If you absolutely insist on playing by your own rules, living beyond the edge, turning your trials into strengths, your passions into a lifestyle and your ideas into gold…then I’d like to share a little story with you…
It’s about going against the system, refusing to conform to the 9-to-5 status quo, and achieving a life of freedom, excitement and unlimited possibility that few people believe is even possible.
It wasn’t always this way though. In fact, it used to flat-out suck.
You see, growing up, I had a stepfather who was a pastor-missionary in Mexico, which made me a missionary’s kid.
My early years were spent bouncing between Washington and the downtrodden city of Tijuana, Mexico. During the summers, my mother and I would stay in Washington with my grandparents, while my step-father traveled from church to church, gathering support and coordinating youth groups to build houses for Mexican families on free plots of land given to them by the government.
As soon as the summer would end, good ol’ Stepdad would shuffle us back down to Mexico, where, on the back of a motorcycle, I’d shoot north across the border each day to attend school on the U.S. side in Chula Vista, Ca. After school, I’d head right back to TJ to do missionary work.
My stepdad was terrified of the possibility of anything secular grabbing ahold and influencing me into some imaginary wayward path. He only allowed me to attend a private Christian school, where the kids had nothing but the latest, greatest, newest stuff. Meanwhile, I lived on handouts and trotted around in worn-out, old hand-me-downs donated by the church.
I was constantly teased and bullied—in Mexico for my pale skin and golden hair, and at school, in Chula Vista, for my ragged donated clothing.
Then, when I was thirteen, during my yearly summer pilgrimage to Washington, my Stepdad abandoned us in the middle of the night, cleaned out our bank accounts, and ran off with a 21-year-old girl from the church, who, it turned out, he’d been having an affair with for years. Mom and I were left homeless in Washington State, without money, resources, or hope.
My grandfather, a Fire Lieutenant, who’d been born to a moonshiner with mob ties in Chicago, became my father figure. Having been raised during a time where deals were still made on a handshake, and all you had in life was your word and your work ethic, he instilled in me what it meant to be a man—to work hard and live with honor, character, and integrity.
Even though my grandfather worked hard his entire life, he didn’t have a lot of money, and I knew it was a burden taking in my mom and I. But he was a loving man and always did what he felt was the right thing.
But, know this, I hated being poor. Hated, hated, hated it.
Someday, I was going to carve out a life for myself and have the kind of money that guaranteed that I’d never be teased, feel insecure, or wear donated clothing again. I would never live day-to-day, or be without the security that both my mother and myself so sorely lacked.
My grandfather had a military background and worked blue collar in the fire department most of his life. His advice was for me to become a cop or fireman. But neither of those appealed to me.
One thing I did enjoy was furiously bashing the skins of my drum set, and I’d gotten pretty good at it. Grunge bands in Seattle, like Nirvana and Alice in Chains, were getting huge record deals at the time.
One evening, as I was kicking the soccer ball up against a makeshift plywood board in my grandfather’s front yard, I reaffirmed my commitment to myself that I wasn’t going to be a loser. I was going to make something important out of my life. So, I shifted my focus from soccer to music. A simple decision the reshaped my entire future.
I joined a band and got busy. Soon, we were playing gigs and rubbing elbows with Alice in Chains, Mother Love Bone, Grunt Truck, My Sisters Machine, Nirvana, and most of the other big bands who were rockin’ the Seattle grunge scene at the time.
However, the gigs only paid $40 a pop and we had to split that between five guys. Eight bucks a week just wasn’t cutting it.
My alcoholic singer mentioned that he had a friend who worked as a lot attendant at a local Volkswagen/Audi/Subaru dealership, and that maybe we could get jobs there.
It sounded like a good opportunity to supplement my eight-dollar a week income. Since I sorely needed money for band rent and all the drumsticks I was destroying, I took a job in the wash pit of the dealership.
It wasn’t long before I was pestering Dick, my boss, to give me a crack at service advisor—the guy customers talk to when they want their car serviced. But, it was a hard sell. Since I was the best porter, and he didn’t have a good replacement for me, he didn’t want to lose me in the pit. Also, my long hair wasn’t exactly kosher for a guy who wrote up service orders all day for customers.
Still, every time there was an opening for a service advisor, I’d march into his office, and say, “Man, I see that shmucky schmuck just quit, and I know you’re going to be hiring another service advisor soon. I’d love a shot at showing you how I can do things. I know I’d do a great job.”
Inevitably, he’d say, “Yeah, I know, Chris – but I don’t think you’re ready yet. What if you cut your hair?”
“I’m not cutting my hair, but I could put it back in a ponytail for ya.”
“I don’t think so.”
This went on for about a year, until I finally wore him down. As a condition, there was a certain number of repair hours I had to average each month if I didn’t want to get sent back to the wash rack.
I ended up tying the hair back, rolling up my sleeves and causing a hell of a ruckus in the service department. I did things my own way. I saw so many holes in the way customers were treated and orders were processed that I created my own style of doing things.
At first, I ended up pissing off half the mechanics and freaking out my boss, but before long I blew away the numbers I was supposed to reach, as well as the numbers of every other advisor in the department.
Soon, I was asked to visit other dealerships and share my system with them. I continued with the band thing for a while, but dealing with flaky, drug-addicted musicians who were more interested in spreading STDs than playing music became a turnoff. I shifted my primary focus on helping dealers fix their service departments and ramp up their profits.
What started out as a few meetings turned into a full-time consulting gig, and a total evolution of the way service departments do business across the world.
I also worked my way up to GM of a BMW dealership in Southern California and drove it to number one in the world for sales for four years straight.
Next, I invested in my own dealership with a partner Chrysler had set me up with, but the guy turned out to be a full-time crook and I ended up having to put payroll on my personal AMEX card to cover for the seven-figure sum he was supposed to have at the time of signing, but failed to produce.
I was trying to live my dream of owning a dealership, but the dream was kicking my ass with steel-toed boots, and draining every last penny I had.
I was devastated.
The dealership I’d purchased was a bust, I was in a gnarly lawsuit over it, my wife left me and my beloved bulldog—Rocky—died of cancer at just four years old.
I felt defeated.
But, knowing that every setback comes with the seed of an equal or greater benefit, I did some serious soul-searching and realized in my heart that I wanted to spend my time helping others build their own businesses.
Since I was already in the car industry, that’s where I kept my focus at first. I earned an impeccable track record of being able to walk into any dealership and help turn around their business and increase service center profits by 400% within a few short months.
Branching out a little, I helped a personal trainer take his business to over two million dollars in just three years. I helped a hydroponic nutrient company in the medical marijuana industry skyrocket their revenue from twenty-eight million dollars a year to over fifty million dollars a year.
From there, things just took off.
For some reason, I have the unique ability to look at any business, see where it’s losing money, uncover potential profit centers, locate systems that need to be added or fixed and help the owner turn their business into a profit-pumping machine—not one where they’re chained to it night and day either. I help them set it up so that most of the processes run by themselves, and the owner has lots of freedom to do what they want with the rest of their time. For me, it’s painting bulldogs.
There is one condition that if a business owner can’t meet, I can’t help them.
If someone is in business just for the sake of making money, I want nothing to do with them. In my opinion, anyone who says, “It’s just business” should be avoided like one would avoid a 12-inch needle full of the Ebola Virus.
Business shouldn’t be just business. It should be what you love and are passionate about. It should fulfill your purpose on a deep and visceral level. It should add at least a hundred times more value to the world than you ask in return. That’s what good business is all about.
My mission in life is to help entrepreneurs discover the fulfillment, freedom, and lifestyle that owning a dialed-in, profit-pumping business can offer.
I show business owners how to dramatically lower their overhead while keeping profits high. How to create magnetic marketing that pulls in nothing but the most-ideal customers. How to sell in a way that’s not only cool and low-key, but also highly effective. How to make sure that every deal, every agreement, every partnership and every venture is a win/win for all parties involved.
I show business owners how to do something I call “Petting the Dog”— a powerful way to reach out to your customers, make them happy, spark change in their lives and make them fall head over heels in love with you.
I help entrepreneurs plug solid systems into their businesses—systems that lubricate it and make everything run smoother and more efficiently.
I show you how to hunt down talent and surround yourself with it. How to connect with even the hardest-to-reach masters of almost any craft you want to learn, so you too can master that craft. I show you how to listen more than you talk, how to always give far more value than what you’re getting paid for and how to only work with the people that you trust—because handshake deals still exist.
I show you how to train your mind to have the Bulldog Mentality so you can overcome obstacles and turn even the bleakest of setbacks and challenges into a positive—transmuting obstacles and tragedies into triumphs, and dark nights into golden opportunities.
I believe that the true entrepreneur is the modern-day renegade—a creator of the impossible. You’re committed to success, self-mastery, and personal excellence.
You’re willing to face your greatest fears, go to battle with the mightiest of opponents, walk through the fire and do what needs to be done.
You know what’s important and waste no time on the things that aren’t. You’re one of a scarce few who live life at a 100%. You understand that success is attracted to clarity, purpose, and certainty.
Where others see only problems, you see opportunities, possibilities and a chance to roll up your sleeves and get to work. What they call impossible, you call a challenge. And you love a good challenge. What they call a setback, you call real-world education.
You know that scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue, that walls are for tearing down and that temporary defeats are just stepping-stones to victory.
You’ve stared down the barrel more than a few times and not only lived to tell about it, but it’s made you who you are.
You set your sites high and enjoy every step of the climb, knowing that happiness isn’t found at the top of the mountain—it’s found on the way up.
You don’t just go the extra mile, you pave new miles and create new realities out of thin air.
You rise high above anything that tries to get in your way. You seize your dreams with unrelenting strides.
With your eye on the ball you immerse yourself in the journey, knowing that nothing can stop you.
And above all, you absolutely insist on enjoying life.
If this is how you see life and business, then you and I my friend, are kindred spirits.