Today’s guest on The Entrepreneur House Podcast is Winston Carter!
Winston went from getting kidnapped in China to building a $100,000 online business in just four months. Winston recently stayed with us at the Entrepreneur House in Chiang Mai.
When you meet Winston, it’s easy to assume that he’s fresh out of high school and probably spends his day studying hard, chasing a degree at a university in New Zealand like most people his age. It’s easy to assume that because he’s just 20 years old that he’s no different than anyone else.
Last month, Winston traveled to Thailand and spent a month with us at the Entrepreneur House. One evening as we were chatting about business, Winston drops a subtle line that he was once kidnapped in China.
He had this cheeky grin on his face and in a humble way shook his head and said, “It’s true.”
“Tell us the story,” we demanded. Winston engaged a half dozen successful global entrepreneurs for the next 20 minutes about how he went from getting kidnapped by the Chinese mafia to making and building a $100,000 business in just four months. This is his story.
In this episode, Winston shares several poignant business (and life!) lessons, including:
– How to stay cool in a crisis situation
– How to use sales and persuasion skills to turn foes into friends
– How to enlist the help of locals to resolve disputes in a foreign country
– Buying tasers and getting them confiscated
– How to bounce back resiliently from getting kidnapped and fired from your job to start a successful business
You can connect with Winston by reaching out to him on Facebook, HERE.
Last month, Winston traveled to Thailand and spent a month with us at the Entrepreneur House. One evening as we were chatting about business, Winston drops a subtle line that he was once kidnapped in China. Wait, what? He had this cheeky grin on his face and in a humble way shook his head and said, “It was true.” “Tell us the story,” we demanded. Winston engaged a half dozen successful global entrepreneurs for the next 20 minutes about how he went from getting kidnapped by the Chinese mafia to making and building a $100,000 business in just four months. This is his story.
Hi. Welcome to the show, Winston.
Winston: Thanks, Chris.
Chris: The other night, we’re sitting at a restaurant. We’re having a drink and you told us that you’ve been kidnapped by the Chinese mafia.
Winston: Yeah, we did. We did. It did happen.
Chris: What happened? Tell us what happened.
Winston: What happened, okay. Basically, it was January this year 2015. Me, it was myself, my cousin, two buddies. We’d just gone to China. We thought China’s a cool place. Let’s go visit. We headed over there. Showed up as you do. Young dudes go out and you want to experience a little bit of a nightlife and see the other side of China. We went out and had a good time, had a party. Towards the end of the night, we kind of lost everybody. We kind of got a little bit separated from the group, me and my cousin. We’re there and kind of looking for a way home, and we couldn’t find … We didn’t know where anybody was.
We’re in China, can’t talk to anybody. We’re kind of freaking out a little bit. We’re like, “Damn, let’s, let’s go get a taxi. And we’ll, we’ll just try, try to talk to them.” We roll up and we get in this taxi. We go, well, we kind of knew the area where we wanted to go, what it’s called, but we were trying find our way home. We see a taxi, this guy comes up out of the blue. He’s like, “You guys, you want to get home? Where you going?” We’re like, “We don’t know this hotel. We kind of knew the name of it. We can’t remember what it’s called.” He’s like, “No problem. I’ll get you home if we can share a taxi.” We’re like, “Yeah, that’s cool, man.” Nice Chinese guy helping us out. I should’ve been…
Chris: The innocent white people walking…
Chris: Good samaritan?
Winston: Yeah, there’s no such thing. We jump in the taxi with this guy. He’s like, “Where are you from?” And we’re like just talking to him, just telling him everything about us. He’s like, “You guys going home already? Like I got this party you can go to.” And we’re like yeah right. It’s only 6:30.
Chris: In the morning?
Winston: Yeah, in the morning. So we’ve got a little bit of time to party. It was a dumb move. We should’ve been in bed man. At the time it was like this sounds like a good idea.
Chris: At the time it always does.
Winston: Yeah. He tells the taxi driver in Chinese, he gives him an address or something like that. We go to this place. It’s kind of like this hokey little bar looking thing. He’s like, “It’s a really good party up here.” We get out and head up the stairs. It was like a back thing. You go all up these stairs and stuff. We were up there and there’s a bar and we grab a drink each. All of a sudden it’s kind of … We’re just having a good time. It’s like damn, and it was getting up to like 7:00, we should probably leave and go home. Probably do some sightseeing or something.
Chris: It was an older bar, like a hole in the wall kind of or nicer bar?
Winston: To be honest, I can’t remember a lot of it. I don’t remember it being a real nice place or anything.
Chris: Were there other people in there?
Winston: Not really, no. Just little Chinese guys, but not other tourists. We go to leave and they’re like, “By the way, like white guys you’ve got to pay at, you’ve got to pay those fines.” Not a fine, like a …
Winston: Yeah, like a tax for foreign drinking. It’s like $1,000 or something like that.
Chris: 1,000 US dollars?
Winston: Yeah. My cousin just looks at them and he’s like, “Dude, like we’re not paying them.” Like come on get out of here. They’re like, “No, like you got to pay this money because, you know, you’re drinking in our bar and stuff.” It kind of escalated from there. It’s like no, yes, no, yes. Next minute I was getting bailed into this room. My cousin was getting bailed into an other room. It was like at the time it seemed like 20 Chinese dudes just punching us and kicking us.
Chris: But you were in separate rooms?
Winston: Yeah, we were separated. He kind of fights us into this room. I fight my way out and I look and hear this rustling going on. I always remember my cousin was in the other room and he’s fighting these dudes and they’re all hanging off of him, just looks straight in my eyes and he’s like, “Dude I had a bad feeling about this. I had a bad feeling.”
I was like, “I’m sorry.” It was pretty much all me saying yeah dude let’s go party. I’ll follow you. He’s a bit older than me. I was like, “Damn.” We get pulled back into the rooms.
Chris: You’re back together?
Winston: No, we’re in separate rooms. There’s all this rustling. I’m just looking at the floor not make any eye contact with these guys.
Chris: These guys were punching you?
Winston: Yeah. After a little bit, there’s no point in fighting back. I was just like, “Come on, stop guys. I’ll do what you want, okay. Sit down.” They were pretty good after that.
Chris: They were pretty good?
Winston: We’re sitting down and they’re kind of talking amongst themselves and this huge jacked-up Chinese dude comes sits next to me and he’s obviously there to keep a tail on me. He sits down and he starts cracking his knuckle. I’m like, “Dude, come on.” It’s such a cliché. You don’t have to do that. I hear all this banging and stuff going on in the other room. They can do the same thing to me. They’re getting all your stuff out of your pockets. They want to see what you’ve got. He grabs out my phone and my wallet. That’s all I had on me at the time. My cousin actually had 2,000 Australian dollars hidden somewhere on him. They found that and obviously took it.
They’re looking through my wallet. I had the equivalent of $40 left in there. You could just see that’s so disappointing. Pulled that cash out and he gets my wallet and throws it on the ground as hard as he can in front of me. I’m like, “Damn.” He’s looking through my wallet and he sees my license I think it was, or something like that, and actually behind my license, it was a fatal mistake, I had my boss’ credit card for this real estate company I was working for. He’s young. I didn’t even know I had it on me. I had physically taken all my cards out before I went out. It’s like oh man. There’s this card.
They find that and they’re like, “Oh yeah, cool. We got this.” They’re looking through my phone at the same time. They’re looking at all the pictures I’ve taken of China. He comes down and he looks at me and he’s like in broken English, he’s like, “Why did you come to China?” Like, “What are you doing here? Who are you?” It seemed they were interrogating me. They just wanted to know everything about me.
I was just telling them … At the time it was freaky because I was like, I’ll be honest I was pretty drunk. It was such a sobering moment. I was just thinking like man what can I tell them that’s going to give me the least chance of them taking me out the back and harvesting my organs. I was like, “Yeah man. We’re with 20 guys. Like we’re, we’re here, ha, you know, we’re all here for, um, for a function.” Something like that. I can’t remember exactly what I said. It was something to that effect.
They obviously were asking my cousin the same questions. We probably gave completely different answers. That’s what they were doing. He goes out and comes back in with a piece of a receipt paper. He’s like, “Be very careful with the next words you say.” I was like, “Alright.” He gives me the piece of paper and he gives me the pen. He kissed the pen or something like that. He’s like, “What’s the PIN code for this card?” Like, “Tell us and don’t screw with us”.
At that point, I was like you can have the PIN code. I wrote it down for them. They bail out, basically they bail out obviously to take the cash out from there. It seemed like it went on for hours. I was just sitting there. What seemed like the boss guy, he comes into the room. He’s kind of this older guy. He sits down in front of me and he’s like, “So where are you from?” It was really weird. It’s kind of like he was trying to not come for me but just talk to me and talk me through it. I was probably looking like I was struggling.
Chris: I can imagine.
Winston: I didn’t probably look right. He said, “Where are you from?” I’m like, “New Zealand.” He didn’t really know where that was. I was like, “New Zealand’s by Australia.” He said, “Oh. Zinzie land.” Something like that. The Chinese saying Zinzie land. I was like, “Yeah, Zinzie land.” He said, “Oh yeah, cool, cool, cool.” He looks at me dead in the eyes and is like, “You’re not in Zinzie land now white boy.”
Chris: Whoa. That’s something you’d see straight off of a movie.
Winston: It’s crazy. I could hardly believe it was happening. Yeah man, okay, I’m in your city, like whatever. He said something else and then backed out. Basically they come back and they give me the card back and they give me my phone back, which I guess you can track your phone. They don’t want it.
I’m sitting there for a little bit. I’m like are they going to kill me now? It was just kind of waiting there awkwardly. From the other room I hear this laughter where my cousin was. I’m like, “Damn, what’s going on over there? Like what are they doing to him?” I’m sitting there and the dude comes, one of the guys come in. He’s got this little bowl of water for me and gives it to me. I’m like, “Thanks man.” He nods at me. This is getting kind of weird.
One of the guys comes, he’s like, “Yeah man, come, come out, like you can come back now.” I get up and I walk out of the room. I walk into the other room and it’s like my cousin and this older Chinese boss dude are sitting down like the oldest of pals. He’s got a beer in his hand.
Chris: Your cousin?
Winston: Yeah. He’s holding a Heineken in his hand. The boss has got a Heineken in his hand. He’s sitting down and they’re talking about global politics, which is the weirdest thing. It’s basically my cousin is really into that stuff. It’s all he talks about to me.
Chris: How’d they get onto that subject?
Winston: What he told me afterwards, he’s like, “Dude, I was watching this, I was watching this kidnapping show on Discovery channel or something, and like, they said you should try and build a relationship with your kidnapper” I tried it man. I just started talking to them. I started talking about like this and he didn’t want to know, and like this, and he didn’t want to know. Then I started to him about politics and he looked at me and we started this conversation.
I can’t remember what else. It was something like the US collapsing or put your money into gold. This guy’s like he was captivated by him. My cousin, if you met him he’s a talker. He was one of the top salesman for all sorts of stuff in Australia. He’s definitely not your average Joe blow when it comes to that kind of stuff.
He’s talking to him. I walk into this room, I see them. This guy looks up and he looks at me, he’s like, “Aw man, you know, do you want a beer with us?” All right.
Chris: Why not?
Winston: He gets this beer, he cracks it for me, gives it and I’m like … I couldn’t believe it at that point. I was just like man what is going on? They’re talking a little bit more and I’m awkwardly standing there sipping this beer. Then all right guys, so you can probably go now, it’s getting pretty late. Pretty early it was. Somehow they knew where we were. I think I had, it turns out I had the business card of the hotel we were staying at or something. I don’t exactly know how it happened, but they basically called us a taxi and took us exactly where we needed to go.
Chris: That was nice of them.
Winston: Yeah it was.
Chris: Did your cousin, did they take his card too?
Winston: Yeah. Took about $400 from my boss from his card. My cousin lost, I think he had a whole bunch of stuff and then some money from his cards. It was a couple thousand bucks by the time it all added up. He was less happy than I was.
Chris: Of course.
Winston: I was just happy to get out with my life and like $400.
Chris: And it was your boss’ money. They didn’t give you the cards back or they just told you…
Winston: They did. They gave us the cards back and everything. They took the cash. They didn’t give us the cash back. As it turns out we’re walking out to this taxi and the dude us around, he’s like, “Yeah guys, so ah, we owed you a taxi.” He gave me the exact amount of money from what he took from my wallet. It was like $40 or something. You’re going to need some money for the taxi, here you go. I was just like, “Man what a nice guy.” Through all my business I’m a gentleman. That was his mantra. I was like, “Yeah, yes you are.” My cousin pops in. I’m like, “Dude. Thank you for not killing me.” I give him this hug.
Chris: You hugged him?
Winston: Yeah. This is the nicest kidnapping that’s ever happened. We jump in the taxi and that guy talks to the guy and is like take them home and stuff. He goes, “You’re going to go home now, but ah just remember we know where you’re staying and have a nice night.” He’s just flat off a warning.
Chris: One final goodbye?
Winston: Yeah. It was one of the quietest, awkwardest rides home I’ve ever had with my cousin. Just contemplating our life.
Chris: Holy crap. What just happened to us?
Winston: Yeah pretty much. We get there and it’s like, “Dude, did that just happen man?” It was a weird sleep that we had. We got home and it was like really late, really tired.
Chris: Did you deadbolt all of the locks on the door when you got back?
Winston: That’s half the story. We got home and we went to bed and woke up the next morning. The other guys didn’t even know about us. I sent them the weirdest text when we were in the taxi. I was looking at it the next day and it was basically like, “Hey man, ah, me and EJ got kidnapped. Just thought I’d give you heads up.” Like, “Can you come get us?” I get this call the next morning, he’s like, “Man, I got this text. Like is that a joke or something? Like are you guys okay?” I was just like, “Man, come over and we’ll tell you about it.” Ran through the whole story with him.
He’s like, “Wow.” He couldn’t believe it. He’s like, “You’re not joking?” Basically call the embassy to get an insurance, or we don’t really know what we were doing. We thought going to the embassy would help us. The goal was to try to get travel insurance because I had travel insurance and my cousin didn’t. I was just going to try to get something.
We spent most of the day trying to find the embassy. Couldn’t find it. Turned out they had moved to the other side of Shanghai, which is a huge place. It turned out to be that night we were actually, it was getting dark that night, we decided to go to the police station to try and file a police report or something like that. We head out and they didn’t make it any secret that they just didn’t really care. They don’t really want to know, just putting us on the hold. It’s all in Chinese and English so it was painfully difficult to tell them what happened.
We were getting this report like half done. It was just about finished, we were just about there. The thing was Mason and I don’t know where it happened. He’s like if you don’t where it happened I can only give you this. He’s plugging away doing this thing. I pull up the receipt from where the taxi dropped us off, because it picks us up and drops us off and it gives you a receipt. I was like, “I’ve got this. I didn’t even know I had it.” He looks at it and is like, “Oh yeah. So this is where it happened? So we can’t help you. You have to go to the police station in this area.” He was like, “Yeah, so I can’t finish your report, like sorry guys.”
Basically we went to one more police station that said the same thing, sent us to another one. We go there and run through the whole story again. We got kidnapped.
Chris: It’s still the day after?
Winston: Yeah, it’s the day after. They go okay cool. We’re like this is where it should’ve happened. Jump in the car with us and take us around and we’ll point out where it happened. Okay cool.
Chris: What’d you think in that moment though?
Winston: At the moment we were a little skeptical. Can we just stay here and do it?
Chris: Can we Google earth it?
Winston: Yeah, exactly. No you’ve got to jump in the car. You just point out where it happened. It’s like okay. Trusting a Chinese guy again. We’re driving around and at this point it’s dark again. It all looks the same. It’s hard to recognize anything. We drove around for probably 15 minutes trying to find the bar. We couldn’t find it. During that time the guy was, the two cops in the front seat and then me and my cousin in the back. They’re talking in Chinese. They’re going on and the dude jumps on his phone and he’s rings someone up or radios somebody in Chinese. We can’t find it so we just go back to the police station.
We’re waiting there to try and get them to do the report. We’re just sitting there waiting in the police station. Waiting for a long time. Randomly off the street this guy rolls in. He walks in, looks directly at us and he says something in Chinese and then he walks back out. My buddy, Ken, who was there with us, who was pretty much showing us around China, he speaks a little bit of Chinese. We were like, “What’d he say man?” It was pretty weird. He goes, “He recognized you guys from the bar last night.”
Winston: Yeah. We did go to a lot of bars to be fair. Hopefully it was one of the other ones. Pretty much made our blood run cold. We kind of tried to brush it off and be like we should be fine. Hopefully they’re nearly done with the report. The same guy walks back into the police station. This time we’re looking at him. He sort of pokes his head in the door and he’s looking at us, then he walks back out.
Chris: You didn’t recognize the guy?
Winston: No. We didn’t recognize him. He obviously recognized us. He looks in the door, looks at us and then looks back out and walks back out. At that point we were starting to freak out. We’re like this can’t be right. Why would they do that? The scariest part was my cousin, he goes, “Man I’m pretty sure he’s across the road looking at us.” We look out and there’s a bunch of people walking past us. It’s a busy place. We see this guy waving across the road just standing there looking at us and just kind of staring us down. We’re like man this isn’t right. We should probably get out of here.
No, we need the report, we just stay. We’re there and waiting. I’ll never forget it, my cousin, I’m looking directly at the police and he’s looking back out and he’s like, “Man, they’re outside.” I couldn’t believe it. I turn around and it’s like the dudes that beat us up and took our money, basically kidnapped us …
Chris: They were outside?
Winston: They were outside, all of them. They guys, I recognize their car. It was the guy that told me I’m not in Zinzie land anymore. At that point, my mind just flashed back to all the mafia movies and the gangster movies. What happens when the dudes snitch on the mafia? Oh yeah, it doesn’t end well.
We freaked out. We’re like, cops, those are the guys. Go arrest them or something. The cops actually pointed, they’re like, “So that’s the guys?” They obviously knew. People just don’t roll up like that out of coincidence. They go, in Chinese as well, so we didn’t know what they’re saying. They’re saying in Chinese, they’re getting heated. They’re pretty much saying go outside and talk to them.
Chris: The cops were telling you to go outside and talk to them?
Winston: The cops are telling us to get out of their police station and go talk to these guys. We’re like, “No man. Like, we’re not. We’re staying right here.” At that point it was like so freaky because it’s like we’re trapped. These guys are out on the street. This is a tiny little police station where the cops are all behind the counters. We’re just in this little safe zone in this big glass fishbowl-looking police station. Do we camp here? Are we going to stay here forever? The cops are like go talk to them.
We open the door and just shout out, “We just want insurance.” Yeah that’s fine, like come out. We’re like, “No. We’re going to stay here.” They had a smile on their face and said, “Come out it’s fine.” We walked out and we’re like, “Yeah dudes.”
Chris: You trusted that smile?
Winston: Yeah. How could you not? This nice old man. We’re like, “Yeah, so dude, we want insurance. Like we’re not trying to get you in trouble.” Blah, blah, blah. I think he kind of understood us. He’s like, “Yeah, you guys, I liked you guys. Like we’re sorry about kidnapping you.” They’re like, “Come back to our place we’ll give you your money back.” For real, like he said that. We’re like, “No, like, no don’t worry about. You keep the money.”
Chris: That’s good.
Winston: We were about to try and just leave everything. Ken’s girlfriend, who’s Chinese, she’s like, “No man. Like screw this guys. Like they took your money. I got this friend.” I met this other girl at the club, at a bar before it all went down. She spoke good English and Chinese. She was kind of like a translator.
Chris: She was at the police station with you?
Winston: Yeah. We called her up. We were like, “Can you come down and sort the situation out because we can’t.” We had bailed back into the police station at that point because more and more of them showing up. All of a sudden instead of 5 guys it seemed like 10 guys outside. Then the cops are going outside talking to the gangsters and walking back in and be like, “Yeah man, you gotta like, you gotta go now. Like we don’t want you, you know. This is how we do stuff in China. Like we just settle it here and we settle it back there. Like we’ll give you your money back.” It’s like, “No.”
Winston: This girl comes down from wherever she lives and she comes to the police station. She pushes through all these guys outside and walks into the police station, walks up to us and she’s like, “So what happened? They took your money? Oh man, that’s, we can’t have that.” Amazingly, and she, “How much did they take?” I tell her. She’s like, “All right, all right, cool, cool.” Walks back out, goes out of the police station, walks straight up to the older guy who’s like their leader.
Chris: A boss guy?
Winston: Yeah the boss guy. She’s like, just starts yelling at this guy in Chinese. He starts yelling back at her. When Chinese people like, when they’re just having a normal argument it sounds like they’re about to muff each other. When they’re having a heated argument people stop walking, like looking. What’s the problem. We really should go help. We walk out and trying to gingerly break it up but not really.
Chris: As gently as possible?
Winston: Yeah like, “Sorry man.” The cops are telling her basically to calm down or she’ll get arrested, just quiet down because you’re making a ruckus. She’s like no. They’re yelling at each other. I just keep telling her, I’m like, “We don’t want the money. Like just come on, just leave.” Trying to pull her away basically. The Chinese are pointing at us and pointing at her. At that point I was like … The whole group, and then Ken’s girlfriend going into it. It was getting ugly. I was just like man I’m bailing. I told them 100 times I didn’t want the money, so I walked off.
Probably about 5 minutes later I get this call from her, she’s like, “Where’d you go? I can’t see him.”
Chris: You lied to her? You were just walking down the street by yourself?
Winston: I just walked down the street. My head was spinning. I’m not willing to die over $400. The Chinese, they love their money. They don’t like anyone taking it or anything like that. I walked off and then get this call, I got a little bit down the street, she said, “Come back it’s all good.” I was like, “Really? Like, you know, like what did they do to you? Are they holding you captive?” She’s like, “It’s all good. Now come back.” I walk back and everyone’s gone. There’s nobody left there.
Chris: Your cousins are still there?
Winston: Yeah, none of the gangsters or cops or anything. She’s got this wad of money in her hand. She’s got like $2,000 worth of Chinese cash. She walks up to us and I couldn’t believe it. I was like what the heck did you say? She says, “We should probably get out of here because they might follow us.” I was like, it was crazy. It was like a movie. We jumped into this taxi and we told them to just drive, just get out of here.
We’re going and we’re like looking around everywhere. We stuck out like a sore thumb because we’re like white guys in China. We went to McDonald’s I think it was and we bound down the back of McDonald’s to get this booth. We’re trying to hide.
Chris: Your hideouts in the back of McDonald’s?
Winston: Yeah. The taxi on the way to McDonald’s, I was basically asked, “How in the heck did you get our money back?” She looked at me and she goes, “Those guys. Don’t worry about those guys. They’re reasonable just small time sort of people.” Because they were claiming not be the mafia the whole time. They were like we’re the Chinese mafia. She’s like, “Yeah, yeah, those guys are just ah, are, they’re basically just thugs.” It was like sister’s boyfriend or something like that, she’s like, “My sister’s boyfriend is the third in charge of all Shanghai. And I just told them that. And I just like, had to like, had to beat it into them a little bit. But I told them that and they just gave you all your money back.”
Winston: I was like, “Man.”
Chris: Oh my god. What a twist of events dude.
Winston: You couldn’t write this. You can’t make it up. I was just like, “Thank you.” But I don’t want to offend you or do anything in anyway. I’m basically scared of you right now. We went to this hotel and finally bailed, and then got out of Shanghai the very next day. It was scary. The one last thing that happened was the time we went to this hotel and went to sleep because it got late again that night. It was probably 3:00.
Chris: Same hotel?
Winston: No. It’s a different one.
Chris: You guys moved hotels?
Winston: Yeah, moved hotels.
Winston: We didn’t know what capabilities they had or whether they would even try and track us down. Kidnap and kill us or something. We go to sleep, it was like 3:00 AM. We had planned to get out of Shanghai real early the next day. Me and my cousin were sharing this room. Ken’s girlfriend comes down and she claims she didn’t know us on accident or something. She was just screwing with us. She walks down real early the next morning just starts banging on the door, like pounding as hard as she can, and wakes us up. We were really tired. It’s like my whole body gave up. I was like man like this is it. I just pictured them taking us up in their room.
Chris: That’s the last straw.
Winston: I go out and look through the little peephole thing. I don’t see anybody. I’m just like slowly opening. She’s laughing down the hall.
Chris: Oh man.
Winston: Don’t joke about that stuff.
Chris: Go ahead. Where did you go after Shanghai then? You split town and went to …
Winston: Split town. We went to Eu, which is a manufacturing town.
Chris: Did you fly or take a bus?
Winston: We took a train.
Winston: Probably the last thing that that story made us do was we bought some tasers in EU, which was a pretty bad idea. We were just walking along the sidewalk and these hustlers, these chicks, they just try to sell anything. She’s trying to sell us this camera or something. We don’t want that. She whips out this torch and presses a button. It’s like one of those prod taser things. It makes this huge cracking sound. We’re like whoa okay. I’m going to buy some of them. We bought like 5 tasers off of her or something ridiculous. What were we thinking? We got them cheap.
Idiots, like we try and take them through train security. Made it through the first couple times, then I got padded down around my third try. They’re like so what’s this thing? It’s a torch and takes it out. The woman’s looking in and she shoots off the taser. It’s like oh my god. The Chinese officials, they’re like you’re coming with us now. That was the last thing. It wasn’t too bad. They just took me aside and took down my passport number. Made it out alive from that one.
Winston: I’m going to make it on Sunday.
Chris: Going back to Shanghai?
Winston: Going back to Shanghai.
Chris: But not the same neighborhood?
Winston: Don’t know. I don’t know where I’m going in Shanghai. They only make their mistake once. You only trust the dodgy Chinese guy and the taxi once in your life. You ruin my trust. You ruined every other Chinese, the dodgy Chinese guys hopes of kidnapping me from the future.
Chris: You still, even after this experience, you’re still traveling abroad to Thailand? What other countries have you been to?
Winston: I’ve been to Japan, Taiwan, China, Thailand obviously, just Australia. After the event, it was scary at the time. I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody. That was living at its finest. It’s like the feelings that you get there.
Winston: It was like you can’t simulate that feeling. Literally, I thought I was going to die. I was more sure than not that I wasn’t going to make it out of that room. It’s an incredible feeling. It’s like when you get out it’s like a new lease on life.
Chris: How do you see life differently as opposed to before?
Winston: I don’t think I look at it differently on a day to day basis. It kind of opened my eyes to the fact it can be taken away from you that easy. No matter how far or close we were to having it actually happened, I actually doubt that looking back, that they would’ve done anything, but just at the time when you’re thinking that and you’re feeling that, that’s what’s going on in your head. It doesn’t matter what they’re going to do. It was crazy. It just makes you think it can be taken away at any point. Why would you just meander along on a sort of cold, timid kind of life path. Might as well live to the fullest I think. Sounds cliché right?
Chris: No, no completely. I’ve never kidnapped by Chinese mafia, but I can imagine I would want to live life a little bit more full afterwards.
Winston: Yeah, exactly. You can go two ways. You can either get back on the horse and ride it, have another go or just be scared the rest of your life that it might happen again.
Chris: You’ve had a bit of success in the past few months in your business. Do you think that experience has helped you catapult your ambitions to create the life that you have now with business or earning money?
Winston: Yeah. Looking back there’s actually been two pivotal moments in my life. One was a job as everybody says, that basically took me off the school path. I didn’t want to do that. At the time I was working for this guy in real estate who I lost some of his money. That’s a different story. I had to call him up and tell him I lost some money. I got kidnapped. He’s just like you idiot. I got fired from that job. At the time that was what I wanted to do. I was going to be a real estate guy.
I got back to New Zealand a couple days after it all happened. Basically sat me down, gave me the hard word. He’s like dude you can’t do that. See you later. That was probably one of the toughest adversity that I had to deal with, and actually getting kidnapped because that was what I wanted to do and that was my life at that point.
I didn’t have a job, didn’t have anything. I kind of had to start again, start my own thing. That’s what got me into the fort. I just remember thinking I saw so much in China maybe I can import some of that stuff and sell it. It’s so cheap. I researched it for like months and months. Basically I was unemployed in my room. From the outside it looked like I was being a bum. It was kind of a tough time. It kind of sucked.
I just looked into it and started doing a little bit of it. The last four months it’s blown up. It’s enabled me to come back to Thailand and back to China ultimately. If that had never happened who knows where I’d be now. I’d probably still be doing that real estate thing. I was kind of like his apprentice. I was getting paid $200 a week and just doing all the crappy jobs. Now it’s like insane, I could never have pictured myself be here now. Just 8 months ago, 10 months ago, whatever, when it actually all happened it was insane. It’s cool.
Chris: What a wild ride?
Winston: Yeah exactly.
Chris: The past 4 months you hit 6 figures in your business? Is that right?
Winston: Yeah. Just like 2 days ago.
Chris: Congratulations. You need to do an update on Facebook for you on that.
Winston: Basically been doing it for like 4 months solidly with actually good capital. Shout out to mom and dad for the initial startup money. I hit 100,000 US dollars in sales which is incredible.
Winston: It’s working out. Just trying to keep it up.
Chris: The moral of the story, if you ever get kidnapped in China don’t worry too much cause you’ll end up having a successful business later down the line.
Winston: A successful business after a lot of struggle in life. A lot of self-doubt. The results actually, the work and everything else is not easy, let’s be honest. It’s a lot of late nights and all that.
Chris: Yeah sure.
Winston: I wouldn’t have it any other way right now. It’s cool.
Chris: Good. I’m glad you made it out alive.
Winston: See if I make it out of the next one.
Chris: I’m glad you came to Thailand.
Winston: For sure.
Chris: We’re going to wrap things up there. Anything else you want to share with the listeners before we close off?
Winston: I think that’s about it. That’s pretty much everything. If you want to connect with me on Facebook feel free. Just Winston Carter. I can share a few more stories with you.
Chris: Cool. Thank you for coming on the show a second time. Thank you for sharing your story, being brave enough to share your story. I think a lot of people will get some good value out of it. A lot of people fear traveling abroad because of that reason, getting kidnapped. Knowing that people are out there that actually got kidnapped and still continue to travel abroad and go back to the same city that they got kidnapped in, it’s just a fluke.
Winston: Yeah. It’s business.
Chris: It doesn’t happen that often.
Winston: The good outweighs the bad. Put it that way.
Winston: The experiences much outweigh any small adversity you have along the way.
Chris: Absolutely. What a champion. Thanks for coming to the show buddy. That’s a wrap.