Traveling through the US in an RV, this entrepreneur will take you on a journey towards financial freedom
By Jim James, Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of The UnNoticed Entrepreneur.
Based in sunny Florida, Howard Dekkers sold his business with over 150 employees. Now, he’s on a mission to help entrepreneurs get their financial freedom. He joined me in the latest episode of The UnNoticed Entrepreneur and talked about his journey and how he gets his new business noticed.
A Piece of Financial Advice
Back when he was a teenager, Howard’s father never earned more than $35,000 a year working at a factory. When he started working, his dad said that he got to save 10% of everything he earns. This is what his father has been doing.
Howard was around 17 years old then and all he wanted to do was to make money. So he made a lot of money, but he never paid attention to his dad.
He also started building businesses. He had his first business at 28 and he was doing well. He got married. And he was putting everything back into his company. In his late 30’s, he also built a couple of other businesses. He was getting moderately successful, which meant that he was able to buy a house on the intercoastal in South Florida and other things.
However, his wife pointed out to him how they’re not saving anything for the future. And that hit him.
He started thinking that he was basing his whole success later on in life — of being able to build this business big enough so he could sell it. But then he asked himself: What if I can’t sell it? As my business is having medical imaging centres, what if they’d change the laws and I’d be forced to go out of business?
When he started really listening to his wife, he had a light bulb moment: He remembered what his dad told him about 20 years ago, how he got to save 10%. So he started doing that and building an environment of economic scarcity.
While he was making $300,000 to $400,000 a year, he felt like he was broke because he was forcing himself to save 10 to 20% of everything he earned because he had to catch up as he started late. Instead of making this great income and buying stuff, he took it from his checking account and put it into a brokerage account like what his father did. He was about 38 years old when he started this.
As stated, his father never earned more than $35,000 a year. He started at Chrysler Corporation at age 20 and retired at age 55. He didn’t retire because he was financially free. He retired because he hated working at the factory. Today, his father makes $85,000 a year. He hasn’t worked in 40 years because he was taking 10% of his earnings and investing it. Most people think that his father has over $3 million in the market right now. He did that while never earning more than $35,000 a year and never owning a business.
Growing Your Money the Smart Way
Most people think that you have to save a million dollars. However, Howard stressed out that this is not what you have to do.
What you have to do is to save monthly — whether it’s $50, $100, or $500 a month. Even if you start out at $50, it’s fine because that little amount of money will go through a vehicle with a compound interest, where you can double your money. All of a sudden, it will turn into a lot of money.
For example, if you’re earning $10,000 and you put in a vehicle that earns 10%, that $10,000 will grow into $320,000 in 35 years.
It’s not about saving a million dollars. It’s about having a consistent plan.
Howard is in his late 30’s when he started living more like his father and living within that environment of economic scarcity. The money is no longer in his checkbook to spend, but it was going into his brokerage account to keep growing.
Basically, he’s simply playing it forward.
How Entrepreneurs are a Different Breed
Three years ago, Howard sold his company for millions of dollars. He hit the dream that he had when he started 20 years prior. He created his luck because he worked hard.
But even if he had not sold it for millions, he already has millions of dollars in the market because he was investing 10 to 20% of everything he’s earning.
This can be applied to anybody. Entrepreneurs are lucky because they can put their financial freedom plan on hyperdrive because they have more money coming in than the average person. But whether you just have a regular job or you’re an entrepreneur, you need to figure out a way to not put everything back in the company.
Howard shared that he always had a $500,000 loan on his home. This is also how he built his company. He recalled how he would hate it when his Chief Financial Officer would walk into his office, close the door, and say that their payroll was late (It’s around $500,000 a month). His CFO would then say that she can’t make payroll. Fortunately, Howard would be pre-paying his mortgage so when he needed it, he could use it again.
This shows how entrepreneurs are a different breed. They’re willing to take risks to get to where they want to go; the regular person isn’t. The program that he built is catering to the person with a normal job. But if you’re an entrepreneur, it can go on hyperdrive.
Building His Program
After Howard sold his company, he didn’t have to work. He had enough money coming in every month from his investments. He’s also been able to go into real estate and a bunch of other things. Then he got bored out of his tree to the point of getting depressed after the end of the first year.
This is when he put together a PowerPoint presentation to teach his teenage children at that time about how to become a millionaire. Before he showed it to him, he asked them to invite their friends and tell them that their multimillionaire dad is going to teach them how to be a millionaire.
His first presentation was a couple of years ago, on his big-screen TV. He had 10 kids sitting in his living room and it blew them away. What blew him away is that they knew nothing of what he was doing. After that, he went to all of his sisters’ kids, then to more people. He was doing Zoom lives and he’d have 20 attendees on it.
Then, all of a sudden, the light bulb went off. He realised that that is his passion. That is what he wants to do for the rest of his life. He wants to show people how they can become financially free with a normal job — and if they’re a business owner, how they can put it on hyperdrive.
Now, he has an online course comprising seven modules in video format. He only charges $97. This price is not only to get the course but to get him on Zoom so he can help the client in any way that he can.
Howard is not doing it to make millions. He’s doing it to help as many people as he can because the method worked for him and it also worked for his father.
A year and a half ago, one of his students had $40,000 sitting in a regular savings account. They put it slowly over six months into the market, into index funds that pay over 10%. When he recently looked at it, the student is now up by $24,000 in just a year and a half. It’s amazing because she was able to achieve better than 10%.
Howard has previously been successful in his medical imaging business. Now that he’s been promoting the new “Howard,” he has to rebrand himself as an individual whose domain of expertise is in financial freedom with a personal touch.
For this, he said that he’s doing everything that he can to get the word out — from Facebook advertising, Instagram, being guests on other people’s podcasts. While he had been told by others to do his own podcast, he mentioned that he doesn’t want a job.
One of the reasons why he went to 100% evergreen on a course is he has 20 or 30 people on his screen every week. If he had another job all of a sudden, that wouldn’t be in line with what he’s aiming for. He’s not doing his course to have a job. He’s doing it because he loves it.
He’s also a big roving vehicle guy. In fact, he just recently came back from a three-month RV road trip by himself.
With just his RV, Harley Davidson, and his Jeep, he visited six different states and 15 different cities. He’d stay there a week and play pickleball every morning, which he considers an amazing social sport: You just show up and play. He’d hand out business cards to everybody he meets. And he met a lot of people on his last trip. When he goes to a restaurant, he’d put his card when he’d pay his bill. His card is rather simple. It’s just a picture of him and an element, which when captured by a phone camera will redirect someone to his webpage.
It’s just a combination of different things.
Does he have the magical answer? He said absolutely not.
He’s nowhere near Tony Robbins or Dave Ramsey who’s been doing it for 30 years. Howard has only been doing this for 20 years and he’s moderately successful. He has people taking his course. And he loves it when he’s in his RV and somebody requests a meeting. He’d log in with his RV in the background.
Once people leave his course, their financial freedom has already been set up and then it would be running on autopilot. They’d take $10, $50, $100, $500, or $1,000 out of their checkbook every month and put it into a brokerage account under their name. Nobody else makes money on that. All that Howard makes is the $97 fee for the course.
In his program, the original fund is being automatically invested in index funds, which are low risk and average 10%. This might be a little confusing for someone to set it up. So what they’d do is schedule an appointment with him and he’d just sit in his RV and have the meeting.
It’s sort of like being able to build a mobile business. With it, he’s also able to go to people in person, which in this day and age of digital, is counterfactual. Even with COVID-19, with Florida having a government that didn’t go crazy with the mandates (they hardly closed their economy yet they’re one of the states with the lowest cases), he’s still able to continue his business. He’s also doing live Zoom meetings.
His Course’s Platform
For his evergreen course, Howard uses ClickFunnels as his platform. It’s a lead magnet and also works like Thinkific and Udemy for hosting courses.
Now, he also has a new webpage built. He has a company called Howard Dekkers’ School of Success but he changed its website and, currently, he’s marketing www.howarddekkers.com. He also used to direct people to ClickFunnels but now he’s directing them to his webpage. When people click that, they’d be taken into ClickFunnels.
He’s using ClickFunnels because when he was first starting out, he hired a consultant and he paid him a lot of money to build his ClickFunnels account. He shared that he wouldn’t have done it without this portal. As his page on that is already built, it’s good enough for him.
He also reiterated that he’s not doing this to earn. He doesn’t need to earn money because he has millions of dollars working for him, sending him money every month. All he wants to do is to deliver information to his students. He uses Calendly to let his students set an appointment with him.
Howard has a background in public speaking. He used to speak before 1,000 to 3,000 people, teaching them about how to be successful in the multilevel marketing business.
So this is what he first envisioned: He envisioned that he’d be doing these financial freedom seminars and packing a hotel room. He didn’t want to do Zoom, but then he didn’t have a choice because of COVID. Then he started loving it after getting used to it. He loved it except that it became a job. Now, he just does Zoom for support.
Ultimately, an entrepreneur’s dream is to make money doing what they’re passionate about. It’s not even a job but a dream.
In Howard’s case, he isn’t really working and he isn’t struggling with cash flow anymore. And no matter where he is, he has his RV set up with three screens and a couch so he can do everything there.
It’s a lifestyle by design. Though he didn’t design it to be like that, now that he got there, he decided to travel around the US and teach people how to become financially free. He doesn’t want to be bored and he wants to teach what he knows works.
With that, people can have $500,000 in 30 years or $800,000 or even $1.5 million. But if they continue doing nothing — like what Howard used to do in his 20’s and most of his 30’s, spending everything that comes into the household — they’re not going to have anything.
Sharing his wonderfully free entrepreneurial lifestyle in the latest episode of The UnNoticed Entrepreneur podcast, he showed how, one day, you won’t have to work on anything that you don’t want to work on.
This article is based on a transcript from my podcast The UnNoticed Entrepreneur, you can listen here.
Originally published at https://eastwestpr.com on December 20, 2021.