09 Dec How To Find Creative Solutions For Your Clients With Wesley Earp
There’s nothing new under the sun. So if you want to attract the right clients, you need to find creative solutions. Matthew Sullivan welcomes Wesley Earp, the Founder of WEInvested. Wesley shares with Matthew about the different creative endeavors he engaged in, from blogging to podcasting. The key is consistency. You need to put energy into your future goals and plans every day. Discover simple strategies on how to find creative solutions for your clients. Tune in!
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HOW TO FIND CREATIVE SOLUTIONS FOR YOUR CLIENTS WITH WESLEY EARP
Wesley Earp, welcome to the show.
Thank you so much for having me. It’s an honor to be here.
You are the Founder and CEO of WEInvested, which is this conglomerate comprising of books, blogs, podcasts, investing information, social media and digital consultancy. Is that a rough estimate of the approximation of what you set up?
That’s a great explanation of what I do and during COVID, I started at ATM business as another branch or arm of WEInvested as well.
Does that mean you have an ATM in your front room if people walk past your house and need cash?
Not quite in the front room, but we place them strategically in certain businesses that could use the cash and like being paid in cash.
That’s quite a good business because this is where you see ATMs in corner shops, liquor stores and things like that. Is it a good business and do people use those a lot?
It’s a great business to be in. It’s a great cashflow in business and it has a great ROI.
When you say it’s cashflowing, does that mean you go in and empty the machine every week? You don’t get to keep the cash that’s in the machines, presumably.
How it works is you have to initially fund it. You have to put your starting amount in there. How I get paid or how I receive my payment is through the transaction fees. Most ATM transaction fees are around $3. I may get 250 swipes in a month and you multiply that by $3 that’s what I get to take home. The initial cash is constantly recycled into the machine.
Where does that cash come from? Who stuffs the machines with Benjamins in the first place?
That would be me.
In my case, it would be, “I’m sorry, this ATM is permanently out of order unless you want to get more than $10 out.”
It’s something that I do pretty much weekly or twice a week.
Once someone’s taken all of your money out, where’d you get the money from to put it back in again? Does the bank recycle the money and send you a wire or something?
Find creative solutions for your clients.
Each day that I get a swipe, the money is then put back into my business bank account the next day. It’s immediately replaced. I go to the bank, withdraw the money and do it all over again.
Presumably, you have to have a bullet-proof armored car instead of your normal station wagon parked outside your house.
I like to try to switch up my schedule.
Is there a small print on this stuff, which says, “Please follow these instructions?” Number one, you have to sign agreements with store owners to put these ATM machines in and that’s fine because they get a cut. What’s in it for them? Do they get a cut of your swipes or do they have people that have cash?
There are multiple benefits for people. They do receive a cut and I marketed it as your business can receive passive income. It also boosts foot traffic and adds convenience for the customers so they don’t have to try to figure out where the nearest ATM machine is to get their services.
This would be good for things like marijuana businesses and typically businesses that get paid in cash and can only take cash.
It would be great for that and that’s where I’m hoping to expand to. Most marijuana businesses have preordained partnerships with specific companies.
I was going to say they already figured it out.
I have to get a little more creative and look for smaller businesses that may not yet have established partnerships.
I suppose there’s a way for the business because if the business is paid in cash, as opposed to being paid in credit cards, they save 3% or 4% on their credit card transaction fees.
It’s a win-win situation for everyone, the business, myself and as well as the client.
That adds up if you’ve got these stores that are doing lots of small transactions where that 4% makes a big difference, doesn’t it? There are all these small prints. You got to stuff it with your own money. Do you find yourself emptying or safer to try and get those extra few dollars to fill it up and also the risk of having to go to the bank and pulling out $500,000 or something every day?
The amounts aren’t quite that big yet. I’m hopeful for that to reach that stage one day. I’ve been saving money for a while. When the pandemic came, I had this nest egg waiting to deploy to be invested to be able to grow my wealth.
It’s like all these things that you take for granted, like ATM machines, but you have no idea how it works and how they are magically filled up. There must be some ATM fairy that flies around at night with a big bag of cash or something. Obviously, that’s not the case.
Even if I’m standing right next to the ATM machine, people won’t suspect me to be its owner.
When we last spoke, one could see these entrepreneurial cogs spinning. Tell me about WEInvested and what you’re working on there?
WEInvested is a financial literacy media group that I started in 2017. I graduated from college with my undergrad in Trust and Wealth Management in North Carolina, which is where I’m originally from. I received a job offer in Las Vegas. Once I got to Las Vegas, that’s when I started seeing real money, real wealth and that flashy lifestyle.
Can I ask you a question? If someone offers you a job in Las Vegas, does it take you, A) One second to agree? B) Half a second to agree or, C) Instant agreement?
It took me a few moments because I didn’t know how my family would feel and I’d never been away from home at that point. Once I got to Vegas in 2017, I started REITs and notes. I already went to school for Trust and Wealth Management. I had a pretty good base knowledge, but I wanted to learn how to invest, start businesses, grow my own wealth and not just help clients grow their wealth or manage the wealth that they’ve already grown or amassed. I started reading and searching. The more I read, the more YouTube videos I watched and podcasts I listened to, I realized that I feel like I can do this too because this is all information that I’ve learned and I’m seeing it daily.
You’re in two different worlds because it’s a highly regulated industry if you’re an investment advisor or a wealth manager. You’re having to talk to people in a way you’ve got fiduciary responsibilities, and you’ve got to look at them on the basis of what happens if this all goes wrong? It’s the antithesis almost of an entrepreneurial approach, which is ready, fire, aim. What’s been most interesting for you having a foot in two opposing camps?
The WEInvested side has more freedom and I can be a little bit more creative. Both sides allow me to be creative and find creative solutions for clients, but on the WEInvested side is talking, teaching and educating people about the basics of finance and how to take those baby steps to get to where you want to be, which is ultimately financial freedom.
How uneducated do you think the average person is when it comes to finances?
I think the average person, especially where I’m from in the South, is not taught about these subjects about basic investment accounts and broker accounts.
With all the people you’ve spoken to and all of the clients you have, do you see this common thread of lack of information and education?
It’s a common thread. You could have one generation we’re the entrepreneurs, but the money passes down to their grandchildren and their grandchildren may have no idea about how to manage money, do a budget or anything related to finances.
You see various apps and things like that on how to manage your money, but it all seems very nickel and dime, “If you save an extra $0.20 a day by not buying your Starbucks.”
I’m still old school. I handwrite my budget every time I receive any type of check and I’ve been doing that for several years now. It’s an awesome thing because I can flip through the pages to see how I progressed and how much I’ve learned since I got started.
The cost of buying red pens was so expensive, where there’s no black ink anywhere on this, but soon, one day, these investments will bear fruit. Is that your foundation? Tell me more about it because there are so many different pieces within it.
WEInvested originally started out as a blog. I was blogging once a week, not understanding the importance of consistency and being more on top of it. I was getting my feet wet. As I progressed throughout the business, I decided to, “Let me take it to audio. Let me start podcasts and try to get the same information across, but in a different format because I feel that people like to listen more than they like to read.” It grew into a podcast. We started releasing YouTube videos and eBooks.
It’s crucial to be consistent and be on top of your game.
It is how I wrote my first eBook. It was comprised of most of the blogs that I did in 2017. I put them all together, polished it up and in 2020, I finally put out an eBook of those blogs to repurpose that same content that we’ve been sitting on for three years. The most exciting thing to me is doing these podcasts, interviewing new people, expanding my network, learning about different ways to make money, and learning about different ways to successfully run a business and utilize technology. That’s the most exciting thing to me.
These four critical steps are blog, podcast, video and eBook. Each of those is a huge step in its own right. What leaps out of the page here is your ability to do stuff as opposed to plan stuff. Many people say, “I’m going to do a podcast,” or “I’m going to write a book,” or “I’m going to start this blog stuff.” What are the big challenges that you must have faced the same as everyone else, but you’ve overcome those? Let’s focus on podcasting, for example, because we both appear to be on a podcast.
Some of the biggest challenges were all mental for me. They were all inner challenges, for the most part. Having those initial doubts like, “Will anybody care and listen to it? Would people gravitate towards it? Will they understand what I’m trying to do?” What helped me get over that hump or that mental block was that I enjoy doing this without people knowing it. I like doing research and reading finance books, even if I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it. It will be something that I would do, whether people were paying attention or I was getting paid for it or not. I was going to always study and I wanted to know as much as possible about finances. Once I got over that roadblock, it took off and I felt the freedom to be able to be as creative as possible.
It is a very important point because if you’re doing stuff for an audience, you’ve got to try and guess what that audience is? The problem is you end up being someone that you’re not. Many people I speak to talk about this concept of genuineness, vulnerability, and horrible nastiness. Do you think that was the key to say, “I am, who I am? If I get feedback, that’s great.” Does that follow through with some of the other stuff that you were doing?
That was certainly the case. I would watch YouTube videos and out here from the South, you can get intimidated about your accent or about the slang that you use, but I felt I had to be true to myself and authentically deliver the message, as you said. I feel like the people who are meant to hear my content and see my content will gravitate towards it. The right people will find it.
This links to this concept of fear of failure as well because that’s a critical component in building a successful business is knowing that you’re probably going to get it horribly wrong at some point. It’s like what you’re doing with the ATMs because you could be sitting now on one side saying, “This is too risky. All of my money is out there. I’m not a bank. I’ve never done this before.” What drives you to say, “Let’s get the shovel dirty. Let’s do it.” Is that your approach?
Yes, that’s definitely my approach. What drives me is the freedom of passive income and knowing what type of life you can live if you set yourself up early on. Another thing is legacy in helping people. I wanted to help people in any way possible. I want to be remembered as somebody that helped people, cared about his community and the community that I’ve built. I care about people that I want to help. I didn’t want to be the only one that knew about investing. I wanted to share it with all my friends and family.
I think from my perspective, for example, what drives me is creativity and just doing stuff. That feeds my soul. Does that play a role in what you’re doing, do you think?
I’ve always been a creative individual. When I was younger, I formed a rock band. I’m a huge Jimi Hendrix fan. By the age of fifteen, I got a band together and we had our first performance at my high school talent show. It has a video on YouTube if anybody wants to check it out, but creativity is something that’s always been inside of me.
I hear what you say about passive income and legacy, but I think those are byproducts of what drives us because I’m always trying to figure out what is that thing? Where is the spark and where does it come from? In my case, it’s this desire to build things. Are those the bars that you got when you created WEInvest because you see it grow from one thing, like the blog to the podcast? Does each one of those wins help you build on to the next level?
It motivated me to keep going because it’s something special about seeing something go from zero, start from nothing to now. I have loyal listeners that want to tune in every week and they care about what I’m saying. Seeing the growth is like a different level of pride, accomplishment, and satisfaction in seeing things grow from nothing.
There is a strange sense of inevitability about certain things you see or certain people you meet. There is that aura about you as well, even though we are conducting this over at electronic means, but one gets that sense of inevitability that something cool will happen with this person. I think we’re at the beginning of the journey here, so what’s the big plan? It’s fascinating because I know it’s going to happen.
The plan is to keep expanding and to stay consistent. I have a podcast where I interview business owners and entrepreneurs, but I’m also working on a podcast to keep expanding the media conglomerate, as you say, just to keep creating. In my longer-term goals, I want to use all of this experience and what I call a living resume as a means to get started in private equity. That’s my real goal and that’s where I feel the real wealth is. It is in private equity and ownership. I’m using this platform to help me elevate to the next level and build a living resumé.
It’s interesting because private equity, all of these things are highly regulated. The last time we spoke, you were quite excited. We were talking about blockchain and cryptocurrency, which is a private equity, but not because it’s the antithesis of private equity. It’s deregulated, distributed and non-centralized. Is that an area that you’re naturally drawn towards into these new technologies and these emerging markets?
I love staying ahead of the curve and staying in touch with the latest technology. I purchased a few NFTs, Non-Fungible Tokens with the hopes of it appreciating and bringing in passive income. I’m very in tune with cryptocurrencies, NFTs and FinTech, the entire space where that’s headed.
If we draw our Venn diagram of the fact that you’ve got the schooling in Finance but you’re working within this old-fashioned dusty regulated industry, but you’re on the inside looking out, so you’ve got that knowledge and media. Is there a breakout where you think that you can leverage? I think I’m probably asking the same question, but what’s the timing on this? When’s the rocket ship going to be taking off?
I can’t give an exact date or the time. In my mind, I understand that you have to put in your 10,000 hours, which pretty much equates to ten years. I’m willing and prepared to do this for ten years or more to get my podcasts on a national level, nationally heard. I want to be in a position where I can branch out and do more deals, get involved in other things finance-related or maybe get that private equity firm started. I feel like the podcast, making these connections and building these relationships will help eventually become that rocket ship or building blocks to get to that next level.
You mentioned consistency a few times. What does that mean to you and why is it important?
Consistency is a moving target for me because it originally started out as, “Let me make one post a week.” As I continued to do it, I got used to it and got comfortable with it. Now I try to do three posts a day, every day, and a podcast every week. As I continue to progress and learn more, consistency for me means doing it daily. Putting some energy towards my future goals and plans every day.
You got people that will do a podcast now. When they feel like it, they’ll do a blog post. Why do you think it’s important to have this consistency?
It’s important to have consistency because the operation speed is very important when you’re a single person.
It’s not a trick question. Consistency is a critical component because if you set people up and start delivering good content, people want more. If it’s not there on the Thursday morning when they’re looking forward to it, it’s a bit like when you’re looking for the next episode of Billions and you realize it’s going to be on hold for the next seven months because of COVID. It’s like, “What am I going to do now?” You’re probably getting customer questions all the time saying, “When’s the next episode?”
It’s a great feeling that people are interested, but consistency is important in building trust with your community and the people around you. It’s a great way to build trust pretty much for free. All you have to do is stay consistent and they’ll know they can count on you to drop some content that’ll expand their mind or help them look at life a little differently.
The trouble is, how do you keep finding new content? This turned into a bit of a how-to with podcasts because you can do a podcast where you go through the same prices every week. Tell us about your background and tell us how did you come up with that idea? To try and find those nuggets, you’ve got to get involved with that person. That’s where this whole idea about the genuineness and rather than asking them a series of questions. Is that something that you’ve felt and find that drives you on as well?
There have been times where I felt like I was going through a block and that happens to everybody, but for me personally, to get myself out of that block, slump or whatever it may be, I like to read and watch other podcasters and pull ideas from them. I like to travel and get inspiration from everything around me. I try to pull from what’s around me and I feel like that helps me become more creative as well because you’re trying to do different things and see what the people gravitate towards the most. I never put too much emphasis on one certain piece of content or one thing. I keep doing it. You check the analytics and see, “People liked this. Let me try to do a little bit more of that if I can.”
Is that though the pathway to ruin, do you think? Should you say, “Forget about the analytics. This guy’s interesting.”
I feel like it could be either way. Doing what you like and what you love is what will keep you going and keep that longevity. At the same time, you have to have that business acumen is there to want to grow it at some point. It’s a mix of both. It’s like your favorite artist. You like the music that’s on the album, but they have to have that one song for the radio. They have to have that one radio hit. I look at it like that.
Jimi Hendrix, for example, was a complete set-out. That’s probably the greatest example of someone who was true to their art. It is fascinating because that needs to be accepted on one side and this drive to push the envelope. That area of discomfort is the place where most growth occurs. It is that feeling that anything can happen if you’re willing to dip your toe in that murky pool of nastiness, which is the discomfort of not knowing exactly what’s going to happen next.
It’s always like a fear of failure, like you said earlier, “Fear of embarrassment in public.” It’s like, “I don’t want to seem like a failure.” I feel like at my age too. At some moments, I do consider the outside thoughts a little too much, but I keep going.
It’s very challenging because it’s so tempting to conform, particularly in the space you’re in, a highly regulated industry. You’re probably surrounded by people who take a dim view of this entrepreneurial mindset, which will get you into trouble. How do you balance that? That takes a very strong character to be able to have fit in both camps.
Put energy towards your future goals and plans every day.
There are a lot of landmines that I try to avoid, but it’s a matter of educating myself and being upfront with myself and with the people that I’m working with. I let them know, “This is the person I am. This is what I’m interested in. I do this, but I also do this as well.” I’m like, “Try not to be one-dimensional.” It’s a thin line to walk, but somebody has to do it.
Where’s the break going to happen? What’s going to cause that? What’s going to make something happen where suddenly, overnight, everyone’s heard of Wesley?
I’m not quite sure. Sometimes that’s frustrating not knowing like, “When is my moment going to come?” It’s also fun because it’s like, “When is it going to be that big moment?” You never know what’s going to pop.
Is it that the investment that’s going to pop or is it you that’s going to not pop because that would be messy and expensive?
Let’s say, Joe Rogan, for instance. He signed a deal with Spotify for $100 million for his podcast. I look at it as maybe one day somebody will want to sign me for a podcast deal. If that never comes and never happens, I’m prepared to sign myself. I’m prepared to be my own sponsor. I’m counting on these investments to help me further myself. I feel like either way. Whether somebody comes in and saves me or I have to do it myself, I’m prepared for either route.
It’s a great strategy, but from the podcast side, it’s interesting because there is so much information out there and it’s publicly available. Who are the guests and how to contact them? One approach may be to follow in the footsteps of these people and interview the people that they interviewed. I think it would be quite compelling to be interviewed by someone who’s at the beginning of this with that feeling that this person is onto something great. Is that something that you’ve considered or is that a stupid idea?
I’m a huge fan of studying the blueprint of those who’ve gone before me who are successful. That’s pretty much how I started WEInvested. Looking and observing how other people did it. I was like, “If they can do it, I can do it too.”
That’s great because that’s true, but you can do it better. When one’s creating stuff, a lot of the time, you don’t invent things, you see things that other people have done and you improve on them. You create a better mousetrap. That’s a very solid approach to take.
There’s nothing new under the sun and that’s what I talk to people about like, “I’m not the first person to start a finance podcast, nor will I be the last.” I’m specifically me and we’re all individuals. We’re all made and how we are made as one person. Somebody may like my voice and gravitate towards or somebody may like what I said and how I said it a certain way. I’m going back to saying, “I feel like the right people will gravitate towards it when it’s time.”
I get that thing you are saying. As I said in the beginning, occasionally, one stumbles across things where you think, “I want to watch this because I think I know how this is going to play out and it’s all good.” Now is a good time to shift gears. I’m going to start asking you some of the quick-fire questions that I stole from somewhere else. The patent-pending Hooked on Startup’s quickfire round is, what is your favorite word?
Question number two is what is your least favorite word?
Question three is what are you most excited about right now?
The future and the opportunities. At this moment right now, I’m excited about this show because this is a new opportunity and you never know what it’s going to lead to in the future.
Number four is what turns you off right now?
There are a lot of things like time constraints.
Number five is what sound or noise do you love?
Not to sound pretentious or anything, but I like the way a money counter sounds.
Of course, you do because you probably got one of those, haven’t you? Number six is what sound or noise do you hate?
I’ve never thought about it before.
That’s quite all right. Probably the sound of the money machine when it goes silent because there’s no money there. Number seven, and you may plead the Fifth on this, what is your favorite curse word?
My favorite curse word would probably have to be the S word.
That’s good because I can then put a child-friendly symbol in my upload now. Question number eight is what profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Movie director or film production.
Question nine is what profession would you not like to attempt?
It’s similar, but I would not like to be an accountant or a CPA.
I feel so sorry for those guys because everyone has that same answer or most people. They’re much-maligned. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Here’s the final question. How do people get in touch with you? How do they find out more about you and WEInvested? How do they follow your progress and listen to your podcasts?
You can find my podcast on all streaming platforms and it is WEInvested Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcast. My website is WEInvestedOnline.com. We sell merchandise, books, clothes, everything you could think of, we have for sale. We’re like Walmart for finance. On social media, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram at @WEInvested.
Wesley, it’s been such a pleasure. I can’t wait to follow your progress and stay in touch. Thank you once again for being a guest on the show.
Thank you so much. I had a great time.