My name is Trevor Pirtle (if you haven’t figured that out already) and this page is where I talk about myself, one of my favorite things to do.
I’ll try and summarize my life story into what is most relevant for you, which mostly involve my entrepreneurial ventures.
My Condensed Life Story
I grew up the son of a man who started at the bottom of the food chain at his job and worked his ass off. Now he’s the boss and makes a solid six figure income and pretty much does what he wants.
From a young age I’ve been somewhat obsessed with entrepreneurship. Not so much with making money, but with the freedom that it can create.
In high school, I knew that a 9-5 would never work for me. I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. However, I had little guidance on this path. I went to college because I wasn’t aware of other options. I dropped out in my second semester because I was learning more from the books I was reading than I was from my professors.
I met and lived with a sugar momma for a year, then worked for my dad’s company for a year (during which I went to yoga teacher training and started teaching at a local studio and had a few other projects that flopped) saving up money to leave the country. My plan was to backpack through Mexico and make it to Brazil for the World Cup, two years later.
However, I was invited to work for an ESL startup in Brazil. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up. So I just went straight to Brazil.
I lived in Brazil for a year and half. I spent most of my time working and used the language learning techniques we taught people on how to learn English to become fluent in Portuguese.
While working for Real Life English (RLE), I gravitated toward marketing and sales. I did this work, not because I had much expertise in these areas, but because this was what the company needed (and an entrepreneur does what needs to be done). I grew the Twitter following from 50 to 50,000 in a year. When I arrived, the company had been around for a year and a half and website traffic was ~3,000 a month. When I left a year and a half later, it was up to 40,000+ a month. Many years later, two of my articles there are still in the top 10 most viewed pages, getting 5,000+ hits a month.
I also started and hosted a podcast with one of my coworkers. We had weekly episodes. By the time I left at episode 40, we had over 200,000 downloads from over 130 countries and tons of raving reviews.
We facilitated in-person events. Once a month we had an English speaking party at a local bar where 100+ Brazilians and some native English speakers would show. 220 people attended the last party I went to, paying a cover of about $5 (10 reais). I hosted yoga slackline picnics in a park twice a month where I’d teach yoga and English at the same time. For awhile I hosted weekly meditation meetups (in Portuguese).
There were certain politics ingrained with RLE that made it difficult for me to realize my full potential. I had a green light for marketing with Twitter, but there was a lot of resistance to selling and asking for money.
We made the classic “blogger” mistake of growing an audience first and then trying to sell them something instead of finding an existing market that you could improve upon, selling products from day one and growing your audience around your business (notice me implementing this lesson here?).
Trying to grow a business around your audience after the fact means you have an extremely untargeted audience, many of which are used to getting everything for free and will have resistance to being sold to.
Instead, figure out exactly what you’re going to sell first and then build your audience around that. A blog is a marketing tool, why would you put a bunch of energy into marketing before you even know what you want to sell?
Working for RLE was, for me, secure. I was making money and had a sure path forward. But I wasn’t doing the work that I really wanted to do. Teaching English was not my calling. A year and a half after arriving in Brazil, I left.
The Universal Beat
I left Real Life English to work with for a t-shirt company with my amazing visionary artist friend, Kevin.
Kevin is a flower child who embodies the lifestyle part of lifestyle entrepreneurship.
We dove deep into creating the lifestyle that we wanted to live, which did not involve working 60+ hours a week, stressing, straining, or forcing things to happen.
We focused on 80/20’ing the business. I set up in an Etsy store which generated (somewhat) passive income. A little later I tweaked our Etsy SEO and doubled our monthly sales on Etsy. I also got 20,000 followers on Twitter in a year which led to about half our sales.
While I thoroughly enjoyed my time working with Kevin and The Universal Beat, I couldn’t realize my fullest potential while relying on someone else to create the products, which limited our growth. The culture was too lifestyle and not enough entrepreneur for me.
Kevin and I realized we wanted different things and we decided to part ways.
The Next Step
After working on entrepreneurial projects for six years straight, saving up some money and making some good investments, I decided to take a break.
I wanted to prioritize building my social life and my physical health, so I put the business part of my life on the back burner.
I really tried.
But entrepreneurship is in my blood.
I only lasted a few months before I couldn’t help but to start working on my next project…
And now, here we are.
I’ve thought a lot about what to call this website, what to name the domain.
Part of me thinks that having my name as the domain is a little narcissistic.
But here’s the thing. I’m 100% confident that if I keep at a project long enough, it will be successful. I’m not worried about failing, I’m worried about starting over.
I may not always identify with a certain domain name like hustlinbadass.com or nichethis.com or targetmarketthat.net. But I know I will always associate with my name (unless I go through an identity crises, in which case, you can call me Tree). I won’t ever need to switch domains because I want to pivot my project. I’m in it for the long run. And if I want to alter my focus I can do so without a huge brand overhaul.
I love to write and connect with awesome people, that isn’t going to change. The work I do for this website is intrinsically rewarding and the fruits of the labor will keep growing for the rest of my life.
I’ve set this project up so that I will have no reason to quit. Which, for me, means that I have 100% confidence that it will be successful beyond my wildest dreams. (I just don’t know how long it will take.) That’s about it for now. If you’ve read this far, thank you. I appreciate you. Feel free to shoot me an email and say hi.