Not everyone gets in business after getting the proper education. Not everyone gets started in this line of work because they love the idea of sitting in front of a computer for hours and hours, day after day.
I didn’t get into the business of selling websites and marketing services to businesses because it was something I loved so much… I did end up enjoying it, but it wasn’t my passion.
For those of you that have bought my Ultimate Blueprint To Start a Web Agency, you likely have read my story, and why I got started more out of necessity than out of passion.
The story I’m about to share with you, is the story of my friend Jared. I’ve known Jared for maybe 9 years now, we kind of lost touch for a while, but after reconnecting, I knew I had to share his story with all of you. The hope here is that it will motivate some of you that have trouble finding motivation.
His story is just another example of someone with their back against the wall, that went through some really bad stuff, and came out ahead.
I was never close friends with Jared, we hung out a few times but mostly became friends out of “association”. Truth is, if it weren’t for mutual connections, he’s not somebody I would have sought to become friends with. He’s quiet, a little awkward but an overall nice guy.
I always had the impression he had his stuff together. He seemed like he had a strong mind, organized, already had a life of his own while most of us at the time were still trying to find our own place in life. I also had the impression that he would do whatever he could for his friends.
I didn’t know this until just a few years ago, that he was actually a high school drop out. He also was a convicted felon, I guess when he was 17, he was charged as an adult for felony posession, more specifically marijuana related. He was caught with a sizable amount within 500 feet of a school, he grew it himself for “medicinal purposes”.
He didn’t talk much, was kind of the type that kept to themselves but still wanted the company of other people, even if he didn’t necessarily fit in.
Kind of the situation where you didn’t know why he was really there with a group of people, but deep down you probably knew something was going on and he needed the distractions.
A little bit of time passed and I kind of ditched most of my friends, mostly because I was dealing with problems of my own. Jared always offered to help but I never took him up on the offer.
Fast Forward to 2013
Things were going great for me. The group of friends I had before have all vanished at that point, mostly my own doing.
Jared called me, apparently he was trying to get in touch with me through our old group of friends but since I was busy with my own things and never stayed in touch with anyone, no one really knew how to get a hold of me.
I ran into one of those friends at a grocery store, talked a little bit and he said Jared’s been trying to find me. We exchanged numbers, and a couple days later, I already forgot about the entire conversation, until I received a call from Jared.
My cell phone was going off, didn’t recognize the number and I knew that if it were a client call it would be on our office line. So I let it go to voicemail to screen the call. I checked the voicemail a couple hours later and it was Jared, said that it’s urgent that I call him back, so I did.
Jared moved to Chicago, he was in a serious relationship, raising 2 kids that weren’t his own. He was working with his girlfriend’s father who had a business, and paid him much more than he should have been getting paid. Based on what he described, I consider it just a way for his significant other’s father to provide “economic relief” through a third party.
I’ve seen this situation play out a number of times with other people.
Jared had no family, both parents passed away, no other relatives that he really considered family.
His relationship was going down the tubes. He found out his girlfriend has been cheating on him with her cousin, some weird shit was going on. He stayed with her because he had no other option and I guess he pretended like he didn’t know what was going on.
So Jared started asking me about my situation, how I was able to get out of a bad spot and start prospering. This was long before I had my Agency Blueprint, I gave him a couple tips, how to outsource, how to find clients, etc. but he didn’t really do anything with that information.
Three weeks go by, and I get a call from him. Him and his girlfriend are done, his girlfriend’s father won’t pay him, he has no money because she took it all, and is screwed. He said he did have about $200, a laptop, his clothes and his phone that he just paid the bill for.
$200 isn’t going to last long in Chicago… I told him I’d wire him some money, he refused. I told him, just pay me back later, get on your feet again and we’ll get squared away afterwards, he refused again. He said if he doesn’t learn how to make money on his own, he’s never going to.
That’s when he told me he was a high school drop out and had a felony charge for marijuana, which significantly lowers his prospects of getting a decent job.
He was hopeless… this was the only thing, in his mind, that could work.
So I gave Jared a plan.
That night, he got a hotel room for $60, we hopped on skype, and I basically cloned one of my older websites, helped him set it up and just edited the phone number. I walked him through how to do a few things on his own, where to find some outsourcers.
I told him what I did when I needed money FAST. He didn’t particularly like the idea of cold calling, but at this point, what option did he have? Either do it, or wait for people to call you. Fear is a powerful motivator.
A couple days go by, no sales. He’s been calling, he’s been putting ads on craigslist, emailing later on at night. He’s been on linkedin trying to generate just an inkling of hope in the form of a lead.
I once again offered to wire money, I said, “Your money is about up, you need a place to stay, let me wire some money or at least pay for your hotel for a week”. He said no, I still have $100, I’ve been living in my car since yesterday. I guess his thinking was, the most important thing for him is his car, so he can get to his bank, meet with potential clients, etc.
He talked about someone responding to him via LinkedIn and inviting him to a BNI meeting the following day. I told him, I’m not really a fan of BNI, but do it, go and see what you can make happen. He did.
He introduced himself in front of the group, said he’s trying to get in the business of web design, he’s been dealt a shitty hand, and he desperately needs to build up his portfolio, so if anyone is interested, or knows someone that would be interested, he would give them a big discount.
He showed people the pricing on the website, which was grossly overpriced for his experience, or lack of, and offered a 50% discount, which was still a good amount.
He walked out of BNI with 4 meetings to pick up the check from other business owners. Roughly $3,500 in total sales.
The rest is history.
Where Is Jared Now?
Jared is still in Chicago, living on his own and building his business from his home.
He’s not wildly successful in the sense of net worth, but to me, he’s one of the greatest success stories in the United States. He’s someone that felt like he had no hope, things were going bad for him, he was afraid. He didn’t want the safety net of someone else, he wanted to be his own safety net.
He’s still selling websites to businesses, and picks up recurring money from hosting, but isn’t offering any other service, just web design. He’s not making insane amounts of money. He’s averaging around $6,000/mo and trying to grow.
His major focus as far as lead generation, is still LinkedIn and BNI groups. He’s hoping to start using direct mail this year to get to the 10k/mo mark, and has been trying to learn SEO so he can feel comfortable offering it to his clients.
Jared had no family to rely on, no hope a decent future with a well paying job, he had $200, a laptop, a cell phone and his car and grew it into a pretty stable business.
What’s your excuse?