Making money was never a problem for Bruce Buffer. In 1975, at the young age of 18, he got his first job at a national telemarketing company. His job was selling office supplies, and within two weeks he was the number one salesman in the 50-person company. In his third month, he was promoted to sales manager.
"I was, by far, the youngest person in that office," Bruce said. "It must have been tough for some of the older guys to report to a teenager."
By the end of his first year, Bruce's commission income was around $50,000. "And at that time, 50 grand was a lot of money!"
Bruce's commissions were substantial, but he could see that the profits he was making for the company were many times what he was making. "I worked for them for a while," he said. "But then my entrepreneurial spirit took over and—after I had figured out how the business was run from the top down—I quit and started my own business as a competitor."
When Bruce left, many of the company's best salespeople followed him. The exodus created a commotion, and the commotion resulted in a lawsuit. "One moment, I was a model entrepreneur," Bruce remembered. "The next moment, I was fighting a million-dollar lawsuit.
"I didn't have the money or the know-how to deal with it. I resisted for a while, because I didn't think there was anything wrong with what I was doing. But the pressure was too great, and I stopped fighting."
The company agreed ...