Thursday, 9:28 PM
I received an offer yesterday from someone who wants to buy one of my “kitchen table” businesses for one million dollars.
Yup… a cool million.
A “1” with six zeroes after it.
One MILLION dollars. (Spoken in my best Dr. Evil accent.)
Now I realize that the gaggle of gurus will laugh at that as “small change”. After all, those guys allegedly make that per MINUTE on the Internet. But dag nabbit, for a poor kid from a broken home in Barberton, Ohio… that’s still a lot of money.
So I celebrated like there’s no tomorrow.
I ordered a Domino’s pizza (they had a $5 discount coupon when ordering online) and drank grape Crush cola… or “pop” as we call it in Ohio.
What a great day… and what a feeling.
I woke up the next morning and promptly declined the offer.
You think I’m kidding?
I’m as serious as a heart attack. I literally said “NO” to a million dollars.
I’ll tell you why in just a minute.
It sounds pretty good though, doesn’t it? Start a little entrepreneurial project from your kitchen table with nothing but your wits, a notepad and a pen… and then sell it for a million dollars.
Wow! And to think I started with only…
(If this were an episode of “Family Guy” here’s where the flashback would start.)
I started this particular “kitchen table” business back in 2004 in a tiny one bedroom apartment with no furniture in a bad neighborhood in Miami, Florida. I was so broke at that time I didn’t know if I could pay my $750 rent.
True story. I almost (I said ALMOST) took a J-O-B to try and pay the rent.
Geez, I haven’t thought about this in a long time and a lot of emotions are starting to flood back.
Damn good thing you’re not here in person right now. Doberman Dan doesn’t cry but his eyeballs are sweating a little bit.
Where was I?
I Almost Had To Take a J-O-B.
(Just the mention of that word makes my stomach turn!)
Here’s what happened…
I had been hanging and working with the Prince of Print, Gary Halbert, since early 2003. We had a “sugar daddy” client back then with lots of work and thought that gravy train would continue for a long time.
The gravy train ended fast.
So there I was in a brand new city with nothing but my laptop and the clothes on my back.
See, I had been living in Costa Rica and never planned on moving back to the states. Halbert talked me into abandoning my home in Costa Rica to move back to work with him. He was a damn good salesman!
While I was relocating to Miami, all my belongings were stolen from storage in Costa Rica.
So there I was in Miami with no money, no income, no possessions, no clients… and my new bride who had just arrived from Colombia.
Things didn’t look too good for DD.
But I’d kept my pulse on what was hot in the musclehead market. And back in 2004 there were some new supplements that were all the rage.
You’re thinking your hero DD dove in and started working feverishly to write copy for a new business, right?
To be completely transparent… I was scared.
I had no income and the “wolves were at the door”.
I needed some income FAST. And I had to accept whatever was available at the time to get some money coming in.
At that moment, it was a sales job at Guitar Center.
There’s No “Plan B” For Me…
I don’t have any rich relatives that are going to leave me money.
I absolutely refuse to accept anything from any looting socialist commie blood-sucking government agency.
There is no pension fund to bail me out and give me a pension for some bullshit “disability”… like many of my former co-workers with no balls and no integrity.
There are no bailouts and no backup plans for DD.
My only security is ME.
The only “helping hands” are the ones at the end of my own two arms.
Like so many times before, I had to man up and do whatever it took to survive.
So off to work I went for my first day’s training at Guitar Center.
The people there were really nice… and surprisingly ambitious.
It was kinda funny. On my very first day of training the manager already had me pegged to manage a new Guitar Center they were opening in the area.
During a break from training, I pulled one of the top salesmen aside to pick his brain. I asked how much he typically sold each month and what his commissions were.
He told me he had sold about $50,000 worth of gear the previous month. And had made less than $2,000 in commissions!
I couldn’t get out of that place fast enough… and I never went back.
I went home to my crappy apartment in that scary neighborhood, sat down on the inflatable mattress in the living room (the only “furniture” we had) and cried like a baby.
I felt like such a loser.
I decided right then and there I would do whatever it took to be financially independent.
I unplugged the phone, took the batteries out of the clock, closed the blinds so I didn’t know if it was day or night… and worked non-stop until I had a killer sales letter for those new bodybuilding supplements.
With the last few hundred dollars of credit I had on my Visa, I threw some Google adwords traffic at my new online sales letter.
And guess what…
It Worked Like Gangbusters!
In a very short time I went from broke with no income, to making a really strong 5-figure income every month.
That business took a major nosedive in early 2005 when the feds decided to reclassify those products and ban them from sale. At that point I started doing client work again.
When one of my clients at the time (one of the gaggle of gurus) screwed me over and didn’t pay me for some copy I wrote for him, I decided I would focus on my little business again.
It didn’t take long to get things rolling again. At one point the business grew so fast I had to put the brakes on and stop rolling out. The fulfillment center literally could not keep up. And my merchant account was having a cow because they had never seen a 1,300% increase in sales in less than 5 months. I got on a first name basis with everybody in their security department.
By the way… if you ever experience that kind of quantum leap growth in your business, your merchant account is going to start freaking out. Just expect it.
When you see that happening it’s best to preempt it and start calling them to explain what’s going on. If they call you first it usually turns out to be bad for you.
When I was in the midst of my quantum leap growth, I called the security department every day and got to know everybody there as well as I could. I asked about their families, where they were from, how many kids they had, hobbies, etc.
So my first call of the day was always to the merchant account security department. No matter who answered I could always say, “Hi John. How did the fishing trip with your son Jimmy go this weekend? What?! He caught a 12 lb. bass? Awesome! Yadda yadda yadda.”
I think that’s why they didn’t shut me down and freeze my account… because that’s what they were originally going to do.
Be very, very nice and patient with the folks working at your merchant account company. They have the power to really hurt you.
After a while though, there was simply no way around it. I had to stop rolling out and drastically slow down the growth. My infrastructure simply couldn’t handle it… and my merchant account was going to shut me down and freeze my account.
I PRAY you have problems like that some day. It was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done in this crazy direct response business.
After experiencing my quantum leap in that business I basically left things like they were and took the next two years off. It was AWESOME!
I only needed about 30 to 60 minutes, three days a week to keep things humming along. And the business actually grew a little over those two years.
I goofed off a lot, traveled, spent a lot of time playing guitar with several bands. I worked on a CD of original music (that I WILL finish in 2010) and hired some of the top “A list” studio musicians from Los Angeles and New York to play on it.
Boy, did I enjoy my two years off!
But all good things must come to an end. After two years of basically ignoring that business, sales started to slow down a little. Of course, the economy has a lot to do with it… but you can’t ignore a business forever and expect it to grow.
So this year was time to go back to work.
I know the bodybuilding market like nobody’s business. Bob Kennedy, the publisher of MuscleMag International, says I’m the best copywriter he’s ever met in that niche. I completely “resonate” with that market.
I would HOPE so. I’ve been writing copy in that market in one form or another since 1995.
But I also want to stretch out and work in some different markets. So I recently made the decision I’m going to start accepting a handful of select clients in various markets.
And if the opportunity comes up, I’ll sell my bodybuilding business and totally focus on writing copy and increasing sales for other people.
Shortly after making those decisions, word leaked out about both those things… accepting clients again and possibly selling my bodybuilding business.
The first thing that happened was I got booked for copywriting gigs immediately in November and December… and the first three months of 2010.
And yesterday I received the million dollar offer.
If all that is any kind of indication, 2010 is gonna be a good year.
So you’re probably dying to know why I turned down a million fungolas, aren’t you?
It wasn’t the price.
It Was The Terms.
I think the correct technical phrase that properly describes the terms proposed is… they “suck out loud”.
(If something sucks, that’s pretty bad. “Sucks out loud” is “sucks” on steroids.)
The buyer made the offer contingent upon me working on marketing and writing copy exclusively for them. They wanted me to sign a non-compete agreement for five years!
Let me think about that for just a mi…
Oh well… you can’t blame the guy for trying. Bob Kennedy told him he should do whatever it takes to get an exclusive with me.
But I don’t want to “get married” right now. I want to date around.
So there’s no million dollar pay day for DD this Christmas.
But there’s no reason you can’t create a kitchen table business, live well off it for several years and then sell it for a million dollars or more.
In fact, I’d really like to see you do that.
And right now there’s only one thing keeping you from doing that…
It’s your butt. It’s not in motion.
Motion Beats Meditation!
Take 30 minutes right now and get started on something.
Maybe in a couple years I’ll be reading your blog post about your multi-million dollar buyout offer.
That would make me really happy.
All the best,
P.S. I still have a few client spots left for 2010… but they’re filling up fast. If you don’t book me soon you’ll probably miss out.
Click here to contact me about your project. I’m really picky about who I work with and I turn down a lot of client work. But it’s worth a shot at least exploring the option of working together. Who knows… we might click.