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Sam Taggart 00:38
Hi everybody. This is Sam Taggart with Graham Dessert, or desert desert, we’re switching it to desert now I’ve literally just switched my name. I mean, spelled like desert. So it’s like, let’s own that just depends on where we are in life. In my opinion, are we in a desert? We just wanting desert? And anyway, so Graham Graham has been on the podcast before. And what was that? 2018? It was about a little over two years ago. You’re one of my very first roofers. Yeah. So I remember meeting Graham, if you’re listening to this. Graham literally is like the first roofer to come to door to door con number one. How did you even hear about like, we didn’t even know what roofing was when we first did this.

Graham Dessert 01:20
Yeah, so I made a commitment to go to a conference that had nothing to do with roofing. So I was just looking. And I just google searched, you know, conferences, door to door con showed up and somebody else recommended it. And so I decided to go I’ve walked in the door. And it’s like, you know, door knockers everywhere. And I was like, Yes, this is, this is my home. Love it. Yeah. So

Sam Taggart 01:43
you’ve got to see James Lawrence, the iron cowboy. And since then you’ve probably done some stuff. Haven’t you kind of like been in that circle of ultra hard running stuff?

Graham Dessert 01:55
Yeah. So I knew James Lawrence and I both I first met him in Greece. That’s where I met him in person, but he’s actually my trainer. So I hired him as an endurance trainer, preparing for an event. And the event was Sparta 300 where we actually ran from Sparta in Greece to through mapa in Greece, same trail that kingly Unitas and the 300 Spartans went, you know, James and I about 18 other people ran the same trail.

Sam Taggart 02:23
That is so cool. So guys, it’s not a Spartan Race where it’s like, you know, quick little 10 miles or whatever that’s part of it is I ran the Spartan like, trail, like, forever long. 235 miles. That is so freaking legit. Isn’t that what David Goggins just ran a 240 mile race?

Graham Dessert 02:43
He did. Yeah, the Moab whatever. I forgot what they call it, the Moab something. It was 240 miles. He finished, I think, in 60 to 62 hours, which are calculated it’s about running a 15 minute mile pace for 62 hour stream.

Sam Taggart 02:59
That is believable. Yeah. So you’re in that world of doing hard things tomorrow. You have a race. You’ve done you did a Murph a day for Are you still in that right still in it? Yeah, I’m I’m gay. 244 I believe a Murphy for 200. And haven’t missed a day. haven’t missed a day. So cool. So if you guys don’t know what a Murph is, what’s it? Yeah,

Graham Dessert 03:22
What’s the Merc so I’ll explain it. So in the CrossFit world, it’s, it’s what they call a Hero Squad. And so a hero what is to, you know, honor a fallen soldier or, you know, first responder. And so, Jen, it’s in honor of Lieutenant Michael Murphy, they made the movie lone survivor, about about him. And we tend to Michael Murphy was the one that went to the top of the mountain to get the phone signal to call and help. And then, you know, immediately, you know, was shot and killed. And so they, they came up with this workout. It’s something that Michael Murphy did a lot of, and so now in the CrossFit world, they do it, you know, every day on Memorial Day to you know, honor, you know, fallen soldiers and whatnot. So, the idea of doing this every day actually came from my business partner, Steven winter road, he actually was inspired by David Goggins. So he went to David Goggins event at an NFL event. So, at that event, he had one on one time with David. Steven said, Hey, I want to do something. And he mentioned it, and David was like, Well, if you do that, I’ll follow it. And so from that point, Steven told me about it. I didn’t think he was serious. I didn’t think he’d follow through and, and this is back in the fall. And then so fast forward a few months. I just decided to do it. And, and started in February, and then Stephen, then decided to do it and started on Memorial Day. And so we’ve been doing it together since and we’re raising money for the Special Operations warrior foundation.

Sam Taggart 04:50
That’s awesome. That is so cool. So an incredible, just consistent athlete, and, you know, it’s inspiring to Do hard things. And I think that’s like, the main mission of bringing David Goggins to DDD con is it’s like, you know, somebody posted in the DDD tribe, and they’re like, if David, if David knock doors, he’d run circles around us. Straight from intensity, like, I really think he would like. And so, you know, like, obviously, that we pick our speakers and kind of the messages and the threads around what we feel like, is going to, obviously help our tribe So, so back to you. So like, you got into door to door when you were in college, right through?

Graham Dessert 05:34
Yeah, I think it was actually think was in high school, I, you know, I painted houses in high school and early college, and, you know, knock doors to get jobs, you know, so, officially, that’s when it started. Yeah, so I was probably 1920.

Sam Taggart 05:50
That’s awesome. And you went through the college pro world, and then a lot of people don’t know, that’s like its own oral, the painting, the college pro painting. Tell us a little bit about that. And then

Graham Dessert 06:02
so essentially, what it is, is it’s a program that is put together to actually teach college students how to run your own business and through painting, you know, so that that’s what the program is. And, you know, when I was at age, I was looking for something exactly like that. Because I ended up what how I started was, I, you know, quit a job, went out and started my business quit at noon and started my business and started knocking doors at one o’clock, you know, and so that’s, that’s how I started. I did that for a full season. And then after the season was over, I was like, man, I want to grow, but I just don’t know how to do it. How do I do this? And so, you know, the, the thing where I just went on the search, and then I found this company that actually teaches you how to start your own business as a college student. And I was like, Man, this is awesome. This is exactly what I need. And so as a 21 year old, you know, I ran I ran a business had 12 employees, and was, you know, one of the top 25 franchises in the country at 22 and 30 some odd employees and was the top franchise in the country. So that was like, the progression. But that’s, if I didn’t ask the question, or if that organization didn’t exist, who would have taught me how to run a business? Yeah,

Sam Taggart 07:13
the framework of finding what it’s given me. And so I think that that kind of leads me to this next principle of you kind of had this like entrepreneurship in a box at a young age. That’s then now slingshotted, your roofing and solar and your business today roofing one on one? And no, it’s interesting, though, recently, you started a new initiative leaders next door, right? So tell us kind of about that. And then kind of where that stemmed from and, and talk to us because this is what really inspired me. So this podcast is all about kind of that young entrepreneurship. development. So talk to us about that.

Graham Dessert 07:51
Yeah. So essentially, what the program is, is it teaches, you know, pre teenagers, seven, seven year olds, a 14, that age range, how to make money in their neighborhood. So we’ll just keep that short. how that happened, was, you know, Coronavirus, came, you know, economic shutdowns came schools got shut down. And we’re in our house for like weeks, right? So my kids are on doing online school, and they’re getting done in like an hour to two hours. And so instead of laying around on the couch, watching movies, chillin playing video games, like just whatever they might do, you know, which we did, like, you know, we did that for the first couple of weeks. And then after that, I was like, man, something’s got to change. Like, I don’t want like this to be the habit that my kids grew up in, you know, this is not our new world, you know, so then I was like, Man, what can we do? So I was like, well, let’s go out and figure out a way to make money. So I took them out. And I got the idea of washing cars, because my car was like, super dirty. And I’m like, we need to wash cars. So I actually took, took my boys out, taught them how to wash my car, wrote down made a checklist, like of all the points that they need to follow. And I’m sitting there thinking to myself, if I’m gonna, if this is going to be repeatable, like you got, you have to create a system for them to follow, right? And so we did that. took them out, we knock doors and got some appointments set up, and they went out and wash cars, and they made 90 bucks the first day. So then it was like, how old are these guys? So, Dean is 11. He was 11 at the time, and Isaac was 14 at the time. Okay. Yeah, so 11 and 14.

Sam Taggart 09:34
Yeah, so they go out make 90 bucks, no other 11

Graham Dessert 09:37
Yeah, yeah, in one day, and I’m like, you know what, there’s, there’s something here. I want to teach them how to repeat this over and over.

Sam Taggart 09:45
So one of the big initiatives with the door to door association is to make that grind hustle door knocking sales really a key indicator like a key thing in colleges and high schools because I think it’s something that, you know, had a lot of people been instilling this whole work ethic instead of sit and play video games during COVID. You know, it could have been a good lesson learn for the people that wanted to get ahead in life, you know. And a lot of people took it as a super long vacation and grabbed a motorhome and cruise around the country. And that’s great. But some people were like, let’s capitalize people are home. I gotta, I gotta homeschool my kids a little bit more. I’m home, you know what I mean? People are stuck. But it created innovation. So obviously inspired what you’re doing

Graham Dessert 10:31
now? Absolutely. And so my number one concern was it’s, it’s, it’s the goldfish theory, right? You go fish theory is when you’re, when you’re in a, you take a goldfish in a bowl, and it just swims around in circles, right? So it creates like that pattern then. And so then when you take the goldfish out of the jar, or whatever, and you put it into a pond, is still swims in that little tight circle, and doesn’t know that it’s a great big pump. So that’s the mentality that I was concerned about, and that I didn’t want my own children to fall into. So then that’s where the program came in. And then I was like, well, it’s an opportunity actually, to go a little bit deeper. You know, yes, I can teach him how to make money and be entrepreneurs. But then let’s go deeper level, this is an opportunity to teach young kids the foundations of leadership. Right, like some of the key characteristics of being a leader, and, you know, so that was the idea.

Sam Taggart 11:29
So basically, your program is a series of videos and templates, I’m assuming that helps parents teach their kids at a young age, how to be an entrepreneur, right?

Graham Dessert 11:41
Correct. Yeah. And so it’s a there’s, there’s videos for the parents, and there’s videos for the kids. Cool, because it’s super important. Some parents may look at and be like, Oh, yeah, I’ve got the workbook no problem. I can take this with my kids and teach them not a big deal. And then some parents may be like, I want some more direction. So give me some insight. And so we’ve got that all put together. That’s so cool. Yeah.

Sam Taggart 12:07
And it’s called leaders next door. COMM leaders nextdoor.com I love that. So, you know, I want to talk about like, why do you think is important? Like, you know, where do you see this younger generation? Let’s call it Gen Z, Gen Y, whatever it’s called? Why do you think that the doors is important to that, and the high school generation coming up?

Graham Dessert 12:30
It’s real world experience, you know, with real people real money, you know, real real problems to solve, like, when you get on the doors, you know, you learn a lot, you know, that, you know, in that some of the things that you teach, so when you actually do the interaction with with the homeowners or customers and, you know, you actually get a job, you know, whether it’s, you know, a recycling program, or leaf blowing program, or snow shoveling program, or, you know, the car washing program, whatever it is, right, when you get a job, you then have to fulfill a service. And so through that service, there’s a lot of learning and development that takes place

Sam Taggart 13:09
and puts them into a manual labor, it

Graham Dessert 13:10
puts them into, like having to do something physically, you learn how to communicate with people, that’s the big thing is learning how to communicate, learning how to, you know, the difference between a good job and a bad job, you know, an excellent job and something that’s exceptionally done versus something that’s kind of halfway done. They use a lot of examples, like when you clean your room, like I worked with my kids all the time on this, you know, that I tell him, you know, go and make sure your rooms clean. And it’s like, you know, they’ll they’ll disappear for five or 10 minutes. And they’re like, yeah, my rooms clean. I go back in there. And I’m like, What about that? And that and that here, my mom or I cleaned here? My

Sam Taggart 13:44
mom? She would come in? Yeah, she did. And she’s like, Don’t make me get a nail and hammer. So then she just started nailing our stuff to the floor. She says, My gosh, that’s a great, it’s a great idea. Don’t maybe get that every now and right. What do you tell him? When she says, we come back and we pick up our clothes. It’s like, stuck. And we’re just like, What the freak on nail the clothes. It was great. It’s a great idea. Anyway,

Graham Dessert 14:11
yeah. So the point is, is like, they start to understand what, you know, 100% completion means and you know, 100% quality means because they pay you Yeah, they’re paying you for it. And so if they pay for it, and you don’t do a good job, they’ll let you know. Right? And then if you don’t do a good job, you fix it. You know, and then you get paid what’s perfect. There’s a lot of people that are adults that need that lesson still today, you know, you run into a lot of roofs or you ask me they’re like, they’re like, what’s the age range on this? Seven or 14, but you know, it’s good for 35 year olds to

Sam Taggart 14:47
sit over you’re like, I run into customers and homeowners and companies that I’m like, you need a little less than on guys that people pay you to do a job. Yeah, do it right. Take pride in that, you know, so anyway, But maybe they just needed to take this course when they’re seven. I mean, it’s like, had they taken this? Yeah, learn the lessons. Yeah. So what has been the response to parents? Because I think a lot of people, you know, I’m a parent, is it I’m busy, or they’re like gung ho about it, or they, like, apprehensive, like, like, what’s been their response to this program?

Graham Dessert 15:20
I think all parents that I’ve talked to have been like, Oh, this is amazing. You know, but it’s a matter of taking the steps. I mean, it’s gonna take some time to do yeah, you know, there’s a time investment. I feel like, you know, you’re gonna you’re going to do this. It’s something that you do with your child, not necessarily give it to them and expect them to do it. When I have actually given it to my son’s and said, go ahead and do it. The results haven’t been that great. So it’s, it’s the way that I see is it’s like a parent and child activity. So it’ll bridge the gap between parents and kids.

Sam Taggart 15:54
That’s cool. So one of the things I’ll say on this podcast is we’re probably going to do some cool stuff together, by the way, because obviously, we have a big online piece, a lot of users. So if you’re listening, you have DDD EU, or access to some of our stuff. There’s a privacy as an upsell or an opportunity. We’re also adding in you’re pretty passionate about like Underground Railroad. And that, yes, that totally. So I just got off the phone with them. And they have a whole education series that we want to add to our platform that’s on just coaching and teaching. Basically, how to identify sex trafficking, so the education element, so you know, and we have the influence over 1000s of salespeople nationwide that are in 1000s of neighborhoods, we go well, we’re the eyes to the streets, if you think about it more so than cops more so than I mean, we’ve talked to so many homeowners and so many different demographics. And one of the things that I just got recently passionate about was you know, what if our ability as you know, the door to door tribe gives us that the eyes and ears to the neighborhood and you notice like a lock on the outside or not watched other modules yet, but you know, that supposedly they just have kind of a here’s the things to look out for to report. So if you were in a scenario, we could probably catch some of the bad guys, you know what I mean? Yeah, so and so there’s some cool stuff like door to door, I think is is shifting to where if we can professionalize it, turn it into a good thing where parents are excited to let their kids go knock instead of like, don’t go talk to strangers, like, they’ll kidnap you. If I put my kids in the street. It’s like, No, they won’t like, like this stupid is mindset. Yeah, yeah. And, you know, teaching them like, strangers have what you want. Like you have to be able to communicate with strangers, to like, you know, how to educate and stop bad crime initiatives in neighborhoods and being able to unify, you know, that’s one of our big initiatives is unify up level, bring honor integrity, you know, things like the blacklist and the association and this education element. And getting down to the younger kid level, I look back to me, I was a seven, eight year old selling golf balls at the at the golf course. And then I got into magazines and then painting curbs, curbs better be in your old program, because that’s a moneymaker. So if you’re broke as a joke, go pin some curbs. Yeah, then figure out how to do a roof. You probably have a work ethic problem if you’re broke. So yeah, anyways,

Graham Dessert 18:24
Yeah, and one of the things that we, in the program I talked about in the videos, and I talked about in the workbook is, you know, the buddy system. So, you know, my sons when they go out and work, they’re not working solo. So that’s, that’s super important to, you know, I guess just build that in early. Yeah. And, you know, the other thing is, we’ve, it’s like, when you become a leader next door, it’s like, you’re you’re subscribing to something, you’re, you’re becoming part of a community. And it’s just not something that you purchase, and you do one time, it’s like, you’re going to learn these principles. And it’s going to stay with you the rest of your life. So there’s a code, right, there’s a, there’s a code that we have, and we actually have like a certificate that says, I, you know, Jimmy Johnson, you know, will blah, blah, blah, blah, follow the leaders next door code, a lot of qualities of leadership are, and then it spells out all the qualities of the leader. And then they they’d like, sign it, and then that’s, they live by that? It’s cool. Yeah, the thing is, is that, you know, part of the program is learning how to be generous. Like, you’re gonna learn how to make money. What do you do with the money? That’s cool, you know, how do you how do you save, how do you spend, how do you give and what does all that mean? Because a lot of kids don’t really understand. And

Sam Taggart 19:44
a lot of kids or a lot of parents don’t understand

Graham Dessert 19:47
Well, let me let me explain this. Let me explain the whole purpose behind all this. So I thought to myself, my How can I inspire a billion dollars of giving over my lifetime? And initially, I thought, well, that’s some They all just have to go out and make all the money and give it away. And I’m like, that’s, that’s ridiculous like I can, I can inspire other adults to do that, right? I can inspire other adults to change the way that they look at money or resources to give and be more generous, right? And then I was like, well, it’s kind of, it’s easier to actually, you know, influence children with with that mindset, you know, and to teach at a young age, because what they’re taught at a young age will stay with them the rest of their life. So that’s ultimately what the program is about. That’s the other deep meaning is how can I teach people how to be generous? Well teach people what to do with their money. And then that’s what happens. A lot

Sam Taggart 20:42
of you can be generous unless you know how to save and have a surplus. You know what I mean? Yeah, and I would way rather be in that position than just always trying to get by or behind. So anyway, this any anything else that you want to share? I mean, this has been really good, dude.

Graham Dessert 20:59
I think the biggest thing is like, I mean, this is for everybody. You know, this program is for everybody. The mission is for everybody. You know, it’s not just for kids. Because if you really think about it, everybody knows someone that has a kid, so you could gift the program to another child, right? And ultimately, what happens is we we practice what we preach, and we preach what we practice, right? So the Oh, you are in the giving, you know, that’s a that’s an organization that we partner with. So no percentage of the revenues go towards that organization.

Sam Taggart 21:34
That’s cool. That’s awesome. Well, thanks so much for sharing and inspiring and doing things that are bigger than just a roofing company or whatever. Right? Like it’s been fun to watch. You grow. I mean, heck, I was out in San Diego. Every month for six months work with you guy. Yeah. When was that? That was 2000. Yeah. Is that last year from beginning? Last year through the summertime? Yeah. And then we did it later. Yeah. I mean, it’s just cool to watch like, how you’ve quickly just said, stay disciplined. Stay hungry. And you’re just making waves. I love it. Yeah. Thanks, man. Appreciate it. Thank you for your time. Okay, guys, if you want to go check out leaders nextdoor.com go check it out. If not share this like this. And I will see you guys on the next episode.

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