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Smarter Destiny Podcast

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We're on a mission. We're going to find and uncover the smartest, most successful entrepreneurs on the planet. Explore their highs, their lows and how they ultimately mastered the game. I'm Martyn Cook and I'm excited to welcome you to the Smarter Destiny Podcast. I'm grateful for you and your time,… read more


#18 - James Van Elswyk

Show notes James Van Elswyk

  • 00:30 - Introduction James Van Elswyk
  • 02:00 - When did your entrepreneurial path began? - JVE: I was a competitive tennis player at 16. But at the same time I was stringing my own racquet and started to do it for other players for profit.
  • 04:55 - What was the next step on this path? -  JVE: It was a dual path because I went to college and at the same time I had the stringing business. I left college and got a job, but I realized that I didn’t want the get-a-job life.
  • 06:15 - What happened next? - JVE: My first big failure, my restaurant, taught me a lot about costs and to sign every check.
  • 10:05 - JVE: The next big step was the call center business.
  • 14:50 - How was the process to find and keep your staff? - JVE: To scale it effectively I had to understand why someone wants a job? Three main things: They want some money, they want to feel part of something, they want to be appreciated.
  • 21:25 - JVE: I saw student loan consolidation on the horizon so I moved over to that vertical
  • 26:30 - JVE: Towards the end I was busted out and had to sleep on my car. I had to move to South America to lower my living cost.
  • 29:45 - How did you get back on your feet? - JVE: I made it happen with the internet, I could make money of it. It took years to pay back my debt, even making good money, but it was just another step of the path.
  • 33:35 - The anecdote about how JVE got back on the entrepreneur game again.
  • 37:00 - JVE “The times of native advertising”
  • 40:02 - How do you approach the negotiation talks when you sell leads?
  • 46:10 - What is your core business right now?
  • 50:45 - How does your team look like?
  • 51:45 - How do your different businesses link?
  • 55:26 - How do you evaluate deals and how do you project them for the next 20 years?
    • Any unusual drinking or eating habits? - I do intermittent fasten every day.
    • How do you get yourself into a state of flow? - Transcendental meditation.
    • What does the first 30 minutes of your day look like? - I don’t do anything before noon.
    • What habit or opinion you have that people tend to disagree with? - I don’t like Trump as a person, but he’s doing great things for America.
    • What nontraditional lesson would you give at school? - Meditation.
    • What books had the biggest impact on your life? - “The four hour work week” by Tim Ferriss.
    • What do you do to get inspired? - Spending more time with younger people.
    • How would you double US$ 5K in 24 h? - Gamble.
    • What’s the best advice ever given to you? - “Focus on today”
    • What silly thing people should do more of? - Laugh.
    • Would you rather fight one horse sized duck or one hundred duck sized horses? - One hundred duck sized horses.
    • How would you convince someone to do something good that they didn’t want to do? - Tell them they shouldn’t or they can’t do it.
    • What makes you happiest? - When I’m at peace.
    • Any ask or requests from the audience? - Suggest me some great books or any learning materials at or any of my channels.
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