(about a 15-20 minute read, enjoy!)
Lake Tahoe Trip with my local lead gen family - January 2020.
Me and Fuego in front of my new home 🐶
Whadduppp, it’s ya boy Damian Martinez I’m here to tell you a little about my background, my journey as an entrepreneur, my successes and failures, and what I’m doing today.
I’ll also share my perspectives on a variety of online business models that exist today. Plus my favorite business model (and why I think it still the smartest online business in 2022)
For the majority of my 20s, I worked as a youth pastor. I helped teens know who they are, help them get connected to God , guiding them to identify their purpose, prank wars, water balloon and water gun fights , and all the fun that goes with leading that awesome age group
Youth Group Days in 2010
I loved that time of my life. I had not one moment of regret helping children and teenagers become a family with each other, myself, and other mentors One big reason I even chose this path (outside of spirituality) was due to my childhood background.
I grew up in an abusive home My father was an alcoholic and drug dealer/user. He physically abused my mom, my brother, and I. By the time I was 10, my mom fled because her life was threatened by my father
For her, that was the final straw for her to get away from him before something worse happened but thankfully I've healed from that trauma and experience back when I was a teenager. I've forgiven my dad, and pray nothing but the best for his life nowadays
My mom, brother, and I in 1989
My dad, brother, and I in 1989
I’m thankful that my mom got us away from my father. It wasn’t an easy decision for her. But she made the right decision to break that cycle so that my brother and I didn’t continue to live in such a toxic environment and could have some type of future.
Now from the age of 10 to 18 wasn’t easy either. My mom has a disability that didn’t allow her to work a traditional job.
So we grew up poor, living on social security and welfare.
Don’t get me wrong though...
My mom is a hustler She cleaned houses and did what she had to do to provide for her boys.
That’s 100% where I got my hustle on. My brother loves business too.
...he has a dope Instagram called “Nothing Like Nostalgia.”
Check it out, buy some of his rare collectibles here.
Nothing Like Nostalgia Instagram Page
Back to the story…
As early as 11 years old, I started making money I would go around the neighborhood, knock on doors, and ask if I could rake leaves for $5 a bag
At 13 years old, I started selling calendars by standing in front of my local Publix Supermarket. My main reason was to help pay for trips with my church youth group. Shout out to James & Janine Chance. Love ya’ll
At 16 years old, I worked at McDonalds making $5.15 an hour big boy money haha. And I gotta tell you, I had a blast working there during my high school years. Free food (when no one was looking lol), makin’ some okay cash as a teenager, and being able to start buying things I liked was the best feeling ever.
I bought my first car for $200 cash. I negotiated it from $1,000 (here's when that hustle mentality kicked in again). That first car was a 1985 Buick Skyhawk And I ran that car into the ground for 2+ years haha! But it did me well
I was also flipping Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh cards on eBay at that time. I was saving money for college. Life was great even though I had a lot of hardship during my childhood and teenage years, I chose to live through a positive perspective.
The most handsome Dominican in High School - Mr. Papi Chulo
My 3rd grade picture. What a guy
I won a $50,000 McDonalds Scholarship - High School Junior
My first corporate job - McDonalds lol
Played & traded Pokemon cards
Played & traded Yu-Gi-Oh cards
First car was a 1985 Buick Skyhawk
We all have a choice in how we live our day. We can be either glass half full or glass half empty type of people. I learned early on to live through a positive outlook it's always sunny somewhere, right?
Now, were there negative things that happened during my teen years? You better believe it.
But my friends can tell you... I’m a happy dude to be around. I like making people laugh and smile. Cause listen... life is already hard. Why make living life harder by being negative?
So smile show some love
"If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much." - Jim Rohn
I graduated high school. Went to college for 4 years. Graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree. Provided for myself all throughout college by working a full time job. And in between the classes and job, I joined lots of different MLMs to make some side money.
MLMs are Multi-level marketing companies. They are also known as direct marketing or network marketing businesses. This is a method of selling products directly to consumers using independent sales representatives.
Some examples of MLMs are companies Amway, Mary Kay, Herbalife, ACN, Primerica, etc.
A lot of MLMs I had lost money but 2 out of the 10+ I joined worked really well for me. I crushed it. One of the companies I joined helped me make around $20k in 6 months while in college.
Prepaid Legal MLM (now Legal Shield)
World Ventures MLM
After college, I transitioned into doing youth ministry for about 8 years. That included an 18 month timeframe where I travel around the USA and the world
During that time, I still tried to do things to make money. I would get involved in more MLMs.
Lost money as usual
Then I tried stocks
Lost money there lol
If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve hired a coach or mentor to teach me the ropes I’ll touch on this topic later though
Dan and I poolside - 2017 Las Vegas Local Lead Gen Event
And then in July of 2015, I knew I had to make the decision to be my own boss Work for myself full-time. Become an entrepreneur. Start livin' the American dream and go all in, amiright?
I had this internal rumbling around February 2015 that I needed to do something different. It was nerve-racking for sure
But I also knew I couldn’t just keep doing what I was doing.
I was almost 30 at that time. Broke In about $30k of debt Barely making $3k a month to live My life was this emoji just about all day, every dayyyyyyy lol
So I finally decided to take matters in my own hands and work for myself I moved back in to live with my mom for about 7-8 months. It was humbling, but she offered great support
I started off doing Uber and Lyft full time I went back to my high school days by going to my first online experience: flipping products online. I was on eBay, Craigslist, and a new app that had just launched called OfferUp.
Guess what? I was ACTUALLY doing okay for myself. I made anywhere between $3k to $4k a month shocked myself haha. It was a good start. But what this did is it gave me the confidence that I can do whatever I put my hands to as long as I didn’t give up
2012 Toyota Camry SE - I bought this car with the money I made selling hundreds of hoverboards
...as you’re reading this, I wanna encourage you to not give up on pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams If you’re feeling down and out, you’re not alone. I was there. And even now, there’s time I STILL go through it
But don’t live in your valleys. Just go through them. The mountains are on the other side if you keep moving forward. Yeah sometimes you'll have to change directions. But that's life.
You gotta dig deep within yourself.
You gotta find that will to win.
You can do this
I believe in you
"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." - Thomas A. Edison
Back to the story…
Then around September of 2015, my brother and I got involved in selling Hoverboards That’s when things really started taking off for me financially. We connected with a wholesaler, and started flipping the boards on Craigslist and OfferUp. We were making a killing
In about a 90 day timespan, I sold about $70k+ worth of Hoverboards, right up until Christmas. IT WAS FREAKIN’ AMAZING it was the most money I’ve ever seen or had go through my hands at that time of life.
So now I was about 6 months into my journey as an entrepreneur. I took most of January 2016 and worked half the hours I normally worked (since I had some decent savings now). I was reflecting on what to do next So I started searching online in ways to make money online.
My brother and I at the Hoover Dam in June 2018
And mannnnn did I go down the rabbit hole there were so many options to choose! There were several things I did to make money online. A handful were successful (aka I made some money). A lot of them were failures though.
Check out all the different side hustles I actually worked on. For your reference, I’ve put a beside the ones I made money with. And a beside the ones I didn’t make any money.
- Amazon FBA
- Affiliate marketing
- Creating/selling courses
- Garage sale flipping
- Finding free things on Craigslist, and reselling them on Facebook Marketplace (which was a cool little hustle I did for a few weeks)
- Trading stocks
- Public speaking
- Getting into penny stocks (lost a crap ton there)
- Filling out online surveys
- Growing Instagram pages to flip and sell
- Google Adsense through blogging and vlogging on YouTube
- Writing a book to sell at events
- Creating ebooks to sell
- Being a mystery shopper
- Getting into the Kindle business
I’ve done all of these to make money online. And to be fair, I never sought out a mentor or a coach to help me grow the business models listed above
But there are a lot of them I've mentioned above that just plain out suck do your own research and come up with your own conclusions before making a decision. But if you're reading this, you can kinda tell the ones that have potential, and the ones that stink.
An example of the variety of online businesses you can start
With the right mentorship and guidance, you can make a lot of those business models work that I listed. But they do come with their pros and cons and in my perspective, the cons outweigh the pros with majority of the listed business models. And for a variety of reasons too
There are LOTS of articles written on my blog that covers these businesses in detail.
You can check out my articles here, and use the search tab to find any related posts.
With a handful of the business models (i.e. dropshipping, affiliate marketing, event speaking, etc), I invested lots of money to learn the ropes. I spent over $20,000+ in online courses to see what would work, what wouldn’t, and if I would like to do it long term or not.
Obviously, making money was one of the main goals in business. And when I hit the bullseye on making a model work, it was great but I still wasn’t feeling fulfilled as a person and that was important to me: helping others and adding value to people.
"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein
Some people have a hard time buying courses. I don’t. Here’s why: most people spend 4+ years in college, spending from $50k to $100k+ in student loans, to come out making $40k a year
So what I’ve learned from several mentors over the years is this: investing in yourself is the best investment you can EVER do. Start taking risks, because with risks come rewards. And the greater the risk, the greater the reward
Peng Joon, Me, and Joel Bauer at a speaker seminar in 2019
With any business, whether online or traditional, there are pros and cons. But the pros MUST outweigh the cons. Especially if you’re going to pursue a new venture to build something for yourself and your family long term hopefully it provides passive income like local lead gen does.
For me, since my background was in the nonprofit sector, I wanted to do something that helped people so I kept on looking.
I love public speaking
It’s one of my main passions in life.
And if you’d like for me to speak at your event, you can reach out to me here about the details.
It’s one of my main reasons why I started the Bullseye Hustle Show. I'll talk about that later. But in 2016, I had no audience yet. I had not put in the work at that time to build my influence on the different social media platforms
So I knew I needed to learn something that helped people, and that helped me. I needed to learn a skill set, something that I could be an expert in that other people would be willing to pay me for.
What were these skill sets that I needed to learn?
The Rock, I mean me in South Beach doing a photoshoot
Yes, I could get paid for speaking with the experience and expertise I had at that time. And I did travel to do some motivational speaking in public schools
But my network, influence, and reach was too small to make public speaking an actual consistent paying full time income
So in April of 2016, I was scrolling on Facebook on my iPhone and I came across local lead generation. It definitely peaked my curiosity because the headline said something about “…digital real estate.” I was like “...hmmmm what in the world does that mean?” So I clicked on the post, read it, put my email in to learn more, and went down the rabbit hole again...
A couple of weeks passed, and I had forgotten about that. I was doing Uber one afternoon and I got an email that mentioned something along the lines of “…do you want to start an Uber-style laptop business?” Again, I was like “…uhhh yahhhh pick me” lol
Guess what? It was an email from the same local lead generation program that I had entered my information a couple of week earlier. And this time they were talking about how this business model is a lot like Uber.
Let me explain.
2019 Miami Local Lead Gen Mastermind
Uber is the biggest taxi company in the world. Yet they own no taxis (at least at the time in 2016). All they do is connect passengers and drivers through an app they developed. And they get a piece of the ride fare. So if a ride was $20, Uber would get $5 for connecting the driver and passenger.
When I read that, I was like “…waittttttt a minute you’re telling me there’s a business I can start from my laptop that’s similar to running your own Uber? Keep going, I’m listening…”
So then the post kept on explaining how the local lead gen model actually works.
To use the same analogies to help you follow along, people everyday are searching online for companies that offer these local services below (this is just an example and a short list).
- Roof repairs
- HVAC replacements
- Pool cleaning companies
- Tile workers
- Pool construction
- Computer repair
And the list goes on for hundreds of local services that people search for and need on a daily basis.
Then there are these same businesses who offer the services I've listed above.
Google receives over 90% of all internet traffic
So to connect the analogy of an Uber-style laptop business, what if you were able to direct local customers searching for a service? And by directing, I mean you own a non-branded generic website talking about said-services they were looking for.
Then you forwarded that potential customer with a local company who wants to grow. And that website is a site you own. It has a call tracking number you own.
You’re utilizing a skillset called SEO (search engine optimization) to rank that website to page 1 in its local marketplace for those niche specific local keywords.
So in essence:
Uber = your website
Driver = local company
Passenger = local customer
You take a piece of the revenue from the business (whether it was a pay-per-lead, a commission, or simply a monthly flat fee) because you brought them potential business/customer.
When I heard that, and made the connection, my mind was blown away
To get your mind going, here's a short list of Uber-like ideas that are actually used in our local lead gen program
I started making the connections with digital real estate and physical real estate
With your typical real estate, you need usually tens of thousands of dollars to enter into the market. And to buy a property that may only cash flow you anywhere between $500 to $1,000 per month
Obviously, real estate has created the most amount of millionaires. But the barrier of entry is high for the average person.
Most people (myself included) don’t have $20,000+ sitting around to just invest in a piece of property or a fourplex apartment building
Now I knew about wholesaling, but it seemed to be an oversaturated market. Didn't want to waste anymore of my precious time.
BUT for most people, if they choose to, they can have digital real estate.
Websites are digital real estate. They’re an asset that has value. Websites are bought and sold all the time. I started learning about a site called FLIPPA that does exactly that.
And mannnnnnn let me tell you, once I had these couple of things start to click in my mind, I was like SIGN ME UP
I registered for a call. Got on the phone a couple of days later with a coach from the program.
And I signed up
Here's the thing: I knew if I could learn this, I could do something really great for myself and the family I wanted to have in the future it was time to grind, let's go
"We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give." - Winston Churchill
At this time, I had so many unfulfilled dreams that I wanted to experience…
- Traveling the world with close friends and fam
- Vacationing on the best exotic beaches anywhere
- Going to amazing concerts in the VIP section
- Owning 2 cars
- Buying an exotic car, like a Mercedes G-Wagon
- Supporting my future wife and kids without the stress of financial pressures
- Or being held back from not being able to experience life due to a lack of money
And soooo many more dreams that I knew would be birthed once I could establish a business model that served both people and myself in a positive way
For me, that was local lead generation
Me and Ippei at our first Local Lead Gen event in June of 2016
Local lead generation is a win-win business model The business owner wins because they’re growing their company and revenue through your efforts.
And I’m winning because the business is renting/leasing my website to get the calls/leads/traffic that’s coming from that niche relevant local site it's a great feeling for sure! And it creates passive residual income for me because I'm in full control.
I own the domain and website.
I own the call tracking number.
Well... why wouldn’t the business owner just do this themselves on their own website?
Great question, and it’s one I asked as well at the beginning.
Most business owners are in a catch 22. They’re too busy with their actual business to work on their digital marketing. Yet they need to do something to get more business from the internet. Because we all know that good ole word of mouth marketing can only grow a business so much
Me, Chris, and Ippei at a private event in November 2019
Let’s get back to the story…
So I started the local lead generation program in April of 2016. I was putting in about 8 to 10 hours a week because I still had to do Uber, flip things on Craigslist, and other side hustles to make money and simply survive as a 30 year old man.
About 3 months into the program, I had about 6 websites built. They were ranking pretty well.
And I had 2 paying clients that totaled about $1,300 a month in recurring income.
I. WAS. PUMPED. FIRED UP AHH LET'S GO BRANDON!
Mannnnnn, I STILL remember the nervousness I had in reaching out to the first few business owners to see who would want to take my first round of calls
My first website was a pest control website in a city called Wellington, Florida. You can see the screenshot of it below.
My first lead gen website I built in April of 2016
Before I landed my first client though, the first real success I had was ranking my website. I remember when the first call came in. I was like WTH bro
And to point out the obvious thing… learning all these different skills from the local lead gen program helped me fast track my success and make money.
But you know, whenever you start something new, there’s always that little bit of skepticism if this works or not. Thankfully, I didn’t let that skepticism stop me from joining and moving forward.
3 months in and boom I was making money.
Getting closer to my goals of total world domination (at least dominating the world of Damian Martinez, aka D-Money)
Fast forward about 7 months into the program, I had built a business that started making about $3,000+ a month consistently. That was my first main goal I could then stop driving Uber. And stop doing all the little things to make a quick buck here and there.
Fuego focused on attacking the ducks nearby
By around December of 2016, I hit that first mark
Now, I need to add this. Results are not guaranteed and vary from student to student. Like anything in life, people fail at things because they give up
Every business model I ever failed at was usually due to me giving up or cutting my losses early. Other than the 2-3 MLMs that I could not make work no matter what, usually something failed because I quit on the endeavor
Why do people quit?
For a lot of reasons
Sometimes it's out of fear.
The fear of failure.
Sometimes, the fear of success.
Examples: a new business , a new blossoming relationship , a new place to live in , new friends , a new environment - all these things spell c-h-a-n-g-e.
Most people don't like change.
But change is the best thing for all of us. Learn to embrace it
"If you really want the key to success, start by doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing." - Brad Szollose
People usually don’t see results fast enough. That's typically the first and main answer. And that’s exactly why having a coach in your corner to keep your butt in gear is so important.
Because entrepreneurship is more of a mental game at times than it is a hand-to-hand combat
Yes, there is that main aspect of the goal being to make money. But money is made when problems are solved in the marketplace.
And I was solving a problem for businesses who needed more customers. That made the business owner and myself feel great and valuable
I had Dan (the guy who started the program) doing live Q&A calls twice a week. To this day, he’s still doing those live video streams inside of our private group.
That goes to show the commitment he has for his students and this business model
Dan and Mike doing a Tuesday night live coaching call with students in February 2022
Back to the story...again...
So I’m now making $3,000 a month. Now I got time to really make this work, and take it to the next level financially. Before I was just putting in 8-10 hours a week for the first 7 months.
Now that I own my time again, and can commit to building this business full time, I can put 40+ hours a week to see some serious results financially
About a year later, I took my income from $3k to the magical $10k a month.
It's that number I dreamed of, and that so many new entrepreneurs wanna achieve as well
I did it
I finally freakin' did it
I put my heart and soul into something that would financially reward me, as well as fulfilling the fact I was helping someone along the way
From there, I’ve kept on growing my business and life.
Below I put a whole bunch of pictures of my experiences and travels that I’ve been able to enjoy over the years since succeeding with the local lead generation model
Check out the pictures below of how my dreams became a reality. All the traveling, the fun, the friendships being made, and sooooo much more.
And the same can happen for you. Seriously. Click on the picture to expand it, and see the full view. Enjoy the mini gallery
Now once again, this did NOT come easy. It took hard work.
Fighting fear daily.
A willingness to win and succeed.
I had my doubts on some days. But I didn’t give up
And you can have everything you want in life and more if you simply follow that recipe for success
I’ve accomplished a lot of my goals. I have a lot more that have been birthed recently that I continue to focus on, both in business, spiritually, and personally
One of my business goals that I recently achieved is starting the Bullseye Hustle Show
What I do with this show is give both motivational and tactical ways to do these 3 things: make more money, create more momentum, and discover more meaning in life.
This show is here to help people like you and me. Whether you're a new or seasoned entrepreneur, business professional, or someone who simply wants to grow in their personal development
My first episode of the Bullseye Hustle Show
I have so many other goals that I’m working towards because I am continually growing as a person.
I hope my story has inspired you to pursue your dreams. Whether it’s in starting a local lead gen business like myself, or other passions you may have, I’m glad my story was part of your process
You can follow me on my social media below to keep up with me. Before you go, here’s one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite motivational speakers. It’s from the late Zig Ziglar.
“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”
With that, I’ll see you on social media, at an event, or inside our local lead generation program.
The Man. The Myth. The Legend. Zig Ziglar.