NOTE FROM VICTOR: This is a guest article from Steve at Red Supplements.
Steve was originally a B&D intern who finagled a permanent paid position at the Red Supplements company and now maintains complete freedom to live his daily life as he pleases.
Here, there is no time-clock to punch, there is no Human Resources department, there is no “board” to answer to, there are no horrible fluorescent lights, and there is no sitting in traffic.
In this collection of companies, B&D and Red etc., we simply follow our gut instincts.
And my gut instinct says it is time to give the readers a peak behind the scenes of a successful and independent online company.
In upcoming editions of this series entitled the Red Letter, you will learn what it's actually like to run a company – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Before we get too deep into the specifics of running a business, let's learn who the characters are.
I'd like to let Steve introduce himself to you…
RED LETTER #1
My Internship with Victor Pride
It was January in Vietnam.
Victor and I had a meeting set up in a local cafe in the middle of Ho Chi Minh City.
It was hot and muggy as I walked into a local coffee shop where I grabbed an herbal tea.
Victor and I had both decided that caffeine was terrible for you and we were experimenting living a new lifestyle that did not include coffee or caffeine in it.
It wasn’t my favorite experiment.
After walking up the stairs of the coffee shop I turn to go to our usual table and surprise, surprise, Victor is already there hammering away at his keyboard on his laptop.
I sit down and we start talking about Red Supplements in the new year…
Having worked for Red Supplements for around 6 months at that point, I was finally starting to get into a solid groove.
Victor had spent the better part of the past year teaching me everything that I needed to know—in business, life, writing, traveling, and more.
Now it was time to switch things up.
“It’s time for you to introduce yourself, Steve.” he said to me. “It’s time that the Red customers know who is writing these emails and it’s time to switch up how you write these emails.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
Up until this point I was sending out emails almost every single day, Monday through Sunday.
Most emails were shorter (less than 500 words) and were either new blog articles or blatant direct response sales pitches for our products.
Sales were up but our email list was getting ravaged by unsubscribes.
“It’s time to stop being so pushy and start being more helpful.” Victor said. “What is the purpose of Red Supplements, Steve?” He asked.
“To help people.” I replied.
“Exactly. To help people. Everything we do, every product we put out, every blog post, everything comes down to that simple fact. Red exists to help people become the best versions of themselves. So that is what we are going to focus on.” Victor replied.
“Every time from now on when you send out an email I want you to ask yourself that simple question. Does this email help people? If yes, send it out. If no, delete it and start over again. As long as we stick to that simple idea—we can’t lose.”
From Working a 9-5 to Running Red Supplements…
I had graduated college and quickly gotten a marketing job at a high-growth, venture-backed tech startup in NYC.
It was a great experience and I valued my time there, but soon left in the fall to go work for another startup company.
This one offered me my own marketing department to run.
I was working at an established Startup company helping to run their marketing department.
It was everything that I thought I had wanted but something was missing.
The people at the company were great but it was a typical 9-5 office job and it was slowly draining the life from my very eyes.
Something was wrong.
I was doing everything that I should be super happy about but I couldn’t stop feeling like I was trapped.
Everyday driving to and from work I would listen to podcasts by successful entrepreneurs, searching for a way out…
Then Victor Pride released his book New World Ronin and started doing the Full Color Godcast…
…and everything changed.
To me, New World Ronin was a life changer.
Reading that book opened my eyes to the possibility of more, the path of greatness, the Goddess named Destiny.
I devoured that book and I listened to the Full Color Godcast every single day.
I kept telling myself, over & over, “I am destined for greatness. I am destined to do more with my life.”
Then the opportunity presented itself.
Victor held a barbecue-meetup at a park in Los Angeles…
THE B&D BBQ
“A date with Destiny.”
It was an opportunity to meet with Victor Pride himself as well as the other B&D Followers who also wanted to get the most out of life.
I bought a plane ticket & a room to stay in immediately.
I was all in.
Fast forward a few weeks and I’m flying across the country to go to Los Angeles.
But I wasn’t just flying in blindly.
Over the previous weeks leading up to the B&D BBQ, I had a realization…
I created a mission for myself.
I was going to become Victor Pride’s next apprentice.
I would do whatever it takes.
The day of the BBQ arrived.
Nervous, excited, and with a mission in my mind I went.
It was incredible.
There were so many great guys there just excited about life, talking about the projects they were working on, the goal’s they’ve hit, and their plans for the future.
The energy in the air was infectious.
Victor was on from the moment he got there, talking to everyone, signing books, giving advice.
Another famous and successful author dropped by for a bit to sign some books, talk, and hangout with everyone.
The entire time I waited for my moment.
Then, when the party was winding down and we had gone from around 50-60 people to 5 or 6 people and the sun had set, I seized my opportunity.
As we were all heading for our cars to leave I caught up with Victor and asked if he was looking into hiring a new apprentice.
I was locked in, answering all of his questions and trying to stay cool as my heart rate exploded.
It ended with him telling me to put together a proposal and send it to him sometime the next week.
My foot was in the door. I was not going to miss out on this opportunity.
For the next 3 months Victor and I emailed back and forth periodically.
Victor would give me a task to do and I would work on it from the minute I got home from work until the minute I passed out in bed.
He was testing me and I was not going to fail.
Eventually this lead to him inviting me back out to Los Angeles for an in-person interview.
Long story short, the weekend long interview worked out really well.
It wasn’t a normal interview like you would expect.
Living an unconventional life lends itself to doing unconventional things.
I basically just hung out with Victor and helped him brainstorm stuff and work on various projects for the entire weekend.
Looking back on it, I realize now that it was much more than a simple job interview.
It was a character-interview.
It was a test to see if I had what it takes to live the unconventional life that most people dream about.
Also it was a test to see if I could handle actually being Victor’s apprentice— working with Victor everyday.
Most people can’t.
I remember flying into LA I was determined not to leave until I had the job offer locked down.
I was literally prepared to skip my flight home and continue to prove to Victor why I was worthy for the opportunity if at first he said no.
That’s the determination you need to succeed in this business.
It paid off.
I got the job.
That week I put in my 2-weeks notice at my job and 3 weeks after my interview, I packed my bags, said goodbye to friends and family and moved to LA.
The first month I lived in LA with Victor there were three of us. Me, Victor, and our camera operator for Full Color Godcast episodes.
It was an experience unlike anything I had ever had before.
Days of the week stopped having meaning.
Everyday was Saturday.
You could do anything you wanted, whenever you wanted—the world became your playground.
You worked every single day.
But it wasn’t like going to a job.
Your work was your life and your life was your work.
They were one and the same.
So it was impossible to not be working.
It was both the easiest thing in the world and the hardest thing in the world at the same time.
Looking back, I remember having epiphanies about life and business and the molding of the two daily.
Now, I can’t think of any other way of living.
After the first month of living in LA, Victor got tired of the USA and decided it was time to move back to Vietnam/Thailand.
So off we went.
That may sound crazy.
Just decide to move to Thailand?
Who does that?
Victor does that.
And as his apprentice, I followed his lead.
Soon after getting to Asia, Victor decided that it was time to shut down the Full Color Godcast.
Since my original job was being the producer of the Full Color Godcast I was suddenly left kind of aimless about what to do next.
So, Victor told me to start learning how to run Red Supplements…
For 9 months I worked alongside Victor nearly every single day.
Working on Red Supplements, learning the business, and living the location-independent lifestyle.
We lived mostly in Thailand and Vietnam, bouncing around from city to city, staying for weeks or a month at a time before packing our bags and moving to the next spot.
At the time I also traveled to China, South Korea, and Hong Kong with my girlfriend.
It was one of the hardest and most growth filled periods of my life.
Focusing on Red, I had to learn everything from the ground up:
- How to write emails that sell
- How to create sales pages
- How to work with manufacturers
- How to create new products
- How to run warehouses
- How to hire business professionals
- How to do customer service
The list goes on and on.
The coolest part to me was and still is, that Red Supplements is a completely remote operation.
The entire company is run through laptops and can be managed from anywhere in the world.
From the hustle & bustle of New York City or LA to the jungles of Vietnam or mountains of northern Thailand.
“You can be as powerful as a tidal wave or as insignificant as a tear drop.”
The choice is yours (but back to our story…).
After 9 months I completed my apprenticeship with Victor.
I was now getting paid a monthly salary to run Red Supplements and I was free to travel the world as I saw fit.
Oh, I forgot to mention, for the 9-months that I was Victor’s apprentice I was an unpaid intern.
Didn’t expect that, did you?
It was alright though, Victor paid for all of my living & travel expenses—so I wasn’t going into debt to survive or anything like that.
But that’s a good question to ask yourself…
Are you willing to give up nearly a year’s salary to live the life that you always dreamed about?
Back to the story…
I now had a newfound freedom to live anywhere I want and the money to do so (in most parts of Asia at least).
So I traveled.
I traveled and lived in various cities in China, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Japan.
Fast forward to now and I’m back in the States, resetting my roots after being a vagabond all over Asia for the past 2 years.
While I love traveling and I will always travel for the rest of my life…
Doing such extensive traveling showed me the importance of having a home base in your home country to go home to.
Being homeless and living in a constant flux of hotels and changing cities or countries every couple of weeks or months is incredible…
But also incredibly draining after you do it for long enough.
And from a business perspective, I find it very difficult to do much growth when you’re constantly on the move.
You have to be in the right headspace to perform at your best, you have to be comfortable and you have to be consistent.
Put in the work, every single day, consistently, for weeks or months at a time…
That’s how you grow.
After all these years I’ve finally come to realize the importance of staying still.
I've learned why it’s important to build a solid foundation upon which everything else can expand outwards from.
Now it’s 2020 and with perfect vision I’ve finally completed that foundation, right here at home.
(It’s really nice to have a home to come back to everyday and a home office to work from instead of internet cafes.)
With this solid foundation in place now, the plan is to put most of that concentrated energy/focus directly into Red Supplements to help make YOU the best you can be.
We at Red Supplements, which is myself and Victor and one or two others, have got BIG plans for this year.
And with these letters we will bring you along for the ride.
That’s it for now!
I hoped you enjoyed reading the first Red Letter as much as I enjoyed writing it for you.
Stay tuned for the next edition which will be coming to you soon.
PS – I usually send out 4 or 5 emails a week on the Red Supplements Email newsletter. If you want to hear from me more often, just sign up!