Ep412: Weldon Long – Sell Your Way Out of Financial Trouble

Listen on

Apple | Google | Stitcher | Spotify | YouTube | Other

Quick take

BIO: Weldon Long is a successful entrepreneur, sales expert, and author of the NY Times Bestseller, The Power of Consistency-Prosperity Mindset Training for Sales and Business Professionals.

STORY: Weldon started his first business a year after he got out of prison. The business grew very fast, and within no time, Weldon began buying out other bigger companies. In the process, he accumulated so much debt and had to find the best way out of it to avoid bankruptcy.

LEARNING: You cannot cheat, lie or borrow your way out of financial trouble. You’ve got to sell your way out of it.


“Never give up on anyone. But don’t forget, that includes yourself.”

Weldon Long


Guest profile

Weldon Long is a successful entrepreneur, sales expert, and author of the NY Times Bestseller, The Power of Consistency-Prosperity Mindset Training for Sales and Business Professionals. In 2009, his business was selected by Inc Magazine as one of America’s fastest-growing privately held companies.

Today, Weldon Long is one of the nation’s most powerful speakers and a driven motivator who teaches the Sales and Prosperity Mindset philosophies that catapulted him from desperation and poverty to a life of wealth and prosperity.

Weldon is honored to have served some of America’s finest companies, including Comcast, The Franklin Covey Organization, The Home Depot, Fed Ex, Tom Hopkins International, Wells Fargo Bank, Owens Corning, and Farmers Insurance.

Worst investment ever

Weldon got out of prison in 2003, and all he wanted was to turn his life around for the sake of his 10-year-old son. So he knocked on doors looking for a job. Finally, he got one as a heating and air conditioning salesman. He turned out to be really good at it and worked for a year saving everything he earned.

Weldon started his heating and air conditioning business a year later and hired an operations expert as he knew nothing about heating and air conditioning. All he knew was about sales and marketing, customer service, and risk management. Together, they grew the company very quickly.

Throughout 2006 and 2007, Weldon consolidated about five of the larger older companies in town. He took on a lot of debt to do that because he had to borrow a lot of money from the bank. While he had so much debt, he also had these companies that were thriving.

Unfortunately, the housing crisis and the recession of 2008 hit, and with his debt record, Weldon’s companies went bust. Weldon took on a lot of debt by buying so many companies and extended himself very precariously financially, but luckily he managed to get through it and avoid bankruptcy.

Lessons learned

  • You cannot cheat, lie or borrow your way out of financial trouble. You’ve got to sell your way out of it.
  • Learn how to sell at great margins.

Actionable advice

Don’t give up no matter how bad it seems or feels or no matter how hard you tried and perhaps came up short. There’s no such thing as failure as long as you understand each setback is a learning opportunity.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Weldon’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to spend more time with family and work less. Businesswise, he recently launched an app called Rehash Leads, so his focus is to grow it.

Parting words


“Your thoughts are things; think about what you think about.”

Weldon Long


Read full transcript

Andrew Stotz 00:02
Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning in our community we know that to win in investing you must take risk but to win big you've got to reduce it to join our community go to my worst investment ever.com and receive the risk reduction checklists I created from the lessons I've learned from all of my guests and also get my weekly email to help you increase your investment return. Also in the community, you'll receive a super special podcast listener discount on my six week valuation masterclass boot camp. The boot camp is for those who want to learn exactly how to value companies like a pro and advance their career in finance again, go to my worst investment ever.com to join our free community. Fellow risk takers This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz from a Stotz Academy, and I'm here with featured guest Weldon long Weldon, are you ready to rock?

Weldon Long 00:59
I'm ready to rock Andrew. You're an interesting cat. I'm looking forward to this interview. This conversation I

Andrew Stotz 01:05
I am and I can say out of more than 400 interviews. I feel like I've done the most amount of research on you. So you're in trouble. No kidding. But I think the audience is going to enjoy it. So let me introduce you to the audience. Weldon long is a successful entrepreneur, sales expert and author of The New York Times bestseller, the power of consistency, prosperity, mindset training for sales and business professionals. In 2009, his business was selected by Inc Magazine as one of America's fastest growing privately held companies. Today, Weldon is one of the nation's most powerful speakers, and a driven motivator who teaches the sales and prosperity mindset philosophies that catapulted him from desperation and poverty to a life of wealth and prosperity. Weldon Alden is honored to have served some of America's finest companies like Comcast, Franklin Covey organization, and many others. But more importantly, I want to read to you what voice came to me from listening to your book. Here it comes, ladies and gentlemen, Hi, I'm Weldon long, I just need one opportunity, one shot, give me a chance. And I'll sell more of whatever you sell than anyone ever has. I'll never cheat or lie. And I'll never complain about the economy or the leads, I just need a chance. And that is a quote from his book that I heard many times. And I always, always remember it. Well then take a minute and Philly for tidbits about your life.

Weldon Long 02:42
Well, it's really interesting that you lead with that, because, you know, that was a really interesting point in my life. To give your listeners a little bit of background when I was having that conversation with prospective employers. I was 39 years old, and I was living in a homeless shelter. And in the first half of 2003, January through June of 2003. And the reason I was living in that homeless shelter in January of 2003, is because I had just completed serving 13 years in federal and state prisons, from 1987 until 2003, that roughly 17 1617 year span, I spent 13 of those years walking prison yards, I was a ninth grade high school dropout, I was a punk and I was a thug and a knucklehead and lived a really dysfunctional, very violent, you know, very disruptive life. And, you know, of course my story, what I do this part of my life and the mindset and the sales net, really is a reflection of what I learned going through all the the adversity and struggle all of which I created myself, by the way, by any stretch of the imagination, but it's interesting, you would leave with that because man that was that was something else walking out of prison at 39 years old in the shelter desperate for a job, so I could get a place to live, get my son and begin rebuilding my life. So that's a cool place to start.

Andrew Stotz 04:11
Yeah, and I just want to, you know, recommend to the listeners that you get the power of consistency, and I highly recommend that you get it in the audible version. Because, you know, Weldon reads it. And I think it's something that you can listen to over and over again. And, you know, he talks about other things that really were valuable for me, which were, you know, you, you talked about the box, and that, you know, the tools and the things that you have in the box are really determined they will determine what you can create. And, you know, you say like, you have parts for a motorcycle in a box, you're not going to end up making a cake from what's in the box. Right. And so, you know, there's just so much stuff, so I highly recommend for the listeners to hear that I also, you know, I can relate in some ways, you know, I went through addiction basically and I went I was kind of locked up to some extent, a very different type of lockup in three different rehabs when I was young, and when I was 17, I got out and I graduated from high school, and I was sober. I had been nearly a year off of drugs and alcohol and all the destruction and violence and other bad things that were going on. And, and I was free. And I felt a lot like how you felt, you know, out there trying to make my mark, I my track record was pretty crap, I had destroyed that in a lot of ways. I didn't have any money to go to university, there's no way I could do that. I just, you know, had to go out, I worked in factories, and I took any job I could really at the time to try to survive. But I had one thing, and that is I had my happiness, and I had my freedom. And you know, there's a point in your book where you're running, you're running from the bus stop to the halfway house to get in before 6pm. And the penalty of not being there by 6pm was going back to prison. And, you know, that just hit me. I mean, I tell you, I've cried a few times listening that so, you know, there's just a lot I could relate to. And I think for anybody out there who's struggling and suffering, you know, Weldon, you know, the way he just talked about it was it that was a whole nother part of his life. Of course, the criminal aspect, but then that whole recovery from that the power of consistency. And you do so much more nowadays, but it's just, you know, it's a great, great tool for anybody out there who's struggling right now.

Weldon Long 06:34
Well, I appreciate that, Andrew, and, you know, there are some, some kind of poignant parts of really my first book, also the upside of fear, which is the autobiography of the story, the power of consistency and consistency selling that you mentioned here. And, you know, it's so amazing to me, because as you're talking, Stephen Covey was one of my mentors, and a very dear friend before he passed away. And when I first read the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, I was the guy sitting alone in the prison cell. And that book was kind of the seminal book that set me on this journey. I was in federal prison, I'd already done about six years in state prison analysis. In 1996, I was in federal prison, and my father passed away, that was kind of my moment of clarity, kind of my, you know, epiphany that I had to change my life. And I picked up a copy of the seven habits. And in that book, Dr. Covey, you know, talks about, you know, your circle of influence versus your circle of concern. And most people go through their life focused on the things they're concerned about, but over which they have no control. Right, and they're focused on, you know, the economy or the competitor, or the weather and things they don't control. And they talked about, if you focus on your circle of influence, which of course is ourselves, I, that, that that circle of influence, will expand. And I remember reading that I was sitting in a prison cell, and my circle of influence at that time, Andrew was so small, that I didn't influence what time I ate, or what time you know, the lights came on or off, right, I had seated all of that ability and influence to the federal government, the state government at various points in my life. And I remember Dr. Covey said, if you just focus on yourself, you focus on what you can change, that that circle of influence will expand. And I read that in 1996. And here we are some 25 years later, and we sit across the world from each other you in Thailand, I'm in happen to be in San Diego this week. And you know, it's like, I'm thinking, wow, that circle of influence here, it's having an impact on you. And as you mentioned, listening to the audio version of that with your mother, like, Who would have thought that some knucklehead sitting in a prison cell 25 years ago, would say something at any point in his life, that someone of your position your notoriety, success in life would be impacted by those words. It's just unbelievable to me. And it was just such an example of what Dr. Covey talked about.

Andrew Stotz 09:07
Yeah. And I mean, I'm just my eyes are welling up with tears just thinking about it. And I think for the listeners out there, there's a couple lessons to take away first, I always say in my mom taught me this, never give up on somebody that you love, who's in trouble. I had my mom not giving up on me. And it helped me you know, tremendously, but it also means that as you're sitting there in your situation, no matter where you are, you're in the US you're in Pakistan, you're in the UK listening to this and you're struggling with someone who is you know, having problems in their life. Things change, things can change. And Weldon Weldon is a great example of that and things can go change so dramatically that you go from having no impact to having global impact. So you know, take that in also the same thing. When I was in the depths of my addiction, there's not one person out there that would have predicted that I could have accomplished what I accomplished. So let's all take that as hope in this video. But I

Weldon Long 10:11
just want to add to that, that never give up on anyone. But don't forget, that includes yourself. You know, don't give up on yourself, because I'm sure in the throes of your dysfunction all those years ago, there were times where you thought about checking out, one of the things I always tell people is, you know, there's nothing wrong with falling down. Because falling down is making a mistake, we screw up, we trip and we fall. But there's everything wrong with laying down and laying down is giving up. And so it's not just others that we need to make sure we don't give up on, we need to make sure that we never give up on ourselves. Yeah.

Andrew Stotz 10:49
I just want everybody to hear that. And remember that as we talk. The last thing I just want to talk about briefly before we go into your stories, you know, just thinking about, you know, what you can control and all that reminded me of you talked about how in your business, what you decided to do was give a money back guarantee. And it was part of what you said really catapulted you above your competitors. And I'm reminded of a teacher I had when I was a 24 year old guy named Dr. Deming and Dr. Deming taught about quality. And I was just a young guy in the audience listening to him. And I later wrote a book about, you know, what, what I got from his teaching called transform your business with Dr. demings, 14 points. So he had a profound impact. But he always said something that kind of was confusing when I was young, but it's more clear now. He said, do not focus on your competitor. And I just didn't, you know, I always thought, you know, all we're doing so much in big business nowadays is benchmarking, you know, well, they're doing that they're caught their product has that, and ours has that. And when you only focus on your competitor, you miss the huge opportunities. And I think that story kind of taught a little bit about what I learned from Dr. Deming is that you made a decision that, hey, we're going to do this, even though nobody else is doing it. We know there's a costs, it's also going to reveal weaknesses that we have that we're going to have to fix, because we're going to be held accountable. If we install I think it was an H vac system or some whatever it was that you were installing, and it customer wasn't happy he had to uninstalling. So just maybe you could just link that together?

Weldon Long 12:31
Well, what a privilege for you to be able to study directly under Edwards Deming, just a fascinating and brilliant human being. And, yeah, you know, to me in business, you know, the when people are making a decision to purchase or not, to me, what they're really doing is they're evaluating the element of risk. And when the element of risk of making the wrong decision is high, then it makes it very hard for people to say yes, when the element of risk is very low, then it makes it very easy to say yes. And one of the examples I use if you're at Walmart, and you got a flashlight in your hand, you're thinking about buying it for 15 bucks, you go to the checkout counter, you pay for it, you get home and you don't like it, it doesn't work, right. Right, what do you do with it, you bring it back to Walmart, you get your money back, you get a new, so when you're standing there in the aisle in Walmart, there's no risk of making the wrong decision. Because if it's wrong as soon as you can bring it back. But what if that flashlight was $150 instead of 15. And there was a sign there on the shelf that said, all sales are final, no refunds, no exchanges, now the element of risk is much higher. And when the element of risk is so high, what do you do? Well, I need to think about it, I need to check with your competitors, you know, I need a better price in case I get ripped off, at least I'll get ripped off for less money. So it kind of, you know, causes what I call these dysfunctional buying, you know, patterns, because people are afraid. So for me in business, my number one job is to eliminate the risk. I want to make it easy for people to say yes to me. So the risk reversal guarantee, which by the way has been around for you know, at least 150 years in modern business, you know, is a way to take the risk off of the prospect and put it on me where it belongs. And if I do my job, I don't have to worry about giving their money back.

Andrew Stotz 14:22
Yeah, that's great. And it's lots of lessons in that book. I have I wrote on my whiteboard, you know, kind of I wrote a hallway with many doors down the hallway, knowing that the potential client is going to want to exit through one of those doors if they can, and our job is to prevent that by addressing it beforehand. And also, you talked about getting a verbal commitment, you know, and I just thought lots of great stuff. So for listeners out there, there's a lot of good goodness there you can get from that. So now it's time to share your worst investment ever and since no one ever goes into their worst Investment thinking it will be tell us a bit about the circumstances leading up to it, then tell us your story.

Weldon Long 15:04
Yeah, you know, and address I thought about this a lot leading up to this conversation. And, you know, I've got a lot of bad decisions I made in my life, you don't end up in prison for 13 years, because you're making great choices. But I wanted to put in the context of something, I thought that your listeners and your fan base, you know, could relate to, you know, more or more a traditional investment or business discipline. And so, you know, went to prison and 87 the first time I went through 17 years of pure hell that I put myself through, in 1996, about halfway through that my father dies. And I set on this journey of changing my life. And my master plan, by the way, was to find out what successful people did and start doing that. That was always a nice big school drop out. I just didn't I just I just humbled myself. Hmm. And I was gonna do and I read the Stephen Covey's the Tony Robbins, and the Tom Hopkins and the Brian Tracy's and the zig ziglar. And the, you know, you just name it, you know, the classic stuff, right, James Allen and Napoleon Hill, and you know, just all of that stuff. And I started, like, wow, what successful people do is pretty repeatable success leaves clues, you know, and the clues are all in these books, you just got to do this. And so I set out doing that if people want to get into really the transformation that happened over those years, psychologically, spiritually, emotionally, they can read the upside of fear. But let us suffice to say that over those next seven years, like fundamentally at my core of who I am, as a man, as a father, as a husband, as a human being, as a citizen of the world, that a citizen of our country, all these things, like I changed fundamentally, I remember reading in the Seven Habits Dr. Covey talked about, there are certain principles that you have to live your life by, if you're going to be successful, and that you cannot break those principles. You can only break yourself against those principles. And I remember reading like, wow, that's what I've been doing. I was 32 years old. When I read that. I'm like, wow, that's what I've been doing. I haven't compromised the principle of integrity, honor, faith, fidelity, you know, thrift, I haven't compromised, I just beat myself up against it. So I changed. Seven years later, I walked out of prison to that shelter in January of 2003. And I started knocking on doors, and I'm desperate to find a job. I had a three year old son, when my father died in 96. I had father when I've been on a short trip out on parole, I was back in prison, my son was three and I had abandoned him. And like my number one thing when I got out in 2003, was to find my son and to be a father, to be the father he deserved. And so by the time I got out in 2003, he was 10 years old that I didn't know him. And the first thing I had to do was find a job, get out of that shelter, and get my boy. And so I did exactly as you open this discussion with knocking on doors, how do you do I'm weld along, I just need one shot one job, one opportunity on their lives, either steal, or sell more, whatever you've been selling, but never sell, I just need one chance. And people would say, Man, we need some great attitudes like that around here. And I'd say yes. And then I have to say, why not, there's a little more to the story. 30 years in prison and got a knife in education, etc, etc. and be like I you know, and I, you know, so this went on for six months, I finally get a job as a heating and air conditioning salesman in June of 2003. I turned out to be really good at it. And so I went out there and worked for a guy for about a year. And you know, I didn't have any bills, I just walked out of prison. So everything I made I saved. You know, I tell people, they talk about these credit repair businesses, you want the ultimate credit repair business, go to prison for seven years, because you come out and you are clean as a whistle, you don't even exist. You don't have nothing. And so a year later, I started my own business heating and air conditioning. But I don't know the first thing about Heating, Air conditioning, when I knew it was about sales and marketing, and service and risk reversal, you know, and making good decisions and treating my customers well and hired a guy who's an operations expert that can manage the installs and service all that stuff. You know, I don't have to know how to build cars to sell cars. I don't have to install air conditioners if I want to sell air conditioners. And we grew our company very quickly. As you mentioned the introduction that company in 2009 was selected as Inc. magazine's one of their fastest growing small companies in America and was very successful. Well, in 2007, I opened that business in 2004. And in 2007, we were rolling. I mean, we were cooking with grease, we have become the largest residential heating and air conditioning company in southern Colorado where I live. We are rocking and rolling. And I gotta tell you, Andrew, I was pretty pretty full of myself. Even after all I've been through. I was still a young man, I still have some hubris, and I had a lot of confidence. I wouldn't say overconfidence but a lot of confidence. And so I decided to I decided to start buying my competitors. And so over the Course of 2006 axes when it started in 2007, I consolidated four or five of the larger older companies in town. And I took on a lot of debt to do that I borrowed a lot of money from the bank, I assumed a lot of accounts payables for my, you know, the companies I was buying and, and, you know, it just kind of grew and grew and grew, and, and in 2007, I had accumulated a lot of debt, but I had these companies were rocking and rolling. And then the housing crisis and the recession of Oh, eight and oh, nine hit, and the tidal wave of that debt, which I needed every dollar and every bit of success, you know, to service that debt, all of a sudden business was. And I'll never forget that in 2009, I was on the phone with my lawyer, and my banker and accountant. And I was like, there was one particular vendor heating and air conditioning supply, a carrier distributor in Colorado, that we purchased our equipment from, and two of the other companies I purchased, also purchased their equipment from them. So when I bought those companies, I assume their debt as well as you know, what we typically owe them. And I got a call one day from the company, the CFO of the company and said, Do you realize that between what you owe us and what these companies always it's $480,000 I did not realize it was that much. And I had to sign a promissory note that 480 grand personally, and I had to let them put a lien on my house in Maui as security for the promissory note. And we went to work, it was a 24 month promissory note, by the way, pay it off in 20 months, every dime, not a standard amount. You pay it off in 20 months, but I remember in 2009, when all this was going on, I'm having a conversation with the accountants, the lawyers, and then and and somebody on the call, I can't remember who it was, was the lawyer, the banker, the CPA, Somebody said, Well, Mr. Long, you know, your best shot here is to file bankruptcy, and just kind of start over and wash your hands.

Andrew Stotz 22:05
Do you mean you're talking to?

Weldon Long 22:06
Well, that's exactly what someone would expect of a guy for more, I take the easy way out, I refuse to do and I said, No, that is not an option for me. I am going to work my tail off and, and end up working my tail off and pay that 480 note off with a bunch of other stuff. And in January of 2010, I sold the company and the economy turned around rock and roll again. I walked away in a really good financial condition. And so it was it was it was a really, really bad decision. And as much is my hubris was driving my ego. Honestly, Andrew, if I'm just being completely transparent with you and your audience, my arrogance, my overconfidence, I guess, hubris. Here I am, you know, 434 years out of prison, and I'm doing I'm the king of the king of the industry in our little small internal small pond and kuato. And, and, you know, took on a lot of debt and extended myself very precariously financially, but we got through it, we got, you know, it was no fun. Let

Andrew Stotz 23:11
me ask you a question about that. I mean, I have no doubt that you're the type of person that would say, we're going to, you know, take the bull by the horns and turn this around. But I can't imagine that you also probably had a moment where you thought What have I gotten myself into?

Weldon Long 23:25
Yeah, I had that. I had that conversation with myself actually, just right before the 2008 real severe downturn happened in 2007. When the contracting community in the county where I live, they all kind of decided they were going to take me out because we had grown very quickly, I bought all these companies, and I was an outsider, I wasn't part of their, you know, the the mechanical community that the little trade association there, they didn't like me, they didn't know me, I was an ex convict. And so in their mind, that's all they needed to know. And they moved heaven and earth to try to pull my license. They got together, they all happen to have these very powerful positions on the building department, their board of directors, and they called me in one time for a private meeting and told me I could you know, I could do this the easy way or the hard way, but I was gonna have to surrender my license voluntarily. Are they ever going to take it from me? Now I mind you that nothing wrong cleaning businesses 1007. And I explained all that to them. They said, Well, that's a really nice story. But you know, do it the easy way, the hard way. So I hired a big, high powered attorney, he went to the county threatened to sue the attorney because it was a, you know, a clear shot of the railroad job, you know, just to get me out of business. They were all competitors of mine. The guys on this committee are all competitors of mine. It was a total conflict of interest. Well, they couldn't do it the easy way. They went to the hard way and they went to the local newspaper, The Colorado Springs Gazette, went to the business editor there got him white Wayne Heilmann and convinced him to do an expose a on whether or not I should be allowed to have a contracting company in that county. And so a couple of days after I thought the whole thing was over, I go out and get our morning paper and on the front page of the paper and above the fold The headline in our local newspaper ex cons life in the balance. And there's a 20 year old mugshot of me on the front page above the fold of our newspaper.

Andrew Stotz 25:11
How's that for your morning coffee?

Weldon Long 25:13
Oh my god, you open up the paper. It's funny now with laughing that day. And he opened the newspaper, and the entire page is dedicated. I mean, they wanted to everything I've ever done in my life. In the middle of the page was a little summary box that listed all my arrests and convictions and prisons and divorces and blah, blah, blah. But I'll tell the story. And speaking people say, Why didn't you assume like, shit was all true? Truth in the absolute defense, I can't see the paper reports. But it looks really bad when you have it all right there in black and white and one time without the without the context of me telling the whole story, you know? And so that's the kind of stuff we had to deal with. And there were times I'm like, what in the heck am I doing here? I just read. And then on top of that, the following year, the economy crashed. And it was just one thing after another, but yeah, there were some there were some dark days, man. But you know, as Nietzsche said, you know, that which does not kill us makes him stronger. And that was certainly the case in my life.

Andrew Stotz 26:07
You know, another thing he talked about, about being in prison and clearing out your debts and clearing out your life, you know, another thing is, it's, it's, it's really hard to avoid the truth, when you've really been through an awful situation, whether that's, in my case, drug addiction, locked up, you know, into three different treatment centers and, and disappeared basically, from my neighborhood, you can't just come back and go, Well, I was just taking a hike in the woods. And you know, so in some ways, like when there's a certain liberation, so when you see that article, and you know, it's true, and you're not gonna deny it, you know, there's

Weldon Long 26:44
my story. I've always been very open about my story. But you know, as Napoleon Hill wrote the seed of equivalent benefit out of every bad situation, that was 2007, that's when I decided I'm going to write a book about my life. So no one can ever try to extort me again, because that's what they were trying to do. And I sat down that December of oh seven, and I began out of the manuscript manuscript to the upside of fear, which turned into the power of consistency, which turned into consistency selling and so on and so forth.

Andrew Stotz 27:10
Wow. So tell me, let's, let's summarize the lessons that you learn.

Weldon Long 27:15
Yeah. Well, the big lesson I've learned in my life that I hope everybody takes away from this conversation is really encapsulated in the immortal words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Napoleon Hill, thoughts are things write our expectations, our habitual thoughts create everything in our life. Nietzsche wrote that we attract that which we fear in the Bible, Joseph says that which I have feared, has come upon me. Viktor Frankl in Man's Search for Meaning says, fear may come true. And we attract the things into our life that we fear the most that we think about the most, right, where your focus goes, your energy flows. And we don't have time to get into whole, you know, neurological discussion about what happens in our brain when we are afraid of something. But that's what the books are about. your listeners are welcome to check those out. So the big time lesson, his thoughts are things like what you think is more important than you think. As I tell people, you better think about what you think about before you think about it. What's your thinking creates your life, as far as the worst investment ever the episode where I borrowed the money and incurred all this debt, and oh, eight, no nine, and the near total catastrophe financially for me, by the way, I just, I'm in California now. But I came out yesterday and, and on Saturday, I had delivery of a brand new Ferrari Roma that I custom ordered, took a year and a half to get it from Italy, because a COVID and all that. And when I drove in the drive, my wife took the picture, and took a video and I watched it and I'm like, you know, and in fact, I posted on it, I work hard, stay focused, defy the haters. And eventually, you're going to win. And I look at my life now today, and I think about the stuff I've been through the financial difficulty, the personal difficulty, all these different things, death, divorce, you know, financial problems, all these things and, and today, I look at my life, it's just so amazing. But here's the lesson that I learned from my worst investment ever. It's very simple. In business, and you're in a bad spot, you cannot steal your way out of it. You cannot cheat your way out of it. And you cannot borrow your way out. The only way out of it is to sell your way out of it. Because that financial jam that I was in oh eight no nine. Honestly everything I thought I knew about sales at that time was basically theoretic. We were good. What do I we got to get better in a bad economy. We got to get better at selling we got to sell more at better margins and a crappy economy. And that's when I began to develop sales systems for my sales team, so that we just wouldn't rely on there too. talents and their skills. They had a lot of those things. But I gave them a system, a system that was based on basic psychology, basic sales principles, you know, basic business principles, value propositions executing on those, right? You cannot cheat, lie or borrow your way out of financial trouble. You got to sell your way out of it. And that's my advice to every entrepreneur, every company, right? Learn how to sell at great margins, you got to deliver the goods, right, because salespeople were promised makers, the operations people, the promise keepers, and you got to be just as concerned about the promise keepers. Otherwise, you're a fraud. Otherwise, you're just snake oil, right? Otherwise, you're The Great Gatsby, you just, you just, you're just then as the when you got to operations got to be there, but you got to sell it because nothing happens till something gets sold.

Andrew Stotz 30:54
So this is the point where I normally give my takeaways, but I'm going to leave that for right now. Because I've already shared a lot of those. And I want to go into what you just said, and maybe you can just give a little help on that. Let's imagine the listeners out there who are owners of businesses running businesses. They're constantly torn between the selling and the operating. And, you know, it's there's, it's not just because Oh, I like doing the operation more than I like doing sales. It's also that our operation is constantly falling apart, or our systems are not that great, or whatever that is, how does a leader get themselves to be able to move their focus on to that sales, obviously. Well, you had a fire under you that said, we're going to solve this through sales by just curious, like, what advice would you give that super busy person out there who is struggling, and it's kind of missing the point, it's just the sales guys, let's go.

Weldon Long 31:50
There's a great book. There's two great books I'm gonna refer to. Both are associated with Franklin Covey. The first of course, is the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. But there's another book written by it's through Franklin Covey published it, I believe, guy named McChesney. It's called the four Disciplines of Execution. And in the four Disciplines of Execution, covey talks about this, the Seven Habits also about how easy it is for us to get caught up in what they refer to as the whirlwind. And that's what you're taught the whirlwind, right? I don't have you know, it's like, you know, there there's firefighting in business, right? The constant fires, phone's ringing, upset customers, somebody wrecked a truck, somebody fell through a ceiling, somebody forgot to pay a bill, there's always the fires that we're putting out constantly, right. And then there's the fire prevention. The fire prevention is what Dr. recovery, Dr. Covey referred to in the Seven Habits about his four quadrants of time, what are they called quadrant two time planning, prevention, preparation and relationship building, right? Things that are not urgent, but they're very important, right? Because the things that are most important in our lives in our business are the ones most easy to postpone, think about for a second date night with your wife going to the gym, right? planning for your business, learning how to sell the training, right? The things that are the most important are never urgent, therefore the easiest to postpone. And so quadrant two is planning, preparation prevention, and I don't have time to get into the whole seven habits, but read the book and study and you'll learn it. But quadrant two is fire prevention. The problem is sometimes you're doing so much firefighting and quadrant one, you don't have time to learn how to prevent the fires. Dr. Covey used to say this is being too busy driving your car to have time to stop and get gas. Eventually, it catches up with you. It was a brilliant man. Very funny man well, as well. So you got to find time to focus on the planning, preparation prevention, right. And that's got to come from quadrant three and quadrant four. quadrant three is the quadrant of deception. It's things that seem important that really aren't and then the quadrant of waste, which is quadrant four, just wasting time, you got to look at your schedule and your life, you got to find the things are in quadrant three and four. And you got to find that time and develop devoted to quadrant two, which is building the system's the processes to help eliminate the whirlwind. Right. And I'm not saying it's easy, but we don't have the luxury of only doing the easy stuff. We get to do the easy stuff and the hard stuff in life. So it's about finding the time it takes discipline. In fact, Dr. Covey used to call this the you know the habit of execution and discipline and integrity, because you got to set time for planning, prevention, sales, training, building the systems, that type of thing in quadrant two, and you have to have the integrity to execute around those priorities, regardless of the whirlwind. Gosh, oh, that's very quick description, a discussion of a very complex topic, but I would highly recommend people read the four Disciplines of Execution and the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People to really get a thorough understanding of what it takes to do what you're talking about. I will also highlight Highly recommend for small companies, especially the emails,

Andrew Stotz 35:03
yeah, great

Weldon Long 35:04
email deals a brilliant little story about a bakery. And when you're a small company, you're wearing a lot of hats, but you still have to create your organizational chart, and identify all the various functions of your business. Now, your name will be in every box initially. But you begin to recognize, okay, I like being in this box. You mentioned sales, for example, versus operations. Maybe I really like being in the operations, but I hate being in sales. Well, sales is the first place I got to, I got to put somebody else's name. It helps you prioritize what you need to do next to grow some brilliant email.

Andrew Stotz 35:38
Yeah, all of those books have great, and I'll put them in the show notes, including also your books. And it just reminds me, you know, I, when I started my own business, I realized that, you know, when I worked at big banks and investment banks and stuff, you know, you have a bad day, it doesn't affect the business, you have a bad week, it doesn't affect city bank's business, you have a bad month, it doesn't affect city bank's business, you have a bad year, it doesn't affect city bank's business. But if you have a bad day, bad week, bad month, in your own business, you're in deep trouble. And that's when I realized for myself that I focus on for hours, I say, basically, I four hours a day, that's my core time that I can really get something done. And for me, just because of my own weird behavior, I'm usually up at about four in the morning. And by five or so I'm at my desk, and I get my four hours. And now listening to what you just described. It's telling me because I wasn't I wasn't asking for advice for my listeners, actually, I was asking advice for me. So what I just got,

Weldon Long 36:48
you're blocking out those four hours or quadrant who dime you're doing the tough work? Yep. In those

Andrew Stotz 36:52
four hours. That the question is, what am I doing during that time? And I think what I just got from you is it's time to squeeze that sales into that time.

Weldon Long 37:01
Yeah, yeah. Got it. Nothing happens until something is sold Thomas Watson, you know, IBM, that was his famous, you think about IBM, at that time back in, you know, in the 50s. And 60s 70s was the preeminent technology company on the planet, you know, but their philosophy was, nothing happens till something gets sold. Because, you know, cash is king. Yeah, in

Andrew Stotz 37:23
Thailand, we I have one of my businesses is a coffee factory, and we sell to hotels, coffee shops, and restaurants and offices. Tourism has been destroyed. Yeah, all of those customers are gone. coffee shops and offices have been shut down. They're only doing delivery. And that's difficult for us in for them. And then work from home. Now, as men, there's nobody in the offices and in Thailand, you know, government really shut some things down for long periods of time. So it's like, how do we survive that? And my business partner says he has a saying sales solves everything. Sometimes He replaces it with coffee, he says coffee solves everything. But you know, get the point. Alright, so based upon what you learn from this story, and all that you've learned, what one action would you recommend our listeners take to avoid suffering the same fate?

Weldon Long 38:21
I would say don't give up Don't lay down. No matter how bad no matter how bad it seems that feels no matter how hard you tried, and perhaps came up short. In the past, there's no such thing as failure. As long as you understand each setback is a learning opportunity. 99% of what I learned in my life, I've learned from my failures. When things go right, Andrew, like half the time, I don't even know why, like, why we made some money. How do we do that? When things go wrong? I figured out really quick. And learning comes from those difficulties. I had to deal a number of years ago, my sister committed suicide in 2005. Excuse me, 2004 December 2004. And I got really interested in suicide, I could understand she was a brilliant attorney. She was beautiful, smart and funny. She had a drug addiction and alcohol problem for sure. went through a tough divorce and decided to check out but a 38 in your mouth. And I was surprised two things. Number one, how many people are touched by suicide? Like everybody I meet now has known somebody or dealt with? It's like, it's way more common than I thought. That's the ultimate laying down, right. That's the giving up and I wonder how that can happen. And I did a little reading on it. And you know, I learned about people that commit suicide when they're so depressed, and so just there's so much pain. There's so much we've all had those moments, right? Certain people get there and they forget it will ever feel better. They forget they'll feel better and an hour or in two hours usually because there's drugs and alcohol involved. They forget like oh tomorrow feel great. And what I learned is the suicide hotlines, when they get some of that situation, their number one priority is to get people remember, like, you're going to feel better in an hour. Because people, they think they're going to feel the way they feel that moment the rest of their life. And that's overwhelming for anybody. They forget, they're going to feel better. And so while we're not talking about that serious of a situation here with your listeners, there are times in your business in your life where you just feel like you want to give up and you have to remember that it's going to get better. And an hour and a day in a week, it's going to get better. You know, there's this thing about how you get in a bad mood things happen, we get in a bad mood. It's normally get in the bad mood, we all get in bad moods. If you stay in a bad mood, you don't get out of it, the words you don't move on from it, it turns into a bad attitude. Right, that's a little longer term. Now you just got kind of an attitude. And if you get stuck there for a long enough time, it becomes a personality. So when you get into bad moods, you get down you get that bad place you have to remember it's gonna get better. Never lay down, you fall down fine. What's the old Chinese proverb fall down eight times get up nine. Okay? Pretty simple stuff, Eastern philosophy. Right? You got to get back up, you got to remember that it's gonna be better. And if you work hard, and you stay focused, my experience has been in my own life and people I work with success is always closer than we think if we stay focused, and don't give up.

Andrew Stotz 41:40
Great. So I have two last questions. The first one is just for people that like what they hear Obviously, I'm gonna have to show the links in the show notes to everything and you know, they can go to to Amazon, but besides that, where is the best place to follow you to learn from you to get you know, training, that type of thing?

Weldon Long 42:03
Yeah, I'm all over the social media at Weldon long w el de o n LNG Weldon long. Also my website Weldon long calm and we have a new program, actually. It's an online course, based on the power of consistency, and another one based on consistency selling about four hour courses, each with testing, and it's all online. This digital platform is a brilliant platform, developed by a guy out in Las Vegas. And so we put our stuff on there and shot all new content for it. Then go to my website and just contact us to the website to get some information on that. If they're looking at a change that mindset, you have to create the mindset to thrive in the face of adversity, because that's the key to success. And yeah, learning to thrive in the face of diversity so well along calm and all the social media stuff. And as you mentioned, that goes on as well.

Andrew Stotz 42:50
Fantastic. So my last question, what's your number one goal for the next 12 months?

Weldon Long 42:56
You know, it's interesting. So as you may know, as you have seen COVID changed a lot of things. And I remember when COVID hit about March last year, I was on the road on speaking tour in Florida, and I was between Orlando and Miami. I was with my speaking manager. And we were driving the three hours because it was just easier than flying. And during those three hours, our phone started blowing up with text mail, text messages and emails. And between Orlando and Miami, I had about $100,000 of business that got postponed or cancelled. Speaking of it, I couldn't believe. So we came home to give it two weeks to flatten the curve. And I learned very quickly like we all did, it wasn't gonna just be two weeks, I remember telling my assistant, wonderful young lady crystal or to know, everybody was saying, you know, everybody's gonna come out of this thing, either pregnant or fat. Well, I didn't come out pregnant. Her husband had a baby, right at the end that COVID just recently a few months ago, and I put on 15 pounds. Now I've lost that 15 pounds. But I'm having so much fun with it, I'm going to take off another 15 or 20. So on a personal goal. It's more family time I'm working less I'm loving it and try to get back down on my fighting weight. When I was in my 30s. Business wise I launched an app called rehashed leads. It's an app Heating and Air Actually, it's we're selling primarily in the heating and air conditioning industry now, but it's for all Home Services. It's a lead generation app and lead management app that automates the follow up process with videos and content, different things. I do a lot of work with a nonprofit in Sacramento, the electric gas industry association, do a lot of that kind of stuff. And I opened a heating and air conditioning company two years ago. It's funny that when I sold my last company in 2010 heating and air conditioning is a hard business. A lot of margins have been a lot of moving parts, right? I sold my last company in 2010 January 2010. Once we got it back healthy again, I sold it that whole although Five or six h companies, and I told my wife if I ever even suggest them to get back in the heating and air conditioning, they're happening down. I want you to shoot me, right? Yeah, problem is Andrew I divorced that wife and I forgot to tell my new wife. years ago, my brother in law came to me and said, hey, let's open an H back company. I'm like, okay, and my wife said, Okay, sounds like fun. Now she knows. But I will tell you that company we just finished our second year. This is our second full year. And we did just go from sales numbers before this call, we closed out this month with just a million dollars over a million dollars in sales. And this is our 25th month. So we're growing that business quickly too. And it's a lot of work but it's a lot of fun. So I've got some business stuff, some personal stuff, I fell in love with the RV life. So I got this big bus and I want to spend more time on my bus with my wife and my cats.

Andrew Stotz 45:51
What a life journey. I want to talk about new Ferrari a little bit I would say so well listeners, there you have it another story of loss to keep you winning. My number one goal for the next 12 months is to help you my listeners reduce risk and increase return and actually even sales in your life. To achieve this I've created our community at my worst investment ever.com so join to get the special discount I mentioned before for podcast listeners to my six weeks valuation masterclass boot camp. As we conclude, Weldon, I want to thank you again for coming on the show. And on behalf of a Stotz Academy I hereby award you alumni status returning your worst investment ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words for the audience?

Weldon Long 46:41
Your thoughts are things right think about what you think about. And thank you so much, Andrew, I appreciate this. You're a very interesting person and just really enjoyed your story as well. And congratulations on all your success. The most successful people you just proved my point. They always have some situation they overcame in the past and you're just more proof of that. So great.

Andrew Stotz 47:03
Thank you. And that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and protect our wealth. Fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast hose Andrew Stotz saying. I'll see you on the upside.


Connect with Weldon Long

Andrew’s books

Andrew’s online programs

Connect with Andrew Stotz:

Further reading mentioned

About the show & host, Andrew Stotz

Welcome to My Worst Investment Ever podcast hosted by Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, where you will hear stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that to win in investing you must take the risk, but to win big, you’ve got to reduce it.

Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, Ph.D., CFA, is also the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research and A. Stotz Academy, which helps people create, grow, measure, and protect their wealth.

Leave a Comment