The internet is full of fakes, frauds and people who don’t even exist.
I’m not one of them.
The bio that follows below might be one of the most open and revealing you’ll find on the internet. It’s literally a “mini-life-story.”
Now you certainly don’t have to read my mini-life story or care one iota about who I am or where I came from.
I have zero attachment.
I’ve just put it up here for those that are curious.
For those (like me) who appreciate knowing more about the real person behind all the pretty graphics and fancy videos ... and what they’re made of.
Below is the story of the real me ... for those of you who’d like to know ...
I was born in East LA. (Cue the Cheech & Chong)
Thanks to a seriously dysfunctional father, I grew up living in cars, boats, trailers and tents.
That’s me at 9 years old with my 4 year old brother in the tiny car we all lived in for quite some time. My brother’s arm looks like a twig. My twigs were just covered up by a shirt.
This skeleton became the “houseboat” where I spent the better part of my childhood. No wiring, no plumbing, no running water, no bath, no shower. The rare “bath” took place in a bucket. The toilet was a porta-pottie. The walls became infested with dead river rats.
It was a floating prison ... and the scene of much abuse. My mother destroyed all other photos of it. I don’t know how this one survived.
The last place I lived before I took my brother and fled to a boys shelter at age 12. In a trailer park in Lodi ... in this 18’ sardine can. The part outlined in blue was my “room” for nearly 3 years ... the “above-the-table” bunk. Two feet wide, five feet long and just six inches high. Caskets are roomier.
Life was about survival, and at a young age I became intimately acquainted with hunger. Necessity was the mother of invention and I ended up hatching my first business at the age of 8 ... making hanging “wind-spinners” out of aluminum cans I dug out of the trash. My inspiration came from an old guy who lived in a trailer park on the other side of the levee from where our “houseboat” was moored ... who had made an airplane out of a Budweiser beer can and hung it from a string out on his porch so the propeller would spin in the breeze. I thought, “Hey, I could make something like that ... but simpler ... and sell it ... and eat!” And so I did.
The tools of my first trade ... a small knife and fishing line. I’d cut slits all around the cans, “scrunch” them halfway down and hang them on fishing line. Yes I cut myself quite a few times ... and yes some of the cans I dug out of the trash had been used as “spittoons” ... but I was sure happy to be making money. People loved it that an 8 year old had the gumption to make them himself and sell them door-to-door. I never told them I was just hungry. I keep one of them hanging right outside my home office (photo on right) as a reminder to myself of how far I’ve come and how lucky I am.
I manufactured and sold thousands of my “wind-spinner cans” ... door-to-door ... quickly out-earning my father ... who wasted no time in
harnessing me and taking all the money.
At the age of 12, I fled an increasingly violent and abusive home ... and headed for a boys shelter ... taking my 7 year old brother with me.
After a split and a court battle, my battered mother (who escaped soon after I did) was given custody of my brother and I (and a restraining order against my father) and the three of us moved to Bakersfield ... where we lived on welfare and food stamps for the next couple of years.
The “family.” I was 8 here, my brother was 3 ... and my mom was 31. She weighed 85 lbs ... and she wasn’t sick. This is a “good” photo ... she destroyed the later ones where she looked much worse.
My mom at 60 (really). She looks better here than at half her age. None of any of what happened was her fault. My father was a well-disguised monster ... and she never saw it coming. He used ever-escalating fear and violence to continually frighten, terrorize and trap not only her ... but all of us.
I spent my early teenage years working a half a dozen jobs at any given time (while going to school and swimming 8,000+ yards a day for my high school swim team), and managed to save up enough money to buy a car ... which I promptly leveraged into getting a couple of delivery jobs.
My first car ... a Chevy Chevette. Don’t laugh ... that’s all I could afford. I used to tell people I drove a ‘vette. How I ever managed to get so many speeding tickets in such a gutless wonder is still a mystery.
High school swim team. Morning practice: 5-7:30AM; Afternoon practice: 3-6PM. 8,000+ yards (5 miles) a day. That, the lifeguarding, and the teaching swimming lessons earned me the nickname “fish.”
That’s when the speeding tickets began rolling in.
They sucked at the time ... but they ended up being some of the greatest gifts I would ever receive.
Necessity was the mother of invention once again, as I simply had no choice but to fight them ... and win.
And win I did.
8 out of 10 times during my young delivery/courier driver career.
After graduating from high school, I moved to Santa Barbara at the age of 18, started community college, got a job working for UPS (the world’s largest package shipping company), and launched my own residential window cleaning company ... all at the same time.
My younger brother (who was 14 at the time) came to live with me shortly thereafter ... and I looked after him and raised him from that point forward.
With 3 promotions in a bit over a year at UPS, I rose from “unloader” to “Santa Barbara Center Preload Supervisor” at age 19 ... making me the youngest person to hold that position in UPS history. I reported for work at 2:15AM and directly coordinated the unloading and loading of all of the 30,000-50,000 parcels a day into 45 delivery trucks by my crew of 25 employees. When the air packages came in late from the airport and missed the delivery trucks (as they often did) ... I often delivered them all personally ... by 10:30AM. More speeding tickets 🙂
The UPS Center in Santa Barbara. At age 19, I managed the entire pre-load operation that occupies this whole building. 3AM-8:30AM every morning. 45 trucks ... 25 employees. 30,000 – 50,000 parcels per day. I was the youngest person to hold this position in UPS history.
My college classes were from 10AM-Noon ... and a couple nights a week ... and I didn’t always make them.
My afternoons and evenings were dedicated to my window cleaning business.
I worked hard (really hard) and hustled door-to-door and built it up to the largest residential window cleaning company in Santa Barbara ... with over 1,000 regular clients and 2-3 crews depending on the season ... and ended up cleaning over a half a million windows in the 5 years that I owned the business.
My crew and I cleaning windows. I started a window cleaning business because it required almost no start-up capital. I literally started it with $35 (no joke). I went after the big palaces with the walls of glass at dizzying heights perched on precarious hillsides that others shied away from. That was my niche. Santa Barbara has lots of those kinds of mega-homes. Because of the terrain, this type of window cleaning is far more dangerous and demanding than high-rises in cities. My business thrived and I enjoyed the challenge.
During this time I worked literally 18 hours a day ... stopping only to sleep from 8PM to 1:30AM.
Social life? What’s that?
College soon became irrelevant (and a waste of time) ... so I dropped out.
So did UPS ... and I quit that too ... and put my focus on my window cleaning company ... and writing my first book (which I started writing by hand in a spiral notebook at age 19).
I knew there was a market for a book on how to beat speeding tickets, because I’d spent a lot of time in traffic court and seen all the people in there. I also knew my strategies worked, because I had beaten 8 of 10 tickets.
I managed to publish the first draft of my book at age 22 (a 49 page saddle-stitched pamphlet) and sold several hundred copies of it locally in Santa Barbara.
The first (red-49 pgs-stapled) and second (blue-121 pgs-bound) editions of my book on how to beat speeding tickets.
It was then that one of my window cleaning clients, a hang-gliding instructor by the name of Ken DeRussy, introduced me to the late Dan
Poynter ... the “Godfather of Self-Publishing” ... who just happened to live in Santa Barbara.
Under Dan’s tutelage, I mortgaged most of my credit cards, and turned it into a “real book” ... with 121 pages, a barcode and a spine!
When the new book was done and printed, I asked Dan what would be the best way to market it on a large scale ... given the fact that I had no marketing budget. And Dan said ...
My first radio interview. A live remote broadcast. KTYD in Santa Barbara. It was my “hometown launch.” The entire morning show was all about ... me. I wore shorts (I had windows to clean right afterwards). The Lt. Police Chief is on the left in a suit and tie. We had a lively debate. This interview sold hundreds of books for me. The early interviews didn’t all go this well ... but this one got me off to a good start
So I did radio interviews ... and lots of them.
After about 6 months of trial and error and a few false starts (about 50 of them) ... I finally figured out how to target just the big shows.
I hit my stride and the book took off and started selling like crazy.
At age 23 ... for the first time in my life ... I had enough money to take a vacation.
I went to New Zealand ... a place I had been yearning to visit since I was 7 years old.
New Zealand. My first vacation at 23. Here I am in Queenstown.
As I suspected, it was heaven ... and it was home. I knew it for sure the minute I stepped off the plane. I spent nearly 3 weeks exploring the country from top to bottom ... and made a solemn vow that I would move there for good one day.
Back from vacation, I sold my window cleaning company and continued burning up the airwaves ... and over the next decade ended up logging over 1,200 radio & podcast interviews ... and selling over a quarter of a million books.
Dan Poynter invited me to come speak at his self-publishing workshops and share my successes and tips with other aspiring authors.
Dan Poynter was such a gift to me. He went to bat for me in so many different ways ... and changed my life forever. I am where I am today because of him. Words will never be able to express my gratitude for all he did. Thank you Dan. You are missed.
Word spread and authors from across North America and around the world began seeking out my guidance and marketing expertise.
I developed a program to help them capitalize on radio & podcast interviews as I had ... and I also streamlined a database of all the top shows so they knew which ones to go after.
Thanks in large part to Dan Poynter, I started receiving invitations to speak at all manner of marketing events, seminars, boot camps and
summits all over the country ... and I’ve spoken at hundreds of them in the years since.
Throughout my career in publicity and marketing I have helped over 10,000 people follow in my footsteps and promote themselves, their books, their businesses and their causes using radio & podcast interviews.
Collectively my clients have sold hundreds of millions of books and generated billions in sales.
In 2013, I piled everything I owned into a big shipping container, left Santa Barbara and moved to New Zealand ... finally realizing my lifelong dream of moving “home.” For Kiwis and those who know New Zealand ... my initial landing spot was Waiheke Island ... a small island just off the coast of Auckland.
I would have moved sooner, but New Zealand was not an easy to country to get into (which is one of the reasons it’s such a great country) ... and it took me 3 tries before my residency application was approved (first in 1998, again in 2008 ... and finally succeeding in 2013).
It was also at this time that I decided to change my name.
I had always wanted to change my name because it belonged to my abusive father ... and moving to a new country where no one knew me yet was the perfect time to do it.
I still retain the use of the name “Alex Carroll” as a “stage name” because I have so many years of branding invested in it and the public knows me by that name ... but my passport, drivers license, birth certificate, accounts and everything else now bear my new legal name ... Garrett Maxwell ... and everyone in New Zealand knows me as Garrett.
My First New Zealand Home – Waiheke Island
Waiheke Island is known in New Zealand as the “Isle Of Wine” because it has so many vineyards. I spent my first couple of years in New Zealand here on this idyllic island … overlooking the Hauraki gulf and the city of Auckland.
Making Friends With The Chief
The native New Zealand Maori people have a rich culture. This gesture is known as a “hongi.” It is considered sacred … and it is a sign of deep respect among Maori. It is unusual for a Maori chief to engage in this gesture with a “pakeha” (white man).
Not long after moving to New Zealand I met a beautiful Kiwi woman of Maori/English heritage who I swore was my soulmate. I married her about a year later in a beautiful ceremony on a remote beach. Despite a string of earlier relationships and an engagement ... this was my first marriage. Unfortunately, like many things in life, it didn't quite work out the way that I had planned. Amidst a string of truly remarkable surprises, it became increasingly clear that we were not as much in alignment as either of us had originally hoped. I eventually left the North Island and headed south to the region of New Zealand that had always been my favorite and drawn me more than any other ...
Today I live in a beautiful hilltop home on the northern tip of the South Island of New Zealand ... overlooking the ocean and the snowcapped (in the winter anyway) Kahurangi ranges in the distance.
If you’ve ever seen “Lord of the Rings” (or any other of Sir Peter Jackson’s blockbusters) ... then you know how beautiful the South Island of New Zealand is.
I am finally home, in the place I have always wanted to be ... and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.
My home today. The northern tip of the South Island of New Zealand.
This is my view looking out across Tasman Bay to Abel Tasman National Park and to the Kahurangi mountain ranges beyond.
The photo on the left is an aerial view of Abel Tasman National Park. It is a kayaker’s paradise that is bejeweled with gold sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and countless sheltered hidden coves. There is no road access ... so it remains pristine and unspoiled. If you ever visit New Zealand … whatever you do … don’t miss it. It is breathtakingly beautiful … and it is like no place earth. The middle photo is what the beaches actually look like up close. They really are that gold. The photo on the right I took with my zoom lens of the Kahurangi ranges in the winter when they are capped with snow.
I believe in working hard, working smart, living and creating your own life regardless of what anyone else says or thinks, making lemonade from life’s lemons, relentlessly pursuing your dreams, never giving up, stopping to smell the roses, staying healthy in mind, body and spirit ... and constantly seeking to grow and expand your consciousness and awareness in all that you are and all that you do.
Above all else ... I believe in gratitude. For everything. No matter how ugly it might appear at first. I am exceedingly grateful for my harsh childhood ... because from it, came the character, determination and perseverance that has carried me to where I am today. And I am equally grateful for all the other challenges I have faced throughout my life (and there have been many) ... as each and every one of them have contained priceless gifts that contributed to my growth and ever-expanding consciousness and awareness.
I still personally maintain my publicity program and databases of radio shows and podcasts ... the latter of which I have become an avid listener of. I continue to help my 10,000+ clients (I have an unlimited phone plan to 20+ countries and a high-speed fibre-optic broadband connection) and I travel back and forth to the US a couple of times a year to see friends and family and speak at a couple of my favorite publicity and publishing events.
I still answer to both of my names, although I much prefer Garrett and will eventually phase Alex out of my life permanently.
I am currently writing a new book which I believe will sell millions of copies ... and has the potential to profoundly change the fabric of society.
Time will tell.
One thing is for sure ... you can bet I will be promoting it via podcasts and radio shows!
In my spare time, I can be found hiking (known as “tramping” here in New Zealand), cycling, swimming in the ocean, beachcombing, kayaking, and exploring the incredible beauty of heaven-on-earth in my completely restored 1980 Toyota Land Cruiser “safari-truck” (thank you Gary Kardum) ... which I affectionately refer to as “The Beast.”
“The Beast.” A vintage 1980 BJ44 Toyota Land Cruiser. My favorite toy. I’d wanted one of these my whole life. It was a two year project – and the first year and a half of it was a nightmare. Then Gary Kardum at Mudrak saved the day. It went WAY over budget (as do all restorations) ... but I’m sure grateful to have it now
Every morning I climb the mountain behind my home (it’s about an hour round trip). I pass (and occasionally feed) hundreds of sheep, goats, cows and horses along the way ... all while listening to podcasts. This just goes to underscore the power of podcasts. They reach ME ... a guy who lives on a hilltop in New Zealand ... and they reach me daily. I have spent thousands as a result of stuff I’ve heard on podcasts ... and they influence my life in countless other ways as well.
The majesty of nature feeds my soul like nothing else ... and New Zealand is like no other place on earth.
If you’re in the neighborhood ... ping me an email ... and I might meet you for lunch.
In closing, I am often asked how my brother and mother are today ... and I am happy to report that they are both thriving and well.
My mom has been happily remarried for 25 years now, and she and I take a trip somewhere together every year (she gets to pick the
destination) just so we get to spend some time together.
My mom and I on a recent trip to Philly. We take a trip somewhere every year just so we get to spend some time together. I am super lucky to have such a sweetheart of a mom ... and we’re all super lucky that things have turned out so well for us considering how they began.
My brother lives in Santa Barbara and runs an industrial food processing equipment manufacturing company there. I got him the job when he was 17 years old (the owner was one of my window cleaning clients) ... and he started out sweeping the floors. Literally. In today’s transient “gig economy” you don’t hear too many of those “sweeping floors to CEO” stories anymore, but my brother is one of them.
I’m so proud of my bro. He now runs the multi-national, 8 figure manufacturing company that he started out sweeping floors at when he was 17.
Other things you probably don’t know about me ...
- I began studying martial arts in my early 20s and in recent years have become a student of the Japanese martial art of Aikido
- I was a competitive triathlete in my 20s ... placing as high as 3rd place out of a field of over 1,500 entrants
- I own a home in Sedona, Arizona and often spend a bit of time there every year amongst the towering red rocks and the breathtaking scenery
- I have traveled to more than 30 countries
- My favorite place in the world besides New Zealand is the Portuguese island of Madeira off the coast of Morocco
- I collect naturally heart shaped stones (usually from the beach) … and a few years back I made a bunch of clocks and jewelry with them. Visit www.HeartStones.com if you’d like to see my work (the site’s a bit dated … but you’ll get the idea)
- My genetic heritage is primarily Irish (father) & Swedish (mother) ... and to many people’s surprise, I also have a small amount of Native American (Iroquois) in my bloodline.
- In my late 20s I lived on and managed a remote ranch in Australia for the better part of a year ... where I researched and organized the planting of a Permaculture “food forest” of over 400 fruit and nut trees
- I was part of a team that donated $100,000 and airlifted 1,000 fruit trees via helicopter down into the Havasupai Indian reservation at the bottom of the Grand Canyon in Arizona and planted them for the American Indians that live there.
Sedona is another one of those places that's like no place else on earth. I resonated with it so much that I bought a home there many years ago. I had originally planned on moving there semi-permanently, but after I'd been there a few months and finished remodeling my home ... I realized that I really missed being by the water. So back to Santa Barbara I went (until moving to New Zealand). But I still have my place there ... and I still love spending time there among the towering red rocks and the incredible scenery.
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