I sat in my car waiting to get a haircut, having no clue that it wouldn’t take place for a few more hours. I awaited a phone call from John VanDerMeulen, a friend and a member of our mastermind. The usually cool mannered VanDerMeulen was unusually frustrated.
His business selling bird feeders on Amazon was stagnant. The hoops that he went through with Amazon, the struggle in growing their ranking and the time it took to go essentially nowhere had led him to wanting to give it all up. He messaged me earlier that he was ready to quit it all. Quit the business. Quit the mastermind. Quit it all.
I was going to do everything I could to not let him. He has a way of thinking, and a process of working, where I personally never doubted his eventual success. The way he can analyze products and research the details of it and have patience to allow it to come together were skills that were uncommon to my eyes.
But the results simply weren’t there. And he had reached his breaking point. The conversation was the most tense and confrontational that we’d ever had. In fact, we had never had anything close to a tense call ever since I’d met him a few years earlier. But here I was, being the pest that I can be, challenging him in ways that he didn’t want to be challenged in.
It was obvious in his voice that this wasn’t the John that I saw show up every Monday morning on the calls. If he was going to quit the mastermind, I felt like I had failed him because we didn’t do what we needed to do for him. For him to go out like this would be a sad ending to a great run together. And for the business, I just didn’t understand the plan on what to do next. I am certainly one that can push too far sometimes in this questioning. I would rather lose a friend than not be honest with what I believe, especially when it comes to the potential that someone is undervaluing.
“So you are just going to quit?” I said to him sharply.
‘I don’t know what else to do,” he snapped back.
This led to a flurry of questions about what he could do to keep it going, what wasn’t being done and what the future could look like if he consistently did these things. Somehow, he decided not to quit. He accepted my challenge for him to message we every day with what he did and the progress that he made. Good, bad or indifferent- he needed to do this every day. I told him that I wouldn’t respond to all of the messages. I didn’t want a back and forth where he would have a chance to question himself. We just needed to develop a habit and momentum.
He accepted. For the next few months, he messaged me every single day. What he didn’t do was quit. Months later, he continued the accountability with Ken Carfagno, who needed the back and forth like VanDerMeulen did.
Two years ago, ready to quit all of it, VanDerMeulen made a decision to bet on himself. Every day, he was going to do something to progress this business. And every day, he did.
Last Friday, on his birthday no less, he finalized a deal where he sold the business to a group of investors for nearly a half million dollars. Which immediately got us to coin him the nickname of John VanderMillion. It might be my favorite story to come out of Total Life Freedom since we started because of what he struggled with, the work he put in and the results it created.
It’s easy to quit. The timing wasn’t right. The market wasn’t there. There is too much uncertainty. What’s hard is to keep going when you have lost hope. To get up the next day when you aren’t feeling it and to still do the work. To put a smile on your face and work when you have little confidence in yourself and even less in your business.
Everyone struggling wants to know how to get things to turn around quickly. What they ought to ask is what can I do today and every day going forward to start things getting better slowly. Quick fixes lead to desperate decisions. Consistent action leads to long-term success. When I challenged VanDerMeulen, I had no thoughts of him being able to sell the business. I just wanted him to make a profitable endeavor for his family.
For him to do that, and to do it so well that it was able to be sold to set him and his family up for the next level of their lives is something that has inspired all of us in TLF. And success brings success. He is now known as the go to person in this space and is leading a call next Wednesday on how to discover potential physical products to distribute through Amazon.
So, if you are on the verge of quitting, if you think there is nothing there and you are yelling into the abyss, remember John VanderMulen. Re-read this story. Find yourself someone to hold you accountable to doing the work. Find someone that believes in you enough to not let you quit.
You too might get the word million attached to the end of your name as well.