How playing video games kick-started my entrepreneurial journey
Can you tell us little bit about yourself?
My name is Josh Vas. Since I was 12, I always hustled to discover new ways to earn money. My friends used to tease me as the guy who always tried to create some ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme due to my involvement with online projects. I loved playing video games and my team won 3rd place at the 2013 National Counter Strike Competition. I am the co- founder and director of Lan Plus Plus and the managing director of Chooli Technology. In 2014, I had the honour of receiving the ‘Donald Trump Year 12 Graduation’ award as well as Channel 9’s ‘Young Achiever Online Achievement’ award. In 2015, I won Boss 1st place at Boss Camp and a scholarship to Flinders University – Venture Dorm. I also mentor young students at Boss Camp.
What is Unique about Chooli Technology?
The website development market is saturated with too many developers creating normal websites. When you go to a restaurant, you notice the way waiters speak, the room’s temperature, the restaurant’s look, the food’s taste , etc. All these vibes create the establishment’s unique experience but most websites fail to deliver the vibes and are thus, unable to show the love. Chooli Technology is an experience-based web developing company. The websites we create for our clients deliver this unique personal experience based on their businesses.
“If you don’t know how to sell properly and get rejected, you can’t just come to the conclusion that customers in Adelaide are conservative”
How did you get started with your entrepreneurial journey?
My involvement with the LAN gaming party gave me a great environment to learn how to build computers and tech-related stuff. When I was 12, I created a lot of websites and sold advertising spaces through Google Adsense which helped me earn $300 a month. I then went online to research more about online money making methods. My most common Google search phrase was ‘how to make money on the Internet’. When I was 15, I built an online directory where businesses paid to advertise on them.
I decided to create a LAN gaming event called ‘Impact LAN’ that allowed people to come and play online games such as ‘Counter Strike’, ‘Call of Duty’, ‘Magic’ and ‘The Gathering’. I was only 13 at the time so I had to ask my older relatives to sign the event’s paperwork. The event was a big success. We had a great turn out and big sponsors were supporting us. To make even more money, I started selling ice cream to the participants. All the money I made went back into building and supporting the event. Although there was not any profit leftover, I was really proud of what we had achieved.
I then started creating cool gaming servers by adding extra special effects through plug-ins to enhance the user’s experience. By making the user experience more fun we attracted more players. I sold the admin rights and lifetime membership to players and sometimes my server was so full that I couldn’t log into it. There was a very strict admin who banned people easily on the Counter Strike server. This created a lot of buzz, which raised the demand to join our ‘exclusive’ server. People were paying me to get unbanned so they could re-join the server.
“You have to know damn well what will make their business special and how your solution will enhance their venture and increase their bottom line.”
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
By the age of 14, I was making $2000-3000 a month on the Internet but I didn’t care about the money. I always wanted to create my own opportunity because I knew I could and being an entrepreneur allowed me to experience that journey.
How did you get to where you are now?
I shall elaborate on half of the reasons as to how I attained this quick reaction speed and having this level of maturity from playing competitive video games. I was paid to play the shooting game ‘Counter Strike’ with my team of 5 members. With this game you learned to listen, give orders, delegate responsibility, wait for the right opportunities to exploit and formulate effective strategies to reach objectives. For example, when you advanced but could see your opponent flanking you must be able to formulate an effective counter plan instantly. These experiences with Counter Strike allowed me to train and improve my reaction speed.
Lan Plus Plus event
I am awesome at the game – ‘Age of Empires’. With this game you had to build your economy and army at the same time. It is a balancing act of which areas you wanted to invest in the most.If you gave a stronger focus on economy growth that would equal to a weaker army and vice versa. Age of Empires also taught me about how things happen in sequence. For example, if there was enough money, I could choose to build an army, upgrade their equipment and order them to attack. I applied this knowledge as to how I run my business and so I knew that if I called people to set up meetings, I needed to then attend the sales meeting and finally, perform certain steps to finish the order.
What does the future hold for you?
Chooli Technology will help me become a millionaire within the next 5 years but I don’t see myself in web development after that time. I don’t know what I will do yet but my goal is to make a hundred million dollars.
“Adelaide’s small market size allows you to easily know the exact position your venture holds over your competitors.”
How should young entrepreneurs earn credibility when starting out?
If you have achieved a lot, people will trust you more. It is also in the way you talk, ask the right questions and give the right answers. To earn a new customer’s trust, don’t just bring out ideas you think is best for them.Learn to listen and understand their problems first – be problem-centric. You have to know damn well what will make their business special and how your solution will enhance their venture and increase their bottom line.
Lots of people say that Adelaide market is conservative. What do you think of this statement?
People are smart. They want to put their investment dollars toward the best activities to maximise their returns as much as possible. Those who say this usually try to sell expensive products to people who don’t really want them. It is the salesperson’s job to create the product demand in the customers’ minds. If you don’t know how to sell properly and get rejected, you can’t just come to the conclusion that customers in Adelaide are conservative. If I know someone who doesn’t need my product, I won’t try to sell it to him or her.
At Boss Camp 2015
What advantage does Adelaide’s market offer?
Adelaide’s small market size allows you to easily know the exact position your venture holds over your competitors. But this also means that my company’s development won’t be able to gain more than $5 million per year due to Adelaide’s size. Adelaide’s small community makes it easy to connect to the right person.
“You can never say the wrong thing to the right person or the right thing to the wrong person.”
What advice do you have for people who want to pursue this entrepreneurship pathway?
I remember the number of people who pointed out all the wrong things I was doing. If you have the ambition, just pursue it and don’t let anyone take it away from you.
Getting through the grind
I could talk to 100 business owners before I get a ‘yes’. Each rejection doesn’t make me angry, it just means that I am closer to a yes. But when you finally get the ‘yes’, it makes it all worth it.
Know how to delegate
Effective delegation is a skill you must learn. My work schedule is quite casual since I delegate tasks to my team very effectively instead of trying to do everything by myself.
“Most people out there just focus on taking and getting whatever they can from you. I don’t have time for those sort of people”
Look at what is it that you are doing now and how will it get you close to your goal – For example,if you have an assignment due at the same time with a $6,000 contract paying. Finishing the assignment won’t bring the money, if you are not at risk of failing your course because of this one assignment then get your contract done first. I am the guy who will walk out of a party to answer business calls with my clients.
Most people don’t know how to have a proper conversation. They either talk about themselves too much or change the original conversation’s core focus. You can’t pretend to care when speaking to other people. Step aside and focus on what they are saying first, engage with them and talk about relevant things to keep the conversation going. Doing this shows respect and they will respect you back. People like to speak to a “less intelligent” person more than a smart person so they won’t feel you are taking away their spotlight.
Having fun at Lan Plus Plus Event
Building a great network
I invest in being in the right social circle. I have seen lots of people in my age group hang out in the wrong circles doing things that can mess with their whole future.
Learn to network properly
Unfortunately, most people out there just focus on taking and getting whatever they can from you. I don’t have time for those sort of people. You can never say the wrong thing to the right person or the right thing to the wrong person. If you help others, good things will happen to you and that is why I love helping others. I can easily make calls to set things up with someone I just meet to make an extra $5,000 for them without making a single cent for myself. Because of what I do for others, people love hanging around with me and want to work with me. But there will be people out there that you don’t want to work with. My venture lost over $20,000 dollars because bad customers screwed us over in the past. Give people the opportunity to earn your trust first. Some will break it and some will earn it.
To find out more about Josh’s exciting journey, please follow him on Twitter.