Interview with Brent Williams, Founder of Empower U on Making Money From Nothing and His Strategy for Wealth and Finances
On this week’s episode, I interview Brent Williams, Founder of Empower U, a two day development and life skill program for youth to give them the tools and strategies to reach their full potential.
This interview showcases what an incredible storyteller Brent is, how he measures success, and what his highest priorities are when it comes to finances and wealth. Not only does Brent have a lot of wisdom to offer on the wealth front, he’s also a downright amazing human being.
Connect with Brent:
00:00 – Intro
01:51 – Early business ideas during Brent’s childhood
04:18 – Brent’s father’s influence on his relationship with Money
06:37 – How easy was it to make money?
08:36 – What does the having the best lifestyle look like to you?
09:48 – How to live what you preach
12:30 – Taking an uncoventional approach to building wealth
17:55 – How to make money from nothing: the Sydney Harbour water stunt
28:08 – What would you do if you had to start again from zero?
31:08 – The real challenge for young people to build wealth
36:06 – Thank you
Q: How did money show up for you in your childhood and what are the lessons that have served you during this time?
- His relationship with money started at a young age
- Very mindful of money as a child
- Had real entrepreneurial tendencies. First foray was at 8 years of age where he visited Go-Lo (a dollar shop) where he bought boxes of clearance Robocop cards for $10. He’d then go to school and sell each pack for $1 each. With one box having 30 packs, he’d make $20 profit from this
- Made money as a paper boy
- Also sold pirated movies
- Biggest influence on money is his father
- Lived in a middle class family
- Father would always complain about the cost of everything
- In his later teens, he wondered about the time his father spent worrying about money, and if you could eliminate that, how much more free he could become
- His father give him massive impetus that money wasn’t a big obstacle in his life or consumed him
- He didn’t want it to stop him from living life on his terms
- Dreamt of becoming a filmmaker
- Money was a by-product of living life on his terms
Q: You’ve had entrepreneurial spirit at a young age. If you think about making money, on a scale of 1 (super easy) to 10 (super hard), where does making money sit on this spectrum?
- Closer to the 10 than the 1, potentially around the 7 to 8
- Leveraged his time greatly despite not achieving the financial goals he set as an 18 year old
- His metrics for success have changed over time
- Doesn’t think that money is the best reflection of someone’s personal ability to execute an idea. It’s just the niche chosen can be more financially rewarding than others
Q: What does your lifestyle look like?
- Doesn’t answer to anybody
- Work when he wants to
- When he wants time off, he has time off
- Naps every day when he can
- Clocks off by 12 – 1pm
- Monday off every two weeks and plays golf with friends
- It’s the sense of freedom and flexibility
- Choice is the most exciting thing for him
Q: There’s a high degree of congruence between what you say and what you do. Is that an inherent quality you have? How does that show up in money and wealth for you?
- Mindful of living what he preaches because he’s so few people do that
- In his industry (youth), there’s a blackspot in it with many people not practicing what they preach
- When he got into the industry, it was a real personal wake-up when he noticed people he admired weren’t doing that
- He needed to breathing and living proof of everything he taught in his program
- Everything he taught needed to be validated through his own personal life
- Wealth is his biggest challenge – his financial results haven’t married up with his contributions
- Your network reflects your net worth, but the challenge is that you’re measuring yourself up with some people that may make it unrealistic
Q: You’ve taken an unconventional direction to wealth creation. You’ve spoken about silver, gold and trading cards. Why have you taken a non-conventional approach to making money?
- Did a webinar called “from passion to profit”, born out of his passion for trading cards
- Had a love for basketball trading cards and now uses $1,000 a week selling basketball cards on eBay
- He’s never wanted to make money for making money’s sake
- Wanted to do it with vehicles that he understands
- Property was attractive to him because of land mass and population growth opportunities
- Understanding the power of leverage, it’s very hard to beat property
- For other asset classes, he looks at what he enjoys and looking at any potential to make money from it too
- For example, with trading cards, he was buying cards at wholesale prices in the US and then flipping them for profit in Australia
- Most important caveat is that he enjoys it
- When he was young, a lot of opportunities were coming his way, as a result he was spinning a lot of plates. He was saying yes to a lot of these opportunities
- Gold and silver were one of these as a hedge against inflation
- He likes to spread his risk – he has $50,000 stored in value with cards/posters, a bunch of cash, gold and silver – all giving him a sense of security
- Variety and spread gives Brent a level of comfort, which is his #1 goal when it comes to wealth
Q: You talk about how it’s possible to make money from nothing. Can you share this?
- Brent ran a publicity company for 5 – 6 years media called Kapow Media
- Learnt very quickly that the media can either be a great ally or enemy
- Understood very quickly how to get media coverage
- With inspiration from a story about the Brooklyn Bridge, Brent did a publicity stunt with Sydney Harbour
- Understanding that people were always looking for a souvenir to take home, he launched a PR stunt called “Man Sells Sydney Harbour on eBay”
- The story is more important than the money made – money is an idea. If you can think outside the box, with a bit of ingenuity, then the sky’s the limit
Q: If you were to wake up tomorrow and everything financially was gone and you had to start again. What would you do?
- Throw himself into a sales job with the highest commission because he believes he can sell anything which is either property or jets
Q: How have you developed your sales skills?
- Primarily speaking on stage and an audience that doesn’t want to be there (teenagers)
- Had to very quickly, at a young age, teach them and sell them on the value of the idea
- At his peak, he was doing one presentation a week
- Lots of sales courses and self-learning
Q: Where do you see the greatest opportunities for wealth creation in the next decade?
- Never been a better time
- When he first started his first business in the early 2000s, he was first exposed to Robert Kiyosaki
- You had to seek out and pay for education you want during this time
- These days, there’s far less excuses for ignorance with the power of the internet
- You don’t need to carry the overheads of an office
- It’s cheaper, faster and easier to start a business
- The challenge is that there needs to be struggle so that you’ve got the emotional muscle to withstand the emotional rollercoaster of running a business
- Brent refers to an allegory he tells (33m 15s) about how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly through a struggle
- The challenge for young people is that it’s so easy, but if you’re smart and hungry enough, there’s never been a better time to build wealth
- It’s more about whether young people have the eyes to see it
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