The early years
Thinking back to when I was younger, I often wonder how my mother endured me. I was the type of child that scared her often because I was either out exploring the neighborhood without letting her know where I was or exploring the city with my bike when I was old enough. Several childhood memories involved me and the wrong end of a belt because of something I had done or was caught doing. How did I know NOT to fire the newspaper under the front porch when I was 6? Well, that lesson was learned very well, let me tell you.
The teenage years
I am a child of the 80’s. Some of my favorite movies include Back to the Future, Die Hard, Top Gun, Nightmare of Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Star Wars, Aliens, Kung Fu, Bruce Lee and the list goes on. The big hair bands are still my favorite to listen to as well including Bon Jovi, Cinderella, Whitesnake, Def Leopard, Poison, Heart, REO Speed Wagon, and again the list goes on and on. Growing up my family was not wealthy at all. We lived just a little bit above paycheck to paycheck if you can understand that so as a kid I did not have allowances to feed my movie, music, or other activities habit. I found myself thinking of ways that I can earn money. During the fall and winter seasons, this was rather easy as I provided leaf removal services for neighbors in the fall and snow removal in the winter. My family already had a rake and a shovel so I just needed to put in the work. I did a lot of bike riding, bunny hops, and ramp jumps during the spring and summer seasons. Never really like being indoors unless I had to. My first bike was really just a frame with handlebars and a seat. My mom bought it for me at a garage sale for $5. Over the next couple of months, I fixed the bike to working condition and became quite good at bicycle repair which is how I earned money in the spring and summer months.
These years were a bit easier on my family as I did not care to rediscover the lessons I had to learn painfully as a youngster. Growing up during the 80’s I was never exposed to people who were entrepreneurs and the only thing I could remember was being told in middle and high school to “go to college and then get a good job”. This was the way to get what you want in life. So after getting my high school diploma I decided to join the ARMY using the GI Bill to get money for me to go to college. I fit in very well with the Army lifestyle and it was not long before my superiors noticed me and recommended me for OCS. OCS stands for Officer Candidate School and it’s where they send people to be trained to be an officer in the military. It was a big honor for me to be chosen. Unfortunately, after only a short time in the military, I was injured in a truck accident which resulted in the removal of my right arm above the elbow. This injury ended my military career. So at the age of just nineteen I was honorably discharged from the Army.
The challenging years
“What the F*** do I do now?”, I ask myself after getting back home from the Army. I lost my arm just a few months ago and now I am thrust into this new way of life without any education or training to help me succeed. At this point, I still could not even use a pen and paper to write down any thoughts or ideas. Oh did I forget to mention that I was right-handed? It took me three months to teach myself how to write again using my left hand. It took me 5 months to learn how to use cursive writing so I can sign my name. It was a humbling experience for me. This was the early 90’s so the internet was really not that prevalent yet for me to research my opportunities. After several weeks of calling the Veterans Administration for assistance, I finally caught a break. I found the office of Vocational Rehabilitation. They told me that they have programs for disabled veterans like me to go to college. I made an appointment with them and it was not long before I was in college taking classes. Finally, I had the plan to get my life together.
I spent the next four years in college and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Astro Physics with a minor in Mathematics. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? In my last semester of college, I found out that there were really no jobs in the market for people with just a bachelor’s degree in Physics. There were people at the university with master’s and even PhD level degrees that could not find a job not just in the local area but anywhere in the world. Not a good sign for job hunting after spending all this time getting a degree. I was back asking myself “What the F*** do I do now?”. So I reached out to the vocational rehabilitation office to let them know what I found regarding my degree. After another meeting with them, they agreed to pay for more training for me so I can get a job. Getting me back into the workforce was really their goal. So at this point, I pivoted into Computer Science. Keep in mind it was mid 90’s at this point and the internet was growing, Apple and Microsoft were growing and technology was booming. However, rather than going back to college, I wanted something a bit faster to get me into the workforce. Microsoft was dominating the business space with its windows software and in the newspaper, yes the newspaper, there were many Information Technology jobs available but they kept mentioning must be Microsoft certified or have an MCSE certification. After doing some research I found out that Microsoft offered training classes to be “Certified” to use their business software. These classes only took a few months and then you took a test and when you passed you got a certificate from Microsoft and were able to get a job at local businesses supporting their computer infrastructure. I started taking these classes and never looked back. You see in this field it did not matter if I had two hands or not, just that you had the knowledge. College was not a total waste, I met and started dating the woman who would become Ms. Ray O’Daniel while I was there.
The growth years
I had found my calling. The vocational rehabilitation office agreed to pay for a series of Microsoft classes to get me certified and trained. I spent the next year learning all that I could about Microsoft software to be the best. Shortly after getting Microsoft certified, I was about to get a job paying good money and great benefits. My life finally started to come together. I married my wife Renee and we started a family. For the next 18 years, I would grow and excel in the IT arena. I took every class that Microsoft offered and had more initials behind my name than I can mention. I moved from one company to the next as my experience and skill level grew getting paid more of course each move. Life was good and my wife and I lived very well raising our children, going on vacations, and saving for retirement. After reading Robert Kiyosaki’s book Rich Dad Poor Dad things changed for me. Now up to this point, I continue to learn about technology to improve my craft but I also read self-help books and started my entrepreneurial journey. When I was thirty-five I decided to give myself a ten-year plan to quit working for other people and start being an entrepreneur. While continuing to work in the IT field I began my side hustle in real estate investing. I joined a program called Fortune Builders, a real estate investment training company, in 2010 and started rehabbing, wholesaling, and buying rental properties. I was so successful in the program that I was asked to be a coach for them to help teach other people how to be successful as well. So I spent five years as a coach for them teaching thousands of students how to buy and sell real estate. Although I still had my IT job and my coaching job I was spending too much time working so something had to give. Reluctantly I gave up the coaching position to have more time with the family. I still did real estate just not coaching any longer. I still had my plan to quit my job and start working for myself. At the age of forty-four just two weeks before my forty-fifth birthday I gave notice to my golden handcuff job that I was quitting. It was a major shift in my life that scared and excited me at the same time.
In retrospect, I was not really prepared for what came next.
The entrepreneurial years
When I am a guest to speak on podcasts I always get asked thew questions like “What is your favorite book?” or “What was a book that really helped you as an entrepreneur?”. My answer is always “Rich Dad Poor Dad”. This book changed the perspective on a lot of people’s entrepreneurial journeys. During my years of reading self-help books as well as listening to different podcasts and hearing different stories, I wanted to be able to run my own business and define my own lifestyle. Well, what I was not prepared for was the discipline required to work and stay focused on your business. I recognized the lack of skills I possessed to be able to be the CEO of my own company and manage employees etc. I spent the next year focusing on these weaknesses and besides still doing my rehabbing and wholesaling business I started a real estate brokerage that was focused on nothing but rental property management. While running my real estate businesses I began following and learning from internet marketing leaders. I wanted to grow my current businesses online through SEO and organic traffic it just made sense. I focused on Russell Brunson because he was the most honest and giving person I found. If you are looking to learn about online sales and internet marketing you have to check him out. I was in his coaching group for a couple of years and he is the real deal. If you are or have been in real estate you understand that this business is a job. As I began getting older my kids, of course, got older as well and started to graduate high school, and my wife and I found ourselves in the empty nester phase of our life. So we decided we were ready for a change and that was to move away from real estate after a decade and a half. Yes, you heard me we stopped our real estate business. I sold my property management company to a national vendor and now I have moved into Saas and affiliate marketing. Its a business model that can scale quickly, allow me to travel the world and I can use the numerous online marketing skills I have acquired over the past 7+ years to help small and medium-sized businesses be more efficient and profitable in their business. It is truly fulfilling to help business owners increase their profits by 50% or more just by using technology.
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