Tommy Wetjen with Gamers N Geeks

Tommy Wetjen with Gamers N Geeks

This week on the Mobile AL Business Podcast, we're sitting down with Tommy Wetjen. Tommy is the proud owner of Gamers N Geeks, a prominent gaming store in Mobile. Check out this week's episode to hear his story and how risk-taking can help your business grow.

Produced by Blue Fish in Mobile, Alabama

Transcript:

Tommy Wetjen: Hi. My name's Tommy Wetjen, and I own gaming. I mean, I own Gamers N Geeks in Mobile, Alabama.

Marcus Neto: Awesome, man. Welcome to the podcast, Tommy. So, awesome to have you here.

Tommy Wetjen: Well, thank you.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. So, normally, as a way of getting started, because it's kind of the way that we operate here on this podcast, is to get some of the backstory of who it is that we're talking to. So, where are you from? Where'd you go to high school? Did you go to college? If you so ... If you did so, what did you study? Are you married?

Marcus Neto: You know, just give us some backstory on who you are.

Tommy Wetjen: All right. Married. One kid. He's fixing to be eight. He is awesome. He is my life. My wife is my rock. I could not do things without her.

Tommy Wetjen: Born in Mobile. I'm 37-years-old, fixing to be 38. High school, nonexistent. College, nonexistent. The last grade that I finished was eighth grade. As a child, I was always in advanced classes, but had a really hard childhood. My dad was on drugs and we moved around a whole bunch. Got kicked out of a lot of different places.

Tommy Wetjen: I went to, probably, 12 different schools over eight years. So ...

Marcus Neto: Wow. But mostly here in Mobile?

Tommy Wetjen: Yeah. We went on a vacation to Tennessee and ended up staying up there for, probably, several months. I don't know exactly how that worked. More a part of my family craziness. So, I went to school up there for a little while, a place called Sunnyview Elementary. It was a really nice school.

Tommy Wetjen: But, yeah, man. We bounced around very, very often.

Marcus Neto: So, one of the things that I've recognized over the course of, what, 160 plus episodes, is that there is no rhyme or reason to somebody being successful as a business owner, that it doesn't matter whether you have graduate degrees, like Todd Greer, or, you know, such as yourself, who didn't even go to high school.

Marcus Neto: I mean, we've had a number of people that, you know, have been on the podcast. The one that keeps coming to mind, because I'm just so impressed with the organization that he runs, is Chad from Hansen Heating and Cooling. They've now expanded into electrical and plumbing, and they've got a contract, you know, organization and stuff like that.

Marcus Neto: I mean, there are, I think you said they were like, a 12 or 14 million dollar a year organization.

Tommy Wetjen: Wow.

Marcus Neto: So, again, it just doesn't matter. Like, the education doesn't matter. But I only ask that question because I think that other people that are listening to this, they oftentimes think, like, "Oh, I have to have a business degree, or an MBA," or something like that, and I'm of the mindset that, oftentimes, those things are a hindrance because you know too much, and this is really just a painful experience of being a business owner. You know?

Tommy Wetjen: So, I'm going to go out there and I'm going to say something super risky. But like, I don't think college is for everybody.

Marcus Neto: No, it's not.

Tommy Wetjen: You know, and I'm not saying that I didn't want to go. Like, as a child, I wanted to go. There was so many things that I wanted to be able to do, but life happened and those weren't able to be done.

Tommy Wetjen: I don't think that you necessarily have to go to still pursue your dreams, for certain things. Like, obviously, you're going to be a doctor, you need to go to college, right?

Marcus Neto: It's kind of frowned upon to have no high school degree and be a doctor.

Tommy Wetjen: But, you know, I don't think that's completely necessary. I think that, you know, for the most part, a lot of times you can do what you want to, you know, reading books, you know. I live on YouTube. You know, I like Jim Rohn. I listen to a lot of Pat Bet. Just a lot of different people, just every day, to keep me motivated and inspired.

Tommy Wetjen: You know, try to read books. Robert Kiyosaki, stuff like that, just to, you know, keep in that business mindset. I always try to hire and hang around with people smarter than me. Like, that's my goal, is to, you know, bring someone to the table that knows something. I'm pretty good at math, right? Like, I always was. But I hire people that are better at math than me. You know, just to keep me on my toes and stuff.

Marcus Neto: I don't. I like to surround myself with idiots to make myself feel superior. No, I'm just playing.

Marcus Neto: So, go back with me. What was your first job, and I mean like, your first, you know, crap job? Were there any lessons that you still remember from that?

Tommy Wetjen: Okay, so, we're going to do this on a multiple scale. So, as a child, I was always an entrepreneur.

Marcus Neto: Okay.

Tommy Wetjen: I would take my Easter candy, the stuff that I didn't like, and I would set up a table outside of my house and sell it to kids on the street, or trade it for stuff that I did like. Right? You know, I would take stuff to school and sell it. I would go to Sam's and buy Cokes and danishes. My parents managed a motel for a long time, and I would go door-to-door at the motel and sell Cokes and danishes.

Tommy Wetjen: I mean, I worked with my grandfather at the Speedway at 12. Like, would ... I ran the whole counter and he ran the kitchen, at 12-years-old.

Marcus Neto: Wow.

Tommy Wetjen: I was, you know, running the concession stand and like, our money count was always right and stuff.

Tommy Wetjen: So, I always did different ventures like that. From 15 to 17, I worked full-time with my grandfather, doing air conditioning and refrigeration and electrical.

Marcus Neto: Cool.

Tommy Wetjen: That was very, very enjoying ...

Marcus Neto: You say 15.

Tommy Wetjen: Yeah, 15.

Marcus Neto: Wow. Okay.

Tommy Wetjen: So, we'll do the hard story. We'll start from 14 to 15.

Tommy Wetjen: So, from 14 to 15, my parents lost their job, and they were kicked out. We stayed in this motel on Highway 90 called the Highway Host. It was a rat infested hotel.

Marcus Neto: I'm sure it's posh.

Tommy Wetjen: Or, motel, rather. It wasn't even a hotel. Every morning we'd get up and the manager of the place would put a padlock on our door. We wouldn't be able to go back in until we had rent.

Tommy Wetjen: My dad would take me to ... He was on methadone at the time. So, my dad would take me to Halls Mill Road and we would pull vines from like, the woods, then he would throw me in Old Time Pottery's dumpster, and we would pull out old like, flowers that they threw out the night before, and we would make like, wreaths. I would go door-to-door, saying, "Hi, my name's Tommy, and I go to Oak Park Christian. We're selling these so I can go to Space Camp this Summer in Houston, Texas. Would you like to buy one? They're only $15.00."

Tommy Wetjen: I would do that over and over and over again until we got enough money to get back into the room, for what I call my dad's fix, and for, hopefully, enough food.

Marcus Neto: Geeze.

Tommy Wetjen: My mom would wash my clothes out in the sink. So, that happened from like, 14 to 15. So, when I went to work with my grandfather at 15, this was a breeze, right, like, you know.

Tommy Wetjen: We stayed with him at the time. But my first real job at like, you know, filling out like, a W-2 or whatnot, was at Rickwood Radio. I started as a little peon installer, making minimum wage. I didn't know anything. It said air conditioning on the building. It said, you know, stereos and air conditioning. Well, I did air conditioning with my grandfather, so, I was like, you know, very similar. We worked on a couple cars, not very many because that wasn't our forte, but, you know, I knew the gist of it.

Marcus Neto: Right.

Tommy Wetjen: So, I started there and about two weeks later, I was like, "Are we ever going to work on an air conditioner?" Like, "Oh, we stopped doing that years ago." So, I was super green. I didn't know anything about-

Tommy Wetjen: But yeah, man. I started there, and I left for like, maybe a year. Had like, a little mini, early mid-life crisis. I left for about a year and I went to another stereo shop, and then I went and did like, a little engineering job thing on the side. But they wanted me out of town all the time. So, I didn't like that.

Tommy Wetjen: So, I came back and I worked my way from a $6.00 an hour installer to like, one of the head installers, to sales associate, because I could sell a pig a ham sandwich, to manager, to store manager, to I owned a percentage of the business.

Marcus Neto: Wow.

Tommy Wetjen: That, ultimately, gave me the best experience ever. Car stereo is a rough business. Deal with car dealerships who are hard to deal with sometimes, when it comes to like, selling them stuff, because they're salesmen themselves. Trying to sell a salesman something is tough. You know?

Tommy Wetjen: Then customers, when they came to you it was like, a need business not a want business. They were typically upset because something broke on their car anyway. It was not a good time. You know, they would just come in, and that was the worst retail ever. People are very funny about their cars.

Tommy Wetjen: So, I did that for about 10 years. So, for a big portion of my life. The economy kind of started going down. I just ... I couldn't do it anymore. It was just wearing on me so much. So, I started my own thing. That's when I learned about cash flow.

Tommy Wetjen: Because, you know, in this other business, I was getting PNLs, and accounts payable, and accounts receivable But like, never actually dealt with the cashflow side of it. I knew, on a PNL, how to make money. I still know, on a PNL, how to make money. Right? But that has nothing to do with cashflow in a business. Your cashflow of a business, you can be making money, your cashflow on a business could kill your business, even though you're making money on paper, which was my business.

Tommy Wetjen: That's exactly what happened to my business. So, the first business I ever opened on my own, I made money on paper. I wasn't getting paid but every three months from, you know, these car dealerships and stuff. Where I was paying all my bills and my people, I wasn't paying myself.

Marcus Neto: Right.

Tommy Wetjen: That's when I had a kid on the way. I was like, "I can't do this anymore." So, my wife's sister's husband ... So, I guess that'd be my brother-in-law. Right? I think that's my brother-in-law.

Tommy Wetjen: So, he decided to open a game store. Bear in mind, during this time, I did car stereo, we did like, subwoofers, you know, there was like, contests, bikini girls, like, I went to the gym all the time. You know, I was that type of person, right. So, he opens this game store. He's like, "There's not a game store in town. We haven't had one in years. I need a manager. Come work for me." I was just like, "Man, it's a shitty paycheck. Okay. I'll do it."

Tommy Wetjen: Talk about culture shock.

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Tommy Wetjen: Man, I went into that place, I didn't know what was going on. I didn't ... But over time, man, I was just like, "All these people are smart. Like, really smart. Like, these are my people." Because I, you know, always played Dungeons and Dragons on the side and, you know, stuff like that.

Marcus Neto: So, you were a gamer before going into that, a bit?

Tommy Wetjen: Yeah. Kind of like, I guess I was a closet gamer? You know?

Marcus Neto: That's funny.

Tommy Wetjen: I would go like, you know, to my friend's and, you know, play some stuff on the side, but, you know, when I did car stereo, I worked so much, I really didn't do much of anything. You know?

Tommy Wetjen: So, yeah. That's how it all started.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, normally, when we do these, there's like, one thing that somebody mentions. You just rattled off like, a dozen things that you've done or that you've learned, and if you're listening to this, you know, go back and listen to that again. Because, I mean, that's ... The story of your life, you know, and the difficulties that you had, I mean, those all kind of ingrained like, a hustle in you, or a salesmanship in you that most people are never privy to. Right?

Marcus Neto: Most people have the nice, quiet suburban, you know, upbringing, even if it's just a single parent home. You know, they don't have to deal with a father who's an addict that is taking you door-to-door, and you're having to learn how to sell something at a very early age, you know, in order to even like, have a roof over your head.

Marcus Neto: That's like ... That's crazy. Now, do you remember the first, you know, like ... You got started in the business, but do you remember like, maybe the first couple of sales that you made, or was there a moment in time where you thought, "Man, there may be something to this?" Like, you know, you kind of like ...

Tommy Wetjen: Yeah.

Marcus Neto: Okay.

Tommy Wetjen: So, from, you know, just kind of doing it on a daily basis ... I was there for, probably, several months. Because, you know, it was a whole new industry for me, you know, and this was just me working for somebody.

Tommy Wetjen: They were like, "Oh, kind of play." I got my butt kicked. I was like, "This ain't fun." You know? But, you know, over time it kind of grew on you. I remember ... I want to say, you know, I can't like, probably make this claim for sure, but I'd never really seen anything, but I made the first Facebook event, that I saw in our area, for a tournament.

Marcus Neto: Oh, cool.

Tommy Wetjen: I started sharing it out. We did this big tournament. I was talking all this smack online and like, you know, "Come down and get your butt kicked by me." You know, "I'm going to take home this big swag bag full of all this stuff," and everything. We got a good turnout. I knew then, I was like, "There's something to this." Right?

Tommy Wetjen: So, like, instead of just doing like, a word of mouth thing, and anyone that came in, you know, I was friends with them, so, I was like, "I'm sending them a friend request on Facebook." You know, I think now I'm up to like, I don't know, like, 2,500 friends, you know?

Tommy Wetjen: So, you know, they started seeing this stuff, and I really started getting it out there on Facebook. Now everybody does it. Right? Like, you know, I'm looking at the next thing as to how to get stuff out, because there's so much noise on Facebook. But back then, for this, there really wasn't. You know?

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Tommy Wetjen: So, everything that I post, people saw. I think that's when I knew like ...

Marcus Neto: Yeah, they've changed the algorithm since then, for sure.

Tommy Wetjen: Yeah, yeah. It went from text to, you know, pictures, and then videos, and now it's, you know, freaking everywhere.

Marcus Neto: So, just for clarification, you are the owner of Gamers N Geeks.

Tommy Wetjen: Yeah. So, I bought Gamers N Geeks September 20th of 2015. That was a very interesting purchase. Like, if you would like to know the details, I do not mind sharing. Most people don't wanna know.

Marcus Neto: If you want to keep it at a high level, I don't necessarily want you to kind of dive into that, but I was more just asking for clarification because you mentioned working for your brother's, you know, gaming store.

Tommy Wetjen: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marcus Neto: Now, being the owner, I mean, like, so, what differences are you seeing in the experience between somebody else ... You know what I mean? Because it's the same business, right?

Tommy Wetjen: Yeah.

Marcus Neto: Or similar.

Tommy Wetjen: It's night and day. So, love my brother-in-law but he is a computer programmer.

Marcus Neto: Okay.

Tommy Wetjen: He's probably one of the better computer programmers that I ever met. I've roomed with him for a while. When it came to like, dealing with customers all the time and like, maybe what the customers wanted, and, you know, dealing with resources as far as inventory goes and stuff, he just had different views. You know?

Tommy Wetjen: So, I knew that, you know, you could build a lot of hype. There was things that you could do as far as that goes, and that it was more of a longterm game, right? As opposed to a short term game. I felt like a lot of people these days do that. Right?

Tommy Wetjen: So, I have my own philosophy on my business. He fell into that, other people fall into that, that I've worked for, and there's two typical types of game stores. There's the mom-and-pop game store. I'm doing the air quotations for the people that can't ... that, you know, typically charge like, a 50% margin. There's really not a whole bunch of hype. They're a smaller store. They focus a lot on boardgames and stuff, and they wonder why they don't get a whole bunch of people in, and stuff like that.

Tommy Wetjen: Then there's like, the ...

Marcus Neto: Corporate.

Tommy Wetjen: The ... No, not even corporate, not in this industry. There's the ... What's the word I'm looking for? Collectibles. Right? So, all you see is the words buy, sell, and trade, and really, what they're into is buying things that are on the low to try to sell them on the high. That's what they're into. They're in that market. There's a lot of money in that market.

Tommy Wetjen: They just use everything else as ways to get people in to do that. To be perfectly honest, I'm both of those businesses. Right? Like, I have to make a margin because I am a business, and I also buy, sell, and trade collectibles because there's money in that as well, but that's not the focus of my business. I'm in the entertainment business.

Marcus Neto: There you go.

Tommy Wetjen: I know what business that I'm in, right? I'm buying for your entertainment time. I'm buying for your entertainment money. So, if I can find ways to entertain you, you're going to come in and I can still sell my stuff like this. I can still buy and sell and trade collectibles.

Tommy Wetjen: But in general, when my business gets slow is when the fair comes in town, is when there's a con in the area.

Marcus Neto: Right.

Tommy Wetjen: The new Avengers movie comes out, right, like, these are the times-

Marcus Neto: People are distracted with those other things.

Tommy Wetjen: Exactly. You know, when their discretionary time or income is being used for something else, that's when my business slows down.

Tommy Wetjen: So, I either adjust accordingly or try to do something bigger. Typically, when something big like that I let them have their thing. You know?

Marcus Neto: Well, one of the things that I have, as a regular conversation, is that most people think that they're in the business, you know, that they're in. The truth is that they're not. So, it's cool that you've identified like, you're in the entertainment, you know, business.

Marcus Neto: I like to tell people that they're in the media business, regardless of what business they're in.

Tommy Wetjen: Absolutely.

Marcus Neto: Because ... And I think you get that because of, you know, some of the things that you've described. But, you know, most people don't realize like, if you're going to be in business today, you have to understand certain, or you have to hire out to somebody that does understand the core concepts of exposure and getting out there, whether it's on social media or whether it's on TV, or print, or wherever it is, because there is just so much noise nowadays that you have to find some way to cut through.

Tommy Wetjen: Like a niche.

Marcus Neto: Otherwise, you know, people won't ... They won't be able to buy from you because they don't know you exist.

Tommy Wetjen: Exactly.

Marcus Neto: But no. That's awesome. Now, I usually ask how you started your business, but you ... I mean, it's obvious. Like, you went from an existing gaming, you know, position with the gaming store into-

Tommy Wetjen: Long story short, me and the brother-in-law had differences of opinions, and I went to work for another company, doing the same thing. It was across the Bay. They were more the collectible place. Shout out to Gulf Coast Hobby. I worked there for a couple years. I met a lot of people over there. They taught me a lot about the collectibles and stuff like that. Very, very cool, very smart people.

Tommy Wetjen: When I went to work over there, before I started over there, I applied at Gamers N Geeks, because it was right down the road, and they were fixing to move, and they weren't ready for someone at the time. Well, when I started over there, I believe I affected their business. This was across the Bay. Because I was just blowing it up on Facebook all the time. You know? Taking pictures and this and that, and raffles, and giveaways, and all these people were driving over there. So, they started contacting me.

Tommy Wetjen: Well, this happened for like, over a year, of them contacting me on Facebook. It got so bad, I deleted them off Facebook, then saw them a little while later and they were like, "Hey, blah, blah, blah." So, finally, they ended up, you know ... of course, I've got wife and kid, and they ended up upping the, I guess you could say like, you know ...

Marcus Neto: The offer, yeah.

Tommy Wetjen: Yeah, the offer. You know, like, now I'm a manager and this much money and stuff. So, I went to them and asked them to match it, which they couldn't. I was like, "I'm going to have to take this."

Tommy Wetjen: So, I came over and I took that, and I worked with them. You know, difference of opinions. You know, it was his ship and he was steering it to the direction he saw, but he went from a smaller store to a bigger store, and he was ... In my opinion, he was steering it safely, as if you were a smaller store. If I was a smaller store, I would have steered it like him as well.

Marcus Neto: Right.

Tommy Wetjen: But he moved to this bigger location that was like, 5,500 square feet, and I just saw opportunity of doing selling for less and doing more, and growing it that way.

Tommy Wetjen: Him and I would always go back and forth, and there would always be a compromise but, you know, ultimately, I was just trying to make more money for him, and for myself, and he was just trying to play it safe. Because I am risky. You know what I mean? Like, I have a company limousine that's got Pikachu and, you know, Jace, the Mind Sculptor and, you know, X-Wing on it, you know?

Tommy Wetjen: So, like, you know, I do make risky plays. So, he was tired of it. He said to sell it to the people that I used to work for, and I went over there and we talked, and never came up to an agreement. So, I was like, "Man, I'll buy it." Well, I went to the banks and the banks said no. Banks don't like game stores. Game stores close down all the time.

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Tommy Wetjen: So, all the banks said no. So, then he said, "Put X down and I'll finance the rest for you."

Marcus Neto: Nice.

Tommy Wetjen: So, I was like, "Okay." Banks still said no. So, I called my aunt and I said, "Aunt Pam, loan me $20,000 and I'll give it back to you at the end of the month." She was like, "What kind of crazy stuff are you doing?" Right?

Marcus Neto: You're selling crack.

Tommy Wetjen: Yeah, yeah. I was like, "Well, I'm selling cardboard crack," you know. So, I was like, "No, no. I'm trying to buy this store that I work at," and so on, and so forth. She was like, "I don't know. That's a lot of money. I'll talk to your uncle," blah, blah, blah.

Tommy Wetjen: So, ultimately, that became a no, but whenever he came to me, the owner, Woody ... He approached me and he was like, "Hey, so, what's going on? What do I need to do?" So, I told him what I was working on. He was like, "How are you going to get $20,000 at the end of the month? Business doesn't work that way." I was like, "Well, I'm going to sell all these cards. I'm going to sell these assets of the store. I'm just going to pay back that loan. I'm just going to run the business without cards. We'll get cards back. That always happens." We get them in every day, you know?

Tommy Wetjen: He was like, "You won't get that much for this." I was like, "Watch me." He was like, "I'll tell you what." This was the best deal. I love him. This was the best deal ever. He said, "You can try to sell them while you're here. I don't think you're going to get that much. If you do," he was like, "I'll sign over the paperwork for you." He's like, "You got a month." Three weeks later I handed him a check for $21,000. He handed me a check back for $1,000, handed me the keys, and I signed paperwork.

Tommy Wetjen: So, I started with a $1,000 in the back, because I didn't have any money.

Marcus Neto: That's cool.

Tommy Wetjen: No idea how I was going to do it.

Tommy Wetjen: I had a 30 month loan. I had it paid for in 19 months. Just this year, I moved to a 26,500 square foot store.

Marcus Neto: So, you ...

Tommy Wetjen: Five times.

Marcus Neto: Wow.

Tommy Wetjen: We've grown 40% every year over the past four years.

Marcus Neto: That is so cool.

Tommy Wetjen: Isn't that crazy?

Marcus Neto: Yeah. So, I mean, look, I mean, it's very clear to me that, you know, while you love, you know, gaming, the truth is like, you're a salesman at heart.

Tommy Wetjen: Oh, yeah.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. So, like, I'm reading a book right now and I can't remember the title of it. I'll ... I don't know. I hate to say that because now everybody's going to be like, "What book was it?" You know?

Tommy Wetjen: You have to tune in next week to find out.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, tune in next week. But, no. I'm reading a book right now on sales, and even though I consider myself a salesman as well, like, I'm constantly reading, you know, up on things, because I think it's important to keep your mind, as the business owner, focused on what it is that's most important.

Tommy Wetjen: Yep.

Marcus Neto: If you don't make the sales, then the business ceases to exist.

Tommy Wetjen: Yep.

Marcus Neto: If you keep making sales then you experience growth, like what you're experiencing, and you start seeing the rewards of that as well, you know, the car and the house and, you know, all the other, you know, material things that you might want.

Marcus Neto: Those are really just byproducts of like, you found something that you really enjoy, you're selling it, as you should, because you believe in it, and you're seeing the successes from that.

Tommy Wetjen: Exactly.

Marcus Neto: That's really cool. Now, if you were talking to someone that wanted to get started in running their own business, what's the one bit of wisdom that you would impart to them?

Tommy Wetjen: All right, so, a very true, close friend to me gave me the advice, whenever I first started, that you can't put a price on your reputation.

Marcus Neto: Yep.

Tommy Wetjen: I feel that is probably the best advice that I got. You know, if you say you're going to do something, do it.

Tommy Wetjen: I've helped so many people along the journey of, you know, they get to this but man, these people hit like, a speed bump. That's it. They just stop. You know, I know so many people that, you know, they want to do this and they want to do that, and they run into something small, and they just let it stop them.

Tommy Wetjen: To me, like, that's a puzzle. Right? Like, how do I get around this thing? I've experienced, you know ... I definitely have my weaknesses as an entrepreneur, and I have my strengths. You know? I've experienced things where, you know, it's a speed bump on my weakness, you know. Those are hard to get over, but in general, like, I think, you know, just keep pushing past whatever it is.

Tommy Wetjen: See the bigger picture. Just because there's a speed bump here doesn't mean there's not another road or, you know, a way to get around it. So many people, I don't think, see that these days.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. It's ... I alluded to this in the beginning. Like, if you have a degree, oftentimes you have too much information. I think, as people that have started businesses, that if we knew now, or if we knew back then what we know now, then we probably wouldn't go into it, because every day is a new puzzle. Every day is a new problem that needs to be solved. At times, you're only presented with the problem that you can really handle, you know, at that moment.

Tommy Wetjen: What you just said made me think of, maybe, door-to-door selling these wreaths so we could have a place to sleep at night. When somebody said no, or no solicitation, or slammed a door in my face, maybe that's what gave me, "Oh, well, not this way. Got to try another way." Right? If not, we didn't have a place to stay.

Tommy Wetjen: So, maybe that's what gave me, you know, where I am today as far as, you know, if you hit something, you know, where there's a will there's a way. I now know ... You next level yourself all the time. You know, so, it used to be can I do something, right? Can I make this happen? Can I make that happen? I can now say with confidence, I can make happen what I want to happen.

Tommy Wetjen: I don't want to sound like, big headed or something, but I know that if I put my mind to something and I put enough time or resources or effort into it, I can make things happen. Right?

Marcus Neto: No, I think any business owner that has been doing it for a while understands what you're talking about.

Tommy Wetjen: But now the question is should I make this happen, right?

Marcus Neto: Exactly.

Tommy Wetjen: That's where I'm at in my, you know, entrepreneur journey, right, like, you know, when I sit here and I look at this, "Okay, well, I want to do this." Well, is it worth my time, my effort, energy, resources, employees? You know, all this stuff to get to this result. Or, could I put this much effort into something else and potentially get a better return?

Tommy Wetjen: It's not always about the return, you know? Sometimes it's about the community, or sometimes it's about this, but now it's learning about what to put that into.

Marcus Neto: No, that's really awesome. Now, who is one person that motivates you from the business world? I mean the larger business world, not just Mobile.

Tommy Wetjen: All right. So, I have like, three.

Marcus Neto: Okay.

Tommy Wetjen: I'll touch on my main one and then I'll touch on the other two small.

Tommy Wetjen: Vince McMahon from WWE Wrestling. Okay?

Marcus Neto: Leave it to you to come up with the really cool answers.

Tommy Wetjen: Right? So, like, Vince McMahon is like, evil mad genius. Okay? Like, I hate this guy and love him at the same time. Like, I'm watching his show. It's an entertainment business. Right?

Marcus Neto: Sure.

Tommy Wetjen: Anything can happen, and like, that's what I want my business to be but for gaming. I host these tournaments, and who's going to be the champion, and all this stuff. And It's just like a freaking Pay-Per-View, right?

Tommy Wetjen: So, like, you know, I love him. On top of it, what he did was everything was separate. It all had its own territories. When he bought his dad's business, had his dad known what he was going to do, he wouldn't have sold it to him. Because he took over everyone's territory. He just went and got all the best people from all the territories and put it on TV, and started syndicating it, and just started crushing it. You know?

Tommy Wetjen: He ran in a competition with Ted Turner from WCW, and he put him out of business. He owns WCW. Like, he owns all of these other federations, and he has his own network that he envisioned years beforehand, and now it's, you know, a reality. You can watch whatever you want to on demand, and he's a billionaire. Not only is he a billionaire, and this was what I really like about him ... Think of all he's affected. How much money is Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, JBL, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Shane McMahon ... How much money is all these people worth?

Tommy Wetjen: I've looked it up. They're all millionaires themselves. So, not only is he raising his value, but he's raising people with him, and that's my longterm goal. Like I want to bring people with me.

Marcus Neto: I love that answer. Gosh, that may be one of the best answers we've ever gotten to that question. That is really cool.

Tommy Wetjen: Number two is Mark Cuban.

Marcus Neto: Okay.

Tommy Wetjen: Love Mark Cuban. I think that he has a very interesting, unique view on stuff, and just watching him interact with people on Shark Tank, I just love everything about him.

Tommy Wetjen: Now, I like all the other sharks, but he just has a very ...

Marcus Neto: He's my favorite too. Because of his background in technology, I think I'm more inclined to, you know, side with him, but also, I think he cuts through all the bullshit and just gets straight to the point. He can really kind of clearly ... He does it in kind of a nice way. Like, "Yeah, you're not answering the question. Like, blah, blah, blah."

Marcus Neto: If they still don't, then he's like, "Yeah, I'm out." Like, he doesn't even play around. You know?

Tommy Wetjen: His insight is like, "Really, what you are is you're a marketing business. If you came in here and told me you were a marketing business, then that's a different story, but instead you tried to sell me this. For those reasons, I'm out," or, "I think you really need this, and this is how I can help." He's definitely an outside the box thinker.

Tommy Wetjen: Number three, Marcus Lemonis from The Profit, You ever watch that?

Marcus Neto: Yeah, I love that show.

Tommy Wetjen: Really like that guy.

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Tommy Wetjen: Really like that guy.

Marcus Neto: You know, I've gotten kind of addicted to that show. Actually, I don't know that the new season has started, but if you haven't watched that show, you really owe it to yourself to go back.

Marcus Neto: Marcus Lemonis is the CEO ... I don't know if he owns Camping World. Is he an owner? I don't remember?

Tommy Wetjen: I think he's partial owner. I don't know if he's 100% owner.

Marcus Neto: Regardless, I mean, he has got a show where he goes into struggling businesses and, you know, he buys into the business, and then, you know, turns them around. So, even Simple Greek, which we have here, over at the Midtown Publix is part of his legacy, if you will, because while that's a franchise, you know, Simple Greek was one of the restaurants that he bought into, liked the concept, rebranded it, you know, went through all the process, people, promotion, or whatever his three Ps thing is, and then he has kind of launched that into a new world.

Marcus Neto: You know, that's evidence that what he's doing, you know, works. But, you know, it's just a really ... Because he does it in a non asshole-ish way.

Tommy Wetjen: Have you watched it for a while?

Marcus Neto: Yeah. No, I've watched it for a long time.

Tommy Wetjen: So, what I've noticed, and I don't know if you've noticed this or not, but if you watched it from like, season one to now, there's old people in there. So, like, you know, he's like, "Oh, you know!" Comes in this business and blah, blah, blah. "You need some fixtures. You need signage and this and that."

Tommy Wetjen: Well, he doesn't make them do it, but the meeting that he sets up is with the sign company that he bought.

Marcus Neto: Oh, yeah. I know, I love it.

Tommy Wetjen: It's with the fixture company that he bought. It's with this processing company that he bought.

Marcus Neto: So, it's all incestuous.

Tommy Wetjen: Moving money from one pocket to another. This dude is genius!

Marcus Neto: It is kind of funny. So, for those of you that don't watch the show, what we're talking about is early on in the seasons he bought businesses that are now doing work for the businesses that he's buying. So, it becomes this incestuous thing where if he needs a sign, he's paying the sign company that he owns to make the sign, you know, for the new business that he's working with. So, he's just passing money from one business to the other.

Marcus Neto: So, actually, it is incredibly ingenious because he's generating profit in two different locations.

Tommy Wetjen: Absolutely.

Marcus Neto: So, I don't know. I love that show because I think there's something there. Also, I am of the mindset that while Blue Fish is completely my focus right now, that my desire is to have additional businesses.

Marcus Neto: So, you know, I'm just biding, you know, waiting for that to be a reality, and then, you know, like, I think most people that are entrepreneurial minded, that is their desire. Like, I want to see Blue Fish up, running, stable, going in the direction that I want it to go, requiring less of my time because I have all the right people in the right places. Still, a part of it, of, you know, a major part of it, but at the same time, requiring less of my focus, and then moving onto, you know, something else that's generating income, and hopefully recurring revenue, and all those kinds of things.

Marcus Neto: So, yeah. It's good stuff.

Tommy Wetjen: That's the part I'm working on now. Like, the business takes a lot of me added to it, and we're working on different things too. I will always be involved in the business.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, yeah.

Tommy Wetjen: Always. Like ...

Marcus Neto: You have to be.

Tommy Wetjen: It's just who I am.

Marcus Neto: It's your baby.

Tommy Wetjen: But I do want to focus ... We have a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Marcus Neto: Oh, cool.

Tommy Wetjen: That I started, called Generous Geeks. We focus on STEM or STEAM learning, science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.

Marcus Neto: Nice.

Tommy Wetjen: You know, we do different things for like, schools and underfunded things, and stuff like that. So, that's kind of like, my side gig. I'd like to send more time on that but still, you've got to focus on thing 1, right?

Marcus Neto: Got to get baby A going before baby B can get there.

Tommy Wetjen: Exactly.

Marcus Neto: But are there any ... You've mentioned some. If you want to go back and kind of reiterate, or if you have something new when I ask this question, feel free. Are there any books, podcasts, people, or organizations that have been helpful in moving you forward?

Tommy Wetjen: So, shout out to Brandon Camilleri. He's always by my side. He's my wing man. Josh Taylor has ... is the store manager and he has a lot of unique concepts and ideas, and ultimately, will be the face of the store, if not already the face of the store.

Tommy Wetjen: My friend, Bruce, he owns a Chicken Salad Chick. I've known him for a long time. Nobody challenges me or pushes me like he does. You know, I'll have a problem or something and he'll just, you know ... He'll ask a question in a very smart aleck-y type way, for better terms. It just makes you think like, "Well, what were you expecting? Or did you see the writing ..."

Tommy Wetjen: Like, it's just like ... I don't get that from a lot of people. You know? Like, he gives that to me. A lot of times it's needed. Like, you know, it smacks you across the face, essentially, and is like, you know, "What'd you expect when you did this?"

Marcus Neto: Right. Suck it up, butter cup. Get going. What are you going to do with it, now that you have the information? If you have a problem, solve it.

Tommy Wetjen: Yeah, you know, you didn't see the writing on the wall? We talked about this like, a month ago. Why are you saying this now? Why weren't you planning for it in advance? You know?

Tommy Wetjen: So, like, that's like, my coordinate of people. Of course, like, my wife, my son. You know. Then as far as like, the big thing, Pat Bet, I don't know if you listen to that. It's Valuetainment on YouTube.

Marcus Neto: Uh-uh (negative).

Tommy Wetjen: He does like, little 15 to 30 minute videos all the time. I love Pat Bet. Jim Rohn.

Marcus Neto: Okay.

Tommy Wetjen: The owner of The Stereo Shop, Bart Briggs, introduced me to Jim Rohn. I remember the first time ...

Marcus Neto: He's been around for a long time though right? Yeah. Jim Rohn is, if I remember correctly, kind of, maybe, same lines as Zig Ziglar type thing? Sales, leadership, you know, that kind of...

Tommy Wetjen: Then I'll have people think it's "cheesy" or passé, and I don't agree with everything that he says, but I did listen to and read Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, and a couple of his other things. I think that where it may not be 100% everything, I think that the fundamentals of what is an asset, and what is a liability, and how cashflow works, like, a lot of times people don't understand this.

Tommy Wetjen: So, I think that stuff is good for people kind of getting started. Think and Grow Rich ...

Marcus Neto: That's a common one too.

Tommy Wetjen: Yeah, Seven Highly ... What is it?

Marcus Neto: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Tommy Wetjen: Yeah. Those are the main things that come to mind.

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Tommy Wetjen: Honestly, I don't listen to many podcasts. Like, I listen to podcasts on your show of people that I know, because I'm like, "Oh, I know this person." Maybe they'll share it or something. Or maybe someone that I kind of look up to, like, "Oh, I know this person. They're in town. Their business inspires me, or I'd like to know more about them." You know, but ...

Marcus Neto: You should be listening to every episode man! That's it. This one will never air. No, in all seriousness, it wasn't necessarily that you had to give something for every single one of those. I mean, it's great that you, you know, have some answers for those. But it's really just to kind of give people ... get people thinking that there are resources out there that they can be looking to, whether it's, you know, listening to people on YouTube, or reading books that increase their knowledge of certain areas, or change their way of thinking.

Marcus Neto: I love that normally when I say people, they naturally, go to people more in leadership position. I think it speaks highly of you and who you are that you immediately went to the people that are part of your team, that are helping, you know, get you to where you want to be.

Marcus Neto: Now, how do you like to unwind?

Tommy Wetjen: I'm still learning how to do that.

Tommy Wetjen: So, you know, I watch wrestling. I'm a big wrestling nerd. I also love watching like, The Profit and Shark Tank. Even though that's still kind of business, it's like junk food for my mind. You know what I mean?

Marcus Neto: I'm the same way. About the only thing I do watch ... I like watching comedians.

Tommy Wetjen: Yeah?

Marcus Neto: But the reason ... I think my draw to comedians is more their mastery of language.

Tommy Wetjen: Yes.

Marcus Neto: Like, I've watched them so much now, and I watch them over and over, and I watch how they will change like, a word. There'll be like, a word that people wouldn't necessarily say in a sentence or something like that, and it changes how you would perceive what it is that they say, or their timing and how they say something.

Marcus Neto: Like, they'll say a sentence and then they'll add one more word to the end of it, and it completely changes everything that you thought they were going to say.

Tommy Wetjen: Yeah.

Marcus Neto: So, in what we do, with crafting a lot of content or using a lot of words, or even just in sales, like, you know, how you speak to somebody and your command of the language, and how you, you know, just converse with someone, you know, I find that very interesting.

Marcus Neto: But that, you know ... I'm the same way. Profit and, you know, Shark Tank and all that stuff.

Tommy Wetjen: I love that stuff. So, I also do crazy things. So, I'm going to do a little self plug here.

Marcus Neto: Sure.

Tommy Wetjen: But to come out, do this, I would love for y'all to come out, if you wanted to.

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Tommy Wetjen: So, November ... I want to say it's the 19th. Don't ... I'm not looking at my phone.

Marcus Neto: Check the Facebook page.

Tommy Wetjen: Yeah. But there is a ... It's National Entrepreneur Day.

Marcus Neto: Oh, cool. I didn't know that.

Tommy Wetjen: Okay? So, we're going to do a thing at Gamers N Geeks, and we're going to call it Geek Tank.

Marcus Neto: Oh, gosh.

Tommy Wetjen: So, it's going to be me, my store manager, and my assistant manager. We're all going to be sitting there, and you can come and pitch your ideas. We're going to ask you questions about it. It can be about product you want us to stock, an event you want us to hold, or anything, and we're going to ask you questions, just, you know, what about this, what about that.

Tommy Wetjen: If we like your idea and we use it, we're going to give you store credit.

Marcus Neto: Nice.

Tommy Wetjen: Okay? So, like, come in. I think that that's important for multiple reasons, because now you're listening to your community, as far as what they want and stuff, and you're rewarding them. It's just a fun thing to do. You know?

Tommy Wetjen: I think the next person that I go to hire is going to be apprentice style. I'm serious, man. You've got to do the fun things. I think that that's what it's about.

Tommy Wetjen: In watching The Profit, have you seen like, it's like, a snow cone, like, Snow Days or something? They had like, this ... It was like, shaved ice but it wasn't ice. It was like... He goes in there and he's like, "Oh, well, the problem is you're out of all this stuff. Another issue is, is you're only selling just this one thing." So, he takes them to like, this Asian food store. He gives them like, a credit card and just tells them to go HAM.

Tommy Wetjen: They buy all these things. They take it back to the location and they just let all the people try it, and then they just write down they like this, they like this. How do you feel about this at $1.00 a piece, so on, and so forth. Well, I'm doing that. We've went to the Asian store. We found out a bunch of stuff. We brought it in. My wife is amazing with stuff like that. She just runs around and hands it to people, because she loves all that taste test stuff anyway.

Tommy Wetjen: I just got hooked up with a candy company that's going to be doing that for us. So, I think it's really important to like, include your people. I mean, like, they're the ones buying it from you. If they chose the thing, and now a few weeks later they're stocking it, they're going to be like, "Oh, I chose that!" You know?

Marcus Neto: They feel some ownership over it.

Tommy Wetjen: Absolutely. I think that's super important. So ...

Marcus Neto: No, it's really cool, man.

Marcus Neto: Well, I want to thank you again for coming on the podcast. To wrap up, any final thoughts or comments you'd like to share?

Tommy Wetjen: Oh, man. This is super out of my element.

Marcus Neto: Well, you knocked it out of the park. I know you said you were a little bit nervous getting started, as everybody is. So, if you're listening to this, this is not ... This is not an easy thing.

Tommy Wetjen: Like, I did this to hopefully inspire someone that had a rough childhood, has an abusive childhood, or didn't go to school, or something, to let people know that I could have just said no and sat home, and then I would have regretted it.

Marcus Neto: Yep.

Tommy Wetjen: I made myself come out and do this. I think that, you know, I did this to hopefully inspire someone. Hopefully someone comes to my stupid Geek Tank thing, pitches me an idea, and ultimately, we become business partners on something. You know?

Tommy Wetjen: I mean, like, that's the type of person that I am. So, I really just want to take a group of people and see how high we can climb together.

Marcus Neto: That is so cool. Well, tell people where they can find you.

Tommy Wetjen: Gamers N Geeks. We're at 5701 Moffett Road, Suite N, as in Nancy. We're right next door to the post office on Moffett and Howells Ferry. So, come out.

Tommy Wetjen: We're open seven days a week like, eighty-something hours a week. Monday through Thursday, 2:00 to midnight. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday is noon to midnight. We have card games, board games, dice games, Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon. We have RPG rooms that are in the process of being themed up. We're fixing to do Horror Gras this year.

Tommy Wetjen: We have ... Engage Gaming is our partners, and they do electronic gaming. Like, they have 10 Xbox, 10 PlayStations, high-end computers. Like, literally, your one-stop gaming shop in Mobile.

Marcus Neto: Nice, nice. Very cool. Well, I appreciate your willingness to sit with me and share your journey as a business owner and entrepreneur.

Marcus Neto: It's been great talking with you.

Tommy Wetjen: Thank you so much.

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