Business Me / Personal Me
TRUST IS CRITICAL
I've been a successful Online Entrepreneur for 25 years. Only a handful of people can say that. I also teach other people how to start and run their own successful businesses. 98% of the people who claim to do that are crooks and con artists, plain and simple. I'm in the very small 2% of those who are not.
The small number of legitimate business mentors like me always feel like we're the only people telling the truth in a room full of screaming liars. It's frustrating, to say the least, because we feel like nobody can hear us above all the noise.
But why should you believe me? "That's what they all say", right? Well, I was raised to believe trust is earned from truth. Be honest with people, always. Prove who you are. I do that every day online with the people I teach and mentor.
On this page, I'm going to tell you the truth about the Business Me, and the Personal Me. They are two sides of the same coin, and if you're going to come to trust me you need to hear the whole story. You may like it, and you may find things you don't like about it.
Either way, it's the truth, and that's what matters. So here we go.
I was born into a family of Entrepreneurs, and I don't regret that for an instant.
My whole life, every dinner conversation was about business. Every Holiday gathering, people talked business. My Dad owned a construction company that built new homes in 7 states in the northeast. My Mom was the queen of the Party Plans back in the day.
My Aunts, Uncles, Cousins...restaurants, car and RV dealerships, boat dealerships, furniture stores, sub shops, real estate...you name it, I had a relative in it. Ever since I was old enough to understand the spoken word, I soaked up Entrepreneurship like a sponge.
When I was 10 years old, I was going to go out into the frigid winter weather in my hometown of Rochester, NY and shovel snow from neighbors' driveways to earn money to get Holiday gifts for my parents and brother and sister. My mother saw me getting ready to do this, and said "Let me show you how the grown-ups make money".
She took me to Beansy Altman's Wholesale Outlet in downtown Rochester. She introduced me to the owner (yes, Beansy Altman) and told him I wanted to earn money for the Holidays. My Mom and Beansy (very nice man) helped me pick out boxes of 3 inch pillar candles on small plates with little plastic wreaths wrapped around them. Mom paid for them, with the understanding that I was going to pay her back out of my earnings.
So I still went out into the freezing weather, but I walked all over the neighborhoods selling holiday candles to all the neighbor ladies for a dollar (yep, a dollar...that was a lot to a kid in 1970!). I sold out, paid my Mom back, made a great profit and got everybody the gifts I wanted to get them.
It was WAY better than shoveling snow.
For years after that, I sold Holiday-related stuff for every Holiday throughout the years in the neighborhood. I had my own little business as a teen, and I couldn't get enough.
In my later teens, I went into business with my mother. Inspired by problems my Uncle Gordon was dealing with, we were buying clothing out of the NYC Garment District and modifying it for people with physical handicaps (arthritis, for example). We had a couple of employees, and marketed mainly in retirement homes and nursing homes.
In my early 20's I started a media production company. Local and cable-access TV, corporate demos and so on. After I built up and sold that business I started a retail business, then a wholesale distribution company.
Then in the early 90's...along came the 'consumer internet'. The internet had been around for a long time already, but it wasn't until the early 90's that consumers could access it. In '93 I was using Prodigy and a 56K baud modem to market information through the Newsgroups. As soon as the first viable ECommerce Stores (Yahoo Store) became available in 1998, I jumped on that and started selling physical products online.
Realizing that there was a horrible lack of real wholesale information available to new online sellers, in '99 I started 'The Drop Ship Source Directory', which later became WorldwideBrands.com, then and still today the internet's most trusted source for wholesale suppliers for EBiz owners.
And then...the 2000's showed up. I'm just going to have to list the things I've done between the year 2000 and today. If I explained them in detail, this 'About Me' would be endless!
- Written several ECommerce EBooks, and have been published by McGraw-Hill.
- Written hundreds of EBiz articles, many published in major magazines and newspapers; quoted and referred on hundreds of web sites.
- Started an Affiliate Program that grew to over 27,000 members.
- Created dozens of EBiz how-to videos for home-based EBiz Owners
- Hosted two live-talk ECommerce Radio shows produced by Entrepreneur Magazine for several years.
- Spoken at national ECommerce conventions, including eBay Live.
- Traveled the country coast to coast meeting with and mentoring EBiz owners; I have more than 6,000 hours of personal mentoring under my belt.
- Worked in person with VP-level executives at both eBay and Amazon.
- Created and still run in-person and online ECommerce Workshops consistently every weekend since 2008.
- Created the most comprehensive and detailed ECommerce Education on the planet, bar none.
One of these days I'm going to get some sleep!
Anyway, I'm sure I've left a few things out, but I'm equally sure you're getting tired of reading by now, so I'll wrap this up.
There really isn't anything I haven't done online. I've made millions in ECommerce, and my passion is now (and has been for years) helping other people do the same. People I've taught over the years have built incredible businesses and do very well.
I hope I get the chance to work with you to do the same.
The 'Business Me' side of this page will tell you how I grew up in a 'business family'. This side of the page will deal more with who I am as a person. So let's start with the obvious.
If you're reading this, you couldn't help seeing my 'Personal Me' pic above. No doubt it's not quite what you expected.
Every marketing consultant I've ever talked to, every business partner I've had and anybody who feels inclined to try to tell me what to do in business always tells me the same thing when I'm doing pics for the web or appearing somewhere in person in a business-related capacity.
Wear long-sleeve shirts!
Yep. It's the tats. And it's more than just the tattoos, really...it's the whole 'biker' thing. They just don't get it. I've been riding Harleys since 1974, two years before I was old enough to get a driver's license. I'm going to ride them until I can't walk anymore, and then I'm going to get somebody to prop me up on a three-wheeler and tie me to the seat.
The movies and TV give motorcycle lovers a bad rap. The bikers I know and ride with (these days many of whom are off-duty police officers) are some of the best people you'll ever meet. There are toy runs. Holiday parties for people in need. Charity runs. Any biker I've ever known would give you the shirt off their back if you needed it, and would go out of their way to pull over and help you if you're broken down on the side of the road.
We wear jeans, steel-toed boots and leather because it helps minimize the damage when we take the occasional dive off the bike. The patches on the vests commemorate events, people (Vietnam Vets, for example) and are also often just plain irreverent, but it's part of the fun.
If for any reason it actually matters, my tattoos are as follows:
- The Archangel Michael.
- A Phoenix with the words "Every ending is a new beginning" in Latin.
- A Greek deity of truth and justice with the words "Truth conquers all" in Latin.
- A Karma symbol.
- The word "Forever" surrounded by the names of my wife and kids.
- The words "In The Wind"
- An American Eagle wrapped in a US flag clutching a bar & shield that says "Made In The USA".
- And of course, the requisite Harley eagle bar & shield.
Did I need to tell you that to justify anything? To show you that I don't have things like "I am Dr. Nasty" written all over my arms? I guess so.
The way I look at life, I am who I am, and you are who you are, and everybody else is who they are. If we feel compelled to hide who we are in certain situations, we're not being honest. I don't like that. Whatever your choices are and whomever you choose to be, I try very hard to respect that.
So I feel I can ask for the same consideration from everybody else for myself. I don't always get it, but I ask.
There are two reasons I'll put on a suit. You guessed it...weddings and funerals. The rest of the time, jeans and a t-shirt. Business meetings, jeans and a t-shirt. Speaking at a convention...jeans and a t-shirt. No pretenses.
Maybe I get that from my Dad. I remember when I was a kid, someone invited him to go to the Country Club where we lived, and wanted to sponsor him for membership. He was, after all, a very successful business owner in the area. Yes, he wore a nice suit. When he got home, my Mom asked him what he thought. He laughed and said he wouldn't spend another minute around such obviously pretentious people.
I don't like pretense either. As I said, it's dishonest. Hence the jeans and t-shirt.
Enough of that. Let's see...personal stuff. I'll be with my amazing better half forever; she's incredible. And she rides her own Harley. :o) I have 4 great kids who are all making their own mark in the world, and several grand-kids as well, although I feel I'm a bit too young for that. Like me, my kids started having kids early!
I'm a music lover...been playing guitar since I was 10, and also play some bass, keyboard, mandolin and a little percussion. My wife is a drummer, which works out well! I used to play in rock bands, which was an absolute blast. I have a small recording studio in my house, and mess around playing all the instruments and doing all the vocals for cover tunes and some of my own stuff.
I love to teach. I think I got that from my sister, who's taught Special Ed her whole career. There's something about knowing something so well that you can teach it to somebody else, and then see them go out and DO it well for themselves. There's really nothing like the personal satisfaction you get from that.
More importantly, though, it's a reason for being here. For existing. Being able to pass things on to others that help them make their own lives the way they want them to be. I think there's a bit of a cosmic purpose in that, although I'm not trying to get all philosophical on you here.
So that's about as much as I have room for here; I hope it helps you see past the pic, and into the person!
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