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Serial Entrepreneur, Stacey O’Byrne, Unpacks Her Journey From $0.16 to Owning 8 Companies


“I was very clear that I always wanted to be a salesperson. However, I never really wanted to sell anybody, because that just kind of felt weird to me. It felt, I’m going to lovingly say, slimy, right? To see some of those ninja techniques that are pulled on people, or the sales manipulation or whatever, because I had experienced so much of it. So, I hopped the fence and I started a minimum wage phone banging job. And they gave me a source book for the industry and said, this is your account base, it does zero a month. And within a year, I had it doing a million a month. And this was a company that was doing a million a year originally.”

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This is the 1st Floor Conversations Podcast, where the view at the top is only as good as the foundation which preserves it. In Episode 46, we are joined by entrepreneur, best-selling author and keynote speaker Stacy O'Byrne. Stacey owns eight companies in the sales, marketing and networking spaces. She built each of the eight companies to high six or multiple seven figures in revenue. Additionally, she has extensive experience in everything from business to human behavior, including over twenty years of studying neurolinguistic programming (NLP). Put simply, Stacy has built an incredible career understanding how to build scalable habits and great relationships. And ultimately that's what we're here to talk about.

Stacy not only champions an incredible story but has repeatedly created success for herself through her experiences in the military and running multiple businesses. Stacy has seen both sides of the entrepreneurial rollercoaster providing real insight in a world crowded with coaches and strategists.

Developing Discipline

After moving from Philly to Orange County as a young teenager, Stacy quickly learned how difficult it can be to choose responsibilities over the sun and sand. At only 17, she recognized a need for organized discipline and enlisted in the U.S. Army.

“One of the biggest lessons I learned in the Army was the average person capped at about 45% capacity, and I really got to learn what 100% felt like. Because the Army taught me if I'm not falling asleep before I ever lay down, then I didn't play full out that day.”

Stacy reveals a powerful sentiment, the Army shaped her life with the discipline and the understanding that you get to rely on yourself to survive and thrive in the world. “If it’s to be, it’s up to me,” has become a tried and true mantra. Essentially, behavior, attitude, and the right skills are only half the battle. You have to hold yourself accountable.

Universal Law

After serving 4 years in the Army, Stacy balanced business school and a minimum wage gig driving a forklift in a warehouse. She found quick success in corporate America, despite honest beginnings and her business education. Within a year, she went from $6 an hour to $100,000 a year, discovering very quickly that business lessons weren’t learned in a book.

Early success came from out hustling and outperforming her colleagues, which prompted the question; how did you then leverage higher earning potential and create a better performance driven work experience?

“I knew that foundationally if we ask small, we will always stay small. And when I say ask, I mean of ourselves. So, if we ask small, we stay small, and if we ask big, we'll get big. I had aspirations.”

Those aspirations led Stacy to begin investing in herself at a very young age. $1500 later she found herself at a seminar with some of the greats including Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy and Bob Proctor. Here she internalized the importance of investing at least 30% of gross income back into personal development, because if you aren’t, your competitor is. And in that scenario, eventually, they will surpass you.

Constant movement is universal law, meaning if you aren’t moving forward, you’re moving backward. There’s no such thing as standing still, because standing still simply implies there are things left undone.

Rebuilding

After continuing to climb the corporate ladder in the early 90’s, Stacy’s fruitful career crumbled as the twin towers fell on September 11, 2001. She was laid off and watched the market shift the power from the employee to the employer.

Stacy was left with the decision to join the competition for a fraction of her previous annual salary, or take the leap as a, “reluctant entrepreneur.” In her words, “True sales professionals really are corporate entrepreneurs. They just haven't completely made that transition.”

The leap refers to a business deal made with an owner who was great at his trade and bad at business, strapped with nearly 200K in debt and expected to gross around $185K. Stacy made the decision to invest time instead of money to turn the ship around in exchange for 50% equity. A year and a half later they had built the company to 1.2 million. Then doubled again to 3.5 million in revenue before her partner embezzled it all.

“I had made the biggest mistake of my life by attaching my self-worth to my net worth and by doing that, having 16 cents, I didn't have a lot of net worth, which really meant I didn't have a lot of self-worth.”

With nothing left to her name and series of difficult days, Stacy showed up once again and made the decision to turn it all around. This time she took to the direct sales industry where within just a few months she was earning over $30K per mont. Shortly after she went from a million a year to a million a month. Her success stems from an understanding that the quota doesn’t have to be the target, and you don’t need someone on the treadmill next to you in order to pick up the pace. You can run at 100% by investing in yourself. So that’s what she did.

Neurolinguistics Programming (NLP)

Stacy invested in herself and studied neuroscience and neurolinguistics programming for 20 years by diving headfirst into human behavior and the state of excellence. The public opinion of NLP tends to lean toward a negative connotation of manipulation, but the use lies in the intention and integrity of the practitioner.

First, what is NLP?

Neurolinguistics programming is the science and study of human excellence.


Neuro: the science of the brain

Linguistics: the way we speak both internally and externally

Programming: our map of reality.

Programming our reality gets to the meat of the process. Everything we saw, experienced and ultimately were taught as a little kid becomes hardwired into our brains, whether we are aware of it or not. Essentially, our individual realities are a reflection of the lens through which we view the world. That lens was molded and modeled for years before we even have a choice in the matter.

This lens creates blind spots and our unconscious mind fills in the gaps. NLP is a tool to provide a “software update” to the brain. We are programmed for excellence; our minds simply deploy computer glitches that get in the way.

Networking

Networking is the final piece of the puzzle that ultimately creates the picture of success. Stacy’s advice for networking:

  1. Get Out Of You Own Way

  2. Be Congruent

  3. Be Authentic

  4. Be Transparent

  5. Show Up In A Space Of Reciprocity

Remember, we don’t always know who our friends know. Stacy was introduced to Les Brown through a mutual connection to discuss her new book, “Secrets to Becoming a Master Networker.”


By showing up congruently and authentically, Stacy created a genuine connection that led not only to great success as an international bestseller, but to additional opportunities to work with the likes of Jack Canfield and Jay Abrahams. So, be yourself and get out of your own way.

The Wrap Up

What’s important to take away from Stacy O'Byrne’s story isn’t the dollars earned or businesses owned, it’s her ability to show up every day and work to potential. And, that is so damn important. If you are out there looking for that truly rich quality of life, you have to go get it, and there isn’t going to be one big break to tee it up or even one bad deal or one bad partnership to send it all crashing down. It’s the work put in and the decisions made every day that make the real shifts.

You shouldn't need somebody next to you to get better, move faster, and have a greater level of intensity. Stay true, be authentic, and invest in yourself. Stacy’s mission is to transform the world together by helping people who want help making the shifts in their lives to become better.

With that said, you all know the deal. This is 1st Floor Conversations, where the view at the top is only as good as the foundation which preserves it. Trust in yourself to rebuild, recreate and sustainably enjoy a quality of life that you want to enjoy, and know that it's not fragile. It's not one market correction away from being washed away. It's not a bad relationship or a bad business partner away from being washed away. We're not looking at that first success as the last chance we have it.

It comes down to building a strong quality mindset, a strong quality skill set, and an understanding that you are in full control to build the life you want to build as long as you invest in yourself, build the right resources, and you're willing to go to work. Thank you for being here, stay tuned for more.