October 30, 2016

About Me

My name is Thomas Wooldridge and welcome to my blog!

I created this blog to share some of my passions.  One of the biggest learning lessons in my life is the importance of gaining wisdom.

You see no matter what your age you should always to be opened to learning something new.  When you stop learning, you stop growing, when you stop growing then you start getting old.  When you get old then death is sure to be near.

That is why I want to be a FOREVER a STUDENT.

How it all got Started for me

When I was younger I always liked to tinker with electronics.  I was the kid that open up all the electronics like Walkie-Talkies trying to figure out the circuit board.   Then my father purchased our first computer. It was a Tandy TRS-80 computer.  Now I played just about all the  floppy drive games I could get my hand of.  But what really fascinated me was that I could actually create my own games by reading the manual

I learned how to code in Basic. Granted these were simple programs like making music, drawing patterns, and simple calculations.   They might sound simple now but back then it was something short of amazing.

Unfortunately, I quickly got board with the computer thanks to getting ATARI 2600 then later on the Nintendo.  These systems wasn’t built for learning code.

Fast Forward after High School Graduation

Thinking back I wish I kept my interest into computers. But it was 1993 and computer users were a very small niche of people.  They were BBS users that connected with each other using modems.  Now none of my friends were into it but I just knew about it thanks to watching Matthew Broaderick’s movie War Games.

SHALL WE PLAY A GAME?

That definitely inspired a bunch new generation of computer nerds.

But I was really lazy in school and education was not really something that I was dedicated in.  Therefore it was no surprise that I didn’t get any acceptance letters from College’s.

One thing about me is that I am not afraid to work.  I always made my own money since I was 12 years old.  One of my first jobs was bagging groceries for tips.  My big days were Saturday’s were I could easily make $50 worth of tips.  Not too bad for 8 hours of work 🙂

Shortly after graduation I chose a profession that accepted me with open arms.  I joined the US Army.

Me trying to be Cool back in 1994

Now I remember the Army Recruiter said that the Army had over 300 different jobs I could have.  I never really had a dream of a type of job I wanted.  So I just defaulted to what I only knew.  I wanted something that had to deal with computers.

But here is what they don’t tell you.   The recruiter doesn’t give you a job.  You have to go to what is called MEPS for processing .  This is the place where you take a health exam and pick the job you are “Qualified” to do.    That is the keyword.  Now remember I told you my grades were C average at best.  Unfortunately, I didn’t qualify for the “Computer Jobs”.

What I qualified for was COMBAT Jobs.   Quite simply,  Artillery, Infantry, and Tankers.  Well my 300 different job option got dwindled down to only 3.    Not surprisingly I wasn’t a fan of any of those jobs because I wasn’t into the whole combat type jobs.  So under Artillery their was a job called Air Defense Artillery.

Keep in mind that Desert Storm was just a few years ago and I remembered the Patriot Missiles shooting down the Iraqi Scud Missiles.  That was the most I knew about Air Defense.  They guy told me that you would be hanging out in Air Force bases shooting down Scuds.   I was like cool, whatever is the farthest away from the front lines.

But PATRIOT crew member was not available for me, but another missile was called the STINGER.  I simply picked it not really understanding the difference.

Off to Basic Training in FT Sill, Oklahoma and that is when I got the whole story about my new job as a Stinger Missile crew member.  You see the max range of Patriot missile is like over 50 miles.  The max range of Stinger is less than 2 miles.


So guess what,  I ended up actually being attached to an INFANTRY battalion.  I still ended up being part of a combat unit, despite the fact I try to avoid the front lines of combat.

I Totally THRIVED in the ARMY.  Found out I had Leadership Skills

My unit had a bunch of new people and lacked Non-commissioned Officers (NCO).  The NCO is the backbone of a military unit.  Due to the lack of them I was put into leadership roles.  I was a Team Chief and Squad leader during my first year.

By the time I was 20 I got promoted to the rank of Sargent.

It was baptism by fire to quickly learn and hone my leadership skills.  The military doesn’t have any patience when it comes to leading soldiers.  Quite frankly, If you don’t lead people DIE.  I took this job very seriously.  Because of that I totally excelled among my peers.

Life After the Military

It was 1998 and many of my Army buddies was getting out because the job market was booming.  They was getting civilian jobs making 20 bucks an hour!  That was 5 times what I was making while being in service.  Therefore I didn’t hesitate to leave the service to find a job making that much.

Now finding a job back then was using doing a lot of FAXING and online submissions via Dial Up internet modems.  I spent hours doing this via my $1000 Packard Bell Computer.

my First Computer

While looking for a new job I stumbled across “Making Money Online”.  I was reading how people put up simple looking websites and making tons of money.  I remembered making websites and putting them on Free hosting sites such as Geocities.  I taught myself HTML, CGI, PHP, Javascript just like the time I learned BASIC programming in the 80’s.  Soon I became a “WEBMASTER”

I remembered my first affiliate sponsor was CyberThrill Casino.  Now I made bunch of small checks from them for several months but eventually they stopped paying out and it became a huge issue among the webmaster community.

Either Way I made enough money to afford to pay $70 for my first DOMAIN Name.  Surfershangout.com

 

Now this made me steady month income.  Because I totally learned how to SPAM the first search engines Alta Vista, Lycos, AOL, and then finally dominated YAHOO directories.

I became a Nutraceutical King Pin

Email SPAM was really bad back in the early days of the internet.  Keep in mind I was internet marketer so I was all about learning how to make money.  This was a time when Viagra was the craze and my inbox was always full of these types of spam emails.

So I did some research and found out how to source these Products.  Come to find out these herbal bottles cost were extremely low.  I would ask the manufacturer to CLONE ingredients or even use the house recipe and made my own Herbal Viagra. Slapped my own Label and walla!  I had my own custom brand.

To get traffic I installed a simple affiliate tracking system and promoted to within the webmaster community.  Eventually, I started becoming a Drop Shipper for many other webmasters that wanted to get into selling for themselves.    I had over 10 different brand names using the same exact ingredients, lol.

Everyday I packed and Shipped 100’s of orders a DAY!  Needless to say the business was VERY Lucrative!

Good at Selling but HORRIBLE at Business

I had to learn the hard way when it came to business.  You see I didn’t understand Invoicing and terms like Net 30, 60.  I couldn’t figure out how to manage supply chains.  Then finally the worse is dealing with Merchant Banks to process credit cards.

Things like chargebacks and reserves were killing my cash flow.   I had a hard time paying my suppliers and then paying my affiliates.  I owed lot of money because these credit card merchants were killing me.  My problem was that I didn’t keep reserves and was getting chargebacks for transactions that I already paid affiliates for.

Fraud was really rampant from some of the webmasters.  Lot of the credit cards were stolen and cause me a huge headache.  Eventually, I wanted to get out of the business and sold all my inventory.

Continued to do Web Dev and Internet Marketing campaigns

I got out of the nutra business but still had a good skill set of selling online.  I found success selling on EBAY and Amazon.  I sold everything from makeup to baseball hats.  Eventually with a help from a friend I helped form a company called Relamark.com

I helped other Nutra companies sell there products online.  I did everything from opening up offshore shelf companies and opening up European Merchant Accounts.  This time I learned about redundancy and had a team of Developers and programmers.

I had several goto bank managers that helped me keep chargebacks super low and a gateway provider that prevented a lot of the fraudulent transactions.

Everyday, I would deploy new campaigns and load balance all the merchant transactions.  It was difficult trying to balance 10 to 20 thousand dollars worth of transactions between several accounts.   The only thing I didn’t have to deal with was Fulfillment and customer services.  That was all handled separately within the company.

Still it was a cat and mouse game.  There was no long term business plan for this venture.  I would create new businesses and close down business monthly because of the high risk transactions of the business.

Was going along pretty good for almost a year and half but like my previous nutra experience it didn’t last.  The FTC started cracking down on this type of business and once again needed an exit strategy.

Had to get a Day Job again

I am an entrepreneur at heart but I am married and needed something more steady to support my family.  Currently, In my day job I am a IT Project Manager (linkedin) and continue on my other job of web development and social media marketing.  I help support my daughter’s acting career and other popular celebrity kids.

My Intro Video on Project Management

The social media accounts I manage get over 5 million impressions a month. Managing social accounts like Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter keeps me super busy.  Thank goodness for Hootsuite to help me run these accounts.

Aspiring to be a Writer

It is my passion for gaining wisdom and sharing these ideas to others.

So this blog will be collection of those various things.  I am all about becoming a better person and helping people find their own success.  I am the first one to admit that I am not the best writer.  Remember I was a C student in high school 🙂

But I still created my first and only book

Get it on Amazon.  Ultimately, my goal is become contributing writer for outlets like Forbes, INC, Huffington Post and have thousands of followers.    One day I will be giving a speech to thousands of people and sharing my thoughts and ideas.

I completed two Online Video Training Products

Getting your child into Acting and Modeling  and Twitter Training for Actors   Plus got many more being developed now.  My goal is to have my own online school that teaches personal development and helping people improve on their health, relationships, and business.

Get in Touch with ME.

Various ways to get a hold of me.  I suggest you reach out via my contact page.

Follow me on Social Media  Twitter ,  Youtube , Facebook

You need help with your website or help with marketing campaigns then you can visit Relamark.com Atlanta Web Design and SEO.