What does it take to be an Entrepreneur? Join us as Tammy Levent shares her Entrepreneurial mindset and an inside glance at her journey of becoming a successful Entrepreneur.
In 1994, Tammy Levent lost her business and savings in a violent robbery. To keep her home and feed her family, she took a job as a telemarketer until her children, ages nine and two, were involved in a fatal car accident with her grandmother. Tammy saw everything she built her life around disappear within a few weeks. Her story will inspire you, her energy will motivate you, but most importantly, her tactics will show you how to accomplish your biggest goals and your bravest dreams.
- Tammy’s quotes are too many and too good to list here. Have a pen ready!
- This story is incredibly powerful… and I do not say that lightly.
Entrepreneurial AHA Moment
- Tammy is basically a walking AHA moment. Seriously… Tammy AHA Levent.
- Tammy completely reinvents herself every year. Find out what she has in store for us in 2013!
Small Business Resource
- LinkedIn: Manage your professional identity. Build and engage with your professional network.
Best Business Book
- Women Who Mean Business by Tammy Levent
John Dumas: Hire Fire Nation and thank you for joining me for another episode of EntrepreneurOnFire.com, your daily dose of inspiration. If you enjoy this free podcast, please show your support by leaving a rating and review here at iTunes. I will make sure to give you a shout out on an upcoming showing to thank you!
John Lee Dumas: Okay. Let’s get started. I am simply electrified to introduce my guest today, Tammy Levent. Tammy, are you prepared to ignite?
Tammy Levent: I am ready to explode! [Laughs]
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] In 1994, Tammy lost her business and savings in a violent robbery. To keep her home and feed her family, she took a job as a telemarketer until her children aged 9 and 2 were involved in a fatal car accident with her grandmother. Tammy saw everything she built in her life disappear within a few weeks. Her story will inspire you, her energy will motivate you, but most importantly, her tactics will show you how to accomplish your biggest goals and bravest dreams.
Wow, Tammy. I’ve already shared some pretty intimate details with Fire Nation, but why don’t you take a minute. Tell us about you personally. And then take another minute and give us a little overview of your business right now.
Tammy Levent: Personally, I’ve been injured and sustained a lot. I mean you’ve read only 6 months of my life. There’s a lot more before that, and after that, and I’ve saving that for my next aha moment [Laughs]. Which is going to be very soon. But yes, you’re talking to somebody who has been through so many tragedies, and sometimes I wake up in the morning and say, I’m so blessed, but why is it me? Why can’t I just live life so easily? I see so many other people that I know, there’s just nothing, flawless. Nothing ever happens to them. You know what I’m saying, John? Sometimes I wonder why, but there’s always a reason why and I’m here to teach others.
I had an elevator crash when I was 7 years old and I went from the eighth floor down to the basement. My aunt lost her arm and my cousin and I were in there and I don’t remember any other survivors. And then at 10 years old, my next door neighbor, I just left his house. The man ended up killing his entire family. And then I had a stalker at 17 that burned down my apartment while I was in it, and I barely got out alive. And then at 20, I also witnessed another murder that would’ve been. I opened the bathroom door for somebody else and she got murdered and it wasn’t me. And there’s so many, so many stories after that of so many bad things that happened to people that you could never imagine, and the positive out of all these is that I’m always there, managing to get through it.
Remember, before we started this call, you had said to me – I had a quote and I had something that somebody shared with me, and that I think this is where I want to start, and then we’ll go into what I do. But somebody gave me a little plaque and it’s a glass-etched plaque. It said “Tammy Levent” and it looks like the dictionary and it was a definition. It said “Survivor: One who perseveres through life’s challenges, hardships, misfortunes and tragedies. One who refuses to give up or quit trying and one who triumphs over insurmountable challenges and becomes a better person because of them.” Every time I read that, it’s like it’s so me, it’s so me, but there’s so many of us like that. What do you do when you’re in a situation like that that you got to keep going because you have a family, you have that drive, and that’s where I’m at today. So I turned everything around in my life and started my first company at 17. Now I teach others how to build the worst that can happen to you, the worst possible, and build it to whatever it is that you want to do today. So I do quite a few different things.
John Lee Dumas: Man! Tammy, that is some powerful things that you’ve already shared with us, and it hasn’t even been four minutes into the interview yet. I just want to thank you for really just being so open and honest with Fire Nation. I can just tell you, I mean I spent 8 years as an Army officer and I spent 13 months deployed in Iraq. I can honestly say, despite even being in a war, I have not had as many brushes with death as you’ve had. So that is just extremely generous of you to share your experiences because I know that can’t be easy to continuously relive, but it’s so valuable in so many ways to give people a perspective on life. Let’s use that now to move into our first real topic, which is the success quote. You’ve given us a great quote. Now I know you have something else for us here and I’m really excited to hear what you have to share with Fire Nation.
Tammy Levent: Okay. Well, I [Unintelligible]. This is my quote, and I do write quite a few quotes, but I think this is one of my favorite quotes, is that we are so stuck in ourselves right now that we’re not really thinking of our future as much as we should be. We put our kids through college and we have them reach certain goals and we’re teaching them throughout life, but to me it’s that we’re not born leaders like everyone tells you. I always say remember when you were a kid and you were always told to do it yourself and that you could do it, and learning a skill, even how to tie your shoelaces, that we really could be taught if we allow ourselves to. In the same respect, teaching others something that we need to continue to do or we will lose our future leaders. So it’s not only about yourself anymore. It’s also about the future of this country, of this world, of our youth. You build and you live your life for what? It’s yourself, but you also leave something behind as a legacy is what I’m looking at, and I want to do something for my future, for my children, for our new future leaders.
John Lee Dumas: Tammy, what I’m so excited about today in having you on EntrepreneurOnFire is that EntrepreneurOnFire is about the journey of the entrepreneur, and you have such an amazing and incredible journey. I want to start and go back now and take this all the way forward to the present time, but take us back right now to the ground level to a failure or a challenge or an obstacle that you came across at some point in your entrepreneurial journey that you think would be valuable to share with Fire Nation?
Tammy Levent: Going back to my story, I know people are listening right now and going, “Well, what happened to her? What happened to her?” Well, I started my first company at 17, but that was a success story and that was positive and it was an easy way to build a strategic partnership. So I really didn’t have any challenges there. We all start up. We have a little bit of issue with our companies in building it and everything. But that’s not where the challenge was. I think the worst time in my life that I can remember had to be when I had the robbery. I had a jewelry store with my husband. We moved from New York here. I had an export business and started a jewelry store. It was 23 years ago that we started the store on Halloween Day, and 18 years ago on Halloween Day, the exact anniversary date of our company, we had an armed robbery. So when the two armed robbers came in, I wasn’t there. I was at the school with the kids. They ended up beating him badly, 50 to 60 blows to his head, and he ended up with brain damage and we ended up losing everything because I didn’t have a second person in my store. She just happened to go out for lunch. Because I didn’t have that second person right at that moment, the insurance would not cover us. So losing your income instantaneously or the business that you built instantaneously was like, Wow! What do I do now?
I took a telemarketing job, which I hated. I felt like [Unintelligible]. You ever saw that movie? [Laughs]
John Lee Dumas: Oh yes.
Tammy Levent: It was just like that. It was travel, but it was like, oh my God, I’m so like not feeling this, but I have to do what I have to do for my kids and my husband. I worked. He couldn’t work right away. And then six months later – I mean, this is at the worst time of my life that I lose everything – and six months later, my kids were in a car accident where their grandmother was driving. She passes out at the wheel and my daughter takes control of the car at nine. My baby was in the back. He was two. They run into a house going 45 miles an hour and the engine came through and crushed her grandmother, but my daughter and my son still flew out the car. My daughter’s face was turned off, her tongue was severed and my son had an orbital eye fracture and they remade his eye with a [rib bone]. While I was in the hospital, a nurse came in, and she said, “I understand. I heard what happened to you. It was all over the news.” People in the area came and helped us and raised money and we had a lot of support. It doesn’t matter, John. I think at this point in my life, I really thought I was going to lose my mind. Like everything that led up to that point I told you in the beginning of all the things that happened to me throughout my life, and there’s a lot more. But this time, it was something that I felt totally not in control of. I felt like, oh my God, what am I going to do? Like a lot of people feel today with the economy and everything else going on in the world.
A nurse came in and she asked me the stupidest, simplest question that changed everything, and said, if it had nothing to do with money, what would you do? I thought about it and I said I would travel the world because it’s something that I was passionate about. She said that’s your calling, that’s your passion, that’s what you need to do. I got a newspaper and the rest is history. I started working for someone and worked for him for a couple of years and then started my own, and I’m still here 18 years later. That’s what I think made the biggest difference in my life. I’ve always been self-employed, so obviously I knew that it was going to be mine one day and own it, but I didn’t know that it was going to turn out that way – from jewelry to travel. I mean no one would have expected that.
John Lee Dumas: Man! I mean, Tammy, this is just such a powerful story on so many levels and it just speaks so many volumes of you as a person and your strength, carrying on and just being the success that you currently are right now in what you’re experiencing. Let’s use that to transition now from that really tough and trying time in your life to the other end of the spectrum, which is an aha moment. You’ve just alluded to one awesome aha moment that you’ve had with the nurse, and that changed your entire thought process and your direction in life. Have you had an aha moment in a different area in your journey that you can share with Fire Nation?
Tammy Levent: I think I’ve had so many aha moments, but the ones that stand out is through the years with the travel, I’ve had a lot of moments. But there’s one recently, a year ago, I do a lot of professional speaking, public speaking. Entrepreneur, of course, they always have me in so many places to speak. And a year ago, I’m like, why am I doing this not professionally? I need to be doing this professionally because obviously, I have a story to tell. My book came out and everything else, and I’m like I need to be doing this. So I went ahead and I started doing it. I met with Simon Bailey. I don’t know if you’re familiar with him. A great inspirational speaker, motivational speaker. He talks about brilliant billionaires. I had a meeting with him and he said, “Tammy Levent, it’s going to come to you.” I said, “Okay,” and that’s my aha moment. What happened was I decided that I was going to start this without any money and to where I’m going to end up in a year. I was going to give it a year. And a year was this past October, and about a week before my year was up, I was contacted by Earl Davis Jr., who actually held the Olympic torch in the Olympics. He heard about me here in the community, we had a little meeting, and he said, “I would love for you to speak with Les Brown.” I’m like, “What?!” So that’s one of my aha moments because every speaker’s dream is to be able to speak with somebody that has so much power and that is so famous and to get you to the next level.
John Lee Dumas: Absolutely!
Tammy Levent: I mean I could go on speaking to little places here or there, but it’s not going to take me to where I need to be. So that’s coming up December 4th and I’m extremely excited about that. It’s called “Mission Inspiration.” Tampa Bay, where I live, is actually Forbes tied for – unfortunately – for first place on the most stressful city in the United States.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Tammy Levent: Yes, and that’s what we’re talking about, is get the stress out of there. Change your life and make a difference. I’m very excited about that. So my aha moment came right about the year that I had set my goals to, and I’m ready for more.
John Lee Dumas: That’s awesome. That is such great stuff having that aha moment, Tammy, and you just kind of buzzed through that year. Can you just get ground floor specific with Fire Nation right now and tell us some specific actions that you took directly after that aha moment with Simon that really just was a catalyst for your success?
Tammy Levent: What he mentioned to me to get me to where I’m at today, I had when I was in the hospital, I was given a whip. Okay. I know we’re turning the whole subject around now [Laughs].
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Tammy Levent: Not that way whip [Laughs]. I was given a whip as Tammy the trainer because I was the number one in sales at this telemarketing company, and they gave me a whip. The whole time in the hospital, I had this whip in my hand and I didn’t know what I was going to do with it one day, and I still have the original whip, and I came up with an acronym – “Women Have Infinite Power.” I WHIP IT – “Incredible Women Having Infinite Power In Themselves.” It was the only thing that I had. I felt very powerful. I’ve always played on words, and I started writing this down.
Let’s fast forward from that day. 18 years later, I’m meeting Simon Bailey, and I go, “Listen, I have this whip idea,” I tell him the story, “And I want to do something with it.” What he said to me that brought me to that moment was, “You think about what you want to do in your life every day, every way and everywhere. Every day you wake up, this is all you’re going to do. You’re going to think every day of how you can use this whip, how you can change somebody’s life every day and everywhere and it’s going to come to you and you’re going to be [Unintelligible] and blessed and it would all come back, but that’s what you need to do.” And I still do it.
That’s what I think what brought me to my moment. It was my goal to get to this point. I didn’t know that it was going to happen like this, but I knew that I was working towards that mission. I want to become a household name. My ultimate goal is to become a household name. I’m the only Tammy Levent in the world. There’s a reason for that. There’s a reason for everything that’s happened to me, and I want to be able to teach that and share that with everyone, and I’m on my way.
John Lee Dumas: That is great stuff, Tammy. On that note, have you had an I’ve made it moment?
Tammy Levent: Yes. Every time I do, something happens [Laughs].
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] That is awesome!
Tammy Levent: Okay. I got to tell you the best I’ve made it moment. Are you ready?
John Lee Dumas: I have heard some good ones, Tammy, but I feel like this is going to be legendary.
Tammy Levent: [Laughs] You’re going to die. You’re going to love this one. Okay. So I have like a partner, a strategic partner, before. Like in a couple of years from the transition for my own company because of course I was minus after the robbery and I didn’t have any money and I had to really partner with somebody. So I went to one of my competitors and said, “Look, I want to bring my book of business with you for a period. This is our agreement. If I decide to leave, I give you a 30 day notice, and if you decide to leave, we give each other a 30 day notice.” It’s almost like a prenup. We leave with anything we came with and that’s it, and he’s like, “Okay.”
So I’m at the office and about August 1st of 2000, I wrote to him and I said, “Here’s your 30 day notice. I’m going to be leaving. I’m giving you more than 30 days. I’m leaving and starting my own company. [Unintelligible] going to move on to their own entity on September 1, 2001,” and he’s like, “Okay.” He told me I’d never make it, and I’m like, “Yeah, okay.” Well, he’s not in business anymore, but I am.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Tammy Levent: [Laughs] So I opened up my new office. I was so excited. I had like 30 employees. I got the whole top floor of this building. Everything is perfect. About a week later, we had this really bad hurricane here in Florida, and the roof kind of collapsed and all the ceiling tops fell all over our computers and everything was completely destroyed. And then I don’t have to tell you what happened three days after that with September 11th.
John Lee Dumas: No. Yes.
Tammy Levent: Okay? So when I said that “Wow, I’ve made it! I have my own office!” [Laughs] Yes. Then I had September 11th and a hurricane within 10 days.
John Lee Dumas: Man! The world can work in mysterious ways in more ways than one.
Tammy Levent: I laughed just like I am now. There was nothing else to do. I mean I sat on the phone with every single customer who wanted to cancel, every single one in my company. We’re talking thousands. I have 112,000 in my database who are right now clients in the travel business, and I called every single one. Not 112,000, but maybe 2,000 at the time, and told them I was going to make or break their life right now if the world was going to end. If you remember that day, how everybody was like freaking out, and I saved every sale and every customer.
John Lee Dumas: Wow, Tammy! That’s an inspiring story in and of itself right there.
Tammy Levent: See? My I’ve made it moment, I’m still here. I did make it.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] I love that, Tammy, because again, we’re going back to the fact that being an entrepreneur is a journey, and it’s a roller coaster journey, man. You have your ups, you have your downs. You have your dips, you have your highs. It’s really how you just ride those out that really define you as an entrepreneur and define you as a person, and it’s so difficult for people to kind of really maintain that just constantness that is needed to succeed as an entrepreneur despite these dips, but you’ve obviously been able to do so on a lot of levels and I definitely commend you for that.
Tammy Levent: Thank you, thank you. Sometimes we don’t have a choice. I think it’s within you anyway. I really do. I inspire a lot of people along the way, but I think you have to have that drive within you. If you see any entrepreneur, they have that drive, but some people give up. Some people just can’t. After a while, they’re like, “You know, I can’t. I throw in the towel. I don’t want to do this anymore.” I have those days. I have those days. But then in seconds, I change my mind. I’m like, “What are you talking about? You’ve been through worse, and oh my God, there’s so much worse than you right now. You can do it.” I kind of inspire myself. People ask me, where do you get your inspiration? I go, “That’s really a good question. I think it’s within.”
John Lee Dumas: That’s why it’s so valuable when you share these stories with people like Fire Nation and audiences like entrepreneurs because then they can resonate. They can see that, man, they’re not the only person that are going through these ups and downs and there is a light behind the tunnel.
Tammy Levent: Right. Especially now with the financial crisis. I have my situations going on right now too. I mean four years ago, I didn’t do anything to these banks. I didn’t do anything to Bank of America, I didn’t do anything to American Express, and I’ve never borrowed a dime in my life for my business or any small business loan. I’ve done it all the old-fashioned way, the way my great grandmother told me. You work towards your money. You do everything yourself. I had a certain amount of credit on credit cards or open credit. When four years ago, they came and slashed that for what reason. My beacon was 7.90. I had excellent credit score. Why the hell are you coming to me and cutting off my credit? I didn’t do anything to you.
And then today, it’s becoming harder because of what happened four years ago. It’s something that they did to us in this country. I’m not the only one. There’s hundreds and thousands and millions of people that have struggled and gone through what I’m going through, and what you have to do is you have to set your priorities. What is the most important thing in your life? It’s you, yourself and your family. Get that taken care of first and everything else will follow, and do what you need to do. If you’re an entrepreneur, continue what you’re doing. The key is to reinvent yourself. I reinvent myself every year and come up with something different or something that I’m going to do. If you work for somebody else, look ahead. Maybe this isn’t where you need to be. Maybe look for something else while things are good at where you’re working at.
Do you see what I’m saying? Don’t waste the last minute for something to happen. That’s always been my case where things happen by accident or something happens, and then you’re stuck because you don’t know which direction to take. Have a plan. It doesn’t mean you’re going to necessarily take that plan. It may not even be the right plan. It may not even be the plan that you go through, but at least leverage yourself where you’re not in a position to be able to do anything about it. You know what I mean?
John Lee Dumas: I do, Tammy. Let’s use that. Let’s hear about the latest Tammy reinvention. I know you have a lot of awesome and exciting things going on in your business right now, but tell us about what’s exciting you most about your current business and about the current Tammy Levent.
Tammy Levent: Well, right now, my exciting news is obviously my speaking. I do a lot of public speaking, but I also have a WHIPshops series. Yes, WHIPshops. See how it came to me every day, every way? [Laughs]
John Lee Dumas: I love it.
Tammy Levent: So instead of workshops, we take the work out of it. The WHIPshops series are a series where I teach how to build strategic partnerships when you have no money. How do two companies form and build together or two individuals come together and build a brand bigger without any money? Build it. I do teach that. I’m very excited about that because I have put so many people together that I’m watching that grow now. One was my SEO girl who was also my social media girl with my web guy, and my writer. I have a ghost writer. I put all four of them together and they formed a company, which is now doing millions. That’s what I love to see and that’s what I love to do. That inspires me and that it can be done. What is it that I see? I’m almost like a business – what is that when you put two people together? Like a matchmaker.
John Lee Dumas: I could actually see you having a show, a reality TV show. Not the Millionaire Matchmaker, but the Entrepreneur Matchmaker.
Tammy Levent: [Laughs] That’s funny you say that because I was signed to a reality show for two years, but I had to get rid of it because they wanted me naked in a bed with two other people.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Tammy Levent: I don’t know if your kids can actually watch. This isn’t reality. You’ll see what I’m talking about. It was called “The Way We Wed” and I canned it. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the direction it was taking, but it’s funny you say that. Yes, I could see myself as a reality show person too [Laughs].
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] I could just see you in a matchmaker role because you’re so dynamic. I feel like you could just take a person and an idea and just mash them together and just make it work. I just can see you doing that.
Tammy Levent: Yes, I love it. I love it! I live for that. It’s like every day, I think of how else can I start this or do this? I have so many ideas for people all the time, especially charity organizations that need money. I come up with so many creative ideas for them to raise money and it doesn’t cost anyone anything. So that’s what I love to do. That’s my favorite.
John Lee Dumas: So Tammy, speaking of everyday, we talked about this a little bit in the pre-interview. Here at EntrepreneurOnFire, I like to pull the curtain back a little bit and show Fire Nation, show our listeners a day in your life. I know no two days are ever the same, but your alarm clock goes off at 4:00 AM, or you’re at least getting out of bed at 4 AM so maybe it even goes off earlier. Can you take us through a quick day in your life?
Tammy Levent: [Laughs] Sure! I’m laughing because every minute of my day is taken up. I get up at 4 primarily. Either 4 or 5 at the latest to kind of roll out of bed. The reason I do that is because I feel I have to start my day off early and get things done because I wanted to be there before everybody else’s day starts so I know the events for the day. I usually have a schedule of appointments for one day and I usually schedule them every hour. So on a given day, I could end up with 6 to 8 appointments every single day and they could be all over Tampa Bay area where I’m driving around or they can be all in my office. I usually end up doing a video every day. I may not post it right away, but I’ll do a video that inspires me. I believe that everyone should have a small – I have a little Kodak HD camera that I do all my WHIPshops, all the Whip It Out shows with. I’ll sit there and whatever inspires me for the day, I’ll talk about. It could be something about me. It could be something about a business, strategic partnerships or whatever it is that I’m teaching someone. A 3 minute video of whatever it may be. That’s pretty much it. And then I have my goals setting and I will write down. I have a journal that I keep with me. It’s my business journal. Basically, I write what my plans are for the rest of the week, and I try to get through it. Usually, there’s about 30 to 50 items on that list, and every day that goes by, besides what I have to do every day, I have to cross a few things off this list to make sure that I’ve done them and get my work done that way. That’s what I do. That’s my day.
John Lee Dumas: I love it. You’re reinventing yourself all the time, which is such a great thing to do. What is your vision for the future?
Tammy Levent: That’s a good question. Like I said, I see myself as a household name. I want to inspire others and help others in very unconventional ways. I am working on something as a subscription-based website right now and I’ve secured 148 million emails around the country. So I am planning on putting something out there, but if I was to ask you the question, John, if I was to guarantee you a way to find money or a job, one or the other, that you needed right now that’s not a gimmick, that’s not a scam, that’s for real, would you give me $3 a month so every month you would have a new way of finding these resources without having to kill yourself over what’s real and what’s not legitimately, or $29.95 for the year? Would you do it?
John Lee Dumas: Absolutely. I mean the ideas alone are so valuable.
Tammy Levent: I thought there was way too many scams out there that people just don’t know which direction to take and where to go, especially when they’re desperate. So what we’re trying to do is put something together where you have one resource that’s real and that everything has been checked out beforehand so you feel comfortable in going to that with a very little bit amount of money. So that’s the thing that I’m working on right now for the next thing coming out.
John Lee Dumas: Well, you have my support in that, Tammy, because I have so many Fire Nation listeners that just are emailing me and saying, “John, I listen to your show. It gives me so much energy and so much passion and so much drive, but now where do I put that into?” I mean, if they had a great idea or 12 ideas a year that they were getting from a service like your own, and then they can just relate with one and grab on to one and start focusing, that would be huge.
Tammy Levent: That’s great. Yes. Well, thank you. Yes, I’ll definitely be filling you in more about it as I keep proceeding with this. That’s great.
John Lee Dumas: Definitely keep me in the loop. So Tammy, we’ve now reached my favorite part of the show. We’re about to enter the Lightning Round. This is where I get to ask you a series of questions and you come back at us…
Tammy Levent: I’m going to rename it. It’s going to be the Whip It Out Round. Let’s whip it!
John Lee Dumas: Okay. I am actually going to start over because I think you are so right.
Tammy Levent: [Laughs]
John Lee Dumas: And I’m not editing this. This is actually going to stay as is because I want people to know that for you, I am renaming it the “Whip It Round”! Is that what it is?
Tammy Levent: [Laughs] Yes. The Whip It Round. Whip it!
John Lee Dumas: Okay.
Tammy Levent: I got to send you a whip!
John Lee Dumas: You do. I need a leather whip like the one you’re holding on your website. That was a great one.
Tammy Levent: Yes. That’s sexy. I like that too.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Tammy Levent: I have a 16 foot bullwhip right now in my hand, a 16-footer. I wish you could see me, but anyway.
John Lee Dumas: Wow! Well, everybody will go to your website and they will check it out. I have no doubt. So we’ve now reached my favorite part of the show, the Whip It Round. This is where I get to ask you a series of questions and you provide Fire Nation, our listeners, with amazing and mind-blowing answers. Does that sound like a plan?
Tammy Levent: Yes.
John Lee Dumas: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Tammy Levent: I wasn’t holding myself back. Absolutely not. It’s all the outside influences were holding me back. Until I got rid of those and said I can overcome anything, then that was holding me back. So you just got to surpass that. You are much better than anything else trying to hold you back.
John Lee Dumas: You’ve got to surpass that. Being from Maine, I use this analogy every now and then, and it’s the crabs in the bucket analogy where if you put a bunch of crabs in a bucket, there’ll always be one or two crabs that are trying to climb out. One will almost be out of the bucket, and then all of his buddies will reach up and drag him right back down. That happens so much in the entrepreneurial world.
Tammy Levent: Right, and money is not an excuse. Everyone says, “Oh, I don’t have the money, I don’t have the money.” There’s so many things you could do without money. I did it. I did it with -$180,000.
John Lee Dumas: All you need is $3 a month and you’ll start getting some great ideas.
Tammy Levent: [Laughs] Give others ideas.
John Lee Dumas: Tammy, what’s the best business advice you ever received?
Tammy Levent: I think the best business advice – and this man just passed away a couple of weeks ago actually and he was one of my strategic partners – and he always told me, don’t worry. Like don’t stress and don’t worry about things because what’s going to happen is going to happen inevitably. So for you to worry about it just makes it worse and it’s compounded. So take the worry out of everything because everything will always be provided and there’s always a reason and a purpose to everything, and that’s what you have. As long as you’re learning through everything in the process, then there’s no reason to worry because you can always make a change. You’re the one that could make that change. I mean we all worry and stress over our kids and other things, but when it comes to business, you need not worry because there’s a reason why everything happens the way it does.
John Lee Dumas: That is powerful. What’s something that’s working for you or your business right now?
Tammy Levent: My whips! [Laughs]
John Lee Dumas: Obviously!
Tammy Levent: [Laughs] My drive, I guess. What’s working for my business right now is that I have something different to offer people. I really want to help. Like I can’t describe this to you more than keep saying that I’m there, I want to change. The other day on Facebook, I wrote “I’m going to change the world.” It’s a certain insight that I have inside me and I see where I’m heading with it, and I feel that’s what I’m working on right now. That’s working for me, is that goal that I’ve had, that I’m after, and I’m going to succeed. Pretty much, my vision is there.
John Lee Dumas: Tammy, do you have an Internet resource like an Evernote that you’re just in love with that you can share with our listeners?
Tammy Levent: You’re going to think that this is crazy. I actually love LinkedIn. I really do. I’ve been on others, like I’ve been on TED and watching those and I’m a speaker, and then ah, whatever. But I like going on LinkedIn, believe it or not, and seeing how many people I have in my network, which is like 13 billion or something if you calculate the amount of people that I’m connected to or whatever it is, and actually reading about people and really reading about other people and where they came from, what they’re about, all different walks of life. I think I’m very interested in LinkedIn. I really do spend a lot of time on there and reading about other people, just seeing where they came from and what they’re doing in their lives and where they’re going and their vision as well.
John Lee Dumas: It’s a powerful resource. Tammy, what entrepreneurial book would you recommend for Fire Nation?
Tammy Levent: My own, of course!
John Lee Dumas: Obviously!
Tammy Levent: Obviously! It actually hit number one on Amazon for women in business. So it’s “Women Who Mean Business.” Secrets to help you succeed in business and life. It’s a compilation of about 50 women from around the world, entrepreneurs.
John Lee Dumas: Awesome! Well, we will link that up in the show notes for sure.
Tammy Levent: Well, thank you.
John Lee Dumas: Now, this next question, Tammy, it’s the last question, but it’s my favorite question. So take your time, digest it, and then come back at Fire Nation with a great whip answer. Are you ready for it?
Tammy Levent: Okay.
John Lee Dumas: Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world, identical to earth, but you knew nobody. You still have all the experience and knowledge that you currently have and your food and shelter is taken care of, but all you have is a laptop and $500. What would you do in the next 7 days?
Tammy Levent: But I’ve been there before. Remember?
John Lee Dumas: Yes. That’s why it’s going to be a great answer.
Tammy Levent: I lost everything [Laughs]. So for me, this isn’t any exception. I woke up the next morning and I had nothing. It was the same thing, except that I was minus $180,000. I wish I had $500.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Tammy Levent: I would probably take that. I’d a lot of social media obviously since I had the Internet in my hand and do a lot of my video footage that I do, and speak to the world and tell them, “Listen, I’m going to warn you about what not to do because this is what we came from,” and kind of go from the past and talk about more to the future and what changes and what things differently should be made not to recreate the world that we live in today. And not to say that I don’t love where we live today, but there’s so many things that could’ve been done differently years ago that we wouldn’t be where we’re at today. We’re not even talking a few years ago. We’re talking 50, 60, 100 years ago. That’s just a compilation of where we are today, and I think that’s what I would do. I would teach history and not to repeat itself.
John Lee Dumas: True words. Tammy, that was actionable advice, and you’ve given Fire Nation actionable advice this entire interview and we are all better for it. Give us one parting piece of guidance, then give yourself a plug, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Tammy Levent: Well, first of all, I want to thank you, John, for what you’re doing because you are making a difference. I remember when I found you, I was actually in bed. I was getting up late that morning and I wrote to you and I said, “Google me. I want to be on your show.” And here I am! [Laughs] You did, but I was very impressed with everything that you’re doing, and you are making a difference.
John Lee Dumas: Thank you.
Tammy Levent: And that right there is something to be applauded for for yourself. My bit of advice is instead of dwelling on what’s going on right now in your life, which there is a lot of negativity, there is a lot. We don’t even know where we’re heading. And you know this, John. I mean, we don’t even know what we’re doing in this country anymore, or in this world. Start living, set your goals, but also work on today. Don’t overwhelm yourself about tomorrow, the next month, the next week, the next year. Do that on the backburner, but really focus on today and make it the best day that you ever had because today is never going to come back again. Really focus on that and make it your best.
A plug about me, TammyLevent.com. We’ll share everything with you. I mean I’m on there. I’m updating that site just about every day. So any news, if you need me as a speaker, definitely call me. You’ll find my information on my website. If you need me as a coach, I can do that as well. There’s so many things that I could do and offer your company as an individual, and just I’m here if anyone needs to call me and talk to me as well.
John Lee Dumas: Powerful, Tammy. Thank you so much for your time, for your knowledge, for just your generous sharing of all these information. Fire Nation, we salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
Tammy Levent: Thank you.
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