About Me

Stephen Groner image

How It All Began

I was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee during a time that for me was for sure a lot simpler than it is today. It was a neat town steeped in Civil War history and surrounded by Lookout, Elder, and Signal Mountains on one side and Missionary Ridge on the other. So, it was in a nice middle-class neighborhood on the side of Missionary Ridge where I grew up. 

Me and my my Dad

I was fortunate to have had two wonderful parents, and my childhood was fairly stable. Mom was a full-time homemaker and Dad worked long hours for himself as a Realtor. He was a good provider but he was always working. 

Getting My Marching Orders

Growing up, I did all the normal things young boys do. I rode my bike with friends all over the place. We built forts, and treehouses, played sports, went fishing and hunting, and chased and tormented the girls. I also got into my fair share of trouble for all the mischief I helped cause in both the neighborhood and at school. 

For 13 years I was an only child, then my brother came along. What a surprise that was for me! It seemed almost simultaneous that my parents decided they wanted me to have the benefits of going to a private school. The one they picked was a military school 3 hours away.

me at military school

They sent in my application and I was accepted to Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, Tennessee. Several of my good friends were also going there. It was almost like our parents collaborated.

Castle Heights was a great school and was great for me and matured me quickly. Doing well in both the academic and military curricula. I also played varsity soccer, and tennis, and ran track and cross country. I graduated one of the highest ranking with honors in the top 10% of my class. 

Moving Along

By and large, after boarding school, I never really lived at home again for any long periods of time. My summers were mostly spent in Florida with a couple of friends from school who lived there. I grew more and more to love Florida. 

After graduation, I started looking at different colleges in Florida. But. it was for all the wrong reasons that I decided on the University of Miami. After all, it was ranked the #1 party school that year, and Miami had lots of sun and beaches. What better reason, right?

I arrived on the scene in Miami and after 4 years in military school ready to let loose and have fun. That’s exactly what I did, missing more classes that year than I attended. Markedly pissed off, my parents quickly cut the purse strings and didn’t pay for a second year.

So, I got a job and then with a friend, rented a house in Coconut Grove. Meanwhile, for the next two years, I worked and enjoyed life in South Florida. The only problem was my life wasn’t going anywhere. 

My Move Back Home To The Real World

After 3 years in Miami, I returned to Chattanooga. Dad wanted me to work with him in his real estate business. It sounded good but didn’t work from the get-go. Besides, we were like oil and water and just couldn’t work together. 

So, I applied for an open sales position at a local wholesale liquor & wine distributor and got the job. I spent the next 5 years selling liquor and wine to retail stores, bars, and restaurants. I also helped them merchandise my brands to increase sales. 

It was a fun job that paid okay. Also, it even involved some after-hours entertaining of different reps on the company dime. After all, that was right up my alley. But, toward the end, all the late nights and alcohol were wearing on me. 

Changing My Career Path

One day I ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in years. He was visiting home but now lived in Knoxville. There he was doing very well as a Sales Manager at a Nissan dealership. He convinced me I should sell cars and offered me a job. Ready for a change, I accepted. 

Getting into the car business was one of the best decisions I ever made. I really loved the car business and it seemed to love me. In less than a year, I was in management and never looked back. 

One thing consistent about the car business though is constant change. A new GM took over the store and fired the guy who hired me. He replaced him with a guy named Gary he had worked with in Florida. Gary and I became good friends.

Back To Where My Heart Was

A year later the Florida dealer Gary had previously worked for convinced him to come back. We stayed in touch. Two months later he called to tell me of another manager position in the same store if I wanted it. I didn’t hesitate and it was back to Florida. 

welcome to Flroida

My new boss owned 9 dealerships and for the next 14 years, I worked in various management positions across 7 different franchises. It was financially very rewarding but I never had any personal time to enjoy it. Success in a car dealership comes with long hours and a lot of stress.

my car lot

To escape the stress and long hours I decided to open my own small used car lot. I found a place for business and open up. Things went great for the first couple of years. I was working fewer hours, and making money and it was all mine. Then the unexpected happened. 

It was 2008 and the economy took a nosedive. Car dealers big and small, franchised and independent, took a major hit. My business was no exception. My local community was also hit hard. Composed mostly of blue-collar and construction workers, many lost their jobs. Those were my customers.

Instead of cutting my losses and closing the doors when I should have, I let my pride in prior success in the industry get in the way. I thought if I could just keep things afloat for a while longer the economy would turn around and everything would be ok. 

 Busted And Near Broke

For the next two years, I blew through all the money I had made including my savings. I “robbed Peter to pay Paul” and lived on and maxed out all my credit cards. I even took out a second mortgage on my home. What happened next wasn’t pretty!  I lost my ass!

Not wanting to go back to work in another pressure cooker car dealership I looked for other options. For years I was attracted to how many people were making money working from home using the Internet. I continued to research.

A New Wild West

I quickly found a world of “Internet Mentors” more ruthless than the worst Used Car Salesmen. They were all pushing different MLM programs, Attraction Marketing, and other deals that were going to “make you rich overnight.” I knew that was all too good to be true.

Still, I ended up buying into several deals I thought were legit, only to get burned. Each time I lost my money. Finally, to pay the bills I went back to what I knew, the car business. 

I continued to learn all I could about the legit ways of making money online. Also, I learned about blogging, affiliate marketing, eCommerce, and how to build websites. I researched all I could to learn. 

Next, I spent another 10 years in the car business earning back some of the money I previously lost. I rebuilt my credit, bought a new home, and paid off all my credit cards. My goal was still to get out.

The Motivation I Needed

Very unexpectedly, corporate politics brought my job to an end. Faced again with what to do to earn a living. I took what I had been learning, put it to use, and jumped in 100%. What had been my dream has now become reality and it keeps getting better every day. Don’t you wait!