Starting My First (Successful) Business

The Hustle

Starting My First (Successful) Business

Did you notice how the title has successful in parenthesis? This was not a mistake but deliberately placed there because I am about to share with you my first successful venture. Like most entrepreneurs, I have many ideas that never launch or gain little momentum without ever really taking off. My first successful company, Grand Apps, was the first company I helped launch and scale over five years. We grew from $14,000 in sales the first year to over $1 million in sales during this short time.

(Note, I’m not bragging…but I had to give you reason why I can give you valued advice here) I hope my story is found inspiring to help other like-minded people grab some of their very own success.

My name is Chris Ake and I am one of four partners at Grand Apps.

We build mobile apps for businesses and also offer web design and social media marketing. I helped launch this company during my very last semester during university. I was going to school full time, finishing my degree, working 30+hours on the weekend and trying to start this company in my “free time”. I graduated and decided that I was willing to take a risk to start something from nothing instead of taking that tempting reward of what some people call a “job” or career. I turned down many offers and kept my focus on Grand Apps.

It was not easy my friends, seriously. I was still working those 30 hours on the weekend only making $250 per week. This was in 2011, so we are talking very recently. $250 per week gets you nothing. I was so broke I was behind every week and asking friends and family to float me rent money or food money. I remember I had no money for three days for food and had to scrape my car floor for quarters so I could get some fast food. Bottom line was I was struggling every single day and trying to remain positive that my idea would work. On a side note, I had no experience running a company because I have only had ideas before and never fully executed. Many entrepreneurs go through this stage and you often ask yourself if it’s even worth it. Trust me, I get it.

Well I’m here to stand as living testament that it is worth it. Money is not the end all be all. Money is nice, but what is nicer is living on your terms. The gift of the ability to decide what to do with your time is the best gift anyone could ever have, and I have it. So if you need to live broke for three years in order to reach your goals, do it. Below are some quick tips I will give you that you can apply RIGHT NOW to help you get to where I’m at.

Focus, Focus & Focus

I did not have this when I first started. I often focused on many different things at a time like running Grand Apps, trying to run an MLM and many other ideas. My advice is pick one business to focus on 100 percent and scale that. When you start making more money and freeing up time, then just maybe you can look at other areas of growth. But for the short time, focus on growing that one thing as big and fast as possible with laser focus.

Don’t Listen

When I say don’t listen, I am saying don’t listen to the negative people. To be honest, even your mom and dad will be negative. I remember my parents didn’t understand mobile apps or what I was doing and my dad offered me advice to join the Navy or get another job. You will also face many people close to you that will be negative as well. Friends will make fun of you or shoot down your ideas, but who cares. Don’t listen to them. Focus on your idea. Crush the business idea. Execute your success.

Just Hustle

Okay so now you are fully focused on crushing your goals and you are ignoring everything else. Your next step is to just hustle your face off. If it’s 6pm on a Friday and you’re at the bar with your friend, you are not working hard enough. I never went out during my startup phase, period. I would be working on whatever needed to be done at that moment. Hustle now, have fun later. If you are not willing to hustle this hard, you might not be cut from the entrepreneur cloth to be honest.

More To Come

Thank you for reading this article. This was a basic intro to myself & some quick tips how I started. I will be writing more deep content with how to’s and answering any questions you have. If you do have questions for me, just use the tag #AskChrisAke on Twitter and I will get to you.

Thank you for the support & look forward to helping you crush it in life.

Contributing Editor

Chris Ake

#AskChrisAke YouTube Show



5 tips for having a successful conversation

The Hustle


One of the hardest and more challenging things in life is reaching out and making a successful connection with someone. In the age of smartphones and really short attention spans (thanks 6-second videos on vine) it seems much harder to talk to someone. People seem to be more preoccupied with social media and their phones…. but every once in a while you can get someone’s attention. So, how do you keep it?

1. Don’t be afraid to be funny 

There’s a time to work and there’s a time to have fun, yes every grade school teacher I ever had, I know. Though being funny is an awesome asset to have. Most people try too hard to be serious but people love the genuine feeling of laughing.

2. Don’t take yourself to serious 

There’s nothing wrong with having confidence in yourself, but remember you’re just a person like everyone else. Everyone is trying to make the most of their situation so just acknowledge it.

3. Don’t be afraid to say “Hi” 

” Sorry seems to be the hardest word” may have been true at one point Elton John, but saying Hi seems to be harder (it’s a bad joke I know, but here’s a music video.)

It’s a hard task to go up to someone and say hi, especially when you don’t know them. Just remember again we’re all human so what’s the worst thing that can happen? I mean I guess they could avoid you, but at least you tried.

4. Be Patient

It’s not a fun situation when you’re trying to get to know someone and they obviously have no patience for you.

Try not to be that guy.

In turn try and give someone the time of the day, you never know what a conversation can bring.

5. Be Transparent 

Being transparent doesn’t mean you need to tell your whole life story it just means being honest. Try not to just say what the other person wants to hear, be open and honest to create more conversation.

Just remember at the end of the day we are all human and everyone has something to bring the table. It may not be apparent as some other people, but you never know what a conversation can bring.

Use the UnderArmour Connected Fitness universe to get where you want


The whole losing weight and staying fit thing is already hard enough. I’m guilty of buying fitness bands, videos, and literally anything that I think can help me lose weight. The past couple of months I’ve finally found a series of apps that really help me keep everything in check, as long as you actually use them.


  1. MyFitnessPal

My hardest obstacle with losing weight is keeping on a smart diet. The general rule of 75% diet, 25% exercise starts to make sense. I can’t eat crap all the time and expect to be fit (which sucks.) With the help of a curated diet plan and the MyFitnessPal app I can visually keep track of everything I’m consuming. It’s not just a calorie counter, it also give you nutritional information you need to know.

2. UA Record 


The UA Record app has a vast array of exercises and little details that make recording workouts on point. Keep up with other people on their fitness journey and challenge them. Creating a challenge with followers is easy and helps keep you on track.

3. MapMyRun, Edomondo and more

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I’m going to be honest I hate running. The MapMyWorkout series has a couple of different variations including running, walking, and hiking.

Listen, if you’re not going to run you can also track how much you walk if you’re walking the dog. Every little bit helps when starting and sticking to your fitness journey. The MapMyRun app also has an upgraded version with coaching, and live tracking.

You can use these apps no matter what fitness level you’re at and start reaching your goals.

Stay hungry my friends 

“Take Chances, Make Mistakes, get messy” — My Motto

The Hustle

The best words of advice I feel like I’ve ever received was from a little show called The Magic School Bus. I know what you’re thinking what is a 24 year old doing writing about a cartoon show that’s not even on the air anymore. Well, It didn’t hit me until graduation that this makes so much sense now as an adult.

Some of my most valuable relationships, work and achievements have come from taking chances. The other side to taking chances is you are going to make mistakes and you’re definitely going to get messy. It’s not necessarily a bad thing.

How do I learn? I make mistakes. How do I get better? I makes mistakes and learn from them.

It also allowed me to understand people more. I have patience because I understand people make mistakes going through life. WE ALL DO IT.

Take the chance on yourself to be you. Be happy, be adventurous, be wild, but most of all be okay. Be okay knowing not everything you do is going to be right, not everything is going to work out in the end, but trying is the first step. Conquer your fears, live to your fullest potential with the people that mean everything to you.

So take chances, make mistakes, and get messy my friends


Do cool stuff in your city with the Do Stuff app


So you need something to do this weekend but you just don’t know what’s going on. Well, in comes the Do Stuff app and DoStuff online. Why should you actually care about the events you’ll find on Do Stuff?

Everything you find in the app is curated by people local to where you are. It helps you have a good time with people that know the city the best. 

(Credit to: DoStuff)

Find free stuff, top picks, places with giveaways and more in the palm of your hand. The app is crazy good looking and the content is engaging. You can share your RSVP’s with friends so you’re all on board, which makes planning way easy.

You can RSVP for certain events and get in free, and  keep a calendar of events you RSVP to. It really comes in handy for festival weekends like SXSW in Austin. With all the free food, drinks, and social events Do Stuff puts the control in your hands on where to be.

DoStuff is currently in 15 cities including Dallas, Austin, New York, Boston and more. Each city is unique to DoStuff, for example Dallas is Do214, and New York City is DoNYC.

Be at the coolest spots around town with badass people with Do Stuff.

Why I’m glad I’m a “Millennial”

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Millennials are generally perceived as privileged, lazy, self absorbed and entitled….

It’s time to get this straight. 

It’s time to lay out on the table why millennials are the way we are. It’s because we’re tired of a world where people are working jobs they don’t like, ending up marrying people because “it’s the right thing to do.” We’re tired of people hating their lives because they’re afraid of their own dreams and aspirations.

We’re in a world now with the highest divorce rate (it’s estimated that 40-50% of first marriages will end in divorce.) Over 70% of people don’t like their current jobs, and more than 3.3 million americans suffer from persistent depression.

As a Millennial we can’t sit still. We are always learning and constantly evolving to keep up with trends in the workplace and life. Not all of us are lazy, of course some of us are, but that’s in any generation. We’re not looking for handouts.. we’re looking for a way to be happy with our lives.

You see life is different now. We are living in a time where ideas are thriving thanks to social media, the internet and hard work. Someone can create an empire from a single thought and this generation loves to help people achieve their ultimate goals. We want to see people happy, not settling.

Life is meant to be lived, maybe you should live it with us? 

JackThreads just changed up their game, and it looks good


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If you’re a guy that likes his style and wants to look good without trying to hard then JackThreads is for you. Up until last week JackThreads was owned by Thrillist Media and was more of a flash sale site, but now they are operating as 2 separate companies and they’re changing up their game. With the new change comes a new line suitably named “JackThreads”. The new changes are focused on giving the customer great clothes for great prices. The collection will include everyday tees, denim, blazers and coats, even cashmere sweaters. The best part is all the pieces are reasonably priced and they look good.

It’s one of the most visually stunning apps out there. With the new changes comes a new design, and it looks damn good. The minute you open the app you see new items, colors and styles that are trending, and the things you should buy.

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Things are easy to return too. If you get the wrong size or just didn’t like what you got, just return it. With the new app refresh customer service is easy as can be. You can do a live chat within the app, email , or call their support line. I’ve had some of the best customer service experience with the team at JackThreads.

Do yourself a favor, download JackThreads and upgrade your look.

(Images via JackThreads)

A different way to see the world, with Blippar


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For years I’ve dreamed of having a hologram wrist watch thanks to the imaginary world of Star Wars. We may not be there yet, but Blippar makes me feel hopeful that maybe it will actually happen.

Blippar is an augmented reality app that takes the world you and see and the world on your phone to new heights. So, what is augmented reality? It’s a live view of a digital information in real time. Blippar is your real world visual browser.

What is Blippar?

Blippar allows you to take the world you see and interact with it. They also partner with some of the biggest brands including Coca-Cola, Disney, Nike and Sony just to name a few. There isn’t really a limit to what a “Blip” can do. Blippar allows businesses and users to create an interactive experience with a product whether it be a download link, more information or a hidden game. The reality of Blippar is virtually endless and is super exciting.

Blippar raised 45 Million dollars earlier this year and they’re looking forward to changing the game on search. The goal is to be able to “Blip” pretty much anything you see on the street.

Keep you’re eyes and ears open for a new world with Blippar.