If you’re new here you probably have a few questions.
‘What is StartInPhx?’
‘Who is this Brendan guy?’
‘What does he really know about sales or business?’
‘Why should I care?’
(All good questions by the way!)
In short – StartInPhx is a blog dedicated to helping people sell stuff. Especially business owners, salespeople, freelancers, soloprenuers, etc. As for the Brendan guy, that’s me (Brendan Alan Barrett) and StartInPhx is my baby; one of my babies anyway.
The driving force behind StartInPhx has evolved over time, but I guess the reason you should care can be found in story I think you can relate to: my story.
My story is something along the lines of…
‘$30k in Debt 😵 + $2.4M is Sales 🤑 + 💍+ 👨👩👦’
I could already feel the weight slowly squeezing the wind from my chest.
Add to that my most recent surprise and you can include periodic flashes of blinding white light and sharp chest pains to my list of symptoms.
It’s probably not a shock that unexpectedly becoming a father at 24 years old came with a healthy dose of stress and feelings of “Oh, f@#&!”
Here I was feeling suffocated by the condition of my personal finances and now things were getting much more complex.
Near the end of my 24th year I was struck with the news. ‘Hey Dude – You’re a daddy!’ I didn’t even get a ‘Hey – you’re going to become daddy a few months from now.’ Those are two very different statements.
I my case it was a very clear, ‘As of today you are the father of a living, breathing – money sucking – bundle of cute. Enjoy!’
I had always wanted to be a dad. I had a lot of great examples of what a good father, husband, and man should be while I was growing up.
BUT – I wasn’t married. This life milestone was WAY ahead of schedule. I had recently started dating someone – not my baby’s mother – and it was getting serious fast. On trend with other millennials, I was also in student-debt up to my eyeballs after having graduated college only two years prior.
So what to do?
It was pretty apparent that I would get my chance to experience the joys of our nation’s family court system for the first time. Having only spectated from the sidelines as my parents and others had been run through that gauntlet, my experience was delightfully accentuated by the ecstasy of the surprisingly high court and lawyer’s fees.
As smooth as it was for us to establish legal paternity – ensuring that my son would grow up with his father in his life – the back and forth of agreeing to terms on a co-parenting plan came with a great deal of stress and emotional exhaustion. I don’t know if you can really avoid that.
Of course that second part – the legal stuff – didn’t happen over-night. It dragged on for about 10 months.
In that time – even before I realized how expensive the legal process was going to be – it became pretty clear that I needed to get my finances in order. If I was going to be the provider and father my son deserved I was going to have to free up some cash to invest in our family’s future.
After months of soul searching and consuming books and podcasts and everything else I could get my hands on to increase my financial literacy, I created a plan and committed to becoming debt-free.
Thanks Dave Ramsey! 😉
Since college I had some help from family and a few bonus checks that helped me pay off the first $10,000 of my student loan debt, but at the time my son was born I hadn’t really been making any more progress toward paying off what remained.
For some, mounting legal expenses might have been a great excuse to slow down on debt-repayment. For me it just made the need for becoming debt-free that much more apparent. I used it to fuel me as I paid down every cent of my reaming +$20,000 debt (student loans and a few miscellaneous medical bills) in just 10 months!
Working in sales and flirting with entrepreneurship this entire time, my income was up and down throughout. My income definitely took a hit with the distractions and stress that came with the early days of fatherhood.
While we made it through, something become painfully obvious to me. The extra time and energy I had been using as a young salesmen to compensate for my lack of skill and experience wasn’t going to be enough to get me to where I wanted go.
In terms of balancing my obligations as a provider and father, I needed to find ways of selling smarter and more efficiently. I needed to think more like a marketer rather than a single salesperson-cog in someone else’s marketing machine. I needed to find ways of scaling my efforts to sell more in less time.
Sure – I had learned a thing or two about selling since I’d started working in sales, but I wasn’t exactly happy with my financial position in the world. Similar to the soul searching that led me to deciding I was done with debt, becoming a father sent me on second frenzy of self-education into professional development.
Through this frenzy I started to dabble in content marketing. That’s when www.StartInPhx.com was born. I also began to play with the idea of really building a business, rather than just being self-employed. Those are two very different versions of entrepreneurship in my book. My Focus had turned toward building a wealth producing machine that wouldn’t require my oversight 100% of the time.
Today I do end-to-end business development for civil-engineering and construction companies as well as provide outbound lead-gen services (an outsourced version of the role an SDR would fulfill). Last year I generated +$2,400,000 in revenue.
I also provide coaching and training to B2B companies and salespeople looking to unearth more qualified +5-figure sales opportunities and/or convert a higher percentage of their opportunities.
The machine is still being built. I often feel like I’m still working a J-O-B rather than being self-employed. At the same time there are also rays of light that tell me on I’m on the right path to more sustainable and passive forms of income.
What I’m most excited about these days is a Facebook Live show I started about the dynamics of life among family-first sellers (i.e. moms, dads, husbands, and wives who are self-employed or work in sales). It will also be published as a podcast soon. Click HERE to get all the details as they come out.
ALSO – Remember that girl I was dating when things started to get hectic?
It may have taken me eight attempts at getting her phone number the night we met (How’s that for persistence?), but she’s stuck by my side. She has been a huge part of me being able to maintain my sanity through the ups-and-downs of the last few years.
Oh – and by the way – I asked her to marry me. She said, “YES!” 💍
Being engage and heading towards this next chapter of life as a blended family is ultimately what got me started with this concept for a talk-show of sorts via Facebook.
I’m not a super experienced father. I’m only a few years into this thing. I’m also not married yet. What do I know about sustaining a healthy and loving relationship that spans decades?
Thus, a show in which I get to learn from heavy hitters at different stages of life, marriage, parenthood, and business.
It’s been a lot of fun so far and it’s already pushing me to be a better dad and partner.
Are you like me?
Are you interested in learning from family-first sellers who have built 6-figure and +7-figure businesses without sacrificing their status as rock star parents and spouses?
I’d love to help you in whatever way I can.
To start you can share with me your biggest question about how to navigate the dynamics of family and selling. That way I can be sure we address it on the next episode The Business of Family & Selling.
Every week I broadcast interviews with family-first sellers via Facebook Live. That means you can participate in the conversation, ask questions in real-time, or just sit back and enjoy.
PLUS – When you submit a question to be answered on an upcoming episode of the show, not only will you receive info on how to join us live or view replays of interviews you’ve missed, but you’ll also receive one daily email from me for the first seven days.
Together these seven emails over seven days, along with the audio and video content they contain, make up the DOUBLE MY REVENUE 7-Day Sales Challenge.
The DOUBLE MY REVENUE 7-Day Sales Challenge is equal parts sales-challenge and a mini-course. It’s designed to help position you and your offerings for increased sales through systematically closing bigger and bigger sales.
That means if you’re consistently closing 4-figure deals, getting you to a point of consistently closing 5-figure deals. From the point of consistently closing 5-figure sales, the goal is 6-figure deals and beyond while maintaining your values as a family-first seller.
More details on the DOUBLE MY REVEUE 7-Day Sales Challenge
How I got into sales. 💰
I had my first official sales training my junior year of college. It was part of an internship that was structured to teach students the skills of entrepreneurship through the exercise of managing a branch of an exterior painting business.
You’ve probably heard of few programs like this.
I can’t say I didn’t learned anything. I actually learned a lot. Most of what that internship taught me I had to learn the hard way however.
I certainly learned the value of persistence.
In part because my direct manager still had a lot to learn himself and partly because I was a stubborn 21 year old with a resistance to certain sales activities.
I didn’t want to come off as a pushy salesmen. The kind my parents and grandparents always gripped about. The kind that I’d seen interrupt dinners with unsolicited phone calls or knocks at the door.
That stubbornness stopped me from seeing the real sales wisdom my manager was able to give me until many years later.
I’ve been through subsequent sales trainings since those days. I’ve sold in the retail setting, I’ve sold to people in their homes, I’ve sold to people in their place of business, and I’ve sold to people over the phone.
I’ve learned a lot about sales form different people since getting my start as a salesperson. Some of these people I had the privilege to work with. Others I might never meet, I’ve learned by watching their work from afar.
And still – my days of selling go back to before I ever considered myself a salesperson.
As a kid – too young to work for anyone else – I would sell Kool-Aid when my neighbors had garage sales (foot traffic is huge in the homemade drink industry), went door-to-door by myself selling wrapping paper for school (at a much age younger than I’ll be allowing my own kids), and would fliered the neighborhood to find people who would let me mow their lawn or pull weeds from their flowerbeds.
Somewhere along the line I lost that shameless capitalistic spirit. Maybe it was only from a lack of options that I had no issue asking people for their business in the years before I was old enough to work a typical J-O-B.
In junior high, high school, and college I worked for a string of restaurants, a grocery store, coached wrestling and football, and even working in a factory before I started selling again.
I was into the whole idea of business, but shied away from the concept of selling until it seemed a necessity again. Even then I took a roundabout way before getting back into sales.
My sophomore and junior years of college I was working a mess of jobs that all added up to more than 40 hours a week. I felt as if I was struggling to keep my head above water with all that work while also perusing a degree in economics full-time. The idea of surviving grad school while working full-time hours, to avoid more student debt, just didn’t seem possible.
(Oh, by the way – I was already crazy allergic to debt. Hate the stuff. My symptoms have have only seemed to intensify with age. 😉)
So with the gut feeling that I might be able to parlay my passion for business into a company of my own someday I figured I might want to build up some communication skills. After all, I might have to be my own salesforce before things take off, right?
Little did I know sales would be my business someday, I changed my college major from economics to communications with an emphasis in public relations. The sales averse little boy in me liked the idea of PR because it meant indirect persuasion. Instead of being a pushy salesman type of communicator I romanticized PR to be a type of undercover sales and marketing.
More simply, I saw PR as a means of influencing thought leaders (non-buyers) who could then influence my ideal customers to buy from me.
This education in PR might be why I’m such a big fan of content marketing.
Fast forward to two weeks after graduation – I paid off the last two months on my apartment lease, pack up my car, sold or gave away everything that didn’t fit into my ’06 Nissan Sentra, and started driving from southern Wisconsin to southern California.
I figured it was as good a time as any for a little adventure. I’d never been to California before, but I figured I could land an entry-level job in a marketing or PR agency once I got there.
Turns out no one wanted to hire me full-time and even those who thought I might be a good fit where afraid to take me on part-time because I might leave them high-and-dry upon receiving my first full-time offer.
My first real offer was a sales gig for a construction company. The primary focus was the residential market when I signed on, but it became clear that selling those same services to other businesses or government agencies was where the money was really going to be made.
I’ve had my hand in the civil engineering and construction industry ever since.
My sales philosophy.
My philosophy is simple: The good guys always win but the smart guys win even more.
My natural personality is that of the logician. I have a tendency to get lost in thought, picking apart the pros and cons of a decision along with its moral implications.
Having such a personality positions the acts of sales and marketing as a puzzle to be figured out. There are people in the world with problems and it is my job to help as many of them as possible through win-win transactions.
Win-win transactions allow me to be of service, without neglecting my obligation to provide for my own needs or that of my growing family. That way I can continue to do the work. By being able to continue the work I can help more people. It’s really that simple.
I also believe in focus. Each and every one of us can only be good at so many things. That means the realities of marketing and sales dictate we have a hunter’s mentality. Because once you’ve discovered your best way of helping people, through delivering some kind of product or service, chances are that only certain people are going to be truly benefited by your deliverable.
To me sales and marketing are the means by which we can clue into who will be most benefited through our talents (ideal customer persona), start a relationship with those people (lead-generation), and educate them so they come to understand that we can provide the thing they want or need (sales).
I also believe that sometimes in business you have to pivot. Sometimes you have to pivot hard and that can be scary.
Such is the example of me giving so much focus on a market sector that wasn’t being pursued by my peers when I first started working in sales full-time. Switching from B2C sales to almost entirely B2B and B2G sales was uncharted territory for me and I didn’t have much help in figuring it out at the time.
Where my philosophies on selling come from. 👨🎓
It’s probably no surprise to you by now that my sales experience has shaped what I teach as a sales coach and trainer.
Even before that though, I grew up with parents and extend family who worked hard and modeled for me what hard work really looks like. My early days of selling (Kool-Aid, lawn services, etc.) were manifestations of that example. If I wanted something that I couldn’t afford, it was bred into me that I had the power to earn enough money to buy that something. No matter what, I was capable of making money.
Most of those examples – the ones I was exposed to most from my family’s immigrant and blue collar roots – lent themselves to business models that I would now consider self-employment rather than that of a true business.
To me self-employed, to be a doer-seller, means trading time for money. Sure – self-employment comes with the benefits of higher earning potential, time freedom, etc., but it’s not the same a building a true business or company.
A true business is an asset that generates its owner income without them having to be present 100% of the time. That’s what I’m after and that’s what I want to help others accomplish as well.
Coming to this realization however, meant I’d have to reach beyond my circle of influence at the time. I had to go looking for education beyond the influence of my friends and family.
Who I look up to in the world of sales and marketing. 🤤
Jeb Blount, Author of Fanatical Prospecting
LESSON: That if you want to find opportunities you have to start turning over rocks, go talk to people, go learn something you didn’t know, and that sales prospecting is a great way to do that.
Chris Spurvey, Author of It’s Time to Sell
LESSON: That you don’t have to be pushy or salesy to get business. When you’re curious and helpful money starts falling into your lap.
Joe Pulizzi, Author of Content Inc.
LESSON: Content marketing works as a means of selling, but also as its own profit center. Once you build an audience founded on personal connections you don’t have to worry about coming up with a great product or service to sell. Your audience will gladly tell you want they are ready to buy from you.
Joe speaks his wisdom from seeing the world through the lens of a content creator at the enterprise level, but the same has been true in every single discovery session I’ve ever had with a prospect.
Dave Ramsey, Author of Entreleadership
LESSON: Good guys win but smart guys win even more. Ramsey is also my favorite example of content marketing. He has his hands in radio, publishing, events, and too many info product to count.
In recent years he’s also added what he calls his Ramsey Personalities. Each personality represents a segment of the larger brand serves as a reminder that sometimes you’re not the right messenger for your message.
Nick Loper, Author of Buy Buttons
LESSON: There is literally money to be made everywhere you look. There is never a reason to fear being broke.
Why StartInPhx.com? Why a blog?
StartInPhx started out as my own an experiment in content marketing. Over time it has grown into a resource for people looking to grow a book of business without having to pull their hair out or sacrifice their home and family life.
My dream is for more people to have access to resources they can leverage to advance their careers, build businesses, strengthen their families, and achieve fulfillment in the work they do. More importantly, I want people to have all of this without succumbing to burden of debt.
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