The Story Behind The Story Series – Paul Preston, From £6 an hour Cleaner To Millionaire
Paul, today you are a multi-millionaire property developer and mentor. But where were you when you met Andy Harrington and came across the Public Speakers University?
It was 2013, and I was looking for inspiration. I was running a cleaning business. That sounds great right? Actually, I was the main cleaner – so mostly I just had a £6 an hour job with a terrible boss! I mean, who else is going to make you work longer hours, for less pay and no thanks?
I had previously run a successful recruitment company. A few years before, at 29 years old, I had been living my childhood dream to be a successful businessman and make my family proud. But the recession had seen us off. I’d had to close the company, and that had really battered my self-confidence.
I knew there was something better out there for me. Listen I have nothing against being a cleaner – it’s a hard job but it wasn’t inspiring me. So, I was going to all the multi-speaker, personal development events I could get to. I was looking for ‘The One’. The ONE thing for me, the ONE thing that actually IS the best thing in the world (which is what everyone tells you their ‘thing’ is).
There were opportunities everywhere – I could trade Forex, I could get into property (quite liked the sound of that one), I could buy into gold and silver, perhaps write a book, do something to do with online businesses – run an Amazon shop. All of them were great ideas. But which one should I pick?
Have you heard the expression – ‘When the student is ready, the teacher appears’?
Well, the next speaker on stage, talking about the art of speaking and the Public Speakers University was Andy Harrington. Suddenly it all made sense! The one thing that united all the speakers I had been listening to, whatever their various money-making idea, was their ability to speak!!
Whichever business I was going to develop – the best way to get traction for it would be to develop MY ability to speak and sell from stage.
So, what happened when you attended the Public Speakers University?
It was November 2013 when I attended the University. I soon realised that the event wasn’t just about learning how to speak, it was ALSO about how to differentiate yourself from the crowd. In order to speak – you need something to speak about, right? And that can’t just be the same as every other accountant/life coach/fitness trainer/forex trader/cleaner or whatever else your line of business happens to be.
I understood that I needed something unique – a unique system for my business – in order to get people excited and to make me stand out from the crowd.
And so, I decided I was going to develop my special system around teaching people how to run a successful cleaning business!
Andy was listening to me present my idea in a pod (a small group, led by one of his ACE coaches). He stepped in and said, “No Paul. That’s not it. What else do you know about? What else are you interested in?”.
“Well Andy, I like the idea of property and I rent out pretty much every room in my house, so I know you can make money from it. But I don’t know that much about it. And who would listen to me? I mean – I’m just a cleaner!”.
And then he said the words that would change my understanding, and therefore my life, forever.
He said, “Paul in order to help someone else, you only need to be one step ahead of them. Think about what you like about property, what other people are doing and what you DON’T like about that.”
I told him I didn’t like that everything about property seemed boring – all the education was – well, just dull!
“So, make it exciting then”, he said. And with that he wandered off to help someone in another pod.
So, I left the University fired up. I had a great idea of what I wanted to do, and some idea of how to do it. I thought I would go it alone.
What happened after you went back home?
Well, to be fair, I had some results, I felt like I was onto something, and I made a bit of cash, but I felt a bit isolated.
I don’t know if you have ever come back from an event buzzing with possibilities? Then a few weeks or months later, you have forgotten half of what you learned and feel a bit down about it?
The atmosphere, the people and the learning at the University had been really amazing, like nothing I had ever experienced before. I decided I had to come back and I joined Andy’s Professional Speakers Academy.
In the Academy, I had access to the amazing ACE coaches, and my fellow students for inspiration. And more importantly, Andy saw something in me, that I didn’t see in myself. He took me under his wing. And not long after it was the PSA Annual Awards Dinner, where I was pretty shocked to win an award for my speaking.
It was at that dinner that Andy told me I should come to his Elite programme – to be held in Thailand. And I felt that a week spent working on my business (rather than in it) with personal input from Andy and the ACE coaches, could only superspeed my development.
So where are you now, after the experience of Elite?
My life has no comparison to where I was in 2013 when I met Andy. I was a cleaner on £6 an hour. And now I’m a multi-millionaire. I still work hard – but NOW I am working hard doing what I love every day. And I’m helping others move from a place of being stuck in a life they don’t want, to living a life of freedom and choice.
Elite was life changing. It was so life changing that I have done it twice!
The first time I did Elite, I was delivering from stage for someone else. Earning a decent amount – well over 6 figures, but still ‘working’ for someone else. I was sharing someone else’s system, building someone else’s dream. Andy challenged me. He asked me when I was going to start backing myself.
As a great mentor, he knows exactly what message you need to hear and he never lets you off the hook. He also gives you opportunities. Opportunities you might not think you are ready for – but he knows you are.
In 2016, Andy put me on stage at the National Achievers Conference – you can see the video here. It was a completed circle. 3 years before he had inspired me on this stage, and now here I was, talking to thousands, inspiring others.
I didn’t get to see Andy directly after that event, I had to rush off. As I was driving home, I thought back to a conversation Andy and I had the week before when I asked him how I could repay him for his support encouragement and mentorship.
His words were ringing in my ears, “Paul – outgrow, outshine and outperform me. That’s how you can pay me back”.
I didn’t know how I was going to do that, but I was absolutely going to make it my mission and just two words were ringing in my head….”What’s next?”.
To find out more about Paul Preston click here