“I can remember one day, after getting my son off to school, breaking down in my closet, as I felt the weight of my bills closing in on me,” the Marketing Entrepreneur recalls.
“It was at that moment, at a time I felt the lowest, that I made the decision that I would do whatever it takes – as long as it was ethical and with integrity – to pull myself out of this dark place and find my path to success. It took five years, and I continue to grow every day, but I persevered and built a business that enables my son and me to have a good life.”
Work Was Rick’s Salvation
Rick always had an entrepreneurial spirit. As a kid, he held garage sales, ran lemonade stands, mowed lawns, and even cleaned horse stalls. He carried those enterprising characteristics with him into adulthood.
“My professional life has been driven by the desire to create value for others and myself in whatever way possible,” the Marketing Entrepreneur explains. “I’ve held jobs in areas ranging from custodial to customer service to management, and everything in between. In fact, there are many times I’ve had more than one job just to get ahead of the monthly bills and make sure I was providing for my family.”
Rick started his marketing company in 1995 after reading a book entitled ‘The One to One Future.’ He wanted to help other businesses focus on the clients and customers they already had rather than trying to replace that revenue each month.
“I also knew it was imperative to nurture the relationships between a business and its customers,” he explains. “However, I didn’t know how I was going to do it, and consequently, the company started off slowly and even went dormant for several years as technology evolved and marketing hacks and tricks seemed to permeate the landscape. But, through it all, I stuck to my commitment to nurturing relationships, rather than churning through new customers.”
Rick continues, “At my most desperate hour, in 2014, I resurrected and reinvented my company. At first, I took on everything, but I quickly learned that I needed to specialize in one or two areas. Once I did that, the business really started to flourish, and my financial worries soon eased.”
Finding A Healthy Work-Life Balance Is Vital
“When I was a kid, my dad used to take me fishing every summer,” Rick recalls. “We would drive to the lake and spend hours on end just sitting and waiting for a bite. It wasn’t until years later that I realized how precious that time spent ‘doing nothing’ actually was.”
In today’s world, we get so caught up with working in our business that we don’t take the time to create those types of memories. We are so busy with the next project, or the next deal, that we lose sight of the moment that’s right in front of us.
“With this in mind, I have become much more focused on maintaining a work-life balance in recent years,” Rick explains. “I have found a way to reclaim that vital time when I can relish my existence and enjoy the simple pleasures. And I have done it using methods that enable my business to continue to thrive so that my son and I never suffer hardship again.”
One of Rick’s guiding principles is a quote by Bill Gates: “The Internet is not about technology, it’s about people.” That sentiment was true in 1995, and it is even more relevant in today’s ‘new economy’ that stresses the importance of personalized service.
“When I started out in the nineties, the business world was full of stereotypical marketers who were simply out to game the system and find the quickest way to leverage new technology to line their pockets with money from unsuspecting consumers,” the Marketing Entrepreneur recalls. “Now, things have come full circle, and people are realizing once again how essential it is to take care of their existing customers and treat them like human beings and not statistics.”
He continues, “My hyper-focused customer-first approach enables me to divide my time more effectively. My employees and I do not send endless emails or make thousands of sales calls. We make sure our clients are happy and getting everything they want from us.”
Using this approach, Rick recently built a small, remote team, and he has really embraced the work-from-home laptop lifestyle. “I bring in the right team members to handle the day-to-day operations that cannot be automated, while I oversee more of the strategic and coaching areas, which is where I really thrive,” he explains. “When I am strategizing and coaching clients on their business, I am in the zone and making the biggest impact – without spending so much time on my work that I forget to live.”