Brandon Dawson Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
Introducing Brandon Dawson
Brandon Dawson is a business scaling, turn around expert and leadership mentor who helps business owners and their teams achieve their personal, professional, and financial goals through the growth of their business.
He is also the Co-Founder and CEO of Cardone Ventures which he started with Grant Cardone, was started in 2019, has 80+ employees and does around $35M annually.
They help businesses 10X, and through the 10X Growth Conference, the #1 annual business conference in the world, he has seen 35,000+ engaged business owners, entrepreneurs, celebrities, and professionals gather to learn top secrets to fast-track growth in their business and life.
Now if these seem like a major highlights in a business life his beginnings were a lot more normal
As he says “As a high school graduate I worked for a large manufacturer of hearing aids from the age of 18 to 27 years old.
How The Dots Joined Up for Brandon
When I decided to leave and start my own company, I was making six figures running the sales teams.
Leaving was hard and scary but I knew I wanted to start a company, so that set the tone from my first transformation.
Brandon started his first business Sonus Hearing and took this business public three years later and, at 29, was one of the youngest people to ring the bell on the American Stock Exchange.
With zero debt and no outside capital, he founded and self-funded his second company, Audigy Group, growing annual revenue to over $35 million through organic growth before later selling the business for $151M.
As he says ” I live by the belief that if someone smart has already figured something out, why not replicate the best of the best, and then expand and amply it for greater impact.”
So what does he still find as scary as he continues to blaze a path across the business world?
And what would he say to his younger self if he had the chance, after everything that he has now achieved in life and business/
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr Brandon
During the show we discussed such weight subjects with Brandon Dawson such as:
Brandon talks about losing control of his business due to making his investors nervous and how he felt when they removed him from his business.
Why people will always struggle to earn money if they are unwilling to spend the same amount of money themselves.
Bramdon reveals the steps that he took to build a relationship with Grant Cordone long before he ever attempted to actually meet them.
Why most people get stuck in the hustle and grind without ever trying to look at ways to truly ramp up the value they can provide.
How To Connect With Brandon
Return To The Top Of Brandon Dawson
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Full Transcription Of Brandon Dawson Interview
Life shouldn’t be hard life should be a fun filled adventure every day. So now start joining up dots tap into your talents, your skills, your God given gifts and tell your boss, you don’t deserve me. I’m out of here. It’s time for you to smash that alarm clock and start getting the dream business and life you will of course, are dreaming of. Let’s join your host David Raul from the back of his garden in the UK, or wherever he might be today with another JAM PACKED episode of the number one hit podcast. Join Up Dots.
David Ralph [0:40]
Yeah, good morning to you and welcome to Join Up Dots. Thank you so much for being with us across the world wherever you’re listening to this podcast. Thank you so much. Well, today’s guest on the show is a business scaling turnaround expert and leadership mentor who helps business owners and their teams achieve their personal, professional and financial goals through the growth of their business. He’s also the co founder and CEO of CARDONE ventures, which he started with Grant Cardone, who started in 2019. And it has 80 plus employees, and does around 35 million annually, and I help businesses 10 times and through the 10 time growth conference. But number one annual business conference in the world. He’s seen 35,000 Plus engaged business owners, entrepreneurs, celebrities, and professionals gathered to learn top secrets to fast track growth in their business, and life. Now, if this seems like major highlights in a business life, his beginnings were a lot more normal. As he says as a high school graduate, I worked for a large manufacturer of hearing aids, from the age of 18 to 27 years old. And when I decided to leave and start my own company, I was making a six beggars running the sales team. Leaving was hard and scary. But I knew I wanted to start a company. So that set the tone for my first transformation. As he says, I live by the belief that if someone smart has already figured something out, why not replicate the best of the best, and Ben expand and amplify the greater impact? So what does he still find a scary as he continues to blaze a path across the business world? And what would he say to his younger self if he had the chance after everything that he’s now achieved in life and business to sit down and have a one to one? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr. Brandon Dawson. Good morning to you, Brandon, how are you?
Brandon Dawson [2:35]
I’m doing great. Thank you for having me on your show.
David Ralph [2:37]
It’s lovely to have you here. So what are you still scared? You were scared of going out on your own? Now many years down the line? Is it a walk in the park is are there still things that throw curveballs in your direction?
Brandon Dawson [2:52]
Well, you know, my biggest fear is just not not being able to attain the stated goals I have for myself. So you know, it keeps me that fear keeps me inspired and motivated to get up every day and be the best version of myself and help as many people as possible.
David Ralph [3:09]
So the big question, I suppose is your there’s no getting away from it your net worth you’re wealthy man. And so you don’t have to do what you do. So when did it become not so much about the money but more about the mission?
Brandon Dawson [3:25]
Yeah, that’s a great question. So I had to restart, I took my first company public at 29 years old, private equity backed, acquired hundreds of businesses. And then they sold that business in 2002. And so my mission was, I would never let anybody control my destiny again. And if I could figure out how to do that for myself, starting a business, controlling the business, not using anybody else’s money, and building it. If I could figure it out for me, then I could teach other business owners how to do it as well. And so that was the business that I launched in 2004. And I sold that business in 2016 for 77 times EBIT da $151 million to a billion dollar company, and then we grew it to four and a half billion in 36 months. And between 2009 and 2019. I hired a bunch of research firms and looked at all the problem areas of growing and scaling businesses and creating massive value and I created technology operating systems and developed a process to help independent business owners grow and scale partnered with Grant Cardone in 2019. And now we have over 1,000,000,002 businesses that we’re managing in our portfolio.
David Ralph [4:36]
Now if we jump back a bit you use you shot through that very quickly but it’s it’s an interesting story was and as I was doing the research on you, I could literally see this being converted into into a movie because you are the classic good guy very much like I suppose the famous one of Steve Jobs, but actually almost got fired from his own company because As, as you say, using other people’s money, you’re you’re running to their roles. When did that start to appear to you to be a bad decision that you made? Or maybe it wasn’t a bad decision? Maybe it was a decision you had to sort of go through? Yeah,
Brandon Dawson [5:16]
I mean, honestly, I look back, I created the conditions for the for my private equity guys to be nervous, you know, you have to, if you want to be better tomorrow than you are today, and you want to be better than you were yesterday, you got to face the brutal facts of what what did you create? Yeah, no matter how good you did, what did you do that that caused somebody to lose confidence in you. And, and these guys have given me $28 million, they saw me struggling. And then I finally figured it out. And this is in the late 90s. And, and my private equity guys, as soon as I started winning, they were able to sell the company and get all their money, plus all their returns back. And they took that opportunity. And so I was bitter at them for that. And then reflection, though, if I was them, I probably would have done the same thing, because the chaos that they were seeing with me trying to not just survive, but try to get the business to thrive. And so, to answer your question, when it I figured that was a bad idea, July 1, of 2001, when they called me into a board meeting, after completing a huge deal that they congratulated me on, and I thought we were going to have a celebration. And at the board meeting in New York, they told me they were replacing me as CEO, kicking me to Chairman and then we’re gonna sell my company.
David Ralph [6:33]
You remember the date? What, what else do you because I’m always interested with these moments in people’s lives that are almost sort of Etched in time. So do you remember what the weather was like and what you was wearing? Or is it just a blur?
Brandon Dawson [6:48]
No, it was not a blur. I arrived in New York City, thought that I had finally after six years of grinding, I finally I had orchestrated a deal that was one of the best structures, supply partners and financing that that warbird board had seen, which, you know, $24 billion private equity group, they’ve seen just about anything. And and I flew back from the celebration that I had in Europe or with the people I close the deal with, they asked me to stop by New York. It was a hot July day, I was excited to go in there and walk them through what I had done. And I thought we would do what we normally did go to have a nice dinner afterwards, go have a bottle of wine or two and then maybe smoke a cigar. And instead, I was in the room for 15 minutes when they told me that they were introducing me to the new CEO, they’re kicking me to Chairman, they liked me, but now it’s time to sell the business. And if I didn’t like it, I could get out
David Ralph [7:43]
and teach you fight back. Oh, yeah. Because I would personally have what Screw you, I’m going to show you kind of mentality. And and maybe in those situations, you haven’t got a sort of leg to stand on to fight back? Did. Did you feel that way? Or did you just go Okay, fair enough. And sort of walk away?
Brandon Dawson [8:02]
No, I was. I was a little more opinionated about it. And, and I tried to figure out, you know, I, I left that meeting, I met the new CEO, I left the meeting, I was livid. Don’t get me wrong. And I thought though, that you I tried to be strategic. And I thought, Okay, let’s see how I can. Let’s see how I can work with this guy and try to get the best sales price because I still owned a big piece of the company. And it wasn’t until about four months into the process that I realised that the guy they put in there did not care about anybody else’s money except for his bonus, and getting the private equity money back and I left the company and that’s when I started fighting to try to buy the business back. And now the issue was I left the company, September 11th. I’m sorry, I left September, November, October, sorry, I’m getting my dates. It was right after September 11. So So obviously, the whole world changed September 11. No one was focused on on anything and so they just sold the company and the deal was done in February 2002. And I was out.
David Ralph [9:11]
Liberation, was it because I know Steve Jobs famously said when he left Apple, he went into terrible despair and then had a realisation but it was almost playtime. He had the money and what did he want to do to foster his creativity? He’s got the lessons is realised so much so with yourself, was it liberation, did you look at it and go, it was a kick in the balls. But actually now I could go left. I could go right. I could go straight forward. What do I fancy doing?
Brandon Dawson [9:43]
No, because all my net worth $10 million in net worth was tied up in the stock and when they sold the company, they didn’t care about our net worth. And so the way the deal was structured is I maybe got $250,000 So I went back to being Technically, I had about six to nine months of cash. And, and so all of a sudden, I was restarting my life.
David Ralph [10:09]
Entrepreneurship is ups and downs. It’s left and right. But it’s lessons, lessons lessons. Obviously, this is a big lesson. But I imagine that you use now to help people 10 times their business growth. If you can see that there’s an option for somebody to gain investment. Do you say, even though this could 10 times your growth, still don’t do it? Or do you are you’re very pragmatic of it might be right for a different situation.
Brandon Dawson [10:39]
Yeah, I’m pragmatic, I think I think if you’re going to do it, and you need to do it with do it with the open mindset of understanding what’s involved with that, and accept the obligation and responsibility. The unfortunate part for small to midsize businesses is there’s 31 and a half million small to midsize businesses in the United States. And, and those business owners don’t know how to those business owners don’t know how to manage their money. And they don’t understand taking somebody else’s money, what happens to the value of the business if they don’t execute. And so a lot of those business owners fail. And when they do, they take their they take the money down with them. So if you’re not willing to suffer the consequences, and if you look at the 31 and a half million businesses in the United States, 97% of those businesses fail within the first 10 years. And usually they access capital from friends and family, or banks. And so, you know, it makes for an awkward holiday season, you’ve lost all your friends and family’s money. So I always tell people, if you can build a business without needing money, learn to build the business without needing money by generating money. And then when you know how to make money, then you can go buy something, because you know how to deploy capital and get returns and make money but don’t use money at the beginning. That’s not yours, trying to figure out how to learn how to make money because statistically, it never works out.
David Ralph [12:06]
Now you’ve got a mantra that you live by. And I’ve seen it many times after researching you this week. And it’s I’m paraphrasing, but hopefully I’ll get it right. Price isn’t an issue. It’s the value you’ve got to create. And lots of people work too hard and make things too complicated. Something along those lines? Is that the simplest way to make money? Is that how it should be looked at don’t think about price, just value.
Brandon Dawson [12:34]
Yeah, well, price is always an issue in the absence of value, and in the absence of value, price will always be an issue. So instead of worrying about the money, worry about the value contribution. And and that will be your unique contribution to somebody who’s exchanging money for something that you can drive impact in their life for. But if you try to be cheap, or you try to be the same price as everybody else, then you’re basically suggesting you’re cheap, or you’re like everybody else. So I show business owners sell on your value proposition. And above all else, deliver on your promise. And if you do that, people will exchange money with you. And they will bring other clients or customers or patients depending on what kind of business you’re in to you, because of the impact you drove for them. So communicate the impact the expectation and the impact, and the commitment to create the impact and do not worry about price.
David Ralph [13:40]
Now what you’re saying is absolutely right. But I know because I’ve interviewed so many people that they all have this, this bridge that they have to cross where they base their price on actually what they could afford to pay. And they think well, who else could pay? You know, nobody’s gonna pay 5000 for this because they haven’t got the money themselves. Has that ever been an issue in yourself as you’ve been developing your businesses and your multiple income streams?
Brandon Dawson [14:10]
Yeah, well, so it is absolutely. A, a truth that you buy the way you sell and you sell the way you buy? Yeah. So if you if if you struggle with spending money, for things that you want, you’re certainly going to struggle convincing others to spend money for things that they might want or need. If you’re cheap, you will present yourself as cheap. Because I have unequivocally seen that’s how I got 77 times EBIT, da $151 million, one of the highest values ever paid ever for a business and everyone told me nobody would do that. And my bankers told me they wouldn’t do it. But I had eight targeted businesses I presented to I had eight bidders and i i moved All ate up into the topping the bid at $151 million for a company that traditionally, I would have been told would be worth about 25 to 30 million. So the people always ask me, how did you get that valuation is because I did not sell on price I sold on the impact I would create, and the value I would create for whoever bought me. And then I just told them, hey, I want 10% of the value I’m going to I’m going to create for you. So the obstacle or hurdle was getting them to believe that I could create that much value that fast for them. And if they did believe it, then they would want to buy me and and that’s what we did.
David Ralph [15:38]
And I think you did something similar with Grant Cardone, I believe, but you had a, you know, almost a 32nd pitch, but such was the value, he would have been a fool not to at least be intrigued in it.
Brandon Dawson [15:54]
Yeah, you know, David, I’ve coached 1000s entrepreneurs, business owners, I’ve sold hundreds of businesses, I’ve acquired hundreds of businesses I’ve done, you know, billion dollars in real estate deals. And what I can tell you is that 98% of the people that are trying to sell something, just entirely screw up the communication. And so I have a rule, I teach a programme called TEDx pitch. And it’s like, you have 20 seconds. And if you can’t get your point across, or your asker crossed in 20 seconds, then you should not be communicating it. So I stepped in to take a picture with Grant Cardone, I said, Grant, nice to meet you. I have a business I just sold for $150 million that I founded. I’m here, seeing what you do to help people. And I guarantee you, if you spend 10 minutes with me, I could show you how we can both add a couple billion to our net worth helping all these amazing people here. And, and that was all said while I was stepping in shaking your hand taking a picture. And as I stepped out, Grant looked at me and he goes, Man, you seem confident. Did you really get 150 million? And I go Yes, sir. And he goes, Let’s meet. And, and, and that that was the start. And that was just in March of 2019. And interestingly enough, the revenue numbers that you read off, and the number of employees that you read off was how many I had at the end of last year, which was our second year in business. 40 million in revenue with 88 employees. This year, we’re going to be 85 million in revenue with 190 employees.
David Ralph [17:30]
Now, what was the key thing? I’m interested of them this moment, because it’s another big.in your life, this moment that you meet grant, you reach your handout? And was it 150 million or your competence that swung it?
Brandon Dawson [17:47]
It was 150 million, 2 billion for each of us. And, and, and I told him, I could show him the business plan and explain it to him in less than 10 minutes. It was three things when my nephew came
David Ralph [18:01]
along to him and you went Hi, my name is Brandon. I’m a new entrepreneur. I can bring a billion to each of us, but wouldn’t have won him over it was because he hears that bullshit all the time. Yeah, absolutely. So So you have to have a sort of track record. But that track record vein breeds your confidence.
Brandon Dawson [18:21]
Exactly, and he consents that the other thing is, I didn’t make that step into shake his hand until the third day and I strategically set with my wife, we went and bought $40,000 tickets online, off the internet. never talked to anybody showed up knowing no one knows who we are and took detailed notes and participated as participants and met as many people as possible. And I knew that the CARDONE people were wondering who we were, because anybody that would go on the internet and spend that kind of money without knowing anybody has to be some interested party. And so I also showed up the right way, I looked professional, I paid attention to everything. I participated, I took great notes, I was engaging, and I was friendly to everyone I met. So consequently, the first day I had everyone asked me who are you? Where’d you come from? How do you know about this place? And clients and CARDONE people like, and because I’ve run so many meetings, I know that they debrief on their clients, especially the high ticket clients. And so we we went in with the mission of, of making sure that people took a serious in addition to that I had one other asset, which is one of my mentors and dear friend, Dr. John Maxwell was an opening speaker. And John Maxwell and I went to dinner the night before. And after his speech from the stage, he pulled me upside up beside the stage. And he pointed to grant and he pointed to me, and he said something and then I went and sat down and then John called me and he said I told him he has to meet you that anything you tell him is the truth. Because that’s how close John and I are and he knows he He’s known me very well. And I’ve helped him and worked with him and been developed by him in my businesses and his businesses. So you got to build over long periods of time, you got to build assets and allies to validate you. And I think most people go through life oblivious to doing that. So in the moment where it could be advantageous for them, they don’t have that resource or that asset.
David Ralph [20:20]
I agree with this 100% on a very low level, you see, every time I go into sort of LinkedIn, if I do go into LinkedIn, it’s just pitch, pitch pitch, and then they’re not building up to anything, they’re not creating a connection, they’re just going for it. And a lot of the time, they haven’t even done their research. So with, with the build up, why grant Why Why not that there must be hundreds of other people, probably more wealthy out there, doing similar things. What was it about him?
Brandon Dawson [20:52]
Yeah, so we actually I hired my research team. And we’re, we I had met with hundreds of private equity groups and people that wanted me to run their portfolios and invest with them. But I didn’t want to do the private equity thing. And so my wife who’s half my age said, You should look at some of these social media guys, I didn’t know any of them. So we started looking at the top tiers, social media guys, understanding and gals and understanding what they did in the marketplace, what kind of audience they had. And, and the one thing is most of my concluded were, they were selling themselves, but they didn’t have real businesses behind them. In grant cardones case, he had a sales training business, and CIA had done research from 2009 to 2019, on hundreds of industries, for the opportunity to disrupt them or consolidate them or to work with these business owners. And granted sales, training and 64% of the industries I had already been doing research on. So he immediately drew my attention to he’s already doing sales training for these industries. So he has relationships with the same people I want to have a relationship with. He is an expert in sales and marketing. And he people trust him, and he’s raising hundreds of millions of dollars. So he has high trust. So there’s literally in the scaling process of building a business, there’s 10 elements that you have to master to go from startup to 125 million. And I saw that he was an expert, and three, and I’m an expert in the other seven. So I already knew that if if he was the real deal, and he’s somebody that we could like, and we had five priorities Do we like he and my wife and I wanted to build something together? So we went to that growth con conference to do due diligence, what kind of audience does he have? What size businesses are showing up? What exactly does he do for those businesses? And then what does he outsource to third parties? Does grant and Lena actually work together? Because my wife and I wanted to work together. And we were looking for mentors that that were an example. The fourth thing is Was there something that I could complement his core business with in my business experience? And all the stuff I built? And if so, how big? How much could I complement it? And then the most important thing for me is I’d already created $100 million net worth. And I wanted to go to the next network target, which was 350 million to 500 million. So my question was, was those net worth greater than 500 million. And that was important to me, because those that don’t know how to do something can’t teach, which is why so many people waste their time listening and studying and going to school and listening to these professors. You know, because Because none of them have done it. And if you haven’t done it, you don’t know the nuances of doing it. And, and so you can give generalised ideas and guidance, but it’s in the nuances that you fail or succeed. It’s not, it’s in the increments. So if grant could pass all five of those grant, Elena could pass all five of those tests. And we could complement the business. And it was a no brainer for me because he was the only one with the volume of customers that could allow me to hit the goals that I had established, which was to create $100 million company in 60 months, and then a billion dollar company in the second 60 months, and then create a $10 billion portfolio in the next 60 months. So I had a 15 year target of a multibillion dollar portfolio. And I needed somebody who has diversified across all those industries that I could complement. And Grant had clearly done a masterful job of building that audience in high trust with people. So it was a no brainer. Once I went to that conference and met everybody and saw everything.
David Ralph [24:28]
I’m going to take you back to something that you said and I wanted to sort of move it to the side because it’s a bugbear of mine. The amount of people out there as you say selling themselves were actually they’re not building a business via the business. By not building franchise. It’s just them basically saying by they have done it but they haven’t done it at all. Now, this seems to be taking hold and this seems to be more prevalent than ever. And people are buying in So is it just because people like a shiny new strategy? Or is it the case that ultimately the majority of their followers want to cut corners and think they’re the better way forward?
Brandon Dawson [25:12]
I think I think so I always have a saying I use in all aspects of life and in that is confusion creates failure. So I think what happens is people latch a hole to personalities or messaging from third parties, and it inspires them. And their intention is good, they want to be inspired. And they think, okay, this person sounds like they know what they’re talking about. And, and they’re obviously doing a better job presenting themselves and promoting themselves than I am. So I could probably learn something from them. So they start going down the road of okay, I’m gonna start buying these people’s programmes and courses and listen to them. And there’s more garbage out there. Trust me, there’s more garbage out there than there is good stuff. And and really, though, it’s it is the responsibility of the individual that’s wanting to improve their life to learn to do proper due diligence, ask the right questions, and study people, most importantly, what they’ve actually done before they let them in their mind. And most people don’t know that’s their obligation. they gravitate to somebody who sounds good, who looks good, who’s seems legitimate. And they’ve never been taught to ask the right questions, because the school systems, the government’s the churches, they always tell you to latch ahold of somebody and just follow what they’re talking about. It’s just not true. If you want to be successful, you actually have to go the other direction. You have to question everything, you have to do your own homework, you have to have your own judgement. And most people in this world are not being taught to swim upstream, they’re being taught to go downstream. And and we’re being conditioned by our parents, the school systems, the churches, the government all to just go with the current. And so people are obliviously going with the current looking for something a little more shiny, a little more elegant, a little more interesting. Their hard work is going upstream. And so learning to ask questions, what’s the most amount of money you’ve ever made? In a year? What’s the biggest thing you’ve ever built? How many employees did you have? How much revenue did you have? How much profit did you have? What’s the biggest exit that you’ve ever had? What’s the most amount of money you’ve ever sold anything for? Like? Those are the questions I teach business owners to ask so that then they can go talk to people and irrespective if they look good, or sound good, or how they present themselves? If the answers to those questions aren’t in the target range of the person, ask him the questions. They should ignore the people they’re talking to.
David Ralph [27:46]
Like we do with Join Up Dots, we jump back and forth. So I’m going to take you back based on what you just said to your time at school because I know that you didn’t enjoy your school and you actually admit to being an average student. Now, you were conditioned, we were all conditioned by the education system, or or did you always keep a sort of an opposing view on it? Now? Yeah, our business.
Brandon Dawson [28:09]
Yeah, so like, I’m a preacher’s son. And I went to Christian schools. And I went to a small school. And I hated school. I hated being told what to do. And I hated, I hated. Yeah. And I hated being people trying to control me. So I was always an independent, free thinker, I would have been the guy that my dad would have told you, you know, I just don’t hope he doesn’t get himself in trouble. Because I didn’t. I didn’t really follow the rules. And, and but I worked hard. And I always made money, working part time jobs. I always worked hard as an athlete. I just hated school and was not a good student. Because it wasn’t interesting to me, I only got barely good enough grades to pass classes. So I could stay in the sports. And that’s all I cared about. And so I was more interested in meeting people and working and thinking about how I could do something with my life. And so I and the minute I can leave that my small town when I graduated high school, I was gone. I moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and I wanted to get as far away from everybody as possible, so I could go figure out how to create the life I wanted to have.
David Ralph [29:20]
And what would you have done if you hadn’t have figured it out? In your heart of hearts? It was a given.
Brandon Dawson [29:27]
Well, I didn’t know you know, like, like, when you’re 19 you don’t you know, you want to be successful. I would watch movies and read a book called barbarians at the gate. I wanted to go and New York and go to these tall buildings and be involved with things important. But when I moved to Atlanta, I just needed to learn to sell and, and and be responsible because I didn’t have my parents around me and I was on my own and I was in you know, part of the country I’d never been in before. And the best thing ever is is the day I landed, my 67 year old boss picked me up at the airport. And he said the outside sales rep for these 11 states just had to go to the hospital, I need you to do his route. That was a stroke of luck for me because they gave me a company car or credit card, an atlas, filled the car up was stuff I was supposed to sell the doctors and stuff, and 11 states to Rome. And I learned to go out and drink, find my way around different towns, check myself into hotels, go get dinners at the right place, stay go to bed early enough to get my calls in on the next day, like I had to grow up. And I had to survive in an environment where no one had taught me how to do that. And that was so much fun for me. Because I realised I was learning while I was doing and I was meeting all these professional people. And so at the time, I didn’t think about like, How much money do I need to make or anything, I just thought I need to be the best sales rep so that I can keep this job. And I always looked at the stats of what everyone else was doing. And I just internally was like, I’m gonna be everyone in the country. And I was very competitive. And consequently, by the age of 2122, I was making 100 grand 120 grand. And by 25, I was making 175 grand a year, beating everybody that were other sales reps, and then ended up becoming the Sales Director moved to Minneapolis where I was making, you know, 175 grand a year before I was 25 years old.
David Ralph [31:25]
I mean treat I mean true, because so many people will have similar stories. And so many people will still be going around those 11 states in a car making the course you have a It can’t just be competition. It can’t be obsession. What was the sort of X Factor? Do you think that made you go from where you were to really start to accelerate? Because it seems like that was more than a learning curve? That was more you found out about yourself?
Brandon Dawson [31:56]
Yeah, well, you know, just be clear for your listeners. And you know, this, not all roads, straight roads seem like they always go to the same place. So this whole experience in Atlanta was great until I got fired. And they took my car away. And my company credit card because of something my 67 year old boss said I did that I didn’t do so he could cover the tracks of what he was doing. So about six months went by I was in Atlanta, I had no car and I had no credit card. And that’s where I really learned my survival instincts because I remember walking home. And I had a credit card bill coming 4000 Our credit card and I walked into a little local bank and I told the lady that I had this credit card, but I lost my job, she actually co signed a loan and gave me a two year loan at the bank that no one would ever do that today. And she said she’s never done it, but she trusts me and believes me. And And I’ll never forget that lady at that little bank. And then she gave me a credit card with a $500 credit limit. She said, You just need to make sure you can make enough money. Week by week, take it week by week, pay your bills and be responsible. And so I never missed a payment on that credit card. And I took the I had a $500 value on the credit card. I was living with my roommate and I told him, Hey, I don’t know how I’m gonna make rent next month. And he’s like, Hey, I got this guy that selling ad space on the back of these little credit cards at universities and you walk around the local businesses and whatever you get them to spend to have their name with their discount on the back of the card you get half and then the guy that does the credit cards gets half and so I was like to the second day I was walking up and down the street selling ad space on the back of a credit card hustling rides from friends to go to those those were the universities where and and I was hustling pool at night and in six months I was making more money than I was making working full time job just totally in control my own life. And then the company called me back and asked if I would it would interview with their in house legal counsel. And and this boss fired me was having some things going on with some of the ladies at the office that shouldn’t have been happening. And I just came clean with it and and and they invited me to come up to Minneapolis from Atlanta and work as the assistant sales manager. Because my my results were so good. So I was like Sure I’ll go up there and do that and work with the inside sales team. And then they fired my boss a year later and said you can have the job so so you know it’s just showing up and being in the right place and being willing to break through your comfort zone and take action is how I just continued to evolve and then waited for opportunities to present themselves and because I was always a top performer. The moment those opportunities presented themselves. I was the obvious shoo in for it. So I tell most people always act and contribute every day like tomorrow someone’s going to come tap you on the shoulder and say do you want to run this or do you want to own this?
David Ralph [34:58]
But you seem to have a Unlike direction, you seem to have a focus, it was almost like you weren’t going to go backwards, it was always going to go forwards. And I think a lot of people have got incredible work ethics, but they don’t really know where they’re where they’re directing. And they will get to a certain point where they might be, you know, the classic thing two Feet From Gold, whatever, and then change direction and then miss out on it entirely. You seem to just be almost on a path. That was the dots were joining up, obviously, but that’s never the case.
Brandon Dawson [35:31]
No, there’s no obvious about it. Because from moment to moment, I wasn’t certain what was really going to happen. And, you know, I just worked so hard. Look for me. For me, I think the reality is, I’m, I’m going to keep turning over new things until I can find the next bigger thing. I think what you described my experience with a lot of people are once they hit their comfort zone. And they’re in their comfort zone. Now it’s about, okay, I want to buy a nice car, I want to get a nice house, I want to get married, I now need my job. So I’m going to try to work inside my job. And then in their 30s, they’re like I hate my job. And then in their 40s are like my kids are finally out of the house. And now I’m going to take a risk and go do something I want to do. Fortunately for me, I missed that hole. I missed all that I did get married at 21 years old, I had kids at 22 years old. But But I I I was always like pushing to get to the next level of success. And when I realised that the company I was working at, I’ll never forget, I was sitting there with the CEO. This was in 1995. And I’m sitting at the table with the other management team of several 100 million dollar company and all my peers were like 55 and 60. I’m 25. And I’m making more money than them. And so I said to the CEO, I said like how do I make more money because I’m not gonna sit here for 30 years making what they’re making. And he’s like, Well, then you know, you work in a business, if you want to make more money, you’re gonna have to own your own business. And I was like, Cool. I resigned five months later and started a business. Because I paid attention, I paid attention to what my customers were doing. My customers were building their business for 20 or 30 years. And then they would come up to Minnesota and say, it’s been so great working with you guys, we’ve decided to retire. So we shut our business down, or we gave our client files to our competitors. And I was like, I went to the CEO of the company said we should buy these businesses and he’s sell to other businesses, it’d be a conflict. And so the day I resigned, I already set myself up to go talk to 100 businesses, about the potential of selling to me instead of just shutting their business down. And I already knew what I wanted to do. And I parlayed that into my first public company.
David Ralph [37:49]
What surprised me on that was that you waited five months, through this conversation, I almost expected you to say, the guy said start your own company. I went Yes. And then straight after lunch, I resigned. But there was a mums.
Brandon Dawson [38:02]
Yeah, I just built a new home, I had a newborn that was two weeks old. And I had a two and a half year old and I had a wife who was my partner that I needed to go home and have some discussions with the five months was was was me making the decision, but then saying, okay, if I’m actually going to do this, like, how am I going to do it, and I started studying and reading while I was working. But I still gave 100% at the business, you know, I always have the saying you however you leave where you’re at, you’re gonna believe people will come into your environment and do the same thing to you. So for me, if you’re on somebody else’s payroll, you give them 110% until you’re not on their payroll. So that December 15 1995, I walked up to the CEO and said today, I’ll be my last day. You know, I’ll work as long as you need me to to integrate somebody, but officially resigning and it was December 15 1995. And it was March 1 When I get when I finally got my first deal after 100 presentations and conversations with business owners. It was March 1 When I got my first deal that I was able to orchestrate with a business owner. So, you know, I moved fairly quickly and I had made enough money and I sold my house and moved into a little tiny house and I just I just regrouped. And my wife was happy to go along with it. We moved from Minnesota out to Oregon, where I was from originally and I worked the West Coast, talking to business owners and in and started my career.
David Ralph [39:29]
One of the key lessons I think you must have had, and it’s a strange segue, but it’s an interesting story as well, is the ability to be actually able to make money without doing the work yourself. Now there’s a fascinating walnut story. Did you remember the story about walnuts Brandon? Of course. Yeah. Now when I read five, I thought to myself Wow, because so many people start a business and they are in the business and they’re working in the business and it takes them a long while to actually move from Being in the business to becoming more strategic, but this kind of day Warner business, you went straight to the CEO position. Tell us about it because I thought to myself, that’s another one of these big dots.
Brandon Dawson [40:14]
Yeah, that is a big, a huge dot three main lessons from that big dot. Actually, there’s probably four or five main lessons but But it happened you know, you don’t know things that transform your life into you look backwards in time. So when they’re happening, you don’t really know it. So at the time, I didn’t know this is the impression it was going to leave on me. But look, it was something simple. We had walnut orchard, we needed to generate $5,500 Every single year for my parents who worked so hard. And to put us in a small Christian school with my little brothers. And the tuition was $5,500 a year and they had to wait like that was a big conversation in the house. Well, this particular year is my junior year of high school, and I had been going to football practice, going to school, and then going to the night deposit and doing dishes and being a busboy until midnight, so I could pay for my gas and stuff. And then I met this girl that was sneaking out and spinning. I go over to her house for an hour after and I’d miss curfew. So my dad grounded me, and they were going out of town and my dad’s like, Hey, you’re gonna stay home and you’re gonna pick up on that. So you’re gonna go to school, you’re going to do football, you’re going to do your job. And then you’re going to pick the Walmarts up. And and the walnuts are nasty. They’re, they’re, you know, rains. It’s cold. They’re they, they, they stain your hands gross for six weeks. And it was always kind of an embarrassing thing. I hated doing it. But that was my punishment to keep me from being out late. And and so I was like, okay, so they were leaving on a Friday morning. I went to school that Friday morning, and I saw a note on the lockers from the seniors that they were trying to raise $1,000 to do their senior graduation trip at the end of the year. And I went up to the head of the senior class, I’m like, Hey, dude, if you if you you come out and help me pick up walnuts thinking, well, if I got more people to help me pick up walnuts, I could maybe get the following weekend when my parents were gone. I could maybe get some free time to go over and see my girlfriend. And so for me it was it was an act of desperation to get the walnuts picked up as fast as possible, literally that I didn’t even worry about the $1,000 and so that next day a few seniors classmates came out and then all of a sudden a caravan of family members kids and everything and we we picked out a Walmart orchard absolutely clean within three days. I didn’t do I didn’t pick any walnuts up I drove around in the tractor and shovel husks into it went to the burn pile and I’d have put the wallets in it and take it over to the dry storage and and literally those parents and all those kids helped me pick up that walnut orchard and and and they were having fun and they were enjoying it and I hated the walnuts understand I hated them. And then at the end of picking them up. Normally I’d go put a table at the end of the driveway on pure erode as a couple, you know long, straight road. And I put gunny sacks out there and people would swing by and by the gunny sack. So the next thing was to dry him and then sell them. Well, the parents had said, Hey, we want to buy all the woman. So I read they pick the walnuts. They did all the work. They love doing it. They’re having fun. And then they bought them all. And because I was such a bad math student, I didn’t even know how to run the calculator or figure out how to charge I just made up a price go into prices always made up. I just made up a price. And they paid me for it. And at the end of that week, I had $8,800 where my family had always had $5,500 Because they gauged everything to getting the 5500 I made up a price. And everyone happily paid for it. Now, in reflection, here’s some big lessons. Price is only an issue in the absence of value. Those parents paid the price, they didn’t question the price. And they did the labour because it wasn’t about the walnuts it was about supporting their kids. So how many people are in business are always talking about price are always talking about the what they do when the fact is it’s the impact of what they do that’s really important. And people will be happy to pay if that impact is there. And when you’re marketing, you’re talking about the what you do, you really should talk about who you do it for why you do it, and the impact they can expect from it. And you’ll get a better client because you won’t get the people that are fixated on price. The second lesson I learned there is the more people you throw at a problem, the faster it gets resolved, and the less you actually have to do yourself. And and so that’s really super important. And then the third lesson is that the price is only an issue in the absence of value like you as long as you provide value and get the price. So the first lesson is sometimes you should be marketing the impact of what you do, who you do it for and what they can expect. The second is the more people you throw at a problem, the faster it gets done. And then the third is price is made up. And as long as you’re confident in what you’re delivering, you can make up your price. And so those three lessons trickled into my life as I kept going on and on. And I think of those stupid wallets. I’m like, why am I doing this by myself, I can throw more people. That’s why I became the sales manager. They found out that the reason I was able to do more appointments and make more money is I paid somebody on the site. For me, that wasn’t even an employee of the company. And they were like, Wait a minute. The reason you’re able to do more in the field as an outside sales rep is because you’re personally paying for somebody who’s sitting there calling in advance setting up appointments, so you have a higher appointment ratio, and a higher conversion ratio, I had somebody sent me with a breakfast or lunch, or dinner. And then I always in between, tried to go see as many people as I could in every town I rolled into. So I had a higher ratio of people I saw. And I had a higher close ratio, because people expected me to be there. And so they were like, You got to do this for everybody. And that’s why they asked me to move to Minnesota and do it for the outside sales reps.
David Ralph [46:04]
Let’s listen to Steve
Unknown Speaker [46:05]
Jobs. Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards, 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [46:42]
So the question from that to you, Brandon is when did the dots all join up and you became the start of who you are today when when did the the person trying different things and working on it suddenly said, Ah, this is what Bose experiences has led to?
Brandon Dawson [47:00]
I think for me, it was 2008 910 1112 1314 15. And on it still happens there. Like like, things happen today that I’m like, oh my god, it’s unbelievable that that dot just got connected. You know, people say I’m lucky I am I’ve been very fortunate. But I put myself in play. And I’m always willing to take a big bold risk. But who would have known when I started working with when I started reading about John Maxwell in the early 2000s, who would have known I would have met him in 2010, who would have known I would have developed a relationship with him. And then who would have known in 2013, I would have gone in and helped him with his business. And who would have known that he moved from somebody I was reading about to somebody I was engaging with to somebody I had a personal relationship with. And then who would have known that the Grant Cardone brand, or persona a person that I would have even known who that was, and then be there at the first event. And John Maxwell was an opening speaker, and then John connected the dot, you don’t know. So here’s what I learned, as I started being very consistent about my strategy and my execution. And being the best version of myself, the most important dyad to connect is if I’m not the best version of myself, nobody should be following me and nobody should be mentoring me. So the only way I can be the best version of myself is to really try to be a good person to everybody else. And, and, and when that started happening, all the doors open. So still today, somebody will come into my life and go man, I heard about you five years ago, or I wanted to meet you three years ago, or I read something you put out 10 years ago, like those dots, when you’re in attack speed. And most people can’t get to attack speed. So in my leadership programme I talked about before is acknowledge, accept, act towards what you want, and then and then attack it as you gain momentum. And so that really started happening for me in 2008 910 1112, all of a sudden, people I was reading their books, and I was studying and learning and applying to business, I started meeting them and then telling them how they impacted my life. And then they got curious. And then I started working with them, every mentor that I had, has become a personal friend or somebody in their business I’ve worked with, or a partner in some aspect. And and and so it accelerates all aspects of your life. And then the dots start coming at you faster, I think of my kid playing that Guitar Hero, whatever you know. And as they start playing the music and this stuff come faster and faster and faster and faster. And you’re trying to you’re trying to hit the notes and stay in the game. That’s really what life is like when you get into the jet stream. And you start getting more dots coming at you and more of those dots are connected. And then the world actually starts to feel kind of small when you get into a certain stratosphere which means you’re bumping into everybody who knows everybody who’s introducing you to everybody. And if you’ve been the best version of yourself and you give it your all and you’re trying to help other people and you can execute towards a stated objective. You get so much momentum that that universe gets so small because most people aren’t committed to doing that for a long period of time. And that’s really all you have as an individual is your ultimate credibility of the results that you’ve created in the impact that you’ve been able to help other people achieve in their life?
David Ralph [50:16]
Well, we’re fortunate to have BRANDEN DAWSON with us. But what about the young BRANDEN DAWSON? What would happen if he went back in time and gave him some advice? Well, this is part of the show that we do all the time called the Sermon on the mic, when we’re going to send him back to do just fat. And I’m going to play the theme. And when it fades, it’s his time to speak to the young Brandon, and find out how he’s going to Join Up Dots.
Unknown Speaker [50:50]
With the spirit of the show, the sermon on the mount my?
Brandon Dawson [51:07]
Well, if I was to go back and tell the younger BRANDEN DAWSON, I would suggest that he find three examples of something that he wants to actually accomplish in his life. And don’t be distracted by everybody else’s opinions or comments or thoughts. Go deep on how those three examples. If it’s building a business, if it’s becoming an author, if it’s doing something innovative with technology, find the three examples that most fit exactly what you’re excited about doing and study those examples. How did they get started? How did they break through to the next level? Let’s remember, we talked about Steve Jobs and Apple, Apple was trading at 20 cents a share as early as 2020. So it wasn’t an instantaneous hit. It was resilience, go find those examples, study, not only what they did, how they did it, how they broke through, how they found the courage, how they stayed consistent, how they communicated, how they developed, how they presented and promoted, go study, as many of those examples, at least three of them as you can and then take action to duplicate what they did and never stop learning. And when you get to the level of success from the person you studied, go find the next two or three examples. You don’t need three, you need at least one. And you should be asking yourself, Who is that one person that I should be paying attention to right now to master what they’ve already been able to do? By asking the right questions, studying their results, taking consistent actions, and fighting through at all costs to get to the next level of success, versus getting distracted in meandering, and listening to the wrong people. And losing confidence by polling outside people who have no idea. That’s what I would tell the younger Brandon.
David Ralph [53:05]
And do you think he would listen?
Brandon Dawson [53:09]
Yes, I do think he would listen.
David Ralph [53:11]
Well, we’ve been certainly listening today. And so Brandon, what’s the number one best way that our audience who have been listening as well and connect with you?
Brandon Dawson [53:20]
Easiest way is my instagram at Brandon M. Dawson. We have so many things going on, I put out so many messages of inspiration or operational effectiveness or financial acumen. Or I just talked about where we’re going and what we’re doing and who we’re meeting with. And I’ve met so many great people that have been following me on Instagram that showed up where I was at, introduced themselves to me and presented to me an opportunity. So I would just encourage everyone, if you’re interested in anything I’ve been talking about, follow me at Brandon hem Dawson, and find a place to meet with us at some point in time and my business partner Grant Cardone,
David Ralph [53:55]
we will have over links in the show notes. Brandon, thank you so much for spending time with us today, joining up those dots. And please come back again, when you’ve got more dots to join up. Because as always, I believe that by joining up those dots and connecting our paths is actually the best way to build our futures. Mr. Brandon Dawson, thank you so much. Mr. Brandon Dawson. So he starts with walnuts and ends up with over 100 million plus net worth. And as you can see, it’s drive is asking the right questions. It’s seeing the opportunities and making something happen. And I think it’s more often than not, it’s actually having those ideas, but then actually not allowing those doubts to creep in where you go, Oh, somebody else might have done that. Or oh, it’s not going to work. If you want it to work, it will work and you can make that happen. Like Brandon, go out conquer and 10 times your opportunities is all there waiting for you. Thank you so much as always for listening to this episode of join up What’s my name is David Ralph. That was Join Up Dots. And we’ll see you again soon. Cheers. See ya. Bye bye.
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