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How Pissing Off the United State Postal Service Started My Journey as an Entrepreneur

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About Me

When I was old enough, my dad taught me how to cut the lawn, so I could earn an allowance. We had a corner lot back then with lots of trees, so it wasn’t like I could just mindlessly mow strips in the yard. I had to make tight turns, cut under trees, think about the patterns, dodge bees’ nests, etc.

However, I got so good, other people would ask me to cut their lawn. I would cut the neighbors lawns, my friends’ lawns, and family member’s lawns. The worst customer I had was my grandma (Babci). Not only did she not speak a lick of English (she only spoke Polish), but she also made me get out long boards to put in between the sections of grass so I wouldn’t scalp her lawn. Oh, and she didn’t pay me either!

I was making somewhat decent money, so I decided to “expand” my business. I went to the local Kinkos and made hundreds of blue flyers advertising my lawn cutting service. I wasn’t old enough to drive back then, so I got on my bike and rode around my sub putting the flyers in mailboxes. I must have visited over 200 houses.

It didn’t take long for me to get my first call. Unfortunately, it was from the United States Postal Service telling me that I had committed a crime! Who knew that you couldn’t put stuff in people’s mail boxes without a stamp?!

Thankfully, they let me off with a warning, and told me that I could attach my flyers to the flags of the mailboxes instead. I was out of flyers, so it didn’t matter. I needed clients first before I continued “advertising”.

I did end up getting calls, and I signed up about 15 clients. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but don’t forget I wasn’t driving yet so I had to walk my lawnmower and weed whipper to each house throughout the sub.

Needless to say, this business wasn’t sustainable, and once I got my first negative review, I shut down operations and just went on cutting my own lawn for $5…. And my grandma’s for free (that was my mom’s idea).

At the time I didn’t realize that I was born with the entrepreneurial gene, but I realized it years later when I almost made the worst decision of my life!

The Decision That Almost Changed the Course of My Life

During my sophomore year of high school, I made the decision that I wanted to be a doctor. Now, anyone that knows me is aware of my “decision personality quirk”. If I make a decision, I go full out sometimes to the point of extremes.

Let me give you an example. When I was younger, I rarely got sick. But one day I decided to get sick… well I didn’t actually decide, but it happened. Off I went to the doctor’s and was told that I had strep throat. But since I do things full throttle, my body decided that strep throat wasn’t enough. No… instead it became a doozy and was later diagnosed with Scarlet Fever!

This would happen again later in college when again I got sick. Because a regular cold wouldn’t do, my body decided that mononucleosis (mono) was better!

So when I made the decision to be a doctor, that was it. It was a done deal. I went all out and made it happen. I graduated from high school, went to a good university, took all my premed courses, studied and took the MCATs, applied to many medical schools, did all my interviews, and was eventually accepted into one.

But I decided at the last minute not to go. Talk about an “Oh Crap” moment! What happened?

While I was doing all the things necessary to get into medical school, I was also working at a hospital. I was an orderly that took patients back and forth for tests. It was a great job because I got access to numerous medical students, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. And because I developed good rapport with some of the surgeons, I was able to scrub in for numerous surgeries.

What I learned from that job changed the trajectory of my life forever. After much discussion and consultation with all the medical professionals, I realized that I wanted to be a doctor for all the wrong reasons!

I was about to spend the next 12 or so years of my life learning a profession I really had no desire to be in. I was more in love with owning a practice and helping people, then I was of practicing medicine. Stupid entrepreneurial gene!

My Many Failed Businesses

I graduated college with a BA in Biology, but what does one do with that degree other than go on to get a PHD or do research? Go into computers of course!

Because I needed a J.O.B. after I graduated, my mom was able to land me an interview with a large technology company. I knew how to turn on a computer and spell the word “computer” but that was really it.

Thankfully, the company hired me and stuck me where all the new hires go… the helpless desk, I mean the customer support desk.

I ended working at the company for several years, moving my way up higher and higher because for some reason, I caught on to computers quickly. They also paid for me to go to graduate school where I earned my MBA.

However, at the same time I was working there, I was also getting into real estate investing (that gene wouldn’t let me be!). Along with my father, I started a new company called Greene Investments LLC. I learned everything about buying houses, renting houses, wholesaling houses, and renovating houses. I even got my broker’s license to try and sell real estate.

We ended up buying a few houses and renting them out. And we did a couple of successful wholesale deals where we made some quick cash. But then came the housing crash of 2008, and we began to lose money, so we sold off and shut down shop.

Since I already had my license, I connected with a broker and tried the buying and selling for a commission thing, but that really didn’t work out.

Retail Real Estate Job

One of my friends during this time knew that I was into real estate, so he recommended that I send my resume to a company that developed large retail shopping centers. The company has shopping centers all over the country, and they are headquartered near where I live. I had never done a resume or cover letter before, but I thought “what the heck”, drafted one up, and sent it to them.

Much to my surprise, they ended up hiring me! I was brought in as a financial analyst working in the leasing department. It wasn’t a sexy title, but it got my foot in the door, and I would get to learn about a segment of real estate for which I didn’t have any knowledge.

My first day was an eye-opener for me and I quickly learned that I was a fish out of water. Every one of my colleagues were salespeople, and I was an analyst. They wore fancy clothes, drove fancy cars, traveled to fancy places, and always told me about it.

But instead of fretting about my displacement, I instead chose to learn from them. I ended up finding some great mentors (some of whom are still my mentors today). I also got access to the CEO, COO, and CFO of the company which was also valuable for my growth.

I worked in this position for about a year, until one day I was asked to do an analysis of the commissions the leasing agents were earning. I remember sitting in my little back corner office, and my boss walked in and handed me the report of the agents’ salaries and commissions.

Now I don’t remember what the analysis was supposed to be about, but I do remember my eyes popping out of my head when I saw how much these sales people were making. “Holy….” I thought. They make this much? I decided at that moment I was going to be a leasing agent!

I spent the next few months pestering my boss to promote me. I asked all my mentors to help me and support me. Unfortunately, the answer was always “maybe” or “we’ll see” which meant “No”. They were just too polite to say so. It didn’t matter; I was going to get my way (I decided, remember?).

Finally, after about 6 months of badgering my boss, he relented and said that I could go through the training program. However, if I didn’t pass, I would have to go back to being an analyst. I enthusiastically agreed and started the training.

The training consisted of learning about all the shopping centers (there were 23 at the time), the markets they served, how to negotiate a lease, how to overcome every objection, how to get the “highest rents known to mankind”, and how to sell in general. At the end, you had to go through a 4-hour mock presentation / negotiation with the executive team. The whole process was supposed to get you ready to think like an owner and build your own little leasing business.

Intermission Break

Now before I go on, I should tell you a little about some of my own personal struggles that I had to deal with (and still do to this day).

First, overall I’m an introvert. I don’t mind talking to people, but I’m not the best at doing presentations or talking in front of a large group. I especially get awkward if I’m caught off guard during a conversation. Let’s just say I don’t crave attention.

Also, I suffer from mild anxiety that comes on in the form of sweating bouts. I can’t explain what triggers them. They happen at random times, but they all follow this same script:

“Oh boy… here it comes”, I think to myself.

A bead of sweat trickles down my back.

“Ok, I’m getting warm. I’m starting to sweat” I say in my mind.

A bead of sweat forms on my nose.

“Oh NO! It’s going to start flowing”. I nervously think as I slowly try to remove myself from the room if I’m in a social situation.

A stream of sweat starts to flow from my brow, and I go into full panic mode because now I’m embarrassed!

“Sh!t, I’m sweating now” and I desperately try to find the nearest bathroom, fan, air conditioner, or anything to cool me off.

It’s something that I struggle with on a continual basis, but I’ve never let it hold me back. I guess that’s the good news.

The bad news is that these weaknesses aren’t ideal for someone who is about to start a sales career where they are going to give A LOT of presentations!

And remember how I told you that I don’t just do anything half based? Well about a month into training I had severe pain in my back that drove me to my knees. I was in Chicago at the time, so I immediately flew home and went to see the doctor.

“Classic kidney stones” he said and sent me for a cat scan.

The next day he called me back and said “Well, the good news is you don’t have kidney stones!”

“That’s great” I said. I’ve heard that passing a kidney stone is about as close a man will ever get to experience something like childbirth.

“Yeah but you have something I’ve never seen before and I can’t explain it.”

No one ever likes to hear that come out of their doctor’s mouth.

“Your insides are mixed up and I need to do some research. I’ve never seen this before so let me call you back”.

Huh… what does that even mean?

The next day he called me back and told me to go see a doctor he found in downtown Detroit, MI. He told me that this doctor knows what was wrong with me.

That was on a Wednesday. On Thursday (the next day) I was in the doctor’s office as he explained what I had. It was called a malrotation and it’s extremely rare in adults. They typically find this in infants and surgically correct it then because it’s very painful.

Basically, my intestines had twisted when I was still in my mother’s womb and had developed that way. My appendix was in the upper left-hand side of my abdomen area (instead of the lower right, where it’s supposed to be) and my insides were all flipped around. The pain I felt was my intestines twisting and stopping the blood flow.

“What do I do about it?” I asked

“We have to go operate right away and straighten things out. If it happens again, the blood flow will stop, your intestine could stop working, and you can die” he said.

“That’s bad” I said. “How many of these operations have you done?”

“Only 1” he said. “But I’m the only doctor in the state that has done this surgery before”.

Long story short, I was on the surgery table that following Monday and was then was off work for 2 months after to recover.

I told you, I go big or go home!

Breaking Records

After I recovered, the day of my big presentation finally arrived, and I was ready. I had practiced presenting and negotiating with all the leasing agents (I had only three sweating bouts during that time!). I practiced with other agents going through the program, and I studied all our properties, markets, and our lease terms. I was going to nail it!

The whole process took 5 grueling hours, and although I didn’t nail it, they did pass me. They gave me a few things I needed to work on and presentation ideas to try. I was so relieved!

As I was walking out the door, the executive vice president pulled me aside and told me something that has stuck with me to this day. He said, “You know, I didn’t think you would make a good leasing agent because you aren’t the typical salesperson we look for. However, you have your own style that will work for you, and the reason I gave you this chance was because you were very persistent, and that is something I cannot teach. Go out there and make it happen!”

And I did.

Two years after I passed that presentation, I broke the record for the highest commission earned in a calendar year. The money I earned completely changed my life.

But not for the better.

Sure, I became debt free, drove a Mercedes, wore the fancy shoes, had an expensive watch, and went to some amazing places. But I also missed my kids’ soccer games, baseball games, track meets, parent teacher conferences, and nights of putting my kids to bed.

I was working and traveling so much, in a job that I ended up hating. I often found myself stuck in airports because of delayed flights. Or sitting in a middle seat, sandwiched between two, huge men on a plane. Or getting a call at 3:00 p.m. that I needed to get on a plane that night to get to a meeting by 9:00 a.m. the next morning. Or sitting in a gray, boring cubicle as someone droned on about the latest office gossip all while the sound of keyboard clicks drummed holes in my brain!

I was making exceptional money, but I was living far below my potential, not making any impact on the world, missing out on my children’s lives, and not living my life on my own terms.

What did I do about it? I left!

The Real Adventure Begins

mountain

I made the decision (I love making decisions, can you tell?) no more 9–5 jobs, no more bosses, no more meaningless meetings, and no more cubicles!

But what was I going to do?

After I left the company, I had clients call me and offer me jobs. I politely said “No thank you” but I offered to do consulting for them. This led to my partner and I (my partner happens to be my wife, who also left her job) to start our own consulting company.

At the same time, we also partnered with other medical professionals and opened two urgent care clinics. These are still open today, but we are just silent partners so it’s more of an investment at this point.

The consulting company is great (I say it is because my wife runs it now). It is still in the retail real estate business, but this isn’t my passion. Also, given the dominance of Amazon, and the shrinking of brick and mortar stores, I am not sure about the future of shopping centers.

I still hadn’t found my calling, but that all changed one day when I was walking my dog Dexter.

I do most of my best thinking on the 3.5-mile loop that I walk my dog. And on this day, I remember a story my wife had told me months before.

One day when she was scrolling through Facebook, she came across an article talking about affiliate marketing. She read how this one person was earning over a $1m a year, working from wherever he wanted on a laptop, doing affiliate marketing.

I didn’t think much about it at the time, and I don’t know what happened on this walk. But what started as a spark at the beginning of the walk turned into a raging flame by the time I came home.

My kids and I are known for making up and playing all kinds of games. We love to play, and we are known for that. During this walk, I thought “why not get paid for playing?” Why not make videos of ourselves playing these games, put them on YouTube, and then have affiliate links for the games we played?

I ran the idea past my kids, and they were excited too. So, as Russel Brunson from ClickFunnels likes to say, “I geeked out!” I went all in on affiliate marketing. I took courses, read books, cancelled my Sirius subscription and only listened to podcasts. I studied YouTube, read blogs, you name it, and I immersed myself in all things affiliate marketing!

My kids and I started to create videos, and we posted a few on YouTube. Unfortunately, as what happens with most kids, they lost interest once their friends started calling. Suddenly, the plans we had to shoot videos were taken by plans to “hang out” with their friends. We still shoot videos today, but not as much.

But through all of this, the most amazing thing happened. I fell in love with affiliate marketing and the whole online marketing world! It was as if all my previous experiences from entrepreneurship, to computers, to sales, to marketing all led me to this place. The universe had finally handed me the opportunity I had been searching for all along!

My online, affiliate marketing business was born, and I have never looked back!

Has it been easy? NO! Do I love the challenge? Absolutely! There are days I have so much self-doubt, especially at the beginning when no one read my blog. But the same reason I got the leasing agent job years ago is the same reason I am successful now and will continue to be successful… persistence!

During this journey I have discovered that the best way to overcome any fear, any anxiety, and any self-doubt is to just take MASSIVE ACTION! The mind can only focus on one thing at a time, and when you are busy doing productive things, you don’t have time to worry about anything else.

And that is why I created the brand It Makes Sense.

It Make Sense Blog

To me, It Makes Sense to:

  • Live my life on my own terms.
  • Push through what holds me back.
  • Be financially free.
  • Have the freedom to spend time with my kids.
  • Make my wife proud of what I have accomplished.
  • Show my kids that hard work, faith in one’s self, and persistence makes your dreams come true.
  • To have, be, and do anything I decide to do.

What Makes Sense for you?

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my story, and I hope that you find whatever Makes Sense to you!

If you want to follow me and my journey, check out my YouTube channel:



Source: https://itmakessenseblog.com/about-me/

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