Hi, I'm Eric Ruth.
That's Camelia and me at "The Swamp" on the University of Florida, where our younger daughter goes to school.
Camelia and I are referral marketing student-practitioners. We study it. We implement it in our own businesses. We teach it with products and trainings, and we coach it with video-conference calls, Facebook groups and live events.
There are folks out there who teach one thing, but do another. They don't practice what they preach. We do. Camelia is one of the leading small business coaches in the country. She's been booked solid for years...
100% by referral.
More than half of the local business owners who know, like and trust me, were referred into my community. There's better than 50% chance you're here now because of a referral. 78% of the local B2C service businesses and professional practices in LocalByReferral™ are referred there by other local business owners.
But here's the most important thing for you to know about Camelia and me, the rest of our team, and the local business owners we work with:
We all have congruent core values.
That's because we intentionally attract people like us - people with our values - by communicating authentically and honestly. Without B.S. or hype. Just straight talk about who we are, what we do, and how we can help you.
We have a very clear mindset and mission that guides our business and life:
Be More, Give More, Grow More™
We don't want to waste time, or deal with hassles, trying to work with folks who don't have core values similar to ours. We know we can accomplish more, more enjoyably and a lot more rapidly, working with people who strive to improve, give and grow.
When I was younger, I thought guiding principles like "be more, give more, grow more" were silly and useless self-actualization mumbo-jumbo. I was only interested in nuts-and-bolts marketing and money-making strategy and tactics.
But life has a way of teaching us important lessons, usually through hard knocks. Or by introducing us to the right messenger at the right time. For me, it was a combination of the two that taught me values, mission and mindset are...
The FOUNDATION for our business and life.
I'm just thankful I finally learned. Because it saved me, and propelled me forward when I needed it most.
Today I’m an award winning, 2x Inc 500 business owner with 20+ years experience helping over 10,000 local businesses get and keep more clients. And helping them ethically maximize client lifetime value. I've sold tens of millions worth of products and services, and helped my clients sell tens of millions more.
I got started in business early. At 12, I was delivering the Washington Post newspaper to 185 homes every day. Earned a nice award for delivering through the Northern Virginia blizzard of 79.
In the late 80s I discovered Gary Halbert, Jay Abraham and Dan Kennedy. That’s when my direct response marketing education began.
I was a copywriter in the 90s for one of the leading political fundraising agencies in the country. I wrote 15-20 direct mail letters a month for three years...
In a business where you get good or get gone.
My first real business was Fitness Marketing Systems (FMS). I launched it in 1998 with a single 1/8th page lead generation ad in IDEA Personal Trainer magazine for $300. That ad produced enough leads that converted for me to reinvest in more advertising.
Slowly - particularly by today's standards - I bootstrapped FMS with magazine space ads, direct mail and a "free recorded message" hotline as my lead capture mechanism.
That was well before email "squeeze pages". The only way to access the internet then was by dial-up. And I wasn't a tech-savvy guy. So for the first few years, the majority of my marketing was offline. Snail mail and telephone.
I’d started other businesses before FMS, but never committed. I had grass-is-greener syndrome. I was myopic and unfocused. And I didn't have much money.
So I'd fail.
But I kept trying because quitting wasn't an option. I couldn't keep working for someone else. I had to be in control of my life - I felt that to my core.
Around this same time I started working on myself - my mindset. Trying to be more responsible, more disciplined and more consistent. I found Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, Dr. Wayne Dyer and Jim Rohn. They showed me so much. Three of the biggest lessons learned:
- We can have more than we've got because we can become more than we are.
- It's not what happens to us, it's how we react to what happens that defines our lives.
- A focused mind is the most powerful force on earth.
Which helped me understand that to keep from failing again, it had to be different this time...
I had to be ALL-IN!
And because of that commitment - that mindset - I was able to FOCUS my attention, energy and skills.
By putting the blinders on, I grew FMS to multiple six-figures in annual revenue. Working out of my home office with one part-time employee. Selling my direct response marketing systems to more than 3,000 local fitness business owners.
I specialized in the fitness industry for two reasons:
- I lived a fit lifestyle and was passionate about exercise and nutrition.
- I recognized the importance of niching to get traction faster.
Looking to grow bigger and with greater speed, in 2006 I took on a customer as a business partner. We renamed my business to NPE LLC, developed some new products and services, and exploded to...
Multiple millions in annual revenue.
Along the way, I created Pushups For Charity, raising millions for wounded men and women of the United States Armed Services. I also won marketing awards. And made the Inc 500 list (as high as #131) of fastest growing privately owned companies in America, twice.
Those achievements felt good, but they came at a price. Six straight years of 60-hour, high-intensity workweeks wore me out. So I sold NPE and took a few months off to sleep, nap and rest. I also ate, drank and exercised when I wasn't sleeping, napping or resting. But that's about it.
After recovering, I got serious about what's next.
Decades of in-the-trenches marketing experience - doing almost everything imaginable - proved something very valuable to me: