Great Business Bootstrapper Exposes Himself

LFTA man comes home to find his wife packing her bags…

“Where are you going?” demands the husband.

“To Las Vegas!” she said. “I found out that there are men that will pay me $500 cash to do what I do to for you for free!”

The man pondered that thought for a moment, and then he began packing HIS bags.

“What do you think you’re doing?” she demanded.

“I’m going to Las Vegas with you… I’m dying to see how you’re going to live on $1,000 a year!”

[Ba-dum-tsss]

LFTSo… as you know, I’m in Vegas.

This is actually my first time. And now I see why.

I’ve only been here a little less than a day. Despite the absurdly entertaining people-watching I’m enjoying from where I sit, I’m pretty certain I’ve decided…

Vegas is officially my least favorite place on Earth.

At least this strange alternate universe these beings call “The Strip” is (not really a gambling man). I haven’t gotten a chance to venture much further. But no wonder this place is surrounded by desert.

Luckily, I’m here on assignment. Not to enjoy the flashy and seizurely lights… strange shouting citizenry… and colorless cuisine.

LFTWhy am I here, then?

That’s the question I left you with yesterday. And many LFT readers threw their guesses into a hat.

Most of you guessed that I’m here for a James Bond movie premier.

And though I did watch Quantum Solace on the plane in preparation, I had no clue the movie premier was even happening.

So, no. That’s not it. But if I can get in, it’ll be for bonus points.

Others said I’m here for to take a tax free vacation (nope)… or for training at Front Sight (whatever that is)…

Dick B. suggested that I’m doing research on gold, “thus the intro to the movie Goldfinger.” He was referring to, of course, our awesome animated insert at the end of yesterday’s episode.

Nice try, Dick. But no cigar.

Another reader, Tom W., even suggested I’m learning “how to hire a hitman and get away with it.”

I have no clue where you got that idea, Tom. I hope that’s not what you think of me.

Sorry, all wrong.

Three men, though, were spot on. So I decided to dole out three gifts.

As I already noted to you individually, gentlemen, I’ll wrap your gifts up when I’m back in Baltimore and ship them out.

What did they guess? More on that a little later. First, we have an interview to conduct. And we gotta’ hustle. We’re running late!

LFTYesterday, we spoke about the best way to cut your taxes down to the bone.

As you now know, the best thing you can possibly do is…

[Drumroll]

Start a business! Any business. It doesn’t matter. And then go have some fun.

Pretty good advice, if you ask me.

Well, today we’re going to dig even deeper into that idea.

If you have a business idea, have a business running, or want to have a business idea and then a business running…

You can’t afford NOT to listen to today’s guest.

I say this with my tongue as far from my cheek as possible. Normally, individuals pay upwards of $2,000 to talk to the man you’ll hear from today.

That is, of course, if you can even get ahold of him. He’s known to be somewhat of a recluse. But, lucky for you, we’ve dug him out of his hole and he’s agreed to give us the lowdown today. (We’re getting really good at this.)

Personally, I’m especially excited about this one.

LFTHis friends call him Doberman Dan. He’s an online marketer, copywriter and serial entrepreneur…

And he’s been starting and growing businesses since 1995.

“A few of the businesses started on my kitchen table,” Dan writes on his website, “with nothing but a yellow note pad and pen have grown into mini empires, supporting me in style for decades.”

His work has shown up in multiple business magazines, tons of fitness magazines, a whole bunch of mainstream newspapers, and even a mentionable “dirty” mag (Penthouse).

But, of course, he wasn’t an overnight success. At his start, he probably lost more money than most people make in their entire lives.

But he persisted. And made hundreds of thousands of mistakes. And learned from each and every one until he created a foolproof system that basically runs itself.

And yes, when his system started running like a perpetual moneymaking machine…

That was when Doberman Dan became free in an unfree world. Dan now has the luxury of working when he wants, where he wants, and on what he wants to work on.

And today, Dan and I are going to talk about how you can learn from his multitudes of mistakes, leapfrog the learning curve, and never give the possibility of running out of money another thought.

Yep. Combined with everything you’ve learned this week, you’ll be able to make your money and keep it too.

LFTCHRIS: Welcome to the show, Dan.

DAN: Thanks for inviting me, Chris. I’ve been reading LFT almost since its inception.

CHRIS: Really? Awesome. That’s great.

Hear that? He’s one of us!

OK. So we found this out when we first met, but we both have some history in Ohio.

You were actually a police officer there. You served in a city that was a hop and a skip from where I spent most of my summers as a kid.

Tell us a little about that. And how you went from being a cop to being a serial entrepreneur.

DAN: I like that term… serial entrepreneur. It basically means I’m gonna keep doing it until I finally get it right.

Yes, for twelve years I was a police officer for the city of Dayton, Ohio. Nine out of those twelve years I was also a part-time entrepreneur.

Well actually, a part-time entrepreneurial FAILURE. Every single business I tried to get off the ground failed miserably… leaving me broke, humiliated and in debt.

Many nights, the only reason I ate was because my partner on the police department invited me to dinner with his family.

I totally sucked at running businesses. And I was completely clueless about how to sell, the most important skill an entrepreneur must have.

CHRIS: Yeesh.

What types of businesses did you try to start?

DAN: Geez, Chris. You’re gonna make me relive all that pain?

CHRIS: Yes. And I want every gruesome detail.

DAN: Hmmmm… lemme see.

The whole thing started when I got pitched on becoming an Amway distributor. I don’t even remember how many years I put into that without ever making a penny.

Then there was vending business number one.

A home improvement business. A jewelry business.

Then vending business number two. The first one never made me a dime… so I figured I’d give it another go.

I did several other network marketing deals. I spent money I didn’t have to buy the non-exclusive mail order rights to a “how to” product.

I later learned the words “non-exclusive” mean that the product developer could sell those rights to hundreds of other people. Which he did, making it darn near impossible for me to compete.

And there were several others I can’t recall.

I think the excessive pain and humiliation has caused some sort of weird amnesia.

CHRIS: Oh, believe me… I’ve been there.

Forget why, though.

So… here’s a good question…

What was your first breakthrough?

DAN: Ah, yes… my first breakthrough. It was a biggie.

It started when I stumbled upon a marketing guru named Dan Kennedy.

He was selling a manual and some cassettes he called his “Magnetic Marketing System.”

Chris, cassettes were a portable means of recording audio using an ancient analog technology. We used to have devices called “cassette players” strapped to the dinosaurs we rode so we could listen to those recordings.

CHRIS: Thanks for clarifying. Makes sense.

DAN: I, again, spent money I didn’t have to buy Dan Kennedy’s Magnetic Marketing System. I thought it would help whichever business was crashing and burning and bleeding me dry at the time.

Instead I became fascinated with the process Dan used to sell me what was basically a book and some tapes for $497.

I decided right then and there I wanted to do what Dan Kennedy was doing… selling information with a simple sales letter.

So I self-published a bodybuilding course and duplicated the process. After nine long years of continual business failures, that little mail order business was my first successful business.

And it felt AWESOME!

About 11 months later, I was making enough money to finally get my freedom from the police department job.

CHRIS: That’s great!

And from what we’ve talked about before, you had an even bigger success after that, when you began selling a different type of product.

DAN: I was selling enough of my bodybuilding courses to support my two bad habits: sleeping indoors and eating regularly.

And that was pretty cool… to be able to make a living with something I created with only some paper, a pen… and the gray matter between my ears.

But when I discovered what the people in that market REALLY wanted, my little “bootstrap business” took off like a rocket.

My sales multiplied by 10 in a little less than 60 days.

<pregnant pause>

CHRIS: Uhh… hello? Is the pause for effect or did you hang up? I can’t tell.

DAN: Should I leave you on that cliffhanger or do you want to know what my big breakthrough was?

CHRIS: There you are. Tell us already, Dan! I’m chewing pencils apart here!

DAN: OK, enough teasing. Here’s the breakthrough:

I discovered what they REALLY wanted by finding out what they were spending their money on. Then I just simply sold them that.

Sure, some of the customers in that market would purchase information. I proved that.

But what they REALLY wanted was a “magic pill” that would transform them from a 98 lb. weakling into Arnold Schwarzenegger… as quickly as possible.

CHRIS: And who doesn’t want that? Where can I find this “magic pi-…

DAN: Obviously that’s not possible.

CHRIS: Oh, right… Peh. Obviously.

Go on.

DAN: So I found a happy medium. I sold them what they WANTED… all the “staple” bodybuilding supplements like protein powder, creatine, vitamins, etc.

But I gave them… in the form of bonuses… what they NEEDED… the training and diet secrets to building muscle.

After I had refined that formula it was then just wash, rinse and repeat. But that simple little revelation was life transforming for me.

CHRIS: And then what happened? Before you tell me, here’s the story I heard…

If this is wrong, by the way, blame Nate.

After you got this business running on autopilot, you left the country for two years and made money while barely having to mess with it?

DAN: Yes, I did. I felt a strong pull towards Latin America.

Maybe the fact that I was single at the time and totally enamored with Latin women had something to do with that.

I lived in Costa Rica and also spent a lot of time in Colombia.

I was able to do that because I figured out a way to systematize my business so it could run without me.

Well, not totally without me. But I really only had to put in an hour or so a day to keep my little “money machine” running like a fine Swiss watch and spitting out the Benjamins.

Like that word picture?

CHRIS: I do. On so many levels.

I understand this is a little personal but I’m sure it’ll help inspire many of our readers…

Hold your hat, dear LFT patron, things are about to get real.

There was a time in your life, Dan, when you were literally homeless and living out of your car, but you still managed to build a business grossing six-figures a month in just a few months.

Could you tell us a little about that story?

DAN: You just had to bring that up, didn’t you, Chris?

CHRIS: Hey, you had to know it was coming. Heh.

DAN: Actually, I’m happy to talk about it.

It was incredibly humiliating at the time… but now I consider it a badge of courage.

I went from the lowest point in my life to making more money in a month than I’d ever imagined making in an entire YEAR. And I did it in a little less than four months.

CHRIS: From homeless to heavy-heeled in four months. That’s gotta’ be a record.

But this is after you made tons of money with your first series of successful businesses, right? How did that happen?

DAN: So, OK. I’m sure everybody wants to know… how did I go from a successful entrepreneur to a broke and homeless entrepreneur?

Well, allow me to quote Jimmy Buffett:

“Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame. But I know, it’s my own damn fault.”

Well, a woman was involved. And that is ALWAYS expensive.

Woulda, shoulda, coulda… but if I knew then what I know now, I never would have married three times. Instead, every seven years I’d find a woman who HATES me and I’d buy her a house.

But I digest. 🙂

Chris, the reality is… the ability to make money and KEEP money are two entirely different skill sets. And they’re pretty much diametrically opposed.

I got so good at making money I thought I never had to worry about keeping it.

Boy was I wrong. And that bout of living in my car was a tough learning experience. By the way, I didn’t mention that my 80 lb. Doberman was my roommate in the car. THAT was a trip.

When I went broke and was homeless I was FORCED to make something happen ASAP.

So I went to the library every day… free Internet, ya’ know… and worked like a man on a mission. I didn’t do anything special. I just implemented the simple plan I had used before to start my “bootstrap businesses.”

CHRIS: So clearly, you know your stuff. And clearly, your system works.

And now…. here’s the exciting news for LFT readers: You’re actually putting together a guide just for us, on how to start a business just like you did and become financially free.

Could you tell us a little about what you’re creating?

DAN: I’m going to reveal my system for starting and growing what I call a “bootstrap business.”

A business you can run from anywhere in the world. And you can get started with very limited capital. Exponentially less capital than any traditional business, that’s for sure.

And I’m 100% sure anybody can do this. I’ve proven that because I did it. And if you knew me and my background, you’d see I didn’t have very much going for me.

By the way… don’t think for a minute that these “bootstrap businesses” are rinky dink deals.

A couple of the ones started on my kitchen table with nothing but my brain and a laptop have provided me a lifestyle better than most Fortune 500 CEO’s.

And it would thrill me to no end to help some of your readers experience that, too, Chris.

That’s why I decided to put this guide together.

CHRIS: That sounds awesome. I’ll probably be the first one to jump on it.

All right, Dan.

Unfortunately, our time is up. Thanks so much for joining us. And keep us posted on how this “boostrap” guide is going. I can’t wait to see it.

And if any readers have a question for Dan, simply email me at Chris@lfb.org.

DAN: Thanks, Chris.

CHRIS: I’ll talk to you soon, Dan.

DAN: See ya’.

LFTThat was the one and only Dan Doberman, dear reader…

To reiterate, this week, we’ve learned that not only is starting a business from anywhere in the world possible…

It’s available for anyone.

And you’d be a dummy that just hands over wads of cash to the IRS each year if you didn’t do it.

I’ll make sure to let you know when Doberman Dan finishes his “bootstrap business” guide. In the meantime, let us know what you’re doing to get that business going. Get those juices flowing: Chris@lfb.org.

Now, let’s get into reader mail.

LFT“What the #@&! is Chris doing in Vegas,” Steven R. writes.

“It has to be the Las Vegas Gun Show. Laissez Faire and the 2nd Amendment go hand in hand.”

LFT: Nope. Not the gun show, Steven.

And now, to the guys who guessed right yesterday…

LFTOh, wait. Sorry. Look at the clock. I gotta’ run…

I’m meeting up with our former CIA officer in a few minutes. He’s asked me to bring a pillowcase. I have no idea why.

Unfortunately, we’re out of time.

I wanted to tell you what the former CIA officer is making me do on the streets of Vegas. But that’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

Stay tuned, dear LFT reader.

I’ll talk to you then,

Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell

Written By Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell is the Managing editor of Laissez Faire Today. Before joining Agora Financial, he was a researcher and contributor to SilverDoctors.com.