Now, Jack has a really interesting nickname and we're going to talk about that in a second, but Jack is an entrepreneur and his organization is called Energy Connection. We met through a networking organization that we attend on a semi-monthly? Well, actually it's every month. Almost every week we see each other, so I am so excited to have Jack joining us here today on SuccessInSight.
Howard: Jack, welcome.
Jack: Thanks, Howard. I appreciate it. I'm glad I'm able to come on your deal here and I'm excited. I'm just really excited.
Howard: We met through this networking group chat at Eighth and then there's Mingle at Midtown. I think Chris and Bill have another group. I haven't gotten up to North Brook yet, but you know, there's a lot of folks attending this networking meeting and one of the things that I love about it is just the variety of the people who are networking together. We network because we want to do things for ourselves. We want to make money. We want new opportunities. But we're also, I think, looking to give back and what I loved about you was not only your energy, which is just phenomenal, I want to get to that nickname, by the way, because I'm just like aching to do it, because it's about that energy you bring.
Howard: And it's your willingness, your open willingness to help others. So let's talk a little bit about that. Let's hear a little bit about who is Jack Castella?
Jack: Okay. I appreciate that, Howard. Thank you very much for getting me on here. So I'll be as quick and brief as I can, but it started out, I was born and raised in Illinois. I grew up in Arlington Heights and went to school, traditional thing. Parents got divorced and I saw chaos, you know, in my life. My mom was an alcoholic and I dealt with a lot of chaos, a lot of fighting, a lot of chaos, right? Police showing up, everything.
Jack: So that was my background, which I'm very blessed to say that that happened, because it actually made me stronger as a person, because I had to fight for myself. Do my own laundry in junior high and everything, so I learned a lot quickly and then what happened was I got into high school and I was a failure at school. Once again, I'm proud of that fact. I didn't make it out of high school on time. I went to three different high schools, because in the middle of my high schools, moving around, my mom couldn't handle it anymore because I was such a rebel that she tossed me out to my dad in California.
Jack: Went to a California school in Pasadena. Loved it. Had fun out there. Came back. Graduated out of Fremb High School in Palatine, a really nice, high end area, and I was a failure and my counselor said, "Hey, you've got to go to night school your whole senior year just to get out of here," so I went to Schaumburg High School as well and then at the end, I didn't even have enough credits, so I had to go to summer school after my friends left high school.
Jack: And I finished, but I went to college, Harper College, I paid my own tuition in there and I remember two classes. One was Business 101 and then something else, I can't even remember, but I specifically remember Business 101 and I was sitting there and the book was really thick and I opened it up and there was no pictures and I'm like, "Oh, gosh, I'm screwed. There's nothing in here." Right? So I was used to looking at magazines. I was reading Forbes and Fortune magazine. I was reading about Jeff Bezos in his garage selling books. That was 25 years ago. Maybe more than that, actually, because I'm 48 today and I was 18 then.
Jack: So 1989, there I was, in college, and I thought, "Why am I here?" And he sounded like Charlie Brown, the professor. It's like, blah, blah, blah. I'm like, "Oh my gosh, I just paid for high school again." So I raised my hand and I said, "Professor, we're in Business 101. I know a lot of professors own businesses. What business do you own?" And he said, "I don't." And then I said, "Okay, well, what business did you own?" And he said, "I never did." I was like ... He says, "Is there a problem?" I said, "No," and I just muttered it up and I said, "Jack, stay focused," and I did and then the next day I showed up and it was once again, blah, blah, blah, Charlie Brown. I'm like, "Oh my gosh."
Jack: So I raised my hand. I said, "You make $100,000 a year here as a professor?" And he said, "What kind of question is that?" And I'm like, "Listen, there's a reason I'm asking you. I want to make $100,000 a year plus and I want to be a business owner. Did you?" And he says, "No." You know, 1989, he couldn't at Harper, but he said, "If I was at Northwestern, sure, but I'm not." I said, "Well, I have to go." He's like, "What?" I said, "Listen, I paid my good earned money over the summer mowing lawns just to be here," because when I said college to my parents, they said, "Hah ha ha, get a job, that'll never work." You know, because I was a D student, right? What I come to find out is Robert Kiyosaki says all the D and F students hire the A and B students and they're financially secure, and that's the truth.
Jack: So what I did is I didn't want to get a piece of paper and be someone's slave, so I sat there and I told them, I said, "Look, there's two reasons I asked that question. I want to make $100,000 a year and I want to be a business owner and you've never done either one of those things. So how are you going to teach me how to do it if you've never done it?" That's like me going to Jiu-jitsu class to learn how to be a dentist," and I walked out the door and that was the end of that. I tried Harper College for five years. I have nine credit hours passed since then and I just kept leaving. I'm like, "This is a joke," and I was always an entrepreneur.
Howard: As I'm hearing this story, and full disclosure, everybody, you know, Jack's and my conversation at the networking group, it's 30 seconds, a minute. I have not gotten this whole picture from Jack, so this is the first time I am hearing this and as I'm hearing the story, you're the example of many people out there that, for better or for worse, should not have gone to college in the first place.
Howard: Because they have other strengths that, you know, whether it's they've been mentored at it or it's just God-given strength to go out and they have ideas, they want to put them into practice. As you were sharing that story, I'm thinking, "This guy is an entrepreneur."
Jack: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep.
Howard: There are some things we can continue to get. We're all ... I'm a lifelong learner. I know you're a lifelong learner. But there's many different ways to do that, so I love that story, becoming an entrepreneur. The fact that you were mowing lawns, I mowed lawns too. You know, I remember when $6 a lawn was a lot of money.
Jack: That's right, I was $4 a lawn.
Howard: As you were reaching this epiphany, this insight, so to speak, at Harper College, you kind of went off and did you kind of go down that entrepreneurial path? What had you ... What did you decide to do? You've been pretty successful. You own a number of businesses, which we want to get to, and just all that energy, which, by the way, right now, what's your ... Share your nickname.
Jack: My nickname is Hyper Jack.
Howard: Hyper Jack.
Jack: Yeah, because I'm hyper as all get out and every day, I'm like this. This is natural. This is normal. This is what I do.
Howard: So sitting down behind a desk in a cubicle, that's a veal fattening pen. There was a book years ago and they called them, the cubes, veal fattening pens. You know, because we just sit there and we get fat and we're just doing the same thing every day.
Howard: So what happened after Harper? Did you just go full throttle down the entrepreneurial path? What was kind of that trajectory to what you're doing today as a very successful business owner?
Jack: Well, yeah. I did a lot of things. So I was a little hustler, I guess. I would mow lawns, rake leaves. I would deliver newspapers. I was doing everything I could. I started being a waiter at a restaurant. Actually, Lone Star Steakhouse, and I did that for a while and then my dad was a fabric protection business owner. What I mean by that is all the furniture retailers, they would apply a fabric protector on the sofas as an after sale item and then what happened was, I joined him and I said, hey, what if I took the chemical and I sprayed it in individuals off of interior designers that used to work at Colby's Furniture back in the day, where my dad used to work when I was a kid. He said, "Fine," so I started buying the product from my dad and lesson one I learned, I said, "Oh, give me a break on the product," and he said, "No, no, no, my son." He says, "Big fish eats the little fish."
Jack: And I'm like, "What?" He goes, "You are getting no deal. I don't care that you're family. You're going to pay full retail and you're going to learn business." And that was my first lesson. So I said, "Okay, fine," so I mustered up a little bit of money and I bought my first five gallon jug and there I was, calling designers that he knew and setting up appointments to go show them how I could help their clients. It was like a Scotchgard on steroids.
Jack: I built a massive business doing that and then after about four years of doing that on my own under his mentorship, what happened was we were in a two-bedroom apartment in Palatine. I was 18 ... I was 19 years old when I started and I started. By 20, I was making more money than all my friends. Well, obviously, because they were in college. So I visited every college. I partied at about 15 colleges on weekends, so I know them all, and people would say, "Well, where do you go to college?" And I was would say, "U of N. U of NW." And they're like, "What's U of N?" I go, "University of Nowhere." And I loved it. I was a rebel. Everyone else in life was like a cow and I'm a rhino. You know? The cow was just going the same direction and they're in the crowd and rhinos, they break out and they do whatever they want like the eagle.
Jack: And so eagles soar and chickens cluck in packs and I didn't want to be a chicken in a pack clucking around. You know, go to school, get a good education, suck it up, be there for 60 years or 40 years, whatever it is and then retire broke, because your 401 falls in half. I see that. It doesn't work. It's broken. So I said, "You know what? I don't want to be a punk and get a piece of paper and turn it in and be someone else's slave."
Jack: I will say this, slaves versus ... You know, there's two types of people in this world. Slaves versus prisoners. Now, a prisoner is someone who works at a job and they're always looking outside and they're dreaming and they want to get out of there and they're always thinking, "Is there a way to get out of here?" And the ... Whatever opportunity comes, they're going to grab it and they're willing to make mistakes. John Maxwell has a book called Failing Forward. That was my favorite book. I read it like 20 years ago and it's always ... It's my favorite book. People aren't willing to fail, so I fail forward. And so I was, what you would call, a prisoner. I wanted out. But slaves, they just don't think they can get out."
Jack: I'm like, "Listen, you're stuck in there all day." "Well, I got the office with the view. It's a great office." I say, "Yeah, well, you ever look outside, down in the grass? I'm the guy in the view. Don't you want to be in the view instead of have the office with the view?" And so that's been my life mission, helping people believe that they can do more, but a lot of people, they don't do it. So anyway, I was doing fabric protection, built that business up and I started hiring people. My girlfriend at the time, who became my wife, her brother and then his friends and then more friends and I had about six guys spraying sofas everywhere. We got into carpet cleaning, because that was a natural progression. People would say, "Hey, can you clean my sofa?" And I'm like, "No." And I kept referring it to someone and he never got me a 10% commission on referrals, so I'm like, "Why don't I do that?"
Jack: So I bought a machine, boom, I was making more money. Then I started going ... They said, "Hey, while you're here, quote my carpet." And I'm like, "I don't do carpet cleaning." And I kept hearing that and I was smelling money. I'm like, you know, I could just add that on. So I did. I walked into a carpet cleaning facility and bought a truck that day. Didn't even tell my wife. Walked out with a $60,000 rig with all the carpet cleaning, with hoses and all that jazz and I came home and I'm like, "We're in the carpet cleaning business." She's like, "What?" And that's another thing. As a leader, I just make decisions, because it's my ... I guess I have to make the money for my household. I'm the breadwinner, so I don't ask my wife for ... "Do you think I should do this?" You know, I just go do it.
Jack: Anyway, I started building that up. We got it to three trucks and a bunch of guys cleaning and we were making good money and I was selling the fabric protector. I bought my dad's distribution out in northern Illinois and I blew that out. We were doing a million dollars a year in our 30s, living at home, and we were spending all day with our kids and everyone else was working for us. I literally worked 10 to 15 hours a week and I was making well into $200,000 a year as a 32 year old.
Howard: So I have a question and, you know, you said I was the leader, I made the decision. As a leader, I mean, you've got guys working for you, okay? You also had girlfriend who turned into your wife. One of the aspects of leadership that I kind of ascribe to is crafting the vision, creating the vision, sharing it. Along the way, you know, in order to actually get the things done, we've got to be able to communicate our vision to your wife, who probably has a lot of sway at the end what you might do or not do, but even on your team to this is the impact we want to have on our customers. We're here to make money. I want to make good lives for you, my employees, but we also want to have an impact on our customers.
Howard: As a leader and what you've learned since working with your dad, going off and growing these businesses, what has been the impact or the insight there and what it takes to be a good leader for your staff? The people that are working for you?
Jack: Okay, so I'm extremely generous when it comes to my staff and that was actually one of my downfalls. I was paying them way too much money. I wasn't charging enough money. So I was literally going broke as a carpet cleaner with three trucks. My overhead just swallowed me up and when 2008 hit, I just got destroyed and I wasn't prepared. So some people said, "Oh, it's the economy." No. I take responsibility. It was me not being prepared. So I came into a tizzy. I went a couple hundred thousand dollars into debt. Life was different and I was ... You know, I was paying my employees when I shouldn't have. I was giving to them when I shouldn't have. But I believed when you help enough people get what they want, you're going to get what you want.
Jack: And so there were times when I wouldn't eat. I wouldn't get paid, but I would make sure they were taken care of. I would take them on trips. I would do all kinds of things. I have spent money or I should say invested money in people, even when they don't deserve it, and it's just something that I do. I learned from mentors that do that and real quick, getting back to my wife and all that, yes, I do let ... We do communicate, but there's a lot of things that I do that I do not ask her for her opinion, because I'm being mentored by people that already have the fruit on the tree. My wife doesn't have the fruit on the tree. So I tell her what we're going to do and she might disagree, but that's okay. I say, "That's fine that you disagree, because you're not my mentor. My mentors are doing it and I'm going to do it. Watch." And every time I do things, I make money, so she's gotten to the point where she just trusts me. Like, "Okay, whatever, just go."
Howard: Fair enough.
Jack: Yeah. A lot of people they say to their wife, "I'm going to do it," and they don't do it and there's where the conflict is, because they're not doing it and I get those people everywhere and they're like, "This isn't working. My wife hates me." And I go, "Because you're not doing the work."
Howard: So where are you now with the businesses? You've got multiple streams going on, so real briefly, what are those streams and what's the impact on your team and on your customers? Your clients?
Jack: Okay. So what's really unique about my situation is customers ... I don't have a lot of customers. Like in my one business, I have 18 customers and the income there can go anywhere from, say, $100,000 a year to a million dollars a year on 18 personal customers. So I only need to manage 18 customers and it's very simple. My other company, I have maybe five customers and I make like $3000 to $5000 a month on that. So that has 4000 customers in my organization in three countries, but yet I only have four or five customers. So those are network marketing businesses, which, you know, you get in the business. You put a few customers in, but the mission is not to sell customers. The mission is to build an army of people who hook up a small amount of sphere of influence people that know, love and trust them, because all business being true, people love to do business with people that they know, love and trust.
Jack: Even if business isn't the same, if it costs more with you, people will still do business with people they know, love and trust. If you have a Hispanic or a Mexican restaurant on one side of the street and there's another Mexican restaurant on the other side of the street, yours is $10 more for the meal, your friends are going to come and see you. That's the way the world works. People don't get that. Some people are so stuck on price and that was my issue. I was stuck on price in my carpet cleaning business and I drove it to the earth, down to ground.
Jack: I sold it to a guy that actually charges the most in Chicagoland and when I saw his books, I almost ... I was drooling out of the mouth and said, "Stop, you're still selling it to me. I'm taking your customers," because I was starting to go, "Hmm, I need to restructure." And he saw that in my eyes, because I realized I wasn't charging enough and he would work with Mercedes clients, which means charge more, but do less customers. So that's an easier book of business to manage than having thousands of customers that all pay a little bit and they all complain. It's pulling your hair out. That was the model that I had.
Howard: So, Jack, in the time we've got left on SuccessInSight podcast, a couple questions. You know, you've been at this for a while now, 30 some years. Probably a little earlier, because you were doing the odd jobs around the house, cutting lawns, raking leaves. You mentioned your dad being one of your mentors. In addition to your dad, who are your other mentors that you have ... You've been able to meet and the impact that they've had on you?
Jack: Okay. Anyone who is in my network marketing business that's in the top five income earners, those are my mentors, right? There's lots of them. So people that make in excess of a million dollars a year, I probably know about 70 of them, okay? So I get information from all them. I also have like Grant Cardone, Tim Farris, Gary Vaynerchuk outside of his cussing, because I am not a man that believes in cussing at all. I think it's disgusting, but it is what it is. By the way, he's coming out with some new venues where he's not cussing. He's got a whole other stream happening that's no cussing, which is great, but he's my kind of guy, you know? He just grinds it out. He's just grinding. I will work harder than anyone else, so mentors are in books, you know? John Maxwell, I met him a few times. I can go on and on. There's so many people. If you just go on YouTube, Eric Thomas, he's another one, and in fact I'm going to see him and meet him for the first time on April 11, in Dallas. I'm real excited about that.
Jack: Anyone who is making it big on YouTube that is visual, that's getting people's attention, I gravitate to. And then I suck their content every day and it changes who I am mentally. Your input becomes your output. So many people are not putting good input in. They're watching the news. They're watching CNN, which is constant negative news, CNN, that's what it stands for. I don't listen to that. I don't subscribe to that garbage. I just don't.
Howard: So really, identifying, latching on to other successful people, hearing their message and staying consistent with it. We're not going to be successful. We're going to be hindered in achieving our success if we don't take the time to continue to listen to the messages from people who are also successful, take what we can from it, but also be consistent about it. So if we want to learn the secrets of Gary Vaynerchuk, Kiyosaki, Tim Farris. There's a book on Tim Farris right behind me. I mean, we kind of constantly hear those messages. Before we leave today, we have a ... One of our ... Kind of a feature. We call it Insight to Go. And so if you could leave our audience with one Insight to Go, what would that be for you, Jack?
Jack: Excellent, I'll lay that out. But real quick, I forgot to tell you, I have two other sources of income. So I have a vending business, which is candy and gumballs. That actually pays ... The gumballs and the candy pays for my house mortgage and my car payments every single month. So I don't work for my money. I let assets pay for my liabilities. Yes, a house is a liability. It is not an asset. Then also I have an Energy Connection, which is actually a brokerage firm for energy, which means I can take a large, commercial customer like a factory or a 7-11 or a restaurant or a meat packing facility and I can take their bill, their electric and their gas bill, in all the 20 states that are deregulated anywhere, and I can put it into bid and the 80 companies that are authorized in each state to do business through that incumbent, I get to get the best rates, turn around, give it to my client and save them more money than they've ever seen before and I make a tremendous income helping others save money, which is ridiculous.
Jack: I mean, they're already paying for it and I'm dropping the rate and getting paid. It's like it's living in heaven and being there five times over. People can't even comprehend what I do. But so an insight is this. If you do what the crowd does, you're going to be in the crowd. That's it. And the crowd is broke, busted, hating life, faking everyone out like they're making it and really, at the end of their line, they die with nothing accomplished and they're just like everybody else. So I say become a rhino. Don't be a cow. Right? Don't follow the crowd. Be a rhino. Rhinoceros Success. Great book. Go get it.
Howard: Rhinoceros Success. Definitely. Jack, if our listeners want to get to know more about you, your work, your business streams, because they're excited, they want to hear more about you and your success and what you're doing every day to get up and continue that success, what's the best way to get ahold of you?
Jack: The best way is go to Facebook and look up Jack Castella, J-a-c-k space C-a-s-t-e-l-l-a and I'm junior. You'll see my dad too. He's in real estate. But Jack Castella Junior. Hyper Jack. You'll see the name Hyper Jack. You'll see my family. I've got two beautiful children and a beautiful bride and I love my family and I do everything for them and I want to spend time with them, so that's why I build residual, passive sources of income. I'm literally, I call my life, my lifestyle is called pajamas and cereal, because that's all I need to do every day.
Howard: Excellent, excellent. Jack, I truly appreciate you taking time out of your day. I imagine you've already had the cereal, so I don't know what you're going to do after. But I'm so happy you were able to spend some time out of your day to join us on the Success Insight podcast. Hang tight and we'll be right back with you.
Howard: Folks, that's it. This is Jack Castella we've just interviewed on SuccessInSight podcast. Hyper Jack. Great guy and, you know, when he's in the room, you just feel the energy. So I feel very fortunate to not only know Jack, but to have him on the SuccessInSight podcast. So for Randy Ford, this is Howard Fox. Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, go out there and have a phenomenal day and don't forget, visit SuccessInsight Podcast.com. Follow us. Comment on the podcast. And if you're interested in being on the SuccessInSight podcast, I want to hear from you as well. So again, go have a phenomenal day. We'll talk to you later.
Jack (Hyper Jack) Castella is a Business Owner & Entrepreneur. He helps make other entrepreneurs money through fours very successful Network Marketing streams. Jack invites you to visit and connect with him Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jack.castella.
The SuccessInSight Podcast is a production of Fox Coaching, Inc. and First Story Strategies.