40 Under 40 in Silicon Valley

Oct 10, 2019

Recently I was named to the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list (article here). I don’t write this to brag; as a matter of fact, I always try not to come across “braggadocious” … so, if I ever sound like I’m bragging please just STOP ME right there! 

The reason why I’m writing about this is to help you with your personal brand! 

See, the truth is I only received the 40 Under 40 award because I “Cloned” myself. Well, not exactly… I’m calling my new online course Clone Yourself because I work with Virtual Assistants so much and it might as well be the case that I cloned myself. 

Here’s the thing… I'm a pretty simple man. I sell Swag (promotional products) for my own company (in partnership with my family’s office supply company - Value Business Products). I also Chair’d a Young Professionals group in Silicon Valley for a number of years, and have gone through some Leadership programs along with sitting on a couple Board positions. I mean that resume in itself isn’t stunning enough to make the 40 Under 40 list for Silicon Valley - wouldn’t you agree?

I had to brand myself differently. I had to grow and create something people would notice … AND to do this I decided to “Clone Myself”.

Working with VA’s

In 2017, I launched a Podcast known as “WhatUp Silicon Valley” with my good friend Sergio Oliveri. The pod was initially about Business, Sports and Networking in Silicon Valley. As it grew we started to get interest from local movers & shakers. Eventually, we switched the show to an interview show where we would sit down with local influencers. 

Within 6 months, we re-launched WhatUp as a media network with 5 different podcasts.

I convinced 3 of my friends to join the team and start their own podcast. I told them, hey I’ll do everything to support you - from creating your show graphic, your show music, do your audio editing and more. Pretty much all they needed to do was record. I even helped them map out their show name, description and future episodes and so much more. It was kind of a no-brainer for the new ladies on the team.

Well, here’s the thing - I wasn’t actually creating graphics, music and editing audio … our VA’s were! I started to build out a VA team that included a graphic designer and audio editor. This is why we were able to launch 5 podcasts in less than 1 year.

The community took notice of WhatUp Silicon Valley.


I’ve always been better at finding my tribe and building it offline rather than online. In reality, it’s because I have a natural gift for networking and event planning. Well, every year we have a big event called “PitchTank”. Mind you, when I say “big”, I’m referring to around 300 attendees - just so you have an idea of what I mean as big because this event is definitely not huge or massive. Anyway, PitchTank is a local event we hold at eBay’s HQ every year where we showcase entrepreneurs/start-ups on stage to Pitch in front of real investors. This event is a huge undertaking for me because I’m usually the lead. I work with VA’s to create all the graphics, website landing page and any additional online marketing we’d need.

Most people don’t actually know that behind-the-scenes there’s a whole VA team working with us to produce the event! 

Video’s & Books

After launching the WhatUp Silicon Valley Media network, I started to focus on my personal brand.

Within 1 year I published my first 3 books. You read that write. I published 3 books within a year!

Now, mind you these are the 100-page big font and image type books that are self-published on Amazon. To be honest though, it’s still extremely impressive and most people that write books as content creators are doing this anyway. So, I’m in no way discounting the work I’ve done. I just want you to know these aren’t epic novels.

Anyway, my first book was about how to work with VA’s (you can find it here). I laid out the exact formula I use to have success with VA’s in this book. One of the best things about writing this book was it was an accountability buddy for me to truly learn how to work with VA’s. So, I used this book as a test - I tried to do as little as possible. 

I wrote every single day for several months. Some days I would write just a few sentences and others I would write a whole chapter. The point was I knew I needed to show up and write daily if I ever wanted to publish the book. I actually like to write, but I didn’t have a clue on how to get a book published. So, I started listening to books on how to publish your first book. I mapped out the exact tasks needed then I hired a VA for every aspect I didn’t want (or know-how) to do. This included everything from formatting, editing, graphic design, uploading on the back-end to actually get the book published and so much more.

Then came video’s. I’ve always been intimidated by video production but I knew I had to get into video production. Shout out to my Co-Host Sergio Oliveri for pushing us to get into videos. I asked friends for recommendations on which equipment to use and it’s been a learning curve to learn how to use a camera. But as far as editing goes, I don’t touch that! You can check out the quality of our videos by clicking here. If you browse through the video’s you’ll see that we were invited to film at the VIP Party by the College Football National Championship, we did an Arena Tour with the San Jose Sharks, and we did a VIP event with the San Francisco 49ers. Again, I’m not trying to brag… I’m simply demonstrating how us using VA’s has helped open the doors to amazing opportunities!

Your Turn

Feeling inspired? Do you want to learn how to work with VA’s? If you’re at all interested in working with VA’s to free up your time, grow your personal brand or just generally learn more… then click here to get my FREE guide on how to get started in working with VA's!

To Living Your Full Potential,
Sam AKA SwagSam

P.S. If you want to see an inside look at the awards ceremony, then check out this video (guess who made the video? Sushma, one of my great VA’s I work with!)


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