We had the good fortune of connecting with Ricky Valentine and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ricky, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
It would have to be “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar
I try to provide value to everyone who’s path I cross regardless if there’s a direct or indirect personal benefit.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m Co-founder of Sherpas of Destiny ( Sherpa Gaming, Inc. ). I’m currently also partner and CTO of Makin Muves with long time friend and mentor Jared Lang. I also just recently started a medical marketing company Verumcare, LLC as well as another venture I just became apart of that I can’t announce just yet.
But the process and events it took to get here, amount of “trial and error” (falling flat on your face), and sacrifice it’s taken to get here is the part of the story most people don’t illuminate. For instance I’ve probably started over 20 companies of which 80%+ did not pan out or were brutal lessons either personally or financially. I think the only reason I’ve had anything that remotely looks like success is because I just kept trying. Once I stopped caring how people perceived me constantly jumping around project-to-project or the awkwardness of honestly answering the question “are you still doing xyz?” it got a lot easier. But I find today one thing I get a lot of recognition on is my knowledge on so many different areas and skill sets. Which I wouldn’t have had I not tried to start a million companies or constantly fed my curiosity.
I grew up in a medical family, thinking I’d eventually end up in the management side of medicine. I thought from as early as I could remember I would go on to be a hospital admin or something a long those lines. All of my first jobs where in medicine, working in doctors offices, marketing for a hospital system, doing patient satisfaction, and learning medical billing and collections. After high school instead of going to college I decided to just continue working at the hospital system I was with full time. Being groomed to eventually one day become an executive there. Well that hospital system ended up failing and all of a sudden I was left with no job, no degree, and no idea what I was going to do the rest of my life.
I ended up landing a job with Apple in retail, I give credit to a lot of the success I have today from the training I received and my 6 months of time there. I also had just bought the branding and inventory to an e-commerce site called Dressing Cute, which was a women’s costume and boutique jewelry store. I pooled together just enough to buy what I thought was a growing business that would be my first real success as an entrepreneur. What I ended up with was an inbox full of angry customers from unfulfilled orders and a box full of the inventory that hadn’t sold for the previous owner. I had a huge peg board in my room at my apartment that I kept all the inventory and packed orders from. Before this I had only half attempted or “talked” about starting/running a business.
One day a friend came into my room and showed me a site he was working with that gamers could pay to have people get items on their account for them. I was familiar with the concept as I used to be a customer when I played a lot of videos for companies that did it overseas. He explained to me that they had recently stopped paying and owed the gamers money, some of them being owed thousands. I told him I could make a website like that and we could start a business and make sure we paid the gamers every time.
I took my last $600 check from Apple, submitted my 2-weeks (they have a strict IP policy so I didn’t want to risk loosing anything to Apple down the road if I stayed) and started Sherpas of Destiny. in march of 2016. Today we have over 200 gamers, have completed over 30,000 orders, and have lifetime gross revenues of 3M+. We’ve yet to take a single dollar from outside investors.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First stop: Davidoff of Geneva to grab a couple of cigars
Followed by drinks & dinner at: Le Colonial next door
There’s a TON of great places to eat in Houston and that number grows every day but Le Colonial has a special place in my heart, the staff is like family, the coffee has fueled many late business meetings, and Alex’s Old Fashion’s I’d challenge as one of the best in the city.
I recently moved to the Heights though and I will say it’s becoming harder and harder to leave the area. Heights Bier Garten is a frequent watering hole and casual meeting place.
It’s hard off the top of my head to answer just because recently I’ve been a homebody and working from the house.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’m very fortunate to have and always had an amazing family support system. My parents (biological and by marriage) have all always believed in and encouraged me to pursue my dreams. I definitely wouldn’t have the confidence or business acumen I have thus far without their influence. Having a childhood where I not only the presence and support of my mom and dad who have also done great co-parenting and remained friends, but also getting another mom (through my dad’s remarriage) that helped raised a mold who I am today was truly a blessing.
I also have a long list of mentors and people that, over the years, took the time to share their knowledge and experience with me. Most of those relationships have turned into life-long friendships and teachers that I still continuously rely on to bounce off ideas, seek their opinions, or see if they have any experience and wisdom with what’s going on in my life at the time. Just to name a few (If I listed everyone you’d have to break this article up into a series):
That’s just a few I can name from the top of my head, but I honestly have been blessed to have and had so many positively impactful people in my life. I think every young person, no matter the career path, should seek and hold on to as many mentors and people with experience as they can. Also I try and pass on that which was so freely given to me to anyone that asks and pay it forward as well. My metaphorical door is always open and one of the things I enjoy most is sharing my experience and what my mentors have shared with me to anyone that asks.
Todd Parker STP Images