The Desperate Train Ride and Life Changing Revelations

Desperate Train Ride

“The Desperate Train Ride and Life Changing Revelations” written by Mike Marko.

Over the past few years I’ve been asked many times…

“Mike, how did you get into consulting?”

In response I would take a deep breath…

And answer “It’s a long story.”

But when I think about it, the turning point can be pinpointed to what happened on a trip.

Not just any trip…

But a trip that changed my life.

And today i want to share with you what happened on that faded train ride.

The Long Desperate Train Ride

Before I talk about that train ride, I think I have to give some of the backstory leading up to that train ride to better set the stage.

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Moving to the USA

I was born and raised just outside of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I got both a bachelors and a masters in Mechanical Engineering.

While in Canada, I got married to my now ex-wife, Leanne, and we moved to the United States.  As part of the deal, I agreed we would come back to Winnipeg regularly to visit family (and of course, bring our kids with us to visit their grandparents).

It was on one of those trips that I had the fated train ride.

Train Ride from Upstate New York to Grand Forks

One of these trips back to Winnipeg was for Christmas.  Now I don’t remember exactly what year it was, I believe it was around 2007/2008.  It was right after the collapse of the housing bubble and the resulting stock market crash.

I had recently bought and fixed up a couple rental properties after the big crash.

I was excited.

You see I had realized a few years earlier that I wanted to retire from my engineering career early… I thought it was around 55 that I wanted to retire.  I also wanted a means to pay for my kids education.

And before that train ride I had believed that rental properties was the ticket.

So that trip I had my laptop ready, and now that I had some experience with rental properties (and the profit numbers).  I wanted to know how many properties I would need to pay for the education of my three girls AND retire early.

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Running The Numbers

It was a long train ride.  When you factored in the swapping of trains in Chicago, the trip was a whopping 24 hours.  So I had plenty of time to create a spreadsheet to run my projections.

I worked on the spreadsheet for hours and hours.


In the end I was astounded.

Given my present financial pace i would need a sizable number of properties to reach my goals.

When I factored in the mortgages, repairs, vacancy rates, etc…

I would need a large number of properties…. and fast.

And for time management that would mean I would also need to factor in a property manager.  Yikes!

Although I was having great success with my rental properties so far I knew you also had to factor in the usual tenant issues as well, including headaches.

And so I needed another plan.

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The Turning Point

No matter how I looked at the numbers they didn’t come out different.

I knew at that point that I may instead turn to consulting.  It was relatively well know among professional engineers (and i’m sure many other professions are the same way) that it was difficult to do well in retirement even if you retired at 65.  I knew of engineers that would do consulting after they retired to supplement their retirement income.

I just didn’t know how that would look for me.

But that train trip literally changed my life.  It had me starting to think in a different direction.

I still ended up eventually investing in twenty rental properties, but they were not my main focus anymore.  My main focus was how to become a consultant (and what I would do as a consultant)

That meant building up skills that would help me be a very effective consultant.


The Consultant’s Path

Over the years since that fated train ride, I was able to gain a LOT of business experience.

  • almost two decades of project management experience
  • project manager for multi-million dollar projects
  • black belt in lean six sigma (how to optimized business and manufacturing processes; and mentored others to do the same)
  • lead/facilitated many interdepartmental process improvement teams and made significant business process improvements
  • supervisor for hardware manufacturing cost estimating team
  • led in development of manufacturing processes
  • led in design and developing in manufacturing new products; and product lines
  • field troubleshooting for new product development
  • new product development (concept and design)
  • high tech software development team
  • software manual writing

Knowing that i was ultimately on a consultants path, I worked hard to get as much business experience as I could.

It wasn’t until almost six years ago that I started mastering internet marketing.  Combining my internet marketing and business development experience, i came up with what I now call Pervasive Presence™.

I now help small businesses, consultants, and entrepreneurs build up their dream businesses.

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Final Words About The Desperate Train Ride

That train ride years ago changed the course of my career.  I realized the path I was on was not going to serve me for the long term.

I needed to do something different.

And that’s how I ultimately became a consultant.  If you are in a similar situation to what I was in all those years ago then you should check out my blog post, Making the Transition From Employee to Consultant.  You should also check out the blog post, 23 Key Tips On How to Get More Clients FAST.

If you need help building up your business, then you should take a look at our “Results in Advance” program.

We start with a 30-60 minute free consultation where we together create a strategy that will grow your business¦ effectively. Its actually a strategy session where you’ll walk away with actionable steps you can take to increase your business revenue. By the end, you can either take what we discussed and run with it yourself or we can agree to work together to crush your results!

If you want to learn about how to qualify for our “Results in Advance” program, please feel free to reach out to us by clicking the button below.

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The Desperate Train Ride and Life Changing Revelations - Mike Marko

Author: Mike Marko
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Article: The Desperate Train Ride and Life Changing Revelations

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