How do you go from making money cleaning dishes to building multi-million dollar iconic brands?
In this article, that is what we are venturing into as well-renowned Gold Coast Influencer, Troy Candy – founder of multiple brands including one of the most iconic car modification brands in Australia – Eye candy Motorsports – shares his greatest stories and lessons.
When you take a look at Troy’s Instagram, you see pictures of high-end car modifications, jet skis, and beautiful parties.
And naturally, many people would see that and think he’s just another one of those “rich kids” who grew up with a silver spoon.
But his history shows a different story as he came from humble beginnings – working at Hogs breath café as a kitchen hand (which is another word for cleaning dishes all day).
Growing up as a “typical local boy”, he always had a passion for cars and car modifications.
But early on, that passion never translated into wealth.
That was until his mates saw him lower his car and asked for help to lower there’s.
At first, he didn’t charge any money for it.
But it wasn’t long until he got a long list of requests coming in.
Quitting his previous job and turning his passion into an income stream was an easier decision to make…
When he found he could lower a car for $150/hour which was more than what he currently made.
Plus having extra free time and fun doing so.
After a year of working for himself, he couldn’t even picture himself working for someone else.
“I was getting up at lunchtime, staying up all night to do this”.
His rise to virality and fame: taking risks when others won’t
The easiest way to play small is to never take a risk at all.
Troy is a great example of someone who takes the risks that others won’t and gets the gold in the end.
Firstly, he had bought his first 180 square meter factory after weighing the risks, knowing he had enough to pay the bills and live even if the factory were to go under.
Second, back when Facebook was a much more simple platform, Troy had started a Facebook page where he showed off his stylish car modifications.
Think of a Commodore with gold-tinted windows.
His page became quite controversial, receiving lots of love and hate at the same time.
But the hate added to his virality as the haters would share around his content, just to talk smack about it.
In his first year, he had gotten to about 50,000 followers.
This had happened despite people doubted he could make an entire business out of a simple Facebook page.
“You can’t do that for a business though”, was the typical response he got.
Regardless of the doubt and what anyone said, taking risks and even going against the grain was key to the recognition and popularity that Troy has today.
The Biggest Mistake He Made in Business
“I didn’t do any business courses. I just did your basic Science and English”
For Troy, the biggest issue in his business was the lack of business structure.
“Looking back, I needed to be ahead of the game and make sure everything was structured”.
Whether it was dealing with his accounts, price lists, profits and losses…
The mistake Troy made was always assuming that the best-case scenario would happen – never preparing for the potential issues that would occur.
As a result, he found himself in situations where he had to keep solving problems as they occurred rather than preventing them from happening.
He realized after all the screw-ups, a dream is just a dream until you had solid structures and business plans.
Because if you can’t even put food on the table then the dream will never be in the forefront of your mind at all. Inspiration will turn into desperation.
So there comes a point where you would need to start taking your dreams seriously if you want to live them.
The power of building an audience authentically
“You can come from nothing, build up a following, sell products and explode your income just like that. You’re building a community of people who love what you do”.
Years ago, Troy looked up to Johnny Danger – a beloved amateur stuntman and social media comedian.
With his comedic antics, constant swearing and his uncaring attitude to what people thought about him…
Troy looked at him as an inspiration to post content where he was being himself and didn’t care what others thought about him.
This became apparent to him when Johnny released a video label to an audience that he had built up overtime.
“Everyone would go nuts because they love Johnny Danger”.
Dream Opportunities coming to you
Take a look at the people that you hang out with.
Now, take a look at your habits, your attitude towards life, how big your dreams are, your lifestyle and then ask yourself…”am I really where I want to be in life?”
The truth is, whoever you hang out with will determine how comfortable you are and how far you will go.
If you hang around people and you know you’re doing so much better than they are because of their bad habits…
Then how easy would it be to slack off on your dreams…especially it becomes difficult?
But time and time again, all these successful people you look up to chose to hang around people who were at such a higher level than they were.
And with the right attitude, they couldn’t help but be so inspired – that inspiration propelling them further and faster than they ever could on their own.
It’s also about being in the right situations and not in the wrong ones.
“You could be in the middle of a wrong situation. You could be on camera and even though you didn’t do anything wrong, somehow you get dragged into things.
But when you hang out with really strong-minded, inspiring people, not only do you not get comfortable, but you become hungry.
“He’s got the Lambo, the watch, the freedom where he doesn’t have to work today if he doesn’t want to”.
And when you start to achieve those dreams for yourself, all these grand opportunities just come to you.
A friend of yours could say, “Hey I’m going to this dinner tonight in Crown, you should come”.
Then you also meet other people who also drag you into other things.
I myself got invited to a Bulgari private showing and met all these other key people just because I made the effort to put myself in the right environment.
Do you fall into this trap yourself?
When you see all these successful, rich and wealthy people, what do you think about them?
Do you feel that you would need to put on a certain image or come across a certain way when you meet them?
As Troy said to me, “there’s a tendency to think that just because all these dudes are wealthy, that they get to not give a fuck and have fun”.
In reality, many of them had developed that mindset to not care what others thought about them and that mindset pushed them towards a loyal following.
Troy had made the same mistake, putting anyone that was wealthy who he wanted to work with on a pedestal.
“I’ve had resistance to reaching out to Mercedes for my brand just because there are pictures of me getting fucked”.
But when he did automotive jobs for well-respected people who he has always been self-conscious about, he would sit down and talk to them.
And all he discovered was that they were just a bunch of “normal blokes. They’ve been there, done that…they have probably done big parties that I’ve never been”.
Bottomline…”if you think that everyone else in the world has got that but you, instead of making you aspire to achieve it, it’ll do the opposite”.
You don’t know their whole story and what it really took for them to get to the level of success that they’ve achieved.
The crypto millionaire you see might have started trading crypto since they were 14.
The person enjoying the lavish lifestyle might not be sacrificing their relationships and health for their business.
The person showing off their Ferrari online may have just rented it.
And even if they didn’t, they may have gone through endless amounts of struggle to get to where they are today.
Everyone is on their own journey. So it makes no sense to compare yourself and put others on a pedestal.
Publicly Shamed on National TV – Why Authenticity is king to your reputation in business
“You have to be prepared to cop it when everything comes out because it will come out, whatever you’re hiding”.
Imagine getting attacked by a National news outlet.
Very early on, A Current Affair had reached out to Troy, saying that they wanted to do a story on him about a charity work he was working on.
Intentions seemed legitimate at first, but it wasn’t long until he knew that they had ulterior motives.
But by the time he decided to pull out of the interview, it was already too late.
They had enough content on him to attack his reputation on national tv…
”Young Aussie taking Australia Day as a joke. He’s taking a piss, reckless, endangering lives…could’ve killed someone if you put a jet ski in the pool. What if someone was there?”
His thoughts started to spiral…”what if big clients watched it?”
And right away as he cringed in front of his television, his phone rang.
Whoever was on the other side of that phone may or may not be a key player in his business.
He picked up the phone…”bro that was sick”, his mate on the other side said to him.
“What do you mean?” said Troy.
“It’s just a highlights reel of what you put on Instagram”.
A Current Affair did not appreciate the way Troy lived his life.
But his followers and fans loved what he did.
“I was stressing out. All these people I was worried about, they loved it”.
When he considered taking his most controversial content down, his conversation with a friend who had a similar experience really solidified this lesson home for him.
“Alright Troy, did you kill anyone?”
“Did you bash anyone?”
“Did you sell drugs?”
“Then what are you worried about? You’re not hurting anyone. Fuck em”.
“All these guys already know I’m like that. I’ve never been fake. Which is why its so important to be authentic especially with your audience no matter what kind of a person you are.
If I was being fake polite, wearing a suit, like ‘hey g’day sir’ or wearing Rolex and then they see this on national tv, then they’d be like, ‘who’s this guy?’ They might not hate that side of me, but they may hate me because that’s not the way they perceived me before”.
If someone doesn’t like you for you, then would it make sense to work with them anyway?
And as Troy said, “the anxiety would’ve been tremendously higher had I faked my image and then gotten exposed on TV”.
Reaching out to the rich and wealthy – and then working with them
The first person he reached out to that was rich and wealthy was a man that was known as the Candyman.
His style included Versace and being over-the-top.
So to match his style, Troy wanted to reach out and add value to him by emailing him a photo of his Lamborghini Aventador propped up with mirror gold.
But his initial excitement soon turned into internal resistance when the negative voice in his head said…”I’m just some kid. He would tell me to shut up”
Then he thought, “You know what? I don’t care if he doesn’t speak to me or tells me to go away. Who cares?”.
He chose to listen to that voice instead and send the email.
6 months later, the PA called him…
“Is this Troy candy?”
“He wants to know if you can do that mockup…with the gold. Will it actually look like that?”
From there, all he had to do was ask them to cover the cost of the materials, flights and accommodations.
Once they did, he flew to him and got the job done.
“My whole childhood I never knew anyone with a Ferrari and now I’m working on this guy’s Aventador”.
When Troy was done, all he could think about was whether the work was going to be hated and picked on or not.
But all he got after the Candyman looked at his Aventador for two seconds was a pat on the back and two words…“that’s sick”.
“From there, I just got heaps of work on other high-end cars. Realized I stressed about nothing”.
It happens a lot in business.
You make up events in your head that you don’t even know will happen or not.
Which then leads to a lot of unnecessary stress.
“It’s great to be cautious but don’t NOT do something just because”.
His experience reaching out and working with the people he looked up to led to his realization about risk-taking.
“Since this has risks involved, what I’m about to do isn’t necessarily wrong. It just means that just because there is so many risks, that’s probably why everyone else is not necessarily doing it. it could definitely be good.”
How To Stand Out and Get Attention from The People You Want to Meet
“There was really no one that I really looked up to who could give me advice. Now if there’s kids that look up to me, then if I could give advice and help even just one or two people along the way, great”.
For many people, when they reach out to whoever they look up to or whoever they want to work with…
They would send something simple like a DM on their social media.
One time, someone sent a pair of Nikes and gave a bit of a story on why he did that to Troy by looking up his factory address.
That communicated to Troy that the kid was “prepared to work for the answer”.
“If I give him a bit of information, I feel like he’s actually going to do something with it. Whereas if someone just flinged you a DM, you can give them all the time in the world, and they might do nothing. As soon as I’ve seen a bit of initiative and they’ve made an effort, to me, that’s getting attention already”.
What would Troy have said to his younger self?
“Not having dreams big enough is the only thing that will kill your dreams. The only person who can kill your dreams is you”.
If you know you want a Ferrari for instance, but you think you can’t afford it or you think you don’t deserve it because you grew up in a poor family or for whatever reason…
Then you’re probably right.
As soon as you have that, “yeah I don’t know” mentality, then your motivation drops off.
Even if what you want seems unachievable in the moment, when you achieve a goal that gets you closer to your dreams…
“You actually get hungrier for it. Then a bigger goal and a bigger goal. Some days I thought I was crazy for dreaming big but ticking off the bigger goal helps”.
“If my younger self saw me right now, I’d be so excited. He would see the beautiful house we’re in, my beautiful partner, the business. I’d be eager because I have something to look forward to.
You should be like that anyway. You shouldn’t need proof. You should be envisioning and being that excited that it’s going to happen. You don’t know when and don’t know how”.
To keep himself inspired, Troy puts pictures of his vision up on his wall.
We’re in a time where the big celebrities that we’ve all watched (like Jim Carrey for instance), have all grown older.
And these celebrities all go back to the same principles of success: visualization, having positive vibes, surrounding yourself with people you want to be like, etc.
“Don’t say if, say when…when am I gonna get that Ferrari?” “As soon as you say ‘oh, I don’t know. I did the math and…” you’ve already lost.
Interview by Wade Foxx