The Latest Episodes of INSIGHT with Chris Van Vliet
March 17, 2022

Stop Hiding Behind "I Can't" And Start Doing What You Want Right Now - Los Silva On How To Crush It Online

Stop Hiding Behind "I Can't" And Start Doing What You Want Right Now - Los Silva On How To Crush It Online


Los Silva (@loshustle) is a self-made millionaire, keynote speaker, and founder of SVG Media, one of the largest influencer and athlete marketing agencies in the United States. He chats with Chris Van Vliet about the power of building an online brand, how he started his first business on eBay, the biggest mistakes that most people make on social media, why people need to stop saying "I Can't" and start doing what they've always dreamed of and much more!

 

I was doing a deep dive on your Instagram before we came on here. It’s impressive what you have built for yourself as both a personal brand and this being your thing. You build brands for people.

“Right. Everyone thinks that I am an overnight success, but I have been in the digital marketing space for over 20 years now, I feel old. It’s funny because I saw an ad recently that said ‘I have been doing marketing consulting since Apple AirPods came out.’ That’s hilarious. I’ve been doing this since WordPress was a thing.”

Some people try to post one thing a day for 30 days and they only get like 16 more followers. What do you think is the formula for growing your audience?

“It’s just consistency, that’s the truth. My Twitter got hacked so I had to restart it and I now only have 12 followers. I had to do the same with my Instagram too, it was Los Silva and now it’s Los Hustle everywhere. It became a trademark but I am not exactly a hustler. But right now as it stands, we are creating a large amount of content for our brands. I look at content and if I regret one thing, it’s not doing more content sooner. We are putting out 3 Tik Toks, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts a day. It hurts your feelings to get 100 views on one platform, but I am being consistent and sticking at it. I understand that you need money to start a business and it might not be the best use of your time, but it can create a moat around your business for later on.”

There’s this assumption that if you have tons of followers then you are crushing it and you live in a big mansion. But the reality is most of those people are barely getting by.

“For one of my businesses for a few years our model was to use influencers. It’s still one of our divisions but with different influencers. We used to use fitness influencers with 3 - 5 million followers, I’m like these guys are raking it in. But no, nothing like that at all. They were a few steps above broke, they were scared to sell and didn’t know how to create content. Frankly, a lot of them were also lazy. Being a creator doesn’t necessarily make you want to be an entrepreneur or hard worker. With these guys, they are just gorgeous so things would come to them. At any stage, it is hard work, but so is digging ditches, being in a restaurant, work is work. If you want to excel, you have to do the hard work.”

So how can you make money on social media these days?

“If you are a creator, then it’s the affiliate deals and stuff like that. But it depends on your brand. If you are a makeup brand, you might use Sephora and try to build up your makeup line, I would build a brand. If you are a consultant then it’s all in the DMs. You could create a poll in your stories, or use testimonials from free work. You can create some amazing calls to action from your stories and say ‘If you are x,y and z…’ and put out a poll and DM all the people who say yes. You could put out a call to action saying ‘I am looking for 5 people who are looking to do this.’ and see who responds in the DMs.

Taking this back, where did it all begin?

“I have never had a job. When I was 20 my buddy John and I, we used to go out at night and stuff, we started to sell video projectors. We were making $480 and we were rich. We were selling on Ebay and we were balling! So I also looked at what other high margin things I could sell and one of those is speakers. I asked Bose if I could be a reseller and they said yes as long as I don’t sell them anywhere else. I may or may have not done that and became a very big distributor on Ebay. But then Ebay slapped me and I didn’t know what to do next. So I started contacting architects for designer houses and cold calling them. I would offer to install something for free to get the deals from the AV [audio visual]. I didn’t get a dollar from that for 9 months. The last call I did was for Ethan Allen, which got me money and I made $100,000 from AV. I didn’t know how to install AV, so I got a company and white labelled them for installation and built that company.”

So where did the shift to social media come from?

“Before social media I bought ads. I bought display ads on every platform and built funnels for every agency. Back in the day a lot of people did product launches where no one would sell from the back of it. So through webinars I learned to monetize the back end and make a percentage from it. I got started with that, and when social media came, I got big because one of the businesses wasn’t producing content anymore. He got lazy and was chilling in Hawaii, and I got so annoyed by it. He owned a supplement company so I made like 60 videos about keto. That got me into people following me and I started to work with influencers and made content about helping people. I just then got to it and started speaking. I originally wanted to be an actor, I lived in a garage in Miami where ants would eat my food. So I was then like f*ck this and went back to business.” 

You chased this other dream of wanting to be an actor and then gave that up. What was that like for you?

“It was simple, I had no food. It was something I wanted to do but I always knew that I was going to be an entrepreneur. So I went back and started to think about what else I wanted to do. That was the hardest thing, I was buying everything and doing every course, but you are doing it all half assed and it all fails. So I commited to LinkedIn and it became a big thing for me in that moment. That then took me to other marketers who were doing this other thing, so I would go over there. I just stayed in the marketing realm and accidentally learned to do all these things. 18 years later we are here.”

A lot of people don’t want the hourly wage or the 40 hour week. What’s the first step they can take to start their own business?

“I’m going to say something that most people won’t. Go and get a job at a place that does something similar. I wouldn’t want to start this by myself again. I would go and learn what to do. If you don’t have much cash flow or a skill set, give yourself some breathing room. Realize that you won’t get rich quick and you are doing this to make your own way in life.”

How do you realize the best way to monetize your audience?

“It depends who you are. I’m assuming a lot of people who want to do this have an agency or are a speaker. The speaker would sell consulting of that vertical, the business can sell their service. The famous face can sell a brand deal for a better rate, or create their own product. Coaching, consulting, they are all the same business. I would focus on how you can create revenue in the service space, but then create a course when you have more of a following and more of a continuity.”

What has been the best piece of advice that you have been given along your journey?

“I think it’s a quote that ‘If you stand for nothing then you will fall for anything.’ You will be tricked on every situation e.g. if you just want to make money. If you have a goal and you want to support others, then it works. If your goal is just to make money, I can see that and it puts me off. So If you are supportive and helpful, people will want to talk to you.”

Can you talk to me about the advice that Magic Johnson gave to you?

“It was a few years ago at an event where Magic Johnson was speaking and I was fortunate enough to be close with the people backstage at the event. I asked him, because he had a similar situation to me, ‘What do you do when you know that in one of these businesses you need to start firing people?’ He said ‘Los. Winners win, that's it.’ I came back and I fired half of my office. You are only as good as your bad player, and I had a lot of bad players. All the people that stayed, their workload stuck and it made us realize that we were more optimal. It’s hard to tell someone they suck, but sometimes you have to do it, because it is hurting you more than it is hurting them.”

I end every interview talking about gratitude. What are 3 things in your life that you are grateful for?

“My health, my girls and my wife.”