Welcome to Journey 2 Master – An Electrician Vlog and Podcast!
I’m Dustin Stelzer and I’m here to document the startup of my electrical contracting business. I began apprenticing under a Master Electrician back in 2008, and tested for my Residential Wireman license in 2010. I did large-scale residential custom homes for the first 4 years and in 2013, when I got my Journeyman Electrician license I jumped over to commercial and industrial service work. I did that until 2016 when I tested for my Master Electrician license at the age of 31, and opened my electrical company called LiveWire Electrical based in Austin, Tx. Since then I’ve learned a hell of a lot about the business side of this trade, and have had numerous successes and failures along the way.
I’ve seen people take over companies at $3-million valuations and grow them to tens of millions of dollars. I’ve also watched people be given tens of thousands of dollars to startup a business with a nice security net. I’m neither of these people.
I started from nothing. I was a poor, broken single-dad since I was 18 and never seemed to be able to keep myself afloat. My rebellious nature lead to terrible decision making and I found myself constantly in trouble, and surrounded by people doing the same. I’ve been homeless and had to move back home with my parents. I dropped out of college to have a child, then went back, then dropped out…at least 3 more times. I’ve been in jail 6 times, I had a kid at 18 and have been paying child support since I was a child. I’ve had some of the closest people to me cheat on me, lie to me, stab me in the back, and walk out on me bleeding on the floor. I’ve been abandoned a lot in my life…probably because I was a selfish prick…or because I’m a lot to handle. Regardless I turned stone cold and sour, and stopped giving a fuck about anybody but myself and my son. I disappointed more people than I helped. I hurt people, I was selfish, and it was the only way I knew how to be. Every action I took manifested into deeper levels of struggle.
Then I became an electrician.
I hated it at first because I thought I was lowering myself to doing a job that was “beneath me” – whatever the fuck that means. After sticking with it awhile I started honing a craft, and working around men who did, more than they said, said what they meant, and meant what they said. Honorable men. Men that took the time to teach and listen and nurture someone who was looking for a way out of a callous, shit lifestyle. I worked any and all overtime they were willing to give me because at this point I was really broke. I had other jobs at the same time – waiting tables in the evenings, buying garage-sale furniture and flipping it on Craigslist for double the price, graphic design, building websites…I was always hustling. I had to or my son didn’t eat.
The more I stuck with this the more my perspective shifted. I was working around men that had their shit together and gave good advice. It calmed me down and gave me a mirror to myself and I started liking what I was becoming. These men had also struggled with some heavy shit in their lives, and they too found a way out. The greatest skill I ever learned doing this was to shut my damn mouth and listen. I started heeding good advice, putting a little money aside and finally getting out ahead of my bills. More years went by and I was able to hustle bigger things. I would buy used cars that had cheap problems and fix/flip them. I started becoming more financially wise and reading books on investing your money rather than trying to save it. I’d listen to Dave Ramsey’s podcast everyday to plan how I would get out of $60,000 in debt and stuck with it for two years…AND KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE FUCKING PARK! I was able to get some semblance of a credit score, enough to buy a house with. I married the smartest, most loving, beautiful woman I came across. She’s the first one that made me say “there’s no way I’ll find anything like this again” so I locked that shit down!
I began the summer of 2016, saving up money so I could go out on my own once I passed the Master exam. When I finally had $5,000 in the bank I started my company. Like before I did side-jobs, I sold shit on Craigslist, I bartered work for goods…then sold the goods. Whatever it took, I needed to get together some money for materials, insurance, startup costs, fees, etc.
Once I hit that figure, I went out on my own and started working 7 days a week, 18 hours a day and here I am doing videos along the way documenting what I’m doing.
This is my journey to master this craft…