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After a 4-year run of creating most of the technology support and training for Keller Williams Realty International (KWRI) I decided to launch my consulting company in Austin, Texas and leave my steady paycheck. I was ready to return to my prior life as a real estate agent while building a training consulting company.
During my time at KWRI I hosted 250 training webinars. At times during my tenure I wrote every documentation manual on KW Technology and was the official SME (Subject Matter Expert) for 95 percent of their technology products.
I thought I had the skills to launch my own business and by having the most collective knowledge of all the different technology products and behind the scenes processes at Keller Williams I would always have high demand as a trainer. At the time, Keller Williams had 600 big box offices around North America for Keller Williams with almost 100,000 real estate agents.
All I had to do was finally certify on the Train the Trainer audition. Generally each year 200 Keller Williams leaders would travel to Austin, Texas for the 2-day Train the Trainer event and 10 would pass the certification test. While the 5% odds were not good, I had already auditioned twice before leaving KWRI. I paid my entry fee for the 3rd time.
The Doors Are Glued Shut
Spending a lot of time and money on certifications required from Keller Williams to gain permission to train the 600 offices in-person on the materials that I helped developed over the past several years was a bit ridiculous given that there were only 2 approved technology trainers in the entire company of 100,000 agents. I knew those 2 trainers because I created a lot of their presentations they delivered at the semi-annual big company events.
During my 3rd audition for Train the Trainer certification I presented to a room of 30 MAPS coaches, KW Team Leaders and agents that also paid to be in the room and hopefully become a certified trainer. I selected the classroom topic of your “Big Why” with classroom activity of creating a vision board. In 2007, I trained my original Keller Williams Market Center on the exact same Keller Williams University topic.
Things were going well, I had the audition room of current and future KW leaders and everyone already knew my name and my voice (GoToWebinars did not have video yet) on all the KW Technology trainings and as the co-host of “Team Leader Tuesdays” during the launch of eEdge.
I took a 10-year old KWU course, the chapter was called Discover Your Big Why and I infused the internet for an activity. The Pinterest vision board on a projection screen was big hit. After the classroom activity, one of the Team Leaders asked me what was my Big Why. I went to the last slide of the PowerPoint – it was a picture of my Dad sitting next to my hospital bed during a 40-day coma when I was 23. “My Dad never left my side when I was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He is my Big Why. Family is my Big Why.”
My final words in the presentation would become prophetic just a few months later. “When my Dad needs me, I will be there”.
Why my amazing Pinterest twist on the rarely updated KWU course did not propel me to official certified trainer status – I will never know. Maybe it was too out of-the box since I broke protocol by not using the glue, scissors and dozens of magazines written into the 2002 course. I had not bought a magazine in over a decade because every publication was available online.
Bottom line I was not 1 of the lucky 2 trainers that passed the certification that day. The other 28 of us in the room would have to wait another year to spend thousands of dollars for the certification and travel expenses.
It appeared my dream of traveling and training the KW offices would never happen.
As an active agent in 2012 I was able to take a few listings during the slow launch of my consulting business. I was a licensed instructor with the Texas Real Estate Commission and hosted a couple continuing education classes each month. Some money was coming in based on my real estate related activities in Austin but it was not enough. My savings were almost gone.
From Bad to Worse
In July things got worse, my Dad was taken to an ICU in Dallas, 4 hours away from Austin (my hometown) and when my Dad finally got out of the hospital it was October. From July to November I stayed with my Dad in the hospital and when he returned home he was disabled and needed my daily help. I did not want to leave his side and I feared he would not make it past Christmas.
“When my Dad needs me, I will be there” were the last words I spoke in my presentation at Train the Trainer.
My family joined me for Thanksgiving in Dallas. My wife told me that we needed to make income immediately even if it meant begging my old bosses at KWRI to return to my prior job. I promised my wife that if I did not have a minimum of $4,000 a month in consulting agreements and residual income by end of business on Monday (3 days later), I would beg for my old job. My family went back to Austin on the morning of Black Friday 2012.
I really did not want to face the humiliation of returning to Keller Williams Realty International, even though I left on great terms and trained all of my replacements I was a failure at Train the Trainer 3 different times.
To Beg or Not To Beg
I am on the couch with my Dad at his house in Dallas. He was sleeping on the coach so peacefully. He was broke and would never be able to work again. I was broke with less than $500 in the bank, a few listings in Austin and tragically I did not have permission to train 15 Keller Williams offices in Dallas with over 1,000 KW agents within 30 miles of my location. I knew those agents would greatly benefit from my trainings.
I was stuck in my career. I knew I need big money fast and I somehow had to make the money over the internet or go back to the KWRI cubical.
I had studied internet marketing while practicing real estate for almost 15 years. I knew the content. I had a super power for real estate internet lead generation and I knew Keller Williams Technology better than anyone. How could I monetize my skill if no one was going to open a door for me and I was banned from training any agent in-person?
God must have been watching over me and my Dad that Black Friday morning. From the outside looking in there was no hope for either of us but we stayed faithful. I was a 2-time cancer survivor and my Dad had cancer removed from his body that summer but he would never be the same. The bible verse from 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 kept playing in my head, We are pressured on every side but not crushed, perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed.
“Dear John” Email
I opened my Gmail and there it was… the “Dear John”email that changed my life. It was from a company called Kajabi and they were running a Black Friday Special. Kajabi was a familiar name to me because 5 of the top 25 internet marketers in the world that I bought training classes from were using Kajabi. The email was a Black Friday offer on the Kajabi software at a reduced price with a 30-day money back guarantee. I got out my credit card, complete the shopping cart for the Kajabi account. A door opened…
Skip the Gatekeepers
My potential audience was 100,000 Keller Williams agents. I also setup a 30-day trial with GoToWebinar (the software I hosted 250 technology training webinars on during my time at Keller Williams Realty International). I knew with GTW it would allow me to create content for a membership site in record time.
Alias My Red Guru
I bought the domain name myredguru.com. Keller Williams brand color was red and the joke in the industry was tha Keller Williams agents were all being brainwashed by drinking Gary Keller’s red Kool-aid. The domain name had a nice ring to it and I could not waste any time on analysis paralysis. I had a Monday deadline to build a university, all new courses, all new content into my Kajabi account – not to mention finding hundreds of students to pay for enrollment!
At that moment I had a flashback to February, there was a big event before I left my job when the head of KW Technology called me at 11pm and said, “John, we just switched vendors can you login to a demo account with the new vendor, create a new guide, update the worksheet, update 5 PowerPoint Presentations (new screenshots, new workflows, new best practices based on completely different technology) and meet the 2 presenters at 5am to go over all of the new technology and presentations before they get on stage to deliver your content?
“YES, I can.” was my response. What was I thinking? That was less than 6 hours! I did not go to bed. Over 10,000 agents attended the trainings the next day and no one to this day (until right now) knew that I did the impossible task and saved the day. I remembered in 4 years, I also remembered I never got a pay raise at the old job. Now I started to see a glimpse of God’s plan for me and it did not include crawling back to KWRI.
Let me just say, “my plan A” (top of this blog post) was to travel and train – it would have been good money, I would have spent a lot of time in differencent cities, on the road, in the airport and I would have missed a lot of important time with my teenage kids, my beautiful wife, and other family including my Dad. God’s plan A for me was a parallel path to my old job making a lot more money, working a lot less hours, and never leaving my family. It was like Christmas, I am opening the perfect gift…
If you can relate to part of this blog post with my experiences in a zig zag path to a business launch, I recommend the book Believe That You Can by Jentezen Franklin. I originally bought the book and now I play the Audible version multiple times a year – before I launch training courses and during times of slower business.
Can a Laptop Become an ATM?
I smiled remembering some of my accomplishments at Keller Williams and just started writing all new content. My Dad woke up from hearing me banging on the keyboard and said “John, what are you so focused on?” I said, “I am turning my laptop into an ATM and I will never worry about money again and neither will you”. He smiled and went back to sleep.
Basically, I had the weekend to create content and Monday until 5pm was my deadline to have $4,000 guaranteed per month in my consulting business including new residual income from the selling membership access. The house listings in Austin were great but we did not want to count on them selling each month. The market was still a little slow even 5 years after the 2008 crash.
Sink or Swim
I did not got to sleep that night. In the morning I had a fully documented 80-page book finished on how to generate internet leads using KW Technology with modern day social media like Pinterest, Facebook, Google, YouTube and WordPress. On Saturday I built Kajabi and integrated it with PayPal. On Sunday morning I completed my funnel. My free book was called “My Red Guru” and it was featured on a Kajabi page using an integrated BombBomb opt-in form to get the book be entering an email address. The upsell was my Kajabi sales page with a video giving a 2-minute tutorial on “Top 5 Online Profiles” with an option below the video to sign up for my weekly training on KW Technology topics for only $1 dollar (first month, then $10 monthly).
I stepped away from the computer and went grocery shopping for my Dad. I made sure that he had friends that could check on him daily. I returned to my laptop computer and made a post on Facebook. I had 5,000 friends on Facebook and about 4,500 of them were Keller Williams agents that friended me after attending one of the 250 live webinars I hosted from Keller Williams Realty International.
The Facebook post was Get my new book called “My Red Guru – How to Generate Internet Leads with KW Technology” and I provided the hyperlink to my Kajabi funnel. I setup my phone to make a “cha-ching” sound with any notifications from the PayPal shopping cart.
I said goodbye for now to my Dad and jumped in the car back to Austin after several months of stagnant business growth. I called my wife and told her that everything would be OK and I was confident I could hit the $4,000 a month income target. During that 4-hour drive, I heard cha-ching on my phone over 200 times!
That is $200 initially in PayPal and $2,000 a month (minus about 5% for shopping cart fees) for my monthly subscribers. Along with a few ongoing consulting gigs, I exceeded the target and never had to work the 8 to 5 corporate job or sit in Austin traffic 2 hours a day on either side of the work schedule at KWRI.
Instead of spending thousands of dollars every year to continue chasing the certification, I was able to skip the gatekeepers and immediately get paid to do what I love. I bypassed traiditional bricks and mortar office gatekeepers. The internet is the great equalizer.
When there is high demand for your ONE thing, no one can stop you – especially when you can deliver it by webinar and Kajabi. I was on cloud 9.
On a related note, I enjoyed the cloud lifestyle and freedom so much in 2017 I left Keller Williams Realty and joined a cloud based brokerage and got to train and practice real estate on the road following my daughter’s basketball tournaments in several states.
$500,000 on Kajabi in 6 Years
I have generated well over $500,000 with Kajabi since Black Friday 2012. Currently I offer a bundle of 8 all new courses (with my Kajabi platform) and I include access to 5 software programs that I have used to create funnels for several years. With the 8 ongoing courses I average 3 live webinars a week. I invented the perfect job doing something I love. Go to https://HousingLeadsUniversity.com if you would like to learn more about the agent training.
Moral of this story. Stop waiting for permission. Stop waiting for someone to open the door. If you are awesome at a skill, if you deserve the title of guru, trainer or coach, GO AND TAKE IT!!!
If you need a training platform, Kajabi is my recommendation.
On a side note, as one of the most successful real estate trainers in Kajabi history I would like to remind you that Black Friday is the biggest special each year and this Black Friday ending on the Monday the 27th is the lowest pricing I have seen since I became a “founder” of the platform and they are doubling many of the features. Watch Kajabi’s Black Friday Video and they explain the offer. If you join, please use my affiliate link:
https://app.newkajabi.com/r/Moh3fGdC/t/bdzwlslb <== help me, help you (affiliate link)
I have consulted with clients that have spent more than 20,000 to build a training platform and those platforms can not do half of what Kajabi can do. Video hosting, document uploads, open access or delayed timer access, sales pages, integrated email system, integration with several shopping cart providers, upsells, downsells… it is by far the best, worth every penny and until November 27th using the link above you can lock-in a sweetheart deal very close to the one I got on Black Friday 2012.
Today, I use Zoom instead of GoToWebinar.
Whether you join my HousingLeadsUniversity or not – ask me for a free invite to 1 of my 8 HLU courses called Funnel Club. This course benefits any business owner and especially any Kajabi trainer. I used the Funnel Club strategy in 2012 for my first Kajabi product launch, the “My Red Guru” book page had a 92% registration rate (impossible according to my 5 mentors in internet marketing) and the $1 dollar trial offer had over a 25% registration rate (nearly impossible).
As I promised my Dad in 2012, I created the ATM machine and he never had to worry about money again. Today he lives in Austin, only 5 minutes from me and I run my Kajabi business from his couch a few times a week 🙂
p.s. I am always available for a 15 minute Zoom if you want to chat about HLU, Kajabi, Football, Deep Frying Turkey Techniques: https://calendly.com/pohly/15min