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, a 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 have passed, 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 them 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 for 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, 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 highschool, 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 capped 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 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 sales person 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 travelling around the country speaking I then decided to teach other people to become speakers. And now I train presenters around the country in how to grow their businesses by presenting in front of large audiences.
In addition to that I train small business owners how to grow their business’ footprint in a marketplace that is saturated with information that is against their business.
I know this is not an easy job. What drives you?
To recognize that living my true potential, my fullest potential I can change this world, drives me. Over the last seven years of being an entrepreneur I have seen my steady growth in influence, in power, in respect. Also just in progression through the different areas of my life and I recognize that I have unlimited potential, and when I activate my unlimited potential there is a group of people that is trailing behind me that is experiencing my wins, that are experiencing the benefits of my success.
For example, when Henry Ford built the Model-T, the first car, because he did that, now, today, millions of people are experiencing the benefits of his success and his dreams and his goals. So, what drives me is continuous progression, that I get to progress on a regular basis, that as I become more successful that people behind me are going to experience the benefits of my success.
I held a seminar recently where there were attendees that came to the event who were living a mundane life, now living to their fullest potential after they came to the seminar, they went for living that mundane nine-to-five life to experience progress in their business and now they are currently on tour, travelling across the country sharing positive and motivational strategies.
Anything is possible when you put in the work. However, you have to understand that there is someone behind you that is going to experience and be a beneficiary of your success.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for, who helped you get to where you are today? What lesson did you learn from them?
There isn’t one particular person because it has been a large group of people, ranging from my mom to my mentors. What I want to share with you is that you have to get around a large amount of people to truly be successful. Because every single person you meet has the key to your success, whether it is what to do or what not to do. I did an interview with a successful entrepreneur in Southern California, he has generated over a billion dollars in sales and what he shared with me is that you have mentors that are going to tell you what to do, but you also have mentors that are going to teach you what not to do based on their results and their actions.
So, recognizing this, there are people in my life that I know that I didn’t want to experience their results of their lives so I learned what not to do. And there are people who show me what to do because I wanted to experience the results that they had in their lives. So, in your life expect that you have to learn from every single person that you get in contact with, all the way from the janitor to the CEO, there is always one nugget that is going to support you in your progression to your success that you desire for your life.
How did you push through your worst times?
I have a saying, that nothing happens to me but everything happens for me.
Your tough times that you push through are going to be the reason you become successful. All of your tough times and hardships, all that is, are experiences that push you forward for what you are going to experience in the future.
If you can’t handle being a little bit broke in your bank account, then how can handle being a millionaire? Having millions of dollars and them go bankrupt? Many millionaires experience bankruptcy. So, if you essentially collapse only because you have a few dollars in your bank account, imagine going from having a million dollars down to zero. If you don’t know what it takes to make it, then when you lose it, you won’t know how to make it back again. This is why you have to understand that hardships are for you, when you experience tough times, it is for you, it is not something that happens to you but happens for you, for your long term success.
The way that I push through hard times is recognizing my why, which is my parents and my little brother who is in college as well as recognizing that when I live in my truest, fullest potential there are a group of people that are experiencing the benefits of my success. You have to win, it is your duty to be successful, you must be a winner because there are people depending on you whether you know it or not.