Ronnie Jacks: We're back with another From Hood to Good episode, this week I have a real special one lined up for you guys. I am telling you, man, I am going to put you all onto something you weren't even aware of. That's how dope this episode is about to be. I got Yacht Captain, yes you heard me right. Yacht Captain MillionDollarCollar.com, goTIELESS.com. It's just so amazing the people this is introducing me to and I am so happy to share this with you guys. On the line this week we have the one and only Rob Kessler. Rob has an invention oh I forgot to even mention that, my man is an inventor. You don't want to miss this week. It's so jam-packed with so much information. Rob is going to talk about how to be persistent, what to do with profits, developing your business. Oh man guys yo, keep listening and make sure you check out the show notes cause a lot of the info is in there. make it easy for you just hit that click button so you all know I got your back. Your boy Ronnie Jacks stay tuned and check it out. Rob Kessler no doubt.
Yeah, yeah what's going on we're back with another From Hood To Good episode it's your boy Ronnie Jacks I got another special, special episode lined up for you. I'm not going to tell you his name just yet. I will tell you his credentials and that might get you a little excited. Inventor, I will just stop right there. Inventor, when you invent something you have a lot of inventors, inventions change the world. Captain, Yacht Captain, 50 Ton that's not something you see every day and a successful entrepreneur. I don't want to get too long-winded here because we like to keep it a little simple, keep it organic ladies and gentlemen. We have Rob Kessler in the building and I am not going to get into his inventions just yet. We are going to ease into it and go smoothly. Let's just start out Rob. I'm happy to have you here.
Rob Kessler: What's up Ronnie, how are you doing man? You're catching me first thing in the morning so I'm stoking, I am ready to have a good time.
Ronnie: Awesome, awesome. Rob, let's just come right out, we were doing analytics and a lot of our listeners are young, dashingly men such as yourself and we would like to know how you met your fiance because I see a lot of entrepreneurs it's not just one person they are married which I see that happening a lot. Can you touch on that just briefly if you got a second?
Rob: Yeah, absolutely. So Linda and I were actually in two-plus-year relationships with other people and both pretty unhappy. We just happened to cross paths and thank God we did. We had a lot of mutual friends when we were playing volleyball. I was actually flirting with another girl that I used to talk to that I hadn't seen in a while. Then they found out I was in real estate. Linda was looking to maybe buy some real estate so we started talking about that and we started meeting and talking about real estate and talking about things.
We found out we had a lot in common and we wanted to go a lot in the same direction. I was going off to my cousin's bachelor party out of town and that night I had to deliver shirts from my screen printing company and got in another huge fight with my girlfriend and so I went out to this bar to deliver these shirts and low and behold Linda was there and so I hung out with her until I left for that trip. I spent the whole weekend texting her, came home early to spend some time with her, and we both at that point said it's time to get rid of these other people and get together.
Ronnie: Short and sweet, I like that.
Rob: We were good, we didn't do anything.
Ronnie: So for you gentlemen out there there's still hope, just keep hope alive I just wanted to let you all know that. Now that that's out of the way, we are big on routines here. We call it a playbook and keep it a little sporty. Can you tell us what your day looks like, your typical day, how does your routine work? What is a typical day for you?
Rob: I have to take a shower in the morning. Even if I work out of my house, or totally sweaty or I go play sports at night and take a shower before I go to bed. I have to take a shower in the morning. It gets my mind started that the day is going. I have to get dressed, if I just wear a tank top and shorts and live that southern California beach life it just doesn't get my mind in the mindset. Dress shirts usually, jeans, I try to look good even if I don't leave the house it just makes me feel like I'm doing business. Those are two things that I really have to do.
Ronnie: Any specific time you wake up or is that just open?
Rob: I am not one of those, if I wake up to the alarm I am a mess all day so I wake up when I wake up and it's usually between 7 and 7:30. If I'm feeling a little tired I will lay in bed another half an hour. That's the beauty of doing my own thing, but it's up and into the shower and getting the day started. We're trying to work in yoga and we have a little yoga spot but I have only done it twice so far.
Ronnie: Yeah I think that's awesome, the shower, getting dressed. Now you're dressed you're not still in bed mode where the day is passing and you’re like okay now we can use that stuff. So the world wants to know why do you hate ties so much? What is it about ties? Was there something in your youth that happened? I don't know why do you hate ties?
Rob: I used to sell cars, I don't know if it was being 22 years old and being forced to wear a tie every day to sell cars. I just felt give me a chance to talk and you'll know who I am and trust me for me. A tie around my neck doesn't equate to me knowing what I'm talking about. So, I just never liked them. I liked a little bit more casual look, but I hate sloppiness so I just don't like it.. I just literally wore one tie in the last 10 or 12 years and it wasn't even on my wedding day it was to go to Magic Castle in Los Angeles which is an invite-only place but you have to wear a tie. I almost didn't go, but I had to go, I had to go check it out.
Ronnie: So I hear you mention your wedding day, and I've looked into it and can you take this time out and explain your business. I have learned that it's a bit of a learning curve. I will tell you this guys, Rob showed me a problem that I had no idea that I had, and thinking back man it was awkward to have this problem I didn't realize it. I know it's an educational curve there but can you tell us your business, how that came about, how it got started, the backstory behind that?
Rob: Yeah, my friends tell me that all the time. Thank you for making me acutely aware of a problem I never knew I had. So I got married on the beaches of Jamaica. Again, my wife and I are casual and fun and we weren't doing that all wedding, big monster day. We wanted a week-long party and so we got married in Jamaica, toes in the sand, obviously no tie. I had a brand new, freshly pressed shirt on and I didn't even get to say I do before I noticed it was a crumbled, sloppy mess in the front. The reason is dress shirts were designed to be worn with a tie, buttoned all the way up and worn with a tie. They never had to worry about the structure where the buttons and the holes are, that part of the shirt is called the placket.
I came home from my wedding in Jamaica, I saw that my pictures looked terrible, I cut open a dress shirt, shoved a piece of cardboard down the front and that was the idea for Million Dollar Collar. Who doesn't want to look like a million bucks, right? I knew the cardboard wasn't going to be the fix and so I started testing every plastic in my house, I would cut it, shove it down my shirt. Milk cartons, mini blinds, I had a little flexible cutting board, any plastic I could find around. I tried that, washed it, dried it, sent the shirt to the dry cleaners and then it would just melt to the shirt and I ruined that shirt. After going through the house, I went through every plastics company and tested all the plastics they had, kept melting to shirts and I finally had to partner with a company.
Dry Cleaners it turns out use between 400 and 450 degrees of steam to flash press your shirt before they give it back to you. Even high heat plastics melt at 275 to 300 degrees. I ended up developing a plastic type material that can handle almost 700 degrees which is double that they use at dry cleaners, nearly double. Think color stays except 9 inches long and it goes down the front of your shirt.
Ronnie: As you mentioned that I'm hearing, first of all it's like how did you know that was a market? It sounds like a lot of work, I am sure it is to develop a plastic that doesn't even exist and I know you went through some patent issues as far as developing that. There's a lot we can uncover, unravel here with that but how did you, what was your mindset when you realized this problem? How did you say this could be a market, a lot of guys have this, can you take us there for a little while?
Rob: Yeah, it starts with you. I think most inventions that are just everyday things that you don't even think about was a frustration that somebody had and said, "There's got to be a better way."
Then I started looking at dress shirts and in 2019 a billion dress shirts were sold in the U.S. alone. I look at my closet, I think what's the most versatile thing that I have? Well, it's a dress shirt, if I want to go out to the club and be casual I can wear a dress shirt, I can roll up the sleeves, I can tuck it in, I can untuck it, I can wear it with a tie. There's just so many different ways to wear a dress shirt. With a vest, with a jacket, with slacks, with jeans, to me it's the most versatile thing that a guy has.
To me it had been the one thing that had been totally forgotten about and so I made this for me, my dad came out of the woodwork and said hey dude I'll invest in that and gave me a little bit of seed money. I had another partner in a different business who said that is legit and he gave me some seed money and said I want to be a partner in this and all of a sudden this momentum kept going. It took almost 3 years to patent and to perfect the product that I have. It's not like this just happened overnight and it was 2, 3 weeks of work. It was 3 years of testing and figuring out what worked and what didn't. If you look at the variations of the design of it, it's insane you'd say, "How did you even think about that?" It's a universal fitting piece, we sold almost 400,000 sets and not ruined one single shirt not anywhere in the world.
Ronnie:3 years is quite a while to develop something that doesn't exist with so many challenges. What was your mind like to not give up on... From the time when your dad invested with you, your partners invested with you, what was the time frame between you showing them the product and them saying that actually does look like something? What was the time frame?
Rob: I was 6 months to a year into the development and it was starting to become something, I still hadn't really even worn a shirt. Look even between the time I came home from my wedding and we had a little reception back home I still had a sloppy shirt. It was a slow process, I had a full time company that I was running, NEWD Custom Printing, it was N-E-W-D it stood for Nothing Else Will Do, screen printing and embroidery business. I was running that all day long so when I had some time I would fust around with the plastics and testing things. To me I guess if you're passionate about what you're doing it doesn't matter how many road blocks you come up against you are going to be able to keep going.
It's the people that are in this for the money that are going to give up in an instant. I like to do giant monster huge puzzles, like 5,000, 10,000, 15,000 piece puzzles. I am working on God's Creation of Man from the Sistine Chapel and there's probably 5 or 6,000 pieces of white and it's just like testing, and trying and trying and oh I got one. I am really stubborn when it comes to setting a goal and accomplishing it. And if you're in it for the passion and you want to make it succeed you're going to find a way to get through all the no's.
Ronnie: Right, right. Rob and feel free to stop me at any time. I'm going to go a bit off script with this next set of... I am just curious, the name of our show is From Hood to Good so a lot of our listeners are faced with failures tend to give up and I know a lot of entrepreneurs who that's the part of their game. You're going to fail, can you tell us about some of your failures, like what did they teach you and just a few or one or two or even the main one.
Rob: Absolutely, look, my whole philosophy on life is focus on solutions. Even my wife and I butt heads sometimes because she'll come home and say this happened to me and I am so mad this happened to me and that happened to me. It happened now what? What do we do to get past it, how do we get around it, what do we know and how do we make it better? When you focus on solutions I think that is what can really change your outlook and keep you positive.
The problems can drag you down and drown you but the solutions give you an opportunity to get creative and find a way out. My dad and I have gone through some times where I didn't talk to him for like 5 or 6 years of my life, of my main teenage developmental years and he said some things to me that no father should ever say to his son. It made me question life, it made me question what I was doing on this planet and it's not always easy but I think if you look back at the bigger picture and figure out, I'm not going to let this thing defeat me, I am not going to let this one thing be the thing that holds me back from who I think I can be. It's sad to hear when people choose the other route.
Gary Vee says you have 400 trillion to one to be born as a human right now. That means you have won every lottery on earth and you have one shot at this life and to me, that is all the motivation I need. My wife and I lived 3 lifetimes in the 12 years together. We started multiple businesses, sold multiple businesses, we're just about to sell our yacht charter business in Los Angeles. We've done all kinds of things, we moved three times across the country, we're in Atlanta, Georgia now. We've done all sorts of stuff, why not, you have one shot at this life, don't sit at home, work a 9 to 5 for 60 years and retire and think that's what life is. Life is not, it's about adventure and adversity and challenge and hearing a thousand no's.
Ronnie: How did this all start? What's your background, not your background per se. How did that entrepreneurial spirit come about? I know you started a business, well you didn't start a business, but you were working in high school I believe at a soccer store and how did that entrepreneur bug bite you and this whole thing evolve?
Rob: Well I'll tell you, I'm very fortunate. My Dad is an entrepreneur so I saw that I saw all the struggles of that. I think that is what led to some of our battles, where his business was his number one child even though I'm named after him. I have aunts and uncles that are business people, my grandma started one of the biggest bridal shops in Detroit. She made two wedding dresses and sold those two and made four and sold those four and made eight and she just did it.
I've got a nice little support crew around me but even when I was 11, 12, 13 years old cutting lawn, I started with my dad's house and I would do the neighbors house and I would cut that lawn. I would think somebody is going to stop me and say, "Man you are really cutting this lawn great, I want you to cut my lawn." That's what I did when I was cutting the grass at 12 years old. I just thought about everything I think a little bit differently than most kids did.
Getting into that soccer and volleyball store, day 1 I was hired at 17 years old. The guy handed me the keys to the store, handed me a code to the alarm, and said, "You're part of this now. He really let me develop where I felt comfortable. We had two locations and I ended up getting a lot into the ordering, the counting side and I got to learn that side of the business at 17, 18 years old which I don't think most people have that opportunity. I took that and ran with it.
I like to say I stack opportunities, I put myself out there, I was a freshman or sophomore playing varsity soccer and trying to hang out with the older kids and they were working at that soccer store and I asked for a chance to get a job there. If I hadn't asked for that chance, who knows where my life would have gone. You have to put yourself out there and stack opportunities and surround yourself with people where you want to be.
Ronnie: So, what were your friends doing at 17? Were they getting high in the corner or something?
Rob: They were man they were knuckleheads. A bunch of them as their senior prank went and spray painted our high school. Thank God I wasn't around for that because they all had to pay $500 each to get it all sandblasted. Then when I get to college I was working for that same place, I would schedule my classes so I could go to work in the morning for a couple of hours, go to a couple of classes, go back to work for a couple of hours, go to a couple of classes and then go work until close. There were other times where I would say let's change up the store. I would go after all of that tear the store apart with a couple of friends and a couple of beers, remodel the whole store until like 4 or 5 in the morning and come back the next day and have a whole brand new store to shop in or a new shopping experience. It was crazy, but I loved the business, I loved customer service and making sure that people felt this unique experience.
Ronnie: It sounds like you were a lot more mature than your peers at 17?
Rob: In the business aspect but in every other aspect no.
Ronnie: Oh, okay, okay. There's the disclaimer right there. It was just soccer, I love soccer that's probably what did it. A lot of our listeners also are building their own business. A lot of them are just starting, this podcast is fairly new, not extremely new but it's still growing legs Rob and I have some tech issues that we won't discuss right here but we worked it out to get this going for you guys so do you have any advice for people just starting out like some of the challenges you had starting out, some of the mental blocks you might have had starting out? Just generic advice, some facts and info my listeners could use starting their business.
Rob: Yeah. It's a balance between running the business and promoting the business. I like to do things myself. I know what my quality is, I know what I'm capable of so I don't have, I don't do big ventures. My wife and I run the yacht charter business, I did the screen printing business, I had a couple of employees that sort of worked out.
My mom ended up helping out a lot with the screen printing business which was amazing. I got to spend 5 days a week with her. If you're just starting out, every single dollar needs to stay in the business until you have cash. I think a lot of people make their first sale and they go celebrate and spend a bunch of money and then they're scrambling from check to check and bill to bill.
My dad likes to say you have to earn the right to grow and you have to get it established before you can spread out into other things. I am the idea guy and so when I started the screen printing business I was like, we go do this and this. Even with this business, we can go here and go here and go here. You have to master the first thing and get that revenue set and consist so that you can say I'm going to pull 10% of the revenue and set it aside until I have the cash until I can try this other thing. I think a couple of times we tried to chase the shiny penny and it's cost us time and money and we half assed our way into some of the ideas that we've been trying to release because we didn't have the game plan, didn't have the money, we just said maybe this. Focus on the first thing, definitely make sure it can pay for itself before you pull a dollar out. I still reinvest most every dollar that comes into the business, back into the business and it's seven years in. Don't pull it out until you can actually pull it out.
Ronnie: Right. I am hearing it reminds me of that saying, You chase two rabbits you get none. Rabbits, chickens it's one of them, it's rabbits or chickens. How many businesses have you started total, how many have succeeded, have you had any that didn't work out? Let me just get this over with and scrap this, start fresh. How does that happen for you?
Rob: So Linda and are selling our third business in 12 years. I haven't really started one that hasn't worked, her gym... The thing that I helped her do is encourage her. So she had a corporate job, 6 pack ripped shredded abs her whole life, and everybody would be like, how do you get abs? She was always into fitness, so I said why don't you get into that and do it, you love it just do it, who cares about the money. So she started in the spring training, while she was traveling for work she got certified as a personal trainer. She started in the spring, one night a week with some friends and said hey I'm doing classes now. By the end of the summer, in one summer she went from one night a week with 6 people to 5 nights a week with 6 people plus two nights a week with an additional 6 people. She quit her corporate job by the end of the summer that was paying a lot of money and had 5 star accommodations around the world, and started a gym. Built this little business that she loved. It was because of her that it was there so it didn't fail in the fact that it ran out of money, we decided to move to Los Angeles and there was no way to transfer that to somebody else so we closed that down.
Other then that we exited from every business and as hard as it is for a lot of people the advice that I've gotten and that I've used now since I sold 3, 4 businesses is don't put your name in the business. You can't sell Linda's personal training shop to Mike because that doesn't make any sense. All of my companies have never had my name in it, I have goTIELESS, I have Million Dollar Collar, NEWD Custom Printing. Get off your kitchen table, you can transfer a business that just has a name that tells what the business is. Focus more on the name of the business explaining the business then it being Linda's personal training.
Ronnie: I love it, I love it. I don't know if it was that just instinctual for you just to think of that or was their mentors involved that say hey if you start this business don't name it. Were there any mentors who guided you while you were growing?
Rob: Yeah, my dad learned that one the hard way. It was his name on the business and then it slowly dwindled from his whole name down to just his last name but still it's... He's retired. My sister works there still but somebody else is running it and it's a little bit awkward that his business name is out there without him attached to it anymore. To me it just doesn't make any sense, it's a little egotistical to have your name on... Sometimes you read these companies names and you're like you just had to have your name in there. It doesn't make any sense whatsoever. What's John Co? John Co doesn't mean jack. I don't know what that means, I know what Million Dollar Collar means at least it means puts me in the right area. John Co what the hell is that?
Ronnie: Yeah, okay great. So don't put your name on the business.
Rob: At some point, especially if you're creative and you want to start things, we get into it for 3, 4 years and we're like okay what's next. I need to find something else. We love to find a niche, build a business, and then sell it to somebody who can grow it and take it off. That’s our thing. Having an exit is great, it makes all of that work worthwhile. One fat payday, I would also if you're going to sell find a way to stay involved. I'm staying involved in the yacht charter business from all the stuff that we built. I'm going to hold a small percentage of the company to help them transition and that gives me some continued earnings for what we’ve established so I didn't do that with my screen printing business. I wish I had but I always try to find a way to hold onto a little something and stay on board and help them be successful.
Ronnie: So I heard you mention the screen printing business and when I was looking at it and looking at the story and everything it evolved over time but it didn't start out that way. How did that look and what were your thoughts when it paid, it's time for this to change over?
Rob: You have to listen to your customers. Million Dollar Collar was originally going to be a dress shirt. That's not what our customers wanted, that's not what they thought this should be so we were able to pivot because I listened to what they had to say.
NEWD initially was NEWD Clothing Company, and so I partnered with artists and said instead of having to sell a $5,000 painting let's take that art and throw it on a t-shirt because this is 2006 and Ed Hardy shirts were like the rage. Everybody was buying 80, $90 graphic t-shirts so let's take your art, put it on a shirt and sell limited edition $50 t-shirts and then you can use that as a way to promote yourself and then we can go on. Artists are terrible self promoters so I ended up with all this inventory and not a lot of sales but the sales I did have the people loved the fabric. So, I started making shirts with just a logo, just the NEWD logo and no graphics and people liked that. And because I had the graphics, I met with a guy and taught myself how to screen print `and I just told some friends I have screen printing equipment if you need anything let me know.
The screen printing business just went nuts. The differences between the two businesses: I front $1500 or $2000 for a run of shirts and have to sell that and try to get that money back. Well a screen printing client would come to me and say I need 50 shirts with this, pay me and I'd front the $50 worth of product and go print it and then sell it to them for $500. This is a better plan. I can front $50 and get $500 back, I'm good with that.
Rob: And I fought it and fought it and finally someone said to me, "Dude stop chasing what you think you wanted." This money is... I never advertised my screen printing business or marketed it. The only thing I did that separated me from everybody else is I cut out the label that was inside and screen printed my own label on the inside. A 100,000 shirts over the years had a NEWD Custom Printed label on the inside. So everybody knew what shirt it was, where it came from, my website was on there, it was easy to find me. It did the marketing for me because I did a great job printing, I never missed a deadline and my pricing was fair.
Ronnie: Was that branding, did that pay off in the long run? I know now with goTIELESS... Are you still doing that with the custom inside am I correct with that?
Rob: goTIELESS is just pivoting right now. My factory can digitally print any logo on fabric and so instead of your traditional left chest embroidered trade show shirt I can take your logo and print it in the fabric and actually build it into the shirt. So it's inside the placket, inside the color band, it's inside the cuff, so it's your branded shirt.
That's what goTIELESS is going to be going forward. We were going to make our own shirts for a little minute, sold out of them, they went great, found out a little bit about the process but I found a niche and I am going to exploit the hell out of it. goTIELESS is going to be a game changer in the ASI industry and anybody who's looking for hotels, restaurants, car dealerships, insurance companies. Anybody who has 50 or more employees, or 20 or more employees who need a couple shirts, it's a 50 shirt minimum. It's $50 a shirt you get a great insane quality shirt with your logo built right in not some afterthought.
Ronnie: Million Dollar Collar what's going on with that business?
Rob: It's cranking. We finally found an ad company that knows how to speak our language. We're selling insane, we're coming up on 400,000 units sold. We've been trying like hell to find somebody to license it, we talked to every major brand, we talked to brands that make sense, we've talked to brands that don't make sense and I've heard a thousand no's but we just keep going. Like I said I focus on solutions, I talk to a brand and they say, "Well you have to talk to our manufacturer." So I talk to the manufacturers and they say, "Well we're just order takers you have to talk to the brand."
Fine I'm going to build a brand that's so big that I can go to the manufacturer and say, "Hey make me my shirt with my technology built in and then they're going to have to address this." One way or another I'm going to get my foot in the door of these major manufacturers and they're going to start offering it to all their clients. Now our factory is offering it to their clients and so on a smaller scale it started and we're going to see where it's going to go but it's a game changer.
There's no reason that Million Dollar Collar shouldn't be in every single dress shirt. It's the biggest advancement in dress shirts since non iron in the 1950s and every shirt has collar stays and that came out in 1888. They just don't change a lot and they sell a lot of them. You can still button all the way up and wear a tie. There's no reason that my product shouldn't be in every single dress shirt on the planet.
Ronnie: Well, I agree. You guys won't be able to see the video. I'll post a link so you guys can see the difference between a Placketitis shirt, a shirt infected with Placketitis versus one of these Million Dollar Collar's and it's Million Dollar Collar. The name says it all!
Rob any challenges you guys are having today? What I'm getting really from this and I want to thank you so much for pouring out into our audience, you have no idea how grateful we are, it sounds like you hit the ground running, you never looked back, putting together million piece puzzles.
Saw one issue, hey I don't like my collar it's not nice, practically created a market. Someone might even say starch, why don't I just get starch, listen educate yourself this is it.
Rob: That's 500 year old technology, it's time to upgrade.
Ronnie: Right, right. Any challenges you guys are having I know it's something everyday with business. What kind of challenges do you see for your businesses whether it be Million Dollar Collar or anyone even your yacht business, or even personal. What kind of challenges are you guys having today?
Rob: The biggest challenge that we have with Million Dollar Collar is it's sewn in. We sell all over the world internationally with no problem because everybody there in other countries is used to tailoring their clothes to fit very, very well. Americans buy things off the rack and it either fits or it doesn't and they buy it or they don't. So this little alteration is the biggest challenge but we're in 650 dry cleaners and tailors again focus on the solution. If people are going to dry cleaners, let's go to the dry cleaners and offer this service so that they can make some money on it and the customer who is paying someone else to clean their clothes probably cares enough about how they look that they're probably going to want our product. We go to dry cleaners and tailors and spend our time with them.
There's always different challenges. I mean with the yacht charter business we have to deal with the city of Los Angeles which is a nightmare. We have to go to one commercial dock and it's run by people who don't know anything about boats. We deal with that challenge. There's always something but like I said, focus on the solution. Everybody has problems, everybody has challenges but if you focus on the solution then things don't matter.
Ronnie: Anything else you have going on that you want people to know? Whether it be business or and how can people find you? if they want to get more info on these beautiful collars?
Rob: So Million Dollar Collar is the site to go to milliiondollarcollar.com. You can connect with me on LinkedIn or send me an email at Rob@milliondollarcollar.com. I am happy to help anybody that is true to building a business. The one thing that I have learned from the mentors that I've had is if you're going to waste my time or use my time don't waste it. Mentors if they've gotten to a level of success they bought time and time is the most important thing to those guys. They want to help people, I've been very fortunate in the paths that I've crossed.
Like I said I like to stack opportunities and put myself in situations where things can go in my favor. I've always asked for help and I've never let those guys down, I'm willing to follow through. One of my closest friends and advisors was an original founder of Expedia.com and he to this day ... I just know you guys hustle, he watches Linda and I, he watches how hard we work and if we come to him and say hey we're struggling with this what do you think? It doesn't fall on deaf ears, we follow through and say we tried that out this is what happened what do yo think about that? Then it's a conversation.
Linda, my wife is an amazing Hollywood stunt woman and she got to where she was so fast because she met people that had been doing it and they said go do this and she would come back and say, "I did that, now what?" They'd be like, damn nobody ever does what I say. So now they are more willing to introduce. Our friend who started Expedia is willing to introduce me to anybody because he knows that I'm not going to one embarrass him, two I'm not going to make a fool of myself and three I'm going to follow through whatever I say I'm going to do with that person he introduces me to. You've got to find... I'm a big Grant Cardone fan and he says your network is your net worth.
If you hang around with my soccer friends and knuckleheads that weren't doing business. I was a poor kid in a really rich community and those kids didn't have to do anything then, they didn't have to worry about anything, I had to share a bedroom with my 12 year old sister when I was in high school because that is all we could afford and walk to school.
I was around people, my mom made us live in that neighborhood because she wanted us to be around people that were successful and you can either fall down the rat trap of they're a rich and they get to do this, and they get to go out to lunch everyday. We had open lunch at my high school. I packed a lunch because I couldn't afford to go spend $5 a day, my mom couldn't afford for me to go spend $5 bucks a day going to lunch. These kids are all going to these restaurants and I would walk around with my jacket with a banana in one pocket and a soda in another and a sandwich in another pocket and a granola bar in another pocket. I would just sit and eat while these kids are all dining on all this stuff and it was... you can fall down that trap and say poor me, or oh is me or say I want that. If I am going to have kids, I want that for my kids.
We sacrificed, we lost a lot of friends over the years because we would do the work on our... we had a commercial building, we renovated it. I renovated my house from the studs up and redid everything. It takes time to do that, I would go and spend that time, I would rather do that then go out and party and spend all my money on booze. Did I miss out on some laughs, sure.
In the long run, we're living a pretty good life because of the sacrifices that we've made so far and I don't think enough people are willing to sacrifice, they feel like they're going to miss out on all these things. you'll find people who are successful that are just as fun to hang out with that share your mindset. It's better to find people that love who you really are or who are like you really are then to try fake being somebody who you're really not.
Ronnie: Absolutely, absolutely. I totally agree with that, I think it's something about the guy. I heard it once a while back, it's something about the guy who had to come up on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches then the guy who had steaks for dinner. it's something like the story with the journey, it gives it that IT factor. It's kind of hard to explain but those humble beginnings I think, sometimes they can propel you or most of the time they should propel you. Hopefully they will always propel you, you know what I mean?
Rob: You never know what somebody's going through. We like to laugh at me and my brother and my sister about having beanies and weenies 3 nights a week. How do you feed a family of three kids on $4? Is 2 cans of beans and some hot dogs in a casserole dish.
Ronnie: Oh beanies and weenies, oh franks and beanies.
Rob: But that's what we ate, that's what we had. My dad built a business from nothing in my lifetime to $35 million dollars a year in revenue. It started with a loan from my grandpa of $700. There were some very, very tough times in there. Me being the oldest I didn't get jack growing up because we had nothing and as my younger sister is coming up oh I can lend you some money to buy a car for high school, sure you need a car to go to college. What, what??? I had to pay for a third of my college, he's paying for all of their colleges.
We did live from nothing to success in this lifetime and so we know what it's like to have nothing and I know what it's like to have something. I will tell you what, busting my butt and losing a couple of friends to have what my dad's built and recreate that in this generation, now he can do everything he wants. I was able to finally give him a gift that he can't get for himself. That's what it's all about for me.
Ronnie: What are some of the things that you think that you might have missed? I see that it also reminds me of delayed gratification. So what is something... because a lot of people just want to have a good time, right now, like I need it now. Some things, like some real things like hey my buddy's having a party, I can't make it. What are some things that you know that you missed but oh well?
Rob: I think the biggest thing is travel. My wife and I have never really been on a trip where it is 6 or 8 friends that get together and go on a trip together. We travel by ourselves and that's only more recently but we've never really done that. Once or twice we can go out and have a great time and spend a couple hundred bucks and do the club thing. That really is not our scene, we're really homebodies. My business partner does these crazy bachelor parties in Vegas and spends 10 grand at the pool and cabanas. I just don't think I have missed out on it, it's just a thing that they do. I just don't think I have missed out on that because it's not really....
I'm building a pool in my backyard so I can have parties anytime I want. I am building Vegas right here.
Ronnie: Vegas is coming to me, bring Vegas to you. Are you going to have gambling back there and everything too?
Rob: No, that's the other thing man I work way too hard to gamble my money on. They didn't build Vegas on winners, they built Vegas on losers and I am not... I've gone there a couple of times and lost 2, 3, $400 bucks and felt this is freakin stupid, I am out, nope.
Ronnie: I want you all to know that Rob is in Atlanta, Georgia, he can't gamble in his backyard. So, no there will be no gambling in his backyard just so you guys know.
Rob: We're going to put in a volleyball court, get all kinds of things going on, a barbecue , can't wait for my big old barbecue.
Ronnie: I'm lovin' it Rob and I'm lovin' those collars man. Any final thoughts or anything? Before we let you go, oh we do have a question that we like to dive into because I want to be respectful of your time. I could keep going, we're all scripted, I had a couple of questions written down but I'm just going. I want to use this time to absorb as much info that I can. You don't always get an opportunity to speak with someone who has built businesses, who has the experience, who is in the direction that you are propelling yourself.
Someone once told me to point yourself in the right direction and keep moving forward. I still know that time is your most valuable asset and I like how you mentioned earlier that your wife would get some advice, go do it and then say what now, what's next? They are like whoa you're actually doing it. So I am not rushing anything like that but I want to let people know that hey man we have Rob Kessler in the building, Million Dollar Collar, and today we got him. What do you do for fun in your down time, if there's any?
Rob: You know what we rented in Los Angeles for the last 5 1/2 years, moved to Georgia on a total whim. Sometimes it's just do and then think later. My wife was here for 7 weeks working on a Marvel thing here in Georgia and I said look we have to get out of California, the taxes and policies are just insane, let's move.
She found a house on Feb 28th, we had an accepted offer on March 1st we closed on March 11th and I was in a truck driving our stuff from Los Angeles on March 14th. So within 2 weeks of deciding to wrap up everything in Los Angeles, 2 dogs, in the truck, moving to Georgia. Now we own a house. My down time is making this house our dream home. So, I built a little shop in the garage. I've been buying all the tools again.
I literally get all my stuff done for Million Dollar Collar and goTIELESS that I need to in a day and... I like to say I traded in my 50 foot zero turn yacht for a 61 inch zero turn mower because I have five acres. Once a week I'm out there for 3, 4 hours cutting the grass. We're building a deck and doing all this stuff around the house and trying to... My down time is to make this house our dream home. Other than that we don't do downtime. We go and go and go until it's 10 or 11 o'clock at night and it's like crash. Get some sleep and start over and do it all over again. I like having multiple things on the plate.
I have Million Dollar Collar. I have to concentrate on that, I have the boat that I have to concentrate on. So, if I had to do the same thing all day, every day, the same business it would just get, it just wouldn't be any fun for me. I like having my hands in a bunch of different things.
Ronnie: Right, right. Just keep moving forward, I'm lovin' it. Any final thoughts you want to leave people anything you want them to go check this out?
Rob: You can do it, you can do it! You can absolutely do anything, this is the greatest country in the world, opportunity is everywhere. You're going to hear a thousand no's, I've heard 10 thousand no's on a product that makes... If I can talk to you everybody is like this should be in every shirt, this is the greatest product ever. You go and talk to a brand and they're like nope.
Look, everybody has adversity, everybody has challenges, focus on the solutions and make whatever life you want. Look, go to Million Dollar Collar if people are interested, go check it out and if not they're not and hopefully they get a piece of advice that works and helps them out. I've been fortunate in my life but again I have put myself in situations where I have to.
Ronnie: And just kept going.
Rob: Yeah, I was near death. I was ready to drive, we lived on the bluffs in Milwaukee and I could have driven a car right off the bluff and called it when I was 16 or 17 years old. It was rough and... You only get one shot at this life.
Ronnie: You said you... is that something you were attempting to do. I didn't catch that because the audio cut out.
Rob: I wasn't attempting, it crossed my mind, I had some rough times. The one person in my life that I wanted to have love and support from I wasn't even talking to because I was battling so badly. It was really rough with my dad and I and I am not a sob story but you know what everybody's got something going on in their life that they can use to hold in front of them. I got to a point I was going to change my name because I was so distraught over our relationship.
Rob: As a legacy I'm the third, I am Robert Richard Kessler, III. It is really rough thank God I had a really great step dad and my mom was always there and things worked out but I just. For me to give up, it's not really a thing for me and I'm insanely stubborn when it comes to that so I just couldn't do it. I couldn't imagine. Of course it crossed my mind, and I think it is kind of weird if there's somebody out there... If anybody out there never crossed anybody's mind ever in their life I think it's... I can't relate to that because it crossed my mind a couple of times.
Ronnie: That is heavy but like you said you lose when you give up. I really admire that about you. That is something I am really taking away from this experience because being fully transparent we're still growing, I'm still developing, I'm still getting better as far as extracting that genius inside of everyone. Yeah, man. Just thank you. I'm really grateful.
Rob: It was great. I don't like the scripted stuff the same old questions. Find out where the conversation goes, you're going to get a lot more authentic message from people. You're really good at asking questions, I could never do a podcast. I can answer questions all day and when people talk to me and say how do you do this, how do you do that? I can answer that but I don't think about the right questions to ask people and it is a gift to be able to do that. So just ask questions and stay in the moment and I think you're going to have a great podcast, there's no question.
Ronnie: Thank you Rob. Thank you so much. I really appreciate this, I really appreciate you coming up here and sharing your expertise. My audience appreciates it and I am just grateful. Thank you.
Rob: I love sharing it and teaching is the best way to learn. It reminds me sometimes to do some of the things that I preach. It brings it back up. I am happy to be here, if anybody has any questions, reach out, I'm happy to assist if I can. Go do it man, change the world or change your neighborhood, or change your block or change your house. Every little bit helps.
Ronnie: Right, right and you can find him at firstname.lastname@example.org