From Corporate Soldier to Sandler Franchise Owner: My Journey to Entrepreneurship

From Corporate Soldier to Sandler Franchise Owner: My Journey to Entrepreneurship

In December of 1993, as the snow fell gently outside the Detroit airport, I found myself sitting alone in a bar, waiting for my flight home on Christmas Eve, reflecting on the life I had been living.

I was Bill Bartlett, the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) for a consumer products company, and my job had me on the road for a staggering 100 days a year. It was a demanding and relentless role that had taken its toll on my personal life and well-being.

For a decade, I had been a sales leader for various companies, and while I had helped generate substantial revenue for these organizations, it often felt like a one-sided relationship. They cared little for me as an individual; their primary focus was the revenue I could deliver. It was a realization that had been brewing for some time, but on that fateful Christmas Eve, it finally hit me like a ton of bricks—I was profoundly unhappy.

As I sipped my drink and watched people rush to their holiday destinations, I couldn’t help but think about all the major life events I had missed in my marriage and the friendships that had slowly drifted away. The constant hustle and grind had taken a toll on my personal life, and I had begun to question whether it was all worth it. That night, as I looked in the mirror of the dimly lit bar, I made a life-changing decision—I was going to work just as hard, if not harder, but this time, it would be for myself.

With renewed determination, I embarked on a journey to find my own path as an entrepreneur. Two weeks later, as I flipped through the pages of the Wall Street Journal, an advertisement caught my eye. It read simply, “Unhappy.” That single word resonated with me on a profound level, and I knew I had to act. The ad was for Sandler, and it was the first step on my path to owning a Sandler franchise.

I reached out to Sandler inquiring about the possibility of purchasing a franchise. Little did I know that this one decision would shape the course of my life for the next three decades.

My journey with Sandler was not without its challenges. Building a successful business from the ground up is never easy, but the difference was that this time, I was working for my own happiness and fulfillment. I was no longer just a cog in the corporate machine, but the architect of my own destiny.

Over the years, I honed my sales skills and leadership abilities through the Sandler system, which emphasizes a consultative and relationship-based approach to sales. I wasn’t just teaching others how to sell; I was helping them transform their businesses and their lives. It was deeply rewarding, and it brought a sense of purpose to my work that I had never experienced in my corporate life.

Now, as I reflect on the past 30 years, I can’t help but marvel at how my life took a 180-degree turn from that lonely Christmas Eve in the Detroit airport. I’ve had the privilege of helping countless individuals and organizations achieve their sales goals and overcome their challenges. More importantly, I’ve regained control of my personal life, celebrating major milestones with my loved ones, and nurturing the friendships that matter most.

My journey from a Corporate Soldier to a Sandler franchise owner has been filled with ups and downs, but it has ultimately led me to a place of happiness and fulfillment working with local businesses and changing lives.

It’s proof that sometimes, all it takes is the courage to take that first step towards change, to choose yourself, and to chase your own dreams.


Have you thought about making a change where you can leverage your skills but build a business for yourself?

If so and you want to find out if Sandler is the right fit for you, click here to talk to a franchise consultant.