RF grad finds success in self-employment
Dana Derricks has a hard time summarizing just what it is he does.
An entrepreneur with many ventures, an author, a speaker, a podcast host and a creator of online training and programs, it's easy to see why.
Derricks has been an entrepreneur his whole life, he said, but has been professionally self-employed for the last 11 years.
"I was just so sick and tired of chasing down shiny objects that just didn't work and just the pursuit of the next, latest, greatest thing," he said.
For Derricks this new venture started after class in the Hudson Taco Bell, when his card was declined while trying to buy a meal worth $6.12.
"I'll never forget that feeling of how devastating that was for me," Derricks said.
The next day he set about making a change. With a credit card with a $500 limit, Derricks bought all the books he could on business, entrepreneurship and marketing. For the next six months, he read and read and read.
The books gave him the tools he needed to set out on a new path in life.
"By senior year of college, I was making $300,000 as a freelance copywriter," Derrick said.
He has since published eight books of his own, including his "Dream 100 Book."
The book has readers create a list of their dream customers or clients, as well as a list of their dream influences to promote their business. Then, Derricks said, the book tells them to pursue those people relentlessly.
"If you continue to pursue them, give them value, build a relationship with them a percentage of them will eventually work with you," Derrick said.
He hopes his books and his other work shows people that they can do whatever they want regardless of their circumstances.
"Their goals and their realities and their dreams are within reach as long as they stay in their lane and keep their blinders on and they don't compare themselves to people around them," he said.
As his success has grown, Derricks has stayed local. A UW-River Falls grad, he now lives in New Richmond and hosts clients from all over the world in his Clear Lake office.
Derricks said the climate definitely isn't the reason he sticks around.
"It's the people," he said. "There's just a genuineness about people in Western Wisconsin that I've never found anywhere else."
Derricks said he's proud to live here, and to bring other people to visit the area.
Though what he does isn't always easy to define, his favorite part of his work is. Derricks said he loves seeing the impact he can have on people. He's heard from people in a variety of situations who have been changed by his work, and he's able to have an impact in his local community through it.
"I do what I do to leave a dent in the world," Derricks said. "To make it a better place."