Ringing the Bell: My Life in the Biz

Rated 5.00/5 based on 9 reviews
The true story of how I was recruited by a notorious door-to-door sales organization, and traveled across the country in pursuit of success.

My goal of making millions took some unexpected setbacks as I mastered the art of cold-calling, mouse-killing, and "ringing the bell." A rare look into the culture of Cydcor/DS-Max, this memoir is both harrowing and humorous.

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Review by: serendipityreads on Feb. 10, 2019 :
I was gifted this book by a fellow team member in the UK who worked in clearance. I came back after reading and bought 6 copies as it is worth this and so much more.

Yes we were the hardcore gorillas that worked the streets with a bag of random goodies and a dream of a big, different life. It was one of the best times in my life and a period that has brought life long friendships, crucial lessons, skills and many funny stories that I look back on with fondness. If you want to know what the business is like, read this book. I started yesterday morning and couldn’t put it down until the late hours of this morning when the journey was complete. Like the business, the book is highly addictive; make sure you are ready to ignore family, eating, living and everything in between before you finish. This book is funny, engaging, brutally honest and takes you on the ride as if you are living it. It was so familiar it felt like my story (to a point) through different eyes and took me further than my experience as if I had chosen door number 2.

I left at leadership when a knee injury took me out of the field and I accepted one of the many jobs I was offered by customers and random strangers. My circle varied dramatically, out of our office many left but still use the steps taught by cobra to this day (me included). Two went on to become owners and left after, they are now still in sales. My manager carried on through the business and is very high up now, he got his Tuscan and I believe he is living it up in another part of Europe, he if anyone is probably one of the best success stories and I truly hope he has made his millions, if anyone can, he will have. One of my team mates, who was also a leader when I left also rose up the ranks and is still in the business, a truly determined force with lazer focus. Apparently according to a rep I met in the field a few years ago, he is a legend in the company (I don’t doubt it) you had to be a whippet to keep up with him in the field!!
Me I took my entrepreneurship mentality and did it on my own. Looking at it from the other side, business on your own isn’t that easy either. It takes gritting determination, the ability to crush obstacles, long hours, little pay in the trenches and no guarantees. Only a few make it, many fail early. 2 years in the field is nothing compared to business in the real world. I had businesses that didn’t work out and like a disappointed owner had to go back readjust and try again. When you hit the dizzying heights of the next stage everyone has their hand out and you never end up making as much as you thought you would at each goal post. There are problems to overcome and you always have that next goal in sight. I know millionaires that built their own businesses and their journeys are similar, none of it was done overnight and none of it was done in 2 years, ventures failed, they lost money but they kept going.

So is it a scam, you may have been made promises that are glossier than the reality but they are no different to the promises you tell yourself when you start your own business. The reflection is very similar. The only difference is that I did it in my pyjamas on a couch in a warm house, not on the field. You have to learn in the trenches before you can progress just like with this company, you are often broke until you hit your goal. If the roller coaster isn’t for you then the real world won’t be either, you still have to be a rhino, however many are happier as cows, that is okay too. It depends on what you truly want out of life.

If you are thinking of joining the company read this book, it will take you through everything, no false promises and show you the questions at the end that maybe you should be asking yourself at the beginning. Is it worth it. If the answer is yes then get started. If you want to start your own business read this book too. If you believe you are a rhino then entrepreneurship is for you. If you couldn’t do what Luke did, then don’t bother, get a job and find something that fulfils you.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: thunder90 on April 8, 2012 :
As a person who worked for Marketing FX (now known as Team One inc- a Cydcor affiliate on the AT&T campaign) in 2007, I can say that everything in the book is accurate and well told. I heard similar horror stories about my co workers having to go through bankruptcy court, getting evicted, living in shared housing with the manager, and all sort of office scruffels going on (Sexual harassment, ect). Our office was shared with "Green Rock Marketing" (Now Rock Executives).

Our ICL told us about WWI and DS-MAX, and how Cydcor branched off from it. But, they said that we should be able to "use the system" to sell trinkets and other items, and we did so during practice pitches. So, like Luke detailed, these practices remained entrenched in the heart of Cydcor. Also, Luke is right on the fact that most ICL's will never become a regional consultant (and if they do, they still have to manage offices!)

Luke told the story in a way that both former employees of "DS Max Spawn" companies and the general public can understand it. If you want a full understanding of how Cydcor and other DS Max spawn companies and their employees operate, you need to read this book.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: Alicia Crowe on Jan. 12, 2012 :
As a former employee of this company, and a character in the book, I was intrigued to read someone else's point of view. Luke did a great job writing this book. I was captivated by his ability to integrate both personal and professional details of his experience with this company. I found it to be humorous, and laugh out loud funny at times! Having experienced "the field" I was able to relate, and my heart broke for him and his many disappointments.

Not only is Luke a great storyteller, (and salesman!) but also an excellent writer. This was a good read-I couldn't put it down!

Thank you, Luke, for writing this book! I will read any book you write in the future!
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)
Review by: rachel harary on July 15, 2011 :
Great read. Get ready to become invested. Very few authors would be this honest. You will find yourself consistently cringing with embarrassment for him in a 'meet the parents' style.
This book is probably best read by keeping track of every single time you would have quit, instead of pushing forward as the writer did. I personally lost count, but I know the first time I would have quit was early in the first chapter. I know this because that IS when I quit. I have interviewed for this 'company', and if you have a heartbeat and have looked for a job in the past 10 years, then you probably have too. This was the first and only time I have heard about what happens to those that stay... and stay... and stay. As it turns out, it becomes an uphill, always striving for the next sale, step, position, recruit, leader, battle that mainly takes place in the trenches, which are the colorfully described streets of cities across the country.
The author will take you through the actual experiences of being part of this seemingly promising, fortuitous place, where with a can-do attitude and fearless entrepreneurship, you can skip the rat race your parents went through and friends are going through, and jump right to being the brilliant millionaire business owner you were always meant to be. No matter how low, and it gets pretty low, or painful, or unbearable, or impossible, or outright outrageous it gets, he keeps going.
With his perfect and kaleidoscopic descriptions you will work through the field to becoming a business owner with him. You will be as disappointed and as disheartened as he was. You will feel all his pain, develop his cynicism, and want him to get to the next promotion almost as much as he actually did. He opens himself up and connects with reader so well that you recognise statements dripping with sarcasm and feel you are in on his inside joke. The best part was instead of his final decision being based another unfeasible obstacle and the breaking of the camels back, it instead amassed from the same soul, conscience, and vigor that got him as farther than literally tens of thousands of others would ever have made it.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
Review by: m o on April 25, 2011 :
very good read, as someone who gave the biz a few months and cut ties, it was interesting to be put in the shoes of someone who stuck with it and obviously kept a part of his original self through all of it, unlike most of the "grizzled vets" i encountered in my time in the biz.

for anyone wondering, yes the biz is a scam and a variation of a pyramid scheme, specifically a multi level marketing scheme, full of deception and empty promises among dozens of other shady practices (and i worked mainly in a "good" office). the two worst things about it is how it tricks decent, eager people looking for a better life into getting sucked in and then turned into tools who live a crappy life (with very very slim chances for even an ok one) for the benefit of the people at the top and on many cydcor campaigns, customers are often lied to and tricked or bribed into signing up for something that will screw them in the long run.
(reviewed 2 years after purchase)
Review by: Mehdi K on Oct. 23, 2010 :
Hey!!! This is Mehdi. One of the people that Luke had talked about in this book. It was a fun ride, going back in time and reliving moments in different phases of the Biz. Thank you Luke for the memories, I will recommend this book to my friends.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: Steve Cardenas on March 29, 2010 :
Hey Everyone! This is Steve Cardenas AKA Rocky The Red Power Ranger. I am the Steve that the author talks about in this book. Although I'm the main character, There are many many other supporting cast that are very funny in this story that takes me back and will really suck you in. Get this book!

PS- Just kidding about being the "main" character. But still read it anyway.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
Review by: Steve Cardenas on March 29, 2010 :
Hey Everyone! This is Steve Cardenas AKA Rocky The Red Power Ranger. I am the Steve that the author talks about in this book. Although I'm the main character, There are many many other supporting cast that are very funny in this story that takes me back and will really suck you in. Get this book!

PS- Just kidding about being the "main" character. But still read it anyway.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
Review by: Nikki Cengic on Feb. 10, 2010 :
Great read! I was engrossed in the fascinating story and felt as if I was a passenger along for the ride, reliving the adventure from beginning to end.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
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