Boy, it has been a fun ride but I know the best is yet to come.
I used to have a very formal bio – investor, entrepreneur, charity proponent etc. While all those are true and accurate it really doesn’t give you my full, authentic story.
For the first time, here it is:
I grew up in a suburb of Buffalo New York (or Niagara Falls) called North Tonawanda. I was a wild child in elementary school. Think the kid chasing the neighbors down the street with sticks and playing with fire. Things changed in 5th grade. You might be thinking, what kind of epiphany is someone going to have in 5th grade? Well, it was a big one, and one that turned the axis of my universe quite fast. I was presented with a simple award: the citizenship award at my graduation ceremony. I was deemed to have potential and to have displayed admirable character traits in my final year at elementary school.
Up until receiving that award, candidly I had felt disappointment. I did not get good grades, I wasn’t a model child, not by a long shot. Something clicked after receiving that award that told me I wasn’t giving life my full potential.
That summer, I decided I was going to do a bit of a pivot. I decided to bury myself in books and focus more on my studies. From grades 6-12 , I was on the honor rollin every report card and only missed three days of school in total. I was a new man.
The book piece is where the story gets interesting.
I didn’t grow up with a lot of money. My parents always put our family first and provided everything they could for myself, my brother and sister, well before their needs. I knew I wanted to find a way to make some extra money so I strolled to the business section at the library for ideas.
One day, at age 14, a book jumped out at me (mainly due to the sheer size) on Microsoft front page.
It was deemed as the best way to get yourself or your business on this thing called the world-wide-web. What was even better: the CD for the software was in the back of the book.
Now, I just needed someone to pay me to make them a web site. Within a week, I landed my first “client”: my parents’ tax lady. I pitched her when I was with my parents doing their taxes for the year. Within a week of bicycling back and forth to the public library to use their computers and software. I had made my first web site and gotten my first check.
I used that money to get my business a license (MST Designs) and to purchase my first computer so I could start doing things at home. I even splurged on CD of templates and animated gifs (remember those hanging mail animations on web sites you’ve got?) to enhance the web sites I was doing.
At an early age, I learned two very important lessons:
High school was interesting because I really did fit in. I was often going to school with a briefcase as I was going to the library or a meeting after I got out of school. I was bullied and really didn’t have a great experience, but I kept at it.
I graduated with honors and won more awards than anyone in my graduating class: it was time to head off to college.
With this new found money, I was able to largely pay for my college tuition and enjoy my time in school at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. While in college, I studied marketing and entrepreneurship. When I took my first course on branding, I realized I needed a new brand and name, so I changed the company to Taz Solutions. We were the marketing agency that solved your marketing, design, and development challenges.
During my time in running Taz Solutions, I got really good at marketing, I mean, really good. One of those guys that could market a ketchup popsicle to a lady in white gloves with a good landing page online, and she would purchase.
I got to work with some of the most amazing companies on the planet, helping them spread their message, their brand, and their products & services. I was seen essentially as an outsourced CMO with a team behind him to get stuff done.
Along the way, I wrote a bestselling book, “Marketing In the Moment” and even coined the phrase Web 3.0 Marketing. In writing the book, I got to meet the legendary Jay Levinson of Guerrilla Marketing and went on to become a Guerrilla Marketing Master Trainer, CMO of Guerrilla Marketing International and founder of Guerrilla Marketing Training & Coaching. It was a great honor to get to run the marketing for the most well-known marketing brand in the world.
I also started a few other companies on the side and leveraged my marketing chops to grow and scale the companies quick. Some generated money, others flopped, but I learned quite a bit.
I had a fun ride with Taz Solutions but decided to push the reset button in 2013. I had grown an amazing company and team, but I was working 80-100 hour per week and simply burned out. What I failed to mention is the family side of things. I have three kids (soon to be four) at the time, and I was not able to spend as much time with them as what I wanted was really killing me inside.
I made a very tough decision and sold Taz Solutions. The company which had morphed many times was no longer mine. I was relieved but also felt a bit lost.
Over the last three years, I’ve worn a variety of hats but have stayed around the area I am most passionate about: helping others succeed in business by mastering their marketing.
What I have learned in working with thousands of different types of businesses and people is that business gets tough when the leads stop coming in or demand starts to slow. This has been true for me and for everyone I’ve worked with. The challenge is that you go from being in a state of flow to a state of – desperation. Bad choices get made, the team gets stressed, and weathering the storm becomes a challenge. How do you solve this? You put a system in place to consistently drive leads and businesses. That is it in the simplest of forms. I have spent the last 18 years mastering the formula and am ready to share it with everyone who wants to learn it.
I have been doing a lot of soul-searching these last few years. Candidly, it has been a roller coaster of emotions. I’ve struggled with feelings of depression, feeling like I’m not enough, like I’ve failed, that I sold out, that I am in some type of never-ending drift and bluntly like I would never get back on top of my game.
Those feelings are finally gone. They are gone because I finally got crystal clear on why I was put on this earth: to help businesses that are doing good in the community and the universe thrive. In order to thrive and stand the test of time so to speak, their marketing has to be on-point 100% of the time. It has to be firing on all cylinders at all times. The best way I know how to help is thru writing, speaking, and training.
I also realized that I don’t want to grow a massive company. I want a lifestyle business. I want to help lots of great companies and get to see my kids grow up and see as much of the universe as I can while I’m here.
The four things I’m currently up to:
Ladies and gentlemen, I am back and I am coming back with a vengeance.
For those of you who want to jump right to the meat and potatoes:
Personal High Points:
Career High Points thus far: