Welcome to the Eventual Millionaire Podcast. I?m Jaime Tardy and today we have Vonda White on the show. Vonda started as a young girl whose family was actually on welfare and while other little girls were playing hopscotch she was picking up aluminum cans and redeeming them for the money. She worked hard and became a self-made millionaire entrepreneur by creating a company that provided student health insurance to colleges. Now she is a success coach and helps others achieve their goals. She recently wrote the book Success Against the Odds. Welcome Vonda and thank you so much for being here.
VONDA WHITE: Thank you for having me.
JAIME TARDY: Excellent. So first, since I just finished the book, could you sort of tell us a little bit about the book and what your motivation was for writing it?
VW: Success Against the Odds was written in order to help other people realize that dreams are possible and they can turn goals into reality and achieve the lives that they desire by following the principles that are in the book and learning from other people?s stories what they had to do and what they?ve overcome. There are 16 people that I feature in the book that have overcome insurmountable odds to get to where they are today to where most of us don?t have those large of obstacles to overcome and if they can do it we can do. They?re no different than you or I except they had a will and a determination and they weren?t afraid to dream big and to take a risk and that?s what I want to encourage people to do because life is exciting, it has so much to offer but it?s up to us to decide will we step out there and take a risk.
Know that we may fail but we can pick ourselves up and overcome and if we keep at it, eventually we?re going to achieve what we want to and a lot of times too our life will take a direction because if we go after our goal, your life ends up going in a direction to where you achieve so much more than you ever thought possible and so I would encourage everyone to sit down and think to themselves, ?If I really could live the life that I imagine, 15 years from now what would I like to have accomplished?? And look at not just at work in certain areas but look at the six major areas of your life so that you have a balance in your life and you?re successful in all those areas and not just one. For example, if you?re only successful at work but you abandon your kids, you?re not that great of a parent, that?s really not success. Success needs to be where you feel good about the major six areas of your life to where you can look back and say, ?You know, I achieved success and I also had a successful family and a great relationship with my kids and I achieved the financial success that I wanted to.
I took care of myself personally with my health and fitness and nutrition and I?ve got a great group of friends and I?ve also got a spiritual life that I am proud of that makes me feel good.? And so you have a balance and you don?t feel like you?re lacking in any one area.
JT: In the book you?ve interviewed some amazing people like Debbie Fields, the CEO of 1-800-GOTJUNK, Amway?s president, tons of really, really interesting people in this book so anyone should go pick it up just to read up these stories about these really interesting people and all the odds that they had to overcome in order to get into what they?re doing. What do you think separates them though because these are really successful entrepreneurs. What do you think separates them from a not successful entrepreneurs?
VW: Honestly, they?re no different than you or I and that?s one thing that really encouraged me about writing the book because I believe we?re all able to do great things and we were created to do great things. But most people they don?t have written goals, they don?t have a plan or a roadmap to get them to where they want to go and they just accept life as it comes instead of creating the life that you want. For example, when I have a goal, I?ve written it down and then I know what I need to do to make this happen to achieve this goal. What are my action steps for today, tomorrow, for this week, for next week, for this whole month, etc.
When you have your action steps and then you start putting that action towards it and you keep chipping away at that goal little by little, a little piece each day or week, pretty soon you?ve accomplished the goal and when you look back like let?s say 12 months from now, when you look back at a goal that you?ve set for yourself, it might have seemed impossible or insurmountable in order to get to that point. But when you start doing it on a daily basis, a little bit at a time, it?s kind of like the saying inch by inch anything is a cinch and a really believe that because when I started my own company in 1996 I had never owned my own company before. I didn?t take business school classes or anything but I knew what I wanted to do and I took the risk and as soon as I took the risk I had to make it succeed. I didn?t have any other options and so every day, what do I need to do today?
I need get incorporated. I need to talk to my attorney. I need to get my licensing and then order stationery, start my office and hire one person and each day I?d have a list of things I needed to do for that day to move forward. Within a year, literally probably ten months later, I knew I had made the best decision of my life by resigning my job and starting my own company. But ten months earlier I remember I was pregnant, I was seven months pregnant when I quit, and I had my son who almost died. He had a 20?percent chance to live and I remember going oh my word what have I done?
I have made the biggest mistake of my life quitting my job, giving up maternity leave and what if this doesn?t work out and I?m going to really regret it the rest of my life. So there wasn?t an option. I had to make it work. So I just dove in and did everything I could within my power and my ability to make sure my business was a success and if we?re willing to do that for someone else, why can?t we do it for ourselves and if you?re willing to do it for an employer, you?re going to do that much more when it?s your own business and that?s basically what I did. You can take those circumstances with anyone whether it?s losing weight or making more money, etc.
But breaking the goal down and thinking out of the box of how can I make this happen and how can I turn this goal into reality and if it?s not impossible, if you don?t think that there?s not some worry that can I make this happen it?s probably not that big of a goal and not that big of a challenge because any time that you have a real dream or a real goal, there is doubt, there?s self doubt, but we have to believe if I keep moving forward, if I take all the right action steps and there are going to be problems because there?s problems in every day life and business, etc.
But you just have to keep working through and around and over the problems and you can overcome them and succeed. And that?s what life is all about but most people won’t step out of their comfort zone and take the risk. The biggest thing is, which is the first chapter, is you have to be willing to take a risk.
JT: That?s a really good question to go back. you had a great career. I mean you were the VP at the age of 27 so you were making your way and being successful anyway. What made you decide to start your own company?
VW: For me, the company that I was working for they weren?t pro family. Pretty much they kind of encouraged you not to get married, not to have kids, because they wanted you working constantly and traveling for them. I really felt that pressure and I knew that that wouldn?t make me happy because like I talked about with balance, for you, you?ve go to look at what makes you happy and I knew for me I wanted to have children, I wanted to have a great marriage and if I was working in this environment I felt like I wouldn?t be able to have that and it was my wedding.
Actually, I had gotten married at my wedding and being around my friends and family and people from college where there was so much love and I thought I don?t have this on a daily basis. In fact, I work in a very competitive backstabbing environment and I thought most of my life is spent in that office with that environment and I don?t want that to be the majority of my life anymore. So honestly the night of my wedding that I made the decision that I?m going to do this, I?m going to start my own business and end up resigning shortly thereafter.
JT: Wow. So shifting of priorities and actually it even wasn?t though because then you were just taking more of you and being able to do entrepreneurship instead. So you sort of shifted what you were doing and just making your own rules instead of living by someone else?s rules.
VW: Right. Honestly, I mean I worked extremely hard for my employer and I also honestly worked extremely hard for myself but when you own your own business you are able to say I?m going to work over the weekend but I?m not going to come in on Monday or I?m going to take a three-day vacation and I might work 10 or 12 hours for the four days but I could decide how much vacation time or time off I can live with and still be successful. If I?m going to be late running in because I?m dropping the kids off or going to a kid?s play or something like that I can do that too.
Just the freedom that you have when you own your own business is so much greater than if you?re working for someone else and happen to do a 9-5 or 9-5:30 schedule and there?s not a lot of flexibility in that. Besides all the other from awards that you can win with your own business that if it?s for someone else, you?re really not getting the recognition that maybe you?ve earned because of what you?ve done but it was a huge company or something. I mean there?s just so many things from financial to personal peace, etc. that I just feel entrepreneurship is a great thing.
It?s not for everyone but if it?s something that you love and something where you?re a good, your own boss and you know that you have a strong work ethic and you don?t need someone else telling you what to do, I would recommend it.
JT: Well and you talk a lot about passion and stuff like that and I want to ask you about passion but I also want to ask you because your business was specifically on insurance. Were you passionate about insurance?
VW: I was passionate about being my own boss and when I started in insurance I was president of student government association for my college for two years and I loved the job, I got to bring in the speakers and the entertainment for the college, etc. Through that process I knew because I was my own boss and in charge of everything, I needed to have a career where I could do that, where I could be in charge of myself and not have someone breathing down my neck and be able to be kind of set free to excel or to fail on my own behalf.
So that?s what I looked for and that?s a job that I got. It was traveling to colleges and universities around the nation and selling them health insurance and so I wasn?t like in love with insurance but I did love the opportunity that I got and I loved my job and I looked for the positive in it from I loved the traveling, it was a huge education going to the different corners of the United States and how the cultures are different and the people are different and you learn from that and you learn from each state that you visit, history, etc.
So that was what I loved and what I was passionate about and being really very independent through it. And then, when ?96 came around and I knew that I wanted to start my own business and create my own culture and environment that I wanted to be involved in, that was my passion. Entrepreneurship I?d say is more my passionate and that involves a vehicle for that was selling insurance to colleges and universities. So it?s very entrepreneurial where I get to dream up these things that I want to do and how to do it and then at the same time I can run my business and my passion was really writing a book and helping other people succeed and sharing what I had learned through having my own radio talk show and interviewing these people. I just wanted to share that with people and so owning my own company and entrepreneurship has allowed me to pursue other venues also. So I would say yes I am doing my passion because of all that.
JT: Wow. So do you run the company now? How did you get the talk show going and when did you start that?
VW: Well with Collegiate Risk Management yes I am the President and CEO of that and I have been since the day it started with just me and one other employee and now I?ve got about 25 employees and I do that business day in, day out for the most part except for if I?m traveling, etc. It also allows me the time to write the book and help people with coaching with success coaching, etc.
With the radio show, that started in 2000 and I was obsessed with interviewing and finding out how people accomplished the things they had done in their life, people that I had admired. So I literally had a friend that worked for AM1040 in Tampa and they said, ?You know, if you want your own radio show here?s how you do it? and so I started my own radio talk show for an hour on Sundays weekly and through that it gave me the vehicle to have these people be guests on my show because I had a radio show and so I was able to interview a ton of different people like you were saying Rich Devoss from Amway, Debbie Fields from Mrs.?Fields Cookies, Rebecca Mathias who started out of her closet the world?s largest maternity clothing store in the world and all these different interesting people that are successful in their lives whether it?s through business or like Henry Landworth who was a Holocaust survivor.
His story is amazing. How he was a child of the Holocaust and was in the concentration camps from age 13 to 18 and survived. They were going to take him out and execute him and it was the end of the war and one of the soldiers had a change of heart and said, ?Run, run for your life? and they let him escape by running and he had gangrene and got nursed back to health and came to America with $20.00 in his pocket, didn?t know the language, didn?t know anything and his parents had been killed in the Holocaust and he started his way working in the hotel business and started from a maid and a bellman and front desk, all positions. He took all positions and learned them all and did his very best in each position.
Because of that, it got him recognized to where someone allowed him to manage their hotel. It was the Starlight Hotel in Cape Canaveral when they were trying to fly a man to the moon. So he ended up becoming friends with Walter Cronkite and all the astronauts and through his great talent of running this hotel and his passion for it, Timmons Wilson noted him, who he owned all the Holiday Inn franchises and told Henry if you ever want to own a hotel I?d love to have you as a franchisee participant.
So he partnered with John Glenn, bought a hotel right outside of Walt Disney and several others and became very successful financially from that. But Henry had, he knew what it was like to not have clothes and to be pretty much homeless, to be hungry and to be hurting and so because of that when someone called and said we have a terminally ill child could they stay at your hotel for free he said yes immediately but the child died before they could get to, for their vacation and stay at his hotel. He was like this has to change. If someone is terminally ill and they need to be here tomorrow it needs to be available where this can happen quickly.
So he built Give Kids the World which they host about 100 families weekly in Kissimmee and they?ve built, it?s like a Walt Disney World. They?ve build this place with lodging and the restaurant looks like Candyland. Then they have an ice cream parlor that?s like an ice cream cone, etc. These kids have a wonderful one-week vacation and that?s his passion is being able to help these children and these families have a memorable vacation that they?ll remember all their life in case the child doesn?t make it until the next year. What an incredible gift that this man has done for so many people and his life was spared and instead of wasting that, he made the most of his life and that?s really what we all should be doing is making the most of our lives.
And if we just live as life comes to us, that?s not going to happen. You?ve got to be setting goals and imagining what you would like to achieve in your life and then start working towards it. That?s how you start doing successful things that you just wouldn?t know that you could have done but if you start going after it you?re going to achieve so much more out of life and make a difference in other people?s lives.
JT: That?s an amazing story in the book too. He is the quintessential against all odds, you know, $20.0 in his pocket, no family and being able to do so much for so many other people. That?s just huge.
VW: Right. Well and the other key to that was that he was passionate about every single job that he took whether it was from the maid to the front desk, etc. and if we?re passionate about everything that we do from the little things to the big things it makes a huge difference in your life. People are going to notice and you?re going to excel and you?re going to shine.
JT: That?s a really good point because a lot of people say nowadays you need to find your passion, that one thing that makes you happy and it?s not really about that. And that?s what it sounds like. You can be passionate about a lot of different things.
JT: Well what do you think is a couple themes, I know you have quite a few in the book, but what are some of the themes of all these successful people that you were able to get in touch with. What sort of things did they do that made them successful?
VW: First, they took a risk. They allowed themselves to dream and to dream big. Like with Debbie Fields for example, she was 20 years old, a homemaker and she wanted to be somebody because somebody had made her feel inferior for being a stay-at-home mom. The thing that she knew she was good at was baking cookies and she loved it, loved baking and had a passionate for it and wanted just to have one little store selling her cookies and everybody told her that?s impossible and it?s a dumb idea, it?ll never work, you?re not ever going to make enough money to pay for this store, etc.
Debbie says, ?You know when I hear people say impossible, to me that means I?m possible.? So against everyone?s wishes she opened her little bakery and her chippery store and after, at first it wasn?t successful, she remembers the first day with all her cookies baked and nobody was coming to the doors and so she decided to break up the cookies and make samples. She really, I think, was one of the first people that did the sampling kind of idea. But she took off to the streets and had her samples and begged people to taste her samples and then they?d follow her back to her store and buy her cookies.
So when she didn?t have customers she figured out a way, how do I get customers? How do I get people into my store? Through that, she became very successful and franchised and when she ended up selling she had 750 franchises and she sold it for over $400?million but that came from just the dream of having just one little cookie store and then things just mushroomed and blessed her because she pursued her goal. So that?s why it?s just important to take a risk, to dream big, to go after what you want and it?s important to have written goals because if you just have it in your head a lot of times you forget exactly what it is. You also aren?t focused on it and it?s more of a wish.
But when you have it written down on paper, you?re focused on what you need to do to get closer to that because then you start breaking it down into action steps, etc. I?ve got a workbook that helps you look at the different areas of your life, where to set goals and what goals you want to set for these areas and then how to start little by little, daily, weekly, monthly working towards that so that in a year?s time you?ve achieved a lot of your goals in those areas and have reached, sometimes you?ve reached the goal, sometimes you?ve just gotten closer to it depending on how long term of a goal it is, etc.
But it makes a huge difference in your life and there?s a study from Harvard business school in 1979 where they interviewed the graduating class and 3 percent had written goals and 10 years later that 3 percent made ten times more financially than the 97?percent put together. And that?s the power of written goals. Because when you have written goals you?re going to accomplish so much more in your life because you?re focused on it and you?re working towards it and it?s not just a wish, it?s a goal that you?re taking action steps on and really trying to have happen. It makes a huge difference.
From the risk, dreaming big, the written goals, taking action, those are the main criteria for reaching your goals. But then there?s also other principles that are important such as being kind along the way, giving back, making a difference, turning a negative into a positive because there?s always going to be negative in your life and you?ve got to be able to switch it and see the positive or switch it into a positive or learn from the experiences. So those would be the main key areas but there are 16 all together. You can get the book at www.successagainsttheodds.com and then also the workbook. But with the two, it can change your life and I believe it so much that I?ve put together a one-year challenge to where you can win $10,000.00 for the overall winner or there?s 10 $1,000.00 winners also for those that set a goal and 12 months later what did they achieve and what did they overcome and how much of their goal did they achieve to where the most inspiring stories will be told and then also rewarded.
And so it?s changed my life and I never would have imagined my life would be like it is and it came from doing exactly what?s in my book and in the workbook and I?ve done it consistently since the age of 14and it has made a huge difference. I could stop now and not do it anymore but every year that I do it, it makes such a difference in my life and helps me to achieve so much more that it?s just a part of who I am and it?s what I want to do because I want my life to have mattered and to make a difference and I feel that God put me here for a reason and I don?t want to waste it.
Someone once said, in fact it was Henry Landworth, President of Give Kids the World, Pam Landworth, she said the two most important days of your life is the day you were born and then the day you discovery why and to me it?s just important to know why you?re here and what you want to accomplish and then start going for it.
JT: What?s funny is that you didn?t always know that. You?re right, your why is something that you sort of need to find out and you were talking about earlier is when you grew up, it sounded like you were in sort of a negative situation with negative attitudes in general. So how did that affect you and your idea of wealth and success when you were growing up?
VW: Well, I came from a family that was divorced when I was 8 and the home life was a very negative environment. I babysat, I really would stay away from the home as much as possible where I was very involved in extracurricular activities and then I was working all the time too and I worked for a family that I babysat for. I?d babysit the whole weekend, etc. But they were very positive so really what I did is I got role models for myself and, in fact, I also admired Miss Americas.
So even though I didn?t meet a Miss America, they were a role model for me to where I would look at how are they, what did they do, how have they made their life the way they did it, like going to school, getting good grades, being involved in leadership activities, etc. So that?s what I did. With the family, they encouraged me to not follow the crowd, to believe in myself and believe in my dreams and they would give me positive motivational books and so I would encourage people. It?s great to read inspiring, motivational books, to listen to tapes or radio stations that are motivational or inspirational even like a show like your, for example.
All of that can help encourage you when you get down. Because we all get down and we all have self-doubt but you need to realize that that?s temporary and everybody goes through that and you just got to pull yourself up by your boot straps and dust yourself off and move forward and keep taking the action steps towards your goal and don?t give up. That?s what I?ve done all my life and with my first major goal it was to win the Miss Idaho National Teenager pageant and I wasn?t like, my brother calls me the ugly duckling, because it took a lot of work to improve upon myself and the first year I entered I didn?t win anything at all but I did win the desire to someday hold that title.
So I looked at what do I need to do? I needed to get straight A?s as close to it as I could, I needed to have a lot of leadership activities and positions so I was involved in a ton of things at school and got leadership positions because I was working towards this goal and also volunteering and so I did a lot of volunteer work for the hospital and mailing little lunch gift bags overseas to armed forces with the Red Cross and all of that ended up helping me to finally win the title at the age of 18 which my whole goal was to win the title but what happened is it opened doors that I never even expected to where I ended up getting three tuition scholarships to three schools in Alabama and I had grown up in Idaho so I ended up getting free education to a school in Alabama which was a wonderful college experience to where I ended up becoming president of student government because I took the risk and ran for it and planned ahead.
So I had all my posters and everything made that helped me get elected by a majority vote so there wasn?t even a runoff. Then that got my, from being president of student government, that got my foot in the door to my first career that I started selling health insurance to colleges and universities. And I never would have dreamt of that happening but when you pursue your goals and dreams, good things happen to you because you?re going after something and other doors will open. I just believe that your life will be blessed in so many areas and richer because of you pursuing a goal or a dream then you could have ever expected.
That?s just the extra icing on the cake because even the journey of getting towards your goal it?s exciting and it?s fun. Even if you don?t hit your target other things will happen because of it and so it pays off no matter what. There is no downside to it. You?re going to be a better person and a happier person because you went after it than like, for me, one thing I really fretted about was I had always had this desire to write this book and make a difference in people?s lives and I thought the one regret I would had is if I was sitting in a nursing home one day and thought to myself what would have happened if I hadn?t written that book. Could it have changed lives? Could I have maybe gotten on the speaking circuit or been a success coach, etc?
And I never would have known that answer if I hadn?t have done it and it wasn?t easy and it took a long time but I am so glad that I did it and didn?t leave that to be an unknown that I would never know the outcome.
JT: That?s extremely important to just take action. What?s funny too is that we read about success stories and they are really, really good for motivation but what I see in a success story is we hear how far they came and how high they?ve gotten but we don?t hear a lot about the obstacles and the failures and the things that they had to get through in order to reach those because like you said, when you have risk, I mean it could end up good or end up bad but either way it usually turns you on the other side and ends up good in the long run if you keep pushing towards your goals. What obstacles and failures have you run into in growing your business and being so successful?
VW: There?s obstacles every day and sometimes there?s failures every day in business because sometimes you get a school and sometimes you lose a school or you lose a bid but it?s not giving up when you get the no?s through sales or when you lose something it?s knowing that it?s a numbers game and there will be a yes sometime in here and I just have to keep doing what I know to do from the cold calling to visiting people and getting your product in front of people. Eventually you are going to get the yeses but a lot of people quit when they get a couple of no?s or they get people doubting that they can succeed in something, they give up and don?t try.
In life, I just never did that. A lot of times I?d want to give up but I would keep working even though I would doubt it in my mind and I felt like I had to work against myself. I just kept on working through it and it was the action steps that made the huge difference even when I felt like is this going to pay off or I want to quit but I wouldn?t quit and all that. I think that?s how we all have to do because life isn?t easy whether it?s losing weight, whether it?s improving your relationship with our children. There?s always struggles in everything but if you make the effort and one thing I love about the workbook, for example, is you can do this with your family whether it?s your spouse or your children.
I sit down with my kids every six months and have them map out their goals and then also as a family you can talk about well what would make our family relationship better and maybe it?s I?d like you to have your room picked up so I don?t have to nag you about that and theirs might be we don?t want you yelling at us for something to where you talk about it and then together you all set your goals and you?re working towards it and there?s a lot to be said when, because it gives you the chance to say, ?You know, I?m sorry that I haven?t been better or I haven?t spent the time with you but I want to and I want to make this a priority? and there?s a lot to be said when you start putting action and people see that and then also it gives you an opportunity to apologize and to forgive and to move forward.
I just think it helps strengthen families so much and I see it with my own kids in the last six months their goals were to raise their grades which they?ve all been able to meet their grade goals or exceed them and then my one son wants to become a pro skateboarder and so he skateboards and so he skateboards about four times a week and he just got two people interested in sponsoring him and even my 11-year-old son he?ll ask me, ?Mom do you think I can become a pro skateboard?? because they also have doubts and everything.
They want to do it and they want to succeed but they have their doubts and they need someone to say, ?You know, you can and if you keep pursuing it like you?re doing and you don?t quit and give up I believe 100?percent you can.? We all need a cheerleader and we all need encouragement and it?s a great way, and it?s a great way to bond a family when you?re encouraging each other and moving forward and when they mess up maybe you go back to the goal and what do we need to work on and how can we improve this and let?s move forward in a positive direction and encourage each other.
JT: That?s a great idea and everybody should go do that with their children right now because that?s really important to not only do it yourself but to teach your children so that way they can have that focus and success in their lives too. It sounds like what you were talking about was really perseverance and what I want to get back to then is ask you about when you were a child and before you had all those positive influences did you know you were going to be successful? It sounds like you have focus and perseverance innate almost in you but when you were that young did you know that you would be this successful?
VW: No, no, definitely not. In fact, when I was in college I remember thinking I?ll be lucky if I can make $40,000.00 a year and to where I felt like inside of me I knew there was this person that could be successful and that could do great things, I just needed almost a vehicle to figure out how to do that and like a success in school, I held the student government president position, etc. and people looked up to me. I still had a lot of doubt about can I succeed in the business world and I doubted it so much and I knew that I had to take care of myself that I almost enrolled, in fact I did, I got accepted into ROTC where I would start a military career right outside of college.
Then I was guaranteed a salary of $22,000.00 or something like that and at the last minute after being accepted I declined and didn?t do it. I ended up getting the job interview for the health insurance position and at first I didn?t take it. They didn?t hire me in the beginning they had just interviewed me and I thought boy that?s kind of a strange company and the owners were strange and I wasn?t sure I really wanted to work for them and I went back home to Idaho and had done some interviews for television stations, etc. because I was a communications major. No one was knocking down my door to give me a job.
I thought back to what do I enjoy and I knew being my own boss and traveling, etc. to where the insurance job provided that. And so I wrote them a letter and I told them in the letter and I had learned this from reading a Norman Vincent Peale motivational book and that?s one reason too I encourage you to read books such as Success Against the Odds because it gives you ideas and things that maybe you wouldn?t think about on your own but when you see what other people have done it gives you ideas for your own life.
From the Norman Vincent Peale book it was talking about the great depression where jobs were scarce and there was a movie theater hiring and the line was super duper long and this guy wanted the job and sent a note up to the front that said, ?Don?t hire anyone until you?ve interviewed me? and that made me think in my letter I need to get them to understand why it?s important to hire me. And so in my letter I told them I believe I can be the best saleswoman you?ve ever had if you give me the opportunity and I believe in it so much I?ll work for free for six months to prove myself to you and that statement made them take the chance on me because it caught their attention and they didn?t make me work for free. They gave me a decent starting salary. It was like $20,000.00 or something and that got my foot in the door.
Once I got my foot in the door I just worked 12 hours a day. I did whatever it took to be successful and they told me when they hired me if you don?t sell in your first year we?re going to fire you and I said, ?If I don?t sell my first year I?ll quit but I?m going to do everything in my power to be successful? and that?s what I did and I ended up selling ten accounts my first year. I was the most successful anyone had ever been in their first year and it was because I just worked nonstop and just devoted myself to it and I took the risk of telling them I had to work for free and I would have worked for free to get my foot in the door and that opportunity.
So I encourage people think out of the box. What can you do to stand out? What can you do to stand out? What can you do to get your foot in the door or to get the chance to show them what you?re made of and what you can do? I just believe that people like someone who is willing to stay late, work hard, do what other people won’t do. It stands out and you get rewarded in the end and that?s what ended up happening to me from hard work pays off and I?ve always believed that a strong work ethic is much more important than anything else because you can have the degree and a great education but if you?re not willing to work hard and put the pedal to the metal, you know you can be really smart but it doesn?t mean that you?re going to be a successful as someone with a really strong work ethic.
JT: And that?s a really good point that you made before too is that you read a book, you had this one idea and imagine if you didn?t have that one idea and didn?t actually take action on it. Imagine where your life would be then. That?s sort of amazing.
VW: Right, right. If I hadn?t have made the offer I never would have gotten that job.
JT: And you would be in a totally different, I mean you wouldn?t be doing health insurance. You?d be in a totally different place. Wow, that one thing. It?s amazing we don?t, we take for granted how small things can really add up to huge things in your life.
VW: Well and that too, my very first goal at the age of 14 was winning that pageant and I wanted to do it because of the people that I admired. Like I told you, it changed my life because it got me the scholarship to college outside of Idaho into Alabama and then from Alabama I got the job opportunity and I mean if I hadn?t pursued that one goal and dreamt big and gone after it and when I lost first two times I didn?t give up. I kept improving upon myself in order to win that title. But if I hadn?t have gone after that very first goal my whole life would have been different. That?s why I believe so strongly that it?s important to pursue your goals and dreams. To go after the things that you want whether you?re 18 or 68, it?s never too late and you?ve got a lot of life ahead of you and you might as well make the best of it and make the most of it.
If you pursue the things that you desire and I believe that that desire was put into us for a reason. It?s part of our make up and if we pursue it and go after it more than likely you?re going achieve it and if you don?t, other things are going to happen because of that pursuit that is going to take your life in a direction that it never would have gone before if you hadn?t have done it, if you hadn?t have gone after your goals and it will bless you more than you ever thought possible.
JT: Opportunities start to open up as soon as you start actually taking action so that?s really good advice. So for the last question then, what?s one action that listeners can take this week that will move them forward towards their million dollar goal?
VW: If you?re an entrepreneur and own your own business, I would say focus on sales. What brings in money? That is the most important thing to where you focus on what can I do to increase myself to increase my business forward financially that will make a difference. If it is someone who is working for someone else then I would say the most important step that you could take this week to change your life is, for example, the workbook, the Success Against the Odds workbook, whether you get something like that or you get a piece of paper and you start writing down your goals and you look at the six major areas of your life and what you want to accomplish and then break it down of how do I get there? What?s the first things that I need to do to where you say today is the first day of the rest of my life and I?m going to make a difference with it and I?m going to start pursing my goals and my dreams and taking the risk. That is the most important thing that you could do this week to change your life.
JT: That?s a great advice. Thank you so much Vonda for coming on the show. And everybody, you can pick up Vonda?s book Success Against the Odds at her website. She mentioned it earlier. It?s successagainsttheodds.com and you can also actually call 855-GOT-GOAL. I love that. We usually don?t have phone numbers anymore with the Internet so somebody should give that a call. That?s a great number to call too. Again, it?s 855-GOT-GOAL or check out her book at successagainsttheodds.com. Again, thanks so much for coming on Vonda. I hope you have a wonderful day.
VW: Thank you so much. Appreciate it. Bye Jaime.
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