Transcript: Thanks, Allan. Hi, this is David Brower. And our special guest today is the Nathan Walker, a self-made millionaire, entrepreneur, direct sales expert, and business owner with over 15 years of direct sales experience and business building. He’s changed the lives of many with his ability to level up your life, regardless of the industry. He’s professionally affiliated with Brad Lee, Grant Cardone, and many others. He trains, he educates sales teams, and if he’s about one thing, it’s direct sales.
At the young age of 33, he’s built a few million-dollar companies, all based around one thing, and that, my friends, is selling. So, 33 minus 15. You started when you were 18, dude.
Nathan Walker: I did, man. In fact, I started off … I was following around my uncle even prior to that, who was a direct sales guy. So, it’s kind of been in my blood since I was just a young, young guy.
David Brower: Good for you. Good for you. Where are you at? Where am I talking to you from?
Nathan Walker: Sure, yeah. Right now, I’m sitting in, we’re at our main office here in Valparaiso, Indiana. Which is, we’re like the northwest corner, so we kind of claim Chicago when we’re far away, because a lot of people don’t know where we’re from. But-
David Brower: I have ridden my Harley through Valparaiso.
Nathan Walker: Have you?
David Brower: Yeah, because I have a longtime dear friend that lives there. In fact, she works at WGN, but she lives in Valparaiso.
Nathan Walker: No way. How cool.
David Brower: Yeah. I’ve been to your backdoor.
Nathan Walker: Very cool.
David Brower: Absolutely. Right. So, Nathan, you got started at a young age, you’re a good follower, you’re a good listener, and you just knew at an early age this is where you wanted to go?
Nathan Walker: Yeah. You know, it’s kind of crazy. I would say that I didn’t know at an early age that this is what I wanted to do for my entire life. I’ll tell you what I did know though. I grew up in kind of a strange environment. My parents, great, wonderful people. Still married to this day. I’m very, very close with them. But I grew up in a very small home. I shared a bedroom with my brother until I was 15 years old. About 800 square feet for the four of us in this tiny little house. I listened to my parents struggle my whole life. I watched them have arguments about money. From a very young age, I saw the stress that not having enough money put on the family. And not to by any means say that I had a bad childhood, but it was something at a young age I recognized.
So, what I did know at a young age is that I needed to be able to provide enough financial support for myself, my wife, and any kids that I had, so that I could worry about all the other things that life would bring without having the stress of not having enough money there to add to it. So that kind of left me with two choices. I could go to college and be a … I could be a doctor, or a lawyer, or something with a really high-paying salary. Which, I wasn’t good at school, so that was kind of ruled out.
David Brower: Totally get that, yep.
Nathan Walker: Yeah. I could be an athlete, which, I wasn’t really good at any sports, so that was ruled out. And it basically left my only other option to be, you know, I needed to get into sales. I needed to go and use my abilities, and my God-given talents, I guess, to create my own income. And so that’s kind of how it happened to be honest with you.
David Brower: That’s awesome, man. Then, when you made that decision, did you start working for other people? Did you start training? Did you start selling on your own right away? Where did you hit the bumps, and valleys, and hills, and all those good things?
Nathan Walker: Sure. Well, I’ll tell you that the day I started in sales came with a bunch of valleys and a bunch of bumps, as you call it. I was enrolled in college. My parents were really adamant about me … In their minds, if I wanted to have the things in life that they didn’t have, the only way to do that would be to go to college, get a good job with a 401k and insurance and all of that stuff. So, I had gone through all of the process of getting accepted to a school. It was actually IU, but it was their local branch here. So, I was going to live at home, go to college, and try to get a degree in business.
So, my very first day, the day I graduated high school, my uncle called me from Michigan and he says, “Hey, I want you to come, and I want to teach you how to sell.” And I had already known what he did. He was a direct salesman selling fire protection door-to-door, pretty much. I said, “Okay, I’ll ride along with you. I’ll listen.” And that kind of started it.
About three months into my college career, I dropped out of college. I didn’t tell my parents, because I knew how mad they’d be. But I dropped out of college, and I went full-time selling for my uncle. That’s how it started.
David Brower: No coincidence, right?
Nathan Walker: Yeah, not really. And you know what’s crazy is he didn’t have any systems in place. There was no training. It was basically, “Look, here’s our product. Here’s what we do. You’ve got to go knock doors, and somehow find a way to get in the door. But if you do, you could make 30% commission.” So, I found that I could go work a day and make $800, $900. So right out of high school I was having $800 days, which changed my life. It made it nearly impossible for me to, A, ever go work for anybody. And B, definitely never again to go to college after that.
David Brower: So, when did you break the news to your folks?
Nathan Walker: Wow. It’s kind of crazy. I still remember the day. I was actually in their driveway. I had a couple of buddies in the driveway. It was a summer day. We were just messing around. And the mail came, and my mom still thought I was going to college at the time. And the mail came, and she opened up a letter from the university that said … it was in my name, and she opened it, because I was, you know, whatever.
David Brower: Sure.
Nathan Walker: She opens it, and it was WF, withdraw failure, withdraw failure, withdraw failure in all my classes, and she started crying, because I hadn’t told her because I knew she’d be upset. Crazy day, man. It was a rough one. But I’ll tell you right now, they’re not so upset anymore. It was a good decision in the long run.
David Brower: How fun. I mean, it’s tragic on one hand, it’s a blessing on the other, and today they’re smiling ear to ear and so proud of what you’ve done I’m sure.
Nathan Walker: Yeah, they are. They’re very supportive. And I don’t blame them. Looking back, I don’t blame them for the way that they were brought, and the life that they had. It was to be expected. But we’re good now, that’s for sure.
David Brower: Nice. Well, that’s just it. That’s all we know, is how we’ve been raised. And we all as parents want whatever better means to us for our kids. So, their intentions were certainly spot on, and I’m sure you’re sharing some things with your kids. You’re married and have some kids, right? How fun. Now, your wife, she partners with you in this, doesn’t she?
Nathan Walker: You know, my wife, she helped me launch our main company, the company that really kind of turned us from making good money to really having wealth, and really being able to help a lot of other people. She helped us launch that company. To be honest, we don’t really work that much together. We both share the same dreams, but she kind of does her own thing in her own company, and I run these companies. We helped get things going, but the reality is, we like to be buddies, and best friends, and husband and wife, not business partners. That didn’t work as great.
David Brower: Yeah, for sure. It doesn’t work for a lot of people. And to be able to respect and honor each other that way to, “Hey, go do your thing. I’m going to go do my thing. I’ll see you for dinner.”
Nathan Walker: Yeah, exactly.
David Brower: That’s good living there, man. That’s good living. So, in a short period of time you built a few, not just one, you built a few multimillion dollar companies, and all about sales. So, does that mean they were sales companies? They were manufacturing companies? What were they, and how did you get rolling in those?
Nathan Walker: Sure. So, the first real company that I started to make serious money with was the business that I started off in selling fire protection. I ended up opening an office, a branch of that, which would be a division of my uncle’s company. That company we grew to about a $1.5 million, getting close to $2 million a year in gross sales pretty quickly. So that was in my early to mid 20s we were running that business.
Then, from there, really what’s kind of interesting is that … Here’s what I learned. I learned that if I had some processes and some systems in place to where I could teach somebody without any experience in sales how to follow a system to get from intro to close without getting hardly any objections if possible, if I could figure out a way to do that, then number one, I could recruit as many people as I needed to, as long as they were willing to follow the system and learn. And if I had products that I could get exclusivity on that had good margins, that the market was demanding, that I could open up, really, as many companies as I wanted and continue to just grow businesses like that.
What was interesting is, really in 2008 the business had started to do well. 2013, we were cranking. Everything was going great. And I started to get bored. And I started to look for other industries that I could go and take these same sales models and these same structures that we had and find other products that we could sell door-to-door, or basically sell to a consumer in their living room or their kitchen and be able to create teams.
And so I found a company called Yellowblue. Yellowblue Eco Tech is a manufacturer and distributor of energy saving products for the home. So, there’s different types of insulations, solar-powered attic ventilation, a whole number of products that they offered that you could buy and be exclusive through them, and they had a dealer network. So, I basically went into that business, and we quickly took, just from scratch, we took the same system, the same sales processes that we had been training our guys to use for years and applied them to that industry. In the first year, we did $1 million in sales. The second, we did $3.3. The third, we did about $7. Last year, we did about $15 million collaboratively. And we’ll peak over $20 million this year.
What’s interesting, is what I’ve done with that is I’ll take it, I’ll build up a business, I’ll get it to $1 million, $1.5 million business, $2 million a year business, and then I’ll sell it to one of the employees. So, we basically have offices all over the country that I helped start up, and now I’ve got people that own those that are having opportunities to make mid six figures. Some of them could make $1 million this year. But yeah. I mean, that’s basically what it is.
The products that we use now in that company are great products. And since then, I sit on the board, and I’m an owner of the manufacturer as well, that Yellowblue Eco Tech company. So, it kind of gives me some control of the product line, and I kind of have a little bit of a hand in both sides of it.
David Brower: Wow, how fun. And how beneficial to others. I mean, I guess at the end of the day you’ve got to show up, you’ve got to start at the beginning, you’ve got to go to the end, you’ve got to be committed 100%. And then, look out, here comes the success. Right?
Nathan Walker: It’s crazy. That’s exactly right. We actually took the same model, the same training, we created some training processes that we made on a digital training platform several years ago, and we did the same thing with a company I own called Grid Elements. We basically flip houses. We do the same thing. We take people with no experience, we acquire properties, we teach them how to acquire funding from private people, we put crews of contractors together, and we’ll probably flip 25 houses this year with that company, which is a pretty nice little business; that we’ve created a lot of opportunity for new salespeople, and the contractors involved. Plus, we’re providing good homes that are remodeled for a lot of first-time home buyers and things like that.
Then, really, the thing that we’re probably the most passionate about now is the Level Up Group. We really started to take these systems … I partnered up with Brad Lee with LightSpeed, and we took all these training systems and these processes that we’ve done, and we’ve made them on a virtual training platform that really anybody can use, regardless of the industry they’re in, to kind of apply these same things that we’ve been doing to their business and have the same access that we did.
David Brower: You’re no longer bored, I understand, right?
Nathan Walker: Yeah. That’s for sure.
David Brower: So, if somebody has a business and they hear you talking, they watch you, they see how successful you are, and they go, “Well, I want to check out this Level Up thing.” So, they can get with you, and your processes will undoubtedly help them turn their business around in ways they couldn’t even imagine.
Nathan Walker: Yeah. What’s really great about it is that, I mean, first of all, we do a podcast. You can follow me on Facebook.com/TheNathanWalker, so T-H-E Nathan Walker. You can follow me on Instagram, The_NathanWalker, and you can kind of see what we do. But really, the big turning point has been this. I partnered up with Brad Lee and LightSpeed. We made these interactive online training platforms that business owners, salespeople, really no matter where you’re at in your life you can have access to these processes, the step-by-step ways to get through a sales call without getting objections, and really not having any stress by following a process. It’s all on a training platform now.
It’s the stuff that we’ve been using for years. We just partnered with the best in virtual training to make it something that’s available for the public to have. So yeah, it’s pretty cool, man. If you follow my pages, you’ll see it. We talk about it all the time. It’s pretty cool stuff.
David Brower: And your Facebook page, I noticed you’re … You probably out-friended yourself years ago. But you’ve got a ton of really great videos on there, people really checking them out and paying attention to you, right?
Nathan Walker: Yeah, it’s pretty cool. I mean, I’m really active on social media. I try to share my life as much as possible. I do a lot of live videos. I do a lot of sales meetings with people. So, for instance, a lot of network marketing companies, you know, [Girls In 00:14:10], whatever, these different companies, Unique, [Lipson 00:14:13], Beachbody, all these companies, there’s a lot of them out there. They started to kind of follow me, and they’ll have me come on and do live sales trainings in their groups. It’s just a free thing I do just to kind of expand my network. But it’s kind of fun. I can go on and share some of the things I’ve learned. In return, we’ll get some new followers on the page.
Even though the companies do really well, and we’ve had a lot of success, we still do grassroots, on the ground, everyday grinding, kind of living like we’re broke every day kind of attitude here in the office.
David Brower: Well, and you’re paying it forward every day too, which, not everybody is able to commit to doing that day in and day out. You know? I think that’s a huge piece of what you do. And it not only helps you and your family but helps everybody you touch along the way. That’s pretty cool.
Nathan Walker: You know what? It is. And I appreciate that. Here’s the way I see it, and what’s really kind of motivated me to start doing things like this. If I had access to things that I have now when I started selling 15 years ago, I would have been a millionaire when I was 21 years old. But we live in a world that, you know, the United States of America, we have the opportunity to go out, and if we put the effort in, and we put the training in, and we’re willing to spend a little money on ourselves, we can go out and make as much money as we want in sales. There’s more millionaires that work for people than self-employed. The reality is, is that there’s ton of opportunity out there.
So, I feel like there’s a lot of people out there that want things out of life, that want more than what they have. So, if I could provide any kind of content, any kind of training, if there’s any part of what I’ve done that I can share with someone to help them have that same opportunity, I feel obligated to do that.
David Brower: And exponentially, it just grows, and grows, and grows. You know, you touch one person, they touch 10, they touch 100. It flourishes, it sounds like, just because of the systems, the consistency, and people just have to show up, and commit, and invest in themselves, of course.
Nathan Walker: Exactly right.
David Brower: So, let’s talk about the virtual training. How can people reach out to you, reach out to the Level Up VT, and start learning how these systems work?
Nathan Walker: If you go to my page and start following me, I share a lot of it on there. You’ll be able to see some of the content that’s on there. But you can also go to LevelUpVT.com. So, it’s just like it sounds, LevelUpVT.com. There, you can kind of see an overview of it.
It’s really cool. Here’s what you get. When you become a member of it, or when you decide to purchase it, you obviously have unlimited access to all of the content on the site. There’s tons, and tons of videos, everything from the steps to the sale, how to run a successful business. I basically opened up the book and opened up everything that we’ve done, all of the systems, all of these proprietary things that we have here that have helped me create these companies at a young age without any money or credit when I started. We’ve opened these up to allow people to be able … if they train on it and apply it, they can go and do the same thing.
Along with that, there’s tons of videos just on staying motivated, dealing with unsupportive spouses, everything that you can think of that you can encounter being in sales or in business. I’ve taken all the things that have helped me, and we’ve made content on it, put videos out on it, so that people can have access to it. Members also have access to a weekly Zoom with me where we work through sales strategies, problems, overcoming objections, walking through strategies, things like that. We’ll do live sales meetings with people, depending on the size of their group and stuff like that.
It’s just a cool thing. There’s kind of a little bit of a culture behind it. It’s for people that are serious about getting better.
David Brower: There you go.
Nathan Walker: It’s not for the guy that just wants to listen to something and then magically change. It’s for people who are really willing to commit to leveling up their game. If you want to make a bunch of money, if you want to be the top in your industry, if you want to be a millionaire. Maybe you don’t want to be a millionaire, you just want to make $80,000 a year and live comfortably, you have to put in the work. You know? And that’s just the bottom line.
David Brower: Absolutely.
Nathan Walker: I’ve had the pleasure of listening and meeting a lot of people. One of the things that you’ll hear about these pro athletes, you know, Michael Jordan, he never once practiced the slam dunk that you see where his tongue’s out, and he’s jumping from the … He never practiced that. You know what he practiced? He practiced dribbling, he practiced passing, he practiced basic shots. It was the fundamentals that he practiced and drilled on every single day, in some cases two to three times a day, for his entire life. And what happens is, when you get really good at those fundamentals and they just become part of your nature, you can do those crazy jumps, slam dunks with your tongue out kind of thing. And that’s what sales guys … the guys that work with me, we drill on fundamentals, we drill on systems. We make it part of our DNA. Then what happens is, when you get really good at that stuff you can do great things, and you can do those big, big business moves. So that’s what you get for being a part of the Level Up VT.
David Brower: Nathan, this has been a treat, man. This has been a lightning fast 20 minutes.
Nathan Walker: It sure has.
David Brower: I’ve really enjoyed talking with you. Congratulations to you, and your family, and your partners on everything that’s growing. And I hope people will check you out. LevelUpVT.com, and of course on Facebook, TheNathanWalker, and Instagram. You can find Nathan anywhere. Just get hooked up, folks. It’ll be worth your time if you’re willing to be committed.
Allan Blackwell: Your 20-minute podcast with David Brower has been brought to you by Audible. You can listen to any of David’s podcasts anywhere podcasts can be found, including iHeartRadio, the Spotify mobile app, and at DavidBrowerVO.com/Your20MinutePodcast. Until next time, thanks for listening.