How Did I Get Here?
My story is kinda like an after school special… Buckle up and get ready for the ride LOL I grew up in a small town called Sauk City in rural WI. We had a grand total of 3001 people in this “city”… My mother and father were drug addict alcoholics. We lived in a shitty little house that was basically a trailer home on a foundation with a basement. My bedroom was about the size of a normal closet LOL When I was 10, my dad finally caught my mom cheating on him so they divorced.
“Mom wanted nothing to do with my brother or I so she took off.”
When I turned 12, Dad forced me
to get a job on top of all the chores because he didn’t want to buy me clothes for school.
He felt that was my responsibility. So I started working on my great Uncle’s farm on the weekends. My job was to shovel all the shit out of the two pig barns. For $3/hr…
Saturday I would clean one barn and Sunday the other. Not sure if you’ve ever shoveled pig shit before, but it smells NASTY. Each week the pigs would shit so much that the top 2 feet was liquid. The bottom foot was totally compacted and solid. I’d have to chip at hard chunks of shit for hours on end to get it all out. Then I’d load up the shit spreader and take it out onto the field and spread it.
At 12 years old, flying down the back roads with a tractor pulling a shit spreader – imagine that! Thing was that shit spreader didn’t work right either. I had to wear a thick hoodie in the middle of summer to block my head from the chunks of shit that would get kicked back at me. This went on until I hit 14 and could get a work permit to work at a real job.
I had a variety of different jobs all through high school.
I did that on top of playing baseball, soccer and hockey. Along with a healthy passion for skateboarding and snowboarding. It was this experience that really taught me the meaning of hard work and gave me the work ethic I have today.
At 16, I got my first girlfriend pregnant. She delivered our daughter Haley 1 month after I turned 17. That was a whirlwind. My girlfriend Heather (who is now my wife of nearly 15 years) was 2 years older than me – so she was already in college and I was just a junior in high school. Thankfully her parents stepped up and helped us with our daughter or we would have had to give her up for adoption.
I was able to graduate my Senior year of high school at the end of the 1st semester and I followed Heather up to school at the University of Minnesota.
“I’d always been a straight A student and when I got to college, it wasn’t any different. ”
I made Dean’s list Magna Cum Laude easily. Problem was, I had ZERO financial support from my family. And I couldn’t get enough student loans to cover my living expenses.
So I decided to get a job. I was a huge electronics nerd, so I applied at Circuit City and got the job. Quickly, I became a top sales person in the wireless phone section. Sales just came naturally to me. And because of my results, Circuit City kept giving me more hours. Soon I was trying to work 40 hours a week and go to college at the same time. On top of that I had a taste for partying. Which was a recipe for disaster. I soon prioritized partying and work over school. And promptly went from the Dean’s list to flunking out…
That’s when I decided
to go all in on sales.
I applied over to a company that sells phones exclusively so I could support myself and my little family. I quickly rose to that top of that company. At 20 years old, I was making $7500+ per month selling wireless phones. I felt like the biggest baller of all time LOL I got married at 21 and bought my first house a month later.
When I was 23, I got recruited by an American Family Insurance District Manager from my cell phone job. He had come in and I sold him phones for him and his family. He came back a week later and told me that if I could get licensed for property & casualty and life/health insurance within 2 weeks… He would hire me as a “scratch” agent… I would have my own business… This was something I had ALWAYS wanted, so I jumped at it.
I got my licenses and was hired by American Family. In October of 2003 (just 2 months after my 2nd daughter was born), I launched my agency. I had no idea what I was doing. However, I new I needed to sell stuff or I was gonna get fired. Insurance companies are REALLY antiquated in their marketing training. Basically, they told us to cold call, knock on doors and send the pre-approved company mail pieces.
“I didn’t have any money so I HAD to
do the cold calling and door knocking.”
I worked 80 hour weeks – missing time with my wife and kids… While I pounded the phones and pavement. I made that work.
I hit all kinds of awards for personal, commercial and life insurance sales. But I was miserable. I hated what I did. And my family life was strained to say the least. This went on for the first 3 years of my agency before I had enough. There HAD to be a better way… So I started looking for ways to attract people to me, instead of chasing them around – begging them to let me quote their insurance… And praying that I was low enough for them to switch!
That’s when I found
I loved his material. I bought a bunch of his books and courses – I also signed up to his newsletter. I was totally seduced by the idea of direct response marketing and was determined to make it work! I spent days writing my first letter… Handwriting envelopes… Stamping and licking them shut… Along with spending thousands on postage… Only to get ZERO response! Most people would have been totally deflated by that… Not me, I did it again. And failed again. I repeated that process several more times… Until I sent out a mailer that got my phone ringing. People were calling me to do a quote! And they were closing WAY higher than the cold calls!!!! So I kept writing more letters and getting more exclusive leads… I blew up my agency to over $1,000,000 through direct mail. And I put processes and systems in place to take the best care of them.
In fact, I won a JD Power Award for Outstanding Client Service in 2005, 2006, and 2007! During that time, the insurance lead gen industry was really starting to blow up online… These companies would sell a lead to six different agents and make them compete with each other. Consumers hated it. So did the agents. But nobody knew how to get their own leads online. I figured, what the hell, I bet I can take what I’m doing in my letters and apply it online. So I did. And it worked 🙂
“I started figuring out how to build websites that were basically sales letters and start driving traffic to those sales letters.”
That was a game changer for me as the cost of this was so much less and it was so much easier than sending direct mail! In 2008, I got tired of the Minnesota winters so Heather and I decided to move someplace warm.
I put myself out there with other insurance companies to see if they were hiring, as I heard that some of them will pay to move you and give you a book of business.
I sent a direct mail packet to State Farm and Farmers in AZ. The day after it went out (I sent it over night) I got a call from both companies. I went through the interview process with both and accepted State Farm’s offer. Sure as shit, they paid for my moving expenses and gave me a book of business that was bigger than the one I left at American Family. I took over that book in Tucson AZ at the end of 2008. I started doing all the marketing stuff I was doing at AmFam (all of which was done totally compliantly)… I also put together a client newsletter and started mailing that to the book in order to develop a relationship with them. Things were going well…
Until June of 2009, when I get a call from our regional office… They wanted me to drive up to Tempe (a 2 hour drive) immediately… I went to meet with the DM. Apparently one of the clients filed a complaint over my newsletter… He didn’t like an article in the newsletter that was talking about the Merril Lynch CEO getting huge bonuses while everyone was losing money (it was the middle of the Great Recession)… State Farm decided they felt I violated my securities licenses because of this article – so they suspended them and filed a complaint with the NASD on me! This was going to prevent me from meeting my securities sales requirements for the year and put me in jeopardy of not having my contract renewed.
I was getting sick of all the bullshit
like clients coming into my office and threatening my wife because they were late on their fucking bill. I also had a guy take a shit on the floor of my office (that’s a whole other story)… At this time, I had been introduced to the world of Click Bank and the biz op internet marketing community. I saw all these kids that were supposedly making a killing online, so I figured I could do better than those jackasses… I walked away from my agency in December of 2009 to become an affiliate marketer. Over the course of 2010, I bought a ton of courses and tried all kinds of stuff.
I tested every traffic platform possible. I tested all kinds of different affiliate models. I built tons of websites. I wrote thousands of articles. I’d get a few things to work, but mostly failed. I spent about $60,000 on my credit cards… After burning through all my savings and cashing out my IRA’s… It got to December of 2010 and I had no money. I hadn’t paid my mortgage. Hadn’t bought the kids any Christmas presents. I spent my last $1000 on the credit card for a coaching package from a guy on the Warrior Forum of all places… On my last call with him – I told him my situation. And his advice was life changing for me.
He told me that I have all kinds
of valuable skills. I was just applying them in the wrong way.
He recommended I put myself up on Odesk to do marketing for companies that need people like me. So I did. 3 days later I got a paid gig for $3000.
I got the company to pay me up front and was able to pay the mortgage and get the kids a few presents. I busted my ass for that company and we blew up! They started telling people about me. And I started getting some more gigs. Every where I went, the marketing I was doing worked. One client was losing $20,000 per month when I came on board with them… Within 18 months, I had turned them around to profiting $60,000 /month! During that time, I built an entire digital product division for them. I created the membership site. Wrote the sales letters and recorded the videos. I built all the webpages and tied all the systems together.
I also mastered SEO and wrote up all the content on their site to get them 20,000+ uniques from Google every month. On top of that, I helped develop out the processes and systems on their lending side. When the owner tried to get me to sign a contract with him, I knew I was on to something… I refused to do that and left in August of 2012… Quickly I picked up a few clients by just reaching out to contacts I had made over the years.
I would do EVERYTHING for these people:
- Write their sales letters
- Build their funnels
- Put all the tech in place (mostly Infusionsoft)
- And drive traffic using Adwords, SEO or email drops
I had 4 clients going into 2013… The first quarter of 2013, they all kept asking me about Facebook ads… In May, the bugging about FB ads got so bad, I thought I’d lose all my clients if I didn’t figure out FB ads. I only charged $1000/month for all that stuff I did above, so I couldn’t afford to lose any clients! I decided I needed to hire a coach to help me figure out Facebook. I responded to an ad from Adam Spiel. I plunked down the $15,000 Adam wanted on 2 different credit cards. It was all the space I had because it was what I had paid off those cards from the debt I accumulated in 2010! This motivated the hell out of me… I started applying what Adam taught for my clients and it worked! So then I did it for myself to get more clients – and it worked! From May 2013 to August 2013, I grew my business by 5x…
I was sharing all my results with Adam… He approached me in August about partnering as he was getting people who wanted him to run their ads and he didn’t want to do it… So he wanted to white label me.
I thought that was a great idea!
And it turned out to be
an incredible partnership…
It got me a gig with Digital Marketer in October of 2013. I was tasked with launching their Funnel Experts division. I built out the funnel for this project. I did all the tech stuff in Infusionsoft. I drove all the traffic into the funnel And I helped DM to optimize the follow up stuff in Infusion! From October 2013 to March 2014 we did over $3 million in sales from that funnel… At a $16 to $1 return on ad spend 🙂 During that time, I had also enrolled in one of Frank Kern’s masterminds. I was sharing the results of this campaign with Frank. He ended up partnering with DM on that project. And in January of 2014, he approached me about doing his ads. Frank and I quickly became friends and I did a great job for him. He referred people left and right to me. I also got a ton of referrals from DM. And people started talking about me. That’s what blew up my business.
Since then, I’ve been continuously developing out the processes and systems I use to get results on Facebook
as the platform and rules are always changing. I have 18 people on my team now. I’ve also taken our processes and systems and turned those into training courses that we sell online and in live event formats. I quite regularly get people telling me that they’ve done all the other courses and didn’t get any results until they took mine. And that’s where I am today. I have two companies: Our full service agency where we do the advertising for clients. And my training company.