“If you guys think you can do a better job, you should go create your own website.”
The person who snapped this annoying comment off to Tony Whatley probably regrets it now, because Tony picked up that gauntlet and threw it right back. Tony was a millionaire oil and gas project manager that also owned businesses.
He didn’t need that auto website but he enjoyed it until it became mismanaged. The owner of the site stopped paying the servers, causing posts and conversations to be deleted. This became annoying enough to Tony that he contacted the site owner to ask why he stopped those payments, and let him know it was causing members to lose interest.
Rather than take that conversation to heart and resume using some of the site’s paid income to pay its servers, the man’s temper flared, and he fired out that angry challenge.
“You don’t say something like that to someone like me,” says Tony Whatley. That is unless you want to regret it.
Tony’s entire life consisted of an unbreakable work ethic and a tendency to run toward challenges, rather than away. Tony credits his Marine Corps Vietnam veteran father and his immigrant mother for instilling those traits in him.
Sick days or easy paths were never an option. “If I wasn’t dying, my ass was on the bus,” he laughingly explains. Allowance? No way! Tony understood from an early age that if he wanted something, he’d have to work for it. So he was the kid knocking on doors to mow lawns or wash cars. He was the one who worked 2 or 3 jobs while paying his own way through college and well after he graduated. He was the one who’d built a massively successful career in a cutthroat industry.
Until that moment, the online auto community had been an occasional indulgence for him- a way to easily connect with other auto enthusiasts and enjoy the virtual camaraderie while swapping insight. But the moment that challenge was issued, that all changed.
“I knew I could figure it out,” says Tony, and together with a partner, he did. What started as a challenge turned into a hobby and quickly grew into a business. The LS1 tech Company grew into hundreds of thousands of members. Within 5 years, Tony and his partner sold the website for millions of dollars – then turned around and used the same template to build another website.
That’s the thing, says Tony, that people too often fail to realize – You don’t have to have a new idea to make millions of dollars. You can simply improve on an existing idea and reuse successful templates.
These concepts proved so successful for Tony that he became passionate about helping other people discover the same success in their own lives. For years, people had been commenting on Tony’s car collection and lifestyle. Now it was time, thought Tony, to offer to teach those people to not just admire Tony’s success, but to create it for themselves.
Back to social media he went with a post that thanked his followers for supporting his content and enjoying the auto pictures. He appreciated the interest and the opportunity to showcase his cars as well as connect with others who are passionate about all things auto. But as much fun as he’d been having with that hobby, he wanted to do something that had more of an impact. He wanted to create a business that blended his love for the business itself, and the focus of that business.
He knew he could teach people how to generate wealth for themselves, so they’d not only be able to afford to buy things like those cars of his they admired but find their own way to make their own impact. Now, he told them, “I’m going to start teaching you how to get those cars.”
If he could do it so can anyone, says Tony – with the right work ethic and grit. He was ready to pass on the lessons he’s learned along the way to building his own version of the American Dream. This includes the failures and setbacks as much as the victories.
It’s important for an aspiring entrepreneur to understand that it can take several failures to achieve a victory in business, says Tony. He’s learned that personally.
Of the nine companies he’s started, only two went on to achieve success. But that success created millions of dollars, making the losses well worth it not just in terms of making up for and exceeding the financial losses, but in the experience and wisdom picked up along the way.
[clickToTweet tweet=”I quit thinking about losing because everybody has that same fear, but those who are willing to stand out there and try something new, they’re the ones that get the results – Tony Whatley @365_Driven” quote=”I quit thinking about losing because everybody has that same fear, but those who are willing to stand out there and try something new, they’re the ones that get the results – Tony Whatley” theme=”style5″]
“Thousands of people die every single day with good ideas that they never brought up to the world.” Tony Whatley has no intention of being one of those people
Among the first orders of business he set out to do was to write his book, Side Hustle Millionaire. As with everything else he commits to, Tony went all-in on writing this book. For four months he shut himself away from his social life and any distractions it holds so he could pour his best insight into writing a book he is proud of. In it, Tony teaches readers how to understand all the answers for an entry-level entrepreneur – how to take an idea and to turn it into a business like he did with his online communities.
Tony Whatley’s book Side Hustle Millionaire slayed it in sales.
Tony’s new community began to grow and today he is the CEO of 365 Driven, a multi-tiered business coaching and consulting company that is cranking out new success stories on a regular basis.
Creating wealth out of something you are passionate about is more possible today than ever before, Tony says. “You can run a business from the middle of the forest as long as you have wifi.”
His appreciation for the opportunities held in this country stems from childhood. Tony’s mother was a Japanese immigrant who shared stories with her children about what life was like for her in Japan. “She always taught me to think big,” remembers Tony, because she herself had been forced to quit school and work on farms as a young girl.
Tony Whatley believes he benefited greatly from having a mother who was an immigrant. First and second-generation immigrants, he says, have a higher success rate than those who “won the birth lottery” by being born in this country. That, he says, is because people like his mom are more grateful for the opportunities so many others take for granted and teach that awareness and gratitude to their children. Having traveled all over the globe, Tony has also seen firsthand how different life is for people in some other countries and how hard so many people have to struggle for basic things most of us never think twice about.
“You bring that home, that perspective,” he says.
Living in the United States has unlimited potential, Tony states. The American Dream can be built by anyone. He made millions in his corporate life. He has a family he loves. To many people that would seem like it should be enough. But that dream had room to grow for him, so Tony put this finishing touches on his own version of it, and he’s just getting started.