If you’re looking for a mentor with all the credentials, all the degrees and all the esteemed letters after their name then you’ve come to the wrong place, that’s not who I am. On the other hand if you are looking for a mentor who has been there and done that, someone who has learned on the streets, someone who came from nothing and built his own way to financial freedom, well then, I’m that guy.
Before getting into my story I want you to know that this is NOT your typical “about” page. It really bothers me when people candy coat things and only show the good side of the story. I’m going to share with you my full story of how we became financially free and it wasn’t pretty in the beginning.
So here is my story…
My dream growing up was to be RICH. It wasn’t about financial freedom or the ability to do what I want. I just wanted to be rich. I loved the lure of the big house, the fancy cars…all of it. In my young, immature, egocentric, male mind, I mistakenly thought life was all about money.
Around the time I finished college (I say “finished” instead of “graduated” because I never did), this country came into one of the biggest real estate booms ever seen. I recognized the opportunity and began looking to buy my first property. It came fast, and I bought AND SOLD a house in the same day for a profit of $33,000. How’s that for a day’s work?
Over the next five years, a partner and I set up a business flipping homes. We began one house at a time. Soon we saw deals we wanted to make but didn’t have the money to complete, and we started offering partnerships to friends and family. The partners put up money for repairs and holding costs in exchange for 25 percent of the profits. The financial influx – along with hiring good contractors – allowed us to go from flipping a single home at a time to 10 homes at a time. We were making more money doing less work, and our friends and family were enjoying returns of 25 to 50 percent on their money in three to six months! We bought and sold over 50 homes, and everything was moving along as smooth as could be.
Bankrupting The Dream
So many of my early mentors warned me: “Make sure you don’t rush things.” “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.” “Don’t over-leverage yourself.” “Make sure you get out early, don’t be caught when the market turns.” But the cocky 20-something-year-old thought he knew more than these seasoned pros did…and got burned BIG TIME.
The market turned. My partner and I found prices dropping and homes not selling. All of a sudden, we owned 11 single-family homes, all with mortgages, all with friends and family who had invested in them, all upside down (we owed more than a house was worth) and unsellable! Life got ugly on a personal level for me. I had to file bankruptcy for the business and personal bankruptcy – the hardest, most demoralizing, scary, and defeating business experience I have known. I remember my bankruptcy attorney calling me “fortunate” to go through it all at such a young age. He told me I was a bright guy and would emerge so much stronger. At the time I could hardly see bankruptcy as a positive, but he was right. The experience dropped me to my knees as a cocky, young boy, and I stood up as a humbled, compassionate, disciplined man.
A shining light in the whole ordeal was keeping my word to everyone who invested with us. My parents brought me up to be a man of my word and have integrity. I used any and all profits from previous deals to pay back our friends and family. Some got their money right away and some received payments over time, but everyone got their money back. This was a major character-building experience for me.
Rebuilding the Dream
My process of rebuilding was not just about business. I had to build a new person – physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially. All of this came about in a way I least expected.
Two friends and I committed to a 90-day physical transformation program. (We didn’t know then that the producer was a network marketing company.) Prior to this, I had had the habit of jumping from one undertaking to another without finishing anything. This time, I completed the 90 days and got the physical transformation, but what happened on the inside far surpassed the physical. Sticking with the entire program was a huge, personal accomplishment. I wanted to quit many times, but I didn’t. After the completion of those first 90 days, I turned a weakness into a strength: I’m now really careful about what I commit to; and when I do commit, I can be trusted to finish.
For the next two years, I continued to be a customer of this network marketing company. I was in the best shape of my life, I was happy, I had married the woman of my dreams, and we had just had our first daughter. Amy was on maternity leave, and we were trying to figure out our next steps. We really wanted Amy to be home to raise our children. At the time, I was working 12-hour days, leaving the house at 5:30 in the morning and coming home between 8 and 9 at night. Although I was making good money and Amy was able to stay home, this came at huge personal expense. I didn’t have the time I craved with my daughter, and I had no energy left for my wife when I got home.
And then it happened…
One of the annual ceremonies of the spiritual path I follow is called “Vision Quest.” It’s a four-day ceremony of personal prayer to ask the Creator for help and guidance and a “vision” for your life. This particular year, my prayer centered around my professional life. I needed a change, but I had no idea what that change would look like. On the fourth day, I got the answer: “Become a network marketing professional with the company that changed your life.” This scared the hell out of me. I had no idea how the business worked or how I could make a living. All I knew was I loved the products and programs of the company because of that original 90-day fitness challenge.
Realizing the Dream
When I first became a network marketing professional, my mentor told me I needed to find a “why” that motivated me. My why was clear and direct.
I want to be able to do WHAT I WANT in life.
I want to be able to do it with WHOM I WANT.
I want to be able to do it WHEN I WANT.
I want to spend time with my family and friends. Hold each of my children daily, play with them, change their diapers, send them to the best schools. Drive the cars, live in the house, move to the town I want. Go snowboarding, hiking, mountain biking, eat out when I want.
I still had a full-time job when I began dedicating about 10 hours a week to my network marketing business. I squeezed every last minute out of those 10 hours. I was on a mission, determined to become a full-time network marketing professional.
I did that within one year, and my life will never be the same.
I remember crying while writing on Facebook, “I am now a full time network marketing professional.” I was free, and I was rich. What made me rich wasn’t the money – the crazy money (what I call “monopoly money”) still hadn’t come. I was rich because I truly had the ability to do what I wanted, when I wanted, with who I wanted.
Living the Dream
For the last nine years I’ve been able to work from home. I make my own schedule. I spend time with my kids during the days. I drop them off and pick them up from school. I cook dinner and play with them. I have watched them grow day by day, and haven’t missed a thing.
In the process Amy and I have been able to pay off all of our debt (except our mortgage). We moved to the town of our dreams and bought the house of our dreams. We drive the cars we want and send our kids to an excellent school.
Reluctantly, I want to share my first eight years’ earnings as a network marketing professional. It’s uncomfortable and feels egotistical to include personal financial information for the world to see, but I feel it’s important. If I’m going to teach you how my leaders and I have built our business and to recommend you build the same way, you need to know the results that my approach is capable of producing: long-term, high-level, sustainable income.
Our annual earnings:
* Income disclaimer: As in any independent business, the level of success or achievement is dependent upon the commitment, skill level, drive, and desire to succeed of the individual. Success results only from effective sales efforts, which require hard work, diligence, and leadership.
Paying the Dream Forward
I went from an extremely low point to living a dream life. And that blessing doesn’t go unnoticed by me. After my personal goals were met, I turned my attention to helping others do the same. I didn’t think my business could be more rewarding, but it just keeps getting better. There’s nothing like the feeling you get by helping people completely change their lives.
My new WHY, what really drives me now, is teaching others how to build their network marketing businesses to last. Month after month, I get to be on the receiving end of someone thanking me for changing her or his life. All that I’m doing, though, is passing on information from the many mentors and teachers in my life.
I wrote Build to Last to pass on to you an approach I put to work in my business and personal life. A way of building your network marketing business so it helps you create a life doing what you want, when you want, with who you want.
I hope you enjoy this book and use it as a guide to building the life of your dreams.