If you don't mind a bit of reading and since you asked, I'll tell you...
And What's My Story?
I live my life as an open book with no skeletons. If someone wants to know something about me, just ask. I care about people and their feelings, always wanting to encourage and uplift, but know that if you ask me something, I’ll always be honest and direct. It may hurt your feelings at times, but know that I don’t want to beat around the bush and you’ll always know where I stand.
Some of you may have found this page after researching my name, “Jared Leisek” or “Jared Ray Leisek” and want to determine if I am worthy of your trust, your friendship, your time, and/or your business. We live in a digital age and I have nothing to hide, so sit back and let me share my story.
I’ll touch on my childhood, my marriage, my homeless experience, successes, failures, and yes, I will even share the time I was investigated by the SEC back in 2001.
“Be the best parent you can be. While you can’t change history, you can learn from your mistakes making a change for the future.”
My story is similar to many others; broken home, multiple marriages for both parents, tossed into the foster care system at the age of nine, often wondering why the new children and step kids were put on a pedestal and often feeling left abandoned.
My Grandparents finally stepped in and took me into their home. This is the time in my life which I learned proper hygiene, how to cook, clean, iron, how to love and be loved. I can’t say I was always good for them, nor did I always stay out of trouble – but without them, I don’t think I would’ve had the fighting chance for who I’ve become today. I thank and love my grandparents for the chance, the change, and the opportunities they provided me.
I will say this… Parenting does not come with a handbook. We can’t choose our parents, but we do choose to be parents, so be the best parent you can be. While you can’t change history, you can learn from your mistakes, and the mistakes of others, making a change for the future.
High School Dropout and Homeless
Homeless, and eating out of garbage cans.
I returned to live with my father later in life when he was between marriages. He soon married wife number four and once again I felt that we kids took a back seat to the new family. I bounced from friend’s house to friend’s house and finally dropped out of school.
My journey took me to Grenada in the Bahamas and other parts of America. I ran out of money and soon became homeless, sleeping in parks, bushes and hotel stairwells. I even sold perfume door to door, but it never seemed to make enough leaving me eating at soup kitchens, wandering hotel halls looking for room service leftovers, and yes, I have even eaten out of garbage cans.
During this year and a half long journey I learned that I really didn’t know everything and as a result, I went back to school.
Married with Children
“Application to Date Jared Leisek”
My junior year in high school I put together a ten-page “Application to Date Jared Leisek” for fun one day. I handed it out to twenty or so girls who I was interested in, some who I was not, and some who I hoped had an interest in me. One of the girls was in my English class and I never thought I had a chance with her. She filled it out with near perfect answers along with the lipstick lip print she left and the perfume scent she sprayed on the application. It took another 3 months to get her to finally go on a date with me for I found out she filled it out as a joke.
Dating for a year and a half, we graduated high school together in 1995 and married later that same summer. Here we are over 20 years later and I can’t think of a better person to have by my side as a wife and mother. She is my best friend and I enjoy our weekly dates, the way she looks at me, the laughter and our time together.
It’s my goal in life to keep my family together, to keep my girls well grounded while at the same time giving them a life like no other. As a husband and father, I have a lot of responsibility and I am grateful that I have had the good fortune of providing for them with my time and activities. Working mostly out of the home office or taking the laptop on the road has afforded me the opportunity to be around for them and with them as they have grown. With less than a year to go, my youngest will be an adult and I can’t wait to see what the next chapter in life is for all of us.
Now for some sad truth. While I have had an amazing life with my wife and our two daughters, I am saddened that I have a daughter who was not a part of my life and that we have all missed out on the adventures along the way. You see, back in high school I had a fling and had always suspected that I might have a daughter out there. When she was five I pushed for a paternity test and was happy to hear that she was mine and how she would blend into our family. However, you can only imagine how one would feel, thinking you are your child’s father, only to learn you are not. Her father became vindictive and swore I’d never get a chance in helping raise her. I can’t say that I blame him for what he did in keeping her from me.
She tracked me down in secret near the end of her high school years and it was so great having a relationship with her. She wanted answers but was never satisfied with my responses. She felt I didn’t try and fight hard enough for her despite the stack of court documents I’ve kept through the years. There is a hole in my heart from not being a part of her life. My heart hurts that she asked I not attend her graduation. My heart hurts that I was not invited to her wedding. My heart hurts that I have a grandson in this world who’ve I’ve only ever gotten to see grow up through pictures and videos. It hurts that she and her husband don’t respond to my text or emails. For the time being, I’ve given up reaching out as to not drive her further away and wait patiently for the day she lets me back into her life. She can’t understand how I can love her, but as a father, you will always love your child regardless of the lack of time you had together through the years.
Powered Paragliding, the best sport in the world.
Aside from scuba diving and disc golf, the one hobby I think about and talk about almost daily is powered paragliding.
There is nothing quite like it as it gives you the ability of flight, dangling your feet and the wind rushing through your hair.
At the top of this site, you’ll see a few of my favorite videos giving you a glimpse into the joy I have for the sport.
The stock market is a game of corruption and greed, so be very careful if it’s something you want to invest and be a part of.
From 1998 to 2001 I was a day trader, riding the wave and having a good time like thousands of others. If you reflect and think for a moment, the internet was still in its infancy and trading online had come into play not long before this date in time. There were message boards, chat rooms, news feeds and websites that we day traders would follow for stock announcements. Based upon these announcements, we would quickly buy and sell, hoping to be in early and out within minutes. It was a game, some rounds I won, some I lost.
It was the losing that didn’t sit well with me and I thought to myself, “What if I knew which stocks these websites were going to profile ahead of time”. I started doing research on SEC regulations and found that if I recommended stocks, I had to be licensed with the SEC. However, I found that if I simply profiled stocks, by not telling others to buy or sell, but simply profiling and reporting my research on what I deemed a good, viable company, then I was within the written SEC code. So I set out on my first website adventures in early 2000, building two websites, gained followers through Yahoo message boards and began profiling my own stock picks.
Yes, I bought stock in thinly traded companies, yes I told friends and family to buy stock, and yes, we often sold these stocks within minutes after profiling our stock picks on our websites to other day traders. What a rush it was turning $3,000 into $250,000 in just a few months.
One day FedEx showed up at my door with paperwork from the SEC stating that I was being investigated as part of a nationwide crackdown on hundreds like me who were running similar websites in a space and time where there were no specific SEC rules regulating our activities with the internet and day trading being new. Some were simply profiling as I was, while others were flat out making recommendations to buy and sell which was already written in stone and was illegal if one was not a licensed broker.
In the end, I received a slap on the wrist and told not to profile stocks on such websites. No actual charges were ever filed, no fines, just an investigation that led me to better understand the newly formed laws and the new interpretation of existing SEC rules. Of course, I complied with the requests and I am free to trade stocks to this day. It was a defining moment in history as the SEC has written new laws, rules, and regulations to help protect the new breed of online traders that followed.
So, what do I make of the stock market days and what have I learned? I have learned that the big boys manipulate stocks on a daily basis. I feel bad for those who continue to place their hard earned money into the trust of brokers and companies which they have absolutely zero control over. Most stocks and trading is a game of corruption and greed, so be very careful if it’s something you want to invest in and be a part of. Do I still trade to this day? You Bet!!
Best lesson in life I have ever learned.
I’ve been bankrupt twice. The act of filing bankruptcy in 2002 made me feel like a failure.
The stock market days were my first taste of money. I came from a poor background and I turned into what is often referred to as ‘New Money’. My head and ego were bigger than life itself and I was an ass for sure. Losing it all really snaps you back to reality and puts into perspective what is really important. You learn quickly who your true friends and family are and who will stick by your side through thick and thin.
While I didn’t enjoy going broke, it is by far the best lesson in life I have ever learned. It humbled me, taught me to appreciate more, and since that time, I’ve learned to treat all with respect regardless of their background or where they come from.
Rich Dad Poor Dad changed my life and thinking forever.
After stocks and bankruptcy, I went to work as a roofer, walking out the door before sunrise and returning after sunset. Life was not pleasant as I was missing out on time with my wife and children, exchanging my hours for dollars. I read “Rich Dad Poor Dad” which changed my life and thinking forever. I bought a set of apartments, split them into 3 parcels and sold them off separately. I purchased a few homes in shambles, fixed them up, rented them and later sold them for tidy profits. This provided me with a source of income in which I could work alongside my wife and be there for my children.
I attended a seminar to learn how I could better leverage and grow my real estate “empire”. It was halfway through the first of three days that the light bulb went on and I got a hair brain idea that I should build a subdivision. Mind you, I’m in my early 20’s, I was not a contractor, never built a home, yet alone a subdivision. I headed to the library and read every book I could get my hands on to figure out the process of building and who I should align myself with. I kept asking the right people the right questions and after writing a 225-page business plan, I presented it to investors. Within two weeks my project of 232 homes was funded and off to a good start for infrastructure in late 2003.
In 2004 I sold my first home and took pride each day I was on the job-site. I remember the day I stood on top of the hill overlooking the subdivision project and counted the number of people working. Over one hundred workers were on site and that was the day I felt accomplished knowing that I was providing jobs and the ability for families to put food on the table and a roof over their heads.
By August 2006 I had built 102 homes and sold the remaining 128 lots at the peak of the real estate boom. Heck, I was set for retirement. The problem, I didn’t cash out soon enough. Still having money tied up and loaned out to others to help them build their real estate empires, I saw a downward spiral beginning as real estate was not selling as before. I had a sinking feeling it wasn’t coming back and in 2007 I put the skids on building our dream home, sold every piece of equipment and all the toys we had to keep food on the table.
Yup, we had just about lost everything, including our home which was once paid off free and clear, was now upside down, owing more than it was worth.
Putting America Back to Work
The importance of local businesses for America.
Facing the thought of losing it all again, I knew I had to recreate myself outside of the downward spiraling real estate market. Knowing that many others were in the same predicament, my wheels started spinning. I kept asking myself how I could not only help myself but how I could help hundreds if not thousands across America.
In 2008 I launched and later sold “GrapevineCommunities”, an online community website built around social networking to provide a safe, clean, local environment for citizens in communities throughout America to feature blogs, forums, news, online profiles, classifieds, videos, music, chat rooms and more. It was kind of a MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, Craigslist community forum wrapped into one.
I later co-founded and launched “RelyLocal” in 2009 (sold in Jan 2016) to solve two common problems shared by all local businesses. Most are unable to afford cost-effective marketing, and most are unable to keep up with new marketing trends and technology. Built on the platform of a local’s only online business directory, RelyLocal offers great value to its customers through social networking, coupon marketing, co-op advertising, search engine marketing, in addition to being part of a grass-roots campaign to rebuild local communities by reconnecting local customers with their local businesses. Not only was RelyLocal creating hundreds of new jobs across the country, it was protecting thousands of existing jobs by campaigning for the importance of local business.
Accidental Hobby Business
Not bad for a hobby business and something most would give their pinky toe at the opportunity
After the first two years of owning RelyLocal, it was mostly on autopilot, and I found myself working just a few hours a week in the business. This provided me an abundant amount of time to enjoy friends, family, and powered paragliding. I wanted to share my joys of flight with the world, so I started strapping cameras on and recorded the beauty of the world and posting these videos on YouTube. My new passion and art were in the shooting and editing. Cameras kept getting better, new angles being added and then came to a point I wanted to push my videos/editing further.
I found some local filmmakers with a passion for outdoor sports who happened to be building quadcopters. This was a time before DJI who is the maker of the ever popular remote controlled drones. Prior to DJI, you couldn’t buy off the shelf drones, and you had to actually know how to fly for there was no autopilot. Well, the story goes that I partnered up helping the company grow and enjoyed the benefits of equipment for shooting new angles to add to my new passion and art of video production. I soon launched Snip Film Productions and my little hobby business was now paying for a little outdoor fun, cameras, and equipment.
One day I got a call from a production company looking for a drone pilot for a reality tv show. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was shooting for shows on NatGeo, Discovery Channel, HGTV, DIY, Animal Planet, along with a series of private gigs for resorts and other production companies. I was zig-zagging the lower 48 states, multiple trips to Alaska, Hawaii, St Thomas and Costa Rica. I was laughing every time I went, for you see, every one of these production shoots was a paid vacation in my mind, to go out into the world to shoot the beauty for others to see. I was making over six figures, working less than 15 days each month, the girls would often go with me, and all expenses were paid, including airfare, lodging, food, and per-diems.
Not bad for a hobby business and something most would give their pinky toe at the opportunity. I’ll share in just a moment why I gave it up. If you’re ever bored and want to check out my production work, check out my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/leisek for drone, ppg and family fun.
Reflecting at Forty
Turning Forty in 2015 was a time of reflection, as it is for many at this age. It’s kinda that halfway point to death and halfway through your working years. You ponder all you’ve accomplished and what you’d like to accomplish in the next chapter. For me, I loved everything about my life, where I’d been and all the memories along the way. I also came to the realization that I’m a serial entrepreneur and it was time to jump into a new project. Although my little hobby business was crushing it, I realized that I had gotten away from a business in helping others and that I was directly exchanging my hours for dollars. I only made money if I was on the road or if I was directly editing my art. Because of this, I made the tough decision to walk away from it all.
After months of looking for that new project, I was catching up with a buddy of mine who owned a plumbing shop, and he was thinking of selling. While I had been a residential developer in the past, a plumbing shop was far from anything I ever wanted to dip a toe into. What excited me about the business though was that he was doing everything wrong from the office and marketing side, yet he was making a great income, and I knew that my online SEO, sales, marketing and web development skills could help take this small town business to the next level.
I asked that he give me three months and trust me and if I can do what I think can be done, that he’s not going to sell and that instead, we’re going to become partners. It had taken six months before all systems were in place and the company has gone from 4 employees to 27 employees in a 12 month period and a multi-million dollar company in a short period of time.
In early 2017 we also partnered together on a Digital Marketing, Branding, SEO, Web Development and Media company. This company would return me to my passion and roots for the online world. By mid summer it was decided that our partnership would end in both companies and that I would rebrand and move forward with the Media company on my own. A little sad when a partnership comes to an end, but I wish him a world of success as he continues to grow and expand his plumbing and heating company into multiple states.
As for me and the rebrand, I couldn’t be more excited to announce the launch of Trevari Media, focusing on Digital Marketing, Branding, SEO and Web Development. It’s the world that I am passionate about and love the challenge of helping take businesses to the next level. We truly have a passion for coaching, teaching, mentoring and seeing others succeed. I’ve even completed my first eBook “Local SEO How-To & Marketing Tips” as a free look inside the beginnings as to what has helped build and grow several multi-million dollar companies now.
Whatever direction you take in life, I truly wish you a world of success in business and personal relationships.
I do hope that one day our paths will cross if they haven’t already. In being remembered I would like it if you spoke kindly to me. I want to be remembered as somebody who always was always ready to share a hug, a smile, a wink and was always kind to you and others.
In the end, I’m just like anybody else. I put my pants on one leg at a time; I will have bad days and may even raise my voice. Just give me a quick nap and I’m usually alright after that.
Whatever direction you take in life, I truly wish you a world of success in business and personal relationships. Take good care of your spouse, your children and the friendships worth keeping. Pay-it-forward and do your best to leave a good legacy for your family.
And that’s My Story Thus Far – Stay Tuned for More!