Ep279: James Jani – You May Gain the Right Skills From the Wrong Path

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Quick take

BIO: James Jani is a YouTube Expert and Vlogger, who creates thought-provoking documentaries on YouTube about Business, Money, and Life.

STORY: James had always had a knack for acting but he failed not once, but twice to join drama school. At some point, he got so broke he had to sell his stuff on eBay. He managed to sell everything he had and even looked for more at garage sales and sold it all. This successful stunt started a fire of entrepreneurship in him, a path he wished he had followed a long time ago instead of chasing acting, something he came to realize that he didn’t even want to do anymore. 

LEARNING: You will make lots of mistakes as you try to find your true north, don’t let them hold you back. Whatever job you have a the moment, do it well, learn from it, and let it propel you to your dream job.


“Just to go in and dive into more stuff. And even if it doesn’t turn out into a career, there are tasks in there that might be useful in finding out what exactly you want to do.”

James Jani


Guest profile

James Jani is a YouTube Expert and Vlogger, who creates thought-provoking documentaries on YouTube about Business, Money, and Life. He’s been running a YouTube channel since January of 2020 that has now grown to 422k+ subscribers, with an average of 2 million views a month!

His “The Untold Truth About Money” has had 3.8m views, and he first went down his rabbit hole watching “The Rise of Fake Gurus…”

James now wants to share his methods with other people interested in growing their YouTube channel to expand their audience reach and engagement massively.

Worst investment ever

James had always had a knack for acting, and he loved the validation that came from acting. Everyone knew him as James the actor. He had built a massive reputation behind his desire to be an actor.

Trying to get into drama school

James tried to get into drama school, but he didn’t get in. He decided to join his friends for a trip to Portugal during his gap year. He came back home broke.

Money for survival

James had already resigned himself to living the life of a poor actor. He didn’t have so much desire for money because he knew he would only be rich once he made it as an actor. However, now that he had come home broke and didn’t make it into drama school, James decided to make some money to survive.

James learned about selling second-hand stuff on eBay and decided to try it. He scouted his room for things he could sell and found some old video games. He sold all of them. James then hit garage sales and got a few more items and sold all of them.

The fire of entrepreneurship sparks

It was while selling stuff on eBay that James had this huge desire to become an entrepreneur. After trying and failing to get into drama school for the second time, he realized that he didn’t want to be an actor after all. However, he couldn’t admit this to himself, his friends, or his parents. James had grown to identify himself as an actor, and he just couldn’t let it go.

James continued to research on making money as the fire to become an entrepreneur kept burning in him as his passion for acting kept waning. However, he still kept trying to become an actor instead of putting more effort into becoming an entrepreneur.

Nobody cares

Eventually, James figured that nobody cared that he didn’t want to become an actor anymore. He stopped worrying about what people would say and finally paid attention to his love for entrepreneurship, and finally made something big out of this passion.

Lessons learned

Learn from your failures

You will make lots of mistakes in life as you try to find your true north. Don’t let these mistakes hold you back. Instead, learn from your failures and let them propel you to greatness.

Andrew’s takeaways

Let value be your motivator

Business is about bringing value and not about money. Money is just validation.

Every job is the same

Just throw yourself into the work in front of you, and learn the tasks involved with that work. That work may not be where you end up, but the tasks and the skills you acquire will be applied elsewhere. Identify the tasks that you love to do the most, and then find a job that allows you to do these tasks.

Actionable advice

Do as much as you can, and learn from each of those experiences. The best thing that will happen is that you may learn that you weren’t interested in that job in the first place.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

James’ number one goal for the next 12 months is to bring in video editors, people to help him with the research side of things, and a manager to run the day to day activities. He hopes that with this team, he will create even better content that he has right now.


Read full transcript

Andrew Stotz 00:03
Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning. And I community we know that the winning investing you must take risk but to win big, you've got to reduce it. This episode is sponsored by a Stotz Academy which offers online courses that help investors, aspiring professionals, business leaders and even beginners to improve the finances of their lives and their businesses. Go to my worst investment ever.com right now to claim your discount on the course. that excites you most fellow risk takers This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz. And I'm here with featured guest, James Danny James, are you ready to rock?

James Jani 00:46
I am indeed Andrew. Let's do this.

Andrew Stotz 00:50
Well, to the audience out there, listen up. Writer Sierra wilts wrote in her article on medium about James, that he stands out because he provides quality value. And most importantly, he tells a great story. James Danny is a YouTube expert and blogger who creates thought provoking documentaries on YouTube about business money in life. He's been running a YouTube channel since January of 2020. That's right, January of 2020, just recently, that has now grown to more than 422,000 subscribers, with an average of 2 million views among his video the untold truth about money, as had 3.8 million views. And I first myself, went down his rabbit hole watching the rise of fake gurus, and I highly recommend that you watch that too. He now wants to share his methods with other people interested in growing their YouTube channel to massively expand their audience reach and engagement. James has studied at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Woodhouse, college, James, take a minute, and for the affiliate further tidbits about your life.

James Jani 02:11
Yeah, thank you so much, Andrew. And yeah, well listen to production, I really do appreciate it. It's weird as well, especially because, yeah, since I started the channel, only relatively recently, the idea of, I guess, being known for the channel and being the kind of, quote unquote youtubers is a new sort of identity that I've had to had to kind of get used to, really, in the short space of time that I've been in that sort of arena, really, where most of my experience comes from, and we're gonna, I imagine touch on it quite a bit in this podcast, but most of my experience comes from acting, and being in sort of the arts and theater space. I mean, since I was a kid, my mom would take me to sort of Saturday classes for acting and kind of from there that began to grow into, or maybe I should become an actor. And then from there, it became more of, yeah, I want to be an actor. And from there it was, I want to be the best actor, and I want to be in Hollywood and all of this stuff. And they really grew and expanded. And I'd done several stuff with, you know, school school theater stuff, I'd worked in the local community. There, I say worked. I was part of the local community theater, and we do shows with them. And yeah, and it's weird. My interest in business and entrepreneurship came about more recently, I'd say maybe a year and a half ago, although I've kind of now lost track yet. But yeah, probably about a year and a half ago. where, you know, essentially, I just, I started to drift away from acting. And that's something that I'm going to be talking about in the podcast later on, because in my opinion, that, as harsh as it is, that would be the worst and worst investment I made ever, but we'll get onto that. But um, but yeah, my interest in entrepreneurship came about then, I had also failed against drama school. And slowly I shifted into more of acting related stuff, sorry, business related stuff. And all of a sudden, I found myself inside the fake guru rabbit hole, which later led to me making a video about that on my YouTube channel, I found myself trying out a bunch of business ideas, some of which failed, and eventually led me to creating the channel in the first place. And that pretty much is where we are at the moment. Hmm.

Andrew Stotz 04:27
And, you know, I think for the benefit of the listeners out there, I know there's a lot of listeners who want to have a YouTube channel. It's so exciting, you know, and as I was saying before, I have a YouTube channel with lots of videos and very few viewers. And you know, you came on the scene, and immediately, you know, have done really well and what's you know, amazing is that you've got nine videos and you got 400,000 views. So maybe you could just for us beginners out there who were thinking I want to do video To tell us just like, how did you? What's your secret? Not your secret. But I don't want to use that word because that sounds like it's a scam. But it's not. But you obviously worked really hard to produce, it wasn't just like, Oh, I just picked up a microphone and a camera, and then boom.


James Jani 05:20
I think and like, just to even be clear, like, I never even expected to grow. At that rate, I literally have, like, behind me, I have like a whiteboard with my goals for this year, and one of them was just to get 1000 subscribers on YouTube. And I honestly would have been happy with that. And I would have called that, you know, a done deal. I didn't even think I could hit that number to be like completely truthful with you. I think when it comes to her, the the sort of the secret, there's a bunch of stuff where, like, I can go on and talk about the YouTube algorithm, which is you know, how YouTube tries to, or what content YouTube tries to push to people on the website, and what it's sort of what data uses to determine which video it should push. And I can go on a whole charade about all of that stuff. And there's plenty of information out there. But I think the thing that I tend to see, which isn't talked about as much, or sort of put in, in the on the second category of importance is the actual content and the quality of the content itself. What I find is that, and what I found in the sort of finance business niche that I'm in, is that you have a lot of people that will pretty much spam content out as much as possible. A lot of it feels like it comes from people that aren't as genuine, that that sort of ties into the whole fake guru stuff. And I found that I was there was a sense that I could improve something here. And and that's kind of for me, it became the foundation of why I think is the core of entrepreneurship, which is about finding a solution to some kind of problem in the marketplace and, and you know, providing actual value to the market. And for me, when I was looking at through the lens of YouTube, I saw that there was this niche, business and finance. And I saw that I think I could improve the level of storytelling that goes into some of these videos, I don't really see much of storytelling at all, it's normally just here's some facts, and here's some figures and day to day information. I felt that there, there could be more of some sort of documentary style that I wasn't calling it that right at the start. I always was leaning more towards that side. Because of my background in acting and my love for films and movies and all of this stuff. I knew I could bring some of that into this niche, which is kind of not I hadn't seen it used as much there was only one channel, Jake Tran, who I'd seen who did similar style videos to what I wanted to start off with. And when I kind of like aligned all of these things together, and I saw, okay, there's actually some way in which I can stand out in this marketplace of YouTube. And specifically in this niche. I said, Well, let's let's go for it. Why not? What's interesting is that I didn't even start the channel with the intention of it. being just a YouTube channel, I wanted to like indirectly promote a business I was starting at the time. But as soon as I edited that first video, I kind of realized how I utilize my creative skills. And one of the things that I've learned over the years, as well as being able to now do research for subjects that I am already interested in and be able to make videos from it was like a realization that wow, this is awesome. And kind of very quickly, it became its own thing for me. And the business I did I was initially trying to promote sort of faded into dusters, I just went all in all in on YouTube, and of course Coronavirus came down and locked down happened. And that was like a like you don't have any other excuse. Now you can go all in on this thing. And luckily that that ended up paying off. But if I was going to kind of give advice to people was very important to look at the algorithm, understand what YouTube is data YouTube looks at and tries to promote? Start with understanding what makes you different and what kind of content you want to put out. And why should people care and what really what's going to make someone click on your video as opposed to someone else in their niche. And I would start there and then move on to understanding the algorithm.

Andrew Stotz 09:27
So to follow up on that. I guess one of the questions I have is, do you think I mean, I would say that there's a couple different aspects that I experienced by watching your videos. The one is the topic. You know, the topics that you choose are ones that are fascinating. Now, that's not to say that there's other videos, there's are many videos out there on the different topics. That's one and then the second thing is the quality of the way you know the quality of the work that you've done to create that video. Just Curious like, to what extent do you think if we just look at those two factors and say there are other factors, but we just were to look at those two factors. How do you if you did really good quality videos, but the topic wasn't? So? I don't know sexy or so yes. apropos? Or you did like really, you know, topical, but the video is not so great. What is your thoughts on the breakdown of what's made you successful between those two?

James Jani 10:28
Yeah, I think this is where it begins to stem more into the algorithm side of things. And part of that is understanding what people are interested in talking about, on you know, what's trending, or what has constantly been a topic that people want to talk about. So if you kind of came out with a video, for example, that was just talking about how the stock market works. To be fair, that alone as a title is an idea for a video is pretty interesting. I think a lot of people would go for that. I mean, if you wanted to go into even something more boring, and you want to explain, like maybe you want it to explain how bonds work, or what are bonds, then maybe you're in territory, where it's not that interesting, but if you can find a way of changing the title, or, or the thumbnail, the way in which it's kind of presented initially to the to the viewer in such a way where it doesn't seem you know, quote, unquote, boring, that's when you can begin to earn the click, essentially, I think one example is even my most popular video, the the money video, really, all that's about is getting to the core of what entrepreneurship is, and, and how that can lead you down the line to generating wealth for yourself, if that's what you choose to do. But I titled it in such a way, which was the untold truth about money, which is very dramatic, and it's very, it appeals to a very, very broad audience. It's like the untold truth about money. You know, what, untold truth, really the topic is, is about entrepreneurship is cool. But the way in which you frame it via the title, author, and the thumbnail as well, both of those things are very crucial is, is done in such a way that it can appeal to a wider audience and is kind of turns a potentially boring subject or subject that someone wouldn't be interested in into something far more intriguing. Obviously, the content then supplements that by making it more this documentary style and quite dramatic with all the music and whatnot. And those kind of go hand in hand. But very, is a very good point. If you are on Youtube, the next stages, as I say, is looking at the algorithm. And one part of that is taking these topics that you want to do videos on finding ways in which you can make them very intriguing via the title or thumbnail to earn that click.

Andrew Stotz 12:36
Yeah. And so that's kind of the starting point, you remind me I just went on to the internet right now and typed in something. And I came up with a quote that I always find so fascinating by a guy named Blair Warren, when he wrote the one sentence persuasion course. And he has this amazing quote, and I think that, in some ways, this fits with one sentence with one part of this sentence, which is justify their failures. You know, if it's untold, no wonder why it's not working for me. Nobody taught me this, you know, he says, people will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions, and help them throw rocks at their enemies. Blair Warren, the one one sentence persuasion course. But I think what you're saying is, you know, first you have to grab the audience. And once you grab them with that title, you know, and with the, that now you've brought them in, and now it's a matter of creating quality content. Now, you said something else that was kind of interesting. And normally, I don't go on this long, but I just find it fascinating for myself, but also, I know, plenty of listeners out there thought I gotta do a YouTube channel. But you said something that was interesting, like, what is your unique uniqueness that you're bringing to this? Like us specifically? Yeah, whether that's, you know, tell us more what you mean by that?

James Jani 14:03
Yes. So I guess it was kind of like when I was looking at the Nisha self of business, entrepreneurship and finance on YouTube. I had this background in acting, which I knew I could I had to kind of find something that I could bring into the space right in order to stand out. And when I searched in my background that was it, right it was it was this idea of I've been doing acting I've been watching films I have this love for the sort of storytelling that comes with that. In addition, I've also loved writing, although I've never taken it seriously. I've always written short stories or little things like that when I was younger, even today. And so it's like how can I bring this now into this niche which I know I haven't seen a lot of that. And that was kind of where I've, that idea has been implanted in my head through every video and per each video I've tried to to just expand and get better and better when it comes to these aspects specifically One thing for me was storytelling i'd love. I'd love to have videos that are just so well done when it comes to a story, without something that I've tried to achieve and try to get that out with every single video, it's not something you typically see in the niche, which is where the uniqueness stands out. And it's also something that I have had a background in. So that's that, for me was sort of a match, right? It's like there's a gap in the market. And I've got a background in that thing. And now all I got to do is just bring that into this niche. And hopefully, let's see how the market responds to it. And yeah, I think that it worked out in my favor in the end.

Andrew Stotz 15:37
And that's a good challenge to all the listeners out there to think about what uniqueness Can you bring to what you're doing. And I know, in the case of my worst investment ever podcast, the uniqueness is that I look at investing from the negative side, I look at investing to say there's two ways that you build your wealth over time. first way is to make money as it's going up. But the second way is to not lose money when it's going down. And if we can focus on how do we not lose money, I think there's plenty of other people that may tell you how to gain money. I can speak on that. But really, I think the value that I bring is my 30 years of experience in the markets and say how do we build a library of knowledge about how we prevent ourselves from losing money, or time or the other things that can be our worst investment ever? And really, that brings us to the question. So let me ask you, now it's time to share your worst investment ever. And since no one ever, ever, ever goes into their worst investment thinking it will be. Tell us a bit about the circumstances leading up to it, and then tell us your story.

James Jani 16:53
Yeah, so it's interesting, because, and I imagine this is probably a theme that you may find with other guests, where the kind of the worst investment isn't, in hindsight was seen as the worst investment but rather, it was a necessary step in learning some kind of lesson, right. And that, for me, comes in the form of my passion for acting and my pursuit of the Acting career. And, as I mentioned, I have always had a love for acting in the past, when I was introduced to it initially, when my mom was taking me to the Saturday classes throughout school where I've started becoming more vocal about it, and started taking part into in in more of the school shows to, you know, going into the local theatre, theatre group that we had, and, and doing shows for them and all of this stuff, it kind of built on itself. And, and without trying to even sound like bragging about it, but I was pretty good acting. And there's this thing where when you're good at something where you have some kind of talent with it, you're, you're complimented a lot on it. And for me, I was validated a lot when I did my acting. If you never spoke to me in school or college, if you never, you know, if you never had a proper conversation, me, you'd still probably know me as that acting guy, or that guy that wants to be an actor, because I built a huge reputation around it. And really, when I boiled it down, I loved the validation that came from it. And I never realized this. And a part of me loved acting for the craft of it. But there was a big part of me that loved the validation that I got from it. And that positive feedback that came from it. And it came about sort of Sixth Form time or college in the UK, we sometimes alternate between quantumness, six for more college. There the two years before universities, this is when I was about 1716 1718 in those in that range. And I was in sixth form. And that was when I started taking it a lot more seriously in terms of, Okay, what drama school Do I need to go to now. And I went through sort of these auditions that you have to do before you go you have to kind of do these auditions, very difficult to get into, especially if you're going for like some of the top drama schools, which I was. And it's very hard to get in. And I was going through all of this grind. And slowly it was like a realization that appeared where I was starting to realize, um, I'm not as I'm not as passionate about this. I'm not as passionate about this, this grind of acting, and really diving into the craft as much as I had seen being done in drama school. But it is very important to note that there was a mental battle going on, when I was coming to this realization because from someone who was like, you know, it's been part of my childhood. It's been something that I've told everyone It's been so ingrained into my identity, to then have this, this other side of you start to go, I don't know, if you're actually passionate about this, you immediately attack that thoughts. And that's what happened, I attacked, I was like, No, I love the craft like this is what I want to do is, is like, this is it, I just want to be an actor for the rest of my life like that these were the thoughts that came out and try to counteract the idea that I wasn't passionate about it. Because so much of my identity was built upon on acting. And end of sixth form. I didn't get into drama school, and that first year of auditions, which is typical, a lot of people don't get in on their first year. And I was like, Okay, let's do second year round, we're gonna we're gonna try and get this thing. And at the same time, I had successfully gotten into a one year course, another drama school. And that was just like a one year course, which was just about training. So I wanted to keep up, you know, the training whilst I was kind of on my own my gap year and I had downtime, and it wasn't an education. And as I was going through this gap here, that fat realization kept coming back that feeling that I wasn't as passionate about this, as I had initially thought. And Around this time, or even just before I started that one year, I had taken this holiday with a group of friends to Portugal. And essentially, I sort of, I went to Portugal with about, like, 600 800 pounds, I don't even remember was within that range in my bank account. 400 euros in cash. And I came back from that holiday with nothing in my bank account, no cash and a broken phone. And what had happened was this weird thing where, when you're when you want to be an X, all right, you see, we can be broke. That's that's the gender general, the general idea is going to be broken till you make it and then that's you, you accept that kind of life. When I came back from a holiday, I was, I suddenly had this, this, this feeling or this, this wish to start making money. And it's something I hadn't had before. Like, I didn't have that before. And I was like, okay, like, what, what can I do, and I started searching up on YouTube on Google, how to make money. And I started seeing videos from this guy called Gary Vaynerchuk. And Gary Vee was talking about flipping items on eBay, and going to these garage sales. Or as we have them here in the UK car boot sales, and, you know, buying items there and selling them on eBay for a profit. And I was like, Okay, let's, let's start with that. And I started looking around my room, first sort of find things in my room that I could sell, I was selling

Andrew Stotz 22:45
my sister.

James Jani 22:50
So my sister and I ended up selling eBay. That's what it's like, when you want to make money. But yeah, I sort of found these consoles. I had all these old games, these play, I was selling this on eBay. And, and when I was realizing


James Jani 23:08
as they were getting sold on eBay was, well, this is, this is amazing, like I was earning money for myself. And then I went to car boot sales, and I had called up a friend of mine as well, who I thought would have been interested in then he had agree that we went to these coffee sales and we started buying stuff and trying to flip them on eBay. And all in all, since the moment I started doing this from selling stuff in my room to when I kind of finished stopped doing it, it was about three months. And I had like made up all the money that I had lost during the holiday. But more importantly, there was that lingering feeling of Wow, that was great. Like I had actually made this money and I've done it myself. And it set this kind of spark where I was slowly becoming more interested in business. Now, relating back to the idea of where that where that leaves me when it comes to acting was now the voice of you know, to passionate about this, this acting thing James slowly started to become, you know, that passion of acting and you really like this entrepreneurship thing. And that started to grow. And obviously that became more of an appealing voice because it gave me an alternative. And then I as I continued going through that one year of training, I was going through my second year of auditions for drama school when I was doing van at the same time I was searching online more of this, you know, how do I make money and all this stuff because I'm coming in as this as this person who'd never had a business background, none of that stuff. And I was very new to it. And I was being fed these advertisements initially of these guys who are, you know, appearing with like a Lamborghini in the background. And they're flashing money and they're making these crazy claims about you know what they're seeing Students have achieved through the online courses and, and, you know, they're throwing up these business models like drop shipping or social media marketing agencies and all of this stuff. And I was just like, wow, this sounds incredible way, if this was me, you know, a couple years ago, I wouldn't have boy, but now is in position where it almost became a desperation to kind of make money. And that's a really, really important point because I was coming from this place of desperation, where I was feeding into these ads that I was seeing. And what essentially happened was I got on this course, which was all about social media marketing, and running an agency like that it was a course that was a very expensive, and it was about how you can start this business up, and I bought into it. And I called a friend up again, I'm still in acting training, I called a friend up and I said, hey, I've just been thinking about this business idea. And he was already familiar with it. And, and he said, Yeah, let's do it together. We kind of agree that we'll start this business whilst I was doing training and, and there was always this battle again, between my two minds, like what are you doing, like you're doing acting and you want to get into trauma school, but you're trying to do this other thing with your friend, and my headaches are justified as I can do both at the same time, right. But what ended up happening was I failed to gain on my second year of auditions at drama school. And it was a think at that point where the switch or I guess the weights was slowly being tipped towards the other side where I was realizing that maybe this acting thing isn't for me. Maybe I shouldn't keep pursuing as I have been relentlessly. And then what happened was I I read a book by a guy called MJ DeMarco, which was it was a book was called The Millionaire Fastlane. And I remember I was on the train, I was about to get my headshots done for acting, where I picked up this book. And it was a weird feeling where the moment I was going through it, I realized that I wouldn't be thinking about things the same way after I finished. And I even remember being extremely angry, as I was reading this book, at the fact that there were so many gurus and so many of these finance books I'd read in the past that didn't tell me what was what I was being told in this book. And in all, it was a really well MJ his book is just what entrepreneurship is about, which is solving a problem in the marketplace and providing actual value to people. And that wasn't what I got from the gurus. And even from this business, I just started with my friend, it was much more about money, and focusing on making money and you know, sign 10 clients paying you 1000, you're gonna make six figures at the end of the year. And there was very little no talk about value and what can you actually provide to the market. And as I was reading this book, I started realizing this, and I started realizing that, number one, I wasn't as passionate about acting, and I was starting to accept this. Number two, I had been looking at business and entrepreneurship and wealth and making money in the completely wrong way. And a very selfishly minded way. And slowly, I, I started being more vocal about my, my disinterest in acting, which is very tough to do. And I think I imagine this, like a lot of people, when I've spoken to a lot of people who have this way you've built like this identity on being this thing, where it's like, you have this vision in your head of everyone who knows that you want to be an actor, and is believing in you. And you have this idea of telling them and then all of a sudden, it's just this disappointment Do you imagine painted across their face when you tell them that you're no longer interested in doing acting? When in reality, I would tell some people about it. And they'd be like, oh, like that. That's a shame. And that would be it. And then forget the next two weeks, next month, it's over. And I realized that no one really cares. It doesn't matter to them. Yeah, it doesn't, because they've all got their own things, right. They've all got their own acting that they're pursuing while they were running like

Andrew Stotz 29:05
their own mind.

James Jani 29:06
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Exactly. That was what I was. I was realizing when I was telling people, the hardest one for me was kind of telling my parents, especially my mom, who was like, so extremely, like, invested in supporting me doing the acting. That was probably the toughest one for me. Because, yeah, I knew how much that my mom like really wanted me to succeed in this thing and, and she supported me all the way and kind of having to tell her I'm no longer interested in it was was very difficult. But at the end of the day, she said, Look, I'm going to support you in whatever it is that you end up doing. If you think that acting, isn't it, that's fine. I'll still support whatever it is you choose to do after and slowly I I sort of departed from acting, and I became more invested now into the business side of things. And I guess this story comes Multiple bad and blood quote unquote bad investments. Because I, one was the acting, but two was also getting involved with the whole fake guru side of things where it's sort of preying on a desperation for money, as opposed to really giving you core principles that are far more beneficial in it in the business world, and especially if you're trying to start a venture. But the flip side of this comes after this whole, all of these events, which is that once I had been doing this business with my friend, this Social Media Marketing Agency, I just sort of finished up my year of training, we quickly realized that it wasn't working out. We weren't signing any clients, we had like free trial clients, but they wouldn't like they wouldn't follow up at the end of the month. And it's that whole typical thing of just they don't really respect you as a business owner. And we're realizing it wasn't working out. And we decided to quit. And it was at that point where I was like, Okay, now I've started with a clean slate. And that was when I began thinking of actual businesses and actual proper ideas that I could have when I'm trying to solve a problem in the market. And one of these problems that I had always thought about was the fact that a lot of people have the sentiment of, you know, why aren't we talking about taxes or how mortgage works, or how the stock market works school. And that's a common sentiment I always constantly hear and it's something that I've even felt coming from an acting background. It's like a whole new world to me. And so I was like, yeah, so there's a problem. What's the solution? Now, James, and I thought of my initial idea was, I will do something like Code Academy, which is a website where you can learn to code and I remember it from when I was younger. And I remember thinking how amazing it wasn't this idea made this website made learning how to code a very accessible thing. So I thought, how about I do something like Code Academy, but for learning about financial related subjects, and that sort of started my first, this, this initial idea, and I was going to call this platform quit me. And at this time, I read the Lean Startup as well, which was an amazing book that allowed me to kind of remove away all the additional baggage that I was trying to add on to this idea that I was creating. And instead of having this website with a forum with a chat room, and all this stuff, I just create a website, very simple. That would have just for now, one course on it, I built the website inside of a month, this is now December time 2019. I built the website inside of a month, it wasn't the best booking, but it was functionable. It did the job. And it was all about just creating that first course. Now at the same time, I was thinking, How can I promote this thing. And the one thing that came into my head was, oh, I could start a YouTube channel. Because I've been watching someone like Graham Steffen, for example, who I actually on the flip side of the finger stuff, who I thought was very genuine, and who I very much liked, and thought his advice was good. I watched him and I'd seen his YouTube channel grow. And I realized, okay, I can do something like this. And I could indirectly promote this other business. And so I spent the month of sort of January, learning how to edit videos. And I ended up right at the end of that month, creating the first video on the channel. And the moment I created it, I had this weird thing of where I realized a lot of these skills that I had built up, and my interests, kind of all aligned after I learned video editing mice the love for storytelling, my interest in acting in the past and my love for films. And suddenly my interest in entrepreneurship and business. Once I learned video editing, it allowed me to combine all of these things to create videos about business, finance, entrepreneurship, but utilizing the sort of acting background, through my narration and through the content style, where it was like a whole new thing for me. And I suddenly realized I need to do like a video on this whole fake guru stuff that I had gone through in the past, I need to make a video on this. And so I ended up creating that video. And suddenly after that video, I did this Instagram video, I did another video. And then another time I was like, I need to talk about the whole self help industry, which is a story I didn't even touch on in here. There's a bunch of stories going on one one time, but I need to talk about the whole self help industry and my experiences with that. And then I wanted to talk about reading MGS book and how the values in there were taught and I made the untold truth about money. And after I made that video, I was at about maybe 200 or so subscribers, which was amazing for me. And these videos, you know, they've gone into maybe a couple hundred views. I think the most viewed one was 600 views maybe. And then I wake up all of a sudden one day and I just go through my normal morning routine. I look at my phone, I just check the analytics and they see this suddenly, where I normally get zero views. 10 views an hour if even that I was at 15 to 20 views an hour. And I was suddenly thinking okay, something's gone weird. Someone must have pushed out somewhere. Someone's promoted it and I looked at the back end And I was seeing that, Oh, these are actually coming from YouTube's suggested videos there, that algorithm was starting to push it. And from then on, it became this spiral, the snowball effect of just, you know, every single day, the amount of views I was getting per hour was just going up and up and up and up from like, 500 to 1000 2500. And it was becoming like, insane. And the subscribers were going off, my phone was blowing up, I remember like, specifically these four days, where I just my heart was pounding like crazy, because of the just the, like overwhelming stimulus from all of this happening at once in such a short period of time, where I just literally had to do laps in the local park to release energy. Because I could not focus on I still had another video I was trying to create. But thankfully, sort of after these four days, I relaxed a little bit into it, I became a little more acquainted with the fact that Yeah, I guess this is it. Now this is my, this is my thing, this is where I'm going to continue pursuing because the market has responded incredibly favorably to what I was doing with the channel. And so I think it's worth going into that level of scale with YouTube, I always had these thoughts in my head as well, because it's important that if you're going to go into any kind of venture, you want to make sure that there is that longevity to depending on your goal. But for me, you know, YouTube has a great skill to it. And, and I guess that brings us into present day, but to come full circle with this, Andrew. And to really touch on the lessons that I learned from my, you know, quote, unquote, worst investment was that I had a call come when I was at, I think I hit 10,000 subscribers, and I had a call from a friend. And he said to me, oh, James, is really good that you didn't get into drama school. And the moment he said that, I was like, I saw, I took a moment. And I was like, actually, he's right. And I realized I looked through a lot of this stuff, right? That I perceived as failures, or bad investments of my time and energy, that they were, in fact, very necessary to get to that point where I was at, for example, not getting into drama school meant that I was now going to be focusing on doing this business stuff. If I'd gone into drama school, I'd probably still be having this battle in between my head for three years along with paying for student, you know, student debt, they come up that comes along with it. On top of that, the whole going into the finger rabbit hole, getting that course. And doing this business that ended up failing. If I hadn't done that, I wouldn't have created that finger video. And that finger video was the first video that blew up on the channel that was kind of where everything began. If it wasn't for me, then reading MJ DeMarco his book, I wouldn't have created the untold truth about money, which was the most popular video on the channel. And if it wasn't for that holiday in Portugal, where I lost the lot of money, I wouldn't have even had this desire or this interest in wanting to make money in the first place. And so it's it's when he when he said that to me over the phone, I had this realization going through these events where I started to realize that wow, like there were so many things that I really didn't think were failures, or that I just didn't, I were unrelated entirely, that were really helpful in getting me to the position that I am currently in. And I guess that's, that's one huge, huge lesson that I have taken, which is that even just even, like starting with an idea that you want to go for six months with. And just to try it out is so important. And to just try and try things I even had like, like, you know, I was I would have been fine this year with 1000 subscribers. And that would have been it. As you said, Give it a year really to myself when I was dying, give it a year and see how it goes. And look what became of that. On top of that, look, what became of after, you know, trying out the business thing, and how I felt in that business. Although I didn't know at the time that this would happen. That was very important for me when I started the YouTube channel. And I imagined that a common theme that people find is, is maybe not regret with bad investments, but rather a sense of there's an experience. And there's a lesson that has been that has come from it that in fact made it very important that you sort of failed and I was lucky that I had these failures come very quick in a very short period of time to learn from them. But yeah, that is pretty much it.

Andrew Stotz 39:29
Well, let me let me summarize some things that I take away from it. You know, one of the things first thing is that what's one of the main messages that I get is business is about bringing value and not about money. In fact, money is the validation. Usually you've brought value. But if money is the pursuit, well you can just go out and Rob someone. You got money. You know, I remember someone was saying, Look at this guy. Look how much money he has. You know, it was a guy, I knew he wasn't a particularly bright guy. And but, you know, he had, he had a ton of cash. And, you know, I just thought what a fool I am, you know. And then a couple of months later, he was shot in the chest and died, because he was stealing the money. And he stole from the wrong people. And I just thought, Oh, yeah, that's right, you can get a lot of money if you steal it. So it just talked to me about the idea of bringing value to your place, that you, you know, that you're meant to bring value. That's the first thing. The second thing is, I think back, I have something I always say to my interns, and I've got a lot of them these days, during the COVID times, there's a lot of young people that want jobs, but you know, they're not there. So I always tell them that, you know, I always say something kind of crazy. And that is, every job is the same. And they're like, well, how could that be? I mean, you got a salesperson is different from a factory manager, who's different from an analyst like myself. And I say, Well, actually, jobs are composed of tasks. You know, you got to make phone calls, you got to write memos, you got to write reports, you got to have meetings, you got to work in Excel sometimes, and you got to work in PowerPoint, sometimes. And all of these things are tasks that we do. And what I always say is, you know, identify the tasks that you really love to do the most, and then find the job where that is maximized in a job. And it's pretty simple. Like I could sit in a suit, particularly when I was younger, I would sit in a spreadsheet for hours, and I found the job of being an analyst. And I was able to do exactly the tasks that I love to do. But what your story brings out to me is that, you know, just throw yourself into the work you have in front of you, and learn the tasks involved with that work. That work may not be where you end up, but the tasks and the skills you acquire about those, you know, a mastering those tasks will be applied somewhere else. And it's just a jigsaw where we're trying to mix in find the job that has the right mix of tasks. But it's probably more important really in our life, particularly in our young life, to develop the strength in those different tasks. And one of the things I always tell my interns is that the best thing that could come out of this internship is that you find out, you don't like this job. Because you've just saved yourself the challenge, you know, having to go out after you graduate from university and search for this job and get this job, let's say to be an analyst, and then work three years in it and find out. It's not really for me, and now you got to figure out how to escape that and how to find something else. So that's another thing that I got from it. So I think, from my perspective, value, and just work on the tasks and head it, you know, in front of you, and build the strengths, because you never know where that would be applied anything else you'd add?

James Jani 43:06
No, I think that was extremely well put that that's really the big thing for me. And if I guess if I go back to my own cell phone, and even improve on anything, it's just to go in and dive into more stuff. And even if it doesn't turn out into you know, cargo success, as you say there are tasks in there, that will end up becoming useful and unknowing. Which tasks Do you like that become essential to as you progress, finding out what exactly you want to do?

Andrew Stotz 43:35
So let's think about a younger version of you out there a young man or woman out there, who's where you were a few years ago? And what one action would you recommend them to take to avoid suffering the same fate? Now? That's the question I always ask. But, you know, in some ways, I feel like that's not a great question in this situation, but tell us, you know, for someone that's in that situation, now, what would you tell them?

Yeah, I think, um,

James Jani 44:06
I think the real bad investment would have been never taking that, that kind of the investments that I did the bad investments to do in the acting, I think what my advice would be is, is go and try as much as you can, and, and learn from each of those experiences. As you said, even when the interns it's like, the best thing you can have is learning that you weren't for the job. And that's essentially why I would boil down my advice to is to go and do something. And just if I was going to hone in even more specifically, if it was on a business side is when you go for that adventure, if you're starting that that business, be sure that you're always framing it with the value and the problem that you're trying to solve in the market in mind. And if you're if you're coming from this place of desperation, take a step back and realize that that isn't, that isn't really how it that's not money should follow after it as he said Perfectly said, it's the validation that comes from providing value to the market.

Andrew Stotz 45:05
And for the listeners out there, I'll just give you a little story I teach, one of my seminars that I teach is how to start building your wealth investing in the stock market. And it's really for beginners, who need to really set a long term plan and start investing in, let's say, a broad based ETF or fun, but really build the discipline of investing monthly over time and let the compound effect work for you. And I try not to let older people in the class. It's too painful. I had a 55 year old guy that was in my class, about my age, and he came up to me says, This is unbelievable, everything I'm learning for you. I wish I had learned when I was 20. But I didn't. And I'm only learning it now. And I've made all the mistakes that you've said, and I don't have any retirement savings. So and then that's when they pulls me aside. And he says, Can you tell me the fast way to make money? No, this is the slow way the steady the turtle and the hare, the tortoise and the hare. But, you know, tell me the fast way to make money because I got I want to retire when I'm 60. I'm 55. And I obviously, if I had a fast way to make money, don't you think I would be doing that? Hmm. You know, like, just there. It's like, what's the fast way to get muscle? What's the fast way to lose weight? Usually, these things are either illegal, or the consequences of them can be enormous, you know, from the last. So it just reminds me that, you know, there's no shortcuts to success and the books that say the secret of this, the secret of that. This is all just marketing hype, in most cases. And really, it comes back to fundamental principles that our parents and our grandparents taught us, which is, you know, put in the work and work diligently and with good people and all that. Yeah, I think

James Jani 47:02
even just to add on to what you said, and I think for me, even I don't even think there's, I think is possible to make money in a fast like amount of time, I don't even think that the speed in which someone wants to achieve that. It obviously it depends on the medium in which you're doing it with. I don't even think the speed at which someone wants to achieve is even the issue rather the idea that they want it to be easy. Like, if you look at something like Instagram, as an example of like the video that I did, I mean, these guys started, you know, when this from when they started, when they sold the company, it was about three years, and they sold it for 1 billion, that's 1 billion in three years. But if you look at really the work that went behind it, and their ability to have to, you know, pulling these investors from the start and have to pivot from their initial idea to finally get Instagram and actually code that and get it running. That was a lot of work. And you know, someone can look at a story of that, and then see Oh, well, they did it so fast, and then take that away, as in Oh, I can get rich, quick and easy. But the problem is the easy side of it.

Andrew Stotz 48:03
Yeah, it's a good point. And I think when I was I may have phrased it not really correctly, when I was talking about this, I should have really said to make money in the market. Because the stock market is such a complex environment. Yeah, millions of people in there trying to extract, you know, profit from it. And so it's, you know, having dealt with professional fund managers all my career as an analyst and a broker, what I found is that it's just really hard, you know, for everybody involved. So, but yes, in fact, what I teach in that course, also is that if you want to get rich do business, don't try to, you know, get fancy in the stock market, because that usually ends up in failure. So, last question, what's your number one goal for the next 12 months?

James Jani 48:55
Number one golf next 12 months, I think the big thing for me right now and with the channel where it's going to get very clear on the vision, and where I really wanted to kind of head down the line in the next five years. And for me, I have come to a very quick and easy realization that I'm gonna have to stop bringing in a team of people to help me out. And so my number one goal in the next 12 months, even in a shorter amount of time is to is to start bringing in video editors and finding a video editor for me, as well as finding in bringing in people to help me with research side of things, and potentially someone with more of a managerial role that kind of runs or helps out with very day to day activities. And sort of this time next year, I'd love to have some sort of team that has been that has been created. And that helps me with the channel and creating this sort of content that I do at the moment but to even better standard that I've got at the moment.

Andrew Stotz 49:53
Hmm, that's exciting. And for the listeners out there. You know what James is talking about? is taking a vocation or skill and turning it into business. And what I always say about businesses, you got to remember that there's many different aspects of it. There's the production, there's the selling of it, the marketing of it, there's also the accounting and the finance of it. And you've got to get all of these things together to build a successful business. So I'm excited to, to follow up with you in 12 months and hear about your success. So all right, listeners, there you have it, another story of laws to keep you winning. Remember to go to my worst investment ever.com to claim your discount on the course that excites you the most. As we conclude, James, I want to thank you again for coming on the show. And on behalf of a Stotz Academy, I hereby award you alumni status for turning your worst investment ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words for the audience?

James Jani 50:53
No, other than Thank you very much, Andrew. I really did appreciate coming on.

Andrew Stotz 50:57
Yes. And it's our pleasure having you on. And that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow, and most importantly, protect our wealth, fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz saying I'll see you on the upside.


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About the show & host, Andrew Stotz

Welcome to My Worst Investment Ever podcast hosted by Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, where you will hear stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that to win in investing you must take the risk, but to win big, you’ve got to reduce it.

Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, Ph.D., CFA, is also the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research and A. Stotz Academy, which helps people create, grow, measure, and protect their wealth.

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