Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up, and Marques Ogden knew better than to stay down as he fought his way back to success. He is a former NFL athlete turned keynote speaker and business coach. He joins Jen Du Plessis to tell his story on failure and success and what led him to where he is today as a business consultant helping entrepreneurs succeed where he failed. Learning to keep his fit on the ground when his multi-million-dollar business went bankrupt, Marques now works with different organizations, coaches them with their business strategy, elevates their business, and enhances their culture and development. He also does a lot of speaking on pivoting to inspire others in their transitional position for their businesses.
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Marques Ogden On Failure And Success And Pivoting To Your Business’ Transitional Position
I am delighted to have with us, Marques Ogden. Marques, welcome to the show. I’m happy to have you here and learn so much about you.
It’s nice to meet you, Jen. Thanks for having me on.
Let me give everybody a brief and I’m going to do a very brief bio of you because there’s a story that I want you to tell. It’s not your bio to tell and that is in 2003, Marques was drafted by the NFL as an offensive lineman. After five years of playing in the League, he decided to retire and pursue a career in construction and contracting. At the ripe age of 27, Marques founded a construction company called Kayden Premier Enterprises, and within 90 days after this massive growth, he had to declare bankruptcy and he lost over $2 million. We’re going to hear about this story because success to significance and life after breaking through glass ceilings is what this show is all about. We’re going to talk about how you went from where you were to what happened and back again. I am delighted to have you on the show. One of the things that I want to ask you real quickly on the NFL side is who did you play for?
I was drafted by the Jaguars who drafted Trevor Lawrence and shared the first pick overall. I then played for the Ravens, Buffalo and I finished my career with the Titans before I injured my back in 2007, 2008.
You were lucky to stay on the East Coast and not be flip-flopped all over the place.
I haven’t even thought about that. I went to Jacksonville up to Baltimore. I went bottom then up then back down.
You were lucky not to be tossed all over the country. I love football players because my son played quarterback in college so we had all of that in our lives too. Everything I coach on, I use first and then do it again and huddles and everything’s football. It became the nature of our conversations around the table so we use that audibles.
Where did your son go to college?
He went to the Indiana University of Pennsylvania it was a D2. We were so confused, like, “Wait a minute, Indiana Pennsylvania, Colorado Pennsylvania.” I’m like, “Can’t they come up with their own names?” It was so confusing. He was a good and very precise quarterback. Now he’s in financial stuff. We’re happy to have the opportunity to watch you. I want to talk about what happened. You are an author, a coach, a speaker and you’re helping people get inspired, grow their businesses and all of that. When I think of NFL and being in the finance world that I was in for many years, I know that there’s this stereotype of professional athletes who can’t get the financial piece together. Is that what you’re coaching on these days? Tell us a little bit about what your coaching and speaking on and helping people.
I do a lot with different organizations from technology, retail, food service, product, financial planning to insurance. My coaching is more on business strategy. I do have a degree in finance. Like your son, I was going to want to work at Merrill Lynch. I worked at Merrill Lynch for a short time in my professional career and I just couldn’t do it. It wasn’t for me. Now with people, it’s more about the business strategy, how to take certain pillars of a business and build it to the next level and elevate. Help you with your marketing strategy, your sales strategy and enhancing your culture and development. I’m very fortunate to have some phenomenal products. One of our biggest clients is a company called Red Gold. They are the second-largest supplier globally of ketchup and they are a phenomenal brand.
They’re in Heartland, Indiana at Elwood. I met them through LinkedIn. We’ve been working together for a few years and it’s been phenomenal. It has helped us with growth and we’ve helped them with development. We’ve helped them with everything to get from where they were to where they are now as number two in the world. Truly, it’s something that I enjoy doing, but we do want more business coaching and speaking on those types of topics, and also do a lot of speaking on the topic of pivoting. Due to COVID-19 and everything in the world, all of us have had to pivot into some new transitional position in our businesses.If you never ask, it’s always going to be no. Click To Tweet
All of us did that pivot and people are still doing that. The businesses are saying, “Come on back to work,” and they’re like, “I don’t know.” I felt like when I brought this show on, it was planned to come out in 2020 in April and it came out in 2020 in April. I have another show that I’ve been doing for seven years too, but it came out in April and I said, “How perfect was this timing because this was everything from success to significance and that thought process of, do I want to be successful and have all the money? At some point in time, you go, “I want to be significant and make an impact. How do I make that change and that transformation?” Everything that you’re talking about is perfect and how that happened. That’s what you’re doing now so let’s go back. Let’s find out what happened after the 90 days. What happened on day 91?
What happened was at that time, I knew that the business was going to shut down. I was trying to push through and self-sustain. All the money was gone. Once the bank decides to not extend our line and we lost two investors that we’re supposed to come in and buy out my current partner, that’s when I knew it was over. Day 91 was super hard. We’re scrambling. I remember trying to go get another job selling gold and silver to make a buck while in the process of trying to close down Kayden. What happened was I contacted the National Football League and the Retired Players Association. I went and met with them and that’s how they helped me get down to Raleigh because my fiancée who is now my wife, her family was down here.
I got a job and that’s how I got to Merrill Lynch in Durham, North Carolina. They helped me transition. They also helped me with a grant called the Gene Upshaw Trust Fund. Gene Upshaw was the very first Executive Director of the Retired Players Association. He helped a lot of former players that were struggling with finances, our health insurance or transition. That program was designed to help players to improved financial hardship, to help them move forward and have dignity as long as they were trying to at least get on their feet and work towards innovation. I got approved for that but moving down to Raleigh was hard because we had to pack up in an instant. It exhausted almost every financial resource. We had to pack everything up and get a place down here. The first month’s rent, deposit, movers and drive everything down here.
We got into our place and I remember it was the 13th of April, 2013. We got here 15th of April and I looked in the bank account after we moved in and got settled on the 18th of April. I was like, “We only have $400 in the bank.” That’s it. We can’t afford next month’s rent. I was working at Merrill Lynch but I was not going to get paid until the fall and I missed the cycle. Without the NFL helping me stepping in with that trust, I don’t make it. I don’t pay the rent. I could be homeless or my fiancée will move in with her parents because her parents lived down here in the area, but I had been dating her for probably about 6 or 7 months at that time.
They weren’t ready for you to come into the house yet.
They were ready for that. I wasn’t ready for it either. I was like, “Nope, we’re good.” I got the help I remember we got four months of bills paid, but those four months were a struggle because I was working at Merrill for two, got paid and put money away but then I got fired. I then got to a construction company. They gave me $1,000 a week. They gave me cash on my first pay. They gave me a truck, phone, laptop and fired me five days later. It’s crazy. Then I had to start over again and I had that little sulky period that I had to go out and start coaching.
The first six months of being here was a terror dome. Everything wasn’t working out. I took that job as a custodian. I make $8,000 an hour and then I had that moment then that’s why I said, “I’m worth more. What can I do?” I said, “I’m going to be a speaker. I’ve seen the movie, Shallow Hal. I’ve heard this guy, Tony Robbins if he can do it, why can’t I?” I’m like, “I want to be the next sensation.” Two and a half years, not one paid job and I kept moving. I finally got my first paid job in April 2016. That transition after losing everything is why my first book is called Sleepless Nights because I had so many sleepless nights during that period.
As we talk about breaking through glass ceilings, a lot of times we encounter it and we’re like, “Oh my gosh,” and you broke through several. It was like, “I broke through this one and now I have another one I have to break to.” We have many ceilings that we break through. What was the catalyst that took you from being a custodian and being a “speaker” without having these speaking gigs? What was the catalyst that broke that ceiling that has brought you to where you are now?
Publishing my first book was huge for our brand. It gave us a platform and a leg to stand. We are talking about from success to significance, it helped us to create a successful platform and we became somewhat significant. People can read about us. They could see what we were doing and all the other things. As a result of that, it was the breakthrough to help us get through that first glass ceiling. My book was published in October 2015 and I got the first paid speaking job in April 2016.
That’s proof in the pudding. Everyone always says, “Write a book and it gives you more credibility.” It does and now I’m seven books in. I’m still looking for credibility. Just to share and it’s the first time I’m saying this on this show, but I’m starting a TV show called Tell Me I Can’t. We’re writing a book by the same name and that’ll be out sometime in September 2021 or something. It’s Tell Me I Can’t and we’re positioning that for a Hallmark movie. Tell Me I Can’t and I’ll Show You How I Did sounds like your story. Sometimes, the Tell Me I Can’t comes from internal.
One of my mentors, Mel Robbins says that imposter syndrome is you always tell yourself that you can’t do it. Everybody’s told you for so long that you couldn’t do it that you start to believe them. The avalanche starts to pile down on top of you.
What does the future look like for you? We’re clear. You’re looking for speaking opportunities. Have you gone international yet?
Yes. I’ve gone to Mexico. I’ve got things in Canada. We’re in Ireland. We’ve done a lot of things internationally as well through Zoom because of the pandemic and things like that. We’re getting a lot more in that regard.
If someone’s reading this and they’re saying, “I want you to come in and be an inspirational speaker,” because I noticed that you said inspirational, not motivational. I love that because people ask me, “Are you motivational?” and I’m like, “Nope. I inspire people to be motivated. I can’t make you motivated. You have to get yourself motivated.” I love that you’re doing this. Who is the ideal client that you want to be speaking in? Do you want to be at conferences? Do you want to be at companies speaking to a sales team or an executive team? What does that look like for those that are reading and want to open doors?
I love speaking at all types of events like conferences, events for teams and companies. All that stuff is very well-fitting for me. What I found being hired for a lot these days are organizations that wanted me to come in and help them with their marketing team, their sales team, their leadership team. I’m also getting a lot of consulting opportunities. We work with organizations on a six-month or a yearly basis like with the Red Gold. I’m on my second-year contract with them. They’ve had great growth and great success. They’ll be going into year two of our consulting arrangement. For me, those speaking leads to consulting, works and things of that nature because I feel that’s where you can make the most impact.
You can also get the most bang for your buck and most bang for their buck as long as the people on the call that you’re leading or trying to help moderate are wanting to get the work done. We have clients that are like that. Our client Lulu Press is owned by the same guy who used to own the Red Gold Republic. They are a great company. Red Gold is phenomenal. My consulting client Liberty Home Mortgage is great and Reliant Mortgage. We have those monthly calls to help create strategy and breakthroughs to get people to see ways of doing business in a better and more efficient way.
If someone wants to reach out to you, how do they book with you? How do they get in touch with you? How do they do all that?
They go to our website www.MarquesOgden.com and connect with us, send us a note, “This is what we’ve got going on. It’s what we have with our company.” We have a Chatbox. You can join our newsletter. We’re all about the value. We hope that you understand that we’re here to give you value and valuable information. Once you have that, from that point, what you do with it is totally up to you.
I’ve got a couple of more questions for you. What is the number one strategy that doesn’t get implemented by businesses and causes them to not achieve or scale in the way that they want to?
It’s the lack of marketing. There are three ways to market, social positionings such as social media networking and referral. A referral is what I call the hot lead. It is the easiest to do because the chance of rejection is less. Networking is what I call warm because more people know you. The chance of getting rejected is there, but a lot less than cold, which is going to be social positioning because that’s how I met Red Gold. When I first met the guy there, I was like, “How are you?” We started talking and a few years later, we’re great friends. Most people fail with social positioning because they’re afraid of failure and getting rejected. I tell everybody, “The worst thing I can tell you is no but if you never ask, it’s always going to be no.”
I want to talk about that because a topic that I talk about in my coaching as well is relationships. For me, it’s relationships. We’re having a conversation about this. One of the reasons that people hold back with marketing is they don’t have clarity of their message. Talk to us about clarity of message and how someone listening would say, “I didn’t know I need to have clarity of message. Why is it so important? How do I do it?”
Clarity of message is all about identifying your mission and/or your mantra. When you connect with people, you want to have your mission and mantra aligned with their mission and mantra to create an alignment around a shared vision. One of my coaches taught me that years ago. Once I learned that, our business has skyrocketed. The way you do that is you have to be very clear on your mission, your mantra, what you’re about and what you care about. When you’re trying to pitch to someone, if you align your mission and mantra to theirs, the chances of getting that business go way up.
For example, Red Gold’s mission is they want to deliver great quality ketchup and tomato products through operational excellence, quality products and excellent customer service. Our mission is to inspire you to take accountability, to have success where we have failed. The way we do our business aligns very strong with their operational excellence, quality product and customer service. The way we do things is we want your operational excellence to be five-star. Your quality products will be five-star and then your customer service will be five-star.
Because our values align, Red Gold took a chance and hired us to speak for them in January 2020. We have not stopped working with them since. That’s how we get a lot of our clients now. A great quote by Jim Rohn who was Tony Robbins’ teacher, “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.” Goals are what you want to do and accomplishment is what you have done. People are going to hire you off what you have done, not what you plan to do. Stop planning and go out there and start doing.
A lot of people are afraid of niching, which is what mission and vision is. They are saying, “What is it that I deliver?” Instead of saying, “I deliver anything that you need.” It makes you a commodity and you end up selling nothing to no one. Many people are so afraid of going into that niche or identifying and sharing that mission because they think they’re not going to be able to get everybody, but the thing is, you’re not getting everybody now.
You can’t handle everybody. That’s the whole thing.
You’re developing everything to fit that person as they come in. Develop it and then go deliver it.
Our underlying real foundational pillar is accountability. That’s what it is. Can I help you with your business? Sure. If you’re looking to work about being accountable, I can help you. If you’re not going to be accountable, you’re not going to listen to what I say. Don’t bother talking to me because I’m the wrong person to work with because I’m not going to tell you what you want to hear. I’m going to tell you what you need to hear in a nice way to help you get to where you want to go.
That’s tough love to move you forward.
Do you know why Red Gold has captured the market very much? Their senior VP got good at social media positioning. It created a windfall of people from all across the Midwest to South, to Southeast to blue-collar to have a veterans program for a cause. They were on Fox News. In 2020, very few people knew who Red Gold was. Now, they become this household name because they have a private label side like a Walmart. They will buy the ketchup and put their own label on it, but that’s all Red Gold ketchup. Now, their branding side is becoming popular to match their private label side. That’s how they’re now only 5% behind Hunts as a global supplier of ketchup.
We worked on that strategy, on posts, on being unique and different. One of my clients had a great saying. It’s called UBR, your Unique Buying Reason. What is the Unique Buying Reason that I should buy your product? Red Gold between quality, great products, excellent customer service and the support of veterans and what they’re doing, people now are getting behind Red Gold. They’re advertising well. They’re being strategic and there you go. Had we not have the mission of inspiring and taking accountability, we would have never synched with Red Gold. Without that, our brand would not have a phenomenal partner in Red Gold.Goals are what you want to do, and accomplishments are what you’ve done. Stop planning and start doing. Click To Tweet
That leads me to my last question then so for someone who’s reading and says, “I want that. I want to have that partner. I want to have that drive it, etc.” What is the first step for them to take in order to identify what their mission is and what their vision is?
Number one, you have to look at what are your strengths and what is the why in which you do business. When you know what your strength is and what your why is, you can tailor that into your mission and mantra, and you can move forward. If you don’t know what your why is and what your strengths are, you will continue to do what society tells you to do instead of doing what you want to do.
That’s why many people are unhappy because they feel they have to do everything they see that someone’s doing on Facebook when they aren’t happy doing it.
You have no idea what someone’s life is like. They have that carved down. You don’t know if that’s them on vacation or they’re living on the street. They took a picture and make it look good. You have no idea.
Even when it says that you need to get a beamer or whatever, no, I don’t. Why do I want one? It’s just a status symbol. That comes with age and saying, “I don’t need to be like everybody else.” Here’s my last question for you. Marques, if I’m going to come down and I’m going to spend the weekend with you guys, I’m going to shadow you. It’s not what I want but I’m going to shadow you. Tell me what a weekend looks like with you and your family.
I go to the gym every day. I go seven days a week. I leave at 6:00 and go at 7:00. I’m always at the gym in the mornings. My wife teaches Zumba on the weekends. I have a daughter so I take her and we’ll go get lunch and come home. My wife will come home. On a Saturday, we’ll try to go to the mall and take our daughter to the dropping care for a couple of hours and walk around. I let her go look or browse or not trying to buy something. I’m like, “We don’t need to buy that.” “I need that.” I’m like, “No, we don’t need that. I don’t need that. No, you don’t need that.”
She wants to buy something. We walk around Nordstrom, which is her savior, my poison. We then walk around the mall and then they get some lunch and all that. On Saturday nights, I’ll play poker. I enjoy playing that. It’s one of my hobbies. On Sunday, I hit the gym again and have my daughter. I’ve been working out at home and then going to breakfast with my wife and with my daughter. My oldest daughter sometimes will come and she does have to go to work. She’s seventeen and she works at Cracker Barrel. She’s in high school and doing great and making money for herself. She is very responsible. She’s doing that. I might have her come with us and then we’ll have a little time together and I’ll play poker again on Sunday afternoon for a couple of hours and then come home.
We’ll watch some type of great Netflix. We’re at this show now called The Handmaid’s Tale. Have you ever heard about this? What’s happening is that it’s in the future and America has become this crazy place where women become subsidiary to men. A lot of people cannot bear children so you have to have a handmaiden who will help you be able to bear children. It goes through a process and then if you’re a woman who rebels, you go to a place called The Colony. It looks like you’re back in biblical time but actually in the future. Some things are futurist and some things are back in the Bible-based but they’re very biblical.
They do a lot of flashbacks. It’s crazy but in other countries like Canada, they don’t believe in what we do. The women can have businesses and all types of stuff. It’s very interesting. I like the fact how it makes you think about, “That society wouldn’t work.” With my wife, I liked how she gives me opinions on things. I asked her about this or that. What do you think about the business? My wife has a good eye and she’s also an English major. I asked her for opinions and all kinds of stuff. We’d like to binge-watch on Netflix.
It sounds like you love to be with your family. You are a big family guy. That sounds like a very relaxing weekend.
My life is crazy enough with travel. I got to go to Omaha, Nebraska, Las Vegas, Oklahoma City and Cody, Wyoming. When I’m home, I like to be home.
I feel you. I feel the same thing. Before COVID-19, I was on the road 2 to 3 weeks out of every month. Now that I’m back, I was out for 1.5 weeks or 2 weeks over the last few weeks. It feels good to be back home again. I don’t want that chaotic thing that I used to have. It’s been an absolute pleasure having you. Thank you so much, Marques, for your time with us. I want to encourage everyone. If what Marques has said resonated with you, take some action. Get in touch with him and book him on a show, a stage or a sales meeting or a webinar, or a Zoominars as I call them. Engage with him on coaching as well. I appreciate all the insights that you gave us and how you broke through all these glass ceilings on your way from success to significance and back again, upside down, all around, and everything in between. Thanks for inspiring us. We appreciate it.
Thanks for having me on.
Thank you so much for reading. As a reminder, please take a moment to scroll down on your phone and put in five stars and give us a beautiful rating. We’d love to hear what you loved about this episode. We will talk to you next time.
- Sleepless Nights
- Marques Ogden
- Marques Ogden – Facebook
- Marques Ogden – LinkedIn
- Marques Ogden – Twitter
- Marques Ogden – Youtube Channel
About Marques Ogden
A little background about Marques, in 2003, he was drafted into the NFL as an offensive lineman, after 5 years of playing in league, he decided to retire and pursue a career in construction and contracting. At the age 27, Marques founded a construction company called Kayden Premier Enterprises. The company had fast growth and in 2010, but eventually, his business went bankrupt, losing almost 2 million dollars on one project in a matter of 90 days.
During his darkest hours, he pulled himself together, got a part-time job as a custodian, and with hard work and determination became an inspirational keynote speaker, executive coach, best-selling author, and marketing leader, helping to build the success of others.