The most challenging part about being a founder is effectively managing my time as the business grows and changes. This constant evolution has required me to hire team members to handle various tasks on my behalf. Finding the right team members hasn’t been easy, but it’s worth it.
As a part of our series called “My Life as a TwentySomething Founder,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Luke Van Der Veer.
An American entrepreneur and the founder of Website Rental Coaching. Luke escaped the corporate world in just six months by generating leads for local businesses using a process called “Rank and Rent” SEO. He has spent the last five years teaching 9–5’ers how to quit their jobs by working online, part-time.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! What is your “backstory”?
I was born in a small city of 20,000 people. Growing up in a well-educated, middle-class family, I took the socially acceptable path of attending college and securing what many people considered a prestigious job at General Electric in the human resources department. I was immersed in a corporate environment that was unlike anything I had seen before. Early on, it was a tremendous learning experience because of the diversity of ideas and depth of knowledge among my colleagues. But soon, I began noticing that many of my coworkers were just waiting for retirement. Half of the team had been at General Electric for more than 20 years, and nearly everyone I spoke to mentioned bucket list items they never had a chance to complete because of work.
Inadvertently, I had joined the corporate “rat race.” The environment that was initially energizing was now draining me mentally and physically. I found myself constantly staring at the clock, waiting for 5:00 PM so I could race home. The idea of working 40+ hours a week for 50 years of my life in hopes of having enough money to retire scared me. I felt and still believe that we should enjoy ourselves while we’re young; we should be free to create our schedules, travel when we please, and spend our time as we see fit.
The realization that I was in control of my future lit my entrepreneurial fire and sent me on a mission to free myself. I tried countless business models like multi-level marketing (MLM), selling on eBay and Amazon, and Facebook advertising, but none of them provided me with both time and money; it was always one or the other. That’s when I heard about “Rank & Rent” lead generation. While working full-time, I spent my lunch breaks and free time building my website rental business. My consistency allowed me to quit my job in just six months. Today, six years later, I’m coaching aspiring entrepreneurs how to use Rank & Rent to create a passive income so they can quit their jobs too.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company? What lessons or takeaways did you take out of that story?
My mother has always believed in the standard career path of working at a full-time job until retirement. Like many people, having a salaried position provides her with a feeling of security. I was always on the opposite side of the spectrum, completely comfortable taking on significant risks to avoid that same career path. When I started my company, I didn’t tell anyone about it, including my mother. I knew she’d worry about what could go wrong if it didn’t work out. So, I quietly worked to build the business during my free time at lunch, at night, or on weekends. It was surprisingly challenging for me to keep it a secret because I wanted to share the news! A few weeks after leaving my job, my mother called me and asked how it was going with the new company. How did she know!? We shared a laugh about my failed attempt to hide my success, and I learned that it’s impossible to hide anything of magnitude from your mother.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Our personal touch is what sets my company apart from the rest. The only aspect of the corporate world that I ever missed was the people. Working for myself from a laptop affords me a flexible, low-stress lifestyle, but there is little personal interaction because I have no boss or coworkers, and my friends and family all have regular jobs. The opportunity to work closely with students and help them build an actual passive income allows me to keep that personal touch and also happens to be very fulfilling.
Morghan is one of many students that has an exciting story. He went to school in Hawaii and currently serves in the United States Air Force. Morghan had purchased numerous courses on lead generation, but he could not get results because none of them offered any coaching or support. Frustrated, he went to the popular industry blogs looking for answers only to receive an abundance of conflicting information and half-baked advice. The crazy part is that despite struggling to build his business for nearly a year, he was only missing a few pieces of the puzzle. After working with me and implementing several advanced strategies and tactics, Morghan reached $6,600 per month in recurring revenue in just 89 days. That milestone allowed him to replace his full-time income from the US Air Force and change from active status to the Reserves. Seeing Morghan’s business journey reminded me of the impact that coaching can make in someone’s life. You don’t know what you don’t know until someone tells you.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I have many people to thank for helping me on my journey, but I’m most grateful to my parents. Throughout my life, they have always pushed me to be better. They instilled a strong work ethic and taught me to give my all when I commit to something. This internal drive that my parents nurtured has kept me going even when facing obstacles that felt insurmountable.
In 2013, I badly dislocated my shoulder in a sports accident. Due to the severity of the injury, I needed surgery. The surgeon told me upfront that I may never get the full range of motion back because of the extensive damage to my shoulder. That news crushed me because all of my hobbies were physical. After the operation, my parents did everything in their power to help me stay positive as I went through a slow and painful rehabilitation process. One year later, my range of motion had been restored to 95%, allowing me to swim, golf, and lift weights. The ability to focus on the positive and keep pushing forward has served me exceptionally well in business, and I have to my parents to thank for that.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Yes, my coaching program has been an exciting and fulfilling experience! I am on a mission to show every employee that they have the power to change their situation. If you don’t enjoy working in an office or reporting to a boss, you can do something about it! It’s your life, and you are in control. No one is born with fantastic business skills; we must learn everything. You don’t need a fancy degree or a ton of money to be successful; you just need to choose a different path and go for it. Take the opportunity to create the life you want right now while there is still time.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Creating a passive income has allowed me to spend far more time with my family and friends than I ever could before. Quality time is essential to us, so I make sure not to miss birthdays, family events, or anything else. Specific to coaching, being able to help someone quit a job they don’t like and take back their time freedom is very rewarding. It feels good to help people win.
Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
There are so many great books, but it’s a quote from Tony Robbins that’s had the most significant impact on my life. If you’ve never heard him speak, I highly recommend doing so. He said, “If you want to be successful, find someone who already is, copy what they do, and you’ll get the same results.” Tony’s speech was about modeling success, and that statement changed everything for me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve applied that in business and my personal life. That quote reminded me that success always leaves clues. It’s one of the reasons I believe so strongly in coaching. Many times, there are people who have already done what you are trying to do. If you want to shorten your path to success, find those people and ask them for help.
Can you share 5 of the most difficult and most rewarding parts of being a “TwentySomething founder”? Please share an example or story for each.
The most challenging part about being a founder is effectively managing my time as the business grows and changes. This constant evolution has required me to hire team members to handle various tasks on my behalf. Finding the right team members hasn’t been easy, but it’s worth it. The benefits of founding my company have far outweighed the challenges. Specific to lead generation, building a passive income has been very rewarding because it has allowed me to travel both the US and Europe and spend as much time with my family as possible. I’m proud to say that I have not missed a single event that I wanted to attend in the past six years. In addition, last Tuesday morning, a friend who I haven’t seen since high school called me out of the blue to go golfing, and I was able to drop everything and go. A “9–5” job or even a regular business would never have allowed for that type of flexibility in my schedule. Another rewarding aspect of the business is seeing people hit their goals and having the opportunity to be a part of that journey. One of my earliest students, Billy, took a new concrete company from 2 employees to 43 employees in just over a year. That rapid progress was life-changing for him, and it feels good to have helped with that.
What are the main takeaways that you would advise a twenty-year-old who is looking to found a business?
- Act because desire isn’t enough.
When I was still working at a 9–5 job, many of my colleagues spent their days complaining about all the things they didn’t like. They complained about waking up early, long hours, stress, the commute, the lack of vacation time, the workload, and more. But the “poor me” attitude doesn’t help you; it feeds complacency. You must be willing to identify a way out of your current situation and then act on it. If you don’t like working from 9 AM to 5 PM every day, find an alternative and give it a real shot. Put in the effort to make a change in your life. You won’t regret it.
- Success is what you make it.
Everyone defines success differently. For some people, it’s tangible, like landing the perfect job or buying their dream home. Others define success as being happy. The truth is that success is what you make it. Figure out what it means to you, and then measure your progress against only yourself. I define success as having complete time freedom and enough money to live comfortably; it may mean something completely different to you.
- There is no perfect time.
It’s easy to come up with excuses to justify not starting something. I’m too old, too young, not experienced enough, I don’t have time, I don’t have money, and so on. If you wait for the perfect moment, you may end up waiting forever because there will never be an ideal time. Decide what you want, then take the first step. It may be the hardest one, but it’s the start of your journey, and it needs to happen if you ever want to reach your goals. For instance, my first step was investing in a $5,000 course on search engine optimization. Hearing the price gave me a pit in my stomach because it was more than my monthly salary. However, I ignored that feeling of fear and purchased the course anyways because money can be replenished, but time cannot.
- Adjust your mindset.
Shifting your mindset from that of an employee to that of a business owner can be challenging. Consider your working hours, for example. You may not have to wake up to a 6:00 AM alarm anymore, but you will have to create a schedule and hold yourself accountable. And, what about decision-making? Previously, your boss gave you direction. Now, you’re making all the decisions, and you have to accept responsibility for your actions or lack thereof. Furthermore, you need to be OK with the fact that you won’t always know the answer. Act fast, keep moving forward, and commit to learning along the way. To accelerate your progress, find a coach that you can lean on for help when you’re stuck.
- Celebrate the small wins.
Results take time, so don’t tie your happiness to a single end goal. Set small, achievable milestones for yourself, and every time you reach one, celebrate those wins. Doing this keeps you motivated and on track to get where you’re trying to go. Additionally, celebrating small successes builds your internal belief, which translates into the future actions you take. It’s like creating a self-fulfilling prophecy to ensure that you reach your ultimate goal.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
I’d love the opportunity to talk to Elon Musk. His relentless drive to grow multiple businesses in vastly different industries is beyond impressive, especially given that Wall Street is constantly betting against him. The Marvel character Tony Stark reminds me of Elon.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
If you’d like to connect on Facebook or ask any questions, you can find me at Facebook.com/Lm13vand/.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!