How This Man Went From Earning $28,000 to $115,000 Per Year In Twelve Months

I was recently talking with a friend and I discovered his inspiring story: how he went from living in New York, making $28,000 per year and barely scraping by, to living in California and making over $100,000 per year — in a single year.

So I sat him down for a quick interview, which I present below. You can listen to the audio below and follow along with the transcript.

What was it like to live in New York and make $28,000 per year?

If you feel like you’re too good for a job, you’ll be dissatisfied, you’ll never come into work with excitement. I feel really bad for people [in these jobs]. I remember what that job was like, and I was every day thinking “How can I get out of it, what is the end of this”….I could never foresee any way up, all I could think was “How can I get out.”

And eventually, the pain got bad enough, and you got out.

Yeah, the pain got bad enough to the point where change is necessary. That’s always the beautiful part of it, where the pain gets so debilitating that it doesn’t matter: no matter what you do, anything is better than what I’m doing right now, anything. The Spanish have this expression: de perdido al rio: “From Lost to the River” It’s such a good expression. When you don’t have any other moves. When the opposing army corners you to the river and you’re either gonna die in battle or say “Fuck it, lemme try to run through this river, I might die that way” but your best choice is to just try something. So that’s what that felt like: this job is so soul-crushing that I’d rather do anything. So, California was on my radar, and I just thought, “Let me try that.”

And it worked! 

Yeah, California gold rush. I didn’t have any goal set, except I knew I wanted to find peace and calm and something I could be satisfied with.

And so now you’re in California, you’re in the tunnel, you got your gold and you’re saying, “Hold on, I need to get more gold!” 

Yeah, it is working. Here’s the thing: I did this job specifically because I knew it would be hard, it would test the skills I knew I would need, that I wasn’t good at. I needed to sharpen my social skills and how to interact with people, how to negotiate, I knew I was weak at that, no matter what I can’t get through this life without this skill set. Secondarily I need money really bad. And it just kinda worked out that this job came into my lap. So now it’s a rags-to-riches story. But it’s not satisfaction, the ultimate satisfaction.

But I’m sure you can take some satisfaction in the fact that you’ve demonstrably learned the skill of sales now. 

Yeah, definitely. I didn’t have ANY sales skills when I came into it.

There was so many times I feel like I had to survive in this job, for the first year. Literally felt like survival mode, constantly. And it’s satisfying now to look back at it, because I feel like I got through an incredibly difficult period of my life — I would never change it. It was insanely hard.

That’s such a similar story to the story a lot of entrepreneurs tell: not knowing they’re gonna survive moment-to-moment, oftentimes for years. And by the time they’ve made it they say, ‘I wouldn’t trade it for the world.’

Yeah, what it feels like you are building up this part of you…you’re pulling yourself up about your bootstraps. That’s what it feels like is good about entrepreneurship: one, you’re living your dream, but also you are the direct force that’s making it happen. The same thing with sales. You can’t expect anyone else to make this outcome happen except you. And there’s no disputes! You can say whatever you want, but I was the shittiest salesperson, in my mind, when I came in there, and now I’m top of the board, and everyone respects me. I still don’t feel like I’m that much better of a salesperson.”

What was the One Thing that helped you get there above anything else? 

The “grit” thing is a really good one. The ability to weather the storm is a big part of it, and the biggest thing is….this job is extremely emotional, and the emotional swings are huge. When you’re doing well, you’re doing really well. When you’re doing terribly, you’re in the deepest depths of depression. Even great salespeople will bottom out because they take those swings too hard. They take it like, I’m a failure.

But the thing that worked really well for me was that even when things are stressful — it’s so easy to blame the person who gave you the lead, the person who qualified it, the customer, the person after you sold it ruined your deal, your boss pressuring you with things: I actually had, to me, literally the worst person I could imagine being my boss  — and knowing that every day I couldn’t blame him, cause when I got fired, nobody would care who’s to blame. And I knew that was the case. So, basically, taking away all blame from everyone else and just saying, ‘I dictate my destiny, I dictate the outcome’ and just because there’s a reason that I COULD put it off on someone else, I choose not to. I choose to take responsibility for how well I do. That’s the biggest thing. I wouldn’t have gotten through it if I had sat their every day and blamed my boss for how much I hated him.

So you’re saying, giving up the victim mentality was the #1 thing. 

Yeah.

That’s amazing. 

That’s good, right? And the reason I brought that up is because those are the points in my story where I could have fallen off and any other person would have been like “Fuck you and I’m not gonna deal with this boss anymore.”…it was literally like, I had already spoken with my boss. I had already told him that I was going to pick up another job. In a sense he was kinda right, but also I needed a different manager to get me there.

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Also published on Medium.

3 Comments How This Man Went From Earning $28,000 to $115,000 Per Year In Twelve Months

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