This column won’t be geared towards bourgeoise snotty e-gurus who read this blog searching for ideas and stories to steal and rehash while they incessantly bash blue collar working class people as unprestigious, lower rung and useless to society.
This column will instead be for people who are interested in learning how to very realistically make millions of dollars through blue collar, skilled labor business practices and applied cultural methods.
These business practices and cultural methods have been the holy grail of “open secret to riches” success stories written and narrated by thousands of blue collar working class people in every town and city across America.
This column will be for those who might be inspired by the diligent efforts and the struggle of two working-middle class people who saw the very frightening and ominous handwriting on the wall years ago that the middle class way of life is rapidly dying.
My husband and I are an everyday blue collar middle class couple who went from being broke to becoming millionaires.
In the last 5 years we were able to completely transform our lives and our finances and start making very large amounts of money.
And we are poised to keep growing steadily and exponentially, earning more and more money each year.
Perhaps you as a reader will thoroughly empathize with our story and why it’s becoming evermore crucial and urgent for middle class people to pursue wealth and an entirely new lease on life.
The middle class squeeze offered us no other alternative but to become rich. We have a family to feed and bills to pay like everyone else.
Our situation isn’t unique. In fact, it is very common. Millions of middle class families today are on the brink of poverty with no safety net in place and no hope for the future.
The only difference that separates us from the doom and deterioration of the middle class life we left behind is that we have now succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.
This is my truly unique blue collar middle class rags-to-riches story.
Background on our very average humdrum life
My husband and I met in 2000.
We were introduced through family and friends who knew we would be perfect for each other.
6 weeks later, we went to the local courthouse and for around $200 dollars, we got married in our jeans and t-shirts.
We both came from the same modest, middle income, working class background.
My father was a professional journeyman and master plumber, mason and welder. He topped out at his corporate job at $42.00 an hour (that was back in the 90’s when this was considered very, very good money).
My husband’s father managed a warehouse and a fleet of local delivery vehicles. He topped out at his corporate job at around $60,000 a year before he was forced into retirement exactly as my father was (more on that later).
After a reluctant blind date, we were a match in made in heaven. I absolutely loved that my husband was rugged, macho and blue collar working class like the men in my family.
For years I loved the smell of my husband’s work shirts when he’d come from home from grinding and toiling all day every afternoon.
They smelled like “the shop,” this very distinct and permeating smell of metals, grease and exhaust (unless you’ve been around it and smelled it, you’ll never have the slightest clue what I’m talking about).
We began having children right away and our middle class life quickly began on a very average and typical note.
We never really struggled with money. We just never had enough of it to do anything remotely interesting or fun with two small kids, daycare, diapers, grocery bills and the standard suburban middle class tract home mortgage.
In the first few years we couldn’t afford for me to stay home and I worked in sales at a cosmetics counter at a department store.
Around year 5, my husband finally got promoted and got a substantial raise.
I was now able to stay home and take care of our children and I was a very enthusiastic and contented housewife. I loved cooking, cleaning and driving my kids to school every morning before my grocery shopping and nail appointments.
For 10 years, it was the happiest time of my life with all of us under one roof sharing family time in all the ways I’d always imagined. It was nothing short of a dream come true for me.
My husband continued working for a corporate heavy equipment dealer as a journeyman before he was promoted to sales manager. He stayed with the company for almost 15 years.
By any measure it was a very decent middle class career with benefits, a pension, 9-5 hours and “good pay.”
By year 10, he topped out at $85,000 a year. The company refused to give him a raise 4 years in a row.
They gave him a $2000 holiday bonus every December at their lavish company Christmas party along with a filet and 4-pound lobster dinner assuming that would suffice for getting a pay raise.
This is very commonplace and it is the standard by which most big corporations operate. Meaning, he was lucky to even get a Christmas bonus at all.
This is what these corporate middle class serf farms do to seasoned workers with tenure and seniority who get older and “grow out of the company culture” (aka get paid too much and need to be thrown out in the cold on their rear ends).
First they seek to trim the fat by no longer giving them any pay raises.
Then they swiftly move on to treating them very badly with strategic top-down workplace bullying in order to get them out the door so they can hire younger people who will work for $15.00 an hour.
Getting angry and fed up with my husband’s career going nowhere
By the summer of 2014, and with endless bills mounting, I had enough.
I’d been a housewife for the last 10 years and with each successive year, we were feeling the middle class squeeze getting unbearably tighter and tighter.
My daughter was starting to apply to colleges and I soon became paralyzed trying to think of how we were ever going to be able to afford her tuition, books, dorms and living expenses.
Grocery bills were rising, rents were going up, gas was getting more and more expensive and our healthcare costs were through the roof.
Earlier that year my husband also had invasive back surgery and he had to take a month off. He had to use all of his vacation pay, of course, otherwise we would have been thrown out on the street. His medical bills sat unpaid for months.
The final straw was the moment he came home one afternoon from work and told me he read some interdepartmental emails that stated under no uncertain terms my husband and the senior mechanic weren’t going to get any pay raises ever again.
My husband’s time was up. Like his father and my father, he was being “forced into retirement.”
Having our lives turned upside down
I was enraged.
I was heartbroken and torn apart.
I looked at my husband.
I looked at his strong, thick hands. I grabbed them and placed them in mine.
I looked longingly at the lobes of his ears which always seemed to have those flirty little black smudges of shop grease on them and wondered why he was settling for this.
I said, “They want you gone. They are basically giving you your walking papers.”
“I know. I don’t know what the hell I’m supposed to do about this shit right now.” he turned his back and grumbled.
He stormed into our bedroom and removed his shirt and threw it against the wall.
I picked it up and held it close to me. I smelled it while his back was turned on me not wanting to face me because I was irritating him.
I walked out.
I drove to the store to pick up something to cook for dinner hoping he’d cool down and we could sort it all out.
When I got back he was in the garage rummaging through his tools.
He looked up at me and smiled. He was ready to kiss me.
Then he was ready to talk.
“What are you going to do?” I asked.
“Fuck I don’t know. Keep working.” he said.
I was watching him re-sort each of the tools he dragged out before putting them back into the drawers in the usual perfect, uniformed order.
I hesitated. Then I couldn’t hold back any longer.
“Why can’t you go out and do something exactly like what you’re already doing for them?” I carefully pleaded. “You are already running the entire shop. Why on earth can’t you do what they are doing on your own? You are much smarter than those pathetic fat assholes.”
He looked at me with a soft twinkle in his eye. It was something I’d never seen before in our 15 years of marriage.
His light bulb went off.
It was all over.
Yet it was just the beginning.
We made love twice that night.
And a star was born.
The new business
We immediately began planning our big move to another city 500 miles away where he knew the local market, had some connections and there was a fair amount of affordable commercial real estate in the area available for lease.
When my husband announced he was leaving the company, they didn’t care in the slightest.
They didn’t ask him to stay nor did they even bother to ask him why was he leaving.
After 15 years, my husband’s dutiful and faithful service to his big corporate employer was all for naught.
This is commonplace for the vast number of middle aged men and women across corporate America who are discarded and thrown away to be replaced by newer, naive and inexperienced young people who will work for peanuts.
Luckily for my husband, he knows the heavy equipment industry from top to bottom.
For 15 years he was in charge of ordering, selling and distributing thousands upon thousands of pieces of heavy industrial equipment and replacement parts straight off the factory line.
He kept manuals stacked in our garage at home detailing every single component that can be found in an excavator, dump truck, tractor, earthmover, skid steer and vibratory roller/compactor. The information contained within them is so valuable that the manuals themselves cost $1200 dollars a piece.
He started out selling everything from single tractor keys and small motors to 6-foot, 1,000 lb solid rubber sweeper tires that cost $2000 a piece. The margins on the parts and equipment he sold was anywhere from 50% to 150%.
The information on these components isn’t readily available nor is it even dissectible by any layperson. To locate the right attachment, spring, grease or 1000 lb solid rubber wheel to fit with the correct placement on a very specific piece of equipment requires inexhaustible knowledge.
My husband knew where to find all of these components in “secret places” everywhere across the United States. It was the entire breadth of his business for 15 years.
This put him at a sheer advantage. He could source the equipment wholesale, name his price and dropship most of it direct from the factories.
After the second year when the business became relatively profitable, we started selling a full range of parts and equipment. Engines, buckets, motors, springs, pistons, crazy looking large yellow bolts and other greasy, slippery, heavy items.
It was a boon.
Soon thereafter, he came across a really nice guy on one of our sales trips who wanted to unload some brand new industrial floor scrubbers that are used in warehouses (warehouse owners are required to keep floors swept and clean because of safety hazards) retailing for $15,000 each.
My husband bought 10 of them from him for $2000 a piece and we began cold calling and selling them door-to-door to huge local 1,000,000+ square foot warehouses.
That’s when the real money started pouring in.
We now carry a range of large pieces of equipment, some retailing for a half-million dollars and up. He has also hired a full staff of mechanics, sales reps, skilled journeymen and administrative staff who also know this business from top to bottom.
Springing the business into action
We didn’t have a grand opening, rent a floatie or advertise for local business on Facebook. B2B industry doesn’t operate this way.
Instead, my husband relied on his vast network of thousands of people he has done business with consistently over the last 15 years.
The beauty of it was, every single one of them was thrilled and excited for him for venturing out on his own. And they were all very eager to buy equipment from him and refer him business.
For 15 years, my husband kept his contact list and made very solid, professional business connections with all of his clients–all wealthy people who own small, medium and large-sized businesses. Including some from governmental agencies who decided to contract with him exclusively to source and supply their equipment.
His rolodex wasn’t the average rolodex.
Many of these people are his friends and close colleagues of whom he has known for decades, knowing very intimate details of their lives.
Some of them got cancer and died, some of them had spouses who were killed by drunk drivers and some of them started from the bottom as he did and ended up making millions.
As businesses restructure and people move on, the connections remain.
Last year, a man my husband has known since 2004 offered him a piece of his business after his partner died suddenly and unexpectedly.
He offered my husband 50% of his excavation and demolition company simply on the basis of years of solid and unbreakable trust–that and a very healthy and substantial cash infusion that helped clean up some of his late business partner’s debts he incurred on the company dole.
We are now in the business of selling heavy equipment as well as operating heavy equipment in real-time as a very viable and extremely lucrative blue collar enterprise.
The trusted blue collar ecosystem
Every pipe, tubing, wheel, piston, bucket, bucket tooth, roller, motor and motor mount as well as all of their accompanying grease and fluid are all produced by hundreds of obscure manufacturers everywhere across Middle America.
These individual components constantly have to be replaced from all the tremendous wear and tear on all this extraordinarily heavy machinery operating in exceedingly harsh conditions.
The need for these high grade and extremely expensive materials, parts and components is inexhaustible. They constantly have to be restructured, renewed and replaced nonstop every single day of the year.
The huge demand and perpetual need for fully functioning heavy equipment will never cease.
And it’s the blue collar folks who make it all happen.
People in the blue collar industry love what they do. They take immense pride in helping people build schools, churches, homes and other structures people depend on for shelter, work and everyday living.
All of the people I deal with in this industry are “salt of the earth” people as they are commonly referred to by many people who are familiar with blue collar culture.
Our doors are always open and we are one big interconnected family. And our one universal commonality is that we strive to make an honest living and to do business the right way so we can continue to work and feed our families.
And we all support one another in this great mission to be of service to scores of blue collar working people everywhere who rely on our skilled expertise.
Perhaps the real beauty about the blue collar industry is that we are never competing for business. There’s so much business to go around we are always referring business among each other because we know our trusted clients will always be very well taken care of across the pond.
We never lose money. Because we all help each other make money.
When we first opened our doors, my husband couldn’t afford to pay me.
I answered the phone, made cold calls, sold scrubbers, ran errands, swept the warehouse and did all the boring old filing.
5 years later, he has given me a decent sum of money to help me open my own local posh baby clothing boutique specializing in 0-mos to 2T.
I’ve been buying and selling baby clothing for years. Now I can begin scaling it into something big while partnering with suppliers who wholesale beautiful baby clothes made locally.
Blue collar work is recession proof, is secure, has a low entry point, and virtually zero market saturation
People like to bash blue collar work as for being for dumb people, unskilled people and underprivileged people.
I would argue that private blue collar businesses bring in vastly more profit than many other businesses.
Farms, grain mills and scrapyards bring in hundreds of millions of dollars every year.
Who owns and founds most of these companies? Industry trade blue collar professionals.
The only real barrier to entry there is in blue collar work is that you have to know what the hell you’re doing and what the hell you’re talking about.
There is absolutely zero bullshitting among blue collar skilled workers. You either know the job or you’re an embarrassing idiot.
Blue collar men are very macho, no-nonsense, ball-busting, genuine tough guys who have no qualms telling people to go eff themselves when the need arises.
This can be very off-putting to the modern legion of weirdos and dorks who are used to getting bottle-fed Starbucks and cry endlessly on the internet about not being able to get laid.
Our blue collar men are true blue men. They are smart, skilled, well-read and know their their way around machinery the average Joe Weirdo wouldn’t know how to operate if his life depended on it.
There is a massive skilled labor shortage across America and these jobs are in huge demand.
They pay very well and they are recession proof.
And despite what people think, you can’t be any old idiot off the street to even begin to perform this kind of work.
It’s difficult to fix an air conditioner, a toilet, and a motor. If it wasn’t, the dorks who bash the work of masterful blue collar artisans would be able to fix their own toilets and wouldn’t have to pay a plumber $200 an hour to get the job done.
Blue collar workers are 100% indispensable to society.
And if we are to be really honest about it, it’s solely because of blue collar workers that white collar workers and everyone else in between can even begin to live and exist in the modern world.
This is our unique blue collar middle class “riches and success” story. And the rest is history.
You may be wondering what my role was in all of this.
For starters, I stood behind my husband 100% from start to finish, encouraging him, believing in him, and working day and night right by his side.
I helped breathe the grandest vision I ever had for him deep into his soul and into his mind, and ultimately into the sweat of his own brow. He built this, no doubt. But we built it side by side, hand-in-hand, together.
Besides, in modern society, “women get half.” And believe me, I’ll always be very proud to enjoy half of everything my husband and I share and cherish every day of our lives together.
This column was inspired by a brilliant young man named Robert over at 30 Days to X. I’ve been reading his riveting and exceptional work since 2013. I suggest you head on over there for some real knowledge, depth and genius on how to become an entrepreneur.