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You may not believe this but I truly believe my experiences have made me one of the the luckiest guys in the world!

Why?

This was a pivotal point in my life. I learned some very important lessons and began to understand the meaning of leverage. It was clear manufacturing tee shirts was not the path to financial freedom. I continued my quest. I would find something better. Something I could leverage my time with.

After graduating in 1990 with a major in advertising and a minor in marketing, I closed my retail store and moved to Nashville, Tennessee with my remaining tee shirt inventory. Although I didn’t mention this before, I’m part of a set of triplets. We are not identical, --I have a triplet sister Robyn at the top of first  page as well as a triplet brother --but we are triplets. Here is proof below. 

     One Year Old May 2003              My Brother & Sister

When I relocated to Nashville, I moved in with my triplet brother, Joel.  We shared an apartment in a complex about 20 miles outside the city. At the time, Joel was working his first 9-5 job out of college, a cable and fiber optics company called Anexter Communications.

I was flush with cash from my tee shirt business. I’d built up a bank account of about $20,000 and felt like I had all the time in the world to explore new business opportunities.

Evidence That Does Not Lie

During the day I would venture out to sell my remaining tie-dye tee shirt inventory.  I developed a technique for selling my shirts with absolutely no effort or “selling” involved. All I would do is walk around town clutching a bunch of the vividly tinted shirts in my arms.

The colors were too bright to ignore.  Anyone who saw them --and was attracted to them --would ask me if they were for sale. My answer was always, “ well, no, not really, but I guess it won't hurt to sell one or two.”  Was that easy, or what!

I remember one day I walked into a busy T.C.B.Y Yogurt shop. There was a huge line of girls with their moms standing in line waiting their turn for yogurt. By the time I walked out of the shop, I’d sold over $200 worth of shirts. 

I learned some important lessons in human nature. 1) Sometimes, when you try too hard to sell something, you push the prospect away. 2) People don't like to be sold, they like to buy. 3) People want it to be their idea.

All the ladies who bought shirts from me were proud they “luckily” found such a beautiful tie-dye tee shirt from a guy who “happened” to be standing in line at the same yogurt shop. They were proud they got the shirts at more then half off the retail price. "What a deal," they can tell their friends. This is the joy of buying.

I allowed these women a feeling of importance. I satisfied an insecurity. Question: Why do you think many women love to shop? Answer: The real reason is because shopping gives them a feeling of power and control that they may not have in any other areas of their life. It makes them feel important.  Shopping satisfies their insecurity in the world, even if only temporarily.

How To Make Great Money Selling On Consignment

Another effective way I sold off my remaining tee shirt inventory was by placing my tie-dye shirts in local retail shops on a consignment arrangement. For every shirt sold, I would take 60 percent of the retail sale price, giving the shop owner 40%.  The shop owners loved this deal because they had nothing invested in the inventory.

They had nothing to lose. No risk. If you have a product you know will sell in a retail location and you have the capital to invest in the inventory, consignment selling is a great way to go. What's the lesson? When you remove the risk --the insecurity or fear of loss-- you greatly increase your chance of a sale.  I levered this concept to build a successful pen business. More on that later in the story.

Thank God For Multi Level Marketing

Had I noticed a couple of significant clues. One day I answered a Sunday Ad in the paper and received videotape titled, How to Make $20,000 A Month With Your Own Business. This was a promotional tape put out by a guy named Mark Yarnell. He was a successful MLM distributor with a new and upcoming network marketing company, NuSkin.

This guy was doing a very effective sales pitch on NuSkin and the distributor opportunities available with the company. He was making $20,000 a month. He was living in San Diego, California. I could see the beautiful San Diego bay behind him in the background. There were these sailboats, blue water and sunshine. The Nashville whether in the summer was too hot and humid. The winters were too cold for me and the thought of living in a place with a reputation of having one of the best climates in the world with an average temperature of 70 degrees year round sounded good to me.

A month later, I was a NuSkin distributor and had my mind set to move to San Diego California

A college friend of mine and I packed up our cars and headed west --3000 miles to San Diego California. I drove a white 1987 Honda Civic. My dream was to make a million dollars, surf the pacific, roller skate on the boardwalk, live on the beach and retire filthy rich.

I Was Young, Dumb, Single And Free.

We made the three day drive across the country safely.   It was the only time I have driven across the county. I remember stopping in Austin Texas and going to this killer piano bar called Catz. Man-- the beautiful college girls of Austin, the beer, the singing  the songs at the bar was a great time. I was young, dumb single and free.

When we arrived in San Diego, I insisted on living on the beach. We rented the top of a duplex for $900 a month. It was a nice clean one bedroom vacation condo. It overlooked the pacific. You could open the sliding glass door and smell the sea. You could look over the balcony and see the girls skating buy in their bikini's. Man this was exactly like the Beach Boys song, California Girls. I was living the California Dream.

When I was in college at Alabama,  I have bought a pair of very nice black roller skates. I knew how the skate. I had a five mile boardwalk right under my balcony. I would roller skate the boardwalk every day and lay out on the beach and eat great Mexican food. If you have never had a carniosado burrito or three rolled tacos, you have got to get out here and try this food. It is incredible.

The first nine months in California I blew through my $20,000 on NuSkin, other network marketing company opportunities, ocean front apartment rent, and daily living expenses. I found myself broke and completely frustrated. We were pushing these MLM business opportunities. This was a bunch of hype. We would go out and network with people and try to sell them on the dream of making a killing selling soaps, shampoos, herbs and basically a bunch of bull. We had are little fingers in the pot of all kinds of business opportunities.

Oh and the time I was conned by some guy who was gong to get one of our products on TV. I still remember this man. He wanted $1500 upfront and for us to fly him out to San Diego, put him up in a hotel and he was going to get our product on TV. His name was Gary. God was I stupid and gullible. I guess when your desperate and rely on others to make you rich, that's what you get.  And I had been ripped of before big time.

Bum Of The Street

When I was living in Alabama, I had a bunch of money from my Tie Dye tee shirt business. I answered a postcard mailing having to do with investing in gold. I called the 800 number and was sucked into the allure of gold coins as investments. I has the cash and gold coins sounded like a good place to put my money.

The company was called Thomson and Cartwright out of New York City, New York. I had invested over $20,000 in these gold coins. Later that year, I was in New York and wanted to meet with my salesman. He reluctantly agreed and boy was he a disappointment. You know the feeling in your stomach. It was like I had swallowed a brick. I new I had been ripped of after looking into his eye for two minutes. This guy looked like a bum of the street, his hands were shaking. What an idiot. Agggggggg.

I was ready for a change. This first year in San Diego was a “bust,” but a great learning experience, nevertheless. I learned that network marketing is a very difficult way to make a living.

Most people are drawn to MLM network marketing companies because they promise easy money. “Sign up with this company and I'll put 5, 10, 15 people under you,” is what they tell you. In fact, you become the recruiter for their business opportunity. Very few of the people signing on are going to do actual selling of product. There are too many details to go into here, but take my word for it, network marketing is not the easy road to riches.

Where Wealth Begins

Why do some men prosper while others remain poor? After breaking up with one of my girlfriends, I took a month off to visit my brother Joel. He was transferred by his company and was now living in Washington D.C. I planned to stay there until I figured out exactly what I was going to do next. During the day, while my brother was working, I would take a bus downtown to the National Library of Congress. If you’ve never seen it, this is the most complete library in the world. Surrounded by stacks of rare and important books, I would research and study anything -- old or new--related to sales and selling. 

I discovered many of the great books on selling, books that almost no one had heard of today. The authors were the real pros. Men like Elmer Wheeler, Elmer Letterman, Frank Bettger, A.W.Shaw, Claude Hopkins, Bruce Barton, Sidney N. Bremer, Ph D. They were all pioneer sales masters back in the 1910s, 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.

My first great sales book was Zig Zigler Secrets of Closing The Sale

I knew by studying and learning from these master salesmen from the past, that I could leverage my business and my selling education in a big way. Fired by enthusiasm, I would stay all day at the library, then head home for dinner.

How To Make $100 Per Hour Drilling Holes

I am mot sure how I got the idea but After dinner, my brother would lend me his car so I could go drive to nearby residential neighborhoods to install peep holes in the doors for homeowners. (a peep hole is a door viewer to see out the door when someone rings the door bell.)

I’d park the car, get out and knock on the doors; doors with no windows or opening for viewing the person outside before opening the door. I had my proven sales pitch totally committed to memory. With my green Makita drill by my side, it looked like a gun, I would simply say..."Hi, I'm the guy installing all the peep holes in your neighbors doors, did you want one?"

It was as simple as that. If the homeowner asked how much it cost for the peephole, I knew they were sold. Each sale meant another $20 dollars cash in my pocket. If you are ever in dire need of a fast way to make cash, try this.

I could go out with my Makita drill and a pocket full of two-dollar peepholes bought from the local Home Depot and make $150 -$200 in two hours flat. That was more money then my brother made all day long at his desk job--and in one-fifth the time. 

I thought selling was the key to my financial freedom. But there was a missing link I had yet discovered.

Even installing peepholes and painting address numbers on curbs imposed limitations. I was limited again by my time. If I could duplicate my efforts somehow, If I knew how to multiply myself, If I could learn how to clone myself to 100 Michael Senoff's, then I would be RICH!

<Play to listen to a short recording one of my customers revealing how he made big money installing door viewers and painting address numbers on street curbs. Play this second recording>-  I did for a twenty year old Texan named Frank. Frank called wanting my best advice of exactly what he should do to start making money installing door viewers. My advice to Frank on how to do this business is very different to how I operated my peep hole business fifteen years ago. If you follow this advice to frank, get a used or new drill and a pocket full of door viewers you'll start making fast rent money selling door viewers, door knockers, door flashing, dead bolt locks and more. If you go out and use this advice, let me know of your success. Here is a great example you can use to start your curb painting business. It's a flyer from a San Diego company paining address numbers on curbs. Download here

Take $2000 and Call Me In the Morning

I thought I had found a way to at least double my efforts when I teamed up with a friend to sell Skin Guard, a hand-lotion that created a barrier to protect hands from chemicals.  My partner and I sold the product under our own private label.  We had no money of our own, so we were bank rolled by a financier who took a huge portion of our profits. 

We were busting our butts to make it, and making progress.  Then I discovered that my partner was embezzling some of the money put in by our financier. I’d had it. No more partners.  No more splitting profits. No more placing my faith in anyone but myself.

My Skin Guard Product

Why You Need Courage To Go It Alone

To this point, all my moneymaking projects while in San Diego were with partners. There can be some benefits to having partner, but in my opinion going it alone is best. I’m the type of person who makes fast decisions and works fast. I think fast and act on my ideas immediately. I like to take all the risk. I want the control. A partner can stifle that control, slowing down the momentum you need when working on a project.

Many times, people partner up because they are afraid to fail on their own. My advice is go it alone.  Take the risk reap all the rewards. Answer only to the face in the mirror. Your confidence will skyrocket and you won't waste time stopping to ask your partner if you can write a check for five bucks!.  Or even worse, wasting time with a partner who turns out to be not quite as honest as you thought.

When You're Down There's Only One Way To Go

I was busted!  My partner’s embezzling landed me in debt.  I moved from a house into a tiny studio. When my trusty Honda Civic had bad breaks and a bad clutch. I had no money for the repairs of rent, so called and ad in the auto trader magazine to sell my Honda Civic. 

I snapped this photo with my Polaroid camera, (the same camera I was using for the bumper stickers promotion) moments before the buyer was towing my car away. He paid me $1200 cash. I paid my rent, walked up the street to a used car lot and bought a brown 1981 Honda Civic for $200 down and three payments of $300 a month. 

My White Honda Civic Being Towed Away For Good

This was the lowest point in my career.  It was so low, in fact, that I actually took a job working for some one else.  Selling vitamins for a telemarketing company. It only took me a few days to discover the huge mark-up on the vitamins—what a rip-off—and I couldn’t continue.  I walked out. Now what? I was down on my luck. I had just split with my business partner, I had no money and no job.

Then I got a knock on my door at my plush one bedroom apartment and there was a guy selling cable TV. His name was Craig Williams. I don't remember if I ever did buy cable from him but we got to talking.

I was asking him about his job. He told me that it was a pretty good job and that you could make $100 or more a day. I wanted in. I asked Craig if he could get me a job. He gave me the name of Mike. Mike was the area lead manager.

Mike called me the next day and agreed to meet me at the Wendy's hamburger restaurant on Grand Ave. in Pacific beach. I got the job and began my career as a South Western cable direct door to door salesman.

The Job was pure direct sales. Mike the manager would give you leads of homes that had just moved and or who had no cable and I would go out and call on these homes individually. It was a good job and came to me a good time.

I made some good money but I knew selling cable TV was limited and was not going to get me to where I wanted to go.

Between my cable job, I drove the streets of San Diego looking for items to buy and sell for a profit.  One day, as I was wandering around, I walked into a printing company. I was talking to the owner and soon learned he had been in the bumper sticker business. He was selling to major national accounts.

The partners had recently had a falling out, and they were on notice to vacate their building within two to three months.  Upstairs they had thousands and thousands of bumper stickers.   I asked them if they may be interested in selling me some.  After I took a closer look, I decided I could hustle these stickers by the thousand and make some fast cash selling the bumper stickers. 

I made a deal to buy them for a penny and a half each as needed. I arranged to leave the stock in their warehouse, and take trays of 10,000 at a time to sell. 

I’d load up my brown $900 Honda Civic with these heavy trays of bumper stickers and hit the road. I called on liquor stores first to resell the bumper stickers. My strategy was to take Polaroid snapshots of the liquor store owner with the bumper stickers, then use that as a “testimonial” when I pitched the next liquor store. 

My Brown Honda Civic

There were tons of liquor stores in the area, and all the owners knew each other. In fact, I think they were all from the same town in Iraq, and all nicknamed “Sam.”

My marketing technique worked.  I unloaded the bumper stickers at a tidy profit and learned three essentials of marketing. One, photo presentations help sell product. Two, a mark-up of 900% is good, and three, if you can sell to a business person from the middle east, you have got to be pretty good. These guys are a hard sale. They grow up negotiating from the time they are young children. I respect their skills.

People want to be seen bumper sticker customers

These photos were a sales device to commit them to the order of the stickers

I gave my customers a way to sell the product More bumper sticker customers

   I personally created  each display  with an order

 

 

 

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE

 

Click Here To See How I Turn Pens Into Gold...



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