We're interviewing a man who has used his talents to build a multi-million-dollar fortune. Dean R. Graziosi is the author of the recently-released book Totally Fulfilled-It's Easier than You Think. He is also the creator and founder of "Motor Millions" and "Think A Little Different," both of them successful business opportunity infomercials that teach people how to make money with cars and real estate.
Dean's been on TV consistently since 1999. Some of you may have seen him. He's shipped over a million manuals, tapes and videos to his customers. Beginning at the tender age of 17, Dean built a business and real estate fortune, and now he's pursuing his passion for helping others by creating programs to show people how they can enjoy a life which is, as he says, "totally fulfilled."
Dean taught himself the challenging skills required to create successful infomercials, and those infomercials created by Dean and his company have generated over $100 million in revenue over the last seven years. In his new book, Dean shares his unique approach to optimal success, results and fulfillment in all areas of life.
I am extremely pleased to introduce one of our most valued alliance partners to co-host our call and conduct the interview with Dean. Dan Kuschell is the author of A Champion in the Making and, I have to say, one of the finest people I've had the pleasure to know and one of our long-time partners.
Dan Kuschell:When I first met you, I remember sitting at Boston's over in Tempe, Arizona, and for the very first time, hearing about your vision of your company, how you got started as a mechanic, and how you used to do janitorial work in your apartment buildings. It's just amazing, the path you've taken. Would you talk about how you got started?
Dean Graziosi: I think I really, truly, believed, even at a young age, whether it was luck or genetics-and I didn't have a lot of mentors in my life-I was silly enough-and realizing now that silliness was what allowed me to be successful-to believe that whatever I wanted to do, I could do.
How fortunate to have that, that no matter what, I thought I could do it. When people look at you and think you're crazy, nuts, or say you should be more secure or don't try something out of your comfort zone, I just look at them and say that I feel bad for them if they don't want to at least try it.
I look back and feel blessed that I was gifted with that, and I feel so fortunate that I could share that with people. Let me back up and tell my personal story. [When I was] a kid, my mom literally worked two jobs and made about $90 a week. We lived in the only trailer park in our town. My sister and I had the hand-me-downs.
She drove such a junky car, my sister and I would make her drop us off two blocks away from school so the kids wouldn't make fun of our car.
Dan Kuschell: I can relate.
Dean Graziosi: I know you can; we've had long conversations about that. I don't want to go into the rags-to-riches story, but my story just allows people to realize that if a kid who came from a small town, had no money, never went past high school, and was in special reading through 11th grade, can do it, then why can't they? That's why I love telling my story.
It's not to brag or boast, but I want people to say, "Wow, if that guy can do it, there's no doubt I can do it." I think my original passion, Dan, was watching my mom struggle so much and saying, "That's not what I want." We all have a passion if we dig down deep enough, if we don't have one that's on the surface.
We need to find the passion that drove us as a kid. What made us want to do certain things as a kid? When I was in high school, my dad had a small car business. I decided not to go to college and I had some trouble-like I said, I was in special reading-even though I was a decent student. I decided to go in the car business with my dad.
A couple of years out of high school, my dad's car business had gone through a divorce and other personal problems in life and he let the business go. So I was stuck with no money, didn't go to college, didn't have a career plan because I figured I'd be in the used car business for life.
What I did is the thing I share with people in Totally Fulfilled, which was to think outside the box. I knew there was money to be made in cars, I was broke, but I knew there were buyers and sellers. I just tried something different and what everybody thought was nuts, which was to turn into a car broker.
I used to run inexpensive ads saying, "Looking to sell your car easy? Call me. Looking to find the perfect car? Call me. I match up buyers and sellers and I make a profit in the middle." To make a long story short, the following year, I made enough money to buy the building my dad lost, and the following year, I did $800,000 in sales and that was the foundation for my financial success.
I took the same principles of being broke and the necessity of finding ways to make money, applied them to real estate, and I started buying real estate one after another after another, without using a dime of my own money, and started generating a small fortune at a young age.
I used to watch Carleton Sheets, Don Lapre and other people on infomercials, sharing how they made money. I thought, "I'm not sure if they're for real, don't know if they're honest and have great integrity, but I know that I was able to start with nothing to make a whole bunch of money."
So I wrote the script, hired a crew and filmed the first infomercial, "Motor Millions," which taught people how to make money with cars, just like I did. I filmed it on my front lawn in 1998 and my infomercial's been on every single day since then, and has generated over $100 million.
I have a book called Totally Fulfilled and you say, "Well, that's all business-you have great success in business; how does that relate to a fulfilled life? How does that make my relationships better, my life better and get a better body and have better peace of mind and find my purpose?"
The reason that is, Dan, is because through all these different things I learned, to achieve in business, not having a college diploma, having trouble reading, being terrible in spelling, having to overcome huge hurdles and obstacles like we all do-as I was doing all these things with business, I found a system that said, "I have limited beliefs; I have to get rid of those. I have obstacles; I have to overcome them. I have to deal with change and embrace it."
All these different things were adding up and I thought, "Wow, it's working so well with business," even if I failed miserably, I found a way to get over the failure. I found a way to focus on solutions, not the problem at hand. I said, "Let me try that in my regular life, with all the different things in my life," and instantly, my life went to another level.
Once you create a foundation for success, once you create this core, plug in whatever you want. Do you want to make more money, find your purpose, a better relationship? Do you want to take your life to the next level? Plug it into this core and that's why I had to write Totally Fulfilled.
Dan Kuschell: I know that there are a few main obstacles that many people face. I find that one of the biggest obstacles is money, and another one is time. What would you say to somebody who comes up with that idea that money is an obstacle?
Dean Graziosi: A friend of a friend, a lady, came to me. Her friend told her that I could help with anything. She got my email and said, "Here's my obstacle; see if you can help me. I want to make more money, but I'm really not good at anything. I don't have a degree. I want to spend time with my child.
I have no money and I don't have time because I'm running my kid all over and I'm doing everything." We talked for a few minutes and I made this a little challenge of mine. I said, "What are you good at?" She jokingly said, "I'm good at shopping. I'm really not good at anything else."
I used those words to change her life. I said, "You're good at shopping?" She said, "I know what looks good on people, what looks good in people's houses-I'm good at that." We turned her passion into a way that she now makes more money than her husband on a regular basis. We ran some inexpensive ads on how she could shop for other people. She became a shopping consultant.
Now, she shops for busy executives, other busy moms, and people who don't have the time to go, or maybe don't have a good style sense. She literally works part time, gets to take her son with her, and she makes more money than her husband, working with her passion, because she eliminated the excuses.
Time wasn't an issue. The fact that she didn't go to school wasn't an issue. The fact that she didn't have a lot of money to start a new business wasn't an issue. She was finding obstacles when they were nothing more than excuses. We turned it around and we changed her life.
Dan Kuschell: I hadn't heard that one before. Why didn't you call me? I think that one is a $50-million-a-year idea.
Dean Graziosi: It's funny, I'm in Virginia today visiting my family, which I haven't seen for a while and I just told my mom that story and she's like, "Why didn't you tell me? I'd love to do that!"
Dan Kuschell: One of the things that you talk about is that until you've had a chance to really appreciate something better, you have a tendency to stay where you are because of it being comfortable. I don't want to steal your story, but you talk about the story of the Jersey Shore. Would you talk about that idea a little bit, because I think it's so powerful? It's just another example of how simple you really make success, and living a life totally fulfilled.
Dean Graziosi: Dan, I have to give you kudos, because you're the one who got me out there. At one of your seminars, you got me out there and said, "Come speak to everybody. They've got to hear your message." Before that, it was more TV and infomercials, and I told that story for the first time at your seminar, and with the reaction from people, I knew that that was the kind of thing that affected people because it's a reality.
The Jersey story is as simple as this. We do always go back to when I was a kid. That's my motivation. We all have our own. Whatever it is, you just need to find it. My passion was to learn what I didn't like as a kid, and know what I do want as an adult. As a kid, we would take a vacation once a year for a week down to the Jersey shore.
The Jersey shore can be nice, but the area we went to was one of those dumpy little flat motels. The rooms were terrible, and I remember my mom bringing our own sheets. That's the best thing I could say. As a kid, I didn't know anything different. It wasn't nice. We were in a junky little room. It was dirty and there was a dirty little beach across the street.
But you know what? It was vacation, and it was amazing. Then, as my life progressed and I started doing different things and exploring different things, I got a little older and made some money. I said, "You know what? I have some relatives in Italy. I'm going to go to Italy." I jumped on a plane with my wife. We went to Italy, and we went to the Amalfi Coast, which is labeled as one of the most beautiful places in the entire world, not just Italy.
We're on the Amalfi Coast, and we're sipping nice wine, watching the sun come up and we're doing all these incredible things. I said to myself, "I don't care what it takes in life, I am never going back to the Jersey Shore. This is where I want to vacation." If I didn't step out and try something new, Dan, I never would have experienced it. It's that way with everything in life.
You may settle for a relationship that you think is as good as you could get, but if you don't put forth the effort and take action with the principles that have made other people have successful relationships, you never know how good it can get. If you're used to eating hot dogs and you have a filet mignon, you never want a hot dog again.
You don't want to eat it, so part of the process is to get out there and try it. Get out there and try to find things that you're not currently doing that will take your life and allow you to find your true purpose and passion. It doesn't have all to do with money. Having a great relationship or putting your body in the health and physical fitness that you want is something that is just as addicting as going to the Amalfi Coast instead of the Jersey Shore.
Dan Kuschell: People see your infomercials and go, "Oh, that's a show," but there is a lot of blood, sweat and tears that goes into these shows. Really creating an infomercial is a science. On a low end, production-wise, when it's all said and done, a show costs about $100,000 out of pocket to fund it.
That's just to get to the point where you started; where it was 90% done and you were just getting ready to air. Let's just say at a minimum, it was probably more, because it was the first time for you. You were probably about $100,000 out of pocket at this point.
Dean Graziosi: You know what, let me back up, because you're right. I just wanted to get to the story, but there are some things you have to realize. At this point in my life, I didn't make a lot. I was doing well, but I didn't have $100,000. I had worked and I had about $30,000 at this point in my life saved up from killing myself, working 70 hours a week, every week of the year.
I was working in my collision shop, literally fixing cars and changing oil. People have to realize that up until 10 years ago, my fingernails were dirty every single night of my life. I physically worked every night. I'd work on cars during the day. I'd fix cars. I had them for sale, and I repaired cars, and at night, I was buying apartment houses that were so run down that a lot of people wouldn't even work on them, they were so bad.
I ended up learning how to be a plumber, a carpenter, a sheet rocker, a taper, and an electrician. I can do it all. I only did that out of necessity. Know that $100,000 to me then is like a $100 million to me right now, or maybe a billion. To say you were going to try $100,000 on something that you don't know is going to work, can you imagine how many people told me I was crazy, Dan?
Dan Kuschell: Oh, yes.
Dean Graziosi: My dad, who never made over $25,000 a year in his life, none of my relatives, cousins, friends or family had ever had $100,000. Back then it was like a million to everyone in my tiny, little town. You can only imagine, "You're crazy. You're nuts. Stay with your security. Why are you stepping out of your comfort zone?" I heard all those kinds of things. Anyway, I hope that kind of brought into light what you were talking about.
Dan Kuschell: Yes, absolutely.
Dean Graziosi: I get the infomercial almost done and he said, "It's not going to work. No way. Cars are too small. People don't want to make money with cars." I said, "It doesn't really matter that it's cars. It's just a great tool." He cut me off and said, "It's not going to work. I'm pulling out."
I remember getting off the phone and literally crying. I put that in my book. I said, "I can't believe it. I put all this money into it." Just so you know, I borrowed money on my credit cards and from another individual which was high-interest money. I had all my money, my credit cards and someone else's money into this, and I said, "I lost it. I'm going to start with nothing. I can't believe I did this to myself."
All the limited beliefs that were everybody else's ideals came into my head, not mine anymore. My passion was gone temporarily. I forgot why I was doing it. I forgot what my drive was. I forgot that I wanted to make money for sharing my techniques with other people. I wallowed in self-pity, with a "poor-me" attitude that lasted about 24 hours.
I do thank God, because I never had anybody share with me like you, Chris, and Janet share with people, and Totally Fulfilled shares with people, to say, "Listen. Let me tell you how you can get through this." I had to figure it out, but I was lucky to snap out of it about 24 hours later.
I said, "No. I'm not going to let anybody destroy my vision. I'm going to focus on the end solution of getting this in the hands of people all over the county. I'm going to have a successful infomercial, and people all over the country are going to be changing their lives because of me, and I'm going to make a lot of money because of it."
Let's say I like to make a lot of money, but I like to do it ethically while I'm helping other people achieve. I just kept saying it to myself over and over. "It's going to be a success. I'm going to make a lot of money and it's going to change the lives of a lot of people all over the country. I don't care what gets in my way."
I remember my dad saying, "It's time to back out, Dean. Be smart. You already lost it. Cut your losses. You don't have an expert with you. You have nobody who's going to help you." Fast forward, I just persevered. I focused on the solution. In my book, Dan, I write, "Focus on the finish line, not the race."
If you're running this 20-mile race, you don't want to focus on the next 10 feet in front of you and "Can I make it another 100 feet?" You want to focus on how it's going to feel when you hold your arms up and go across the finish line. That's kind of what led me through all these challenges, is focusing on that finish line, not how much the race was going to cost or how high the brick walls were that I had to climb over.
That was just par for the course for me to get to the finish line and the end result was that Motor Millions generated tens of millions of dollars. Thousands and thousands of people all over the country made incredible amounts of money. It was the start of my success going to my real estate infomercial and writing a book.
I look back now, Dan, and even if Motor Millions had failed, I got it out there. It was the launching pad for me to get into the next level of my life. What if at that point in my life, I let this so-called expert talk me out of my passion? What if I let my dad talk me out of my passion? What if I let my best friend, who I knew since kindergarten, who told me I was absolutely crazy, and I was going to lose everything, what if I let them talk my out of my passions?
I'd probably still be in Marlboro, in my little town in New York. I'd probably still be fixing cars. (Probably not, but I would have found another way.) They're the kinds of things that affect that pivotal decision in your life: "Am I going to go after my passion?" Realize that it scares people, stops them in their tracks, "What if it fails?"
If you turn that failure into nothing more than an incredible lesson, it takes the scariness out. "If it fails, at least I know what not to do the next time I try it."
Dan Kuschell: What are three things people can do in the coming week to put into practice the principles you're talking about with your incredible concept, Totally Fulfilled-It's Easier Than You Think?
Dean Graziosi: People should find the one, strongest, limiting belief that's holding you back in your life. How do you do that? Ask yourself what you wish you would have done over the last couple years, things you would have changed, and find the one consistent belief you have on why you didn't achieve it?
You've been wanting to make more money for four years, but you just never left your job. What is the reason you don't leave your job? Is it because you don't want your family to starve? Do friends and family around you tell you you're crazy for trying something new?
Do everything in your power to change it to a limitless belief. If you say you haven't made extra money because you didn't go to school, then change it to a limitless belief. Instead of saying, "I can't make a lot of money because I never went past high school," change it to, "I know that my success is only reliant on my actions and my ability to take action, not my schooling."
If you think it takes money to make money, believe me, I had absolutely nothing. Use me as an example. Change it and say, "People like Dean Graziosi, Dan Kuschell and thousands of other multi-millionaires have generated more money than most people will ever do in their lives, starting with nothing. If they can do it, I can do it."
Change a limited belief into a limitless belief, that's number one. Number two is to find the biggest obstacle that's holding you back in your life. What is the excuse you've been using over and over that is holding you back from taking your life to another level? Find it-write down everything that's holding you back.
I would say to categorize them as excuses or challenges. Everybody loves a challenge and nobody likes making excuses. Do this will all of your obstacles-turn them into either excuses or challenges and address them accordingly.
The last thing I'd say to do is to set a goal with purpose and passion. Embrace change-you only said three, so I'm going to use the goal setting instead of change. Write down five things you want to accomplish, but don't just write down "I want to make a lot of money and I want to have a better relationship."
I want you to dig in and find the purpose for it. Say to yourself, "Why do I want a better relationship?" and let yourself dream as that kid, let yourself live it and dream about that goal as a reality. Let that emotion sink in. Next to putting "a better relationship," I want you to associate the emotions that came with that relationship. In wanting more money, what are the emotions that go along with that goal?
If it's the goal of giving because you want to take care of your family, or you want to feel confident or have security in your old age or you want to know that you are in control and you have the freedom to make choices, those are the emotions that go with the goals. Write five goals and attach the emotions that go with those goals. Those three things alone can take your life, starting this week, to another level.
Dan Kuschell: I know that Healthy Wealthy nWise believes strongly in the power of intention to manifest outcomes. It's been an honor and privilege to spend this time with you. I learn something new from you every time, and I'm sure it's been a wealth of knowledge for the people with us.
For you, what is your current, most important project that you're working on, and what intention would you like everyone at Healthy Wealthy nWise to hold for you?
Dean Graziosi: I was contacted by a gentleman named Darrell Scott. His daughter was the first girl killed in the Columbine shooting here in the States. She was an incredible girl with a great vision, who lived some of the similar that you, Chris, Healthy Wealthy nWise and I teach-she was living a life with purpose at 17, when she was struck down and killed.
Her father, Darrell Scott, took her message and has already spoken to five million kids. This year is going to be his biggest year ever. He met with President Bush last week, hw was with President Clinton the week before, he's going to be on Oprah next week-he's just on a mission.
He read my book, he said it re-inspired him and touched his life. He knows his daughter would have loved this book. Right now, he's taking Totally Fulfilled and making it part of next year's curriculum. I'm going to jump in head first with him, not for any monetary gain; just to help.
If I can be a small part of helping a generation know, early in life, that it's cool to be kind to other people and it's cool to learn success principles at a young age, that would be the biggest thing I could ever do in my life. I realize why Motor Millions happened, why my real estate show happened and why I wrote this book, why I met you, Chris and so many other incredible people.
It's because I'm hoping to be part of changing a generation to know that it's okay to be successful. It's cool to be a kind, generous and giving person. If I can accomplish that, and if everybody could wish that for me, that would be the greatest thing in the world.