Hi, Duston McGroarty here, founder of Hill Country Digital Media.
Look, I don’t know what your situation is right now, but I do know why I turned to the internet to make money.
Maybe some of these reasons will resonate with you.
Growing up in Ohio, when I was young, my family didn’t have a lot of money…
That came later.
My dad worked two or three jobs just so we could have everything we needed.
My family’s DNA is engrained with drive, determination, and a strong work ethic.
I’m fortunate to have inherited those traits as well.
My grandpa was a janitor who basically busted his hump to make sure he always put food on the table and provided for his family.
My dad, on the other hand…
He was the first in the family to catch the entrepreneurial bug.
He had his own landscaping business, as well as a furnace repair business.
Later on, he started his own little “backyard nursery” (growing and selling small plants), eventually moving on and teaching people all over the world how to start their own backyard nurseries, just like he did.
With a strong hustle and his drive for constant self-improvement, while trying to make life better for his family, my dad was able to create a thriving business that, thank the universe, continues to this day.
Thanks to him, I was able to see, firsthand, just how life-changing marketing on the internet could be.
Before the internet came along, he promoted his businesses primarily through newspaper ads.
That’s really all there was back then.
If you wanted to reach a large group of people, ponying up for the paper seemed the most practical way to do it.
Problem was, he had no clue what to put in the ad. The newspaper wanted $150 for the ad and at that time, $150 meant he had to use the grocery money.
Out of sheer desperation, he ran the ad you see below:
That $150 ad generated $5,000 worth of landscape jobs.
He had a hunch why this ad might’ve worked so well but wasn’t really sure. He wanted to keep running it but was afraid to change anything.
So he started studying and learning everything he could about direct response marketing.
This is where most people learn stuff about copywriting and advertising, which many associate with big ad agency executive types like on the hit show “Mad Men.”
The best direct response ad people have extreme obsessions with everything involving persuasive writing and selling stuff through the written word.
My dad is the one who turned me on to direct response marketing. It’s the reason you’re reading this letter today.
It’s how I first learned about famed marketing legends like Dan Kennedy and Gary Halbert.
Anyway, as I was growing up and trying to figure out what I was going to do with my own life, I watched as my dad slowly grew the business.
Before he started selling online, I had already moved out of the house, was trying to make a living, and have a family of my own.
Straight outta high school, I jumped into the lumber industry and wasn’t doing too bad as an outside sales rep for a reputable lumber company in Houston, but then 2008 happened.
If you don’t know, that was the start of the infamous “Great Recession” here in the US, which took a massive toll on the American economy and completely wiped out a number of businesses.
The company I worked for at the time had also been impacted (I’m not even sure they’re around anymore).
Fortunately, around that same time, my dad had figured out the whole digital marketing thing.
While other businesses were closing shop, and millions of jobs were being lost, my dad was seeing the most success of his life.
He knew I was a little stressed at the time because the company I was working for was in trouble.
I could see the writing on the wall.
So, he asked if I would consider helping him because his business was booming.
It was 2010, the economy was bad and I knew my job was in jeopardy.
I put in my two-week notice at my job and April 29, 2010, was my last day as an “employee”.
It just made sense to take my dad up on his offer to move back to Ohio and work with him in his online business.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m 100% certain that moving back was the right thing to do.
If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been introduced to digital marketing and you probably wouldn’t be reading this today.
I would probably still be working a 60-hour-per-week job, making $45,000 a year, living paycheck to paycheck.
I’m so happy my dad introduced me to the world of marketing.
But after being in Ohio for a few years, we remembered why we moved to Texas in the first place.
Ohio winters are brutal. Six straight months of cold weather, gray skies, and being stuck indoors for weeks at a time.
It was just too depressing for us.
So, we made it our goal to move back to Texas.
Every summer we would take a 10-14 day family vacation and drive from Ohio to Texas.
We just loved it there! All three of our boys loved it. We knew it was where we wanted to be.
I started doing my own thing online.
I started working closely with local business owners helping them generate leads using what I learned about digital marketing.
I was making money and things were looking good.
In October 2015, Lorelei and I visited Austin, TX for her cousin’s wedding.
This trip was a major turning point in our journey to making it back to Texas.
We fell in love with the Austin area and what’s known as “The Hill Country”. It’s just beautiful.
In 2017, I surprised Lorelei with a trip to an Austin suburb for our anniversary.
We had the entire house, plus 30 acres, to ourselves and it sat on top of the highest hill in the area. It was amazing.
The following summer, in June 2018, we took our annual summer vacation and introduced our three boys to the same Austin suburb.
We stayed in the house next door to where Lorelei and I stayed at the previous summer.
We had a four-bedroom house, in-ground pool, and 10 acres all to ourselves for an entire week. Our boys were in heaven.
As we were pulling out of the driveway on the last day, making our way back home to Ohio, we asked the boys if they had a good time.
Our oldest son quickly replied, “that was the best vacation we’ve ever had!”
Which meant a lot considering, we’ve been to Disney World, Niagara Falls, the Bahamas, and more! We knew we were on the right path.
Two months later, on August 12, 2018, we pulled out of the driveway at our home in Ohio for the last time.
We were on our way back to Texas! It all happened so fast.
When we got back from our vacation in June, we decided to get our house ready to sell.
Lorelei painted the entire house herself.
We had a friend of ours fix up our deck and stain it.
And, I cleaned up the landscape outside.
On June 20, 2018, our house was listed for sale and on July 8, 2018, we accepted an offer.
It’s just crazy how fast everything happened. But it all started with a simple goal.
We just took one step at a time until everything fell in place. Now we’re in what we call our “Happy Place”.
No more depressing winters or months without stepping outside. We’re living our best life in the place we love the most!
It’s all thanks to the freedom digital marketing provides us with. I can only hope one day you too find the freedom you deserve.
Dream big. Take action.