I learned at a very young age that I was going nowhere without testimonials.
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I parlayed Mitch and Mike. I went right down Jefferson Avenue. Fast forward a couple of years, at this point I was 25 years old. I had 35 salespeople. We had signs, banners, radio recommendations in 35 states at that time. We had signs in Alaska in under three years.
It was crazy. We were flying. I realized we are not in the sign business. That was the tip of the spear. We were growth consultants. It would not write me a letter. We would fight and give away a lot of cost on the first one to get the testimonial. We never went away from that. The video stores almost killed us. To a degree, you could say it was the worst-best time of my life. That was not a good day for me when my family found out later I had that letter because it was a very large offer. What ended up happening, we started losing so much money quickly.
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I would rob Peter to pay Paul. It was so bad. My wife had a miscarriage. I had a sales rep die of a heart attack in my arms on a Saturday emergency sales meeting because we had to get things turned on. I will never allow my family to be susceptible to one major revenue stream. Ironically now years later, we have 1, different revenue streams all independent of the others. We limped along at almost identical decent revenues, but always the same for almost a decade.
In , I felt completely pulled in a different direction. At this point, we were listing businesses for sale. I was doing very personal consulting. I went into Mix Match Popcorn. They were only in half of the Walgreens and I took it very personal. I was a one-man show and it was quite lonely. My friends were my clients. We still had a decent staff.
Dan Sullivan calls us the rugged individualists when you just take on everything, you wear all the hats. I went a decade of almost no fun. Just business and delayed gratification. At one point, we lived with four kids in a one-bathroom, three-bedroom bungalow, tiny little home. At that time, people thought I was a freak. It pays off in big dividends. We did well in the sign business and in the consulting business. We did amazing in the video store business. I was not going to beat entropy head-on nor will anybody.
The point is I went a decade and I had written two books that never got published. One was pages in It is just a case study after case study.
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There is no narrative. It was awful. In , I cut it in half. I made a storyline in the book. I rewrote it. They will grow any business in any industry. I rewrote it to about pages and then I called a guy named Todd Krause who had done a couple of websites for us five years before, just faceplate websites for our businesses. I need the money. I need the job, but you still got to let me show you something. They put these guys on a rotation of multiple doctors writing nice long pieces once every Saturday.
A year later, they had almost fresh pieces.
This site had the same amount of posts now as WebMD. They now make millions a year in passive ads from that. I launched TodaysGrowthConsultant. I built it on Drupal by myself with no help from Todd. He helped me with one little nugget at  in the morning to get the DNS to point to something.
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I just did what Todd said I should do and I was writing every other day. All of a sudden, my cell phone ring and an attorney from Elgin, Illinois called me screaming. I immediately thought something happened to my kids. How did you even have my number? Did I miss something?
I have ten attorneys here. I have the draft right here. I hit publish and then I called Todd. We look at it about two weeks later.
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I did it with no backlinks. We had nobody working for us that ever built a website, but I knew I could ramp up a team quickly. Within six weeks, I had fifteen website partners that had written a check, ready to rock and roll to be an authority in something and away we went. We had accumulated somewhere above authority figures that were going to write content. We thought we could coach these folks. Only six of the hundred ended up consistently writing and all six of those sites are number ones, number one in the world, one of them is number five in the world.
The model worked but getting an authority figure to write content consistently was like pulling teeth. We buy revenue generating websites for them. We put the deed of the property in their name and then we manage them in perpetuity and share the revenue on those. We switched the model to buying revenue generating websites.
We now have a portfolio of plus that generates some form of revenue. Even now, most companies are not focused on getting a lot of testimonials or a lot of case studies. How many do you think you have at this point? Way over 1, The greatest piece of what I would call evidentiary information on what is known now as social proof is a or episode of Brain Games, which is a National Geographic show which studies the brain.
They did the most incredible episode proving social proof which is defined as, if you say something, one individual for example the business owner, the world is simply not going to believe you. I urge all of your audience as a great teaching point to their companies, their people, their employees, their friends even, you got to find the Brain Game episode.