Meet the steel millionaire
Colin Wayne served in the US military for almost seven years, before turning to fitness modelling in 2013 after his Facebook fan page unexpectedly snowballed overnight and led to him receiving an honourable discharge. Having graced over 50 magazine covers, he dabbled in the notion of becoming an actor, before finding his niche in the customized steel business.
“I wanted to be a customer at first,” says Colin. “I got a quote from a company who produced customized steel products and discovered they had a backlog, so I searched elsewhere to see if there was somewhere I could get things done faster and when I looked for custom art decor on Google and Facebook there was nothing available. There was a Blue Ocean market right there. I knew that if I was willing to pay a premium for this piece for my son there were a lot of other people willing to do the same. This transitioned into consulting and I ended up making a business off er to buy into the company. They backed out the day we were supposed to sign and I started Redline by myself. It was a baseball sign of a player swinging a bat with my son’s name engraved on a scrawl. It cost around $350.”
What started out as a sentimental purchase turned out to be the birth of something that would change Colin’s life forever.
“Be comfortable with the uncomfortable. That’s how you progressively grow. You’re only growing if you’re uncomfortable.”
“I guess when I bought the piece I didn’t think about much from a business standpoint,” he says. I was merely a consumer until I went to do my research. I still didn’t see it as a great opportunity for myself, but I did see how I could help the company I’d purchased from as a consultant. From there, I began to like the idea of taking something from concept to reality in a matter
of minutes and I loved the margins behind it. Once I started building out their business plan I knew without question it was a billion-dollar opportunity.”
Colin met wife Breanna In 2014 whilst modelling.
“It was actually my wife’s idea to transition me into something else,” he says.
“I’m big on inner peace and I wasn’t internally satisfied. I’d hit milestones and I was like ‘what’s next’? When I’d landed 50+ magazine covers it wasn’t enough for me anymore. I wanted to transition into acting and moved to Hollywood for a while, but I didn’t know anyone and it was really just a waste of time. Breanna helped support me with Redline right from the beginning.”
“I wanted to be a customer at first,” says Colin. “I got a quote from a company who produced customized steel products and discovered they had a backlog, so I searched elsewhere to see if there was somewhere I could get things done faster and when I looked for custom art decor on Google and Facebook there was nothing available. There was a Blue Ocean market right there. I knew that if I was willing to pay a premium for this piece for my son there were a lot of other people willing to do the same. This transitioned into consulting and I ended up making a business offer to buy into the company. They backed out the day we were supposed to sign and I started Redline by myself. It was a baseball sign of a player swinging a bat with my son’s name engraved on a scrawl. It cost around $350.”
What started out as a sentimental purchase turned out to be the birth of something that would change Colin’s life forever.
A rookie in the world of business, Colin started from scratch and left no stone unturned.
“If you’re not marketing savvy it comes down to knowing your physical margins. What are your fixed and variable costs? Take that information and ascertain what you can apply as a fixed marketing cost in order to break even. Be comfortable with the uncomfortable. That’s how you progressively grow. You’re only growing if you’re uncomfortable. Our growth year-on-year has been astronomical. We’re on pace to do over $100m and we’re only five years old as a business.”
“We’re on pace to do over $100m and we’re only five years old as a business.”
“I’d never run a single ad on Facebook before starting Redline. A lot of it was just testing. I knew consumer behavior, I knew about social influence, but I didn’t know about the paid advertising side of things. I had to figure everything out from scratch. At times it was overwhelming. I’d say I’m pretty knowledgable now though!”
“Every dollar for the first two years came through me alone. About $12m revenue was generated by me. I then hired a marketing expert who helped me with the media buying side and got case studies together with Facebook and Google. I still run the day-to-day operations, but I have more of a CMO and branding role now. I would rather hire people who are a lot smarter than me to piggyback off things I’m not as smart at. I want to step down as the CEO at some point and bring on someone to take us to levels we haven’t ever been so that I can step back and focus on the bigger picture and elevate the brand a lot higher by partnering with large celebrities, endorsement deals and recurring subscription models. That’s kind of where I’m wanting to go in the next couple of years. All that matters is what’s best for the business.”
Marketing aside, Redline built its reputation on producing high-quality steel products. This was another huge learning curve for Colin.
“I didn’t know anything about manufacturing when I first started. I bought a plasma table that cuts things out of steel. It was very humble beginnings. I had never run a machine before in my life. Intuitively, I think I’m strong minded in the sense I’ll go out and find the right people and craft a vision others can align with. I’m not afraid to take on any challenge.”
“The first year, I didn’t draw a single dollar from the business. My executive assistant Sean was my first employee. He’s actually received his pay check out of my personal checking acc. It’s all been bootstrapped taking profits and reinvesting them. About two years ago we went through a very challenging time when a nitrogen compressor went down. In Christmas of 2018 going into 2019 we had thousands of dollars of orders backlogged because of it and it almost sent us into bankruptcy. It was so close. We were literally weeks away. I was floating cash, stretching terms and doing anything humanly possible to keep us going. I wouldn’t wish those times on anyone but it was out of my control. It opened my eyes to being more prepared and looking at fixed and variable costs for the entire operation. I put them into a 90-day escrow and then have a 90-day cash fl ow for revolving capital. Anything above that is where equipment and asset purchases can be made. You shouldn’t buy anything until you get to that point.”
Colin is proud of the fact he’s built Redline from the ground up.
“I’m 100% self-taught,” he says. “I didn’t have a mentor”.
Colin’s Daily Schedule
- Wake up: 4am
- Leave house: 4:30am
- Start work: 5am
- Leave work: 6-6:30pm
- Personal chef comes to home: 7pm
Every year I’ve become more and more self aware. I’m big on the law of attraction and making 12-month commitments. They’re not goals, they’re commitments. Write down what you want to accomplish for the year and then give yourself 12 months to get those things done.
“2020 was the year of the comeback. I far exceeded the goals I set out for Redline to accomplish, even through COVID. I don’t care what’s thrown at you. The world is going to pivot and evolve but you have to evolve with it. We ended up hiring over 100 people and scaling revenue over 236% year-on-year.”
“Documenting your intentions and putting them down on paper is a great first step, else you’ll end up living day-by-day and losing sight of those milestones. I’m very structured and extremely regimented. Conference calls are at the same time with vendors each week. There is really no time I switch off and put my phone in my pocket. The business is now in its year of foundation so that next year I can step away a bit and focus more on the marketing efforts and scale the revenue of the business a lot further. I have my own gym. I bought an entire warehouse gym. It was a Christmas gift to myself two years ago. I train at lunchtimes for around 45 minutes. I usually do HIIT style training with very targeted muscle groups. I’m very big on chest and incline isolated movements with lots of time under tension. My career isn’t as a fitness model anymore so I’m just maintaining and staying in shape. I only eat once a day at 7pm when I get home and the chef cooks. The meal can be anything really. Tonight we’re having a Mexican dish with tacos. I don’t count macros or calories. I can eat anything to a degree because I have such a huge deficit from the intermittent fasting. I drink a ton of water and energy drinks. I don’t get hungry. I stay focused.”
“I’m in bed by 10pm, so 7-10pm is the only time I get with my family really and I often work seven days straight during the fourth quarter and take Sundays off for the first through to the third quarter. I try to holiday with my family a couple of times a year or my wife and I will go to Vegas and get a babysitter. By the age of 35 I’d like to exit Redline. I think it’ll be well over $1bn in value at that point. I want to exit and create my own venture capital group. I’ll seed my own marketing firm, that’s step one. Step two will be to take the seed capital and put it into a JVC (Joint Venture Capital) group, form it, hire a marketing umbrella, hire the best talent in the world, hopefully housed in Nashville and bring in people direct from Google and Facebook, then target specific demographic groups. We will then have them aligned into a single vertical. Each business I purchase will have to align with that core demographic. As I buy more businesses and consumer behavior becomes more challenging, I can use that marketing database and repurpose it into each company, because the demographic will be the exact same. So for example, you could have a celebrity endorsed perfume line, throw some celebs at it and then with around a 90% profit margin that should offset the costs of the celeb endorsements. I’ll then take those customers and feed them into companies 2, 3, 4 and 5, therefore acquiring customers at a zero cost acquisition. I will create essentially my own ecosystem for acquisition and it’s becoming more expensive every year to acquire new customers”
Colin started Redline Steel in 2016 from his home in Alabama. Just five years on, the company is growing an exponential rate and is on track to turnover over $100 million in the next year.
In this exclusive video, Colin reveals his 3 tips to success.
Colin’s top 3 tips for starting a successful new company
1. Provide more value than you ask for in return.
“Give away a free item with your products to give a higher perception of value.”
2. Always get multiple quotes.
“Look at your physical margins and understand what your costs are and what they need to be in order to get a lower margin. Negotiate terms with every vendor. Even if it’s a low order quantity, don’t just settle. There are always other people you can challenge for better rates.”
3. Look at your customer ascension model.
“Who are your top spenders? What can you do to get more of those top tier customers. It’s the 80/20 rule, or if you take it a step further it’s called the 4% rule. 80% of your customers are bringing in less revenue than the remaining 20%.
That 20% focus group are the ones moving your business further.
Take care of those that take care of you and segment them. We’ve created a tier called Redline Elite for people who’ve spent $350 or more over five or more orders. We create segmentation email flows to target these customers and tell them they’re part of a rewards program to get $150 in free product delivered to them with a certificate which I personally sign and a hand written thank you card. Always go the extra mile to show people you appreciate them and nurture those top-tier customers.
You can create a Facebook group for top spenders too. This can act as a focus group which you can utilize to do market research for upcoming products, with that 20% top-tier demographic which once again acts as a priceless free tool.”
Want to learn more? The Founders Mastery is a super tactical in-depth workshop organized and run by Colin personally.
“We’ve had some incredible case studies with growth rates of 300% for some businesses since we started. I host these workshops every quarter at my home,” he says.