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The Necessity Of Starting A Business
Episode 82nd February 2024 • In The Bunker • Joshua Maddux
00:00:00 00:21:22

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Summary:

In this episode of "In The Bunker," we're joined by Christopher Velona, CEO of CSG Consulting. Christopher discusses the unique challenges of being a single dad to a child with a rare disease while trying to grow his consulting business. He shares his journey of starting a business out of necessity, his continuous struggle with client acquisition, and the importance of family during these trying times.

Our episode highlights:

  • Christopher's personal story of becoming a stay-at-home single father and starting his business.
  • The ongoing challenge of attracting clients in a competitive digital marketing landscape.
  • Insights into balancing family life, particularly with a child requiring special care, and professional responsibilities.
  • Advice for entrepreneurs and business owners facing similar personal and professional challenges.

Bio:

Christopher Velona is an experienced professional in sales, marketing, branding, and consulting. His journey includes overcoming personal and professional adversities while supporting his family and managing his son's rare disease. Christopher's expertise extends to outside sales territory management and leadership, with a compassionate approach to helping others.


Links:

Project Sebastian:


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Transcripts

Joshua Maddux:

Welcome back to in the bunker.

Joshua Maddux:

As every business owner faces challenges in their day-to-day life.

Joshua Maddux:

And we love to share those stories.

Joshua Maddux:

Today.

Joshua Maddux:

We have Christopher Valona in the bunker with us.

Joshua Maddux:

Christopher was faced with the challenge of being a stay at home single day.

Joshua Maddux:

Raising a kid with a rare disease.

Joshua Maddux:

We're going to unpack that story, how that's affected his life and

Joshua Maddux:

the business that he's created.

Joshua Maddux:

There's so much to discuss here.

Joshua Maddux:

Let's jump in.

Joshua Maddux:

Welcome to the show, Chris Christopher.

Christopher Velona:

Ah, thank you so much for having me.

Christopher Velona:

I appreciate it.

Christopher Velona:

Thank you.

Joshua Maddux:

Awesome.

Joshua Maddux:

It's good to have you on well let's get to know you a little bit.

Joshua Maddux:

What is your background?

Joshua Maddux:

Who are you?

Joshua Maddux:

How'd you get here?

Joshua Maddux:

What does that look like?

Christopher Velona:

Sure.

Christopher Velona:

So a California based child grew up here in Los Angeles, California

Christopher Velona:

made a stint around Arizona state university graduated December 93.

Christopher Velona:

Went into the business television.

Christopher Velona:

Basically got into trouble, drank that job up, drank other jobs up, went to jail,

Christopher Velona:

got my stuff together, got sober at 26.

Christopher Velona:

baSically married my friend at the time and had a couple of children and then boom

Christopher Velona:

rare disease infested the entire family.

Christopher Velona:

Subsequently got divorced and now I'm single day.

Christopher Velona:

Trying to save one of my children's life suffering from Batten

Christopher Velona:

disease who is 18 years young.

Christopher Velona:

And then my second child is 16 years old is normal and healthy well, teenager,

Joshua Maddux:

awesome.

Joshua Maddux:

Yeah.

Joshua Maddux:

That appreciate that gets, gets us all in on your life where you've

Joshua Maddux:

been a little bit late into that.

Joshua Maddux:

leT's talk, I know before we hit record, we were talking a little

Joshua Maddux:

bit about, that aspect of starting the business out of necessity.

Joshua Maddux:

And let's talk through that challenge a little bit.

Joshua Maddux:

What is, what did that look like?

Joshua Maddux:

What was that challenge?

Joshua Maddux:

What did that look like to start the.

Christopher Velona:

iT was absolute fear and just anger and

Christopher Velona:

resentment and worrisome just stressing, the kind of stress that

Christopher Velona:

puts you into a deep depression.

Christopher Velona:

A lot of the reasons why I am here today to share my stories.

Christopher Velona:

I think it's pretty cool story is that they couldn't really do the

Christopher Velona:

normal nine to five with a dying child and even splitting custody.

Christopher Velona:

It was just very challenging to, show up to work, two out of, five days and

Christopher Velona:

the other three days that you have your children or six days that you

Christopher Velona:

have your children or you're going to.

Christopher Velona:

Constant neurology cause exams.

Christopher Velona:

You're going to the doctor, you're going to the ER, you're dealing with epilepsy.

Christopher Velona:

You're dealing with cuts, bruises all while taking care of

Christopher Velona:

another baby at the same time.

Christopher Velona:

Having a normal job just wasn't in the equation because employers don't

Christopher Velona:

like it when you don't show up.

Christopher Velona:

And so I had to figure out what I was going to do and.

Christopher Velona:

Governor assistance was great, but it doesn't pay all the bills.

Christopher Velona:

So basically as my child got on in years, he got worse and worse and

Christopher Velona:

needed more and more attention.

Christopher Velona:

And right now it's just one of those things where you you either make a few

Christopher Velona:

bucks on the side or you start a business.

Christopher Velona:

So I had to dig deep and Find how to do a home-based business.

Christopher Velona:

So that's how CSG consulting was created right here in this beautiful home.

Christopher Velona:

And in the middle of the pandemic, no less.

Christopher Velona:

So

Joshua Maddux:

that's crazy.

Joshua Maddux:

So you started the business started during COVID.

Joshua Maddux:

Yes.

Joshua Maddux:

Yeah.

Joshua Maddux:

So not only did you start a business during a global pandemic.

Joshua Maddux:

You also started that during, just a crazy time in your

Joshua Maddux:

life during other limitations.

Joshua Maddux:

In addition to that, and that's where, it's always so interesting for me

Joshua Maddux:

with entrepreneurs, because it doesn't matter what gets thrown your way as an

Joshua Maddux:

entrepreneur, it's pushed through figure out a solution to survive and then thrive.

Christopher Velona:

Yeah, survival's a great motivator.

Christopher Velona:

It's a it was like I said, you go through these waves of doubt and

Christopher Velona:

then depression and stuff like that.

Christopher Velona:

And, and you're bouncing around from household to household,

Christopher Velona:

with your children in tow.

Christopher Velona:

And one of them has rare disease and You just have to, put the boots to the ground.

Christopher Velona:

At a certain point, I think all of us who are entrepreneurs or even in the

Christopher Velona:

workforce, or even just trying to be a good person to have, to actually start to

Christopher Velona:

listen to, the truth, the writing on the wall, and actually just look at what's

Christopher Velona:

in your wheelhouse and what is going to, not only generate your passion, but

Christopher Velona:

also generate income with that passion.

Christopher Velona:

Project Sebastian is the shirt I'm wearing.

Christopher Velona:

It was the foundation for my son was born, out of fear, cause I wasn't

Christopher Velona:

going to wait around for any of the doctors to tell me, what he was supposed

Christopher Velona:

to do, how he's supposed to do it.

Christopher Velona:

Is he going to live?

Christopher Velona:

Is he going to die?

Christopher Velona:

Most doctors, not all, but most doctors would say with this type

Christopher Velona:

of diagnosis, there's no hope go home, live your best life.

Christopher Velona:

He's going to die.

Christopher Velona:

And there's not much time.

Christopher Velona:

That's when we went home, And we were like, oh shit, how do you, what do you do?

Christopher Velona:

So there is no entrepreneurial ship.

Christopher Velona:

There is no I'm going to make a million dollars.

Christopher Velona:

There's nothing like that.

Christopher Velona:

It's I don't know what to do.

Christopher Velona:

So you just, you stay with them in that bubble.

Christopher Velona:

And.

Christopher Velona:

My whole life.

Christopher Velona:

It's just Ben, you gotta be better than the next guy yet.

Christopher Velona:

I was the youngest of four on every one of my family has amazing titles except me.

Christopher Velona:

My brother is a Sheriff's department veteran.

Christopher Velona:

My other brother's a Marine Corps veteran.

Christopher Velona:

My sister is a a school teacher in retirement.

Christopher Velona:

Who has a beautiful family.

Christopher Velona:

And then there's Chris, the drunk that went to school that just partied all

Christopher Velona:

his life and then now had to grow up.

Christopher Velona:

So I don't know what this is about.

Christopher Velona:

I think someone was sending me a strong message.

Christopher Velona:

Maybe it's time for you to grow up.

Christopher Velona:

And by the way, we're going to give you a disease child.

Christopher Velona:

I don't know, but I I had to do something and that's been the nature of what

Christopher Velona:

I've been doing for the better part of.

Christopher Velona:

Almost 20 years let's do something.

Christopher Velona:

And but that doesn't always translate to action.

Christopher Velona:

It's very challenging to put the boots to the ground because your

Christopher Velona:

brain has all these great ideas.

Christopher Velona:

And then it's you wake up the next day and you're sitting at

Christopher Velona:

your desk and you're just frozen.

Christopher Velona:

Like, how am I going to do that?

Christopher Velona:

Who's going to help.

Christopher Velona:

And I gotta tell ya, in, in this there's no help.

Christopher Velona:

So you do what everybody else does.

Christopher Velona:

You go on the internet, you do all these searches.

Christopher Velona:

You start to become an internet doctor and you're going to cure your child.

Christopher Velona:

So no matter what.

Christopher Velona:

anD I was just like that, and I was challenging these doctors who

Christopher Velona:

had, 20, 30 years of experience that said, you're wrong.

Christopher Velona:

And if you know the story about project Sebastian and my son,

Christopher Velona:

they're all wrong actually.

Christopher Velona:

Cause I, it's not that I proved them wrong.

Christopher Velona:

I just don't think that they understood that covering your ass.

Christopher Velona:

Didn't really translate to somebody who was persevering and trying to

Christopher Velona:

motivate his son to stay alive and doing everything it's could, physically

Christopher Velona:

and healthy-wise and mentally.

Christopher Velona:

And to keep the kid alive.

Christopher Velona:

So the same thing happened with CSG.

Christopher Velona:

I needed to make some changes about income.

Christopher Velona:

And that guy that screwed up his post graduate life of drinking and

Christopher Velona:

drugging in the movie business.

Christopher Velona:

I'm now sober 26 years and that's my passion.

Christopher Velona:

That's my wheelhouse.

Christopher Velona:

So CSG consultants is a sober consultant outfit.

Christopher Velona:

If you will.

Christopher Velona:

Yeah,

Joshua Maddux:

got it.

Joshua Maddux:

I think there's a handful of nuggets there that I want to unpack.

Joshua Maddux:

And I think, one of the things that you brought up was passion.

Joshua Maddux:

So many business owners are passionate about one thing or another, where as an

Joshua Maddux:

entrepreneurial, you know, entrepreneur in that journey, there is the.

Joshua Maddux:

I don't want to say option, but there is that option to quote unquote, fail

Joshua Maddux:

where, when you are building a nonprofit, when you are trying to find a cure for

Joshua Maddux:

a disease, when you're venturing down that path, it's not something that you.

Joshua Maddux:

To, throw the towel in on it's something that is a bigger passion,

Joshua Maddux:

outside of just having a nonprofit.

Joshua Maddux:

And I think that, we were talking before we hit record a little

Joshua Maddux:

bit about just the aspect of.

Joshua Maddux:

Nonprofit sort of not being seen as an entrepreneurial journey.

Joshua Maddux:

And I think it's so much is because you are you're bootstrapping more than

Joshua Maddux:

any non or any for-profit business.

Joshua Maddux:

I feel does your funding so much of that out of your own pocket, you

Joshua Maddux:

are raising capital, just like it, a business does that goes to raise

Joshua Maddux:

capital, but it's from donations.

Joshua Maddux:

You're not providing a service in necessarily to the person

Joshua Maddux:

who is, raising, helping raise some of that money necessarily.

Joshua Maddux:

So there's a very different aspect with that.

Joshua Maddux:

From running a business perspective and, the end goal, obviously being.

Joshua Maddux:

frOm a financial perspective to raise money that would potentially

Joshua Maddux:

result in a cure better research.

Christopher Velona:

I Always thought I could model my non-profit or any

Christopher Velona:

non-profit after a business model, because after all sales are donations.

Christopher Velona:

If you look at the similarities, but I'm horrible at nonprofit

Christopher Velona:

making money, raising money and awareness is extremely challenging.

Christopher Velona:

I enjoy selling like widgets and stuff like that, or a service, but man, it's

Christopher Velona:

hard to sell hope to get people to donate.

Christopher Velona:

It really is because it's a it's not your kid.

Christopher Velona:

They don't really connect.

Christopher Velona:

And if they really don't understand, they just kinda just simply

Christopher Velona:

say, oh, that's, I'm sorry.

Christopher Velona:

And they move on to the next thing.

Christopher Velona:

Yeah.

Christopher Velona:

Customer retention is not.

Christopher Velona:

That great in for nonprofits, unless you are huge like a a

Christopher Velona:

salvation army, if you will.

Christopher Velona:

Everybody knows and everybody's, oh, they got many programs.

Christopher Velona:

We'll just give them 10 bucks, so I'm tying to get there.

Christopher Velona:

My man trying to get their awareness is key.

Joshua Maddux:

Yeah.

Joshua Maddux:

Yeah.

Joshua Maddux:

Want to get back a little bit to that core challenge, the aspect

Joshua Maddux:

of single.dad, staying at home, developing the, developing a business.

Joshua Maddux:

What is some of your advice to someone who maybe in the same

Joshua Maddux:

challenge right now, and maybe they don't have necessarily a kid who.

Joshua Maddux:

Is suffering from a disease.

Joshua Maddux:

Maybe it's someone who just has kids at home because of this whole pandemic mess.

Joshua Maddux:

And they're trying to figure out how to work the nine to five, not

Joshua Maddux:

being in an office, being remote, having, two kids run around the house.

Joshua Maddux:

What, what is some of your advice or some of those elements

Joshua Maddux:

that you have found help?

Christopher Velona:

There's a myriad of topics you could discuss due to the

Christopher Velona:

fact that everybody had to be shut in.

Christopher Velona:

You really find out your level of a few things.

Christopher Velona:

One is patients To as communication three is acceptance.

Christopher Velona:

A lot of that plays into to the circle of just being effective.

Christopher Velona:

If we have patients, we, if we have communication and we have

Christopher Velona:

acceptance, I think we don't freak out as much, but, you're locked in.

Christopher Velona:

You can't make any money.

Christopher Velona:

You can't see your friends, your children are freaking out.

Christopher Velona:

They're on their, online games, 24 7.

Christopher Velona:

You don't want them to lose their brains.

Christopher Velona:

And then you got mental health issues because of all this stuff.

Christopher Velona:

And I would highly recommend checking in with everyone in the

Christopher Velona:

house, as, as much as you can into, they may be irritated with you.

Christopher Velona:

Cause my, I know my kids are.

Christopher Velona:

buT I would just have to say just communication, patience and acceptance is

Christopher Velona:

the answer for a lot of us, but we don't really look at that because we're just

Christopher Velona:

waiting for that, that puppy in the window waiting for someone to take us home.

Christopher Velona:

We're trying to get back out to the real world.

Christopher Velona:

And all of a sudden you're allowed to go out to the real world and then

Christopher Velona:

it's you can't do certain things and you're like, what's going on?

Christopher Velona:

And that again, you have to ask yourself, What do I need to do?

Christopher Velona:

A lot of people kind of project, I think in giving advice about what they

Christopher Velona:

should be doing, if someone's asking me or like you're asking me, but a lot

Christopher Velona:

of us don't even, heat our own advice.

Christopher Velona:

So it really starts with the guy in the mirror.

Christopher Velona:

I've learned many times that sometimes you just shut my mouth and just

Christopher Velona:

watch and then help in the aftermath.

Christopher Velona:

Those three things to me are key for anyone during any time, whether it's a

Christopher Velona:

pandemic or in business, patients love tolerance, acceptance, that's a code for

Christopher Velona:

a lot of us, more importantly, just having the ability to communicate with someone,

Christopher Velona:

without asking for anything in return.

Joshua Maddux:

That's really good.

Joshua Maddux:

I think the patients communication and acceptance aspect, I think that

Joshua Maddux:

right there, honestly, if we all took a step back and really thought

Joshua Maddux:

through those three elements, we would solve so many problems.

Christopher Velona:

I, Yeah.

Christopher Velona:

How many times have you asked yourself?

Christopher Velona:

What would I do if I was arguing with myself?

Christopher Velona:

Yeah.

Christopher Velona:

What would I say anything differently?

Christopher Velona:

Would I do anything differently?

Christopher Velona:

I got to be this big barking horse, but I inside we're just terrified

Christopher Velona:

if you think about it, most of our actions are fear based in my opinion.

Joshua Maddux:

Yeah.

Joshua Maddux:

Yeah.

Joshua Maddux:

You also mentioned that sort of puppy dog effect, sitting there,

Joshua Maddux:

looking out the window and I think so much of us are doing.

Joshua Maddux:

Right now we're all staring out the window, waiting for things to get

Joshua Maddux:

back to normal or waiting to get back out side or waiting for whatever.

Joshua Maddux:

And I think personally, like so many people.

Joshua Maddux:

Are staring out the window, but missing everything else that's

Joshua Maddux:

passing by and going on inside.

Joshua Maddux:

And this is both, both physical and, metaphorical a little bit.

Joshua Maddux:

I know, at the beginning of COVID so many families just did a family board

Joshua Maddux:

game night or did, different stuff where it was like, Hey, normally.

Joshua Maddux:

Running at 200 miles an hour, but we can actually stop and sit

Joshua Maddux:

down and play cards or, do that.

Joshua Maddux:

And as you mentioned, being able to have time to check in with those who

Joshua Maddux:

are living in your house or your family,

Christopher Velona:

I, we were doing those things before the pandemic though,

Christopher Velona:

Josh, we were forced to stand due to Sebastian's condition and you're right.

Christopher Velona:

wE are, every week we play monopoly.

Christopher Velona:

It's insane.

Christopher Velona:

It's just one of those things where it's like, Friday night, Saturday

Christopher Velona:

night, Sunday night monopoly.

Christopher Velona:

That's the deal.

Christopher Velona:

If we're not going to services or going to the doctor, it's just, it's monopoly.

Christopher Velona:

It's a there's a lot of other games we're doing, but that seems to be the one where

Christopher Velona:

it keeps us all together and laughing.

Christopher Velona:

Throughout the night.

Christopher Velona:

So yeah, board games are a great way to get through.

Christopher Velona:

Before that was like, what you pulled out when he got snowed in, you had board

Christopher Velona:

games and now you got the COVID lockdown.

Christopher Velona:

Same concept and I'll get back out there when it's time and when it's

Christopher Velona:

safe for everybody in the meantime.

Christopher Velona:

Sure.

Christopher Velona:

I have another soda pop and, get some popcorn, watch a bad

Christopher Velona:

movie or play some video games.

Christopher Velona:

Maybe we play a board game instead.

Christopher Velona:

The family aspect, I think is one thing that was really highlighted

Christopher Velona:

in these last, 20 months about, what was really missing out.

Christopher Velona:

Like you said, Josh, everybody's running around and no, one's got really any time

Christopher Velona:

because everybody's not on their phones and they're doing their thing and they're

Christopher Velona:

trying to become millionaires and trying to, everything's being just like, you're

Christopher Velona:

missing out on right in front of you.

Christopher Velona:

That's the one thing that I realized even more so wow.

Christopher Velona:

Wow.

Christopher Velona:

My other son, truly amazing child gage.

Christopher Velona:

Yeah.

Joshua Maddux:

Yeah.

Joshua Maddux:

Yeah.

Joshua Maddux:

I think that's so true with the past two years, ish.

Joshua Maddux:

Yeah people have learned to slow down a little bit.

Joshua Maddux:

I.

Joshua Maddux:

I think that's a good thing.

Joshua Maddux:

I think, not having so much craziness in your life, not having 14 different

Joshua Maddux:

activities, that you're a part of, being able to actually spend time and

Joshua Maddux:

this really circles back to towards the beginning of our conversation,

Joshua Maddux:

what your passion is in life.

Joshua Maddux:

For you, you built a business.

Joshua Maddux:

And around the fact of being able to spend time and have

Joshua Maddux:

time available for your family.

Joshua Maddux:

Sure.

Christopher Velona:

And able to help others.

Joshua Maddux:

And exactly.

Joshua Maddux:

And so I think that's really where.

Joshua Maddux:

We're continuing.

Joshua Maddux:

I think to see people, look back at their passions and as more

Joshua Maddux:

entrepreneurs, start businesses, pivot their business and change business.

Joshua Maddux:

I think that's a big thing to keep in mind of.

Joshua Maddux:

What is your passion, as an entrepreneur and how does your journey.

Joshua Maddux:

Line up with that and it doesn't need to be your business passion.

Joshua Maddux:

It can be your personal and does your business align with that?

Joshua Maddux:

And that's super, super good.

Joshua Maddux:

Yeah.

Joshua Maddux:

Awesome.

Joshua Maddux:

Ben, super good chatting with you.

Joshua Maddux:

Appreciate the time.

Joshua Maddux:

I don't know if there's any other little elements or advice or sort

Joshua Maddux:

of nuggets that you would want to throw out there before we wrap.

Christopher Velona:

If you wanted to as we approach the holidays, we'll tell you

Christopher Velona:

this, as a sober consultant, there's a lot of people that are in need of help.

Christopher Velona:

a Lot of people, may not want to be sober.

Christopher Velona:

Some of them need to be sober.

Christopher Velona:

It's going to be up to them.

Christopher Velona:

That's why, we want to extend that hand that that virtual hand, obviously to

Christopher Velona:

help people understand that they have someone to talk to, to talk with, w if

Christopher Velona:

you go to consulting with csg.com and you book an appointment, You're going to

Christopher Velona:

have a professional, like me help you, AI identify what's going on in your life.

Christopher Velona:

And we have mental health providers and we also have, like I said, we have the

Christopher Velona:

coaching, we have the basically any type of a package that you need whether you

Christopher Velona:

want to do traditional 12 step work or do you need an inpatient bed, or if you

Christopher Velona:

just need a therapist we pretty much.

Christopher Velona:

And can walk you through it.

Christopher Velona:

And we provided, to know not everything, we're not one of those people that,

Christopher Velona:

gonna tell you that we're going to fix you because we can't we want you

Christopher Velona:

to find a way for you to fix yourself and we're going to be here, there

Christopher Velona:

whether you want to do it or not.

Christopher Velona:

So if you're just looking to chat or do you need serious silver

Christopher Velona:

companionship, where we come with you to work, or we go with you to the set.

Christopher Velona:

If you're a high profile celebrity and you just have, you're always caught up

Christopher Velona:

in the trappings of success, like I was you can count on me and my staff and our

Christopher Velona:

team to keep you out of the, the trouble that you would probably wanting to be in.

Christopher Velona:

So we'd like it to just, start making sober steps today and

Christopher Velona:

just break that old behavior.

Joshua Maddux:

Awesome.

Joshua Maddux:

Yeah.

Joshua Maddux:

And the web, your website, Facebook, Instagram company, LinkedIn and

Joshua Maddux:

personal, we'll all be in the show notes along with, I'll make sure

Joshua Maddux:

that we have a link to project.

Joshua Maddux:

Sebastian is.

Joshua Maddux:

Oh, thank you.

Joshua Maddux:

So for anyone who wants to find out more about that, check that out.

Joshua Maddux:

You've got a few extra million dollars lying around, were donated.

Christopher Velona:

Yes.

Christopher Velona:

Thank you.

Joshua Maddux:

We'll take it.

Joshua Maddux:

We'll just tweet a deal on Musk and see if we can, apparently he sold some stock,

Christopher Velona:

oh, yeah, he's flush.

Christopher Velona:

Come on your lawn.

Christopher Velona:

There you go.

Christopher Velona:

Dip a little bit of the kids play

Joshua Maddux:

so awesome.

Joshua Maddux:

I really enjoy the time today.

Joshua Maddux:

I appreciate you coming on.

Joshua Maddux:

And yeah.

Joshua Maddux:

Good to have you as a guest.

Christopher Velona:

I appreciate it.

Christopher Velona:

Thank you for having me on it was my pleasure.

Joshua Maddux:

Thanks for listening to this episode of, in the bunker.

Joshua Maddux:

As always we can be found on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

Joshua Maddux:

at, in the bunker podcast.

Joshua Maddux:

Be sure to share this episode and what you're going to apply from it.

Joshua Maddux:

And how that can affect your business, make sure to tag us in that post so

Joshua Maddux:

we can highlight your journey as well.

Joshua Maddux:

But before you go.

Joshua Maddux:

I have a quick personal ask.

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