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I’m happy you are joining me for episode #9 of The Morning Upgrade Podcast. I’m speaking with Ray Pawlyk, owner of Rocking Gaming Parties. We talk about how his business was born out of a struggle in life and how he’s overcome many challenges along the way. 

Top Points in This Episode

  • Be organized in the mornings and make a to-do list to stay on track.
  • Knock out work first thing and as quickly as you can to have a finishing point each day. 
  • Focus on breathing to calm your mind and shut down from the businesses of life. 

Resources & Links

Connect with Ray Pawlyk at Rocking Gaming Parties and Rocking Glamor Parties

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Transcription

Announcer:

Welcome to the morning upgrade podcast with Ryan Cote. Where we feature casual conversations with entrepreneurs about personal development and growth.

Ryan Cote:

Hey everyone, this is Ryan Cote from The Morning upgrade Podcast. Today I’m excited to have with me, Ray Pawlyk. What’s up Ray.

Ray Pawlyk:

Hi Ryan. How are you? I’m talking to myself here.

Ryan Cote:

Maybe we’ll leave that in. That was funny. So why don’t you start off by telling everyone who you are, what you do, and then what you enjoy doing, what’s your interests?

Ray Pawlyk:

Like you just told everyone I’m Ray Pawlyk and pretty much I’m a Jack of all trades. I’m a phys ed teacher by day. I run a company called Rockin Parties by evening. And I have a family of seven, so they’ll keep me on my toes and we have a lot going on. So when I have any free time, I like to enjoy myself doing some adventurous things. But you know, it’s a lot of work. I have my teaching job, which is like a business and we also run the business, and then I have the whole family. So it’s really like a three-headed monster.

Ryan Cote:

You’ve got your hands full, like me with all the girls, you’ve got more than me, but I don’t know how you find time to do it. I don’t know how you’d have time to run multiple businesses, but you know, obviously, you’ve got your wife who helps out, obviously, you guys are a team. So what’s the hardest part about running multiple businesses like that, obviously time, but is there anything else that stands out?

Ray Pawlyk:

Yeah, like you said, time is the big thing. So you’re always trying to manage your time, but it’s really the different directions that they pull me because they’re really different avenues. One, I’m in a brick and mortar building during the day, like I said, I’m a school teacher, phys ed teacher during the day. And then when I go to the business, I have two trailers, it’s outdoors. A lot of it’s a challenge to me because I’m not very mechanical where I have most of the businesses mechanical. So that’s one of the things that I’ve had to learn on the job. And that’s probably the biggest difficulty when I run into problems where I’m not a professional doing and I have to seek outside help and get it done quickly too because parties are always around the corner.

Ryan Cote:

You’ve learned some of this stuff yourself, like mechanical?

Ray Pawlyk:

I have. You know what, the reason that we started this business, I used to be a fourth-grade classroom teacher. And then there was an opportunity where I could become a phys ed teacher and I did that for a number of years and then budget cuts had come around and I was a low man on the totem pole. So it kind of hit me right in the face, one day they said, Ray, we have budget cuts coming in. You’re going to be out of a job. It could be one year. It could be two years. It could be three years. So it was really up in the air and Dena and I had to scramble and come up with a plan. And we came up with the plan to build Rocking Parties. And I had never driven a pickup truck to pull a trailer. I’d never done that in my life. 

We went all in, we put all of our savings into it. We begged, borrowed, and stole to get any money that we needed. And all of a sudden, one day I’m picking up a 30-foot trailer, I never even towed one before. It seemed like a cruise ship when I was towing it for the first time. And then I pulled it up in front of my house and it was just a blank trailer with nothing on the inside. And then Dena and I started to design it and we would go out to places like Home Depot, all kinds of mom and pop shops to grab crafts for the girl’s lounge. And while you’re doing all this, you’re hoping that it’s going to work. And there’s a lot of pressure while that’s going on. You don’t know if you build it if the people will come and that’s what we did. And eventually, it took off. So we got lucky with it.

Ryan Cote:

What was that like branching out in something like that, completely new, putting your savings into it? How did you handle that fear, that uncertainty, how’d you handle that?

Ray Pawlyk:

You know what, it was completely new and it was very scary because basically you’re getting laid off and you have a blank slate in front of you. And to jump into a business like this, we knew that the idea was good. We just didn’t know how to go about it. So I didn’t know anything about websites, I didn’t know about ordering trailers. I didn’t know about the best way to go about having game systems installed and it’s a gaming trailer. Dena was fighting the same type of things on her side. She’s building a glamour trailer in her brain and just trying to come up with all these different concepts. And I could say for somebody who likes to eat, I probably lost 25 pounds during it and had some sleepless nights, a lot of long days. I had heard about people who would say they work 17 hours a day and I used to laugh at that. And then all of a sudden I saw, wow, these people really did do that because I was doing 17, 18 hour days to get it up and running. So it was a rough two months. It took about two months to get everything up and running. And when I looked back at it now it was all worth it. So it’s all good stuff.

Ryan Cote:

So The morning upgrade website, the podcasts, it’s all about personal development, entrepreneurship, self-growth. So getting through those trying times, I’m assuming you have some habits that make you stronger, person development habits. I know you’re into fitness and all that, but are there any habits that you have that helped you get through those moments that are worth sharing?

Ray Pawlyk:

I think one of the biggest things for me is to be organized. If I’m not organized, I feel like everything falls apart. I know that when I wake up in the morning, I’m a big to-do list writer. So that’s what I like to do. My wife laughs at me, I’ll write down every single thing I need to get done during the day. Sometimes I’ll even have fun things on the list, but things that I want to get accomplished. And once I have it written on paper, I feel like it’s going to get done. My brain isn’t scrambled anymore. I’m focused on everything that I have to get done. And I do that single morning. Like you said, I’m into the fitness, that kind of thing too. I like to work out in the morning. I do a lot of thinking while I do that, I’ll throw the music on and just think about what I’m going to do that day, but really it’s just getting myself organized and then just going after each task and just checking them off the list and getting it done.

Ryan Cote:

Funny you mentioned a to-do list. I’ve actually got my to-do list in my pocket. Not all the things are crossed off for today, but it’s very gratifying when you build a to-do list. I do so in the morning as well. And check off those boxes, know you’ve accomplished something. There’s a level of satisfaction there for sure.

Ray Pawlyk:

Yeah. That’s great. I had this interview on my to-do list, so I’m going to cross that off right now.

Ryan Cote:

Nice. So morning routines, I think you started to give us a glimpse into part of it. You said working out, your to-do list. Is there anything else that’s part of your morning routine?

Ray Pawlyk:

Well, just your normal hustle and bustle. I go through all my emails. I see anyone who contacted me. I like to get back to people quickly. I can’t believe the businesses where they’re like, Oh, you know what? I called this company and they didn’t get back to me for three or four days, where I’m a basket case if I don’t get back to you within like two hours, I lose my mind. So I go through all my emails, look at anyone who’s contacted me, see what I have to do to get back to them. What are they interested in? And just get myself focused like that. So really I like to take care of all my business as quickly as I can. And whether it takes me three hours or six hours, I always have that finishing point when I get done with everything for the day because I like to have my mind free where I can hang out with the family and just have fun and kind of leave that other part of the world behind.

Ryan Cote:

Does your morning routine change, what does it look like when school’s in session and you have to get out, I’m assuming you get out early.

Ray Pawlyk:

Yes. When school’s in session, I always have my to-do list. So I always do that no matter what, but when school’s in session, unfortunately, I can’t just start working out in the morning. My girls are going to school so I get up with them and I would love to be able to work out at that time but helping Dena get the girls ready for school, helping her with anything she needs then I’m into work relatively early. And then once I’m at school, I’ll have two or three classes before I have any break that comes up. So the routine changes a bit while school’s going on, but I still like to work out when I get home. It makes it a lot more difficult to run the business while I’m teaching. That’s six, seven hours that you lose, wherein the summer I can take my time if I need to, I can get a lot more done during the day, during the summer. And then like, you wouldn’t even think about it, all of a sudden you have daylight savings where it gets darker in the winter. So that’s less time to work on the trucks too. Like if I get out of work at say four o’clock by the time it’s 06:15, 06:30 it’s starting to get dark already. And when I’m trying to work on the trucks, that makes it more difficult. So I really have to hustle during the winter. So it’s a lot more pressure during the winter.

Ryan Cote:

So the challenges kind of ebb and flow, I guess, based on the seasons and what you have going on with life and your work. Have you ever thought of your perfect day, what that looks like?

Ray Pawlyk:

Wow. A perfect day. You know what, the days that I feel like are perfect are days that don’t involve any work and I have maybe four or five of them a year. It would be like Christmas day, no one’s going to contact me for parties. I don’t really need to reach out to anyone. I don’t do any work on days like that. So whenever there are holidays, I just get to enjoy my family and those are the perfect days. Because even when I’m away, I can be sitting on a beach and all of a sudden I know that the phone’s right there, I know people are trying to contact me. I’m better than I used to be. I’ll take care of it a little bit later in the evening, rather than grab every single call while I’m at the beach. So I’m better than I used to be, but it’s still not a perfect day. A perfect day, it’s just total relaxation where you don’t have to worry about any of that.

Ryan Cote:

Relaxation and relationships are two very important things. So I’ve got one last question for you, and then I want you to share how people can reach out to you, connect with you, with your party business if they want to learn more. You mentioned you’ve got an active family, you’ve got your phys ed job. You’ve got the businesses that you run, a lot going on. How do you shut your brain down? I know I have a problem with it. So I’m just curious to see how you handle it.

Ray Pawlyk:

I have a very difficult time shutting my brain down, especially when I’m trying to sleep. If I have something on my mind, I wish that the day just keeps going. I need more hours in the day. I have a tough time if I know I have to make a call the next day, or if I have a problem where I have to get insurance sorted out or any other part of the rigmarole of the business, very tough for me to just put my head down on the pillow and go to sleep that night. The best thing that can happen is Dena will come in, she’ll just say, you gotta relax, we’re going to sit and watch TV. She’ll take my mind off it. And pretty much that’s as close as I get to shutting my mind down. 

Ryan Cote:

Do you meditate?

Ray Pawlyk:

I don’t meditate. I’ve heard great things about it. I’ve just never believed in it. I guess I would have to have someone really sit and show me and really go through with me. I’ve had a lot of different speakers come into the school that tries it. And to me, I just never got into it.

Ryan Cote:

It’s been a game-changer for me. I mean, it’s not for everyone, of course, but my mind is always moving. At first, it was very hard because your mind, your thoughts are like, when you’re sitting down trying to focus on your breathing, the thoughts that come up, it’s like, A, it’s like rapid fire and then B just the most random things come to mind, at least for me. But over time I’ve been doing it for so long, I’m able to, I look at it as like your mind sort of a muscle and it’s like going to the gym. And so the more you do it, the stronger your mind gets, you can kinda quiet yourself down. So I’ve kind of got hooked on it. It’s been my answer to calm my mind down in that deep breathing. We can talk offline about it if you want, but it’s what I do. All right. Cool. All right. Well, I appreciate this conversation. How can people learn more about your party business?

Ray Pawlyk:

I think the best thing they can do is go to rockinggamingparties.com or rockingglamourparties.com. We have two websites, one for the girl’s glamor trailer, and one for the boy’s trailer. And you can even call or text me at (845) 642-4733.

Ryan Cote:

Awesome. Thanks, Ray. Thanks for listening everyone.

Ray Pawlyk:

I appreciate it, Ryan. Thank you

Announcer:

Thanks for listening to the morning upgrade podcast, please subscribe and review, and don’t forget to visit us at morningupgrade.com for more content.

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