Ep. #1150 - How to Monetize Your Message
In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, Andrew Morgans and Cullen Stack, CEO of StackYourMessage, for a discussion on how to monetize your message. Learn from Cullen’s journey from earning millions at a young age to understanding the value of intellectual property. Plus, Andrew and Cullen share their thoughts on understanding and defining your message to monetize them.
Covered In This Episode
Creating content is critical to communicating with your audience, but it gains more value when you put it out there strategically. StackYourMessage helps you do that.
Andrew and Cullen kick off the conversation with Cullen’s experience in the army and how his father helped him get into entrepreneurship. Learn about Cullen’s journey from the military to paid media agency work and what keeps him busy in 2023. They discuss monetizing your message, learning from mistakes, and entrepreneurial advice to help get you through.
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- Cullen’s story (1:39)
- How Cullen’s military father helped him get into entrepreneurship (8:29)
- The danger of early success and enlisting in the army (15:32)
- Graduating from the military to impression-based discounts and coupons (22:17)
- Not knowing the value of IP (25:48)
- How he got started in paid media (27:39)
- Learning from mistakes (29:49)
- Understanding the value of intellectual property (31:50)
- How to monetize your message (41:38)
- What is Cullen excited about professionally and personally in 2023 (55:55)
Now I understood the value of my intellectual property. And I would take something small on the front for my ability and experience. And I would take a majority on the back based on my performance results if I can take you from an apartment and put you in your dream house. What’s that worth to you? Right. And so I started to position myself and play the game. And once I knew how to play the game, I started to win. I started to win. And I started to win because they’re winning because they didn’t have to go through the decade-plus of BS, right, to get there. Great. And I said, wow, okay, this is something. This is understanding your message, understanding yourself, understanding your skill set, and creating a product and service from it, which to this day, most of the world doesn’t understand.– Cullen Stack
I do, you know, a lot of speaking, a lot of free value, not quite the same offer at the end of the day. But I have found that if you just lead with value and service and try to do your best job the right way every time. It’s crazy. I can 100% agree with that statement. You know, you just do your best and put it out there. And the universe, the universe responds is a frequency thing, you know, it really is a frequency thing. And you just have to learn. I think whenever you’re on the right frequency, or you have, like, that light that shines, so to speak, you know that, right, shine. You attract blessings. You also attract leeches, you know, because they see you shine. So it’s just something that you have to take the good with the bad.– Andrew Morgans
Monetizing your message to me is what is your individual IP, your intellectual property of everything you’ve experienced in your life, personally and professionally, that has brought you to the present day now of who you are, what you do, and why you’re amazing. That can be a product or a service of any form of an offer, could be direct to consumer, can be disposable, could be a consumer good, right? It can be a good base product. It can be a service-based product. At the end of the day, most businesses are pouring their IP into that product or service, and they’re selling that IP as part of that product or service.– Cullen Stack
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Andrew Morgans 00:00
What’s up Hustlers? Welcome back. This is Andrew Morgans, founder of Marknology. Here’s today’s host of Startup Hustle, covering all things Amazon, ecom, startup entrepreneurship, you name it, we’re gonna get through all of it. Today’s guest and I, we’re gonna be talking about how to monetize your message. I think it’s a very relevant topic and something that a lot of influencers or people trying to build a brand don’t really understand how to monetize. They figured out the art, they figured out the content, but that monetizing is so, so important. So Cullen Stack, welcome to the show.
Cullen Stack 00:33
I appreciate it. I appreciate y’all having us. And super excited to be here.
Andrew Morgans 00:37
Yeah, before we jump right in a shout out to today’s sponsor, today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by Full Scale that I owe. Hiring software developers is difficult, Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably and has the platform to help you manage that team. Visit full scale.io to learn more.
Andrew Morgans 00:52
All right, Cullen. So, company StackYourMessage, message built right into that. I love that. Before we jump in exactly to just like, let’s get into the nitty gritty of how to monetize your message. I would love to know more about your story, like where it got started. Like when you found digital marketing, when you started learning to monetize your own message. Did you start immediately with this type of idea? Was it a lot of failures before anything you want to share? I think it’s best, like when we get to know who you are as, as best as we can. And then really take from that, why you’re doing what you’re doing. And I think that’s the best way to go. So talk to me about the early days of Cullen. You know, Did you always know you’re going to be an entrepreneur or in business or is that something kind of fell into?
Cullen Stack 01:39
Yeah, no, absolutely. I appreciate it, Andrew. So at a very young age, I was born into an active-duty military family. My father was in Korea at the time, where I was born. He was a Korean linguist military intelligence in the US Army. But I came to the States, I was nine months old, I lived on army bases, domestic and abroad till I was 14. At 14 years old, I was very, very fortunate that my dad said, Hey, if you want to leave team sports, and you want to learn golf–because my father played on the All Army golf team, and he was very, very good at that point for many decades — he said, I’ll make sure you have lessons. You know the etiquette, you know the game. Right? Before you ever play the game, you’re going to know the history of the game, you’re going to know how to play the game, and you gotta know how to respect the game.
Cullen Stack 02:30
So I learned a lot. I spent a whole summer day and night, bloody Blizzard, 14 years old, smacking balls, taking lessons chipping, putting. And then working at the driving range just so I could hit more balls because I was so obsessed with getting better and getting better and getting better. After that summer I played my first Junior Golf Tournament, my first round of golf in my life, I shot an ad. And I came home base. And for me, that was where the light bulb went on. I said, Well, if you practice something, and you practice to be great, and you’re literally devoted and obsessed, and you eat, sleep and drink, it doesn’t matter if it’s for weeks, months or years, you will be good. You possibly may be great, depending on what you think what you feel, and then what you put out into the world. I’m a big believer that everything is energy and attitude and frequency creates what what blessings will come right? natural ability is not a natural ability. You’ve created that ability by what you think what you feel right in that frequency and what you create. So fast forward. It was golf for me. I was very blessed to have that that Father and that support system in my life. And then I took that professionally 2001 I was the youngest professional caddy. I was single bad doubleback for caddy, through a company called caddy masters Incorporated. For those that know golf. They’re the creme de la creme when it comes to professional caddy certification. Right. So I was the youngest at the time in 2000. Well, really 99 is what it started 99 2000 to be certified, single bag double bag. Right and for caddy for those that are golf fans. And then I took it on the road I worked at a few golf courses in California. And when the opportunity came up, to jump on a bag for a qualifier for the Senior PGA Tour at one of my home tracks, Coyote Creek, right on the one on one in San Jose, California. In 2000 2001. I started to do a lot of these qualifiers. And then when people started making the cut and qualifying, right, they’re like, Hey, kid, like stay on my bag. Let’s do this tournament. So I earned some credibility on a few of these visa these events, these tournaments and the senior tour and was fortunate to meet every great golfer to walk the earth. It gave me a lot of confidence and not just my game, but in myself. I was blessed to obviously make a living from that for about eight months or so. And then I realized that hey, there’s a thing called school. I was actually a high school dropout A great turn, go to work. And for me it was, you know, it was fun. It was fun. So fast forward, I took dropping out of high school, being entrepreneurial and wanting to be more and do more, really just to support myself and help a family. I was a second of four kids, I was the oldest boy, I really just wanted to be a man. And I always knew at a young age that I would grow up, and I would do this. So I was I was blessed. I was fortunate that that develop that came about, and then from that was an opportunity to go play with the one athletes in Tallahassee, Florida. So I went to Tallahassee, to FSU. And I didn’t have a high school diploma. I was a teenager, 17 years old at the time, and was very good at golf. And so my parents positioned me on a golf course to train to continue to practice to continue to work, right. So I worked at a golf course, I practice at a golf course, I lived at a golf course. And then I had another job, actually picking up sales and appointment setting. And I started to learn the art of High Ticket Sales and appointment setting. And I’m not going to plug the company because because because I don’t want to plug any brand specifically. But I started to work for one of the most prominent home security system companies running a local branch. And I’m under the under the age of 18. At this time, right? So I have to get the thing my parents give me permission to work and, you know, do the whole thing. I ended up running a team in this particular security system, setting appointments for their outside sales reps, and I was the best within weeks. And I really give testament to the people, the training and the business acumen and the emotional intelligence that I was around for years, around my father, around people in the military and around the best golf courses and some of the best golfers in the world that poured into me. Right, that helped me become that person. You know, that helped me to have that emotional intelligence and that confidence. And I brought that into appointment setting. And, you know, I didn’t I didn’t like the job. But I like the almost $1,000 a week that I was making, right at 17 years old. And I was like, wow, I have a gift. I have a skill, right. And what I realized is that this thing called High Ticket Sales, direct sales, direct marketing is a thing. It’s a business. I’m a young teenager, you’re turning into a young adult time. So fast forward. Tallahassee is a party school was one of the best at the time, I started to invest my money and doing parties. The rest is history, I became one of the local go to promoters. I then the following year became successful enough where I had made an exorbitant amount of money for my age. And I said, Well, what am I going to do with it? And my dad said, government contractor, Business Development Director of ops for these big companies, you know, is teaching me and helping me and he’s like, Well, look, you do whatever you want with it. You can buy a car, you can go on vacations, you know, you can have a girlfriend, do whatever your heart’s content. But I recommend you find a business, you start a business properly, and you invest. Because earned income is one thing, but passive income is another. Right? So having a skill is one thing, but then also creating a team and creating a process. So I got into events and concerts. And then fast forward a year later, I helped brand activations before they were a thing on premise and off premise. I helped launch x,
Andrew Morgans 08:29
just for one second. I just want to I just want to ask them about your dad, if that’s all right. Yeah, you know, because hibersap Everyone has a dad as that’s their mentor as well, or that’s like, at least in business and like, you know, things like that. And your dad being a military guy. I think you mentioned being a fourth generation military or three generation military. Yeah, that’s a pretty is it three? Okay, so that’s a pretty, you know, this is the way we do things is the way we’ve always done things is when my dad did this, and my grandpa did, you know, for him to suggest finding a business and starting one to be an entrepreneur? To me seems like kind of opposite what I hear most dads that have gone down a career path and I went to this school, I went and did this, your cousin said this, your dad did this. You know, entrepreneurship is a very risky thing in a lot of ways. And maybe it was the confidence of seeing you already perform at such a high level at a young age, but I was I just wasn’t hearing that from you. Kind of just sparked my brain of just being like, Wow, what a dad you know, to kind of push you into that. I think it’s like at least I’m we’re around the same age. And, you know, I feel like fathers around that time were just a little bit more risk averse. You know, my dad was like, get that internship, go do this, like, you know, very methodical around telling me like I shouldn’t be doing these types of things. What’s your dad do in the military? Like, what kind of guy was he? To kind of push you so young and entrepreneurship?
Cullen Stack 09:57
Yeah, so my father was a Korean linguist. Military Intelligence went to Presidio DOI language school for those that know the military and the army, specifically out in Carmel Monterey Bay. And my dad worked on a team a very unique, specific and special team under the guardrail system out of Fort Huachuca, Arizona, that put the I won’t quote the details, but basically put some of the first UAVs and some of our, our very high, high speed as they call it, and technology driven tech forward. inventions, he he worked in a lot of those teams that actually manage the comms, yeah, manage the comms from land to Air and Air to land. So he was the signal linguist, right, for the ones that no military, you have your signal, right out of Fort Gordon, Georgia, you have your comms, right, your signal, guys, then you have your air defense. So my dad was on that team of assisting and creating technology and then process really right on how do we manage successfully comes from, from here to here, from air to land, and then to air in a combat scenario. And then all linguistically right, amongst other different languages, not domestic abroad, right, in a combat situation, at the highest level,
Andrew Morgans 11:18
seen international cultures, which I think opens your mind drastically. You know, as well, as, you know, being in tech in an in an innovative, innovative, it sounds like a innovative time in tech, where he was like, at least at that age, like doing new things, learning new process, seeing seeing things, I think that perspective just matters and like, you know, how it flows down. So I was just interested to know, you know, kind of what he was doing that that led him to be like, you know, to give that advice. I think that’s really cool. And special. I think you already know that. But I think it’s pretty special to get that at a young age. Okay, so I didn’t mean interrupt back to back to the events, you know, and then pushing into what that next idea was. Can you pick back up there?
Cullen Stack 12:02
Yeah, absolutely. So I really took that local promoter. And I realized there was more to it. I started to venture out two hours. About two hour drive. 125 miles north. Panama City Beach, right for those. I’m 38. Right. I’m an 84. Baby. So back in our college days, it was the spot, right, top top one, if not top three, depending on geographically what part of the US you were on? Right? You had the Jamaica as you had the Mexico’s right. Then you had Panama City Beach, right. South Beach didn’t hold a candle. Right. Daytona didn’t didn’t have a chance. It was Panama City Beach. And so I went up there. And I come from there, that space for the college kids, right. And I went up there and I got a taste and right away because of the connections. I call it relationship capital that I had locally in the panhandle. I was given opportunities Hey, you know, I was little bit skinnier, a little more handsome back then a little bit younger. They say Hey, can you can you be you know, Brand Manager for this activation? Can you do this activation? Can you promote this? Can you do that venue? And I was like this is the thing. When I’ve been doing locally back at the college is a thing. I’m making great money, but there’s way more opportunity. And now I’m seeing it first time. Right oh three. I’m looking around. And I’m like wow, this is big. So I dive right in. I fill out the application little trailer. It was in Spinnaker anyway those Panama City Beach head club Libya and yet spinnakers they’re like they were the two main attractions right Olivia was close and few other places to close now. This is early 2000s. So I fill it out and I say Hey, local promoter, you know, bom bom bom had a MySpace page. I was already lit doing brand activations, but on a smaller scale back at the college at FSU. They look me up, they look my MySpace up, they call me same day. They’re like, Hey, you have way more experience and you’re qualified. Not just to be a handsome kid passing out a free sample. Come back. We want to talk to you. They said hey, we need you here. We need you here. We’re launching MTVU right? It’s going to be the syndicated channel for MTV. We need you to try this Hummer around. We need you to manage this team of guys and girls. Like a like a bomb squad, right? Like a promo team for real marketing like Brandon but yeah, before social this is this is my space. AOL Instant Messenger days. And we need you to beat the streets. And we need you to bring all the college kids at this location at this time. For LL Cool J Snoop Dogg. These are televised. We need the kids on the beach excited happy ready to do contest Spring Break party vibes, right? It didn’t do this is this is oh three. You couldn’t just send a tweet out, drop your location, put the pin and be like hey, pull up. Right I would Rella Mark I was
Andrew Morgans 14:57
I was in a band for Five years before I got into EECOM, with my degree, and it was the time of MySpace and like the MySpace flyers. And, you know, that was infographics and graphic design, like that was how you promoted your stuff. And if the flyers were dope, if they were getting shared around if they were getting tagged, like you had great events, you know, at least through MySpace, like at that time, it was like, it very much was kind of guerilla warfare, MySpace, secret shows and that kind of stuff. There was definitely, well, you had to go on tour, you couldn’t just blow up on Spotify or YouTube, you know? Cool. Yeah, I remember.
Cullen Stack 15:32
Absolutely. So, I was very fortunate to have success with the guerilla marketing right on premise off premise brand activations brand promo, and then creating that and bringing people to this big thing. MTVU right now you have this channel that’s in the dorms. Now you have great, so then ESPN calls me Hey, we’re doing ESPN. Right, I get a call from Rockstar energy drink. I get a call from from Playboy. It’s Maxim. It stood an Axe body spray. Right? I started getting all these calls. And it’s happening in days and weeks, right? Because people talk people know people watch. This is pre social. No DMS, no dropping your PIN, no mas tax, right? private chats, none of this existed. So I was like, wow, I called my dad. And my dad at this time still was working in government contracting. And he worked in Silicon Valley. Right. So right when Google started, my dad was in that same grid, that same two mile grid of Google at the beginning. But he was on the government contracting side. Right? And I said, Dad, I said, all this stuff is blowing up. I’m situated, I’m set up. There’s a lot that I don’t know. Right? I don’t know, contract law. I don’t know. Like they’re trying to get me to do this or trying to take my IP contracts. What’s intellectual property? What’s what’s a billable hour? What’s it like, I’m just a kid. I’m a young adult. All the business stuff is a slap me in the face. And I have no team and process. It’s solopreneur. Like just great at what I do. And I’m just winging it. I got a fanny pack in a backpack full of cash. And I’m just, I’m just doing it right. So I learned a lot and fast forward. I said, Okay, this is cool. So that created a business made a lot of money. Okay, I’m pushing 20. Now, I’m a millionaire. I have the cars I have. I have the expensive watches. I have all these things. And I’m just like, burning through cash. Cash. Like, I’m not going to put that in the bank resisting called the IRS. Right? There’s this thing called like, capital gains, like I’m learning all this at a very young age, self taught, right? Like, there’s nobody’s advising me, okay, I have you know, you you hire people and stuff like that. But who do you trust? Right? You’re like, when you’re hot, you’re hot, right? And I was famous without being famous. And I was living the life of the celebrity. 1920 years old. So fast forward, made some mistakes. We’re all human. As you go this way, you go this way. And I learned a lot. I learned that when you’re paying every single tab. Everybody loves you. And when the boat sails, and somebody has to pay the insurance, the gas and the staff, nobody’s around. Right? And it sucks, right? The girl doesn’t love you, your best friend’s gone. They probably slept together. You know, they’re both stabbing you in the back and you just don’t know it. Right? And so it just the ship burns, metaphorically. And I was like, wow, okay, I did the wrong thing the wrong way with the wrong people. But I was successful. I was extremely successful. But I had a ton of people take advantage of me. What do I do now? And I’m emotionally like, torn. I’m sad. I’m depressed. I feel like I really didn’t have any, any friends. I was just the guy that got used in abuse. And I remember having a conversation. My dad, my dad said, Well, you don’t have it in you. He was like, you’re little out of shape. You know, he we got into a conversation one day, we’re just sitting there, you know, cash in the patio. And he’s like, you would never cut it in arm if you couldn’t make it through basic combat training. And I said, okay, and I’m financially, really good. At this point. I’d blown most of my money, but I was still six figures. I was good. I was way beyond anybody my age. And I did. And I said, You know what, I’ve always been driven by money, attention, fame, cloud notoriety. But I’ve always been behind the scenes, but I always wanted to be the guy on stage like all these people, everybody, they just don’t admit it. Right. And I was like, you know, what, what if what if I prove my family wrong, and I just went in the military. I was like, alright, Dad, I make a deal with you. I’m not going back to duty. But I’m gonna go in. I’m gonna go I’m gonna look at the guard and I’m gonna look at the reserves, and I’m still gonna go through all this shit. Basic combat. Training a it and come out permanent party, but I’m just gonna do a part time. He said there’s no way there’s no there’s you can’t make it you’re not you’re not mentally tough, right you’re you’re out of shape your party and you’re blowing all your money my family was disappointed like they would voice it not too harsh but they were like, whatever, you know, you had all these blessings and you just blew it, you blew it. It’s plenty of people that have done that most people do that. Right? And I was like, Alright, I’m gonna prove you wrong. So I went to maps and Jacksonville, I listed six three Bravo at the time it was a diesel mechanic. I went to basic combat training may 2007. Fast forward almost shattered my foot was in a Kambu and entire basic combat training from week two. Anybody knows week zero which is you know, you’re getting your books you’re getting in doctor and and other English doesn’t really start to your second week 10 and a half weeks. So from Week Two on I was at Fort Sill, Lawton, Oklahoma and Kambou combatives US weapons Week Five qual 20k ruck march 90 pounds on my back nicot night, at the very end of basic combat training, I was doing all this stuff in the caspases because they kept wanting to recycle. Anybody knows military ftu Fitness Training Unit fist fitness training, you get recycled, and then you basically kicked out your medical. And I said, Well, I made it, I made a commitment that I’ve put out a lot of things in my life. And this is the emotional, the most emotional, physical pain I’ve ever felt. Right. And I’m way stronger than this. And I’ve already been through things in my life, that I probably like, I got lucky. And I’m lucky that I’m here type type situation. So I reflected, I was like, You know what, I remember being at the the clinic on army base, and the commanding officer calls me it’s like, we’re gonna medical you out. And I was like, No, I was like, I could pass everything. And the driving thing for me was my father. You know, I kind of didn’t really make a bet. But I made a bet to myself. Right. When my when my father my family didn’t think I could do it. Like they wouldn’t say that direct, but they kind of said it like, yeah, you know, good luck, right?
Andrew Morgans 22:16
Cullen Stack 22:17
Yeah. Yeah, for sure. So I said because I was out of shape. You know, mentally I was just partying and living this life of, you know, fame and success without being famous. But like, you know, I was doing my jam. I was young guy. So I ended up making it out. I took off my my Kambou. Two days, two days before a family day, they call it family day when your family can show up, right? Anybody in the military knows this. And graduation. And then I ended up taking off my Kambu and doing my my fitness, my two minute push up my two mile run. And my two minutes sit up, right you have to qualify based on your age and gender. And I did it two days before graduation because I kept passing around. They kept trying to medical me out and I kept passing. I kept passing I kept passing I kept passing and they’re like, Well fuck it. We can’t get out because he has to sign. Right. He won’t give up. He’s either gonna shatter his foot. And they’re like, and he’s gonna tap. Right? It’s just it’s army. Like, this is what it is right? We want him to be tough. We don’t want him to be soft. Like, okay, cool. Let’s run it. And so I was like, This is what you guys taught me. Right? loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, personal courage, like, this is what you guys taught me. Like, let’s run it. And when I did that, it was super emotional for me. I was very proud. And my mom and my sister came and family came and then ate it. I tore it apart. I was top of my top of my class. And sorry, I’m in this restaurant. They got all this stuff going around. And it was great. I look back now and I’m grateful I did it. I’m grateful I went through it. And I definitely came out a better person. 2009 2010 I got into impression base and you know this, this is your world, right? So fast forward. But he called me up. He said, Man, you have this massive network of celebrities, business owners brick and mortars, all these people you’ve done all these events with and college parties and spring break stuff. He goes, there’s this new thing 2009 2010 impression based ads on Facebook. He goes he goes, Hey, dude, I need your help. I need your help to create this business. I need your help to create this business. And I said, Well, what’s in it for me? And he said, I’ll pay you X I want your mind. I was like, alright, I’ll do a meeting for that. pays me X. He goes create a deck go out as you did before, and just so impression based discounts and coupons right locally to local brick and mortars for college students. So I was one of the first to create a discount and coupon based impression based member we created e flyers on MySpace So we would have that like 600 dpi, little four by six, and we would shrink it down and we would take a backlink. And we would throw the backlink in there. And we would create a hyperlink to where you could click it, like MySpace days on banner ads, and then it would drive you to the website. I did that same thing. At the very beginning of impression based ads on Facebook, I was selling a tooth, I was selling a $2,000 monthly subscription at the very beginning. And we both know how much it cost for an impression at the very beginning. Right, so I was like, wow, this is profitable. And it’s working. And people are coming into the brick and mortar. And these people are calling me mom to one three, like, dude, this really works.
Andrew Morgans 25:47
Do it again, do it again.
Cullen Stack 25:48
You’re like, but again, you’re like, Yeah, you’re like Aladdin. Right? Can you do it again? Give me more, give me more, give me more. And I’m like, too, we got to create a value stack. Like we got to create an offer, like, start reading about stuff, start learning, start trying to travel and go to events. I’m like, There’s nothing around me. At that time. There’s no place to go learn from people. You had to figure it the fuck you had to figure to fuck out. Right? You had to create it. You had to like pave the way. And I’m like, Alright, been here before, right brand activations, spring break, college parties, sponsorships, like, on premise off premise. Like, I’ve done this shit, I just run it. I didn’t know the value of IP, monetization of your intellectual property and relationship capital. These are all things that came much later. Somebody calls me up, they say, Hey, man, right? You’re on the map. You’re hot. You’re making you’re making a lot of money. We love the buyer. Right? I’m like, Oh, cool. You know, sit down big offer. I don’t call anybody I’m so like, this is my second time to make money, right? Like, I can fix all my fuck ups. Like, I’m young, I’m single mom and dad are proud. I’m gonna buy my house my bond for like, I’m just thinking like, Man, I need it. You know, like, I fucking made it. And I was so proud of myself. I was like, all those things. I had to go through the good and the bad, the different. Like, this is it. This is why I went through it. And I’m like reliving the last seven years of my life. So I saw no advisor, no mentor, no guidance. Like, I didn’t do my due diligence. Like, I probably got a 100th of what it was worth. Right. And some of us have been there. I mean, anybody at the top spender, you fail a lot before you figure it out. And that IP is from that from those experiences in life. So it was like living on top of the world. 2014 You know,
Andrew Morgans 27:39
was it seven figures? Was it six figure? Yeah,
Cullen Stack 27:41
seven. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, seven,
Andrew Morgans 27:45
still a good chunk? You? Yeah, yeah. Were you doing it? 2007 to 2012? You said?
Cullen Stack 27:53
Yeah, no. So I started to study 2009. I applied it in 10. And then I got out of it and 12. Okay. Yeah. So it was a big part of my life. And even at that time, we all know anybody in the space over a decade ago, there wasn’t too many people in paid media agency were 1000 there was 100 of us, like Yeah, yeah, it wasn’t 2012
Andrew Morgans 28:19
is when I found EECOM. And there were Facebook guys. You know, the courses, the gurus, things like that. In the Amazon space, there was no one. So I can attest to that. Like, I’m a little bit behind you in regards to finding EECOM I’m 12 years in, but when I found it, there was not a YouTube channel, there was not an agency to copy there was not like anyone writing up about any of this kind of stuff. Like there was in this still the small the Amazon industry is still, you know, you can go to a conference and no 75% of vendors, you know, yeah, yeah, I can imagine. And I went into Amazon because I felt like I was a little behind on Facebook, and I wanted to be at the front of something. Just awesome. For me, I’m just kind of a trailblazer kind of guy versus like, become the pro behind other guys, you know, and I just couldn’t really get the guys that were great at Facebook to really give me any secret sauce. It was all just high level do this, do that. And circumstances just push me into Amazon. But I can relate very much so and this industry to be in like, look, there’s I mean, that’s why, you know, I argue that Mark Knology is one of the best Amazon agencies in the world. If not, you know, Top 10 Top 20 at the at the most. There’s just not that many to really choose from at all. And then I just you know, believe in the work we do. But there’s it’s just a small industry really when you like know what you’re doing, you know? Absolutely, absolutely hate media was not something we heard of. Absolutely.
Cullen Stack 29:49
And for me it was you know, that blessing that idea would have never been an exception if I hadn’t came from the concerts and events right concerts and events, concerts send events, and then the ability to go into brand activations, right brand activations on premise off premise, and doing what I did and how I did it. None of the opportunities would have developed if I hadn’t done that, right. So when I did that, I then realized, okay, I’m too hard on myself. Right at that, you know, you go through all these, the rollercoaster of life ups and downs or relationships, things, the, it’s the watch. And I’m like, I’m too hard on myself. The first attempt and learning as I started to realize was, I was learning a lot. And then once I took the L, one day, I literally just figured this out, I wrote it down, off of learn, I was earning from what I applied, from what I learned. And I said, wow, it was like an Einstein moment. For me. I was like, holy smokes, wait a minute, I was like, wait a minute, if I do the right thing, the right way. With the right, people. I will not fucking fail. Like, it’s when I take me.
Andrew Morgans 31:12
Right? It’s just to bring it full circle to what we’ve been talking about. But you know, Dad said, You’re gonna learn a summer first, but you’re learning the rules, how to play it, you know, the rules, how to respect it, then you got coaching, you’re learning from the right people with the right people, getting coaches and experts to show you the game. And then when you got into the game, you know, you place third in that tournament or third of that exhibition, bringing that full circle. You know, it’s crazy how we can know how to do things. And then like, you know, we just forget something pivotal along the way. But that’s what it made immediately made me think of is kind of like getting that coach getting that you know, practicing learning studying before you jump into it. No, beautiful.
Cullen Stack 31:50
Absolutely, absolutely. So once everything came full circle to your point, it was like, wow, this is really cool. You know, I’m now in a position that I’ve learned a lot. And in 2014, I met my, my now wife. And in 2016, I started to dabble in crypto. Right? And 2017, I started to learn a little bit about it. And then in 2017, I said, Look, what are the spots the industry is or the businesses that I could not just I didn’t want to have my own agency. Because I didn’t want the overhead. I didn’t want to go back to having all those responsibilities, quite frankly. But I said, Look, I know the power of my intellectual property. I know the power of how to monetize how to create Team System techstack, process, create, offer, create products, create service, and vehicle and monetize that I have all this knowledge up to now. So I started to focus on home service base, right, I started to focus on roofing, solar, right home service based niche down, and I was told by a gentleman niche will get you rich, right? The riches are in the niches and I was like, alright, I’ll try this out. I have I have the understanding, I have the wherewithal and the ability to do so. And I can I can take a gamble, literally and figuratively, like let’s let’s do this. And so I started to look for smaller agencies that were doing it, right, that weren’t at that point. But that wanted to be there. And then I would take a retainer and a vested position in that company, very m&a Right? Before I even knew what m&a was. And I’m just one step ahead. And I would go in and say, Look, I’ll help you. And if I help you hit this mark, I want x. Because now I’ve already understood that I was backdoored on a lot of deals. And I didn’t want to be backdoored on a lot of deals. But I knew that people couldn’t pay me for the value that I had. And now I understood the value of my intellectual property. And I would take something small on the front for my ability and experience. And I would take a majority on the back based on my performance results. If I can take you from an apartment and put you in your dream house. what’s that worth to you? Right. And so I started to position myself and play the game. And once I knew how to play the game, I started to win. I started to win. And I started to win, because they’re winning because they didn’t have to go through the decade plus a BS, right to get there. Great. And I said wow, okay, this is something. This is understanding your message, understanding yourself, understanding your skill set, and creating a product and service from it, which to this day, most of the world doesn’t understand. Right? So I said, Okay, now we got something in 19 I’m a father now married my son in 16. I had my first child. I’m sitting there one day and it’s it’s q4 and I just wasn’t wasn’t feeling fulfilled. Right I’m traveling, I’m doing all these things and going all these trade shows and conferences and masterminds and jumping on jets and flying private and cool cars, first class, fancy hotel and amazing food every meal of the day. And I’m like, wait a minute. People are just coming to me to pick my brain. And I’m being generous. And I’m keep giving, I keep giving, I keep giving. So I’m not thinking about making money anymore, because I made the money that I wanted. And now I’m, I’m complacent, I’m comfortable. And I said, Well, some of these people are taking advantage of me. They realize I’m complacent. They realize I’m comfortable. They realize I’m successful. And they’re blocking me from my blessings. So that took a step back. And I said, Well, what happens in the paid media world, right, if I’m generating hundreds of millions of dollars in leads, right for dozens of clients, and then I’m scaling that at scale in multiple agencies in niches and industries that need this to keep the lights on. There’s value there, they’re selling a high ticket roof, a solar system, this that they’re making 100 grand on one project, they’re only paying me seven 3000, for a retainer, they’re only spending four or five, maybe six grand on paid media. I’m giving them the KPIs, I’m giving them the strategy, the creatives, the metrics and analytics to perform on this apps that connect to their paid geofencing teaching them advanced keyword search, how to go after competitors, what is a negative and a positive keyword search, how to position their paper quick, this is all my intellectual property that most agencies don’t have. Even to this day, you can go on you can learn free Google search, you can go Facebook, you know all this stuff, right? And you can go do this jam. And you can be successful. But having once you know you have the sauce. And so what I learned there was I was giving the sauce away. But I was giving it away to people that didn’t appreciate it. And once they made a lot of money, they’re happy to pay you that that small retainer, and they’re happy to spend that 510 20 grand on adspend. But during the corner kind of snickering, they’re like, Oh, we’re getting over on it. We made 10 million. Yeah, come on, right. And then I started to smell it, I started to see it, I started to feel the energy. And I was like, You know what they don’t have. They don’t understand their message, though. They don’t understand how to create content. They don’t understand their avatar prospect and how to speak to them. And they don’t understand how to create a simple lead magnet of a landing page, simple capture information, put it into a CRM, and create a nurture sequence of what to do, how to do and why to do it. If they knew that, they would be dangerous. When storms weren’t hitting, and home service base wasn’t working. And people weren’t making hundreds of 1000s of dollars or millions of dollars or 10s of millions of dollars from these campaigns. The agency as you know, right? Is the bad guy. And I had another Einstein moment. I said, No, guess what? Everybody’s profitable. All of you have made deals, right? Let’s do an audit on how many leads came in and how much those deals were worth. Give somebody spending 300 grand that made millions. That’s called an ROI, and an ROI. That’s called a freaking gold medal. Right. And I kept seeing a pattern. So so you know what, this is my fault, because I didn’t create the right system, and audit and process and account management, right, and an in between a bridge from the front end. And the back end of that, of that agency. I didn’t know the agency. I just built it for the client, right. I had a rev share and a retainer. And I did that for multiple successful agencies. But I said look, I was hard on myself because I was fractional CRO, fractional CMO, fractional COO, fractional CTO, when I was only getting paid for one position. But I knew that the IP was was there. And I had to give it I had to help because I felt obligated. But then I say you know what, I’m part of the problem. I’m part of the problem in this particular equation. Because I can go out and teach people how to define their message, how to build their content, how to position and package and polisher creators and how to be great and be better before they ever go hire anybody for paid media. Because once they do that, they’re never going to fail. And they’re going to evolve, they’re going to pivot, and they’re never going to dissolve, who they are, what they do or why they’re great. So I sat there I told my wife read before COVID I’m gonna leave everything rev shares, equities retainers, I’m gonna step back. And I’m just going to start to connect with people organically that I know. And I’m going to help them. And I’m just gonna, I’m gonna, I’m gonna prove this to myself that I can go out, I can take an expert entrepreneur, right product or service based business, right and create creatives, create landing pages, create sequences and systems and CRMs, front end and back end that actually have connectivity that are sticky, and work organically before they ever run paid ads, and show people based on their skill set how they can actually monetize their intellectual property, and adapt and tie that into their product or service. So I did that. And I did that a lot of that actually was celebrities. And if you look at my page, you’ll see a lot of a list celebrities, they movie stars, rappers performers, right, and I started to go back to a lot of my relationships, and it seemed like things were just in the FinTech and SAS and software space coming to me. And people were like, hey, I want you to sit on this board, hey, I need you as fractional CRO, hey, I need you for talent acquisition, hey, I need you as fractional CMO. And I’m like, Well, I’m sitting here, figuring out where I want to go, what I want to do and how I want to impact the world. And I’m doing it with some pretty awesome people in a pretty awesome way I need to, I need to make some cash, right? I’m just kind of sitting around figuring it out. So okay, cool. So I started to do a lot of these fractional, you know, consulting type of gigs, and I was making pretty good money doing it. And then I sat around, and I was like, alright, we need to do more.
Cullen Stack 41:38
So in 2022, is a pivot from celebrity big brand 2012. You know, 2020 2021 was all big, it was all flashy, it was the best and 22, I said, Hey, we need to start helping the startup, right, we need to start tapping into the, the normal, let’s call it you know, quarter million to 2 million annual that’s struggling, that does great in the physical world, but their digital duplication, it doesn’t exist. And their biggest pain point is if they don’t figure this out in the next three to six months, they’re out of business. Right. And so,
Andrew Morgans 42:16
especially during this time, right posts,
Cullen Stack 42:18
correct, especially, especially and so I started to do that I never ran any ads. As you can see, I’m pretty much a ghost online. Right. And I’ve been blessed because I’ve had referral after referral after referral after referral. I’ve just had been blessed right, I show up I do by say I’m making you know, apple pie and make two apple pies and people are like, Yo, what’s the best apple pie and you know, where do I send the wire, and I’ve just never had to come out from behind the curtain. And now I made it a point to myself to come out because I know that there’s a lot of blessings that are being blocked for others not knowing about who I am, what I do, or the level I’ve done it on, as well as for myself. And it has nothing to do for a money thing for me, it has everything to do with I know if I help individuals monetize their message of who they are, what they do and why they’re amazing, then I’m going to help myself and that a byproduct of that is money by doing the right thing the right way with the right people
Andrew Morgans 43:18
love that couldn’t have said it better myself. That was quite quite the story and background but it couldn’t you couldn’t have laid it out better in regards to how you got where to where you are right now and with what you’re doing in my path honestly it’s very very similar from instead of promotions and events it was it was shows gneissic shows one year on tour, you know setting them up setting them up with tours trying to get on the tours, you know running the merge a lot less money involved. But you know, doing the thing that really taught me about branding and marketing, how to how to schedule stuff how to coordinate you know city to city to city to city on a road tour, you know meeting people meeting other great artists that I then used for for capital later on as I needed to get things done in my marketing world and knew who to go to for what down to starting a corporate company making the millions getting 20 cent raises you know to start in the freelance got top two in the world and up work started working with some big brands so didn’t know what I was doing. You know, start getting paid when I was still pennies at the time to make to do a lot but it was given me freedom. So I’m like this is amazing. You know from there, the agencies grown and taking care of family along the way with those blessings. And to a point where now I’m doing rev share with brands getting equity and brands, you know, trading sweat equity or small retainers in order to get you know, ownership in things and revenue, profit sharing short all those types of things working with influencers because they’ve already got the digital space figured out So it becomes much easier to launch digital products, not even digital products, just online e commerce type of products when they already have a voice and a brand message figured out to the point where as an Amazon agency, we’re trying to be the content leader, where brands are finding us to help them with their messaging, specifically on the Amazon platform. It’s different than on tick tock or Instagram or Walmart or Target or their website. Amazon has its own nuances. Right. And so working with influencers, how you take the off Amazon efforts and retail and promotions and events and make that work in the E commerce space. So absolutely, I do, you know, a lot of speaking a lot of free value, not quite the same offer at the end of the day. But I have found that if you just lead with with value and service and trying to do your best job the right way, every time. It’s crazy, what comes back, it’s crazy, crazy, what comes back, I can 100% agree with that statement, you know, you just do your best and put it out there. And the universe, the universe responds is a frequency thing, you know, it really is a frequency thing. And you just have to learn, I think whenever you’re on the right frequency, or you have like that light that shines, so to speak, you know that right? Shine, you attract blessings, you also attract leeches, you know, because they see you shine. So it’s just something that you have to take the good with the bad, I think in that aspect. So just adding my two cents to kind of resonate with what you’re saying. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs kind of have that path of like, wasn’t I was doing anything wrong, then I’ve just evolved. And this is what’s nice. And sometimes it comes with just a pivot or what I’m doing, it’s just not fulfilling me like you said, you’re on the Jets, eat the meals, had a has a child or a new wife, being like, this just isn’t fulfilling, life’s too short to just keep doing stuff to succeed, especially if you’re a creator, and an innovator, I think, specifically for people like us doing something that you don’t love, or that doesn’t feel you is just extra heavy, extra heavy, then for some people, you know, I think we’re just built a little bit different. And I love the IP thing. It’s something that, you know, it’s hard to get paid. What you’re worth when you know, you can make people millions. It’s just hard to do that, right? You know, you can promise the world you can you just like look, the advice I have, I know that if put into action is worth x x x x x. I’m sorry, you don’t value it that way. But I know that it will take you. I mean, I’m 30,000 hours in on Amazon. So my confidence level is high and 30,000 hours of practice, you know what I mean?
Cullen Stack 47:55
And I’ll share something with you too. For the listeners, Andrew right is like, let’s talk about I’ll give him a cliff little cliff here of monetize your message. monetize your message to me, is what is your individual IP, your intellectual property of everything you’ve experienced in your life, personally, and professionally, that has brought you to present day now of who you are, what you do, and why you’re amazing. That can be a product or a service of any form of an offer, could be direct to consumer can be a disposable could be a consumer goods, right, it can be a good base product, it can be a service based product. At the end of the day, most businesses are pouring their IP into that product or service, what they’re selling that IP as part of that product or service. When in all reality, your offer your core offer. Your core product is here. Your intellectual property is here. It’s a different line item. Most people call IP because they don’t truly know what it is consulting. They call it consulting. And they say I can do one on one. I can also create a group coaching. I can create a down sell and an upsell to my core offer for consulting done with you for a project done for you for a project. This is my model in my business. Because once I understood that this was a separate line item that I kept getting away. Right and I kept putting in to my message to sell the product for 1000 bucks to sell the ebook for 49 right to sell the free webinar with the hook to a one week masterclass for 2500. But the IP is $100 million. And now you’re birthing and giving life to inception of businesses that now compete with you. And or take market share and or both, if not a different business and you have no credit. You have no payment. Because you haven’t positioned yourself to be efficient and effective and understanding the value of your intellectual property. I say this from a place I haven’t even mentioned the deal. I created a company in 2020 based on relationship capital, and based on my intellectual property, that in 2021 was the first AR VR blockchain based crypto based company, and NF Ts to hit the NASDAQ. I have the receipts to prove it. I have the founding co founder, original docs and contracts and shareholders agreement to prove it. I call it receipts right documentation over conversation by choice, based on the people involved in the deal. I didn’t want to be in the press. I didn’t want to be on the 60 Minutes interview when it was episode one people. Episode Two was the company that I created. Right $220 million deal. What I did wrong, and I can’t speak too much on it right now. But what I did wrong, was I gave the IP to create the inception. And then once again, in development of team and process. I didn’t contractually position my intellectual property outside of Colin stack. And so it was together in one taken as one and monetized without me. $220 million first one to ever hit the NASDAQ. Right, let’s just let’s just say it was a company that put out the NFT project for a Canadian rapper that may or may not be in trouble after the fact. Right? That was the first live streaming music NFT on planet Earth. And my intellectual property. First, that entity and I’m in the books that everybody is pitching blockchain smart contracts, and empties all coins. How do you create a roadmap? Guess what? Motherfuckers it started right here.
Andrew Morgans 52:47
I believe I believe you 100%. And I know, I know. It’s easier said than done. In some ways when it comes to protecting, protecting your IP, especially when you’re trying to help and serve and like, you know, you’re like, Oh, let me show you how you can jump in. And, you know, a lot of the terminology used in the Amazon industry today is stuff that I you know, I was I was
Cullen Stack 53:08
pointing to the coin was exactly
Andrew Morgans 53:11
right. Whether it’s in the papers, whether it’s in the articles whether you ever get credit from anyone. That coin, right, it wasn’t a thing. It was a thing that everyone pushed back against. I was I was honestly going against the Facebook guys. Because the Facebook guys hated the Amazon with the passion. Because there’s no attribution. There’s no way of really knowing if their Facebook ads were converting or not as how they justified their work, right. And so they wanted nothing to do with Amazon at the time. Still an amazing chain and look at it, right? So all the aggregators and roll ups and all those things. So I have very much a sensitive spot for IP and those kinds of things. And I know this has honestly been an awesome episode for people I think just hopefully an eye opening episode I’m just hearing from somebody that’s done it and it’s learned and earned. And that’s like, you know, taken that and said not I’m gonna just be resentful and bitter and like not make this a thing. Instead, I’m going to continue to evolve, evolve myself as an entrepreneur. You know, and keep going. I know you’re not done. So hopefully the the NFT project is a great is a great, you know, got the metal. But there’s more stuff coming. I have to wrap this up because we’re on the hour, and I want to give a shout out once again to our sponsor FullScale.io. Do you need to hire software engineers? Testers are leaders let Full Scale help the other people in the platform to help you build and manage a team of experts when you visit full scale.io? All you need to do is answer a few questions let the platform match you up with fully vetted, highly experienced team of software engineers, testers and leaders at Full Scale. They specialize in building long term teams that work only for you learn more when you visit FullScale.io Full Scale is a company founded and created by my mentor, Matt DeCoursey and amazing brilliant man, his team, check out the website I just add to any of our listeners FullScale.io, just to see how awesome their team is they’ve done some really cool stuff there on the site, if you’re looking for engineers or web dev is super cool way of interacting with our team and finding somebody. That’s great for you. Colin, couple more questions. Before we sign off, I usually like to end the show with two questions, one of them, what’s something that you’re excited about? You know, in 2023, we’re almost halfway through the year that you’re working on with soccer message. So like just something you’re excited about, professionally, and then something you’re working on or you’re excited about. Personally, hopefully, there’s a separation between the two just a little bit so my mind live together, right? So something professional, you’re excited about, that you want to share with the audience and something personally that you’re working on toward a goal? It could be? It could be travel, it could be family, it could be you know, anything? And then lastly, where can people contact you find out more follow your story?
Cullen Stack 55:55
Absolutely. No, great questions. I appreciate it, Andrew. Yeah. So what am I looking forward to right now is taking my expertise, you know, my intellectual property and my team into moving from only working high level over the last couple of years and the pivot that I had, working with A-list celebrities, right, and fortune 1000 companies, and moving into what I call small businesses, focusing on small businesses, people under 50 million, right that need to go from the physical world to the digital world, right with their product service and/or IP to help them monetize and create an offer a team a process tech stack, and actually monetize and scale. So that’s my focus I’ve partnered up with see rock, that one bootcamp that one agency, and so I helped them for x in 45 days, their their best month, their best month in 16 months, right, they’ve exceeded is now their best week, surpass that I did that in 45 days. That was really cool. And from that, he asked me to create a bootcamp, which I co founded with him and launched just a few days ago, the next one is going to be July 18. If anybody’s interested in looking at that, they can go to that. Number one, that one bootcamp.com if they have any questions, they can fill out their information and connect myself or see rock, Mikey, see rock, that one agency, and personally, you know, I’m really grateful for my wife, my son, my nine month old daughter, and really just having the ability to spend the summer and travel a little bit and just become a better human being become a better person. And you know, through the blessings and opportunities, of really doing cool things with for people, which I’ve been doing for a long time. But now I feel like I’m in a place where there’s a lot more integrity and moral compass around the people I’m working with, I’ve weeded out, and I’ve learned what is my intellectual property and how to do the right thing the right way with the right people. So I’ve learned from that and now you know, as I always say, you take the “L” off of learn, you will always learn from what you apply from what you learn. So that’s, that’s, that’s what I’m really looking forward to this summer. And the remainder of the year is just, you know, become healthier, mentally, right physically and then prosper from that. become closer to God. Be a little bit more dialed in on faith and focus on the why, even though the why is really big, and just continue to support my family and be fortunate and blessed to do that. And then move into you know, where can people find me, you know, I’m pretty accessible. You can go to stackyourmessage.com Fill out the lead form. You know, reach out to me I have a business cell and a community and a contact private chat that I use pretty frequently I’m pretty open and always able to jump on a call and connect.
Andrew Morgans 58:52
I love it and we’ll have all the all of his contact information in the show notes. So for anybody that’s driving on the road and need to look something up later and can’t write stuff down. You can look up the episode and find everything you need to contact Cullen or or follow his journey. It’s been awesome having you on the show my friend and I hope to stay connected and Hustlers. We’ll see you next time.