July 4th is the day for all Americans to celebrate their independence. But what does “independence day” – mean for you personally?
My father reminds me that July 3, 1976 was his “independence day,” since that’s the day my family came to the United States from Russia.
My independence day was on July 1, 1999. That’s the day I left my father’s business to work on my own.
It was one of the hardest decisions of my life. You see, I had worked for my dad since I was 12, and he thought I was eventually going to take over the company. I had that same thought – until I got the “entrepreneurial bug.” In fact, my wife Missy and I were talking about this recently. She remembered that when she met me 11 years ago, I had only one thought: “How can I grow my father’s business?” I stayed late, working on new ads and marketing pieces. I was in early, calling my accounts to try to make sales.
I had been studying direct marketing, and that was really paying off for my dad’s business. (Actually, his company still uses a lot of the ads I wrote in 1998 because they still work today.) But with every ad I wrote, I was getting more and more aggravated. Not because the ads weren’t producing sales. They were. But because everyone in the company seemed to be an advertising “expert” – even though they’d never studied or read anything on the subject.
For every ad I wrote, I had to fight to get it out there. I got sick of it, and decided to create my own product so I could write ads for myself.
My first product was designed for dermatologists – to help them get new patients for cosmetic procedures. It was a big kit – a manual, tapes, reports, diskettes, etc. – and I was selling it for $900.
I ran my first ad in April 1998 in Dermatologic Surgery magazine. I got 10 responses, and sent them the 20-page sales letter I’d written. Not one order.
Sent out a follow-up letter to the 10 respondents.
Then I sent a third letter, reminding them that the deadline to get all the free bonuses was only 10 days away.
Finally, on the very last day, one order came over my fax machine. (And I still remember that doctor’s name.)
What an incredible feeling! It took me a little over a year to finally quit my “day job” – but with that first sale, I realized I had the power to chart my own course. I think it has to do with the confidence you get when you know you’ve created something that people want and are willing to exchange money for.
The first sale is usually the hardest – but also the most rewarding. And I love it when I can help turn on that light in other people.
So when will your independence day be?
When that day comes, I bet you’ll never forget it. No matter how bleak things looked up to that point, you’ll look back and realize that your “impossible” situation was simply opportunity staring you in the face.
Take my good friend, Jim Edwards. His independence day came about because he got fired. I remember the conversation we had right after it happened. We were throwing around some ideas that he might be able to pursue now that he was “free” – and we came up with “33 Days to Online Profits.” Right then and there, we outlined each of the 33 days, and moved forward from there. “33 Days” has been a tremendous six-figure income earner for both of us since the beginning, and it’s still going strong.
What can you do to achieve your independence?
Let’s start with this: What are you doing with your spare time?
- Watching TV… or reading books in your field?
- Playing cards… or practicing your copywriting?
- Yakking with your friends… or studying direct marketing?
It all comes down to the choices you make.
You shouldn’t let a single day go by without making sure you are taking at least one proactive step toward your own independence.
Being able to do what you want when you want may seem very far away right now. But don’t let that stop you from taking baby steps each and every day.
Learn to be different. The truth is, you need to become extraordinary if you expect to achieve extraordinary results. That means doing things others don’t (or won’t) do. It also means NOT listening to advice – unless it’s coming from someone who’s already successful at what you want to do.
I think you’ll find that only 5 percent of the people you run into are truly successful. Which means that if you simply do the opposite of what the other 95 percent are doing, you should be okay. In other words, don’t adopt a herd mentality. Think for yourself.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not telling you to be elitist. But it is tremendously important to go through life with your eyes wide open. The truth is, most of your friends (right now) probably don’t want you to succeed. That would imply that they are losers. That would mean that they are failures.
Nobody is going to propel you to success except yourself. So get on it today… and prepare to proclaim your own independence day.
[Ed. Note: Serial entrepreneur Yanik Silver believes you can make more, have more fun, and give more back! Find out how with his Maverick Business Insider Introductory Package right here.]