Driving home from the grocery store I saw that the new Italian pizza place was going to be closing. I don’t think they’ve even been open two years.
It’s not easy to make it past your 2nd year in business, let alone 5 or 10 years. We are now in our 5th year in business at National-Leads.com, and so I thought I would reflect a bit on how we got to this point.
Since 1988, I have been doing things that are non-traditional to earn a living. As a missionary, we traveled across the country and around the world. We raised financial support to live and carry out our mission. My wife and I were self-employed working for a non-profit organization.
We began to transition away from all that in 1997. I began to try and work different jobs, but hated the idea of a 9-5 schedule, and began looking for other means of income. I come from a family of entreprenuers, and so living off my own creativity and determination were in my blood. It was tough going, so I began teaching part time at Dallas Baptist University in 1998. That allowed a lot of free time to pursue other things. I was also doing some independent contractor work recruiting nurses to go back to school.
In 1998, I also joined my first network marekting company. I had been introduced to this industry before, and while I liked the concept, I didn’t like the company. In 1988, that all changed when I joined Mannatech. I began working hard to make things work, and had some limited success. In order to grow my business, I began using leads. I joined ProStep in 1999, and found a niche within the network marketing industry that I enjoyed.
With leads, you get to work with people from all companies. I was never very good at expressing to someone why my vitamin was better than your vitamin, or why my binary plan was better than your unilevel plan. With leads, I got to serve the industry as a whole.
Around 2001, I began to focus on the world of genealogy leads for the home business industry. That was about the time things began to take off with the teachings of Tracy Biller. With some changes in federal regulations with the Do Not Call stuff, I began to plan on switching from genealogy leads, to opt-in business opportunity leads. And thus, in February 2003, I launched Leads.
But, it wasn’t always that easy. Getting from part-time income to full-time income can be a challenge. I continued to teach at DBU into 2004 before I finally resigned. I did have a contract to fulfill with them, but by the time I left, my business had now tripled my income at DBU.
<<Sidebar>> To keep things in perspective, I was not a university dept. chair who makes $75K+. I worked mostly with international universtity students and was paid peanuts compared to the rest of the universities teachers. Still don’t understand that. <<End of Sidebar>>
From where I have been, I knew I wanted to run my leads company different than other leads companies out there. Nothing against them, I just don’t always like trying to be like everyone else. There are leads companies out there that do tons more volume than I do. That is fine. There are times I think about the same thing – hiring on more staff in order to be more pro-active in sales, doing seminars, upselling customers, doing live events, etc. There is much, much more I could be doing – and as some would suggest – I probably should.
But, the one thing I have tried to do is keep the leads I offer through my business within reach of the part-timer, without sacrificing the quality so they have a decent lead to work with. I also want to make sure I have the quality and the business model that fits the full time networker.
The one thing I have found though, and this is true of any business… even for the Italian pizza place… once you are full-time, there is a vacuum that is trying to suck you back into the world of jobs and 9-5. Just as it is difficult to get to full-time, it is tough to stay full-time. I took almost 2 years after going full-time that the “sucking” began to stop. It is a whole new story about how to secure your full-time status, in a shaky and sometimes brutal world. I’ll have to put that on my agenda to write more on that. All I can say is you have to stick with your vision, persevere through the tough times, be wise, and create enough margin in your life (without living on the edge all time) so you can withstand some rough waters.
Anyway, I spent the time writing this today because I was reflecting on how I got to where I am today, being in my 5th year with National-Leads.com, and as I plan toward the future.