Today, I wanted to just send you guys a little encouragement.
We are all at different places in our journeys. I think sometimes we just need a little encouragement, since we often don’t get it anywhere else.
Most of our friends don’t get where we are all trying to go or do with our lives.
Our families often roll their eyes at how we started “another new thing”… lol.
So today, I want to be your cheerleader. I want to let you know that yes YOU can make it happen.
Some of you are out there winning big and crushing it every single day.
Others are just getting started in the fun world of being an agency owner wondering how your are going to pull this whole thing off.
Some are even questioning the sanity of keeping their agency going.
No matter where you are, I want you to know that it’s possible.
Doesn’t matter where you are now. What mistakes you’ve made in the past… how great of a salesman you are. Doesn’t matter if you have only one client or a few hundred.
You CAN do it. You CAN make it happen.
I mean… I did it.
A few times.
I don’t care how much money you start with. Whether or not you have all the fancy tools or skills.
If you truly put in the time and work, it can happen.
I think sometimes, when folks are getting going with the agency world, or trying to level up where they are at, it seems like this insurmountable task. So much to learn, so much to pull off and get going.
I just had this talk with a young entrepreneur yesterday and he was telling me about his overwhelm getting started. He was struggling to find his niche and stressed with getting started.
It’s real. I know it all to well. So today, I offer you some encouragement to keep at it. I’m gonna pull back the curtain, humble thyself and share how I got started.
I think sometimes we look out and see so many great entrepreneurs out there. You’ve got dreams of taking things to a new level, but you also have this feeling of that they are so far ahead of you. You start thinking… “yeah its easy for you… look where you are at.”
The thing you forget here is that each and every one of the big dogs out there in our community started somewhere. They were once right there where you are too. They weren't magically gifted a thriving business or agency.
They built it from scratch.
They had to figure it out just like you do.
They had to struggle too.
Some started in garages with very little to their names. Others took out loans on their families homes to get startup capital. Some put it all on credit cards and hoped for the best.
One thing is true… all the big names were once UNKNOWN JOES.
You think Dan Kennedy was always at the level he achieved? Nope. Neither was Russel Brunson, Frank Kern, Elon Musk, etc. Same thing in our community.
Those agency owners crushing it with a ton of SAAS members… yeah they once could barely afford highlevel.
All the top notch leaders and influencers you probably listen to, once struggled convincing people to talk with them before learning sales. All the top agencies once had to question what bill to pay to keep their client accounts running.
The reality is… everybody freaking poops too.
This is why I'm starting a new series on the blog called Agency Origins. I'm going to share how I got started. Peel back the curtain if you will and share my beginnings, the mistakes I made along the way and some really funny stories. Perhaps if you hear the ins and outs of my story... maybe it will offer a little encouragement along the way... and make you realize you can do it too.
I thought it might help to hear how I got started… because I can tell you, If I can do it with where I started, so can you.
I’ve won and had success. I’ve also lost it all… started from scratch and built it back up a few times after I screwed up and burned it all down as well.
Now I didn’t become an Agency owner after a parents death to avenge them or have some dark origin story like Batman.
Although you haven’t seen me and batman both in the same room at the same time have you? Just saying…
But… I do think my story will resonate with many of you. Just maybe it will help you see that you can do it too, if little ol’ me pulled it off somehow.
Flashback to many many moons ago. It was my last semester of college. I was finishing up my schooling and still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I was taking an internship with a medical sales company thinking I’d end up doing that.
My uncle at the time had convinced me to go to one of those network marketing events. I didn’t really buy into it all and pursue it, but I did find value from going. Say what you will about them… love them or hate them… one thing it did for me was inspire the crap out of me to do something with my life.
I remember going to this event with him where they would do motivational talks, get their reps up on stage to share their success stories selling various glops and potions. One by one they would line up all these people that had found success with their system. Some were single parents that were able to put their kids through school. Others had been homeless and had slept on couches before finally achieving massive results.
Although their stories were incredible, it wasn’t them that really triggered my core though. For me, it was the guy giving them their checks. That was the guy that I wanted to be like. The real business owner behind it all.
I don’t remember the guys name, but this guy was smooth. He had it all. He owned huge homes that he traveled to between his luxury vacations, a beautiful wife on side, fancy clothes. He just lived this incredible lifestyle that would make some modern rappers look broke.
He was doing a talk about how he came from nothing to get wealthy and being secure. It set my world on fire and has stayed with me all my life. Others were hoping to hit millionaire status… this dude was going for billions.
His talk discussed how when you get rich, doors and options open. You set your own rules and live life by your own terms. More importantly, you become truly free with the shackles lifted. You don’t have to live your life reactionary to what happens to you.
When you car breaks down and you're rich… your life doesn’t get derailed because you have the money to have multiple vehicles.
When your kid is learning Spanish in school, you can actually take them to Spain for a month and really have a real rich cultural experience. He talked about how you can see the world and travel between your homes. How when opportunities come about you can actually do them if you choose rather than missing the boat… again.
How you can set yourself up to where you don’t worry where rent is coming from because you can own the building and have the tenants pay rent to you.
He talked about how when you are rich, you can make decisions from a position of power, rather than from a have to or from being reactionary.
To me, in my young naive brain, it was like something clicked. To some that speech probably sounded cocky. To me, I was struggling to keep my car from dying. It was such a drastic difference than anything I had heard before from anyone I was surrounded with.
None of my family or anyone I personally knew was that kind of rich. My dad was a police officer and my mom a school teacher and missionary. They had no idea about running a business.
These business owners had it figured out though. I saw how this one guy had built an empire and empowered so many to change their own lives and his own.
I didn’t know how to become one, but I sure knew that’s the route I wanted to take. So I started reading. I would spend all my extra money on books. How tos, success principals, startup guides, business planning. I read guides on all kinds of business models from lawn care to marketing. Anything I could get my hands on. I just devoured it. I went from being a partier college guy to becoming a total nerd.
A few months later, I would start my own Agency…
I was 21 years old, working for this bar in Lexington, KY called Atomic Cafe, while I worked on my last year of college. I had a little over a semester left.
The owner at Atomic was a total turd. He wasn’t the nicest chap on the block. He treated others with disrespect, as if they were his little pawns on his chess board. He’d try to weasel out of paying his staff anyway he could. He’d bark orders drunk and was just all around not a nice human being.
I’d read business books during breaks and in between customers. Mapping out my exit. While others just took his Orwellian rule, I wanted out of there to start something of my own.
I remember him coming over and grabbing my book out of my hands and laughing at me. “You a business owner? Who do you think you are? You’re just a bartender. You’ll never be a business owner.”
Yeah… true story. Dale was that kind of dick.
It was funny because for the rest of my shift all I could think about was that speech that guy gave. How you had freedom when you became a business owner. You could live life by your terms. He certainly wouldn’t have to deal with this turd... that guy had options. I needed to become more.
That was the day I took off my bartending Apron and quit. I never went back after that shift.
It was a scary time. Rent was going to be due soon and I had no idea how or to where to start. I didn’t even know what business I wanted to do. Or how to make it happen.
All I knew was that I wasn’t going to listen to the Dales of the world. No one was going to tell me who I could or couldn’t become. I was just going to start no matter what.
The business owners were the ones who had it figured it out and were some of the richest people in the world.
I was going to be one of them. Hell or high water.
Back in school, I had taken a class on Advertising and branding. We had this competition against other schools, where we would build a campaign for a real agency’s client and pitch them on the idea. We got the Hoosier Lottery. My team’s pitch won.
I figured I was pretty good at this whole marketing thing...
So I decided, you know what… I’ll start a marketing agency.
One thing you have to understand here is this was when internet marketing was taking off. It was before starting agencies was the cool way to make money.
I knew basic marketing principals from one class… what could go wrong? LOL. Gotta love a 21 year old’s brain.
Looking back it’s almost funny thinking about how this whole thing started. I had $100 to my name, a laptop and a dream. I was too dumb to know what I was getting into.
But… I was stubborn, buckled down and just started right then.
We didn’t have GoHighLevel or click funnels. We had dreamweaver, iWeb and coding.
We didn’t have Canva to quickly design in… we had pages and photoshop.
We didn’t have fancy apps that can help you find leads… we used google maps and the phone book.
We didn’t have the tools at your disposal today, we had to build them from the ground up.
Which I can tell you, being broke back then trying to go up against big ad firms... not the easiest task.
I figured real businesses needed brochures, so I designed mine on Pages using one of their templates and threw together a website on iWeb. I wish I still had it to show you how primitive and broke ass it was. I would laugh at myself compared to what I can do today.
I printed up a few copies. My friends mom was a real estate business owner and told me I needed an LLC to be official. So I spent my last $50 on getting registered with the state.
Thus, my agency was born. I was broke, but… I was open for business ready to take on the world.
Surprisingly enough, with as bootleg as I looked, I stumbled into my first appointment, a local nightclub in the first week. My buddy was the manager there and got me in with the head honcho. He needed a website and someone to help him with promotions.
I didn't really know how to code besides basic HTML. Nor did I know anything about nightclubs... but I was sure that I could figure it out. I stumbled through a half pitch. I had a crappy website and sorry looking brochure to sell with.
I threw out a number, $1,000 for the website and a monthly fee for the rest (And free drinks at the club). I’m not sure if he liked my pitch at all really.
I’m pretty sure the guy just took pity on me, and wanted a drinking buddy, but then I heard those beautiful words: “Alright, how do we started?”
I remember going to my car, check in hand and it’s like my world changed in that moment.
It suddenly became real.
I had just made a grand… in one meeting, which to me, at the time, was big money. That was a few months rent. I remember the feeling of that smile on my face, ear to ear, just trying to keep my composure and excitement contained walking back all the way to my beat up Camry in the parking lot.
I opened the door, got in, let out a sigh of relief and I screamed in celebration, “F%$^ YES!”
I got my first client.
Eat your heart out, Dale. I’m coming for the top.
Since then, I’ve gone on to build my own agencies and help others build theirs. I’ve built marketing and sales systems for multiple niches such as restaurants, gym franchises, local service businesses, tech startups, nail salon franchises, auto dealers, coaches and consultants, comic shops and more. I’ve consulted with $100 million dollar franchises and built their infrastructure. I've helped craft campaigns with Chrysler corporate.
I’ve had days where I walked out of a meeting with a check for 100K and I’ve had weeks where I ate nothing but ramen and had to pawn stuff to get by. Overall, it's been fun and a wildly profitable ride.
It all started with nothing but a laptop, a $100 and the will to keep at it. That one day where I just decided to dive in and give it my all. To burn the ships and commit to moving forward. To shut out that inner doubt and voice and give it a mental middle finger.
The point here, is that you don’t have to wait. You don’t need credentials. You don’t need to be special or have it all figured out just yet. I didn't have a clue. You, yes you can build a thriving agency too. You just have to start somewhere and keep at it.
As Jim Rohn says... "You are not a tree." You can move and change something right now to advance and take yourself to the next level.
No matter where you are in your journey, I want to help you crush it.
There is one rule though. You have to earn it. What you put in, you’ll get back. The sum of what you do today, is what you’ll achieve tomorrow.
In business, rent is due everyday through your actions and it’s not a forgiving landlord.
So, get out there. Do something. Call a prospect. Build a system. Commit to crushing and carve your name in the history books right up there with the greats.
I’m rooting for you.