All Bets Are In and He’s Holding A Royal Flush
Move over Trump Plaza, MGM Grand and Riviera, there’s another casino taking bets too. Castle Casino founded by David Merry is an online casino that brings live entertainment and gambling right to your computer screen.
Read an inspiring interview of how a 21 year old took a MAJOR leap of faith and hopes that the odds are in his favor!
What type of business do you have?
I have two businesses: CastleCasino.com and RightCasinoMedia.com. The first business is a live online casino, which capitalizes on the technological breakthrough that allows live streaming online. We have a team of 80 dealers based in Costa Rica and they stream live to the computer screen, and it’s like you’re playing in a real casino. You interact with the dealers, you talk to them live. Before you played against a computer, it was all automated. CastleCasino.com recreates the whole online casino experience. I started the second business at the same time because I realized how expensive it was to advertise. By creating my own business with an advertising platform, I not only get free advertising, but I sell advertising to others.
What made you decide to go into the online casino business?
A friend Brian left the company we’d been working for to become an advertising manager at one of the casinos. He came back for a visit and told me I was young and excellent at online marketing and I should get into it, as his bosses were making an absolute killing. So I dropped my other projects and started focusing on that. I was quite quickly earning more money at that than at my fulltime job. The turning point came when I was sitting on a plane coming back from holiday and realized that I had to go back to work the next day. I thought, “I just don’t want to live this life anymore. I don’t want to work for someone else. I don’t want to be in to work at 9 o’clock unless it’s me reaping the rewards.”
How quickly did you make the transition to working fulltime for yourself?
Three days after I got back from holiday I handed in my notice and went fulltime 3 months later. During those 3 months I worked before and after work to make it a reality and by that time it was functioning and ready to go. The official start-up with an office was June 2010. I was 21 years old.
Where did your capital come from?
For the online casino I spent a few weeks writing a business plan and researching the market. Without the focus and work I put into it, I might not be here now. I approached 2 extended family members who were entrepreneurs, showed them my business plan asked for capital and luckily they said yes. For the advertising business, I saved up from my work salary. I invested about 50-percent and when any profits came in I reinvested them in the business.
What was it like starting out?
I used to do customer support, client support – everything. I had to design the advertising banners myself, sometimes staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning. I had someone working with me after the first month. He’s now a crucial part of the company and is into it as much as I am. At the moment I have 8 people working for me in my office, while the whole operation has between 100-150 people. The off-site people are either contracted or in partnership with us.
What is your typical day like?
I get up at 6:30 and am into the office at 7:30. I make coffee – I can’t function without that! – I’ll have breakfast and get through my emails before 9am when everyone comes in. I’m more of an Operations Manager now – I walk around the office to each desk and make sure they have their tasks for the day and answer any questions. Then I’m back to emailing, brokering deals, meeting customers, meeting clients – everyday is different, kinda like a rollercoaster ride. I work 12 hours a day on average, than usually do some more work at home. But to me it’s not like work at home, it’s more like a hobby.
What was your biggest failure and what did you learn from it?
I tried to bite off more than I could chew. I thought that since I had touched something and it turned into gold, that anything else I would touch would also turn to gold. So I launched a few partnerships with friends. I realized the hard way that there are only so many hours in a day. I ended up letting people down, and lost time from my own business which could have grown bigger.
What sacrifices have you had to make?
I’ve sacrificed a lot of time I could have spent with my family or my girlfriend. I’ve also sacrificed money. As a startup you don’t have a lot of money so you sacrifice your personal income.
What motivates you?
Determination to succeed at something, and be my own person.
The fact that I don’t want to go back to working for someone else.
And also, I have employees – people who rely on me for their livelihood.
Where do you see your business in 10 years?
The business will be bigger, with CastleCasino.com a household name. And I’d have expanded into other areas on an international scale.
How do you define success?
To be my own person, live the way I want to live and to manage my own life.
What do you feel are the three top skills necessary to become a successful entrepreneur?
First of all you need passion. You need to love what you’re doing.
Second is determination. If you’re not determined to drive something forward, then you’re going to be learning a very expensive lesson.
And lastly, guts. You must be willing to take the plunge. A lot of people sit there for years wondering about an opportunity or thinking about an idea, but never have the guts to do anything.
What is your greatest fear?
Fear of failure. You spend years building something and a bad deal, or in my case a big player, can ruin everything.
I’m also wary of wasting too much of my life on business. I love the idea of being an entrepreneur, but it’s not necessarily my whole life. I want to make sure I don’t look back in 20 years and regret what I’ve done.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I like football, beer, golf, a good movie, a visit to the pub. I also like driving around and popping in to see friends when they’re not expecting me.
What 3 pieces of advice would you give to people thinking about becoming an entrepreneur?
Do it – stop waiting around.
Put 100-percent into it.
Don’t confuse the movies with reality – in real life it’s a lot harder than it looks, especially in the startup period.
If you could describe your life as an entrepreneur in one word, what would it be?
Who’s been your greatest inspiration?
I get my inspiration from a lot of people but if I had to point to one person it would be my Granddad. When I was young he had his own business, a few shops in London. He was charismatic and he lived his life his own way. I remember him turning up at Christmas with a car full of toys. He had money behind him and if he wanted to do something, he’d do it. He had what I call a ‘good life’.
How long do you stick with an idea before you give up?
Usually about a year.
Do you think there is any kind of formula for being a successful entrepreneur?
No. I think you either have it or you don’t. You have to have the right personality.
What other company or business do you admire?
I admire Google the most. They found a market and they stormed it. They’re always grounded. I’ve been to their offices and they’re fun places to be, but they’re always focused on what they need to be. Even though they hurt me when they demote one of my sites, I still admire what they do.
If you could talk to anyone in history, who would it be?
I’ve always been interested in great rulers. Just to be able to get into their mindset, figure out their characteristics and find out how they got into a position of crazy power. It can’t be an easy task.
What makes you happy?
In the office – looking around and knowing that I’ve created something.
Connect with David Merry of CastleCasino.com
- Contact - http://www.rightcasinomedia.com/contact/
- Website – http://www.castlecasino.com
- Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/castlecasino
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