Maxwell Ivy’s Success Story …

Hello everyone. I’m very happy to be here today to share the story of how I got to where I am today. The first thing you should know is that I’m a totally blind man who grew up in a family of carnival owners. All I ever wanted to do was follow in my dad’s footsteps (and other family members). That being … to someday run my own show. And even though retinitis pigmentosa (RP) would cause me to gradually lose my vision, I still got to do just that.

Along the way I graduated from high school and college, achieved the rank of eagle scout, and managed the bookings for our company. Then sadly, in 2003 my dad died from lung cancer. My brothers and I tried to keep the business going, but I could tell from where things were at that we weren’t going to be able to stay in business for very much longer. I knew that very soon I was going to be in that place of needing to figure out what I’m was going to do next.

I decided that since I had helped my family sell surplus rides for carnivals that I could possibly make that my new profession. So, as of September 2007, I finally went all. Even after an exceptionally disappointing week, where my game booths didn’t make barely any money despite having perfect weather, large crowds and plenty of licensed toys to give away. That very same week I asked my brother Michael to help me file for a domain name. I had to ask for some guidance as I didn’t have the first clue of what a website even was, what a domain name meant or how I was even going to get myself online.

Everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) said I needed to have a website. So, I decided to do just that. I asked an endless number of what I felt were “dumb” questions in online forums and even some email lists. Someone finally pointed me to the W3C schools. I went through every single one of their tutorials and learned how to build a basic website.

At that time there was no such things as WordPress. You either had to use WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) or manually code your entire site with HTML. Obviously as a blind man my only option was to hand code. I probably wrote over two million lines of code before finally switching to WordPress in 2012. I did have some trouble selecting the colors for my website. There you had two choices. You could pick them by name or by color number. I had no way to figure out which number went with which color or shade within that color. So, I went with the names. I decided on yellow for the background because when I could still see I thought the prizes in the games always looked better on yellow rather than on white. I then chose blue for the text, red for the links and orange for links previously clicked on.

I would later find out that the yellow I chose was an eye screaming yellow, the blue was dark navy, the red was brick red and the orange was a florescent shade like something you would see on a honky-tonk. I was told more than once that it was so bright that Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder could have had an argument over it. LOL!

But despite its vibrant colors, I still managed to sell equipment. I spent my time focusing on recruiting new clients, promoting existing listings and making new connections with leaders in the amusement industry. But I would still have to learn so much more including how to build an email list, use social media, set fees, write copy, record videos and much more. I still have that site by the way, The Midway Marketplace, and continue to help people who are needing to buy sell or trade their carnival equipment. There were a lot of people who were inspired by all the things I was doing online to promote my business and kept encouraging me to share more of what it is like to be an entrepreneur. One who happens to be blind.

That lead to a second website and as well as a blog, The Blind Blogger.

The name comes from the fact that for over two years I had been the sole blind member of many groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. They called me the blind blogger as a short hand or nick name and well … it stuck!

Shortly afterwards I was challenged by a friend to write a book for an online summit. The summit fell through, but I kept writing the book anyway, Leading You Out of the Darkness Into the Light: a Blind Man’s Inspirational Guide to Success (seen in photo to the left — published in January of 2014). I then went on to compete for the 2016 Amtrak Writers in Residence (which I modestly won) and used my prize to take a once in a life time crazy solo trip to New York City during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

I have now written 3 books and am working on my fourth. In these books, I write and speak about life events and the lessons I’ve learned from them all. My willingness to take on difficult challenges continues to inspire people. Many people all over the world write me saying … “if Max can do it then what is my excuse?”.

That got me to thinking … there had to be a way to reach more people, although the local transportation options in the suburbs of Houston, Texas made it difficult to meet people face to face. So, I happily took and opportunity with an online radio station who wanted to feature local small business owners.

My first show was horrible, but I made it through and was asked to come back the very next week. That next week lead to another and eventually to becoming a weekly guest for over 6 whole months!

That made me realize that there had to be a lot more podcasts and radio shows out there that I could appear on. So, I got to work and started emailing them and offering to be on their shows. Luckily, most of them said yes. Then people started asking me how I got on so many shows.

At first, I would tell them my story in very long comprehensive emails. But then I made another exciting life choice … I created an online course and start offering an online media connection service.

I first reached out and found 3 trial clients to make sure what worked for me would also work for them. After a beta trial period, I started offering my services as an online media connector. More and more (and MORE!) people became interested in using podcasts, radio shows, online magazines and even guest posts to gain exposure for their businesses. This was wonderful on all parts as nobody even had to leave the house, place of business or create disruption in their schedules. You could even be interviewed in your pajamas if you like.


Moving forward to what I am up to now …

I have recently branched out and now I’m offering social media marketing and direct marketing to promote businesses, blogs, podcasts, authors, film makers and musicians.

Just last year, a podcaster host, Joe Pardo, reached out to ask me to speak at a conference he was organizing in Philadelphia. I decided that it was an opportunity not to be missed. So, I managed to travel solo via Amtrak. I found out a lot about myself that trip. One being how much I enjoyed talking in front of people. 

To me, it came down to the fact that it was just another form of storytelling and I love storytelling. I have now spoken about 6 or 7 times. A few of those even took place at prestigious conference called WordCamp New York City (just last fall actually). I am continuing to work at being a better speaker while reaching out to events of all sorts for more opportunities to share my story. I am in high hopes to get my first paid speaking gig this year. Maybe even my first international speaking performance. I have this goal to be seen on stages and walk the red carpets.


On a bit of a different topic for a sec … To me there are 5 themes that run through my business life.


Theme One: Create a supportive community for yourself.

This for me, was one of my greatest challenges at first as my life came with many changes in which I have overcome due to the nudging of good friends, either in-person or online. Trust me, if you don’t have a supportive community around you, then you should really start to grow one. You could even start by reaching out to me!


Theme two: I often had to ask for help.

In fact, I still must and quite often. I like to tell people that when you refuse to ask for help you are not only robbing yourself but also the other person who may receive much joy from helping you. So, do not ever be afraid to go to that person and humbly ask for the help you need.


Theme three: I ask for what I want. Even if I don’t feel qualified.

I will still work up the courage and send off that email or complete that online form. And many times, I’m surprised to find out they want me for their show and are even honored for the opportunity. So, never be afraid to ask for those opportunities. The ones you want ever so badly. If you never ask, they can never say yes.


Theme Four: Try new things.

When friends have challenged me to try something new, I took it as an opportunity to evaluate myself and see if maybe I could do what they were suggesting. Over the years, I have tried all sorts of new things and have found out that I am capable of so much more than I used to think I was. It’s been a blessing. Mistakes aren’t the worst things that can happen. Neither is embarrassment or people laughing at you. The worst thing is not finding out that you could have been truly great at something because you were too afraid of how you would look if you failed or came up short.

And lastly …


Theme Five: Share your story.

I share my story all the time. Literally, every single day. The good, the bad and the ugly which makes it into my videos, blog posts and even public interviews. People like to follow and work with people who are real. Therefore, the word authenticity has taken hold so deeply. People want to see you struggle (in a good way of course), learn and get better as you go along and move forward. They want to think that they have a chance to succeed at their own goals. And when we are “too perfect”, too slick or too smooth it turns people off. So, I am always myself. I am that carnie kid who grew up as the “fat kid” in school. The one who was always afraid to speak up in class. Then the one that built a website that would blind you if you looked directly into the screen. But I also sold a lot of amusement park and carnival rides with that crazy looking website. I got help from a doctor, had gastric surgery and then changed my lifestyle. Just one habit at a time until I felt I was moving in the direction of the best health of my life. I am now a social media influencer because people are inspired by my joy, my courage and my heart.

So, my advice to you … Be authentic. Put it all out and let people get to know you. The real you!

I hope my life’s story has inspired some of you to take action. It doesn’t even have to be anything big. My journey started with filling for a domain name. It would be four months later before I had a website to go with it. But it started with filling out that registry form. I wish you all the very best. And remember if I can do it then anyone can.

Thanks, and take care out there!


To keep up with Maxwell and his empowering entrepreneurial adventure, here are his online handles … 




If today’s entrepreneurial success story resonated with you … empowered you … and you found it to be exactly the inspiration were looking for, I would be very grateful (and so would the storyteller) if you would help it spread by sharing it on social media or emailing it to a friend. You never know whose life a passionate story, just like this one might change.

Would you like to world to hear your story? Want to shout it from the rooftop? Do you want to inspire other women to follow their passion and make their dreams a reality?

Feel free to drop me a line, connect with me on LinkedIn or post your comments on my Facebook page so we can make it happen. Together, let’s share the raw truth behind how you built your empire …!

Thank you!

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Crystal Kordalchuk

Crystal is an artist, a writer, an organizer, a dreamer, a doer, and down-right proud of it NERD!.

Struck with a love for #AllThings creative at a very young age, Crystal dreamed of a life fueled by her passion for creating and bringing the stories and images in her mind into reality.

As she worked toward her dreams, she earned a diploma as a Computer Applications Specialist then another in Graphic Design and from there began to develop her extensive background in multimedia and the arts. She began her worked in the magazine industry as a layout designer and had a succession of design jobs thereafter. It was her role as a graphic/web designer that gave her the first real glimpse of her future. Soon she began a side job as a freelance designer while keeping one foot in the corporate world. A spark was lit! She turned her freelance gig into a full-time business combining design work with her other passion: creating organization from virtual chaos.

Crystal is one of the most organized individuals on the planet. She is by all means a Zen master of her crafts. She excels at helping others become “untangled” and provides her clients with tools to run their businesses smoothly while she takes care of the details behind the scenes. Thus Virtually Untangled was born. A successful business where her work as a top notch creative in graphic and web — with a twist of virtual assistant — married into one amazing place where clients can come with their virtual messes and become magically untangled. Crystal can always make sense of even the most unorganized chaos and offers a virtual detox of order and peace, so her clients can get busy doing the work that they love the most.

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