About Michael Senoff "Listen...I've been searching the Web for Marketing information for over two years. Then one day, by accident, I stumbled across this site, it totally impacted my life and changed my mind-set about marketing and the Internet completely. " Jim Davis a true disciple of Michael Senoff
For the last five years, I've interviewed the world's best business and marketing minds.
Along the way, I've created a successful publishing business all from home from my two car garage. When my first child was born, he was very sick, and it was then that I knew I had to have a business that I could operate from home.
Now, my challenge is to build the world's largest free resource for online, audio business interviews and free sales tips. I've learned a lot in the last five years, and in this site, I'm going to show you the skills you need to survive.
It is my mission to help you who are very busy with their careers handle your lives more efficiently. It's my mission to bring to you the best information from the most knowledgeable sources and to give you access to this information quickly and here's my story below.
My Dad With Max my nephew
Two of my best friends Rhonda & Marty
My Dad and I
Me on vacation 1999
My triplet sister Robyn
My wife Shelley and I
The following few pages are an outline of my life. This is my true story to the best of my memory of what led me to my www.hardtofindseminars.com business.
Before I start, I want you to know that it is not my style to be as open with my life to total strangers. But I have learned that this is my best chance to begin to build a trust with you. I realize that you're a real human being who wants to know about the people you do business with.
If I want you to believe anything I say, I know I have to take a risk by letting you in on some of my very personal life experiences about what has made me who I am today so you'll have an understanding why you may want to do business with me now or in the near future and or why you may not. I know I have to back up with proof everything I say to win you over.
If you can get a feel for me from my personal true story, I hope somehow we can start to build a trust with each other. Who knows, maybe you can rely on me as a long term advisor, teacher, mentor or supplier of great educational products. Or may be I can rely on and recommend you and your product or service to my customers.
Anyway, here is my best effort in describing what I am all about, exactly what I have done to get to where I am now and why you should care to know about any of what follows in the pages below.
Even as a child growing up in Atlanta Georgia, I knew I would never work the long, excruciating hours my father did. My father, a lady's clothing salesman, spent most of his time, and most of my childhood, traveling out of town.
My Dad owned an orange, 26-foot Winnebago Itasca motor home. That motor home was his bedroom on his long road trips. He slept in it on trips that lasted up to a week at a time. Every time I looked at that orange rolling bedroom, I promised myself that I'd find an easier, less stressful way to earn my living. I was just a kid, but already I knew the only way I was going to be in control of my time, and my life, would be by owning my own business. My father was and still is a hell of a salesman. He most definitely influenced me as far as selling.
Michael Two Years
Michael & Triplet Brother Joel
I'm told I come from a long Senoff family history of businessmen. In this first photo is my great grandfather David. I was told that David never worked a day in his life but was a soldier in the Polish military. He would sell food and supplies to the soldiers for money. Next is my grandfather Harry on my father's side and my father when he was a boy. My grandfather Harry immigrated from Poland and changed his name from Senoffsky to Senoff.
Apparently my grandfather Harry, who I never met was a real hustler selling all kinds of things on the West side of Chicago. My grandfather had five brothers and sisters and grew up very very poor. You can listen to a short story about my grandfather from the son of my grandfathers brother. Next is a photos of my Grandfather when he was a boy.
A Long Senoff Family History Of Salesmen
Great Grandfather David
Grandfather Father Harry
How I Started Selling Cinnamon Toothpicks At An Early Age
l plunged into the business world early. My first taste of the "entrepreneur lifestyle" came in grade school. I created and sold cinnamon-flavored toothpicks that I made by dipping regular toothpicks in cinnamon oil I purchased from the drug store. Hey, it was a great idea! I also sold Bazooka bubble gum, Charms pops, Wacky Pac collector stickers and anything else I could think of.
My locker at school was always mobbed as a growing crowd of sugar-hungry fifth graders shoved their way toward me, and my locker, number 1248, fighting to hand me their quarters before the bell rang. I adored collecting all their nickels, dimes and quarters. Already I was hooked on this funny thing called "being in business for yourself."
Ascan of three my original Wacky Pac collector stickers
How I Failed At My First Job As A Jerk
I liked working for myself. And I really liked earning money. So I didn't mind working the usual low-paying jobs reserved for teenagers. My first paying job was as a counter person at Dipper Dan's Ice Cream Shop on the corner of Rowell Road and Hammond Drive in Sandy Springs, Georgia. The owner was Chinese. His son was training me as a soda jerk. I really did feel like a jerk. I was making $2.85 per hour. I had a hard time figuring out how to give proper change from the cash register and how to work the milkshake blending machine. I remember once, the blender shot the milkshake all over my face and a customer's freshly laundered dress shirt. The Chinese owner was yelling at me in Chinese, the customer was upset. I said to myself, "this job stinks!"
How Racquetball Got Me Out Of Working A J.O.B.
Then I bounced to an even more horrible job at a racquetball center called Court South. It was in the same shopping center as the ice cream shop. I'll never forget this. Every Tuesday night at 7:00 PM, the owners held aerobic classes inside two of the racquetball courts. Have you seen the size of a racket ball court door? It's about three feet tall. It was my job to drag this huge, heavy, rolled up padded carpet three hundred feet down a long hallway.
Then I would have to make a sharp 90-degree right angle turn and squeeze my load through the short, narrow racket ball court doorway. I remember even more vividly, cleaning their filthy dirty bathrooms and toilets. Another required task of this job was to wipe down the benches in the men's sweaty locker rooms every hour. To my teenage mind, this was utterly disgusting stuff. I knew there had to be a better way to earn money.
I tried many other jobs as a teenager in need. I held multiple "bus boy" jobs. I was also a waiter and a clam shucker at a seafood restaurant called the Crab Shack. I also worked in a great hamburger restaurant called Around The Corner. This place served over 26 kinds of hamburgers.
I quickly moved up from burgers to steak, landing a job in a fine-dining restaurant called Bank's and Shane's. But that wasn't enough. Not for me. I cut grass on the weekend, I painted address numbers on curbs, I cleaned gutters, I cut wood, I painted, I picked weeds, I raked yards, I sold greeting cards, I sold Cutco cutlery, encyclopedias and even women's perfume.
How I Stopped Punching A Time Clock.
It's been more than 20 years since I've seen a time clock, but I saw so many as a teenager that I can hear the sound now. I'd punch time clock after time clock to earn those pitiful pay checks that were handed out every two weeks. No matter how many times I hit the clock, those biweekly checks never seemed to add up to much. On top of that, the huge chunk of my money taken out --without my permission ---for taxes was startling to me.
Somehow I sensed this tax thing might be an unnecessary rip off. I had this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that working hard for someone else was leading me down a dead end road.
How Working For Tips Changed Everything
I looked for alternatives to "hourly wage" jobs, and found one. While I was still in high school, I took a job at a rib joint called Tony Roma's Ribs. My best friend's older brother worked there and he brought my friend and me onboard as bus boys.
This was my first experience working for tips. At last, I actually felt I had some control over my income. I learned very quickly the amount of tips I received from the bartender, waiters and waitresses was directly related to how much help I gave them during the shift. I figured out fast if I made their job easier by promptly clearing their tables, filling water glasses and having hot bread ready for them to take out to their tables, they'd be able to provide better service to the dining customer and make more tips. I was a fast, dependable team player. The waitresses loved working with me. They handed me more tips then they doled out to the other bus boys because of my excellent service I gave them.
Man, this job was fun. I had about ten of my high school friends working with me as bus boys, dishwashers and line cooks. Did we have a blast! And money! I was pulling in good cash money for a kid in high school. Best of all, Uncle Sam did not have his hand in my bus boy tip pocket. These jobs toughened my determination to call my own shots in business.
How A Job In College Started Me In Advertising & Marketing
After I graduated Riverwood High school in Sandy Springs, I set off to pursue a more formal education. I was no straight A student. I could not wait to get out of school. I knew these classes on history, math and science would have no benefit for me. I applied to two southern universities:
The University of Georgia and the University of Alabama. I was accepted into the University of Alabama, so off I went to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a small college town an hour north of Birmingham Alabama. I joined the only Jewish fraternity on campus, ZBT. Yes, it was fun. Let's face it, attending college is not only about books and classrooms. It's about segueing to adulthood, living on your own and testing your independence. This was my first experience living away from Mom and Dad. I met great people from all over the country and had a blast.
When the school told me I had to choose a major, frankly, I was stumped. I had no earthly idea what direction I wanted to go in. When they pressed me, I said, "Fine. I'll major in Home Economics. I found myself in classes with nothing but girls! Sure, I knew baking cakes and learning how to vacuum was probably was not a good direction for me if I wanted to be financially independent, but I liked those girls…….
Party-Me As College Sophomore ZBT Fraternity
One Hot Afternoon in July
One hot afternoon in July, I was consulting with my college advisor. Over her desk hung a huge poster of Rubic's Cube. She was talking, talking, but my mind was on the poster. I can remember asking myself how could I take a product like this and sell a million of them. I knew the guy who invented Rubik's Cube had to be set for life! A real millionaire. I wanted to be like that guy. All I needed to know was how to go about it?
I financed my education at the University of Alabama with government grants, loans and a required financial aid work/study job. One of the requirements for my GSA loans was to work at least 12 hours a week. The money I earned went to repay a portion of my loans.
I landed a job in the office of University Relations for the University of Alabama. My duties included answering the phone and welcoming people into the office. This department was responsible for producing all the advertising and promotional material for the University. Every piece of promotional material for the university went through this office. I was exposed to the entire process of what it took to put out a mailing, produce a color catalog or layout ads.
I used an old PMT machine to photograph the layout art. I would run it through the developer and create black and white art. I would do paste-ups of the art on a waxed coated layout sheet.
Yes, these were the "Dark Ages" of production. Well before computers began doing all this stuff so effortlessly. The office staffed two art directors, one editor and one graphic artist. It's pure serendipity that I landed this job. All completely by chance. It had influenced me towards advertising and marketing in several ways.
Roll Tide My Alabama Football Student Ticket
$600 For Every 1000 Envelopes Stuffed
While still putting myself through college with a 12 hour per week work-study jobs, I was always on the look out for new ways to earn extra dollars. I clearly remember answering two classified ads I found in the back of the college newspaper that had a profound impact on my business education. The first was an enticing ad with the headline, "How to Buy a Jeep for $44." I sent my money in for this book that essentially told you how to buy at government auctions. I liked the approach of having people send in money for information products.
A classified ad with the tease "How to Make $600 for Every 1000 Envelopes Stuffed" really reeled me in. I sent my $20 plus $7 Shipping and handling in only to find out this was a scheme, but I liked the concept and figured if it could work for them, it could work for me. My brother was attending the same college I was and together we launched Senco Enterprises.
Our plan was to take the same approach, promising to show people how to make $600 for every 1000 enveloped they stuffed, but to do it better. We utilized the resources of the University Relations department to create a professional looking logo. We rewrote and typeset the letter. Then we printed our offer on high quality card stock and closed the ivory envelope letter with a beautiful gold seal. It was first class and very professional looking.
We placed the exact same ads in the college newspapers and bingo! Orders started coming in. This thing was working! We were puling in the dollars! Our post office box at the college was stuffed-stuffed with responses and checks. Soon we had hundreds of checks for $20. We were making great extra spending money.
White Mail From A Postal Inspector
It was almost too good to be true, and we were beginning to get a little nervous with our success. We had reason to be nervous. Everything came to a fast halt with a single alert from the post office that we were on the borderline of legality with our envelope stuffing scheme. We were selling information, true.
But it was questionable if we were delivering precisely what was promised in the ads. We had to cease and desist immediately, but we had a great run. The successful foray in the mail order business heavily influenced my career in Direct Mail. You can still see the same ads running in papers everywhere today!
Can I Survive?
With my finances in deep trouble by my second year in college, I learned something important. I needed more money if I wanted to go drinking with my fraternity brothers. Many of my fraternity brothers had Mommy and Daddy pay for everything.
Many of my wealthy frat brothers were driving Beamers, Saabs and Mercedes. I learned something else. A mere 12-hour work/study job was not going to cut it.
I remembered my early stint as an entrepreneur, selling cinnamon-flavored toothpicks. Toothpicks were not "in" so I decided to learn how to make and sell tie-dye tee shirts. My plan was to rent a space in the lobby of the university post office right in the path of the university book store for $20 a day plus a 10% cut on my gross sales. I'd display my tie-dye tee shirts and hope people would buy. I remember being nervous as hell when I first started
My first shirts were, in a word, ugly. I made them using Rit dye, the kind you buy at any grocery store. But I was determined. Driven by a strong motivation-I really did want to go drinking with my frat brothers-I eventually developed a process and my own unique style. Soon, I was turning out professional looking shirts with quality, permanent fiber reactive dyes.
Some of my designs were those shocking bright ones that you might see at a Grateful Dead concert. But I also learned there are many people who would never consider wearing one of those freaky pot smoking grateful dead shirts. I made my shirts for a more conservative market. After all, there are far more conservative people in the world then grateful dead fans. My designs would not "bleed out" in the wash or fade. They were forever.
Click here to see my retail store and some of my shirts.
My tie-dye tee shirt business took off. One year later, I was exhibiting and selling at craft shows. I became the owner of a tie-dye T-shirt manufacturing business. I opened a retail store and did all the manufacturing in the back. I developed a full color catalog and began selling wholesale to major retail department stores in the south. I even modeled in my own catalog.
Before long, I was a B.M.O.C. (Big Man On Campus) as "The Tike Tie-dye-guy". "I manufactured, retailed and wholesaled tie dye tee shirts for seven years. My last two years of college, I converted a back room of my retail store into a bedroom and lived in my retail shop. I had a plumber install a shower, then I cancelled the lease on apartment and eliminated my apartment rent.
Profits from my tie-dye tee shirts were my main source of income throughout six year tenure of college. The business was profitable, but required intensive labor for creating the shirts and for staffing and managing the retail store. Dealing with employee problems, maintaining expensive inventory, dealing with the retail sales tax, corporate deadlines, banks, retail overhead, manufacturing hassles, and the long retail hours left me feeling stifled, and once again limited by my time. Was this really much better than my dad's orange motor home? I closed the store and began my search for a better way to financial freedom.
Me Retail Store
Inside view of my store
Me the cheapest model I could find
Department store promotion
See, I want to reveal a personal secret about myself
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