(Part 2 of 3) This Is An Embarrassing, Raw, Personal Story
Hey, Duston here…
Back with Part 2 of 3.
(Make sure you read Part 1 if you haven’t yet. You don’t want to start this thing in middle.)
I know a lot of you had issues with the Early Bird link yesterday.
I apologize for that. Smart technology is sometimes… not so smart, I guess.
If you haven’t added yourself to the list, you can do so here.
Alrighty, on we go.
Just to warn you, this email is LOOONG. Like, super long. Sorry for that. But I think it’s instructional and important for you to hear.
So here we go…
It was April 2004.
My wife had just gotten home from work.
With tears in her eyes, she looked at me and said, “I can’t do this.”
“I just can’t do this. I can’t handle the stress. I can’t handle the people. I’m not made for this.”
It was her job.
She HATED it.
Hated the pressure. The commitment. The expectations.
She came home every night in tears. Sick to her stomach. It killed me to see her like that.
As much as I knew we couldn’t afford it, I told her she had to quit… NOW.
At the time, I was working at a building material supply company. I mostly did casual labor, I guess you’d call it.
Cleaning the warehouse.
You get the idea.
My yearly salary was $31,200.
Not much for two people to live on considering we had just built a home (a small one), we had two car payments and an average amount of credit card debt.
We were doing fairly well… when we were both working.
But I knew there was no way we could live on just $31,200 and keep the same “lifestyle”.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention…
My wife was pregnant with our first little boy and she was due in 5 months.
I didn’t know what I was gonna do.
I was already working 10 hour days, 5 days a week, driving 45 minutes to and from work.
By the time I got home, I was DEAD TO THE WORLD.
I had to wake up every morning at 4:30 to get to work by 6am.
And that alone was taking a toll on me.
One night on my way home from a long day of work, I drifted off to sleep behind the wheel.
I woke up just as the passenger side tires of my Jeep Wrangler went off the road into the snow.
But it was too late. I couldn’t gain control.
I ran over a cement culvert, completely destroying the engine, continued on at full speed, hit a tree stump… and flipped my Jeep on its side.
Somehow, I escaped with just a few bumps and bruises and a sore neck… somehow.
But it scared the living HELL outta me.
The stress from my job, my lack of rest and the worry of how we were gonna make it, had finally gotten the best of me.
I was mentally and physically EXHAUSTED.
Months had passed.
Our situation continued to get worse.
My wife entered a deep depression, feeling as if she wasn’t doing anything to contribute, all while caring for our newborn son.
Finally, in August 2005, we made the decision.
I hated to even hear the word.
It literally pained me to think about it.
My pride would be shattered. What would everyone think of me? I couldn’t even support our family.
It killed me.
But it was our only option.
As embarrassing as it was, we had to go through with it.
We needed a fresh start.
In a new place.
So, we picked up and moved to Houston, TX where my wife had some family.
I was able to land an inside sales job at another building material company.
More specifically, we sold interior doors and trim (baseboards, door casing, etc.) to homebuilders.
[————- SIDENOTE ————–]
In case you’ve never encountered a homebuilder, I’ll let you in on a little secret… they’re a unique breed.
(I apologize in advance if you’re a homebuilder. You may want to skip over this part!)
The best way for me to describe a homebuilder to you is this…
…they’re a cross between a hungover college student and the high school jock who was always late to class.
Yeah, great concoction, right?
Always two steps behind.
Always waiting until the last minute to place an order.
Always changing the order after it’s been shipped (because they didn’t listen to what their customer wanted in the first place).
Now, don’t get me wrong. There were a few exceptions to this rule. There were a few builders who actually ran their business like a business should be run.
But… most of them ran their business from the cab of their truck, with their cell phone glued to their hand.
Without the slightest inclination of how to run a REAL business.
It was my first real glimpse into the life of a business owner and I have to say, it severely flawed my thinking.
[————- SIDENOTE ————–]
I was lucky enough to find a job in Houston as an inside sales person for a fairly big building material company.
Doing almost the exact same thing I was doing before, just on a bigger scale.
I worked there for one year before moving up the ladder. My boss quit and they offered me his job, managing 30 people.
I’d never been a manager before and… I never want to be a manager again. I just can’t deal with all the personal crap people bring to work with them.
Like, seriously, I don’t care. Come to work, shut up and do your job, and go home. It’s not hard.
Around May of 2008 the economy had taken a dive and I could sense something bad was going to happen with my job.
So, I started to quietly search for something else. I really had my heart set on an outside sales position. It’s what I wanted to do even before we’d moved to Houston.
Seemed like it’d be fun, driving around from job to job, estimating materials and earning commissions on each sale I made!
Luckily, there was no shortage of building material suppliers in Houston. I quickly landed two interviews. The first one offered me the job but couldn’t pay enough to start.
The second one was perfect. The office was only fifteen minutes from home. It was further out of the city and they were a national company, which meant I had room to move up.
My first interview was at a golf course clubhouse. I like these guys already!
Even though I don’t play much golf, they already seemed more laid back than any other boss I’ve ever had!
I waited in that clubhouse for close to two hours! TWO HOURS! They finally came in, half-drunk and painfully exhausted.
There were four guys total: the sales manager for my location, the location manager, the regional vice-president and the sales manager for a nearby location.
It felt like I was being interrogated by the FBI… except they were all drunk.
Long story short, they spent 30 minutes with me, grilling me on everything I knew, even asking me to reveal secrets about the current company I was working for.
They finally said, “what’s it gonna take to get you to work for us?”
I told them what I needed, they agreed and I was hired… as an OUTSIDE sales rep.
This was a really big accomplishment for me. It took me 8 years, working in the trenches every day, shedding blood, sweat and tears, to get my “dream job”.
I finally did it.
I quickly learned the ropes, mastered their computer system, built a good relationship with my inside sales team and in less than 18 months, I had won two national sales contests within the company.
These weren’t just some lame “new sales guy” contests.
I was going up against every single salesperson in the company, nationwide. Guys that had been selling for 30 years!
I beat them all… TWICE!
Wanna know how I did it?
By sending an email! Yep, an email.
It actually got me in trouble… initially.
On the side, I was starting to study marketing after being introduced to it by my dad.
We were up for a visit one summer and he had written his own business book called Can Any Small Business Make You Rich?
I read that thing cover to cover on the way back home. It changed my thinking completely.
I tried to think about how I could use marketing in my sales position. How could I reach a large amount of potential prospects all at one time without having to call each one on the phone?
For the past year I had been doing it the hard way. Call them up, go visit with them and eventually close the sale.
If I could only close more sales without having to meet with each person first.
Then it came to me.
I had created a spreadsheet of potential prospects when I first started my outside sales job.
These were people I knew from my previous job and some that I had found online.
What if I send out a mass email to these people?
I had no clue then but now I know that’s considered spam. But it’s a good story anyway!
So, using my newfound marketing skills, I created this email that I would mail out to over 450 perfect prospects.
People I knew were good candidates for what I had to sell.
Once I had it all queued up and ready to go, I sat there for a minute, second-guessing myself… “but what if this…, what if that…”, finally I just hit send.
I did it. I sent my first broadcast email (even though it was kinda illegal).
The subject line was… “Are There ANY Lumber Suppliers Left In Houston??”
Now, think about the person who’s receiving that email. Do you think that subject line resonated with them in 2009?
You bet your ass.
The company I had previously worked for shut down, along with three or four other big suppliers in the Houston area.
It was top-of-mind for most builders, especially those up north where my company was located.
It was tough to get materials delivered that far up north unless you went through us.
In a matter of MINUTES I already had responses rolling in from my email…
… “Where are you located?”
… “Do you charge a delivery fee?”
… “Can I get material delivered today?”
… “I didn’t know you guys sold to builders!”
But something else happened…
I failed to notice I included some of our existing customers on my list of potential prospects.
I didn’t know we were already selling to them and they received my email.
One builder in particular was one of the largest in the Houston area. They forwarded my email to my Regional Vice-President and you can imagine how that conversation went.
Something along the lines of, “quit emailing and start selling”.
You see, he failed to realize that same email generated 20 new customers and more than $120,000 in sales.
He was ticked that I was sitting at my desk sending emails when I should’ve been out “meeting people face-to-face” like a good little outside sales boy should be.
In the back of my mind, I knew it would work.
I had noticed at my previous job that these builders would much rather send and receive emails than be on the phone or be tied up in a face-to-face meeting.
Why fight it?
You gotta change with the times (when necessary).
Over the next year I continued to grow my sales and outsold every other sales rep in the builder sales department.
But I wasn’t happy. From the moment I finished reading my dad’s business book, I couldn’t stop thinking about my job.
Each and every day it got harder to work for someone else. I would put in 50 to 60 hours a week just to fatten up “their” wallets while each month I’d cash my tiny little commission checks.
I knew I couldn’t go on like that for long.
I had to make a change.
Around the same time, I’d been talking to my dad about business and an idea I had to start my own little thing on the side, helping local businesses with their online marketing.
He mentioned this internet marketing conference that was happening in January 2010 and said I could go with him if I wanted. So, I decided to go. It was a Friday and Saturday so I’d have to miss work Friday.
I didn’t have any vacation days left so I pretended to be “on the road” that day.
Normally, Fridays were meant to be “office days” where the outside sales reps would spend the day in the office – I still never understood why.
I told my sales manager I had to be on the road, measuring homes for materials. He bought it and I was off to Orlando for the conference.
This conference was my first real introduction to internet marketing.
From that moment on, I was hooked. I loved everything about it. I studied it to death. Whenever I had the chance, I was buried in it up to my eyeballs.
A few weeks after I got back from that conference, my dad sends me an email. An email that would change my life FOREVER.
He asked me to come back to Ohio and work with him in his online business.
It was the answer I had been waiting for. I knew I couldn’t sell lumber for much longer, making someone else rich. The builders were driving me crazier and crazier every single day.
After talking it over with my wife, we decided to do it. By then we had a total of three kids (all boys) and it would be good for them to have their grandparents in their lives.
I’m not gonna say it was an easy decision though. We’d come to LOVE Texas and everything about it. We weren’t looking forward to the Ohio winters, that’s for sure. Some day we’ll be back in Texas, some day.
But we definitely made the right decision. What I’ve learned since moving back has changed my life forever. Never again will I work for someone else.
My dad has taught me so much about business, about life and about people, you can’t pay for this kind of education. I’m lucky to have him as a mentor, as a business partner, and as a father.
I’ve had the luxury of studying business, marketing and internet marketing to death for the past 5 years.
I’ve attended every conference imaginable on these topics. I’ve bought every product I could get my hands on. I belong to multiple high-level mastermind groups (one of them ringing in at $25k per year).
I’ve consulted with some of the smartest people in the world. I’ve been exposed to some of the most profitable businesses in the world.
I’ve seen the inner-workings of these companies. Multi-million dollar companies responsible for generating thousands of new leads per day.
I know what I’m talking about. I’m not being egotistical here. I just want you to know who you’re taking advice from. I’ve seen a lot. I’ve studied a lot. I’ve implemented a lot.
What you’re getting from me is real-world, actionable advice. There’s no theory. I can promise you that. If you hear it from me, it’s because I’ve experienced it’s results first-hand.
That being said, I can’t promise you that you’ll make money with this new project. Why? Because I’m not you. Only YOU can make you rich.
I can’t be there every step of the way, yelling in your hear until you do the work. I wish I could, but I can’t.
One of my favorite quotes is…
“If you want something you’ve never had, then you’ve got to do something you’ve never done.”
I can’t make promises to you about results, legally and ethically. It’s up to you to implement what I’m going to teach you.
Here IS a promise for you though…
I promise that if you take what I’m teaching you and do nothing with it, you’ll make no money. The choice is yours.
So, that was my story and how I came to be a “marketing guy”. Long and drawn-out?
But I wanted you to know exactly who you’re dealing with and how important it is to know who you’re taking advice from.
Okay, I’ll be back tomorrow with Part 3 of 3 that will explain exactly what my Freedom By Email project is and why it will be the most important opportunity to come your way in a long time.
(Btw, that’s not the real name of the project.)
Be sure to add yourself to the Early Bird List if you think you’re ready to make a change in your life.
See ya tomorrow!
Dream big. Take action.