Whats Your Backstory?
I was raised in an impoverished area in the East Coast, in the smallest state, in one of the smallest cities in that small state, I was raised in Rhode Island. Rhode Island is the smallest state in the country.
I knew that I wanted to be successful at a young age when my dad came to me before he went to New York and he said to me: Andy, the question for you: I’m going to New York to buy clothes, what do you want me to get for you?
I said: Dad, what I really want you to get for me are the new Nike Air Forces with the velcro strap. He looked at me and he said: You got it, I’ll get them for you. He went to New York for three days, and I was excited over the course of those three days. I was thinking about how my friends were going to look at me, how I was going to be the guy at school that was going to have the fresh sneakers over everyone else.
Three days past, my dad came back with a bunch of bags. I went through all the bags looking for the new Nike Air Forces and for some reason, I couldn’t find them. I went to my dad and I said: Dad where are the Nike Air Forces? he said he didn’t get them, he didn’t have enough money. I was frustrated and I felt that I was down on my luck. I then decided you know what? I’́m not going to just sit down and be down on my luck. I’m going to go and work on it.
I decided to start businesses, I decided that I’m going to go rake leaves. I decided that I’m going to start a yard sale. I decided that I’m going to go and get what it is that I want. The first thing I did was go across the street, the leaves happened to be falling that day, and went across the street and I said to my neighbor John: Hey John, the question for you: do you want me to rake your lawn? I’ll clean everything up and put all the leaves in the corner. John looked at me and said: No, Andy, I have a leaf blower. I’m ok, thank you.
Without hesitation, I went to the next door and knocked on the door, when the owner opened the door, I said excuse me, Mr. Martin, would you like me to rake the leaves for you, and put everything in the corner? He said to me: No Andy, thank you. I’ll do it myself. With frustration I said, you know what, I’m not going to quit, I’m going to go to the next door. I went to the next door, I knocked on the door and said: Question for you, would you like me to rake your leaves and put everything in the corner? And I’ll do it for ten dollars.
The person said yes. As excited as I was, I got my first ten dollars. I went around the neighborhood, knocking, and knocking, and knocking on doors, and out of dozens of doors, sixteen said yes, and paid me ten dollars each. Therefore, I made one hundred and sixty dollars. So excited that I made one hundred and sixty dollars I went home to iron the money. I put the money on the bed, laid each bill down, grabbed the iron, plugged in, and pressed out the money so it all can be flat. But the first thing I did not do was buy the sneakers. The reason why: was because I made the money on my own.
However, in my mind, I then learned that in order for me to get what I want I must work for it.
This happened at a young age. Fast forward to when I was eighteen, in high school, a senior. I wanted to generate additional income more than the hourly income I made working at Wendy’s. I was working at a Wendy’s fast-food restaurant and recognized that this was not for me because my income was a cap at seven dollars and forty cents per hour, and I knew I wanted to create more income. So, I have to learn to do what income producers do, which is to sell and make money by the transaction.
I went and I learned how to sell. I applied for a job at MetroPCS which is a cell phone communication company and got the job. Within six months of being at MetroPCS out of fifty employees, I rose to be number one. And with that being said, being so young, the owner of the company came to me and ask me if I wanted to become a manager so I can share how I became number one with other people. The owner gave me a chance to lead. I took that opportunity and I started working at the slowest store in the company. I increased sales in that slow store and the owner of the company transferred me to the now new slowest store.
And with the new slower store I was far from the owner with four employees that were all older than me. I was this eighteen young boy who was leading people age twenty-five, thirty-five, thirty-six, and thirty-eight. My job was to take that slow store and bring it up the rankings. I took this opportunity of a lifetime in the lifetime of that opportunity. Through diligent training and my general talents of sales and marketing, I took that store from being the bottom twentieth store to being number two in the entire company.
At nineteen years old, someone who believed in me, six months later from bringing the store up to number two, suggested that I open up my own cell phone business. I took that idea and said to him: Hey man I don’t think I should be my own boss because I’m black, I’m overweight, I’m nineteen years old and I am a college drop out, there is no way I can be successful. And he looked at me and said: I believe in you to do this and I will even quit my job to do it with you. I looked into this man’s eyes, with his belief in me I said: you know what? Let’s do it. I put my three weeks’ notice in, at my manager position in MetroPCS and within twenty-one days I opened my first business. Working every single day for an entire month we generated just about six thousand dollars in sales, which was just enough to pay the rent and just enough to give me twelve dollars and fifty cents to buy a sub from Subway. However, I did not quit and I persisted.
Within six months from opening, I generated $106,000 and I was in awe when I saw the money at the end of the six-month time frame. I set myself up to have a goal to 10x that target. I wanted to go from $106,000 to $1,000,000. Within 18 months we did just that. A million dollars by growing the business to four locations and bringing in fourteen employees.
I was 21 years old, operating a business with fourteen employees who were, some younger than me, and some older than me. I took that money that I made and I said I wanted to try something different, I move to the West Coast. I came to California with a dream: to do something big, to change the world. One day I was running on Figueroa Street, in downtown Los Angeles.
Figueroa Street is the busiest street downtown Los Angeles, and I said: You know what? For some reason, after listening to Les Brown I said I wanted to be a motivational speaker, just like Les Brown. I went home typed in “how to become a motivational speaker”, next thing you know, I see Facebook ads popping up on my computer, saying become a motivational speaker. I click a link, put in my information.
Within a day I received a phone call from the salesperson inviting me to become a speaker, the investment was $5000, I have never spent anything over $5000, besides my business and a car. However, with the belief in myself, I said: you know what? I’m going to invest in myself. I invested and flew to Miami.
I saw Les Brown, and after seven tries, I persisted to become part of the tour that Les Brown was hosting. I had to try seven times until they said yes and on the seventh time when they said yes, I was shipped to Orlando to start the tour. After a year of learning the business of speaking and traveling around the country speaking, I then decided to teach other people to become speakers. And now I train presenters around the country on how to grow their businesses by presenting in front of large audiences.
In addition to that, I train small business owners on how to grow their business’ footprint in a marketplace that is saturated with information that is against their business.
What techniques and methods do you use day-to-day to stay continuously motivated, focused and proactive when fear, hardships, and procrastination get the best of you?
Some techniques and methods that I use on a day-to-day basis is reminding myself of my why
It all starts with a simple system. It starts when I wake up in the morning, I write down my goals. I have to stay focused and write my goals as often as possible and my goals when I write them down are much bigger than what I’m currently working on. It’s not a to-do the task of what is going to happen in the future, in the near future. It’s more about what I want to accomplish in the next five to ten, maybe even fifteen years.
And my goals have to be so big that anything that I’m doing right now falls into comparison to how big those goals are.
If you are experiencing fear if you are experiencing hardship and procrastination write down your targets and make sure your targets are much bigger than where you’re currently at. So for example, if you’re making o$150,000 a year, you should write down a goal of “I make $1,500,000 a year or I make $2,000,000 per year. Instead of minute increments of “I’m going from$150k to $160k a year, an extra $10k increase. No, you should increase it to something that is outrageous, something that is farfetched, so that way you’re always striving for something that is bigger than where you’re currently at. Your goals, your targets, your dreams should be so big that anything that is in front of you falls into comparison. It is challenging for me to experience fear and listening to my fear because fear for me is a sense of direction, hardship is a sense of direction, recognizing that when things are getting hard it is a tutorial, or it is a lesson that is going to be beneficial for the future.
I was talking to a friend recently, she is experiencing homelessness, essentially. And I recognized that homelessness, not as a burden or something that is negative, i saw it more so of a situation that is going to really sound good in her book. So, when I experienced homelessness for a short period of time, I didn’t look at it like as hardship, I looked at it like this is going to be amazing when I’m on stage sharing this story, connecting to people who are experiencing homelessness.
Procrastination is a killer of dreams and goals, whenever you feel that you are procrastinating you want to do something different to interrupt that pattern, you want to change your environment, you want to get around people that are much more elite than you are, you want to get around people who are thriving at high levels. Because they are thriving at such high levels it just stops you from procrastinating because your goals are big enough and their high-level production is so massive compared to what you are accomplishing that you recognize that you can’t procrastinate because you don’t have enough time.
If you do these day-to-day systems where you get around people who are operating at a higher level than you, writing down your goals and leaning in your fear and do it anyway, you will be successful.
What is your definition of success?
My definition of success is essentially daily progression, it’s getting better on a daily basis.
If you are not getting better on a daily basis, you are essentially going backward. The reason why is because the world is moving so fast and everyone around you is progressing. There is no way that everyone in the world will be stagnant so, in recognizing that everyone around you is progressing by you standing still you are essentially moving backward while the world is moving forward.
So, my definition of success is when I progress on a daily basis and become a better version of myself than I was yesterday. That could be on my mindset, that could be on my health, that could be on my relationships, that could be on my fitness, that could be on my romantic relationships, that could be on my body, that could be on my faith. Whatever it is, whichever area of my life, when I progress on a daily basis that is true success.
So, I consider myself to be very successful because everyday I’m progressing. I invite every single one that is reading this to recognize that in order for you to really be successful you have to do one thing: progress daily.
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