes, absolutely.

Scrappy:

We’re sponsored by Content with Teeth, a great marketing agency. If you want to be our next guest, you can text Mike at 21000 or myself on Instagram at @HeyScrappy. Once again, Hello, Beautiful Hair. Christina Amandis. Thank you so much. We really appreciate you.

Christina Amandis:

Thank you. Thank you, Scrap.

Scrappy:

What up? Welcome to The Come Up. It’s a video podcast featuring entrepreneurs doing really big things on their own, right here in Southwest Florida. I’m Scrappy. We’re sponsored by Content with Teeth. It’s a content marketing agency that generates leads, conversions, and brand awareness. Now, today it’s pretty cool. We are going to spotlight Christina Amandis of Hello, Beautiful Hair, established hair studio and Bonita Beach. Christina, we’ve known each other for a while and I’m kind of concerned. My hair’s getting shorter and shorter and shorter. Can you help me out? I want dreadlock extensions.

Christina Amandis:

Well, we got to get you scheduled, Scrap.

Scrappy:

Can you do extensions in dreadlocks for me?

Christina Amandis:

Absolutely. Whatever you want.

Scrappy:

All right. As a studio owner, please differentiate for us, what’s studio versus salon?

Christina Amandis:

Studio is where you’re independent, you are your own boss. So with the salon setting, you have a team usually, your receptionist and other stylists that you work around. In a studio setting, you are by yourself, you do everything on your own.

Scrappy:

How long have you been doing it?

Christina Amandis:

I’ve been in hair for 16 years, but I just got into my own studio this past month.

Scrappy:

So you’ve been part of a salon and now you’re saying “I’m want to be an entrepreneur?”

Christina Amandis:

Correct.

Scrappy:

How scary is that?

Christina Amandis:

It was a big leap. It was a really big leap, but long overdue. Like I said, I’ve been in the industry for 16 years and I was comfortable where I was at in the salon setting, but I was ready for a change.

Scrappy:

You must have had a lot of regulars. Did you steal them all and take them to your studio?

Christina Amandis:

I sure did.

Scrappy:

Are you still friends with the salon?

Christina Amandis:

I have some insiders on the salon.

Scrappy:

Got you. So these people that have been with you for such a long period of time, they must be thrilled for you.

Christina Amandis:

Oh, absolutely. Everybody loves the change and they pretty much have said, “What took you so long? Why did you wait so long to make this move?” But I think I’m a firm believer that timing is everything.

Scrappy:

What’s the toughest thing about making a leap like this?

Christina Amandis:

Oh, doing everything on your own. I was a little spoiled at the old salon with having employees that pretty much do all my dirt work. They do my shampooing, they handle all of my checkouts, they handle my phone calls and my appointments. I am my own team right now. So it is definitely a big change for me.

Scrappy:

From marketing perspective, I think it’s all about personification. I mean, you are a walking, talking billboard for your business. How do you market yourself?

Christina Amandis:

Social media. Social media is key, that is definitely where the world’s at right now. So definitely letting everybody in this world know where I’m at, what I’m doing, what I’m capable of, and just keeping that ball rolling.

Scrappy:

Magazines. I don’t know if it’s uncool from a guy perspective, but I actually brought in a picture of a dude from a magazine to get my haircut. Does that happen often to you?

Christina Amandis:

Yes. As a stylist, pictures are worth a thousand words because that gives us a better understanding of what they’re looking for and if it’s doable.

Scrappy:

Culture-wise, I look at your studio looks really funky and cool and hip in the background. Can you describe the culture of your studio?

Christina Amandis:

Wow.

Scrappy:

Zen, funky.

Christina Amandis:

Yeah.

Scrappy:

Cool, fun.

Christina Amandis:

Edgy, but a little bit of class, a little bit of a little bit of pop. Just have fun, but be clean and classy at the same time.

Scrappy:

Kind of Vogue.

Christina Amandis:

Yeah.

Scrappy:

I see your nails. Can you share with us your nails? Very cool.

Christina Amandis:

It’s summertime.

Scrappy:

What’s the biggest hair trend that we need to be thinking about?

Christina Amandis:

Oh my goodness.

Scrappy:

Men and women.

Christina Amandis:

Back to social media, all these animal haircuts. We went through the wolf cut. Now we’re doing, there’s another kind of animal cut. And I don’t understand it, I mean, they’re at home haircuts, but I end up fixing a lot of them where they just put the hair up on their head in a ponytail and they chop it off and it’s just not cute. I can’t wait for this part to get out. Men right now we’re doing the perms with the curly mullets.

Scrappy:

I’m not really feeling that.

Christina Amandis:

No, me either.

Scrappy:

Maybe it’s maybe it’s my age, but my nephew has it, all the basketball players have it, but it looks gnarly to me.

Christina Amandis:

It is. It’s definitely not my favorite. I can’t wait for that trend to go away.

Scrappy:

Yeah. It’s not fresh and fresh and crisp and clean.

Christina Amandis:

No, not at all. And some can’t pull it off. So it’s hard. It’s just like, “Eh.”

Scrappy:

Absolutely.

Christina Amandis:

“Can we pick something else?”

Scrappy:

Well, you’re very trend setting yourself. Do you have any recommendations on where things are going?

Christina Amandis:

It’s a constant revolving door. It’s hard to say. Right now, highlights, the chunky zebra highlights, are starting to come back in and it’s just like, “Oh, why? Please, no.” It almost looks like a zebra. So that’s the trend coming this summer. So I’m holding on.

Scrappy:

But as a studio owner, what else is very important?

Christina Amandis:

Staying on top of your business, you have to be prompt, you have to be responsive. You have to be on your A game, one little step to the right and you could lose it. So you definitely have to stay focused, stay involved with your clients. I had a client last week that went in for knee surgery. I took the time out of my day to follow up with her just to make sure her procedure went well.

Scrappy:

Good for you. That’s awesome.

Christina Amandis:

Yeah. Staying in contact, staying on top of everything and following up is definitely-

Scrappy:

It’s a relationship business.

Christina Amandis:

Absolutely.

Scrappy:

When Mindy had a child, I brought her a toy elephant and I’m the client. So it’s definitely about getting together. But Christina, there’s a lot of salons out there, a lot, and not everybody’s making a lot of cake and a lot of money. How do you stay on top of your clientele? Not just from a customer service standpoint, but growing it from social media standpoint and sustaining it longterm?

Christina Amandis:

Again, that connection, creating those relationships with your clients. And I care, it’s not just I do this because it’s great money, it’s I care about my clients. You form these relationships where you know about their grandkids, you know about their house up north that they go to seasonally. It’s that connection that keeps that going. Then that connection creates more connections with their friends. And they’re like, “Oh, you have to go see Christina. She’s awesome.” It just keeps trickling that way.

Scrappy:

Interesting,. From a target demographic standpoint, who are you trying to attract?

Christina Amandis:

Well, my demographics right now are more of those golf and country club ladies.

Scrappy:

Okay.

Christina Amandis:

Those are my bread and butter. They are die hard. They will kill somebody to get their hair appointments. So they are my demographics. I am in the center of Bonita Springs. So I’m surrounded by all these country clubs and all it takes is one member of that country club to find me. And then it’s just-

Scrappy:

Awesome.

Christina Amandis:

It spreads like wildfire.

Scrappy:

It’s polarized because you’re this really cool, hip chick and you’re cutting senior citizen’s hair. They probably get a big kick out of you, right?

Christina Amandis:

Oh, they love it. They look forward to coming in. Every time, every visit, I have a different look or a different hairstyle and they just love it. It’s fun for them and I think it makes them feel a little bit more younger and hip because they go to somebody that’s a little bit more on the edgier side.

Scrappy:

Sure.

Christina Amandis:

That can give them that little pizazz to their hair. It makes them feel a little [inaudible 00:08:06].

Scrappy:

Well, that’s my next question. This pizazz, but do you push their limits? Do you push them to be more progressive?

Christina Amandis:

Absolutely.

Scrappy:

Okay. Give us an example. That’s very interesting to me.

Christina Amandis:

Yes. Because hair should be fun. Hair is a staple. Hair is, it’s who you are. It’s what everybody sees first, I feel like. So giving them that little edge or that little funk to make them feel young and hip is a big deal for them.

Scrappy:

How about color? Do you tell them to get really funky that way as well?

Christina Amandis:

I try to push a little bit of the color, but a lot of them I can get the cuts in and give them a little bit of an edge, but as far as color is concerned, that’s a different story. They like their blondes and their browns. And as they get a little older, the dark, harsher colors need to go away and bring in some lighter tones to complement them. So as far as color is concerned, I try to keep it edgy, but the haircut’s where that comes in.

Scrappy:

Southwest Florida is our focus here with this podcast. Do you see anything different between Southwest Florida haircuts and the rest of the nation?

Christina Amandis:

Absolutely.

Scrappy:

Dish. Tell us.

Christina Amandis:

Southwest Florida, we’re definitely a little bit more reserved in this area. You don’t find the funky fashion colors as much as you would going down to the other coast or up into the city. We’re a lot more reserved here. So walking that fine line of having that fresh, edgy, but not too crazy to make people feel like they’re not in the right-

Scrappy:

Sure.

Christina Amandis:

… Comfort zone, I guess.

Scrappy:

This podcast is featuring Christina Amandis, superstar hairstylist with a studio. Go ahead and make your pitch to everybody. Why they should visit you? Hey, come on, bring it.

Christina Amandis:

Oh my God, you just made me sweat.

Scrappy:

Why you?

Christina Amandis:

Why you? Why me? I’m always open for a new adventure. I love change, I love taking care of my clients, they become family to me. So I definitely love growing my family in the hair world and making everyone in Southwest Florida feel beautiful in their skin with their beautiful hair.

Scrappy:

And your hair is so unique. I’m sure you’re capable of giving unique haircuts, as well.

Christina Amandis:

Absolutely.

Scrappy:

Awesome. Advice to other entrepreneurs? You’re budding entrepreneur, you haven’t been in the game too long as an entrepreneur, but what advice would you give others? Especially those starting a studio?

Christina Amandis:

Grind, grind, grind. You cannot sleep on running your own business. You have to stay on top of everything. Just when you think that you have a break, you got something else that you could be working on, whether if it’s following up with clients you haven’t seen in a few months or just reaching out and letting them know that you’re here for them whenever they need something. You just have to stay on it.

Scrappy:

Finally, Christina, what advice would you give to your 12 year old self?

Christina Amandis:

Oh, knowing what I know now, keep pushing, don’t give up. Sky’s the limit. There’s [inaudible 00:11:38]-

Scrappy:

That’s that’s too generic. That’s way too generic. Okay? 12 year old self. I’m not talking about the salon or the studio or hair cutting or hair styling or coloring or perm. I’m talking about you, Christina.

Christina Amandis:

Me? Oh boy, me, 12 years old. What would I tell myself? You got me, you’re getting me these hard questions, Scrap.

Scrappy:

Any advice that you’d impart based on what you’ve learned over the years?

Christina Amandis:

I’m stronger than what I thought I am. I definitely found myself second guessing myself as I was growing and maturing and just would, “Oh, should I?” And it’s always about taking that leap and just going for it and just doing it.

Scrappy:

Sure.

Christina Amandis:

Life is too short to hold back and there’s so much out there to do and explore. And I’ve definitely learned that, not to hold back, just to do it.

Scrappy:

Nice.

Christina Amandis:

Why be scared?

Scrappy:

Very nice. You have a lot of social handles. You want to give them out to everybody so we can find you?

Christina Amandis:

I have my email at [email protected]. And you can find my website at HelloBeautifulHairByChristina.com.

Scrappy:

Hello, Beautiful Hair. An awesome studio, it’s on the corner of 41 and Bonita Beach Road, right?

Christina Amandis:

Yes. [inaudible 00:13:07]

Scrappy:

Which side, how can we find it?

Christina Amandis:

It’s right on the corner of where Komoon is and Crunch Gym.

Scrappy:

Okay.

Christina Amandis:

So I’m right in between. Yep.

Scrappy:

Very cool. Well, it’s awesome to have you here, Christina. You’re doing really cool things. You’re serving a lot of wonderful people. I’m not going to say you’re doing God’s work, but it’s really important for a lot of people.

Christina Amandis:

Yes, absolutely.

Scrappy:

We’re sponsored by Content with Teeth, a great marketing agency. If you want to be our next guest, you can text Mike at 21000 or myself on Instagram at @HeyScrappy. Once again, Hello, Beautiful Hair. Christina Amandis. Thank you so much. We really appreciate you.

Christina Amandis:

Thank you. Thank you, Scrap.

 

Meet John Garuti III, the master of Babcock real estate and Scrappy's guest on Episode 8 of The Come Up

Babcock Real Estate Does The Come Up

How do you get into a sun-kissed mecca that simultaneously promotes environmental sustainability while not breaking the bank?

Call John Garuti III, the kingpin of Babcock Ranch real estate and the latest guest on Content with Teeth’s video podcast The Come Up, charting mover-and-shaker entrepreneurs in SWFL from Naples to Sarasota on Florida’s Gulf Coast

Babcock is the first solar-powered town in the United States residing in sunny Southwest Florida, a low-tax state friendly to both retirees looking to ride out their golden years and Millennials looking to become homeowners without paying a fortune to The Man Uncle Sam.

John has sold more than 100 homes in Babcock and talks to The Come Up Host Scrappy Jackson in our latest episode.

The Come Up Episode 8: Babcock Ranch Real Estate Highlights

Da’ Big Apple: The Come Up Host Scrappy is from Manhattan; John is from Queens. Who’s going to win the Battle of the Boroughs for those who relocate to the Sunshine State?

Welcome to the Ranch: John tells Scrappy how he discovered Babcock Ranch and went from having no job or prospects to being the biggest realtor in one of the hottest master-planned communities in the entire United States.

Video Marketing Master: John details how he used YouTube to build his real estate empire. Entrepreneurs should take note of John’s recipe for success when it comes to video.

Power of the Sun: Yes, Babcock is solar-powered. John details how that is just the tip of the scales when it comes to the community’s environmental sustainability. People who care about the Earth, watch and learn!

Catch other key nuggets on Episode 8 of The Come Up like how to pocket some serious coin by flipping a Babcock mansion to a cool $1.3 million.

About John Garuti III & Content with Teeth

For UnBoring Content like The Come Up, contact Content with Teeth HERE. Find out more about Babcock Ranch Realtor John Garuti III HERE.

The Come Up Episode 8 Video Transcript

Scrappy Jackson:

What up, what up, what up? Welcome to The Come Up, a business video podcast featuring Southwest Florida entrepreneurs. I’m Scrappy and today our guest is John Garuti III. He’s an expert in prolific at Babcock Ranch Realty, having sold over 50 pre-construction homes in the ranch. We’re brought to you by Content With Teeth. My man, Mike, a dynamic local content marketing agency aimed at helping you generate qualified leads, conversions, and brand awareness. They do it really big, just like this fathead behind me. So if you want to be our next guest, we’d love to have you on this podcast. Go ahead and hit me up on Instagram at Hey Scrappy or Mike at 21,000. Just text him. John, how are you?

John Garuti III:

I’m doing great, man. How are you?

Scrappy Jackson:

It’s great to see you. In preparing for this I watched a tremendous amount of your videos. You’re prolific when it comes to marketing.

John Garuti III:

Thank you. It’s how I started my real estate business.

Scrappy Jackson:

Very cool. When did you start?

John Garuti III:

Well, I actually got my first sale here in August of 2020. So been doing real estate just under two years now.

Scrappy Jackson:

Oh, wow. So you’re a total opportunist because this is a great time to get into the game.

John Garuti III:

Yeah. Well I moved to Babcock Ranch at the end of 2019 and I was the 347 homeowner here according to my garbage man. And I just said, “Man, they’re building 20,000 front doors here. So maybe if I get into real estate right about now it may work out,” and it sure has so far.

Scrappy Jackson:

Very smart. Very smart. I understand you’re from New York.

John Garuti III:

Originally from Queens. Yep. Born and raised.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. I’m from money making Manhattan.

John Garuti III:

I’m from across the East river.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m 58th and second. So I kind of know it pretty well.

John Garuti III:

Nice.

Scrappy Jackson:

Yeah. Yeah. So in New York, what were you doing previous to realty?

John Garuti III:

Well, in New York, my father had a big manufacturing business in Queens. So I kind of grew up in that business. He started it with his father back in 1978. It was a pretty big business, did a little over $10 million a year in revenue and we actually manufactured right there in Queens and we delivered to all the mom and pop tile shops right there all throughout the city. So yeah. I kind of had a good business up upbringing, just being involved in that from summers in high schools and college and then after college I worked there full-time until we sold the business at the end of 2017.

Scrappy Jackson:

So your crazy busy in New York City, what brought you to Babcock Ranch? It’s a huge departure.

John Garuti III:

Yeah. My wife and I, we had just had our second kid there at the end of 2017 and I worked for the people that bought our business for a year and they’re a big French multinational company, huge like billion dollar company, and I wasn’t really feeling that corporate culture. It wasn’t me. And my wife, we had wanted to get out of New York for a while just to have more. We had young kids and we were looking for greener pastures and my wife wanted to move warm and my family, we had been coming down to Naples since like 2006 my parents bought their first condo. So I was always coming down here two, three times a year to hang out and we said, “Hell, why not? Why not move to Florida? Let’s try it out.”

Scrappy Jackson:

How did you discover Babcock Ranch?

John Garuti III:

Just I was living in Naples and we didn’t know where we wanted to move, what we wanted to do, and then we kept hearing about Babcock and lo and behold, we came up here I think the first time in January of 2019 and at the time it was barely anything here still, but we just kind of fell in love with the concept and everything that the town stood for with the sustainability and environmentalism and we just said, “This is the place for us to raise our family.”

Scrappy Jackson:

So have this great job in New York, you move to Florida, but somewhat of a risk in sacrifice in becoming an entrepreneur. I mean, there’s a lot of competition in real estate, a lot of realtors out there.

John Garuti III:

Oh yeah. Yeah. It was the biggest risk I ever took in my life and we moved here to Florida with no idea what we were going to do, man. It was definitely a big risk. We had no jobs, my wife and I, we had two kids. I mean, I had enough money saved up to make that move, but yeah. It was definitely scary at first.

Scrappy Jackson:

So do you have a niche in Babcock Ranch?

John Garuti III:

Yeah. I think I rarely have done well with the new construction and helping relocation buyers and my YouTube channels really I think what’s helped me connect with that audience because as you know, this is a huge relocation market, not only Florida, but Southwest Florida and people, they’ve been hearing about Babcock Ranch from all over the country and they do their research now, like everybody does online today and I’ve just been able to connect with a lot of people from all the helpful and useful videos I’ve put out there. So I think if there’s one niche that I’ve like really nailed down it’s those relocation, new construction buyers.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. Yeah. Well you’re definitely ahead of the curve when it comes to social media and video marketing and one of the things I got from you and watching your videos is you seem really credible. You seem like a nice warm guy. Is that true or is it just a big front?

John Garuti III:

No. I’m crazy. I’m mean. I don’t like people at all. No, just kidding. You know, with my videos, that’s me. What you see in those videos, that’s me as a person. I’m very upfront about everything. I don’t sugarcoat anything. I also don’t hide anything. One thing I think people connect with is that I’m putting it all out there and if you like it, well let’s talk. If not, hey, no worries. I’d rather-

Scrappy Jackson:

That’s great.

John Garuti III:

You find out everything you need to know about this neighborhood to make an informed decision, whether it’s to move here or not to move here.

Scrappy Jackson:

Got you. Got you. Tell us about Babcock Ranch.

John Garuti III:

So they’re building 19,500 front doors here. Eventually everything you’ll ever need will be right here in town. So it’s pretty exciting. They just passed about 2000 home sales. So a lot more to come. Probably another 20 years I think at least of building more houses here and I heard some big things that are coming. Like we just finally got Publix. We’re starting to get restaurants. I heard of like some hardware stores, some home good style stores coming, and the town just continues to develop. Like I think the one thing right now is the builders can’t build the homes here fast enough.

Scrappy Jackson:

Wow.

John Garuti III:

There’s a lot of supply chain issues getting materials and whatnot. It’s taking builders longer to build, but this place is going to be a full town one day. What’s nice is we’re surrounded by 73,000 acres of nature preserve. The master plan’s going to have like 50 miles of hiking trails and-

Scrappy Jackson:

Oh, nice.

John Garuti III:

We have an awesome HOA that I think’s very friendly. We get high speed gigabyte internet with our homes here. So it’s really-

Scrappy Jackson:

And you’re solar power too, right?

John Garuti III:

Yes. That’s the other big pitch, right? We’ve got this huge solar array just North of the town and all the energy during the day is powered by that solar array. And then at night we switch to that big gas plant there on the Caloosahatchee River.

Scrappy Jackson:

Tell us about the demographics. Is it usually retirees, families, single people? Who’s the majority of people moving to Babcock Ranch?

John Garuti III:

You got the whole spectrum of people here. That’s what I love. Like I mean, I’m married with young kids. So tons of families, tons of kids here, and then you’ve got everything, the empty nesters. You’ve got the seasonal folks. When you look at like the golf course, that’s a more seasonal neighborhood, but when you look at the rest of the neighborhoods in Babcock Ranch, for the most part, it’s people that are living here year round working in Southwest Florida. We’re still such a young town. So that’s the exciting thing. Like even getting in here now you’re still getting in at those mason stages.

Scrappy Jackson:

John, you’re a pioneer. Speaking about different cities, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples, from a Punta Garda perspective, you must be infusing their life tremendously from an economic standpoint.

John Garuti III:

Yes. Well Punta Garda, believe it or not, is now the seventh fastest growing city in the United States and I think part of that is from the growth here in Babcock Ranch because technically our address is Punta Garda.

Scrappy Jackson:

Sure. Sure. What does 300 grand get me in Babcock Ranch today?

John Garuti III:

Nothing. Yeah. The prices have gone up. You could still get a condo on the golf course, but that comes with higher HOA fees. So unless you love golf, I don’t recommend buying there per se.

Scrappy Jackson:

Sure.

John Garuti III:

But yeah. Right now like the minimum price points are going to be like the low to mid threes. So you get up to 330, 350, now we could look at some villas and then low fours and up really and I’ve just sold a house here for 1.6 million. So you can go custom with builders on the big lake. So there’s every quality level, every price point here, which is nice.

Scrappy Jackson:

I saw your video maybe 18 months ago and you said, “We’re approaching the million dollar mark.” And now you sold one for 1.6. Is that true? Like 18 months ago I could have bought for under million and sell that same house and flip it for 1.6 already?

John Garuti III:

Yes. That house, maybe not a million dollar house. I mean, those couple bought for 1.3 and the million dollar homes didn’t accelerate in value as fast as the smaller priced home. So for example, the first house I bought here, I paid 325 for, I just sold it for 560. So-

Scrappy Jackson:

Wow.

John Garuti III:

My timing, I got very lucky and I saw a lot of the homes in that 300, like high twos, low threes, low fours even, a lot of those homes since the start of 2021, they’ve gotten over 80% appreciation, which is just a sign of like this crazy real estate market we’ve been living through here the last two years.

Scrappy Jackson:

It has been crazy and with increased demand and less supply, the rates are going up so high, the prices are going up. Do you recommend to people that have an opportunity to sell now, strike where the kettle is hot. You did over $560,000, but then maybe you have multiple properties, but the average person, if they sell, they’re going to be stuck with paying high rental rates given inflation. What are your thoughts on that?

John Garuti III:

Yeah. Well I think you kind of hit it there. Everybody’s situation is unique, right? So one big injection right now is, “Oh, I’d love to sell, but if I sell, where do I go?” If you’re selling right now high you’re buying high.

Scrappy Jackson:

Right.

John Garuti III:

So it really comes down to your situation. That’s like the one thing I’m very keen on doing with all the clients I’m working with. Like even if they’re leaving town, like let’s talk about all these things because the more I know about you, the more I can help you. Yeah. I think one of the best things right now for people is like that move up, right? So if you bought and you want a more expensive house or you want a bigger house, because you have so much equity or you’ve gained so much equity with the increase in prices, probably the best thing you could be doing right now is moving up if you want to stay locally.

Scrappy Jackson:

You sound like a realtor. Because I’m thinking to myself, “It’s going to peak at some point.” Is this really the best time to buy?

John Garuti III:

Yeah. I think the prices did peak already, but real estate, it takes six months for a real estate market to change. So I think we’re starting to just see that shift.

Scrappy Jackson:

You’re a chill dude from my perspective, but the thing is, I can feel your passion. I really respect and appreciate that about you.

John Garuti III:

Thank you. I am passionate. I tell people this is the first thing I’ve done in my life that I actually really, really enjoy. So it’s easy for me to get up every day and work on marketing, work on videos, and-

Scrappy Jackson:

Nice.

John Garuti III:

And helping people just makes it all that sweeter.

Scrappy Jackson:

Very nice. Finally, you’re growing up in Queens. You’re 12 years old. If you could give advice to that 12 year old self, what would it be?

John Garuti III:

Yeah. I would’ve told myself don’t be such a hard ass. Get yourself some good mentors early on. Some people that can teach you. People who are doing what you want to do, right? You need to go to the people who have already been there to get that advice, get that mentorship, and don’t ever stop learning. When I was younger, I was just, man, no lie, growing up in that family business I think it was like a detriment in many ways because I had it too easy. I never had to like struggle. And I think looking at how I want to raise my kids, like even though we have nice things now and stuff, I don’t want them growing up like I did. I want them to struggle for the things that they want to have and make it a priority for them that they got to earn the things they want. So-

Scrappy Jackson:

Sure. Sure.

John Garuti III:

If I could go back in time and tell myself these things, like I would’ve started real estate 10 years ago.

Scrappy Jackson:

True. True.

John Garuti III:

But I was stuck in the family business. So it was kind of hard to get out of that for many reasons. Mainly emotional ties to the family and you know-

Scrappy Jackson:

Sure. Of course. Of course. And that’s what makes it so much sweeter today because you appreciate it more.

John Garuti III:

Yeah. I know. And that’s the thing. I was very blessed and fortunate to grow up the way I did because all that growing up in the business, it did give me an amazing business background. I mean, I know how to do a lot of things. I know accounting, I know finance, and for a lot of people starting a business, they got to learn all these other things on top of like the sales and marketing. I did definitely get a good up raising in business, being born into that family business. So-

Scrappy Jackson:

Very cool.

John Garuti III:

Has been very beneficial now that I’m succeeding here in real estate.

Scrappy Jackson:

Very nice. You’re JG III, John Garuti III. Do you want to give a shout out to EXP Realty?

John Garuti III:

I’ve got to give a shout to EXP because it’s definitely the best platform for any real estate entrepreneur in the world. There’s nothing like it. The founder, Glenn Sanford, he’s amazing. He built the company the way real estate agents always wanted to build the company. So I’m going to be with this company for all my life. I ain’t changing. Other real estate agents, don’t call me up trying to recruit me because I’m in EXP forever. And any other real estate entrepreneurs, I promise you, this is the company for you.

Scrappy Jackson:

Very cool. Very cool. This is The Come Up. It’s a podcast, a video podcast, featuring entrepreneurs throughout Southwest Florida. It’s brought to you by Content With Teeth, a very dynamic happening content marketing agency. Check them out. They’re really, really good at what they do and you can see this by this big fathead behind me. They’re very, very big at what they do. John Garuti, it’s a pleasure to talk to. I really enjoyed it. I learned a lot today. Thank you so much.

John Garuti III:

All right. Thanks Scrappy.

SWFL Teen Summer Kates was recently recognized for her Florida philanthropy efforts

Local Teen Does Florida Philanthropy & The Come Up

Looking for a ray of sunshine in the sea of negativity surrounding us?

Summer Kates and her project are a ray of sunshine

Looking for chocolate chip cookies falling from the sky, all courtesy of a young woman destined to be a force in Florida and nonprofits in the future?

Start with Summer Kates, a Southwest Florida young person who just graduated from high school and turned an early childhood accident into Youth Philanthropist of the Year awarded a couple years ago by the Lee/Collier chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

Check out our latest episode of Content with Teeth’s video podcast The Come Up where host Scrappy Jackson interviews Summer who started selling cookies to benefit the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, a community foundation in the Florida philanthropic network.

The Come Up Episode 7: SWFL Youth Philanthropy Highlights

Summer's Project and Florida philant

Terrible Accident: Learn how local teen Summer turned a tragic episode early in her life into a positive one benefitting the community and local nonprofits.

Move over Double Tree Suites: Summer reveals how selling chocolate chip cookies in her community blossomed into an award-winning philanthropic collaboration.

Florida teen philanthropic services

Hail to the…: Summer reveals her college plans to Scrappy who is reeling as a Florida Gator. Florida football rivalries are discussed. The Florida nonprofits community will never be the same after virtual high fives are exchanged!

Never Give Up: Summer details the keys to her success and what drives her forward into the next chapter in her life. Old and young alike can benefit from this wise teen’s vibrant soul.

Watch the episode and learn how to appreciate life and Summer’s plans to take her chocolate chip cookie nonprofits empire global!

About Summer Kates & Content with Teeth

For UnBoring Content like The Come Up, contact Content with Teeth HERE. Find out more about Summer Kates and her project HERE.

The Come Up Episode 7 Video Transcript

Scrappy Jackson:

The Come Up, a podcast featuring in Southwest Florida entrepreneurs. I’m Scrappy. And if you’d like to be a guest, text Mike at 21000 or me at IG, Hey Scrappy. We’re brought to you by Content With Teeth, a highly energetic creative content marketing agency. Doing it really big, like this big logo behind me.

Scrappy Jackson:

And today we celebrate Summer Kates, a young woman who certainly has an entrepreneurial spirit. Maybe not a traditional entrepreneur, but doing it really big. A victim of a car accident as a child, she flipped the script, taking her traumatic experience and turning into something amazing. A charity we call Summer’s Project. Welcome Summer.

Summer Kates:

Hi.

Scrappy Jackson:

Very cool to have you here.

Summer Kates:

Thank you for having me. It means a lot.

Scrappy Jackson:

Yeah. Yeah. I appreciate it. I know you’ve done a lot of interviews and you’re famous in Southwest Florida, but humble Content With Teeth Come Up podcast is thrilled to have you.

Summer Kates:

I’m excited to be here.

Scrappy Jackson:

So first off, congratulations. You just graduated from high school?

Summer Kates:

I did, yes.

Scrappy Jackson:

What was graduation like?

Summer Kates:

It was a mixture of emotions. I’m excited, but it’s just sad leaving the past.

Scrappy Jackson:

What are you going to do next?

Summer Kates:

I’m off to Florida State University. As of right now taking-

Scrappy Jackson:

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. We have to stop this interview. I’m a University of Florida Gator.

Summer Kates:

Oh yeah. I was a University of Florida Gator, but paths have brought me to FSU.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. Have you learned to do [inaudible 00:01:42]?

Summer Kates:

Not yet. Not yet. It’ll come.

Scrappy Jackson:

Have you been to a game yet?

Summer Kates:

I have been doing the null sign, yes. That’s something I have to.

Scrappy Jackson:

You probably could get any college you want. You had a 5.5 GPA. That’s pretty amazing.

Summer Kates:

Oh yeah. It was between FSU and University of Georgia for me.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay.

Summer Kates:

Tuition, it’s crazy nowadays.

Scrappy Jackson:

Absolutely. Absolutely. And you have this accident when you’re 10 years old?

Summer Kates:

Yes.

Scrappy Jackson:

This terrible car accident and you were in the hospital, Golisano Hospital. And you’re in pain. You’re recovering. It’s a difficult recovery. It’s a long recovery. And what’s going through your mind right after the accident?

Summer Kates:

You know, me being a 10 year old, I was also a very competitive soccer player. So my main idea in my head was, am I going to play soccer again? ‘Cause I had shattered my femur, which is one of your main bones that you need to walk and do basic functions of life. So not only was I scared, ’cause I had a fear of the hospital at that time. So not only was I petrified of being in the hospital, I was worried I was never going to do what I love most again. So it was just in my mind, just a scary experience.

Scrappy Jackson:

You were thinking about yourself at that moment, right?

Summer Kates:

Yes.

Scrappy Jackson:

Absolutely. Absolutely. Are you okay now? Is your femur okay now?

Summer Kates:

Yeah, I’m perfectly good now. I’ve been playing soccer for a few years.

Scrappy Jackson:

Awesome. Awesome.

Summer Kates:

Yeah. It only took about a year to get back on the field.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. So you’re thinking about yourself. You’re worried about soccer. But somewhere you flipped the script and said, “You know what? I can turn this into a positive.” So you’re at the hospital. You’re seeing fellow kids, fellow children, going through a lot. What made you compassionate?

Summer Kates:

Yeah. Being scared at the hospital, it took me about a day I want to say, and I started to notice how comforting the staff was. And I was just blown away about how comfortable they made me feel during my stay. They had, especially at Golisano, they had this big game room. And me being fresh out of surgery, they encouraged me to walk with my walker to the game room. So they not only motivated me through the steps of my recovery, but they were just always there for me to talk. I remember specifically, they brought a dog in one day to-

Scrappy Jackson:

I love that. I love that.

Summer Kates:

Yeah. Yeah. So I’ll always remember that. So once I saw the level of comfort that they provide the kids, I was just, wow. I want other kids to see this so that they’re not scared to go to the hospital like I once was.

Scrappy Jackson:

Very nice, very nice. Very caring, sensitive. But some of the kids over there were in a lot worse shape than you.

Summer Kates:

Yes.

Scrappy Jackson:

Did that lead to maybe thinking about a charity?

Summer Kates:

Yeah, it did. It really did, because there’s just so many circumstances that go behind it. Because there’s kids that are there for long term, and you have to think if a kid is living there, they want it to feel like home. They want it to be comfortable and have toys and games. And they just want to have a fun experience in a bad time.

Scrappy Jackson:

Do you go back there often?

Summer Kates:

I try, but with COVID it’s kind of iffy.

Scrappy Jackson:

True.

Summer Kates:

I’ve always wanted to go and just walk around and see the kids. Kind of be a support system. But with COVID, it’s just ruined any of those chances.

Scrappy Jackson:

You’re in a very unique situation at age 10. And you acted like an adult. You’re very mature for your age. And when you think about it, I compare it… I don’t know if you’re familiar with it, Buddhism. Buddhism is about being mindful in the moment and appreciating life and not taking it for granted. And this moment with you is a moment. I’m having a moment with Summer Kates right now. So what did you learn from your experience as far as appreciating life?

Summer Kates:

You know, it was really to just take the good out of the bad, because I feel like everybody, especially nowadays, is just so negative on any sort of experience. So it’s really there is always at least one positive outcome in a bad experience. You just have to be optimistic about how you’re looking at it. And for me, I just saw, well, I can motivate other kids and just show the good in the hospital rather than all the bad in the hospital.

Summer Kates:

‘Cause I feel like, especially for kids, their minds aren’t fully developed on the fact that the hospital is to help fix you. It’s more of just this scary place with a bunch of hurt people.

Scrappy Jackson:

Sure.

Summer Kates:

So I feel trying to get the message out to these kids that like, “Oh, it’s a fun place. They’re they’re help you.” And I just feel like that just motivates that message.

Scrappy Jackson:

I would love to bring a pot belly pig to Golisano Hospital and have the kids hang out with it for a day. They’re pretty tame. They’re pretty mature. They’re trained pretty well. Wouldn’t that be cool?

Summer Kates:

It would. It would.

Scrappy Jackson:

So you decide to make these cookies, these wonderful chocolate cookies. Tell us about them.

Summer Kates:

My mom and I, we’ve always been in the kitchen baking. The whole reason Summer’s Project started was I was with my best friend and I was like, “Let’s do a bake sale and just give whatever money we make.” So we had just a bunch of just store bought stuff, and then some of our homemade chocolate chip cookies out on our backyard. And we were just selling stuff. We donated maybe $90, but it was just the thought that counted. And we just got such amazing feedback from our chocolate chip cookies. And we just came up to the idea. Yeah, people want to give back to a reason, but it’s just an extra nice little treat to have a cookie on the side too. And so it just circled around this idea of these giant chocolate chip cookies. And they’re just amazing.

Scrappy Jackson:

They’re huge.

Summer Kates:

They’re ginormous.

Scrappy Jackson:

I’ve seen a picture of them.

Summer Kates:

Yes.

Scrappy Jackson:

I don’t need three cookies. I only need one of yours.

Summer Kates:

Oh yeah. They’re giant. And if you pop them in the microwave, it’s just perfection.

Scrappy Jackson:

And you put some sprinkles on them too?

Summer Kates:

Sometimes.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. I saw the one with the sprinkles. Very nice. Very nice.

Summer Kates:

Oh yeah.

Scrappy Jackson:

Yeah.

Summer Kates:

We have a few different flavors going on now, but our chocolate chips are our OG originals.

Scrappy Jackson:

So you go from the front lawn, making these wonderful cookies, and what was the next step?

Summer Kates:

Next step was it just started baked sales, annually. And then we started to get some recognition from the community and we started getting events. So there was a few breweries that accepted us to just set up a table, and just have posters out. And people could come up and I could explain the story, and then people could choose to donate. And there’s been a few farmer’s markets. And then as word kept spreading, there’s just more opportunities opening up. News segments started reaching out, some radios. So it just all slowly grew because of the community.

Scrappy Jackson:

And you’ve raised how much to date?

Summer Kates:

To date, it’s about roughly over $21,000.

Scrappy Jackson:

I’m giving you a high five, Summer. A high five through the podcast. You go, girl. That’s awesome. So you’re off to Florida State. How are we going to keep this cookie thing alive? How are we going to keep it cooking?

Summer Kates:

So my little brother is hoping to follow in my footsteps and we’re taking a different approach. Because we’re so focused on kids are our future, and instead of circling around the hospital, we’re hoping to bring it around the environment and bettering our environment around. And in general, just helping the future.

Summer Kates:

And so not only is he hoping to follow in my footsteps, but I also don’t plan on stopping this.

Scrappy Jackson:

Good.

Summer Kates:

I plan on helping hospitals around Florida State University, and obviously still helping Golisano because I just love them. So it won’t be as big of a thing as it has been, but I definitely don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

Scrappy Jackson:

Why can’t we take it global?

Summer Kates:

I mean, why not? Got to work our way there.

Scrappy Jackson:

It’s a wonderful thing. It’s a wonderful thing. So your mom, very strong. She’s empowered you. In many respects you probably empowered her, one way or another. And your dad. So tell us about your mom.

Summer Kates:

Yeah. When I was hit by the car, she was pregnant with my little brother. So it was just hard for her because there’s times where she couldn’t be in the room with me just because she was pregnant. So I do think it impacted her a lot. Just not being able to be there every single step of the way almost. But I feel once we started up with the cookies, it was not only was it a moment for us to work together and just have that bonding moment. But it also brought us together with doing something that we both love to do,

Scrappy Jackson:

Very nice. Very nice. Youth philanthropist of the year, 2021. How special is that?

Summer Kates:

I can’t even have words to describe it. It was just such a surreal feeling, getting that award.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. And Summer, what advice would you give to yourself when you were a freshman? Looking back on the four years?

Summer Kates:

I just want to say just never give up, because I would’ve never imagined I’d come this far. And once I received that award, I was just like, wow. If I gave up, I would never have received this.

Scrappy Jackson:

That’s your advice to yourself. Now at graduation, if you had a chance to make a speech, what kind of knowledge would you give your classmates?

Summer Kates:

That’s tough. And I want to take inspiration behind another speech that a kid had talked about. It was mainly about choosing your own path, because we could all be told that there’s only one direction to go in life. But realistically, every direction you choose has many pitchfork-like paths to it. So I just feel there’s just so many opportunities and you just have to choose what fits you best.

Scrappy Jackson:

What are you going to study at Florida State?

Summer Kates:

Right now, I’m in advertising. That’s what I’m going into.

Scrappy Jackson:

You should consider communications and broadcasting because you’re amazing.

Summer Kates:

Thank you. Communications did cross my mind and I know majors always change. But right now advertising is where my head is at.

Scrappy Jackson:

Go to the football games. They’re amazing.

Summer Kates:

Oh, I will.

Scrappy Jackson:

Amazing experience. Definitely. Definitely. Any shout outs, your friends of yours? Because I know this wasn’t a solo effort. You and your mom did big things, but I know you had some help.

Summer Kates:

Yeah. If I were to give a big shout out, it’d be to my best friend Kylie, because she was there for me for my very first bake sale that started Summer’s Project. So she’s just been a shadow throughout this whole process of Summer’s Project. And so I just want to say thank you for that.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. And you want to share any of your handles, your social media handles?

Summer Kates:

Yeah, sure. I mean everything should just be Summer’s Project. So Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. Just type in Summer’s Project and it should all just pop up right there.

Scrappy Jackson:

On the radio, I give big hugs through the telephone. In the podcast, I’m giving you hugs, Summer. You did amazing things. You’re going to continue to do amazing things. We got nothing but love for you.

Summer Kates:

Thank you so much.

Scrappy Jackson:

The Come Up, a podcast featuring in Southwest Florida entrepreneurs. I’m Scrappy. And if you’d like to be a guest, text Mike at 21000 or me at IG, Hey Scrappy. We’re brought to you by Content With Teeth, a highly energetic creative content marketing agency. Doing it really big, like this big logo behind me.

Scrappy Jackson:

And today we celebrate Summer Kates, a young woman who certainly has an entrepreneurial spirit. Maybe not a traditional entrepreneur, but doing it really big. A victim of a car accident as a child, she flipped the script, taking her traumatic experience and turning into something amazing. A charity we call Summer’s Project. Welcome Summer.

Summer Kates:

Hi.

Scrappy Jackson:

Very cool to have you here.

Summer Kates:

Thank you for having me. It means a lot.

Scrappy Jackson:

Yeah. Yeah. I appreciate it. I know you’ve done a lot of interviews and you’re famous in Southwest Florida, but humble Content With Teeth Come Up podcast is thrilled to have you.

Summer Kates:

I’m excited to be here.

Scrappy Jackson:

So first off, congratulations. You just graduated from high school?

Summer Kates:

I did, yes.

Scrappy Jackson:

What was graduation like?

Summer Kates:

It was a mixture of emotions. I’m excited, but it’s just sad leaving the past.

Scrappy Jackson:

What are you going to do next?

Summer Kates:

I’m off to Florida State University. As of right now taking-

Scrappy Jackson:

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. We have to stop this interview. I’m a University of Florida Gator.

Summer Kates:

Oh yeah. I was a University of Florida Gator, but paths have brought me to FSU.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. Have you learned to do [inaudible 00:01:42]?

Summer Kates:

Not yet. Not yet. It’ll come.

Scrappy Jackson:

Have you been to a game yet?

Summer Kates:

I have been doing the null sign, yes. That’s something I have to.

Scrappy Jackson:

You probably could get any college you want. You had a 5.5 GPA. That’s pretty amazing.

Summer Kates:

Oh yeah. It was between FSU and University of Georgia for me.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay.

Summer Kates:

Tuition, it’s crazy nowadays.

Scrappy Jackson:

Absolutely. Absolutely. And you have this accident when you’re 10 years old?

Summer Kates:

Yes.

Scrappy Jackson:

This terrible car accident and you were in the hospital, Golisano Hospital. And you’re in pain. You’re recovering. It’s a difficult recovery. It’s a long recovery. And what’s going through your mind right after the accident?

Summer Kates:

You know, me being a 10 year old, I was also a very competitive soccer player. So my main idea in my head was, am I going to play soccer again? ‘Cause I had shattered my femur, which is one of your main bones that you need to walk and do basic functions of life. So not only was I scared, ’cause I had a fear of the hospital at that time. So not only was I petrified of being in the hospital, I was worried I was never going to do what I love most again. So it was just in my mind, just a scary experience.

Scrappy Jackson:

You were thinking about yourself at that moment, right?

Summer Kates:

Yes.

Scrappy Jackson:

Absolutely. Absolutely. Are you okay now? Is your femur okay now?

Summer Kates:

Yeah, I’m perfectly good now. I’ve been playing soccer for a few years.

Scrappy Jackson:

Awesome. Awesome.

Summer Kates:

Yeah. It only took about a year to get back on the field.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. So you’re thinking about yourself. You’re worried about soccer. But somewhere you flipped the script and said, “You know what? I can turn this into a positive.” So you’re at the hospital. You’re seeing fellow kids, fellow children, going through a lot. What made you compassionate?

Summer Kates:

Yeah. Being scared at the hospital, it took me about a day I want to say, and I started to notice how comforting the staff was. And I was just blown away about how comfortable they made me feel during my stay. They had, especially at Golisano, they had this big game room. And me being fresh out of surgery, they encouraged me to walk with my walker to the game room. So they not only motivated me through the steps of my recovery, but they were just always there for me to talk. I remember specifically, they brought a dog in one day to-

Scrappy Jackson:

I love that. I love that.

Summer Kates:

Yeah. Yeah. So I’ll always remember that. So once I saw the level of comfort that they provide the kids, I was just, wow. I want other kids to see this so that they’re not scared to go to the hospital like I once was.

Scrappy Jackson:

Very nice, very nice. Very caring, sensitive. But some of the kids over there were in a lot worse shape than you.

Summer Kates:

Yes.

Scrappy Jackson:

Did that lead to maybe thinking about a charity?

Summer Kates:

Yeah, it did. It really did, because there’s just so many circumstances that go behind it. Because there’s kids that are there for long term, and you have to think if a kid is living there, they want it to feel like home. They want it to be comfortable and have toys and games. And they just want to have a fun experience in a bad time.

Scrappy Jackson:

Do you go back there often?

Summer Kates:

I try, but with COVID it’s kind of iffy.

Scrappy Jackson:

True.

Summer Kates:

I’ve always wanted to go and just walk around and see the kids. Kind of be a support system. But with COVID, it’s just ruined any of those chances.

Scrappy Jackson:

You’re in a very unique situation at age 10. And you acted like an adult. You’re very mature for your age. And when you think about it, I compare it… I don’t know if you’re familiar with it, Buddhism. Buddhism is about being mindful in the moment and appreciating life and not taking it for granted. And this moment with you is a moment. I’m having a moment with Summer Kates right now. So what did you learn from your experience as far as appreciating life?

Summer Kates:

You know, it was really to just take the good out of the bad, because I feel like everybody, especially nowadays, is just so negative on any sort of experience. So it’s really there is always at least one positive outcome in a bad experience. You just have to be optimistic about how you’re looking at it. And for me, I just saw, well, I can motivate other kids and just show the good in the hospital rather than all the bad in the hospital.

Summer Kates:

‘Cause I feel like, especially for kids, their minds aren’t fully developed on the fact that the hospital is to help fix you. It’s more of just this scary place with a bunch of hurt people.

Scrappy Jackson:

Sure.

Summer Kates:

So I feel trying to get the message out to these kids that like, “Oh, it’s a fun place. They’re they’re help you.” And I just feel like that just motivates that message.

Scrappy Jackson:

I would love to bring a pot belly pig to Golisano Hospital and have the kids hang out with it for a day. They’re pretty tame. They’re pretty mature. They’re trained pretty well. Wouldn’t that be cool?

Summer Kates:

It would. It would.

Scrappy Jackson:

So you decide to make these cookies, these wonderful chocolate cookies. Tell us about them.

Summer Kates:

My mom and I, we’ve always been in the kitchen baking. The whole reason Summer’s Project started was I was with my best friend and I was like, “Let’s do a bake sale and just give whatever money we make.” So we had just a bunch of just store bought stuff, and then some of our homemade chocolate chip cookies out on our backyard. And we were just selling stuff. We donated maybe $90, but it was just the thought that counted. And we just got such amazing feedback from our chocolate chip cookies. And we just came up to the idea. Yeah, people want to give back to a reason, but it’s just an extra nice little treat to have a cookie on the side too. And so it just circled around this idea of these giant chocolate chip cookies. And they’re just amazing.

Scrappy Jackson:

They’re huge.

Summer Kates:

They’re ginormous.

Scrappy Jackson:

I’ve seen a picture of them.

Summer Kates:

Yes.

Scrappy Jackson:

I don’t need three cookies. I only need one of yours.

Summer Kates:

Oh yeah. They’re giant. And if you pop them in the microwave, it’s just perfection.

Scrappy Jackson:

And you put some sprinkles on them too?

Summer Kates:

Sometimes.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. I saw the one with the sprinkles. Very nice. Very nice.

Summer Kates:

Oh yeah.

Scrappy Jackson:

Yeah.

Summer Kates:

We have a few different flavors going on now, but our chocolate chips are our OG originals.

Scrappy Jackson:

So you go from the front lawn, making these wonderful cookies, and what was the next step?

Summer Kates:

Next step was it just started baked sales, annually. And then we started to get some recognition from the community and we started getting events. So there was a few breweries that accepted us to just set up a table, and just have posters out. And people could come up and I could explain the story, and then people could choose to donate. And there’s been a few farmer’s markets. And then as word kept spreading, there’s just more opportunities opening up. News segments started reaching out, some radios. So it just all slowly grew because of the community.

Scrappy Jackson:

And you’ve raised how much to date?

Summer Kates:

To date, it’s about roughly over $21,000.

Scrappy Jackson:

I’m giving you a high five, Summer. A high five through the podcast. You go, girl. That’s awesome. So you’re off to Florida State. How are we going to keep this cookie thing alive? How are we going to keep it cooking?

Summer Kates:

So my little brother is hoping to follow in my footsteps and we’re taking a different approach. Because we’re so focused on kids are our future, and instead of circling around the hospital, we’re hoping to bring it around the environment and bettering our environment around. And in general, just helping the future.

Summer Kates:

And so not only is he hoping to follow in my footsteps, but I also don’t plan on stopping this.

Scrappy Jackson:

Good.

Summer Kates:

I plan on helping hospitals around Florida State University, and obviously still helping Golisano because I just love them. So it won’t be as big of a thing as it has been, but I definitely don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

Scrappy Jackson:

Why can’t we take it global?

Summer Kates:

I mean, why not? Got to work our way there.

Scrappy Jackson:

It’s a wonderful thing. It’s a wonderful thing. So your mom, very strong. She’s empowered you. In many respects you probably empowered her, one way or another. And your dad. So tell us about your mom.

Summer Kates:

Yeah. When I was hit by the car, she was pregnant with my little brother. So it was just hard for her because there’s times where she couldn’t be in the room with me just because she was pregnant. So I do think it impacted her a lot. Just not being able to be there every single step of the way almost. But I feel once we started up with the cookies, it was not only was it a moment for us to work together and just have that bonding moment. But it also brought us together with doing something that we both love to do,

Scrappy Jackson:

Very nice. Very nice. Youth philanthropist of the year, 2021. How special is that?

Summer Kates:

I can’t even have words to describe it. It was just such a surreal feeling, getting that award.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. And Summer, what advice would you give to yourself when you were a freshman? Looking back on the four years?

Summer Kates:

I just want to say just never give up, because I would’ve never imagined I’d come this far. And once I received that award, I was just like, wow. If I gave up, I would never have received this.

Scrappy Jackson:

That’s your advice to yourself. Now at graduation, if you had a chance to make a speech, what kind of knowledge would you give your classmates?

Summer Kates:

That’s tough. And I want to take inspiration behind another speech that a kid had talked about. It was mainly about choosing your own path, because we could all be told that there’s only one direction to go in life. But realistically, every direction you choose has many pitchfork-like paths to it. So I just feel there’s just so many opportunities and you just have to choose what fits you best.

Scrappy Jackson:

What are you going to study at Florida State?

Summer Kates:

Right now, I’m in advertising. That’s what I’m going into.

Scrappy Jackson:

You should consider communications and broadcasting because you’re amazing.

Summer Kates:

Thank you. Communications did cross my mind and I know majors always change. But right now advertising is where my head is at.

Scrappy Jackson:

Go to the football games. They’re amazing.

Summer Kates:

Oh, I will.

Scrappy Jackson:

Amazing experience. Definitely. Definitely. Any shout outs, your friends of yours? Because I know this wasn’t a solo effort. You and your mom did big things, but I know you had some help.

Summer Kates:

Yeah. If I were to give a big shout out, it’d be to my best friend Kylie, because she was there for me for my very first bake sale that started Summer’s Project. So she’s just been a shadow throughout this whole process of Summer’s Project. And so I just want to say thank you for that.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. And you want to share any of your handles, your social media handles?

Summer Kates:

Yeah, sure. I mean everything should just be Summer’s Project. So Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. Just type in Summer’s Project and it should all just pop up right there.

Scrappy Jackson:

On the radio, I give big hugs through the telephone. In the podcast, I’m giving you hugs, Summer. You did amazing things. You’re going to continue to do amazing things. We got nothing but love for you.

Summer Kates:

Thank you so much.

 

 

 

Creating Better Days produces CBD products, even canine ones!

Creating Better Days Owner Does The Come Up

Don’t let sleeping dogs lie; let them get high!

creating better days

Creating Better Days, a Fort Myers-based company that specializes in CBD gummies, recently dropped 75 pounds of pet edibles for the dogs at a Southwest Florida human society in a philanthropic mission to soothe animals’ separation anxiety and other issues.

Creating Better Days CBD

Apparently, the pet CBD market is big business. You’ll learn why in our interview with Creating Better Days Owner Kai Pfretzschner in Content with Teeth’s The Come Up video podcast of notable Southwest Florida entrepreneurs.

 

Creating Better Days in Southwest Florida

CBD Kingpin

Creating Better Days industrial hemp CBD

You’ll meet the Creating Better Days leader and learn how the German-born Kai went from studying to be a Mercedes mechanic to running the fifth largest producer of gummy edibles in the United States and manufacturer of 350k gummies a day right here in Fort Myers.

Creating Better Podcasts Highlights

Cretting Better Day CBD pet market

Here are the highlights of The Come Up Episode 6:

No Scrappy, You Won’t Get High from Drinking 33 Bottles of CBD: Kai explains how Creating Better Days CBD rich hemp oil is non-psychoactive and won’t make you an extra in a Hollywood reboot of Cheech and Chong.

Creating Better Days CBD

What Is Cannabidiol: Kai explains what creates a healthy endocannabinoid system, how CBD made from mature industrial hemp can safely replace some prescription medications and fight a serious medical condition while serving as naturally occurring antioxidants . Kai is not a doctor offering medical advice, but he drops serious CBD knowledge!

CBD products

Nano amplified CBD: Kai explains what this type of CBD product is and why it might be helpful for people who don’t absorb CBD products well.

Scrappy’s Parole Officer Would Like a Word: The Come Up host Scrappy Jackson jokes if ingesting CBD products will trigger a call from his P.O. Watch the episode to learn Kai’s response. It will totally surprise you!

Creating Better Days won't trigger your parole officer

Learn to delegate: Creating Better Days Chief Development Officer Kai gives advice to budding entrepreneurs who think they have to do it all. Watch the episode to learn how to make your organization more productive by empowering the people around you.

Creating Better Days management philosophy

About Kai Pfretzschner & Content with Teeth

For UnBoring Content like The Come Up, contact Content with Teeth HERE. Find out more about Kai Pfretzschner’s Creating Better Days CBD products HERE.

The Come Up Episode 6 Video Transcript

Scrappy Jackson:

What up? What up? What up? What up? What up? Welcome to The Come Up, a podcast featuring Southwest Florida’s ambitious, innovating, forward thinking entrepreneurs. I’m Scrappy, and we’re brought to you by Content with Teeth. They’re an amazing content marketing agency for real, right here in Southwest Florida. 20 years experience. They do it big, real big, just like this fat head behind me. Content with Teeth. Check them out. Today’s guest is fascinating to me. Kai Pfretzschner, owner of Creating Better Days, a CBD manufacturer in Fort Myers. What’s going on Kai?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Not too much. How are you doing?

Scrappy Jackson:

Good. Real good. When we think of CBD, I’m like, well, it’s kind of cool, but I’m not really sure what it is. Does it give me a buzz? Does it help me with pain? Does it relieve anxiety? There’s still a little confusion about it. Can you break it down for us?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Right. So CBD is one of 140 cannabinoids that occur in a cannabis plant and it’s non-psychoactive. So it does not get you high, but it helps with certain ailments. So it calms you down and relieves anxiety. It’s an anti-inflammatory, so it helps with recovery after certain sports injuries and all kind of stuff.

Scrappy Jackson:

Very nice. Very nice. I understand that THC is there a little bit, like 3%. So can I drink 33 bottles and get high like weed?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Well, full spectrum CBD by law is allowed to have 0.3% THC. So some products, if you take a little bit more, you can definitely feel it. We have a line of gummies that’s called Spectrum Plus. They do have about 10 milligrams of THC, legally, in a gummy. So you definitely feel it.

Scrappy Jackson:

I’ve never taken CBD before. What’s the sensation like?

Kai Pfretzschner:

It’s more like a calming feeling. It kind of takes the edge off a little bit. So if you worry too much, it calms you down a little bit. But like I said, you don’t really get a head high or anything.

Scrappy Jackson:

And the government, they seem to be supportive of it. But not to the point where they’re like… They’re still saying May, probably. Well, sometimes, potential… How come the government hasn’t put the rubber stamp on this?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Yeah, it just seems like the FDA, as every government agency, is moving fairly slow. So we’ve been doing this for eight years now. So ever since we started in this business… And the beginning was a total gray area. Then legislation came down a little bit through the FDA. The FDA didn’t want to deal with it. And especially in Florida, so they gave the Department of Agriculture the authority to regulate us. So businesses like mine are now regulated by the Department of Agriculture for labeling, product standards, manufacturing practices, and all that good stuff.

Scrappy Jackson:

I’ve been on your website. I know you tried to educate your customers there, but on a daily basis, how do you sensitize your customers to what you have, this great product that you have?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Well, I mean, the customer educates themselves usually through online searches. So people gotten very knowledgeable with CBD. We do have a quiz on our website and kind of ask a couple of questions and then suggest you a product. But grand scheme of things, people gotten pretty knowledgeable about CBD. And now there’s many other cannabinoids out there, Delta-8, D9, all kind of different ones. CBN for more calming, relaxing, and nighttime relief. So there’s a bunch of things to choose from.

Scrappy Jackson:

My brother takes it, but he says his gastrointestinal tract doesn’t absorb it fast enough. Is that why nano is available?

Kai Pfretzschner:

That’s why nano is available. It just downsizes the molecule size a little bit. Usually you kind of need a medium chain triglyceride oil, a fatty acid, with any cannabinoid. So your stomach can absorb it faster. If you nanofy, you break down the size, the absorption rate goes up, and you feel the effects a little bit faster.

Scrappy Jackson:

Kai, you have anti-depressants and also anti-psychotics in your CBD. That’s pretty cool. I mean, that’s really awesome. Can you elaborate on that a little bit?

Kai Pfretzschner:

I’m not sure about anti-depressant and anti-psychotic. There is a couple of things that we offer. So there’s an entourage effect between CBD, CBN, and melatonin. So we sometimes use an over the counter, like melatonin, a sleep aid, and couple it together with CBD and CBN, to give you a better effect. So there’s some people that can’t sleep sort of take melatonin. They get used to melatonin. Well, it turns out if you throw together a CBD and melatonin in one edible… in a gummy, for example, it really helps.

Scrappy Jackson:

Sleep, anxiety, pain. You’re doing really good stuff here, but the public really is still not sensitized to completely. So what will you say to the public, to all Southwest Florida, when it comes to buy my CBDs, damn it?

Kai Pfretzschner:

All I can tell them, give it a try. There’s really no side effects to CBD. Like I said, not psychoactive. So don’t be afraid that you are not going to be able to drive a car. The label state, if you use something new in your diet, like you add something like CBD, ask you physician first, “Hey, is this good for me? Hey, I’m taking X, Y, Z prescriptions. Is that going to affect it?” So you should always ask you physician. That’s something. But other than that, give it a try. Start with a low dosage. A lot of people just go way too high in the beginning and then… Start low.

Scrappy Jackson:

My parole officer’s always asking me, “Scrappy, you got to take a test.” Will I pass a test if I take CBD?

Kai Pfretzschner:

If you do an isolated CBD, CBD isolate meaning it’s just CBD, there’s Delta-9 THC in it, then you are not going to have any issues with the drug test. If you use a full spectrum product, there’s trace amounts of THC in it, then that might show up. So you got to be careful which product you choose. We got several different ones, so.

Scrappy Jackson:

I’m just kidding about the parole thing.

Kai Pfretzschner:

Hey man, I don’t know. Judgment-free zone.

Scrappy Jackson:

You mentioned gummies. What other products do you have?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Right now, our main product is gummies. So we produce about 350,000 gummies a day.

Scrappy Jackson:

Wow.

Kai Pfretzschner:

And yeah, that’s our main business right now, but we offer anything from oils to topicals. We got pet-related products, pet treats. There’s a lot of products to choose from. But we dialed it down a little bit since gummies is now our main road.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. Well, I’m curious about the gummies, but pets? You’re giving this stuff to pets?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Yeah. The pet CBD market has been highly successful maybe for the last five years. So obviously, pets, dogs, cats deal with things like separation anxiety. They get nervous during storm and CBD helps calm them down. So we have several dog treats and tinctures for cats and docs available too.

Scrappy Jackson:

I noticed on your website, you have Better Days, Better Nights, Better Defense, Better Delights, and you have Better Pets. But you need Better Babies, man. Babies on an airplane. They’re getting a little unruly, just give them a gummy and they’ll sleep for hours.

Kai Pfretzschner:

Yeah. This 18 years and older is a thing in Florida, so.

Scrappy Jackson:

So 350,000 gummies a day. That’s amazing, man. You’re right here in Fort Myers. Where does that put you industry wise, nationwide, globally?

Kai Pfretzschner:

In the US, right now, we’re one of the fifth largest producers of gummy edibles in the US. So yeah, we’re up there. We’re pretty busy.

Scrappy Jackson:

One of the things that’s really, really cool about you guys is the fact that you do nonprofit work. You have your quarterly donations, is it? Quarterly… What is it called?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Yeah, we choose a charity every quarter and we help them either out with donations or we help them funding-wise or we advertise for them. We do cross collaborations with all kind of charities that in our area specifically, and that target a couple things that we feel that we can help and contribute a little bit to give back.

Scrappy Jackson:

Yeah. I noticed you’re helping out the veterans, breast cancer, humane society, man. I commend you on that. That’s really awesome.

Kai Pfretzschner:

Thank you. Thank you. I mean, giving back is one of the things that I think are important I mean a business is designed to make money, but giving back is important, especially to things that you feel are close to your… you know?

Scrappy Jackson:

Absolutely. Absolutely. And you dropped off, what, 75 pounds of gummies to the dogs at the Ford Myers Humane Society. They must have been sleeping for days.

Kai Pfretzschner:

No. No, no. We helped them out with treats. We donated bulk treats. We had our team. We currently have about 85 people working for us. So they made dog toys. So we helped them out with adoption drives, treats, we built toys for them. So everybody chips in their time a little bit.

Scrappy Jackson:

You mentioned you’ve been in business for eight years, but you’ve really skyrocketed under your leadership. How have you evolved so quickly?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Oh, good question. I mean, it’s a combination. So you are in a business. You’re trying to figure out what drives your business a little bit quicker. You hone in, there’s a thing called the power law. 20% of anything you do usually gives you about 80% of your return. So in our case, we honed into the gummies. So two and a half years ago, we decided to manufacture our own gummies. Not a lot of people did. It took about six months to get the machinery up and going, to get the R&D work together, get all the licenses together. And producing our own gummy edibles really made a difference. So that’s propelled our business.

Scrappy Jackson:

You have a fascinating background. You’re from Germany and you were studying Mercedes-Benz. You were going to be a mechanic for Mercedes-Benz. So in coming over here, you’re somewhat of a scientist, aren’t you? You’re kind of like an engineer that tinkers a lot, right?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Well yeah, that’s how I started. I was an engineer for Mercedes and, yeah. Then I moved here about 20 years ago, went through a couple different businesses, anything from construction, real estate, and then ended up in the cannabis industry. And in the beginning it was all self taught. Right? So a lot of reading. How do I come up with a formula for a gummy? What’s picked and what’s glucose and what’s everything that’s in there, right? So in the beginning it was all that. Now, we have chemists employed that check all their formulas. I’m the chief development officer so I’ll come up with new ideas, new gummies. And then I go to them and say, “Here, this is my idea. Can we do it or not?” And then we work together on the formulation and SOPs and all that good stuff.

Scrappy Jackson:

As entrepreneur, we highlight entrepreneurs here locally in Southwest Florida, courtesy of Content with Teeth. I think it’s fascinating that you have two incredible skills. You’re not just a scientist/engineer, but you’re also a driver. You really drive a business. You’re very ambitious. How do you go about complimenting your team so that all the parts around you work properly?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Well, that was actually one of the things that I see a lot when entrepreneurs start their business. They underestimate how important it is to have a good team, right? So when you start a business, you think this was my idea, I can do it better, and I also do it by myself because nobody else can do this, but myself. Not true. Without a team, you can’t grow a business. So our team is amazing. They do a lot of work with us. We do a lot of stuff for them. Every month, we do a employee appreciation dinner. We take them out to dinner and we cater stuff. We do fun activities at least once a month. And it’s important that everybody’s comfortable. It doesn’t have to be all work, right? So it’s good to socialize and make everybody feel they belong to that company.

Scrappy Jackson:

You create a culture.

Kai Pfretzschner:

You have to.

Scrappy Jackson:

That’s awesome. That’s awesome. From a business perspective, you mentioned that you’re fifth in the United States with the gummy business. What about competition otherwise? What are you doing to stave them off and differentiate yourself moving forward?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Well, a company our size is obviously all for regulation. In our industry, it’s always been like that, that a lot of people started it out of their garage and their homes and stuff. We adhere to every regulation there is. We got [inaudible 00:13:00], which is the agricultural in the state, in Florida right now, working close together with us. So we adhere to label guidelines. We do third party testing. So we spend large amounts of money every month to make sure that all of our product that’s produced and goes out is tested and approved before it hits the market. Right? So there’s a lot that goes into it. You have to do it right, otherwise you can’t sustain a business.

Scrappy Jackson:

Sure, sure. I find your company to be very creative as well, from the packaging to the website. What goes into that?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Yeah. We have a team of designers. So they’re the creative people. It’s definitely not me. Yeah. We design logos. We have a whole marketing team. So they do photo shoots. They plan out all the promotions, all the holidays they’re coming up three to six months ahead. They take pictures, they do videos for online, social media, ads, all kinds of stuff, so.

Scrappy Jackson:

So when you were kicking in Germany as a teenager, did you ever think in your wildest dreams you’d be selling gummies in Southwest Florida for a living?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Definitely not, really. I always was interested in the cannabis industry, like every 16-year-old is, I guess. But to make a business out of it was definitely something amazing. And yeah, it’s going great. I like it.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. Well, I want you to give a shout out to three groups. First of all, I want you to talk to the people that are potential consumers. What’s your pitch to them?

Kai Pfretzschner:

My pitch would be that the cannabis plant can be a perfect substitute for any kind of pharmaceuticals. You don’t have to take Vicodin and painkillers. There is a natural alternative with less to non side effects. So for one, you got a lot of customers that tell us… Oh, feedback is crazy. Older ladies and gentlemen come to us like, “Wow. I started taking CBD and Delta-8, Delta-9 THC instead of my painkillers. I feel much better.” So in my opinion, that’s one of the biggest drivers. Veterans, we sponsor them because of PTSD, right? So CBD, Delta-8 THC, Delta-9 THC helps a lot to calm them down and take the edge of a little bit. So there’s a lot of pros.

Scrappy Jackson:

Oxycodine, fentanyl. Are people actually getting off of it because of CBD?

Kai Pfretzschner:

I can’t say for sure, but I sure hope they would substitute a little bit and get off all the hard stuff.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. Well, another group I want you to talk to are budding entrepreneurs right here in Southwest Florida. I mean, you’re doing it. You’re doing it really big. What do you suggest for them? As far as, let’s say they’re getting out of FGCU next week, what do you tell them?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Well, if they have the entrepreneurial spirit, they most likely have an idea, right? So they think X, Y, Z, I’m interested in this. Maybe I want to start a business. You got to do your research first. What’s your competition look like? In my opinion, it helps to find a niche. Little bit something that’s right in the middle that not everybody’s doing. If you get out of FGCU and say, “Hey, I want come out with an energy drink,” well, good luck. Your competition is going to be high. They’re probably going to squish you like a bug, as they say, right?

Scrappy Jackson:

Right.

Kai Pfretzschner:

Then do your homework, right? Make sure you’re solid. Get legal representation. You need to have a legal backup. And then it’s going to be much more work than you ever thought it would be. If you don’t put in your time… Extraordinary access comes through extreme sacrifices. So you got to sacrifice your time.

Scrappy Jackson:

Yeah, definitely.

Kai Pfretzschner:

Don’t be in it for the money. Okay? The money will come later on, but hard work and just don’t give up.

Scrappy Jackson:

And Kai, what kind of advice would you give yourself when you were 12 years old?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Nothing. Everything is great. Just do exactly what you’re doing. It’s all going to be great.

Scrappy Jackson:

Really?

Kai Pfretzschner:

I wouldn’t do anything. So I could have moved a little bit earlier. Okay? So I waited until I was 20, 21 years old before I moved over here. Other than that, the only thing that I could have learned a little bit faster is delegating. We talked about it earlier, the mindset that only you can do it the right way. You need a good team of people that you can trust. You got to learn how to delegate stuff to them. That way you can get 10 times the workload done with three people in a day that would’ve taken yourself two weeks and then the customer’s already gone. So yeah.

Scrappy Jackson:

So what’s next for you, man?

Kai Pfretzschner:

Well, we’re trying to expand in a couple of different states. We’re trying to get into the regulated THC market in Michigan and a couple other projects that we have going on. So traveling a lot back and forward, just trying to make things happen.

Scrappy Jackson:

I’m kind of curious, if there’s recreational states where they allow marijuana, no problem, no medical card, can you actually up your CBD percentage, just for those states?

Kai Pfretzschner:

They’re doing it. If you blend CBD and THC together, it takes the potency of the THC away a little bit. So there’s certain products that are doing it. But usually in those states, it’s state regulated manufacturers. So you have to have a state license to operate in that state.

Scrappy Jackson:

Okay. Finally, Kai, in your success, you’ve afforded yourself the opportunity to travel. You’ve traveled extensively. And what lessons have you learned?

Kai Pfretzschner:

So traveling, I love to travel because I love to experience different cultures, different food. In my opinion, if you stay in one spot for too long, you’re in a little bubble, in a little box, right? And your mind is not as broad as it should be. So traveling, I experience other people how they do things. And then I realize that the way I’m doing it is probably not the only right way. That there’s more than one right way of doing it.

Scrappy Jackson:

True.

Kai Pfretzschner:

Yeah. I’ve been to Asia a lot, China, to our manufacturers for machinery over there. We’ve been several, four or five times to Shanghai. Those are all great people. Not so lucky right now, but those are awesome people. They hustle hard. Their work mentality is something I admire. They never give up. And, yeah.

Scrappy Jackson:

There’s… I’m sorry. There’s cannaboid oil. Okay? CBD. And Creating Better Days, I finally figured it out, man, CBD.

Kai Pfretzschner:

Ah, CBD. Create Better Days. There you go.

Scrappy Jackson:

My man, Kai Pfretzschner. Creating Better Days, a CBD manufacturer right here in Southwest Florida, doing it really big, courtesy of Content with Teeth. We’re doing this podcast. Content with Teeth, a marketing agency, doing incredible content. I’m Scrappy. Kai, peace out.

Kai Pfretzschner:

Thank you so much.

Meet John Degnan who founded a growing Florida language school in the latest epsiode of Content with Teeth's video pocast The Come Up

Florida Language School Does The Come Up

From a business analyst in one of Miami’s biggest firms to opening a one-room school in South Beach with one student …

Possessing a passport stamped with countries from all around the globe…

Watching the school grow with an intensive English program with thousands and thousands of international students …

40 different nationalities passing through its corridors …

Meet the man who triumphs over the Tower of Babel. Meet Greg Degnan in the latest episode of The Come Up, Content with Teeth’s short video podcast profiling the up-and-coming entrepreneurial scene in Southwest Florida.

The Come Up Episode 5 Highlights

English courses in Florida

Here is what to look for in our latest episode where host Scrappy Jackson interviews a dynamic educator and inspiring entrepreneur.

What does Greg learn most from his students? Because of the melange of different cultures and viewpoints in one room, you learn more from the students than the students do from you.

Is teaching English a dead-end career? The English language is still the PEOPLE’S language. Learn why the industry has a lot of growth potential.

What advice would Degnan give to his 12-year-old self? Follow your dreams but find out why it’s important to be a generalist instead of a specialist.

The future of a Language Center and an English Language Institute: Online, virtual reality and lost in the Metaverse.

What does Greg value most when hiring English teachers? Experience! Watch the episode to find out exactly why – the reason might surprise you.

In this episode, meet an interesting dude who started his career hanging out with Magic and The Dream Team in Barcelona during the 1992 Olympics.

About Greg Degnan and Content with Teeth

For UnBoring Content like The Come Up, contact Content with Teeth HERE. Find Degnan’s South Beach Languages school if you want to study English or a new language HERE.

Florida language center

The Come Up Episode 5 Video Transcript

Scrappy Jackson: What’s up, what’s up, what’s up, I’m Scrappy. And this is the Come Up. Entrepreneurs on the rise throughout Southwest Florida. We have ’em for you. They’re fascinating. They’re genuine. They’re innovative. Content with Teeth, a real innovative marketing company. They do content marketing. They’re our sponsor, and they’re doing it really big. Just like this fat head behind me. Today’s guest is an entrepreneur. That’s doing big things as well. His name is Greg Degnan. He’s from the University of Florida. He’s a teacher. He does really interesting things in South Beach, Fort Myers and Hollywood with his schools. Greg. Welcome.

Greg Degnan: Thanks, Scrappy. Great to be here.

Scrappy Jackson: Yeah, it’s really great for you to be here as well. And, uh, my first question is, you know, you went to the University of Florida. You got a great education. What did you do from jump right at the beginning?

Greg Degnan: Great. Yeah, go Gators. I’m a graduate. I’m a proud Gator graduate in 1991. I was there. I had, Emmitt Smith actually in one of my classes, but, yeah, as when I graduated in 91, the majority of my friends, and peers were going off to get jobs, you know, in Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, whatever city they could, but I really wanted to travel. So I took off, I got a passport and I started just traveling all over. I was all, I went all over Latin America to almost every country in Latin America, all over Europe. At that time they had the Interrail pass. So we traveled to other countries and I also hit Asia and interesting. My first job real job was with a dream team in, uh, Barcelona.

Scrappy Jackson: Oh, cool. Very cool. So tell us about the dream team. That’s amazing.

Greg Degnan: Yeah, it was awesome. I got to meet all the players. I mean, my job was nothing special. I was in logistics, transportation, kind of getting the players around. I wrote a short book about it called, chasing the dream team, but I had some great moments. You know, just speaking with Magic and Clyde Drexler and some of these guys. I actually was translating for them. Cause one of the things that, because it was in Spain, I had Spanish. So when the players would go out and try to communicate, I would help them. A lot of funny stories and, I just saw Magic has a documentary now on Apple TV, it’s called,  They Call Me Magic. It’s an amazing documentary and I’m, I have a little cameo in there. I’m younger. Yeah.

Scrappy Jackson: That’s awesome. So a lot of students, they go abroad. They wanna have some fun. Right out of college. They’re not sure what they wanna do. Do you do the same thing or you looking to find yourself or do you know exactly what you wanted to do with your career at that point?

Greg Degnan: Uh, yeah. Great question. I, I just want, I wasn’t ready to go to an office. I studied finance at UF at University of Florida, and I just really wanted to travel after being in school for so long. And in fact, I had no idea what I wanted to do, and what I found very quickly is the easiest job to get as you’re traveling is an English teacher. Because everybody, you know, in different countries speak different languages. And at that time, especially, they all wanted to learn English. So I would just ride the train in Europe, for example. And if a city looked nice, like I would stop in Budapest, get off. And within a day or two, I would have a job as an English teacher, which was really amazing. And it taught me, you know, to start to love teaching. Cause before that I had no experience teaching English, but I learned, you know, the methodology, teaching English to international students of all ages, different group sizes. And it really helped my public speaking and presence as well.

Scrappy Jackson: So you are in South America, you have a finance degree. How do you get back to United States and get a job?

Greg Degnan: Yeah, eventually I came back, just, I had my passport stamped a lot all over the world and I came back and I went to UM, University of Miami for my MBA. I wanted to get a little more serious on the business side and that created a lot of opportunities. I had a lot of great internships at Burdines, which is now Macy’s. And if you remember Burdines, that was a big store in Florida a while ago. I did some great things there. We would work on an algorithm, for advertising to find the best advertising mix. At that time, they had this huge budget for advertising. This was pre-internet. So they had to decide how much are we gonna spend in TV? How much are we gonna spend on radio? How much are we gonna spend in direct mail?

Greg Degnan: So we, I was part of a team that created the algorithm to find that perfect mix by product category. What will our budget be? That was a great project. I worked at, BACARDÍ in the liquor industry for a couple of years, doing projects. That was also amazing cause they’re based in Miami. At that time, BACARDÍ was introducing flavors. So in the past, they would just have, you know, three BACARDÍ,  file in the middle of the shelf on the shelf. Right, right. There was a hundred brands at that time. So what they did that was very smart is started introducing flavors. And that was part of the, the group that introduced BACARDÍ LIMÓN, BACARDÍ O, BACARDÍ Razz. And once they started introducing all these flavors, it took up all the shelf space.

Scrappy Jackson: Sure. Cause they had all the leverage. Right.

Greg Degnan: Exactly. So they kind of knocked out all these mom-and-pop, you know, rum companies and just kind of took over and got stronger and stronger at that time.

Scrappy Jackson: So you’re in the corporate world, but somewhere, international teaching, you know, speaking the languages. That pool must have come in somewhere.

Greg Degnan: Exactly. Yeah. I missed it. So even as great jobs that I had and experiences, and as an analyst, as a business analyst in Miami, working for these great companies, part of me still, you know, still in a cubicle, I still had a boss and I just kind of wanted to go do my own thing. So I had such a great experience teaching that I opened the one-room school in South Beach, called it South Beach languages. And at the beginning, I was the only teacher, you know, one room, one student and little. I remember my first place was on 12th McCollins Avenue paying $300 a month, you know, just for one little room. And then little by little, we grew it, we added students. And today we, you know, we have, we’ve got thousands and thousands of students,

Scrappy Jackson: You have a diversity of students. How many countries have gone through your corridors?

Greg Degnan: Um, I would say probably 30 or 40.

Scrappy Jackson: Wow.

Greg Degnan: Different countries at least, at least.

Scrappy Jackson: And just, how do you, how do you communicate to so many different ones?

Greg Degnan: Yeah, that’s a great question. Cause like, again, when I taught in Mexico I had a class of 12 Mexican students. Right. So they were all familiar with Spanish and English. Whereas in Miami Beach, we might have a class with one Brazilian, one Japanese, one person from Serbia, it’s all, all mixed. So that teachers only speak and teach in English. So they go slowly. they have methodologies to use. So it’s up to the students to learn. It’s kind of an immersion methodology.

Scrappy Jackson: Sure, sure. In your hallways, is there cultural diversity to the point where they need to assimilate?

Greg Degnan: Um, yeah. I, I’m not sure. What, what you mean exactly, but like the, for example, it’s amazing having all these different cultures in one class, right? So a lot of students come up to us at the end of their experience and be like, wow, you know, I’ve never had that kind of experience where I had conversations with a French person and a Brazilian person and a Japanese person and a somebody from Bangladesh. And what it does is this kind of a microcosm of the world. You see all these nationalities coming together, talking to each other. Of course, there’s a lot of arguments, you know, with different viewpoints and economics and politics and all these things. But the 99% of them go home, like, wow, that was, that was a great experience.

Scrappy Jackson: You have South Beach, you got Hollywood, you have tutoring in Fort Myers. If I’m somebody that wants to be a teacher at your school, what’s the first question you ask me.

Greg Degnan: Um, I value experience the most. So I would say how much, how many years of English teaching experience do you have? Obviously, if you’re a kindergarten teacher or first-grade teacher, that actually is pretty helpful because you, you know, you’re teaching people with at the beginning stages, which is what we’re doing. They don’t know any English, a lot of them. So we do take, English teachers all the time. New English teachers. Experience. And most of our teachers have to have a certificate depending on the course of teaching. An English, ESL certificate, TEFL, they call it.

Scrappy Jackson: So you’re a teacher. You become this incredible entrepreneur. What advice do you give teachers today as far as getting into this game?

Greg Degnan: Well again, I most teachers from what I’ve seen, aren’t going into it for money at all. Because teaching, you know, in general, and especially teaching English, not something you’re gonna get rich, you have to really want to, you know, be a teacher to connect with people and see that light, you know, go on in the student’s head when they learn something. In terms of business, I think it’s still a big opportunity. If people are business people are looking for opportunities, I think this industry still has a long way to go in terms of growth. The world is becoming a little more isolated now, so it’s becoming a little bit harder to get students from everywhere like we used to. But there’s still a lot of opportunity for growth and it’s still, English is still the world language.

Scrappy Jackson: I have visited your schools and there’s an incredible culture. It, it really is, you know, the students are immersed, the teachers are immersed, and throughout the hallways, you get a special feeling it’s really, really cool. The way you put it together. It’s almost a spiritual experience for real. So given that, what is it that you’ve learned the most from your students?

Greg Degnan: I think, yeah, it’s a cliche, but when you teach English, you learn more than you teach. It’s really fascinating. All of the different cultures, again in the world coming to USA to learn English. And they have they’re in awe and big respect for this country, cuz they’re here. They’ve chosen to come here. But just learning from them, their experiences. So we might go around and say, Hey, tell us the culture, uh, of your country. Like, you know, in USA we celebrate independence day in 4th of July, what’s going on in your country? And they’ll tell us the whole story.

Scrappy Jackson: You mentioned earlier, there’s a lot of opportunities in education. What’s your personal vision and where are you going with your career and your company?

Greg Degnan: Yeah, I used to think the answer was building more schools. For a while, we were kind of expanding in that way. But we stopped that and we’re basically focusing more on content. So we are a big school in South Beach and we’re trying to create more content because as the world is becoming more online, obviously, as education, what’s happening with COVID the last couple of years, there’s kind of a, more of a, a realization that the future of our industry and education, in general, is gonna be online. It’s gonna be virtual reality. It’s gonna be Metaverse, all these, all these things you’re hearing about. Right? Right. You put on a headset and be in a class you don’t really need to physically go somewhere as much. Right. You could still have that experience with a teacher with, or the classmates, but online. So at the moment, we’re working on more content, developing our technology as opposed to just trying to make a bunch of franchises. We’re trying to have more content. So, more students around the world can connect with us wherever they are.

Scrappy Jackson: That’s cool. That’s very cool. And as far as Southwest Florida goes, how do we connect with you as far as tutoring is concerned or online classes?

Greg Degnan: Sure. Yeah. In Southwest Florida. At the moment, we offer online, group classes, in-private classes, in English, and Spanish. So if you’d like, if you’re interested in learning Spanish, for example, or English, at the moment, you could still inquire about French, Portuguese, other languages. We may have a teacher available, but because it’s online, we can give you a, for example, if you wanna learn Spanish, we might have a great teacher in Miami that can just get online with you twice a week. It’s about, it’s reasonable. It’s about $40 an hour. The teachers will be flexible with your schedule, you know, best time for you. So yeah, let us know. Our website is SBL.edu like South Beach Languages, SBL.edu. And you can come on our website and make an inquiry.

Scrappy Jackson: Okay. Finally, Greg, if you have to give advice to your 12-year-old self, what would it be?

Greg Degnan: That’s great. Yeah, one of my favorite authors is a guy named Scott Adams. He does the Dilbert cartoon and he speaks about being a generalist as opposed to being a specialist. And I really agree with that. And I found in my life by it’s more of like the baseball analogy of like being a utility player, as opposed to like the saver in baseball. Right. I think of myself more as a utility player, I can go in across different industries. That would be the advice I would give. Follow your dreams, but don’t be too specialized. Be open and try to, instead of saying, this is the only thing I’m gonna put all my eggs in this basket, I would say have a little bit of, have three or four strengths and develop all of them as opposed to just one thing.

Scrappy Jackson: So you gave great advice to your 12-year-old self.

Greg Degnan: Hopefully I did, right? Follow me.

Scrappy Jackson: Greg Degnan, South Beach Languages, South Beach, Southwest Florida, Hollywood, and incredible entrepreneur. We’re brought to you by Content with Teeth. Content with Teeth, a content marketing company, doing really big things, just like this logo behind me, Greg. Thank you so much for your time, man. We really appreciate it.

Greg Degnan: All right. Thanks.

Brad Cozza, Owner of a Florida investment group, is guest on the Episode 4 of The Come Up sponsored by Content with Teeth

Florida Investment Group Does The Come Up

In the latest episode of The Come Up, meet the guy every entrepreneur dreams of becoming.

He is owner of a thriving Florida investment group which means recently he has been printing cash …

He is one of Gulfshore Business’ 40 under 40

He is a former model …

Meet Brad Cozza.

Things weren’t always so rosy. In his earlier days, he took stock of his life after couch surfing in the Big Apple.

Now he is the founder of Cozza Investment Group which The Wall Street Journal named #10 in the country for volume produced.

The Come Up Episode 4 Highlights

The Come Up is a short video podcast produced by Content with Teeth that documents the up-and-coming entrepreneurial scene in Southwest Florida.

In Episode 4, Everyone Loves Brad Cozza.

Jumping between different companies and industries, from real estate to restaurants, you definitely want to follow this guy’s career arc.

Back in his school days: Brad was a hungry hunter for investment opportunities at FGCU when it was a lonely outpost with more snakes than students.

Cozza’s advice to entrepreneurs: Take risks, but calculated ones only. Learn how to adapt and NOT die.

Real estate success: learn how to work the genie to up your odds of being in the right place at the right time.

Watch the episode and learn the connection between Cozza and Pitbull and the ultimate advice on unlocking a real estate gamechanger.

About Brad Cozza and Content with Teeth

For UnBoring Content like The Come Up, contact Content with Teeth HERE. Find Cozza Investment Firm located in Fort Myers HERE.

The Come Up Episode 4 Transcript

Scrappy Jackson: What’s up? What’s up? What’s up? I’m Scrap Jackson, and this is The Come Up, a video podcast celebrating Southwest Florida’s most interesting entrepreneurs. We’re brought to you by Content with Teeth, a creative content marketing agency right here in Southwest Florida. They do all kinds of good stuff: copywriting, video production, HubSpot services, and based on this big ass Fathead logo behind me, you can tell they do it big, real big.

Scrappy Jackson: Our guest today is Brad Cozza, an FGCU grad who’s turned his business degree into a Southwest Florida real estate and entertainment empire. He’s done it with moxie, risk-taking vision, passion. It’s awesome to have you here, Brad. We really appreciate it.

Brad Cozza: What’s up, Scrap? Thanks for having me. How you been?

Scrappy Jackson: Good. Really good. Really good. Southwest Florida is alive with real estate entertainment. You’re on the cusp. But I’m thinking back in the day, when you were in West Warwick, Rhode Island, you’re playing shortstop for your little league team, in your wildest dreams did you think you’d be here today?

Brad Cozza: Well, everybody in their wildest dreams in West Warwick, Rhode Island in little league thought that they were all going to play for the Boston Red Sox, so that was, I guess, my dream back then. But no, I’m very blessed to have made that move to Southwest Florida, because it was just a golden opportunity and moved at the right place at the right time, and I was very happy to go south.

Scrappy Jackson: And then you went to FGCU. Tell us about your experience there with Business Administration.

Brad Cozza: I did. So I was one of the second, I think it was the second graduating class at FGCU. So back then, you would take a ride to your dorm room down Ben Hill Griffin. And I felt like Jack Hanna, basically looking for boar, for reptiles, for snakes. It was just before there was any growth pattern, that now you take a look to see Gulf Coast Town Center, you take a look at Miramar, it’s a completely different environment where it was 15 years ago.

Scrappy Jackson: If you only had one acre of Miramar land back, then you’d be pretty much set. Right?

Brad Cozza: I would have bought something, I just didn’t have any money.

Scrappy Jackson: So, you get involved in modeling. You go to Miami. Perry Ellis, Levi’s, Tommy Hilfiger, you’re doing really big for the Miami modeling scene, but I read somewhere where you were stuck on a couch and you wanted more out of life?

Brad Cozza: So, the modeling industry was for the time being. It was one of those situations where you would go to the coolest parties, and I had a vast appreciation for fashion, but it’s one of those industries where you don’t make any money.

Scrappy Jackson: Yeah.

Brad Cozza: And I went to college and wanted to, obviously, use my college education. And I found myself one morning in Queens, basically living on a couch. I was like, “Okay. This was fun, now it’s time to actually do some work.”

Scrappy Jackson: But in many respects, it was the groundwork for your perspective today, because your real estate vision involves somewhat of a metropolitan, cosmopolitan feel. Right?

Brad Cozza: Sure, absolutely. So, definitely, the real estate investment arena in Southwest Florida has been what I actually focused on when I first got my license. When I was a licensed agent, typically you get into real estate and you do cookie-cutter showings and working with buyers. I knew right off the bat that I had a passion for ROI investment, development, and was in the right place at the right time during the market boom of 2005. And we started marketing to major metropolitan centers. We would run ads in the San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, New York Post. And it went from five deals to 10 deals, and in 2006, our company was ranked number 10 in the nation by the Wall Street Journal for volume produced nationwide. So it was a great accolade and definitely found my sweet spot with working with investor.

Scrappy Jackson: Foreclosures, pre-construction, flips, sales, what do you like the best? What’s the most exciting to you?

Brad Cozza: Depends on what the market is.

Scrappy Jackson: Really, because you’re a businessman. Right?

Brad Cozza: So, right now you read the market and there’s a housing scarcity. So what makes this market different from ’05, ’06 is back then it was just anybody could get a construction loan, state-to-state programs, everybody was irresponsible. It was investors buying from investors. It was all hyper appreciation, false appreciation.

Brad Cozza: In this market, the game changer was COVID. 2020, our governor, you never actually bring up politics in business, but you have to state the obvious. When our governor DeSantis basically said, “Hey, listen. Florida’s open for business,” it just really spiked our local economy, spiked the economy of Florida. And from 2020 to 2021, it was the largest economic boom that Florida has ever seen.

Brad Cozza: Now you’re seeing the drip, drip, residential effect, where there’s a huge demand for housing, because people are being relocated here from their northernly blue states. And you’re starting to see for the first time, you’re seeing New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, you’re seeing New England, you’re seeing Washington, you’re seeing California. So it’s good to see that we’re now increasing the people that basically are actually coming to this area, in addition to the Midwesterners that historically come to South of Florida.

Scrappy Jackson: From a complexion standpoint, where do you see the demographic texture going here in Southwest Florida?

Brad Cozza: Major metropolitan, which is very diverse, and you’re going to see, which we love, we love a melting pot. We love different concepts. And especially to see that this market is very educated and metropolitan-oriented, it’s completely different where it was five years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago. This market is looking and feeling more and more of something you would see in the East Coast.

Scrappy Jackson: And you’re on the cusp, that’s for sure. Gulf Shore Magazine’s 40 under 40. And I was doing my homework on you, Brad, and I came up with this idea. Now tell me if I’m wrong. Modeling was an indoctrination, real estate, a foundation, food and entertainment, an avocation.

Brad Cozza: I think I might use that. That’s IG-worthy.

Scrappy Jackson: Yeah, man, because your avocation-

Brad Cozza: Yeah. Listen, hospitality has always been a passion mine, and I consider it a fun environment to be around. And I really think that Southwest Florida is ready for some major metropolitan ideas and some concepts that more and more we’re seeing that. We’re getting away from what historically would actually work in Southwest Florida five, 10 years ago, because it is so diverse and we are seeing such migration to this location, to Southwest Florida. So it’s getting that metropolitan vibe and we love it.

Scrappy Jackson: Yeah. You’re not satisfied with just real estate. Colleoni’s is a wonderful Italian restaurant. Tell us about that.

Brad Cozza: Yeah. So I was always one of their biggest patrons. I used to go there all the time. And COVID happened, and they have some family back in Milan, so they said, “Hey, Brad, would you be interested in promoting and selling our business?” So I said, “Well, how much do you want?” And we actually came to terms, and I said, “I’d like to take over the tradition itself.” So we hired a really good team, hired a really good chef that basically provided a little, had that whole Colleoni family recipe, but added a little modern touch to it. And it’s been great. We’re looking for expansion, and it’s been a tremendous opportunity.

Scrappy Jackson: That’s great. As an entrepreneur, you’ve definitely carved your own path. You’ve taken risks. You faced adversity. What kind of advice can you give a young entrepreneur today?

Brad Cozza: Take risks, but definitely diversify. Take calculated risks, do your homework. What works in one market might not work in another market itself. So just really dial into what market you would like to take that risk in, and take that jump in the pool.

Scrappy Jackson: Another piece of advice; I want Brad to give advice to his 20-year-old self.

Brad Cozza: Get in real estate before you’re 25. But again, the experiences I had with modeling and hospitality and so on and so forth, I like to be well-rounded, and I like to do numerous things at the same time. So I would not second guess anything, and I’m very happy and very fortunate to be in such a growing, explosive marketplace.

Scrappy Jackson: As ambitious as you are, how do you keep all these things, how do you keep them balanced, work/life?

Brad Cozza: That’s always the challenge. The challenge is I always like to work. I work when I’m basically not working if that makes any sense.

Scrappy Jackson: Yes.

Brad Cozza: I always, whenever I go on vacation, I’m basically looking at other concepts, I’m looking at other ideas. And so, it’s always churning in order to basically stay ahead of the game and ahead of curve, especially in a market that you can definitely actually take advantage of in a positive way, and basically actually impact some positive changes.

Scrappy Jackson: Cozza Investment Firm. Tell us about it right now, and how can we participate with you in future opportunities?

Brad Cozza: So, we’re working with some large institutional hedge funds, as well as individual investors. Again, we never want to basically overplay one specific marketplace, so we’re very flexible. There’s a huge demand for affordable housing, so we’re taking our investment group and our investors, our builders, and we’re moving north. We’re actually going to Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, North Port, Claremont, center of the state, anywhere where it makes sense where you can create affordable housing. That’s where the true demand is, and that’s where you’re going to have your exit strategies in a very safe, relative marketplace compared to what it was in that 2005, 2006 market. So we like to be flexible and we like to… Because the more investors make, the more they’re going to invest back with us.

Scrappy Jackson: Given your flexibility, do you still have a niche?

Brad Cozza: We do. We do. Pre-construction is definitely a huge niche because we’re in such a hot seller’s marketplace right now that the cost of reproduction is the only way that we can show an equity position for our investors. Because we give our builders such high volume, they can afford to scale it, and basically, actually reduce the price per square foot. So pre-construction is the niche now, but again, you never know. The market changes. Who would have known in 2008 that our sole business plan would be attending the foreclosure auction every day?

Scrappy Jackson: Yeah. Yeah. I’ve seen you on IG, family, fun, friends, entrepreneurship. You’re a good dude, and I really appreciate you, man. And one of the things that I kind of correlate with is Pitbull. He says, “Live life. Don’t let life live you.” And you’re certainly doing that.

Brad Cozza: That’s correct. It’s got to be a well-rounded lifestyle.

Scrappy Jackson: Brad Cozza, I appreciate you, bud, really do. This is The Come Up, a video podcast celebrating Southwest Florida’s entrepreneurs. It is brought to you by Content with Teeth, a creative content marketing agency right here in Southwest Florida. From copywriting to video production to HubSpot service, they do it really big, just like this Fathead right here, Content with Teeth. Brad, thanks again, man. I really appreciate it.

Brad Cozza: Scrap, you’re the man. Thanks, brother.

Time up Ep-3

Naples, FL Wedding DJ Does The Come Up

 

If you are about to say, “I do,” DJ PatPat, a Naples, FL wedding DJ, is the OG in back, NOT the chump in the front …

Find out why in Episode 3 of The Come Up where host Scrappy Jackson interviews the coolest DJ in Southwest Florida who has been spinning DJ entertainment and keeping the nuptials party alive for some four decades.

 

Naples, FL wedding DJ

The Come Up is a short video podcast produced by Content with Teeth that documents up-and-coming entrepreneurial scene in Naples, Marco Island, Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Charlotte County.

The Come Up Episode 3 Highlights with a Southwest Florida Weddings DJ

Check out some notable moments from this episode featuring a professional Naples DJ:

The art of delegation and organization: Event entertainment services are undoubtedly not stress-free. Find out how the veteran DJ PatPat keeps everything together, from customer service to employee retention, by using one simple trick for wedding receptions.

About handling “Bridezillas” and some of the most demanding clients on Earth : Everyone wants perfection at a wedding. Achieve that by serving the client a long-form document where all ground rules and contingencies are outlined and planned for! Discover what Wedding DJ PatPat puts in her planners to avoid drama at wedding receptions.

How to deal with wedding DJs who undercut prices: DJ PatPat is a dance floor Queen who has been running the Naples DJ scene for some 40 years. Discover the strategy of this Naples Florida wedding DJ to fend off low-cost c0mpetition.

A tip to your 20-year-old self: Stop spending money on dumb stuff!

Regarding starting your own business: DJ PatPat’s advice is grounded in a simple maxim – Invest in yourself. Learn how she grew her DJ service empire in Southwest Florida by following this concept.

The worst best man’s speech made in history: Your jaw will be on the ground after hearing dance floor queen DJ PatPat’s story – “Did that dude really say THAT!?”

Don’t forget to watch to learn more about the marketing tactics that DJ PatPat uses for her Southwest Florida DJ service and more wisdom that applies to all businesses, not just DJ entertainment.

About DJ PatPat and Content with Teeth

For UnBoring Content like The Come Up, contact Content with Teeth HERE.
Reach out to DJ PatPat’s company HERE. Check out one of the best Naples wedding DJs’ social media accounts HERE, HERE and HERE.

The Come Up Episode 3 Transcript

Scrappy Jackson: What’s up? What’s up? What’s up? What’s up? What’s up? I’m Scrap Jackson, and this is The Come Up. I’m so excited about The Come Up. We do this every week on a video podcast with Content with Teeth. We celebrate entrepreneurs, unconventional entrepreneurs like DJ PatPat, my girl representing hard for Naples. What’s up, girlfriend?

DJ PatPat: Yo, Scrappy. What’s popping?

Scrappy Jackson: It’s awesome to see you. You’re definitely unconventional when it comes to an entrepreneur. That’s for sure.

DJ PatPat: Oh, man. I love the entrepreneur world. I really, truly do.

Scrappy Jackson: Tell us about it. You started off as a teenager.

DJ PatPat: I started off really young, at 14 years old, man, just working with my parents at the restaurant back in the day. It was actually a Spanish grocery store, and I used to handle money and stuff like that.

Scrappy Jackson: Okay. How did it progress from there?

DJ PatPat: Well, from there, by the time I was 16, I started actually DJing, and I started my little entertainment company, and I started doing private parties and events. I’ve just basically been in the whole restaurant entertainment world for almost 24 years now.

Scrappy Jackson: Yeah. You’re a staple in Naples, whether it’s DJing on a radio station, doing it at the club, doing it at quinceañeras. Forget about it. You’re at nightclubs, all over the place. But your core business is definitely weddings. Tell us about that.

DJ PatPat: Yes. So, the wedding industry is pretty big here in Florida. We are a destination hotspot for weddings. A lot of our weddings are ceremonies on the beach, and then the receptions and cocktails are at a country club or at a hotel or a resort. It’s just a really popular industry. Everybody’s just getting married these days. A lot of young people are starting to get married, too, at 22, 23 years old.

Scrappy Jackson: You’ve been at this for 24 years in the wedding business as a DJ. How much of it is fun versus business at this point in your career?

DJ PatPat: That’s a great question. I still love, obviously, what I do. I don’t get bored of it. It’s my passion. I don’t think I’m ever going to say, “Oh, I’m just doing this to do this.” You know what I mean? My goal is to hang up the gloves at about 56 because that is going to be 40 years of doing this, and I want to be able to say I was a DJ for 40 years.

Scrappy Jackson: Well, you can hang up your hat. You still have five or six DJs working for you, right?

DJ PatPat: Yeah. No. I will. I will have the team out in the field working it while I work it behind the scenes, but I don’t want to be that, let’s say, 56-year-old, 60-year-old DJ. I don’t. You know what I’m saying? People that are booking in their 20s and 30s, they’re probably going to look at it like, “I don’t want this 60-year-old.” They’re going to want somebody younger. I get it because, if it was my wedding, I would probably want the same thing, even though this 60-year-old guy has been doing it for 50 years. You get what I’m saying?

Scrappy Jackson: Yeah. Yeah.

DJ PatPat: Times kind of change, and your style kind of changes a little bit too. It’s not going to be my thing.

Scrappy Jackson: You can be the mack in the back.

DJ PatPat: Correct. Correct.

Scrappy Jackson: Your DJs can be the chump in the front.

DJ PatPat: You got it.

Scrappy Jackson: How do you market your business these days?

DJ PatPat: I use WeddingWire. I use their sister company called The Knot. I attend bridal shows. I do Google AdWords, a lot of word-of-mouth referrals.

Scrappy Jackson: Well, that’s what I was curious about because you’re so popular. You’re so prevalent in the community. Do you have to market yourself outside of just referrals? Because you’re pretty much the known quantity in Naples.

DJ PatPat: When it comes to the wedding industry, I’m always going to advertise on wedding websites because clients are going to go there first and say, “Oh, where can I find my florist?” if they don’t know a florist, or, “Where can I find my video guy if I don’t know a video guy?” You become the first reference for them, so it’s really good to do that. I also am a preferred vendor at a lot of venues. I make a relationship with the facility. I show that “Hey, I’m a pro. I know what I’m doing,” and they like what I do, so I get added to their list.

Scrappy Jackson: You’re such a professional, and there’s so many things you have to worry about: being responsible, customer service, taking care of your employees. How do you keep it all together?

DJ PatPat: Great question. I put everything on my calendar. For example, on our iPhones, we have iCal or whatever, and I put on there, “I have to call so-and-so at a certain time” or, “I’m meeting …” I make a to-do list on my calendar, and I follow that daily, and I write things down, and I try to be one to respond back to emails in less than 24 hours. I’m very organized when it comes to writing everything down and putting it in my to-do list.

Scrappy Jackson: I think it’s amazing how you delegate too. You’re definitely the jefe, but you have a great ability to empower the people that work around you to do their job and do it responsibly.

DJ PatPat: Thank you. Thank you. It’s a lot of hard work. It really is. Sometimes, it’s-

Scrappy Jackson: How do you choose your people?

DJ PatPat: Well, I meet them. I interview them. I check out their experience. Are they put together? I want to see your system, how it looks when you’re out in a field. If I see you’re not how I’m set up, well, I’m going to tell you some tips and tricks and have you get the things that you need so you can follow my brand. That’s pretty much how I do it with my team. Once they see it, they’re like, “Oh, man. Thanks for telling me to do this or put a speaker skirt over my stand just to keep things neater.” That’s pretty much how I do it with my guys.

Scrappy Jackson: But you don’t lose any sleep because the customers are very, very, very, very, very demanding in your business. The brides want it perfect. I disc jockeyed a couple of them, just a couple of them, and I was overwhelmed by the demands. How do you keep it all intact?

DJ PatPat: I give my clients what’s called a 12-page wedding planner, and that’s what keeps them organized and me knowing what they want me to do, or my team. It’s basically fill-in-the-blanks. Every question that I have for them will be on those 12 pages. It’s a great guide and a reference on how your day’s going to go from start to end. Then, once I get that back after it’s been filled out, at least two weeks before their wedding day, I’ll call them in the evening time when they’re both home and we can all discuss, me, the bride, and the groom, and we can discuss that paperwork, drop our timeline.

DJ PatPat: Then, once that’s done, then I get with my team, tell them what the dealio is. I’ll put it all together. I’ll provide them with any extra equipment we need. I’ll provide them with any lighting, any extra enhancements, if we need assistance, with an assistant to help the DJ. That’s where I come in and organize everything. We create a timeline and provide any additional things that are needed.

Scrappy Jackson: Interesting. Interesting. I didn’t realize you were that organized.

DJ PatPat: Yes. Yes, Scrappy. I have to be.

Scrappy Jackson: Because I think of DJ PatPat, I’m thinking [inaudible 00:07:15].

DJ PatPat: No. See, a lot of people think, “Oh, yeah. I found a DJ for 500 bucks.” I’m like, “Well, you’re going to get what you paid for, or I’m going to get that call, “The DJ just canceled on me last minute.”

Scrappy Jackson: I’m so glad you said that because that was my next question. You’re an elite wedding service, but there’s so many up-and-comers that try to undercut you. How do you deal with that?

DJ PatPat: I don’t really pay attention to that kind of stuff anymore. Like you said, I have 24 years of experience under my belt. I have over 1,500 weddings that I’ve either DJed or produced with my team. I have more than enough experience for some Joe Schmo to come in and say, “Well, I’m half the price.” Does Joe Schmo provide you with a planner? Does Joe Schmo provide you with two people at your wedding day? Does Joe Schmo provide you with uplights or these enhancements or a photo booth or planning a timeline. A lot of times, they’ll be like, “Oh, no. No. He didn’t mention that.” “Well, then how do you know what you’re going to do?”

DJ PatPat: A lot of those guys that are cheap, I have to say they’re more of a nightclub-type DJ, a bar-type DJ. A nightclub/bar DJ that is not a mobile DJ does not understand how a wedding should flow. They just don’t.

Scrappy Jackson: I’ve witnessed you in action, and you’re so polished. Your organization is so polished. That’s a reflection of you. It’s a personification. DJ PatPat is organized and polished and customer service-driven. You do an amazing job, and it really shows over time.

DJ PatPat: Thank you, Scrappy. Thank you, man. Nobody taught me this. This was all self-taught, just watching and seeing and learning and going through a bumpy road, bumpy things on a road and having to pick myself back up and, “You know what? I’m not going to do it like this anymore. I’m going to change it. I’m going to do it like this now.” What I do now works for me.

DJ PatPat: I tell anybody new that comes and works for me, I’m like, “Hey, man …” Great example. Last Saturday, I had a new guy training, being my assistant at an event. He did a fantastic job. He’s a little DJ, bedroom DJ for his friends and stuff. Great attitude. He’s a business owner. He’s available on the weekends, polished dude, great day with him. I was like, “Wow. You’re really into this.” He’s like, “Yeah, man.” He goes, “And I just learned some things from you today. I didn’t know you did this like this or you did this like that.”

Scrappy Jackson: Cool. You want to hear that?

DJ PatPat: Yeah. Absolutely. I told him, I said, “Hey, when you do next Saturday with me,” I said, “you’re going to notice that this becomes repetitive.” It’s repetitive. It’s the same sound system. It’s the same setup. We might just include a couple of little things or tweak a couple of little things out, but it literally just becomes a repetitive thing every week where it should just be flawless.

Scrappy Jackson: Best man’s speech. What’s the worst one you’ve ever heard?

DJ PatPat: A few years back, this guy starts with, “I’m not going to say a few things that’s happened with us in the past, but I am going to mention this.” He starts talking about the groom’s ex-girlfriend and how him and the groom had a great time with her one night. I was like, “Oh my goodness. Why do we even bring this subject up?” I don’t know what happened that day after all that. I was so embarrassed myself just listening to this and knowing that I have control of this guy’s microphone. This guy was pretty much saying that him and the groom had a great time with his ex-girlfriend if you know what I mean?

Scrappy Jackson: Yeah. As accomplished as you are, what advice do you give young entrepreneurs?

DJ PatPat: Hard work. Hard work. A lot of late nights. A lot of failure. A lot of patience. You really have to put a lot of passion and perseverance into what you do because I feel like that is what equals success.

Scrappy Jackson: Absolutely. Absolutely. Another piece of advice. Pat, give yourself advice to your 20-year-old self.

DJ PatPat: My 20-year-old self, huh? I wish that I wouldn’t have thrown away a lot of money in my 20s.

Scrappy Jackson: Okay. All right. That’s cool. That’s personal. How about from a business tip?

DJ PatPat: Business tip. When you’re young, start investing in yourself. Okay? If you want to start a business, start buying what you need little by little. Open up that name, get that logo, the little things that you’ve got to start with. Invest in yourself because, when you invest in yourself, that’s when you’re starting to invest in your company, in your future, in your business, and how to pick up and start doing it on your own. Always invest in yourself and in your venture, what you want to do.

Scrappy Jackson: DJ PatPat is an iconic brand in Naples. That’s for sure.

DJ PatPat: Thank you, Scrappy. Thank you.

Scrappy Jackson: Do you want to shout out your business? This is an opportunity for you to market yourself.

DJ PatPat: Yeah, sure. My entertainment company, you can find us on the internet at hpsentertainment.com, and anything social media @hpsentertainment.

Scrappy Jackson: You have robots too. What services do you offer? I know you have lighting. You have robots. What else?

DJ PatPat: We do DJ services. We do photo booth. We do rentals with a slingshot for people’s photos. We do uplighting, dance floor lighting. I have an in-house hair and makeup artist who is my wife. I also have an in-house videographer for videography needs. Yeah. We try to do a little one-stop-shop so, that way, we can help a lot of the burden of your event all in one place.

Scrappy Jackson: Content with Teeth, young entrepreneurs on The Come Up doing big things. You can see this logo behind me, this fat head, this big bulldog. Contentwithteeth.com. Check them out, a creative content agency. Pat, I got nothing but love for you, baby.

DJ PatPat: Scrappy, you know I got nothing but love for you too, homie.

This Florida Entertainment Boss is Come Up's second episode's star

Greetings from Lakes Park, S.W.F.L. 

When you think of The Boss and entertainment, you immediately think of Bruce Springsteen. 

Not in Southwest Florida where The Boss is Rachelle Ford, Owner of Ford Entertainment Magazine chronicling the world of entertainment with a hip hop flavor.

In Episode 2 of The Come Up, Scrappy Jackson interviews Rachelle who is legendary for her compact but killer tenacity.

Our video podcast chronicles the up-and-coming entrepreneurial scene in Southwest Florida.

Here are some highlights of The Come Up E2:

Print: With Ford Magazine Entertainment, Rachelle will have you reconsidering print if you solely rely on digital.

Motto: If you can sell one, you can sell a million (or maybe a 100 million!) Rachelle offers lessons on how to shoot for the moon.

Best advice to your 22-year-old self: Skip waiting on that co-sign and Express Yourself.

Rachelle’s secret sauce: Doing one thing so well and getting paid for it rather than working on several projects that spread you thin and don’t grease the wheel.

About Rachelle Ford and Content with Teeth

For UnBoring Content like The Come Up, contact Content with Teeth HERE.
Order issue 71 of Rachelle’s magazine HERE or on her app HERE.

The Come Up Episode 2 Transcript

Scrappy Jackson: What up? What up? What up? What up? What up? I’m Scrappy Jackson. This is The Come Up for up-and-coming people in Southwest Florida that are entrepreneurs and highly intriguing. So we call it The Come Up because they’re up and coming, we flip it on its ear. And it’s brought to you by Content with Teeth, an amazing content agency. They’re incredible, they do creative content, and they’re big, they’re really big, they’re huge. So big check out this fathead, that’s how big they are.

 

Rachelle Ford: I love it. I love it. What’s up, Scrappy?

 

Scrappy Jackson: Content with Teeth. Yes, definitely. Rachelle, it is awesome, awesome, awesome to see you. I love you. I got nothing but respect, admiration, appreciation for you. Few people understand and comprehend how amazing you are. I see you blushing.

 

Rachelle Ford: I am. Thank you Scrappy. I have so much respect for you, so much love for you. Oh my gosh, it’s a pleasure. It’s really a pleasure.

 

Scrappy Jackson: It’s really awesome for me too. You’re a Haitian immigrant. At age 14, you came to Southwest Florida. You got the bug for entertainment, you became a teen model. And then in 2009, you did something special, you started Ford Entertainment Magazine, highly impressive, awesome. Tell us about your magazine.

 

Rachelle Ford: Well, my magazine, I’ve always been into journalism and interviewing and I’ve always wanted to be curious about someone’s journey, someone’s story, especially the creative beings because I feel like I’m one of the creative beings, I just don’t have any singing talents. So it’s like those who can’t do teach or report it. So I report the stories. So I started the magazine because I’ve always wanted to be in media, publication and I just went for it and I’ve just been enjoying it ever since.

 

Scrappy Jackson: I met you in 2009 when the first issue came out and I have to say three things hit me immediately, Rachelle. Number one, you’re the boss, you’re definitely the boss. And you’re not that tall, how tall are you?

 

Rachelle Ford: I am 4′ 11.5″.

 

Scrappy Jackson: But you’re still the boss.

 

Rachelle Ford: Still the boss. I’m compact but I’m the boss.

 

Scrappy Jackson: And I think everybody can see by this video that you’re amazingly passionate about what you do on a daily basis no matter what it is. You attack life, I respect that. And number three, your confidence, your amazing confidence. Oh, I have number four actually too. And I don’t know if this is because of Haitian people in general, but you’re gentle and wonderful and warm and soft yet you are the boss.

 

Rachelle Ford: You have to be in this, especially in the music industry. It’s a very male-dominated industry but there’s so many ladies that are trailblazing, that are kicking butt out here, and I just want to be one of them. I feel like as far as confidence if you believe in what you’re doing… I know everybody has checked out the latest Genius documentary and it just inspires so much, and it’s the same spirit. If you believe in what you’re doing and you believe in where you’re going, you just got to keep that sight, keep that vision in mind and just keep going and keep… What we’re trying to do. So let’s take some time to explain or show them more because you don’t want to waste time banging on the same doors because it’s a numbers game. If you knock on 1,000 doors, at least 10 of them is going to open for you. So you don’t want to keep knocking on the same 10 doors, you want to keep going. So relentless is keep going, but not so much in that same little corner all the time, you’ve got to broaden your horizons.

 

Scrappy Jackson: But it must be crazy frustrating when you have something so special that you know is undeniable and will touch the world, highly creative and you get no, no, no, no, no.

 

Rachelle Ford: Of all the nos you get, you have to pay attention to the yeses. Because like I said, you’re going to get nos. If every single person you talk to says no, then take a step back and look at yourself and say, “Okay, wait. Do I need to tweak some stuff? What’s going on?” You got to pay attention to the yeses because the yeses are what’s going to keep you going. When I see a random person looking at the magazine or like someone was talking to their friends and that person was looking at the magazine on the phone not knowing I was there and he was like, “Yo, this is great, I love this, this is on point.” And they were saying really great things and I was in the corner like, “Oh my gosh.” Blushing [inaudible]. When people gravitate towards your product, if you can sell one, you can sell 10. And if you can sell 10, you can sell 100 million.

 

Scrappy Jackson: True that. True that, that’s a great point. That’s a great point.

 

Rachelle Ford: You’ve got to perfect your craft. So when you hear a no, don’t take that no from, oh, they’re hating, they’re trying to keep me in the bucket, they’re trying to do this. Be like, “Okay, let me keep going. What can I do better or what can I change? What can I tweak?” Sometimes you don’t have to change anything about it, it’s just not the right person. There’s a billion people on the planet, why do you keep chasing that same one person?

 

Scrappy Jackson: Good point, good point, good point. When you were in Haiti growing up, did you have any entrepreneurial spirit way back when?

 

Rachelle Ford: Growing up in Haiti, literally my childhood was just my childhood. I had such an amazing childhood, I had no responsibilities except to be a kid, go to school, and play with my cousins. So life didn’t really start for me until I left Haiti. Which was so impactful for me because moving out of what I know from my little cushion bubble and then moving to the real world, into a brand new culture, brand new language, brand new people, and then trying to figure things out. So I think my entrepreneurial spirit really kicked in starting with a survival spirit really because coming into a country that’s completely foreign and you have to navigate your way through it.

Rachelle Ford: And I’m the type of person I’m not going to wait for anyone to feed me, I’m not going to wait for anyone to hand me a check. I want to go get it, I want to know, I want to be in charge of every second of my day. So that’s how that started. If I’m going to be learning the culture, what do… And then I also went through a really horrible period of my life in a toxic relationship, a very violent relationship with children, and all of that. I used to tell myself if I was to get out of that, what would I do? And I said, “I would be in charge of my time, I would be in charge of my dreams, and I would just go for them relentlessly.” And I just did that. So my entrepreneurial spirit really started in America, so thank God America.

 

Scrappy Jackson: Busta Rhymes once said, “There’s no such thing as plan B.” You mentioned you’re a survivor and you’re going to do it, whether it’s domestically or professionally. Speak on that because you jumped all in with your projects.

 

Rachelle Ford: It’s like I want to do it all, it’s a blessing and a curse. When you tell yourself, I can do anything, everything is within my reach, I just got to focus on it hard enough, it almost becomes dangerous because it applies to everything. So then we find ourselves trying to do everything because opportunities sometimes come in waves and you don’t want to miss out. So I always get into this feeling of, oh my gosh, I don’t want to miss out. And then also how my weird Gemini brain is wired is like, I want to do it now, I want the world right now, I want everything right now. So I’ll be trying to do it all, I’ll be trying to do it all, I ain’t even going to lie.

Scrappy Jackson: Tell us about your magazine. When I first heard of it, I thought of it as straight-up hip-hop. But it’s so much more than that, it’s entertainment magazine.

 

Rachelle Ford: It’s entertainment, it’s Ford Entertainment Magazine. It really did start as hip-hop because I’m in love with hip-hop, but it focuses on artists, models, business entrepreneurs, everybody, actors. Entertainment industry is not just music. So it started off with music but music has so many legs you can’t do anything in life without music. So the magazine is not just music, it’s life literally.

 

Scrappy Jackson: You facilitated a lot of artists over the years, a lot of local up and comers. Tell us about your grind.

 

Rachelle Ford: My grind has been nonstop. I’ve met so many amazing artists, I’ve done so many projects with so many amazing artists, both locally and nationally, because it is also a national magazine. I even did a Nigerian issue one time with YCee, which is my favorite Nigerian artist of all time. So I use the magazine to meet all the cool people, so hey.

 

Scrappy Jackson: Okay, cool. You’re in print and you’re online, how do you stay afloat in print?

Rachelle Ford: I don’t even know how to answer that because it’s a self-funded business. So a lot of people in the entertainment industry, they feel like they’re superstars and they shouldn’t have to pay for anything, everything should be free. So they get offended when you tell them no, it’s a fee-based publication, it’s a business because it goes towards the printing. So it does get hard to manage the printing, but we’re going to keep going because we have a large subscriber base that are incarcerated, that can’t see it online, that can’t go on our app, which is on Apple and Google Play. So we keep the print alive and we’re going to keep the printing alive. And we’re just going to increase and expand.

 

Scrappy Jackson: It’s interesting to say that because you’re very passionate about that. But if you operate as two individual cost centers, online versus print, is it sustainable in print? Are you making money in print?

 

Rachelle Ford: I make more money in print than I do with online.

 

Scrappy Jackson: No, well.

 

Rachelle Ford: Because everybody thinks that print is going away. But you go to any doctor’s offices’, barbershop, nail salons, there’s magazines on the waiting table and people are going to pick them up.

 

Scrappy Jackson: True.

 

Rachelle Ford: So people love to say, print is dying, no print is going to stay forever because we read, everybody reads, and not everybody is digitally inclined. Some people want to relax and go over a nice little story and that’s what we’re doing.

 

Scrappy Jackson: Sure. Your business model, I see advertising in your magazine, but you also have rappers and models, et cetera. Do you charge the rappers and models for exposure?

 

Rachelle Ford: I do. But the way we do it, it’s more than just I charge you and I did an interview with you. We’re taking it so much further to brand that artist, to promote that artist. For example, the artist that I’m working with now, he’s on the cover of the magazine. We did a full story on him and we also dropped a juice, which is a personal custom lemonade, orange pineapple lemonade for him. And we’ve been selling this lemonade for the last month now, we now have it at a local grocery store and the artist makes a commission from that product. So it’s more like a business venture together.

 

Scrappy Jackson: I read about it, it’s called Juice Box, very innovative. And when does The Scrappy juice come out?

 

Rachelle Ford: Scrappy juice got to tell me. This girl’s craving [inaudible].

 

Scrappy Jackson: Let’s make it happen. Let’s make it happen.

 

Rachelle Ford: Scrappy juice coming out, you just got to tell me your flavor, I’ll pay [inaudible].

 

Scrappy Jackson: I’m bad about it. And you don’t have to pay me, I just want to hear Scrappy juice, that sounds really cool.

Rachelle Ford: Let’s do it. Let’s do it, Scrappy. I got the logo in mind and everything. I just had the whole thing fucking in my head.

 

Scrappy Jackson: You’re really, really creative, you’re really inspiring, you’re very ambitious. I think about you and the conferences and the awards and the Iron Circle with empowered women and the homeless people you take care of, and the magazine and the digital magazine. You do so much. How many people are on your staff to do all these things?

 

Rachelle Ford: [inaudible] there are four personalities. No, but there’s a lot of great, great, great people in my circle, a lot of great people on my team. Just quick plug, I’m actually sitting right here at Smoke’ N Ink, which is going to be the newest, hottest tattoo shop in Fort Myers, I’m telling y’all right now. And it’s me being a part of a team. So there’s not a lot of people on the team. I’m pretty much the captain and the steer and the janitor. But at the same time, I have some really great resources and great people and smart individuals around me that I can always reach out to and say, “Hey, I need to do this, I need to do that, how can you help me?” So it’s always great to have that support system.

 

Scrappy Jackson: So you’re the 4′ 11″ dynamo, you’re doing everything and then some. But I’m just curious from a business perspective, with doing at least six or seven things on such a remarkable level, do you ever think to yourself, if I just did one thing incredibly well, I would get paid?

 

Rachelle Ford: Yes, I actually do that. So what I’ve been doing actually is consolidating all of my projects into what makes sense and what I enjoy doing. So I’ve been asking myself literally all last year and this year, okay, let’s cut it down to what’s really work and what’s really me being creative and getting paid for it. I much more enjoy being creative and getting paid for it. And my baby, my passion, that answer always doubles back to the magazine.

 

Scrappy Jackson: How about a financial partner, have you ever thought about taking somebody on? Not me, but.

 

Rachelle Ford: [inaudible]. I was like, wait a minute. No, but serious conversation, I have my business plans, my partnership agreements, my investor agreements, I even have where if you wanted to sponsor a copy, how we can partner up and you sponsor a copy and how you can double your money back. So I have all of those plans. It just comes into finding the right people because a lot of people are talkers not really doers, a lot of people just want to see what you got going on, and people don’t really be real, they’re not really be willing to work. So I’m all the way, 1,000% open. If you’ve got a bag and you’re ready to work, let’s go, let’s blow this up, that’s all I know.

 

Scrappy Jackson: I can feel your intensity and your energy and your passion and your brilliance, it’s awesome. One last question for you, what would you tell your 22-year-old self?

 

Rachelle Ford: Leave that man. Because that’s where I was at 22, I was stuck in this prison of a relationship that was very abusive. Dealing with someone who’s addicted to drugs is not an easy feat, it’s a whole interview by itself, just that situation. And being stuck in that situation at a young age, I had my first child at 19 turning 20. So from age 19 to about 25, I was just like a baby breeder.

 

Rachelle Ford: But if I met me at 22, I’d be like, “Look girl, [inaudible] a little sooner.” But at 22, I would tell myself too as well, take better care of yourself, listen to your spirit, listen to your dreams and go for it, stop doubting yourself, stop waiting for that cosign. I feel like a long, long, long part of my journey was me waiting on a cosign, was me waiting on somebody to say, “Yeah, girl, you can do that. Oh yeah, that’s going to be prosperous.” I feel like part of me to this day still looked for that cosign, for somebody to say, “Yeah, this could be a success.” But I’ve stopped believing that I needed that cosign. If you know something-

 

Scrappy Jackson: You gained a lot of strength in that relationship and it taught you so many different things that makes you independent and strong and the boss.

 

Rachelle Ford: That’s true. We’ll give them that credit, Scrappy, we’ll do that.

 

Scrappy Jackson: 71st issue, is that right now? Where can we find it?

 

Rachelle Ford: It’s online, we also have them at Palm Avenue Groceries, which also carries our custom Ten Toes lemonade, which is coupled with issue number 71. They can also order it on the website, fordentmag.com. They can also order it on the app, which is Ford Entertainment Magazine for Apple and Google Play. We do ship to all correctional facilities.

 

Scrappy Jackson: Oh wow.

 

Rachelle Ford: So if you have someone who’s locked up and you want to do something nice and you want to spend a couple of bucks, you just got to tell us just their name. We’re able to look them up and find out exactly where they’re housed and we send them a copy.

 

Scrappy Jackson: Cool. Content with Teeth made this possible. Just look over my shoulder, Content with Teeth, get in touch with them for all your content and digital marketing needs. Content with Teeth creates unboring content like this podcast. It gets attention for your product, your service on the interweb. If you want to be my next guest, all you have to do is holla @heyscrappy on IG. Content with Teeth, thank you very much. Rachelle, I want to give you a hug through the computer, but it’s not possible.

 

Rachelle Ford: Bring it in Scrappy, bring it in Scrappy. I love you Scrappy. Since we’ve met, I think we met… Actually, the same person that we are doing the tattoo shop is where we met. Because we met in Naples at a showcase that was being thrown by Peter 4K and you were a judge and I was a judge as well. And ever since then, you’ve always been a supporter, we’ve always had that love, and I just love it. I love you Scrappy, I appreciate you for everything.

Scrappy Jackson: I love you too. And I’m a fan of Rachelle Ford, I’m a huge fan. God bless you.

Rachelle Ford: I’m a huge fan of Scrappy.

 

Scrappy Jackson: And thanks for everything, Rachelle. I appreciate you.

 

Rachelle Ford: I love you.

 

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