Wk1: The Uncut Rise of an Entrepreneur

Climbing off the canvas of death to fight again

The Uncut Rise of an Entrepreneur

Climbing Off the Canvas of Death to Fight Again

In the crucible of life’s chaos, the resilient soul echoes: “Within every challenge lies the seed of victory.”

In this narrative, prepare to transcend the ordinary as I unravel the raw, unfiltered, uncut life of an entrepreneur.

This is no tale of mere riches. It’s about the indomitable spirit forged in the fires of adversity.

I lay bare the scars, the defeats, and the gritty lessons etched into the very fabric of my journey. No sugar-coating, no embellishments – just the unabashed reality of a warrior's quest for greatness.

David to Goliath is not just a newsletter; it's a movement for those who dare to defy, for victory is born from belief, courage, and the relentless pursuit of purpose.

The battles we face are not measured by the might of the weapons, but by the strength of the spirit within.

With self-belief as our sling and courage as our stone, we, too, can prevail against the giants that stand in our path.

Are you ready to part the seas of doubt and unleash the warrior within?

The journey begins now.

It’s time to reveal the skeletons in my closet…

(If you prefer audio, we just released a raw unfiltered podcast version on Spotify - listen here)

Austin, the 7th September 10:00 AM.

The smell of fresh coffee, birds tweeting on the balcony and sunshine blasting through my window. But screw the picturesque scene. I'm staring at my laptop, eyes wide open, reading the message from our operations manager. 

We finally fk’n did it. The $100,000 monthly target for our marketing agency – ($124,000 to be exact). A promise I made to the founder two years back.

From the outside looking in, it was all rainbows and unicorns. Time to get the champagne out and toast to victory. Little did my team or anyone else know, I had just handed in my resignation and was considering taking my own life. I’d lost the woman and one person who believed in me most. Inside, I was crumbling.

Listen up, I’m not your typical business person. No childhood candy empires or lemonade stands. In fact, I didn't even know what the word "entrepreneur" meant until I hit 26.

And my meteoric rise to stardom? More like a boxer constantly getting smashed in the face. Getting back up for more - again and again.

But eventually, I did find my true calling - and it certainly wasn’t what I expected.

For context: I suffer from aggressive eczema, a relentless skin condition that's shadowed me my entire life.

Now, I'm no expert on what the kids do these days (I'm 32), but back then, after sports, the boys would all shower together. For me, it was a battleground.

With nowhere to hide I stood there naked with wounds and scars all over my body as the other guys pointed, laughed, and called me “Krusty the Clown”. 

I’ve never felt so vulnerable or humiliated in my entire life. But in those dark moments, a fire raged within. A burning desire to prove myself to the world. I knew greatness was within me; I just couldn't make sense of it.

Escaping the Life of Mediocrity: The Entrepreneurial Awakening 


Fast forward to 26, and I still hadn’t found myself. I was a daydreamer not taking action - still dodging the truth. A cog in the wheel of a massive construction consultancy, keeping a low profile, hoping to fade into the background.

This was 2017/2018 – The golden era of FB ads for Ecommerce brands. 

(Think slapping product images on Canva, running them to home pages, and enjoying a sweet 5X return on ad spend - yeah, those were the days).

I’d heard these incredible David to Goliath stories about go-getters grabbing life by the balls, scaling up on social media, and achieving the financial freedom that I could never even begin to comprehend. I wanted a piece of this.

I had been observing social media trends obsessively, aware of this enormous opportunity which wouldn’t last forever. 

Before and after work (even during bathroom breaks), I dipped my toes into freelancing on a platform called Upwork. 

One day, strolling home from another forgettable shift in the office with my motivational playlist on full blast, it hit me. A stark reality check. I'm done with this shit. Done with the mundane, done with the mediocrity. Done with playing it safe. 

For the first time in my life, I felt a deep sense of purpose – the awakening I'd been waiting for.

With sweet FA in my bank account, echoes of my parents dismay and worry ringing in my ears, I took the leap of faith. Quit my job, and diving head first into entrepreneurship. 

In that moment, I felt like Batman on the ledge in The Dark Knight Rises – ready to jump without the rope with the fear of death driving me forward.

Did I know what I was getting myself into? Did I hell. No entrepreneur does. It was a blind plunge into the unknown – storms, sleepless nights, near-misses, doubt – pure chaos. 

Looking back, ignorance was bliss. Had I seen the storms ahead, I'd probably have clung to the comfort and security of my job.

But then I'd have to die with regret. 

Facing myself in the mirror of truth each morning, knowing I settled for less. 

That one decision was me taking control of my destiny, standing up for my beliefs, giving myself permission to finally realise my true potential.

Something primal stirred deep inside me – the raw, unfiltered human experience.

The uncut life of an entrepreneur. 

Daring to be great at all costs, leaping into the unknown, fuelled by unwavering conviction. 

Finally, I felt alive.

Lesson #1: Complacency is The Enemy

Upwork was a good starting point, but truth be told, it wasn't the money-making powerhouse I needed to turn my life around. 

Direct access to the decision makers (in my case E-commerce owners) was the key, but for this I had to master the art of selling.

A recession proof skill that we don’t get taught at school.

So I started sending out cold emails - about 30 per day - handwriting all of them (boy do I wish I had the AI tools of today back then!).

Surprisingly, the founder of an 8-figure sportswear brand responded. I jumped on a call with her, and  somehow managed to convince her to partner with me. People say I have a way with words (I’ll let you be the judge).

One cold email, one call and I’d just closed a $7,000 a month retainer which was 3X my old salary. My mind was blown.

To make sure we smashed it out the park I searched for a media buyer with experience handling big budgets - enter Josh who was running a little agency called Alpha Inbound (more on that later).

Over the next year, we generated millions for this company. Everything was great, too great in fact. 

Then, out of nowhere the founder called me:

“We’ve been acquired!” 

Great news, right? Not for me. 

"They have an internal marketing team. As of today, your services are no longer needed." 

90% of my revenue gone, overnight. $50,000 in debt and no way to pay the bills next month.

The worst part? I knew deep down, it was all my fault. 

Complacency had taken hold. I'd grown comfortable with one big client, and stopped hustling for new business.

My first lesson as an entrepreneur: ‘No matter how secure it seems, always build your pipeline’.

I contemplated going back to the soulless 9-5. 

Then, out of nowhere, something magical happened.

I met the woman who changed my life.

Serendipity Strikes: Meeting My Partner in Crime

By sheer luck, I came across a guy who needed help building a new marketing agency from scratch in the real estate space. A lead generation agency - helping realtors in the U.S. find more home buyers through Facebook ads.

He was busy running his other companies, so he handed me the job of building this thing from the ground up. It was a slow grind, but we started closing deals. I was running around like a headless chicken, trying to keep up.

Then it happened. The boss wanted me on a call with a potential team member – someone he claimed was a superstar. And, man, she didn't disappoint.

She was fierce, chatty, intelligent, daring, funny, and intimidating. A background in engineering, modelling, and building start-ups. Something you don’t see everyday.

Right from the start, I could tell she was special.

She came in for ops and customer service, but let me tell you, she was a god damn powerhouse. 

Grabbed the bull by the horns, turned our operations on their head, not just backing me up but charging the entire business forward with her boldness.

During the pandemic, while everyone else was freaking out, I was locked in my home office, having the time of my life.

Her belief in me wasn't a one-way street. I had her back, pushing for her dreams just as hard. 

We were in it together. It was me and her against the world.

Work consumed me to the point where eating became an afterthought, sleep felt like a chore and time just evaporated.

Together, in 2020, we hit a new high: 7 figures with a 20-person team. 

But let's be clear – she wasn't just along for the ride; we were both leading the charge. 

Breaking through obstacles and becoming a force to be reckoned with, striving for greatness, together.

Seeing a single mother tackle life with such tenacity deeply inspired me. It fuelled my drive to do more, go harder,  think bigger.

At that point, life couldn't get any better – but as you know, nothing good lasts forever, and the next storm was about to hit.

Lesson #2: How to Lead and How Not to Lead

They say money and opportunity amplify people's personalities – and in this case, it revealed that my ‘boss’ was a full-on narcissist.

I logged in one day, to find myself locked out of the financials, stripped of my core responsibilities, and auto-recorded on every Zoom call.

He couldn't stand the fact that me and this woman were leading the team and getting all the credit.

As his other ventures crumbled, he wanted to regain control and sit at the head of the table. 

The next six months were hell. The hard-earned cash we’d built up was squandered on unnecessary consultants, hires we didn't need, and huge bets we couldn't afford to take.

I had to watch as the company and culture we’d built was ripped apart and burned to the ground in front of my very own eyes. 

The once family like atmosphere turned toxic, and eventually, the business went bust, leaving everyone jobless.

His treatment of other team members, especially the woman who had given everything, seriously hurt me.

My next business lesson: How to lead and, equally important, how not to lead. Leadership isn't about ruling with an iron fist; it's about being willing to sacrifice the most for your people.

This time though I’d seen the writing on the wall and phoned up an old ally.

Putting my Balls on the line: The $100,000 a Month Promise

I needed someone I could trust completely, someone who wouldn't screw me over when scaling the business. That's when I reconnected with Josh – that guy who helped me at the beginning.

Josh had a few of his own clients but was also working as a media buyer for another agency. He wanted to scale his own company, Alpha Inbound, but lacked the experience and knowhow. 

I made him a promise: "I'll take this agency from $5,000 to $100,000 a month in revenue."

I didn’t know exactly how. I just knew I wouldn't stop until the job was done. Drawing on my experience from scaling the previous agency, I believed I could pull it off.

To sweeten the deal, I proposed to Josh a commission-only pay structure – a percentage of every new deal closed.

In my mind, I envisioned jumping on calls, sealing deals, and stacking up the cash. 

Newsflash: That didn’t happen. I massively underestimated the challenge. 

The Ecommerce agency market had become fiercely competitive, with brands bombarded by agency pitches left, right and centre.

For this to work, we needed a solid foundation – a well-thought-out sales funnel, a strategy to reach more brands, and a backend system to ensure top-quality results. I needed help.

So who did I turn to? You guessed it, my partner in crime – the woman I had built the previous start-up with. 

Although she was working elsewhere, as soon as we could afford her salary, I brought her on board.

The stage was set. It was time to take on the world again, together.

Lesson #3: How and Why to Build Deep Conviction

If you're hoping for a fairy-tale ending of this office romance, I hate to disappoint. But before I hit rock bottom and considered ending it all, something incredible happened.

At the end of 2021, Alpha Inbound was teetering on the edge. Sales were stagnant, money was draining, and Josh was about to pull the plug on everything.

I knew deep in my heart that we were on the brink of a breakthrough, but I needed something now. 

Something that meant it would be absolutely unreasonable for us not to make sales.

So, I devised 'The Alpha Millennium' challenge: Record 1000 personalised Loom videos and send them directly to E-commerce brand owners in just 3 weeks.

As you can imagine, I miscalculated the sheer amount of effort this would demand. With only 3 days left and 700 videos still to record I faced a choice:

  1. Throw in the towel, hoping the 300 already done would be sufficient. 

  2. Stay up for 3 days straight and get the job done.

I’ll be honest though, the choice had already been made.

There was no way I was quitting. 

So, I got to work: Pulled up the Ecom website, hit record on Loom, analysed the business, and sent the cold email. Rinse and repeat, video after video, again and again.

I didn’t have time for breaks. Just relentless effort. 

48 hours in, no sleep in 2 days, I hit a wall. I’d never felt exhaustion like this.

But there was a much bigger problem: I completely lost my voice. How was I meant to complete the remaining 300 videos without being able to speak?

Everyone else at the agency had wrapped up for Christmas. Except for this woman.

She stayed up all day and night with me, helping me send out the emails. At this moment I called her and burst into tears.

It felt like the success of everything we'd built, both at the previous agency and now, was riding on this challenge. I wanted this to be a redemption story - for the both of us. 

Now, facing failure, I felt the weight of letting everyone down, especially her.

Despite what comes next in my story, this one conversation we had changed my life forever. I will never, ever forget her words.

"You can do this," she said, with a certainty so strong it shook me to my core. It wasn't sweet talk; it was raw, real, and hit home like a sledge hammer.

It was the transfer of belief. 

So I got back to work, sipping tea and honey, whispering on videos - using every last ounce of energy in my body. With 3 hours left before the deadline, I completed the Alpha Millenium challenge – all 1000 videos.

The next month, we closed 5 deals, built a 6-month pipeline, and changed the entire trajectory of Alpha Inbound. We never looked back.

But, most importantly, it instilled in me an unwavering conviction that no matter how tough things get, I can always find a way.

This is why my favourite quote bar none is this absolute diamond from Winston Churchill:

“One man with conviction will overwhelm one hundred who have only opinions”

Honestly, I feel like a changed man after that 72 hours and people now tell me I ‘have a presence’.

Without her belief and support though, I couldn't have pulled it off. This is why belief is the most powerful gift you can give anyone. It gives you conviction like you couldn’t imagine.

Just when I thought things couldn't get any crazier, the last 18 months have been the most intense, bar none.

However, this is the point where things turn dark.

Lesson #4: Risks of the Heart

She and I were getting closer, yet, we still hadn't officially started a relationship.

I felt being her manager and the other team members finding out was extremely unprofessional. So we both agreed to keep things between us and just carry on building the business.

The team still don’t know, and are probably reading this now, thinking, "WTF, Nigel." 

But the truth has to come out. And in reality, without our relationship, we never would have got through all the tough times.

Feel free to judge; no regrets. This is who I am. Humans are perfectly imperfect – that's what makes us special.

In the last three months of 2022, I moved to New York. She had family there so we could start living together.

At first it was amazing – finally meeting the woman who changed my life. 

The woman who gave me the confidence to scale two agencies to 7 figures, build a LinkedIn audience of 41,000, and speak on stages in front of 300 people.

The one who stood by me amid incessant bullying and societal rejection. 

I threw all my cards on the table – dreams, insecurities, wild, crazy ideas – she just got me.

Every problem, every challenge, every idea – she was there, charting a path through the storms of entrepreneurship side by side.

Her ideas, her drive, her audacity to seize life by the reins – that was the true secret to our success.

But here’s the twist. On a personal level, the commitment talk hit me like a freight train. 

She wanted more, something real, something solid – to start a family. 

But me? I was overwhelmed, juggling the business, our secret, everything. 

The pressure cooker boiled over and we clashed hard. Voices raised, harsh words exchanged – things got ugly, fast. 

Alpha Inbound still wasn’t stable. There I was, grinding 80-hour weeks, playing a double game: nailing deals, leading our team, whilst hiding our relationship from prying eyes.

Add to that she has a young child who I was fathering. It was all too much.

During this chaos, I made a snap decision to move to Vancouver.

Space, time, peacefulness. 

Otherwise, the agency and everything we’d built would implode and everyone, including her, would lose their jobs. 

In reflection, I see it was more running from a fight, from conversations I wasn't ready for. 

This was a brutal lesson in facing up to not just business risks but the risk of the heart.

And that’s exactly what I did. But she had other ideas.

Out of respect, I won't delve into the intricate details of what unfolded next. In a nutshell, she betrayed me, and decided to cut me out of her life overnight. 

The ending wasn’t clean, nor straight forward.

Let’s just say things went south, fast. 

One minute we were a dynamic duo conquering the world together and the next she’s gone – my entire support system cut, like a piece a of string.

I had finally found someone with whom I could unleash my unfiltered, raw personality, and the next moment, I had no one. 

Five hours a day, every day, for three years speaking to one person, to nothingness. A black hole of emptiness.

It broke me. I found myself in the loneliest, darkest days of my life.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I considered giving up on everything, including life. 

Betrayal? That's the searing, bitter taste that lingered. 

But, as the dust settled, the cracks I had overlooked, the signs I chose to disregard, became glaringly apparent.

It wasn’t just about her walking away or what she did or didn’t do.

It was about us, our complex dynamic - how we both played parts in this dance. It was a hard pill to swallow - it nearly took my life. 

Sometimes, you need time to dissect the chaos of battle. But this is where the biggest personal growth occurs. 

It demands the courage to scrutinise your reflection, to face the uncomfortable truths of your missteps, no matter how painful it feels.

For me: I could have listened more, I could have been more supportive, and I could have faced the truth - instead of running away.

I don’t know where she is right now or what she’s doing. Maybe our paths will cross again, maybe they won’t. Either way, I’m grateful that I met this woman and despite the pain, she gave me the greatest gift anyone could ask for. 

The gift of self-belief.

Reassuring me that I am enough. That despite my weirdness, my intensity, my strange personality - that I am special in my own right and have a massive role to play in this theatre we call life.

Now, I have to take that gift, move on, and share it with the world.

Lesson #5: The Path of Commitment - Rising Above Challenges to Find Purpose

In that pivotal moment when staring death in the face, I made myself a promise – If I’m not going to continue for me, then I’m going to rebuild in public for every other individual deserving of the gift of self-belief. I needed a higher purpose to fuel my fire and I instinctively knew this was it.

My time at Alpha Inbound echoed with memories, and I could feel myself burning out. 

Inside, I was a wreck, but I put on a poker face for calls, masking the turmoil with a smile. Truth be told I just wanted it to be all over so I could take my next step 

But you know me by now — I keep my promises. My word is everything to me. So I had to follow through on that promise I’d made to Josh the founder. 

I gritted my teeth, and come September 2023, we blasted through that $100,000 monthly target. To the world, everything looked flawless. Inside, I was crumbling. 

Immediately, I called up Josh, handed in my resignation. Told him I’d be leaving Alpha Inbound at the end of 2023. He was shocked, but I knew it was the right decision.

That was September, and in the months since, it's been a soul-searching journey.

Letting go certainly wasn't a walk in the park. I've had my share of good days and definitely a whole heap of bad ones. But I'm continuing to move forward, to fight, no matter what.

At first, anger and denial consumed me. Eventually, though, those emotions transformed into gratitude, and that’s what allowed me to connect and finally understand my true calling in life. Now, I’m ready to take that next step.

Before we get onto the big mission, here’s a quick summary of the 5 core lessons I’ve learned so far in my Entrepreneurial quest:

(with the hope you can skip them and grow faster)

  1. Complacency: When the going gets good, go twice as hard.

  2. Leadership: It’s not about ruling with an iron fist; it's about who's willing to sacrifice the most for their people.

  3. Conviction: True self-belief and conviction are built when pushing through moments where victory seems impossible.

  4. Honesty: Face up to your personal demons head-on. Reflect on painful moments and grow from them. The only way is through.

  5. Purpose: True purpose happens not from chasing money or driving Lambos. It happens when you sacrifice for a higher cause. Ideally, to positively impact the lives of others.

Now, let me tell you about David to Goliath. 

David to Goliath: A Movement Begins 

Why did I choose this name?

I've always loved underdog stories, and who doesn't remember the greatest of all? That’s right: David beating the mighty Goliath with just a slingshot and a few pebbles.

How was this possible?

Belief. It really is that simple. And that’s exactly why I chose the name. 

Steve jobs once said: The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. 

But what he didn’t say is that the best ideas are scattered in graveyards all over our lands because those people lacked the self-belief to take a chance.

That’s what I’m here to change. To make that chance a choice. That’s my purpose. To help more of you conquer that self-doubt, take risks, and jump without the rope into the unknown.

After talking to thousands of entrepreneurs, it hit me — I'm not the only one out there who doesn’t fit into most crowds.

If you're wired like me, you get it. All-in on everything—business, hobbies, relationships. 

You don’t have many friends because most people don’t understand you.

But when you find your tribe, you hold on tight. Those raw conversations about your wild ideas and dreams—they fuel your soul.

Not the shallow B.S. about the latest Netflix show or chat about the weather.

Maybe you're different, like I am, but haven't found anyone who believes in you.

I was lucky enough to find that. Despite losing it, I'm back on the grind, rebuilding in plain sight to pass on that priceless gift on to you.

This newsletter is more than words on a page; it's about rallying unique individuals rejected by society, who know deep down they're destined for greatness.

The innovators that will shape our future.

In 2024, mark my words, we're growing this Newsletter to 100,000 subscribers. 100,000 individuals setting out to realise their untapped potential.

And yes, there will be many doubters.

More fuel for the fire baby.

If I had a bigger support system when I faced those tough times, maybe things would've been different. 

But as they say, everything happens for a reason, and in retrospect that experience was a blessing. 

The unravelling of my psyche taught me about the importance of communication, transparency, and a real support network.

Now, my friends, as we embark on this journey with David to Goliath, I want you to understand the power we hold when we come together. 

We're tearing down the walls of rejection, smashing through barriers, and claiming our rightful place at the top of the mountain.

Installing that most powerful of forces: Self-belief.

Because as this woman constantly used to tell me: 

“The best gift you can give anyone is believing in them. But the best person to believe in is yourself.”

So keep dreaming like a giant. But believe and fight for those dreams like a god damn underdog.

Remember: History will be kind if you intend to write it.

Let’s build a legacy that inspires generations to come.

Are you with me?

Yours truly,

-Nigel Thomas

P.S. Huge thank you to everyone who’s supported so far - we’ve just crossed 3,700 subscribers!

If you know anyone who can benefit from this community please share this link and get them involved. I’ll see you at the top my friend.