I Failed THIS Many Times on the Road to “Overnight Success”
It’s not “win or lose” … it’s “win or learn.” I share with Mike Saunders of Marketing Huddle the story of how I made my first serious money day trading before I was even 20 … only to lose it all at the hands of shady business partnerships. What followed was a years of struggle, broke and living off credit cards, trying to make a business work … until I hit upon the formula that blew up my agency to seven figures in one year, the formula I teach to aspiring entrepreneurs in my training program, Agency 2.0.
I am living proof that the path to massive success is always littered with failed attempts and false starts. Successful entrepreneurs accept it, take failure in stride, and keep going, willing to take calculated risks and learn from each failure. You’re never as good as your biggest win, or as bad as your biggest loss.
We also discuss:
- How I ditched high school classes to read business books in study hall.
- How even a few wins can amount to massive success, even if you struck out many times before.
- Why “startup mode” and “cash-strapped” are BS excuses.
- How I sold $10k worth of my program before it was even finished … and why that was still a good deal for my students.
About the Show: Mike Saunders is the host of Marketing Huddle.
Mike Saunders: Well, hello, and welcome to this episode of our program. This is Mike Saunders with Marketing Huddle, and today we have with us Dylan Ogline, who is with DylanOgline.com. Welcome to the program, Dylan.
Dylan Ogline: Hey, Mike. Thanks for having me.
Mike Saunders: Hey, so give me a little bit of a background of what you did before your started your consulting business, because I think that that’s a really interesting starting point for most people when they get into consulting. Because, typically, you have seen a problem, figured out the solution, proven it, and then you have an used case that is something that you can move forward with and take it to your niche, your vertical, and really get the word out. I’m curious to see if that’s something that happened in your career before you started consulting.
Dylan Ogline: Sure, yeah. You kinda need to know my whole story to understand how I got to where I am now, but I’ll try to keep it short for you. I started my first business in high school, actually. In ninth grade, or so, I started selling cell phones online. This was back before everybody had iPhones and things like that. I started that, you know, I was in ninth grade, I was fifteen or so, and sold on eBay as well. Everything was online. I started that, I was doing really good at it, I was fifteen and gotten to the point where I was making upwards of five thousand a month. When you’re fifteen that’s a good chunk of money. That was, wow, eleven or twelve years ago. Back then it was pretty good, and I ended up, through a series of events, dropping out of highschool to focus on that business. I convinced my parents to let me... Well, first I started to do one of those “accredited online” national high schools, and it cost me like four or five thousand to do that, but I ended up convincing them with that and then ended up dropping out of high school officially, and focused fully on the business. I wanted to try to take the business as far as I could. And about a month or so after I dropped out of high school... And I was doing great, or so I thought at the time... I lost my merchant account, so I couldn’t process credit cards anymore. And I lost because they found out I was only fifteen.
Mike Saunders: Oh no.
Dylan Ogline: Yeah. So I just quit high school, so I didn’t really have anywhere to go, but I am an avid reader, and I really liked the stock market. I was really interested in that, and data reading and things like that. So I wasn’t spending my money, I was smart with it, and I had a bunch of savings, and I ended up starting day trading. I was sixteen, give or take.
Mike Saunders: Well, just as a matter of curiosity, at that point when you had a proven model, why didn’t you set up another merchant account and ventured with your dad, or family member, or someone who was old enough to have one?
Dylan Ogline: Well, the problem was that I wasn’t old enough to have it, and my parents were like “Oh, no. You’ve gotta get out of that business because now you’re blacklisted.” And it was true, they told me I’d been added to a blacklist, so... They were like “You’re not gonna be able to process credit cards anymore.” And I did try going through international routes, and things like that, and it kinda just fell apart, after that.
Mike Saunders: But you got the bucks, so now you’re moving on to day trading and that world.
Dylan Ogline: Oh, yeah. I was absolutely obsessed with business. When I was in highschool I had really good grades, and everything, but I completely quit all the classes that I didn’t need and I would spend half the day in study hall just reading books on business. I was absolutely obsessed with it. So my first business falls apart, but I was into day trading, so this time I set up and account through my father, so this time it’s legit and I wouldn’t have to worry about that. And I started getting into trading Forex and Futures. And I was killing it. I mean, back then Mark, it was amazing. It was a lot of fun, I was making a killing. At the time it was a killing, you know? I was doing really well. I was making upwards of, like, a hundred thousand a year. By nineteen I bought my first house. Things were going great, but I noticed that the market was starting to make a shift. I traded volatility, and I noticed that the market was making a shift to the automated platforms, or automated trading. You’d hear about it on like CNBC or whatnot. So I took all of my money that I had saved up and basically risked it all on a startup that was developing an automated trading platform for the Forex and Futures markets, and it basically it was going good. We were in the process of developing it and my partners were doing some shady things, and it completely fell apart. I was back to square one again. I was completely broke, but this time I had a mortgage and a car payment. I was nineteen, or at this time, probably twenty, twenty one. Something like that. And then began the struggle. For four or five years living off of credit cards, trying out business ideas from one thing to the other. I couldn’t get back into trading because I didn’t have the capital, and on top of that, the market had shifted, so the volatility, the way I had traded, wasn’t there anymore. So I got into information products, tried to work on a marketing thing there, tried that, tried Kindle publishing, I tried a painting business painting houses and whatnot, I even worked construction for a little bit, just to try and make ends meet. And I’m trying to wrap this story up, so then about a year or so ago, a little bit more than that, probably, I met two of my friends who had their own businesses, kinda like freelance businesses. I met them and just started talking to them about how to grow their businesses, where the conversation lead is business. And I offered to help them with marketing their business. My one friend had a web development business, my other friend had a bookkeeping business. And they knew how to keep their businesses but they didn’t know how to get clients. And I was like “You know, I know a lot about this internet marketing stuff that I learned from all these info products and things I tried getting going. Why don’t you guys let me try a few things?” So I worked with them and tried to apply the eighty-twenty method. So the twenty percent is going to get them eighty percent of the results. The most basic, core things. I worked with them in implementing those into their businesses, and it was hugely successful. So that leads me to where I am now, with helping other businesses with that aspect, client acquisition. Service oriented businesses, specifically, and that’s where I’m at now.
Mike Saunders: So the moral of that story is similar to a lot of success stories, which is “Tried failed, tried failed, tried failed,” And then you see some success, and then now you’re focusing in on where that success is based on. Those lessons that you learned. You hear that story so many times. Go insert the merchant account and the day trading and swap it out with something else. And then yours is the story of so many people, but you’ve got a super uniqueness to it because you started off so young, and secondly, you fell into this success still so young. You think of a success high-end consultant being in the forties or fifties, not someone in their twenties. And so I think that’s super interesting, and I would venture to say that through those times you had the mental ups and downs of “This isn’t gonna work, I’m a loser. See? I knew this wasn’t going to work. I need to go get job over at XYZ.” So talk about the right mindset to weather through those ups and downs, and the mindset to even prevent those things from happening.
Dylan Ogline: In terms of that up and down, I think that that is just... I don’t think there’s a way to prevent that, really. I associate with a lot of business people, so a lot of my good friends are business owners, and that is just the way it is. That specific type of... I don’t wanna call that a mindset, I think it’s just part of the game. Part of the game is that up and down. And I think, maybe, what people need to hear is... You know, you hear about the great successes in magazines and on TV, and whatnot. Everybody hears about the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world who hit a grand slam on their first bat, and the truth is the vast majority of entrepreneurs and business owners are going to fail time, and time, and time again. I’m going to fail a hundred more times in my life. You have to just keep going at it and not give up. You’re going to strike out many, many times. And you really just have to get it right a few times. People just have to keep going and not give up, but the... not the mindset, but just the aspect of the ups and downs, the rollercoaster, I think that’s just the way it is when you are a business owner. And I think people need to be prepared for that. There’s no way to prevent it, you just have to be prepared for that and not give up hope, and just keep going, keep hustling.
Mike Saunders: Yeah, I agree with you 1000% that the ups and downs can never be prevented, but what can be prevented, or buffered, is your own perception of how devastating those things are. You’re never a good as your biggest success and you’re never as bad as your biggest failure, so I think that once you have that mindset for success and that never give up attitude, then when that newest wave of failure... Because it’s how they say, you win or you lose, well that’s not really accurate. You win or you learn. And you learn from those failures, so I think that’s a really big piece in that mindset because when the time comes you’ll zip over that much quicker because you know that you can overcome, and I think that’s really huge. So what are some mistakes that business owners, and entrepreneurs, make that you have seen and worked with, that are pretty common and you see and is the first thing you zero in on when you begin working with someone?
Dylan Ogline: Some common mistakes... First, I would say, and this is probably brutally honest... I like to say that I try to be brutally honest with people, and it’s that they don’t have what it takes, period. They’re simply not. They’re also not honest with themselves. People need to stop making excuses, they need to realize that it’s not easy, and it’s the common the excuses and things like that. I’ll give you an example, when people talk about how they’re in start-up mode. And that’s bull. You’re not in start-up mode unless you’re developing a product or something like that, okay? Another thing people say is how they’re cash-strapped. Resources can be limited, but most people just aren’t willing to take risks, and get serious. And I was there too, I’m not just someone who’s preaching. I was there too. I was not... I don’t think I lacked the discipline, but I wasn’t willing to take risks, and that is a huge part of it. You need to be willing to put all your chips on the table, that’s what it takes to go next level and to build a successful business. I see that mistake all the time. You need to get serious, you need to focus, you need to be willing to put all your chips on the table, and most people just aren't willing to do that. They’ll make one excuse after the other and I think, being brutally honest, the truth is that people don’t really have business problems, they have life problems. And most businesses to have a product or service that they could sell, and could do very well with, but they have so many limiting beliefs. You know, so risk averse, and things like that, that cause them to fail. That scarcity mindset, that is a huge, huge factor. And then that’s something I’d really like to help people tackle. I’m really passionate about helping people through their problems, and situations that I’ve had. I actually am working on a program to help people of that specific mindset, and aspect. I have a bunch of great actual ideas and things like that, but I just haven’t systemized it in a way like I have with the marketing aspect. But to kind and bring it full circle, people have that scarcity mindset and they need to get out of that. They need to be willing to take risks and also be completely focused on their business. They need to breath it, eat it, sleep it, live it, everything needs to be focused on that.
Mike Saunders: Like burn the boat. Have you heard that story?
Dylan Ogline: Burn the bridge? Yeah.
Mike Saunders: No, burn the boat.
Dylan Ogline: Oh, I haven’t heard that one.
Mike Saunders: Google it, it’s a very interesting story. It’s like a historical story of this one conqueror that... they were in the ship to go conquer this new land, and...
Dylan Ogline: Oh, they burnt the boat so they couldn’t go back.
Mike Saunders: Yeah, exactly. So it’s that mentality. But here’s something that I want to clarify, or get your thoughts on, because I think it can be a risk to think too much about taking risks, and how do you recommend and advise balancing... You know, you don’t want to have a scarcity mindset, you need to take risks, but then how do you balance that ethically with giving advice to an entrepreneur, or a small business owner, to the point where here’s this needle going like “I’m twenty grand in credit card debt, I’m trying to make these investments in my business and now I’m forty grand in debt and it hasn’t paid off yet.” At what point is taking risks too risky? Because I agree, you have to take some risks and make some investments in your business because that’s when you, yourself, believe “I’m all in.” But at what point is it too much?
Dylan Ogline: At what point is it too much... That’s an interesting question, I would say it’s... My advise first and foremost would be to take smart risks. I see so many people who are focusing on the wrong thing. And what you need to do is focus on making the cash register ring, I like to say. Bringing in clients, client acquisition, okay? I personally spent... I had a hundred thousand dollars in credit card debt at one point. I personally spent years bouncing around from one idea to the other, instead of focusing on sales, on client acquisition, making the cash register ring. So I would make sure the idea was perfect, or whatever I was working on was perfect, before ever finding out if someone would be willing to pay for it, or buy. And then when things wouldn’t sale I would rebuild the product, or scratch it and move on to the next, and people will spend months trying to figure out their pricing and their service and offers before ever trying to sell it. Here’s an example: my client attraction blueprint, that program, I sold ten thousand dollars of that course. This is when I got it right. I sold ten thousand dollars of that course before I’d ever built it. I knew what I was selling, I knew I could provide the advice. And to add an ethical disclaimer, you don’t wanna do something, or sell a product or a service, that you’re not sure you can deliver. You want to make sure...
Mike Saunders: Yeah, that’s a common approach. You had it in your head, you had it proven, but you just didn’t have it on paper to deliver a worksheet to the group, so you sold the concept of it and then you stayed one week ahead of the group, delivered it, and then the results spoke for themselves.
Dylan Ogline: Bingo! And that was the exact opposite of everything I had done before, okay? And that’s really where the problem is. Businesses only die because they’re not bringing in cash. If you’re generating sales, and you’re profitable, your business is going to succeed. So that’s what you need to focus on. And of course, ethically, like I said, you want to make sure that what you’re doing you’re good at. But you need to focus on making the cash register ring, and that mitigates that risk, I believe.
Mike Saunders: Well, let’s wrap this up answering this question and then directing people to how they can learn more about connecting with you, and your program. Here’s the question, and I would suspect this is the true statement, which is another element and aspect of taking your business to the next level, is the smart, calculated risk check, and also getting yourself properly motivated in this sense. You just described something that lit the fire under your feet, which is you sold ten thousand dollars of a course that wasn’t tangible yet, and you had to put it together because now you had a deadline. So that goes back to deadlines and accountability, so I would suspect that a lot of your clients are “Hey, Dylan’s fee is X and I’m gonna hold your feet to the fire” And they go “Okay,” And then they’re all in, because if your program was twenty-nine dollars they’re going “Oh, I spent that last week on a soda pop at the gas station” And then when you’re holding them accountable and it was investment on their part, now the results are gonna take shape, because they’re focused on it because they want to make sure they get their own ROI.
Dylan Ogline: Oh, absolutely. Somebody who buys a twenty dollar e-book, or something like that, they’re not gonna take action. They’re not gonna take any of the steps, they’re not gonna follow your program or anything like that. It’s silly, but yeah. When you charge higher ticket prices to your clients... Any of the people I work with, I typically recommend that they charge premium prices, and things like that. When you start to do that, you hold yourself accountable as well. You have to provide an exceptional service, and you also work with much more dedicated clients. People who are more serious and aren’t just joking around.
Mike Saunders: Yeah, I agree a thousand percent. So what’s the best way that people can connect with you, learn more, and learn more about your program?
Dylan Ogline: Well, I have a link to my website, dylanogline.com. I’m starting to get into the social media stuff, I got a Facebook, Instagram, stuff like that. They can come to my website, but right now, actually, I’m actually not accepting any clients into that particular program. I got to the point where I was taking on too many and I wasn’t able to provide the attention I wanted to. It’s a lot of systems and things like that that I’ve kind of... processes that I’ve helped people put in place, but there’s also the consulting aspect, a lot of one-on-one coaching, you could call, so I like to focus on helping my clients one-on-one. So right now I actually don’t... you can’t even sign up to work with me, but come to my website, sign up to get on my email list, and whenever I have more spots available I reach out to people and see if they’re interested in joining.
Mike Saunders: Excellent, so we’ll make sure we post the link to your website, dylan ogline dot com, in the show notes, and I’m super excited to learn more about you and your background, and approach, and just the mindset. So thank you so much for your time in the interview, today, Dylan. It was wonderful getting to know you.
Dylan Ogline: Absolutely, Mike. I appreciate it, thank you.