Sales Platoon: S1:E4 | From Service to Success with Richard Kaufman

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You will be inspired by Richard Kaufman’s journey from military service to business success. Kaufman shares his experiences with addiction and adversity, overcoming setbacks and achieving significant milestones. He credits mentors like Gary Vee and Donnie Boivin for guiding him toward entrepreneurship and podcasting. Kaufman’s sales philosophy emphasizes authenticity and understanding customer needs, debunking negative stereotypes associated with sales.

Richard also discusses the identity crisis many veterans face post-service, emphasizing the need for a forward-thinking approach to life after service. He shares his mission to help veterans find purpose and transition successfully. The conversation also delves into the rise of veteran-led podcasts and entrepreneurial ventures, emphasizing the importance of communication and structured processes learned in the military.

Richard emphasizes the importance of seeking mentorship from top experts and learning from success and failure. He also highlights the value of community support, emphasizing the Vet Tribe as a platform for veterans to learn from each other’s successes.

Highlights:

{02:30} Overcoming Challenges

{12:45} Why does Sales have a negative connotation?

{16:45} Identity Crisis After Service

{29:10} Veterans in Entrepreneurship

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Richard Kaufman Bio:

Richard Kaufman, also known as The Comeback Coach, is an author, veteran, and esteemed host and producer of the top 0.5% globally ranked podcast, the Vertical Momentum Resiliency Podcast. With a remarkable 23 years of service in the military and an additional 30 years with GNC, Richard has accumulated invaluable experiences and insights that he now leverages to assist others in overcoming adversity and realizing their aspirations.

Throughout his career as a coach and author, Richard has profoundly impacted countless individuals, guiding them through their hero’s journey from darkness to light. His book, “A Hero’s Journey from Darkness to Light,” is a testament to his triumph over challenges and a beacon of inspiration for others seeking resilience and success.

As the driving force behind the Vertical Momentum Resiliency Podcast, Richard brings on guests who share their narratives of resilience and provide actionable advice on overcoming obstacles and attaining personal and professional triumphs. With a global ranking in the top 0.5%, the podcast has garnered acclaim as a trusted resource for individuals seeking to cultivate resilience and achieve their goals.

Richard Kaufman is profoundly honored to have served in the US Army and with GNC, and he is unwaveringly dedicated to utilizing his wealth of experiences and insights to empower others to thrive. For those embarking on their hero’s journey and seeking guidance, Richard Kaufman, The Comeback Coach, stands ready to offer his expertise and support.

Links:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/richard-kaufman-989757139

https://www.salesplatoon.org

Sponsored Links:

https://therootbrands.com/product/zero-in

https://newulife.com/hk/en 

https://trufinco.com 

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John

Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Sales Platoon podcast. This is where strategy meets storytelling. I’m your host, John Renken, bringing you the tactics, triumphs, and truths from the trenches of sales and business. 

In today’s episode, we will decode the transition from service to business with our guest, Richard Kaufman. He’s a veteran whose aim has not failed. He’s done many amazing things and always hit great targets. 

So, let’s gear up. Let’s get into it and start talking about some strategies that we can turn into victories, brother. It’s so great to have you on my podcast. I got to be on yours. I’ve followed you for probably 6-7 years now. And you were just telling me you just hit 12. How many? 1,200 interview?

Richard

1,200 interviews. I think something like something like that.

John

Yeah. And you just beat Ed Milot. And who was the other one? You just beat him out.

Richard

Tim Ferris and Gary Vee and some of those others, some of my heroes and mentors.

John

That is so wild, man. I like these are some of the best podcasts in the world, and you’re outranking them.

Richard

Yeah, but you know it’s all relative. And honestly, if it wasn’t for you or my guys in the vet and tribe, I’m sure we’ll talk about that later. Robert Garcia. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing, so I’m just standing on the shoulders of giants.

John

Yeah, man, that’s amazing, man. So, let me ask you a couple of questions. Let’s kind of kick this off. When did you serve? Where did you serve? What branch were you in? Let’s bring the tribe into who Richard is.

Richard

Is Richard the one, and can we curse on here? Or no.

John

Yeah, I don’t care.

Richard

And by the way, guys, I normally want to apologize. I’m in my normal office, but. I’m not in there. My boys are home from college and want to use the upstairs. I’m like, OK, I’m going to go into base, so I apologize. I, Richard Kaufman, was the biggest ship bag you’ve ever met in the military. I’ve had eight articles in fifteens and two field grades. Yeah, we’ll go with you if you want. We’ll go through that a little bit. 

I got thrown out for being a drug addict and alcoholic and got back in. I almost got thrown out for a second time for being an *******, but 911 saved my life. And then. Within three years as a soldier of the year and non-commissioned officer, I did 23 years in the Army National Guard and Army. You know, mix time, and I got hurt. I got injured in an accident, and I lost 80% of my vision. 

So, they medically discharged me in 2012. And that’s when that’s when that ended. Labour Day 2012. 

But I also had a chance to meet for lunch. I had lunch with a guy named Gary Vayner Chuck. And he set me off on my path to doing what I’m doing now. So, I don’t have any cool war stories. The only war stories are in the six inches between my ears. That’s the only war stories I have.

John

Have now what? What did you do when you were in the?

Richard

Army, what was your MOS? When I first went in, I was a 19K tanker. But then, when I got my life straight and became, you know, I tried to be the ultimate soldier. I went to every school they offered. So, if you want you want to send me to school, tell me I’ll go. 

So, I reclassed it to 19D11B. I went to what I had. So, I had three MOS and went to whatever school they offered me. I maxed out all my correspondence courses, PT. Everything so and then I became the guy that did the peepee checker. I was that guy, too, doing all the **** tests. Whatever they asked me. To whatever they asked me to do to become the ultimate soldier. That’s what I did, yeah.

John

That’s what you did, huh? That’s wild, man.

Richard

Success leaves clues, right? Right.

John

I didn’t realize that you were that you had done that like that. You had been in trouble. I mean, I didn’t know that that that was a part of your story.

Richard

Oh, yeah, and it made me who I am, you know, because I went for, like I said, six regular article fifteens two field grades, sure, and thank God they started making the rank that you could just rip off because I never kept it long enough. 

So, I was like, you know what? Just leave it blank because I’m going to end up there anyway.

John

Out of curiosity. 

So you spend 23 years, you get out. Out then, you have this lunch with Gary. Vee. How did you get the lunch?

Richard

With Gary V Oh, this is what happened. I lost my vision, and they put you in. I don’t. I don’t remember what they call it now. They like the Warrior transition unit, I think. Call it now. And I had to sit in the Warrior transition unit every drill weekend for a year. By the way, I love Red Bull. I love that. That’s what I’m drinking right now.

So, thank you, Red Bull. 

But I was in there, and the first couple of days I played cards, and I did this, and I and. And I’m like. I can’t do this cause for me I’m a reader. I’m only a 9th-grade dropout, but I’ve read over 6000 books. And I have 18 books going right now as we speak.

So, I just started picking up books on self-help, and I picked up Tony Robbins’s first book, Awaken the Giant Within. And then I picked up Robert and Sharon’s rich dad, poor dad. And then, and I kept going. And then I kept hearing this Guy Gary Vaynerchuk. 

Gary. I’m like, who the hell is Gary V? Little did I know that his father’s liquor store is 20 minutes from my house. Oh, wow, in Springfield, NJ. Yeah.

So, I called his father. I’m like, hey, this is rich from GNC. What is Gary going to be there? I, you know, I got some business to take care of. Like, I knew who he was. I didn’t know who he would be there when he was there. He’s like, he’s going to be here Saturday. I’m like, alright. Tell Rich that GNC’s going to be there. 

So, I went. And I got to sit and talk with him and hang out with them. And my hat is hanging. What was hanging up in his old office? So sometimes, if you would see the videos, there was a Wounded Warrior hat. That was my hat hanging up there. And he’s the one that said, hey, you know, you’ve been through a lot of ****. Why don’t you start a podcast and write a book?

 I give Gary all the credit in the world for getting me started. 

John

That comment that led you to where you are today is where Gary Vee is going. You’ve been through a lot. ****, you should write a book and do a podcast.

Richard

Well then, and then at the same time that week, I think it was a Saturday—the day before, my friend Donnie Boivin.

John

Oh yeah.

Richard

Donnie Success Champions interviewed me on his podcast, the first one ever. I kept telling him what I was doing with GNC and working with athletes from N, you know, NFL, WWE, and E Major League Baseball in the NBA, and Donnie knew my story. He wanted to tell my back story. He’s like. Because I have never heard any **** like that, he’s like, I’ve never heard anybody get kicked out and go back in.

John

Yeah, me neither. 

Richard

And then almost get thrown out of the 2nd. Car. So, I kept trying to tell. 

So, I just tried to keep telling, you know, the front stories. No, I want to return to the back story, so don’t. If it wasn’t for Donnie, I just have him on my show again. And if it weren’t for Donnie and Gary, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing, what I’m doing because of those.

John

Right. Two gentlemen. All right. So, it’s 2015 when you got out?

Richard

2012.

John

2012, so 2012, you get out. And you’ve had this meeting with Gary Vee. Where did you go next? So, you are working with GNC? Tell me a little bit about that. What are you?

Richard

Doing these well, and because we’re not sure we’re going to talk about sales in a little bit, when I took the job when I moved here 13 years ago, they were doing 400,000 a year. Within three years, we hit 1.4 million. And this was before the age of social media. This was, you know, going back, going and doing the hard work, shaking hands, kissing babies. And I was with GNC the whole time. 

And I didn’t start my podcast until. Until I got hurt. And then, about five years ago, I lost my vision for a second time just because of drinking too many Red Bulls. I was drinking like eight a day, and my blood pressure went up, and my retina popped in both my eyes.

John

Oh wow.

Richard

So, I was like 80% blind, and there were certain people in the tribe. I’m going to Tammy Moses. Daniel Curry, Mark Dudeck, and Kurt Baelish. They’re the amigos I met at Mick DC, and they said, you know what? You’re the comeback coach. It would be best if you came back. And I didn’t know how to come back. I couldn’t work. 

So, they’re like, why don’t you just start your podcast again? And that’s because it was dormant for a long time. So that’s when I started the podcast, and the first guy interviewed. I had a reason because the first guy I interviewed had no legs. No arms. I was skiing in Aspen with his family, sitting in a jacuzzi, as we were doing this interview. And I’m going. That’s my thing: if I can just, other people out there have to be struggling like I am. Yeah. 

So, if I can get other people to tell their stories, the hell the **** that they’ve been through and how they’ve made it through. And I was using it more as a learning experience for me. Because I needed hope, and this I, and I didn’t hear any other podcasts out there like this that were that that was veteran-centric, right? 

Now, it’s just blown up to where it is, and we’re still getting started with only 1200 interviews. We’re still a baby. We’re still getting started. And if it wasn’t for Travis Johnson. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing either, and I love Travis, and I love his mom, his mom’s office. I love you.

John

Yeah, we’ll have him on the show here shortly. I mean, he’s so. It’s a long time ago, but I had a podcast doing about 5000 downloads a month in the early 2000s before podcasting was what it is now. Then I shut that down, and Travis is the one who got me to start my travel podcast.  That was all Travis. 

Richard

And I’ve had Travis, and I’ve had his mom on my show. She’s got an amazing book. So, having both of them on the show would be best. 

John

Right. We’ll put it; I’ll figure out how to get Travis to put that in the show notes. It’s like for him.

Richard

There you go. See.

John

Yeah. So, you were doing GNC. You were what the regional sales manager or district sales manager?

Richard

I was just my store sales manager. And like I said, we took it from 400. OK, to 1.4 within three years. And I was having fun, just enjoying life. I love sales. I’m a big sales guy I love. And if anybody says they don’t like sales, you’re ************. Cause if you’re married, somebody got bought, somebody got sold. If you have a car, somebody bought it.

John

somebody got sold! Yeah.

Richard

So we’re all into we’re all into sales. It’s just a matter of knowing how to close.

John

Grant Cardone has that bookseller. Old, I think that’s one of his I-I. I wouldn’t say it’s his best, but to me, it was.

Richard

That’s true.

John

One of his best books.

Richard

I mean, if you’re a parent and you try to get your kid to go to bed early and you bribe them, you’re selling.

John

Yeah, I did. Out of curiosity, it’s kind of a detour, but why do you think sales get such a negative connotation? We’ve got to sell everything, right? Like you said, we have to sell our children on. Why they should do what they do. We had to sell our spouse to Maria. Has sales been a… they say prostitution is the oldest, the oldest profession. But I think sales are.

Richard

If that’s the case, somebody had to be a John. That watch had to be a ****** that sold, you know, started at. At the same time, right?

John

Yeah, maybe so you know.

Richard

But you know, I just believe that there’s a lot of salespeople out there that are selling to people what the salesperson wants to sell, not what the customer wants and needs. And I think that’s what makes a difference between somebody that’s ultra-successful or just that greasy guy, and you’re Like. It’s him again, you know, and zig, Ziggler said. You can have anything you want if you help enough people. What do they want?

John

People, yeah.

Richard

So, I think that’s The thing is, is just there are slimy salespeople out there that, like, if I pull into a dealership and I got five kids, you know, you’re not going to be selling me that Maserati unless I need to get away from the five kids. But, you know, ask me what I want. 1st and, do not try to sell me that. That is something I don’t. Want or need?

John

Yeah. So you had a medical medical board, right? You got medical boarded because guys. But talk to me about your transition. What was that like for you with an injury? How did they prepare you for the transition? Did you even know that you were going to go to GNC? Like, what was life like?

Richard

Yeah, I got Med boarded out.

John

While you were transitioning.

Richard

This was because I transitioned out of the National Guard and was still with GNC.

John

Oh, I see.

Richard

But you know, and if you’re going through a Med board and I, I’m, I started a course teaching people how to podcast. And it just dropped last week. And I’m teaching a guy how to promote his podcast, but he helps people get through the Med board process. 

And how do you make sure that you’re going to get everything you deserve? When you go to the medical board process, they just want you out. They’re going to tell you whatever they want to tell you to get you out of there, and they tried to get me to quit a couple of times, and I’m like, I’m not going anywhere. You’re not going to make it. Make sure I don’t get the benefits that I deserve. A lot of people just got tired of waiting. And just … they quit.

John

Right.

Richard

You know, but if you’re going through a medical board, make sure you got your paperwork. Right. I knew the time was coming, but I didn’t know when. 

And they hand me my ID. They took my ID and said, well, you’re no longer Sergeant Kaufman, and this is Labour Day 2023.

So, I’m like, so wait a minute. Hold on. No. You know, whenever we were in the military, if we got pulled over, we never showed our driver’s license. We showed our military ID. That’s who we were. So. Who am I? Who’s Richard? And I scared myself to death, and that was the day that I attempted suicide. But my six-month-old daughter saved my life that day, so the transition for me was not very easy at all, even though I knew it was coming. It wasn’t very easy.

John

I spent 20 years at the Fifth Special Forces Group as a civilian.

So, I got to see the full life cycle of some of these guys, and that identity piece is such an important part of the transition. So, who is Richard Kaufman outside of what he did in the army? Who is Billy Bob Thornton outside of what he did in the Navy or the Air Force or, you know, not the Marines, but everybody else, right? 

There’s such an identity crisis. I have a guy that I’m working with right now, and I spent time talking to him about it. Hey, when it’s over when you’re out, he retired. This is what you’re going to go through. It will take you about three months to he’s like, no, no. I know, and a couple of months in, man, he was just like a man. I just didn’t think that I was going to deal with this. 

And it goes back to who you are outside of Soldier Kaufman.

Richard

And there was nobody else that was it. My whole life was wrapped around taking correspondence courses, PT tests, and caring for my guys. My whole life was wrapped around Sergeant Koffman. There was no Richard. And then having to realize, holy ****, you know, I have to reinvent and reimagine myself. And I don’t know how to do this because they don’t teach you how to reinvent, reimagine yourself. 

John

You know, you’re an army guy, so we speak the same language here. I don’t know what the Air Force and Navy do. Marines probably do it as well. And you know, we had the backward plan. We would do a road march… for everything we did. We’re going to do 24 miles. There was all the prep, all the backward planning up until, you know, you walk across the line at the end of mile 24. 

And we did this with every operation, training exercise, and op order. We always did this to the point where you knew how to play backward, even as a young soldier. One of my complaints has been that the military has taught us how to plan everything backward except for life after getting out. And that doesn’t matter if you’ve been in for two years or 23 years. 

There’s no backward plan. Why aren’t we as a culture, meaning military culture? Having a conversation on day one of Richard’s enlistment. Richard, I don’t care if you’re here for two years or 20 years. What’s the plan when you leave here?

Richard

And you know, that’s one of the reasons I got. I keep this show going because, and this was something that when General Petraeus was on that we even talked about, you know, I I said, you know, Sir, you teach us to go to war, but you don’t teach us to come home.

John

What did he say?

Richard

You know, he was like, I understand that he’s like and. And I understand; he said we’re working on things, right? And I think they’re getting a little bit better now. They’re doing it to where you can start transitioning out like three to six months early, you know, to break. 

So you know they’re starting to, and it was all but, but that was before the skill bridge started. So when I asked him that, he said, OK, I’m not on a regular podcast.

John

Yeah, that’s the Skillbridge program.

Richard

You know, I mean, I guess he didn’t expect me to ask him that question, but I and that’s the reason I have the podcast now; it’s changed. I realized that if a veteran or a first responder knows, OK, you have a shelf life. No matter what, if you’re a veteran first responder athlete, we all have a shelf. Life. If you’re going in and say, OK, the maximum shelf life will be 25 years. 

So you’re look, you’re going into 20, you know, at 45. What are you doing now? You’re 45 years old. Old, you don’t.

John

You still have at least another 20 workable years.

Richard

So, you don’t have an exit plan. So, I started the podcast because I realized that if a veteran or a first responder. He gets out of the military and has a mission. He can help other people and have people come depending on him. He’s not going to eat his gun. Most of most likely. Suppose he has a mission again. Well, he said, like Sergeant Nick from our group talks about, I’ve had him on the show. Once you step off base, the military doesn’t give a **** about you. Your phone stops. There’s no camaraderie, no money, and no mission. 

Many of us end up at the bottom of the bottle or the end of a weapon because we’re lost. And I was talking to somebody yesterday on the show. He helps veterans. And he saves wolf dogs. And puts them together. So, they have a mission. And he was saying, yeah, if we have a mission, we won’t take it—our lives. 

So, my goal with the whole podcast is giving people, you know, a mission again in life to say, OK, yeah. You know, Rick Sergeant Coffin was who I was. That’s not who I am anymore. I’m somebody else. You know, I would love being a veteran, but you’re not going to see me rocking the cameos.

You’re not going to see me wear BDU from 1985. I’m not that guy anymore. You know what I mean? And a lot of people don’t know that. John Lee Dumas is my mentor. He was an army captain. In Iraq. Who lost a tank crew? And when he lost the tanker, he was suicidal and had to go through mental health. But a lot of people don’t know that. My goal is to say, OK, this was John Lee Dumas. You know, as an army captain in Iraq. Now, his podcast is making over 250 grand a month. 

So, this is where he was. This is where he went. And you can also do the same thing.

John

This is not the point of my podcast, but this is an interesting segue. 

So you start looking around, you’ve got you, you’ve got Patrick, Bette Davis, he’s 101st veteran, you’ve got Ryan. He was a Navy SEAL. Then you got Jako. Right. Some veteran podcasts are really, I don’t. I don’t know where those guys ranked, like Patrick Bet, David’s, Sean Ryan, or any. I don’t know where they rank, but you’re starting.

Richard

Oh, by the way, Jock Jocko, we finally beat you this week.

John

I think it’s black.

Richard

I just. I’m just saying Jocko and I love Jocko’s new energy drink. Jocko fuel. So, guys, for energy drinks, check out Jocko Fuel.

John

That’s funny because there’s nothing like a good competition between the Army and the Navy, right? We beat them this year.

Richard

But we’re all people, you know, we’re all. We’re all here too. We’re all on the same on the same blue rock. Do you know what I mean?

John

Yeah. So why do you think these podcasts like Jocko Sean Ryan’s are yours? Patrick Bet David’s, I’m starting to see many vets, and their podcasts are skyrocketing. You could call it that in the rankings because I don’t. I don’t. Know what that is? Language is in the top 100 or so.

Richard

Whatever. Well, you know, I think. It’s because many of us, and like I said, I was the biggest **** back. So, I don’t consider myself A good veteran, but many of us know how to talk to people. We’re relatable because most of us don’t speak in 18-syllable words, so many of us can. We can jam with the average person, but most of all, if you’re going to be successful like we’re in the military, you spent more than six months there. You know how to write an SOP. You know how to follow an SOP. So, if you know how to follow an SOP for success, you will win.

And if you don’t give up like military people don’t give up, if you stay the course, then you will win. And that’s why many of us may take a while. But if you’re staying consistent, working hard, diligent, and honest, you’ll become successful in whatever you do and your business.

John

Yeah. Yeah. So. do you go through the Wonder Warrior transition program or the Wounded Warrior transition?

Richard

Enjoy your transition unit. Yep.

John

Yeah. You’re, you’re, you’re in the guard. So, you’re doing GMC at the same time. You get out what happens next.

Richard

Well, I’m. I’m still finding I’m still blinding this eye to this day. That’s why I wear these birth control glasses. 

So I could see while we’re so while we’re talking. But then, you know, I had to figure it out. Well, OK. I just don’t want to be the GNC guy. I want to do something different, you know? 

So I was like, you know what, let me start a podcast. And I’m just going to review products so that I would like, OK? I love. I do, and honestly, I do. I love Red Bull, but when I did my first, they sent me a package, and I did a review on it, and the CFO called me like Bro, you can’t put this out. I’m like, I have to be honest, you know, I’m rich. Back then, I was a supplement guy. 

And I was like, bro, this stuff tastes like ***. And I’m like. But it works. It’s great energy, but it doesn’t taste very pleasant. Many people started trusting me because they knew I would be honest. 

And OK. Yeah, it tastes great. Or I’ll tell the product. Oh. I just tasted a great new great product. Tastes awesome. It works like ****. But they knew that. OK, if I buy something from a rich, he will give me the down and dirty. He’s not going to. ******** me, right? 

So that’s where the podcast started originally. I just started reviewing products because I had to. I wanted to do something different but didn’t know where it would lead me.

John

How many? How many product review episodes did you do?

Richard

Oh, I was doing like one a day. Whatever came in, I was like, you know what? I’m going to try it out like we were. I was the first door ever to have a Red Con one because I was friends with Aaron Singerman, the owner of Red Con One.

So, I brought his stuff in before anybody had it in the country. And somebody said like, bro, you have to try Total War. I tried it. Awesome workout. Oh my God, it tasted disgusting, so I did the review and sent it to Aaron, and he’s like. Well, it doesn’t taste great, but it works like magic. 

So, people knew that. OK, if Rich had said so, I would never have her return. Because I told them, listen, guys, if you’re looking for taste, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for an ask-kicking workout, this is it. And I had zero returns my whole time. I was there because I would give them honest feedback, and they knew me well enough. All right, Rich, just tell me if it’s good or bad. I’m not going to buy it.

John

Yeah, yeah.

Richard

And it’s been that way ever since. If I have any person that sponsors my show, I don’t use their products. I will not. I will not have them as a sponsor.

John

Sure. How many? How many? How many sponsorships do you have right now for your show?

Richard

About 20 right now.

John

20 That’s why you do so many episodes. You have to have. Room for all your sponsors.

Richard

They’re mostly veterans and, you know, nice. And because, like this, I have my knife sitting right here. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a movie on the show Forge and Fire. My friend Michael Peterson made this for me, and he’s a sponsor of the show, so I, you know, used their products just like Soldier Girl.

John

Oh, nice.

Richard

I’ve used their products, but if you send them, they say I need you; I want to support you. I want to sponsor your podcast, and we have a CBD product. Sorry, I can’t. How can I be in recovery for 35 years and sell CBD products? So, I don’t have its advertisers if I don’t use a product. And I think that’s why people trust me because they know, you know, I’m not out for the buck. I’m out for the relationship.

John

Yeah, yeah. And that’s good. So, Rob Garcia’s been on me about this podcast. He’s like. We need to monetize right away. And Emma has him on the show, too. I think he’s been a great voice for a lot of veterans. I brought up Rob because I love how he challenges people; Rob is a great example because he’s still an active guard. He’s still active.

Richard

Yeah, he’s, he’s active Air Force, yeah.

John

Oh, he’s in the Air Force. He’s not a guard.

Richard

He’s active; he’s Air Force. I don’t know if they call it reserve. I think it. I think it might. Be reserves Air Force reserve.

John

I thought he was in the reserve or the guard element, regardless. There are so many of our tribe members who have the necessary skill sets to do business or sales or entrepreneurialism. Rob Garcia is a great example of this, right? He was active in building his business while he was active. When you were active, did you kind of see that in your future? Before you went to the guard, did you think of business or entrepreneurialism? I mean, where were you when you were serving?

Richard

Alright, so this I know, and this is if you guys read my book and John, I will send you the book when we meet. Done. People don’t believe this, but I joined the day I turned 17, and, back then, I was like 135 lbs soaking wet. I joined the military and am 17-8 years, 18 years old. I’m hanging out at clubs. I became a stripper at 18. While still in the military, I would make all the money. Drink it all the way. 

John

Oh, I did not know that part of your story, man.

Richard

I wasn’t a good, so I was a good businessperson. So, I drank all the profits. So, no, I was not a good businessperson whatsoever.

John

You’re at Chippendale.

Richard

Yeah. Why? Why I. I was at Fort Hood. Yeah, for.

John

Almost at Fort Hood.

Richard

Yeah. I was at one of those at one of the. They had these things where I get it was like Tuesday nights or whatever, the guys would get up there and take the clothes off. 

So, I did it. And somebody’s like, hey, you want a job and. Free alcohol. They’re like, yeah, I was like, I mean, and I couldn’t legally drink. And I’m 18 years old, hanging out at Fort Hood, going to the animal house, hanging out at all the all the clubs. That’s 18 years old. I couldn’t even. Drink legally. Legally. But I drank all the profits, which was my first business failure.

John

  1. So, when did you?

Richard

See, you never know where. These conversations are going to go.

John

No, dude, that’s going to be the greatest story ever. So, when did you? I don’t want to call it legitimate, but when did you start seeing yourself in a business in a regular business? Let’s put it that way.

Richard

What? Are they busy with my clothes on? Well, when I was with GNC, my best friend, now his name is Kumar. He’s of Indian and Italian descent. After I was there a while, he knew he would trust me. As I’m working, he would be like, OK, half the day you’re going to spend out on the floor, and then the rest of the half the day I want you to come back here. I want to show you the numbers and how I do things. I want to show you how I order and teach you how to be an entrepreneur.

John

OK.

Richard

Because the plan was, and again, this is, you know, Mike Tyson says, everybody got a plan until you get punched in the mouth. The plan was we were supposed to grow, and then I was supposed to take over one of the companies and be a partner.

John

That’s right.

Richard

And then, after COVID hit and Amazon started kicking everybody’s ***, he had to close three of his businesses. So, I was pretty much an odd man out, but I still had all the knowledge he taught me. So, he taught me everything from margins to sales and building relationships.

John

Right.

Richard

I am learning your analytics. This is everything that he taught me. Now, I’m a 9th-grade dropout. I had no education, so he took me and taught me how to be a businessperson. Yeah, so without him. And I’m going to have lunch with him tomorrow. You know, without him, I wouldn’t know most of the stuff that I know today.

John

That’s great. And so, when was your last day of guard service?

Richard

Labour Day 2012.

John

  1. OK.

Richard

That was the official last day of my service.

John

Yeah, yeah. You know my intent is that. When this podcast starts to reach the tribe of active duty members, they start hearing that there’s a possibility out there for them of working a nine to five for somebody else, slaving away for somebody else’s wealth. If you had to go back in time and talk to young, he 5. You know Soren Kaufman and say you’ll be out in 2012. What would you tell him to prepare for the transition?

Richard

Besides maxing out your correspondence courses,

John

What would be some of the lessons?

Richard

Before you buy that new Dodge Ram that’s coming through the gate that all the other E threes and E fours got before you come in with the new Trans Am or whatever hot new car it is, invest in yourself. Take courses, you know, like I think now, since I’ve been doing my business, I think I’ve spent over 50 grand. I just want to learn from people like Travis Johnson. Eric Allen, John Lee Dumas. Gary Vee. You know, sitting in rooms, taking courses, taking mail, ordering courses, going to events. Invest in yourself before you invest. Invest in anything; make sure you’re investing in yourself. 

And I would pick a mentor that you can. You can look up to that because I think that’s the biggest problem today. It’s not just. I’m picking a mentor, and I have to tell you a funny story about this way. I don’t want to forget. Now, there’s a guy in our tribe called Steven. Eugene Koon. Everybody knows Steven—you know, big, tall, goofy tanker guy. Me and him, we had our rose. You know me. We had a lot of disagreements. And we got to make DC in 2019. 

And I pulled him aside. I’m like, bro, what’s the ******* problem? You want me to be honest with you, and he’s like, like, yeah, nobody knows. Who you are. And I’m like, but everybody knows who I am, he said. Yeah, but they don’t know what you do. He says you’re everywhere. You’re the supplement guy. You’re the guy that’s selling supplements. You’re doing physical fitness things. You’re writing a book, you’re doing a podcast. Who are you? Yeah. And then I hugged. We hugged it out. And I said Stephen, thank you. And the book he and Lane wrote changed my whole life.

John

Humble alpha.

Richard

It’s called Humble Alpha, but for me, I. I was doing everything but doing nothing. So if I was going to say, if there’s Sergeant Joe Snuffy, go and he wants to be. A car guy. Pick somebody who is the king of the car market. Reach out to him and say, hey, I’m about to get out of the military. Would you mentor me? Do you know why you go with the guy down the street with a garage? Why don’t you go with the top guy and learn from the top guy? I think you know, even if you have a bad mentor, it’s a mentor, but it’s still a bad mentor. 

So I decided when I wanted to podcast Gary Vee’s top. And my let’s top, you know, Patrick, Bette, David’s top. I picked like five guys that were on the top of my game. The game and I started to learn from them and reach out to them and say, hey John, I need help, bro. Will you help me? He’s like, yeah, if you invest in me, I’ll invest in you. So that’s how he became my mentor. 

But I think if. There’s E5 out there and say, listen, you want to start a construction company and find the best construction guy in the United States. Follow him. Absorb everything he talks about. If he’s got courses, if you have podcasts, absorb everything you can. Why learn from? Why not learn from the best? Don’t try to learn for somebody just one step above you. Like you, when I got thrown out of the military, I mean, I got busted for the last time for some reason. I was due to be thrown out in September. 21. But because of what happened on 9/11, they decided to keep me. Because of everything I went through on 9/11. And I had drilled the next weekend. And I got there two hours early and said, you know what? My way is not working. I’m not doing it correctly if I got eight articles in fifteen.

So, I arrived two hours early and saw what all the successful guys started doing. I stayed there two hours late every drill because somebody said success leaves clues. So that’s why I started saying, OK, what are the top guys doing that the E fours, anyone is not doing, and I think it is the same thing in business, you know, follow the top dogs and don’t worry about the low hanging fruit.

John

It’s funny because we talk about the vet tribe, and a significant portion of the crowd is there. What if they just looked at the resident experts inside the tribe, right?

So, Steven Rob Garcia Lane, you, there’s so many people in that group that have been as successful in so many different things—Travis, for podcasting, and you for podcasting. Lame was a freaking green beret. 

Who wouldn’t listen to him? And you look at what Stephen’s done with businesses and. I love that you said my way wasn’t working, so I started looking for the people that it was working for and just copying it right, and as we were young men in the service, imagine what life would have looked like for you if that would have been the—mentality at 18.

Richard

Yeah, but then I wouldn’t be the man I am today. So that point is that I and I, and I love some people, hate Grant Cardone. I used to hate, hate, hate, hate. Grant Cardone. Until I got to talk with them. Until he told me his back story of being a drug addict. Yeah, and I know how hard it was to get clean and now how successful. Is it a drug? That’s when I hit me like. I get it now; I understand it, and I love how he says in his book The 10X that whenever you read that one chapter, he says, from now on, everything is your fault. Whether you win or you lose, it’s all your fault. 

So, if you know everything doesn’t like even my Ed, my left told me. He said rich. He said nothing happened to you. Everything happened for you. Yeah. And everything is a teachable moment. Yep.

 So if you live like that, you know, you’re either something I learned from, or you’re a lesson. So, so, you know, and I think in business, you have to be humble, and you have to be teachable.

John

I think you know, so I love that those guys said that. That’s how everybody gets ahead. And I’ve said this with my kids, but I want my ceiling to be there for me. And if we look at the lessons that we’ve learned, the lessons that we’ve been through, we take responsibility for all the ****, right? Hopefully, and in the tribe. 

And for those that are listening who are on active duty or veterans. Take the lessons. Let the things you and I have been through be the floorboard as you build a life of success from here forward. Because if they see a guy like you. I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody with eight article fifteens, so if you can, they can do it, right?

Richard

But there’s ********, even in our tribe. I mean, how? How can somebody get aggravated cause somebody spelled soldier wrong? Please give me a *******.

John

You saw that comment.

Richard

Of course, I do. I’m one of the moderators, but I make sure that I’m looking at every single post so you’re not taking the good stuff out of the post. You’re taking the little crap out of it. And I’m like.

John

Yeah, dude, I was like, I was like, bro, I don’t make any money off this. I’m just doing this so you guys can have a vacation like that, and you’re still picking that. Twice, I misspelled the word. You know, I’m just typing fast. I just wrote a step-by-step. Did you see the horn guy who wrote you? Call it a book, and it’s three pages long. And I’m like, it’s an e-book, man. I went.

Richard

Well, that’s like somebody said, hey, rich, you know, you write like ****. And I’m like, yeah, if you read my book, it’s like a third grader wrote it. I’m like, but I’m not a best-selling writer. I’m a best-selling author. Yeah. There’s a difference. Even Robert Kiyosaki said he’s like, I can’t write for ****. He’s like, I’m a marine. He’s like, but I’ll sell the **** out.

John

Of some books. Yeah, right, right. It’s, it’s funny. It’s funny. 

I was talking to somebody else about this, about the vet tribe, for example. We have two types of people. I think in our community, we have the ones that have, for whatever reason, chosen to go the route of negativity and everything wrong in the world.

They focus on the people who weren’t a good representation of veterans and active-duty members, and that’s their cause. I did a post where everybody came out of the woodwork. Screaming at me, which I said if you are a veteran and you were honorably discharged, you should never. Except a job for less than $30.00 an hour. Because even if you’re not a high-speed guy. Do you know what percentage of the population can do boot camp right now?

Richard

Not even 2%.

John

Not even 2%. So, you’re telling me, and I get it. I mean, like you said, I was the worst soldier ever. I mean, there are bad examples, but why? Why do we focus on these negative things instead of being like you, Rob Garcia? Steven Lane, Travis, all these guys that focus on opportunity, potential, and where we could be. Look at what we’ve done in the last 20 years of war. Now, take that turn on business.

Richard

Yeah, but you know, and it’s something that I learned from Tim Ferriss and Tony Robbins from Ed. I let you know that we all have the reticular activating system in the brain. Yeah. And whatever we search for, we’re going to find. Yep. 

So, if we’re searching for success, we will find success. You know, if we’re, if we’re searching for. For losing, we’re going to find losing, and I. For me, like when I heard Cola was going to, everybody’s like, Oh my God. And I’m like, everybody’s going to be holding. Listen to my podcast. This is second.

So, I took it as a positive and switched it, but I think if, as I said, you use your Rs and constantly look for ways to be successful, you’re going to find it because of your mind.

John

Right.

Richard

Automatically looking for and you have something you have to train your brain to look for success cause you’re if you look for failure, you’re. Find it? Yep.

John

No, that’s me. I believe that. The Rs are an important part of success in training yourself to look for those clues, and it gets easier. Jim Rohn said it this way: the first million was hard. After I lost it all, it was easy to get it back.

Richard

You know, yeah. See, you know, we’re talking about sales because that’s the thing that your podcast salesman soon if you use your Rs while the customer’s talking to you, they’re going to tell you how to sell them. They’re going to tell you what they need. All you have to do is sit back. Is that, but the salesperson, no average salesperson, is talking? And I think the biggest compliment I’ve been given on my podcast was from Mr. David Meltzer. He’s passed. 

Oh my God. I’ve never been so ****** ***. He says. I said, can you leave a review for me? And based on the review, Rich is more interested. Interestingly, I was livid. I called him up. I’m like, bro, what I’m like, I’m not interested. And he goes, I want you to the Google, he said. Please Google it, and it was something written by about one of the greatest interviewers, Walter. It was said Walter is more interested than interesting. I was like. Like, I get it now. 

So, I think if more salespeople were interested in their customers instead of being interested in themselves, you couldn’t help but crush it in sales.

John

That’s right. That’s what’s ultimately sales in a nutshell. Right is asking great questions and being interested in what meets your needs. I’m just letting you tell.

Richard

Because like I used to love like because it’ll be New Year’s Eve soon. I used to love January 2nd cause everybody’s coming into GNC and buying $500 worth of **** that they’ll never use. So I would go to where they’re standing. I’d come from behind, look through their stuff, and start grabbing stuff and putting it back on the shelf. And they’re looking at me like. What the hell are you doing? I’m like, you don’t need this. You don’t need this. You have two of these, so you don’t need this, right? 

So, wait a minute. You’re telling me you’re putting **** back on for stuff that I don’t need? And I was like, yeah, because you don’t need it. Why would I? Why would you spend money if you don’t need it? Then he’d buy it. He’d go home and. Tell his wife what happened. And then she comes back, thanks me, and says, you know what, whenever he comes in, you give him whatever. Do you think he? Needs because I don’t want to sell him what they want to cause. 

Sometimes, they don’t know what they want. You helped them get to that point. Well, what do you need? Cause, like, if you come into me and you’re, you know, 18 years old, they’re going to, I want to test booster. I’m like, bro, you got enough tests. To kill a. Horse, you don’t need a test boost. You might need a pre-workout. You might need protein, but you don’t need a test booster. So sometimes the customers.

They don’t know what they need until you show them. OK, this is what you might need. This is something that might be helpful for your situation. Instead of me selling that 18-year-old kid a $100 test booster, his father sees it, and he’s about to beat my *** because I just saw it on the test booster. But now I know that. When he becomes a man 20 years from now, that kid will bring all his kids. Because, you know, I trusted, I helped him as a kid. You know, and I cause I always look for the long game. Like, who would ever have thought six years ago? You have me having you on my show, which would lead to this. Yeah, but it’s the long game where we’ve been friends all these years. So, I think salespeople don’t play the long game. It’s always the quick hit, the quick dopamine rush.

John

Yeah, and there needs to be a lot more of that in sales where, you know, I’ve done a ton of stuff for free just over the years. Because I know I believe in God, I believe in Karma. I believe in sowing and reaping; eventually, whatever I’ve sewn will return. That’s just the bottom line. So, if you approach sales that way, you just serve people and look out for their interests. 

Richard

We are now in the new age of AI and social media. We need to be more social. On social media, like, well, I spend my first hour 2 hours a day just interacting with people, and I’ll go through the tribe and say, OK, I need you. I’ve tagged you a bunch of times. Yeah. I who’s the best travel guy, you know? Yeah, you. Or I’d be like, OK, you know who is the guy that that wants to that can help me build my business fast? Well, well, that’s that. That. You know, that’s Steven Cohen. You know, I would find people that have skills. And then I would say, OK, well, I’m going to put this person together with this person. They get together, and I step back. Yeah, but because of you. But even if they just become friends, I’m the hero because I put them together. Yep. But I think, you know, we need to become more social on social media, especially now with the days of AI and ChatGPT. We need to become more real on social.

John

No, that’s for sure, that’s for sure. Man, I’d love this. I must have you back because we’ve just cracked the surface of all your crazy stories.

Richard

You know, I don’t, I don’t think I’ve ever. I don’t think I’ve ever told that story on any podcast I’ve ever been.

John

I have a whole new picture of you. On the stripper one or the hate article?

Richard

Yeah, I’ve never said that on any podcast.

John

We might have to call this one from stripper to sales pro.

Richard

Somebody. Yeah, somebody got sold.

John

Man, I’ve loved this. I have to have you back on, man. So, what’s next for Rich as we close out? Where are you going? What are you doing? How can people?

Richard

Connect with you. Well, my goal is because somebody challenged me on January or December 31st last year when I was on the podcast. Please pick two words for me to use for the year. My words were intentional—an attention. 

And for me, it became as if it was not God: family, friends, and business. I don’t have time for it. I say no a lot. Suppose it’s not to have to do those four things. I’m not getting involved because I realize I’m saying no. It is sometimes the best thing you can do, and focusing is one of my biggest things. You know, follow one course until successful. You know, focus, and many people don’t focus. I know one guy, one of my best friends; if you know he’s all over the tribe, you don’t know what he does. And you can’t be successful if nobody knows what you do. If they see you doing everything, you’re like. Yeah, like, I don’t know if you’re the podcast guy. I don’t know what you do; he even told me that. 

So, my goal was to be on 300 podcasts this year as a guest. And my goal is to record another three or 400 episodes, probably.

John

OK.

Richard

Speak on stages my, my, my book, you know, hit number #1 on Amazon twice, but now you know, I have a coffee brand. I have my coffee. Vertical momentum coffee. With Jose from the third Day, Coffee makes it for me. I got T-shirt swags, but 100% of the proceeds this year will help Kirk Ballish and his 501. We see which is going to help veterans work with their hands to help deal with PTSD, so all my proceeds go to help veterans struggling with PTSD and homelessness. I don’t make any money from anything that I do from the podcast.

John

Great. Great.

Richard

And now I want to offer something to you and your guests. If they reach out to me, just send me their e-mail address. I’ll e-mail them my book right to their e-mail address. 

So everybody gets a free copy and a 30-minute strategy call if they struggle with anything in life or business. 30-minute strategy call, zoom call. Just to talk **** and see how I can help.

John

So when we get done here, shoot that address over to me so they can e-mail you, and then I’ll put that in the show notes. And I appreciate that. So, man, thanks so much for your time. I know you’re a busy guy.

Richard

I carved out this whole afternoon for you, brother, so there’s no rush.

John

Great, man. All right. Well, we’ll talk to you soon.

Richard

I love you guys. If you’re watching this show, make sure that you leave a five-star written review for Mr. John. Every five-star review is worth 10: ten, five stars without a written review. 

So make sure you leave a written review and subscribe this way. It’ll kick him up in the algorithms, and he’ll be able to help more people.

John

I appreciate it, man. Thanks a lot.

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